Be ready to risk everything.
No matter how hard I try I can’t seem to stop thinking about what the emos are planning in 4 days time.
It keeps me awake at night. I keep picturing really disturbing scenes of pagan sacrifice in which I lie on an altar bound and gagged and screaming for help but as usual the world is not listening. Neither are my so-called friends. Although intrigued at first, apparently my concerns are now second-hand and boring.
“Yes Frank, I get it, you’re worried,” Cam sighs as I relate to her once again all the gory details of my latest nightmare. “But getting all worked up over this thing is ridiculous. Odds are there’s just some crazy vampemo club somewhere that’s having a minor’s night in a few days. No biggie.”
“But,” I counter for the hundredth time. “What does that have to do with us finding out who wins Gerard?”
“Good point,” says Cam but she says it in that dreamy, weary way which means she thinks the conversation is dumb.
As irrational as my fears might be I still can’t shake the feeling that something is up. But I’m not gonna let it get to me. I’m in Milan, for Chrissake! I’m covering novice model catwalks! Does life get any better?
The answer: yes.
I clap heartily along with the crowd as ginger model number 4 gives a small hip-wiggle and slinks back off the stage, looking slightly uncomfortable in her meringue shaped dress. Next up is a tall brunette in tight jeans and a fur-lined hoody. She flashes the audience a smile faker than my grandmom’s boobs.
I guess I should be taking notes or something but I’m mesmerised by the clothing. What is the point in a lamp-shaped hat? Huh? I ask you. And snow boots? In summer?
“Whoever designed this line is a jackass,” I whisper to Gerard.
“Ikr,” he replies. “But they have a great appreciation of colour.”
I give him a weird look. “You sure you’re not queer?”
In response, he sticks his tongue out at me and catcalls as the models make their way back onto the stage, followed by the designer who turns out to be...a little gay bald bloke. He bows, says something camp and probably degrading to women and scurries off. I think my brain might explode with the stereotype.
We follow them all backstage, all of us looking pretty losery with glee. Come on, how many kids our age can say they’ve done this? Interviewing B-listing models has to be the most punk rock thing ever! Well, not really. In fact, not at all but I digress.
“Hello,” I greet them.
“Hi,” says a blonde, glancing nervously at me and then at the swarm of male, teenage news readers drooling on her friends.
“Oh, don’t worry I’m gay,” I reassure her.
“Oh!” she recovers brightly. “Great!”
Following this the models are friendly and nice, nicknaming me Carino and Frankito and asking us all back to their apartments for “fun timez” which we knew they would because it is Wednesday. I’ve literally had this day marked with a fluorescent green highlighter on my calendar for weeks. We chill with the models for a little longer, then it’s back to the hotel to freak out over what I’m going to wear tonight.
Because tonight is not just any night. Tonight, as the list of the 20 Ways dictates, decides my destiny.
Three months have passed since I first met Gerard and began my experiment. Three months and we are officially “friends”. But after tonight, well, hopefully he’ll start to see me a little differently. Because I’m about to take it to a whole new level.
Cam is nervous for me. I can tell because she is currently pacing around my room, chewing her nails to the quick and repeating I am so nervous for you, I am so nervous for you under her breath. I, however, am chilled. Chilled as a popsicle on January 14th. In Iceland. Naked.
“Frank, I don’t think you should do this,” she says suddenly, stopping in her tracks.
Say what? “Huh? Why not?”
“What if it doesn’t work?” she stresses. “What if you freak him out and he runs away? It will totally fuck up your friendship, probably to the point of no return.”
“He’d get over it.”
“But what if he didn’t?” she insists. “You always assume people will be okay with everything, Frank. That whatever happens they’ll probably forget about it the next day. But what if tonight’s not like that? Do you really want to risk it?”
I shrug. “I’d risk anything for this guy.”
Her shoulders sink in resignation, allowing her to fall back against the mattress. I flash her an encouraging smile.
“Baby g, don’t worry about it,” I tell her. “I’m a big boy, I can handle a little rejection if the worst comes to the worst.”
Lies, my brain screams at me. If the worst comes to the worst your little heart will break into a million tiny pieces.
“Are you sure?” Cam presses, still looking worried. “I mean, really sure?”
“I’m sure,” I nod.
She sighs again and hauls herself to her feet. “Okay,” she says in her most businesslike voice. “Let’s find you something to wear.”
A statement easier said than done. I have a skinny frame that cloths just hang off, a titchy little ass and rather vertically challenged legs. In fact it takes a little longer than an hour to sort something out from the clothes we picked up in town, then another hour to hold me down and rub girly makeup shit into my face and one more to get the hair right.
But when Cam finally releases me from what she likes to call “The Chair of Transformation” (she tied me to the bed with a belt) and I get to look in the mirror I can’t hold back a little gasp. 100% worth it.
“Oh my God,” I squeal. “Cam...you’re amazing.”
“Well no flying shit,” Cam rolls her eyes.
“But...no, you’re actually God,” I turn around a little so I can admire my ass. “Remind me to never, ever be mean to you again.”
Cam has forced me into a pair of low slung blue jeans, so low-slung they’re only just balancing on my hips in fact and above that a short, black vest cut about halfway down reveals a patch of my stomach. My hair is back in a short mohawk flopped casually to one side, my eyes are smouldering with smoky greys and blacks. Around my neck – a spiky dog collar.
She chuckles, admiring her handiwork with a regretful expression. “Damn,” she sighs. “There’s gonna be a lot of girls wishing you were straight tonight.”
“Ya really think so?”
She nods. “Just don’t get raped.”
I throw my arms around her with such force that she actually falls back into the bed, just as the door opens.
“WHOA!” Ray covers his eyes. “Not good! Not good! I’m going to close the door and when I open it again you guys will NOT be doing that.”
“We’re not doing anything Ray,” I sigh while Cam giggles. “I was giving her a hug.”
“So that’s what kids are calling it these days,” says Ray, still covering his eyes with his hands. “I’m closing the door now.”
He closes the door and Cam and I exchange an exasperated glance. Then he waits three seconds and reopens it.
“There now,” he says beaming. “That’s better. Now would you like to explain why you’re taking Frank to a Top Model House dressed as a gimp?”
“He is not dressed as a gimp!” Cam retorts indignantly. “He looks sexy!”
“He looks like a sexy gimp,” Ray shrugs. “Look at him. His whole body is practically screaming take me and do nasty things to me.”
“That’s kinda the idea,” I mutter.
Ray’s eyes widen in realisation. Cam facepalms herself repeatedly. “Oh,” he says finally. “You’re planning to have sex with a random, sadomasochistic stranger tonight.”
“Not necessarily a-”
“-I hope you’ve got protection. Male models...who knows what’s going on there? AIDS. HIV.”
“Yes, thank you, Ray.”
“Stop, stop!” Cam interrupts, scrunching up her face in repulsion. “This conversation...it needs to end. What did you want to tell us, Ray?”
Ray looks confused for a second, then snaps his fingers in remembrance. “The taxi is outside,” he says. “Also, everyone is waiting for you downstairs.”
Cam nods and grins at me. “Ready to break some hearts?”
What else can I do but smile back?
“Holy mother of GOD,” is my first received reaction upon coming down the stairs.
“Wow,” says Mikey, and I can tell from his voice that he’s impressed. “You actually look...okay.”
“Thanks meimei,” I chirp happily, ruffling his hair. He ducks and slaps me away.
“You look incredible.”
“How did you get your hair like that?”
“Your butt is so cute...”
“Please make me yours.”
“Thank you, thank you,” I say in reply, taking in the compliments like I just won Miss America. It’s true, all the girls from the news team are staring at me slightly regretfully...and is it just my imagination or are they kinda glaring at Gerard?
Who, incidentally, is staring at me with such a stupid expression I’m surprised he found his way into the main hall. He recovers quickly as I look his way but I get the feeling the fairies haven’t quite flown out of his brain yet.
“Y’alright there, buddy boy?” I ask him, waving a hand in front of his face.
“Yeaaah.” he murmers. “Um...you look...you look really good.”
I give him my brightest, boldest smile, saving a wink for Cynthia who it seems, for the first time, can think of nothing bad to say.
I make sure to get into the same taxi as Gerard which provides slight awkwardness for the rest of the team. By awkwardness, I of course mean Cynthia throwing a little temper tantrum because she gets scared of road sickness and only Gerard can comfort her. No one actually believes her but she’s being so loud I almost make to get out of the car when Gerard suddenly snaps “Cythia. You’ll be fine. Stop being such a child and get in a different car.”
For a moment she just stares, her face shocked like he just slapped her across the face. Then she flips her long, perfectly shaped hair over her shoulder and climbs into the taxi in front. Gerard lets out a relieved sigh.
“Sorry,” he says. “But sometimes she seems to think the whole world revolves around her. That pisses me off.”
“Dude, don’t apologise,” I say, looking out the window with a tiny smile.
The drive is short but prolonged by the nagging fact that my thigh is pressed against Gerard’s for the whole journey. I can tell he knows it because he keeps glancing downwards and blushing slightly but he doesn’t move it away and as we draw up outside the house and I get out I can feel his eyes on my behind.
“Hey boys!” It’s the shrill voice of ginger model number 4. She comes running out to meet us and in the dim lighting of the garden we can see that she is completely topless. Ray’s mouth falls open and hits my shoulder. “So glad you can make it! Someone, come dance with me!”
The whole male embodiment of the news team jumps up at once. Even Bosh asks Cam’s permission to be “let off the leash” and she grants it with a dismissive wave, eyeing up a male model with icy blue eyes. He’s pretty fit and his friend is looking in my direction but I send them both to the back of my mind. If I’m going to win this I’ve got to stay focused.
The music is pumping through the house and under my feet. It’s a good song and I can’t stop myself from tapping along to the bass. One dance can’t hurt, right?
Aw man. They’re playing Mindless Self Indulgence.
I really wanna dance.
Screw it. I knock back a vodka shot offered to me by one of the other girls and follow the others inside. The change in the temperature from the cool outdoors to the stuffiness of a club is drastic and very soon I’m sweating. Everywhere bodies moving, everywhere booze, everywhere music. I drop my head back and let go.
One dance turns into two. Two into three, three into seven. It’s only when a really shit song comes on and I’m feeling slightly disorientated that I remember my mission to stay focused.
Except it’s pretty hard to do that when your target has suddenly disappeared.
I scan the dance floor but he’s not there. Fuck. He’s probably off trading glands with the vampemo bitch. They’re almost certainly fucking. Pain sears through my chest, something physical and tangible and only amplified by alcohol as I stumble through the house to be sick. Somewhere Ray’s gotten hold of a karaoke machine. Why the fuck didn’t anybody hold him back?
“Frank?” says a voice. “Frank, are you okay?”
“Need to find Gerard,” I murmur.
“Gerard? He’s over there.”
The person, faceless and blurry points to where Gerard stands in a corner, knocking back shots. I approach him slowly, my vision slowly becoming clearer and clearer. Cynthia is not with him.
“Frankie!” he exclaims, throwing his arms around me with surprising vigour. “I thought you left me.”
“I could never do that,” I say into his hair. He laughs a drunken laugh.
“I know,” he replies. “You know how I know?”
“How do you know?”
“Because I know you,” he finishes triumphantly. “You’re my best friend.”
I nod. “That I am.”
He grins and does an awkward step to the left, resulting in spilling half the liquid over himself. “I really like you Frank,” he purrs. “You’re such a great guy.”
“Thanks,” I reply, thinking of how often I have been told that by drunk people.
“A great guy,” he repeats. “No greater guy has ever fucked with my head the way you have.”
The bass shakes the house, sending electrical energy through my feet, up my spine to the very tips of my fingers. Gerard grins mischievously. “Do you want to dance?”
I nod again. “Sure.”
I expect him to lead me back into the club but instead he pulls me into the dark corner, knocking my head against the wall. He steps back a second, taking in my breathless, shocked, disorientated form. “Oh my God,” he whispers, almost reverently. “You’re so beautiful.”
And at that I can’t take it anymore. I seize the back of his head with my left hand and bring it to mine, crashing our lips together in a big bang collision, sending fireworks into the sky, electrons and neutrons to dance inside their atoms, the centre of the earth to boil that much hotter. His arms snake around my tiny waist, pulling him closer to me and I can feel him hard between my legs as his lips, soft and wet and messy slide against mine.
His skin is so soft. His body so hard. Every muscle tensed, every breath laboured. He kisses me and I kiss him back, trying to give him everything, pouring this feeling that I’ve kept bottled up inside me for the past three months out into one untidy, muddled, chaotic, anarchic clashing of lips and teeth and tongue. It’s out of control.
Just the way I like it.
“Jesus,” I gasp, coming up for breath.
Gerard nods, too awestruck to think of anything original to say. “Where is this going to go?”
I give him a long, searching look. He’s so drunk. But I’m so desperate for this, have been for so long. “Wherever the hell you want it to,” I reply. “But first I gotta pee.”
He chuckles, allowing his head to hit the wall. “Don’t be too long,” he says.
“Trust me,” I assure him. “Think of me halfway there.”
I sprint to the bathroom in record time, piss quickly and chuck a load of water over my face to make sure I’m not dreaming. This is happening. This is real. Fuck my short life.
Okay, Frank. Chill. Calm. Zen mode. I close my eyes and attempt to think of things that make me feel serene. Like rain hitting the window or a leaf floating on the wind. Then I think of Gerard in a messy crumpled heap in a dark corner and all thoughts of calm fly out of my head as I race back to find him...
O.o Starting to get vaguely smutty there! Bare with me, I get very uncomfortable writing anything like that. I guess it must be my natural innocence.
I can’t believe I just wrote that with a straight face.
Ahem. Yes. Now, I definitely won’t be able to update next week as that is my exam week and I have...um...exams. But please stay tuned for less vague smut and possibly...a confession? :O