“What the hell is wrong with you today?” Clarissa demanded.
I'd like to dedicate this chapter to Lydia, for being such a wonderfully supportive reader. Thank you so much, honey :')
Everyone is a little broken.
Everyone has light and dark inside of them.
Everyone knows loss and agony and regret.
Everyone’s soul is a little patched-up, a little dark, a little morbid. But it can always be healed, even if the stitches leave scarring.
But there are exceptions to everything.
Once in an eclipse of devil’s advocate, you get someone who is made up of nothing but broken. Someone whose dark has eclipsed the light so much that the light is dead. Someone who feeds of loss and agony and regret. Someone who hates.
Someone whose soul is so rotten and diseased, blackened to its own bloodied core that it can never be fixed- no matter how much anyone tries to help.
Someone who is, was, and always will be completely and utterly
It had been years since Frank had arrived late for school. In fact, he hadn’t even missed a day’s attendance since his sixteenth birthday, let alone had to report to the office for a late slip. But on Monday morning, it was well after the first bell that Frank flung himself hastily through the doors of the main entrance, looking distinctly flustered and unprepared. His normally pin-neat school uniform was crumpled and flecked in spatters of mud from sprinting through the woods for the bus, his hair was unwashed and tangled, and he hadn’t been able to locate his schoolbag before leaving the house and therefore had all his schoolbooks bundled haphazardly into his arms.
The corridor was silent as Frank raced along the polished wooden surface, hurtled round the corner and half burled, half fell through the doors to the sixth form common room. His abrupt entrance caused the already precariously balanced pile of books in his arms to wobble and cascade from his grip, spilling to the floor with a loud clatter.
This instantly resulted in the few people occupying the common room to all look up in annoyance, and Frank winced under their glares, feeling horribly dirty and messy. He blinked owlishly, cheeks burning, and straightened his rain-flecked glasses before hurriedly stooping to retrieve the fallen schoolbooks with trembling, clumsy movements.
“Frankie?” A sugary, female voice made Frank’s head jerk upwards to see none other than Clarissa standing over him, her pretty blonde curls escaping the plait she’d scooped them into. Her big blue eyes were wide with affronted confusion, and she fingered her shiny Prefect badge worriedly.
“Um, hi,” Frank blurted, returning to pick ‘How to pass French’ and ‘Irregular Verbs: A summary’ up from the sterile, common room floor. His cheeks burnt with humiliation, and he hid them with a sweep of his unwashed chestnut hair.
“What are you doing?” Clarissa hissed softly, kneeling down beside Frank and starting to gather together loose paper worksheets that had spilled from Frank’s binder. Her wide blue eyes found his, and he bit his lip, knowing she wasn’t going to drop the subject easily.
“You can see what I’m doing,” Frank muttered, stuffing his stationary back into their navy pencil case, attempting to brush the question off.
“You know what I mean, Frank. What’s wrong?” Clarissa shoved the paper into the binder and stood up smartly, smoothing her frilly skirt and school blazer. Her determined gaze held Frank’s, and he struggled, shoving his books under his arm before trailing weakly across to their usual seats by the common room window.
“Frank?” She repeated incredulously, hands on her hips as she surveyed Frank, who sunk down onto the squashy blue seat with a silent sigh, running a hand through his windswept hair.
“I’m fine,” Frank told her, setting his schoolbooks down on the floor beside his feet and feeling confused, because he didn’t honestly know if the words he’d just uttered were a lie or not. He felt as though everything had been churned about inside him, dislodged from its usual nook or cranny, and now it didn’t know where it fitted.
“Frank,” Clarissa sat down beside him and looked at him seriously. “You don’t need to pretend. I mean, it would be pointless anyway, because you’re late for school, your clothes are all crumpled, your tie isn’t done up, your hair isn’t washed, and quite honestly, you don’t smell great.”
Frank blinked and gingerly sniffed the sleeve of his blazer. “Oh.” His cheeks burnt. “Um.”
“Is everything okay at home?” Clarissa asked in a hushed sort of voice, leaning closer to Frank and tucking a wispy tendril of hair behind her ear.
“Yes, of course it is,” Frank replied truthfully, trying to comb his hair with his hands and do up his tie properly. “Honestly, C, I’m fine. I just overslept.”
Clarissa narrowed her eyes. “You can’t fool me, Frankie.”
“There’s nothing to fool you about!” Frank protested, rather more loudly than he’d meant to. For the second time since he’d arrived, the residents of the common room all looked up from their revision to glare crossly in his direction.
“Whatever you say,” Clarissa sighed, clearly not at all convinced.
Silence hung between them for a second, thick and awkward, clogging up Frank’s airways a little. The clock on the wall ticked derisively, mocking them, while raindrops spattered the window, all soulful and sad.
“Did you hear about the escaped convict being sighted?” Clarissa’s voice broke the silence, and Frank started up at the two simple words that send adrenaline through him like an injection.
“Um,” Frank blinked. “No.” It was a lie, but he knew it was safer.
“Really?” Clarissa frowned. “It was on the radio on Friday night and everyone in the village has been talking about it all weekend. It’s so scary, isn’t it?”
Frank, recognising this as a rhetorical question, nodded distantly, while his mind meandered to the cloaking blackness that had shrouded Friday night. The woods had been scary. The dark had been scary. But, in all honesty, the escaped convict- it had to have been him, Frank knew it had been him- had been the least scary of them all, because he’d seemed just as scared as Frank had felt.
“Oh my god, what’s happened to your head?” Clarissa exclaimed, pushing Frank’s slightly greasy waves of hair away from his face and surveying the large, angry purple bump in horror.
“Oh, um,” Frank winced, not from her fingers tracing it, but from being faced with having to tell yet another lie. “I just…Uh…on the farm with Dad…” Frank blustered, feeling his cheeks heat up as they always did under pressure. “It’s nothing.”
Clarissa opened her mouth, looking disbelieving, but before she could say anything, the common room doors swung open again and Ray strode in, French coursework in one hand, a half-eaten gala apple in the other.
Immensely grateful at his friend’s presence, Frank straightened his glasses and waved over at him, motioning for Ray to join them. Ray smiled in response headed over to where Frank and Clarissa were sitting.
“Hi, guys,” he greeted them cheerfully, plonking himself down beside Frank and dumping his rucksack down with a heavy thump. “How are you all on this fine day?”
“Fine thanks, Ray,” Frank replied hurriedly, before Clarissa could say otherwise.
“Good stuff. Hi, C,” Ray added good-naturedly, leaning forward to wave at Clarissa. “All set for French?”
“Yes,” Clarissa replied, twisting her hair anxiously and glancing towards the clock on the wall. “I’m so nervous, though. Have you guys revised?”
“All damn weekend,” Ray smiled ruefully, while discreetly pushing his summary of test-topics towards Frank, who threw Ray a grateful look before skimming the page apprehensively.
“Me too,” Clarissa smiled. “How was your weekend then, Frankie? Frankie!”
Frank jumped, head snapping up as he tried to fix an innocent expression on his face and pretend he hadn’t just looked at the list of French topics for the first time. “Um, were you talking to me?”
“Yes,” Clarissa’s eyes narrowed a little suspiciously. “You’re the only one here called Frank.”
Ray laughed awkwardly in a break-the-tension kind of way, but stopped immediately at a rather un-amused glare from Clarissa, and busied himself with sorting his notes into alphabetical order and finishing his apple.
“How was your weekend?” Clarissa repeated, now sounding distinctly irked.
“Uh, yes. Good weekend. Interesting. Thanks,” Frank stammered, raking a hand through his hair and discreetly looking back at Ray’s neatly-penned revision notes.
“How did your outing with…Robbie…go?” Clarissa asked slightly sniffily, wrinkling her nose up as she said Robbie’s name.
“Good thanks,” Frank mumbled, not looking up, and thanking any and all gods when the bell for first period rang, putting an abrupt end to his girlfriend’s haughty questioning. There was an instant movement towards the door, and Frank leapt to his feet, eager not to be left alone with Clarissa.
“What have you guys got first?” Ray asked, taking a final bite out of his apple before chucking the core in the bin beside them before getting to his feet.
“Chemistry,” Clarissa replied, hoisting her back over her shoulder and tossing her blonde plait out of the way. “You?”
“Drama,” Ray replied, biting his lip. “I guess I’ll see you in French before lunch, then. Oh, hold on a second,” he added as Clarissa linked her arm through Frank’s, starting to drag him with her towards the teeming corridor outside the cream-walled tranquillity of the common room.
“Yes?” Clarissa whirled round, inquisitive.
“Can I just talk to Frank quickly?” Ray asked politely. “I’ll give him back to you in a moment- and I’m not going to eat him or anything, don’t worry,” he added jokingly, smiling warmly at Clarissa, who softened slightly.
“Okay then,” she smiled, disentangling her slender arm from Frank’s and hitching her bag more securely onto her back. “I’ll see you in Chemistry then, Frankie.”
“Umphdh,” Frank mumbled as she left the common room in a wake of her trademark cranberry and vanilla scent. Personally, Frank had always found the combination a little sickly, but it reminded him of Clarissa, so he kind of liked it too.
“C’mon, idiot,” Ray rolled his eyes, and grabbed Frank, heading for the door too. “Walk and talk, dopey.”
Obediently, Frank followed his friend out into the noisy bustle of the school corridor, trying not to get buffeted too painfully by the busy masses. Being a sixth former and top of the school did help, but he was still pretty small, meaning he got crushed in the crowds quite easily. Luckily, Ray was tall and parted the crowds easily for them both.
“Are you actually off your head?” Ray hissed, ploughing his way through a gaggle of excitable first formers, one of which gazed glassily after him, looking longing at his spongy hair. Frank dodged a beefy rugby player in full kit and tentatively inhaled the air on his sleeve, hoping he didn’t actually smell too bad.
“Frank!” Ray exclaimed loudly.
Frank stopped anxiously sniffing his sleeve and looked up at Ray, perplexed. “Um. What?”
“Clarissa isn’t stupid, you know,” Ray shook his head disbelievingly at Frank as they turned out of the swarming main hallway and started walking briskly down the science corridor. He turned to look at Frank properly. “Look, if you don’t want to have her on your case, you could have at least made an effort not to look like you’ve just crawled out of bed.”
“I have, though,” Frank groaned, raking a hand through his greasy hair once more and wincing as he brushed the lump on his forehead. “I didn’t get to sleep until around one AM last night, and I missed the bus this morning.”
Ray’s eyes widened. “Frank Iero not in bed before ten PM.” He shook his head again as if trying to wake up from some kind of surreal dream. “Don’t tell me you missed breakfast this morning too?”
“Well…” Frank bit his lip guiltily, as, right on cue, his stomach let out a loud rumble. “Uh.”
“Well, now I’ve seen it all,” Ray shook his head again, but he started fishing through the contents of his rucksack as they continued down the corridor, the distinct smell of Bunsen burner gas increasing with every footstep. After a few moments, he drew out an apple and maple syrup granola bar.
“Here, eat this,” he smiled fondly at Frank, who was fumbling anxiously with his tie and trying to rub off a muddy mark on his crumpled school trousers.
“Oh Ray, you’re a legend,” Frank breathed gratefully, taking the granola bar and tearing the wrapper off. “I owe you. Thanks.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Ray shook his hand dismissively, smiling in amusement.
They walked the remainder of the way to Frank’s classroom in comfortable silence, as Frank tried to simultaneously look over the previous lesson’s notes and eat the granola bar, which resulted in his notes getting sprayed with crumbs.
When they reached the door, however, Ray put a hand on Frank’s shoulder to stop him going any further, looked seriously at him and said, “You are okay, aren’t you, Frankie?”
Frank swallowed his mouthful before it was quite ready and winced as it stuck in his throat. “I’m fine, Ray.” He assured his friend, swallowing again to try and dislodge the lump of half-chewed granola.
“Sure?” Ray persisted, not looking convinced. Frank, however, nodded.
“Fine. But you know you can always talk to me if you need to, right?” Ray said seriously, eyes full of dark-brown concern. “I won’t judge.”
“Thanks, Ray,” Frank said honestly, throwing his friend a fleeting, grateful smile, before brushing crumbs from his blazer and entering Chemistry Lab 3.
Luckily, Mr. Beeson had only just begun calling the register, allowing Frank to slip into his usual seat beside Clarissa and start searching through his pile of schoolbooks for the Chemistry one.
“Is everything okay?” Clarissa asked as Frank set out his pencil case and continued fumbling through his schoolbooks to find his Chemistry jotter. He looked up hastily to see her surveying him with designer reading glasses and blue distain.
Frank nodded earnestly. “Fine, thanks. Ray just wanted to, uh, know something about…History. The First World War dates for a…Test. Yes.”
Clarissa’s eyes narrowed. “Ray didn’t take History this year. And you have crumbs round your mouth,” she added in a somewhat softened tone, leaning forward and brushing the loose crumbs from Frank’s lips with soft fingers.
Frank blinked, feeling distinctly uncomfortable as he always did when she got close. “Uh. Thanks,” he stammered.
“You’re welcome,” Clarissa whispered, smiling hopefully. Frank swallowed and ducked his head, picked up his pen and began hastily scribbling down the equations and formulae Mr. Beeson was writing on the board without a second glance back at Clarissa.
It was only five minutes into the lesson on Diffusion that Frank’s mind began to drift. Normally, Frank would listen with rapt attention, but the words were slippery and lucid and leaked straight out of his mind before he could even process them.
Instead, he let his eyes linger on window, concentration unravelling further as he stared out across the blustery autumn school grounds. It was raining again; the ghostly, charcoal grey of untold stories rolling soulfully down the glass beside him and trickling gracefully down the stark, naked bark of the poplar trees shivering on the muddy grass of the playing fields, showering it with vibrant tears of rich orange and crinkled amber.
A cold wind choreographed the rain’s direction and the murky silver rainclouds’ fickle patterns, making the late October light shadowy and bleak grey and wet with the occasional dazzling glimmer of peaking yet dying amber blown across the drizzly grounds. Frank wondered where the rusty leaves would be swept by the spiralling silken wind, what they’d see, whose lives they’d touch, what sole path they’d take and no one else could…
The dwindling light of approaching winter reminded him of the dusk descending on Friday; a dusk that would evolve to make the darkest, most potently black midnight he’d ever tried to run from. Thinking of that terrified, haunting darkness that had suffocated the rambling woodland he’d grown up around instantly made Frank think of a pair of startling, tortured green eyes staring unblinkingly at him in the flickery amber firelight, and consequently Frank to think of the accusations those eyes belonged to, how-
“Frank!” A hiss scratching the shell of his ear made Frank start and drop his pen.
“Huh-what?” he stammered blearily, confused, blinking rapidly.
“You’ve been staring out the window for the past ten minutes!” Clarissa whispered crossly. “Pay attention- we have to answer questions on this for homework and you’re not going to know what to do.”
“Sorry,” Frank mumbled guiltily, turning towards the front of the classroom with a sigh, where Mr. Beeson was deep in complicated discussion on chemical diffusion. Normally, Frank would have given this every ounce of concentration, but today, no matter how hard he tried, to his horror, he found he simply couldn’t take a single word of it in- more than that; he didn’t really care about paying attention. And that scared him even more.
He was tired and his eyes were swollen and bloodshot. His socks were the horrible, itchy woollen ones he’d gotten at Christmas because he’d grabbed the first pair from his drawer on the way to school without stopping to think, and they were making his feet burn and itch infuriatingly. The bruise on his head from his woodland escapades throbbed irritably, he was annoyed by the way his unwashed hair hung greasily in front of the lenses of his glasses, and his pen was running out of ink- not to mention Clarissa kept throwing him disdainful looks.
But most of all, Frank couldn’t stop thinking of nightmare-black woods and red ribbons and screaming green eyes and escaped convicts and Emily Louise Hawthorn and Stonebridge Ballet hall and the blue-ish glare of his computer screen he’d sat of in front of for hours on end last night, absorbing detail after detail about Gerard Arthur Way.
“Frank!” Clarissa jabbed Frank with her elbow, making him jump out of his trance once more. She was looking incredulously at him.
“Um,” Frank bit his lip and felt guilt ooze stodgily through him.
“What the hell is wrong with you today?” Clarissa demanded in a low hiss.
“Nothing,” Frank insisted, although even he knew it was a bad lie.
“Mr. Iero! Miss. Potts! Pay attention or I shall have to give you extra homework to catch up on what you’re not listening to,” Mr. Beeson called irately, and Frank bit his lip harder, flushing with embarrassment. Clarissa looked livid.
He spent the rest of the lesson determinedly jotting down every single detail on the textbook page, until Clarissa explained to him he was meant to be looking at page 25 instead of page 35, and he gave up completely, slumping back in his chair and polishing the lenses of his glasses absent-mindedly as he stared out at the rain and wondered if it’s same, cold, scar-like streaks were soaking Gerard Arthur Way right that moment.
When the bell finally shrilled out for break, Frank stuffed all his work under his arm and bolted from the classroom before Clarissa could even call after him. He made it to the library before the masses hit the corridors properly, and sighed in relief when he saw the library was almost completely deserted.
The last thing he needed right now was a bunch of peers gawping in disbelief at the unusually dishevelled Frank Iero and asking him what was wrong, because really, what was wrong with him? Frank didn’t really know. All he knew was that something deep-seated in his person had changed, and he couldn’t stop thinking about what lay beyond his safe, mundane little life, Gerard Arthur Way, the escaped, murderous convict everyone was talking about, and that persistent little itch of curiosity right at the back of his mind which, instead of fading, was getting stronger. Getting stronger and beginning to eclipse the rule-abiding, studious, earnestly innocent Frank Iero everyone thought he was. The Frank Iero he thought he was.
The librarian smiled warmly at Frank as he made his way across to one of the bookshelves, in search of a Steven King novel which had never yet failed to absorb him and distract him from his thoughts. And if there was a time he needed distraction, it was now.
Frank was just browsing the dusty shelves around authors ‘H’, when he felt something small, hot and wet press briefly to the back of his neck and he squealed loudly and whirled round in shock.
“Howdy, Frankfurter. You scream like a girl.” Robbie’s hair was floppy and green as usual, but there was a pink skull bow at one side, and his eyeliner was pumpkin-orange instead of purple today. His turquoise eyes twinkled mischievously as he leant casually back against a bookstand and surveyed Frank’s shocked face with amusement.
“Did you just lick me?!” Frank squeaked, eyes wide.
Robbie shrugged. “Depends what you define as ‘lick’.”
“As in, your tongue touching any part of my body!” Frank yelped loudly and rather desperately, stuffing ‘The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night Time’ back onto the shelf which he’d grabbed for comfort seconds ago.
Robbie was smirking. “Then yes, Sausagekisses. I did lick you.”
Frank let out an odd, high-pitched squeaky sound and paled at an alarming rate.
“Sorry if it offended you. Mr. Green wasn’t too pleased when I greeted him in a similar way last term if I’m honest about it,” Robbie sighed, chipping black polish off his bitten-down nails. “Prude.”
“You licked a TEACHER?!” Frank yelped incredulously, pushing his glasses up his nose and staring in disbelief at Robbie’s grin. The copy of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Nigh Time’ fell to the floor with a thud.
“You want to say that any louder, Frankieboy? And hey, Mr. Green was a tasty piece of meat, you have to admit.” Robbie smirked, bending down with ease, even although his pinstriped pink-and-white skinny jeans looked so tight they could have been painted on, and handing Frank back the book as if he hadn’t just been talking about molesting student teachers.
Frank opened and closed his mouth, then opened it again.
“Yes, I like goldfish roleplay too,” Robbie said casually, thumbing through a copy of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as he waited for Frank to breathe again.
“Um,” Frank stammered.
“Hi,” Robbie grinned, pushing a strand of his green hair behind one ear.
“What-what are you doing in a Library?” Frank blurted before he could stop himself, and immediately feeling embarrassed for being so impolite.
Robbie pretended to look offended. “And what’s that supposed to mean, Sausageboy? I’m hurt. Very, very hurt.”
“I didn’t mean-I just didn’t expect-uh-I didn’t think you were a Library kind of-I-” Frank’s anxious stammering ground to a halt as Robbie started sniggering and waving the copy of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in amusement.
“Oh Frankfurter,” he shook his head in disbelief. “I was just joshing.”
“…Joshing?” Frank repeated suspiciously, straightening his glasses in some hope of being taken seriously. “Is that…drugs?”
Robbie exploded into full-blown laughter, shaking his head as he gasped for breath, almost bend double as the vocal smiles bubbled from his lips and filled the compulsory silence of the school library.
“Oh my god.” He wiped his watering eyes and patted Frank on the head. “You are officially the most adorable thing ever. They should reprint the dictionary and under the word ‘adorable’ print a picture of you. Oh god.”
Frank scowled crossly and pushed Robbie’s hand away. “If you’re going to make fun of me, you can just go away and leave me to read-” he picked a random book off the shelf huffily and blinked at the cover.
“‘A history of menstruation by Eva Harold?’” Robbie smirked at the book in Frank’s hands, looking as if he was having serious issues biting back his laughter.
Colour flooded Frank’s cheeks. “Um.”
“Oh, Frankieboy,” Robbie said gently, taking the book and sliding it back onto the shelf. He looked kindly at Frank then, laying a hand on the smaller’s shoulder, grimaced sympathetically and said in a more gentle tone; “Bad day, huh?”
“You could say that again,” Frank sighed dismally, pushing his greasy hair out of his eyes. “I can’t concentrate on any of my lessons and got shouted at in Chemistry.”
Robbie struggled with himself for a moment before saying, with a relatively straight face. “Why?” His features twitched ominously.
“I wasn’t paying attention,” Frank mumbled guiltily, ducking his head and surveying the cheaply carpeted floor.
“Why not?” Robbie asked, sounding genuinely interested. “I thought you’re like, a total science geek. And maths geek. And English. And- well, everything. You’re so smart it’s like, insane.”
“I’m not!” Frank protested, raking a stressed hand through his hair again and looking desperately up at Robbie. “I only get good marks because I work really hard, and I haven’t revised for my French oral exam this afternoon and I’m not going to get more than a C for sure and then my parents will be so disappointed because I won’t be able to take modern languages at university and I’ll have to do-”
“Hey, hey, hey,” Robbie interrupted gently, rubbing Frank’s shoulder and looking at him seriously. “Breathe, Frankfurter. Do you like French?”
Frank blinked. “I- what?”
“Do you enjoy French? You know, all that Bonjour-we-eat-snails-and-wear-berets bullshit?”
“Not really,” Frank admitted truthfully. “I mean, its okay, but not my favourite subject or anything.”
“Then why would you want to do it at university?” Robbie asked softly, looking earnestly at Frank, all turquoise-eyed wisdom and green-haired rebellion.
Frank opened his mouth, then stopped, heart beating fast in realisation.
“Exactly.” Robbie patted Frank’s shoulder. “You need to stop letting other people make your decisions for you. Do what you want to do, Frankieboy. I don’t mean stop working hard or anything, I just mean…”
“I know,” Frank mumbled, voice slightly hoarse. “I’d never honestly thought about it, actually. Thanks, Robbie.”
“You’re welcome.” Robbie beamed, slicking on cherry lip balm and winking at the Librarian who was giving him a slightly odd look. He slung an arm round Frank’s shoulders. “What are friends for, eh, Sausagekisses?”
Frank managed a genuine smile then. “Don’t call me Sausagekisses.”
Even though Frank knew he’d get it in the neck from Clarissa later, and he really should be spending every spare second revising for his French oral exam, he actually ended up spending his break-time sitting at one of the Library desks with Robbie, listening green-haired friend reciting his favourite parts of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and watching the rain dribble gracefully, greyly, down the window across the room, scribing the silence in it’s own private metaphor.
“How did your lovely girlfriend take the whole thing about Friday?” Robbie asked suddenly, having finished reciting a sonnet. He looked seriously at Frank.
“Friday?” Frank blinked stupidly.
“Y’know, her perfect, sweet little boyfriend popping his concert cherry by going to see a punk band who sing about guts and piss? About her boyfriend walking home metres from where the escaped convict was sighted earlier the same day?” Robbie looked faintly amused, continuing to thumb through the play with mild interest.
“She doesn’t know.”
“Ah. Wise move, Frankfurter.”
“Um, Robbie?” Frank found himself asking, suddenly feeling oddly apprehensive.
“Can I ask you something?”
“I think you just did. But sure. Ask away, my little Sausage.”
“What do you think about the whole escaped convict thing?” Frank blurted, wringing his hands anxiously in his lap and looking earnestly at Robbie.
Robbie tipped his head to one side and surveyed Frank thoughtfully. “Hm. I don’t honestly know. If what the guy did is true, then I hope to fuck they catch him.”
“You mean…You think it might not be true?” Frank asked interestedly, heart suddenly thumping, palms turning clammy as he twisted them apprehensively in his lap.
Robbie looked at Frank curiously for a moment, then said, “I don’t know. I don’t really know a whole lot about the case or what the truth is. But who knows what the truth really is these days, anyway? All it seems to be is what the majority thinks. If you ask me, that’s not truth. But that was his sentence, wasn’t it? In a sense, what does it matter if it’s truth or not. It’s what everyone believes.”
A question-laced silence followed this, but Frank couldn’t get up the nerve to ask anything else, so instead quoted a bit out of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and Robbie resumed picking out his favourite bits, although a hint of unfinished discussion and answers lingered in the air between them.
When the bell rang for second period, Robbie whisked Frank out of the Library and through the doors just out of the cloakrooms, into the sea of bleak mist and mud that was the school field. It was numbingly bitter and cold, and the wind and rain whipped icily against their skin, making Frank shiver and huddle into his rumpled blazer.
“So. What’s your next lesson, Sausagey?” Robbie asked, the words slightly muffled as he spoke round a cigarette he was trying-and failing- to light in the October rain that dribbled down around them and soaked silently into the muddy grass.
“Um, hold on a sec.” Frank fumbled in his pocket for a moment before drawing out a slightly crumpled piece of paper which flapped about like a caged dove in the autumnal wind. He unfolded it’s trembling wings and announced, with a small sigh, “English lit.”
“You like English?” Robbie asked, taking a long draw on his cigarette and wincing as the raw wind blew the smoky exhale straight back into his face.
Frank considered for a moment, taking his glasses off and wiping the spatters of rain away as his hair was swept messily across his line of vision. “Yes, I guess I do.”
“Off you go, then,” Robbie grinned, poking Frank gently in the chest.
Frank managed something that was halfway between a smile and a choke as he accidentally breathed in a copious lungful of second-hand smoke.
“God,” he spluttered, eyes streaming. “How the hell do you smoke that?”
“Practice,” Robbie said wisely. “I’d offer you one, but I’d hate to be the person to pollute your pretty little lungs.”
Frank smiled weakly. “I appreciate your concern, but I can make my own decisions.”
“Really?” Robbie asked quietly, polka-dot eyebrows raised in the perfect combination of seriousness and the ridiculous.
Frank felt himself flush bright red. “Uh. Yeah. Whatever. Look, I’ll see you later,” he babbled, hurrying off towards the school building with the itch of curiosity stronger than ever.
“Oi, Frankieboy!” Robbie called as Frank was nearly at the peeling oak doors to the English block. Frank turned round, grimacing as the icy wind and rain lashed his cheeks and whipped his hair out of his eyes.
“Yes?” He shouted over the wind.
“Wanna hang out later?”
Frank knew he had homework. He knew his parents wouldn’t be pleased. He knew Clarissa would be annoyed.
Frank didn’t even have to think twice before calling back; “Sure,” and hurrying into the rush and bustle of ordinary school life, only this time with the smallest of smiles playing at the corner of his lips.
I really hope this was okay- sorry if it was a little rushed, but I literally have five minutes to post this because I still haven't finished my packing for Wales and I have like, eight hours before we leave. Holy shit. Anyway...I won't be online for a while, so make me very happy and leave me a bunch of R&Rs to come back to? 'Cause I've honestly worked my ass off to get this chapter finished and posted, and I'd love to know what you're all thinking about Frank ect. Don't worry, things will get more exciting in the next several chapters xD Thank you all so much for reading! I love you guys, and I promise I'll try my hardest to update sooner this time! R&R? :D
P.S I'm cooking up something new and giggly in computer CosmicZombie...Did that make sense? Probably not. Okay.