An aromantic comedy about the dangers of rebound sex.
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / Aromantic
Danny Kim is the frontman of a Seattle indie rock band. He's also struggling to graduate from college. After rudely hitting on a cute guy at one of his concerts, he gets in even deeper trouble when the guy proves to be the TA of his accounting class.
Though Jiyoon clearly would prefer never to see Danny again, a rough breakup brings then unexpectedly together and a tentative friendship forms—but Danny can barely keep his band afloat and pass all his classes, nevermind learn how to make time for what is rapidly becoming the most important person in his life.
More about The Trouble:
That week when study group wrapped up, Danny took his time putting his things away. He was acutely aware that he was on the precipice of potentially fucking up harder than he had before. Were his hands sweating? His hands were definitely sweating.
As the other students filtered out, only Jiyoon was left, crossing his arms and frowning.
"What's this? You're usually the first to leave."
Danny took a deep breath and took the CD out of his backpack. Immediately, Jiyoon sighed.
"Hey, look, I brought this—"
"I told you, I'm not interested—"
"It's not for you! It's for your boyfriend. He comes to all our shows. Hell, he brings people to our shows, and that's… that's really cool. We would be lucky to have more fans like him, so you know… he should have it."
"Oh." Jiyoon took the CD, holding it in both hands like a particularly delicate bomb. "Thank you."
"No problem." Danny laughed, trying to break the tension. "Hey, if you wanna tell him you begged me for it because you knew it'd be the perfect gift or something, you'd look pretty cool."
Jiyoon smiled wryly. "You mean you don't want me to tell him that the lead singer of his favorite band insulted him and tried to pick me up?"
"Well, if you did that, we might lose our biggest fan… but hey, it's up to you." Danny held his hands out. "My life is in your hands."
"Seriously, though. Don't feel like you have to—lie or anything. Tell him the truth. I deserve it."
Jiyoon let out a soft laugh. "I don't think he'd mind."
"Still. I'm sorry." Danny picked up his bag and hefted it over his shoulder. "I'm gonna be the best student to make up for it, though. Just watch."
Jiyoon was looking down at the CD, turning it over in his hands. "You haven't been doing so well, have you?" When their gazes met again, Jiyoon's expression dropped some of its reserve. "How is the class going?"
"It's fine," Danny said with a laugh. His cheeks were heating up. "I just, uh—shit comes up sometimes. But I'm gonna do better."
Jiyoon nodded. "Right. I'd hate to have to fail you." That wry smile came back to his face, and Danny noticed he had a tiny mole just above his top lip. Danny liked it. He really, really liked it.
Their next show was in the most cramped bar in all of Cap Hill. The stage was barely big enough for the four of them, and the sound system looked like it was from the 1980s. Still, the place had a reputation as the Place to Be Heard, and Danny knew it would be packed to the gills. And not just because it was tiny.
The crowd was pumped, from the opening chords of The Trouble's first song through the end of the set. They even sang along to what Lei had dubbed their "radio song"—if they ever managed to make it that big, that was. Halfway through, Danny noticed Jiyoon at the bar, perched on a stool next to that tall, hawk-nosed boyfriend of his.
And he was watching.
Danny couldn't stop himself from smiling. Jiyoon's phone was nowhere in sight. One of his hands was loosely wrapped up in Devin's, and the other held his drink, and he met Danny's gaze as he gave a little cocktail salute.
Jiyoon might just have been their good luck charm, because the show was a rousing success. They had to come on for an encore, which meant trotting out one of the newer songs that wasn't quite finished, at least not by Danny and Sam's exacting standards. A few wrong chords and forgotten lyrics aside, the crowd ate it up.
"Holy shit, you guys. Holy shit," Lei kept saying while they packed up so the next band could take the stage. "Holy shit."
"That went well." Sam was trying to play it cool, but Danny could see the excitement barely contained in the corners of her mouth. Victor's hands were shaking as he zipped up the bag with the cymbals.
"I'm gonna buy you guys a round," Danny announced. "We fucking earned it tonight."
He didn't pretend not to look for Jiyoon when he went to the bar, but he and Devin were nowhere in sight. Oh well. He would check in with Jiyoon in class and see if their peace talk had made Jiyoon like the music more. A hand tapped his shoulder and he spun around, expecting to see Jiyoon there—instead a tall, older woman in a black blazer smiled back at him. Her hair fell in springy corkscrews, and her deep brown skin shone in the lights from the bar.
"You're Danny Kim, right?"
"Pleased to meet you. I'm Erika Jones with Doubletime Entertainment. I liked your set." Erika handed him a matte business card. The first thing that caught his eye was the familiar gold Doubletime logo, printed in shiny letters against the black card. He knew that logo from the backs of some of his favorite CDs.
Then the words "Talent Manager" leapt out at him. Oh.