Jealousy is a common, complex, ‘normal’ emotion, expierienced by most quite regularly.
Gerard had hired his suit out the previous week. It was a black tux with one of his dad’s burgundy pinstriped ties. He had stood in front of his full length mirror for a while, debating with himself about whether to find her and ask her.
For a while he convinced himself he wouldn’t; she’d never agree. But then, when Tristian mentioned she’d be at that park, he decided he would.
He thought she was beautiful, perfect. He had been waiting for months for an excuse to see her, talk to her, but was too shy to go out with her and her/his friends.
He took the tux out, put it on its hanger and hung it from his doorknob, before climbing into his bed. Just the thought of what was going to happen the following night made his stomach turn, but he had a date with Charlie and he’d be damned if he was gonna screw it up. He rolled over, shut his eyes and eventually found sleep.
The call was feeble and shaky, and Charlie was surprised her father heard it. But he did, and was in her room in a few seconds. “Yes?” He said “Are you alright Bunny?” She shook her head. “Dad, I feel really sick.”
She had no doubt he’d believe her. After all, she’d never faked sick before to get a day off school. Frank said he did it a lot though and it always worked.
And it did. “Okay baby, I’m off to work. There’s food in the kitchen and aspirin on top of the fridge if you need it for your head.” He said sympathetically. Charlie nodded and coughed, for emphasis.
As soon as he was gone she jumped up and grinned. She picked up the bags with her new clothes and laid them all out on the bed.
She skipped to the phone with a small piece of paper and dialled the number shown. It rang five times (She counted) before a woman answered.
“Hi, can I please talk to Frank?” Charlie said politely.
“Ooh, I don’t know, he’s feeling very ill today. May I ask who’s speaking?” The woman, Frank’s mother presumably, said worriedly.
“It’s his friend Charlie, from school.” She replied.
“Oh, he said you’d call. I’ll put you on but don’t be too long please, he needs his rest.”
“Okay, thank you!” There was shuffling and footsteps on the other end before a weak “Hello?”
“Hey Frankie, it’s Charlie.” She chimed.
“Hey.” Frank said in that same feeble voice she’d used with her father earlier. “I can’t make it to school today, Charlie. I’m so sorry, but if I want to go to that dance tonight I need rest.” He said convincingly.
“Aw damn.” Charlie giggled. “Well my dad’s gone, I’m going to have a bath and wash my hair and stuff, so come over around midday, ok?”
“Alright- he coughed loudly- I’ll see you at the dance.” He said back. Charlie could practically see him fighting back a smile as his mother watched him pityingly.
Charlie looked at the clock. 8:30am. She had a carefully planned day schedule. She had never spent more than half an hour getting ready for anything in her life, and today she was spending the day. She had raided the old case of her mom’s leftover things and found perfumed bath lotions, face masks, make-up, moisturisers, inscense (which her father couldn’t stand; Charlie and her mom would burn it while Greg was at work), nail polish and all those girly things Charlie would normally never think twice about. She lit inscense, ran the water and poured almost the whole bottle of rose-smelling lotion. It made fluffy bubbles and Charlie giggled as she stripped and stepped into the warm water. She spread the face mask over her face. I feel ridiculous, she thought. She shampooed, rinsed and conditioned her hair, and repeated, before laying back and closing her eyes, to relaxed.
“Crap.” Said Charlie. She looked at the alarm clock she brought in from her room, and it told her it was 11:26. I slept for three hours? She thought angrily, rinsing the leftover conditioner from her hair and scrubbing her face with a loofah. Her fingers and toes were wrinkly, and the bathwater was on the verge of being cold. The bubbles were long gone. She stood up and wrapped a towel around her chest, and heard a knock on the front door. She stopped dead in her tracks. Frankie? She thought. It had to be… She tip toed to the front entrance of her house and peeked out the window. It was Gerard. And he saw her looking.
“Oh my god…” She whispered, putting her hand on the doorknob and turning it, and opening it a crack, still holding up her towel. “Hi Gerard.” She said in a squeaky high pitched voice that was not her own. Gerard looked puzzled. “Are you alright, Charlie?” He asked. She nodded. “Can I come in?” He said.
Charlie looked around; the house was clean, but still… She hadn’t wanted him to see where she lived. Frankie was okay, but she had seen the Way residence. They lived in Belleville North, on Salter Place, in a large red brick house. Charlie lived in Kearny in a small weatherboard house filled up with all the stuff of their previous, much bigger house. And, she was wearing a towel.
She opened the door a bit more and said “Okay, but just sit on the couch. I have to get changed.” She started to walk to her room, but he opened the door quickly and saw her in her towel. His eyes didn’t search the house, as she thought they would, but remained on her. She blushed, and so did he.
She rushed off into her room where she quickly put on Pyjamas and a dressing gown.
She walked back out into the lounge room where Gerard was sitting on the couch politely, a box in his hand. Can I help you? She thought, and almost laughed.
“I brought your corsage…” Gerard said quietly. He held up the box, which Charlie took. She unwrapped it, it was white November Lilies. “It’s beautiful…” Charlie whispered. Gerard nodded. “I got it white, because not many flowers are black, or azure or whatever it was.” Charlie looked at him. “Indigo” She corrected. “So I assume you spoke to Frank.” She wondered if Frank had told Gerard about the currency they had used to get the new things. He said nothing about it though. “Yes.” There was a pause, in which they both looked at each other shyly, before Gerard swallowed loudly and said “Well, I’m going to school, I just thought I’d come through here first and drop off the corsage. I’ll see you tonight.” Charlie nodded, and he left.
When he was gone she looked at the pretty flowers before putting them in the fridge, and just as she did there were more knocks on the door, these ones impatient a fast, while Gerard’s had been hesitant and gentle. Charlie walked to the door and opened it, only to be bowled over by Frankie in a hug. “Hey Frankie.” Charlie said sarcastically. “Why didn’t you tell me Gerard was coming? I was in the bath! I had a towel on!” Frank burst out in a fit of loud laughter. “Oh my god, really? That turned out funnier than I expected then.” Charlie poked her tongue out and walked to her room. “Okay, girlie. It’s pamper time.” Charlie turned around and grinned sweetly, before sitting down on the bed.
“Wow where do I start.” Frankie said cheerfully, poking her in the stomach, dragging her off the bed and turning her around.
“Ha-ha. Come on…” Charlie urged. “Okay, okay. We’ll start with the nails.” Charlie nodded and sat down. They had gotten black nail polish, something she had never worn before, for the occasion. It matched the dress and she felt very pretty in her polish. She didn’t often paint her nails and when they were done she fluttered her hands around daintily and exaggerated every movement they made, making Frank laugh and tease her.
She left her hair curly and swept it back into one of her mother’s pretty hair clasps. Frank told her it was 2pm, so she rubbed this sweet and spicy smelling shimmer cream all over herself before stepping into her brand new first set of real sexy lingerie. It was just a simple black lacy bra and matching panties combo, but they looked gorgeous on her. The panties had a tiny frilly skirt attached and made it look like she had curvy hips, and the bra pushed her breasts up. The skirt had little suspender hooks to be attached to stay up stockings, which she slid onto her legs slowly and deliberately. She had sent Frank out of the room to do this, but the act was so sensual she couldn’t help but put on a show, if only for herself. That is, until Frank burst in.
“Sorryihadtoseeit!” He screeched, all in one short breath. He looked her up and down, his eyebrows flying up, Charlie flying beneath her bed covers. “Frank!” She yelled. “Get out!” He did, wolf whistling as he went. Charlie rolled her eyes and stood up, carefully slipping the dress over her head and zipping it up. She gathered her shoes, bag and her mom’s old cosmetic kit and walked out.
“Who’s sexy?” Chimed Frank, who had dressed (Well, half dressed) himself into his own tux. At the time he just had his tux pants on. “God Frank, cover it up. I’ve seen the photos” She said with a wink. Frank came running towards her “Eew, I don’t want to see it live!” He chased her to the bathroom, where she locked herself and stood, panting and giggling. “If you ruin my hair, Iero, you’ll taste true pain for the first time.” Silence.
“What photos?” Charlie erupted in laughter at his confused words and opened the door. She was amazed at how free she now felt around him. She didn’t even act this way with Tristian, her best friend of 10 years! But now, with Frank, she was tickling and hugging and chasing and joking and it felt so good! To be funny, to have friends! For the first time in as long as she could remember, dressed in this pretty gown with her hair all done up and running around her small house like a madwoman, she didn’t feel boring. She felt exciting, and fresh, and desirable. She grinned to herself before disappearing back into the bathroom where she meticulously applied make up. This task took two more hours, with the odd smear and wail from Frankie interrupting this elaborate affair. At last, when her eyes were lined and shadowed, her lips painted and pouted, her cheeks a pink blush and her sooty lashed inked long and black, she reached into the small pocket of her mom’s cosmetic kit and pulled out a diamond necklace with a silver chain. Her mom had left it, unbeknownst to her dad, in Charlie’s pillowcase, and Charlie had never worn it. But she would now. She put it on and faced herself in the mirror, looking nothing like Charlotte Claire Kolega, but like someone glamorous and gorgeous. She stepped out of the bathroom and said “Ta Da!” in a sing song voice.
Frankie didn’t know what to say. Charlie looked prettier than ever. She seemed so much more grown up… Most of his opinions of her shattered and he was left with one impression, that she was just… Beautiful. She sat and put on her silver comparatively low heeled pumps and then sat up, smiling.
“Whoa,” Frank said. “Maybe I should have asked you to the dance.” Charlie wrinkled her nose and said “Of course, but then neither of us would be going, love.” Frank nodded slowly and Charlie stood up. “I’m going to take my dad’s camera.” She walked to his bedroom to get it, and when the phone rang a minute later, it was Frank who answered it. “Hello?” He said. “Hey… Can I talk to Charlie please?” It was Tristian. “Hey Tris, it’s Frank.”
Tristian paused on the other line. Why was Frank and Charlie’s house? “Oh hey man” He said. “What’s up?” He stood up and paced the room and Frank replied “Nothing much. Me and Charlie went shopping for new stuff yesterday and I’ve just been here helping her get ready for the dance. Are you going?”
Shopping? Tristian knew Charlie didn’t have the money to just go ‘shopping’, meaning Frank had taken her out and bought her things, expensive things if they were for the dance. “No, I’m not.” He replied. “Oh” Frank said. “Well, I’ll see you later, man, here’s Charlie. CHARLIE!” Tristian pulled his ear from the phone, Frank had yelled so loud.
“Oh, its Tris? Tell him I’m busy and I’ll talk to him later.” Charlie said hastily. Tristian cringed on the other line. Not once since they had become friends did he remember her not talking to him.
She always found the time, even if only for a minute, a second, she’d fit in a ‘hey’ or something.
Even that time she broke her wrist while cleaning on top of a cupboard, she called him and told him she was going to the hospital first. Tristian didn’t wait for Frank to deliver her message, he just hung up.
Charlie preened before the mirror. Never in her life had she been this vain; she didn’t care much for her own appearance and didn’t spend much time trying to enhance it. She grinned goofily at her own reflection until Frank interrupted impatiently and told her they were going to be late. She nodded, snatched up her bag and trailed behind Frankie.
When they arrived at the dance Charlie’s sky high confidence fell down a few notches.
Frank’s mom had dropped them there, they were a little early, but that was fine. People were starting to swarm and as Charlie looked at them she felt inferior, underdressed, even though she knew that was ridiculous, she was more dressed up than she’d been her whole life.
There were girls in flowing chiffon, girls with perfect bodies, wide hips, narrow waists and beautiful faces. They were arriving from the actual graduation ceremony, that Frank and Charlie hadn’t been invited to. She bit her lip and stared wistfully.
“Don’t be nervous” Frank whispered, squeezing her hand. But Frank meant about her date. It was only then did Charlie’s mind wander to the not-so-strange stranger she’d met in the park. She had been too caught up in the thrill of new things, new friends, and new places to think of Gerard. She had the corsage on her wrist and glanced at it.
Why did he even want to take her to this dance? He didn’t know her. She wasn’t funny and entertaining like Frank, she was awkward and shy. She wasn’t that pretty either, like all the girls at this school, in his year. She felt herself breaking out in a cold sweat, and even as her hand was laced in Frank’s she wanted to be sick, or leave. “Frankie I’m not sure I want to be here…” She whispered. Frank turned to her, looking concerned. He hugged her and whispered back into her hair. “Come on Charlie, do this for Gee. I know you don’t know him, and you’re scared. But I know that he really likes you, and you may not understand it, but please, stay.” Charlie pulled away from him and looked at his olive eyes and told him yes, she’d stay.
If Frank and Charlie were early, Gerard was late. By the time he arrived, Frank had already gone in with his date.
“He’ll be here, please just be patient.” Frank had said. Charlie knew patience wasn’t the problem, but she had just nodded and looked towards the designated parking area apprehensively.
Gerard showed in another 10 minutes, walking towards the steps with his head down, twisting his fingers around and walking slow. When he reached the foot of the stairs, he looked up, and his eyes locked with Charlie, and his wide eyed awe was too apparent.
Charlie felt foolish, a little girl with a big girl’s dress on, wearing mommy’s make up and trying to fit in. She looked down at Gerard, very handsome in his black tux, having spent an hour making his hair look as though he hadn’t brushed it in a week, his face paler than it had been that morning. In that moment Charlie thought of him as beautiful, and herself unworthy.
Gerard gulped and began to make his way up the stairs nervously, slowly. He stared at his shoes; they were black, shiny, and they were his fathers. He almost laughed out loud at himself, thinking in-depth about the shoes he was wearing. Gerard was scared. He was scared of the girl at the top of the stairs, here because Gerard had called in favours from all his friends, here because… Why was she here? Gerard didn’t know.
When he reached the top of the stairs he looked at her dress, her hair, her face, pale like his, make up or no make up. They both said hi, neither knowing who was more nervous. Gerard was breathing heavily. “You look beautiful” He whispered, though the comment seemed mundane in accordance with his feelings. He could do nothing but gesture at the school and take her arm to lead her inside, neither speaking a word.
When they walked inside the room was dark, with technicolour disco lights. Charlie couldn’t help but smile. People were dancing, chatting and having a great time. Gerard spotted Frank and his date, dancing. She was much taller than him in her stilettos and didn’t look very amused. Frank, however, was laughing and talking absently to her. Gerard said “D’you want to get a drink?” quietly. Charlie nodded and they walked to the table where there was punch in a large bowl with a soup ladle.
The gymnasium was much different from the one at her school. At Queen of Peace, there was a separate hall for occasions such as these, and then a gym for sport. Here, the gym was as both. The gymnastics equipment had been hastily concealed by a large banner that read 'CONGRAGULATIONS CLASS OF 99' in huge block letters. Charlie smiled at Gerard who smiled back nervously, both of them loosening up a little bit.
Gerard pulled a small silver flask out of his pocket. Charlie guessed if she was with Frankie she’d be cracking jokes or something, but instead she just raised her eyebrows. “I’m not spiking the punch… Well, just mine. Want some?” Gerard said, not in his small whispery voice like before, but in a louder, more confident lilt that sent tingles down Charlie’s spine.
She had never drunken anything before, and didn’t even know what was in the flask. She nodded, before she thought to say no, and soon Gerard was pouring amber liquid into her half-empty plastic cup, making it full. She took a sip and cringed. Gerard laughed. “Wanna dance?” He then said. Charlie shook her head; she didn’t know how. Gerard didn’t either, but thought it would be polite to ask. “Look, do you want to go outside?” She said softly, looking into his eyes. He nodded and they walked off together. When they were near the door, Charlie took his hand in her own.
Gerard was pleasantly surprised by this act and the familiar butterflies returned to beat their wings against his chest. He squeezed her hand lightly and led her to a gazebo in the school grounds. It was decorated by roses and bright flowers that twisted their vines through the lattice. He sat down and she beside him.
“I don’t even like dances.” Gerard suddenly said. They had been sitting there, hands laced together, for at least ten minutes, in silence. The silence had been broken by this statement. Charlie looked at him in a peculiar, questioning way. “To be completely honest, I only invited you because I just wanted to see you again, and meet you properly. I just… I just wanted to hear your voice one time. But this is more than I ever could ask for, this time with you. I never want it to end.”
Charlie was completely stunned by this. She sat back, leant back and tried to repress her secret smile. It wasn’t mocking, it was sheer wonderment. “Tristian said it was a stupid crush, no one could see someone in the situation I saw you in, half drunk themselves, and fall the way I did. I don’t know, call it infatuation, anything, I don’t know… I-“ His sentence was broke off, stifled by warm lips lightly touching his own. Charlie’s sweet lips. The kiss lasted, just a simple kiss, for what seemed like years for Gerard before Charlie pulled away, a blush rising in her cheeks.
Gerard looked at her, her beauty, her innocence and inhaled softly. He knew then he loved her, there would never be another. Teenaged crush, commonplace, others would say. But Gerard Way would have sworn on all the stars on his love and sacrificed anything to make the night last a minute longer.
Charlie looked at him, Gerard, her date for her first dance, not even her dance, but her first. She was fascinated by the wonder in his eyes. She felt pretty and desired, and still, confused. Confused because she actually liked this boy, this not-so-stranger. She liked him a lot. She smiled at him shyly.
He drank straight from the flask, and passed it to Charlie who sipped tentatively . She still hadn’t even thought to ask what was in it, but for some reason she trusted him. She knew she could, she would, and she did. Passing the flask back to Gerard, their hands lingered, their fingers touching, both holding up the flask. She giggled and let it go, and he laughed too.
Then they talked. They talked till long after the dance had finished, he missed the speeches, the food, the awards and everything else to sit and talk to Charlie about everything and anything.
It turned out Gerard not only had his flask, but a whole bottle of the amber liquid, which she never bothered to investigate, but drank along with him, ignoring the horrible burn of it. She even had a cigarette when Gerard had one, coughing and giggling, while Gerard told her she wasn’t doing it right.
“Frank’s date’s having an after party, wanna go?” Gerard said at 11:24. Charlie nodded and followed him to his car.
Gerard drove them through Belleville and pulled up on a lonely street next to a park. Charlie couldn’t see anything that looked like a party, no excess of cars or lights, nor could she hear any music. She managed to blurt out a question; her voice slurred “Are you lost?” Gerard turned and sat on the seat on his knees, and shook his head. He leaned in till he seemed impossibly close. Charlie could feel his warm breath on her neck and hear her own heartbeat in her chest.
She turned and faced him and was met by his lips on her own, hot and demanding. Hers were soft, hesitant, nervous.
“Maybe we should get to the party…” Charlie whispered nervously. Gerard blushed and raked his fingers through his hair, nodding. “Ok…” Charlie herself was blushing. “Gerard...” She whispered. “I just don’t want to move too fast... But I really like you.” Again she took his hand, and smiled at him. Gerard smiled back, started the car and drove the few blocks to the house.
The party was in full swing when Charlie and Gerard arrived. Charlie, afraid and intimidated by this new environment, clung to Gerard and looked around, with wide eyes, for Frankie.
The music was loud, and whoever’s house it was was now filthy and filled with hysterical, drunken, party-crazed adolescents; some still in their prom get-ups and some changed.
Charlie saw the room swim around her, felt Gerard push a tumbler full of god knows what into her hand, heard a voice; Gerard’s voice, saying something, tasted an acidic tang and then she needed… She needed to throw up. She declared this news to Gerard before walking out the front door and kneeling next to a rose bush to heave, sputter and cough till the relief only associated with having just thrown up washed over her. She sat cross legged on the lawn, alone, humiliated. Gerard probably just gave up on me, she thought bitterly.
But she was wrong. Almost as soon as he crossed her mind he was by her side and laughing nervously, followed by Frankie. “Feeling any better? I can take you home if you want…” Gerard said, sounding concerned. Charlie shook her head, blushing slightly. “I’m fine.” Frank giggled. “S’ok, puking is hot.” He said. Gerard hit him. “Anyway,” Frank said, rubbing his arm. “This is lame, lets ditch.” They all nodded in agreement and headed to Gerard’s car.
Charlie sat, silent in the backseat while the two boys joked and sang along to the radio up front. They drove out of Belleville and up towards Kearny. Charlie hoped they weren’t going to her house… She sat with her hands in her lap drumming her fingers till they drove past the turnoff to her street and onwards.
Although a few hours ago she had felt like she’d damn near found her soul mate and not much longer than that, closer to Frankie than her best friend of four years, but together with them both she felt awkward and out of place. She had noticed that when Gerard drank he was almost a completely different person, his mannerisms, the way he talked, everything.
She stared out the window, willing herself not to cough from the cigarette smoke drifting through to the backseat.
Gerard glanced back at Charlie and smiled, but she didn’t see. He then looked at Frank, who shrugged. Gerard thought the night had been going wonderfully, but now he wasn’t so sure. Despite this, they continued their journey till he pulled into the driveway of Ray Toro’s house in North Kearny. They stepped out of the car and walked to the doorstep. Gerard knocked on the door and was soon greeted by his friend.
Ray greeted them all and walked them through his house to the backyard, where the real partying began…
Thanks for reading the second chapter of THK. Though I noted quite a few people read the first chapter, I got hardly any reviews. Dryyyyyy. Anyway, try and let me know your thoughts this time.