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Tommy swore afterward-after Perez did the article, and everyone from Best Week Ever to Chelsea Lately to Ellen ran the grainy camera phone footage-that he was an innocent bystander. As he watched Craig Ferguson make a joke about it on late night he said, “I had nothing to do with this one. This is Adam’s fault for not checking a dude’s psych history before getting a bathroom blowjob.”

“Like you’ve done a hundred times?” Isaac said, raising an eyebrow from the couch. Tommy flipped him the finger, and then took the ice pack that Cam gave him and put it on his knee.

Honestly, Tommy could not see how this was his fault. Adam had hooked up with this pretty boy a few dates back. Tommy had seen him at the club, and he was just Adam’s type-small, cute, willing, eager. Adam spent thirty minutes in the bathroom with the twink du jour, and came out later flushed and happy. Adam came back to their VIP table after saying a sweet goodbye to his trick, and then came up and curled next to Tommy, drink in hand. Tommy automatically put an arm around Adam and kept him close. Pretty fucking normal.

So when the same guy showed up the show a couple of days and states later, Tommy thought nothing of it. Tommy saw him standing near the buses with the girls waiting for autographs. He recognized him from his hair-the guy had tinted it silver and spiked it. Tommy glanced at him and thought He must do hair, nice job on his-WHAT THE FUCK?

Because, what the fuck? He had just turned his back to say hi and talk to a tiny fangirl in feathered earrings and body glitter, and then 150 pounds of misdirected fury rushed him from the back. “You fucking slutty whore-bitch!” Tommy had gotten knocked straight the fuck on the ground, while SilverTwink pulled at his hair and tried to straddle him. “Adam doesn’t love you, he’s mine!”

Tommy knew he had been a tough dude at some point. He’d been in metal bands, he’d fought jocks who hated his eyeliner, he could do well in a street fight. But being ambushed by a shrieking dipshit who knocked him on his face in front of a group of screaming fans? Well. Tommy could only say in his defense that he didn’t react all that well.

He did flip around to knock the guy off his back and try to punch him. This only gave SilverTwink the chance to rip his shirt. His new shirt, the one that Adam had bought him. “You fucking asshole!” Tommy said, and then it was on. He didn’t remember a whole lot of it after that-there was too much shrieking and cameras going off as the fans went apeshit.

When Tommy saw the You Tube videos (like at least ten million other people), he saw himself rolling on the ground with SilverTwink, one hand in the asshole’s hair and the other one clawing at his neck. Every time he tried to properly punch the guy out, SilverTwink would just slap him silly, and then Tommy would wind up doing the same. On camera it looked hilarious, even to him. But at the same time, it was just fucking humiliating.

“What the fuck?” he finally said when security stopped gut-laughing long enough to get them separated. Tommy could still hear the girls screaming, but now it sounded distant as he focused on his attacker. “What the fuck did I do to you? And you ripped my shirt, fucker.” SilverTwink just spat at his boots, glaring at him through red-rimmed eyes.

“You can’t have him, I want him. You’re not good enough for Adam, you fucking bisexual whore slut! You flirt with all these girls and he still just wants to be with you!” At this point SilverTwink was crying so hard he could barely get out every second word.

Tommy just stood there shaking his head as the cops came and dragged SilverTwink away. As he left the fans, he could hear the hushed “Oh my gods” and he knew that they were all hitting Twitter hard. Tommy tried not to think about it-his knee hurt where it had hit the pavement. His hands were scraped up. Never mind, maybe the fallout wouldn’t be that bad.

It kinda was.

It took less than fifteen minutes for the footage to hit You Tube, and less than two hours for Perez to get it. From then on, it was a trashy media frenzy as everyone from Queerty to Entertainment Tonight called up Adam to try to get to the bottom of his “relationship” with Tommy. Adam answered every inquiry with a graceful “There’s nothing to talk about, and I hope Travis”-SilverTwink’s real name-“ gets some psychological help. But no, there’s nothing going on. Thank you.” End of story.

Tommy refused to answer any media questions at all. Neil told him he should, “Because hey, if the press wants to interview you for any reason, you should take it.” Tommy couldn’t do it though-hell, he could barely talk about his music to a reporter, much less being attacked by a hair stylist with nothing better to do. He just shook his head and went back to the lounge, where Terrance had the fight footage on repeat. Tommy held out his hand and immediately got a Solo cup full of booze from Taylor and an arm around his shoulder. He leaned on Taylor and watched as he tried to kick SilverTwink in the nuts. He winced as he saw his kick go wild. Taylor patted his good knee.

Tommy avoided Adam for a couple of days. He wasn’t angry, but it was just too embarrassing to talk about. Finally, Adam cornered him in the dressing room. “Hey,” he said, smiling just a little. Tommy nodded back. “Are you okay? Because I’m really sorry, you shouldn’t have gotten caught up in my craziness.”

Tommy frowned. “What are you talking about? I mean, I’m part of your band. And we kiss onstage and hang out all the time. I mean, I don’t need some stalker going after me, but it’s not your fault.”Tommy didn’t see why Adam needed to feel bad, even if it was his pickup. The way Adam was staring at him though-that wasn’t good.

“Wait, are you seriously saying that being attacked by some idiot is the price you pay for hanging out with me? What if he had a knife, or a gun?” Adam was getting really upset then-Tommy could see his pale skin turn bright red under the pancake makeup. Tommy took two steps and slid his arms around Adam, squeezing. Adam held him close, kissing his ear before pulling back enough to look Tommy in the eyes. “You’re my best friend. I don’t want you getting hurt because of me. We need-we need to get you your own bodyguard.”

“I don’t think it’s my fault. And I don’t-it’s not your fault, it just happened, okay?” Tommy never meant all that about it being Adam’s fault. After all, he just got laid, he didn’t propose marriage to the delusional idiot. “But yeah, I might need a bodyguard now. Shit, I love meeting the fans.”

“I know honey,” Adam said, and Tommy always smiled when Adam did that. “You still can, but we need someone to watch you. If it’s too dangerous or crowded-well, can’t do it.” Adam let go then, and walked toward the door. “I can’t lose you, you’re too important.” Tommy watched as Adam looked at his shoes for a second, knowing that he was going to say something funny to cut the tension.
“ And don’t worry, they’ll stop with the Twink Battle jokes on TV soon. Entertainment Tonight is already going back to talking about Bristol Palin, so I think you’re good.” Adam turned to leave and Tommy took a step forward.

“Hey.” Adam turned back around when Tommy said that. “Don’t worry about me. At least you know I’ll defend your honor if I have to. Even if it means getting into a really stupid fight.” They both laughed then, just chuckling, and Adam walked away. Tommy watched him go, and then picked up his phone. When he checked Twitter, “Tommy Ratliff” and “#tommywaswinner” had both stopped trending.

Tommy wasn’t sure if he was relieved or disappointed.