Let him know you’re interested. DO NOT go overboard with this.
“So do you find that attractive?”
“Have you ever been to this bar?”
“Can’t say that I have...”
“Would you ever wear this?”
“Remind me of the point in this again?”
“It’s a game Gerard, it’s fun,” I insist impatiently. “Just trust me and answer the questions. Your views on West Side Story, please?”
“I hate the ending.”
“This is getting us nowhere,” I sigh. Turns out testing for Gerard’s sexuality is more difficult than I thought it would be. The guy is completely unfathomable and that scares me. No one has ever beaten my gaydar before! Time for a change of technique. I pick up a card depicting James Dean and show it to Gerard. “First thought that comes into your head.”
“Leather jacket.” I replace the card with one of Johnny Dep. “Tortuga.” George Clooney. “Walking stick.” Olli Sykes. “Tattoo.” Zac Efron. “Pancakes.”
“What the fuck?” I exclaim, bemused. “How did you get pancakes from Zac Efron?”
“I’m kinda hungry,” Gerard shrugs. “Are we done now?”
“No!” I grab a leather belt from the pile on the floor and press it into Gerard’s hands. “What do you think of when you look at this?”
The door swings open revealing Mikey who surveys the objects littering the floor with distaste. “The hell were you guys doing?”
“What do you think of when you look at this?” I ask, pointing to the leather belt.
Mikey gives me a withering look. “I’m not gay, dumbass.”
Gerard looks aghast. “You’re testing to see if I’m gay?!”
“Well, yeah,” I say nonchalantly. “Okay, don’t mean to offend in any way but I have a pretty good gaydar and it’s not picking you up. And that frustrates me.”
“You could always just ask.”
What? Ask? What kind of nonsense is that? “I guess I could...” I say doubtfully. “Are you?”
“Um...” Gerard looks thoughtful and plays with a few loose strands of hair. “I don’t really know what I am. Doesn’t everyone always assume they’re straight at first when really they just haven’t met the right person or whatever? I’ve only ever liked girls...but that could just mean I haven’t found the right guy.”
Blink blink. “So...basically you’re open-minded?”
Gerard makes an indifferent gesture and says nothing while the gears in my mind start to turn rapidly. He’s not saying yes. He’s not saying no. There is hope for me yet!
I tuck away the cards and fasten my belt whilst wriggling my eyebrows suggestively. “You know, I could help you find out if you want...”
Gerard laughs. “I’m okay, thanks.”
“You sure you’re sure?”
“I can’t take much more of this,” Mikey snaps. “I just came into tell you two that there’s pizza on the table.”
He leaves abruptly after this statement and Gerard and I follow him downstairs. The smell of cheesy tomato-ness hits me as soon as I step through the kitchen door and I inhale like a druggie on crack. Fantastic. Not only am I going to associate Gerard with uncomfortably skinny jeans, awesome music and NC-17 rated homoerotic fantasies but with pizza as well, my all time favourite food ever.
Gerard grabs a slice of pepperoni and takes a small and careful bite from the edge. In a vague attempt to control my body and mind, I thrust my hands into my pockets so as to appear casual and so not a lovestruck Gaylord/sexual predator when my fingertips brush slightly against the list of the 20 Ways. Oh yeah! I forgot all about that what with being in Gerard’s room with a leather belt etc. But now I squeeze my eyes closed, straining to remember what was fourth. At last a phrase pops into my mind:
Play Obvious: Let him know you’re interested. DO NOT go overboard with this.
Overboard? Psh. Everyone knows I am the master of extreme subtlety. He shall know of my interest and I shall tell him...with pizza!
I grab a slice of margarita and start nibbling it a little at the end, all the while keeping an eye on Gerard who has started on his second slice. Cam once told me that the way girls eat can have a massive affect on how a guy will think about them. If they totally wolf down their food in a gluttonous fashion she will look like a man and he will relate to her as such, that’s if he doesn’t run away out of fear of being eaten. If she takes tiny little bites and picks at her food he’ll think of her as a finicky nag or as someone with some kind of food disorder so it’s important to get the balance right.
Not that Gerard seems to notice. He looks up from his slice once and gestures towards me. “You gonna finish that? Cos I’ll have it if you don’t want it.”
“No!” I shriek and subsequently scoff the whole pizza down, swallowing so hard it hurts. Gerard stares questioningly. “I like pizza,” I explain as if it were obvious.
And that’s when I spot it.
A tiny bit of pizza.
On Gerard’s face.
“You got some...” I gesture towards his left cheek. He swipes at it and completely misses. “Here, I’ll get it.”
I lean forward and wipe it off with my finger. And slowly, I lick it off very, very seductively. Gerard’s eyes widen almost to the size of dinner plates and I flash him a grin. “Waste not, want not,” I say quietly.
Gerard opens his mouth but no sound comes out. I glance at the clock, suddenly extremely aware of the time. “Aw shit. I have to go, I told my mom I’d be back by seven thirty.”
“Last time I went home with a friend it ended up with me being hit in the face with a mallet and laying face-down in the middle of the highway,” I explain. “I won’t go into details.”
Gerard looks at me curiously, chewing carefully at his bottom lip. I sudden shiver races through my core as he looks at me, sending jolts of electricity with his eyes. “You’re a pretty weird guy.”
“That’s the common theory,” I nod modestly.
“You know how you couldn’t tell if I was gay or not?” I nod again. “It’s kinda the same thing with you. I’m good at knowing what other people are thinking. But with you...it’s a blank. I can’t even tell if you’re kidding now.”
“Years of practice?” I suggest but Gerard shakes his head.
“No...it’s...I can’t explain it,” he shrugs.
He looks troubled for a moment and goes on biting his lip. More than ever I want to tell him that it doesn’t matter, that we’re beautiful and that we can think whatever we want to think. But I don’t. Gerard opens the door for me and waves me away. I wave back and he retreats into the light of the house as I set out into the dark.
“But what did he mean I’m a weird guy?” I ask for the millionth time. “Was he just making a general observation or did it have some sort of secret meaning to it? And when he said “it’s a blank” was he calling me dumb? Or was he calling himself dumb? And you know when-”
“-No, Frank, I don’t!” Cam interrupts in exasperation. “I don’t know what he meant by any of it. It’s a mystery to me, okay?”
“But Caaaaaaaam! You’re supposed to be good at all this girl stuff!”
“GIRL stuff Frank, GIRL stuff. But Gerard is a boy and you are a boy, although God knows it’s easy to forget it,” says Cam crossly. “I think you’re looking into this too deeply. I think he said you’re a weird guy because you freaking are, I think he’s good at reading faces but can’t read yours because you lie and kid around too damn much and I think you need to shut up and add some copper carbonate before I throw this solution in your face!”
Sulking, I reluctantly take the test-tube and squeeze in a few drops of copper carbonate. “It’s not doing anything,” I deadpan.
“Well it won’t do, will it? This one doesn’t react.”
“We’re learning about how something does absolutely nothing? God, I hate the establishment. What is the fucking point?” I sigh. “And it’s the same with the goddamn limestone cycle. It’s limestone guys and it will always be limestone. You can’t just change that with a few complicated steps of heating and decomposing and thermally harassing or whatever-”
“-Frank, please don’t do this,” says Cam, suddenly looking worried.
“What?” I ask, confused.
“The next step to get Gerard to like you. Playing obvious. Please don’t do it.”
“You crazy, woman?” I cry, aghast. “I am Frank motherfucking Iero! I live to play obvious!”
“You’re just going to scare him.”
“Shuttup. Oh! Oh! There he is!” I flash him a winning smile as he approaches our table which he returns slightly awkwardly.
“Hey Gerard,” I greet him softly. “What brings you here?”
“Umm, I’m supposed to swap results with you?”
“Sure thing. You know I’ll give you anything you ask for,” I tell him seriously, fluttering my eyelashes a little. Behind me I think I can hear the sound of forehead hitting desk wood.
Gerard blinks. Once. Twice. “You got something in your eye?”
“If it’s you dude,” I answer. “I don’t want it to go away.”
“Oh my God,” says Gerard. “I’m going to walk away now.”
And he does. He walks away to switch results with...NO!!
“Cam! Stop it! Help! Now!” I force her head off the desk to look me in the eye. “Gerard. Swapping. Results. With. CYNTHIA.”
“Well sure, he knows her,” she shrugged. “They’re in the same Maths class. I think they sit together.”
I feel like someone just dropped a piano on my head as I eye them distrustfully. Cynthia Simes is one of Vaga’s lot but she’s always so quiet, so detached from the others. Even though she follows them around like a faithful little spaniel I never get the feeling that she actually enjoys herself and thus I’ve always been prepared to quite like her. But now she’s stealing Gerard from me? No fucking way.
A low rumbling sound comes from my throat like a growl. Cam rolls her eyes. “Oh for Godsake...”
She gets up and makes her way to the table where Cynthia and Gerard are sitting. I see them talking and Gerard laughs, a good sign. She returns to my side looking satisfied. “It’s all good,” she tells me. “He says he’s gonna work with Cynthia for this lesson because Kreed’s off sick with gangrene. Then he’ll work with us next lesson.”
I stare at her like she’s crazy. “How, in what way is that good?!”
“Don’t you see what she’s doing?” I hiss. “She’s trying to steal him! Convert him to their pathetic fallacy!”
“You do know that’s a phrase for the weather, right?”
“Look at her. With her blue hair and her boobs,” I scowl. “I could have boobs if I wanted them. I’d just have to take the pregnancy pill, right?”
“Don’t do it.”
“I don’t have to to. Know why? Cos Gerard likes me more. Watch. HEY! GERARD!” I call above the noise of the Chemistry class. He swivels round to look at me. I raise three fingers in the air and bring them down quickly one after the other. 3, 2, 1...Gerard grins, pushes his arms slightly in front of him and brings them backwards in a crude “I’m a bang you, bitch” sort of way. I turn back to Cam, beaming.
“It’s this thing we made up,” I explain. “3, 2, 1, we came to fuck. Sounds like a good start of a song, don’t you think?”
“Mmm classy,” Cam murmurs. “Tell me you’ve given up playing obvious now.”
An evil laugh escapes my throat. “Heeeeell to the no. Hold up.”
I rise to my feet, heart pounding in my chest as I make my way over to where Gerard sits. He doesn’t look up as I approach, giving me time to hover just above his left shoulder, millimetres away from his cheek.
“Hey,” I whisper softly in his ear with my best husky voice. “Do you know what the formula is for number three?”
He turns his head slightly, ever so slightly. His eyes point downwards but I notice how his chest rises and falls with a quickening of pace and how stiffly he sits in his seat. “Sorry,” he whispers back. “I suck dick at Chemistry.”
I suck dick at Chemistry. I feel my own eyes widen. A tiny smile creeps across Gerard’s face. “You fail,” I say loudly. “Hey, Cynthia.”
Cynthia gives me such a dirty look I wouldn’t be surprised if it knocked a few years off my lifespan. I give her the once over. She really is pretty, way prettier than Vaga’s other bitches. If she quit doing stuff to her hair and face maybe she’d be alright but the heavy spray just causes it to look brittle and dry, like a blue-black haystack and the stark white of her makeup contrasting with her electric-blue eye-shadow just makes her look a bit peaky.
Giving Gerard a friendly punch to the shoulder I return to our desk with a spring in my step. Gerard is blushing and knowing I did that gives me some kind of power. However, as I sit down and begin to reassemble my Bunsen burner I can till feel Cynthia’s glare for the rest of the lesson.