Frerard. Frank is a struggling bookshop owner, Gerard is a lost artist. What happens when they find each other?
Frank sighed as he placed his car keys in his pocket, checked the door was locked and looked towards the coffee shop. It was a local, family run little business, Frank wasn't having any of that Starbucks shit. He walked forwards and the chilly October wind whipped past him and seemed to wrap him in an invisible bubble of bitterness, whistling a haunting tune in his ear. He wrapped his Misfits hoodie closer to his skinny frame and walked forward towards the shop, placing a hand on the door handle, a smile ghosting over his lips at the H-A-LL-O tattooed across his knuckles as halloween, and also his birthday, was fast approaching.
He pushed the door opened and immediately felt a gust of the warmth and the rich, coffee and cinnamon smell that came from inside, so he stepped through and let the door close behind him, completely engulfing himself in the warmth of the quaint little shop.
'Freya?' he called out. She immediately popped her head around the door of the office out back.
'Frank! Hello dear, I'd recognise that voice anywhere. How've you been?' she smiled warmly at him as he moved over to the counter.
Freya was the lady who owned the shop and also a very dear friend of Franks mum. She'd always been there to look out for him since his mother...well, since she died, 14 months ago.
Freya was slightly on the plumper side, with greying, frizzy red hair which she generally kept under a hat when working. Her smile could melt anyone's heart but it didn't come close to the depths of her warm, dark brown eyes, radiating love and caring with a glint of adventure. She was virtually all Frank had these days. He sighed.
'I've been alright, Frey, I'm just worried about the shop, we're not getting half as many customers as we used to and I'm struggling.'
Frank owned a little bookshop, just over the other side of town. It had been his pride and joy since his mum had passed it down to him; reading had always been one of his greatest passions.
Freya gave him a sympathetic look.
'I know how you feel honey, we're not doing too great ourselves. What would you like, the usual?' she asked. Frank smiled.
'Yeah, please,' he said, before taking his usual table at the very back of the shop.
The warm, worn out, black leather sofa welcomed him as he took a seat and sighed, running his hands through his hair. He really needed to take some time off, get out more. He hadn't slept in three days, he can't even remember the last time he went out with his friends, if he even has any, and he spends more time with his right hand than anyone else these days. It's just, every time he goes out he feels guilty, guilty because his mums dead and he's out having a good time.
He looks around the shop; it's only him, a exhausted looking business man and a silent old lady left. The lady's staring out the window, sorrow and longing and loneliness etched on her face. Her icy blue eyes are aching with want, want for something more, something different. Frank can't decide whether she's staring out of the window or at it, at her own reflection, but he sees himself in her, in ways. Longing for something more, yet too afraid to seek it, too comfortable to take risks. That could be him; he could be alone, forever. The very thought makes his stomach churn. He's always believed in love, true love and that everyone can have it. People have often called him daft and immature for believing in such things as love at first sight and prince charmings and happily ever afters.
'There you are, honey,' Freya says, placing the coffee on the table and drawing Frank from his thoughts. Frank can smell the caramel wafting from it in wisps of feather light air.
'Thanks, Freya,' he says, before picking up the mug, letting it warm his hands, and breathing in the heavenly scent.
She sits down opposite him.
'Are you sure you're okay Frankie? You seem a little, run down,' she asks, concern lacing her chocolate eyes. Frank sighs.
'I just, I dunno Frey. I don't have any free time anymore, I just work and then I want to be alone, I don't see anyone but you and it's frustrating. I mean, I'm twenty four! Every other twenty four year old is studying and partying and seeing the world and getting laid, it's a while since that's happened as well, and I just guess I'm worried I'll end up all sad and alone and I just, I don't want that. I want something to happen; something different, something exciting. I just don't know what.' Frank sinks back into the chair and hides his faces with the coffee mug, taking a huge gulp of the scalding liquid, burning his tongue a little. He hadn't wanted to spill quite that much information and he's a little embarrassed but, what the heck, if he can't tell Freya, who the fuck can he tell?
Her eyes are staring intently at him, radiating sympathy and caring, gaze not falling from his face.
'Frank honey, I know how you feel. When I was your age, I barely went out at all, I was a complete recluse. You just gotta stick in there, you'll find your prince charming one day.' She smiles at him and stands up, kissing the top of his head and going back behind the counter.
'Thanks Freya,' he calls.
'Anytime Frankie, anytime.'
Freya was one of four people who knew Frank was gay: Freya, his friend Ray, his other friend Bob and his neighbour and friend, Summer, but that's only because she overheard Ray and Frank talking about it and Ray just told her straight, much to Franks dislike. He doesn't really like being overly open about his sexual orientation, well he doesn't like being open about it at all really. He's never been with a guy. Ever. In any way. He still knows though. Knows he likes cock and hot buttsex and completely dislikes anything to do with the private parts of the female anatomy. He knows he only falls in love with men, he even thinks he has before. He knows he could never, ever see a girl in that way. He knows he's gay. Plain and simple, no question about it.
Franks reaching the end of his coffee and internally discussing JFK assassination conspiracy theories when the bell above the door pings and someone walks in.
Gerard paced up and down his bedroom. It was 6:23:47pm, his watched informed him, and he was completely restless. Restless and uninspired. Restless and uninspired and fucking fed up. He'd been walking around his room for near enough four hours now, trying to think of something to paint, or draw or anything, but every time he thinks of something, it fades just as quickly as it came, like a dark figure in the night.
He thought about calling his brother Mikey, but then remembered that Mikey actually has a life and won't want to hear his brothers pitiful ramblings, and besides Mikey and his mum, who is even more unlikely to listen, there really is no one else he can call. Wow. That is quite something. He's almost proud except its nothing to be proud of. Gerard's always been proud of things he shouldn't be, like owning every Iron Maiden record and knowing every line to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and being able to watch any horror film and not even flinch. He considers these major achievements. That's why he has no friends. No one gets him, only Mikey.
He sighed and sat down on his bed, not bothering to move the various comic books out the way. Why couldn't he just go out? Socialise like a normal human being? Make friends? Maybe even get a boyfriend?
Yeah right, like that'd ever happen, no matter how much he wished it would.
Without thinking he jumped up from his bed and grabbed his leather jacket, shoving his battered Doc Martens on and running out the door. As it slammed behind him is when the doubts started to form. Where was he even going? He just ran out without thinking. Gerard never did anything without thinking, he hardly even did anything these days, besides draw. What was he going to do? There's nothing he would want to do that he couldn't do in the comfort of his own home. He could just go back inside but someone would have noticed, his road is worse than fucking Wisteria Lane, and he didn't want to be seen as even more of a freak, so he placed one foot in front of the other and began walking down his drive and along the pavement.
He walked for a while. Just walked. Wondering mindlessly along, thinking about far away worlds and what it would be like to live in the TARDIS. He takes very little notice of where he's going, staring at the sky for a little while. It's that funny colour it goes when it's just gone dark, a sort of greyish-blue but with hints of pink around the edges and the first couple of stars shining through. It would make a great watercolour, Gerard thinks, but he's never been very good at watercolours.
He looked around and found himself in an area of town he'd never been in before. He immediately panicked, heart racing, breath hitching as he thought of all the things that could happen to him, alone, at night out in Jersey. He could see a light on a bit down the street so he walked towards it. It belonged to a little coffee shop, probably family run, and Gerard immediately relaxed. If there's one thing that could always calm him down, it was coffee. He approached the shop and pushed the door open, the sudden warmth reminding him of how cold he was. The door shut behind him with a muffled bang as the bell above it chimed.