A high school Frerard. How can you not like it, honestly.
“Frankie, honey, you're up, thank God.” My mom rushes in, fully-dressed and chipper, with a baking spoon in her hand. She gives me a small 'tut' noise in the back of her throat as she gives my skinny jeans with the rips in one knee a once-over. But I give her my big eyes and she sighs, then pulls me into a hug. “It's going to be good, okay, baby? A fresh start.” I mumble something sarcastic under my breath, but it goes ignored. Damn her, using her selective hearing when it suits her – it's the “Italian was my first language” excuse. So annoying.
After too many kisses and a hell of a minivan ride later, I get dropped off a block from my house. I beg her to let me drive, because I am seventeen, but she just playfully swats my shoulder and sends me off to school. Dad used to drive me, but … you know how that whole 'separation' thing works. We're not exactly close enough to be like that anymore. I walk the block to school to avoid being seen with my mom, and I'm immediately sucked into the world of public high school in the wonderfully dangerous Belleview (my mom can barely afford the house, we didn't have much neighborhood option).
I'm immediately ignored or whispered about, my red Chucks dragging across the linoleum floors. Fuckkity fuck, I don't want to be here. One jock guy launches himself into me and I stumble, and all of the other guys laugh in response. Assholes, I think bitterly, then I regroup and try desperately to make it to my homeroom before I'm late.
The teacher is some wiry, overwrought man with long eyelashes, magnified by thick glasses. He teaches honors English for sophomores, so I'll pretty much just be seeing him for attendance only. Girls whisper and giggle in their seats, summer tans (real and fake) shining in the bland light. A chubby gothic looking girl with thick ropes and chains hanging from her pants stares into space, her obviously lesbian counterpart of equal size and stature staring along with her, hand placed on her upper thigh.
I pulled my eyes away and sighed. Even they had someone, and I never have and never will, at this point. I'd think that someone like me would have friends, maybe even be kind of popular. Honestly, what people don't like a boy who wears cool band tees and plays guitar. Some kid starts beat boxing Run-DMC lyrics in the back of the class, and all of the kids start singing along. Obviously not in this town.
Attendance is called and I am introduced to the class, my face a light pink (how manly) as the wiry teacher places an arm around me; my first friend. Someone snickers in the back, and I fiddle with the hem of my Bouncing Souls tee-shirt until I'm allowed my reprieve. Fuck my life, dude, fuck it so hard. I trip on the way back to my seat and have to catch myself on a desk, nearly toppling it over. I was never gifted in agility, so. Someone says 'midget' and I immediately remember why I'm not cool. The bell finally rings and I rush out, almost leaving my backpack behind.
It's not until sixth period gym that anyone talks to me, as we all sit with out backs against the bleachers while the beefy coach yells about signing up for winter sports and all of that other good stuff I've missed because I came in a month late to the school year. I feel someone nudge into me and I look up – I usually have to – and see a lanky kid in a matching shirt as me. He grins and pushes up his glasses, looking at his chest and then my own. I give him a smile back, and it's of timid liking. At least someone is normal here. We can't talk at all until the last period, but he finally grabs my arm before I walk out of the gym.
“Hey, I'm Mikey – you new?” He asks, lanky arms clutching a notebook. I nod, and his pace falls in time with my own, so skinny that he could slip and slide easily through the crowd of people.
I clack my lipring. “I'm Frank Iero,” I say, hopping over an abandoned messenger bag. He stops and shakes my hand, then grabs my schedule out my binder before I have time to blink. Looking over it, he smiles at some parts, then hands it back to me.
“You're lucky – you, me, and Bob all have the same free period. Most people here are assholes, but there are at least the three of us who aren't totally brainwashed. Thank God I found you in time.” I give a happy smile, glad that he found me too. He stops, then rethinks his statement. “I mean, there is Ray, and my brother, Gerard, but they graduated.” I nod and struggle to keep up with his gliding strides.
“Your brother and, er, Ray are in college?” I ask, keeping up casual conversation as he directs me to the place where I guess we all have free. He grins and shakes his head. “Ray is, but he's in community down the road. Gerard is twenty-three, and he just got out of college. He lives at home for now – says he's going to get an apartment in town, but I think he likes his basement too much to leave.” He laughs at this, like it's some sort of inside joke between him and himself. I laugh too, awkwardly, because I obviously am not a part of this Mikey versus Mikey joke.
We go out to the back, where there's a little courtyard (aka some shrubbery and a few seats) and I see a burly looking guy who looks about twenty-five. “This is Bob Bryar, the senior who buys us cigarettes.” Mikey says cheerily, as if he's presenting him. Bob gives me a grunt but a friendly wave. I'm a little intimidated, but I wave back – this guy is fucking huge. “I'm Frank” I manage, hand still kind of waving stupidly in the air. We sit on the concrete bench and Bob and Mikey begin a small interrogation of music – and I'd like to say I passed in flying colors, based on their intrigued looks and wide, cheesy grins. Also mentioning my guitar was helpful.
The rest of the day passed by kind of without much event, except some asshole on the baseball team shoving me up against a wall for accidentally kicking his girlfriends handbag. Apparently, it was “Gukki” or something, and therefore very special. He was pretty pissed, and me and my short legs gave him an accidental kick, which really didn't make matters any better. “I'd watch it, there, faggot.” The guy spat, then let me go. It wasn't as bad as my old school, but I'd give it time before I'd get stuck into a locked or something.
The last bell rings and I hop out of my seat and avoid doing a happy dance, then spend about ten minutes trying to find the 'front entrance' where I'm supposed to meet Mikey. But he's there, thank God, small smile on his face and books at hand. “You live on Dasher, right?” He asks, and I send a message to my mom saying I'm walking with a friend. She's going to piss herself.
The October air is cool and calm, and we kick at the dead leaves as Mikey talks a while about what classes suck and what people suck more. Apparently, I had made the wonderful mistake of kicking Jessica Adorno's bag, which in turn pissed off the most jockiest of the jocular, Chris Patterson. He giggles as I recount the horror, and he warns me to be careful. “Those dudes are rough, they'll fucking, like, fuck people up.” I laugh at his sentence and we get up to my house.
“You can come in, if you want.” I offer as we get up to the door. He says a 'thanks' but shakes his head. “I have to go run errands for my mom, and Gerard is really, really overly worried if I'm not home immediately.” Mikey rolls his eyes, and for the first time ever I know someone is being genuine in their refusal. I roll my eyes back and grin at him, with his girl cut pants and our matching shirts. Friends, it feels nice to have a kind of new friend.
He waves goodbye and walks down the driveway, then turns suddenly. “Dude, come over on Friday and meet my brother and shit, you'd love him – say yes.” So I do, and he pushes his glasses from their normal perch on his nose and makes a fist pump. “Alright, man, I'll see you later.” I push open the door and go inside, to a tittering of Italian and English from a very, very excited mother.
As I lay in bed, actually sending some random texts with Mikey and even one or two with a very stoic Bob, I let my mind wander. Some boxes lay unpacked, but they're just old clothes and things I don't really need. My Smashing Pumpkins poster hangs poorly by some Scotch tape, and I smile, because it feels like home. I think about school, and I think about Friday, which is only five days. And I think about Gerard, because Mikey says I'll love him and the way he gushed about him … he seems like someone I'd like to hang out with. Rolling over, I give a sigh of relief – because life isn't perfect, but at least we're getting somewhere.
(con and crit please.)