Frank, don't get your hopes up. Gerard probably has a boyfriend, or at least a crush or something.
This chapter is dedicated to xxTragic, MCR8050, and vampix66 because, really, the reviews you guys leave make my day. Thank you so much!!
Sitting in Albi's living room surrounded by seven of the sweetest, friendliest, most awesome people I'd ever met in my entire life, I couldn't help but think back to my old school. And that's not to say that that place was any fun whatsoever- really; I've got scars to prove it. In fact, quite the opposite. It's just that it made me realize that I'd missed out on a vital part of adolesence: friends. That warm, joyful sense of belonging and love you get when you're hanging out with a group of smiling teenagers who act more like family than best friends, that realization that suddenly hits you and makes you see that you're a part of something bigger than yourself; that this is a family, and that, somehow, with these people is where you're supposed to be. At my old school, I never had a single friend ever. In Belleville, I already had seven, and, even though I just met them that afternoon, I felt like I'd known them my entire life.
"So, Frank," Ray began after we'd calmed from a long session of laughter. "Where'd you used to go to school?"
I rolled my eyes. "Summit," I replied. "Fuck Catholic school, man."
"Oo," Albi and Gerard said sympathetically in unison.
"That's rough," Mikey commented before wrapping an arm around Trexx, which caused everybody to smile. They'd only told us about half an hour previous that they were together, and the reaction they got proved that this was something the rest of the clan had been waiting for for a long, long time.
I nodded. "They hated me," I continued. "Actually, they hated anybody who was g-" There, I froze and stopped speaking. I cast my gaze over to Albi, the only one who knew the reason I had to leave my school [or, at least part of it, anyway]. Her grin was understanding and sympathetic, and almost said, "Tell them".
But my problem was: did I want to?
Here was my dilemma: I'd known these kids for, what, three hours, Albi three and a half? I hadn't even wanted to admit it to her, and here I was, about to tell seven people about whom I knew little more than names and ages. Then again, they were the closest things I had to people to trust. And there was always Gerard, happily out and accepted...
Gerard. The very idea of him sent my heart racing and caused me to lose my train of thought.
Straightening up, I faced the confused looks I was getting and finished, "Uh, they really hated anybody who was different. That's why they didn't like me. ...'Cuz I was different."
The looks I got in response proved that nobody believed me but weren't gonna press the issue further.
Albi was the only one not looking at me really weird, because she knew the truth. "Well, are we just gonna sit around or are we gonna play?"
"We'll play," Ray quickly answered her, then immediately looked down, embarassed. His eagerness set something off in my brain; something that said his feelings for her may go slightly beyond "best friend". And the glowing, happy grin she gave in return showed no sign that she felt the same.
Gerard chuckled. "Okay," he said, "who wants to start?" When nobody volunteered, he laughed through his nose and added, "Okayyyy, I'll start, then." He reached into the center of the circle and spun the bottle that was sitting there. When it landed on Bob, he beamed a [maddeningly beautiful] smile and asked, "Truth or dare?"
"Dare," Bob the Big Man replied. Candyy giggled and he grinned back at her bashfully.
So them too, huh? Fascinating...
Gerard's smile then was pure evil. "Okay," he replied, leaning back slightly with the semi-conceit of somebody who had just come up with a great way to humiliate his best friend. He then gestured to Candyy with his chin and dared, "Kiss her."
"WHAT?!" Bob demanded, looking shocked. Candyy's expression was half stunned with surprise and half hurt. When Bob looked to her and saw this, he quickly added, "No! I mean, I didn't mean I /wouldn't/...I just was...it's not that I-"
"Do it, Bryar," Albi laughed.
"Yeah, come on!" Trexx giggled, tugging on her short brown hair. She and Candyy both were just as pretty as Albi had described to me before everybody else had arrived, Trexx with her tiny frame and wide eyes, and super-tall Candyy with her blonde-streaked brunette fringe and constant smile.
Bob looked torn. It was painfully obvious how they felt about each other, but, just like in some cheesy teenybopper movie [which, for the record, I do not watch], neither realized the feelings of the other. So there they both were, battling overwhelming teenaged desires to kiss [or otherwise] each other, but neither having the guts to be the first.
"Oh come on," Gerard pressed, and I admit I may have stared. Just a little. There really weren't words to describe him. So beautiful, but there was so much more to it than that. He was absolutely breathtaking. "Just kiss each other, already. What's the worst that could happen?"
Excellent point. Sexy and logical.
Bob stole a glance at Candyy, who just happened to be looking back at him. "Er..."
"DO IT," Albi chanted. "DO IT, DO IT..."
Soon, the entire room was filled with a chorus of "do it, do it" until, finally, Bob leaned in, pecked Candyy on the lips, pulled away, and smacked Gerard.
"HEY!" Gerard exclaimed, and jumped back. "What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"Jackass," Bob muttered, and everybody cracked up.
"Okay, Bob's turn," Mikey said quietly.
Bob, still glaring at Gerard [at whom I now can openly admit I was obsessively staring], spun the bottle, which landed on me. I grinned, though I was slightly nervous.
"Okay, Frank," Bob began, smile slightly evil. "Truth or dare?"
I figured that, as a] the people in this room knew close to nothing about me, and b] the last assigned dare had been purely sinister and I really didn't want to subject myself to that, I'd choose truth, which I stated aloud.
"Truuuuth," Bob replied slowly, thinking. "Um..." After a moment of pondering, however, he assumed an evil expression, and I had a bad feeling that he was going to take his anger at Gerard out on me. "Alright, Frankieee," said, obnoxiously dragging the last syllable of my new nickname, "finish your sentence from before. Why, /exactly/, did you leave your old school?"
Fuck that maddeningly observant bastard.
"Um," I replied, gulping out of nervousness. Up until that moment, I thought it was only in movies that people did that. Apparently, I was wrong.
I glanced at Albi- that sympathetic smile was back. She obviously thought I should "come out"- pun not intended- and say it already- especially since there was an openly gay and much-accepted [and extraordinarily sexy] member of the group sitting just near me.
Sighing, I figured that I wasn't going to get anywhere from inside the closet, so, slightly annoyed, I stated the honest, matter-of-fact truth: "Because Catholic schools hate gays."
"Really?!" Gerard cried almost before I'd even finished my sentence. Shocked, we all instantly turned to stare at him to question his outburst.
And for a moment, he was.../smiling/.
As soon as he saw that we were all looking at him and he evidently realized what he'd just said, his grin disappeared and he turned a vibrant, beautiful shade of red. I've never known anybody to look hot while humiliated, but Gerard somehow found a way. Still, though, he'd been...smiling. As in, happy. That I had said I was gay.
Was it possible that Gerard could maybe-
No. Frank, don't get your hopes up. Gerard probably has a boyfriend, or at least a crush or something. I just arrived in Belleville- if he were to ever like me, the time wouldn't be now.
But he was /smiling/...
I shook my head discreetly to erase those thoughts. I was being stupid.
I peeked at Albi, who was peeking at Candyy, who was peeking at Trexx. All of them were wide-eyed with shocked, but joyous, smiles on their faces.
After another moment of silence, Ray spoke up: "Well, okay. Cool. Um, Frank, your turn."
I nodded furiously, thankful for the distraction from the awkward tension that was so apparent in the room. Reaching into the center of the circle, I spun the bottle, which landed on Ray. I relaxed a little; I had figured that with my luck, it would have landed on Gerard.
Ray was smiling. "Shoot," he challenged.
I chuckled. "Okay, truth or dare?"
He pretended to ponder this a moment before replying, "Dare."
"Okayyy..." I tried to think of a dare worth doing, but nothing really interesting came to mind.
Just then, Mikey leaned toward me and whispered as quietly as he could, "Tell him to kiss Albi."
Even I knew how evil that was. Laughing, I replied, "You're terrible."
"I am not," he argued at full volume, also laughing.
"What?" Ray inquired, smiling but also looking skeptical and a bit nervous.
Biting my lip [though still grinning], I looked to Mikey for permission. He nodded.
"Okayyyyy," I said again, dragging the word out. Gesturing to Albi with my chin just as Gerard had done [though probably looking about a zillion times less hot], I ordered, "Kiss her."
Ray's jaw dropped. When I peeked at Albi, however, she was giggling. "You don't wanna kiss me, Toro?" she asked cheerfully. "I'm hurt."
Ray looked horrified. "Are you serious?!" he demanded.
I nodded, though I couldn't help but feel a little guilty. I suppose Mikey knew better than I, but still, that wasn't a very nice thing to do to poor Ray.
Who the fuck am I, the Good Samaritan? Screw being nice. This was fun.
"Come on, Rayray," Albi continued, still beaming. "You know you want to."
The look on his face made it apparent that he really did.
Gulping, Ray leaned in, pecked her glossed lips as Bob had done to Candyy, and pulled away almost immediately. Everybody around me rolled their eyes.
"Your turn, Toro," commented Albi. "Toro who DIDN'T WANT TO KISS ME." She folded her arms and looked away, pretending to be mad. She couldn't hide her grin, though.
Looking distraught and miserable, Ray ignored her and spun the bottle in the middle of the circle. It landed on Gerard, who smiled. "Bring it oooooon," he challenged, causing the girls to giggle.
"Okay Gerard," Ray said thoughfully, and it was obvious that, again, his unhappiness at what had just happened would be taken out on somebody else.
Somebody else who was looking reeeeeally good.
"Dare," Gerard said bravely before the question had even been asked.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Bob grinning evilly.
"What?" Gerard and Ray asked simultaneously, Ray looking mischevous and excited and Gerard looking afraid.
Bob got up, walked over to Ray, and whispered something unintelligible into his ear that made obviously made Ray very, very happy.
"Dude, that is /rough/," Ray chuckled.
"But awesome," Bob countered. "Do it."
Ray thought for a moment, though the grin never disappeared. After a second, he said, "Okay. Gerard."
"Yessss...?" Gerard was obviously trying very hard to keep cool, though it was painfully apparent how afraid he was. He glanced at me and noticed me watching him, and my heart started racing. We both looked away immediately.
Ray bit his lip to control the huge smile he was wearing. Turning to me, he said unexpectedly, "And I'm really sorry about this, man. I know you're new and all."
After a moment's silence, Candyy's jaw dropped and Albi murmured to Trexx, "He can't be serious."
Ray nodded. Pointing at me, he said to Gerard, "Kiss him."
"W-w-what?" Gerard stammered, obviously not as courageous as the other two had been. As for me, my already pounding pulse increased even more in speed. "I mean, uh..." He looked at me, eyes full of terror and shock and...
"Come on!" Candyy exclaimed. "What, are you scaaaaaaaaaared?"
"Shut up, Candyy," Trexx and Albi replied simultaneously. Candyy got smacked.
"Oh, well, um," I quivered, trying to come up with some sort of excuse. Boyfriend? Kissing allergy? Swine flu? "I- I mean, he doesn't, like- um-"
"Do it," Ray ordered.
"Ooooh," Albi replied, "Sure. You won't kiss me but you wanna watch two guys making out. THANKS, RAY."
Ray turned red and shut his mouth. I laughed, just for a distraction.
"DO IT," Candyy egged us on.
Fearful, I turned to Gerard, who was also looking at me with panicked eyes.
"What's the worst that could happen? Gee could get pregnant?" somebody asked. It was a girl, but my attention had already been turned to Gerard and I didn't really much care whose voice it was. He punched Albi's arm as hard as he could so I figured it had been her, though.
"ALRIGHT, alright," Gerard finally said, mostly to shut everybody up. "Jesus Christ. Are NONE of you getting any?" Shaking his head and attempting desperately to conceal the look of terror on his face, he walked around the circle, bent over to me, and met my lips with his own.
Suddenly, my entire body was taken over by an ecstasy I'd never before felt [and no, that's not to say that I've never been kissed before, because of course I have]. I was drawn to Gerard, and once we connected, I couldn't stop. After a few moments he slowly lowered himself so he was sitting next to me, and I instantly seized the opportunity and clutched his neck. He responded by holding my face with his hand, and opened his lips to let my tongue in. We leaned into each other, and I swear I'd never been so happy in my life. I loved him- I was sure of it. Really and truly and assuredly loved him.
It was his moan that brought me back to reality.
I pulled away immediately, and looked into his wide, confused eyes and knew in a moment that he'd been wondering exactly the same thing I was: What the hell am I doing? I hadn't even been thinking about the fact that we'd had an audience.
Breathing heavily and with a deer-in-headlights expression, Gerard stared at me in panic. Desperate for a distraction from my own fear and humiliation, I glanced at the group around us. Bob, Mikey, and Ray, as expected, looked a mixture of shocked and humiliated [and, in Mikey's case, ready to puke]. But out of the corner of my eye, I saw something I wouldn't have expected in a billion years.
The girls were...smiling.
Not grinning like, "OHEMGEE!!! ADAM LAMBERT!!!! ZAC EFRON!! AHHHHH!!!!" kind of super-happy girl smiles. But Albi was smirking like she'd just dug up a big, juicy bit of gossip on somebody and couldn't wait to put it on MySpace, and Candyy looked like she'd just seen something half-shocking, half-amazing. And Trexx? She just looked mesmerized.
Spending my senior year at Belleville High School would be a roller coaster. But if there was one thing I knew about the future, it was that it would really give "one time at band camp" a run for its money.