This is bad.
Now you better rate and review this chapter. I worked specially hard on it, a lot of things happen and DUH DUH DUUUUUH! We’re really near the end. So pshyeah. REVIEW!!!
Bore, boring, bored, boredom. And trying to see how many words I can make out of one doesn’t make the clock tick any faster.
“...And if the diameter is 6cm then what does that make the circumference?”
With a groan, I drop my head onto the desk and try to blot out Ms Henson’s irritatingly nasal attempts to get me to learn something. So, what’s the circumference of this circle? What about this circle? Gasp! It’s not a circle...it’s a SEMI-CIRCLE! That means we have to do something different! WHY DO YOU CARE??! I mean, when are we EVER going to use this in our lives outside of High School? Will my prospective employees only give me the job if I can tell them the square root of pi? I THINK NOT.
In fact, what’s the point in any of this crap? If I need to work something out then I’ll use a calculator. If I need to know the capital of Tibet I’ll look at a globe. Why do we have geniuses like my brother invent things if no one wants to use them?
And there’s another thing, people really need to stop using my surname to get my attention. It makes me think they’re talking to my father. Oh shit. I look up. Miss Henson is glaring at me from over her heavily rimmed glasses, her lips pursed into a pencil-thin line below her bristly femstache. “Nice of you to join us. Would you be so kind as to tell us the answer?”
“Yes Gerard, the answer to the question. The one on the board?”
“Oh. Right,” I squint at the board in the hope it’ll jog my brain into working but to no avail. All I see is a bunch of numbers and squiggly lines. Ah, screw it. I hate this lesson. “Erm, no. I can’t. Sorry Ms Henson, but I feel really, really sick.”
She raises an eyebrow at me disbelievingly. “Uhuh?”
“Really sick,” I grimace to emphasis just how sick I am. “I think I need to go to matron. I think I need to go now, before I, like, barf all over the text book.”
It has the desired affect. The class shudders collectively and Ms Henson tells me to go and get myself checked out quickly. I give her a small salute and grab my things together before hurrying out the door. Freedom at last!
The grass, still wet from the morning’s dew, feels soft underfoot. So because I’m a fearless bastard I kick off my converse, savouring the sensation of the blades tickling my feet and continue to walk across the turf barefoot, keeping an eye out for teachers and not the jocks, considering they haven’t bothered me since I started dating one of the most popular kids in the school. As shallow and superficial as it sounds, it’s how the world has always worked.
I pause at the sight of a small figure hunched underneath a tree. Purple bangs, tartan skirt and heavy Docs all make up the person who causes my pulse to quicken and a rebellious grin to cross my face. Lindsey.
She sees me at about the same time, her expression slightly sheepish. I wave. She pretends not to notice so I go up to her, giving her no choice but to acknowledge my appearance.
“Didn’t think you were the skiving type,” I say by way of greeting.
Lindsey removes one ear phone from her ear and gives me a withering look. “Sometimes I can’t take anymore,” she answers.
I nod to show my understanding. “Whatcha listening to?”
She hands me the iPod and I read Smashing Pumpkins off the screen. “Awesome,” I say, scrolling down the rest of the list. “We have, like, the exact same taste in music.”
“Wow. We must be soul mates,” says Lindsey sarcastically. I laugh but instantly start mentally yelling at my brain to stop thinking.
We look at each other. She’s got an odd look on her face and slowly a smile creeps across it. “Come. I wanna show you something.”
She scrambles to her feet and gestures for me to follow her. We make our way back across the turf and round to the very back of the school building, a place where, weirdly, I’ve never been. I watch, bemused, as Lindsey removes a pin from her hair and uses it to unlock the door set into the wall. Inside, an iron staircase reaches upwards and Lindsey rushes up it, ignoring the “No Entry” sign completely. As I clamber up behind her it takes me a little less than a second to realise that the stairs lead to the roof.
“How cool is this?” asks Lindsey, sitting down and letting her legs dangle over the edge.
“So cool,” I answer, sitting down beside her. “How did you find it?”
She shrugs. “I wondered where the door led to. So I opened it and climbed the stairs.”
“Badass,” I say, impressed. She laughs.
“I come here quite a lot,” she tells me. “It’s a good place to sit when you’ve got shit going on because from here everything looks so small. It puts things in perspective.”
“Yeah, I see,” I nod, leaning a little over the edge. The benches, trees, even people look like they belong in a doll’s house.
It’s quiet for a moment, just us perching on top of the roof, taking everything all in. I’m pretty sure we’re not allowed up here but the little thrill of excitement I get every time I look over the edge is so fucking worth a detention.
“So, how’re you liking the musical so far?” Lindsey breaks the silence.
I make a non-committal gesture. “It’s very different from anything I’ve ever done before,” I reply. “But I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying it a lot, actually.”
“Ms Maitland said you would,” Lindsey nods. “Made any new friends? Besides Samantha...obviously...”
“Erm, I don’t really know,” I confess, not ignorant of Lindsey’s tone of voice when she said Samantha’s name. “I can’t tell if people genuinely like me or if they’re just putting it on because they don’t know how to handle such a freak in their space.”
“Try putting up with that for three years,” Lindsey sighs. “That’s why I don’t tend to get close to people very often. I keep my distance, especially with kids like Christina, because you don’t know when they’ll turn around and stab you in the back.”
“That’s a little cynical.”
“People suck,” Lindsey shrugs. “It’s in our nature. For what it’s worth, I think you’re alright.”
“You’re the only person I’ve ever brought up here so you must be.”
Score! I think to myself, grinning widely. Seeing my expression, Lindsey laughs again. Weirdly, it stimulates the same rush of excitement I get from looking over the edge.
“Well, I think you’re really cool,” I tell her. “If with a slightly cruel streak and sadistic tendencies.”
“If I wasn’t such a bitch everyone would walk right over me. No one would give a shit about me.”
“Thanks, but I don’t think so. I’ve got practically nothing going for me except an uncanny ability to cause physical and emotional pain.”
“Bullshit,” I say viciously. “You’ve got loads going for you. Your hair, for one thing. How many people in Belleville High have such awesome hair? And you’re an amazing choreographer and you’re...um...”
“Really pretty,” I mumble in a tiny little voice, hiding behind my fringe. Why did I say that? Why? What’s wrong with my brain? I look up very slowly, bracing myself for stinging laughter or sarcastic taunts. But they don’t come. She just continues to look at me, an odd expression on her face.
“You’re very sweet,” she tells me at last. “If incredibly moronic.”
“Yeah. It’s been said that I fucking fail at everything more times than I care to remember,” I admit.
“I kinda like that about you though,” she says.
“I’m glad,” I reply, suddenly aware of how softly we’re speaking and just how close she is. She blinks slowly and looks at me from beneath her eyelashes.
“I lied to you Gerard,” she whispers. “I think you’re very alright.”
And my brain has stopped working. All of a sudden that raw, animalistic desire to take her in my arms and kiss her takes a hold of my senses, only this time it’s this single thought running through my head and I can’t bring myself to stop it. But as our lips meet I realise I no longer want to. I lose myself in the feeling of her, my hands on her waist, warmth spreading through me from my stomach into my chest. Her mouth moves against mine with aggressive passion, heated and urgent, our tongues battling for dominance. One hand in her hair, the other still clung to her hip and I’m pulling her closer to me because I have some bizarre idea that without her I’m nothing. And she’s kissing me as if she feels exactly the same way until all of a sudden she pulls back, releasing her grip on my shoulders, a look of shock on her face.
That’s when it hits me.
“Oh my God,” I say hoarsely. “Lindsey...I’m sorry. I didn’t mean...” My voice trails off. What did I mean?
Lindsey shakes her head. “No, I’m sorry,” she says. “This shouldn’t have happened. Um, I have to go. Get ready for...class.”
She hurries away, leaving me on the rooftop. I don’t have the heart to tell her that it’s our lunch break.
Sitting in our common room I think back on all the shitty things I’ve done in my life. When I was seven I forced Mikey to eat a whole jar of red ants. When I was twelve Frank and I pushed Ray into a swimming pool and he almost drowned because he couldn’t swim. Now I’m sixteen, I have the best girlfriend a guy could ask for, the jocks have quit shoving my head down toilets every time I go for a piss and I have to fuck things up by giving my retarded hormones what they want.
WHAT. IS. MY. FUCKING. PROBLEM??!!
“Hey,” a soft voice whispers in my ear. I catch a whiff of passion fruit shampoo. Samantha.
“Hi,” I reply dully, feeling like an asshole but I really, really don’t want to talk to her right now. “What’s up?”
“I was about to ask you the same thing,” she settles down on my lap. “You look pretty down.”
“Mphmmhftt,” I mumble back, unwilling to go into anymore detail. “Enough about me. Not that I’m not absolutely over the moon to see you, but any specific reason you came to find me?”
“Yeah, actually,” she says, flipping her long, mahogany-brown curls over her shoulder and drawing her cell from her pocket. “I just got sent the date of my Coming Out party.”
“You’re gay?” I say, hoping I don’t sound as hopeful as I feel.
“No silly,” she slaps me playfully on the shoulder. Damn. “The debutante ball. I was telling you about it the other day, remember?”
Flashback to “the other day”. Samantha was at mine and we were watching Titanic or some other cheesy shit-flick and she was going on about some dress for some dinner party. Guess I should have figured Samantha was a debutante. Her family are pretty wealthy and they like to act even richer than they are. Just goes to show how much I know about my girlfriend’s life.
“Oh, yeah, the ball,” I say. “Erm...great. So what day is it?”
“The 12th,” she replies, checking the message on her cell. She glances down at me. “You can make it, right?”
The 12th...the 12th....something about the date sounds familiar. I’m sure I’m doing something on that day...And then it clicks.
“Shit!” I exclaim. “Sorry, Sam. No can do the 12th. I’m going to see Iron Maiden with Frank.”
The moment the words fall from my mouth I regret them. Samantha’s eyes narrow and her bottom lip quivers slightly. “But...you said you’d be there.”
Did I? I rack my brains. I was probably high. Or drunk. Or both. “I’m really, really sorry,” I insist, feeling my insides wither and die. “I want to come, I do, but-“
“-But Frank takes priority. As always,” she snaps.
“Whoa. Hey. That’s not fair,” I say, taken aback. “Frank’s my best friend and-”
“-I’m your girlfriend!” she cries. “Or does that mean nothing to you? You know how important this night is for me! I need you to be there!”
Omigod, omigod, what do I do? I’ve never been in this situation before! True, I’ve never really had a serious girlfriend before but it’s Iron Maiden! It’s Frank! It’s Samantha. I think back to Lindsey on the rooftop and guilt takes a hold of me. I have to be there. “Okay,” I sigh. “Okay. I’ll be there.”
Samantha hugs me tightly and kisses me. I kiss her back with less enthusiasm. “You are awesome,” she giggles and runs off with her trademark Miss America wave leaving me feeling, if possible, worse than I was feeling before.
“Is it safe to come in now?” says a voice by the door.
I roll my eyes and gesture for Frank to come in. Maybe he’ll be cool about it. Maybe he’ll understand. Maybe my mom is half moose.
“Dude, you look like shit,” he greets me merrily. “So what are you gonna wear for the concert? I’m thinking my tartan pants, you know the ones I wore for the party, and a Misfits t-shirt. I know you shouldn’t wear band tees to a different band’s gig but whatevs I like that t-shirt! Ray-ban says he’ll drive us as well but we should take some money for the bus in case his piece of shit car dies on us anyway and-”
“-And I saw the cutest pair of converse I just HAVE to buy, they’ve got like, purple crosses on them and they go really well with the shirt and-“
“-Frank, I’m not going.”
Frank stops dead in mid-rant. The room feels eerily quiet. “Huh?”
“I’m not going,” I repeat, feeling like I just died and went to Hell. “Samantha’s Coming Out party is on the 12th and-”
“No, it’s like some debutante thing. Anyways, she wants me to go with her, says it’s really important for me to be there and...Frank, she’s my girlfriend. I have to go.”
“It’s okay. I get it,” says Frank, his expression unreadable.
“Sure I do,” Frank nods. “What the fuck was I thinking, that you would rather hang out with your best friend than Little Miss Fabulous? What am I, anyway? The loser faggot on the side you feel sorry for?”
“Frank, you know that’s not-”
“You know what? I’m so sorry, Gerard. Sorry for making the mistake in thinking myself worthy to be in the same space as Mr Magical Music-man. How can I make it up to you? Here, I’ll just lie down and you can walk all over me like every other one of your plastic friends. Or better yet, completely ignore me. Someone of your talents and superiority shouldn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of being friends with a cock-sucking emo.”
“Shut up,” I say, fiercely. “What shit are you talking? I don’t think I’m superior-”
“-Oh really? Come on Gerard, everyone knows it. Ever since you got into that musical you’ve become a different person.”
“You’re the one who pushed me into taking that part!” I yell, furious. “Everything I’ve done since the audition is what you wanted! I didn’t even want the lead!”
“And I’m sure a certain brunette in a push-up bra had absolutely nothing to do with anything,” Frank snaps venomously. “It was a JOKE Gerard, a fucking JOKE. How was I supposed to know it would turn you into...”
“Into one of them,” he sneers. I open my mouth to shout back a retort but I can’t think of anything that could cut so deep. “You know what? You’re out of the band.”
Except for that. “You can’t do that!”
“Yes I can, it’s my band, I started it,” Frank shrugs. “And I don’t want a frontman who values his reputation more than his dudes.”
“But the Battle of the Bands is three weeks away!” I protest. “You can’t get another guitarist in time!”
“Young Nile is getting lessons,” says Frank. “But to be honest, a chimpanzee wearing eyeliner could play that thing better than you do.”
Another knife to the heart. I know it’s true but it still stings. I can feel tears pricking my eyeballs. Don’t you fucking DARE cry. “Why don’t you just...” Oh my God. I’m going to cry. “Why don’t you just fuck off?”
“Pleasure,” Frank growls. And with that he picks up his things and charges out of the common room, slamming the door behind him.