Frank stays off school with Mikey.
'Hey Mikes. Frank's downstairs waiting for you,' he said softly.
'Oh,' was all I said, still lightly held in sleeps iron grip. I mindlessly reach out to get my glasses off my night stand.
'I'll leave you to get dressed,' Gerard says quietly and heads towards the door. Just as he's about to shut it behind him, I call out.
'Gerard!' He instantly sticks his head back thought the door.
'Yeah Mikey?' he says, smiling gently.
'Thanks. For yesterday and stuff,' I say, as sincerely as I can. His smile grows.
'You're welcome, bro,' he says, before leaving and shutting the door behind him.
I arrive downstairs about ten minutes later, stomach churning uncomfortably at the thought of seeing Frank. It normally does but I can usually ignore it, pretend it's not there, but not today. My insides and tumbling viscously over and over like a world class gymnast, tangling my stomach and thoughts alike.
I don't know why it's so strong today, so...difficult to ignore, but theirs almost something pleasant about it, a hint of joy twirling around along with my tumbling internal organs.
As I enter the kitchen, someone launches themselves at me and clings onto me, wrapping their arms firmly around my neck. I immediately panic but come to relax when I realise it's Frank, until it dawns on me: what if Gerard's told him? What if he's trying to comfort me? I all of a sudden have the urge to shove Frank off me, to stop him touching me. I'm dirty after all, I wouldn't want Frank getting messed up like me now, would I?
I don't though. I tentatively coil my arms round Frank's back and wait the eternity it seems it is until he finally let's go. He leans back and looks at me, smiling sympathetically and my heart rate quickens.
He does know, he does. How could Gerard have told him? I thought I could trust my own brother. I mean, I was going to tell Frank but, not yet. When I was ready, when I felt I could. I guess I don't know Gerard as well as I thought I did.
'Mikes? Are you okay?' Frank's voice cut through my thoughts as I looked down at him and realised I still had my hands on his back. I jolted away and he unwrapped his hands from around my neck.
'Yeah I-yeah, sorry. I was just thinking,' I stuttered, feeling a warmth in my cheeks as Frank smirked.
'Ah, you were day dreaming because we were getting too cosy, weren't you? You want me,' he said, running a hand over his body. My stomach jolted as I visibly grimaced. I could still remember that jocks hands...
Franks expression quickly changed into a concerned frown.
'Mikey? What's wrong?' he asked. I shook my head.
'Bullshit,' Frank interrupted, 'I might be an arrogant rebel Michael, but I'm not a dick, I'm not stupid and I'm also your best friend. So, your gonna tell me right the fuck now, what happened to you yesterday?' Relief instantly pulsed through my veins, Gerard hadn't told him.
I sighed, looking up into Frank's brown eyes, concern laced with anger swirling before me.
'Can we go upstairs?' I ask quietly.
'Course,' Frank says, smiling weakly at me but it doesn't reach his eyes, they remain staring at me relentlessly.
As we walk up the stairs I realise just how worried Frank must be about me, he must really care. My stomach gives a pleasant jolt at the thought.
We sit on my bed and Frank turns to look at me with a serious look on his face.
'Now, tell me what happened,' he states simply. I let out a shaky breath and open my mouth to speak.
It's simple, I only have to say three words. He raped me. But somehow, this simple phrase wont formulate in my mouth, as if my tongue is weighed down by lead, the words trapped in the fiery grip of my throat, unable to be released.
'I-I can't,' I stutter. Frank sighs deeply and turns his head away from me.
Disappointment. It's written all over his face, all over his body. He thinks I don't trust him, I know it. And I do trust him. I really do. I just can't say it. I swallow the lump in my throat as Frank turns to look at me.
'Please Mikey, just...tell me. Just say it.' I shake my head slightly, looking away from him.
'Mikey,' he says, a certain desperation present in his voice, 'just tell me. It's only me, it's Frank. Your rebellious, annoying, dipshit of a best friend.' A smile creeps onto my face and I look up to see one forming on his too.
'Hey, that's more like it, a smile,' he says, knocking my chin lightly with his fist.
'Yeah yeah, I'm only friends with you because you look good on my arm,' I reply.
'And your usual tone of cynical sarcasm, that's the Mikey I know.'
He smiles at me and this time, it really does reach his eyes, lip ring changing the angle it falls against his lip. I find myself smiling back at him.
'So, now you have to tell me what happened yesterday.' His abrupt demand brings back the churning in my stomach which had previously dissolved at the sight if his smile. I start to panic, not being able to look my best friend in the eye or tell him my greatest secret. I couldn't think of what to do, where to look, what to say. I bolted up from the bed and over towards my CD player.
'Do you-do you want some music?' I asked quietly. All I heard was Frank sigh as I stuck a Pearl Jam album into the stereo. Just as I was about to press play, I felt a hand on my arm. I gasped slightly at the sudden contact, not having heard Frank walk over to me.
'Mikey,' he said sadly, 'Mikey, look at me.' I slowly turned round to face him, expecting him to ask me what happened but instead he just opened his arms and looked me in the eyes. I opened mine in return and he walked forward and wrapped his arms around me. I mimicked him and he nestled his head into my neck under my chin. He always had been freakishly short.
We stood their for what felt like days, just breathing each other in. He smelt of cigarettes, coconut, guitar strings and...Frank. My heart was speeding a little at the kind of position I was in with my best friend and also the boy I'm pretty sure I'm in love with.
He sighed, his warm breath ghosting over my neck and sending a shiver down my spine.
All too soon he was pulling away and looking at me with a sad smile. He removed his hands from me and took a step back, me doing the same.
'Mikes, please. You know you can tell me anything, right? Like, fucking anything, no matter how batshit crazy or freaking weird it is, yeah?'
'Then tell me what happened to you after school yesterday.' Just the mention of the word school made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and brought a sickening tinge to my twirling insides.
'Frank, I'm sorry, I-I just...can't.'
Frank looked down at his feet but I could tell he was angry from the way he was switching his weight from one foot to the other and tapping his finger against his thigh.
Frank Iero had snapped.
'Fucking hell Mikey!' he half yelled, whipping his head up and startling me, 'I'm your best god damned friend and you can even tell me this one thing. What else haven't you told me? Do you have a secret love of Miley Cyrus or are you really a girl? Do you even fucking trust me at all, Mikes?' He sad last sentence with pain in his voice. A little bit of pain that drove a dagger through my heart. I never meant to hurt him, I just did out of my own fucking stupidity.
'No! Of course I trust you Frank, of course I do, it's just me. I just can't.'
'If you say you can't one more fucking time Michael James Way I swear to god I will not be responsible for my actions. Because you can, I know you can Mikey.' I avoid his gaze, heart beginning to pound as I tried to form those three words again to no avail.
'I can't,' I whisper. I can see Frank run his hands through his hair out of the corner of my eyes.
'It's a secret, right Mikes?,' he asks. I nod.
'Well, I have a secret too. I've kept it deep down for a very fucking long time.' My heart begins to beat faster and faster, stomach nearly ripping itself in two. What could Frank have kept from me for such a long time? Various things were running through my head, either completely outlandish or too awful to think about.
'Do you want to know what it is?' he asked. I looked up into his eyes, sparking with an emotion I couldn't recognise. I nodded slowly.
Frank never said anything. Instead, he grabbed my face and crashed his lips against mine.
My heart went into over drive at the softness of Franks lips pressed against my own, his warm hands on my face. Before I could fully register what had happened, Frank had pulled away, just staring at me for a couple of seconds before flinging my door open, racing down the stairs and slamming the front door on his way out.
I could do nothing but stand there, staring at where he just was, and trace my fingers over my lips, where Frank's had just been.