“Dude, I don’t know him well enough,” Penelope said stubbornly.
I chuckled, shaking my head. “You spend your lunches with him every day, and you’ve been over to each other’s houses like ten times,” I argued, and she rolled her eyes. “Ten times each, even,” I added.
“Yeah, and like half the time we were studying.”
I laughed openly now, “Whatever floats your boat, hun.”
She blushed, scowling when I snickered. “I’m not denying anything,” she assured me, although she sounded like she was talking to herself. “Let’s back to this stupid assignment.”
“I stopped helping like an hour ago, and we have ample time to do that later, you’re staying right?” I said, getting up to grab my tea. The room was a mess; food, papers and laptops scattered. We’d drifted to talk about music, as she had brought a new stack of CDs.
She nodded, grabbing my guitar. “Where else would I go?” She asked as she absentmindedly strummed.
“What ever will you do while I’m gone?” I teased, and she stuck her tongue out. “Go to Peter’s, probably.” I said with a laugh as she glared, and I was thankful for the guitar that prevented her from slapping me.
“It’s been like two months since we met,” she countered, shaking her head, “stop bringing it up.” she warned, strumming louder now.
“Sorry for trying to spare you of agonizingly slow processing and admittedly in denial thoughts until you deal with it, or ignore it entirely.” I muttered, pulling my ukelele out before she could comment, ignoring her as she chuckled darkly.
Together we strummed simple strings, before Penelope chose a song to sing, taking the liberty to chicken out behind said song as it played softly in the background, hardly relevant over out duet. She sung quietly, shy almost until we hit the next few lines, and I listened quietly before joining in. Her voice was almost gravely at times, especially when she was nervous, but now it was a strong alto. I smiled as she nudged me, obliging with a smile as our voices harmonized. Working mindlessly with the music, I was able to focus on her, and how I had missed this. I’d been gone for a while, on and off all year. But for once as we played song after song, taking turns to pick, I was able to distance my thoughts to us performing with Philip and Tom. God, we hadn’t done that in a while.
“Wait, wait,” she urged, as I strummed to Radiohead, “I don’t remember the chords,” she added as she played with the strings, attempting at the song alone as I nodded approvingly. “Get my guitar,” she said, “Uke is in no way acceptable for these guys, unless you’re strumming to his voice.” She mumbled with a laugh as I got up.
After our (admittedly fun) shenanigans, she advised she get a bit of work done, and I begrudgingly put our guitars away. She had to do a laws assignment, and we spent some time discussing the specifics, describing each task and ideas to each other in very “unacademic ways,” as Tom liked to call it, and I was glad that Penelope was able to repress our habits in the lecture halls. A laugh in the kitchen warned me of guests. “Enter,” I called.
“Hey there, sailor.” Philip greeted, and Tom snorted. “Always so academically inclined in an unorthodox way,” I stuck my tongue out and hugged him, “music to my ears, as always.”
“Hey, Noah,” Tom called, “we should do a show tonight. I know a place that has openings.”
Penelope smiled, “For once that you’re actually in town,” she added with a teasing smile.
“I’ll agree to it if you agree to invite Peter.” I said snidely with a glance toward Penelope.
Philip groaned, “We’re still on this?” He wondered, and she raised her eyebrows, slapping his arm. He feigned pain, grimacing at her playfully as he slumped on my bed with a sigh.
“It appears so.” I concurred as she rolled her eyes.
“You can roll your eyes all you want but we are doing this,” Tom said, “dial up, child.”
“I hate you guys,” she said as it rung. “I’m going over there.” She added, pointing out the door. Philip giddily got up, grinning like a fool. “Alone. Don’t even think about it, mate.”
We all pressed our ears at the door and Tom shook his head after a moment, opening the door a crack. “Hey Peter,” she greeted into the phone, and I pouted as I realized she had lowered the phone’s volume. “Yeah, I’m just doing the Laws assignment at Noah’s, but you know her, can’t focus for shit.” She laughed, “No, I got some done. Not much, but that’s cool.” His voice came out a little bit clearer then, and we all perked up, but it was mostly cracking vibrations. “So, yeah,” she laughed, “no, we actually just watched a movie and played random songs.” She hummed in agreement, smiling brightly, and I could assume they had gotten to the topic of music. “Yeah, we have like an impromptu gig tonight, since she’s in town.” She laughed, “sure, that’d be cool.” She nodded to herself, “Sure, yeah, I’ll text you what I know,” she said as turned away from us, “Yeah, meeting up is something I can do, maybe you can save me from their infinite presences.” She laughed, and my mouth fell open as Tom and Philip reacted by staring at each other, eyebrows raised. “Yeah, I’ll see what I can do.” She chuckled, “Yeah, later. I’ll text you. Okay. Bye.” She hung up with a laugh, “You fuckers,” she said, turning back around, “go back in the room. Nosy asswhipes.”
“You sly dog.” Tom said, laughing as she galred. “We’re that little to you, huh?”
“Sometimes,” she agreed, and Philip punched her, “Hey, you’re the ones who opened the bloody door, and ridded me if my minimal privacy like hawks.”
“So dinner, huh?” I stated. she she nodded with a smirk. “when’s the gig?” I asked turning to Tom.
“Eight, I think.” He said, “let me contact the guy.”
We all settled the bed as Tom made his own phonecall, entering with a sigh, “Yeah, so it’s at eight, but we should head out at seven-thirty. The van’s out front, we just need your stuff.”
“I’m leaving at six, maybe sooner.” Penelope said, eyeing her phone as I got up.
Tom replaced my spot on the couch, grabbing the bag of twizzlers as I sat on the piano bench. “Are we over this denial, then?” I wondered.
“Possibly. We’ll see.” She muttered, laughing as I rolled my eyes.
Philip grabbed the Uke from on top of the dresser, “chances are, we’ll see at around eight,” he murmured not-so quietly. “Need a ride?”
“Not after that, thanks. I’m pretty sure he’s picking me up anyway.”
I snorted, “You smooth fucker.”
She rolled her eyes and played with the guitar, matching my distant tune. “Where are you headed next anyway,” she asked.
“Good question. I was visiting family for some time, but maybe I’ll tour the states, I don’t know. You guys should join me. We can make a name there too.”
“We don’t even have a name here.”
I frowned, “What are you talking about? We have an EP and like seven hundred likes on facebook.”
“We’re so indie,” Philip said with a laugh.
Penelope was getting sick of the food, and went to the kitchen to make herself something substantial, as she called it. As she chewed, we continued to play, cause time seemed to pass quickly that way.
And indeed it did, because what felt like less than ten songs later, Penelope was packing. “I’ll unlock the truck to that you can put this guy in,” Tom said about about her guitar as she hoisted the uke over her back. “See you at eight.” Philip and and I called as they headed out the door. “Don’t be late. Don’t think too much.” I added as she edged the door shut.
“She’ll be fine. She just needs to let go. The gig’ll do it.” Philip muttered beside me as we watched Tom hug her and wave as she got into the car.