"You ask a lot of questions."
My duties as senior class president force me to decide if we will have a winter formal. After spending a few days looking over the school’s budget I decide against it. We’ll need the money for prom. Of course this only makes Devlin hate me even more than she already does.
All in all I’m exhausted. Between studying, getting harassed at school and trying to figure out what’s going on between Frank and I my energy levels are low. Thank God for Bob, Jonny and Liz.
On the Friday before break I invite the three over. Really we sit around and watch movies on the portable television Bob had lugged up the stairs to my room. Lots of candy is consumed along with two large, cheese pizzas. Although I wish Frank was here I know that sometimes I need to make time for my other friends.
As the night comes to an end Jonny and Liz, who are now dating, head out leaving Bob and I to clean up the mess.
“I still can’t believe you got your nose pierced,” Bob says as we carry the TV back down the steps putting it in the closet.
“It only hurt for a little bit,” I answer. “I’m kind of hoping I can find like a little snowflake stud.”
“You’ve got a thing for snowflakes don’t you?” he says, glancing up at my ceiling as more wrapped go into the garbage.
“Yeah, they’re different; I like things that aren’t the same.”
For a few minutes we are quiet just throwing things away, occasionally walking to the bathroom to drain a soda can. Mikey and Gerard stand in the hallway watching us as we laugh and toss pieces of popcorn at each other.
I wonder what they are thinking. Do they mind they I’m hanging out with another guy or are they going to figure out where he lives and then send him threatening letters? With my cousins one can never really know.
Around eleven Bob heads out, leaving me with a hug, “It was nice to hang out with you.”
“You too Bob, have a nice Christmas break.”
I watch as he disappears down the alley before I head back upstairs and flop down onto my bed. Tomorrow I can sleep in…I can sleep in until January third. Oh how I love Christmas break.
“Get these on,” Gerard says.
Groaning I sit up just a little confused. It is four o’clock. I had slept in and spend most of the day drawing. I was looking forward to a nice quiet night but I guess my cousin has other plans.
I take the black gloves and beanie from Gerard, eyeing him, “Why?”
“You’re gonna get cold. Get dressed Amber.”
Then he leaves the room. I sit there in silence for a moment. Eventually I get up and put on some black and grey plaid pants, a black turtle neck, my red zip up hoodie, and combat boots. As I walk down the stairs I put on the beanie, slipping the gloves into my pocket.
“What’s going on?” I ask Gerard and Mikey who are sitting in the kitchen.
Neither of them answer. Growling I hear someone knock on the door. My heart skips a beat…Frank is the only one who uses the kitchen door. I pull the back door open and smile at Frank who is wearing a jacket and beanie
“C’mon,” he says offering me his hand.
I turn to look at Mikey and Gerard who are both smiling at me, “Well, go on.”
“Pricks,” I mutter to them all as I head out the back door.
“Bye sweetie, be careful,” Aunt Donna calls after me.
“What’s going on?” I ask Frank as he tows me towards his car.
“We’re going on a trip. C’mon.”
He opens the passenger door for me before climbing into the driver’s seat and starting the car. What the hell is going on?
“Are you going to give me any sort of explanation?”
“So what are we going to talk about on this little trip?”
“We’re going to talk about… cryptozoology.”
“Cryptozoology,” I respond having no idea what he is talking about.
“Yeah like… The Jersey Devil,” Frank answers.
“I’ve never seen him.”
“My cousin, the one who did your nose, said he saw it.”
“Yeah, I shit you not.”
Frank is driving, casually looking over the steering wheel. I’ve noticed that so far he has not looked at me once.
“Tell me about it.”
Frank gives me a full detail description about his cousin’s encounter with the Jersey Devil. We then have a nice ‘debate' over if his cousin is full of shit or not.
By the time I realize where we are going our conversation had led us far, far away from the Jersey Devil. We were headed into New York.
“Why are we going to the city?” I ask Frank.
“Why does it matter?”
I shrug, “I don’t know. I just didn’t realize we were going this far.”
“I told you we were going on a trip.”
“Back to our cryptozoology debate, Chupacabra, yes or no,” Frank asks changing the subject. What is he keeping from me?
“Yes,” I answer with a smile.
We launch into another conversation about if we believed the Chupacabra existed or not.
By the time we reach our destination the sun has already gone down and Frank has contracted a case of road rage, flipping people off and muttering words in Italian. Eventually I grab hold of the wheel and somehow manage to park the car.
“We’re just going to have to walk from here,” he says putting the car in park.
“That's fine with me,” I answer.
I exit the car and meet Frank on the sidewalk. He looks cold. I take his hand and he leads me right. I still have no idea where we are headed.
“Where are we going Frankie?”
“Somewhere cool as shit,” he answers with a mischievous smile.
We walk about two blocks before he finally stops at Rockefeller center. The Christmas tree has already been put up. It is bigger than last years with bright, twinkling lights. The ice rink underneath is open and a few people are taking advantage of it. After letting me take everything in, Frank leads us over the booth where you buy tickets.
“Why are we going skating?” I ask.
“You ask a lot of questions. Just go with it.”
We get our skates, finding a bench to sit on while we change shoes. Once we've deposited our shoes in a locker Frank leads me towards the ice. Our breath comes out white due to the cold.
“I’m not going to ask any more questions,” I announce.
Frank smiles at me. He is holding both hands out, skating backwards while I skate towards him. It’s obvious which one of us is better at this.
“Good,” he replies.
“I’m awfully curious though.”
“I know you are.”
“Can I get a sample?”
“Sure, I’ll give you a sample.”
My eyebrows rise, “Seriously, I was not expecting you to give in.
Frank just smiles at me, “That’s the whole point of this trip, Ambo.”
“Well get to it then,” I answer just a little impatient.
“Alright,” Frank continues to smile but looks down at my feet as if making sure I’m not going to fall. “Remember that one year…like eight or ninth grade when I got you that music box?
“I remember. That one’s my favorite.”
“Remember that night you kissed me on the cheek before I went home?”
“Yeah, Frank where are you going with this?”
“That was the first time I realized I was in love with you.”
The shock hits me, causing my foot to slip. Frank keeps his balance so I slid right between his legs. He just smiles down at me, my hands still in his.
“Holy shit,” I say.
Frank beams down at me, “I’ve been in love with you every day since. So much so I got it tattooed on my skin. Ambra il mio amore…Amber my love.
I just look up at him with wide eyes, “You know tattoos are permanent, right?”
Frank laughs, nodding his head.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“I was going to. C’mon.”
Frank helps me to my feet so we can continue skating. I can’t concentrate now. My heart is beating hard and my breathing is way off. Thank God my inhaler is in my pocket…I might need it before the night is over.
“Okay so I had everything planned out. I kept my little crush on you for a while. I was planning on asking you to go to the spring dance with me that year. I had a whole elaborate plan but then you said you liked the fact that you never had to worry about me and you got a boyfriend.”
“So I figured you only wanted to be my friend. There were several times over the past few years that I thought about telling you but I figured you didn’t feel the same. I figured having you as a best friend was the best I was going to get. I had girlfriends and you had Garry. I was jealous of him and hated his guts even before he raped you. The only reason I liked Devlin is because she was easy. I know that’s a really shitty explanation but it’s the truth. I thought maybe she would help me forget you because you so obviously didn’t want anything from me. I was trying to move on. All those times you thought you saw my flirt face...that wasn’t my flirt face. You’re the only one that got my real flirt face.”
“That still doesn’t explain anything.”
“I’m not done. The first time I had sex with Devlin I was drunk as hell. I know I could have stopped her but I didn’t. I wanted you, but you frustrated the hell out of me and I vented. It wasn’t my proudest moment. It wasn’t until that stupid party that I though maybe I had a chance with you. I drank a little so you’d think I was drunk, I wanted a way out incase you hated me."
“I wanted to kiss you…at least once. Then when we were in the closet I kept expecting you to push me off, but you didn’t. So I lost control and I couldn’t stop. I was snowballing.”
“Why did you tell me the next day that you wanted to forget it?”
Frank sighs, “I got scared. I thought about what might happen...that we might get together and ruin everything. I thought about Devlin. At the time I thought she actually liked me and I didn’t want to hurt her.”
“That’s not a good enough excuse.”
“I know. Yet, if I remember correctly you were the one that said to forget it. I figured maybe you thought it was a mistake so I tried to move on. Then there was the night you slept over and I tried to kiss you. I figured I might as well just go for it. You freaked out on me though. I figured you just wanted to be friends.”
“You were wrong Frank Iero.” He smiles.
“Then there was the night we had sex. That was the happiest I’d ever been. I was so fucking in love with you. I realized I should have talked to you about it first. I should have explained myself. The next morning you were angry and you thought I didn’t value you as a friend. I’m stubborn and I snapped back. Then you told me you were in love with me. I honestly didn’t know how to respond. When I finally did you refused to talk to me. I was planning on breaking up with Devlin and telling you everything but you kept turning me down. I got angry and I acted stupidly. I thought if I stayed with her it would piss you off and that’s what I was trying to do.”
“You were trying to get revenge?”
“Yes, and I regret it. That night… the welcome back fair… when I took Devlin home I told her everything. She was angry that I had been using her. She explained that she only went out with me because she knew it pissed you off. It didn’t bother her that I’d cheated because she had been doing the same to me.”
“I already knew that...the part about her cheating.”
“For the past few months my goal has been only to help you heal. I know that I’m still in love with you but I wanted you to be better before I told you. So I concentrated on keeping you happy and supporting you when you needed me.”
“You’ve helped me a lot.”
“I’m really glad I was able to do all that I have for you. It does get frustrating, because it takes everything I have not to kiss you. I just didn’t think you were ready. I figured you just needed my help and you didn’t need added stress by finding out your best friend was in love with you. I mean, I was pretty sure you felt the same. You blush every time I touch you but I still had doubts. It wasn’t until you kissed me on Thanksgiving that I knew you were ready and that you wanted me too.”
“I see. What did you do when I was away at the hospital?” I've wondered this for a while now. I guess now is the perfect time to bring it up.
“I died. You remember when you got home from the second visit and I came into your room? Well when I saw you standing there with all those paper snowflakes you looked so goddamn beautiful and I knew…I knew that if I didn’t tell you someone else would. I’ve just been a big ass chicken. Gerard and Mikey gave me the push I needed. They told me to get my ass in gear and tell you how I feel.”
“Of course,” I manage finding it hard to breath.
“They told me that you weren’t ready for sex and you probably wouldn’t be for a long time. We already had that conversation and you know that sex isn’t what I want from you. I told Gerard and Mikey that I’d wait forever if I have to. It’s just that in these past few months I’ve realizes that I can’t live without you. I need you and I know you need me too. Yeah, sure, I sound like a self-centered asshole but I’m in love with you Amber. I want to be with you.
I take a shaky breath in, “I think I’ve having an asthma attack.”
Frank just laughs, leading me over to a bench so we can sit. I pull my inhaler out of my pocket and use it. My best friend just pats my back.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just… don’t know what to say. I didn’t even know. Have you really liked me since eight grade?
“Jesus. That’s a long time. I didn’t think I ever had a chance with you…ever. It never crossed my mind at all. I’m totally at a loss for words.”
Frank takes my face in his hands causing my breathing to become spastic again.
“Amber…do you love me?”
“Of course Frank,” I answer.
“Are you in love with me?”
I take a deep breath, “Yes, I’m crazy about you.”
“Do you want to be with me?”
I nod enthusiastically, “Yes, of course.”
“Then you don’t have to say anything. Just kiss me.”
We lean forwards, our lips connecting. Frank still has my face held in his gloved hand. As he parts my lips I feel his tongue touch mine. Electricity rushes through my body causing my stomach to feel queasy. We kiss vigorously for a few more seconds before Frank pulls away.
“I have a gift for you,” he announces.
“I was going to save it for Christmas but I decided not to wait that long. All those days I was gone I spent looking around Jersey and New York trying to find the perfect present for you. Eventually I found it.”
Frank pulls the thin square box out of his pocket, handing it over. Just the box is beautiful, made out of blue velvet, tied off with a silver ribbon. I hold it in my hands admiring it.
“What’s it for?”
“You’ll see,” Frank answers.
I pull off the ribbon and lift the box lid. Inside of it on a silky looking blue cushion is a snowflake. It is by far the prettiest one I’ve ever seen. It is obviously made of crystal with some other kind of little blue gems. It is about as big as the palm of my hand and sparkles up at me, reflecting the lights form the tree behind.
“Oh my God,” I whisper. “It’s beautiful.”
“I drove all over the city yesterday and today looking for it. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, only that I would know when I found it. Then I did. It was just a display ornament at Macy’s. It took all my money and a whole lot of convincing to get it. Its real crystal and silver, but the gems aren’t real. They’re just colored glass. It’s completely one of a kind though. They are hand made by a guy in Pennsylvania. There’s no two alike in the whole world. Just like real snowflakes and just like you.”
“Why did you get it?”
“Because… it reminds me of you; it’s beautiful, unique, completely one of a kind, but fragile. I got it so that you can hang it in your bedroom window. It will sparkle in the sunlight and as long as it’s there I’ll know that I’m welcome.”
“You know, I think this just might top the walkie talkie.”
Frank laughs softly before tucking a fly away hair behind my ear and kissing my cheek.
“I love you, Amber. I want to be with you every day of my life.”
I smile and look at him, “The feeling is mutual.”
Frank smiles back, kissing me yet again.
Note: Hey guys. What do you think? Originally I was going to end this story here and make a part two but I decided against it. Instead this story will just be really long. Hope you guys are okay with that. Anyway, enjoy :)