Lunch on the quad, a math class realization, and frog's legs.
Nope, I don't own MCR (more's the pity), I'm just borrowing them for a little bit. Sue me if you dare.
But I let it slide as we burst through the double doors at the end of the hall and out into the sunshine. Our footsteps echoed in the quad; I could feel Gerard’s arm, warm through his jacket, supporting me, holding me up. And I was grateful he didn’t make a big deal about it.
“Here,” he said, flopping down under the shade of an ancient, gnarled oak tree. He patted the grass next to him. “Don’t be shy, this is where losers like us come to hang out.”
I sat down carefully and leaned back against the tree. “Losers like us, huh?” I cocked an eyebrow. “Do losers get in fights and cut class? I’m pretty sure we’re the winners.”
He laughed and tucked his knees up under his chin, gazing around us and up into the clear blue sky. “So where are you from, Frankie?”
I hesitated. “My family’s moved around a lot for my dad’s work. I was born pretty close to here, actually, but we moved from New York City just this week.”
He sighed enviously. “Bright lights, big city. Lots of concerts. It must be kind of a shock for you, huh? Things are a little bit different ‘round here.” He glanced over at me. “What does your dad do?”
“Decomposes, mostly.” I shot him a look. “He’s dead.”
He winced. “Sorry.”
“No, it’s okay.” I smiled. “It’s just me and my mom, and until she can find a job, she pretty much works from home.”
“She a writer?”
“An illustrator,” I said. His eyes lit up. I made a mental note to ask him about it later. “She used to do all the ads and the daily comics for a newspaper in the city, but she dropped it and started waitressing when my dad died. I have no idea where she’s gonna find work here.”
He shrugged. “You never know when opportunity will knock, right?”
I could feel my aches and pains fading away. The sun was warm against my skin, and I closed my eyes as a wave of peace washed over me. This was what I’d hoped my first day would feel like. There was something in his voice, something that just made me feel…calm. Confident. It was what I imagined being cool would feel like, like the world was my oyster.
“Frankie?” he said softly. “Are you asleep?”
“Nope.” I grinned with my eyes closed. “Just chilling. So what do your parents do?”
To anyone else, the conversation would have seemed boring. But I was dying to know more about this pale, mysterious boy.
“Both my parents are teachers at a college in Newark. I don’t see them much, since they usually stay over at a friend’s during the week, to avoid the commute, you know. It’s mostly just me and my brother. But it’s not so bad. We have a lot of fun together. And there’s no one around to get us in trouble.”
“Do you get in a lot of trouble?”
“Loads,” he said gleefully.
“You did just pull a knife on school grounds,” I chuckled.
“I’ll probably just get a detention.” He lay down on his back and stretched out contentedly. The muscles rippled under his tight t-shirt. I swallowed hard.
Don’t drool, idiot.
His eyes flashed up to mine, and he grinned, exposing perfect white teeth. My stomach did some kind of complex flipping maneuver that I was sure I never wanted to experience again.
“Frankie, did you have a girlfriend before you moved?” he asked innocently.
I willed myself not to stammer like an idiot. “No, but I did have a boyfriend. We broke things off a while before I left, though.”
“Oh.” He shut his eyes and smiled again. “I couldn’t tell.”
“Jason sure could.” I grinned in spite of myself. It felt like the beating had happened a long time ago. My ribs still ached, but the pain was so easy to ignore.
“What time is it?” He lifted his head, shook his hair out of his eyes and tried to make out the tiny school clock in a classroom across the quad. I checked my watch.
“Half eleven. Why?”
“I have a bet going,” he said, “about my brother. Ten bucks says he won’t make it through Physics without bolting.” He looked at me intently. “That stuff is incredibly boring, don’t you think? And Mikes is so bad about staying in class, I figure…”
“Wait a second. Mikes?”
“Yeah, my –”
Mikey ran outside and across the quad towards us, dragging his bag in the dust behind him. Gerard sat up and stretched out his arms, laughing as Mikey ruffled his jet-black hair.
“Little brother, I just won ten bucks off Ray. You do me proud.”
Mikey was laughing too, but he stopped as he caught sight of me. “What happened to your face, Frank?” he asked in a half-whisper.
“Jason beat him up,” Gerard supplied after a second. “He’s okay now, though, aren’t you, Frankie?”
I nodded. “I’m fine. Gerard rescued me,” I admitted, valiantly trying not to blush.
Mikey glanced between the two of us. “Good.” He sat down next to me and started rummaging through his bag. “Here, hold this,” he ordered, tossing a ragged notebook into my lap. Eventually he turned the whole bag upside down, spilling pencils, scraps of paper and a few scattered CD cases onto the ground. Gerard rolled his eyes.
“You’re worse than a girl, Mikes. At least their purses have sparkles.”
Mikey ignored him and triumphantly tossed his brother a pair of black Ray-Bans. Gerard caught them with one hand and raised his eyebrows.
“I lent these to you a week ago. They’ve been rolling around in the bottom of your bag all this time?”
“I figured it wouldn’t kill you to get a tan.”
We lazed around until the lunch bell rang and kids began pouring into the quad from all sides. The stretch of empty, quiet grass turned into a roiling mass of bodies and conversations in the space of a few minutes. Gerard watched them all with calm eyes, taking in the different cliques. Mikey, too, seemed to be at ease. They introduced me to their friends, Ray and Bob, who both asked me what happened to my face.
“What?” I asked blankly. “There’s nothing wrong with my face. It always looks this way.”
They stared at me for a half-second, uncomprehending, before Gerard burst out laughing and told them the whole story. Before long we’d arranged ourselves in a vague circle and were eating lunch. Ray filled me in on the school gossip in between bites of sandwich, until a pretty girl with bright pink hair came and dragged him away.
“Liza,” Mikey said, with a knowing smile. “His girlfriend.”
Bob sighed. “She doesn’t see him for the freak he really is.”
“Tragic,” Gerard smirked. “There, but for the grace of God, goes Fair Haven’s very own ‘Gossip Girl’.”
I felt like I belonged here.
After lunch, Gerard commandeered my schedule, shouting out my classes to see who was in them.
“A.P. courses for juniors are regular classes for seniors,” Mikey explained. “So we smart kids get stuck with a bunch of dumbasses. Budget cutbacks are a bitch.”
But it meant that I had English and Math with Mikey and Spanish with Bob, as well as last-period A.P. Biology with Gerard.
“See ya later,” Gerard murmured to me as he passed back my schedule. “Maybe we can bond over a steaming dissected frog. It’s what all the cool kids are doing these days instead of going out for coffee.”
“I look forward to that,” I grinned.
“Hope you’re not squeamish, because I fully intend to fling frog guts at the professor if she keeps us late again.” He smiled his gorgeous, crooked smile, then turned and walked away down the hall. The crowd parted around him like a school of fish around a shark.
The rest of the day passed uneventfully. Well, not uneventfully – without me getting my teeth knocked in again, at least. I languished in Spanish, struggling with ill-remembered verbs while Bob laughed and asked me how on earth I’d managed to pass the A.P. test. Mikey and I folded paper airplanes during math class. With five minutes left until last period, I started to get anxious. I was sure Gerard would’ve realized by now how deeply uncool I was. Someone like him, so charismatic and serene and just awesome, was really too good to be hanging around with someone like me.
He's out of your league. It was funny to think, but it was true.
“He likes you, you know,” Mikey said. My head jerked around and I stared at him like a complete idiot, but he kept his head down. “I mean, he saved you for a reason.”
I wanted to ask Mikey what he knew about his brother that I didn’t, but I was quiet. I have a big mouth, but not nearly big enough to blurt out that I have the hots for someone’s brother. Who I’ve known for just barely two hours.
“I don’t know, Mikey. Any decent person would’ve done that.”
“No,” he said, half-smiling. “They wouldn’t. Gerard is kinda special that way.”
You can say that again.
We were both quiet for a while, filling out a sheet of complicated problems. My split lip was aching for some ice, and I could feel my skinned knees through my jeans.
Face it, Gerard Way has much better things to do than hang around with your sorry ass.
“I know my brother, Frank,” Mikey insisted, “and believe me, you’re the first guy he’s taken any interest in in a long time.”
“'Guy?'” I frowned.
“Gerard’s gay, Frank,” he said, rolling his eyes like I’d just asked if the sky was really blue. “Don’t let the leather jacket fool you, he likes cock. Girls just don’t do it for him, apparently.” He laughed. “You look like you’ve died and gone to heaven.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, a little too quickly. The bell rang.
“Off with you,” Mikey laughed. “Just don’t tell him I told you. And Frank?”
I stopped in the doorway. “Yeah?”
“You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
Gerard beckoned me over to his desk after I introduced myself for what felt like the millionth time. I felt my heart kick into high gear as I slid into the seat next to him, tossing a notebook onto the black countertop. He had a pencil tucked behind his ear.
“You’re my lab partner from now on, all right?” he said.
“Just call me Dr. Frankenstein.”
The class was almost all seniors. I thanked my lucky stars I knew Gerard; I would’ve been way too shy to introduce myself to someone new. We sat there as the professor drew diagrams on the board and talked endlessly.
I sighed. “You’d think she’d just toss us a frog and say ‘have at it.’”
He laughed. “I’m excited. Science is the shit, isn’t it?”
Three minutes later, the professor was still droning away. I knew it three minutes exactly because I’d been staring at the clock, bored out of my head. Gerard was busy drawing something in the margins of his notebook. I watched his pale hand tracing the lines again and again, shading here, darkening there. He smudged something out with his thumb, humming softly to himself. His messy hair hung down over his eyes. Without meaning to, I reached out and tucked it behind his ear. He looked up. His eyes crinkled as he grinned.
“Thanks, man.” He leaned back and inspected his work critically. “I think I’m done. You wanna see?”
He laid the paper down in front of me.
“You were drawing me?” I asked, wide-eyed. He nodded slowly. I stared down at the perfect picture. He had every last little detail down exactly; it looked like a photograph.
“You like it?” he asked.
“It’s beautiful,” I said, and I really meant it. “How do you do it? I mean, you met me today, but you remembered me perfectly.”
“I don’t know, I just...do it. I remember things without realizing it. Frankie, you’re in my mind’s eye.” He tapped his head. I grinned.
A few minutes later, the professor finally gave up on teaching us anything and just slapped a dead frog down at each table.
Gerard picked up a scalpel and looked at it doubtfully. “This could get ugly.”
“Just…try not to send any guts my way, okay?”
He rubbed his hands together and started in. I squeezed my eyes shut, but the noises didn’t help much either.
“What’s the matter, Frankie boy?” he questioned. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought he sounded distressed.
“I’m a vegetarian, Gerard,” I said weakly.
“So we won’t be bringing the frogs’ legs home, then,” he said tactfully. “My bad.”
“It’s cool.” I opened one eye a crack and forced myself to look down at the mangled mess. I shuddered theatrically. Gerard laughed.
“Let’s get outta here, come on.” He got up when the teacher’s back was turned and slid out of the room. I waited a few seconds before I followed him outside. He was leaning against the lockers, hands tucked nonchalantly into the pockets of his jacket, looking like a Hell’s Angel in training.
“Do you go to class?” I demanded.
“When it suits me. I wasn’t going to sit there and watch you turn green, though. That would just be cruel, after everything you’ve been through today. I don’t want to make your life any harder.” His eyes glimmered.
I really hated how my stomach twisted up in knots whenever he looked at me – forget butterflies, more like full-grown anacondas. And I had no idea what to say.
Moving slowly, he took my hand in his, turning it over and spreading my palm with his pale thumb.
“You play guitar?” he asked, noticing the telltale callouses on my fingers.
“I was practically born holding one.” It was one of the only things I felt like I was good at.
“You know what they say about boys who play guitar…” He paused, smirking. My nerves fizzled at his touch, and I knew he could tell. “They’re chick magnets, every last one of ‘em.”
“Are you flirting with me?”
“Maybe,” he breathed, his grip tightening. “Just a little.”
I smiled. Maybe there was nothing to worry about, after all.
Hi all! Sorry this is so late again, but ah well. Your comments make my heart sing! I'm gonna be out of town tomorrow and most of the day after (I know, it sucks) but I'll post again a.s.a.p. Enjoy! Tell me if you like it! xo b_b