Rapists. Batman. Weird gothic drawings of homicidal angels. “You know,” I said casually. “Just stuff.”
Disclaimer: I don’t own, so you don’t sue. Awesome. Enjoy!
There is a cherry tree on Dutchman’s Hill. It is famous for the magnificent pale pink blossoms that bloom every year from its branches, satin petals floating lazily into the grass, tinted with peach and gold. The tree is old and has witnessed many things over the years. Both weddings and funerals have taken place by this tree, couples have made love underneath its towering branches on Valentine’s Day. Even the smallest of things; two children playing, perhaps, or even the odd picnic. The tree has seen them all.
She places her hand on the rough bark of its trunk, her bare feet leaving small footprints in the dew coated grass. She can see his silhouette leaning against the tree and he holds his hand out to her. She takes it and his eyes flash, shiny glass chips of hazel. She doesn’t know who he is – she cannot see his face – or where he has come from. But she knows she belongs to him somehow. He wraps his arms around her, she can feel his hot breath on her neck, and the ground opens up. She is now falling, falling into a bottomless abyss of darkness. She flails and screams out to him, in the hope that he will appear by her side and protect her from the never-ending dark. But all she can hear is the echo of his cruel laughter ringing in her ears...
This was the part when I woke up screaming.
I sat bolt upright in my bed, shivering. I wiped the strands of hair that had stuck to my forehead, to find my whole body clammy with cold sweat. My eyes darted about the room, stomach still churning. The silver blue moonlight shone in slivers through the blinds in the windows, bouncing off the soft outlines of the furniture, reassuring me that I was still safe in my mom’s shit-hole apartment.
Still shivering, I sifted through the memories of my dream, little jigsaw pieces drifting about my mind. I remembered a tree on a hill, and dewy grass, and then I was...falling. I couldn’t remember how, or why, but just darkness everywhere. I swallowed and hugged my knees close to my chest, attempting to calm down my breathing. I rocked there, back and forth in the dark, chanting “It’s only a dream, it’s only a dream”, to myself like a fucking retard behind bars in a mental institution for God knew how long. But I didn’t care how I looked. I was too scared to.
It rained again at school. This week was like a goddam never-ending downpour. I was actually counting the days it took until Noah came along in his ark. It had been three days since my encounter with Gerard at the underpass, and I couldn’t keep my mind off him since, let alone my eyes. I wasn’t sure if he noticed how I gawped at him, but we hadn’t talked or anything. I was with my friends and he was just...there. A shadow amongst the school. It impressed me how he was so able to slip in and out of attention. I mean, one lesson I spent the entire period wondering where he was and then I found him in the corner in the dark. He just popped up whenever I didn’t expect him to. And it scared the hell out of me.
“You okay, Lee?”
I quickly looked up at Minnie’s concerned face, breaking out of my reverie. I nodded slowly, shoving my hands in my pockets. We were sitting in our Spot again, by the recycle sheds, watching the jocks do football practise.
“You sure?” Bob echoed, his arm wrapped around Minnie’s waist. They were pretty sweet together, seeing them like that. “I mean, you seem pretty out of it, dude.”
Frank raised his eyebrow. “You’re not stoned are you?”
I looked at him doubtfully. “I’m fine. Just tired.” I yawned and stretched for emphasis. Bob shrugged and heaved himself off the wall of which he was leaning.
“Whatever,” he said, picking his back up off the stone steps. “I need to go see Mrs Jefferson over something. See you guys later.”
Minnie smiled as he kissed her quickly on the cheek, small hand waving goodbye as he walked away. Frank plonked himself down next to me on the steps, offering me a jelly snake. I declined.
“So,” I found myself asking. “What do you guys know about that Gerard Way kid?”
They both looked at me like I was crazy. Minnie shrugged, running her hand through short reddy-pink hair.
“Who?” she asked. I chewed my lip thoughtfully.
“You know. Black hair. Withdrawal symptoms to the back seat of the class.”
Frank laughed, chewing on the head of a jelly snake. Minnie’s face brightened up, as if the light bulb hovering above her head had suddenly flickered on.
“I know the guy!” she exclaimed. “He sits in my art class. He’s really good at drawing and stuff.” Then she smiled at me knowingly. “He’s pretty cute.”
Shit. I hastily looked down, my face burning red. Frank was looking at me oddly.
“Why do you care anyway?” he said. I could hear a hint of harshness in his voice. I shrugged, taken aback.
“I don’t know...” I replied. “I guess...” I stopped, considering whether to tell them about what happened at the subway or not. I was interrupted by a sniff from Frank. He leaned back against the cement of the steps, popping another jelly snake in his mouth.
“You never were before,” he said oh-so-casually. But I knew Frank. He wasn’t some clingy, over-protective best friend or anything of that nature. It was just sometimes...well. I didn’t know.
“Well, now I am,” I said, looking him in the eyes. “We could ask him to hang out sometime.”
Frank snorted, Minnie raised her eyebrow. “Why?”
I sighed, fiddled with the black lace of my converse. “He might be...I don’t know...pretty cool. And anyway, why do you hate him so much? It’s not like you’ve even said one word to him before.”
He looked uncertain. “And you have.” It wasn’t a question. He could read me like a book.
I was silent. “Look,” he said matter-of-factly. “I don’t hate him. I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice person. It’s just I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want anything to do with us. Or anyone else, for that matter,” he added. “He’s probably just some obnoxious prick who wants to be left alone with his fucking drawings.”
I scratched the back of my neck, unsure of how to retaliate to Frank’s prejudice. There was an awkward silence between the three of us, silence except for the sound of Frank munching on his stupid goddam jelly snakes.
“So,” Minnie finally said cautiously, breaking the silence. “Do you guys wanna hang out after school today? Bob and I were thinking about going to a movie if you wanna come with.”
“Sure,” I said. Frank nodded, eyes still on me. I shifted uncomfortably under his gaze until that heavenly shrill bell rang. I shouldered my bag and walked quickly to homeroom. Minnie attempted to keep up. Frank didn’t.
I was almost late for Chemistry. Again. I made a mental note to work on that as I burst through the door, about a minute and a half before Dr. Zuckerman came. To my disappointment, most of the seats had been taken except for a few here and there. None of my friends had my Chemistry class, so I was pretty much used to sitting on my own in silence and pairing up with any random available dweeb I could find. But then I spotted him sitting alone in the corner and found my feet moving quickly towards the empty seat next to him.
“This seat taken?”
Gerard looked up at me, puzzlement momentarily flickering across his beautiful face, until he looked back down at a drawing he was poring over.
“Go ahead,” he murmured. I sat down next to him; curiously sneaking a peek of what he was doodling.
“What you drawing?”
He glanced at me and then back at his drawing without answering. I sighed and stretched my neck to look at it. There was an angel, in ragged clothing with long black hair. Her ghostly face was hidden in shadow, big gothic wings stretching vastly across the paper. She held a human heart in one hand, and a knife dripping with blood on the other. Her skin and rags were smeared with blood. It really was very good, for just a doodle with an ink pen. In fact, as I peered closer at the drawing, I became acutely aware of how skilled an artist he was.
“That’s...really good,” I said, impressed. He still said nothing, obviously not grasping how hard I was trying to spark up a conversation. Was I annoying him? I hoped so. He was a jackass.
Gerard quickly folded up the drawing and stuffed it in his bag as Dr. Zuckerman strolled in. I decided that, as attempting to talk to this social retard was a complete waste of my life; it was a better idea to divert my attention back to the lesson. This was much harder than I had expected - my eyes couldn’t help but hover back to him. I watched him work in silence, shiny eyes glancing back at the board with an occasional flick of his fringe. I loved that.
Jesus Christ, Lee. I could sense that he was becoming uncomfortable under my gaze, so I worked hard to stay focused on my work, I really did. But then, when Dr. Zuckerman went out of the room for a spare Bunsen burner or something, I just about couldn’t take it anymore.
“Why did you save me the other day?” I suddenly blurted out. He stopped writing for a minute, but didn’t look up at me.
“Because you needed saving,” he replied simply, eyes fixed on his work. I sniffed. Most guys his age wouldn’t just come along and call the cops if they saw a girl about to be beaten up, let alone have the guts to whip her attackers’ asses. But he said it like it was something he did every freaking day as a pass time.
“What, so you just happened to be walking home when you saw me and decided to jump in and save the day?”
I raised my eyebrow. “Weren’t you scared you were gonna get your ass kicked or anything?”
“What do you mean?”
I shrugged. “Like...do you go round saving girls from rape often or something?” I gasped dramatically. “Are you Batman?!”
He sighed exasperatedly and dropped his pencil, finally turning to look at me. His eyes were angry and I had to suppress a giggle at how much fun I was having irritating him.
“You ask a lot of questions,” he stated quietly. I frowned at him.
“Well...” I replied. “I guess I want to get to know you better.” I wasn’t joking anymore; I honestly was interested. The anger sort of left his eyes and he sighed again, scratching the back of his head and messing up his already adorably untamed hair.
“What do you wanna know?” he asked. I shrugged again.
“Well, are you Batman?” I joked. He finally smiled. He had a cute lopsided smile which sent butterflies whirling in my stomach. Compose yourself, Lee.
“No,” he said sadly. “I’m not.”
I grinned at his eventual softness. The guy was pretty cool when he let his guard down. I fiddled with my hair, suddenly self-conscious of how I looked.
“So...do you wanna hang out sometime?” I found myself asking. What the fuck caused me to ask that? He wouldn’t want to go to the movies with three odd-balls he didn’t even know, and from his character this morning I was pretty sure Frank wouldn’t exactly jump for joy if he tagged along either. To my surprise, Gerard shrugged, as if considering.
“I don’t know...would it just be us two?” he asked. I chewed on my lip.
“Sure, if you want,” I replied. “Not like a date or anything,” I hastily added, feeling a blush creep onto my cheeks as he chuckled. Unless...
“That’s cool,” he smiled. I grinned again, but inside I was freaking out on how to explain it to Frank.
“I can’t go to the movies tonight.”
I was at Frank’s locker, leaning against the wall adjacent. I watched him take out his books and folders in silence, and for a moment I was unsure whether he had heard me or not. But then he slammed the locker shut and shrugged.
“Well that sucks,” he answered simply. “How come?”
“I kind of...” I trailed off as I saw Gerard walking back down the corridor. I think he saw me, because I’m pretty sure I saw what I thought was a wink directed at me from his left eye. A wink. Whoa.
“You kind of...?” Frank said, impatient with the faraway look that clouded my eyes. I looked back up at him, my tongue feeling heavy in my mouth for a second. You know, when your attention’s been diverted because of something and for a minute you’re just standing there imitating a gold fish? Well, yeah.
“I kind of have plans already,” I said, deciding not to go into detail. But then, why shouldn’t I? If I wanted to hang out with someone else than my friends, then I had every right as an American Citizen to. So ha. Ha!
“Oh?” Frank raised his eyebrow, curious. “With who?”
“As a matter of fact,” I said with dignity. “I’m...uh...I’m hanging with Gerard tonight.”
Frank looked as though he had been smacked in the face with a cold fish. “What?”
“You know...Gerard,” I looked down sheepishly. He folded his arms across his chest.
“Good luck,” he snorted. I frowned and looked back up.
“Whassat supposed to mean?”
He shrugged. “Good luck getting more than one word out of him. The guy’s freaking socially retarded, Lee.”
I held my frown, hands on my hips. “Well, for your information I sat next to him in Chemistry today. We had a very animated conversation together.”
Frank looked at me dubiously. “Oh yeah? About what?”
Rapists. Batman. Weird gothic drawings of homicidal angels.
“You know,” I said casually. “Just stuff.”
He clapped sarcastically. “Well done,” he laughed drily. “You two have a ball.”
We walked off down the corridor, me sighing in secret relief. You could never tell with Frank. You never knew whether he’d be cool with it, or a goddam crazy bastard about it.
So that was a little bit of Gerard character development. I realise now that Frank is always eating! Weird...
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