I looked over at the boy, once so gorgeous, he seemed slightly less appealing now...only slightly.
Chapter 3 - Reputation
I was certain I had felt my heart stop beating in my chest. Had Frank really just spoken to me? Had Frank really just offered me a ride home? It was all a lot to process in a short amount of time. An array of emotions overwhelmed me, as it occurred to me that the events had truly taken place. The most prominent feeling was definitely confusion. Nothing that Frank had said made any sense whatsoever. I tried desperately to relax and calm my churning stomach. I folded the last mat and dragged it to the corner of the gym. Taking a deep breath, I walked to the door of the equipment room. Frank was pacing back and forth, and stopped upon seeing me.
"I'm finished out here." I stated, making sure that my voice was louder than my normal whisper.
Frank played with his lip ring in a nervous fashion. "Yeah...let's go then." he said, his eyes darting around the room.
"Again with the mood swing," I mumbled, turning around and starting toward the gym doors. I had officially changed my mind, I didn't want to be Frank's friend.
"What was that?" Frank said, his voice sharp, jogging to catch up with me. I didn't respond, that tone reminiscent of how Frank spoke to me when we weren't alone. "What did you say?"
"I just...I don't understand you...at all actually." I quickly glanced over at the boy as I said this, to gauge his reaction. His expression was hard as stone as he stomped forward. We gathered our book bags and I waited shyly for Frank to direct me to his vehicle.
Frank sped ahead, making a point to stay a few paces ahead of me. He walked to a red, beat up Ford Ranger and hastily got inside. Unsure of what to do, I lingered behind for a minute, until Frank opened his window and yelled, "Get in the fucking truck would you?" I sped to the passenger door and climbed inside.
I clutched onto my backpack nervously as I waited for Frank to leave the parking lot. I never averted my gaze from my hands and noted how my knuckles were turning white.
Frank pulled a cigarette package out of the visor and put one in his mouth, "I need to know where you live, retard." He spat, holding a lighter to the smoke.
"Oh, uh. Thirty-fourth and Elmcrest." I mumbled back. So, my theory was incorrect. Frank was just a soulless, rude jackass. There was nothing deep down inside like I'd hope. I looked over at the boy, once so gorgeous, he seemed slightly less appealing now...only slightly. I felt my heart begin aching under my ribs. Frank pulled out of the lot carelessly and with much more speed than necessary. Out of my peripheral vision, I saw Frank glance in my direction. I fiddled with the zipper on my bookbag nervously. I gathered all of the confidence I possessed into the pit of my stomach and then opened my mouth to speak. "Frank...why do you hate me so much?"
"If I hated you, do ya think I'd be driving you home?" he snapped, "Jesus."
"Okay, well why are you so mean to me, then?" I reiterated.
Frank exhaled loudly, and I finally looked over at him. "Look, man. You wouldn't understand. Its like...I have an image, a reputation. I can't fuck that up, y'know?"
"You're right," I sighed, " I don't understand."
Frank tapped his fingers on the steering wheel in an annoyed fashion. "I know...that you...like me or whatever." All the blood in my body rushed to my cheeks, "And I mean, people have to think that it bothers me. That's just...my rep."
"Oh..." I breathed. "So...you mean that it doesn't actually bother you?"
Frank shrugged, "Well, I mean. I'm no homo or anything. But, I don't care that you like me. Do what you want, right?" I watched him play with his lip ring, almost like he was nervous. His cheeks slowly turned a light shade of pink.
"Yeah. I guess..." I replied, astounded that I got Frank to blush.
"But, hey. You breathe a word of this to anyone, and I will actually kill you." He took his eyes off the road to look at me and grin.
"I won't, I promise." We turned onto my street. "It's the blue one," I said, pointing.
Frank stopped the truck outside the quaint home and I saw my brother sitting on the front steps, smoking a cigarette. He jumped up and ran to the truck. I bashfully undid my seatbelt and scrambled out of the vehicle. My brother knew all about my crush on Frank and I didn't want him to embarrass me.
"Hey Mikes, who's your friend?" Gerard said, leaning right into the door unashamedly.
"Gerard, this is Frank. Frank this is my brother Gerard." I mumbled, quietly, hoisting my backpack onto my shoulder.
Gerard looked back at me and suggestively raised one eyebrow into an arc. I looked down at my shoes and shook my head. Gerard extended his hand out to Frank, and he took it. "Nice to meet you, Frank. Wanna come in and hang out for a bit?"
I choked on my breath, and my head snapped up, awaiting Frank's reply. "Uh, no I can't. I have plans. Another time maybe."
Gerard hung onto the door as he said, "Alright, see you around."
Frank uncomfortably nodded. "See you at school Mikey,"
My throat closed up and I couldn't reply. I just nodded, spun on my heels, and started walking toward the house. Gerard jogged up beside me and I heard the truck pull away. "He drove you home!" he exclaimed. I was less than excited, mine and Frank's conversation still ringing in my mind. "Dude, that's a good thing." Gerard placed his hands on my shoulders and shook them slightly.
I shrugged his brother's hands off. "He's straight, Gee." I said flatly, staring at him overtop my glasses.
Sympathy colored Gerard's face as we walked into the house. I didn't blame him for not knowing what to say. I myself didn't have any insight into the situation, surely my hetero brother wouldn't be much help.