The second thing Tricia though upon encountering Joe at Borders was He's cute. The first thing, of course, was Neurosis!
Chances are if he wasn't, she'd still have jumped in - Neurosis is Neurosis, okay, and Tricia didn't know that many people she could really talk music with - but it helped. It's not something she likes knowing about herself.
On the other hand, screw it. A girl talked to a cute guy who likes the same things she does: alert the presses. It's not like Tricia expects anything. If thinking about Joe's promise to visit later, maybe jam, sets a little extra flutter in the bottom of her stomach, nobody has to know. Playing with others gets her plenty excited, after all. Probably nobody would even notice the difference.
Half an hour before they come over, Tricia tidies up her room and sets herself up for disappointment. Joe seemed like a decent guy, for the entire half hour they spoke, but. Well. Half an hour is not much of an indication. And he said he'd bring a friend over - swore he was great, but in Tricia's experience great people aren't always so great to her.
There's a knock on the door. Tricia pads there, asks "Who is it?", only sliding the bolt when she recognizes Joe's voice on the other side.
The first thing she notices is eyeliner, lots of it. The next thing is Joe's friend saying, incredulous, "Is that argyle?"
This is why Tricia makes a habit of not wanting things. "I'm not looking for fashion advice from people in skinny jeans," she says, and almost slams the door in their faces when Joe yelps, "Wait!" He catches the door and gives her a pleading look. "Look, I'm sorry, Pete doesn't mean to be a dick. It's a condition. Foot-in-mouth syndrome."
Tricia narrows her eyes at him. Pete gives her an answering glare. "Got a problem with skinny jeans?" he asks her.
Tricia snorts. "If you had my hips--" she makes the mistake of glancing down. Big mistakes. She swallows before continuing. "Or any hips at all, you wouldn't have to ask."
It's true, to a degree, that Pete doesn't have hips. He does have hipbones, which his too-short shirt and low-slung pants expose, and they're clearly delineated and tanned and, fuck, inked. Tricia can only see a hint of it, the rest hidden under Pete's shirt, but it's definitely there. She's blushing. Goddammit.
Luckily for her, Pete's too busy laughing to pay attention. He has huge teeth, she marks to herself in a fit of satisfying pettiness. "Okay, point," he says, good-natured. He sticks his hand out. "Sorry we started on the wrong foot. I'm Pete. I write lyrics, play bass and sing."
"He calls it singing," Joe interjects. Tricia's grateful for the opportunity to snicker.
Pete ignores him and says, "I'm told you can play drums." He offers Tricia a hand to shake, all pseudo-dignified and utterly ridiculous.
"Tricia," she says, taking it and motioning them in. "My kit's in my room, c'mon."
If Joe was cute, Pete is gorgeous. Tricia has no idea how to talk to people who look like that; they're like a whole other species with magical abilities like using makeup and not being afraid of crowds.
Once she gets over the first shock of hostility, though, Pete's actually pretty easy to talk to. He likes dumbass word games and laughs like a braying donkey at every third thing Tricia says; it's hard to be intimidated by someone like that.
Him and Joe and her kind of rock together, though she says so herself. Pete's not the kind of vocalist she prefers listening to usually, but he's fine for hardcore. Tricia pleases herself harmonizing with him, trying to work out chord progressions with her voice while her hands lay down the rhythms.
Then Pete stops flat in the middle of a song. Joe stops a beat after him, but Tricia's already in the swing of it and it takes her several beats to fall silent, drumsticks awkwardly dangling from her fingers.
"Dude," Pete says. His voice sounds odd. "No, keep going."
Tricia raises an eyebrow, but she goes back to the beat she was working on. It sounds fine to her.
Pete waves his hand impatiently. "No, not the drumming, the singing."
"Uh," Tricia says. "I don't sing."
Pete turns to her, and his expression flows like water, through confusion and annoyance and several other things Tricia can't recognize, before settling down on determination. "You do now."