"It may seem selfish, but I can't help but feel grateful that those painful sobs aren't coming from my own beaten lips for once."
But my main priority is 'ITIBMBAC' right now,
And I rarely even have enough time for that as it is.
If you haven't already, you should check it out:
Enjoy, and remember to R&R :)
"Fuck, fuck, fuck! Ray! Stop it you puffy haired bastard! What are you trying to do, burn my skin off?"
I blink away the pain ridden tears that have blurred my vision to look up at my masochistic best friend. Even as I'm sitting on the edge of his bath tub, suffering through the stinging pain of the disinfectant he's applying to my fresh wounds, the fucker still finds it within himself to grin slyly at me.
"You're just loving this, aren't you?"
Ray flips his head back a bit to move his mass of curls out of his eyes as he swipes a cotton swab over a particularly sensitive laceration on my elbow and I fight back the urge to scream out loud by biting down on my lip. This only makes matters worse because fuck, my lip's busted up too.
"Stop being such a pansy and suck it up. If you're man enough to get yourself in this state in the first place, you should be man enough to clean up afterwards."
His sentence is punctuated by a pathetic whimper that escapes my lips once he reaches my knees. They're scratched to shit, probably the most damaged area of my body at the moment. Must be all the times I've fallen down today. Not that it was my choice of course. It's not my fault Bryar chose to chase after another innocent victim today, just like every other day. Okay, maybe I wasn't entirely innocent. There may have been a few words thrown around about his childishly short temper and his inability to form thoughts past Bob angry. Frank make Bob smash.
Bob Bryar: modern day caveman.
But, that's freedom of speech and all that jazz, right? He had no right to come after me with his goons like he did.
"Easy for you to say! You're not the one getting acid poured all over your flesh!"
Another sharp sting. You'd think I'd be use to this feeling by now. I have to steady my vision and blink away the black spots forming in front of my eyes before I'm able to speak again.
"What's in that stuff anyway?"
I lean forward slightly to inspect the contents of the mysterious black glass bottle, no prescription or indication of what's inside written on it. Before I can lay my eyes on the evil liquid, Ray screws the lid on and walks over to the medicine cabinet to put it away.
"Old family remedy. Don't question it, just be happy it's saved your ass from infection so many times in the past."
As Ray cleans up, I busy myself counting the cracks on the ancient, porcelain sink across the room. Once I get to twenty, I begin to wonder why the whole thing hasn't just completely shattered by now. When I glance up and meet my own brown, amber eyes in the mirror in front of me, I find myself wondering how many people have thought the same thing whilst looking at me.
There's enough cracks, both physically and internally, to keep anyone busy counting for a while. My face is covered in angry red scratches, some new and some scabbing over. Faded scars that are no more than thin, pale lines at this point. Dried up blood on my lip that I refused to let Ray touch in fear that I'd actually pass out from the pain. Yellowish bruises that have almost completely healed on my right cheek bone I received after hitting on one of Bryar's minion's girlfriends last week. I'm not even attracted to girls, I just did it to wind the guy up.
All in all, I must look like a walking disaster to most people. If the physical cracks aren't enough to convince someone how incredibly messed up I am, the ones you can't see, the ones that I constantly conceal from the world, would seal the deal. Ray may just be the only one in this town that knows the real Frank Iero. The boy hiding beneath the bad attitude and sarcastic comebacks. Ray is the only person I feel comfortable being myself around. When I'm with him, I know I don't have anyone watching me, scrutinizing my every move. No one to impress, just Toro and his obnoxiously large 'fro.
There's a reason Ray is the only one who knows the real me. It's 'cause he knew me back when life was still rainbows and butterflies. Back when my parents could still stand being in the same room as each other and my biggest worries were hiding the lamp I broke in the living room from my mother. A lot has changed since then. I'm no longer that innocent, wide eyed, curious kid. I've had to build up walls around my personality. I had no choice, that's the only way I can hope to survive around here. No one sees the real me anymore, and I'm not sure that's such a bad thing. I rather not let my guard down.
"Let's go, Rocky. I'll get you some pain killers before I beat your ass in Call Of Duty."
Except around Ray, of course. Sometimes.
Okay, all the time.
A couple hours, a box of extra cheesy pizza, fifteen rounds of COD all won by Ray, and an obscene number of soda cans later, the sun has almost completely set outside. I hadn't realized how late it had gotten until I stood up from the carpeted floor, knees protesting as I stretched them out, and glanced at the analogue clock hanging on the opposite wall.
"It's getting late, I should probably head home."
Ray nods in agreement, eyes never leaving the flashing screen in front of us. The gesture is meant to look nonchalant, but I know Ray well enough to see past that act. He's actually worried. Worried about me. I bet he's thought up the worst scenarios imaginable in that pessimistic head of his. I don't see why he's always worrying about me so much. Sure, I get roughed up every now and then, but it's not like anything too serious has ever happened to me before. Ray just needs to lighten up. I'll be fine.
Acting as if I never read Ray's expression so clearly, I head towards the front door, grabbing my leather jacket from off the couch on my way. I shrug it on and wait for Ray to catch up and lock the door behind me. I hate leaving Ray alone like this. His parents are rarely ever home, he mostly shares this house with his older brother. It's nice when he's home, that way Ray has someone to look after him at all times. Unfortunately, it's rare for him to stay more than a few weeks at a time, and the periods of absence between each stay are even longer. Ray says he likes having the house to himself, but I can tell it freaks him out being all alone most of the time.
I'd be more than happy to stay, it's always fun wasting the night away playing videos games and watching old dvd's with Ray. The only thing holding me back is my mother. She's been on a downward spiral lately, that began when my father left her, and has progressively gotten worse and worse over the years. It's late on a Friday night, which means she's either still out drinking with her friends, or stuffed up in her room on the verge of passing out. Neither option seems appealing, but I'd opt for the latter. At least that way I can keep an eye on her.
"You sure you have to go? You could always spend the night, if you want."
It's really quite adorable the way Ray worries about me sometimes. It's almost as if I'm his trouble making baby brother that needs to constantly be looked after. I don't need his protection though, I can take care of myself. I've practically raised myself from the age of 7, I think I can manage a half hour walk home. In the dark. Alone. In one of the worst neighborhoods in Jersey. Yeah, no big deal.
"I wish man, but I gotta get home and check on my mom. You know how bad she can get when I don't show up on a Friday."
Ray's frown deepens, but he doesn't look surprised at my response. We have this conversation every weekend and my answer is always the same.
"Yeah, I know. Just...just be careful, Frankie."
I'd have to be deaf not to hear the concern hanging off my best friend's every word. I attempt joking around to lighten the mood, maybe even put Ray's mind at peace.
"Yes, mom. I'll wear my mittens, look both ways when crossing the street, and stay away from strangers in mini vans offering me candy. Unless they're Skittles, of course."
Ray narrows his eyes at me, aiming for a glare until he ruins it by erupting in a fit of giggles.
"Shut the fuck up, asshole. I'm trying to be a concerned parent here."
"Yeah well, I'll be careful. Promise."
The statement is meant to be half joking and half serious. I do plan on being careful after all. Always am. I stand on my toes, stretching upwards to reach Ray's nose, and plant a small kiss on it. He immediately backs away, gagging dramatically and wiping at his nose, but his grin hasn't disappeared.
"Yuck, get away from me you incestuous freak."
"Ray, you're not really my mother, you know that right?"
He pauses for a moment, almost as if he had begun to convince himself he was, before rolling his eyes.
"Obviously. I'm way too attractive to be related to you."
I nod my head in amusement and walk down the rest of the drive way, waving goodbye to Ray over my shoulder as I depart. The sun has now completely set, the only source of light coming from the rare street lamp hanging over head, all several yards apart, and the full moon, now high in the star adorned sky. The night is actually pretty peaceful. There's the occasional police siren in the distance or annoying dog barking at my figure as I pass behind the fence to their home, but other than that, everything is refreshingly quiet. That may be due to the fact that I'm the only idiot dumb enough to wander around alone this late.
I get the expected urge for a cigarette, so I reach into my back pocket and pull out my pack of Malboros and purple lighter. I stick one between my lips, holding it steady as I fumble with the lighter and light the end. I relish in the feeling of smoke entering and escaping my lungs at a soothing pace, loving the taste at the back of my tongue and the heat on my throat.
My moment of serenity is interrupted as I approach the end of the street and hear voices coming from a dark alley to my left. I step back and hide in the shadows next to an empty dumpster, thank god, and wait for the voices to disappear so I can continue on my walk home. I could just continue now, but being spotted alone would make me a sitting duck to any thugs looking for trouble. I quickly stub out my cigarette on the ground before the voices notice the smoke.
I don't usually eavesdrop on other people's conversations, but it's difficult not to when the figures standing a few feet away from me are speaking so loudly. From the sound of it, there's two of them. One voice is husky and has an attractive Jersey drawl to it. The other is noticeably more timid, rising and falling awkwardly in pitch. The voice sounds...scared.
The two figures step out of the shadows, granting me a proper few of the scene unfolding before me. The scared voice is coming from a scrawny boy, around my age, clothes ripped and filthy, hair a matted mess, and I'm pretty sure that's blood glistening at the base of his nose. He is being pressed against the cracked, concrete wall by a much taller and more built body. The guys eyes are shaded over by his messy, midnight black hair, which makes reading the expression on his face impossible. All I can see is a prominent jaw line and a frightening snarl. But, after observing his body language, I can see that he is quite literally shaking with rage. It looks like he's seconds away from beating the defenseless body in front of him to a bloody pulp.
I must be psychic, because not a minute later, the guy does exactly that. If I thought the boy sounded scared before, he is absolutely terrified, crying out in mortified fear, now. I try to snatch my stare from the brutal beating, but it's like watching a train wreck. I just can't look away.
"How. Does. It. Feel. Now. Fucker?"
Each word is punctuated with the ominous sound of the smaller boy's bones colliding with the wall as the black haired one slams his body against it, again and again. He tries to speak up, but all that comes out audible enough to understand, are pathetic squeaks and gasps. He doubles over onto the concrete once the grip on his t-shirt is loosened, coughing up an impressive amount of blood.
"Mess with Mikey again and I swear you will never, ever, fucking see a glimpse of daylight again. Got it, you piece of shit?"
The boy on the ground does nothing in response, only clutches his chest tight, trying to steady his breathing.
"I said, do you fucking understand me?"
This time the predator grabs a handful of the beaten boy's hair, smashing it against the sidewalk continuously, a bit harder each time, until he forces out a strangled,
He seems satisfied with this exclamation, because he doesn't say another word, just lets go of the body, spits on the boy's back that is now nearly unconscious on the floor, and departs in the same direction he arrived in. Taking this as my cue, I quickly scuttle out of my little hiding spot behind the dumpster, and jog the rest of the way to my house.
It may seem selfish, but I can't help but feel grateful that those painful sobs aren't coming from my own beaten lips for once.
Anything will do, just review!
...That rhymed xD