|bloop (soulfulfishbowl) wrote,|
@ 2011-05-26 12:22 am UTC
|Entry tags:||bandombigbang, frank/gerard, nc17|
NC17 for language, sexual and religious themes.
Across The Lines
Gerard runs his fingers through his hair, indicates and turns off the highway. Four more miles until home, until his parents and his brother, his room and his life – exactly the way he left them. He sighs. It’s not that he’s not looking forward to seeing his family, of course he is, a part of him can’t wait to be back home where it’s warm and safe, no matter what. He misses his parents, as clueless and irrational as they are sometimes, and he misses his brother more than he’ll admit. He finds himself lonely at 3am; the time when he’d usually find Mikey huddled in the dark in front of his bookshelf, keychain torch in one hand and comic in the other. He misses how he used to nag to see his latest sketch. He misses dreaming about getting out of their small town, misses being so desperate to claw his way out in to the real world. And now he’s there. He’s been there for two years now and sometimes, sometimes he’d rather be dreaming again.
Please Drive Carefully
Gerard glances to the You are now leaving sign on the opposite side of the road, in his rear view mirror. He’s a little less grateful to see it than before, before he actually knew what was on the other side of it. Life.
White Heart is a sleepy place, and it’s still sleeping as he drives through it with the radio on mute. It looks deserted, abandoned and left for dead – just as it looks every day. He passes the library, market and pet store, grinding his gum between his back teeth. How any business manages to survive in this town is a miracle, probably the only miracle that happens here. Gerard had almost forgotten what it was like to see the streets so empty at a quarter past eight in the evening. As he turns in to the residential area the glowing lights from the houses make it feel a little less like a ghost town.
Mr. and Mrs. Greenford’s porch light is flickering, as it always used to. Gerard used to walk their dog when he was eleven. He wonder’s if that daft old Yorkie is still alive, with it’s big dumb brown eyes and helium bark. The Feldman’s still have those ridiculous garden gnomes, one fishing and one digging. The string from the fishing pole has been missing since he can remember. Crazy Old Pete’s house still looks as run down as ever, over grown shrubs in the front yard, bent mail box and a broken attic window. This place hasn’t changed since he left, or since he was born for that matter.
Gerard rolls the car to a stop outside his house and stares up at it. The living room light is on and he can see a TV glowing through the window of Mikey’s room. The drapes are clean and closed in his own room, a sure sign his mother’s been in there at least once every day since he left. He stares at the house for what feels like forever, concentrating on it’s dusty coloured bricks and the flaky white paint of the frames. A part of him is so desperate to run inside and up to his room where he can bury himself under the warn, itchy covers and never surface again. But, somewhere deep within the pit of his stomach, there’s a voice screaming for him to turn the car around and never look back.
Gerard shakes his head, picks up his duffel bag from the passenger seat and gets out of the car.
“Gerard?” says his mom, standing from the couch and blinking at the doorway like she can’t quite believe he’s there. He gulps and nods.
“Yeah, mom. It’s me.”
Donna Way smiles and pushes back her blonde hair with skeletal like fingers before rushing to the other side of the living room. She smoothes her palms over Gerard’s cold cheeks, her hands warm and smelling like washing powder, before she pulls her son in to a tight hug. “I thought you weren’t going to be here for another two weeks?” she questions, her cheek pressing in to Gerard’s shoulder as she smiles.
“Well, I thought I’d surprise you.” Donna pulls back and sucks in her bottom lip, still smiling.
“You definitely surprised me. Now,” she continues, brushing away imaginary fluff from the front of Gerard’s jacket, “your father’s in the back yard in his shed. Why don’t you go out and surprise him too?”
“Actually, I thought I’d go and see Mikey?” he suggests, but she shakes her head.
“I’ll go and get your brother. There are so many piles of laundry outside his door that it’d take you all summer to get there. I’ll call him down and you can fetch your dad in and then I’ll make us all some supper.”
Gerard nods slowly. “Ok…” and he finds himself being ushered out in to the kitchen.
In the small shed at the bottom of the neatly kept garden, Gerard can hear his father tinkering away with his latest project. In his spare time, Donald Way likes to invent his own little gadgets which, nine times out of ten, don’t work for their original purpose (much like the electric trowel he made which his mother now uses to beat eggs). He says it keeps him happy and sane and that his father used to do it too, but Gerard’s got a sneaking suspicion it’s a direct product of watching ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Kids’ too many times when Gerard and his brother were little.
Donald looks up from his cramped work bench when Gerard opens the shed door. He grins and drops the pliers in his hand, wiping dirt and grease on to the thigh of his jeans. “Hi, Gee,” he greets, and Gerard wants to wince because a nickname never sounds as cool coming from a parent. “What are you doing here so early?” Gerard doesn’t get a chance to answer before he’s pulled in to another hug. Donald claps his hand down on Gerard’s back, almost knocking the wind right from him.
“Wanted – to – surprise,” Gerard wheezes out before gasping, “-dad.” He pulls back and holds Gerard’s shoulders at arm’s length.
“Sorry,” he laughs. “I guess I still got it in me, eh?” and he laughs that laugh that all dads laugh. Donna calls their names from the kitchen window and Donald looks up and waves. “Be right there!” he calls and Gerard scowls and rubs his ear.
As soon as Gerard steps in to the kitchen someone knocks against him and skinny arms wrap around his chest. He smiles and strokes his hand through his brother’s unkempt hair. “Hey, doofus,” he says brightly. Mikey squeezes him harder and Gerard’s ribs are definitely going to need a rest before he endures another ‘Welcome Home’ hug. When Mikey stands back, Gerard can see he’s just as tall as he is. “Please don’t get taller than me,” says Gerard and Mikey grins.
“Well stop shrinking then, Frodo.” Gerard laughs and shoves lightly at his brother’s shoulder.
“Thank god. I was afraid you’d turned in to a moody teenager,” and he pulls Mikey in to another half hug. Gerard missed Mikey’s 16th birthday, and through all his apologetic texts and voicemails he never got a single one back. Thankfully, though, Gerard seems to be forgiven. Mikey rolls his eyes and straightens his glasses.
Supper ends up being potato waffles in front of the TV, but as Gerard’s handed the first meal he hasn’t made himself (or paid way too much for at Starbucks) it smells like heaven. Mikey hands him the bottle of ketchup as their mom flips to the game show channel.
And just like that, he’s home again.
When Gerard stands up, stretches and announces he’s ready for bed, his parents glance uneasily at each other. Gerard gives them an odd look. “Uh, is there a problem?”
“Well,” Donna starts, “we didn’t think you were coming home for another two weeks. It was supposed to be a surprise.”
“What was?” Gerard asks, his bag slipping down from his shoulder.
Without another word Donna stands and collects everyone’s empty plates. She guides Gerard in to the kitchen and, after putting the plates in the sink, ushers Gerard over to the basement door. When she leans over and flips the light to the stairs on, Gerard can see a box with his name on it at the bottom. “I sort of, um, borrowed your room,” she says.
“Borrowed?” Gerard repeats, looking from the box and back to his mother.
Donna nods. “Just for a few things,” she explains, holding up a hand like Gerard’s going to interrupt her, “like laundry piles and what can’t fit in to the attic. It’s temporary, I promise. But we thought we’d make you up a room down here. It’s not completely done yet, though.” She stops to study his face, but can’t quite read his vacant stare. “You’re not mad, are you, sweetheart?”
Gerard smiles uneasily and shakes his head with a sigh. “No, mom. I’m not mad. Just, uh – surprised?”
“Good,” she says, clapping her hands together. “Now, your bed is down here but it’s unmade and the majority of your things are still in boxes - but your desk is down there. You dad will bring your TV down tomorrow, if that’s ok?” Gerard nods. “Excellent…” and she leans over to kiss his cheek. “Goodnight, sweetie, and welcome home.”
Flipping on the main light of the basement, Gerard winces and turns it back off again. Its obnoxiously bright and so Gerard opts for the desk lamp instead. When the room is full of its warm, dim glow, he drops his bag on to the bed and sighs. The room is pretty bare with the bed, desk and boxes – but at least Gerard’s got something to do now for the next few months.
From out of his bag Gerard takes a small stack of comics and sets them on the desk. Next to that he places a new sketch book and on top of that, a tin of pencils. Perfect. He’s about to go rummaging for his pajamas when the door creeks slowly open. Mikey smiles awkwardly as he steps in, two mugs of what smells like hot chocolate in his hands. He hands one over to Gerard. “I told her not to do it,” he says. “I mean, it’s kind of cool having you locked down here like a shameful family secret, but I’m going to miss you being next door.”
Gerard laughs and blows the steam from the mug. “You could always sleep over?”
Mikey’s eyes instantly widen. “Yeah?”
Gerard nods. “Yeah. We can have a movie marathon of zombies and shit, like old times.” Mikey lifts his mug and clinks it against Gerard’s.
Mikey brings down his sleeping bag, pillows and an armful of DVDs and junk food and sets up camp next to Gerard’s bed. Donald wasn’t exactly thrilled about having to lug Gerard’s old, heavy TV down from his former room, but he struggled down the stairs with it anyway before patting both boys on the head like they’re six again. “You boys have fun,” he says before cracking something in his back and disappearing back up the stairs.
Gerard plugs in the DVD player while Mikey pulls out ‘Dawn of the Dead’ from under a bag of Cheetos. He hands it to Gerard with a grin. “Mom got if for me for my birthday,” he says as Gerard runs his fingers over the plastic wrapping. “I was waiting for you to come home to watch it.” Gerard’s smile is small and apologetic.
“Wow. Thanks, Mikes,” he whispers before looking up at his ever grinning little brother. “Listen, I’m sorry about your-” but Mikey holds up a hand before he can continue.
“Don’t worry about it. I understand. You had work and shit. It’s fine,” and he takes the case back from Gerard to unwrap it, eagerly. “Now put it on while I start opening bags. I have a serious case of the munchies.”
Gerard cracks open the case and pops out the DVD as Mikey pulls up the food and his pillows and arranges himself at the foot of Gerard’s unmade bed. Gerard hands Mikey the remote as the trailers begin to roll and flops back on to the mattress. “Hit me,” he says when Mikey starts rummaging through the bags and packets, and a bag of chips instantly lands in Gerard’s lap.
When Donna sneaks down the basement stairs after hearing the TV from the kitchen, where she came for a glass of water, she stops at the door and smiles, placing a hand on her chest. Both of her boys are flat out on their back, surrounded by empty packets of chips and snoring loudly. She leans up on her toes and, when she sees Mikey’s hand wrapped around Gerard’s wrist, she gasps a little and grins. She turns off the TV and creeps quietly back upstairs.
Mikey’s curled in to a ball on the other side of the bed when Gerard wakes up early the next morning. He coughs and blinks at Mikey’s back for a few moment before rolling over and off the bed. He lands on the floor with a thud and an “Unf.” He curses and pushes himself on to his feet, still coughing. He needs a cigarette.
Five minutes later, after some franticly quiet searching through his duffel bag and jeans pockets, Gerard’s sat beneath the open basement window, a lit cigarette dangling from his lips. The smoke feels good as it burns its way up his nostrils with each in take. He ex hails and watches the smoke drift slowly towards the window.
“Mom’s gonna kill you if she sees you smoking in the house,” says Mikey, making Gerard flinch in surprise.
“Jesus, Mikey,” he breathes, hand on his wheezing chest.
Mikey laughs, “Sorry,” and gets up from the bed. “Gimme,” he says, indicating towards the cigarette.
Gerard raises an eyebrow. “Since when did you smoke?”
“Since last summer,” he replies as Gerard awkwardly hands it over. He watches his brother curiously as he takes a long drag, ex hails and hands it back. “Thanks.”
“You do anything else since last summer?” Mikey rolls his eyes and waits for Gerard to take a drag before grabbing the cigarette back.
“No, mom. How about you? Still with that guy…?”
Gerard shrugs. “Not really. He turned out to be kind of an ass.”
Mikey passes the cigarette over and nods. “Yeah? I know what that’s like. So, what did he do?”
They sit like that for the rest of them morning, chain smoking half of Gerard’s pack of smokes, passing each one back and forth as they talk about last summer, school and why some people were just born assholes. Sometime after eleven, Donna calls down to them for lunch. Gerard stubs out the cigarette and wafts away the smoke quickly as Mikey attacks them both with deodorant.
“So, what are you boys going to do today?” asks Donna as she pushes a plate of sandwiches towards them. Mikey makes a grab for one of the bigger halves and rams in to his mouth.
“-omic –or,” he says through a mouthful of bread.
Donna frowns and hands him a napkin. “What did you say?”
“Comic store,” Gerard repeats before Mikey can open his full mouth again. “He said we’re going to go to the comic book store.”
Donna raises her eyebrows and makes an ‘Ohh,’ sound. She pulls a ten dollar bill from her pocket and slides it next to the sandwich plate with a smile. “Have fun.”
Mikey grabs the money, almost as quickly as he grabbed the sandwich, and pockets it before smiling up at his brother. Gerard huffs and rolls his eyes before taking a bite out of his smaller half of sandwich.
Donna watches as the boys squabble their way out to the living room and smiles to herself, wonderfully delighted that her boys are back in step with each other. She cleans up the empty plate and starts on lunch for herself and her husband.
The sun is high and bright as they walk in to town. Mikey groaned a little when Gerard walked right past his car insisting he needed the fresh air, only to light up a cigarette as soon as they were around the corner. When Mikey makes a grab for the cigarette, Gerard pulls it back.
“Are you crazy? Mom would tear me a new one if she found out I was supplying you with smokes.”
“How would she know? She’s not here.”
“Everyone in this town knows everyone,” Gerard explains. “It’d get back to her in no time.”
“Well then she should know that you smoke by the time we get home,” says Mikey as he kicks at the sidewalk.
Gerard point the cigarette towards him. “But I’m over eighteen.”
Mikey waves a hand dismissively. “Technicality. You’ll still get a lecture.”
“Rather a lecture than be torn a new one…” Gerard drawls. Mikey nods.
The streets are busier than the night before, but not by too much. Gerard recognises the majority of people they see, which he finds a little sad. When he walks around New York City, he barely sees the same face twice, but now its like the last twenty years of his life is walking around, pushing prams, walking dogs or grocery shopping. He knows his way through the town without ever looking up, not once, and by the time he’s to the filter of his cigarette Mikey’s pushing open the door to the comic book store. The bell dings and Gerard flicks the butt in to the street, ignoring the disapproving look of a passing old woman.
“Well look what the diseased cat dragged in…” comes a surprisingly cheerful voice from behind the counter.
“Ray,” Gerard nods towards his curly haired friend. “How’s the wonderful world of comic selling?”
“Hey, just because some of us didn’t swan off to the big city-”
Gerard rolls his eyes and interrupts. “I know, I know. How’s college?”
“Eh,” Ray shrugs. “Same old. Say, MikeyWay, back so soon?”
“How often is he here?” Gerard asks curiously as Mikey hides himself behind an open comic.
“Several times a week. I didn’t think anyone could own more comics than you,” he laughs. Gerard glances over at Mikey who’s disappearing behind a stack of anime action figures.
“Uh huh. I’m gonna go spend my parent’s money with my brother…”
“Just like old times. Let me know if you need anything.”
Gerard finds Mikey browsing the action figures with far too much concentrated interest. He side glances Gerard before picking up a Pokémon figure and pretends to read the back of it. “Yes?”
“I would say it’s not weird for a teenage boy to spend all his time in the comic book store, except for you it kind of is,” says Gerard, one arm on the stand so he blocks his brother in.
“What?” Mikey shrugs. “I like comics.”
“Mikey, I left you enough comics to keep you busy until your thirtieth birthday-”
“I like new comics,” Mikey interrupts, but Gerard doesn’t look impressed. “I like to get out of the house?” he tries and Gerard raises an eyebrow. “Fresh air?” he raises the other brow. Mikey sighs dramatically and glances over at Ray, who’s lazily browsing through a comic. Gerard follows his gaze.
“What?” Mikey huffs, glares at his brother and glances at Ray again. Finally, something clicks. “Ohh…” Gerard trails before snapping his mouth shut. “Ray? You like Ray?”
Mikey’s eyes widen. “For the love of god, shush!” They both look back to Ray, but he doesn’t seem to have heard. Mikey sighs, relieved. “Yes,” he whispers. “Ok? Yeah. I like him.” Gerard’s face is frozen in a state of shock.
“Mikey-”, he tries, but he can’t seem to form any more words.
“What? You can like a dude but I can’t?” Mikey whispers defensively.
“It’s not that, man. You know it’s not. It’s just, Ray. He’s nineteen,” Gerard explains. “You’re sixteen.”
“Really? I never knew,” Mikey replies sarcastically. “I know, ok? Just because I like him doesn’t mean anything’s going to happen, like - ever. So let it go, please.”
Gerard chews the inside of his cheek and nods. “Ok, I can do that.”
“Good,” Mikey says, voice at normal level now. “Now I’m going to go over there, browse some more and hate you for being born first.”
When they’re ready to leave, Gerard lets Mikey pay and stands by the door watching as Ray tells some ridiculously bad joke about Batman and Robin being an old married couple as Mikey laughs and slides his glasses back up his nose. Gerard tries to contain his smirk, and when Ray turns around to say goodbye Mikey glares at his brother.
Outside, Mikey shoves at Gerard’s shoulder. “You’re such an ass.”
“This from the sixteen year old fan girl,” Gerard retorts, and Mikey shoves again.
Gerard spends the rest of the day grilling Mikey about Ray, what he’s been up to, when Mikey started to like him, is he even in to guys?
“I don’t know,” Mikey sighs. “I’ve never really seen him with anyone outside of the comic store.”
“Well, does he flirt with customers or anything?”
Mikey scrunches up his face. “I don’t know, ok? I don’t stalk him or anything.”
“Except you kinda do,” Gerard replies, ripping open another box of his things and sifting through it.
“I do not,” Mikey shoots back, watching as Gerard pulls out countless sketches and old art books. “I just watch him in an admiring totally uncreepy way.”
Gerard flips through a few of the sketches and stuffs some between the pages of the art books. “So,” he starts after a few moments silence, “why didn’t you tell me before?”
Mikey looks off guarded by the question until finally, he just shrugs. “I thought you’d be too busy with your work and friends and shit, y’know?”
Gerard instantly feels a lump of guilt swelling in his stomach, because Mikey’s not too far off base there. After he left, Gerard just wanted to wrap himself up completely in a new, more exciting life and let it consume him. He didn’t want to remember the quiet little town he came from where everyone knew everyone and every damn thing about them. He wanted to be somebody, not just another population statistic.
But in doing so he managed to forget about the one person he didn’t want to forget. Sure, he text Mikey a few times a week, asked him about school and checking the parents weren’t driving him too crazy, but he wasn’t really there for Mikey. Not like he should have been.
He drops the books back in to the box. “I’m so sorry,” he admits quietly. “I’ve been a shit brother these past two years haven’t I?”
Mikey nods but smiles. “Yeah, kinda.”
Gerard ex hails quickly, determined. “Well, that’s gonna change. I’m here for you from now on, no matter what time it is or what it’s about. I’m here, one hundred percent, ok?”
“Ok,” Mikey says, his smile getting a little wider. “Oh, I almost forget,” he starts, leaning back on Gerard’s bed and picking something up off the floor. It’s a rolled up poster. “I brought this down from my room. I think it belongs in here,” he says as he hands it over to Gerard.
Gerard takes it curiously and unrolls it. It’s a Black Flag promotion poster, signed. Just before Gerard left for college, he took Mikey to his first show without their parent’s permission. Mikey was only fourteen and it took a lot of sweet talking and knowing the right people for Gerard to sneak him in. But he did. And it was the most amazing night ever. They had to leave five minutes before the end of the set to wait for their ride home so they wouldn’t get busted, but their ride was late and they ended up around the back of the venue just as the band came out. They got the whole band’s signatures on the poster and they applauded the brothers’ efforts to sneak out and see their show. Mikey’s still a legend at school for it.
“I can’t take this, Mikey,” Gerard says softly, but Mikey shakes his head.
“It belongs in here, dude. You know it does.” Gerard smiles and rolls it back up before handing it back to his brother.
“Then you can put it up. Go on, above the bed. The tac’s on the desk.” Mikey grins and takes the poster. He clambers over the bed to the desk, takes the tac and clambers back again. He fixes the poster above the bed, off centred of course, and then falls back on to the mattress, admiring his work.
“Perfect,” he grins.
Gerard nods. “Perfect,” he agrees.
For the next few days Mikey helps Gerard make a room out of the basement. They clean out the whole place, unpack every box and even manage to kind of successfully build Gerard a new book case (though it is a bit of a miracle that they got it to stand on its own what with the quarter bottle of vodka they shared).
“Y’know, I could sure do with some new comics to full up this bookshelf…” Gerard says, all smug and knowing.
Mikey wants to roll his eyes and throw out some stupid insult about Gerard having nothing better to do than be his gay fairy god brother (he takes a moment to laugh inwardly at that joke) but instead he ends up grinning and jumping on his brother to hug him.
“I love you, I love you!” he says, laughing as Gerard tries to push him off of his lap.
“You’re welcome! God, you’re so gay.” Mikey gives Gerard a dead leg for that remark.
The next morning Mikey drags Gerard out of bed to go to the comic store. Gerard complains as he stumbles out of bed in his boxers. Mikey throws a pair of jeans at Gerard’s face.
“Come on, Gee. The store opens in twenty minutes!”
“So? It’s open until six-”
“I know it’s open until six!” Mikey interrupts. “But if we don’t get there now when it’s quiet then there’s going to be the lunch time rush of geeky teenage boys who don’t have a crush on Ray taking up all of his time.”
Gerard blinks dumbly at his brother. That was way too much information to take in before he’s had coffee or even a cigarette. “Uh, ok?”
Mikey rolls his eyes and throws one of Gerard’s shoes at him. “Hurry up!”
On the way to the comic store Mikey makes them take the route around the back of the houses so he can share Gerard’s cigarette. Turns out he’s more nervous than ever about seeing Ray today, because now he’s actually said it out loud to someone other than his own reflection, it’s like this is actually a real thing. Fuck. Mikey is a sixteen year old loser who has feelings for the totally awesome nineteen year old that works at the comic book store. Ray’s in college and he has a job, he’s independent and Mikey has to ask his mom if he wants to stay out later than ten on a non-school night. Mikey hands the cigarette back to his brother and sighs dramatically. His life sucks.
“My life sucks.” Gerard takes the last drag of the cigarette and flicks the butt to the floor.
“Dude, so you got an inappropriate crush. Its part of being a teenager,” he says, holding a gate open for Mikey as they make their way back on to the main street.
“Yeah, well I’m sick of being a teenager. Teenage experiences suck.” Gerard laughs as they cross the street. They’re outside the comic store now, and he squeezes Mikey’s shoulder reassuringly.
“Hey, guys!” Ray greets as they walk in to the store. “Back so soon?”
“Well, we just put up a new bookcase in my new room and Mikey suggested filling it with new reading material.” Gerard smiles innocently over at his brother. This is his cue to talk, but Mikey’s too busy feeling as though his throat’s closing up than actually thinking about what to say.
“Yeah,” is all he manages before blushing.
Ray looks at him a little weirdly. “You alright, man?”
Mikey nods furiously. “Yeah, totally. I’m – totally. Just gonna,” he gestures to the rest of the empty store. “Yeah…” and his disappears behind the shelves of DC comics. Ray moves the weird look to Gerard, who just shrugs.
“What’s wrong with your brother?” Gerard pauses, listening to the dull sound of Mikey banging his head against a wall somewhere in the store. He moves closer to the counter.
“I don’t know. I think he kinda likes someone,” he says quietly, because if Mikey hears he is seriously going to kill him.
“Oh…” Ray trails. “Well, good for him. He’s really sweet.” Gerard grins inwardly. “So, new room huh?”
“Yeah, my mom shipped me down to the basement she can use my room for, y’know - mom things. Mikey’s been helping me redecorate.”
“Cool. Well, we just got some new graphic novels in if you wanna come take a look? They’re still in the back.”
“Dude, I’ve been so out of the loop on what’s new. I think I’ll send Mikey instead, he’ll have a better idea of what I need to read.”
“Y’mean what he needs to borrow?”
Gerard laughs. “Something like that. Hey Mikey!” he calls and Mikey quickly appears from the same direction he went. “Will you go pick out some new graphic novels for our awesome bookcase with Ray?”
“Sure!” Mikey perks up before coughing and composing himself. “I mean, uhm. Sure.”
Ray nods. “Cool. Follow me then, Mikes.” Gerard watches as Mikey melts a little at the use of his nickname, and suppresses the urge to snigger. ‘Thank you’ Mikey mouths as he follows Ray to the door marked STAFF ONLY, and it’s only when they’re gone Gerard wonders if it was a good idea sending his hormonal teenage brother in to a room unsupervised with the guy he’s crushing on. He shrugs it off and heads for the D&D section of the store.
“So?” asks Gerard as they make their way home. “How’d it go in there?”
Mikey shrugs and puts his hands in his pockets. “It went ok. We just, y’know, talked and stuff.”
Gerard makes a fist around the bag containing his new books and glares at his brother. “Stop being so vague, Mikey. I need details.”
“There’s not much to tell, honestly. We just geeked out about Watchmen and how awesome Rorschach would be in a bar fight.”
“That is geeky,” Gerard laughs. “You guys are perfect for each other.”
Mikey grins and then deflates. “Dude, stop getting my hopes up. It’s never going to happen.”
After dinner, Donna makes Gerard help with the dishes and sends Mikey to clean him room. “Seriously, honey, sometimes I’m afraid to go in there,” she says. Gerard can see an answer of so don’t go in then welling up in Mikey’s mouth, but he swallows it down. Smart move. Donna Way will come down on you like a tonne of bricks if you back chat her.
“Ok, mom,” he drawls before disappearing.
“Sweetie, help me with these,” she says to Gerard, picking up two of the four plates and carrying them to the sink. Gerard pushes himself on to his feet and clears the rest of the table, bringing the glasses and place mats along with him. She smiles sweetly. “Thank you, honey. I’ll wash, you can dry and stack.”
Gerard nods. “Sure.”
Donna’s barely started cleaning the second plate when she lets it slip back in to the water and turns to look at Gerard thoughtfully. He gives her an odd look and smiles, uneasily. “I think it’s really good of you to make up with Mikey,” she finally says.
“We never really fell out,” Gerard replies, eyebrow raised.
“No. Not in so many words. But your brother is a lot different to you and I. He’s much like your father in that he won’t really tell you what he’s feeling, you just kind of have to guess by their moods. Do you get what I’m saying?”
“I…uh, I think so…?” Gerard trails.
Donna sighs. “When you didn’t show up for Mikey’s birthday he was crushed, Gerard. I’ve never seen him look so hopeless.”
“Oh-” says Gerard, not really able to say anything else.
“He was in a terrible mood for days after,” she continues before pausing to grab Gerard by the elbow. “But you’re here now, and whatever you’ve said to him seems to have done the trick. I haven’t seen him this happy in months.”
Gerard’s lips quirk in to a slightly awkward smile. “Good. And Mom? I’m really sorry for not showing up. I was such an ass and I’m sorry, to you as well as Mikey.”
She smiles and leans in to peck Gerard’s cheek. “I know you are, honey. And for the record, no son of mine is an ass. It’s just sometimes you make the wrong decision. You get that from your father’s side.”
Gerard laughs as Donna goes back to the dishes. “Ok, I’ll try to keep that in mind.”
Donna ends up making Gerard clean the majority of the kitchen with her, including the hobs on the cooker and the oven. She says it’ll do him good to learn how to clean a kitchen properly, so that when he actually gets his own place she won’t have to live in fear of catching the plague every time she visits.
When Gerard goes to check on his brother and ask if he wants a hand, he finds him sprawled out, face down on his own bed snoring. Gerard laughs quietly and shakes his head before closing the door and creeping back downstairs. He’s itching for another smoke and his mouth feels dryer than ever. Donna’s still pottering around in the kitchen and his father’s in his chair in the living room reading the paper with his slippers on. In a strange sort of déjà vu moment, Gerard feels like he’s sixteen again.
“Uh, Dad?” he says in almost a whisper. The corner of the newspaper folds itself down as Donald peers out from behind it with an acknowledging stare. “I’m just gonna go take a walk, ok? Tell mom I won’t be long and I’ve got my cell.” Donald grunts, nods and goes back to his paper.
Gerard grabs his jacket from the bottom of the stairs and opens the door without putting it on first. He keeps it bundled around his arm as he steps off the porch and on to the gravel path.
When he’s a few houses down he pulls his smokes from his jeans along with his lighter and sparks up. The pack is almost empty now that he’s getting a lot of help from Mikey. He scrunches the lid a little and shoves them back where they came from, lighter in tow. He takes in a deep, welcoming drag and the nicotine fills him like a sigh of relief. He huffs out the smoke and watches it disappear. It’s almost sunset and large beams of pink and purple have already started to appear from the horizon. It’s been a while since Gerard last saw a sunset from this town. Usually he watches them from his dorm window, paying attention and thinking of home for a moment or so before shutting himself away again.
There’s a high yapping sound coming from the next garden that pulls Gerard quickly from his thoughts. He peers behind the shrubs where what appears to be a scraggily little dog is trying to topple old Mrs. Greenford off her feet. She yanks the leash back and curses at the dog under her breath. Gerard quickly throws the cigarette in to the gutter just before she looks up.
“Gerard, is that you dear?” she asks, smiling brightly and walking towards the gate, the little dog now refusing to move.
“Hi Mrs. Greenford,” he replies and waves some what awkwardly. “How are you?”
She’s just about to answer when the dog starts growling and barking at Gerard. “Shush!” she commands and the dog lies down on the path. “I’m fine, dear. How are your studies going?”
“Good,” Gerard nods and the dog barks again. “Is it yours?” he asks. “What happened to Buddy?”
“Buddy died last year just after Mr. Greenford had his stroke. My daughter bought Louie a few weeks ago for my birthday,” she explains.
“Oh. I’m sorry about Buddy and tell Mr. Greenford I said hello.”
She nods and pats his arm. “I will do. Thank you dear.” Gerard’s just about to walk away when the dog tugs at his leash and almost has Mrs. Greenford flying on to the lawn. “Calm down you stupid dog,” she scolds.
“Uh, Mrs. Greenford? Would you like me to walk Louie for you?” She looks up quickly, smiling with relief.
“Oh, would you, dear? That would be so helpful,” and she opens the gate and hands the leash over to Gerard.
“I’m back for the summer; I could walk him once a day if you like?” Gerard finds himself saying before he can stop the words falling from his mouth.
Mrs. Greenford’s whole face lights up. “Oh, Gerard,” she gushes. “You’re such a lovely young man. You tell your mother I said so too,” and she touches his arm again. “I take him to that little patch of land just before the tracks. He doesn’t really have a long walk. He’s only got little legs and I can only go so far,” she laughs.
Gerard smiles and pulls the dog on to the sidewalk. “No problem. We’ll be back soon.”
Louie, or for fuck sake dog, slow the hell down as Gerard has so affectionately renamed him, doesn’t like being told what to do. Every time Gerard yanks him back when he goes too fast, the little ball of black and brown fur turns to snarl at Gerard with all his tiny teeth. Gerard holds up a hand in surrender and lets Louie drag him along the road.
Walking at Louie’s pace they reach the tracks in record time. Louie makes even quicker work snuffling his way through the over grown grass at the bottom of the banks and growling at rocks before peeing on them. Gerard stands with a tight grip on the leash and watches the goofy little tail of the dog stick up from the grass like a periscope. It almost makes the yappy little bag of fur adorable. Gerard sighs and ponders his new love/hate relationship until Louie’s ears prick and his head appears. He jumps on to his hind legs like a meerkat and yips quietly. He looks from the dirt bank, to Gerard and then back again before he’s off.
Gerard finds his arm being yanked in the same direction the dog scurries off in, and he wonders how the little fellow can have so much energy and strength. “We’re not going on the tracks,” he huffs, but Louie just growls and pulls, disappearing over the top seconds before Gerard gets there. When he finally stumbles back on to flat ground, he coughs and pulls back on the lead. “Fine,” he spits. “I guess we will walk along the tracks for a while.”
Truth is, Gerard hasn’t seen this place in years. He’s never really been to the edge of town since he was a kid, and suddenly standing next to the old and broken railroad tracks brings the memories rushing back. The place looks exactly the same, but then again why would it have changed? It’s not a room where people come and go, redecorating walls, moving furniture and picture frames as the years change, it’s just a spit of land – just dirt and dead trees and a broken railroad track.
In the midst of thought, Louie uses this distraction to sneak away. Well, not so much sneak, more barrels after the first thing that moves at lightning speed. The leash slips from Gerard’s hand and trails after the dog. Gerard jumps out of thought instantly. “Shit!” he curses, arms flailing a little as he jogs after the dog.
Another person emerges from behind a collection of thin, dead trees, carrying Louise’s leash and that of another which belongs to a bigger, less scruffy looking dog. Gerard slows himself down to a walk and mentally starts planning his apology when he notices that Louie is actually walking obediently next to what Gerard can now confirm is a teenage boy. Oh, good. He’s going to get a lecture on dog care by some snotty brat. He stops and lets the boy walk closer. With the last beams of daylight, Gerard can see that the look on the boy’s face isn’t smug at all. Instead he’s wearing a nervous sort of smile along with clean jeans and a plain black hoodie.
“Thanks,” Gerard says as he hands him the lead. “Slippery little sucker got away from me.”
The boy nods. “It’s alright. He stopped to play with Rosie anyway.” Gerard glances down to what looks like a young, brown and white husky. Rosie is sat patiently as Louie trots around her.
“He’s my neighbour’s dog, I’m just doing them a favour,” Gerard says with a shrug, unaware as to why he felt like just throwing that piece of information out there.
“Oh…” the boy trails, now gripping Rosie’s leash in both hands like he too can feel how awkward this conversation is. “Well the little ones can be harder to control. You just have to get them to like you before they’ll listen to you.”
Gerard desperately tries to think of something else to say as the uncomfortable situation starts to itch at his skin. “Uh, thanks. I’ll remember that.” Louie looks up at Gerard with what he’s certain is a glare. Yeah, friends with mini Cujo? That won’t be happening any time soon. Louie barks up at Gerard, startling them both. “I should get him home.”
“Yeah, me too,” the boy replies as he starts to walk slowly backwards. “Well, bye then.”
Gerard watches the boy walk away. He turns to the opposite side of the tracks, hops over them and disappears down the embankment. Something drops in Gerard’s stomach when he realises that the boy is from the other town and he suddenly feels like he’s done something very wrong. He looks around for a few confused moments as though someone’s going to be lurking somewhere, waiting to spring out at him, but he shakes the feeling away quickly and tugs Louie back in the direction they came from.
Early the next morning, Mikey wakes Gerard by digging his pointy toes in to Gerard’s shins. Gerard twitches, swats in any general direction and cracks an eye open. Mikey’s sat on the computer chair, legs on the bed with his talon like toes in Gerard’s flesh. “Wuh-wuh-fuh,” Gerard mumbles in to the blankets. Mikey cocks an eyebrow and Gerard coughs up some phlegm. “What the fuck?” he croaks.
“My toes are cold and you’re like – lava hot.”
Gerard kicks Mikey’s feet away and drags himself in to a sitting position. “What the hell happened to you last night?”
Mikey shrugs. “I guess I was just tired. Where did you go? Mom said you went out.”
Gerard combs a hand through his messy hair and coughs again. “I went for a walk.”
“On your own?” he asks, eyebrows raised.
“I ran in to Mrs. Greenford-” Mikey snorts instantly. “What?” Gerard glares.
“Dude, don’t tell me you got lumbered with Louie the schizophrenic shih tzu?” Gerard blinks and hums. “Oh my god, you’re a dog walker,” Mikey giggles, leaning back in the chair and clutching his stomach. “You have a fourteen year old girl’s job.”
“Shut the fuck up or I’ll tell Ray you’ve got a boy crush on him.” Mikey stops laughing and promptly picks up something from the floor and throw it at Gerard’s head, who half manages to dodge it – whatever it was.
“Ok, I won’t tease you about walking mini Cujo,” Mikey sighs.
“Good,” replies Gerard with a firm nod. “And I won’t tell Ray you’re really twelve.”
At six o’clock Gerard leaves Mikey playing computer games to step in to his sneakers and head for the door. Don’s reading the paper again and, as usual, Donna’s cleaning up after dinner. Gerard feels for his cigarettes before calling to his mom, “I’m going to walk Mrs. Greenford’s dog.”
“Ok, honey,” she replies from somewhere within the kitchen. “Have fun!”
Gerard grumbles and pulls open the front door. Fun? Really?
On the walk between his and Mrs. Greenford’s house (which isn’t very far at all) Gerard quickly smokes a cigarette, in hailing deeply until the smoke burns his throat and nose. There’s a few drags left when he reaches the front gate, but he sighs and flicks the lit butt in to the street, watching for a moment as the wind plays with it.
Mrs. Greenford’s hovering by the living room window as Gerard walks down the path, and she smiles and waves at him. Behind the front door, Gerard hears barking and cursing. “Stay still, Louie,” Mrs. Greenford pleads. The door is shoved open and she’s already pushing the leash in to Gerard’s grasp before the dog bolts out on to the path. “Thank you, Gerard. You’re such a sweetheart,” she says. “Now don’t ever be afraid to ask for the night off, y’know. The backyard’s big enough to tide him over for a night or so.”
Gerard nods. “I’ll remember that.”
Louie is just as annoying as he was last time. He pulls with the strength of a dog ten times his size and snarls and yaps at everything Gerard does or says. In the end, he gives up trying to reason with the mutt at all and lights another cigarette. Louie sniffs at the smoke and coughs in protest. Gerard glares at the dog and takes another long drag.
When they get to the dirt hill that leads up to the tracks Louie immediately starts to pull on his leash again. Gerard yanks him back. “No, we’re not going up there.” Louie growls and pulls again, digging his paws in to the dirt. “I said, no.” But Louie isn’t having any of it. He throws his little head back and starts to howl, painfully high pitched like he’s being abused by the worst dog walker in history. “Fine!” Gerard spits and starts stomping his way up the hill. Louie stops howling and scampers quickly passed Gerard, yipping in triumph.
Gerard almost falls over three times trying to keep up with Louie, and when he finally gets to the top of the hill he collides against another person. “Shit, sorry, sorry,” he fumbles out quickly as he reaches out to steady the other person.
“It’s ok,” the boy replies quietly, pushing his hood down off his head.
“Oh-” Gerard says quickly, letting go of the boy’s shoulders, “It’s you. I mean, uh. Sorry?” The other boy presses his lips together and shifts the weight from one foot to the other somewhat nervously. The silence quickly becomes uncomfortable. “The dog,” Gerard says, yanking the leash back subconsciously. “He ran off again.”
The boy nods as the wind picks up loose strands of his dark fringe and tosses them from side to side. “It’s ok,” he repeats.
“So, hey. I’m Gerard,” is all Gerard can think of to say next and he extends his hand out. He’s still holding the lit cigarette and he quickly switches it to the other hand. “Sorry.”
The boy smiles weakly and accepts the rather awkward hand shake. “Frank,” he replies, quickly taking his hand back and settling on top of the head of the dog Gerard only just realises is there. “This is Rosie.”
Gerard glares down at his own tiny pathetic excuse for a dog and grunts, “Louie.” Frank nods again and sticks his hands in to the deep pockets of his hoodie. Louie snarls up at Gerard at pulls on his leash again. “He still hates me.”
“I can see that,” Frank says and he laughs softly, looking down at the scruffy dog. “Hey,” he suddenly says with a bright smile, “is that Darth Vader?” he asks, pointing down to the quickly sharpied sketch on the side of Gerard’s sneaker. Gerard looks down at it too.
“Oh, that? Yeah, it is.”
“Wow. That’s pretty awesome,” Frank grins, looking back up at Gerard with a genuinely impressed expression. Gerard can’t help but smile. A muffled vibrating sound comes buzzing from the pocket of Frank’s jeans. He digs his cell phone out and flips it open and then closed again. “I gotta get going,” he sighs. “See you around?” and he says it like he actually means it, like he wants to see Gerard ‘around’.
“Sure,” Gerard nods and then Frank sort of half waves. He watches Frank walk away with Rosie trotting obediently beside him, until they both disappear in to the town beyond the tracks.
The lingering smoke from Gerard’s cigarette is still stuck in Frank’s nostrils as he walks the short distance home. His phone buzzes again with another text from his mother. He’s been five minutes more than usual and has precisely thirty seconds to walk through the front door or he is grounded. Not that there’s much to ground him from, his town isn’t exactly a bustle of excitement when you’re a teenage boy. The only thing he has to do of a weekend is hang out at Alex’s place and watch the movies his parents won’t even let him watch the trailer’s for. Sometimes, Frank’s eighteenth birthday seems so far away.
“Where have you been?” his mother asks as soon as he opens the door. Rosie shakes the cold from her fur and sits by the coat rack as Frank leans down to unclip her leash.
“Rosie had a lot of energy tonight,” he replies, looking up at his mother with honest eyes.
Linda Iero looks suspiciously between her son and his dog for a moment before pressing her lips together tightly and humming. “Ok, just try and be home on time in future.” Frank resists the urge to roll his eyes and simply nods instead. “Now go finish your homework.”
“Yes, mom,” Frank says quietly and heading for the stairs, pausing to let his mother kiss his cheek as he passes.
“I’ll bring you up some supper in an hour or so and check on your work. Is it math tonight?”
Frank trails slowly up the stairs. “Yeah. Math.”
Slipping his sneakers off by the door, Frank then pulls off his hoodie and hangs it in his closet before sitting down at his desk with a defeated sigh. His math book is heavy like an iron weight as he pulls it open to page two hundred and thirty. Algebra. Awesome. He’s got twenty equations to finish before third period tomorrow and if he gets more than five wrong, that’s two days of detention and a week’s worth of lectures from his parents. Frank can’t help it if he finds math harder to understand than hieroglyphics, but his parents have got this thing about high grades being the only way to a bullet proof future.
The clicking of claws comes clacking quickly down the hallway and Frank’s bedroom door swings softly open. Rosie pads her way in to the room and over to her mat at the bottom of Frank’s bed. She flops down on it with a grunt and blinks up at Frank, waiting. Frank smiles and rolls his chair over to Rosie’s bed. He leans down and scratches behind her ear until one of her back legs starts to shake and bang against the mat.
When Linda enters Frank’s room carrying a sandwich and a can of soda, Frank’s on his fifteenth equation. “How’s it going, kid?” she asks as she sets the plate and can down. Frank glances up from the book to shrug.
“Ok, I guess. Only a few more questions to go.” Linda nods and squeezes Frank’s shoulder softly.
“Alright, sweetie. Just make sure you have them finished before you turn in. I don’t want another letter from Mrs. Knight.”
Frank nods slowly. “I know, mom.”
She smiles and ruffles Frank’s hair before bending down to kiss his forehead. “Good. Don’t forget to bring your dishes down in the morning.”
Frank watches his mother leave and close the door behind. He sighs and throws his pencil on to the desk before leaning far back in his chair and staring at his ceiling. Just thinking about another equation has Frank feeling like he can actually feel his brain rotting inside his skull. This is bullshit, he thinks to himself and then resists the urge to add a hail Mary to that thought.
It takes him another hour to finish the last ten questions because every time he looks at the numbers and letters on the page, they all seem to blur in to one giant confusing blob. Why couldn’t his parents think that music was just as important as math? Frank was awesome at music and English for that matter. But no. For some reason Math seemed to rein supreme over all other subjects. Well, except Religious Studies of course. No kid in Frank’s school dared to fail that subject, plus it was sort of impossible to fail when you’ve had every word of the bible drilled in to you since you could walk on your own.
Frank’s got a collection of bibles lined up on his shelf, though not by choice. His grandmother keeps buying him a new one each birthday, because apparently you can never have enough bibles. Sometimes, on her thankfully infrequent visits, she’ll make her way uninvited up to Frank’s room to inspect them, so Frank always keeps them in pristine condition, dusting off the covers whenever he cleans his room. Each bible has a different cover. Some are simple with bold, golden letters, while others have more elaborate designs or religious images; much like the children’s bible he got for his ninth birthday.
The alarm screeches its way through Frank’s dream of an old and rusted train, slicing through the comfortable feeling of unconscious bliss until he finally drags his eyes open. Six AM. It’s managed to find Frank again and bring along another Monday morning with it. It’s the last week of school before summer starts. The students of St. Christopher’s have an extra two weeks of schooling compared to every other school in the country, for more time to pray and give thanks and to round off another school year. Though there’s only five days left before summer on this Monday morning as Frank drags himself out of bed, it seems so far away.
Rosie gets a quick walk on some greenery close to Frank’s house to tide her over until the evening. She points her snout towards the tracks and whines a little. Frank sighs and ruffles her ears until she sits obediently. It’s early enough to still be cold and Frank rubs at his arms through his old black hoodie. “Come on then,” he says as he tugs lightly on her leash. “You can go for a run later.”
With his uniform on and tie tied, Frank piles his math homework in to his back pack. His cell phone vibrates in his pocket as he’s fastening his pack, and he flips it out to read the message. I’m outside, loser
“Don’t forget your lunch,” Linda says from the bottom of the stairs as Frank runs down them. She hands him the paper lunch bag and smoothes down the lapel of his blazer. “And don’t forget…” she trails with an outstretched waiting hand. Frank fishes his phone out of his pocket and drops it in to her hand.
“Oh, yeah,” he says as Linda closes her long slender fingers around Frank’s silver phone. She presses her lips together and hums.
“Have a good day at school, sweetie.”
“So, we still on for Friday night?” Alex asks as they approach the school building. “My brother just brought home the latest Saw movie, we can’t miss out.” He shakes his auburn fringe from his face and combs it behind his ear as he stares at Frank expectantly.
“If I get a decent grade on this math homework then we should be all systems go,” Frank replies.
“You could have just copied a few of mine, y’know?” he offers as they cross the gates, the large windows and crosses immediately looming above them.
Frank shakes his head. “Can’t risk it. Knight would literally crucify me if she found out and my parents would lock me in my room until my 40th.”
Alex pats Frank’s shoulder sympathetically. “Don’t worry, dude. You’re eighteen soon.”
Frank huffs. “Believe me, that means nothing to my parents.” Alex’s squeezes Frank’s shoulder and nods.
“Just think about Friday, man.”
Regardless of what people think, Saint Christopher’s is just like any other high school. There are cliques with nerds, preps, jocks and more. There are cheerleaders, spring dances and an over whelming pressure to fit in. Yeah, Catholic school is just like any other school, apart from the uniforms, extended religious lessons and a chapel where assemblies are held. Oh, and the nuns.
Monday morning means an hour long assembly with Father O’Riley, including your usual hymns and bible story of the week which somehow relates to why Jesus thinks its important for you to pass tomorrow’s geography test. Frank shoves his things in to Alex’s locker (which is closer to the chapel than Frank’s) and falls in line with the rest of the students as they file in to the chapel. The boys and girls are separated, as usual, and Frank is glad when their line gets led somewhere near the back. He sits down on the uncomfortable wood and clasps his hands between his knees as Father O’Riley takes his stand, white bible in hand. Frank’s got one just like it on his shelf at home.
The assembly drags by and Frank winces every time he has to crouch on his knees to pray. Ok. So maybe doing an electric guitar slide across his bedroom floor the other day wasn’t the most amazing idea in the world and somehow, somewhere, Frank just knows someone is mocking the idea of a catholic school boy with sore knees. He lets the Father’s dull voice drone through his skull, pulling the prayer in one ear and out of the other. Frank’s heard the same words so many times now that they don’t even make sense to him anymore. He just bows his head and says his ‘Amen’s, hoping it will please Father and Lord alike.
When his last Monday morning assembly is over for the summer, Frank resists the urge to heel click on the way out of the chapel.
For a Monday, school doesn’t actually drag as much as Frank expects it to. English and Religious Studies are a bit of a blur, both lessons merging together with some half hearted debate about Capitol Punishment…or something along those lines. Frank’s actually pretty good at RS, especially the debating side of things, but today he stays at the back of the classroom and lets someone else spill their guts for a change, only to be cut down by some equally hot headed asshole. He doodles a little and scribbles Misfits lyrics in pencil before quickly erasing them before anyone can see.
When maths rolls around Frank’s pretty close to promising God he’ll name his first child ‘Jesus-Algebra Iero’ if he’ll just let him pass these questions, and he sinks in his seat as Mrs. Knight marks through their homework with a fierce look and a thick red pen.
At the end of a rather uneventful lesson, Mrs. Knight hands back everyone’s homework. Frank got twenty three out of twenty five correct. This time as he leaves, he shoves the paper in Alex’s face and does not resist the heel click. Both times.
“How was school?” Linda asks as Frank drops his backpack by the bottom of the stairs. Frank pulls out the algebra work from his pocket and hands it over. She scans it for a few seconds with pursed lips before smiling brightly. “Oh, honey,” she gushes and reaches out to ruffle a hand through his hair. “I’m so proud of you.” She turns to Frank’s father, who’s reading one of his spy novels, and holds out the paper. “Frank aced his algebra homework.”
Charles Iero doesn’t look up from his book, just simple nods and says, “That’s great, Frankie.” Because that’s all he ever says. Frank could cartwheel across the living room shouting “Dad! I’m joining the circus!” and his reply would still be exactly the same.
“So, does that mean I can go to Alex’s on Friday?” Frank asks with wide and hopeful eyes. Linda smirks a little and folds up the paper.
“If you behave and do your chores for the rest of the week then I don’t see why not.” Frank whoops and jumps up to kiss his mother’s cheek.
“Thanks, mom,” he grins. “You’re the best.”
She waves him off with a soft laugh. “I know, now go and set the table for dinner.”
Frank turns to walk in to the kitchen but then stops suddenly, like he’s just walked in to something. He whips back ‘round to where Linda is stood eyeing him curiously. “Oh, I meant to ask. Do you think it would be ok if I started giving Rosie longer walks?” Linda’s eyes narrow a little and she hums. “It’s almost summer,” Frank explains. “It’s lighter for longer, there’ll be no school soon and Rosie could really do with more exercise.”
“I’ll think about it,” she says. “Let me talk to your father and I’ll get back to you.” Frank nods quickly and smiles.
Frank does the dishes without even being asked after dinner. He clears the table and even wipes down all the sides and place mats before putting the clean dishes away. Linda watches from the doorway in to the living room with a little knowing smile playing on her lips.
When Frank’s finally done he wipes his hands dry on a dish rag and turns to her, expectantly. She rolls her eyes playfully. “You can have an extra ten minutes. It’s still a school night,” she reminds him. “When school finishes, we’ll talk again.”
Frank beams up at her. “You have made Rosie a very happy Husky,” he says, and at the mention of her name, Rosie pulls her head out of her food bowl with pricked ears. “You want a walk?” he asks the dog in a high and excited tone. Rosie immediately spins around, tail wagging wildly as she stares at Frank, waiting for the next movie. “Where’s your…leash!” he teases, and Rosie barks and bounds around the kitchen, stopping at the drawer next to the refrigerator.
“Don’t get her all excited in the house,” Linda warns. “She’s stronger than she looks.”
“I know. Sorry, mom,” Frank laughs as he pulls out Rosie’s leash from the drawer and clips it quickly on to her collar. She sits patiently as he does so, watching with wide curious eyes as Frank stuffs a few treats in to his uniform pockets.
“And don’t get your uniform filthy,” she sighs. “The extra ten minutes is for Rosie to run around, not you.”
“Yes, mom,” Frank trails as he rolls his eyes, facing away from his mother of course. He’s not that brave.
“Have fun you two!” she calls as Frank lets them both out of the back door. He waves back to Linda and then pulls Rosie down the side of the house. She bounds happily next to Frank, leading the way by heart now.
“Come on, girl,” he says in an excited voice. “We’re going for a run.” Rosie barks happily and Frank laughs and shushes her. One of the curtains on their neighbour’s house twitches, and Frank just knows there’s a disapproving look lurking somewhere behind it. He ignores it though, because Mrs. Giles gives everyone disapproving looks, and falls in to a quick stride next to Rosie as she leads them steadily towards the tracks.
The sun is just starting to cool and the heat prickles the hair on Frank’s arms like a cold breeze. Frank throws his head back and in hails the fresh evening air. It smells just like freedom. Frank sort of likes the fact that the streets get quiet quite early in the evening, well, that’s until his mother starts freaking out about Frank walking around on his own like they live in the actual ghetto and Rosie is just some yappy little defenceless Chihuahua – which she will probably come back as in her next life because she is the softest thing ever (though Frank’s still got a feeling she’d go all Cujo on some mugger’s ass if Frank were ever in trouble).
Rosie starts to tug a little harder as they approach the embankment that leads to the tracks, and ends up making choking sounds under her collar. Frank sighs and tries to keep up. “Calm down, girl,” he tries to reason, but she’s having none of it. She yanks Frank all the way up the embankment, until he’s slipping and tripping his way behind her. She gives her leash one last final yank and they’re over the top. Frank stumbles to a stop and stands, panting. “Ok, we’re here.” Rosie turns in a circle and barks. “Yes, I’m coming,” Frank huffs as he stalks his way over to the impatient pet and unclips her leash. “You better come back when I say!” he calls, just as she makes a run for the trees. Frank sighs and tucks the leash in to his pocket.
A few moments later and Frank hears not so distant yipping, followed by annoyed cursing. His lips start tugging themselves in to a smile before he even turns around. “Fuck, yes – dog! We’re here. Happy now?” Gerard says down to the dog with wide hand gestures. The dog snarls in response. He looks up quickly when Frank coughs, half startled until he smiles a little sheepishly. “Hi,” he says quietly as he starts to walk closer. Louie, though, has decided he doesn’t want to move anymore, and he digs his claws in to the ground. Gerard stops abruptly as the leash tugs back and turns to glare.
Frank laughs and walks the short few steps until they’re in acceptable conversation range. “Maybe you two should get some counselling,” he suggests and Gerard looks up at him with an amused smirk.
“He’s the one with the commitment issues,” he replies, pointing down at the small dog who growls back up at them. “See.” Gerard looks around Frank’s legs for a few confused moments before asking, “Where’s Rosie?”
“Off for a run,” Frank says, nodding his head towards the trees where Gerard can vaguely see the shadow of a dog digging at the earth. “Oh, hey. Batman!” Gerard looks back to see Frank staring down at his shoes again. Last night, Gerard sharpied Batman on to the other side of his sneakers after touching up Darth Vader’s helmet.
“Yeah, I thought Darth could use a friend. So you like the Batman comics then?”
Frank sighs and shoves his hands in to his pockets. “Of what I’ve seen. We don’t have anywhere that sells comics, and my mom won’t let me order anything off the internet.”
Gerard nods slowly, like suddenly he’s just remembered where Frank comes from, bringing forth yet another uncomfortable silence. Gerard glances over at the other town. “Really? That’s too bad.”
More silence. Frank glances behind his shoulder at the town he came from. “Seems like we live a million miles away, doesn’t it?” he says without looking back to Gerard.
“I guess,” is all Gerard has to offer as a reply, feeling a little tongue tied. Frank turns back with a small smile.
“I used to play up here sometimes when I was little,” says Frank, reminiscent.
“Me too,” Gerard says in an almost whisper, kicking at the ground just so there’s sound to fill the silence that follows. Louie starts tugging on his leash again, reminding Gerard why he’s up here in the first place.
“You wanna walk with me to get Rosie?” Frank asks, though its directed more at Louie as he bends down to pet the top of the dog’s head. Gerard nods anyway, though, and Frank looks back up at him with an easy grin, settling the nerves that seem to be twitching within Gerard every time he so much as thinks about the other town.
“I wonder why more people don’t dog walk up here,” Gerard ponders as Louie runs as quick as possible until he’s in front of them, barking and yapping at the trees.
“I don’t think anyone comes up here at all,” Frank replies. “I’ve been walking Rosie here for years and I’ve never seen anyone else – just the odd bird or stray cat.”
“Do your parents know you come up here?” Frank gives Gerard a raised eyebrow are you kidding me? sort of look. “I take that as a no…”
“The level of punishment wouldn’t even be comprehendible,” Frank answers just as Rosie comes scampering from behind a shrub, nose in the air. “But we don’t care, do we Rosie?” the dog makes a ruff sort of sound and sits. “We’re the most rebellious Catholics in history, aren’t we girl?”
Gerard laughs. “The dog’s Catholic too?”
“Do you think she’d be allowed to live in my parent’s house if she wasn’t?” Frank says, his expression only half mocking.
Bored with running in between Rosie’s legs, Louie decides to use Frank’s foot as leverage so he can scrabble his way up Frank’s leg.
“Louie!” Gerard scolds, but the dog doesn’t listen. Frank laughs and picks Louie up, walking back a little to the over grown patches of grass. Gerard follows until Frank sits down, crossing his legs and placing Louie in his lap.
“I think he just wants some attention,” Frank says, looking up at Gerard. Gerard feels taken aback a little as a beam of evening sunlight stretches through the trees and over Frank’s face, making his eyes look impossibly light. Frank smiles and nods towards the space next to him. Gerard smiles nervously and sits down obediently, tucking his knees to his chest. Louie yips happily and licks Frank’s face.
Gerard sighs dramatically. “I think he’s met someone else.”
Frank laughs as he picks Louie up, holding him away from his face even as Louie still tries to scrabble forward. Frank ends up falling on his back, giggling up at the dog that’s trying desperately to lick his face. Gerard hugs his knees, burying his smile away from Frank. When Frank holds Louie up a little higher, his school shirt and hoodie ride up off his hips, revealing a glimpse of lightly tanned stomach. Frank is by no means fat, but Gerard finds himself staring at the soft spot of pudge that hides there and his tongue suddenly feels heavy in his mouth.
“You’re pretty cute when you’re not snarling,” Frank says happily and Gerard’s eyes immediately shoot back up to Frank’s face. It doesn’t look like Frank noticed Gerard staring, but he still looks away guiltily. Louie yaps his response to Frank who laughs again and swings himself back in to a sitting position.
When it’s time to leave Frank whistles Rosie over and clips her leash back to her collar. Gerard pushes himself off the ground, his hands almost slipping on the grass. He wipes his hands on his jeans and then offers one to Frank, who smiles and accepts, allowing Gerard to pull him to his feet. Gerard thinks he feels Frank squeeze his hand before he lets go, but that’s probably just his imagination.
“I can’t believe you’ve been going on the tracks,” says Mikey, shaking his head as they cross the street to the comic book store.
“Not by choice,” Gerard argues. “The dog made me.”
“And I suppose the dog made you talk to that guy too, huh?” Gerard doesn’t say anything, just sighs and pushes the store door open. The bell dings and Ray looks up from his comic, grinning when he sees the Way brother’s walk in.
“Hey, guys!” he chirps. “You read through those novels already, Gerard? Wow, I’m impressed.”
“I’m a quick reader,” Gerard explains, even though he’s yet to pick up even one of the novels they bought. “I’m looking for some more Batman stuff.”
Ray points towards the back of the store. “At the back, next to Superman. So, Mikey, how’s your summer goin’?”
Gerard hides his smirk as Mikey’s cheeks instantly turn pink and he gets that look which means his brain is on overdrive. “Good,” he manages to get out in one quick breath. “I, mean. Yeah. Definitely better than school, anyway.” Gerard bites his lip to contain a laugh and slinks off to the back of the store.
“Anything’s better than high school,” Ray laughs and Mikey suddenly feels like an eleven year old girl. Why couldn’t he be nineteen too? The universe was so unfair. “Though I do miss high school summers,” he adds. “Shouldn’t you be out at some wild house party illegally drinking?” Mikey laughs and shakes his head nervously. At least Ray isn’t old enough to legally drink either. This makes Mikey feel a little better. God bless America, he thinks.
“I’m not much of a party goer,” Mikey says honestly. “I’m always the quiet one at the back wishing they were cooler.”
“Pfft,” scoffs Ray. “You’re Mikey Way, you’re like the coolest guy on the planet.” Mikey’s stomach swoops and he fidgets a little, pushing his glasses further up his nose.
“I’m glad someone thinks so,” he says, shoving his hands awkwardly in to his pocket.
“Dude, don’t even listen to anyone in high school. They talk shit. Hey, you should come to this party I’m having on Saturday.”
“Really?” asks Mikey a little too quickly and a little too high pitched. He coughs and repeats, with a slightly deeper voice, “Really?”
“Yeah, you and Gerard should come! We’ll eat some pizza, play a little Xbox…and then everyone can see how totally awesome you are.” Mikey’s heart’s in his mouth and all he can do is nod dumbly. Gerard suddenly appears, carrying two comics. “What do you think, Gerard? Party at mine this Saturday?”
“Sure!” Gerard nods. “Guess it would be kind of cool to see everyone again. You in, Mikey?” Mikey nods slowly. “Cool. I’m sure mom will let you go.” Mikey’s face falters and he immediately starts glaring at his brother.
When they’re out of the store, Mikey gives Gerard a dead arm.
Mikey flips through the new comics at the bottom of Gerard’s bed as Gerard pulls off his shoe and picks up a sharpie from his desk. He rolls himself back and forth on the chair, lid of the sharpie in his mouth as he contemplates for a while.
“Don’t we already have these?” says Mikey, looking up momentarily before flipping to the next page.
Gerard shrugs. “I don’t know. I was just thinking about them the other day.”
Mikey cocks an eyebrow. “Why?”
Gerard huffs, annoyed. “Because. Have you met me? I’m always thinking about comics.” Mikey purses his lips and hums, but says nothing more.
There’s another five or so minutes of silence before Mikey drops the comic back on to the pile and sighs. “So who’s this guy then?”
“What guy?” Gerard asks, playing dumb.
“Don’t ‘what guy’ me, you know who I mean. The dude from the tracks,” he says, eyes narrowed.
“Oh…” Gerard trails. “Just some guy, I don’t know. We didn’t really talk much,” he lies.
“Then how did you know he was from Bible Country?” Mikey’s eyeing him now, obviously not believing a word Gerard says.
“Because that’s the direction he always comes and goes from, moron,” Gerard replies quickly, not looking up from his shoe. “Now leave me alone, I’m busy.”
Mikey rocks on to his knees and peers over at Gerard as the sharpie flicks quickly across the side of his sneaker. “What exactly are you doing?”
“Doodling,” Gerard replies, his eyes flicking to his brother for just a fraction of a second.
“Doodling what?” Mikey smirks. Annoying Gerard was the best way to get anything from him. Just as he suspects, Gerard rolls his eyes and turns the sneakers around.
“It’s Robin, ok? Yesterday I drew Batman and today I’m adding Robin. Satisfied?”
Mikey laughs and nods. “Yeah, I suppose. I’m gonna go make some toast. You want?” Gerard shakes his head and waves him off. Mikey rolls off the bed and heads for the stairs. “Alright, suit yourself.”
Gerard waits for the door to close before going back to his sketch. He adds Robin’s cape quickly, adding a little detail so it flaps in the wind behind him. Holding the shoe out in front of himself, Gerard squints a little at the figures. He hums and pulls the shoe back, adding a line or two to Robin’s mask before nodding, satisfied.
“So, did Rosie enjoy her extra ten minutes?” Linda asks as Frank clears away the dishes.
“Yeah,” Frank nods. “She’s very grateful, aren’t you Rosie?” Rosie looks up from under the table and rolls on to her side. “See.”
Linda laughs and turns on the taps. “Tell you what, I’ll do the dishes tonight. Why don’t you take Rosie out before you revise for your Geography test tomorrow.”
“Don’t remind me,” Frank sighs as he collects the last of the dishes and sets them in the sink. Linda strokes back her son’s dark hair and smiles.
“You’ll do fine, sweetie. Now go tire that damn dog out.” Frank grins and leans up to kiss her cheek.
“No problem, honey.”
Rosie does her usual excited dance as Frank pulls out her leash before sitting patiently, her tail beating against the ground. Frank clips the leash to her collar and she immediately pulls him towards the back door. Frank barely hangs on to the end of the leash as she bolts through the yard.
“Hi!” Frank smiles at Gerard just as Rosie pulls them over the lip of the embankment. Louie’s scratching at a rock and growling at it. “How’s the happy couple?”
Gerard beams a little and laughs. “Y’know,” he sighs dramatically, “taking it day by day, I guess.” Frank unclips Rosie’s leash and pets her head. She yips happily and heads for the trees. Louie sticks his nose in the air and tries to scamper after her. He growls when his leash snaps back and turns to glare at Gerard. “Oh, no you don’t.” Louie snarls, baring his teeth. “Don’t take that tone with me.” Gerard looks up to Frank, who’s quietly giggling behind his hand. He stops and smiles.
“I’m sure you guys will patch things up soon,” Frank says. “Why don’t you try baby talking?”
Gerard’s expression drops. “I am not baby talking to that nightmare.”
“It’s the tone,” Frank laughs. “You can say anything you want, and as long as it’s in a positive tone, Louie will think you’re praising him. Here,” he pulls one of Rosie’s treats out of his pockets and holds it in front of Louie’s nose. “Who’s a little shit, huh? Who is it?” Louie barks happily and sits, tongue lolling as he stares up at Frank expectantly. Frank feeds him the treat and pets his head. “Good mangy mutt.”
Gerard grins again. “Awesome. How come you know so much about dogs?”
Frank shrugs and pushes his hoodie sleeves up to his elbows. “I don’t know. I guess I just read a lot? I had to bug my mom for ages to let me have Rosie, and she practically made me write a presentation on why I’d be a responsible dog owner.”
“Did you ace it?”
Frank smirks. “Do you see me walking an imaginary dog?”
Gerard starts to laugh like he really can’t help it, not just a quiet polite giggle but a proper belly laugh. He snaps his mouth closed and blushes a little. Frank’s beaming back at him and the sudden awkwardness Gerard feels makes him wish he’d brought those comic for Frank, just for something else to talk about.
“So when do you finish for summer?” Gerard wants to kick himself before he’s even finished speaking. School questions, really? Frank pulls his hoodie down self consciously over his school shirt.
“Friday,” he says. “I can’t wait. This is going to be the slowest week of my life.”
“You have end of year parties or anything?”
Frank shakes his head and pulls his sleeves back down. “No, we-”
“Bible party?” Gerard interrupts, smiling. Frank laughs and reaches out to punch Gerard in the arm, defusing some of the tension.
“No, moron,” he chuckles. “I’m going over to my friend’s place to watch movies.”
“Awesome,” Gerard replies, because yeah - awesome. Gerard suddenly finds himself taken back a little at how normal Frank is. Growing up on the other side of town Gerard always pictured the teenagers from ‘Bible Country’ being all preppy and God fearing, carrying around Bibles in their book bags and listening to pathetically Religious Rock. And yet here he is stood with Frank, talking about comic books and dogs and crazy parents.
Frank pulls himself out of bed on Thursday morning, cursing under his breath as he slips on the bathroom mat. His hair is a mess and he almost jumps at his own reflection. He peers at himself in the mirror, eyes narrowing on what he’s sure is a spot developing on the lower side of his right cheek. He glares at the reddening skin and pulls his toothbrush angrily from the pot. “Perfect,” he grumps.
Rosie’s morning walk is quicker than usual because Frank’s not really in an amazing mood. Rosie is not impressed. She tries to impatiently pull Frank back on to the grass as he yanks her towards the house. “Come on, Rosie,” he pleads. “Work with me here!” Rosie makes an unimpressed grunt and strops all the way back to the house.
“One more day, man,” says Alex excitedly as he bounces on the balls of his feet outside the school gates. “One more day and we’re free, free!” he shouts and Frank rolls his eyes, half expecting Alex to start cackling like a maniac.
They get the results back from yesterday’s Geography test and Frank literally only just passed by the skin of his teeth, which he thinks is so unfair because he revised for ages. He shoves the paper in to his back pack with an annoyed sigh. His mom isn’t going to be very impressed.
By lunch time Frank’s in the boy’s room, glaring at his spot which glares back at him. He’s sure it’s grown at least twice its original size since this morning. Frank shoves his hands in to his pockets and curses teenage skin. Today blows.
Mikey’s spent the past two days freaking out about Saturday. Gerard flops down on his bed and glares at the ceiling. He’s got another two days of this shit. Not cool. Mikey’s been mentally planning his outfit and pondering the possibilities of guy liner and talking Gerard to death about the whole situation. Gerard’s pretty much ready to crack because fuck no he does NOT want to talk about if Mikey should show hip bone or not.
“I don’t want it to look like I’m trying too hard,” says Mikey from the chair.
Gerard snorts. “You are trying too hard, Mikey.”
Mikey rolls his eyes and waves a hand at Gerard. “But it has to look like I’m not. I just have to be effortlessly cool and attractive.”
“I’m going to throw up,” mumbles Gerard, words muffled by the pillow he’s currently pressing over his face. Mikey puts a leg on to the bed to kick at Gerard’s ankle.
“Fuck off,” he scoffs. “You’re not being very helpful.”
“Mikey,” Gerard begins, pulling the pillow slowly away from his face. “Why would I want to help make you look attractive?”
Mikey pauses for a few moment’s, thinking, before he smirks. “Because if you don’t, I’ll tell Ray and all his friends that you’re a dog walker.”
Gerard throws the pillow at Mikey.
Friday brings the longest school day of Frank’s life so far. Every minute feels life twenty, and every lesson seems to be fifty times more mind numbingly boring than normal. It’s almost as if they want to make this the most pain staking day for every single student. RS is worst of all. The entire lesson is filled with bible teachings and information on all the volunteer work they can do over the summer, from trash picking to taking care of the elderly. Frank feels sort of bad that helping others isn’t really on his list of priorities for this summer. Mostly his list consists of movie nights with Alex, taking long walks with Rosie, researching colleges and just waiting to turn eighteen.
Finally it’s over, and as soon as the bell rings there’s a new excitement in the air. Frank grins over to Alex who gives him two enthusiastic thumbs up.
“I’ll get everything set up,” he says as they fight their way through the busy hallways.
“Awesome,” says Frank just as they step outside. The sun is shining and the breeze it brings is warm and welcoming, like summer’s just been waiting for that bell to ring just as much as they have. “I’ve just gotta walk Rosie quickly and grab my stuff and I’ll be over.”
“And then it’s time for the gore fest!” Alex cries as he fist pumps the air victoriously.
Gerard would be lying if he said he wasn’t a little disappointed when he gets to the tracks and finds them empty. Louie trots around Gerard’s feet, sniffing at the ground. He’s been a lot more well behaved than usual, and it’s freaking Gerard out. He sighs and yanks the small dog over to the trees. Louie bounds over a few logs and yips excitedly.
Didn’t Frank mention something about a movie night? Gerard asks himself. He mentally back tracks through their conversations before nodding to himself. Yes. That’s where he is. He must have walked Rosie earlier or maybe his parents will. At that thought, Gerard looks around nervously, peering over the lip of the embankment at the other town. The town below holds less people than White Heart, yet it always seems to look a hell of a lot bigger.
Gerard shakes his head and looks back to his own town before down at Louie. “Come on,” he says. “Do your business and lets get out of here.”
Louie sits down on a log and blinks up at Gerard.
They’re not even ten minutes in to the film when Frank starts to think about Gerard. It’s not like anything came up in the movie to suddenly remind him of Gerard, not like some annoying little shih tzu ran across the screen in front of Jigsaw or anything – no. In fact there’s something particularly horrible happening with a bear trap and there’s blood and other stuff that Frank would usually find amazing, but apparently his brain has other ideas.
“Dude, you look a little spaced out,” Alex comments from his bean bag. Frank looks up quickly and shakes his head with a sort of nervous laugh.
“Just really in to this movie,” he says. He focuses back on the screen and mentally bats Gerard away from his thoughts.
Mikey’s awake far too early for a Saturday and it’s not even eleven yet when he bounds his way loudly down the steps to Gerard’s basement bedroom. Gerard wakes up on the last few steps and immediately groans in to his pillow. Oh god, he thinks and he clutches the covers in a vice grip, refusing to believe that this is his fate for the next twenty four hours.
“Gerard, Gerard, Gee - Gerard,” Mikey chants as he shakes his brother with both hands. Gerard groans again and shakes his head.
“No, Mikey,” he mumbles in to the pillow. “Go away, come back at a more reasonable hour.”
“Do you even know what time it is?” he asks, all smug and smart assed. Gerard glares at the insides of his lids. At least he’s stopped with the shaking.
“I’m not done sleeping so I know it’s too early,” he says, though he moves his face from out of his pillow and opens his eyes.
“But there’s only eight hours until Ray’s party,” Mikey explains, and Gerard has to stare really hard at his brother’s face for a few moments because he thinks he might actually be serious.
“Can you hear yourself right now?” he finally says. “Like, the words coming out of your mouth – can you actually understand them?”
Mikey glares and moves back to sit on the computer chair. “I’m not moving until you get up and help me,” he says slowly. Gerard blinks. Mikey folds his arms - challenge accepted. “And I am just going to sit here and describe, in excruciating detail, my top three favourite dreams I’ve had about Ray Toro. Dream one-” Gerard throws the covers back and practically falls out of bed.
“You excited for tonight, boys?” Donna asks over lunch. Gerard wants to bang his head against the counter and cry Dear god, woman. Don’t encourage it! but he’s not that brave.
Mikey smiles innocently and nods. “We can’t wait, can we, Gerard?”
Gerard cocks an eyebrow. “Oh? Oh, yeah. No. Can’t wait. Gonna be awesome.”
Donna narrows her eyes a little. Something’s definitely going on, she was a teenager once too. But she doesn’t press it. She trusts her boys. “You’ll keep an eye on your brother,” she says, and Gerard knows it’s not a request.
Gerard nods. “Yeah, mom. I won’t let him out of my sight. I promise.”
She smiles and reaches over the counter to pet the top of Mikey’s head. “Good.”
When it gets to six pm, Mikey gets awfully jittery. He sits in front of the tiny mirror in Gerard’s room and inspects every single inch of his face while making disapproving noises. Finally he pushes the computer chair away from the mirror and sighs, annoyed.
“What’s the matter, Mikey Way?” Gerard asks sincerely, because his brother is looking genuinely defeated.
“What am I even doing?” he says with a pout. “I mean, I’m sixteen. It’s a miracle he even talks to me.”
Gerard frowns. “Ray’s not an asshole, Mikey. You know that. He’s not going to judge you because of your age.”
“I feel like I’m building myself up for the biggest fall of my whole life.” Gerard laughs a little and shakes his head.
“It’s your first love, little bro. Of course it’s going to feel that way.”
Mikey presses his lips together in a tight line for a few moments. “Was it like that with you?” he asks, and Gerard somehow finds himself not ready for the question.
“I’ve never been in love,” he answers honestly.
Mikey walks silently next to Gerard as they make their way to Ray’s house. He lights a cigarette, takes a drag and then hands it to his brother. Mikey takes it and smiles weakly, but still grateful. He kicks his feet along the pavement and smokes the cigarette slowly, not offering back to Gerard once. Gerard doesn’t mind though, he lights himself another and sets a reassuring hand on Mikey’s shoulder.
The music thuds from Ray’s house, though it’s soft and not obnoxiously loud, and Gerard can already hear Ray’s honking laugh coming somewhere from inside the house. The front door’s open and the light from the living room spills out on to the porch. Mikey rubs at his elbow as they get to the bottom of the steps, looking from the house to Gerard and back again. Gerard takes the first step and Mikey cautiously follows.
Inside, there are six or seven boys surrounding a TV as two other play some racing game, shouting and swearing as the cars crash their way around the tracks. Ray’s leaning against the doorframe that leads in to the kitchen, and when he sees Mikey and Gerard his eyes genuinely light up.
“Hi, guys!” he grins, stepping over the odd beer bottle to get to them. “You came, awesome! You want a beer?” he asks, looking at Gerard who nods. When Ray looks at Mikey and then back at Gerard, silently asking if Mikey can have one, Mikey wants the ground to swallow him up.
“Sure,” is all Gerard says before Ray nods and disappears in to the kitchen.
“Oh god,” Mikey groans. “I can’t believe he had to ask permission.” Gerard just laughs until Ray returns, two cold beers in his hands. “Thanks,” Mikey says, perking up as he accepts the beer, ignoring the flip in his stomach when their fingers momentarily brush. Gerard, however, doesn’t ignore it. He takes a large gulp of his beer with wide God, help me eyes.
“So!” Ray starts up again. “The guys here are almost done and I have me and you signed up for the next round, Mikey Way.”
“Really?” Mikey squeaks.
Ray laughs and nods. “Hell, yeah! Don’t think I forgot our conversation about your mad driving skills.” That conversation must have taken place two, maybe three months ago. Mikey can’t believe he actually remembers. As Ray fights his way to the controls Mikey follows behind, quietly melting.
When Ray finally kicks the others off the Xbox, he pats the spot on the couch next to him. Mikey nervously makes his way over and picks up and control. Gerard vaguely recognises the other people in the room, a few he went to high school with and this one guy who always used to hang out with Ray’s brother. Everyone seems to have changed so much in just a few years, well, except Ray. He’s always been Gerard’s awesome haired comic book obsessed friend since the first day of high school.
“Gerard!” says someone as they slap a hand on Gerard’s shoulder, almost making him drop his beer. He turns to stare hard at the familiar face before the piercings finally click the boy in to place in Gerard’s brain.
“Brian,” he smiles.
“Gerard Way,” Brian says slowly. “How the devil are you?”
“I’m good thanks, yeah. You?” Brian chugs down the rest of his beer before grinning.
“I’m awesome, man. How’s art school?”
“It’s ok, I guess. A little Van Gough here, some Jackson Pollock there. What about you? What are you doing with yourself?”
“Business school,” he nods. Gerard laughs.
“Really?” he stops to glance over Brian’s tattooed arms. “I would never have pinned you as the type.”
Brian’s just about to answer when there’s a loud rupture of cheering. Gerard whips his head back ‘round to the TV where one car is upturned on the tracks, completely bent out of shape and on fire. “Man, he fucking annihilated you, Toro!” someone comments.
Mikey’s smiling sheepishly as Ray blinks, dumbfounded, at the screen. The rest of the room is looking pretty impressed with Mikey Way right now. Gerard couldn’t be more proud. They play another round and this time, Mikey almost lets Ray win, secretly loving the look on his face when Mikey slams in to, and once again overturns, his car. When Mikey wins again, someone hands him another beer.
A few more guys corner Gerard, just some old friends from high school that Gerard has some difficulty remembering. For some reason, though, they all seem to remember Gerard. As he talks to them about art school and summers when they were younger, he tries to keep an eye on his little brother, who is still claiming victims with his ‘mad driving skills’. He’s been playing that game for well over an hour and is still undefeated.
With each new victory, someone hands Mikey another beer. He doesn’t know where they’re coming from, but they seem to be helping with his confidence, so he accepts them gladly. From the chair next to the couch, Mikey can’t help but notice Ray watching. He’s been sat there watching Mikey win game after game with some ridiculous smile on his face. Mikey wants to shake his head and brush it off as nothing, hell, for the sake of his sanity he probably should. But then Ray gives Mikey a thumbs up with a wicked grin and even a little eyebrow bob, and Mikey just wants to lick the guy’s cheekbones.
When the tracks and the cars start to blur on the screen, Mikey knows it’s time to down the controller and take his undefeated victory. “Another beer?” Ray suggests, and Mikey knows he really shouldn’t but Ray’s moving towards the kitchen and he really want to follow. So he does. Gerard gives him a questioning look as he passes, and Mikey tries to smile as innocently as possible whilst concentrating on walking in a straight line.
“Thanks,” he smiles as Ray hands him another opened beer.
“You were really awesome tonight, Mikey,” Ray says and Mikey instantly blushes, his cheeks feeling as though they’re about to catch fire. Mikey laughs a little sort of ‘Heh’ sound. “No, really. You totally ran circles around everyone in there, man. See, I told you everyone would see how cool you are!”
“Shame none of them go to my high school.”
Ray frowns a little. “Hey, now. What did I say about that? You don’t pay attention to jerks in high school. They don’t know shit. You are the coolest motherfucker here tonight and I won’t have anyone saying otherwise.”
Mikey blushes for another few moments before he takes a big swig of beer. “And if they do?”
“Well…” Ray trails, searching for something to say. “Well, then I’ll just have to – insult their mothers or something!”
Mikey’s laugh is infectious and both he and Ray are soon gasping for air as they laugh until their stomachs get sore. When they manage to stop, they clink the necks of their beer bottles together and start telling ‘Your Mom’ jokes until it’s time for their next laughing fit.
When someone invites Mikey outside for a cigarette, he thinks it’s the most amazing idea in the world. When the fresh air hits him and sends the past few hours worth of beer whizzing up to his brain, it’s not the most awesome idea anymore.
“Gerard!” someone shouts from the kitchen. “Your brother’s puking up in the back yard.”
Mikey’s just finished vomiting in to some bushes when Gerard makes his way outside. He sighs and shakes his head. Fuck, he is so dead if their mom finds out. So dead.
“Gerard!” Mikey calls when he stands up and wipes his mouth sloppily on the back of his hand. “Oh, god. I think I’m wasted. Don’t look at me!” He holds a hand out towards Gerard in an attempt to cover his face. Gerard rolls his eyes and bats Mikey’s hand away.
“Shut up, Mikey. We’re going home.”
Mikey’s eyes widen. “No! We can’t go. Not yet. Ray, he – Where’s Ray?” he babbles.
Gerard sighs. “He’s watching worriedly through the kitchen window. I think he feels guilty…”
Mikey’s face drops. “He feels guilty?” he says with a wounded puppy expression. “I made him feel guilty? Oh my god. I puked over his mother’s plants and he feels guilty?” he stops for a few moments to think before finally sniffing like he’s all choked up. “That’s so sweet.”
Gerard groans. He wants to bang his head against a wall. As if on cue Ray cautiously makes his way out in to the back yard. “Is he ok?” he asks Gerard. Mikey backs up a few steps and sits down in the grass.
“He’ll be fine,” Gerard sighs.
“I’m so sorry, dude. I didn’t mean for him to get like this. Fuck, I didn’t even see the guys handing him beers…”
“It’s ok,” Gerard reassures him. “He’s going to be fine. Hangover and bruised ego aside…”
“No way,” Ray laughs. “Everyone loves him, even more now he’s wasted!”
Gerard snorts. “Ok, help me get him up.”
They grab an arm each and hoist Mikey back to his feet. Mikey acts like a rag doll and lets himself be pulled and pushed as they stumble back towards the house. Gerard decides it’s best to take Mikey around the side of the house because if he gets back inside, he’s probably going to want to stay there. Ray agrees.
Around the front of the house now, Mikey’s grasping this walking thing a little better, though Gerard and Ray still have an arm each around their necks. “I love you guys,” Mikey suddenly shouts. “All of you motherfuckers, I love you!” Gerard bites his lip to conceal a laugh. He’s not sure exactly who Mikey’s talking to. “You,” he says as he looks up at Ray. “You’re my favourite.”
Ray laughs a little and it almost sounds nervous. “You’re my favourite too, Mikey Way.”
Mikey grins for a few moments before sighing dramatically. “I just don’t get it,” he whines before slumping his head against Gerard’s shoulder.
“I got it from here,” Gerard says as they reach the end of the street. “You go back and make sure your house isn’t getting trashed.”
“You sure?” Ray says as he almost reluctantly slips Mikey’s arm from around his neck.
Gerard nods. “Yeah, no problem. We live like, two minutes away.”
“Ok,” he squeezes a hand over Mikey’s shoulder. “Stay cool, Mikey Way,” he says quietly before he pulls a phone out of his pocket. “Almost forgot, he dropped this,” he says and slips the phone in to Mikey’s pocket.
When Mikey wakes up the next morning on Gerard’s bedroom floor with a pounding head ache and a rancid trash can sort of taste in his mouth, his phone is flashing next to his face with a new message. He flips the phone open and squints, trying to make the words out without his glasses.
It’s from Ray. Mikey sits up quickly and instantly regrets it, his brain hitting the front of his skull with what feels like maximum force. He groans before going back to the message. He’s never had Ray’s number before. Ray must have saved it in there himself last night.
A hearty breakfast is the hangover cure for champions! Mikey Way, you are the coolest x
Mikey reads the message at least ten times before pressing the phone to his chest. His heart soars.
Frank can’t decide what’s a more inappropriate thing to have on his mind at church, a gory horror film – or Gerard. Probably Gerard. It’s not like Frank’s spent the entire of the weekend thinking about him, no. Just now and then and just little snippets of their past conversations. But that’s completely normal. Whenever you make a new friend you think about them, because it’s new and exciting and you want to think of questions to ask them about books and music and if they believe in Hell or not. Not seeing Gerard all weekend has build up a magnitude of questions in Frank’s mind, which are all currently whizzing around the place.
Frank focuses on the closed hymn book in front of him and tries to tune his ears back on to whatever is being said. Trouble is, Frank’s finding any excuse not to listen and usually that’s not the case. Sure, most teenagers get bored in church, even the really religious ones, but you just sit there and listen because you know you probably should and because your mother will be talking about it on the journey home. He side glances his mother and she looks back at him with a disapproving expression, like she just knows that Frank’s not thinking about Jesus. He looks back to the hymn book quickly.
“Sometimes the line between earth and hell is not so very clear,” Father Black says, his voice is loud and clear but it’s still just background noise to Frank’s thoughts. “But with the Lord’s help,” he continues, “with the Lord’s help, you will be able to see.” He slams his palm against his service notes, the sound quickly snapping Frank back to reality with a flinch, though no one else seems to be phased by it. “We all know what goes on across those lines,” he says, his voice dark and smooth as he leans closer to his congregation, like he’s whispering a secret, and peers at them all. “We all know what goes on across the lines,” he repeats.
To anyone else, to anyone outside of their town, he’s talking about the line between earth and hell. But to them, the people of Stone Wall town, he’s talking about what lies beyond those abandoned rail road tracks – the town across the lines.
Sometime in the early fifties, the ever modernising world began to take hold of the two towns. Once friendly neighbours whose children regularly played and adults socialised, the towns were slowly but surely ripped apart. While Stone Wall remained true to its traditional values and religious history, White Heart began to revel in the modern world and its views.
The women were becoming more liberal after the war, finding out that although they made excellent housewives, they were still capable of surviving without being completely dependent on men. America was enjoying post War life, getting back in to fashion and new music as well as crowding the family around television sets…but not in Stone Wall. To Stone Wall, religion was life.
As the towns grew more and more different, the cracks began to crumble. At first there was just a general dislike, but soon that expanded and then came angry letters back and forth between town halls, counsellors, schools and mothers. Things were said about the state of the towns and religion – or a lack of, was blamed until both towns were thrown in to a ‘religion verses blasphemy’ war.
The young men fled back and forth across the tracks, taking to the streets armed with whatever they could find and set fire to and propel towards the other side. The streets flamed and burned at nights for weeks and no one was safe. Children were kept inside at all times and summer play was nothing but a distant dream for them, trapped inside their homes the anger of the others. Both towns were kept under police watch for near a month after the initial incidents, and riot squads were left on call just in case tempers and petrol bombs flared again. There was an equal amount of damage on both sides, several buildings destroyed, countless windows broken and in total twenty seven vehicles set alight.
After the war both towns still smouldered with the damage of the riots and attacks, though each side always thought they delivered better than they received. Even when the situation calmed and the police no longer patrolled the streets after eight an unspoken law was made. No one was to cross the tracks that separated the two towns; both were to live as if the other did not exist in hope to keep the peace. There was to be no contact between either side, the schools would not mingle together on any occasion and the tracks were to be left abandoned, just as they had been before. The other town was not to be spoken of, except of course in gossip behind closed doors, like there was just some town shaped hole in America that no one had ever noticed before. The children were told to not even think of those who came from beyond the tracks and dirt hills – like a ghost story or myth.
Ignorance was once again bliss.
“Good service today wasn’t it, Frankie?” Linda asks when they step out of the church with everyone else. Frank nods and smiles as innocently as possible.
“I can’t believe I puked in his yard,” Mikey groans as Gerard hands him a mug of semi-strong coffee. “I don’t think I can face him ever again.”
Gerard tucks his feet under his knees as he sits cross legged on his bed, blowing steam away from his own mug of coffee. “Well, from the text you’ve been rereading all day, it looks like he’s not all that bothered.”
Mikey’s torn between blushing and scowling. “I haven’t been rereading it all day, ok? Just at regular intervals…”
“Ok then,” Gerard laughs.
How’s the hangover champ?
Coming along nicely! How r ur mom’s plants? Sorry btw :/ x Mikey deletes and re-adds the kiss at least four times before finally sending.
U’ll be getting a call from their lawyer any day now. I wudnt worry about it, tho. They’re jus angry, it’s all jus words. I’ll try 2 talk them out of it x
Mikey giggles in to his pillow as his stomach flips back and forth. Thx dude. Ur the best x
Anythin for you MikeyWay x
“How was your weekend?” Frank greets when he walks up to Gerard and Louie that evening. Louie yaps and bounds forward on his lead as he takes up his usual routine of running in and out of Rosie’s legs.
Gerard snorts. “You don’t even want to know.” Rosie growls a little as Louie tries to trip her up with his lead. Frank laughs and unclips her own leash.
“Go on then, go play,” he says before straightening himself back up again. “Sure I do,” he says as he looks up at Gerard. “That’s why I asked.” Frank’s smile is honest and Gerard finds himself succumbing to it.
“Well, we went to this house party,” he starts. “My brother had been driving me crazy over it because he likes this, uh person,” he stops to check Frank’s reaction. Nothing. “So, yeah. Anyway, he was really nervous and got pretty wasted and ugh, it was just a nightmare.”
Frank giggles a little. “I remember when this one guy showed up to school wasted and we all had to make it seem like he wasn’t?” Gerard’s eyes widen in surprise. This, Frank does pick up on. “Yeah, Catholic kids get wasted too,” he laughs.
Gerard smiles and shifts his weight from either foot, nervously. “So did the guy get busted?”
“Believe it or not, no. There was some crisis with the annual charity food drive, so the staff were a little preoccupied.” They only get a few moments of awkward silence before Frank finally spits out, “So this guy your brother likes-”
“What?” Gerard’s eyes bug out a little. “I never said-”
“You said person,” Frank interrupts. “That always means same sex. I’m not stupid, y’know?”
Gerard shakes his head. “I never thought you were.”
“And I’m not going to throw a bible at you.” They both stop to smirk at each other.
“You carry around bibles just to throw at people?”
Frank shrugs. “Sometimes…” he says seriously before slipping in to one of his infectious giggles and Gerard smiles with his whole face until his cheeks ache. Frank’s really cute when he giggles, he notes but stomps down on that thought as soon as it appears. “So this guy,” he starts up again. “Does he like your brother too?”
Gerard starts to gnaw on his bottom lip. “I don’t know. I used to think that he didn’t, that there was no way, but now I’m not so sure. I mean, he’s nineteen and Mikey’s sixteen…”
“That’s not too bad,” Frank says with a slow nod and Gerard double takes a little. “What?”
“Nothing,” Gerard says quickly. “I just, I don’t know, I-”
Frank sighs dramatically. “Don’t make me get my bible out,” and Gerard instantly starts laughing.
Louie starts to whine after that, sitting next to Gerard’s foot as he stares up at them, utterly bored. They walk Louie over to the trees so he can prance around with Rosie for a while, but Rosie’s not in the mood to co operate. She stays just out of reach of the length of Louie’s leash the whole time. Frank chuckles as he watches them and Gerard stomps on those pesky little butterflies that flap freely inside his stomach.
Waking up on the first Monday of summer is perhaps the most amazing feeling in the world. Frank throws back his covers and practically bounds out of bed and bounces over to the bathroom where he flips on the shower. Life is good.
“Someone’s in a good mood,” Linda smiles as Frank whistles his way in to the kitchen.
“It’s summer,” he says, pulling a chair out from the table. “No school for three whole months.” He sits down and grabs a piece of toast and takes a big bite, smearing butter across his cheek.
“Mmhm,” she hums. “Have you looked over the list of volunteer opportunities?”
“Uh…” he trails, mouth full of bread.
“Frankie,” she sighs. “You know it will look good on a college application.”
“I know, mom,” he nods. And really, he does know. It’s not like he’s never done it before. In fact, he’s done it most summers since he was thirteen. Well, apart from that one summer he was really ill and also the summer where Frank broke three of his toes. That wasn’t fun. It’s not even like he doesn’t want to. He’s enjoyed volunteering in the past, but it’s the first day of his last high school summer – he deserves a break. “I’ll look at it later.”
“When you look through those college brochures?” she asks with raised eyebrows.
Frank munches down the rest of the toast and sighs. “Yeah,” he drawls.
“Hey, you want me to walk Louie with you tonight?” Mikey asks as Gerard shoves his feet in to his sneakers. He looks up quickly and then freezes, scrambling around his brain frantically for something to say.
“It’s ok,” he says as he shakes his head. “I sort of like having time to myself, y’know, to think about stuff.”
“Uh huh,” Mikey nods slowly. “And this bible country boy?”
“I hardly ever see him,” Gerard lies, badly. He stands up and grabs his jacket so he doesn’t have to look Mikey in the eye. “Honest,” he adds, just for good measure.
Gerard waits for Mikey to roll his eyes and submerse himself in whatever’s on the TV before quickly grabbing the two Batman comics and high tailing it out of there.
Gerard instantly starts to feel nervous as soon as he sees Frank appear over the top of the embankment. He’s smiling and waving and Gerard’s stood there with comics in one hand and dog leash in the other, looking and feeling petrified. As he gets a little closer, Frank notices the comics. He glances down at them and then back up at Gerard with a questioning look.
“Reading material?” he asks. “Or is this your bible to throw at me?”
Gerard smiles back a little uneasily and holds the comics out towards Frank. Frank stares at them, like he doesn’t even know what they are. “They’re for you, actually,” Gerard says, trying to keep his voice as steady as possible.
“What?” Frank says, his eyes widening.
“You said you didn’t have a store that sold them,” Gerard explains, feeling like an idiot with his arm still out stretched towards Frank. “So I picked some up for you. Here, take them.” Frank reaches out and grasps them, his fingers lightly brushing against Gerard’s as he takes them slowly from out of Gerard’s grip. “These are the two most important issues, I think,” he says in effort to distract himself from the queasy feeling that vibrates through his stomach.
Frank stares down at the comics in his hand, dumbfounded. “Wow,” he whispers. “I don’t even know what to say…” he trails before looking back up at Gerard, his eyes holding something that makes Gerard’s stomach finally stop spinning and just drop. He looks genuinely touched. “Thank you,” Frank finally adds.
Gerard nervously smiles and ducks his head. “It’s ok, man. Don’t mention it.”
“I feel like I should give you something,” he says and Gerard instantly shakes his head.
“No, it’s fine, honest. You don’t need to do that. It’s not even a big deal.” Except it is a big deal, to Frank. It’s a huge deal. Gerard’s bought Frank something, and it’s something he actually wants – something he’s going to use and love and read over and over again and Gerard bought it for him.
“Do you have messenger?” Frank suddenly blurts and, as soon as he’s said it, he regrets it. He almost rolls his eyes at himself and refrains from slapping his palm to his forehead. Could he be anymore of a loser?
“Uh, yeah…I think,” Gerard replies. He fishes in his pockets and pulls out a Sharpie. “You got some paper or something?”
Frank looks at the comics for just a moment but no, he can’t sacrifice them and Gerard probably wouldn’t let him. Instead, he pushes his hoodie sleeve up to his elbow and sticks out his arm. “Here,” he says and Gerard cautiously steps closer, wrapping his fingers around Frank’s wrist to steady the arm. Frank giggles a little as Gerard jots down his e-mail in his messy and childlike handwriting. GAW@hotmail.com - Frank tilts his head to read it. “GAW?” he asks.
“Yeah, it’s my initials,” Gerard replies, recapping the sharpie and pocketing it again.
“Cool! It kind of sounds like Gore.”
Gerard laughs. “Yeah, it does. I never noticed that before.”
“That’s because you hadn’t met me yet,” Frank smirks and Gerard can’t help but return it.
Frank spends the rest of the evening in his room, staring at the comics. He lies on the bed with the comics on the pillow next to his and just looks at them. He hasn’t read them yet, hasn’t even flipped through the pages. He just brought them home, hidden under the front of his hoodie, went straight to his room and set them down on his bed.
At some point Rosie comes over and puts her head on the bed. She stares across at Frank and then blinks over to the comics. Frank smiles. “These are comics,” he says before quickly adding, “from Gerard.” Rosie blinks again. “Gerard’s nice, isn’t he?” She continues to stare at Frank. He takes it as a yes. “You want me to read some to you?” Rosie clambers on to the bed and lies on her back next to Frank. Frank laughs. “Ok then. Are you sitting comfortably?”
Rosie rolls over.
The next day Gerard rolls out of bed and on to the floor, landing on top of his closed laptop. He’d pulled it out of his gym bag last night after searching for it under countless pairs of black socks and switched it on, logging in to Messenger for the first time in months. He had no new contacts.
Gerard shakes himself awake with a groan and pulls himself up off the floor. The laptop isn’t broken, but he picks it up gingerly and sets it on the bed. He flips up the lid and the screen blinks back on. No new contacts. He sighs and heads for the stairs, scratching at his belly as he yawns. Coffee and toast would be perfect around now.
To his surprise, Mikey’s already in the kitchen, glasses askew and hair a mess. He nods a greeting to his brother and continues drinking from the carton of juice. “Mom’s gonna kill you if she sees you,” Gerard croaks, his voice still heavy under the weight of sleep.
“Then I better make sure she doesn’t see me,” Mikey replies as he pushes the carton across the units to Gerard. “Wanna make me some toast?”
Gerard sighs and pulls a loaf of bread out of the cupboard. “I suppose.”
“Awesome,” Mikey says as he hops off the stool and heads to the basement stairs. “You can bring a plate downstairs while I fall back asleep on your bed.” He’s gone before Gerard can turn around to complain.
“Fuckin’ brothers,” he mumbles, shoving two pieces of bread in to the toaster.
When Gerard gets back down to the basement, plate of toast in one hand and glass of juice in the other, Mikey half hanging off the side of his bed and squinting at the computer screen. “Dude,” he says. “Who the hell is FrankieFrank?”
Gerard frowns. “What?”
“FrankieFrank at hotmail dot com wants to know if you’ve considered changing you e-mail yet?” Mikey says, his eyebrows shooting up in confusion.
Gerard’s eyes widen and he starts to panic. “Oh, uh, just some dude,” he rambles. “A guy from college, yeah. Well, here’s your toast,” and he shoves the plate and glass in to Mikey’s hands. “You can’t eat in here though.”
“What? Since when?” Mikey says, eyes narrowing.
“Since now. No more crumbs in my bed, ok? Go eat in the kitchen. Go, shoo!” he says as he ushers Mikey away from the laptop as quick as possible. Mikey makes little noises of protest as he’s shooed towards the stairs.
“You’re so fuckin’ weird!” he calls back, and Gerard waits for Mikey to shoot him one last dirty look before disappearing in to the kitchen. He closes the door and sighs, relieved. The screen flashes again and his head snaps up. He dashes for the bed.
FrankieFrank: Was that a no?
GAW: No, not a no! Sorry I was making breakfast for my little brother.
FrankieFrank: Aw that’s sweet (: How’s his inappropriate man crush coming along?
GAW: lol! The imaginary wedding should be any day now!
FrankieFrank: Can I come? (:
GAW: haha sure! Rosie can carry the rings too!
FrankieFrank: Like a flower girl? Aw she’s touched!
FrankieFrank: I read one of those comics. The one with two-face.
GAW: Oh yeah? What did you think?
GAW: I know right?! :D
FrankieFrank: I was reading it to Rosie and I got so in to it! Proper doing the voices and everything. I had to tell my mom I had the TV on haha.
GAW: haha. You read to Rosie?
GAW: that’s really cute (:
Frank finds himself grinning hard at the screen like and idiot until his cheeks hurt. His fingers hover over the keys as he thinks of what to say next, chewing his bottom lip in thought.
FrankieFrank: as cute as making breakfast for your little brother?
There’s a twang in Gerard’s stomach and he doesn’t get to it in time to stop it, and soon it’s vibrating through out his whole body. He looks away from the screen like Frank can actually see him before quickly turning back.
GAW: your dog is definitely cuter than my brother lol
FrankieFrank: Rosie will take that as a compliment!
By Friday, Mikey’s really starting to get on Gerard’s nerves. He’s always got a million questions about ‘this guy from college’ and tries, more than once, to read conversations on Messenger over Gerard’s shoulder and asking more questions when Gerard quickly covers the screen. He doesn’t get why he’s being so defensive and Gerard tries to insist that some things are just private.
Mikey’s not always annoying Gerard about his online life though, sometimes he annoys him about Ray (though he always gets defensive if Gerard tries to read the texts they send. He doesn’t see what the big deal is – they’re probably just geeking out over racing games). Mikey manages to drag Gerard to the comic store for no reason at all, other than to plan another house party with Ray who talks about Playstation games with wide hand gestures as he ignores all of his customers. Gerard stands there feeling a lot like a third wheel on a bad date and, for the first time in his life perhaps, he’s stood in a comic store and he’s bored.
GAW: y’know I think Ray might actually have a thing for my loser brother.
FrankieFrank: Good for them! I’ll take Rosie dress shopping tomorrow.
I think my brother is flirtin wiv sum dude from college x Mikey taps out after being thrown out of Gerard’s room yet again. He ignores his mom when she asks him for laundry and runs up to his room. When he drops down on the bed, his phone buzzes.
Oh. Is this a problem? X
He’s on the laptop AGAIN! Jus don’t wana spend all summer bored x
Don’t worry, MikeyWay I will save U! x
Mikey grins and flops back on to his pillows, feeling more like a fourteen year old girl than ever – but he’s yet to care.
FrankieFrank: Oh man! I can’t get enough of those comics!
FrankieFrank: YEAH! I must have read them like ten times already.
GAW: I can get you some more if you’d like?
FrankieFrank: Hey, I aint a charity case!
GAW: Sorry? :/
FrankieFrank: lol only joking. GIMME ALL YO COMICS!
GAW: : D
“I’m going to bake you a pie,” Mrs. Greenford announces as she hands Louie’s leash over to Gerard.
“Uh…” Gerard trails, looking surprised and slightly confused. “Thank you?”
“I feel like I have to do something,” she says. “What’s your favourite flavour?”
Gerard has to bite the inside of his cheek to keep himself from grinning like an idiot. “Cherry,” he answers and Mrs. Greenford nods.
“Alright then. Come tomorrow you will have yourself a cherry pie!”
Mikey does his best to stay hidden behind a large tree as Gerard leaves Mrs. Greenford’s yard with Louie, watching closely and planning his next move. There aren’t many trees on this block, so he’s going to have to wait until Gerard gets to the end of the street before he can move again.
Gerard refused to let Mikey tag along for perhaps the tenth time since he started dog walking, and Mikey’s getting more than a little bit suspicious. His brother’s changed in the last week or so, not necessarily for the worse but still, something’s going on and Mikey wants to know what.
Just when Gerard’s almost out of sight, Mikey creeps along to the next tree.
Louie is particularly prancey today, Gerard notices as the dog struts in front of him, tail and nose high in the air. He only stops two or three times to pee against lamp posts and garden fences, unlike the twenty thousand times he usually stops. He’s also not as bitchy as usual, and only snarls once when Gerard keeps on walking after Louie has stopped to sniff at a flower.
“What’s got you in such a good mood?” Gerard asks as the little dog bounds happily up the embankment. Louie yips and runs around in a few circles before heading for the trees.
“Hey!” Gerard hears from behind just as they get to Louie’s favourite log. Gerard turns to see Frank waving as he jogs up with Rosie, who’s yet to be let off her leash.
“Hi,” Gerard greets with a wide smile before pulling out a rolled up comic from his hoodie pocket. Frank’s eyes and smile widens. “I thought I’d bring along another story for Rosie,” he says, and Frank blushes slightly, though he turns away a little so Gerard can’t be too sure. “You like X-Men, right?”
“I think I’d like pretty much anything you picked out. You’ve got awesome taste in comics!” and now its Gerard’s turn to bite his lip and hide the blush that’s just starting to warm the tops of his cheeks. He hands the comic over and Frank takes it, smiling gratefully. “Seriously, Gerard. You’re the best.”
“It’s no problem,” Gerard says as he kicks at the dirt rocks. “So, any big Saturday night plans?”
Frank laughs breathily. “Yeah, me and Rosie gotta date with a new comic.” Gerard grins a megawatt smile back at Frank.
“You’ll both love it, I promise.”
As Rosie scampers around as usual, Frank and Gerard sink down in to the warm grass with Louie. The sun is still relatively high in the sky and burning bright and warm even through the breeze, and Gerard can feel it on his arms as he rolls his hoodie sleeves up to his elbow.
“I mean, it’s not that I don’t want to go to college,” Frank explains, plucking pieces of grass from the ground, “It’s just, I still don’t exactly know what I want to do there, y’know?”
Gerard nods and tickles Louie’s neck. “Yeah, I totally understand,” he says. “Do you know what you want to do, like, in the future?” Gerard adds, motioning his hand forward.
Frank sucks in a slow breath and ex hails quickly. “Y’know, I don’t actually have a clue. I know what my parents want. They want me to be a doctor or a lawyer or something, be someone who they can really brag about to their friends at Christmas parties.”
Gerard frowns a little and watches as Frank continuously picks at the grass. “Well, what do you like doing?”
Frank shakes his head and laughs at himself. “Y’think I’d at least know that, wouldn’t you?”
“There must be something…”
“I like being around people,” Frank says after a moment’s thought. “I like music, art,” he continues. “I like to make people feel good about themselves.”
Gerard smiles just as Frank looks up. “You do,” he says, the words falling out of his mouth before he can really think about it. Frank’s smile is sort of surprised and he holds Gerard’s gaze for a while. After a few moments, Gerard’s not sure what to do. Frank’s still smiling at him like he’s dying and Gerard’s just offered him a kidney or something.
And then, from out of nowhere, Frank leans quickly forward and kisses Gerard’s cheek.
As soon as he’s there he’s gone, sat back up again and picking at the grass, avoiding all eye contact with Gerard. Gerard’s still trying to figure out how to breath whilst simultaneously trying to coax his heart back down from his throat.
When Mikey sees the boy lean in and kiss Gerard, he recoils back instantly in surprise and slight horror with widened eyes. He stumbles back away from the tree, almost falling down the embankment as he does so. When he’s safely at the bottom again, he runs home and doesn’t look back once.
“So Louie seems to love you a little more these days,” Frank says, and just like that they slip back in to normal conversation, and Gerard finds it strange how easy it is to do so. The only change is that now, he can’t help but let his gaze drop down to Frank’s lips when they talk. He doesn’t know what to do with this information, it’s too complicated to even think about processing. In fact, even thinking about thinking about processing it makes him want to lie down. All he can handle right now is that Frank kissed him. Sure it was quick and on the cheek, but he kissed him.
When it’s time to leave they wave a little awkwardly, as usual, smile, say goodbye to the dogs and go their separate ways. Something in Gerard’s chest aches as he hears Frank’s footsteps becoming more distant, and there’s an itch inside himself that’s begging him to turn around – but he doesn’t.
Gerard becomes so lost in thought that he doesn’t realise his grip on Louie’s leash has loosened considerably, and when Louie trots ahead in search of new flowers to sniff, his leash drops to the floor. There’s a moment’s pause as both boy and dog stare at the leash on the ground, which is until Louie finally makes a run for it. Gerard tries to jump on the leash, but Louie’s too quick and he takes off like a rocket back in the direction of the tracks.
“Shit!” Gerard curses loudly.
Frank’s just got through the front door when he hears a happy yipping sound that he instantly recognises. He turns around quickly, just as Louie jumps up in to his arms. Frank gasps and steps back on to the path quickly. “Louie, what the hell are you doing here?” he hisses. Louie just pants and blinks up at him. “Dad!” Frank shouts in to the house through the half closed door. “I think I dropped something when I was walking Rosie. Tell mom I’ll be back in a minute.”
Frank doesn’t wait for a reply, just shuts the front door and grabs Louie’s leash, taking off down the street before his mother’s got time to see them.
When Frank gets back to the tracks, Gerard’s already there.
“Louie!” he calls, facing away from them. “Louie, come here you little fucking shit bag!” he calls again in a sweet tone through gritted teeth. Louie barks and Gerard whips around instantly. “Louie!” he says with relief as Frank and the small dog approach him. “Oh my god, you little fucker. I almost had a heart attack!”
Frank laughs and hands Gerard the leash back. “He followed me home.”
Gerard’s face drops. “Did your parents see him?”
“Nope,” Frank says, shaking his head. “I sort of high tailed it out of there as soon as I saw him.”
“Good. Well, thanks. Thanks a lot. I’d be so dead if I lost him. I owe you.”
Frank holds up a hand. “No, it’s fine,” he says softly. “I know you’d do the same for me.”
And then it’s there again, that long but not so awkward pause as they just stare at each other. Gerard tries as hard and for as long as possible to not look at Frank’s lips, but in the end, he just can’t help it. As soon as his gaze slips down to Frank’s pink, full lips, Frank instantly steps forward. There’s just enough time for Gerard’s breath to hitch before he actually finds himself leaning in to kiss Frank softly on the lips.
It’s not a deep kiss and it’s not a very long kiss either. Their lips just sort of stay there, frozen in fear or surprise or something, touching softly as the two boys stand there, eyes closed.
When Frank feels like he’s lost all concept of time, he steps back. Gerard’s eyes flutter open quickly, and his mouth is still curved in an ‘O’ shape. “Oh,” he whispers.
Frank smiles sheepishly and blushes a little. “I think I have to go now,” he says slowly and Gerard simply nods. Frank starts to walk steadily backwards. “I’ll, uh. I’ll talk to you on messenger?” Gerard nods again, dumbfounded, and he stays stood there until Frank is out of sight.
The next day in church is perhaps the most torturous day of Frank’s life so far. It’s almost like he can feel the disapproving glare of everyone around him boring in to his skin like hot iron pokers. He can’t sit comfortably in his seat either, and every time he shifts and fidgets, his mother shoots him a scolding glare. He looks back up at her sheepishly and grips the bottom of his seat in order to stay still.
Somehow, it feels like he shouldn’t be here, like he’s not meant to be here or not allowed. There’s something that feels a lot like guilt swelling in his stomach and it’s starting to make him feel sick. Frank loosens his tie a little, suddenly desperate for fresh air.
It’s taken Frank a full ten minutes to work up the courage to type that one word since Gerard first came online. He’s been staring at the screen, half willing Gerard to talk first. When the box flashes with a reply, Frank almost sighs in relief.
GAW: Hi. How was church?
FrankieFrank: wtf? No one ever asks how church was…
FrankieFrank: It was alright I suppose. It’s church…?
GAW: Do you have to drink wine and all that sort of stuff?
FrankieFrank: haha, no. It’s mostly your usual bible reading/thought of the week sort of thing.
GAW: Ooh! So what’s your thought for this week?
Frank swallows hard as he types and hits enter, and somewhere not so far away, Gerard does the same when he reads. His fingers hover over the keys for a few moments, struggling with what to say next. Thank god this isn’t face to face.
GAW: oh…right, like, the devil and all that jazz?
FrankieFrank: Something like that, yeah. Y’know, don’t kill your teachers, don’t have the last cookie yada yada yada.
GAW: lol :)
FrankieFrank: crap. Mom wants me. I gotta go. I’ll see you later?
GAW: Sure. Of course.
FrankieFrank: bye x
Gerard types out his goodbye at least three times and then deletes it just as quick. He types it one last time, stares at it for a moment and hits the back key. Except, he doesn’t hit the back key. He hits enter.
GAW: bye ♥
Gerard freezes and his stomach plummets, but there’s nothing he can do now only wait for Frank to either reply or go offline and never speak to Gerard ever again.
FrankieFrank: ♥ (:
A weight lifts itself off Gerard’s chest and as Frank’s status finally switches to offline, he feels like he could float right out of his chair.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Mikey says as he storms in to Gerard’s room. Gerard eyes him curiously.
“You’re up and dressed early.”
“I set my alarm.”
Gerard’s lips quirk. “You set your alarm just to yell at me?”
Mikey folds his arms tightly across his chest. “Well, when your brother makes out with a guy from bible country…”
“What?” Gerard squawks, jumping off his bed and rushing over to shut the door. He turns around and presses his back against it. “What the hell are you talking about?” he hisses.
Mikey narrows his eyes. “You know exactly what I’m talking about. You and that boy, I saw you, Gerard.”
“How did you even know…wait,” he stops to glare at his brother. “You fucking followed me?”
“You didn’t give me a choice,” Mikey argues back. “You wouldn’t tell me anything. I knew something was up with you.”
“Mikey, you had no right-”
“I’m your brother,” Mikey interrupts. “I had every right.” And Gerard’s eyes soften because he knows Mikey’s telling the truth. He bugged Mikey constantly when he found out about Ray and now he’s keeping his own secrets. “Why didn’t you just tell me?” Mikey sighs.
Gerard stares at the floor for a moment. “I don’t even know what to tell you,” he replies. “He just kind of, leaned in and kissed my cheek and then, I don’t know. It just went back to normal. Then Louie ran off and Frank brought him back and I kissed him…”
Mikey’s got this intent look like he’s thinking really hard and he just stares at his brother until Gerard gets uncomfortable. “So, you like him?” Gerard nods slowly. “And he likes you?”
“I think so. Yeah.”
Mikey takes in a deep breath. “Shit, Gerard.”
“I know,” Gerard nods. “I know.”
Linda drops a pile of college brochures on to the coffee table with a slap as Frank looks up from the TV.
“What’s up, mom?”
Linda puts her hands on her hips and she’s wearing that stern expression that makes Frank feel like he’s six again. “Have you even looked at these?” she says.
Frank sighs and shifts in his seat. “Yeah,” he lies. “Maybe once or twice.”
She narrows her eyes at her son and picks up the top brochure. “Frank, you need to take this seriously.”
“I am,” he replies, arms folded over his chest. “It’s just – nothing’s really jumped out at me yet.”
Linda shakes her head as she flips through the brochure. “How can this place not jump out at you? They’ve had the best scores for years, Frank. In math, law, business, medicine – do I need to go on?”
Chewing on his lip, Frank glances from the brochure to his mother and then back again. He wants to tell her that no, it doesn’t jump out at him. He wants to tell her that he doesn’t want to be a lawyer or a doctor or a business man. He doesn’t want a job with a huge Christmas bonus and long hours that drive him to a stroke at fifty. He wants to do something that makes him feel good and not just his parents. But he doesn’t. He can’t. She’d skin him alive or throw him in to Confession faster than he could say ‘But it’s my future’…
“I’ll look later, mom. I promise,” he says with a deflated sigh.
Up in his room, Frank flops down on his bed. He stares up at the ceiling, head pounding so bad that it forces him to close his eyes after just a few moments. As he tries to push out his mother’s nagging voice, Gerard’s voice comes spinning back in to his mind, bringing with it the kiss that he’s been playing in his head over and over again.
Suddenly, a weight drops down next to Frank. Without opening his eyes, Frank smiles and reaches blindly next to him. “Hey, you,” he says and Rosie pushes her nose against Frank’s palm. “Wanna hear another story?” he asks, and takes Rosie’s silence as a yes.
Reaching under his pillow, Frank pulls out a comic. Its pages are warm and glossy as Frank thumbs through them until he finds the page they were on. Rosie scampers up the bed and presses her face and wet nose against Frank’s side. Frank giggles and bats her nose away before he starts to read.
When Frank sees Gerard approaching, his stomach drops in to his shoes as his heart simultaneously jumps in to his throat. He feels sick and nervous, like he usually does when he’s about to come down with something. Gerard’s smiling, and that only seems to make things worse.
“Hey,” he says as Louie bounds over to Rosie and in between her legs. Frank unclips Rosie’s leash so she can scamper around with Louie, who chases after her.
“New leash?” Frank asks. Rosie grumps and yips as Louie almost trips her up, again.
“Retractable,” Gerard laughs. “I thought if I gave the guy a little more room, he wouldn’t be so desperate to run off again.”
“Ahh, good thinking, Batman.”
Gerard’s grin is brilliant.
It’s another gloriously sunny day and the grass is warm and prickly as they lay back against it, squinting up at the blue sky and wispy white clouds. Frank puts a hand behind his head and smiles against the sunlight.
“That one looks like Yoda,” he hears Gerard say, and he opens an eye to see Gerard pointing at the sky.
Frank cocks his head to the side. “Oh yeah, it kinda does. Hey, that one looks like Louie!” Gerard follows the direction of Frank’s index finger and laughs.
“It looks like he’s peeing…” Frank starts giggling, his knees lifting and tummy shaking. He’s still pointing upwards, and as he brings his hand back down to the grass, Gerard takes a hold of it.
Frank’s giggle slowly slips away as he stares down at their cupped hands and Gerard smiles over at him nervously. Frank spreads his fingers and loops them gently over Gerard’s. He smiles back and squeezes.
“You got a really nice smile,” Gerard says quietly and Frank catches his own bottom lip in a nervous bite.
“You too,” Frank whispers.
When its time to leave, Gerard helps Frank up off the grass. As soon as Frank’s upright, Gerard suddenly dips in for a kiss. Frank’s breath hitches and he closes his eyes as Gerard’s fingers curl around his hand. His lips are soft and skin bitten and Frank finds himself pressing further in to the kiss. There’s a hand ghosting over the side of Gerard’s neck and Frank has to wonder how it got there, because he sure as hell doesn’t remember telling his hand to move. He slides his fingers in to Gerard’s hair and Gerard sighs a little, grabbing at Frank’s waist and pulling him closer.
The kiss comes to a natural pause and Frank finds himself smiling before he even opens his eyes and when he finally does, Gerard’s staring at him.
“We’re screwed, aren’t we?” Frank says.
Gerard gulps and nods, sliding his hand up to Frank’s elbow. “Yeah,” he breathes. “Pretty much.”
On the way home, Gerard gets his cherry pie from Mrs. Greenford.
FrankieFrank: Do you ever wish you were someone else?
GAW: Sometimes. I don’t think I’d want YOU to be anyone else though.
FrankieFrank: (: ok. So maybe the same person, but in a different place?
GAW: Oh yeah! I couldn’t wait to leave for college.
FrankieFrank: Did it make things better?
GAW: I liked being an ‘artist’, but I think it turned me in to a bit of a jerk.
FrankieFrank: :o you’re not a jerk!
GAW: I’m glad you think so. So, where you wanna go?
GAW: to be someone else…
FrankieFrank: Oh! Uh, I don’t know lol. Sometimes I just feel that if I speak my mind in this place, I’m going to get hit with a bible.
GAW: Told you so!
FrankieFrank: Shut up! Lol! I just feel like that if I do something, there has to be an explanation of why Jesus would do it too.
GAW: So, what do you think Jesus would do about kissing me?
FrankieFrank: ok, one – please don’t put the image of you and Jesus kissing in my head…
FrankieFrank: and two – I don’t know. My mom used to tell me that God wants me to be happy.
GAW: and are you happy?
FrankieFrank: I am when I’m with you.
When Frank hears the doorbell, he gets a sudden sickly feeling lumping in his throat. And then he hears it – that voice. That shrill, cold voice that could kill a power puff girl in 0.5 seconds flat. Frank feels a cold shiver run through him and he quickly taps out a message to Gerard.
FrankieFrank: Crap. Gotta go, will explain later. Bye xxx
Then Frank shuts off his laptop and hides it under his bed, behind a box of old school work. He can hear the footsteps thudding up the stairs, the wood creaking under the weight of fat ankles and ugly black, leather sandals. Like an approaching monster it gets closer to his bedroom door and he’s got a strong urge to clamber under his covers and quake. It’s too late though. She’s here.
There’s no knock on his door, it just comes booming open under the push of a long, fierce looking cane.
Frank gulps. “Hi, Grandma.”
Her nose is red from too much wine and her eyes are small and black like two sharp pieces of coal. She stares in to Frank’s room with a crooked smile, which he’s sure is meant to be warm and welcoming, but it makes Frank feel very afraid.
“Hello, Franklin,” she says and totters unsteadily in to the room. “How are your studies going?”
Grandma talks like she’s from the Victorian era, which wouldn’t surprise Frank at all if her pale and dusty complexion is anything to go by. She glares around his room slowly, looking for something, anything, to criticize.
“I’ve finished for summer now, Grandma,” he replies, and her eyes shoot back to his.
“That doesn’t mean the learning should stop,” she says as she waddles around his bed and to the other side of his room. “Are you still reading your bibles?”
“Yes, Grandma,” Frank says. “All seventeen of them.”
She trails her index finger over the shelf where the bibles are kept and inspects the fingertip. Thankfully, Frank dusted them yesterday. She hums to herself and nods, smiling a creepy, toothy smile again.
“You’re such a good boy. Now come down stairs and help your mother serve the tea.”
Frank groans inwardly, waiting until she’s out of the door before flopping back on the bed with a relieved sigh. He’s survived another inspection.
Mikey got the text not even thirty seconds ago and he’s already thudding down the stairs in to Gerard’s room. He bursts through the door, making Gerard leap up from the chair. Mikey’s babbling something incoherent and the mess of words and hand gestures is making Gerard dizzy.
“Mikey, slow the fuck down,” Gerard says slowly, hands outstretched. Mikey’s mouth snaps closed. “Ok. Now again – but slower.” Mikey rolls his eyes and shoves his phone in to Gerard’s hand.
Hey, Mikes. Jus wonderin’ if you wanted to come over to mine and try to beat your top score? Promise not to get you drunk this time x
“See!” Mikey shouts as soon as Gerard looks up from the phone. “What the fuck am I gonna do?”
“Uh…go?” Gerard suggests.
“Yeah, but - what am I going to do? What does this mean?”
Gerard lifts an eyebrow. “That he wants to play video games…?”
Mikey snatches his phone back. “For a gay man, YOU SUCK!” he shouts before storming back out of the room. Gerard stares blankly at the empty doorway, slightly stunned but mostly confused.
Ray’s front door looms over Mikey like the entrance to Aladdin’s cave. He throws his cigarette butt to the floor and grinds it out with the heel of his sneaker. He instantly feels sick again, but he swallows it back (because he’s not puking on Ray’s mom’s plants twice in one lifetime). He bites his lip, musters up every ounce of courage he’s got and knocks on the door.
Ray answers so fast that Mikey almost falls backwards in surprise. “Hey!” he beams.
“Whoa, that was fast. Were you waiting next to the door or something?” says Mikey with a hand on his racing heart.
Ray laughs, “Uh…no.” He pulls the door open wider and steps aside. “Come on in, I got the box all set up.” Mikey cautiously steps inside and when he gets to the couch Ray asks, “You want a drink?” as he holds out a bottle. “It’s Cola, I promise,” and Mikey reaches out and takes it with a ridiculous blush.
“Thanks.” Ray presses his cold hand against Mikey’s shoulder and squeezes lightly. Mikey stares straight ahead and sinks down in to the couch, dumbfounded. There are a million different voices with a million different reasons for him doing that running around in Mikey’s brain, but not one of them are saying what he really wants to hear – mostly because he could never believe it.
Ray drops down next to Mikey and passes him a controller. “Come on then, wonder boy. Let’s see if I can knock you off that top spot.”
“Puh!” replies Mikey, because even though he may be a love sick teenager, he has been a gaming nerd for far longer. “Do your worst.”
FrankieFrank: Sorry about before. My grandma came over ):
GAW: oh. And that’s bad?
FrankieFrank: depends on what your views on emotional and mental torture are…
GAW: lol oh dear. Was it really that bad?
FrankieFrank: No. She was relatively well behaved. She DID still talk about how she thinks nuns should be able to use the cane in schools.
“No, no, no - NOOO!,” Mikey shouts as Ray’s beat up red sports car skids over the finish line.
“Yes!” Ray bellows, throwing his control down and jumping up from the couch, arms raised. “Yes! Fuck, yes!” Ray starts to dance some horrible victory dance with moon walks and jazz hands and Mikey’s torn between utter horror that he lost and complete amusement as Ray prances in front of him. “Oh, yeah! Go me! I rule!” Ray starts to sing, looking at Mikey with a taunting grin.
“So modest,” Mikey laughs and rolls his eyes before reaching for a cushion to throw at Ray’s head. Ray moon walks again. “Alright, we get the picture. You rock, I suck, now sit the fuck down.”
Ray picks up the fallen cushion and places it carefully on top of Mikey’s head. “There you go, your very own loser hat.”
“Fuck you and your loser hat!” Mikey laughs, tipping his head back so the cushion slides off.
“Fine,” says Ray as he folds his arms across his chest. “You’ll just have to settle for a loser wedgie.”
Mikey snorts. “Wedgie? Are you twelve?...Seriously?”
Ray bobs his eyebrows. “Does it look like I’m joking?”
Mikey laughs a little nervously, but Ray’s expression doesn’t budge. Mikey starts to shift a little. “Come on, man…” Ray narrows his eyes as Mikey’s widen. “What? No. Ray - No!”
When Ray lunges forward, Mikey quickly scrambles over the back of the couch with a squeak. He tumbles to the other side and lands on the carpet on his toes and hands. Ray’s right on his tail though, and so Mikey pushes himself back on to his feet and takes off back around the couch again, laughing hysterically. Ray leaps over the arm and catches Mikey by the elbow. He yanks him back and they come crashing down on to the couch, Mikey face first and Ray on his back as they continue to giggle.
It’s when Mikey becomes painfully aware that he’s somehow gotten trapped between Ray’s thighs that his giggle quickly disappears, and is replaces by an awkward silence and intense stare.
Before Mikey knows what he’s doing, his lips are against Ray’s.
He pulls back just as quick as he leant down, eyes wide in surprise like he’s got no idea what he just did. He’s about to freak out, Ray can see it clearly in Mikey’s eyes, he’s about to babble out some feeble excuse and run out of Ray’s house to find a rock to hide under for the rest of time.
Mikey’s mouth opens, but instead of letting him talk, Ray presses his thumb to Mikey’s bottom lip, silencing him. And then before Ray knows what he’s doing, he pulls Mikey down, bringing their lips together again in a slow and fragile kiss.
When Mikey gets home, he practically floats through the house and up to his room. He contemplates maybe going to talk to Gerard, but he’s not sure he’d be able to get the words out. Instead he flops back on his bed, heart still fluttering somewhere in his throat as he presses his fingertips against his lips. They’re still buzzing with excitement and disbelief, much like the rest of his body.
Ray kissed him. Ray kissed him, of his own free will and in the conscious world. Mikey’s stomach drops every time he thinks about it.
The kiss was soft and tender as Ray held Mikey’s face in his hands, and it wasn’t until Mikey’s lips became dry that he realised how long they’d been like that for. Ray’s hands were warm against Mikey’s cheeks and his thumb traced the line of his jaw, sending little shocks of electricity through out Mikey’s body.
Mikey closes his eyes and covers his mouth fully with his hand before sighing wistfully in to the silence. Sometimes, it was pretty awesome to be a teenager.
When Frank lies in bed at night, he thinks about Gerard. He thinks about Gerard’s laugh and the way he smiles and everything else that makes something in his stomach flutter. Any other time of day he’d feel embarrassed and maybe slightly guilty about it, but at night, when the world is quiet and his thoughts seem more private, he basks in the warm glowing feeling and lets the butterflies flutter until he falls asleep, happy and content.
They’re watching the clouds again. It’s another fine day and it didn’t take long for them to head over to that patch of warm prickly grass and stare up at the sky.
Louie’s leash is tied around Gerard’s foot and the dogs are playing something that involves a lot of jumping as Frank and Gerard pick out shapes in the clouds again between bouts of talking about life and comics. Frank’s got his fingers curled around the back of Gerard’s hand, fingertips pressing in to his palm, and Gerard knocks his knee against Frank’s every now and then.
“So you’re on a desert island and you can only take one of your bibles-”
Frank snorts and leans over to punch Gerard’s shoulder with his free hand. “Shut up,” he laughs. “What is your obsession with bibles?”
“Says the boy with seventeen bibles…” Frank rolls his eyes but he’s still smiling. “Ok, so you can only take one thing.”
“Well, I would have said you before the bible jokes,” says Frank and Gerard sticks out his tongue. “But now I’m gonna say, Rosie.” Rosie’s ears prick and she barks. Frank leans up a little. “You and me against the elements, what do you say, girl?” he asks and the dog barks excitedly. Louie yips and chases his tail. “Good luck surviving on a desert with that mastermind.”
Gerard laughs and uses his foot to pull Louie’s leash closer. Louie bounds over to them, jumping until Gerard’s legs are tangled in a mess of leash. “Louie!” Gerard grumps.
Frank giggles. “On second thoughts I could use a dog that’s good a trapping prey.”
Gerard glares up at Frank until they both start laughing again.
When they pull themselves up from the grass, Frank doesn’t let go of Gerard’s hand. Instead, Gerard laces his fingers with Frank’s as they walk towards the trees to find Rosie. Frank resists the urge to look down and watch their hands sway between them.
“Where’s your sharpie?” Franks asks after he clips Rosie’s leash back on. Gerard fishes in his pocket and pulls it out.
Frank takes it and uncaps it before pulling Gerard’s arm in front of him. “Pull your sleeve up,” he instructs, and Gerard does. “Because its summer my mom doesn’t have my phone during the day anymore,” he says a he scribbles down a number in small fat letters. “So if you ever feel like a change of technology, you can text me or something.”
Gerard smiles as each new number appears on his skin. “Cool,” he nods. “I’ll definitely do that sometime.”
Frank recaps the pen and hands it back. “Good.”
Mikey’s been in Gerard’s room for half an hour almost, twirling around on the computer chair and being awkwardly silent. As Mikey sighs for the tenth time in five minutes, Gerard looks up from watching ‘DayBreakers’ with narrowed eyes.
“Mikey,” he says sternly. “What gives?”
“Oh, nothing,” Mikey replies, his lips curling in to a smirk. “Just, y’know – thinking…”
“About how you’re really a hopeless fourteen year old girl?” Gerard asks and then raises a concerned brow when Mikey doesn’t scowl or insult him. He simply shakes his head slowly.
“Sure, if fourteen year old girls get kissed by totally hot nineteen year old comic store workers.”
Gerard’s eyes widen. “When?”
“The other night,” Mikey grins.
“Was it a dream?”
Mikey scowls. “Fuck you, it was not a dream!”
Gerard blinks. “Wow…” he trails. “So you’re, like, a thing now?”
“I don’t know,” Mikey shrugs. “I haven’t really spoken to him since.”
Mikey shrugs again. “The odd text. I think he feels guilty.”
“Because of the age thing?”
Mikey twirls around in the chair again. “I guess…”
“Should I talk to him for you?” Mikey rolls his eyes and shakes his head, but Gerard’s already concocting a genius plan.
Frank jumps when his phone beeps and he snatches it quickly from the bedside table like he hasn’t been watching the thing since he got home.
Why did the priest giggle?...MASS HYSTERIA! G xo
lol, that was bad! I didn’t think you knew any clean priest jokes x
I don’t. Google does xo
Frank giggles in to his pillow and settles down for a night of private thoughts and butterflies.
“I kissed a guy,” Frank says practically as soon as he sits down in Alex’s room. Alex pauses, hand still on the door he’s closing as he just stares at Frank with his mouth ajar. He closes his mouth and opens it again like he’s going to say something, but nothing comes out. “Do you hate me?”
Alex frowns. “What? No.”
Frank sighs, relieved. “Ok, good.”
“You just – shit, Frank. You caught me a little of guard,” he says as he moves further in to the room and sits down on the bed. He brings his legs up and crosses them before folding his hands together. “So. You kissed a guy?”
Frank nods. “His name’s Gerard.”
Alex makes a confused face. “I don’t recognise that name.”
Frank takes in a deep breath. “That’s because he’s not from here…he’s from the next town. The one across the old tracks,” Frank reiterates this because Alex only moved here about four years ago. He knows about the town’s history, of course he does, (Frank took him under his wing and told him all about it on their first day of school), but unless you were there living through it – it’s hard to grasp exactly how big of a deal it was.
“What?” Alex whispers, his eyes bugging a little. “How did you even-”
“I walk Rosie up on the tracks,” Frank interrupts. “He started walking his neighbour’s dog a few weeks ago and we just…started talking.”
“That’s recent,” he says and starts chewing nervously on his lip. The silence that follows makes Frank feel sick. “Please don’t say anything to anyone,” he pleads.
“Frank, what exactly are you expecting me to do?” Alex says and Frank can’t think of an answer. “Do I really seem like the kind of guy who’s going to be a homophobic asshole? Come on, man. How long have you known me?”
“I didn’t know, ok? It’s not like it’s something that gets talked about a lot around here,” Frank says, eyes torn between Alex’s face and his own hands. “I just wanted to tell you. I want to talk to someone about it that isn’t my own reflection.”
Alex nods. “I get that, I do. I understand, and you can talk to me about it. I just don’t want you thinking I’m going to run to the nuns or anything – I’m not like that.”
“What if your mom or-”
“Frank,” Alex says and his voice is stern and sharp. Frank’s mouth snaps closed instantly. “You remember the other month when I went to my uncle’s wedding?” Frank nods. “My uncle was getting married to his partner Nick, and that’s ‘Nick’ as in Nicolas.”
Frank recoils in surprise. “Seriously?”
“Yeah. So I get it, about being afraid to talk to someone, but you really can talk to me. Hell, you could even talk to my mom. Not everyone in this town is a psychotic, hands in the air, kill a kitten if you love Jesus, freak.”
Frank cracks a smirk. “That’s good to know.”
Tell Rosie it’s time to go dress shopping! Xo
What? Y’mean…it’s happened?! Xxx
YES! The big gay crush has landed. Mikey won’t stop smiling! Xo
I know how he feels (: xxx
Gerard bites his lip and grins before looking up to make sure no one in the living room has noticed the way his breath just hitched. He reads the message another three times before tapping out a quick reply.
“Get dressed,” says Gerard as he throws a pile of clothes at Mikey, who’s currently moping in his room in his underwear and an oversized Pixies t-shirt (again). “We’re going out.”
“I didn’t want to come out,” Mikey complains as he follows Gerard, kicking at the pavement. “I was perfectly happy moping.”
“Shut up,” is all Gerard has to offer on the situation. He turns and leads them around the back of the houses before lighting another cigarette and handing it to Mikey.
Mikey’s got a sneaking suspicion that he knows exactly where they’re going, but instead of whining about it he smokes his cigarette quietly and glares at the ground. Just as suspected, they step back on to the street – opposite the comic store. Gerard side glances Mikey and ignores him when he scowls and throws the cigarette away.
“You’re going to make me go in there no matter what I say, aren’t you?”
Gerard nods. “Yeah, pretty much.”
The ding of the door bell makes Mikey cringe. Ray’s at the counter, staring in to space until the door opens. He looks up quickly, jaw threatening to drop in shock when he sees the Way brothers walk in.
“Uh, hi guys,” he says, fingers fidgeting nervously on top of the counter. Mikey merely nods and gives a weak smile.
Gerard’s gaze flickers between the two as the weight of ‘awkward’ in their silence gets thicker and thicker. Finally, he huffs and rolls his eyes. “Christ you two, will you just go and fucking talk or make out or something? This is driving me crazy!”
Ray snaps his gaze back up to Gerard. “You know?”
“Of course I know, my brother’s not exactly subtle.” Mikey scowls.
“And you’re not…mad?”
Gerard rolls his eyes again. “Why would I be mad? He’s sixteen, he can do what he wants. Plus, you’re a good guy. So yes, here is my blessing. Take it and stop annoying me, I need to look for more X-men comics.”
“They’re at the-”
“Back. Yeah, I know,” Gerard interrupts as he puts both hands on Mikey’s shoulders, pushing him forward. “Now go talk.”
“You got a really great brother,” Ray says after shutting the door to the store room.
“Yeah, he’s alright,” Mikey replies quietly as he stands awkwardly against a stack of crates. Ray chews on his lip, eyes darting from the floor to the tall, thin windows. “So, uh…” Mikey starts, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “I like you.”
Ray starts to smile. “Yeah?” Mikey’s lips curl as he nods. “Me too.”
Mikey slowly starts to shuffle forward a little, moving awkwardly across the floor until he’s stood in front Ray, staring at the floor and smiling. Ray touches the bottom of Mikey’s chin lightly with his thumb, coaxing him to look up.
“Hi,” Mikey whispers and Ray laughs breathily before pulling Mikey in by the front of his t-shirt and kissing him. Mikey’s hands flail for a moment before coming to rest on Ray’s shoulders, fisting the material of his jacket.
When Ray pulls back a little, his breath still hot as it feathers over Mikey’s lips, he smiles and replies, “Hey.”
Linda’s on the phone to Grandma downstairs and Frank can hear them through the open door of his room. They’re talking about Frank’s college options, discussing the perks of professions that Frank’s never even contemplated before. He kicks the door gently with his foot and an overwhelming feel of satisfaction over comes him when their voices disappear.
He flops down on his computer chair and lets it roll half way across his room and turn until he’s opposite his bible shelf. He stares hard at the array of books, thoughts torn between the world downstairs and the one on the tracks. Frank spins himself around in a slow circle, staring at the floor and his feet as they blur in to one line of colour.
The whirring feeling in Frank’s stomach as he spins is not that different to the feeling he gets when he kisses Gerard, the few and brief times that its happened. He plants his feet on the ground and stops, letting his head thrum with memories of the last time they kissed goodbye, the last time their lips were touching and Frank was so desperate to press himself further in to the kiss. The last few times Frank’s wanted this, wanted to pull at Gerard’s bottom lip and slide his tongue in to his mouth just to see what he tastes like.
Frank’s kissed exactly two people in his lifetime, and one of those is Gerard. The other was a couple summers ago at this ridiculous summer camp his high school tried to pull off, with a girl Frank didn’t really like all that much. With the way some of the boys had been talking, Frank felt an overwhelming pressure to have his own story, just some little anecdote to offer whenever the conversation turned. So he held his breath and made his move behind the office cabin, kissing this girl, Ellie Hagerman who still gives Frank a weird look when she sees him in the hallway. Their hands were busy and it was more desperate than enjoyable, and Ellie tasted like over chewed gum as she tried to suck Frank’s tongue from his mouth. For days after Frank could still feel the material of her itchy camp shirt on his palms and he got the urge to wipe his mouth on the back of his hand every hour or so.
Frank never thought he didn’t enjoy the kiss because it was with a girl, just the wrong girl. He’s just always been taught that affection, from hand holding to sex, is something you do and enjoy when you’re married and in love with the other person – so that’s what it was. He wasn’t in love with her, didn’t feel any connection or have any feelings towards her at all.
And Gerard? Well, Frank certainly enjoys kissing Gerard. He just doesn't really know what to do with this information yet.
Mikey’s been on the phone to Ray for an hour and I can HEAR the gooey eyes from my room. SEND HELP! Xo
Haha! Sorry. No can do. Mom made me come clothes shopping *embarrassed* xxx Frank looks up at his mother, who’s currently rifling through a rack of disgusting chequered shirts, and back down to his phone.
If my mom didn’t shop for me I would never have clean underwear! Xo
Frank wrinkles his nose in an attempt to not laugh out loud. Well with the clothes she’s looking at I’ll never be able to leave the house again xxx
“Frank,” Linda says sharply. “Put your phone away and try these on.” She’s holding up a pair of surfer shorts which are a kind of green than makes Frank want to barf. “I think they’re rather trendy,” she smiles, obviously proud of herself. Frank takes them with a vacant expression and trails towards the dressing room, already thinking up some lie about how they don’t fit.
You mean they don’t sell tight t-shirts and skinny jeans at ‘Holier Than Thou’? xo
Screw you! I would actually love to have a pair of skinny jeans but I’ll never convince my mom… xxx
Frank flips his phone shut and stares at himself in the dressing room mirror. The shorts definitely looked less horrifying on the hanger. He shakes his waist and shucks them off, kicking them around the small cubicle for a minute before putting them back on the hanger.
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Xo
Frank actually convinces his mother to buy him a pair of black jeans with the excuse that they won’t appear so dirty after Frank’s been hanging out with his friends all summer. Honestly, he can’t actually believe she fell for it. Apparently in this situation, Jesus would lie to his mother.
LIE TO HIS MOTHER! They’re not skinny, but they are BLACK! Xxx
You are the devil himself! Can’t wait to see them Xo
Frank breath catches in his throat and he almost stops walking completely. He flips his phone shut and shoves it in his pocket like it was a dirty joke or something, and looks guiltily over at his mother – who’s not really paying that much attention to anything but the cosmetics stand. He creeps around the perfume counter and makes sure he’s out of sight before taking his phone out again.
You’ll see them later. Try to contain yourself ;) xxx
:D !!! xo
Frank’s actually kind of nervous as he and Rosie make their way to the tracks. His new jeans feel different against his skin and he shoves his hands in to the small back pockets. He spent at least twenty minutes in front of the mirror, turning his head awkwardly to see the jeans from different angles. On one glance he thought that yeah, he looked pretty good, but on another he could have sworn he looked like a complete doofus. He’d still be in his room now, swishing from back to front in front of the mirror if Rosie hadn’t barged in to his room and demanded his attention.
A part of him hopes that Gerard’s not there yet, just so he’s got a few more minutes to prepare himself for whatever it is that Gerard says/does, or if he even in fact notices, but the universe is never that kind.
Gerard’s teasing Louie with a stick when Frank gets there, holding it just out of Louie’s jumping range as the little dog leaps in to the air after it. He sees Frank almost instantly and looks up to smile, but his eyes quickly drop to Frank’s legs. Frank holds his breath and walks as normally as possible, which is a pretty hard thing to do when you’re feeling self conscious and exposed, but somehow he manages it without falling flat on his face. Gerard smiles again.
“Nice jeans,” he says and Frank swears he can see his eyebrows wiggle.
“Thanks,” Frank replies, shoving his hands in his hoodie pockets in an attempt to pull it down further over the jeans.
Gerard’s got no idea how he managed to not lick his lips and he’s terribly aware of them on his face. Frank’s new jeans aren’t skinny like the ones that Mikey wears, but they’re definitely a lot more fitted. He looks good. Really good.
“I brought you something,” Gerard says, just to hear another sound other than his own inappropriate thoughts. He pulls out a rolled up comic from his inside jacket pocket and hands it over. “More X-men. You said you liked the other ones.”
Frank runs his hand over the brightly coloured cover and smiles. “Yeah, I did,” he says. “Thank you,” and he looks up at Gerard with bright and grateful eyes. “I really wish there was something I could do for you…” and just like that the air gets a little thicker and harder to breathe through.
Gerard smiles weakly, ignoring the pounding of his heart in his chest as he feigns a joke, “What, like starting me off on my own bible collection?” Frank smiles but doesn’t laugh, just takes a step closer to Gerard.
The kiss is slow and real, just like always. Gerard’s eyes take a little longer to close and his lips move almost desperately over Frank’s as his hands ghost over Frank’s waist. Frank lets Gerard kiss him comfortably, lets them both sink and relax in to the feeling of lips pressing together and pulling apart, over and over until it becomes a steady rhythm.
When Frank softly sinks his teeth in to Gerard’s bottom lip, Gerard gasps in want and surprise. Frank uses this moment to press himself closer to Gerard and carefully slides his tongue between Gerard’s lips. Gerard’s breath catches and he grabs Frank’s waist as Frank coils his fingers around Gerard’s arm and just holds on. Gerard doesn’t taste like over chewed gum. Instead, he tastes slightly tangy like soda or fruit and Frank flicks his tongue against Gerard’s for more.
Gerard’s hands drop to Frank’s hips, resting against the dark denim of his new jeans. Frank’s lips are starting to tingle and breathing’s getting hard, but he can’t bring himself to stop, and it might have something to do with the hormones rushing through Frank’s body right now but still – he doesn’t ever want to stop. One of Gerard’s hands moves up to cup Frank’s cheek, tilting his face up so Gerard can deepen the kiss further still until Frank’s knees get weak. He leans himself against Gerard’s body and moans quietly.
Breaking the kiss is not something either of them do by choice, but Rosie is yanking on her leash and yapping grumpily up at Frank. Frank looks down at her, staring at the dog like he doesn’t remember who she is. The world is on it’s side, spinning and shaking and Frank’s got to wait for it to still again. He finally unclips her leash and she bounds off quickly.
Looking back at Gerard, Frank gets an overwhelming urge to kiss him again. He’s panting a little, breathing heavy and his lips are bright red and shiny. Frank can see what he’s sure is a web of his own spit hanging off Gerard’s bottom lip and so he reaches out and smudges it. Gerard licks Frank’s thumb and smirks.
“So where did you say your brother was?” Ray asks as Mikey browses aimlessly through the counter displays.
“Attached to his laptop,” Mikey replies with a sigh.
“To the guy from college?” Mikey flips open a leaflet and arches his eyebrows.
“Not exactly…” Ray makes an intrigued face and Mikey flips the leaflet closed again. He glances nervously from side to side and drums his fingers against the counter top. “So, he’s kind of seeing this guy from bible country.”
Ray’s eyes bug. “What? Gerard?” Mikey nods and Ray ex hails a heavy breath. “Christ – since when?”
“I don’t know,” Mikey says. “Couple weeks…I think he really likes him.”
“Wow. That could really screw up if he’s not careful,” and then suddenly Ray stops talking and Mikey looks up at him, because this, them could just as easily do the same. Ray reaches his hand across the counter and sets it on top of Mikey’s. “It won’t screw up, though,” he says and Mikey smiles, suddenly feeling shy.
“I know,” he says quietly.
“Y’think I should have another house party?” Mikey looks up from the open comic and glares at Ray, who laughs instantly. “I guess not.”
Mikey’s been at the comic store for almost two hours now, just hanging around reading comics and watching Ray serve the few customers who enter. It’s never busy on a weekday, and although Mikey feels a little in the way Ray is more than grateful for the company.
“Why would you want another house party any way?”
Ray shrugs. “I don’t know, for something to do? There’s not much else to do at summer in this town.”
“You could go out of town?” Mikey suggests, even though the thought of Ray leaving makes something pang in his chest. Thankfully, Ray sighs and shakes his head.
“Nah, my mom would never let me use and car and besides, there are too many reasons to stay right here…” Mikey blushes instantly and turns to stare at a rack of sale comics.
“Well, what did you do last summer?”
“Got drunk,” Ray laughs. “Played computer games…oh! We did go camping.”
“At the lake? Cool. We could do that…I mean, you could.”
Ray rolls his eyes. “Who else would I take?”
“I don’t know…” he trails.
Ray slips out from behind the counter, picking up a door sign along the way. He hangs it over the ‘open’ sign and Mikey tilts his head to see the words ‘Back In 10 Minutes’. He’s about to ask what’s going on when suddenly he’s turned around and pushed back against the counter with a face full of Ray. Ray grabs Mikey’s face and kisses him, digging his fingertips in to the back of Mikey’s skull as their teeth clang together in a forceful kiss that has Mikey feeling like he’s going to fall through the counter.
When Ray pulls back, slightly out of breath, Mikey stares up at him, dumbfounded. “I really like you, Mikey,” he says softly, stroking his fingers through Mikey’s hair. “Like, a lot.”
Mikey smiles like he’s mentally disturbed and nods. “Kay.”
I really wanna kiss you again xo Frank reads the text in bed and bites his lip as his stomach flips. He reads it again.
I wanna kiss you too…tomorrow (: xxx
Counting down the minutes. G’night Frankie xo
Frank flips his phone closed and sets it back on his nightstand. He closes his eyes and rubs his face against his pillow, smiling and thinking about the way Gerard tastes. His mouth is tangy and warm and wet, just so welcoming and easy for Frank to slide his tongue in to. Frank sighs, his warm body squirming beneath the cool sheets as he remembers Gerard’s hands grasping at his waist and hips.
Before he knows it, Frank’s hard and pressing his body in to his mattress. He groans quietly in to his pillows, pulsing his hips just a little, like a test almost as to how turned on his actually is. He bites hard on his lip and turns on to his front, eyes still closed like it’s going to keep him in this little world he’s created in the darkness.
With held breath he sneaks his hand quickly in to his shorts and grabs a hold of his dick. He’s hard as fuck and as soon as he squeezes he’s arching helplessly in to his own hand, wishing it was someone else’s. He’s taking the sound of Gerard’s voice talking about summer weather or ignorant dogs and turns the sound in to dirty little words, breathing in quickly, his own thoughts making his cheeks feel hot. He can almost feel Gerard’s breath on his ear, telling him how much he wants to kiss him, begging Frank to hurry up and come so he can stick his tongue down his throat.
Frank comes hard and fast, his mouth fallen open in a silent ‘O’ as his thighs burn and hips shake. He can feel the sopping feeling of warm come sliding down his stomach and he shudders, now cold. He lays there, breathing heavily and refusing to open his eyes.
When he finally opens them, he crawls out of bed and creeps to the bathroom, muttering half a hail Mary to himself.
“So what’s the deal with this guy?” Alex asks the next evening, turning away from movie number two of their horror fest night.
“How do you mean?” Frank says through a mouthful of popcorn.
“I don’t know, like, what does he do? What’s his deal?”
Frank raises an eyebrow. He’s still got no idea what Alex is on about, but Alex is staring at him for an answer, blowing hair from his eyes. “He goes to college. He’s an art student.” Alex laughs. “What?”
“They’re always artists or really in to art or interior design or some shit like that.”
“Gay people,” Alex states. “Or is he bisexual?” Frank has to think for a moment, because he doesn’t really remember it ever coming up in conversation.
“I don’t know,” he answers, honest and quiet.
Alex is staring at him again, all intent and serious and it makes Frank want to squirm away. “Frank, are you gay?” he finally says.
“Uh…” Frank trails, suddenly nervous. “I haven’t really thought about it.”
Alex eyes him suspiciously. “You haven’t thought about it?”
Frank shrugs. “I don’t know. Not really. It’s not that Gerard’s a guy it’s just that he’s…y’know, Gerard?”
Frank’s expecting another curious look or at least ten more questions, but Alex simply smiles and turns back to the movie.
When Frank sees Gerard again, that initial nervousness from the day before is gone. He’s still got those jeans on and Gerard’s gaze still drops down to them when Frank walks towards him, but instead of a self conscious walk Frank practically struts his way across the tracks. They barely get out a greeting before Gerard smiles, his cheeks a little pink, and pulls Frank in by the waist for a kiss.
Just like before Gerard’s hands go everywhere from shoulders to waist to neck and back again. Frank curls his fingers in to clumps of Gerard’s t-shirt and makes a desperate little whine in the back of his throat for more. Its like now that he’s finally got the taste of Gerard’s mouth, he wonders why they haven’t been doing this the whole time.
Kissing. Now that’s Frank’s got it, he’s not sure how he lived without it. Everything from the initial brush of lips to the way Gerard pulls back and smiles, his breath still warm and moist over Frank’s face, he literally can’t get enough.
Frank sighs against Gerard’s lips and grins. “I could do this forever,” he says dreamily.
Gerard laughs and tilts Frank’s face up to peck his lips again. “So then lets.”
And that’s just what they do. The dogs run off to play as the two boys pull themselves together and lock lips, breaking the kiss for small bouts of conversation before there’s a pause and they grin, leaning forward again.
Frank likes it when Gerard’s sat in the grass and Frank can crawl between his knees, grab him by the collar and pull him forward for a lingering, tongue twisting kiss.
Sometimes Frank feels like there’s a gate on his hormones, and as soon as he sees Gerard, the gate opens and he rushes forward to claim Gerard’s mouth with his own.
Halfway through the week, Gerard pulls back from a kiss a little and Frank’s still got a bottom lip between his teeth. They both grin at each other. “I’m starting to feel a little used,” Gerard jokes and Frank pulls back further.
“You think I’d enjoy this as much if it wasn’t with you?” he says and even though he’s smiling his eyes are serious. Gerard sucks on his own bottom lip, running his tongue over the teeth marks as he shrugs. Frank huffs and rolls his eyes. “Don’t be an idiot,” he whispers before shuffling closer on his knees and sliding his arms around Gerard’s neck.
“Romeo, oh, Romeo, put down your phone,” sings Mikey as he enters Gerard’s room. Gerard’s laid back on his bed, phone held out in front of him as he waits for Frank’s next text. Gerard raises a brow before turning back to the phone. Mikey sighs and then smirks. “So me and Ray had this really hot make out session the other day-”
Gerard flips his phone closed and sits up with a huff. “What do you want?”
Grinning, Mikey jumps on to the bed. “So, me and Ray were thinking about going camping this summer.”
“And this involves me because…”
Mikey glares at his brother. “Well, if you’d kindly shut the fuck up, I’ll tell you. Mom is never going to let me go by myself, so I was thinking-”
“What? Why not?”
“Because!” Gerard says as he throws his hands up. “I’m not getting lost in the middle of the fucking woods just so my baby brother can score.”
Mikey scrunches up his face and frowns. “It’d be by the lake, moron. And you could bring Frank.”
That’s the first time Gerard’s heard Mikey used Frank’s name and not ‘bible boy’ ‘bible country’ or some other variation. He stops to think, his tongue pressed to the back of his teeth. If Frank could get his mom to agree, not that she ever would, it would give them more than one measly hour together.
Mikey’s looking at his brother expectantly, and when Gerard looks at him he sighs. “I’ll think about it.”
“So, Ray invited me and Mikey to go camping,” Gerard says casually as Donna pushes a plate of sandwiches towards her son.
“Oh,” she says. “That’s nice.”
“So Mikey can go?” Gerard asks, just waiting for some kind of disapproving look or lecture. Instead, Donna smiles.
“Of course he can go. Where is it, by the lake?” Gerard nods. “That’s fine. Ask your dad to get some torches from his work shed.”
“Will do,” Gerard smiles before jumping down from the stool and grabbing the plate.
“Gerard,” Donna suddenly says. “Is everything alright with your brother?”
Gerard eyes her a little strangely. “Uh…yeah? Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Oh, it’s nothing bad,” she says quickly. “He just seems a lot more, I don’t know…happy? I thought it was just because you were back but lately he’s had this sort of goofy smile on his face.”
“Yeah? I hadn’t noticed,” Gerard lies, because of course he’s noticed. Mikey’s got this constant idiotic grin plastered to his face these days. “I could ask him for you?”
Donna shakes her head. “No, no. I don’t want to pry. I’m sure he’ll tell me about whatever it is when he’s ready.”
Gerard smiles weakly. “Yeah, probably.”
Mikey’s currently across the street from the comic store buying lunch with the money he stole from Gerard – right in front of him as he smiled sweetly and pocketed the ten bucks, leaving Gerard and Ray to put up the new counter displays.
“We’re all set for camping,” Gerard says to Ray. “My mom said yes.”
Ray smiles and nods. “Yeah, Mikey said. Have you asked Frank yet?” Gerard pauses, a little shocked with someone who isn’t himself or his brother mentioning Frank. He almost forgot that Ray knew. “I’m okay with the whole thing, y’know?” Ray adds, sensing Gerard’s uncomfort.
“Yeah, I know,” Gerard says quickly. “It’s just weird, having people know.”
“I know. I felt the same way when you found out about me and Mikey. I though you were going to punch me in the face or something.”
Gerard laughs. “What? No. I would never do that. Plus, I can’t throw a punch for shit.” Ray grins. “And, I know you. I know you’re gonna treat my brother right.”
Ray tries his hardest not to blush in fear of Gerard mocking him, but he can’t help it – and Gerard really does want to mock him. He doesn’t though, one because he knows exactly how he feels and two because Mikey would kill him.
As if on cue, Mikey pushes the door open with a heavy sigh, arms full of lunch. He drops it all on the counter and hands the measly amount of change back to Gerard. “Thanks, bro,” he beams.
Ray leans forward and kisses Mikey’s cheek quickly. Mikey looks up at him, surprised but smiling.
Frank’s not quite sure what’s happened in the past week but somehow there’s been an eruption of hormones from the waist down and at every chance he gets, his hand is on his dick. It’s becoming a bit of a problem, partly because he has the most suspicious mother in the world, but mostly because he’s running out of hail Mary’s.
Either in the shower or in his own bed, Frank’s constantly gasping and thrusting in to his fisted hand, biting back a moan that’s got Gerard’s name hidden in it. For the first time in his life he’s glad his mom’s always made him help out with the laundry, because it would take an amount of skill that Frank just doesn’t possess to explain why he’s suddenly washing his own bedding.
He also hasn’t mentioned anything to Gerard, and why would he really? He’s not that much of a creep, except he kind of is. He kind of wants to tell Gerard what he thinks about and what he does to himself while thinking about it. He wants Gerard to know that just the mere thought of that boy’s voice and lips gets Frank so hard so quick that it feels like his head’s going to explode.
He wants to – but he doesn’t.
Frank’s lay on his side in the grass, head resting on his hand as he leers over Gerard with a warm smile. They haven’t kissed for a whole ten minutes, and Frank can’t stop staring at Gerard’s lips and the way they move when he talks. He’s so focused on watching them move, that he zones out and doesn’t hear what’s actually coming out of them.
“Hmm?” Frank hums, his eyes eventually flicking back up to Gerard’s.
“Wuh?” Frank says, dumbfounded.
Gerard laughs. “Did you hear anything that I just said?”
“Uh…” Frank trails, blushing a little because this is kind of embarrassing. Gerard just laughs though and reaches up to brush his fingertips on Frank’s lips.
“Teenagers,” he sighs and Frank mock glares at him. “I was saying that Mikey and Ray have invited us to go camping.”
Frank’s eyebrows shoot up. “What?”
“By the lake,” Gerard adds and then a uncomfortable silence falls between them and Gerard’s got a sick feeling in his stomach that Frank’s going to say no. “You don’t have to…” he says after a moment.
Frank’s been so lost in thought that he double takes when Gerard starts speaking again. “It’s not that,” he says quickly because really, it’s not. “I’d love to, it’s just. My mom.”
“You could lie?” Gerard suggests. “I mean, you lied to get the jeans, right?” Frank doesn’t say anything, just keeps staring at Gerard expectantly. “You could tell her you’re staying at a friend’s house…”
“Yeah,” Frank nods slowly, but he doesn’t sound too convinced. “That could work.”
Gerard tongues the inside of his cheek and worries. “Like I said, you don’t have to.”
Frank frowns. “Will you stop saying that? I want to, ok? It’s just one, my mom is like Sherlock – seriously, and two…I’ve never met your brother.”
“I told you, Mikey’s fine about it,” Gerard says earnestly. “We’ve both got our secrets to keep and he might be a dick sometimes but he’s not an asshole.”
Frank’s face scrunches in an amused smile. “That’s an interesting description.”
Gerard laughs. “So is that a yes?”
“No,” Frank says, and Gerard’s face only falls for a moment before he sees Frank smirk. “This is a yes,” he says with wiggling eyebrows before leaning down to kiss Gerard again.
She said yes! She thinks I’m staying at Alex’s again xxx
You are the devil! It’s gonna be awesome. I can’t wait to show you the lake and sit under the stars xo
You are so corny…but I can’t wait either :) xxx
It feels strange being stood on the tracks by himself, Gerard thinks. He’s already taken Louie for a quick walk around the block before taking him back to an appreciative Mrs. Greenford and now he’s stood here, alone and waiting for Frank. The abandoned tracks look creepy but sort of peaceful and Gerard kicks a rock against a chunk of torn metal as he waits, listening to the clanging sound the rock makes as it bounces back to him.
He doesn’t look up until he hears panting, heavy panting and paws and sneakers against the dirt. Frank’s hopping over the tracks when Gerard finally does look up, kicking the stone away. He’s got a backpack slung over his shoulder and Rosie’s leash in his hand, smiling like an idiot. Gerard’s so excited, he thinks he might barf on his shoes.
Frank swings the backpack to the floor by Gerard’s feet and leans in to kiss him, short and sweet but he still manages to sweep his tongue against the roof of Gerard’s mouth. “Hey,” he smiles. Gerard grins.
“So I’m gonna run Rosie around the block another time and then we’re good to go.”
Gerard leans down a little to ruffle Rosie’s ears. “Ok, well Ray and Mikey will be here with the car in a minute.”
Frank’s sucks in a slow breath. He’s still nervous as hell. “Ok,” he trails. “See you in a minute then,” and he leans in to kiss Gerard again before pulling Rosie back in the opposite direction.
He feels kind of guilty when his mom kisses his cheek and tells him to have fun with Alex. He’s never really been big on lying to his parents and not just because the punishment would be torturous but because it’s his mom. She may be strict and sort of controlling but if Frank disappoints her she gets this ‘wounded puppy’ sort of look that just breaks his heart.
“I love you, mom,” he says as he pulls on his warm jacket. She smiles back at him, surprised but delighted and straightens the collar on his jacket.
“I love you too, sweetie.”
Standing on the tracks and looking at the town on the other side gives Frank a feeling of dread from his head to his toes. It feels like he’s standing at the mouth of a volcano, ready to jump head first in to the spewing hot lava. It helps that Gerard’s here, though, smiling and waving and holding the car door open.
Frank slides his way gracefully down the embankment and in to Gerard’s grasp. Gerard squeezes Frank’s waist for reassurance and ushers him in to the car. Who Frank presumes is Ray is sat behind the wheel and who he presumes is Mikey is riding shot gun. Mikey turns around to grin at Frank in the back seat and he sticks out his hand for Frank to shake.
“I’m Mikey,” he says and he seems genuine enough, so Frank shakes his hand.
“Frank,” he says with a nod.
“That’s Ray,” Mikey says, pointing to the driver who salutes at Frank through the rear view mirror.
“Hey, man. What’s up? Don’t get dirt in my mom’s car, ok? It’s a miracle she let me borrow this thing.” Frank looks down at his feet quickly. No damage. He sighs inwardly.
It’s about a thirty minute drive to the lake give or take. There’s a dirt road that, once you get out of town, runs parallel to the tracks and leads all the way to the lake. Frank’s been there maybe once in his life, but never camped, just seen the lakes through a passenger car window as they drove passed. Camping without parents is not something you really do in Frank’s town, well, not unless its part of some ridiculous school trip. Frank’s never actually slept in a tent before, ever. He never even made himself a make-shift tent out of bed sheets when he was a kid and now he feels like he’s been missing out.
Gerard slides in to the middle seat, slipping an arm around Frank’s waist and Frank has to double take because this is new. He’s suddenly very aware of the other two people in the car and even though he knows he shouldn’t be, he feels almost sickened with nerves. Gerard smiles all cute and lopsided with his head tilted to one side like a confused dog and it makes Frank relax a little. He turns his shoulder a little, slotting himself comfortably in Gerard’s embrace and just watches the trees approach through the windshield.
A minute or so later and Ray starts to talk about a comic store that Frank’s never been to or heard of. Well, maybe Gerard mentioned it while Frank was staring at his lips one time, but he can’t be too sure. Mikey laughs when Ray tells a joke about the owner secretly being Superman, and the look he has reminds Frank a lot of himself when he’s with Gerard. He sinks down in his seat and Gerard’s arm moves up to his shoulders, pulling them closer together.
“Do we have to pitch a tent?” Gerard asks, interrupting Mikey mid-sentence about fried eggs in the morning.
Ray laughs. “No. I remembered what your coordination skills are like so I packed the pop ups.”
“Awesome!” Gerard whoops and Frank giggles in to his hand.
Putting up a pop up tent is, in fact, a lot harder than it looks. First, Gerard can’t get the zipper on the bag un done, and then Frank can’t do any of the toggles. So they struggle for about ten minutes before collapsing in heaps of laughter.
“You guys are hopeless,” Mikey says, hands on his hips as he stands in front of his any Ray’s perfectly erected tent. “A monkey could do this,” he adds, which just has Frank and Gerard in even more hysterical. Mikey rolls his eyes and waves a hand at them. “Whatever, sleep in a tree then. See what I care.” Ray chuckles as he pulls out his sleeping back and throws it inside the tent.
Frank finds this all a little strange, hanging out with Gerard with no dogs involved and not having to check his watch every tin minutes. He still feels a little nervous, like somebody’s going to jump out from behind a tree and shout ‘Aha! I got you!’ before dragging Frank away.
They do manage to get the tent up, eventually. Gerard’s hammering in the last pin when Ray drops an armful of wood a few feet away from him. “Fire wood,” he announces. “Who brought the matches?”
“In my pocket,” Gerard says and then a moment later there’s a hand in his ass pocket and Frank is grinning at him as he slowly pulls out the large box of matches. Gerard blinks at him, biting the inside of his cheek. “Thanks.”
Frank tosses the box over to Ray but doesn’t stop looking at Gerard.
“Let’s go swimming,” Mikey says some five minutes later, kicking his backpack over and pulling it open. Frank’s chest instantly tightens.
“Yeah!” Ray agrees. “We can get about an hour in before we have to make the fire.”
“I’m in,” Gerard nods, “but no fucking rope swings, ok? I’m not driving anyone to the Emergency Room.” Maybe this should be the point where Frank tells them he can’t swim. “What about you, Frank?”
Frank’s head snaps up. “Uh…sure.” Gerard smiles winningly.
With the majority of their clothes slung over a near by branch, Mikey and Ray hurl themselves in to the lake. Gerard laughs as Mikey cannon balls next to Ray, causing a wave of water to crash over his head, soaking his curls. When Gerard pulls his top off, he notices Frank staring at the ground. “You ok?” he asks quietly. Frank nods.
“Fine,” he says with a weak smile, hands twisting the hem of his t-shirt.
“Cool. Lets get in there before one of those fools drowns,” Gerard chuckles and then promptly unbuttons his jeans. Frank tries to keep his eyes on Gerard’s face, but he just can’t help letting them drop down. This isn’t exactly the situation he thought he’d be in when he saw Gerard undress for the first time, but he’ll take what he can get.
Gerard’s already undressed by the time Frank’s got his own top off and is working on his jeans. Gerard shouts something over to Mikey, who waves back and beckons him in to the water. “See you in there,” he calls back to Frank before running and jumping in to the water with a loud splash.
Frank shucks his jeans off slowly, watching the three boys goof around. Now clad in his boxers he stares down at the murky lake, swallowing the lump that’s formed in his throat. At least the fear of dying has over come his fear of being half naked in front of his sort of – maybe – kind of boyfriend. With the deepest of breaths, Frank kicks the rest of the material off, shifting the waistband of his boxers and edges his way closer to the lip of the embankment.
“Hey, Frank! It’s not cold if you just jump in,” Mikey shouts, just as Ray grabs him by the shoulders and dunks him under. Frank wants to hyperventilate just watching.
Take it slowly, Frank thinks to himself. How hard can this be? He eases himself slowly down to the cold ground, slipping his feet in to the dark water. It hits him like ice, all up his legs like it’s replaced his blood, taking his breath away. The water comes to just below his bent knees and he kicks his legs back and forth slowly. He can do this. He can totally do this. All he has to do is breathe.
Suddenly the water bubbles and a dark figure gets closer to the surface. Frank hasn’t even got time to panic before Gerard’s grinning face appears, spitting water out at him like a fountain. Frank gets out a nervous honking sort of laugh before Gerard grabs him by the legs and yanks him in to the water.
Frank yelps, but his mouth soon fills with dirty, cold water. He sees the sky disappear and low, deep noises fill his ears. He twists his body, blinks quickly through the wet leaves and bits of dirt and reaches out, but all he feels is more dirt and rocks. His mouth opens again, his body wants to scream and it doesn’t care if he’s under water or not.
Hands grab his arms and he’s pulled back to the surface, the sky rushing back to view as the watery world drains away.
“Frank!” it’s Gerard. He’s got Frank by the shoulders and he’s pulling Frank back towards land. Frank gasps and splutters, gulping greedily at the air. “Shit, oh my god. Frank,” Gerard’s hoisting Frank back on to the embankment, and Frank can barely use his hands and feet to help. Gerard crawls out beside him, leaning over Frank as he stares down at his pale, wet body with wide and terrified eyes. “Are you ok? Shit. I’m so sorry.” Frank coughs again. “Frankie,” Gerard says a little softer, and Frank barely registers the sounds of Ray and Mikey’s voices.
“Sorry,” he wheezes and Gerard stroked at his face.
“Are you ok?” Frank nods slowly. Gerard hold him by the elbow and eases him in to a sitting position. Frank can feel dirt and twigs stuck against his back, embedded in his skin along with tiny, sharp rocks.
Frank breathes in and out for a few moments just as Ray and Mikey’s faces and arms appear over the edge of the embankment. Great. They’re just in time for Frank to humiliate himself in front of his sort of – maybe – kind of boyfriend. He may as well get it over with.
“I can’t swim,” he whispers. Gerard instantly recoils.
“What? Frank, shit. Why didn’t you say anything?” Frank simply shrugs. Ray and Mikey look at each other uncomfortably before simultaneously pushing away from the embankment. Frank’s glad. He watches them get a little further away before replying.
“I didn’t want you to think I was lame,” he admits, beyond embarrassed and he refuses to look Gerard in the eye.
He hears Gerard laugh breathily. “Frankie,” he says, his arm slipping around Frank’s waist just like it did in the car. “I don’t think you’re lame. I think I’m lame for pulling you in like that and almost killing you.”
Frank bites his lip nervously and smiles. “Sorry?”
Gerard shakes his head and leans in to press his forehead against Frank’s. “We’re such a pair.”
Frank tries not to blush, but he can’t help but grin at the fuzzy haze that’s currently bubbling in his stomach.
Ray and Mikey don’t say anything about the incident when they finally climb out of the lake some ten minutes later, which Frank is glad for. Sunset isn’t too far away and Frank can feel the late evening breeze rushing against his bare arms. He’s still got twigs in his hair and he picks them out as they drag their wet clothes back to camp.
They change quickly and Frank’s still trying to get the damn twigs out of his hair by the time Ray manages to get the fire going. He rearranges a few rocks around the pile of wood and grass and blows at an angle, grinning and whooping in triumph when the embers burn and small flames start to lick at the logs. When he sits back down on the blanket, Mikey strokes his arm to congratulate him. Gerard pretends not to notice. Frank thinks it’s cute.
“Ok, so who’s in charge of the Barbeque?” Gerard asks.
Mikey snorts. “Judging by the tent fiasco I’d say anyone but you and Frank.”
“Sweet,” Gerard chimes as he curls an arm around Frank’s shoulders. “I guess we’ll just stay here and uh…keep warm.” Mikey makes barfing noises and gasps for air.
“You losers can unpack the food,” he says after regaining composure.
Frank laughs and leans back against Gerard, turning so he’s leaning against Gerard’s side. He can’t believe how comfortable he feels, how totally at ease and care free he now is (considering he almost died an hour ago). He’s not thinking about getting caught anymore, it’s not even in the back of his mind. He’s just content with right here and right now, because it feels like the most natural thing in the world. The fire is warm and Gerard’s arm is tight curled around him and the air smells like wet leaves and singed wood.
“It’s kinda weird hanging out without Louie and Rosie,” Frank says quietly, watching as Ray starts to assemble the small barbeque. He feels Gerard nod against him.
“Mmm,” he hums. “But we got Mikey and Ray to keep us entertained.”
Frank laughs. “So, which one’s which?”
“Mikey’s definitely Louie, without a doubt,” Gerard replies instantly and Frank starts laughing again, hands on his stomach as he leans forward and chuckles. When he leans back again, Gerard’s shoulder in gone and he ends up falling right back with his head in Gerard’s lab. “Oops,” he giggles. Gerard smirks and strokes a hand through Frank’s still damp hair.
“Losers!” Mikey shouts. “Get the food.”
Gerard sighs and taps his index finger against Frank’s nose.
The burgers are a little burnt, but still edible. Everyone forgot to check on the barbeque because they were too busy laughing at a story about when Mikey failed home economics because he gave his entire class food poisoning.
“Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up,” says Mikey as he waves a dismissive hand. “How was I suppose to know that sushi pizza wasn’t a good idea?”
“Why did you ever think it was?” Ray asks, but doesn’t wait to hear Mikey’s answers because they’re all in hysterics again.
“See if I ever cook for you,” Mikey huffs.
“Oh, man. Never fall out and accept his cookies!” Gerard laughs, and when everyone else does Mikey snubs the lot of them.
“I would annihilate you all on Master Chef, y’know.”
Eating burgers around the fire they pass around bottles of Mountain Dew and cans of Coke. Frank grins in to his burger as Gerard squeezes his knee softly. Ray’s talking about some out of town band, over gesturing with his large hands and turning to smile at Mikey every other sentence.
Frank would love to go to a show. He’d love to hear music live and so loud against his eardrums that his head would ring for days after. He wonders how many shows everyone else here has been to, even contemplates asking them to share a story or two…but he doesn't. So he just listens and nods in all the right places.
No one can really remember who's idea it was to play charades, and yet here they are, Ray's body lit by the fire as he tries to act out his chosen song title.
Ray points to his eye. "I!" the other three chorus and Ray nods. He holds up two fingers…"Second word…" he points to his ear… "Sounds like…" and he points at Mikey.
"Sounds like Mikey?" Gerard questions with confusion and Ray shakes his head and points at Mikey again. "Mikes?" Another head shake. "Mike?" Ray nods furiously. "Sounds like Mike?"
"Like!" Frank shouts out and Ray points straight at him and nods.
Ray holds up three fingers next and everybody calls out, "Third word!" Ray points at them. "Your!" Ray nods.
Ray then makes a circle with his arms and starts to rock them. Everyone else 'ums' in confusion as Ray stomps his foot like this should be the easier thing in the world to interpret.
Something finally clicks in Frank's brain and before he can stop himself, he's calling out "Mom!" Ray nods and grins. "I like your mom!" Frank says and Ray jumps a little with excitement.
"Yeah, you got it!"
Frank victory punches the air and then high-fives Gerard.
"How the hell did you get that?" Mikey asks and Frank smiles, shrugging as Gerard coils an arm around Frank's shoulders.
"I guess that summer at Bible Camp actually was good for something," he says and Mikey throws his head back to laugh.
“I am really sorry about before,” Gerard says softly as Frank climbs under their unzipped sleeping bag. They decided to turn in not long ago and Frank thinks it must be somewhere near one, but it feels more like four in the morning with the way nature is quietly humming around them. He sighs and reaches up to touch Gerard’s cheek.
“I told you, it’s fine.”
“Yeah but-” Frank presses a finger to Gerard’s lips, silencing him.
“How long has it been since you kissed me?” he asks, and Gerard’s eyes suddenly look busy with thought. “Exactly,” Frank says when he doesn’t answer. “So why are we talking about the past when you could be kissing me right now?”
Smirking, Gerard licks Frank’s finger before leaning down and kissing him. This is new. This is definitely new and Frank feels it zing through out his entire body. He’s in bed, well – a sort of bed, and instead of thinking about Gerard being with him he’s right here, right next to him and right now. He curls his fingers in to Gerard’s hair and pulls a little, satisfied with the way Gerard moans in to Frank’s open mouth. Frank can’t help but arch up because that gate that guards his hormones, it’s pretty much gone now.
“Frankie,” Gerard pants, licking at his own lips. “Fuck, you’re an amazing kisser.”
Frank sucks in a breath and grins. That’s something he could definitely hear more often. “You too,” he says, sliding a cold hand under the hem of Gerard’s jacket and t-shirt. Gerard hisses a little and Frank giggles.
“You think that’s funny, huh?” he asks with wiggly eyebrows before pressing his cold knuckles against Frank’s side. Frank squirms and laughs as he bats Gerard’s hands away.
“Ok, ok,” Frank giggles. “I give up. I surrender!” Gerard grins triumphantly down at Frank, running his fingertips down one of Frank’s arms before grabbing his wrist and pinning it above Frank’s head. Frank bites his lip as he stares up at Gerard, vulnerable and willing. And that’s just the thing right there, the exact word that sums up every feeling a little shock of electricity that’s currently running through Frank’s body. Willing. That’s exactly what Frank is. A few weeks ago he would have felt bad about thinking of a dirty joke at church, and now he’s here, ready and willing for Gerard to do whatever he wants with him, to touch him and kiss him and make him feel so not fucking guilty for it.
Gerard’s fingers leave Frank’s wrist to brush softly against his cheek. Frank smiles and leans in to the touch, purring almost as Gerard traces Frank’s cheekbones slowly. “You’re beautiful,” Gerard says quietly, but Frank hears every word and tries not to blush, but it’s useless.
Frank shakes his head. “You’re crazy,” he says with a teasing smile and Gerard leans down to nip at his lips. His fingers ghost over Frank’s neck, shoulders and chest as he trails hot, open mouthed kisses along Frank’s jaw line.
Frank’s breathing softly beneath Gerard as Gerard’s hands continue to move over his chest and hips. He can’t quite control himself as he arches up in to Gerard’s touch, pulling Gerard closer by the shoulders. When Gerard’s hand falls on to Frank’s crotch, Frank chokes on his own breath, eyes flying open.
“Is this ok?” Gerard whispers and all Frank can do is nod frantically.
“Y-yeah,” he stutters. “Yeah, that’d be – yeah.” Gerard cups him through his jeans and squeezes. “Gerard,” he chokes.
Gerard makes quick work of Frank’s pants and slips his hand in and passed the waistband of his boxers. Frank’s dick is warm and the skin is soft and it doesn’t feel like Gerard expected it to. It’s heavy and hard and as soon as he grabs hold of it Frank’s hips snap up off the ground.
“I’d be lying if I said I’d never thought about this,” Gerard whispers, and Frank rolls his head to the side to groan.
“I think about it too,” he gasps when Gerard flicks his wrist. Gerard’s eyebrows shoot up, intrigued. He’s resting his head on his hand as he leers over Frank just looking completely leisurely. He squeezes Frank’s dick in his hand. He wants to know more. “Think about your mouth,” Frank whispers. “Your lips, oh…” he trails, because Gerard’s dragging his thumb slowly up the underside of Frank’s cock and it feels amazing.
“Do you touch yourself?” Gerard asks. Frank closes his eyes and hums.
“All the time,” Frank admits, and he’s not even embarrassed because its pretty hot. Gerard’s mouth is close to his ear and his breath is warm and smells sweet. “I think about you every night,” Gerard starts to build up a rhythm, jacking Frank slow then quick and back to slow again. Frank can’t keep up, one moment he swears he’s going to come and the next he feels his orgasm slipping out of grasp.
“Fuck, Frankie,” he whispers before licking the shell of Frank’s ear. “I think about you too. Thought about doing just this, getting you off, making you come.”
Everything in Frank’s body feels amazing right now. His toes are curling and fingertips going numb from how hard he’s fisting the sleeping bag beneath him. Gerard’s rolling his thumb over Frank’s slit and Frank wants to shout out and swear and pull at Gerard’s hair again because fuck, he had no idea it could be this good.
“Gerard,” he whines when he feels it coming, rolling through his body from the chest down. “Oh, god. Almost-” he cuts himself off with another moan. Gerard presses his face in to Frank’s neck and grins.
“Come for me, Frankie,” he whispers, and that’s it. Frank’s eyes roll back and his mouth falls open as he comes, long and hot against his stomach and all over his bunched up hoodie.
A few moments later, Gerard starts nibbling at Frank’s bottom lip, but even that feels too sensitive. He groans and lets his eyes flutter open.
“Fuck,” he breathes, giving his brain time to reboot before he finally remembers Gerard. He trails his eyes down to Gerard’s groin. Gerard follows his gaze and then quickly looks back up at Frank. He’s about to say something, probably that it’s alright and that Frank doesn’t have to, but he doesn’t get chance to say it because Frank pushes him on to his back and pins him down.
Shoving his hand in to Gerard’s boxers, Frank gets his first hold of Gerard’s cock. It’s big and wet, heavy and almost slippery from the sweat and pre-come. He’s not one hundred percent sure what he’s doing, but Gerard’s pretty far gone already so it only takes a few sloppy flick of Frank’s wrist before Gerard’s cursing in to the arm that’s slung over his face and coming.
Gerard’s sure he must have blacked out for a moment, because when he finally realises where he is and what’s just happened Frank’s almost finished cleaning them up with some tissues he’s got from somewhere. Frank looks up at Gerard and gives him this lopsided smile.
“Please tell me we get to do that again before we leave,” he says.
Gerard laughs and curls his fingers over Frank’s wrist, pulling him back down.
Mikey’s ears prick. “I think I just heard a moan…”
Ray laughs. “What, just now? That’s been happening for a few minutes.”
Mikey groans and presses his hands over his ears. “Oh my god, no way do I have to listen to that.”
Grinning, Ray slides closer, reaching through their unzipped sleeping bags to wrap an arm around Mikey’s waist. “I could always tell you how cute you are,” he suggests, and Mikey blushes, dipping his head to hide his face.
“That’s ok,” he mumbles.
Ray’s grin widens and he leans down to kiss the top of Mikey’s head. “You really are cute though,” he says quietly and Mikey lifts his head, smiling with his cheeks pink. Ray runs a thumb over Mikey’s blush. “See.”
“Shuduuup,” Mikey moans, squirming uncomfortably. “I’m not cute.”
“Oh, I think you’ll find you are,” Ray replies, eyebrows bobbing. He pecks quickly at Mikey’s lips. “You’re sweet too,” he adds before pecking at Mikey’s lips again. “And kind,” peck, “and funny,” peck, “and awesome.”
This time when he leans in to peck, Mikey grabs Ray’s face in both hands and holds him there while he kisses him, slow and sweet.
They do actually get to do it again before they leave. The light of dawn is barely over the tent when Frank’s biological clock decides it’s time to wake up and it doesn’t take him long to realise that he’s hard. He’s got Gerard pressed against his back, hand under the front of Frank’s t-shirt stroking his stomach. Frank bites his lip, staying still for a few moments to enjoy the feeling of Gerard’s sleeping body so close to his before shifting in their sleeping bag until he’s facing Gerard.
He wakes Gerard up by sliding his hand in to his pants.
And that’s how they end up like this, tucked up in the corners of the sleeping bag, hands down each other’s boxers as they jerk the other off as quietly as possible – which isn’t very quiet at all. The air in the tent is hot and muggy but Frank gasps at it anyway.
When Gerard put his lips against Frank’s neck and grazes the skin with his teeth, Frank hisses and shakes his head. “Not on the neck,” he pants, and uses his free hand to pull his shirt up. Gerard smirks, quickly getting the idea before attaching his lips to the top of Frank’s chest. He bites the sweat slicked skin, sinking his teeth in and tasting salt before lapping over the bite with his tongue. Every bite connects straight to Frank’s dick and he moans, squeezing harder at Gerard’s cock as he jerks him erratically.
Gerard’s just finished making a new mark near Frank’s shoulder when he leans back up to claim Frank’s mouth in a hot and teeth clattering kiss. Frank’s thighs are trembling and Gerard’s hand feels just as amazing as it did a few hours ago.
“Frankie,” Gerard whispers in a desperate whine. “Oh, fuck.” He comes first, face falling in to Frank’s neck as his body jerks against Frank’s. Frank’s not far behind, and watching Gerard’s face when he comes is enough to push him over the edge too, coming hard like last night until he’s shaking with the force of it.
Gerard drags their mouths in to a slow and lazy kiss before he lets Frank clean them up again.
Ray and Gerard make breakfast, fried eggs and burnt toast, and Mikey and Frank sit across from each other with knowing little smirks. Breakfast is eaten mostly in silence, because it’s still earlier than any of them are used to and there’s no coffee – so no one can really function all that well.
“I think I’m gonna take a walk by the lake before we pack up,” Ray says, standing and stretching. He offers a hand out to Mikey. “You wanna join me?”
Mikey smiles and takes the offered hand, letting Ray pull him on to his feet. “Love to,” he says just as Ray casually laces their fingers together. “You guys can clean up after breakfast.”
“What? Why?” Gerard snaps.
“Because if you don’t have the manners to shut the fuck up when you’re fooling around in a tent you can at least make up for it by doing the dishes the next day,” Mikey states calmly before being lead away by a sniggering Ray.
Gerard gawps after them and Frank falls back laughing.
“Shit,” Frank curses as they’re packing their things away. Gerard looks over with a questioning gaze as Frank points at the stains on his sleeping bag. Gerard laughs.
“I can take it home and wash it if you want.”
Frank rolls the sleeping bag up quickly. “Really?”
Gerard leans over and kisses Frank’s cheek. “Of course.”
“You’re the best.”
Gerard grins. “I know.”
Frank’s sad to be leaving the comfort and care free life style of their little camp. He wonders if he could maybe convince everyone to do it again before the summer is out. It wouldn’t take much convincing.
The clearing is once again clear, the fire is out and just a black burn in the ground remains. The tents are packed and the barbeque dismantled and loaded in to the boot of Ray’s mom’s car. Frank breathes in deeply as he stands in the empty space. He really does wish they could stay for one more night.
Gerard squeezes Frank’s shoulders. “You ready?”
Frank sucks in another deep breath and sighs, sliding a hand up to his shoulder to cup over Gerard’s. “Yeah. I’m ready.”
“See you ‘round, Frank,” Ray says, waving back as he smiles through the rear view mirror.
Frank smiles nervously as Mikey turns around in his seat. “This was fun,” he says with an affirmative nod. “You’re cool. Completely crazy to want to be all up in my brother’s personal space when he barely showers – but cool.”
Gerard rolls his eyes and opens the passenger door. “Shut up, moron.”
Laughing, Frank bumps fists with Mikey. “Later,” he calls, tugging his backpack off the seat as he hops out.
“Uh, you guys go ahead,” Gerard says as he holds the door open. “I’ll walk home.” Mikey nods.
Frank watches the car drive off in to the distance from the top of the embankment. And just like that, his life is back to how it was. He glances back to his own town and sighs. “I had an awesome time,” Frank says quietly.
“Yeah,” Gerard agrees, sliding his fingers down Frank’s wrist until he can grab his hand. “I wish we could do it again.” And really, he does. He wishes he could take Frank to bed tonight and curl around his body, press the two of them closer together and fall asleep with the scent of Frank’s hair in his nose.
Frank’s smile is small and weak, but he meant it to be reassuring. He turns to lean in to Gerard, gripping his shoulder with his free hand and tilting his head up until Gerard closes the last few inches and kisses him briefly.
Although he’s had an amazing time, that little glimpse of what he could have and what he won’t get probably ever again, Frank feels more sombre than ever as he walks slowly home alone.
Gerard drags his feet as he walks, trying painfully hard to ignore the knot of angst that’s tightening in his chest. He’s got the whole walk home to think about how he can stop himself from being utterly miserable because he doesn’t get to fall asleep next to Frank tonight, or wake up against him tomorrow morning.
Mikey’s already in Gerard’s room by the time he gets home. He’s sat on Gerard’s bed, shoes kicked off and pillows propped up just waiting for Gerard to sit down at start talking. He smiles weakly at his little brother who beams back and pats the spot next to him.
“Come and tell me all about it, bro,” he says with warmth.
Gerard sighs and sags down on to the bed, deflating right in to the mattress as he tries to put any thought in his head in to actual words. “I feel like I’ve made things worse,” Gerard finally whispers.
“By spending a night with him?” Mikey asks, and there are no smirks or jibes, he’s just sincere and concerned. Gerard nods slowly.
“It’s like now I’m only just realizing who he is and where he actually comes from.”
“I didn’t think that would matter to you,” Mikey says with a frown.
“It doesn’t,” Gerard says quickly. “It’s not me, it’s everyone else. Frank’s parents would go insane if they found out he was walking his dog on the tracks. What do you think they’d do if they found out what else he’s been doing up there?”
Mikey’s frown deepens. “So what? You’ve decided that this is it?”
Gerard shakes his head. “No. I don’t want it to be over, I don’t ever want it to be over but eventually summer will be over,” he pauses to look down at his feet, pushing back the wave of sorrow that wants to consume him. “I really like him, Mikey.”
“Do you love him?” Mikey asks and when Gerard doesn’t look back up, Mikey already knows the answer.
As soon as Frank gets home and sees his mom smile up at him from the couch, a feeling of guilt starts panging away in his chest.
“Did you have fun with Alex?” she asks as she turns the TV down a little.
Frank smiles weakly and nods. “Yeah,” he answers quietly. Linda stands and takes a few steps until she’s in front of her son. She leans down and kissed the top of his head sweetly.
“Good. You go get freshened up and I’ll make you some lunch,” she says before petting his hair and turning to disappear in to the kitchen.
Frank sighs and drags his bag towards the stairs.
Frank wakes up to a text and a missed called. The call is from Alex and the text is from Gerard. Frank opens it quickly, heart in his mouth because he’s suddenly fearing the worst.
Frank smiles, relieved.
Morning sunshine xxx he taps back.
Gerard’s been nervously biting his thumb nail for the past ten minutes, waiting for a reply. He’s some how gotten it in to his head that Frank hates him, even though Mikey’s told him to stop being such an irrational fool. When Frank texts back, that knot of angst in Gerard’s chest loosens.
Waking up alone is boring xo Gerard glances to the empty space beside him and sighs, no longer seeing the point in being the only person in a double bed.
Waking up without handjobs is boring xxx
Gerard snorts and falls back laughing.
“Off to see Frank?” Mikey asks from the bottom of the stairs as Gerard slips on his jacket.
“Yup,” he says. “Jealous?”
Mikey laughs. “Nah, me and Ray are going to have phone sex in about five minutes. My evening’s set.”
Gerard grimaces. “Thanks for that lovely mental image.”
“So are you going to say anything to him? About yesterday?” Mikey asks, drumming his fingers against the banister, looking unsure about his question.
“Don’t know,” Gerard shrugs. “I figured we should just enjoy what we have, while we have it.”
Mikey frowns, “Hmm,” and Gerard sighs, annoyed.
“I’d rather not talk about this now.”
“Ok, ok,” says Mikey, holding his hands out peacefully. “Enjoy your evening.”
Gerard zips up his jacket quickly. “You too…I mean, ew. No.”
When Frank sees Gerard, he hugs him tightly. It’s not something Gerard was expecting, but he doesn’t exactly mind as Frank’s arms curl around his waist and he tucks his head comfortably under Gerard’s chin. It’s been just over a day since they last saw each other but for some reason, to Frank, it feels more like a week.
Rosie starts to tug anxiously at her leash and Frank finally steps back, leaning down to unclip her. “Sorry, girl,” he says. “I don’t know what came over me,” Rosie yips and trots off as Frank looks back up at Gerard with a nervous sort of smile.
“Wanna go for a walk?” he suggests.
Frank nods, grabbing Gerard’s hand and squeezing gently. “I’d like that.”
Louie’s in a particularly bouncy mood this evening, and he winds himself in and out of Frank and Gerard’s legs energetically. Frank laughs as he loosens his leg from a loop in Louie’s leash. Louie barks and wraps his leash around the other leg until Frank is practically tied to Gerard. Frank falls forward and Gerard barely catches him in a move that sort of looks like he’s just dipped Frank after some intense Tangoing.
Frank giggles so hard that Gerard can’t keep a hold of him, and they both end up tumbling on to the dirt. “Oh god,” Gerard groans. “My pancreas!”
“What?” Frank laughs. “No one knows where their pancreas is, you weirdo.”
Gerard rolls with an uncomfortable grunt, pulling Frank along with him until Frank ends up sat on Gerard’s legs. Louie dives on to Gerard’s stomach, jumping up at Frank’s face as he yaps happily.
“Louie,” Gerard complains. “You’re stepping on my pancreas!” Frank giggles and pushes Louie off Gerard’s stomach, to which he growls at – displeased. Gerard releases the retractor on the leash, letting Louie scamper off wherever he wants.
“I think he’s in a bad mood now,” Frank says as he shifts forward, leaning over Gerard until he’s got a hand planted either side of Gerard’s shoulders. Gerard grins and rubs his hands up Frank’s thighs until Frank hums in satisfaction.
“If only we had a tent,” Gerard murmurs with wiggly eyebrows. Frank smirks and quickly licks at Gerard’s bottom lip.
“Yeah, if only,” he replies, pressing their foreheads together and sighing. “But we don’t,” he continues, “and we won’t…for a while.”
Gerard stares hard at Frank, his lips still smiling but now he’s thinking about never having Frank to himself, in private, ever again. He tucks a strand of fallen hair behind Frank’s ear and leans up to kiss his nose. “We’ll find a way,” he promises. “I’ll think of something.”
“We could bring a tent up here?” Frank suggests. “But that might look a little suspicious.”
“As suspicious as two guys on top of each other?” Gerard says and Frank laughs, nodding.
“Probably.” And then just like that he rolls off of Gerard. Gerard misses the weight and the warmth instantly. Frank pushes himself to his feet, dusting dirt from his jeans before helping Gerard up.
When Frank kisses the corner or Gerard’s open mouth, Gerard wants to groan and grab a hold of Frank and find something, anything, to push him up against. But this is all they’ve got. Two dogs and an abandoned railroad track. Frank kisses Gerard again, smiling with those bright, hopeful brown eyes and suddenly, it feels like enough.
They’ve been making out for the past five minutes and when Ray breaks the kiss to mouth at Mikey’s jaw line, Mikey’s glad for the oxygen. He gulps at it greedily, gasping when Ray’s tongue flicks against the shell of his ear. Ray grins as Mikey squirms and he slips his hand beneath the hem of Mikey’s t-shirt, fingers sliding against his warm, pale skin.
Mikey’s head falls back against the wall when Ray starts to kiss up his throat. He groans and thrusts his hips forward, whining as Ray pushes him back against the wall.
“I know,” Mikey pants when one of Ray’s hands lands steadily on his hip. “I know,” he repeats. “I’ll try to be good.”
Ray looks up at Mikey, who blushes, embarrassed, but Ray’s too busy smirking to notice. He leans in close and whispers, “Never said you had to be.” Mikey groans again, but the sound soon gets caught in his throat when he feels Ray’s hands start to tug at his belt. “You want to?” Ray asks, because Ray is just that much of a gentleman.
Mikey can’t nod fast enough.
Gerard shoves the dry cleaner’s receipt in to his back pocket with a hopeless sigh. He can’t believe he just paid that much to have one thing cleaned, but the machine at home is no where near big enough to fit Frank’s sleeping bag inside of it. Plus, it would have been kind of hard to explain to his mom exactly why he was sponging come stains off a sleeping bag that’s not his in the back yard – so this was the only option left.
Luckily it’s just across the street from the comic store, so Gerard figures he can annoy Ray and embarrass Mikey for a couple hours until the sleeping bag’s ready to pick up.
Gerard flicks at the ‘Back in 10 minutes’ sign with a huff, but decides to try the handle anyway. It’s open. He laughs to himself and shakes his head. Those goons are probably in the back eating lunch or having another one of their in depth – nerd out – conversations. The bell over the door announces Gerard’s entrance and he peers around the front of the store. There’s an open comic book on the counter, as there always is, but no one stood behind. “Definitely in back, then,” Gerard says to himself, heading for the door marked ‘STAFF ONLY’.
There’s a strange sort of murmuring coming from behind the Gerard door, and so with an inquisitive expression, Gerard pushes it open to investigate.
It only takes Gerard a split second to realise that he’s just made the worst decision of his entire life.
Mikey’s got his head thrown back, neck exposed and eyes closed as he moans towards the ceiling. His hands grasp at Ray’s shoulders and hair as Ray’s on his knees in front of Gerard’s little brother, looking very busy indeed.
“Fuck, Ray. I’m – I’m…” and then Mikey’s shaking all over. Gerard let’s out a squeak of shock and Mikey’s eyes fly wide open. “Gerard?”
Ray’s head spins ‘round quickly, unblocking a part of Mikey that Gerard would rather not have seen. Gerard instantly slaps a hand over his eyes and begins to back himself clumsily out of the room, tripping over boxes and crates and chair legs as he fumbles for the door, muttering “fuck, fuck, fuck,” as he goes.
When he finally gets back out in to the front of the store Gerard throws himself over the counter, banging his head against it, trying to knock the memory out of his brain forever and ever.
Five minutes later, Mikey slips awkwardly from behind the store room door and shuffles his way over to Gerard. “Uh…” he trails. Gerard doesn’t look up from the counter. “Ray says he’s really sorry,” and there’s a hitch in his voice that tells Gerard he’s trying really hard not to laugh.
Gerard rolls his head to the side, glaring at his brother. “Fucker, this is not funny. I am forever scarred.”
Mikey snorts, folding his arms across his chest. “That’s little brother karma for making me listen to your wonderful time the other night.”
“Whatever…” Gerard says, rolling his eyes.
“At least it didn’t last long,” Mikey adds with a smirk.
Gerard reaches out and punches Mikey in the arm. “Fucker, shut the hell up,” but Mikey’s too busy cracking up to answer back.
Mikey has to try really hard to get Ray to come out of the store room where he’s currently hiding, convincing himself that Gerard’s going to punch him in the face if he ever sees him again. He eventually does come out though, after much convincing on Mikey’s part and a promise to return the favour when they’re behind several locked doors.
“Uh…hi,” Ray says, all sheepish and shy for the first time ever in front of Gerard.
Gerard laughs a little, shaking his head. “I promise not to punch you if you let me use your staff discount.”
“Sure!” Ray perks up. He doesn’t get that much of a discount, he’s just really glad he’s not going to get punched.
Donna decides that her family aren’t spending enough time together this summer, so she takes it upon herself to arrange some quality time together for them. The fact that she’s got something to squeeze out of her sons is purely and innocently coincidental. Completely.
“Right,” she says as she stands in front of the TV, three jackets in hand. “Go and wash your hands and faces. We’re leaving in five minutes.” The three Way men look at each other oddly for a moment before shrugging and scrambling for the bathroom.
Dinner and a movie. It may be cliché but it’s all Donna’s got. The movie comes first and she lets the boys choose, as usual, and ends up seeing some action/horror/comedy with maybe just a hint of romance. She sighs and hands the boys some money for snacks. They can have their movie, but dinner is where the real fun starts.
The movie is awful; absolutely terrible but the three Way men are glued to the huge screen for perhaps the most torturous two hours of Donna’s life. How some things get made in to movies, she will never know.
“Did you see that scene with the explosion?” Mikey says to his brother and father excitedly, to which they all agree and nod. Donna rolls here eyes. There were precisely five hundred scenes with explosions in that god awful movie.
The diner is probably the only decently cheap place to eat in this town, not that they can only afford ‘cheap’, but Donna knows how much Mikey and Gerard love those little baskets of curly fries they do. They pile in to a booth, the brothers shoving playfully at each other and Don heading straight for the menu. Donna laughs to herself and orders everyone’s drinks.
“So, boys…you never said how camping went…” Donna asks as the boys sip their cokes. They look cautiously at each other before smiling innocently at their parents.
“It was great, mom,” Gerard says.
“Uh-huh,” she nods, all smiley and mom-like. “What did you do? Sing songs around the camp fire?”
The boys laugh, and it’s obviously nervous and fake, and Mikey looks down at his phone.
“We swam in the lake,” Gerard answers.
“And Mikey lasted more than five minutes before whining about sharks?” Donna asks, surprised.
“Ray helped,” Gerard blurts and Mikey instantly shoves at Gerard’s shin with his foot. Gerard winces and tries to keep smiling.
“That’s nice of him. Did you thank him for letting you use his extra tent?”
Gerard sniggers and Mikey kicks him again. Little things suddenly begin to click in to place in Donna’s mind.
“Yes,” Mikey says through gritted teeth while glaring at his brother. “Uh, I need to use the bathroom,” he adds, quickly grabbing his phone and shoving at Gerard so he can climb out of the booth.
After Gerard sits back down, Donna smiles knowingly at her eldest son. Gerard always was the easiest one to break, especially after high action movies and an immense amount of sugar. “So, about this camping trip…” she starts and Gerard’s eye instantly starts to twitch. Donna grins inwardly as Gerard gulps. Bingo
When Mikey gets back from the bathroom (and a quick phone conversation with Ray) his mother is grinning, his father in staring hard at the back of the menu and Gerard is looking really fucking guilty. He walks slowly and cautiously back to the booth before standing there, staring from his parents to his brother. When Gerard finally makes eye contact, Mikey feels a little sick.
“You told!” he shrieks, all high pitched and terrified.
“I’m sorry I’m so sorry,” Gerard babbles. “She prised it out of me, I swear!”
Mikey’s blushing furiously and gawping back at his brother. Donna coughs. Enough of the fun, now comes the serious parent part.
“Mikey, sit down,” she says softly. Mikey shuffles his way back in to the booth, staring intently at the table. “Mikey,” she says again. Mikey looks up slowly, chewing on his lip. “You’re not in trouble, so stop looking like that.” He lets go of his lip with a quick ‘pop’ sound. “I would say that you should have told me, but I do understand why you didn’t.”
“You do?” Mikey says, surprised.
Donna sighs. “Mikey, how many years are there between me and your father?”
Oh, crap, Mikey thinks. This is already a stressful situation and she wants to add math on top of it?
“Three,” Gerard answers for him and Donna nods.
“Exactly. I’m in no position to judge now, am I?” Mikey doesn’t say anything. He can’t really say anything because his brain isn’t supplying his mouth with any words.
“So…you’re not mad?” he finally says, but it’s so quiet he barely hears it himself.
“No,” Donna smiles.
“And it’s ok that Ray’s older?”
She sighs. “You never were like most kids, Mikey. When everyone else was jumping off things on their bikes in the street you’d always wait until your brother said you could first. You listened to him more than you listened to me and so if he’s alright with it, which he obviously is or he would have told me sooner, then I trust you. I trust both of you and I know you’ll be careful.”
Mikey smiles at his mother and Gerard can suddenly feel his own secret rushing along his tongue with a wave of guilt. He bites it back though, because that really is a whole other ball game.
“And you’re cool that he’s…y’know…” Mikey has to add, just to be sure.
Donna rolls her eyes. “Sweetie, your brother’s been putting on my make-up since he was four. Believe me, I’ve had time to prepare for this day.”
Mikey bursts out laughing and Gerard lets his face connect with the table.
Once he can finally breathe again, Mikey wipes away a few stray tears and giggles. “I love you, mom.”
Donna laughs and reaches over to pet Gerard’s arm. “I think you should invite Ray over for dinner, don’t you, Don?”
Don, who hasn’t said anything yet, downs the menu and nods. Mikey’s trying to read his expression, but it’s pretty much impossible. Finally, Don smiles winningly at his son and gives him a quick thumbs up.
“So my parents found out about us today,” Mikey says, cell phone pressed to his ear and back pressed to his closed bedroom door.
“Oh, god,” Ray gasps on the other end of the line. “I think I’m going to throw up.”
“It’s fine, honestly,” Mikey reassures. “They were both really great and they’re not even pissed about the age thing.”
“Really, I swear. They even invited you over for dinner,” Mikey adds, and he can just picture Ray’s face now.
“I really am going to throw up now…” Ray says quietly and Mikey laughs.
“Don’t worry. My parents are cool. Fuck, my parents are so cool,” he says again like he’s only just realising it.
“Yeah, well lets just hope that my mom is as cool as yours.”
“Oh yeah…” Mikey trails thoughtfully. “I forgot you had one of those too.”
Ray snorts. “Yeah, I do. Sorry.”
Mikey sighs dramatically. “It’s alright, I suppose.”
“So, hey. Now that your parents know and everything’s cool – wanna come by the comic store later and, uh…celebrate?” The little quiver in Ray’s voice almost makes Mikey blush.
“Definitely,” he grins.
Don Way peers curiously over the top of his newspaper as his eldest son heads out to walk the neighbours dog, armed with a pouch of dog treats and a rolled up sleeping bag.
“Be back in a bit, dad,” Gerard says. Don simply nods and glances back at the sports section, shaking his head and muttering something about ‘kids’ as the front door closes with a soft click. After yesterday’s fiasco, he’s not even going to ask.
Louie’s definitely becoming a lot more obedient, and not just for Gerard. Mrs. Greenford no longer curses or struggles when she brings him to the door. Instead, Louie sits patiently for his leash to be attached and trots obediently next to Gerard when she hands the leash over.
“I don’t know what’s gotten in to him lately,” she says brightly and with a small laugh that makes Gerard smile. “He’s really taken a shine to you.”
“He’s kind of cute, once you get to know him.” Mrs. Greenford laughs again and waves them both off.
Frank’s already there when Gerard finally gets to the tracks. Rosie’s running around the trees, enjoying her time alone before Louie comes to harass her – no doubt. He smiles when he sees Gerard appear at the top of the embankment and waves him over.
“Hey, managed to scrub your brain clean yet?” he laughs. Gerard had text Frank as soon as he left the comic store, expecting lots of sympathy and words of encouragement, but alas – he received nothing but unhelpful mocking.
“Very funny,” Gerard replies, feigning annoyance. He hands the green bag over. “Here’s your sleeping bag.”
Frank’s eyes brighten as he reaches out and takes it. “Thanks,” and he steps in to kiss Gerard’s cheek quickly. “You’re the best.”
“Will you be able to get it in the house without your mom seeing?”
Frank makes a face. “Of course,” and he points to himself. “The devil himself, remember.”
“Ahh…” Gerard nods slowly. “Your powers of deception knows no bounds.”
When Frank giggles, Gerard has to pull him in for another kiss, because he just can’t not. Frank makes a squeak of surprise but lets Gerard kiss him softly, sleeping bag in one hand and Gerard’s shoulder in the other.
“That was nice,” Frank whispers, eyes still closed. Gerard pecks his lips again and pulls Frank closer.
“Then maybe I should do it again…”
Frank hides the sleeping bag on the bag porch before he takes Rosie inside. His parents are in the living room watching TV, but his mother stands up as soon as the door opens.
“Are the dog’s paws muddy?” she asks quickly.
“I’m wiping them already, mom!” Frank calls back as he pulls the ratty old dish cloth from the drawer. Rosie sits down grumpily. “Sorry, girl,” Frank says quietly as he kneels in front of her, pick one paw up at a time and wiping the track dust from them. Rosie makes a frustrated noise and lifts her other paw.
When Frank’s pretty sure both his parents are engrossed in the TV again, he grabs the bag from the back porch and slips quietly up the kitchen stairs.
He should really just throw the sleeping bag in to his closet and be done with it, but the green holding bag smells a little like Gerard. Frank quickly pulls the sleeping bag out and unravels it along his bed. When he does, he’s surprised to find a black folded up t-shirt hidden within the quilted layers. Frank grabs the t-shirt and unfolds it curiously.
It’s an X-Men t-shirt. Frank grins instantly and presses it to his chest. It smells exactly like Gerard. Frank hides his face in the black, faded material until he starts to feel creepy, after which he promptly changes in to it and slips his hoodie on over. It feels warm and soft against his skin and he constantly wants to slip his hands beneath his hoodie to run over the distorted image of Wolverine and co.
Frank wears the t-shirt to bed, pillow pressed to his chest as he imagines Gerard’s lying with him.
When Linda walks in to the living after washing up from breakfast, she’s both surprised and delighted to find Frank on the couch, nose buried in a college brochure. She smiles as she dries her hands on a dishtowel.
“I’m very proud of you, Frankie,” she says softly. Frank looks up, offering a weak smile as he flips to the next page.
“I like this one,” Frank says, pointing to some modern looking New York college. Linda makes a sort of disapproving face and hums. “They have the best scores in Music and Drama.”
Linda flinches. “You don’t play a musical instrument, sweetie. But you do have a lovely singing voice,” and she reaches down to pinch his cheek. Frank rubs the sore skin with a grimace.
“I could learn,” he says with determination. “They do a lot of courses in Philosophy…”
“You don’t need philosophy,” Linda nods, “You have your bible. That has all the answers you’ll ever need.”
Frank wants to sigh and shake his head, because he’s pretty sure that with the questions spinning around in his head these past few weeks – the bible is that last place he’s going to be finding the answers.
“They have a lot of social clubs too – sports, music, travel, LGBT…” Frank trails, eyeing his mother curiously. He’s fully aware this is a dangerous game he’s playing, but when he sees those four letters shining at him on the page – he can’t resist.
Linda raises an eyebrow. “LGBT?” He’s not surprised she doesn’t know. If he’s totally honest, he only knows himself thanks to movies and the internet. Mostly the internet.
“It says here Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender…” Frank pretends to read, though he already knows what it stands for. He studies Linda’s face as she stares at him vacantly for a few moments.
“Oh,” is all she simply says. “That’s nice.”
And then she’s gone again, back in the kitchen and tinkering around with the dishes like Frank never said a word. Frank’s got a terribly sinking feeling that’s not a very good sign.
“My parents know about Mikey and Ray,” Gerard says later that day as he sits in the grass next to Frank and Louie.
Frank’s eyes widen. “Wow, really? What – what did they say?”
Gerard shrugs. “Just that Mikey should have told them.”
Frank starts to pick at the grass between his legs. “So they were ok with everything?”
“Yup,” Gerard nods. “Pretty much. They even invited Ray over for dinner.”
“That’s going to be one awkward meal,” Frank giggles and Gerard grins.
“I know, right? I can’t wait to watch Mikey squirm.” They laugh about it for a few moments until the sound slowly slips away and they’re left with aching silence. Gerard glances down at Frank’s hand as it continues to tear at the blades of grass. He sighs – he may as well say it. “I wish you could come over for dinner,” he says quietly.
Frank looks back up at him with a small smile. “I know. Me too. Your parents sound really cool.”
Gerard sighs again and lays himself back in the grass. Frank shifts a little closer, picking up Louie and dropping him on Gerard’s stomach. Louie sneezes and pads his way slowly up Gerard’s chest. “Thanks, Louie,” Gerard grimaces, wiping dog snot off his t-shirt. Frank laughs and leans forward, and when Gerard sees the familiar text of his X-men t-shirt just above the zip of Frank’s hoodie, he grins.
When he pulls the zip down, Frank blushes but doesn’t stop Gerard as he slips his hand in to Frank’s hoodie and brushes over the faded image. “What?” Frank says nervously, because Gerard’s just staring at him.
“It looks really good on you,” Gerard replies softly as he brings his hand back out and cups Frank’s cheek.
Frank kisses Gerard’s palm. “Feels good too,” he smiles.
Frank’s been wearing Gerard’s t-shirt for pretty much five days straight now. He wears it under the same thin hoodie, always zipped right up to the top so his parents can’t see it but so he can still run his thumb along the hem whenever he wants. He pulls the zip down when he’s with Gerard, because he likes the way Gerard smiles at him when he sees it.
“Hey, that’s a cool t-shirt,” Alex says as he points over the magazine he’s currently reading. Frank sits in the beanbag chair and glances down at it. He hadn’t even realised the zip to his hoodie had fallen down quite so far.
“Thanks,” he says quickly.
Alex gives him a strange look. “It belongs to him, doesn’t it?” Frank looks innocently around the room. Alex laughs. “Oh, man. You got it bad.”
“What? Shut up,” Frank blushes, zipping his hoodie back up and sinking further in to the beanbag.
Alex drops his magazine and leans back on his bed, still laughing. “You’re such a girl.”
Frank picks up the closest thing to him – a shoe – and throws it at Alex.
Frank wants to stomp his way upstairs and slam his bedroom door at least ten times. He’s just had to endure another visit from her - his grandmother. He’s sure at one point that woman must have been capable of love, or at least laugh without setting off every dog in the neighbourhood.
She’s just spent an hour talking about this volunteer project she’s going to sign him up for. The outside of Saint John’s church needs repainting, and apparently its exactly the sort of manual labour that Frank needs in his life to help clear his mind so he can make the right choice about college. Frank sat there, teeth gritted, and nodded at everything she said like he didn’t want to tell her to shove it. Even his mother looked bored at one point.
Frank closes his door just as he hears his mother turn the TV up, ready for the nine o’clock news. He sighs and backs up to his bed before falling on the mattress. This evening really blows.
His phone starts to vibrate in his pocket and he doesn’t even have to look at the called ID, he knows who it’s going to be. His stomach still flips as he thumbs over the answer button. Talking on the phone, and not just texting, is a relatively new thing for them and Gerard’s only called a handful of times. However, Frank’s glad he’s calling now.
“I’m so glad you called,” Frank says before Gerard even gets out a hello. Instead, he laughs breathily.
“Hard day at the office, dear?” he coos.
“Grandma,” is all Frank has to say before Gerard sucks in a sharp breath.
“Ow, that bad?” Frank groans. “I’m sorry,” he says softly, voice kind and warm and Frank smiles at the ceiling.
“Its better now though,” Frank says quietly. “You make it better.”
Gerard hums. “You still wearing my t-shirt?”
“Yeah,” Frank replies, running a hand under his hoodie. “It’s starting to smell more like me than you now, though. I think I need a new one.”
“Alright. Well you can give me the one that smells like you back so I can wear it, and I’ll give you another one.”
Frank grins and nods to himself. “Deal.”
“It’s kinda sexy knowing you want to smell me all day,” Gerard says lowly and Frank can practically hear his smirk. He moves himself back on the bed, settling down in the pillows as he glances towards his closed door.
“Sexy as in creepy sexy like, I’m outside your bedroom window or sexy like, really sexy…”
Gerard laughs. “Sexy like, really fucking sexy,” he pauses and groans a little, Frank’s ears pricking at the sound. “I like knowing that I’m with you and on you. Fuck, you have no idea.”
“I’d sleep in my sleeping bag if I could. I bet that still smells of you too,” Frank adds, his voice low as his hand twitches in the sheets beside him. Something’s stirring low in his stomach, and he’s got an overwhelming feeling that it’s going to wake his dick up.
Gerard’s breath hitches. “Fuck, really? Maybe I should get mine too…”
Frank pushes his head back in to his pillows as he fists and flexes his fingers over and over again. This shouldn’t be sexy, talking about unwashed clothing and camping gear, but fuck, it’s really fucking sexy. “Yeah?” Frank breathes, and he knows Gerard can hear it, that quiver in his voice.
“Frank,” Gerard says, and he sounds kind of serious. “Have you been touching yourself again?” Frank groans, his hand jumping on to his thigh. As soon as his fingers make contact with his leg, he’s hard. He shifts uncomfortably in his jeans, dick rubbing against the denim. “You have…” Gerard says, cocky and pleased. “I think you should tell me all about it.”
“Hmm…” Frank hums, rubbing the flat of his palm over his crotch. Hip hips rock up instantly in to the touch. “I’d rather hear about you touching me,” he says and Gerard replying laughter it hot and smooth.
Gerard’s already got his hand in his boxers and he grabs his dick firmly. “Frankie,” he says, dragging the word out and licking his lips. “I loved having your cock in my hand.” Frank gasps, shoving his hand in to his jeans and wriggling uncomfortably until it fits down there. He holds the phone between his ear and shoulder, using his free hand to tug furiously at the buttons.
“Yeah,” he moans. “Gerard, tell me – tell me more…” Frank’s finally got his hand around his dick, squeezing softly as he bucks ups. “Please,” he pleads.
“You felt amazing under my fingers, Frankie,” Gerard breathes. “Fuck, so warm and hard. Are you hard now?”
Frank nods. “Yeah,” he bites out, running his hand up and down his length.
Gerard hums. “Fuck, Frank. I really wish I was there. I wish I could jack you nice and slow.” Gerard’s thrusting up again, erratic and lazy as he tightens his fist.
Frank can feel sweat start to collect at the small of his back as he tugs at himself, eyes closed, imagining Gerard leaning over him. “I wish you were biting my chest again,” Frank says and Gerard moans.
“Me too, and kissing your neck. You’ve got a gorgeous neck, and your jaw - oh,” he stops talking so he can speed up his hand, jacking himself quicker as his hips arch off the bed.
Frank whines, he needs more. He slides his thumb over the head of his dick and his thighs instantly tighten and shake, so he does it again. “Gerard,” he whimpers. “More, I need to hear more.”
Gerard’s so close now, so close he can almost taste it. “Fuck, I wish I could have more of you. I wish I could taste you,” he moans at the thought. “Oh god, Frankie. I’d fucking love to suck you off,” and that mental image is all he needs before he thrusts up one last time, throws his head to the side and comes, long and loud.
Gerard’s moans vibrate through Frank and as he repeats those last few words over and over again in his head, he bites his tongue and comes in short, quick spurts until he’s empty and shaking. “Oh, oh,” he whispers, mouth hung open as the last burst of his orgasm washes over him.
After a few moments, Frank hears rustling on the other end of the phone. “It’s not the same cleaning myself up,” Gerard says. Frank laughs and leans over to grab the box of tissues from his night stand because, yeah. That’s probably a good idea. “So, that was pretty hot.”
“Yeah,” Frank agrees, wiping himself down. “It really was.”
There’s another pause, different from the last, before Gerard finally says, “I wish I could hug you now.”
Frank bites his lip and closes his eyes. “Me too.”
Ray’s been standing in front of the Way’s front door for five minutes now, nervously tugging at the only clean, none band t-shirt he could find. Its dark green and sort of itchy around the collar, but it’s all he’s got.
Suddenly the front door swings open and Gerard’s stood there, eyeing him curiously. “You alright, man?” he says and Ray nods.
“Yeah, yeah. Just, uh-”
“Nervous as hell?” Gerard interrupts, smiling.
Ray laughs nervously. “Yeah, something like that.”
Gerard pulls the door open wider. “Don’t even worry about it, man. I think Mikey’s got more to fear than you. I swear mom’s been looking for the baby albums all afternoon.”
Gerard’s surprised when his father stands from his armchair and strides across the living room, chest puffed up and hand extended towards Ray. “Good to see you again, Ray,” he says, shaking Ray’s hand vigorously.
“Uhh…you too,” Ray replies, just as Mikey comes pounding down the stairs. He stops halfway down and glances between his boyfriend and his father.
“Um, what are you doing?” he says.
“Just being polite,” Don replies, smiling innocently before patting Ray on the shoulder.
“Ray!” Donna smiles as she emerges from the kitchen, dishtowel tucked in to her apron. “Glad you could make it, how are you?”
“Fine, thanks Mrs. Way,” he smiles politely. “And you?”
“Me? Oh, I’m fine. Mikey, don’t just stand there looking useless. Go get your boyfriend a drink.”
Mikey’s ears turn pink as he slowly trails down the last few steps. “Yes, mom,” he says quietly, and Ray’s hand ghosts over the small of his back as he passes.
Gerard can’t stop grinning at how positively awkward Mikey and Ray look sat next to each other, but still with a good few inches between them. Don’s telling them some story about his latest invention and Ray’s nodding along politely, trying to make it look like he’s listening intently to everything he’s saying. Mikey’s staring at his feet, his hand twitching ever so slightly on his leg.
“Boys, I think dinner’s going to be another twenty minutes,” she calls from the kitchen. “Why don’t you all go hang out in Gerard’s room and I’ll call you up.”
“Okay, mom,” Gerard calls back, jumping up from the couch as Mikey and Ray stand slowly, careful not to accidentally touch each other.
Down in Gerard’s room, they’re still stood at least a foot apart and glancing hopelessly at each other. Gerard rolls his eyes and collapses back on to his bed. “Christ, guys. Will you just make out already?”
Mikey scowls and swears at his brother, and it’s like a sigh of relief that they’re not in front of parents anymore. He leans up and kisses Ray quickly. “I think they like you,” he says and Ray shoves his hands in to his pockets.
“Yeah? I don’t know. I’ve never really been good with parents.”
Mikey grabs the front of Ray’s t-shirt and rests his head on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, my mom loves you. If she didn’t she’d have burnt dinner and you would have been out of here by now.”
“This is true,” Gerard comments from the bed, where he’s still lay staring at the ceiling.
“Maybe she’s taking the extra twenty minutes to burn everything?” Ray says, finally resting his arms around Mikey’s waist.
“Nah,” Gerard says as Mikey scoffs. “She’s probably still looking for Mikey’s baby pictures.”
Dinner is in fact not burnt, but right on time and properly set out on a neat looking dinner table when Donna finally calls them up. Gerard and Mikey eye each other curiously, because they don’t usually get this kind of treatment.
“So, Ray,” Donna starts and Ray inwardly gulps. “Mikey says you work at the comic store in town? How long have you worked there for?”
Mikey wants to slam his head against the table, because these polite parent questions are torture for everyone and he’s got a whole evening of them to sit through. Ray swallows his food carefully before answering.
“Yeah, I’ve worked there for just over a year.”
Question one – down. Only nine thousand to go. Ray answers each question politely, making sure his mouth is free of food before answering. Donna seems impressed with everything he says, because she smiles back at him and nods at Mikey, like it’s her own way of signalling her approval. When Ray said he wasn’t good with parents, Mikey thinks he must have been lying because he’s charming the heck out of his. Under the table, he sets a hand on Ray’s leg and smiles proudly as Ray tells his mom about his dream guitar that he’s been saving his pay cheques for so he can pay for it completely by himself.
Mikey’s grin is ridiculous and it makes Gerard happy and sad at the same time. He’s never seen his little brother look happier, but he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t jealous because he’d kill to have Frank here like this, charming his mother with all the right answers to her never ending roll of questions. He wants to squeeze Frank’s thigh beneath the dinner table, bring him drinks on his mother’s command and listen to someone else say the word ‘boyfriend’ out loud.
“Gerard, you can help me with the dishes,” Donna announces. “Mikey, you can take Ray in to the living room.”
“Thank you for a lovely dinner, Mrs. Way,” Ray says and Donna smiles and reaches out to squeeze his arm.
Gerard’s still thinking, still totally engrossed in thoughts of Frank when he feels his mother’s hip bump against his.
“Why the long face, Mr. Way?” she says softly, and Gerard sighs and shakes his head.
“It’s nothing, mom. Really.”
Donna gives her son that ‘don’t bullshit me’ look as she dumps another plate in to the soapy water. “Y’think I haven’t noticed your mood changes either, huh? Don’t think I haven’t seen your dreamy grin.”
“Uhh…” Gerard doesn’t quite know what to say.
“And then tonight,” she continues, “that lost little look on your face. I know you’ve got a secret too, sweetie. I just wish you’d let me in on it.”
Gerard stares at his mother, intense and hard like he’s trying to figure out if this is a trap or not. No, it’s not. Donna has never been that sort of mother. He’s never been too afraid to tell her anything in his whole entire life, because she’s not just his mother – she’s his friend too.
“There’s this guy,” he whispers.
“Ah,” Donna smiles. “I thought there might be. Is he older too?”
Gerard bites his lip and shakes his head. “He’s seventeen, eighteen in October.”
Donna nods slowly. “Right. So where’s the problem?”
He can’t look at her for this bit. “He’s from across the lines…”
Silence. That’s all Gerard gets, just silence as he stares at the stack of dry plates and glasses. He can still hear her breathing and he can’t feel her eyes glaring in to him, so he takes this as a good sign. When he finally does look up, Donna is staring vacantly at him. Gerard widens his eyes and tries to look as innocent as possible.
“Ok then,” she says slowly, pausing again to stare out of the kitchen window. “This boy,” she finally says. “Is it serious?”
Gerard can’t lie. Not now. “I love him,” he answers quickly, and Donna looks back at him. Saying it out loud to himself feels like a weight has lifted, but it also feels like he’s just shot himself in the chest, because now he knows what he’s got – and what he’s probably going to have to give up.
Donna sighs and lets the water drain from the sink. “Did you ever hear that saying ‘a fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build there nest?’”
Gerard shakes his head. “No,” he whispers.
“What I’m trying to say is, be careful. Please, baby, be so careful. I’ve always told you boys to follow your heart and I always will, but this is such a sensitive situation and I don’t want you getting in to something that you can’t get out of.”
Gerard nods. He understands, he really does. But he’s already in too deep to ever think about turning back now.
When Gerard’s grabbing his jacket ready to collect Louie, Ray announces that he’s going to take Mikey for ice cream. Donna smiles and tucks five dollars in to Mikey’s pocket before leaning in to kiss his cheek, telling him to have fun. She gives Gerard a more meaningful look, squeezing his shoulder and she passes him to the kitchen. Mikey’s head tilts, silently asking what that was about. Gerard just shakes his head, indicating he’ll talk about it later.
“You’ve been really quiet,” Frank says from beside Gerard. “Is everything alright?” he asks, laying a hand over Gerard’s.
Gerard watches as their fingers naturally lace around each other and nods. “Yeah,” he says, glancing up at Frank and offering him a smile.
Frank leans in and pecks his cheek before stating, “I don’t like it when you’re quiet.”
Rosie wanders over to them and flops at Frank’s feet. Louie instantly shuffles his way from Gerard’s side to Rosie’s, nestling himself near her tail. Rosie glances at him, blinking slowly before resting her head on the grass again.
Gerard holds out his arm and Frank instantly scoots closer, leaning in to Gerard with a comfortable sigh. Gerard taps his fingers softly along Frank’s shoulder before sliding down his bare arm. “Can I ask you something?”
Frank rests his head against Gerard’s shoulder. “Sure…”
“If a fish and a bird fall in love, where will they build their nest?”
Frank scrunches his nose and rubs his cheek against Gerard’s hoodie. “Some place where it rains a lot?” and he looks up with a coy smile, waiting to see if his answer is acceptable.
Gerard laughs breathily and leans down to kiss Frank softly. Once Frank hooks his teeth over Gerard’s bottom lip, he doesn’t want to let go, and soon he’s got his hand in Gerard’s hair as he slides his tongue against the roof of Gerard’s mouth. Frank shifts on to his knees moves himself carefully in between Gerard’s legs, desperate to not let their mouths part. He manages it, somehow, and as he combs Gerard’s hair back, Gerard pulls Frank closer with his hand on the small of Frank’s back.
Frank feels so perfect against Gerard, so right and so warm that he can’t stop his heart from connecting to his mouth. “I love you,” he whispers on to Frank’s wet lips.
Frank pulls back quickly, expression startled as his mouth hangs open. Those words, they’re not what Frank was expecting. It’s not what he was ever expecting. He stares Gerard right in the eye, looking for something other than complete truth. When he doesn’t find it, he presses his forehead against Gerard’s and whimpers. “I love you too.”
Gerard strokes his fingers down the side of Frank’s face and pecks at his lips again. “I don’t want you to go home.” Frank whimpers again because he doesn’t ever want to leave this place, just wants to stay in this exact position, in this exact moment, kissing Gerard like it’s the only thing they’re ever going to have to do. He shakes his head slowly, eyes closed.
“Me either,” Frank replies softly as Gerard’s fingertips trail down his jaw. “But I have to,” he breathes, opening his eyes again. He lays his head back on Gerard’s shoulder. “We’ll see each other tomorrow, though.”
Gerard strokes Frank’s back as he feels his own heart beating in his throat. “Yeah,” he says. “Tomorrow.”
That night Gerard lies in bed, phone resting against his chest from texting Frank none stop for the past few hours. Frank’s been asleep for a while now; Gerard got one last text about an hour ago with copious amounts of spelling mistakes and kisses, so he guesses Frank’s tucked up now, breathing softly.
Gerard wishes he could brush Frank’s hair from his eyes, kiss his cheek and stoke his face. It feels like Frank’s a thousand miles away and with the end of summer closing in on them, New York City feels like a whole other world. Gerard’s whole body starts to ache when he thinks about leaving Frank, about not seeing him every day, not hearing his laugh or feeling his soft kisses. He can literally feel his eyes becoming heavy with waiting tears as he thinks about leaving Frank alone in this town, with his controlling mother and god awful grandmother.
Before he lets himself shut his eyes and allow sleep, he sends Frank one more text message.
I wish I could take you away xo
“I’m worried about my brother,” Mikey sighs, swinging his legs from on top of the counter. Ray looks up from counting the money in his till for the third time since opening.
“Why?” he asks and Mikey stares down at his shoes.
“I know he loves Frank,” Ray eyebrows quirk. “But I know that they’ve only got the summer.”
Ray lays a hand on Mikey’s thigh and squeezes softly. “They both know that, they knew that when they started up this thing,” he says.
Mikey nods. “Yeah, I know. It’s just, I know my brother. He doesn’t take heart break well. He’s a complete fucking weirdo already and I’m just terrified that this is going to push him over the edge.”
Ray looks at Mikey’s lost little face with concern. He moves his hand to rest on Mikey’s waist and squeezes him again. “Gerard’s got you,” Ray says quietly. “You’re not going to let him get like that because you’re his brother and because you’re Mikey – fucking – Way. You can do anything.”
Mikey smiles, small but real and hooks his legs around the backs of Ray’s thighs, pulling him closer. “How come you always know just what to say?”
Ray leans in and rubs his nose against Mikey’s. “Because I like making you smile.” Mikey bites his lip before pecking Ray’s mouth quickly. “Your brother will be fine, in the long run,” he reassures. “He knows what he’s doing.”
“You can’t help who you fall in love with,” Mikey says quickly and suddenly, Ray’s blushing. Mikey kisses both his cheeks before guiding their mouths together again.
“Why did you wait so long to show me these?” Alex asks, pawing through the comics in Frank’s room.
Frank shrugs. “I don’t know, it just never came up.”
Alex rolls his eyes. “You’ve been holding out on me, man. These are awesome. Your boyfriend is so awesome.”
Frank looks towards his bedroom door with panicked eyes. “Shh,” he hisses. “You can’t say shit like that in here.”
“Chill out,” Alex assures him. “Your mom’s in the kitchen. Plus, she’d never believe it if she heard it – not in a whole life time.”
The next morning at breakfast, Linda sets down Frank’s pancakes but doesn’t let him eat them yet. “Your father and I have something to tell you,” she says. Frank’s heart stops as he immediately runs through the options, pregnancy, divorce…he’s not sure which one would be worse.
“We’re going out of town tomorrow to visit your cousin, Charlotte,” she says with an informative nod. “She’s having a hard time with her marriage at the moment, and your aunt has asked that we help Charlotte. We’ll be home the next evening.”
“Alright,” Frank replies, nodding slowly. He doesn’t really want to go but, what choice does he have? “When are we leaving? Are we taking Rosie?”
Linda looks from her husband to her son. “We will be leaving tomorrow at four o’clock. You and Rosie will be staying here.”
Frank has to double take because, what? “What?” he says.
“Well, me and your father were discussing it and we deciding that you’re old enough and smart enough to be trusted in the house over night by yourself.”
“Really?” because, wow – that’s not what Frank was expecting. Ever.
Linda nods. “We’re trusting you here, Frank. Alex can stay, but that’s all. Just one person, okay, Frankie?”
“Yeah,” Frank says. “One person, I got it.”
One person, that’s what she said. She only merely suggested that one person be Alex. This is what Frank tells himself as he runs up to his bedroom and closes the door carefully. He fumbles with his phone, almost giddy with excitement, and crosses the room to his chair.
It takes Gerard while to pick up, and Frank’s bouncing his knee nervously as he waits. “Hello?”
“Finally,” Frank sighs.
“Sorry,” Gerard says, laughing a little. “I was sketching, it took me a while to realise something was ringing. So, what’s up?”
“My parents are going out of town tomorrow,” Frank starts, chewing on his lip for a moment before adding, “…for the night.”
“Really?” Gerard says, and Frank’s sure he hears something scatter to the floor on the other end of the line.
“I was, uh, just wondering if you wanted to spend the night.”
“Yes!” Gerard answers immediately, his answer making Frank jump and then laugh. “I mean, uh…yeah, sure,” he says again, embarrassed. “I’d like to.”
Frank can’t stop grinning. “Alright. So I’ll figure some stuff out and we can talk when I see you later?”
Gerard nods to himself. “Yeah, cool. I’ll see you later, then.”
Frank swirls around in his chair, that giddy feeling bubbling it’s way back up his stomach. “I love you,” Frank says quietly before he can stop himself, not that he really wants to stop himself.
There’s a short pause before Gerard hums. “I love you too.”
“Hey, I’m staying out tonight, if that’s ok?” Gerard says to Donna whilst they put away groceries.
“Alright,” Donna says, stacking cans in the overhead cupboard.
“Yeah, I’m gonna-” Donna holds up a finger quickly, silencing Gerard.
“If you’re going to lie to me, Gerard, I’d rather you just not tell me anything,” she says, and the lie that was ready and waiting in Gerard’s mouth instantly disappears, leaving a lump of guilt.
Gerard pulls out a loaf of bread and shoves it in to the bread box. “Ok,” he whispers.
Frank helps his parents to the car with their bags. Linda turns and strokes Frank’s cheek. “Are you sure you’ll be alright?” she asks.
“Yeah, mom. Don’t worry,” Frank smiles as innocently as possible as she lets go of his face and slides in to the car.
Frank taps on the car and waves. “I’ll call you tonight, sweetie. There’s money for pizza under the Florida magnet on the fridge.” Frank smiles and waves again.
When he gets back inside, Rosie’s sat by the couch staring up at him with her head tilted. “So here’s the deal…I give you that whole tin of fancy dog food in the kitchen and you don’t tell mom and dad about Gerard, ok?” Rosie sneezes. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
Gerard’s just dropped Louie back off with Mrs. Greenford after a couple laps of the block. Louie wasn’t all that impressed with not being able to run up on the tracks to see Frank and Rosie, but he trudged along behind Gerard with little complaints and just the odd growl.
“Y’know, Louie, we’ve come a long way you and me,” Gerard had said as they turned in to Mrs. Greenford’s garden. Louie looked up at Gerard, slightly confused before running in a quick circle and trotting down the garden path.
Frank keeps looking back at Gerard every other second, because he can’t quite believe this is actually happening. Rosie’s walking ahead, leading the two boys back to Frank’s house through back alleys, behind the houses of the town.
Gerard’s nervous. Gerard’s very fucking nervous and not because he’s spending another whole night with Frank but because he’s here, in the one place he was told he could never go. What’s strange is that it doesn’t feel strange, it doesn’t look or feel like anything but a normal, quiet small town. The air feels just the same and the birds sing exactly the same songs.
Gerard shoves his hands in to his pocket and barely notices when Frank stops at one of the back gates. He turns and smiles, “We’re here.”
Ushering Gerard quickly in to the house, Frank closes and locks the back door. Rosie runs around the kitchen, her leash trailing on the floor as she runs back up to Gerard and sniffs him, confused like he’s suddenly a different person now he’s in her home. Frank unclips her leash and she nuzzles her nose under Gerard’s hand.
“It’s still me,” Gerard says, tickling the top of her head.
Frank pulls Rosie by the collar over to her food bowl, rubbing at her chest and back and pulling her body in to a hug. She barks excitedly, tail wagging. “That’s right, girl,” Frank says, smiling and opening the top cupboard. “Dinner time!” Rosie barks again and sits, her tail banging against the kitchen floor.
Gerard watches as Frank feeds her, grinning when Frank tugs playfully at her ears and tell her he loves her. “You guys are cute,” Gerard says and Frank looks up, smiling back.
“Now that she’s sorted, you wanna order pizza?” Gerard nods, swinging his backpack from his shoulder to the floor.
“Yeah, you want some cash?”
Frank slips the money from behind the magnet on the fridge. “Got it covered.”
When Frank’s ordered the pizza, they’re still stood in the kitchen just sort of - looking at one and other. Rosie snorts, spluttering water from the dish as she gulps at it too fast and it’s the only sound in the room.
“So…” Gerard starts and Frank instantly looks up from watching his greedy dog. “Now that you got me here, what do you plan on doing with me?” The quirk in Gerard’s eyebrows makes Frank feel a little more at ease and he laughs, wiggling his own eyebrows back at Gerard.
“Wanna see my bible collection?” Gerard bursts out laughing.
Up in Frank’s room, Frank’s worried Gerard’s going to think he’s a total loser. He doesn’t have any posters and no awesome CD or DVD collection. He’s always pictured Gerard’s room being full of the things Frank wishes he could have. Gerard doesn’t laugh though, doesn’t mock or make fun. He simply sits himself down on Frank’s bed and says, “So this is where the magic happens…”
As Frank starts to giggle, Gerard holds a hand out, beckoning Frank over to him. When he’s close enough, Gerard grabs Frank and pulls him down on to the bed quickly. “The pizza’s gonna be here soon,” Frank laughs, trying to push Gerard away as he pecks Frank’s lips repeatedly.
“Doesn’t your doorbell play ‘kumbayah’ or something?” Frank punches Gerard playfully in the shoulder before rolling on top of him, pinning him to the bed. “No? ‘All things bright and beautiful’? ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’?”
Frank rolls his eyes and kisses Gerard, because it’s the only way he can think of shutting him up. What starts out as a playful sort of distraction turns in to a long and intense kiss. Frank ends up with a leg either side of Gerard’s waist, one hand buried in Gerard’s dark hair and the other up his top as he licks his way in to Gerard’s mouth. One of Gerard’s hands is still pinned by Frank’s arm and the other is round the side of Frank’s neck, pulling him down.
Just as Frank breaks the kiss to nip at Gerard’s neck, to which Gerard gasps, the door bell rings. He presses his forehead to Gerard’s chin, panting almost. “Damn.”
“Now you have to talk yourself out of that boner before you answer the door,” Gerard comments, out of breath and laughing.
Frank play punches him in the ribs, mumbling “Moron,” before rolling off of Gerard and scrambling for the door.
Gerard stays stood at the top of the stairs, out of sight, as Frank answers the door and pays for the pizza. The pizza guy seems to know Frank, because he makes small conversation about summer and a volunteer church project. Frank quickly makes his excuses quickly though, and they’re back to being alone.
When Frank turns around, Gerard moves further down the stairs. His hair’s still dishevelled and his lips are red and shiny from kissing, and Frank can only imagine that he looks the same. He laughs nervously and runs a hand through his own hair. “You hungry?” he asks and Gerard instantly licks his lips.
In the living room, Frank flips on the TV and grins triumphantly when The Simpsons theme music starts to play. Gerard sits down on the couch with a slice of pizza and pats the spot next to him.
It’s all so weird for Frank seeing Gerard sat here, in his living room and on his mother’s couch. If his mom knew, if anyone knew the results would just be unthinkable. Ignoring his surroundings, Frank focuses on Gerard. It’s passed dog walking time and Gerard is still within touching distance. They’ve got the whole night of being in touching distance.
“Well?” Gerard says, sounding amused as Frank drifts off in thought. Frank’s head shakes a little, snapping out of it. Gerard pats the seat again and Frank flops down, kicking his legs across Gerard’s lap. “Comfy?” Frank beams and grabs a slice of pizza from the box.
The double bill of Simpsons has gone and so has the majority of the pizza. Frank and Gerard sprawl back on the couch, petting their full stomachs.
“Can’t…move…” Frank groans.
“Y’mean, you were planning on moving?” Gerard gasps, resting a hand on Frank’s leg and squeezing.
“Well,” Frank begins, glancing over with a grin. “I was going to suggest watching a movie in my room, on my bed. But if you can’t move…”
Gerard rolls off of the couch.
“So, lets browse,” Gerard says in Frank’s room, leaning up to the shelf of DVDs and CDs. Frank instantly feel embarrassed. His mom won’t let him have any violent or bloody films, which pretty much eliminates every awesome movie ever. Well, most of them.
Frank wants to die when Gerard’s finger stops at a certain movie. “Uh-”
“Titanic?” Gerard smiles and Frank gulps. “Dude, I love this movie!”
Frank’s eyes bug. “Really?”
“Oh, yeah. It’s so heart breaking and beautiful. Plus, Leo and Kate? Hello, I don’t mind watching three hours of that.”
Beaming, Frank grabs the DVD. “I kind of love you right now.” Gerard leans in and kisses the corner of Frank’s mouth.
“Only kind of?” he says, smirking. “We’ll have to work on that.”
Frank is perhaps the most comfortable he’s been in a long time. They’re at the bottom of Frank’s bed, lay on their sides, propped up by elbows and pillows as they watch Jack Dawson board the Titanic. Rosie’s asleep in front of his bedroom door, but he can barely hear her snores over the movie.
Gerard’s hand is absentmindedly slipping its way under Frank’s t-shirt, stroking the warm skin there and sliding further up his hip. Frank smiles and shuffles closer, making Gerard’s hand drop to the small of his back.
Frank hums. “That feels nice,” he says quietly, and Gerard looks down like he didn’t even realise what he was doing. He pulls Frank in until they’re chest to chest and kisses the corners of his mouth. Frank curls his fingers in to Gerard’s t-shirt and settles his head back on the pillow, sighing contently.
Through out the movie, Gerard’s hand continues to stroke softly over Frank’s back and sides. Frank gets used to it, like a warm buzzing on his skin as he relaxes in to the mattress. He feels like they could do this forever and right now, he tells himself that they can.
After a while, Gerard’s hand dips to the bottom of Frank’s back, tickling with his fingertips. When Frank sighs again, Gerard pushes his fingers beneath the waistband of his jeans, his blunt nails scratching softly at the skin. Frank wonders if Gerard’s unaware of what he’s doing, but when he does look up, Gerard’s smirking down at him. Gerard doesn’t have to say anything, just bobs his eyebrows a little before Frank grins back and leans up, nipping at Gerard’s bottom lip.
Gerard’s half on top of Frank, hand fisted in Frank’s hair as they kiss, tugging on it lightly until Frank gasps. He licks his tongue over Frank’s bottom lip as Frank arches up against him. “Frankie,” Gerard whispers.
Frank pulls Gerard’s t-shirt up and when Gerard opens his eyes and moves back a little, he lets Frank pull it off completely. Frank rests his palm against Gerard’s bare chest and pushes him back, because he wants to see. He runs his eyes up and down Gerard’s soft flesh, his hands following before rounding his shoulder and pulling him back down again. “You’re gorgeous,” he says before lifting his arms, letting Gerard rid him of his own shirt.
Gerard’s mouth falls on to Frank’s chest, sucking the skin up between his teeth before he runs his tongue over the marks. Frank gasps, whispering Gerard’s name as he grabs a handful of hair, holding Gerard in place. Gerard makes a few more marks, and when he gets to Frank’s collar bone – Frank’s practically rubbing himself against Gerard.
“Frank,” Gerard says as his hand lands on Frank’s crotch. “I wanna, fuck, I really wanna blow you.” Frank moans just hearing the words as he remembers being on this bed, hand down his pants and phone pressed to his ear as he imagined Gerard doing just that.
Frank nods furiously. “Yeah,” he near whines. “Please, please,” because honestly, it feels like he’s about to burst. He leans up on his elbows, watching as Gerard sits back and undoes Frank’s jeans slowly. He tilts his head back when he feels Gerard start to tug them down, because although this is probably the hottest thing to ever happen to Frank, it’s also just occurred to him that he’s about to be very naked. Gerard doesn’t seem to share his feelings though, because he’s mouthing his way down Frank’s stomach as he slips the jeans down Frank’s legs.
Running his hands up Frank’s thighs and over his stomach, Gerard takes in the beautiful boy before him. “Fuck, you’re stunning,” he groans and Frank turns his head away. Gerard makes a content ‘Mmm’ sound and Frank can feel his breath feathering over his dick. He squirms, hips coming off the bed a little as Frank desperately tries to keep control. Gerard laughs breathily, but before Frank can glare down at him, Gerard’s got his mouth around Frank’s cock.
Frank falls back against the bed instantly, moan caught in his throat as his eyes screw shut. His hands flail for purchase on anything, and finally come to rest on the bed sheets as Gerard sucks Frank further in to the gloriously warm wetness. He fists the sheets between his fingers as Gerard rubs his thumbs over Frank’s squirming hips. He moves one hand to the base of Frank’s dick, squeezing tightly and it feels like more than Frank can take.
Frank hadn’t realised how far up he’d moved until his head falls off the edge of the bed. As Frank opens his eyes, he sees Kate Winslet’s hand press against the car window, smearing away the condensation and leaving a messy print. Gerard does something wicked with his tongue, and Frank feels like he’s about to come undone.
“Oh, oh, Gerard-” Frank moans, desperately trying not to buck up but it’s just so hot and tight. Gerard’s lips make a perfect seal around Frank’s cock and it makes Frank wonder, momentarily, how many times he’s done this before. The thought is soon gone though, because Gerard slides his hand under Frank’s back and rakes his nails down his skin.
Just like before Frank shivers, but this time he shivers until he comes, bucking up in to Gerard’s mouth once before he’s coming in quick spurts. And really, it’s the best thing Frank’s ever felt as his head spins so fast that he almost feels nauseous with it and every nerve ending he has tingles. It’s all embarrassingly fast, but Gerard appears to be too busy sucking Frank dry to make fun. When Frank becomes too sensitive, he squeaks as Gerard kisses lightly up his thighs and stomach.
“You ok?” Gerard says as he clambers back up to Frank’s side. He grinning triumphantly, because as he looks down at Frank’s still quivering body and wipes the last bit of come off his chin, it’s definitely a triumph.
Frank blinks a few times and nods. “Yeah,” he breathes. Gerard nuzzles the side of Frank’s face, kissing just behind his ear as Frank gets his breath back. “Gerard,” he finally says and Gerard looks up.
“I love you.”
Gerard smiles and strokes a hand down Frank’s chest, smearing the beads of sweat that have collected there. “I love you too.”
Frank closes his eyes again, the corners of his lips curving as Gerard leans in to kiss his closed eyelids. “I wanna do you now,” he says after a few moments. “I just, I think I still need another moment.”
Laughing, Gerard takes Frank’s hand and presses it to the crotch of his jeans. Frank grasps at Gerard’s erection. “With you lay like that, I’m gonna be like this for a while…”
It’s not even five minutes before Frank puts his hand back on Gerard’s crotch and squeezes again. He tugs at the buttons and Gerard eagerly helps get them off, kicking them down his legs, along with his underwear, until they slide off the bed. Frank can’t help but notice how – unembarrassed he seems to be stripped down to nothing, and then Frank’s back to wondering how many times before this has happened. “Have you done this, a lot?” Frank finds himself asking.
Gerard stares intently at Frank for a few moments before cupping the side of his face and smiling, honestly. “Not like this,” he says quietly, leaning in and kissing Frank again. “It’s never been like this.”
When Frank pulls Gerard in for another kiss, he pushes him on to his back and quickly scrambles down his body, mouthing at random patches of skin every now and then until he finally gets to Gerard’s dick. It’s pink and hard and doesn’t look all that different from his own. It’s flushed and stood waiting for him, so Frank takes in a deep breath as Gerard groans above him. It’s now or never.
Frank covers Gerard’s cock with his mouth, taking in as much as he can. It feels strange on his tongue, soft and heavy as saliva starts to dribble from his lips. Gerard moans Frank’s name, head pressed back against the mattress as he blindly gropes for Frank’s shoulders. “Fuck,” he curses, fingertips digging in to Frank’s shoulder. “Frankie, yeah…”
Frank grabs the base of Gerard’s dick with his hand, squeezes just like Gerard did to him and taking his mouth back a little so he can pump Gerard a few times. He can feel Gerard restraining himself, pressing his hips against the bed and rocking up just a little. Frank flick his tongue, swirling it around the head because it feels like a good thing to go with. Gerard swears again, grabbing harder at Frank’s shoulder.
Sucking as tightly as he can, Frank squeezes again and bobs his head slowly up and down. When Gerard starts to lose control of his hips, Frank pulls his mouth off completely and jacks Gerard as hard and as fast as he can.
As Gerard comes, some of his spunk splatters up Frank’s chin and cheek. Frank sticks his tongue out and licks at it as Gerard shakes beneath him, gripping at the bed sheets and babbling silently.
Frank wipes the come off his cheek with his hand and then on to the sheets as he sits back on his knees, panting like he’s the one who’s just had a blinding orgasm.
“Fuck,” Gerard whispers, opening his eyes. He leans up on his elbows and stares down the bed at Frank. “C’mere, I need to kiss you.”
Frank’s eyes light up and he crawls up the bed, taking Gerard’s face in his hands so he can kiss him with want and need. Frank can taste something weird in Gerard’s mouth and he laps at it, sucking on his tongue as he slides his fingers in to Gerard’s hair.
“You taste like me,” Frank says in to Gerard’s mouth.
Gerard opens his eyes and grins. “Best taste in the world, baby.”
He doesn’t ever want to get dressed – Frank doesn’t ever want to get dressed. Now that he’s got Gerard pressed against him, his chest to Frank’s back as he kisses along his shoulder, clothes are now and forever irrelevant. Gerard’s arm coils around Frank’s waist and he pulls him closer, humming in his ear. “I’m hungry,” he says.
Frank presses his head back beneath Gerard’s chin. “We just ate.” Gerard instantly laughs until Frank catches on and reaches back to swat at Gerard’s head. “Pervert.”
“You love it,” Gerard grins, leaning down to kiss Frank’s shoulder again.
“We have some pizza left. I could go get it while you pick out another DVD?” he suggests.
Gerard glances down at the TV, which is looping the main menu of Titanic on mute. “I think I’d rather just lay here and talk to you,” he says and Frank smiles up at him.
“Ok, we can do that.”
Frank grabs a pair of boxers from under the bed, which end up being Gerard’s boxers. They’re a little big around the thighs, but he doesn’t actually care. “Y’know that’s pretty hot,” Gerard comments from the bed as Frank pulls them up. He shakes his ass on the walk to the door.
Rosie’s lay in the hallway and when Frank steps out of his room, she glares up at him with her blue eyes. “Sorry,” Frank whispers softly, bending down to tug at her ear. She rolls over and farts. Frank coughs, “Such a classy lady,” he says before heading for the stairs.
When Frank gets back with the pizza, Gerard’s sat up in the bed, grinning and wearing Frank’s boxers. He puts the box on the bed and slips back in under the covers, rubbing his cheek against Gerard’s shoulder. “Your face is cold,” Gerard says, opening the box.
“That’s because I’m cold…and naked…” Gerard laughs and wraps an arm across Frank’s back, picking up a slice of pizza with the other hand. He takes a bite before offering the slice to Frank.
A few moments later, the house phone starts to ring. Gerard jumps at the noise and Rosie barks from the hallway. Frank groans and rolls off the bed.
“Expecting a call?” Gerard asks.
“My parents,” he sighs. “I’ll be right back.”
It’s his mom. She tells him that they got there safely, asks what he’s had for dinner and mentions nothing about his cousin or her marriage. It’s pretty much everything Frank was expecting. Thankfully, his mother’s not one for long phone conversations, so she makes her excuses, sends Frank his father’s love and hangs up.
The pizza box is now completely empty and discarded on the floor as Frank and Gerard lay back on their sides, facing one and other. Gerard’s trailing his fingers lightly up the inside of Frank’s bare arm as they talk about the colleges Frank’s been looking it.
“What are we going to do?” Frank asks after he’s done telling Gerard about the LGBT moment with his mom. Gerard quirks and eyebrow, he doesn’t quite follow. “What are we going to do, y’know…after summer.”
Those two words are like punches in Gerard’s gut, because he’s been trying to put off thinking about it for as long as possible. “I don’t know,” he answers honestly.
“It’s only a year,” Frank says softly. “I’ve only got one more year left of high school, and then I get to fake my way through a college degree.”
Gerard smiles reassuringly and smoothes his palm over Frank’s cheek. “You’ll figure it out, I promise. Until then we’ll, I don’t know…”
“I’d never get to see you. My parents, they’d never let me go to the city,” he says quietly, eyes averting Gerard’s. “Could we really do that for a whole year?”
Gerard sighs and moves in closer, pressing his face against Frank’s chest as he kisses the skin once or twice. “We could try.”
Frank’s had enough of talking now, so he curls his fingers in to the back of Gerard’s hair and pulls him up for a kiss. If they’re kissing, he’s not thinking, and if he’s not thinking then he can be ignorant and blissful as Gerard’s tongue tickles the inside of his mouth.
They do actually end up putting another DVD on, because Frank enjoys the silence of his thoughts and the way Gerard hands absentmindedly wander when he’s concentrating on the TV screen. At the head of the bed this time, they lay back to chest, propped up on their elbows as they watch some random early ‘Friends’ episodes on a DVD Frank didn’t even know he had.
Frank can start to feel his eyes drooping, but he doesn’t want to fall asleep just yet. He’s not done feeling Gerard pressed against him, stroking and kissing his skin as he hums. He’s not done pretending that this is his life, that this is what he gets whenever he wants it – that he gets to feel this good, this safe – this complete.
Before he can fight it, his eyes close and his head drops slowly on to the pillow.
Gerard eases the remote from Frank’s hand and flips the TV off. He fumbles for the switch to the side lamp, but eventually gets that off as well. The room is still and quiet; bathed in starlight from Frank’s open drapes and Gerard’s sure he can hear their hearts beat. He kisses the back of Frank’s neck and settles down behind him.
“Goodnight, Frankie,” he whispers.
When Frank wakes up, slowly and groggily as he rubs at his eyes, he soon realises that he’s in bed alone. He grasps at Gerard’s side of the bed, feeling the still warm bed sheets. He panics for a moment, a weight of dread dropping on his chest as he worries that Gerard’s left – just got up and gone because maybe this was all too much for him.
“Morning,” Gerard says, quiet and happy as Frank sits up quickly. Gerard’s holding a box of pop tarts and a carton of juice. “I found breakfast,” he smiles.
Frank wants to sigh with relief, but instead he smiles back and scoots over.
They eat in mostly silence and Frank leans forward every now and then to feel the morning sun, warm and light on his bare shoulders.
“What time is it?” Frank asks as he reaches blindly for the juice. Gerard presses the carton in to his hands.
“A little after ten, why?”
Frank wipes off his mouth with the back of his hand. “My parents will be home at four.”
Gerard nods slowly, “Oh, ok. What time should I leave?”
Leave. Frank hates that word.
“Probably three, just before? My mom will call when they set off and I’ll need some time to clean up a little.” He leans in and steals a bit of pop tart that’s hanging from Gerard’s mouth.
“I could help?”
Frank shakes his head. “No, it’s ok.”
“I could wear a little outfit,” he adds, eyebrows wiggling. Frank laughs and pushes himself in to Gerard’s lap, winding his arms around his neck.
“I’m not wasting my time with you cleaning,” he whispers, capturing Gerard’s lips once and then twice.
Pressing his thumb against Frank’s bottom lip, Gerard pulls back just an inch. “So, what do you intend to do with me then?”
Frank’s leans back against his headboard, feet planted firmly on the bed as Gerard licks slowly up and down Frank’s dick, flattening his tongue against the head. His breath is hot and moist as he finally sinks down, enveloping Frank and tightening his lips.
“Oh, yeah-” Frank breathes, pushing his shoulders back in to the pillows. From this position, he can see Gerard completely, his knees folded and hands busy as one strokes the back of Frank’s thigh and the other holds the base of his dick.
Stroking Gerard’s hair back, Frank wraps the dark strands around his fingers and tugs. Gerard hisses, exposing his teeth so they scrape up the sides of Frank’s cock. Frank gasps, sinking further in to mattress. When Gerard looks up at Frank, his eyes are half lidded and his lips red and stretched. Frank moans, bucking up and grabbing Gerard’s hair again.
“Fuck,” Gerard gasps, pulling off Frank’s dick to jack him quickly. “Come on, Frank,” he says, voice low and hot. “Come…” and he sinks back down to tongue the underside.
Frank can feel it in his stomach, a warm feeling bubbling away and spilling down his legs and up his chest. He hooks a foot quickly over Gerard’s shoulder, desperate to get him closer, push himself deeper in to Gerard’s mouth. Gerard scratches his blunt nails down the back of Frank’s thigh, pushing him over the edge.
Frank’s body spasms when he comes and he throws an arm out to the side. His hand connects with the line of bibles on the next unit, each one toppling in a domino effect until they all come crashing on to the floor. He doesn’t look over until he’s finished, completely spent and can feel Gerard licking at his thighs.
“Crap,” he says, catching his breath and leaning back up on his elbows. “I can’t believe I did that.”
Gerard licks at Frank’s stomach a couple of times and grins. “I can.”
Frank can’t help but wonder if the fallen bibles given to him by his insane grandmother means anything, he’d think about it a little more, but Gerard’s biting at his chest and rubbing his erection against Frank’s leg. He could ponder it a little more, a lot more actually, but he’s only got Gerard for another few hours, so his angst filled monologue will have to wait.
“I don’t want you to go,” Frank whines, head pressed against Gerard’s chest, face hidden in his hoodie.
They’re in the kitchen, standing by the back door and Gerard’s got his back pack in his hand. It’s time for him to go. Frank’s parent called not five minutes ago to say they’d be home in an hour.
Gerard combs Frank’s hair back and kisses his forehead. “I know, I don’t want to go.”
“It feels like I’m not going to see you for ages,” he whispers, fingers hooking over the waistband of Gerard’s jeans.
Gerard laughs lightly. “You’re going to see me in a few hours,” he says and Frank nods in to his chest.
“Yeah, I will.”
They kiss for a while, slow and soft as Gerard curls his fingers beneath Frank’s chin until Gerard really has to go. Frank pecks his lips a few times, clinging to his shoulders like he never wants to let go – because he doesn’t ever want to let go.
The dishes won’t do themselves and Mrs. Phillips is tired of asking her husband. Each time he claims he didn’t hear her the previous, but she knows all to well that he did.
She sighs and turns on the water, letting it spatter over the ketchup and barbeque sauce stains on the plates. Gazing out across her backyard and to the houses at the bottom of the short slope, she notices a back door open.
One of the boys, she recognises straight away. It’s young Frank Iero, the nice boy who she always sees walking his large, scary looking dog. The other boy, though – she’s never seen him before. He’s taller, older and he’s got messy hair that she would never approve of on her own sons.
Frank hugs the other boy and then kisses him. Mrs. Phillips recoils back like she’s been hit, because it’s not just a peck, it’s the sort of kiss you see in provocative movies or perfume commercials. She drops the dishes back in to the bowl and scrambles quickly for the phone.
Frank sleeps with his face pressed in to the pillow that Gerard used, in hailing his scent as he clings to it. It makes him dream about Gerard, he’s tied to the tracks and there’s a train coming, and the whole world is in black and white. Rosie’s barking loudly and Frank’s running as fast as he can, but just as he’s almost there, the ground crumbles from beneath him and he falls. When the train passes overhead with a shrieking howl, Frank bolts upright in bed.
When Frank walks in to the kitchen for breakfast, he stops instantly. Linda’s sat at the table, mug of tea in front of her as she sits silently staring at Frank. This can’t be good. He crosses the room uneasily and she watches him, eyes screwing in to tiny circles as Frank makes his way to the fridge.
“Frank,” she says calmly. “Could you come and sit down, please?”
Ripping a banana from the bunch in the bottom of the fridge, Frank closes the door and steps over to the opposite chair. He sits down slowly, trying to read his mother’s expression as she looks up from her tea.
“Is, uh…is everything ok, mom?” he asks, hand gripping the underneath of the chair.
“I’ve just had a phone call from Gloria, across the street,” she starts calmly. “Mrs. Phillips called her last night because of something she saw out of her kitchen window. Do you know what she saw?”
Frantically, Frank lays out a mental map of their neighbourhood, desperately trying to place Mrs. Phillip’s house as fast as possible. No. Her house is nowhere near his bedroom window or the front door. He bites his lip, mini heart attack over.
“No, mom,” he answers and Linda stares down at him.
“Mrs. Phillips said she saw you and another boy…” she closes her eyes like she can’t bare to say it and Frank’s stomach immediately drops in to his shoes, “…kissing.”
“What?” Frank squawks defensively. “When?”
“Yesterday before we got home,” Linda says and the way her voice is composed is really starting to scare Frank. Usually, his mother is never this calm.
“Mom, that’s insane,” and Frank’s trying to look as innocent as possible whilst feeling guilty for every word.
“Who stayed over, Frank?” she asks quickly.
“Alex,” Frank immediately asks. “It was Alex, mom. I swear.”
“And you didn’t…” she can’t even finish the sentence, instead her hand tightens around the mug.
“No, of course not. Alex had been upset about an argument with his mom and I just hugged him…that’s it.” Frank hates himself more with every word, but what other choice does he have? He silently wills his mother to believe him, pleading with wide eyes for her to just nod and say that it’s ok.
“Alright,” Linda says before taking another sip of tea. “If you say that’s what happened, then I believe you.” The thing is though, she doesn’t sound like she believes him. She is way too calm and way too controlled.
“Mrs. Phillips is old, mom. She probably just got confused,” Frank adds, because he wants to really jam it in to his mother’s mind that nothing like that could ever happen.
“I said, I believe you,” she repeats and Frank slowly pushes his chair back and picks up his banana.
“Ok, well. I’m gonna go get dressed.”