"Tell me wh-Y!"

Max's eye twitched as he passionately sung another off-key note and she just wished someone would tell her why this guy was in the dorm lounge at three a.m. butchering Backstreet songs. Of all things! Could he at least struggle-sing songs with taste?

"I never wanna hear you SA-ay~"

Rubbing her temples with her eyes closed, Max considered packing up her laptop and calling it a night. But she was so close to finishing this code and the look on Jeremy's rat-face when she hacked his "impenetrable" security program would be worth listening to Mariah Carey over there.

"… it that wa-a-ay."

Scratch that, nothing was worth this torture.

Max searched through her bag for the fourth time, hoping that her headphones would miraculously appear even though she was pretty sure by now that she left them in her room with her light sleeper of a roommate.

Giving up, she looked several tables over at the American Idol contestant, the only other person in the lounge, and tried to think of a nice way of telling him to shut the fuck up. He was immersed in whatever he was writing in his notebook, and his overpriced headphones probably prevented him for hearing how loud his karaoke session was. But that didn't excuse the assault on her poor ears.

After brainstorming for a minute, she came up with three solutions for this situation: a) getting up to politely ask him to tone it down, b) chucking a pen at his head and threatening his vocal chords, c) beating him at his own game.

As they always say: when in doubt, pick c.

So she quickly searched through her iTunes, maxed the volume, and double-clicked "Bye Bye Bye."

Successfully tuning him out, she was jammin' to the second chorus when she heard him shout, "'N-Sync? Really?"

Pausing the song, she slowly turned to face him with a truly flabbergasted look.

"I know the Backstreet boy scout isn't talking."

"They're classic," he said matter-of-fact with a shrug.

"Classically trash."

"Trash was Justin's noodle hair."

And yeah, he's right, but Max was never one to lose a fight. Plus the insult to her excellent taste just added to the injury on her eardrums and now, there was no going back.

She scooted her chair back, hands moving animatedly as she tried not to yell. "It was a phase! A style that he left in the past like you should've with that haircut. I mean, are you trying to bring 90s boybands back? Because I don't have to be Simon Powell to tell you that that look and those high notes aren't gonna cut it."

In the silence that followed she wondered if she took it a bit too far. But then he snorted hard, and then laughed even harder. The ridiculousness of their argument soon dawned on Max too and she joined him, feeling tears well in her eyes as the laughter kept bubbling out.

When they finally stopped, the boy scout shook his head and asked, "Do you actually care that much?"

"No," Max admitted. "I just couldn't believe you had the audacity to talk shit after I impersonating a dying cat for the last ten minutes."

He laughed again at the jab and Max liked that he didn't seem to take himself too seriously.

"Okay truce. I'll stop singing if you stop taking shots at my ego," he offered with his arms up in surrender.


With that, he mimed zipping his lips closed and turned back to his notebook. Max got back to work too, enjoying the peace and quiet - that lasted all of five minutes. Soon enough he was humming to what was probably another Backstreet song but it didn't bother her as much so she let it go.

Fifteen minutes later she was done, and after hitting a victory jig, she packed up and headed for the door.

"Did you really just do a dance break?"

Instead of answering, she turned around to do the (iconic) Bye Bye Bye dance. When he almost fell out of his chair from laughing, she took a bow and made her exit.