However much I loathed him, I couldn't imagine anyone more gorgeous.
Chapter One - Fagboy
I watched surreptitiously from the bleachers as the object of my affection moved swiftly across the gymnasium, stealing the ball and dodging opponents twice his size. With one giant leap, he threw the ball, it circled around the rim and fell through the withered nylon net. There was a sheen layer of perspiration across his forehead and the tops of his cheeks, only further emphasizing his already beautiful features, his face was flushed with adrenaline. He smiled proudly as his team members congratulated him on his shot. I felt a rush of excitement flood over me, but quickly caught myself, burying my face further into the book I was reading. I felt a pair of eyes burn into the top of my head.
"WAY!" My head snapped forward, and I grimaced as my phys. ed. teacher approached me. "Get involved in the game! Or do I have to call home again?"
Gingerly, I placed the novel beside me, so not to lose my page. "Mr. Wade. You and I both know very well how little athletic ability I possess," I thought if I used some of my grade eleven vocabulary I might confuse the teacher, enough to distract him until the bell went. You know what they say. Those who can't do, teach; and those who can't teach, teach gym.
Mr. Wade, a burly man with biceps the size of my waist, sighed with discontent. "One game Mikey." he compromised, a desperate expression colored his face.
I lowered my head. I was an intellectual, not an athlete. I laughed inwardly as I thought of the speech my mother gave me about there being 'absolutely nothing wrong with that Michael', the first time she received a phone call about my slipping grade in Gym. I removed my glasses, and sighed, placing them carefully on top of the book, to assure they wouldn't get broken. My parents could not afford yet another pair of glasses. I kept my gaze on my shoes as I walked out onto the court, stumbling toward the milk crate that contained a mess of colored jerseys. A repulsive expression graced my face as the smell of sweat and gym locker rooms filled my nostrils. I wondered for a moment if anyone ever had the decency to wash them, but I guessed no, as the stench instantly clung to my skin and clothes.
"No way coach, okay? I'm not having that loser on my team." I overheard. I looked down at the color of the material draped over my shoulders. It matched that of the boy I had spent the first half of the class ogling at. The boy that had just called me a loser. However familiar that word may have been to me, it still stung. I swallowed the lump forming in my throat, and ripped the material from my body, stomping back to my book and spectacles.
I heard the teachers' loud footsteps following me, "Mikey, hold on now, Iero will take you. If he doesn't, " his volume crescendoing slightly, "I'll fail him!"
I moved my gaze from Mr. Wade to the beautiful boy. However much I loathed him, I couldn't imagine anyone more gorgeous. He had these wide almond shaped eyes, and a crooked smile with a small dimple on each side. And his body could only be described as incredible. The boy, Frank, as he was known to his friends, folded his arms across his chest and rolled those dazzling olive colored eyes. The flush in his cheeks was slowly disappearing, being replaced with anger and frustration. My eyes narrowed and I looked back to the instructor. "Fine, " I grimaced, tromping back toward the jerseys and grabbing one. The whole class watched in the silence that ensued after the coach had raised his volume. I grudgingly pulled the mesh material over my head.
There was one central reason I preferred the world of books to physical activity. My lanky figure made moving gracefully quite the challenge. No one passed to me, even though I followed my teammates whenever they moved in a different direction down the court. One of my opponents fumbled, and the ball rolled right to my feet. I feebly picked it up, unsure of what to do. I dribbled awkwardly and slowly, making my way toward the basket. Suddenly, I was shoved and the ball was taken from me. Not by an opponent, but by my teammate, Frank. I stood sheepishly behind, as Frank scored a point. The bell rang, and I was so excited that I almost forgot my belongings on the bleachers.
"IERO!" The coach growled. I slowed my pace so I could eavesdrop. I hid myself by the locker room door, somewhat covered by the ugly brown stands. "Do you have a problem with Michael? This is a gym class, not the NBA, you let everyone play."
"He's a faggot coach, seriously I catch him staring at me all the time." Tears scorched my eyes, and embarrassment colored my face red. "I don't like having a gay in my gym class."
The teacher extended his index finger and poked Frank in the chest. "We don't discriminate Iero. Now you can stay after class and clean the gym. Tell Mikey to help you and I will be watching how you treat him."
Frank groaned dramatically. I ducked into the locker room, and changed into my school uniform. A white shirt, khaki pants, a red and navy tie, and a navy blazer with the school emblem embroidered on the left side. I hated the way it looked on me. There was only person who could pull the look off, and that was my crush and worst enemy. Frank Iero.
I felt a strange rush of anticipation, though. I realized Frank was straight as a board, but what I wouldn't give just to be his friend. It was going to be fun, in a way, just to spend some time with Frank. I held high hopes that maybe all the name calling was just a clever muse he put on for his friends. It was possible that under that tough exterior was a genuinely nice person. The corners of my mouth turned up in a smile.
The lockers and showers were in a separate part of the locker room from the bathrooms. I walked lightly to the bathrooms to make sure I looked presentable. I flattened my hair and straightened my tie. I heard Frank's sharp voice from the locker area. "He's making me clean the fucking gym with Fagboy after class. What a fucking joke."
Fagboy. How creative. I sighed, but shook the frustration from my head. There was still a possibility that my theory was correct.
"I'm not doing it, " Frank protested, "I'll just clean it by myself and tell coach that he left before I could ask." His friends murmured positive reinforcement.
I watched the disappointment fill my eyes in the mirror before me, but I was not willing to give up that easily. I mustered every single ounce of confidence I possessed and quietly walked into the locker area. My eyes automatically locked on Frank's bare back, as he was only clad in pants. "Frank . . . ?" I mumbled, my volume almost inaudible.
Frank whipped around quickly. "Jesus Fagboy, don't sneak up on me like that. Warn me so I can get dressed first." An eruption of snickers spread through the room.
My cheeks were on fire. "Mr. Wade asked me to help you clean the gym, " I said, in a voice so weak, I myself thought it was pathetic.
"Piss off, all right? I'll do it by myself, " Frank sneered, puffing out his chest triumphantly, his jock friends only encouraged his behavior with their laughter.
I quietly stumbled over my words, "A-alright, I'll . . . go get started." so quietly, no one even heard me. I turned around on my heels and left the room. I scanned the gym making a mental list of the things I needed to do. Push in the bleachers, gather all the basketballs and put them on the metal rack, fold up the cobalt blue gymnastic mats, and drag them to the corner of the room, and lastly gather the putrid smelling jerseys and put them in the equipment room. If I was quick, I possibly would spare myself from missing the bus.