Appreciate
Prompt #32: Sunset

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It had been a quiet party. Of the four guys Howie were the closest to, only Brian and Nick had shown up, and the rest were friends and acquaintances he didn't get to hang out with when he was on the road. Howie had lit up the grill and flipped burgers most of the day - quite a strategic move actually, since he was accessible to his guests without having to move around too much. It had been nice. Howie loved the road, and he loved partying on the road, but he was getting older. He was learning to appreciate other things.

His guests had been out by 9 all except one, because there was no way to kick him out and Howie, not in the mood to start cleaning up yet, stepped out on the balcony. He was just in time for the sunset.

Beer in hand, he sat down on the wide bench right by the rail and let himself relax to the point where he felt pretty much boneless. He looked around, smiled to himself, and took a sip. Beaches really had the best sunsets.

"Howard."

Howie turned, surprised, and laughed a little. "Yeah?"

Brian, who was standing right behind the bench, suddenly beamed back at him. "Hello, Howard."

"Hi, Brian." Howie shook his head and gestured to the spot next to him. "Sit down."

Brian licked his lips, nodded, and took his time before he plopped down on the bench with his side pressed casually against Howie's. "This is nice," Brian sighed contentedly, slouching a little and gazing out over the ocean. "I'm really drunk."

"No kidding," Howie said, who only had a bit of a buzz going. "How'd that happen? You never drink."

"Nick," Brian replied, as if that was a sufficient answer. It probably was. There was nothing Nick loved more than riling Brian up for mischief. "I'm really glad AJ wasn't here," he said after a moment.

Howie was quiet for a while. "You wouldn't have done it if he had been."

Brian turned his head and smiled. There really wasn't much to say to that.

They sat in silence for a little while, save for the tiny thump-thump of Brian knocking his knee against Howie's. The sky was turning pink in the horizon and it was getting colder, but Howie was feeling warm and comfortable. That was probably a little weird if he thought about it - he'd always had a hard time staying warm. Good thing he wasn't thinking about it.

Out of nowhere Brian grabbed his hand and held it up against his own, inspecting the differences. "Howard," he repeated, as if he was musing over something.

"Hm?"

"We're friends, right?"

"'Course we are," Howie agreed, watching as Brian examined his hand with light strokes of his fingertips. He shivered despite himself.

"S'nice," Brian mumbled. "Took us a while."

Leave it to Brian to be shockingly honest when drunk. "Yeah," Howie agreed quietly. "Brian, what are you doing?"

"Nothin'," he replied. "Your thumbs are longer than mine."

Howie did a double take. "You're a weird drunk, you know that?"

"Yeah, I know," Brian agreed easily.

Howie just nodded. Since it didn't look like Brian was letting go of his hand anytime soon, he settled back in his seat and took another swig of his beer. Brian wasn't doing much aside from running his thumb over Howie's palm, and Howie had no clue why, but it probably made sense in Brian's head to do so, and who was he to argue, really? Brian had done stranger things while drunk. Actually, Brian had done stranger things while sober - Howie was still trying to get over the whipped cream incident.

Suddenly Brian let out a loud sigh. "Look, there's something I have to do, so ... if I'm completely off the mark, just tell me, okay?"

Howie blinked. "Um. Okay, sure."

Nothing could've prepared him for Brian taking the beer bottle out of his hand, putting it down on the ground, and crawling into his lap. Halfway from straddling Howie's waist, Brian's hand slipped and landed between Howie's legs, which caused him to jump a mile and let out a very loud, very unmanly squeak. Brian looked scandalized for all of two seconds before he burst out laughing.

"S-sorry," he managed to stutter out amidst the uncontrollable laughter, "I was just gonna-" And then he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Howie's, still chuckling into his mouth, and really, Howie's brain was having a lot of trouble keeping up with what was going on.

He wasn't a big enough of an idiot not to respond, though, even if it was just a little bit. When Brian pulled back, there were purple tints to his hair. This had to be the most gorgeous sunset Howie had ever seen.

"You had to get drunk to do that?" he asked softly.

Brian shrugged. "I never said I was brave."

Howie had to smile. "I'm glad you did it, in any case." He tried to shift into a more comfortable position. "You could've warned a guy, though. Jeez, Brian."

Brian grinned, completely unrepentant. "Don't they always say first times are never any good?"

Howie grinned back. "Do they?" He leaned closer until their faces were inches apart, lips just barely brushing as he continued, "Let's just skip right on to the second time then."

He could feel Brian's lips form into a smirk against his own. "I don't think they get really good until after about the twentieth, though, so we should just keep trying," he murmured, and then Howie made it impossible for them to talk anymore, because he was dying to test out that theory.

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© Mette M. 2005-2009. This story is purely fiction, meaning not true. If any actions in the story are similar to real life experiences, they are pure coincidence. All persons, excluding the Backstreet Boys and occasional real-life based characters, are made up from the author's imagination. I, Mette, do not know the Backstreet Boys, their families and friends or their management.