There was a knock on Frank’s front door. He went to answer it excitedly. It was Saturday, and Mikey was already over, ready to paint. Now they just had to wait for Jamia, and she was here.
“YAYYYY!” Frank cried, opening the door and bursting through it, giving Jamia the biggest bear-hug in the history of bear-hugs.
“Wow…” Jamia stammered in between breaths. “For a guy as short and as light as you, you’re strrrroooonggg, OW FRANK, LEMMEGO NOW!”
Frank released his grip on Jamia and blushed. “Sorry…” Jamia giggled. “S’okay,” she said, pulling her short hair up into a ponytail. “Let’s get to painting.”
At the end of the day, they had officially finished the room. Mikey dropped to the floor, when Mr. and Mrs. Iero walked in. Mr. Iero was all smiles when he saw the room.
“Wow, kids!” he said happily. “Looks like you didn’t need my help!” Frank smiled, happy that his dad was proud of him. Gerard looked around the room, examining it. “Hmmm…” he said, scratching the top of his head. “Doesn’t white seem kinda… plain?”
Frank laughed. “Yeah, but I think, for now, it’s just better that I don’t have to stare at Barbie anymore, everywhere I turn…”
Gerard shrugged. “Fair enough. I was getting a little creeped out myself…”
Mr. Iero laughed. “Well, then…” he said, turning to face Mrs. Iero, “I guess we can go out to that fancy-shmancy new restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to… Since I have nothing else to do, of course.”
Linda punched her husband lightly. “Is that the only reason?” she asked. He held his arm and stammered, “Because… you’re so special and… deserve the best?”
Mrs. Iero smiled softly before walking into the master bedroom to change. Mr. Iero rubbed his arm gently before turning back to the kids, sighing.
“Women…” Jamia said, laughing heartily. Mr. Iero smiled half-heartedly before following suit to Mrs. Iero.
Jamia, Frank and Gerard turned to face Mikey, who was still groveling on the floor.
“I’VE NEVER WORKED SO HARD IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE FREAKIN’ ENTIRE WHOLE LIFE!” He shouted dramatically, rolling around on the floor like a puppy.
“Hey, Mikey…” Jamia said, picking up a paintbrush from the can of white paint closest to her. He looked up and screeched, rolling around her feet. Jamia bodyslammed Mikey and held the paintbrush up to his face, stroking his face with it.
He kicked and squirmed as Jamia straddled his legs, painting his face, with Frank and Gerard laughing in the background.
After a while, Jamia dropped the brush and rolled over on her back next to Mikey.
“WHAAAADAFUCK?!” He screamed at her. She just shrugged. “Sorry, Mikes…” she said. “But you needed a tan…”
“Fuck you!” Mikey shouted. “I’m not that white!” Jamia then cleverly tugged on Gerard’s leg, making him fall over on top of his brother. And when Gerard went down, he took Frank with him. The next thing, the four of them were rolling on the floor, laughing and tossing paintbrushes at each other. Mikey accidentally banged Frank in the face. Not too hard, but just enough that he left a mark on the bottom of Frank’s lip.
“DAMN, Mikey!” Frank said, totally disregarding the fact that he was just hit in the face. “You’ve got a strong arm, dude!” He touched his lip and turned to Gerard. “Is it bleeding?” he asked him self-consciously. Gerard shook his head and laughed. “But I bet you have a boo-boo there…” he said slyly, winking. Frank chuckled, in on the game. “Why… yes, I do…” he said, sticking out his lower lip. “Get rid of it for me? Pwease?” Gerard smiled. “My pleasure…” He said, leaning in, kissing Frank in front of Jamia and Mikey. Jamia got up and brushed off her knees. “C’mon, Mikey…” she said, pulling him up as well. Frank and Gerard didn’t stop. “Let’s go… ermm… be anywhere but here.” Jamia said, pulling Mikey’s arm. They were almost out the door, when they came in contact with someone. That they shouldn’t have made contact with at that moment.
“So, kids, you’re mother and I are going out, we don’t know when we’ll be back… FRANK?!”
Frank and Gerard stopped making out and stared up at Mr. Iero, who returned the gaze with angry eyes. Jamia bit her lip, before dragging Mikey out and leaving Frank and Gerard to their business.
“What’s going on?” Linda asked, walking into the room. She saw, and turned to her husband. “Honey, listen…”
“Dad…” Frank tried to beg. “Dad…”
Mr. Iero pressed his fingers against his head. “I knew it!” he screamed. “I knew Gerard wasn’t just a friend...”
“He’s the one who corrupted my son.”
“Honey!” Linda shouted, resting her hand on his shoulder. He pulled away and pointed at Gerard. Frank got up just in time. “Dad… don’t blame Gerard. This was my own decision…”
“How could this’ve been you’re decision?!” Frank’s dad lashed. “You were so perfect… so normal… Where did we go wrong with you?”
“Dad, please, listen to me…” Frank begged. His father looked away, but gave Frank his full attention. Frank took a deep breath.
“Dad… dad, I’m… I’m… gay.”
His dad stood in silence for a moment. Then Gerard got up to put a consoling arm around Frank.
Then Mr. Iero turned his had angrily and slapped Gerard across the face. The blow was so hard Gerard flew to the ground again.
“DAD!” Frank screamed as Mrs. Iero rushed to Gerard’s side. “Frank…” Linda said, referring to Mr. Iero. “This has gone far enough.”
Mr. Iero nodded. “You’re right…” he said softly. “Gerard… get out of my house.”
Frank turned to Gerard, who looked back with pleading eyes as he got up quickly and exited, not looking back.
Linda got up off the floor. “You too…” Mr. Iero said, pointing to Frank. “Out.”
“Dad… You can’t kick me out!”
“Frank, don’t do this…”
“Get. OUT!” Mr. Iero shouted, not looking his son directly in the eye.
“Where will I go?!” Frank asked, a tear streaming down his face.
“I don’t know… doesn’t your boyfriend have room for you? ‘Cause you’re no longer welcome here.” With that Mr. Iero turned on his heels and exited the room.
Linda looked at Frank with warm, motherly eyes. “I’ll try to convince him to let you back as soon as possible.” She told him. He stared coldly at the wall, listening as his dad’s rampage rolled on.
“He’s so twisted…” Frank heard his father cry. “TWISTED! How did this happen? He was so perfect…”
Frank sniffed and wiped his eyes. “Don’t bother.” He said coldly, walking out of the room. “You couldn’t make me come back here if you paid me.” Frank walked right out of the house and down the block as the rain pounded on his back. Gerard’s house was pretty far, and his eyes were full of tears, which clouded his vision. But he made it.
He walked up the Way’s porch steps and knocked on the door. Gerard answered. “Frank… I… I’m so sorry…”
“Don’t be.” Frank insisted. “I should be sorry. I never meant for any of that to happen.” Mikey and Jamia came up behind Gerard. They all stood in silence for a moment, before Gerard finally spoke up. The rain pounded around them. “So, I guess… your dad sent you over here, to tell me that I can never see you again…”
Frank nodded, but not in agreeance. “That would’ve been his second choice, yeah…”
Gerard furrowed his eyebrows. “I don’t understand…” Mikey piped in.
Frank looked up, more tears flooding out of his already puffy and bloodshot eyes. “But I got kicked out. Gerard, he doesn’t want me.”
Gerard turned back to Mikey and Jamia. “I’ll be right out, just, wait inside.” He told them. Jamia closed the door behind Gerard. “Are… are you serious?” Frank nodded.
“Gerard… I lost my family, my house…” he paused as the rain crashed harder. “And even my place in Heaven.” Gerard looked at him and shook his head. Frank went on. “But the one thing I don’t want to lose… is you. Please, Gerard… you’re my everything.”
Gerard pulled Frank into a tight embrace. He whispered firmly into Frank’s ear, his voice watery. “Don’t for one second think you’re not getting into Heaven…” Gerard said, his voice wavering. “Don’t for a damn second.” With that Gerard pulled Frank’s wet body into the Way household, meeting back up with Jamia and Mikey.
“Mikes, do you think mom’ll let Frank…”
“They already asked…” Donna Way said, coming up behind the two. She nodded. Gerard looked up, hugging his mother tight. “Thank you,” he whispered. Donna pulled Frank into the hug, then soon Jamia and Mikey joined, and it was one big bear hug.
And for the first time, Frank thought, This is my family. And, sure, being kicked out and hated by his family gave Frank the idea that he was nothing but a useless piece of bullshit, but with people like this, it wasn’t that hard to let that all slip out of his mind.
For once, Frank felt like he wasn’t being judged, but showered with love and appreciation, whatever sexual orientation he was.
For once… he felt safe.