‘Mikey will you come on! Everyone’s left already!’ I yelled, amusement dancing about my voice as I pulled on my black ratty old converse. I’d had them about two years now and they were already completely ruined, well, in my mom’s eyes anyway. To me, they were perfect. Real rock star shoes. I tied the laces up into a vague knot, tripping over again after realising they had somehow got tangled up together in my hurry. I knew I needed to slow down, take it easy, but I just couldn’t. I was like this every Tuesday after school, adrenaline coursing through my veins the minute the last bell rang. Every week I was astounded at how relaxed Mikey was, how he could just stroll out the college like he had nothing better to do. To me, this was everything, and I vastly started planning my whole life around it the moment I knew we were getting serious. Every day leading up to Tuesday I would be listening to music or scribbling down little guitar riffs the moment an idea popped into my head. And when that fateful day arrived, I would rush straight over to the Way brothers’ house with Mikey, and show them what I’d come up with. Yep, this was band practice, and I fucking loved it. ‘Mikey!’ I shouted again, slinging my messenger bag over my shoulder and poking my head round the classroom door to see him zipping up his brown satchel just as slowly as he’d been putting his things away. He was looking a little like a lost puppy, his thick rimmed glasses dangling off the end of his nose and I could tell exactly what he was thinking. Another day, Mikey, another day gone and she still hasn’t noticed you. I sighed warmly and walked over, taking one of his hands and tugging on it lightly. Poor guy, he’s completely infatuated with this girl in our class who, if I’m honest, doesn’t seem to know he even exists. Her name’s Alicia, and yeah, she’s beautiful, all the guys in my class agree. Everywhere she goes, a whole flock of boys just sail after her like they’re on some sort of love potion, whilst poor Mikey can barely get a word in. His optimism is admirable though, every day that kid comes in hopeful, a new idea sprouting in his mind how to get noticed by her. I smiled and squeezed his arm gently, a soft ‘we’ll try again tomorrow’ making him grin down at me. With that, we scampered out the classroom and down the corridor, already talking about our plans for later.
‘I’m telling you man, one day we’re gonna be huge, I can just feel it,’ Mikey grinned as he pushed his feet down over and over to rotate the wheels of his bike. They squeaked a little from the added weight of me riding on his back, but this was nothing unusual. I keep telling myself that so long as Mikey has wheels, I have wheels. Even if there are only two of them at the moment. I nodded with a grin, drifting off into fantasy about the five of us walking on to the very same stage The Pumpkins played a year ago. Their show was massive, it was a miracle how we’d managed to scrape enough cash together to go and see it but I tell you, I wasn’t planning on missing them. It was worth every penny, even the outrageous train fair to New York didn’t matter when they walked on stage and everyone just went wild. Mikey was screaming and cheering his head off, his glasses breaking again within the first song, but I don’t think he even noticed. Matt and Ray are our typical rockers of the group, they don’t care who’s on stage, so long as there’s good music, they’ll be up dancing. It was hard to tell where they were at some points in the concert, but Ray’s fro bobbing about quickly helped me spot them and I soon became free to just watch the concert with Gerard. He always looks after me when we go to shows; he’s such a great guy. I know he could be moshing and dancing away with the others and just going crazy, but he doesn’t when I’m there. Because of my height, a lot of people don’t really notice me in the crowd and I’ve been submerged pretty easily before, so Gerard’s taken it upon himself to protect me from now on. His arms encase me from the moment we enter the stadium or arena, and after successfully making our way to the barrier, he’ll stand behind me, fending off anyone who looks like they’re gonna cause some damage. It’s really great having him around, he’s such a good friend. It’s almost like he’s my older brother as well as Mikey’s.
I was soon plonked on to the ground by my elder friend, and fell peacefully back into reality now I’d realised we’d arrived. With the guitar still on my back, I dashed up the gravel driveway and up the porch steps, waiting on the veranda impatiently as Mikey locked away his bike. I tapped my foot to a rhythm in my head for a moment, before it just became apparent that I was done waiting and I started ringing the bell. Mikey looked over and rolled his eyes, barely getting chance to turn round before I called a loud ‘let me in’ and bowled through the door on opening. Matt was standing there with a warm smile on his face, a beaten up drum stick in hand whilst the other lay in the back of his jeans. He shook his head fondly as I danced through the house, kicking my shoes off down the corridor, draping my jacket over an arm chair and slinging my bag on to the couch. I couldn’t wait to just plug in and get started; I was practically bouncing off the walls as it was. As I nearened my room of choice, I heard muffled sounds of ‘they’re here?’ and the scuffling of feet, the pair of them obviously getting ready for me to come in. I suppose I did make quite an entrance. I charged down to the basement, my feet scampering down the wooden steps and a loud ‘hi’ erupting from my lips, before the door swung open. As I entered, I high fived Ray before spinning Gerard round and diving into his arms, laughing as the pair of us lost our footing and fell backwards on to the couch. He squealed in surprise and dropped the microphone he was holding, his strong arms wrapping round me as we laughed. Ray came over and kindly lifted my guitar from my back, setting it up by his as I rolled about on the couch with him.
‘I missed you Frankie! Come see me soon okay? Once a week for two hours is not enough!’ Gerard laughed and tickled my ribs gently, making me squeal and writhe about. I kicked and screamed as I tried to escape, tears soon streaming down my cheeks as I found myself trapped now Mikey and Matt had returned and decided to join in. This was the worst part of band practice, they had no idea what utter torture this was for me, so decided to do it every single week. How this was fun, I still wasn’t sure, but they were my best friends so I let it slide when they finally gave up. A quick thwack round the head was all I needed for my revenge, before I’d lay back in Gerard or Ray’s arms whilst the others set up their instruments. ‘Mmm, so how you been man? Mikey been keeping you behind again?’ The singer chuckled as his fingers idly drummed a pattern on his hip, looking fondly at his brother. Mikey looked a little embarrassed as he nodded, the forlorn expression returning behind his glasses again and making Gerard get up to nurse him better. The two of them are the most perfect set of siblings you could imagine. They fight, sure, but it’s never over anything serious. Their relationship is really great, there’s not one day where they’re not saying ‘I love you,’ to one another, or making the other one know it somehow. If Gerard’s away in New York on a job with Cartoon Network, he’ll leave little notes round the house for Mikey and the rest of us to find, just letting us know he’s still there and will be home soon. I watched with fond eyes as he hugged him for a short moment, whispering something only Mikey could hear into his hair. Those words cheered him up immensely, and soon Mikey was back to his old self, grinning away as he slung his cherry red bass over his shoulder and plugged himself in to the nearest Marshall. I got up as Matt handed me my guitar on the way over to his kit, slipping the fairly shiny white instrument round my neck and grabbing a pick.
‘What we doing today then guys? Shall we try and complete ‘Our Lady’ or stick with some stuff we know for now?’
‘Gee, we can all still hear you, you don’t have to talk into the mic just yet.’
‘But I feel powerful when I talk into the mic,’ he whimpered a little, before smiling, ‘I’m talking into the mic. Decisions guys?’ We all ‘um’med and ‘ah’hed for a moment on what to start with, eventually deciding on a quick warm up with a few covers we’d been working on for a local gig starting in a few weeks. We’d love to get some of our own stuff on the market and recognised, but at the moment nothing’s really ready, and as this would be our first ‘gig’ together, we all felt doing some well known songs would be a safer option. I smiled as I looked down at the neck and ran my fingers over the cool metal strings, striking a chord and hearing the sound as they all shot into life. My brain was already whirring with ideas even as I was tuning up, my fingers twiddling away like little dancing insects or something. Band practice was something I just relished in doing, those two hours a week like some sort of drug that I was gradually becoming more and more hooked on. Nothing else mattered when I was standing here in this basement, not college, not my reputation; all I cared about was making music with the people I loved. So I’m not that popular at my senior school. Okay I’m really not that popular. Okay, okay Mikey’s my only friend now Gee and Ray have left. But like I said, I don’t care. I don’t need anyone else; no one really gets me like they do. No one understands what it’s like to just play your heart out and not care if you mess up. They’re all too focussed on their social status and reputation, which in my eyes, is completely stupid. I mean, after they leave, where does that go? Exactly, it doesn’t, it doesn’t leave high school or prep school or college or wherever you’ve spent those last few years worrying your ass off. The second you graduate and start your life as ‘an adult,’ a whole different load of responsibilities fall upon you and that hair cut you had in seventh grade, or that girl you never got to kiss all fly out the window and become just as unimportant as they were back then.
That’s what I think anyway.
Once we were ready to start playing some actual songs of our own, I was fired up in my head, standing next to Mikey and just bouncing lightly on my toes. He looked at me with a chuckle and shoved me gently, the four beats of Matt’s sticks together counting us in. As the four of us started the introduction to ‘Headfirst for Halos,’ I could see a smile growing on Gerard’s face. He’s always been the quieter member of the band when it comes to actually performing; I think he’s still got some confidence issues with his voice if I’m honest. He says he’s fine singing in front of other people, but I have to say I’ve never heard him, at the moment it seems like we’re the only ones he’s truly comfortable with. I covered the strings a little to create a palm mute effect, muffling the sound so Gerard could be heard over our shitty mic. As he sang, I made my way over to hear him better, a smile on my face at the utterly angelic sound that escaped into the room. My eyes were drawn to his lips, just as they always are, and watched intently as each word sailed into the black mesh of the microphone and buzzed down the wire until it was projected out from the speakers. God, his voice really is something else. It continues to baffle me why he’d ever be self conscious about such a gift, because that really is what it is. The five of us are always complaining about famous bands nowadays whose singers all have the same whiney, tacky voice. How they get noticed, I’ve no idea. It’s not even like they sing about different stuff, because, let’s face it, no one does anymore. The only ideas that seem to make a good song now are falling in love, falling out of love, or showing that you’re ‘independent,’ and therefore don’t need love at all.
Gerard’s different though. He’s a real artist. You could give him any idea, any topic to write about, and he’ll twist and morph it until the original idea is lost in a sea of metaphors and cross references. It’s magical watching him write, the man never stops thinking and is always sat at his desk in the basement scribbling away on a song or a comic or something creative. How he does it, I’ve no idea, but every day he’ll call or text me with a little tweak or modification or just needing a second opinion on something he’s thought up. The man’s a genius, and is completely underrated. We all are. I know it sounds bias of me to say, but fuck it. When the five of us play together, it’s phenomenal. We knew that we’d have something special right from the off, but it’s always amazed me how quickly we’ve been able to gel and work together. It’s a real connection that I know I could never have with anyone else. I smiled up at Gee as he sang and turned to face him, picking at the strings as my fingers danced over the fret board. My eyes glanced down at the wood for a moment to confirm I was in the right place, before they looked up and were on Gerard again. I was staying over tonight, not that he knew, but the decision had been forming in my head over the past ten minutes. I often stay over, and I know he’d appreciate it seeing as ‘it really has been too long.’ As my gaze locked with his for a moment, I grinned, laughing as he slung an arm round my shoulders and pressed a quick kiss to my cheek. Gerard and I are closer than close, I’ve said it before, we’re like brothers. He’s always looking out for the both of us, I tell ya I don’t know what I’d do without him.
We finished up the song with a cheer, the five of us grinning away as Gerard and I jumped up and down. My knees were in the air in some rock star pose with my guitar, a huge grin on my face. That song always puts me in a good mood, and the five of us always have a blast whilst playing it. As Gerard grinned and cheered with me, I jumped, a white flash making me look round in surprise. Mikey was grinning at us with his camera in hand, the moment simply ‘too good to miss’ apparently. I just laughed and hugged Gerard tight again, my guitar strings rubbing against his jeans and making a muffled discordant sound into the amp. The vocalist chuckled and stepped aside to take a look at the picture, grinning and sending Mikey off to print it out upstairs. He scampered up whilst we all chatted together about the song, Ray going off to make some coffees whilst the three of us made minor adjustments to our parts. In a few minutes, Mikey returned with the photo in hand, the glossy print of me jumping into Gerard’s arms making me grin widely and take it from him. The bassist laughed and the pair of us made our way over to our older brother, who took me in his arms again the moment he saw it. It really was a magical moment, too good to miss, and as I looked up at him, I just knew it wouldn’t be the last.
AN: Hey guys! Two things, firstly, really sorry this has taken me a while to post up, hopefully my later chapters will be more frequent, I hope this hasn’t lost anyone’s interest! And secondly, another apology at the shortness of this, but this is how I intend my chapters to be, like 2700 wordsish. If you’ve read ‘Seven,’ you’d see they were nearly double this length, but hopefully you’ll get why they’re shorter as ‘Click’ progresses. I really hope you guys enjoy :] Immy xo.