Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Neve
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It was kind of lucky that they had some friends in the ‘scene’- otherwise, they’d never get shows. They knew another band who was a fan of their two-song demo, enough so that they even got them a show; it was a shitty bar, yeah, but shitty bars were the only bars that actually let them play, and the only bars that had audiences that would potentially appreciate their barely-rehearsed songs that barely even qualified as actual songs, by some accounts. It was a quick turnover- they met this other band once, and mitch could only remember faces, not names- the other band immediately got them a show, and a couple days later they turned up at a predictably shitty bar, with cheap drinks and questionable bathroom odours, ready to perform. First, though, they watched Pencey perform, and Mitch was genuinely a fan pretty quickly, though they only really paid full attention to one of the guitarists who looked like they had way too much energy for such small stature. They racked their brain for a name- It begins with a H- fuck no, not Harry- Harvey? Aich-Oh... Aich-Oh-El. Holden. They shifted, triumphant. Holden... Something. The one who had been most enthusiastic about their own band, and had encouraged his bandmates to help get them a gig. Mitch reminded themselves to thank him properly later.

It was a short set, and by the end, Mitch and their bandmates were suitably pumped for their own turn (save maybe Evan, who looked just as sick as he did when he arrived). There was about five minutes in which the two bands met again, only briefly, Mitch praising them hastily and turning to Holden specifically to deliver a compliment- you’re crazy fucking good with that guitar. They flashed him a quick grin then turned towards the sort-of stage, making sure their bandmates were ready and then walking away to get ready, not looking back to see whether Holden had replied, or even heard what they had said. They hadn’t even started yet, and Mitch was already a hot mess; long, recently dyed black hair was unruly and some strands were plastered to their forehead until they pushed them back; their red eyeshadow was smeared somewhat, and they were wearing full black, creased to all hell, finishing off a smoke before finally turning towards and stepping up to the mic.

Mitch had a charisma and stage presence while they were up there that didn’t seem to show itself when they were just Mitch, not the frontman of a probably unnecessarily theatrical band. Their voice, though not technically the best, was raw and unique and insanely expressive in ways other vocalists could only dream of; the very modest crowd sure appreciated it, as was obvious by the end. Somehow, when they left the stage, they looked more or less the same as when they had walked on; save the even moreso tousled hair. Almost miraculously, Mitch didn’t even look out of breath (a trait shared with Evan, but definitely not the other band members). Walking off towards the other band again, grinning and pale all scarlet shadow and jet black hair, they looked almost ghoulish, like they’d be more at home in a gothic horror, or more realistically a Halloween party.

When the two groups conversed again, though Mitch didn’t look at first, they could feel Holden’s eyes on them, and it took everything in them not to raise their eyebrows. Finally, though, they turned to make eye contact with the guitarist for half a second, before moving over to the bar to get something they’d pretend to drink. Evan had gone off god know’s where (probably Home, if they knew their brother, and they did), the other bandmates had dispersed off into the people waiting for the next band to go up, and the members of Pencey were probably off drinking elsewhere. Mitch remembered the drummer telling them they didn’t even really like this bar, and they’d probably be off afterwards, so they were saying goodbye in advance. Mitch was fine with this, apart from the fact part of them wanted to talk to Holden- mostly to ask about his guitar and his playing style, slightly because they wanted to know about that fucking scorpion tattoo on the side of his neck that only had seven legs.

Apparently this Holden motherfucker could read minds, because moments into leaning against the bar and pretending to think about what they wanted to drink, the guitarist appeared next to them, and they turned, blinking. For the first time, they got to actually register what he looked like- still short, probably 5’6, with annoyingly good eyebrows, black hair swept almost to the side, and a lip and nose ring. He was cute, Mitch registered, eyes lingering for a few moments on that lip ring and then moving to his neck, to look again at the dodgy scorpion. They saw the start of other tattoos, too, and on his arms, Mitch could see even more. ”Hey. Holden, right? Nice lip ring.”
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by jakob
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Since he'd only ever lived in one place, and his family was already deeply entrenched in the scene, Holden was pretty familiar with every single band in his town (and any towns within a radius of, like, 75 miles). Even if they didn't play at the bars he frequented or scheduled shows in basements, he could usually get his hands on a VHS, and about half the time he did his best to show his support. When he wasn't a personal fan he could pick out what was a good band and what wasn't nonetheless. Get raised by musicians and that became a force of habit - he knew the lifestyle, knew how hard it was to make a living from what you loved (and consequently how easy it was to give it all up just to keep a roof over your head), so of course he kept up with anyone trying to 'make it,' and, with his own moderate success locally, reached out to extend a helping hand any time possible.

Sometimes, though, they didn't even need his help. His drummer passed him a demo one night, told him his buddy lent some guys his studio who killed it for such a new band. The tape just said 'BULLETS' in scrawled sharpie across the top, which was intriguing enough, but when Holden actually played it he fell in love pretty much instantly. It was rare to hear such vocal power, especially juxtaposed with the coordination between the singer and their instrumental, and Holden - ever the guitar nerd - had to replay over and over again to truly appreciate the tabwork in the background. He was almost grieving over the fact that there were only two songs. Anyway, that was what motivated him into actually finding them, and soon his whole band-turned-fanatics had coerced the younger group into performing a show. Part of Holden sort of wanted to be in the show he already imagined in his head rather than in the audience, but... he already had the one occupation. Unfortunate. Didn't feel like much of a setback, though. Holden tried to ignore his impulses.

Pencey's sets all went similarly - fast, loud, and destructive. Holden tended to leave a stage in shambles, and if there was anything breakable, it'd break. Including himself. This time he both kicked a stage light out and dove into a crowd that ripped his hoodie half off him and some hair from his head, so it was a homerun. In any case even the crowd familiar with them showed an untiring enthusiasm, giving Holden high hopes for the band they were now babying to success. When he passed them on their way up the singer said something indistinguishable, partly 'cause it was too loud, and partially because Holden had already established a stupid schoolboy crush on them somehow. Really he was just far too easy. All you had to do was look dead and a little unwashed, bam, he was into you. It was only after they dazzled him with an unusually sharp smile and turned away that he could process the compliment, and Holden promptly had to lean against the wall to concentrate his brainpower on not dumbly confessing his attraction rather than on standing. He's totally crazy fucking good with that guitar. Thanks was his quiet reply, a whole thirty seconds after they were already out of earshot.

He recovered quickly if only to be first infront of the stage and stared up like a kid seeing their idol for the first time. Honestly, he didn't even know them that well. If the bands had formally met, well, he was definitely stoned at the time. Now, though, sober and desperate to put a name to the face, Holden studied the frontman who looked like they'd already performed in the few moments the band got to put themselves together before playing. They even smoked his brand. Hell. Holden was just about leaning against the stage by the time they started, narrowly avoiding the pit starting behind him but still shouting out what lyrics he could make out when he originally listened to their demo. His energy seemed to pass on to the crowdmembers around him who would otherwise have been deterred by an unfamiliar group, 'cause soon he was surrounded by people throwing their arms out like him, urging on the mysteriously charismatic lead without knowing anything about them. Yeah, Pencey had definitely chosen the right pet project.

Holden rushed back to meet them as soon as they came off again, ready to rave about how well they did but too nervous to talk over his other band members. He wasn't a nervous person, generally, but this was definitely new to him, to be so taken aback by a group and specifically one member. He didn't really trust his mouth not to betray his bias, mostly. To compromise he let the others talk amongst themselves excitedly, looking as discreetly as he could at the oddly pale and less-oddly disheveled lead, hearing bits and pieces of conversation that would reveal them to be 'Mitch.' Sounded about right - so he definitely knew that information at least subconsciously. Rather than carrying a cohesive look, Mitch sort of stood out from the rest of their band in that they looked like the band had just dug them up from a grave, so maybe he could blame his intrigue on that. But then that totally implicated him into some weird sexual interests, so no. Holden cut his losses and decided he'd just have to go along with his strangely powerful crush.

They caught his eye while he was very blatantly staring, though, and he felt nothing less than supreme embarrassment, quickly looking away simultaneously. They disappeared just as swiftly and Holden naturally followed, his feet more confident than his mind, but it at least brought him somewhat back to normal. Probably not for the best. 'Normal' for Holden was being forgetful of boundaries, so self-assured that it hurt. So he was close to that state again when he landed directly beside Mitch, trying at a small smile when they turned to him and managing it. Thank god- he was kind of getting over his awkwardness, then. Up this close he could see the red around their eyes, the thick hair that clung together from either grease or stage sweat or maybe both, truly androgynous features. He honestly meant to say hi first, but their unique appearance was proving to be entirely too distracting.

Holden had a second to feel self conscious about the fact that they had to look slightly down to see him, but then their eyes were exploring his collection of body mods. That Holden was not ashamed of. Hey. Holden, right? Nice lip ring. For one thing, Holden was dangerously close to inviting them to bite it the way everyone romanticized lip rings, and for another, with his close inspection, any 'biting' suggestion appeared deadly. He was distracted from making an ass of himself by having to hide his curiosity about the stark canines that occasionally gleamed as Mitch spoke. Maybe asking was a little rude, or a weird thing to notice, he didn't know. "Thanks!" he said easily, pairing the oblique silver shine with a quick flash of his teeth in a grin. "I just wanted to say, uh- your band is fucking awesome. Like, 'I'd buy every record and not pirate it' awesome. You guys killed it." Holden paused, thinking about their stage acting again and sort of phasing out, before correcting himself. "Oh, and I think you're really hot, so can I buy you a drink? Is beer cool?" He barely waited for an answer before reaching over the counter himself and taking two cans of Pabst from ice, putting a bill on the wood in return. Perks of being a regular, apparently. "Speaking of record. When do I get one?"
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Neve
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Mitch didn’t expect to be, but they were genuinely a fan of Pencey pretty quickly. For the most part they didn’t really understand what the singer- or more accurately, the person who screamed the lyrics- was saying, but the guitar was ridiculously good, it was loud, it was destructive and that guitarist brought a kind of energy to it that made it almost entrancing in a chaotic, disorganised kind of way. Either way, it worked, and Mitch admired it- though more theatrical in nature themselves, they wanted to tap into that kind of raw energy, so the balance between the chaos and noise that a crowd like this obviously wanted and the theatrics and flair that mitch desperately wanted to bring to it all was found. Their aesthetic, though constantly changing, was briefly incredibly specific, and they committed to it completely- though, in all honesty, it wasn’t too hard to look like a vampire when they were, actually, a vampire. They were pale enough, looked dead and tired enough, and they had the set of fangs- all they needed was some red eyeshadow and black hair dye and they were set.

It didn’t look like it, but they got nervous easily, as did the rest of their band- Evan had downed a few drinks beforehand to quell his nerves, and though Mitch wanted to, they just kind of steeled themselves, trying to focus on the performance rather than the audience. It proved surprisingly easy, but they did notice a familiar face at the front, right against the stage- Holden, the ‘crazy fucking good’ guitarist, singing along to the lyrics he knew and driving the crowd along with a similar enthusiasm. They were well received, thanks to the obvious approval of what Mitch assumed was a regular customer, a familiar face, a well-liked individual- Mitch was even more intrigued by Holden, then, who apparently knew like half the lyrics to both songs they had out and was presumably the one who convinced the rest of Pencey to give the newer, younger band some small assistance. That all passed through their head very briefly when they were back in the zone again, finishing off Vampires and then coming to a stop along with the instruments, relishing in the appreciation of the small crowd, and retaining their persona until they were off.

Mitch had already decided that was what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives, and was living in the afterglow of that rather frenzied, lightning-quick performance. Making a beeline to the bar (that’s where they’d find Evan, probably, if he weren’t home, plus any other interesting characters who maybe wanted to talk to them after seeing them up there in stage, a new face to learn and know), they quickly leaned against it to get comfortable, and not seconds went by when they were looking slightly down at their apparently #1 fan. Giving him a second to greet them first, they wasted time examining rather meticulously everything they could see about Holden that was immediately obvious, piercings and tattoos. They seemed to be everywhere that Mitch could see skin, and the invasive thought of i want to see the rest of them was met by a quick self-check. Chill out, Mitch, you hardly know this guy. In fact, you don’t know him. Mitch exhaled finally, then began to speak.

Apparently temporarily immobilised by an offhand compliment with the slightest flirtatious undertone, Holden was silent for a few moments before he flashed Mitch a grin. Thanks! Only one word, and Mitch could tell that accent was thick, which was weird of them to notice considering their Jersey accent was just as strong. They felt a passing urge, as they often did, to try and bite the silver ring, but they imagined if they did that they’d draw blood. That wasn’t a problem for them, but regrettably their teeth were painfully sharp. They drew their tongue over the points absently, then shifted their weight, trying to refocus when Holden started speaking again. I just wanted to say, uh- your band is fucking awesome. Mitch nodded, because duh. ”So’s yours.” Like, 'I'd buy every record and not pirate it' awesome. You guys killed it. Mitch almost laughed, because that was a huge lie, but they settled on a knowing half-smirk. ”Oh, really? Lying is a bad habit, sugar, nobody actually buys records now.” They responded, pushing their thick hair out of their eyes again to prevent it sticking to their forehead.

Oh, and I think you're really hot, so can I buy you a drink? Is beer cool? Now, Mitch didn’t care when people were forward, but this was a kind of forward they weren’t used to. After a moment, they laughed slightly, deciding they liked this guy, and nodded, turning their body almost fully so they were facing him now. ”Beer’s fine.” Fully knowing they probably wouldn’t drink it (they had very specific tastes, usually, though they weren’t always opposed to just plain old alcohol), they waited for Holden to take the cans from the ice and when it was pushed towards them, they brought it closer along the bar, cracking it open so they could at least have, like, a sip. Speaking of record. When do I get one? ”Right now, specially for you,” They said, flashing him a grin again and lifting the fan to his lips to drink some, an action that only reminded them that they were actually quite thirsty. This thought drew Mitch naturally to Holden’s neck, where they noticed the scorpion tat yet again.

"Hey, that’s cool,” They said suddenly, indicating with their hand the scorpion on Holden’s neck. "I love tats as a concept, but I’m fucking terrified of needles,” Mitch said, with a hint of irony touching their voice, ”Which is dumb as fuck, coming from me.” Just to make sure Holden caught on enough to at least be curious, they hated their teeth, drawing their tongue over the points again. ”So, do they cover, like, everywhere..?” They trailed off, looking down to Holden’s arms and then up again to meet his eyes.
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So Holden was discovering that he was very easily won over, and just the way Mitch regarded him was flattering. Usually people either had a problem with the 'alternative' look he'd settled on (if he landed in the wrong crowd somehow), or with his band's screaming approach rather than singing (which he was surprisingly self-conscious about, but then Holden was self-conscious about everything musical), or his height (which was stupid in itself). Anyway. It didn't seem like they were about to poke fun at him or something, and apparently that was the bar to meet. With what little conversation he'd had with them, or secondhand observed them having with someone else, they were just slightly dorky and very charismatic. No one from Pencey had anything bad to say about them or the rest of their group, for that matter... which was doing no good for Holden's recently swaying band loyalty.

So’s yours. Again. Low standards. Holden kind of melted at what was barely even a compliment. Not a lot of people easily admitted to liking the sound of him whine-screaming into a mic and occasionally assisting his guitarist with his own thrashing of a guitar. Oh, really? Lying is a bad habit, sugar, nobody actually buys records now. A rush of air escaped Holden's lips that sort of resembled a laugh, but sounded mostly awed out, and his expression matched. 'Sugar'? Jesus. He tried to get the hearts out of his eyes before speaking again. "I do, when they're worth it," he said, slightly quieter, forgetting the need to speak confidently over the sound of the rest of the bar. He nearly tried to come up with a nickname himself, something clever to reciprocate Mitch's boldness, but. Holden was kinda dumb usually; it was exponentially worse now. In fact he had to force himself not to reach out and help when they pushed hair from their eyes, settling on watching with a stupid look on his face.

As he hadn't thought it through, Holden realised belatedly that calling Mitch hot to their face was maybe not a good idea - especially when their response wasn't immediate. After the brief pause, though, it seemed like they weren't bothered at all, so he relaxed, glad that he'd evidently caught their full attention. Beer’s fine. Another test, passed. Accepting beer was definitely another winning quality. Mostly just 'cause Holden was cheap as hell. Not broke enough to ignore the opportunity to score a great record, though, which he was quick to inquire about. Right now, specially for you. Especially for him! Holden was dangerously close to spilling his drink on himself when he brought it away from his mouth, way too focused on Mitch's words. "Sweet. I'll get you a signed 'Heartbreak in Stereo.'" A weak joke - and at his own expense, no less - but Holden was only charming to an extent.

Hey, that’s cool. Holden turned his head a little to bare the ink, smiling sheepishly. "Thanks, it's a long story." He laughed a little, flippant, and tried to forget the dumb ass decision to never get a real job again. Maybe as a scarf model. I love tats as a concept, but I’m fucking terrified of needles. Which is dumb as fuck, coming from me. Holden was on the verge of his usual tangent where, whenever someone said something about the pain or the needles, he'd reassure them that it's totally not that bad, but then 'coming from me' caught him off guard. What was so special about... oh. Holden wasn't sure if them exposing all the beauty of their sharp canines was on purpose or still none of his business, but he stared anyway, looking a little startled back up to meet their gaze after a moment. So he was admittedly a bit frightened, confused, whatever, but also that was so goddamn sexy. Holden found a barstool and promptly took his seat to give off at least the impression of composure.

While Holden was debating whether or not to outright ask about it, Mitch continued, their gaze moving downward again to his sleeves. So, do they cover, like, everywhere..? About a dozen not-so-innocuous offers passed through his head, 'cause of course he really wanted them to know every single piece permanently on him, but this was like. Their first full conversation. Maybe not appropriate, right now. Regardless, Holden still ended up pushing his shirt up to his sternum, straightening up and hanging off the very edge of his seat to show the sparrows and text circling his hips. "Yeah, check it out! I'm basically running out of space, but I figure I'll just do cover-ups 'til I die. Like, if you couldn't afford a new sketchbook so you just start drawing all over your other pieces..." He realised it was probably weird to be baring 70% of his abdomen in such a public space and dropped his shirt again, slouching to normal. "Sometimes I design 'em myself. I'm not much of an artist, though."
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Mitch wasn’t usually this seemingly smooth- behind a relatively calm exterior, they were wondering what the hell the guitarist from the band they’d known barely a week was doing following them to the bar and actually trying to talk to them. Usually, they stuck to who the knew- Evan, more often than not- and kind of surveyed the scene if they were in public, trying not to engage. At any time, they’d much rather be at home, or at least somewhere where they could just relax, do nothing, and draw. Though they tended to fit the last activity in everywhere at any time- Mitch always seemed to have a sketchbook of some kind on hand, and was frequently just bent over the paper, sketching away. Not tonight, though. It seemed they had company to entertain, and though at first they had worked themselves up slightly about having to talk to someone they didn’t know, they calmed down when they realised this guy was very easily impressed. Just saying sugar- a frequent, casual term that Mitch used towards people in offhand- seemed to draw out some kind of positive reaction, and though they raised an eyebrow slightly, they decided to persist.

I do, when they’re worth it. Mitch did laugh slightly, feeling kind of awkward because they were being complimented and they weren’t sure how to react. After a pause, they responded with a neutral, ”Thanks, I guess you’ll see.” Wow, Mitchell, you’re so interesting, They said to themselves critically, ready for Holden to get bored and go away- but he stayed, and even asked to buy them a drink, so Mitch figured that miraculously they hadn’t bored him to death yet, or made it so awkward that he had to leave. Praising themselves silently, they took the can Holden gave them and tapped their fingers against the aluminium absently after cracking it open to at least seem like they were committed to drinking it. Sweet. I’ll give you a signed ‘Heartbreak in Stereo’. Laughing, they brought the drink to their mouth and tasted only the metal, the familiar tangy taste reminding them that they were actually quite thirsty. If only to quell it, they sipped convincingly enough. ”As long as you write me, like, a personal message. Spell my name right. It’s Mitchell, with a double l.”

Easily distracted, apparently, their focus was next on the slightly questionable scorpion, blatantly inked onto Holden’s neck in a position that demanded attention. Surprisingly, Holden seemed sheepish- funny, because Mitch had figured that since this guy had more than a few piercings and neck tattoos, he didn’t have the capacity to feel sheepish or embarrassed. Maybe it was regretted? Who knew. Thanks, it’s a long story. ”Got all night,” They responded immediately. Was that flirting? Mitch wasn’t even sure themselves at this point, and was kind of just really interested in the tattoos more than anything else. Whenever they mentioned being terrified of needles, tattoo fanatics tended to immediately launch into tangents about the pain not being that bad, but Mitch was adamant and scared enough of them for the fear to be most likely permanent.

The irony was in the sharp smile that Mitch then displayed, as they noted Holden’s immediate curiosity, surprise and even scared apprehension. Knowing that interest was sparked, Mitch set a mental clock; how long would it take for Holden to ask about their teeth? This bet with themselves was quickly forgotten, though, because Holden lifted up his damn shirt and Mitch almost had to asked what the hell they were doing (even though they knew exactly what). Not even bothering to be subtle, their eyes dropped down after a split second of hesitation, and roamed, surveying the abundance of ink and nodding in acknowledgment. The artist in them couldn’t help but form extensions of the designs on Holden’s skin and when they looked up at Holden again briefly, they realised how pretty he really was and hastily memorised his features in order to try and draw.

Yeah, check it out! Mitch was startled out of their almost-daydream, and took the invitation to again check it out. I'm basically running out of space, but I figure I'll just do cover-ups 'til I die. ”Not if you use the space right. I mean...” They were about to extend, but Holden regrettably dropped his shirt and they faltered, shrugging dismissively. Like, if you couldn't afford a new sketchbook so you just start drawing all over your other pieces... Laughing at the apt analogy, they found themselves staring at Holden’s lip ring instead of making eye contact, but kept talking anyway. ”I relate,” They remarked, presenting their hands suddenly, somehow still covered in both graphite smudges and pen ink. ”Struggling artist on your six. Welcome to my twisted mind.” Mitch laughed, baring those teeth again. Sometimes I design ‘em myself. I’m not much of an artist, though. ”None of us are. Can I see your hand ones?”
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For once in his life, Holden was actually determined to make a good impression (not that he intended to look bad usually - he just tended towards apathy when it came to how others felt about him). He couldn't put his finger on why, exactly, nor could he figure out why he came to trust Mitch so easily. Maybe it was just the kind of... chaotic way they presented themself that made them relatable. Like, Holden saw the greasy hair and the self-conscious amble and thought 'fuck it.' Even so, he wanted to maintain a certain image, one that didn't embarrass him, and there were few topics he had expertise on that weren't boring or otherwise not applicable. 'I'm good at guitar 'cause I was always too sick to ever go to school,' or 'I still live with my mom,' or 'I've been in, like, thirty unsuccessful bands' were all very true facts that came to mind but were somehow not appropriate for his self-furthering cause.

But if he put on some show now, he wouldn't be able to maintain it later, and most of all he wanted them to like him. So. May as well try to be normal and hope for the best. When he tried for a subtle compliment towards their music they seemed a little shy, enough that Holden was almost sorry he'd said it, but Mitch was charismatic enough to bring him back to earth. Thanks, I guess you’ll see. It was Holden's turn to look somewhat sheepish and he was quick to fetch them beers, concealing the tiny excited smile that rose to his face upon hearing that promise. He barely noticed their disinterest in the drink, but in all fairness he wasn't focused on much of anything other than Mitch themself. Call him hopeless romantic, whatever; the webs of his hands told the story already that he made a habit of falling pretty quickly.

As long as you write me, like, a personal message. Spell my name right. It’s Mitchell, with a double l. Holden realised he hadn't even asked for clarification on their name or anything - he must've been so focused on how pleased he was that they'd already known his. But he was very certain he'd known it in the first place, and was too quick to stop himself from saying so. "Oh, I know," he said with a faltering grin, already hating himself for sounding like a nerd, then quickly tacked on something to distract. "Who spells it with a single 'L'? I'll remember." Laughter naturally hung off his speech and he drank his beer witheringly, thinking that even if 'Mitchel' was kinda weird, Holden was way worse. Holden, who plays in Pencey Prep. Man. He distantly hoped Mitch, double L, wasn't much of a literati.

The shift in attention from his currently bland personality to his far more interesting array of tattoos was welcome, although he got mixed reviews on the scorpion tattoo's backstory. Got all night. Holden studied them for a second, a smile playing on his lips, before settling in to spill. "Okay, uh, when I joined Pencey, and I was in front of the biggest crowd I'd ever been, I realised I didn't wanna get a real job. Like, I don't wanna sit in a fuckin' cubicle in a tie and slacks or whatever, ever. 'Cause this is what I'll always want to do. So I'm gonna make it impossible to get hired, naturally." He laughed a little, close to the punchline but knowing the story sounded even more stupid as it went on. "But I'm broke, so I go to my guy and tell him 'I've got thirty-four bucks, give me whatever as high up as you can,' and I come out with this. Didn't get one on my face 'cause I'm too dreamy." Holden leaned back, holding his arms out slightly like he was presenting said dreaminess.

When he presented more ink, Mitch seemed actually genuinely interested, as opposed to how others might give it all a once-over and 'cool!' about 3/4s of the time. Holden ended up just appreciating the way they stared, not even bothering to feel self-conscious - though that was a rarity in itself regardless. Not if you use the space right. I mean... Holden hadn't expected real suggestions - just the idea alone - but alas he'd closed the exhibit too early to hear whatever Mitch had had to say. Seemed like they were a little distracted, anyway. I relate. Holden glanced down at the hands they held out, enthralled instantly. Of course they were an artist - he could've guessed from a mile away if he hadn't been so focused on the present. Well, maybe 'focused' was inaccurate terminology, but. He was already grinning when he looked back up, content with this new information

Struggling artist on your six. Struggling. Interesting. Holden made a note to force his wide social circle to spread the word and make the struggle not-so-real. Welcome to my twisted mind. Holden rolled his eyes skyward, leaning slightly towards Mitch subconsciously when they proved themself even more charming - in spite of their sort-of-intimidating-sort-of-sexy canines. Fangs? Probably a costume thing; the band was procuring a certain image anyway. "I could have guessed, actually. Not many people show up here with such a, uh, tangible aesthetic for their group." Holden was one example. He came in a hoodie and jeans and ratty sneakers all too big for him, his guitarist was in a button-up too clean for the bar, he was pretty sure his drummer's shirt had disappeared at some point. Yeah, none of them were particularly artistic.

None of us are. Can I see your hand ones? Pretty much instantly, Holden put his can down and levelled his hands out, palms facing down. 'HOPELESS/ROMANTIC' followed the curve of either bridge between his thumb and index finger, 'HALLOWEEN' was printed between each first knuckle, 'BOOKWORM' followed it in a trickier formation. Different designs followed further down and trailed off into ink-painted sleeves, he had some random concert band still on his wrist from weeks ago. "Yeah! These are the ones that make people think I'm gonna steal from their store." Holden barely laughed 'cause it wasn't a joke - more of an anecdote he apparently thought was normal to share. "My birthday's Halloween, that's why I've got that. And, uh, it looks like 'rwob okom...' but it's 'bookworm,' when you read it right." He demonstrated 'right,' lacing his fingers together for them, but looked back up soon after, tilting his head at Mitch. "You're pretty chill. Usually people don't care much."
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To say Mitch was socially awkward would be an understatement. They weren’t the kind of person to make friends easily, and the close ones they did have they could count on their fingers- in fact, they usually weren’t even drawn to new people, but this guitarist, Holden from Pencey Prep, the band that had been most helpful to them, was fascinating, and cute. The tattoos Mitch could see on his neck and covering his arms, his piercings (the lip ring in particular), his features alone- Mitch easily had their head turned by a very energetic personality contained by a short stature and covered in various tattoos, each one fascinating. It wasn’t that they were easy by any means; Holden just had an appearance befitting to their aesthetic, a jawline Mitch was jealous of, and the kind of features that captivated them so much they wished they had brought a drawing pad with them just so they could sketch him, so they wouldn’t forget- Though something told them that Holden wouldn’t give them the chance to forget.

The two of them quite easily became comfortable (or as comfortable as Mitch could be with a relative stranger), and Mitch even allowed him to buy them a drink that they were definitely going to not touch at all. It wasn’t that they couldn’t, or didn’t want to drink it, it was just that Mitch was genuinely thirsty for the only thing that provided them sustenance, and consuming anything else would make that worse. They sort of just tapped their fingers against the can, listening to Holden talk, and fuck, Holden could talk. Mitch was amused, but they didn’t really say anything,just pushed some hair back out of their red-shadowed eyes and grinned, wicked sharp canines glinting again. Mitch was a very good listener- or could be, when they felt like it. Oh, I know. Who spells it with a single ‘L’? I’ll remember. Not doubting it for a second, Mitch shrugged in response to the question because, although nobody had actually spelled their full name like that in the last, they wouldn’t put it past some people.

Mitch enjoyed talking to Holden about random shit, but the artist in them desperately wanted to know about the vast array of tattoos painted on his skin, like he was a canvas, running out of room. Mitch was instantly romanticising it to all heaven and hell and they wanted to know when and why Holden got each and every one. Holden seemed just as enthusiastic, as he should be- so he’d probably be willing. Okay, uh, when I joined Pencey, and I was in front of the biggest crowd I’d ever been, I realised I didn’t wanna get a real job. So cliché- Mitch loved it, noticing with a small, barely hidden smile that the scorpion’s number of legs wasn’t even right. That somehow made it better. ”Punk,” They commented, eyes still roaming wherever Holden’s skin was bare. Like, I don't wanna sit in a fuckin' cubicle in a tie and slacks or whatever, ever. 'Cause this is what I'll always want to do. So I'm gonna make it impossible to get hired, naturally. Mitch nodded- because they understood. Not like they could get a real job anyway without scaring the shit out of people.

But I'm broke, so I go to my guy and tell him 'I've got thirty-four bucks, give me whatever as high up as you can,' and I come out with this. Not bad for thirty-four bucks, Mitch thought, still critiquing the scorpion, stinger brandished like it was fending off any chance at a ‘real job’ as Holden had so eloquently put it. Mitch was pretty sure they had found their new muse- Holden, the wild guitarist of a punk rock band, with boundless energy, a surplus of tattoos everywhere skin was exposed and everywhere it wasn’t, various piercings and features Mitch had now mentally taken a picture of so they could sketch him out later. It wasn’t often they were so intruiged with random strangers they met at bars. Didn’t get one on my face ‘cause I’m too dreamy. Not bothering to dodge around the clear mutual attraction here (that Holden had addressed in the first five minutes of them actually talking for the first time), they nodded in agreement, trying not to smile as Holden spread his arms out just slightly as if to present himself. ”I’m glad. Tattoos are cool, but you’re too pretty to cover any of your face with them,” They commented, before leaning in, interested, as Holden started to present some of his others.

Again, Mitch was fascinated by the sheer space that Holden’s ink took up of his body, and found that they had to remind themself that reaching out and tracing the first one their fingers rested on was not considered wholly appropriate for near-strangers in public. That said, something told them that Holden was the kind of guy who really wouldn’t give a shit- there was a natural self-confidence around him that Mitch admired, however vaguely obnoxious it was. The artist in them noticed the kind of style Holden liked and was already formulating new designs to maximise the use of whatever empty expanses of skin were left. ”Show me the rest sometime,” They said in a tone as innocent as possible, looking up to meet Holden’s eyes when he dropped his shirt back down. I could have guessed, actually. Not many people show up here with such a, uh, tangible aesthetic for their group. Mitch wasn’t sure whether that was a compliment or not, and decided they didn’t particularly care either way. ”You’ve cut me a lot of slack, there. Truth is, my aesthetic is sort of predetermined...” Baring their teeth again, they displayed their fangs long enough for Holden to look properly. ”They’re real. I’m a vampire.”

Quite an odd thing to drop into casual conversation, true, but Mitch had to mention it somewhere just in case Holden had a phobia or something. Instead of dwelling on that, they requested a closer look at Holden’s calloused, inked hands, and the guitarist immediately complied. Deciding that these ones were their favourite, they tentatively traced over the letters they could discern from the crowded ink. Yeah! These are the ones that make people think I'm gonna steal from their store. Mitch laughed. ”You’re saying you’ve never done something questionable that would warrant such suspicions? You must be pretty recognisable.” My birthday's Halloween, that's why I've got that. And, uh, it looks like 'rwob okom...' but it's 'bookworm,' when you read it right. Mitch nodded, letting go of Holden’s hand and letting him lace his fingers and display how his tattoos worked.

You’re pretty chill. Usually people don’t care much. Finding themself staring at that damn lip ring again, Mitch just shrugged, though still managed to look intruiged by all of Holden’s ink. They found themselves wanting to learn it, map it out, he able to trace it from memory. Mitch wondered if that conversational path was too forward, even for a guy like this, who looked like he’d be phased by nothing. ”Tattoos, piercings, all that shit? Hot as fuck.”
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by jakob
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jakob

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In a stark contrast to Mitch, Holden was immensely sociable, almost to a fault. It’s not that he voluntarily put himself into situations where he’d meet new people for the sole purpose of making friends; actually, Holden could be surprisingly standoffish at times, even reserved. The issue was that he always ended up at some low-end bar, or at an outside venue downtown, or a few miles away in some very annoyed club, trying to find new local music to listen to (since he was apparently untiringly dedicated to his craft), and people inevitably gravitated towards him. See, Holden was polarizing - either his abundance of alternative accessories and splaying ink turned people 180 degrees around and away from him, or they had a magnetic energy drawing people to him. He looked like he knew his shit whenever he ended up at a show, but anywhere else, he looked like trouble.

Anyway, when he actually caught someone’s interest, it was hard for him to not be friendly and endearingly excitable. His ‘too much’ gene and endless energy might’ve turned people away had it not been for the fact that he was stuck at his thirteen year old self’s height and sort of had a baby face, sleepy eyes and all. And he wasn’t too bad at music. So, plenty of contributing factors to explain away his ever expanding social circle. Since he had no problem putting himself out there when he had the patience for it and wasn’t sick as hell, he’d become something of an expert at reading whether other people were socially oriented or not, a master at deducing ‘extrovert or introvert.’ Mitch seemed to be a little more to themself, upon first impressions. It put him in protective mode, sort of, fearing that maybe this entire setting would be uncomfortable for them, especially when he knew their band was scattered around and about the building by now and Holden was a near stranger. The goal for now seemed to just be keeping them from getting nervous, to make himself as charming and reassuring as ever.

Holden was annoyingly talkative at times, taking forever to get to a point and using his bountiful hand gestures to try and help it, always failing; Mitch, however, seemed to have no issue, and was even listening past the fifteen second mark, when others would usually grow impatient. He was immensely appreciative. Punk. Holden beamed at them, barely niting theur prolonged interest in his ink. Hell yeah, he was the realest punk around. I’m glad. Tattoos are cool, but you’re too pretty to cover any of your face with them. Saying it himself was one thing. Holden could bullshit compliments for himself all day long. Mitch agreeing so readily though, saying too pretty of all things, warmed his heart and his already bright smile grew even more enthusiastic - if that was possible. All of this conversation was way too Holden-central, he wanted to flip it around somehow so he could throw this kind of flattery right back at them, but. It seemed like they genuinely enjoyed talking about all his body art, something unique to Mitch in that literally no one else maintained interest beyond a couple of seconds.

Show me the rest sometime. Holden so wished he was the kind of guy to hook up in a bar bathroom. But this one was kind of gross even if he did have a chance. Holden controlled himself by entertaining the thought that they were only interested ‘cause they were an artist and this was more work to admire... who was he kidding. ”Hell yeah,” Holden replied fervently, never eloquent. You’ve cut me a lot of slack, there. Truth is, my aesthetic is sort of predetermined... Holden tilted his head, curious, as he watched them display those sharp teeth again, and studied them before meeting their gaze again. They’re real. I’m a vampire. Holden laughed, albeit weakly because he was almost not sure it was a joke. ”And what’s the rest of your band supposed to be? Like, werewolves and stuff?”

You’re saying you’ve never done something questionable that would warrant such suspicions? You must be pretty recognisable. ”Of course not. I’m a good boy. And, yeah, if I started to lead a life of crime I’d be, like, so easy for a sketch artist to capture, so.” He smirked, glad he apparently wasn’t annoying enough that Mitch was opposed to banter. Tattoos, piercings, all that shit? Hot as fuck. Holden shrugged, modest. ”Yeah, but you don’t have any and you’re, like, perfect, so that’s not fair. Hey, if you like ‘em so much, why don’t you have any? You could probably give yourself a lip ring.” He gestured at his mouth, alluding to their wicked canines. Evidently he still had himself fooled that it’d been a joke.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by jakob
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jakob

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