I suck at summaries, alright? It's not my fault. But hopefully you'll check it out anyway. You know you want to! Come on...just click. And read.
I rolled over again, then sighed, and sat up, blinking in the darkness. I looked at the neon alarm clock and groaned. That’s the problem with waking up five minutes early; not time to get up yet, but not enough time to go back to sleep. With another sigh, I stretched, then got out of bed. Might as well get up now, and beat Mikey to the shower. That way, I wouldn’t wind up fifteen minutes late, because Mikey took so damn long to shower.
I ran a hand through my hair, then walked into the bathroom and took off my clothes, turning the water on so that it was hot. It scalded my skin, but I didn’t care. I was cold anyway. The steam swirled up around me, making it look like I was standing in the rain, outside on a misty day. I stood there for longer than necessary, shutting my eyes and allowing the water to wash down over my face. It was only after the water’s temperature began to dramatically decrease did I realize I’d been in the shower for nearly twenty minutes.
I turned quickly, pushing the dial back and shutting off the water. My foot slipped in my haste, and I fell, feet flailing in the air, and hit the bottom of the bathtub with a loud thud.
“Fuck,” I moaned quietly to myself, as I heard my brother scream at the top of his lungs. Of course I’d woken him up. My parents always said that they knew the moment that I was awake because I made so much noise.
I got up off the floor, careful not to lose my balance this time, pulling a towel off of the bar and wrapping it around myself. The moment I stepped out of the shower, I nearly walked right into my mother, who was standing in the doorway with her hands on her hips.
“Gerard, for the last time, or so help me I will go absolutely crazy, please be quieter in the morning!”
“Sorry mom,” I said, edging around her, and hoping she wouldn’t detain me any more with a lecture. Thank god she didn’t; I was late enough as it was.
I speed walked back to my room, picking up a pair of skinny jeans off the floor and putting them on. They probably needed to be washed, but I didn’t have time to change or pick another pair of pants. I pulled a random shirt off a hanger in my closet, happy when I noticed that it was my Iron Maiden shirt. I grabbed a purple studded belt, and threw it around my waist, not caring that I missed half of the loops.
I brushed my hair with my fingers a few times, after drying it with a towel, then looked in the mirror. Eyeliner today? No, I don’t have time for that. I grabbed one of my wristbands off my dresser, slung my backpack over my shoulder, and ran down the stairs. Mikey was standing in the kitchen, looking scrawny in just his boxers. He turned and squinted at me, as he finished off a bowl of Frankenberry.
“Mikes, we gotta go in like, five minutes!”
“Oh crap!” He yelped, dropping the spoon loudly into his bowl and throwing it into the sink. Then he scrambled up the stairs, his footsteps echoing throughout the entire house. And they thought I was loud?
I dropped into a chair, to wait for another five minutes while my brother threw his stuff together. This was usually how it went. I pulled my ipod out of my pocket, putting in the headphones and immediately putting it on shuffle. I was too tired to pick my own songs in the morning; shuffle did it for me. I got through Champagne Supernova by the time that Mikey clambered down the stairs. We practically sprinted to the bus stop, though Mikey tripped over his own feet on his way, leaving the laces of his blue high tops undone like always. We only barely made the bus, and we earned a glare from the bus driver as we made our way to our seat. Mikey sat on the inside as always; he liked to sleep against the window. We dropped our backpacks on the floor under our seat, and I pulled my knees up against the seat in front of us.
It was only a few minutes before we got to the stop that made my day. I looked out our window, and through the darkness, I could make out the figure standing on the driveway of the tiny house we were in front of. The person was bouncing back and forth, the white ipod cord contrasting against the black shirt. The bright white shoes practically glowed. The bus doors creaked open, and the figure sauntered towards the bus, still bouncing to the beat of his music. He dropped into the seat three in front of mine and Mikey’s, and the bright red streaks in his hair caught the little light that there was.
His name was Frank Iero. And I was in love with him.
Up until this year, I had been completely positive that I was straight. In fact, I was incredibly attracted to girls. But when I had seen Frank, my chest had tightened. I’d also noticed, to an unusual degree that he was incredibly good looking. He had dark hair that fell over his face, then flicked upward at the side. Dark eyeliner was rimmed around his hazel eyes, and when I looked in them, something inside me felt different.
I thought about it, for a long time afterward, not to mention every time I saw him. He was so handsome, and his personality was perfect. He was practically on a permanent sugar high, always buzzing with energy. He smiled all the time, and his girlish giggle could be heard from a mile away.
I’d spent the entire year watching him, every day, and trying to work up the courage to talk to him. The farthest that I’d gotten was telling him that I liked his shoes.
Now I sunk down in my seat, trying to peek at him from where I sat.
“Who you checkin’ out Gee?” Mikey asked me.
I felt a burning sensation in my cheeks, and I was instantly grateful for the darkness that had bothered me only a moment before.
“Nobody. I was looking at Frank’s hair. I think he changed it again.”
Mikey yawned, stretching out in the seat. “He freaks me out Gee. He’s way weird.”
“Shut up. I think he’s cool. And you have to like his t-shirt.”
“Why? What is it?” Mikey asked me in a bored tone.
“Morrisey.” I said, smirking. Mikey’s eyes lit up instantly.
“Well, maybe he wears cool shirts. But he’s still weird Gee.”
“What’s wrong with being weird? And did you get dressed in the dark?”
Mikey blinked. “No, why?”
“Because you’re wearing one of mom’s shirts.”
Mikey’s eyes widened in horror as he looked down at the pink shirt with pansies covering every inch of it. Not to mention the elegantly curled print that ran along the chest, reading, “I love flowers.”
“Oh no!” Mikey moaned. “Everyone’s gonna make fun of me for this.”
I instantly felt bad for him. He wasn’t exactly the most popular kid; and everyone picked on him. The shirt was not going to help him get beat up any less.
“Calm down Mikey. It’ll be fine. Here.” I dug around in my backpack for a moment, extracting a black sweatshirt.
“Thanks Gee,” Mikey said greatfully, taking the sweatshirt and pulling it over his head quickly.
Relaxed now, he leaned back, sighing. He looked out the window and groaned in disappointment. “We’re here.”
I stood up, because Frank was standing now too, and I could watch him easier. He had one headphone in, as he debated with the boy behind him. I caught the gist of the argument quickly; Frankie was arguing about the meaning of emo.
“It’s just black and white patterns, and kids that cut themselves.”
“Are you kidding me? It’s a type of music. The stereotype came from the fans of the music!” Frank said loudly, in an exasperated tone.
“Whatever dude. You got no proof.”
And there it was; my chance. The perfect moment for me to get to talk to Frank, and impress him. It took a deep breath, and stepped out of my seat.
“He’s got proof. Emo stands for emotional. It started in D.C. in the 80’s. It’s punk that’s not political.”
Frank grinned at me, but the kid he was talking to just smirked.
“Thank you brainiac. That proves a ton.”
Frank glared. “How ignorant are you? He just explained where emo music came from. You didn’t even listen.”
“Why should I?” The kid asked in a cocky tone, raising his eyebrows mockingly.
“Fuck you. Stupid carnivore.” Frank muttered, then smiled and walked towards me. My whole body tensed, and I felt distinct movement “down there.”
“Fuck, not now, not now.” I thought fervently, praying that I wouldn’t get too excited.
“Thanks,” Frank muttered. “I thought I was the only person that knew that.”
I smiled, and hoped that I didn’t sound nervous when I spoke. “No problem. I read a book on emo music. That was where I got that from.” Wow, way to go Gerard. Make yourself sound like a complete nerd. I smacked myself in the forehead mentally.
“Seriously? That’s sweet!” Frank said excitedly. “What was it called?”
Oh my god. He was so beautiful. I looked in his eyes, feeling like I was melting. And his skin looked so soft. I wanted to touch it…
I felt my face getting hot again, embarrassed by my fantasies, but I was excited. He seemed genuinely interested. “Nothing Feels Good. It’s by Andy Greenwald. He writes for SPIN sometimes.”
Frank raised a curved eyebrow, and I could see the black eyeliner better. “Really? Cool, I have to get that.” He paused, and looked at me for another moment, making me feel extremely self conscious. “What’s your name again?”
“Gerard.” I mumbled, as usual, embarrassed about my name.
Again, Frank surprised me. “That’s a bitchin’ name. I don’t know why I’ve never tal-“ He stopped, being cut off by the sound of the doors swishing open, and the rush as everyone moved to get off the bus. I felt my heart sink.
Frank turned, and as he left he called, “I’ll see you later,” Jumping off the bus and skipping two steps.
I sighed resignedly, wishing that I could have heard what he was going to say before he got cut off. I grabbed my backpack and slung it over my shoulder, preparing myself for another day of school.
School had never been my favorite place. It never held much interest for me. I wasn’t particularly interested in what was taught in class. As for the drama of middle school social classes, that was at the bottom of my list for things that mattered. I had no reason to care about who was going out with who. So the only reason I had to enjoy it at all were friends, and I only had two that weren’t my brother.
Ray had the locker next to mine. We’d been friends since first grade, and he hadn’t changed all that much since then. He wasn’t exactly the most popular person either, with glasses and a mass of red brown curly hair. Lots of the older kids gave him shit about his “white-boy ‘fro”. He was incredibly obsessed with video games, automatically branded as a complete nerd.
I was putting my stuff in my locker when he got there, opening his own locker and groaning as its’ contents spilled out onto the floor. I laughed as he moaned and picked up all of the magazines off the floor, every single one of them head lined with something like, “Nazi Zombie cheat codes uncovered!”
“Hi Gerard,” He said, in the quiet tone that he always spoke in. It didn’t help that he had an incredibly high voice, that cracked half the time he spoke.
“Hey Ray. What’s up?”
“Oh, nothin’.” He said casually. “Beat COD 4 again last night. Record time.”
“Nice.” I replied as I grabbed my binders out of my locker and slammed it shut. “See you in homeroom.”
“Ok,” Ray sighed, stuffing the magazines into the top shelf in his locker, in such a way that they were practically guaranteed to fall out again.
I went inside, taking a seat next to my other friend, Bob Bryar. He had blonde hair and blue eyes that fooled a lot of people into thinking he was an innocent kid. He was a huge trouble maker though; a prankster. He was really defensive too, and had spent at least twelve hours in detention this year because of fighting. Not to mention all the times he got in trouble for drumming on the table. The kid was absolutely destined to be in a band. Same with Ray, though he was a guitarist. We’d talked about starting a band, because I could sort of sing, but we never really did anything about it. In all honesty, I had about twenty or so songs written, but I never showed them to anyone.
“Hey Bryar,” I said. He just jerked his head at me, too into the beat he was tapping out on the table to acknowledge me any further. I laughed once, sitting down, and pulling out a scrap paper to draw on.
Ray came in a moment later, and then class started. It flew by, but that’s how it usually was. I usually daydreamed it all away; all my classes went by extremely fast. I never paid attention. Every day was almost exactly the same, and any class that didn’t have Bob and Ray was basically pointless. That day was no different, with one exception.
I was on my way to lunch, and as I walked down the hallway, staring at my shoes, I heard a voice call, “Hey Gerard!”
I jerked my head up, and cracked my neck as I looked behind me hastily. I caught a glimpse of Frank waving to me as he headed in the opposite direction. Dazed, I waved back, and watched him head down the other hallway. He remembered me. He remembered my name.
That was enough to give me something extra to think about for the rest of the day. I imagined Frank’s face, to the point that it came out on my paper during art class. I didn’t recognize it until I was shading those hazel eyes that I’d familiarized myself with so much. I blushed immediately, and hoped fervently that nobody would notice.
He was on the bus that afternoon too, and he’d removed his jacket that he’d worn in the morning. I couldn’t help myself as I walked by; I stared at his upper body, my eyes tracing the lines of lean muscle. As I stared though, I caught something odd. Well, more than one. Along his arms, the upper part mostly, were little blotches, smudges. They looked like paint to me at first; tan paint. But as I sat down in my seat, I realized with a sickened feeling that they were burns. Self inflicted burns. He was hurting himself.
I leaned back, feeling like I had just been punched forcefully in the stomach. Why? Why would he ever do that to himself? Why would someone so perfect ever harm themselves? I peeked over again, now fully seeing the burns that were spread out along his arms. I followed them down, but they were cut off by wristbands three inches above his hands.
Mikey wasn’t on the bus; he had a Ghosbuster fanclub meeting that day. I rode the bus home completely silent, stunned again as Frank waved when I got off of the bus.
That night, I had my secret. Piano lessons. Nobody knew about them except Mom and Grandma Helena. It had been Grandma’s idea anyhow. Truth was, I was really embarrassed about it. And I had absolutely no idea why. But still, I didn’t tell anyone, and neither did they. Like I said, it was my secret.
I actually liked it too, but mostly because my teacher was awesome. His name was Casey, and he didn’t care what I said. We normally didn’t do too much at lessons anyhow; we talked nearly the entire way through it.
Tonight, the main topic was emo kids. I was expressing my anger at the fact that people made so much fun of them, and my confusion about why they did it to begin with.
“I don’t get it,” I sighed, leaning back in my chair, uncomfortable as I recalled the scars on Frank’s arms. “I mean, I sort of do, with people getting so angry at themselves that want to tear themselves up…but I’m still confused.” I groaned. “That doesn’t even make fucking sense!”
Casey bit his lip thoughtfully. “Yeah it does. You kinda just spelled it out actually.” He took a sip of his Coke, then continued. “Just think about how much has to be wrong, for kids to do that to themselves all the time. If they’re doing that, they’re desperate. They need help.”
Frank needed help? My help.... Who the fuck was I kidding? I didn’t even know this kid. Well, not really. But I cared about him; I wanted to help him.
“I know this one kid, and it’s weird, because he seems really happy all the time. He’s like, the happiest person that I know. I can’t see that he’d be, depressed, or anything like that.” I kicked myself mentally, for saying he the whole time.
Mercifully, Casey ignored that part. “Not that he lets you see. That doesn’t mean something’s not wrong. Seriously, the fact that he’s so good at hiding it probably means he’s had to deal with it for a long time.”
Frank was suffering. And I’d had no idea. Again, I barely knew him, and yet I was aching inside for any pain he’d been feeling.
“That makes sense.” I said, glancing out the window. My mother was sitting in her car, looking impatient.
“Shit,” I swore, looking at the clock. We were ten minutes over, just like always. “See you Casey,” I said, jumping up and jogging to my car.
“Why are you always late?” My mother said tiredly as she started the car and pulled out of the lot.
“We just get so into the music, we forget how much time passed.” I said with a smirk, earning a skeptical glance from my mother. She let it go however, concentrating on driving.
Without her interrogation, I was free to think again. Frank’s unknown problems were eating away at me, like a dog biting at my ankles. I would help him. I didn’t know how, but I promised myself, right then and there I would help him. I had no idea what was going to be involved.
So, what'd you think of it? What's up with Frank? Mood swings? Great actor? Rate and Review? M&M Cookies to those who do! I'll love you for it! :-) Oh, and by the way, that book I mentioned is totally legit. Check it the frick out! Nothing Feels Good, Andy Greenwald. It's in the music section of books at Barnes and Nobles :-)