It's the thrill of the fight.
This is the last proper chapter of this story, only an epilogue to go after this. Thank you so, so much for reading, I’ve had an awesome time writing this and I hope you’ve enjoyed it too. To my raters and reviewers – I would marry you all if it wasn’t for my own gender preference (I’m pretty sure most of you are girls) and the bigamy thing.
So enjoy the last chapter of Die School Musical. Rate, review, do your thing.
So many times, it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive
Okay, so maybe that didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped. I don’t know what I was expecting, her to proclaim that she loves me too, leap into my arms and together hand in hand we run away? If she needs time then I’ll give her time. I’ve got another job to do.
Trapping Tina was just too easy. There’s only one place she would go when on the run from the police. I instruct the bus driver to draw up just outside Think Shoe! Boutique, Tina’s favourite place in the world. In fact, she said it was the only place she ever felt safe. Don’t know how safe I’d feel surrounded by teenage girls cat-fighting over a pair of stilettos but there you are. And now she thinks there’s a crazy ten minute sale on, hundreds of newly released designer shoes ripe for the taking.
It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge
Of our rival...
The door has been wrenched open and is now lying on its side, glass scattered across the gravel. Inside I can hear someone shrieking in anger and frustration, their screams sending shivers down my spine. I know she’s only a teenage girl with a major femstache but she’s dangerous now. And carries, I stick my head around the door, a 9mm semi-automatic, Glock 17, Walther P22, a standard shotgun and a few more with names Call of Duty won’t teach you. Fuck. My. Pathetic. Life.
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the
Eye of the tiger...
I step inside slowly, carefully, brushing shoes thrown across the room in rage. The thought occurs to me that I could actually die here today but I brush it to the back of my mind. She’s just a kid, for Chrissake. A fucking cheerleader. I stop a good few feet away. She doesn’t appear to have noticed me. She’s still screaming and tearing out the hair from her face. I clear my throat awkwardly.
“Hey Tina,” I greet her cheerfully. “Um...how’s life treating you?”
I am so retarded it’s not even funny. But before I even get a chance to face-palm myself, Tina whips out the 9mm and points it right between my eyes.
“Just fine thanks, you unimaginable motherloving, livestock-fucking mass of stinking dog shit,” she replies sweetly. “Now give me one reason why I shouldn’t blow your brains out across that gorgeous pair of kitten heels?”
“Tina, I know you think that I did this to you. I didn’t. It wasn’t me,” I tell her. “I don’t know who it was but I’ve come to apologise on their behalf.”
“Did you do this?”
“Did you or did you not lure me here under the pretence of a crazy ten minute sale of the latest shoe releases, straight off the Milan catwalk?” her voice reaches a terrifying pitch. She nudges the barrel of the gun further into my forehead. “ANSWER ME!”
“Um, I wouldn’t say lure exactly, I think beckon is a better word here...” I start gabbling. Tina’s eyes burn with furious rage. There’s a click as she flips the safety off. I feel my heart drop in my chest. This is it. Goodbye, world. Maybe you’ll see me again as a worm or something.
But the shot doesn’t come. Tina lowers the gun, gives me one last burning look...and bursts into tears.
Well. This is slightly awkward. I stand there uncomfortably as Tina screams, wails, beats her fists on the floor, her body shuddering with deep, slow sobs. I don’t know what I should do, try to comfort her? What if I make it worse and she blows my head off? But seeing anybody like this makes my heart wrench and my eyes tingle. I’m a sympathy crier, when other people start crying I can’t help but cry too. I’m a sympathy toilet-goer as well but that’s another story.
I approach her cautiously and sit down beside her, gingerly reaching out to pat her on the back. As soon as I make the contact, Tina seizes me by the waist, burying her hairy head into my chest and sobbing all the louder. Oh dear.
“Hey,” I say, unable to think of much else and continuing to pat on the back. “Hey, hey, hey. Hey. It’s gonna be alright.”
“No-it’s-fucking-not,” she sniffs. “I’m-ugly-man-and-shoe-sale-but-there-is-no-sale-and-I-want-Milan-shoes-Milan-shoes-make-pain-die!” With the last word she shoves her face deeper into my torso and holds me all the tighter.
“Okay, I’m really sorry that I lied about the sale,” I say once she’s calmed down a little bit. “But I needed to talk to you. I know you’re upset about the whole...facial hair thing but becoming a notorious criminal is not the way forward!”
Tina looks up at me, her eyes still big and pretty, her skin still clear and soft, her lips still pouty and delicate. “Besides, you have so much to offer!” I continue. “How could you say you were ugly? You’re one of the hottest girls in school! The beard just adds a certain...edge to your look.”
She turns around to glance in the mirror over her shoulder. “Ya...ya really think?”
“I really think,” I nod stoically. “But if you really hate it I’m sure you could get it removed. You’ve probably hoarded enough dough to electrocute it off. Until then waxing and essence of papaya should do the trick.”
She says nothing, just looking herself up and down in the mirror. Then she turns back to me, looking savage again. “Why do you care? You’re the one who gave me those pills. You want me to look like some sort of freak!”
“I didn’t give you the pills,” I repeat tiredly.
“Then it was your queer friend, Iero.”
“Wasn’t him either,” I shake my head. “I told you, I don’t know who it was. But the point is,” I suddenly remember something a friend told me, “Sulking isn’t going to fix anything. You’ve got to face up to it...or you’ll just end up alone.”
For a second I think she’s going to shoot me. Then her shoulders sink and she nods reluctantly. I hold out a hand and help pull her to her feet.
“I guess I could join a circus,” she says as we walk out of the Boutique together. “Or I could play a wookie in a Star Wars remake.”
“You see? So many opportunities,” I grin. “But you gotta take the money back first. No more crime.”
She sighs. “Okay. Can I at least keep a tiny bit for hair removal?”
I consider. “Just enough for electrothingy. No more, no less.”
She hugs me tightly, kissing me on the cheek. Her beard scratches my face, it feels very strange but I can deal. “Thanks, Gerard. Even at school I felt like you were one of the only people who really get me.”
“That’s fine. Get off me now.”
She gestures to a bright red Lamborghini parked outside the Boutique. “Need a ride home?”
“Actually, there’s somewhere I gotta be,” I reply. “Can you drop me off at Densman Street, please?”
751 Densman Street. The local club for the outcasts, misfits, rejects, punks, alts, delinquents and deviants of New Jersey. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the city and Frank’s favourite place in the whole world, the only place he’s ever felt safe. Now I definitely don’t understand how anyone would feel safe surrounded by a bunch of head-banging psychopaths with screwdrivers poking through their ears but he’s always been a bit of a special one. I get how he feels though; at school we’re invisible whilst here we’re just as invisible...except we’re with a bunch of people who feel the same way.
I push my way through the crowd with my ticket, craning my neck to get a view above all the heads, a difficult feat what with a large percentage of the audience having mohawks. At last, I spot them on the stage. Actually, it’s just Ray. He pokes his head out from through the curtain, takes one terrified glance at the crowd and retreats backstage. Moron.
“Excuse me,” I yell at one of the security people. “I need to get backstage to talk to the band.”
“Yeah, you and the rest of the world,” he replies, gesturing at a clump of would-be groupies sitting in the corner filing their nails.
“No, no, no, I don’t wanna be a groupie,” I say. “I think I might be a little too male to cut it.”
The security guard looks me up and down and shrugs. “Somehow I didn’t think gender was going to be a problem for you.”
Oh my God. Another gay joke?! Now this is just getting ridiculous. “Okay, first of all it’s rude to comment on a guy’s sexuality when you only just met them. I mean, hello? I don’t even know you! And you’re already judging me! Secondly, my sexual orientation is none of your fucking business. God, what is it with the world today? A guy can’t walk around in extra tight skinnies anymore? But even if it was you’re business you’d be wrong because I am NOT gay. In fact, I have very nice girlfriend and I’m in love with another girl, so I’m doubly not gay. And thirdly I really, really need to talk to this band about something pretty fucking important and if you don’t let me through right now so help me I will tell the manager that you grabbed my balls.”
The groupies clap admiringly. The security guard stands there, looking taken aback and a little uncomfortable. “If I let you through will you stop talking?”
“Less loudly,” I answer fairly.
He sighs and lifts the barrier. I walk through to the applause of my new followers, raising my head with triumph. Man, I bitch-slapped him hard. I am the King! I am the King of Kings! Wait, no. Then I’d be Jesus. Come on Gerard, no time to glory bathe. Gotta go find some losers.
“What the fuck is that doing here?”
One down, three to go. Frank’s eyes burn so fiercely I’m surprised I haven’t gone up in flames yet. He holds his guitar slightly at an angle, as if ready to raise it and swing it into my head. I take a step back.
“Gee!” squeals Ray, launching himself at me and wrapping me in a bone-crushing hug. “Thank God! Mikey, it’s okay. Gerard’s here.”
“Oh, Great,” Mikey deadpans. “Maybe next time God could send us a guitarist.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask, confused.
“Young Nile fucking sucks,” says Mikey, gesturing to where Young Nile sits on a stool, guitar propped across his knees, plucking hesitantly at an open string.
He looks up, face shining with confusion. “This is not like Guitar Hero.”
“That’s what you meant when you told us you were getting lessons?!” Mikey yells. “Have you ever even picked up a guitar before?”
Young Nile scrunches up his face in concentration, thinking for a second before answering, “Yeeeeeeess. Wait, wait, wait! No.”
“PHYSJWKALMAGHFYHSYJHDJ!!!” screams Mikey, consequently kicking over an amp in rage. “YOU ASSHOLE! Gerard, pick up the guitar. You’re playing.”
“NO. That’s not happening,” Frank intercedes. “Gerard’s not in the band. We kicked him out.”
“No, you kicked him out without discussing it with any of us,” Ray frowns. “Last time I checked, this band was a democracy.”
“Last time I checked this country was a democracy and look what happened!”
“What kind of stuff?”
“You’re deviating from the point,” Frank snaps. “The band is a democracy, except I’m in charge and you have to do whatever I say.”
“That’s not democracy, that’s totalitarian dictatorship.”
“If you’re going to argue with me Mikey, argue in English. Gerard, go home. No one likes your face.”
Ouch. “I’m not going anywhere until you let me say what I want to say.”
And, miraculously, for the first time in sixteen years they all shut up to listen to me. I clear my throat, suddenly nervous. “I wanted to say I’m sorry,” I begin. “For what an asshole I was. For ditching my friends. For not being there when you needed me,” I glance at Frank. His eyes are fixed to the floor. “I don’t know what it was about the musical. It’s almost like it changed me, made me a different person. For the first time since starting high school I felt liked, accepted, even admired. It was an awesome feeling and one that I’m probably never gonna get again. But that’s okay because I’d rather be miserable with you guys than loved and admired without you. You guys made me who I am, we’ve been like brothers since we were kids and to lose that would be like losing a part of me,” I pause. It’s all silent except for the crowd outside and Nile occasionally dropping the guitar. “I realise you probably won’t forgive me. You don’t have to. I just wanted you to know.”
I finish and am quiet, surveying the faces for their reaction. There are tears in Ray’s eyes which I guess are a good sign. Mikey is smiling slightly which could either be really good or really bad. Young Nile is trying to cover up a dent in the guitar with saliva. But it’s Frank I keep my eye on. He is, as always, unfathomable. Suddenly, he gets to his feet and walks towards me, arms folded across his chest.
“Helluva a speech there,” he says.
I shrug. “Been practicing.”
“Well I hope you’ve had time to practice your so called instrument as well. Young Nile, feel free to drown yourself in soup. Gerard, you’re playing.”
I couldn’t have stopped the grin splitting my face even if I wanted to. The same, however, could not be said for Young Nile. “Hey! No fair! I think I’ve got the hang of it now. Wait, wait...Recognise this? Mar...yee...had...a...a...lit...tle...lamb-”
“Release the guitar, moron,” growls Mikey. “You can sit in the back with the roadies.”
Young Nile’s further protests are shot down and at last he storms out to engage some groupies in a riveting description of Bowzer’s castle. I turn back to Frank. “Dude, I really am so sorry.”
“I know,” he replies with a wry smile. “Don’t worry about it. It’s too good to have you back.”
N’aaaw! I feel like dancing. Again, I’m not going to but I would if I could. However, it appears that Frank isn’t finished. It does look like whatever he’s trying to say is causing him extreme pain. “Also,” he mumbles. “I guess I somehow may have acted kinda like a dick. And I apologise for that.”
“Are you telling me you’re sorry?”
“Y...yes. Yes, Gerard. I’m sorry.” The words are released and the pain vanishes from Frank’s face. “God, that hurt.”
I laugh and we hug. A girlie, camp little hug that I missed so much. Ray claps in delight and Mikey gives more than a half smile. He approaches me next.
“Heather talked to you, didn’t she?” he asks in a whisper.
I nod, surprised. “How did you know?”
He shrugs. “You just have the look about you. She talked to me too. Once.”
I can see her face, sticking out of the crowd. I wave. She waves back. “Can’t believe I misjudged her so badly. She’s had it so hard, she told me all about Francis.”
Mikey looks confused. “Francis?”
“Yeah. The guy who Meggie Taylor murdered. Heather told me she wouldn’t speak until he was avenged.”
Mikey shakes his head, still frowning. “Gerard...Francis was Heather’s goldfish back when she was six. Meggie accidentally nudged the bowl of the shelf and someone trod on him.”
No fucking way. I look back at Heather. She’s smiling but there’s something odd about that smile. Something not right. “She’s crazy.”
“Yeah,” Mikey nods proudly. “Great, isn’t she?”
We continue to stand there for a little while, watching the seats quickly filling up and the standing area becoming more and more crowded. Suddenly, Mikey points. “Hey. Who’s the chick next to Heather? Looks familiar.”
I squint, following his finger and then my heart does a black flip in my chest. There, craning her neck to get a good look at the stage stands a girl in a Ramones t-shirt with deep red lipstick and purple highlighted hair. I see her as she sees me. Almost on instinct we rush out of our designated areas, me ignoring Mikey’s yells of “Fine! Set up your own damn amp!” and meet, panting, next to the security guard.
“She’s fine. She’s with me,” I tell him.
“Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen to put the two together,” says the guard smarmily.
I roll my eyes, grab Lindsey’s hand and lead her through the barrier, not deaf to the protests of the groupies behind her. She runs a hand through her hair, biting her lip and looking shier than I’ve ever seen her. “Hello,” she says.
Feeling as though I could burst with happiness, I pull her into a hug, feeling her smile curve against my neck. “You came.”
“Of course. I wouldn’t miss such a potential failure for the world,” she replies jokingly.
“I really am sorry,” I say again. “For everything. I-”
“-Shush,” she puts a finger to my lips. “Something tells me you’ve said enough of that word for today.”
She leans in and our lips meet. The second they do I know that everything is going to be okay as that incredible warmth spreads through me again, causing me to hold her tighter, kiss her more passionately, tangle my hands further into her hair. When at last we break apart she is still smiling.
“You are a great kisser,” she tells me.
Fringe out, for the win.
“Gerard! Get your carcass on stage now!” Frank screams from over by the curtain.
“Gotta go,” I cringe apologetically.
“Whatever happens,” she says. “Have an amazing time, even if you suck. If you have a blast it won’t matter.”
I nod, kiss her one last time and go over to where Frank stands fiddling with his guitar strap, hands shaking with nerves.
“Did you hear that last band?” he asks me, face pale. “God, they were awesome. Amazing. We’re fucked.”
“Doesn’t matter,” I shrug. “We’re doing what we love.”
Frank rolls his eyes. “Don’t you start pussying out on me,” he groans. “Fuck. Look at all these people!”
All these people. Eager, excited faces. Heather’s face. Lindsey’s face. She smiles at me as the spotlight drops and a hush falls over the audience. I turn to Frank, a ridiculously eager expression on my face.
“Ready to rock?” I ask him.
He grins, the nerves slipping away. “Always.”
With that, we step onto the stage. And have a blast.
Only an epilogue left! I’ll try and get it up soon but that’ll be unlikely due to my extremely busy and eventual schedule (sarcasm intended).
MERRY CHRISTMAS, DIRTBAGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOPE YOU GET ALL THE PRESENTS YOU WANT AND THE CONDOMS YOU NEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Okay, that was uncalled for. Sorry Santa.) XD