In a month, it's gonna be them playing here - hopefully.
Tonight, though, Pete's just another guy in the crowd. Or mostly, anyway. He's infamous enough on the Chicago hardcore scene to get noticed at other people's shows. And in the break between sets, he and Joe and Chris ran into a few people they know from around. Standing in the dark, waiting for the lights to come up on the second opener, My Chemical Romance, all that matters is the energy of the crowd, how it feels like a spell waiting for its final word to be spoken.
Then the lights do come up, and the crowd surges towards the stage, released from the dark. At the front there's a trio of guys like stairsteps: fro, guitar, power stance on one side; head-to-toe black, straggly hair falling into his face, getting up close and personal with the center mic; short, runic tattoo circling his bicep, guitar belligerently labeled PANSY on the other. Behind the drum kit at the back, there's a large guy tapping out the beat to an intense lead-in. But the one who catches Pete's attention is the bassist.
He's turned to face the drum riser, his unseen fingers wrapping bass chords around the drummer's beat, and Pete would take an interest just out of bassist solidarity. But it's more than that. It's the long, lanky lines of his body, the dark wash jean jacket that fits like a second skin but doesn't actually meet the lighter wash jeans (riding low on his slim hips, held up by a silver studded belt) in the middle. Maybe it's the barest glimpse of pale blue underwear showing above belt and waistband, the tantalizing hint of what Pete desperately wants to be dainty white polka dots. Maybe there's just something about him, a sense of something Pete can't explain any better than that.
"We're My Chemical Romance - and this is 'Headfirst for Halos'," the guy with the mic says, just then, breaking Pete out of his ridiculous thoughts with a shout and the crash of guitars.
Pete throws himself into the surging crowd - and doesn't come to a stop until the song does. "Fuck, yeah," he finds himself saying to nobody in particular - Chris and Joe have been swept away by the crowd - because he's definitely feeling this.
The guy with the mic is talking again, saying, "I'm Gerard - this little shit is Frankie; the guy shredding to my right is Ray; that's Otter on drums; and last but not least, the glue holding this band together, my little bro, Mikey, on bass." He's been pointing vaguely - maybe kinda drunkenly - in the direction of each of the guys as he names them, and on Mikey he pats the air behind, but doesn't quite reach his brother. Then he shrugs and says, "So, this is 'Honey, This Mirror Isn't Big Enough for the Two of Us."
Mikey finally turns around partway through that song, and when he does, all Pete can think is shiiiit. Even if the guy hadn't had his attention already, he would now: the jean jacket has a large silver lightning bolt embroidered over the left breast pocket. He'd bet his bass those were definitely dainty white polka dots.
Pete's shit at being straight-edge - at least for long - he likes pot and alcohol, and writing drunk/stoned, too much to give it up completely. Anyway, he's probably gonna be taking crazy pills for the rest of his fucking life. Which, Andy says that doesn't count, but whatever. Andy also refuses to join Fall Out Boy.
The point is this: Pete's trying to write and he really wants a joint, but Andy's there and Pete's theoretically trying again, getting ready for the show Arma Angelus is playing next weekend.
"Here," Andy says, holding the splayed deck of tarot cards he's been playing with out to Pete. "Pick three. Maybe that'll take the edge off whatever this is."
(According to him, he mostly owns the cards for their fantasy art - for anything serious, he tends to turn to throwing the bones, using a set put together from wild-found animal skeletons - but occasionally he does take them out for a not-so-serious spin. See: now.)
Pete shrugs - 'this' is just him feeling restless, same as ever, but he doesn't have anything better to do right now, doesn't have much to do until the show he's checking out tomorrow night. So he reaches out to draw his first card. He really has to tug to get it loose, and then when he does get it, he fumbles it bad enough that it flips over and lands, spinning, on the amp they're sat to either side of. When it comes to rest, it's sideways to the both of them.
"Just what we need, for you to meet a new girl," Andy says, staring down at the short-haired woman pouring water out of a pair of bowls. "And just your type."
Pete's never bothered to really dig into tarot, how the meanings of the cards change and interact, depending on the spread and the orientation and the question - seeing things like that isn't his specialty. "What's that mean - just my type?"
"Draw two more - and try not to drop them. I'll tell you when this weird-ass spread is complete," Andy says, shaking his head.
The second card comes easily, by contrast, and Pete lays it down, face-up, perpendicular to 'The Star'. "Okay, 'The Moon' - does that make it more weird or less?"
"Definitely more," Andy says.
That figures. They're talking about him, after all. Pete draws the third and final card, as requested, with a shrug, and lays 'The Lightning' out beside the other Major Arcana. "Que sera, sera, right?"
"Welllll," Andy says, "that's even weirder. But you're not wrong: something will definitely be."
"So, I was going for who/when/what for the layout, and the basic read of that isn't hard. Who: a girl, woman, whatever - the Star is definitely feminine energy; when: at night or, like, in the dark - metaphorically, it's about subconscious stuff; what: change, and feeding back into the when, abrupt change, and probably soon."
"A girl's about to change my life in the dark - that sounds pretty good to me. So why's it weird?"
"Well, from, like a meta-tarot standpoint, it's a little weird that you drew all three from the major arcana, and three of the 'feminine' ones on top of that. But whatever, you have that kind of freaky luck all the time…"
Pete snorts: Andy's not even slightly wrong on that point.
"...but the big thing is the way 'The Star' landed, spinning, like it wasn't sure whether it should be reversed or not. So it's not sure what kind of girl you have coming your way. Reversed, she might be bad news: bad intentions, toxic, addicted, all kinds of drama. Sarcastic and cynical, if you're fucking bougie and think those are negatives. Not, you get, like, devoted, creative, romantic - all kinds of mend your broken heart and make your dreams come true kind of shit. LIke this? Who the fuck knows."
And Pete's self-aware enough to agree, "just my type."
When My Chemical Romance's set has finally ended - after four more songs - Pete's practically vibrating with anticipation, waiting for Mikey to come offstage with the rest of the band. He's hoping they'll come out into the crowd, hoping he can get a chance to talk to Mikey. Because whatever he was thinking back when Andy did the spur of the moment reading the day before, this is pretty much blowing it out of the water. Feminine energy that's gonna change his life in a six-foot something package Pete wants to climb like a tree. Or spread out across his bed and take shitty sexy pictures of. Or whatever it would take to make Mikey smile. Pete's a fucking goner.
He's also in luck, eventually - right before The Used go on, the band wanders out from backstage.
Gerard gets noticed pretty much immediately, and one of the other guys - the drummer, Otter? - hangs around like he's half-babysitting and half seeing if any of the girls will decide to talk to him instead. The rest of them head towards the bar and merch booth at the back of the room. But Pete's years practically living in shitty venues stand him in good stead. It's no challenge at all for him to slide up next to Mikey in the crowd and ask, entirely sincerely, because he's still fucking flying. "Can I buy you a drink? Seriously, you were fucking great up there." And also: whatever vibe Pete was getting off of Mikey out in the crowd, it's fucking intense up close. Maybe it’s the slightly smudgy eyeliner?
Whatever Mikey sees, Pete's manic high doesn't put him off, anyway. He shrugs and says, "Sure. Whatever is fine."
"Sex on the beach, it is." And Pete knows the bartender, so it's gonna be more like drunken orgy in the club bathroom. He can't wait.
Mikey gives a little half-smile at that."It'll be a change from Gee's mostly-vodka screwdrivers, anyway."
Pete giggles - and probably doesn't sound like a creep, because Mikey's smile grows a little, gets maybe a little more real, in response. There might be more than the usual amount of magic in the air. Maybe he's even feeling what Pete's feeling.
By the time they get through the line at the bar, The Used are on their second song, and if Pete had been thinking of bailing for sex, he definitely isn't now. Mikey doesn't seem averse to listening, either, expertly holding onto his drink while going just as hard as the rest of the crowd. But towards the end, when the Used play a song that just about requires you to grind up on somebody, and Mikey twines his body around Pete's and goes at it like sexy dancing is his native language, well, Pete holds on for all he's worth while his everything gets on board at fucking lightspeed.
Maybe Mikey doesn't mean it that way. Maybe the cards have already fulfilled their promise. Maybe Mikey's going to go back where he came from, leaving Pete to stalk him on MySpace. Maybe.
But Pete still likes his original dirty read on how things are gonna go down: if Pete asks all nice and shit, Mikey's gonna sexily change his life in the dark.
What he actually says, while The Used are singing what basically amounts to a fucking major working on stage (because who the fuck are these kids), is, "wanna go back to my place?" He tacks on a leer for good measure.
Mikey looks down at his empty cup, looks back at Pete, shrugs and says, "is there anything to drink?"
Band shirt? Something plainer? Maybe a random event shirt he got at Saint Vincent de Paul? Definitely not a polo, but maybe a hat? Obviously he's gonna wear his jeans low and tight through the hips. He just has to decide on a pair. Pete's mental monologue is maybe ridiculous, but apparently today - tonight - could change his life irre-fucking-vocably.
Joe's lounging on Pete's bed, smoking a joint and leafing through a zine Pete doesn't remember ever actually acquiring, but is apparently all about herbal magic and brewing potions and shit, so of course Joe is all over it - and reading bits out of it while giggling more and more, the more of the joint he smokes. Pete's mostly pulling shit out off of hangers and out of drawers - and telling him about Andy doing the fucking surprise tarot reading the day before, whenever he can get a word in edgewise. So, of course none of his clothes have seemed like the right clothes, so far. Except for his purple thong. But the Metro wouldn't let him in wearing nothing but that.
Seeing as how most of the world isn't as supremely unconcerned about seeing Pete's ass, stoned or no, as Joe is - or Andy, which is obviously a plus in a bandmate. Still, that reminds him of what he was thinking earlier, about how whatever Andy thinks about shit is irrelivant, since he's the fucking stubborn idiot who doesn't think Fall Out Boy is going anywhere worth going. So he says as much to Joe.
Joe looks up from the zine long enough to nod and say, "Fucking Andy," because duh. But also Joe Troh just might think Andy is even cooler than Pete. And he really wants to be in a band with him, for real. Instead of as, like, a fill-in member of Arma Angelus.
Which means that Pete's sacred trust and required answer is, "I know you wanna."
Joe makes a somewhat stoned sounding noise of protest, but doesn't actually say Pete's wrong, which basically means Pete's right, always and forever. And can shake his ass at Joe while doing his perfectly lawful victory dance. Which Joe, of course, ignores, because he's known Pete for way longer than a kid his age really should have.
Anyway, Pete's finally decided what he should wear: Vans, a tiny black t-shirt, low-cut jeans with bedazzled back pockets and a pyramid stud belt - and flat-ironed bangs with way too much eyeliner. ID and keys, cash and cherry chapstick in his pockets, and he's good to go. Iconic, if he does say so himself.
A legend in the making - and fierce, to boot - who's gonna make Andy eat his words about Fall Out Boy someday, just see if he doesn't.
Pete neither knows nor cares what Joe and Chris got themselves up to after the show, not when he's got this guy, this Mikey - the moon and the stars and the lightning - in his apartment, all to himself. And Mikey's about to drink his first shot of Malort, because Pete keeps a bottle around for just this kind of occasion.
Pete toasts, "To erasing past mistakes," because that's traditional.
Mikey chimes in, "And making new ones," as he raises his shot-glass in salute.
He takes it like a pro, too, which is sexy as fuck, in Pete's opinion, especially the long, graceful line of his throat as he tips his head back to swallow.
But his saying, bold as anything, "you asked me back here to fuck, right?" That's even sexier. Fucking A. That thing he's been feeling he's had all evening just keeps building and building - and he's pretty sure that if they actually touch, something going to fucking explode.
Still, Pete's never been the kind of guy to back down from that kind of challenge, which means coming right back with, "well, I definitely want to see what you've got under your jeans, and what you look like spread out across my bed, all messed up - and maybe wearing some eyeshadow, and lipstick. I'm thinking electric blue and hot pink. Maybe gets some pics." Because now that he's thought it, he can see it, and yowza. Yeah, he wants some more concrete memories if it actually happens.
And, oh, Mikey looks interested. Like, maybe the offer of regular old sex would've been okay, but now this is on the table. And he is there. He's leaning against the breakfast bar off Pete's kitchen, playing with his belt buckle - and when Pete looks up and meets his eyes, he slides the tip of it deliberately through the keeper, off the tongue, and out of the buckle. Then his hands move to the button of his jeans.
Pete says, "show me."
And Mikey doesn't hesitate. He thumbs open the button, slides down the zip - and slowly, teasingly, slides his flies apart. Up close, Pete is gratified to see, the tiny white polka dots on the pale blue bikinis resolve into tiny white skulls. The stretch of them across the bulge of Mikey's dick is everything Pete could have wished for. Except. "I think it's time to take this to my room, don't you?"
"Not yet." And Mikey sounds firm about that, which is yet another thing about this evening that has been hotter than everliving fuck. "I think it's time I got to see you on your knees in front of me, eating me out."
Pete's on his knees before he even has a chance to process that properly. His body's clearly on board, though, moving on instinct: shimmying Mikey's jeans down his hips enough to let him spread his legs a little, shoving his face into the juncture of his thighs, drinking in the intense scent of sweat and sex. And then he's going to town licking and sucking at the front of Mikey's panties like he's eating out a girl through her underwear. Not that it feels exactly the same, with Mikey's dick swelling and hardening underneath the fabric. Somewhere back of the flood of hormones he's riding, Pete thinks we've touched, and nothing's actually exploded, yet. Though he's guessing one of them is going to go off sooner rather than later. It might even be him, just from staring at the contrast between the pale blue of the fabric covering Mikey's hips and the darker blue of the spit-soaked fabric stretched over the mound between Mikey's legs. So he dives back in, because if he's going, he's taking Mikey with him.
And it really isn't long at all before Mikey's coming in his panties and Pete's sucking his juices out through the fabric - while he can feel his own jizz soaking his thong - and, jesus, he's never fucking done this before, but right now he thinks he'd happily do it twice a day, every day, for the rest of his goddamn life. Particularly if it gets Mikey looking dazedly down at him, after, like he can't quite believe Pete actually did it.
He gets the Mikey spread across his bed part, later. He looks, as Pete tells him, "like a Suicide Girl," wearing nothing but panties, the unbuttoned jean jacket, and his glasses.
"Ha," Mikey says. "I think Gee would be one, if they'd have him. It's his kind of dramatic gender art."
"But it's porn?"
"Yeah, it is." Mikey shrugs. "But he thinks owning it like that is powerful. He talks shit like that when he's drunk. I just get cuddly. And start thinking bass chords are spells. They aren't."
"Music is magic, though," Pete feels the need to say. "There's a guy in my band who can definitely cast spells by singing shit. But also, just...music."
"What about you?" Mikey says, propping himself up on one elbow, looking interested.
"I play bass, kinda, and even shittier guitar. Sometimes I scream into the mic. But if I have any kind of magic, it's, like, words. Spells."
“Articulate,” Mikey says, snickering.
Pete pouts a little, but, yeah. “I’m okay like this, just talking shit in bed, but I’m better in writing. For real. Maybe not, like spectacular, yet, but I’ve got something. Just ask all the kids following my blog.” Which maybe makes him sound dumb and full of himself, but he kinda is sometimes, so.
Anyway, Mikey’s asking, “Can I see for myself?”
Which, he’s already seen Pete laying around wearing women’s underwear and a smile, so. “Sure - let’s do our makeup and take shitty cameraphone pics for it. Because fair warning, you’re probs gonna get your share of cryptic mentions on there. That’s kinda how I roll.”
“I get veto power?” Mikey says, like he’s already sure of it.
“Of all but one - but you get to make me post one, too.” Because even-handed dickishness is how he rolls.
Mikey nods at that. “Then do your worst.”
“You never know - it just might be magic. Or the best you’ll ever have.” Pete’s taking the cards at their word and going big or going home.