Trick Finger

He was the mysterious rockstar wannabe with the sexy grey eyes and a semi-girlfriend. I was simply the nerd with the crush on him. We were more in sync than I thought.

His name was Peter. I know, not the prettiest – or studliest – name around, and the owner certainly not one I thought I'd ever like.

Thing was, that was exactly what happened, and I can't even blame him.

After all, was he to blame for his dark, sexy grey eyes? Certainly not. It also wasn't his fault – okay, maybe it was – for his raven-black messy, spiky hair and crooked smile. He wasn't perfect-looking, but he didn't need to be.

He was also quite smart, street and academic-wise. He was funny – the seldom times he spoke when we were in a group, it was to make a side comment, and one that always sent people doubling over for laughter. He was smooth and charming and mysterious at the same time.

Most of all, though, Peter was a rockstar.

I kid you not. He was part of a band – no idea what they're called – and he was their frontman, even when he wasn't singing. Aside from being an awesome vocalist, he was also a drummer, a guitarist, and a songwriter. Of course, their band was in party-and-bar-gigs mode, but they were well-known in the campus.

So see? It wasn't even his fault that all the qualities he had were practically the same ones I'd written as the characteristics of my ideal boyfriend when I was in my third year of high school, although even then, I knew that if I met someone like that, I wouldn't have the slightest chance.

'Cause me, I was ordinary. Normal. A bit on the nerdy side, my priority was to study. After all, that's what school is for: an education. I appreciated the perks such as new friends and bitchin' – according to my best friend Tiffany, anyway. I haven't been to any bitchin' ones, but that might also be because I've only been to two – parties but I wouldn't die if I my MySpace didn't have 700 friends. Not that I even had a MySpace, but that's beside the point.

I wasn't even one of those genius nerds whose IQs blew the roof. My grades were, in Harry Potter terms, an E, but never quite reaching the O, especially since I was quite a procrastinator at times. (Yes, Harry Potter.)

Even my physical appearance suited my personality. Wavy light brown hair that reached my shoulder blades, dark brown eyes hidden behind a pair of red-framed glasses. (The eyeglasses were bought during a very brief fascination with the hot-teacher look, except I realized a.) I wasn't hot, and b.) I wasn't a teacher.)

So anyway, the point is that Peter and I – there was no way. He was the rockstar and my interest in music was to the minimum. We barely talked to each other even though we had a common set of friends, mostly because he had that mysterious musician thing going on, while I was afraid of stuttering around him. That, I told myself, was the reason he didn't succumb to my charisma and wit – hah – and also because we simply didn't have anything in common. We wouldn't even have anything to talk about even if I managed to actually think straight with those smoky eyes on me.

Then several things happened. Things that changed how I saw tendons, libraries, and rockstars forever.

---- .o.0.o. ----

I was over at my mom's clinic one day when he came in to see her.

There I was, peacefully swinging my legs over the narrow cot inside the room, smiling goodbye to the earlier patient as she was shown out by my mom.

I suppose I should have been tipped off when the secretary called out Peter's name, but I guess I was too zoned out.

When the door opened, I lifted my gaze from the white pillow I was clutching. He was barely inside the door when I recognized him. "Peter?"


I was honestly surprised that he even knew my name. I started to ask what he was doing here when the obvious struck me. "What are you – I mean, what's wrong with you? Your body, I mean. Not that there's anything wrong with your body, but I meant that – I mean, are you sick?"

His amused look only served to deepen my irritation with myself. I couldn't even speak to him without acting like a total idiot.

"Well, my finger – " he started to say, then my mom walked into the room, effectively shutting him up.

"Peter?" my mom, the physiatrist, asked him once she settled behind her desk.

He nodded. "Yes."

"Don't you want to sit down?"

A grin came to my face. My mom can sound like a real stickler when she wanted to be. I suppose she didn't like his graphic T-shirt and jeans combined with messy, spiky hair and black Vans. My mom was still holding fast to her own belief of how proper young men should dress themselves, which was the opposite of what Peter was wearing.

The aforementioned patient gave a little start at the question, but sat down anyway, but not before throwing me a swift look.

My mother noticed it and observed him above the papers she was holding. "This is my daughter, Carrie. Don't mind her, pretend she's a fly on the wall."

The smile on my face widened at Peter's slow "Okay."

"I know him, Ma," I told her, saving Peter from any confusion although enjoying the fact that Peter was disconcerted for once. "From school."

"Oh," she said, face brightening up immediately. "Why didn't you say so?"

Peter looked taken aback at the sudden change in her attitude.

"Was just about to?" I smiled at my mom. "I'm going to give you a little privacy," I told Peter, then whispered as I passed by, "Don't call her ma'am."

---- .o.0.o. ----

The next time I saw him, it was in a place I never thought he'd even voluntarily set foot on. It wasn't that I thought he was dumb, but libraries aren't exactly usual hangout spots for rockers.

So anyway, I was researching on a paper I needed to submit for my Chemistry class, and it had taken me a lot of trips to the shelves just to find something relevant to my topic. I had picked out five books and was going to check them out when we met again.

"You're going to borrow all that?"

A deep, husky voice in my ear nearly sent me tumbling down the stairs between the second and third floor of the library.

"It's you," I breathed as my heart pounded erratically against my chest, "Dammit, Peter, don't do that."

He relieved me of the five thick books I was carrying so I can grip the railing and sink down onto the steps, still feeling my pulse run.

"Sorry," he grinned without remorse as he sat down beside me. "You just looked too geeky to resist."

My pulse jumped again. I prayed that he'd attribute my blush to the fact that I wasn't over my surprise. "I see, and that's why you tried to kill me? You have it in for geeks like me?"

"Oh I didn't mean you were a geek – " he quickly tried to reassure me.

"I know," I grinned, then pointedly pushed my red-framed glasses up my nose. "But it's not like it would matter if you thought I was one."


"Nope," I replied easily to his slightly surprised question. Social status really did matter to him. Then again, he was aiming for a career in rock n' roll. I guess you need 'cool' cred for that. "I'm not aspiring to be a rockstar like you."

He didn't seem to know what to answer to that. "Oh. I see."

Mentally, I smacked myself upside the head. I was finally having a decent conversation with my crush and I had to ruin it with my uncaring ways. Before I could say anything else, he spoke.

"Well, I didn't want to be a rockstar in the first place, you know."

I raised an eyebrow. "Yeah right, and I'm the Queen of Scotland. I can't differentiate the bass from the guitar and I still want to be a rockstar."

Damn, I forgot to censor my words again. To my relief, he simply smiled. "You got me there. But it really is more of the music than the groupies, you know."

"As if you'd even have any?" I teased him, hoping I was right that he won't get offended.

He proved me right. "Of course I will. Number one, you."

Again, I hoped he won't notice the blush staining my face. "Number two, Jasper."

He grimaced at the name of the flamboyant gay in our Anatomy class, but exclaimed, "It is about the groupies!"

I laughed at that appreciatively. "Nice one. But seriously though, you already have Ana."

Ana was his perky, pretty, petite sort-of girlfriend (they claim they are not "official") who was friends with everyone. She was always happy and smiling, always chattering on in her high, girlish voice. Yes, I never saw the similarity between her and Peter, either.

His brows furrowed slightly. "Yeah, but me and Ana… I don't know." He saw my eyes widen and quickly explained, "She's great, no doubt about that, and we've been kind of together for so long I've really grown used to her always being with me."

Even though I didn't exactly like what we were talking about, I still couldn't get over the fact that he was actually opening up to me. "So what's wrong?"

He stretched his jean-clad legs and stared at them. "Sometimes, it… I dunno. Maybe it's my problem. I mean, when she's not around, I keep thinking that we should make our relationship solid, you know, as in exclusive. Then when she's around I get suffocated and can't stand the thought of having her as a girlfriend." He shook his head. "Forget it. Don't even listen to my whining, I'm just…"

"Hormonal?" I offered, partly relieved that I wouldn't have to listen to his love life woes.

He chuckled. "Yeah. You're a good listener, you know."

"I know, but enough drama about your love life," I tried to lighten the mood. "So. What are you doing in the library? Not exactly rock music-friendly, you know."

"I know," he said agreeably, "I was looking for a book."

"A book…" I prompted.

He shrugged, disconcerted. "It's just a book about wars, nothing interesting."

"All books are interesting," I swiftly countered, the bookworm in me coming out, "except for those self-help books, they are so useless and – " I broke off at the amused look on his face. "What?"

"Nothing," he said but his grey eyes still twinkled.

"What?" I pressed. "Wait – you don't read self-help books, do you?" I asked, horrified.

He grinned widely, showing off his even teeth. "No, don't worry. I feel exactly the same towards them."

"Oh good," I sighed in relief. "I once ranted against them to a classmate and it turned out her dad writes those kinds of books. Awkward is an understatement."

"Only you, Carrie," he chuckled as he shook his head. I sincerely wished he meant that in a good way.

"I know," I mock-arrogantly said, then I noticed him flexing his left hand. "Oh I totally forgot, how's your finger doing?"

"Better," he said, "your mom's a great doctor."

"I know," I repeated in the same tone as earlier. "She told me it was a trick or trigger finger something. Tendonitis, right? So you go to therapy, then?"

And on our conversation went, talking about his tenosynovitis – not tendonitis – and about our real ambitions (him really a rockstar, although he was taking up Pharmacy to please his parents and me, Microbiology, as my pre-med course) until the librarian spotted us, pointedly cleared her throat, and threw a meaningful look at the sign on the wall of the landing, which said, 'Silence please.'

Sheepishly, I apologized to her, and nudged Peter. "Come on."

I quickly checked out the books, him standing beside me and commenting about how I'd never even be able to finish reading them.

I told him to keep quiet and hold them for me as we went out of the library.

"So you gotta go home now?" Peter asked me once were outside.

I felt a twinge of reluctance. "Yeah, homework and all. How about you?"

"What time is it?"

The time on my watch made me do a double take. "It's ten past six."

He seemed as surprised as I was. We'd talked for more than thirty minutes. In the library. "Well I guess I better get going, too. I'm late for a jam session. Bye, Carrie."

He had walked the opposite way I was going when I remembered. "Peter."

"Yeah?" he turned around.

"My books."

Slowly, he blinked and looked down in his arms. "Oh yeah, sorry," he laughed lightly. "Forgot they were even there."

"Thanks for carrying them," I said as I took the books from him. Damn, they were heavy.

He shrugged. "No problem."

"Bye, Peter."

I had only taken a couple of steps when he called me.


I whirled around to see Peter walking a bit towards me.

"You, uh, don't know the difference between bass and guitar?"

I shook my head no.

"Well, maybe I could show you sometime."

Ignoring the butterflies in my stomach, I smiled. "Yeah, sure."

I swear I detected relief in his eyes as he smiled crookedly back at me. "See you around."

---- .o.0.o. ----

And I did see him around after that, outside the two classes we shared. It was actually kind of weird the way I kept seeing him wherever I went, given that we had a pretty big university campus.

I glimpsed him in the library, in the hallways, even in the offices. I kept spotting him in the cafeteria, too. And that wasn't even the main caf that people always went to, but another one in a farther building.

Of course, we didn't always talk, but we acknowledged each other's presence when we were aware of it. Usually, though, he wasn't, and I began to think that maybe it was just me who read more into the meeting we had at the library. After all, I was the infatuated schoolgirl. He was the rockstar with the semi-girlfriend.

---- .o.0.o. ----

One time I kind-of talked to him was when he was with said semi-girlfriend. I was walking to my first class at eight in the morning when I was accosted – all right, greeted – by the ever-cheerful Ana.

"Hi Carrie!" She enthusiastically waved both her petite hands in greeting. Her bright yellow sundress offended my eyesight, so I took off my glasses and barely noticed who the guy beside her was, but then, he had his back turned.

I smiled politely back, trying to put in more warmth to make up for my rather haggard appearance. I only had two hours of sleep due to cramming the 12-page paper I was going to submit that day. "Hey Ana."

"Good morning. Oh, this is Peter," she introduced the guy beside her. Upon hearing his name, he took off his headphones as he turned his head slightly and said, "Hi, nice to… see you, Carrie."

I wasn't even able to respond to that as Ana cut in. "Oh you know each other already? From where?"

"Around," I answered, remembering the conversation at library, one that included Ana.

"Around," Peter said at the same time.

We stared at each other wordlessly. Until Ana broke it, of course.

"Wow, you two get around," she joked and clasped onto Peter's arm.

My worn-out brain refused to register the suddenly possessive stance of Ana. "Yeah, we do." Then I saw Peter frowning, and my mind suddenly worked again. "Not," I added, laughing a bit.

Ana immediately followed up with her own giggling, and I reached my pretend-to-be-chipper quota of the day. "So I'll go ahead, ok? Can't be late for class. Nice to see you."

"Nice to see you too, Carrie! Bye!" She flashed her megawatt smile as she waved both of her hands again.

I put my glasses back on and tried to ignore the fact that Peter didn't even bother to acknowledge my leaving.

---- .o.0.o. ----

"You what?" I hissed.

My best friend smiled nervously and raised her hands in a pleading manner. "Look, I had no choice."

"Yes you did, Tiffany. You could have not included me or him in the plans."

"Of course I couldn't not have included you or him in the plans," she retorted, all placation gone out the window. "Peter is Charles's best friend, you're mine. I want a group date, you're both in it."

"But you still have Diane. And her boyfriend who also happens to be Charles's other best friend," I answered right back. "It's like a – like a triple date, except Peter and I aren't dates."

Tiffany flipped her short blonde hair in response, and I knew right then my cause was lost. No matter how hard I begged, even – and more so – if I told her I had a hopeless crush on Peter, I was still going to go and 'have some damn fun' in the whole-day triple date that Tiffany calls a 'group date'.

"I have homework," I threw in my last pathetic excuse.

Her lips bared as she damn near growled at me.

"That I can do next time."

---- .o.0.o. ----

Boy, was I glad I listened to her.

---- .o.0.o. ----

Of course, that wasn't how I felt at first when we all met up for lunch at a nearby restaurant. I was nervous and hadn't eaten any breakfast; I was afraid I'd throw it up all over Peter. The feminist in me was crying – here I was, worrying over a boy who didn't even think it was polite to say goodbye to a person.

So there said un-farewelled-to person was, sitting beside Tiffany and trying to avoid her sort-of date, although it couldn't be helped since they were facing each other, and mostly because Tiffany only had eyes for Charles.

Lunch, therefore, was a bit of a painful experience as I tried to be ladylike in my table manners – which was destroyed after I knocked over a salt shaker, the ketchup bottle, and my thankfully empty glass of iced tea while trying to grab a piece of bread. I was also trying very hard to ignore Peter and only looked at him – at least, in his general area – when I felt like I'd been staring at Charles too long; they might think I was obsessed with him.

Neither did he talk to me, except for small talk (like how was my food, even though we ordered the same thing; it was delicious, by the way), or when it was amongst the group. Coming from him, though, silence was expected. His friends didn't question it. My darling bffs, though, did.

"Carrie," Diane asked from the other end of the table, "what's turned you into a mute?"

My forced smile froze on my face as I tried to ignore Peter looking at me interestedly. "Uh, I'm not mute. See, I'm talking right now. Which a mute cannot do. Talk, I mean. So I'm not mute."

Her boyfriend stared at me like I was crazy as Diane replied, "Uh-huh. Right."

The subject didn't drop. "No, really, you two have been quiet all lunch. Are you two fighting?" Tiffany asked Peter and me. "I mean, you two are good friends, right?"

I had mentioned in passing Peter and my meeting at the library. Shut up, Tiff. Shut up.

I couldn't reply. My tongue felt like dead weight, and I was panicking since I knew Peter probably wouldn't answer the question, although I was curious what he'd say to that.

So I was pleasantly shocked when his deep voice came. "Yeah, we are." Then he grinned apologetically at Tiffany, and I could feel the charm he was oozing. "Sorry we're not such good company."

That made my tongue loosen. "Hey! You may not be good company, but I am. In fact, to show you all that I'm good company, I say Peter should foot the bill."

My triumphant grin turned even wider when they all stared at me the way Diane's boyfriend did earlier. I was torn between continuing this madness and hiding under the table to save us all from further embarrassment, and was contemplating the second, when Tiff said in a wry tone, "Oh Carrie. Only you."

The 'only you' part reminded me of something similar Peter had said to me, and I blushed to my roots. Thankfully, they assumed it was because I was humiliated.

Peter didn't bat an eyelash, but I ignored him. Of course he wouldn't remember.

After lunch, the lovebirds decided to watch the latest romantic comedy. I groaned to myself and wished the movies would blow up.

As we were walking towards the Cineplex, Peter kept hanging back a bit from the group, so I decided not to intrude. Maybe he was going through a rough patch with Ana. Or it could be about anything, really, I thought as I wrestled with my conscience. Maybe he was really that silent even when not in school. I had to stop wishing they were over. Karma would bite me in the butt for that.

When, however, his face seemed to darken even more, I made up my mind to talk to him.

I trailed back from my friends and their dates and waited for Peter. "Hey," I said quietly.

His head snapped up, caught unaware. "Carrie."

"Peter," I said in the same surprised tone he said my name.

Then we both grinned, me more out of relief that he got my humor. "So… are you okay?" I asked.

He looked at his shoes and didn't answer for a while.

Feeling rejected, my feet sped up to join the people in front. So much for trying to be nice.

"Ana and I broke up."

That stopped me in my tracks.

I kept myself from celebrating with the thought that he must be utterly miserable right now. I mean, he couldn't even grieve in private, but instead had to tag along on this group date. So that's why he wasn't speaking at lunch.

"I'm sorry," I murmured as I turned back to him. "If you want, I can talk to her," I offered, then immediately wished I hadn't.

His brows furrowed in confusion. "Why would – Oh," he laughed lightly at his realization. "No, I broke up with her."

"Oh. Why?"

His shoulders moved up and down in a shrug. "Remember what I told you before in the library?"

Every word, I thought, but decided not to say that particularly disturbing sentence. "Yes."

He shrugged again. "Well, I made up my mind." Then he smiled at me, no trace of sadness in it. "I made the right decision, didn't I?"

I gave a diplomatic answer. My mom would've been proud. "If that's what you want."

His smile slid a bit, but he replied," Yeah, it's what I want."

A few seconds passed before I spoke again. "So… that's why you're emo-ing over it?"

He gave a mock-offended scoff. "I am not emo. I broke up with her over two weeks ago. You don't see any bangs covering my eyes do you?"

"Not yet, but that spike is wilted," I pointed to his hair, trying not to show my surprise at his casual mention of breaking up, and the fact that I wasn't aware of this break-up. A week and a half ago was when I talked to Ana and him. If they were broken up then, why was Ana so possessive? Then I realized she probably didn't want to break up with him in the first place, and then I had to go saying I'd been 'around' with her boyfriend. Right.

Peter's hand had automatically reached up to arrange his hair, and I laughed. "Just kidding."

He just glared in response.

"So why are you all…" I waved my hand around. "Mopey?"

"Nice word," he complimented. "I'm not mopey. I was being reflective."

I raised an eyebrow. "Reflective."

"Yeah," he said defensively. "You know, to reflect."

That made me chuckle. "Correct, Peter. Five gold stars for that one."

"Why thank you Ms. Hot Teacher Carrie," he teased back, and when I asked him – completely stuttering, by the way – what he meant, he replied, "I believe that your glasses qualify you for the hot teacher category."

He was the only one who got it. After two years of wearing these red glasses, someone got it.

My answering laugh was shaky. "Yeah right, I'm no hot teacher."

He slid a glance at me. "You could be."
Once again, he surprised me. I coughed loudly to distract from my rapidly reddening face. "Sure. Right. Except I'm not hot and I'm not a teacher. No more arguments, student," I added when he was about to reply.

His grin almost blinded me. "Whatever you say, Carrie."

We walked in silence for a few seconds, me trying to get my coloring back to normal, until I noticed him cracking his knuckles.

"You still have that trick finger thing?" I smiled sympathetically.

"Yeah," he replied as he fidgeted with his palm. "Still won't go away. In fact, I think it may have been worse."


"Yeah, here." He raised his left palm towards me. "Feel this one."

A part of me was still surprised that my mom wasn't able to heal that finger of his, so I placed my hand on the bone under his middle finger and he flexed it.

A few seconds passed before I looked at him. "Peter?"

"Hm?" His eyes met mine.

"I – I don't think I felt anything," I said, hoping he'd let me take my hand off his so my heart would stop palpitating.

He frowned. "Really? 'Cause it's still here. Well, maybe your hand should – "

Instead of finishing his sentence, he took my clammy hand and laid it flat against his large, warm one.

He didn't move his fingers.

I swallowed and prayed he wouldn't notice the serious blush beginning to form on my cheeks. Again. "Peter?"


"Shouldn't you – uh – move your fingers or something?"

In response, he intertwined his fingers with mine.

My heart jumped to my throat, cutting off my air supply. What was he doing?

I tried to clear my throat so I could speak properly, but to no avail. "Pe – Peter…"

His grey eyes bore into mine. "Actually, Carrie, my fingers are fine now," he informed me in his deep, husky voice.

My breath caught. "So why – "

"So I could hold your hand."

---- .o.0.o. ----

When we finally got to the Cineplex much, much later than the others did, I barely had the energy in me to muster any form of denial or annoyance at their teasing comments. I simply continued smiling the idiotic smile I could barely keep off my face, as Peter also just stood there, hand clasping mine, smiling his much more gorgeous crooked smile.

"So are we watching this movie or what?" Tiffany asked after she and Diane had gotten their assurance from me that I'd spill the details later (whatever that entailed, I had no idea, but probably included how Peter and I got together – him holding my hand and saying he's been waiting a while to do that; what he said – he'd been 'reflective' because he was wondering why I wasn't talking to him and he thought he'd done something wrong; how he confessed – his interest in me had been there from the start, except he thought I'd never go for someone like him, earning from me a bewildered snort; how my sightings of him all over campus weren't just my imagination; all the other gooey things I never thought Peter would ever say, and all the mushy thoughts I never thought I'd think and say back at him).

Romantic comedy? Go ahead. As long as Peter's hand was forever in mine, I had no problem sighing and crying over any film in the planet.

Suffice it to say, I have loved tendons and libraries ever since. Rockstars too, of course, but just that one particular guy.

---- .o.0.o. ----

A/N: Don't we just love them rockstars?:) This was a bit inspired from real circumstances, but I do not own any recognizable names up there, except my characters and my story.

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- che