Frank is the kid who everyone hates. His life is going nowhere, when he meets Gerard... what will happen?
I looked at my reflection in the grimy, dirt-flecked mirror. Behind the cracks I could see a black tee-shirt, adorned with pins of all sizes and badges, black skinny jeans that threatened to crack my small hips from how tight they were, black scruffy converse and a black hoodie. I checked- yep, even my boxers were black. I looked like I was going to a funeral. I laughed humourlessly, the hollow, sarcastic sound escaping my mouth and surprising me with the bitterness. Because, well, in essence I was. Going to a funeral, that is. Whose?
No, silly, I’m not dead. But I will be. Soon. Not by suicide; that’s too common and cliché nowadays anyhow. I, Frank Iero, will die of a big mouth. You see, I really can’t shut it, even when they loom over my broken, beaten figure and threaten to hang me with my own intestines, or kill me or something. I still can’t stop the smart comments escaping my lips. I have no self-control. I never have had any. And that’s the way I like it.
I didn’t care when I jumped out my second-storey bedroom window and broke my foot. I never cared when I spent a night down an alley, hidden under cardboard boxes. I never cared when I was shoved into a locke- wait. I did care then. I hate small dark spaces. Especially being in them for twelve hours.
Looking at my reflection once more, I sighed, shook my dyed-black fringe over my eyes and ran my hands through the short dyed-white blonde sides. I ran my tongue over my lip piercing, waggled my eyebrows and said aloud “Looking well, fuck-up. Looking well indeed.”
Turning from the mirror, I grabbed my guitar case and empty school bag and headed out my room door. I walked past the kitchen, not getting anything to eat, and left the house, the slam from the front door echoing behind me, the only signal to my wretched mother whether I was attending school- the shit hole- today or not.
Shoving my ear-buds in, I proceeded through the littered, grey, tired streets of New Jersey. It was raining ice-cold, pelting raindrops and soon I was soaked through. Well it rains and it pours when you’re out on your own- usually all the time for me so. I have no friends to be out with. That doesn’t matter, I’ve never needed friends. I have my Les Paul guitar, Pansy. She’s all I need.
Right now though, her case is digging into my wet, slightly hunched back. Good thing I’m nearly at school I think, then immediately erase that thought, replacing it with thoughts of how horrible school is. I hate the linoleum flooring, the disinfectant smell, the Formica topped tables. I hate the disapproving teachers and the boring classes. I hate everything and everyone that you can put in a sentence with school. Including myself. Excluding music. Music is okay. The teacher doesn’t like me; in fact, he gets exasperated with me quite easily. But he doesn’t hate me or loath me either, so that’s a plus.
I looked up to see the school rising unimpressively and bleakly in front of me. I hadn’t realized I was here already. Sighing heavily, I walked up the front steps and into the deserted hallway. I learned early on from experience to either be extremely early or... fashionably... late to school. It saved shouts of “Hey fag boy!” and “Look at the titch! How does he reach his locker?” and even “Me and my friends are looking forward to seeing you after school, tiny!” Also, I tend to go home in better condition and save my mother from anxiety attacks if I’m not there for the bullies- hate that word- to ram into lockers, trip up or just hit. Repeatedly.
I get to my locker and open it with the combination. Placing Pansy inside, I look in the little mirror I have mounted on the inside, at eye level.
“Shit!” I say, for my red eyeliner has run down my face, making it look as if my eyes are bleeding. On second thoughts, if the teacher thinks my eyes are bleeding... no. She’ll roll her eyes and tell me to sit down. I wipe it with my hoodie sleeve, leaving smudges trailing down porcelain skin. Skin that is slightly marred in places from scars. When I saw cracks this morning, it wasn’t just in the mirror. It was in my mask too. Some days are harder than others, and this morning had been especially hard.
But it was okay now; I had glued my mask together again. Not quite as securely as I wish, but close enough for no one else to realise how much of a twisted, tortured soul I am. Not that anyone would care. Except my mother. She always gets into a state over every new bruise or cut, every split lip or broken or fractured limb she sees. If only she saw the ones under my clothes, then she wouldn’t be so easily swayed by my urging that they were from me getting too into my guitar, or my own clumsiness. If she could see them- if anyone could- they would spend hours trying to coax the truth from me. And I’m not ready for that. It’s too hard to tell anyone. Even myself.
“Mr. Iero! Why aren’t you in class?” a stern voice says behind me. I roll my eyes, slam my locker door and turn. I smile rather sarcastically.
“Well, Mr. Fitzpatrick! How are you? You see, I really wish I was in class on time,” sarcasm dripping from my mouth, “but I was late leaving my house this morning.” He narrows his eyes, unimpressed.
“And why is that, Frank?” He demands.
“You see sir, I’ve had a rather bad bout of bronchitis recently and I was awful nauseous this morning. You can ring my mother and check.” I say, already tired of this bloody conversation.
I can see the cogs in the old man’s brains whirring, as he tries to decipher my words. He must have decided I’m telling the truth, or else he isn’t bothered taking a twenty minute excursion to call my mother, fill in the appropriate paperwork, and then send me to class with an excuse note, because when he opens his mouth next it’s to tell me to hurry up and move on to class.
“Yes sir!” I say, saluting him. “It was a pleasure seeing you!” Again with the sarcasm. No wonder he doesn’t like me. I don’t exactly come across as the most willing student. He just narrows his eyes again and sets off as if he’s the shit. He really needs to be knocked down to size. A brick over the head would do the job. On my way to class wonder what the punishment for that would be- the police could be involved. Or councillors. I hate councillors.
When I arrive to my first class, art, I steel myself for a minute before going in the door. The teacher is as soft as fuck, and doesn’t even protest my lateness. She’s really getting old, I decide. Usually she gives out stink to a late student. Well, except me. Some of the teachers seem afraid of me. Good. I can continue not giving a fuck and muddle through high school.
I head to my usual seat down the back, all on my own. I sit on my own in every class. It has its benefits. I can scribble lyrics and stuff down in my scruffy black notebook I’ve had since I was ten without the person beside me staring me out of it or whatever. But today, I notice someone sitting in the seat beside me. He has inky dark waves of hair over his face, so I can’t make out features. His back is hunched and he’s leaning over his work, too engrossed to notice me staring. While I stare I come to a conclusion. Looking at his equally black clothing, also empty schoolbag and the band badges on his pencil case, he’s as much as a fuck up as me. When I get tired of staring and absorbing, I cough slightly.
To say his reaction was explosive is an understatement. He jumps about two inches in his seat, his hand dragging his paintbrush across his work, his head whipping up to reveal a white face with hazel eyes the size of dinner plates staring up at me. His lips are a bright red, in direct contrast to his pale skin.
“Jeez dude, you made me fucking jump!” He exclaimed, and then looked down at his now ruined work. “Ah fuck! Guess I should pay more attention to what’s going on. Then I won’t ruin my work!” He says cheerily enough. If that had been me, I would smack the fucker who ruined my work. He went to crumple it up.
“Hey man, don’t, we can try fixing it” I hear myself say. I take the half crumpled piece of paper from the guy, whose name I don’t even know, and un-crumple it. It’s amazing. On the piece of paper is a dark, moody depiction of a city scene. It’s raining and grey and I can feel the hostility of the place roll in waves off the page. It’s perfect, except for a jagged dark line running through the middle.
“Nah, it’s alright, I was just bored. Stupid teacher hasn’t told me what to do yet.” He said. His teeth are small and pointy and gleaming as he speaks.
“Man, its fucking epic!” I say, rather loudly. I hear a disapproving cough from behind me and turn to see the teacher glaring at me. She, like I, is rather short, and so her eyes are only slightly higher than mine.
“Mister Iero. I see you’ve met Gerard. I also see you too took it upon yourself to disregard the rules and dress like... like... well, not in uniform anyways. You are also late. Again. Once more and it will be detention. SIT down and WORK!” She snarls at me. I am genuinely surprised. Usually she tries the whole “Disappointed blah blah ruining your future blah de blah blah” lecture.
“Yes ma’am!” I say saluting her. It’s becoming a thing. So, apparently, is the whole “Mister Iero” thing. I sit beside the boy, Gerard.
“Well, someone has their granny pants in a twist,” I say under my breath. Gerard laughs.
“By the way, I’m Frank, Frank Iero. Sorry about your work, it’s great!”
“Gerard Way, and don’t trouble yourself over that crap. Like I said, Ms. Useless hasn’t told me what we’re doing.”
“Well, I don’t know. I don’t really listen to her. Or any teacher.” I say, and I realise how true my words are. Guess I’m not going to graduate high school. Oh well.
“So, you’re obviously new. Where did you go before this shit hole?” I ask, curious. This boy is intriguing. He seems to like the same stuff as me, which is a good thing. I may finally have someone in this school who doesn’t want to beat the shit out of me. Yet.
“Uhhh... well, I was enrolled somewhere, but I never really went. I don’t know the name, sorry!” He says, and then laughs, a short light hearted noise. I remember when I used to laugh like that. I used to laugh like that when my father tripped over tangled Christmas lights in the dim yellow glow from candles; my mother used to only use candles at night when it was Christmas. I remember that well. Not anymore. Now she only drinks vodka and cries. I notice him looking at me peculiarly.
“Sorry, I get distracted. That’s why I’m not good at art. Too slow. I prefer my music” I say to him.
“Aw, do you play an instrument? I’ve tried guitar and I’m not great, I actually prefer art!” he laughs again.
“That’s funny, I play guitar,” I say to him. I don’t know why I’m trying with this guy, telling him things about me. Usually when someone new comes to Hell Hole High they join the dark side, a.k.a the gang of people who hate me. Meaning everyone other than me.
“Cool! So why were you late?” He asks.
“Erm... Overslept.” I say quickly. I may be talking to Gerard, but that does not mean I’ll be telling him how much of a saddo I am. So sad, in fact, that I arrive to school late most days so as not to be thrashed within an inch of my life, left sprawling, occasionally bleeding, always bruised inside and out, on the dusty floors.
I think he sees through my excuse, but doesn’t pry as the teacher is suddenly behind us explaining the lesson. I listen slightly, because I really don’t have a clue what we’re doing. I never do.
The teacher finally walks away to investigate some girl who has a paintbrush shoved, I kid you not, in her fucking nose. Like, really? Is this school really that bad? I mentally laugh. Of course it is, why do I ask stupid questions like that?
I turn back to my work. We’re meant to have something with us to draw. Needless to say neither of us have anything with us. Gerard takes out a battered sketch pad. He’s drawing something and chatting with me at the same time. It doesn’t take long to realise it’s a super hero he’s drawing. I watch in awe as he creates another amazing picture in minutes. I can never do something like that. I try to draw well, to use the pencils like extensions of my fingers, stroking the page, caressing it almost, but usually I end up with some scrawl that barely merits my C- or D. This guy, however, is so good! It’s his god-given gift, and even if he never graduates he will certainly be able to draw for a living.
“Dude, that’s amazing. Again. Geez, if I was that good at art I wouldn’t come to school at all!” I say, almost jealous.
He laughs nervously.
“Yeah... I kinda have to. My mom, she kinda” he’s cut off by the bell.
“I have maths next period, you?” I ask. I don’t know why it’s so easy for me to talk to him. Maybe it’s reassuring to find someone else who wears eyeliner.
“Uhhh, I think it’s English.” He says.
“Well, I’ll probably see you later. Have fun finding your class” I smirk at him. Wow. My face feels weird. Smiling is a foreign thing for me; it has been too long since I last smiled. I believe it was my eleventh birthday party. My friend- yes, I had friends then- had put a plastic cup upside down on his head, not realising there was Pepsi in it.
“You troll, what way is it!?” He says back to me.
“What room? Never mind, give me your timetable.” I take it and quickly see he’s in the class beside my maths one.
“It’s beside my class, we can walk together,” I say. He smiles again, and I hope like hell that we get to the classes, on the other side of the school, without incident.
If only. I really jinx myself sometimes.
A/N: Well, that was lame. Depending on feedback and stuff, I might continue. This took longer than it should have to write because here I am, on my second cup of coffee, when in comes my older sister with my headphones that cost like twenty euro. So, with her amazing aim, she throws them at me, getting headphones in my coffee and coffee on my face, hoodie, hair and laptop. Yep, now I smell like coffee. At least my headphones still work, even though the ear buds were fully in the coffee. Then, my mom wants me to walk to the shop with my sister... so, after three and a half cups of coffee, a trip to the shop and some chocolate; here it is... review and rate?