Frank and Gerard need to do some fast talking.
THE NEXT DAY - Gerards P.O.V
Registration was awful. The teacher was absent, the supply was lost and we had ten minutes with our form. Nathan, being the most popular boy in my school, had forwarded the picture to everybody. Frank and me were sat, minding our own business when suddenly, the cavalry arrived.
“What the fuck is this?” said Lauren, holding up her phone. Sure enough, the picture of me and Frank in the bathroom was there. Lauren was your typical airhead. Anything that wasn’t in the magazines, wasn’t deemed by the media as acceptable she hated. She clearly buyed into homophobia too.
“Well?” she demanded.
“It’s me and Gerard,” Frank said, sarcasm lacing his voice, “What do you think it is?”
“You two, kissing” she sneered, “Nathan sent it me. He sent it to everyone”
“Really?” Frank sceptically raised an eyebrow.
“Yo, Lucy, show the fags the message you got from Nathan”
Sure enough, Lucy, another peroxide blonde, tango orange clone, had the exact same picture.
“Dave” Lucy called to her boyfriend. Your typical sports freak, “Show ‘em the picture”
Soon, the whole class was ringed round our desk. Each of them holding up the same picture. Demanding answers. I debated telling the truth, looking at Frank helplessly. He slightly shook his head, reading my mind.
“Gay boy” Someone addressed Frank “We want answers”
He looked amused “I’ve heard it all before”
“Did you or didn’t you” Lauren stared me down
I looked at the angle of the picture, I realised that because of the angle, I could get away with saying I was wiping something off Franks face. I thanked God Nathan had crap photography skills.
“Look, he hates us” I spoke fast “He’s made up a rumour; I’m wiping something off Franks face”
Frank inhaled, praying, while the whole class looked at their phones.
“It’s just lies” I prayed they believed me.
“Why would he make it up?” Lucy was testing my lying skills.
“Because he hates me. You know he does” I looked her in the eye, trying to unnerve her.
She opened her mouth to say more, but the bell signalling first lesson rang out.
“Thank God” me and Frank muttered, making our way to English.
We had spoken to soon.
“Right class” the teacher began “Today we are doing speeches. We are going to make a speech, in pairs, about something close to our heart”
My heart sank.
“I will let you pick your pairs, and your topic, you have thirty minutes and then I will pick a few to read out. I will let you use the laptops for research,” she gestured to the laptop cabinet “If you want one, feel free to take one”
Instinctively, I knew our speech would be read out. Therefore, I decided to make it as good as possible.
“Topic?” I said, looking at Frank.
“I’d normally say homophobic bullying but that seems like…” he let his voice tail off.
“What about bullying in general?” I suggested
“Lets go then” I began to write, listening to Franks suggestions. The look-don’t-touch rule was killing me, seeing as he was so close to me, his head resting on my shoulder.
“I hate this,” he muttered, watching me write.
“Oh” he jogged my memory “Mikey wants to meet you”
“Mikey?” I could hear the suspicion in his voice.
“My brother,” I dropped my voice “He knows about us”
“You told him?” Frank was whispering
“Yes, well no, well not exactly” I knitted my brows together “I showed him a picture of us, he worked it out”
“Right” Frank said simply, “How is he with it?”
“He’s fine. He just wants me to be happy”
Ten minutes later, Miss Thompson picked the first pair to read out their speeches. Lucy and Lauren.
“Our speech is called” Lucy flashed a dangerous smile to me and Frank “ ‘Acceptable’”
Lauren and Lucy then began their speech, a cleverly disguised attack on me and Frank. “Sometimes, it may be hard to resist your urges. But human decency says you should” I felt Frank grab my hand, hard. “If you know you’ll be hated, why continue” I gritted my teeth
“Shall we leave?” I wrote quickly on some paper
“If it’s not natural why practise?” Lucy said
Frank nodded; we began to pack our stuff up quickly and quietly.
“Its Romeo and Juliet.” Laurens voice was filled with venom “Not Romeo and Jules”
We looked at each other, nodding. We stood up in tandem, making to exit.
“Personal assaults are tasteless” I spat “Especially if they’re lies”
We walked out of the classroom, together, and we made our way down to the bathrooms. Something halfway down a corridor made me stop dead.
“Is that Nathan?” I asked Frank, holding up a finger to listen to faraway voices
“Yes” Frank nodded “I thought he was excluded”
I didn’t reply, I followed the voice to a room. Sure enough, the door was ajar and Nathan was sat with our school equality officer. Not bothering to knock, I flung open the door.
“You spiteful, spineless piece of -” I didn’t finish; I left the word hanging, begging for a response.
“What do you mean?” He looked shocked, which I liked.
“Sending pictures, starting rumours. I knew you were scum. I didn’t think you would sink that low”
“How did I start a rumour if it was true?” I was getting the response I craved now, his face up close to mine. “You and that faggot making out. I got a picture, and told everyone” he gave me a knowing look, filled with venom, begging me to hit him. I felt my blood boil.
I stormed out in anger. Running away, I could hear Frank running after me, calling my name. I carried on running, hard.
I didn’t stop until I had run out of school. I stopped on the street corner, collapsing and trying to get my breath.
“Gerard, what the hell?” Frank said, catching up with me, equally out of breath.
“He… d-did it. And he g-g-gave me a… look” I was still gasping “I kn…ow he knows-s about u-u-us. I ju-st d-d-do”
“Why was he here?” Frank put his arm round me, I was hysterical.
“Beca-use if y-you’re a dick-k at our sch-sch-ool, you g-g-et couns-elling” Anger was coursing through me, making me shake violently.
“Gerard” Frank hugged me to him “Its okay, we have each other”
“What are we g-g-gon-na do n-n-now?” I was still sobbing
“We can go back into school if you want” He said, it was the most logical option.
I shook my head, trying to control my breathing.
“We can go back to yours?” He suggested, “I calm you down, and then wait to meet Mikey”
I nodded, wiping my eyes.
“Lead the way” Frank took my hand, I looked at him, shocked, “We’re not in school, we can act like a couple”
We started walking to my house, I was glad of Frank there; he made me calm down quickly.
“I’m not used to this,” I said to him
“Not used to what?” he was confused “Dating or homophobia or what?”
“Homophobia” I sighed, “How can someone hate love?”
“Believe me, I’ve asked myself that every day for the last few years”
“How long have…” I tailed off
“Known I was gay?” Frank laughed, as I nodded “You don’t burn if you say it you know”
“I know but, it’s weird” I shrugged
“I’ve known I was different all my life. I realised I was gay when I was 11”
“So long?” I was shocked
“Yep” he smiled.
We quickly got to my house; I led Frank in, opting to get changed.
“Want to come up?” I asked him “You can stay here if you want”
“I’ll come” He followed me to my room, sitting on my bed as I got changed.
“Hey, this is me” he pointed to his portrait as I took off my shirt
“Yep,” It felt weird to be getting changed in front of Frank. I faced my wardrobe, wanting to get changed as quickly as possible.
“Who’s this?” Frank pointed to a picture of Mikey and me
“Its Mikey, my brother” I put on a t-shirt and swapping my school pants for jeans.
“Nice underwear Gerard” Frank teased
“Shut up” I said, sticking my tongue out at him.
“Now what?” Frank asked, stroking my bed.
“Downstairs, I want to ask you some more questions”
“Why not up here?” Frank sulked, looking like a toddler.
“Because” I resisted my urge to sit next to him “I fear if I stay up here, I’ll be too distracted to ask you anything”
“Fine” Frank pouted, following me downstairs.
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