Frank says I look like a pumpkin when I smile.
St Jimmy. A 9 week holiday, I get back to school and BOOM. First day and already I feel like I’ve been there forever. So, I wonder how many of my readers/reviewers ditched me whilst I was on my hiatus? It’s kind of a short chapter because I’m just getting back into the swing of things but I hope you enjoy it.
So without further ado, ONWARD!!!
I realise my mouth is still hanging open as I follow Lindsey through the web of high school students still recovering from the strenuous work-out. I have never been so pleased at not being able to dance in my life. Lindsey doesn’t look over her shoulder once, preferring to yell instructions at anyone passing by and somehow they get done. I’m beginning to realise she’s that kind of person. People will do whatever she tells them to for so much as a pat on the back,
She leads me into an empty classroom adjoining the Drama room and closes the door behind us, giving me the feeling I’d assosciate with being locked in a broom cupboard with a serial killer. To be honest, she’d look real hot with a chainsaw. And blood all over her clothes and an insane, psychopathic smile on her face....
Wait. Stop. Thinking. Chainsaws. Not. Cool. Bad. Strange. Child.
“Are you familiar with the song “New York” by Frank Sinatra?” she asks me.
Am I familiar with Frank Sinatra? You have got to be kidding me. When I was way, way younger I used to dance around the kitchen in my boxers to that song all the time. Not that Lindsey needs to hear that. “Uh, yeah,” I admit. “I may have, possibly, once heard that song played. In a diner...somewhere.”
Lindsey sighs in a why-must-I-carry-the-weight-of-the-world-on-my-thin-shoulders kind of way. “There’s no shame in liking Frank Sinatra.”
Speak for yourself, Batch-slap. “As far as I know, Sinatra wasn’t exactly into the anarchistic, uprising against oppression, murder your wife and punk is fuck kinda scene. He sang some songs about pizzas. And I don’t really do Frank Sinatra.”
“I know your type,” she says, crossing her arms over her chest. “The high school reject. Different. An outsider. Shunned by everyone else simply for being what you are and accepting that. Embracing, eve, a future spent lurking at the back of crowds because you’re terrified someone will see you and force you to confront a possibility of actually making something of yourself. You want to be a reject. You want to be noticed but not so much that you actually make a difference. It’s pathetic, this charade. Being a misfit doesn’t mean you have be a reject for the rest of your life. Grow some balls, for God’s sake and take a stand. Society is screwed up but that doesn’t mean you should just let it stay that way. Now, stand up fucking tall, take my fucking hand and I’ll show you the steps.”
I feel like I was just struck across the face with a flyswatter, shrunk, scrunched up into a tiny little ball and thrown into a steaming pile of dog shit. Too shocked to think of anything to say in retort, I take her fucking hand. And we waltz to Frank Sinatra’s “New York”.
“You know, you’re not a terrible dancer,” she tells me after five minutes of stoically coping with me treading on her boot clad toes, wiping my sweaty palms on my jeans and wishing, nay, begging to be anywhere else but here.
“Haha,” I reply because my brain is too filled with Make it stop God, make it stop to think of anything else to say. “Now you’re just being nice.”
“I think you’ve known me long enough to know that I’m never “just being nice” unless it’s absolutely essential to my career,” she replies scornfully. “You’re not terrible. But quit staring at your feet, I promise they’ll still be there when you look up.”
I don’t tell her I’m afraid to look up and see Satan in her eyes.
“That’s good,” she says as I give her a dip upon instruction. “Now a twirl...”
She moves effortlessly in my arms. As she spins away her leg kicks out and her fingers follow, displaying toned muscles beneath her ivory skin. Then suddenly I’m holding her again and I can hear her breathing, slow and steady and out of sync with my hurried, shallow breaths.
“Relax,” she whispers, sending vibrations across my skin and down my spine. “You’re not going to set off a rape alarm if you hold me a little closer. Like this.”
She slides up against me, nestling into the crook of my arm and my heart starts to beat a faster and faster. She continues to demonstrate just how I should raise my chin and point my elbow but I’m barely listening. It’s all I can do to nod jerkily and we keep dancing until finally, centuries later, the song ends. It ends but we’re still standing together, gazing into each other’s eyes and I don’t see Satan I them, nor do I see the heartless ice queen I’m so used to. Her eyelids are half closed over them and her mouth is slightly open and suddenly I feel a bizarre urge to take her in my arms again and press my lips to hers...
“Gerard,” she speaks softly, so softly I can barely hear her above the buzz of the CD player.
“You can let me go now.”
I let her go. She slips her hands out of mine and steps out of my hold, leaving a cold empty space where her body had previously been. Embarrassed, I scratch the nape of my neck, feeling some of the hairs standing on end. Even Lindsey looks slightly uncomfortable, a pink flush colouring her pale cheeks.
“Okay,” she coughs awkwardly, moving a strand of purple hair behind a double-pierced ear. “I think you’ve got the basics of the Formal. Now we’ll move on to the Las Vegas number-”
“-Hold up,” I raise a hand and she breaks off with a raised eyebrow. “I agreed to do the Formal for New York on the grounds that that would be the only dancing I’d have to do. Ms Maitland never said anything about Las Vegas.”
“It’s just a few simple steps,” Lindsey shrugs. “No biggie. You barely have to do anything.”
“-No buts,” she growls with an angry flash of her eyes and the ice queen is back. “My turf, my rules. You’re doing the number. The song is “Las Vegas” written by some genius kid in 6th grade. You sing the first verse and Samantha will sing the second.”
She hands me a sheet of paper with the lyrics and skimming through them they seem oddly familiar. “Hey, this is just like the song I wrote for school when I was twelve years old,” I tell her. “Who-” then I notice the name at the bottom of the page. Gerard Way. I look back at Lindsey to see her smiling crookedly.
“I guess I won’t have to go through the tune with you then,” she says.
And I can’t help it. I smile back.
We spend the rest of the lunch hour going over and over various parts of the production until I can recite the whole story off by heart. Basically the musical is set in 1920 and there’s this rick, sheltered chick who wants to see the world but her parents are all like “No, you must stay at home and look after your sick father and get married to someone as equally rich and sheltered” and loads of suitors turn up but she doesn’t like any of them until this one really nice, handsome, smart, charming, clever, exciting total hunk of a guy turns up (c’est moi, obviously) and they fall in love. Only problem is he’s really poor and has zero prospects so her parents say no to marriage. So he enlists the help of this creepy butler dude who knows magic and really should be in the mafia who turns him into a gentleman on the condition that he must return to him a music box stolen by some random hobo within two weeks. And cos the hero is so in love with this girl he says “sure” and is instantly turned into an eligible bachelor, marries the girl and they see the world together. I can’t be bothered with the details but it turns out the creepy mafia butler is actually in love with the girl himself and there’s a whole lot of drama and action and suspense, ending with the tragic dealths of our hero and heroine and the butler being struck by lightening. Curtains close, lights come on, “bravo, brava, look at that Gerard Way, wasn’t he wonderful?” Blah blah blah.
Yeah, it sucks.
I say as much to Lindsey who scowls and tells me if I can come up with a better idea I should slip a note through her suggestion box. Which turns out to be the trash can. Finally she gathers the papers into a pile and tells me I’m free to go before marching off without ceremony, leaving me alone in the classroom with a bunch of song sheets, an impending migraine and, terrifyingly, a decent sized boner.
I noticed it as soon as she had left and let out a stupidly high pitched squeal before quickly covering it up with my hands. I can’t believe this. I’m so sexually deprived that Lindsey Ballato: Mistress of the Demon can make me hard by simply forcing me to dance with her. It’s not right, it’s not fair. The female is a cruel, cruel species.
Gotta get rid of this, gotta get rid of this. But it’s too dangerous to jack off in an empty classroom; someone could come in at any time! I look around desperately for some inspiration. I could run to the toilet if I kept my hands over it. No, too risky. The whole Drama studio is crowded, someone would notice.
Then I spot a door set into the far wall. It opens into a broom cupboard.
Broom cupboards have locks on the inside, right? Ah, sweet relief. I’m about to make my way over to it when suddenly the door opens revealing...FUCK! Samantha.
“Uh, don’t come in here!” I tell her, sliding behind a large box of text books.
“Why not?” Samantha asks, bemused.
“Because...erm...” THINK, Gerard, think! “I saw...a...mou...rat.”
The confused look intensifies. “You saw a mou-rat?”
Aw shit. I was going to say “mouse” but then I thought “rat” would be worse so I went with that and now the love of my life is looking at me like I’ve got a speech impediment.
Okay, advanced improvisation. Go. “Yes,” I nod like I know what I’m talking about. “A mourat. It’s a genetically mutated species between a mouse and a rat. Spits venom and sucks blood. Very dangerous. But don’t worry, I’m dealing with it.”
Samantha laughs. “You’re such a dork,” she says fondly. “I’ll wait outside.”
I watch until she closes the door and release the breath I was holding in my chest. Mission 1 accomplished. Now to deal with this...
Samantha is waiting for me in the Drama room. A wave of guilt surges through me at the sight of her as I think back to when Lindsey and I were dancing in rehearsal. I know nothing happened but something definitely could have done even though it didn’t and I feel bad about that, even though nothing’s technically happened with Samantha and I either. Yet.
Anyway, I push it to the back of my mind and put on a smile for her. Then I remember that Frank told me once that I look like a pumpkin when I smile so I stop. Then again every word Frank speaks is a load of bullshit so fuck him. Wait, why the fuck should I care what he thinks? For all I know Samantha thinks pumpkins are adorable and would totally make out with one.
“You get rid of the mourat?” she smirks.
I nod. “Then again, it could have been your regular, non-venomous, vegetarian mouse. It’s difficult to tell in dim light.”
She giggles. Phew. “So how did it go with Lindsey?”
“Okay,” I reply, twisting my fingers behind my back. “I think I’ve definitely got a better understanding of how things work around here.
“Yeah, there’s a definite hierarchy,” she agrees. “At the top there’s the school board with all it’s connections to the New York School of Arts etc, then obviously there’s Ms Maitland with Lindsey who’s like her Second in Command. Then there are all Lindsey’s groupies and wannabes who take care of things when she’s not around, the backstage team and finally the actors and the Understudys.”
“So we’re right at the bottom?”
“Hell yes,” Samantha sighs. “And Lindsey makes sure we don’t forget it,”
Interesting. I’ve always looked at the A-list as the very top, the angels of social heaven but even they have people they look up to and suck up to. What’s even more interesting is how far up Lindsey is in the scheme of things when she’s as much of a misfit as I am. I guess that’s what she was trying to tell me during rehearsal, that the world doesn’t have to end for people who are different.
“Hey, what are you doing now?” Samantha asks me. “You wanna go grab some lunch?”
“Yeah! Let me just go...erm...wash my hands and-” Ah, balls. I’m supposed to go meet the guys for lunch at the pizza palace down the road. And Mikey has this rule that if you don’t make it to some place when you said you’d be there then you have to buy everyone food next time we go out together. And I am NOT paying for Ray’s ten pounder beef burger with extra cheese, extra pickle, extra fried onions and a bottle of Chilli sauce. He is no man. He’s a merciless, eating machine. “Sorry,” I say deflating. “I have plans for lunch.”
“Oh,” her face falls and my heart wrenches for her. She flips her long perfectly layered mahogany curls over her shoulders and asks oh-so-casually: “Who with?”
“Frank Iero, Mikey Way, Ray Toro, Heather Something and Young Nile,” I answer. She raises an eyebrow,
“Isn’t Frank Iero the one who slept with half the girls in our year and the year above before announcing that he was gay?”
“Ah, yes,” I nod. “That would be him.”
“Breaking the hearts of the three girls he was dating at that time?”
“Well, yeah, but-”
“-And one of them was my best friend?”
I shut up at that. Samantha’s eyes are hard and her lips are pursed. What should I do? Nod and receive a lecturing on what a womanising manwhore he is? Or protest his innocence and insist that he’s really a nice guy? And he is, he really is. It was just that at the time Frank was starting to think about his sexuality he was really scared and confused. He thought his friends would leave him and his parents wouldn’t accept him and all sorts of depressing shit. So he tried desperately to convince himself and other people that he was straight and he did that by fucking a different girl every night until he couldn’t take the lying and the heterosexual sex any longer and he forced me to come to Gay Pride with him where he hooked up with some random guy from Alabama.
Now THAT was an experience.
But how the hell am I supposed to explain all of this to someone who’s never known Frank and has in face set up a personal vendetta against him on behalf of a friend?
“Listen,” I begin, wishing I didn’t have the Transexual Transylvania song from the Rocky Horror Show stuck in my head. “I know, of all people, that Frank can be a huge asshole but actually-”
“-Save it,” Samantha cuts me off with disdain. “I don’t wanna hear it. I’m sorry you couldn’t make lunch. I guess I’ll see you around.”
She shoulders her bag and makes to walk off but I catch her arm with sudden, kung-fu like reflexes. (Power Rangers repeat on Channel 4. I’ve been practicing!) “Sam, wait.” Shit, did I just call her “Sam”? But she doesn’t seem to mind. She looks surprised, pleasantly so. I take a deep breath. I’m really not very good at talking to girls I like. But something tells me if I don’t take this chance I’ll never get another. “What are you doing Friday?”
“Friday?” she replies, looking curious. “Why?”
“Do you wanna...uh...do something? With me? On...on Friday?”
“Like a date?”
“Yeah,” Why God why must I blush like a ninja strawberry NOW of all times? “If you want.”
“Well, Friday I’ve got a singing lesson for pretty much the whole evening...”
My heart sinks but she continues to smile coyly. “How about Saturday?”
I think someone just bathed my insides in melted butter and maple syrup. “Saturday’s good,” I grin. “Great, even. Do you like movies? We could see a movie.”
“Awesome,” she says, smiling as wide as I am. “Do you want my number?”
We exchange numbers and she hurries away with a flutter of her dainty fingers. I wave back and almost feel like skipping, the ridiculous grin plastered to my face like it’s been glued there. I bet I look like the fucking craziest pumpkin you ever saw. But, hey, who the hell cares? I have a date with Samantha Rose. And NOTHING can ruin my good mood.
Even when I get a text from Frank telling me that we’ve entered the Battle of the Bands and thought up our revenge on Christina Simpson.
I have to let you know, if I don’t get at least 3 reviews I’m not updating. Sorry but that’s just the kind of egotistical bitch I am and I need constant reminding that people still like me. :P