Chapter 2: Love in the homosexual kettle
"So let me get this right," Gerard said, lying back on the couch, taking up most of the space. "There's a girl you keep seeing, you've never spoken to her and you're in love with her. What I don't understand is why you don't just go talk to her?"
"It's not that simple!" Ray groaned, pacing about the room in a very frustrated manner. After months of running into Christa by accident (although, accident can be sort of a stretch because he did often return to the places he'd seen her just because of the chance of seeing her there again), he had finally decided it was time to open up to his very understanding friends.
Understanding, of course, being a very gentle word to use.
Frank was still howling with laughter on the floor, gasping for air. He found it very amusing that Ray was so smitten with a girl, and couldn't stop laughing at him. Ray made sure that each time he passed the shorter man, he would very firmly kick various parts of his body, although he found the crotch to be the most effective in making the short guitarist feel unspeakable pain.
"Guys, I have no idea what to do," Ray admitted. He really hated speaking about this to his band mates, and it only made him feel like a teenage girl who was obsessed with the cutest guy at high school. But honestly, he had to do something. And it had become apparent that he could not achieve this particular goal on his own.
"If I were you, I'd just go up to her and ask her out," Gerard said. "I mean, what's the worst thing that could happen?"
"She could hear me!" Ray shouted, and then added in a very frustrated manner: "And then she'll say no, and I'll be depressed and I'll drown my sorrows in alcohol and I'll have to go to AA meetings but it won't work and then I'll get an alcohol poisoning and then I'll be one of those miserable people on the streets who can't even afford socks!"
"So... We'll call that plan B?" Mikey suggested once Ray had ended his crazy rant.
"Guys," Frank said in the midst of his gasping for air. The laughter had ceased, and an excited look had replaced the mocking howl. "I have an idea."
Usually when Frank said those ill-fated words, it always ended in disaster. But, seeing as they had ran out of options, they took Frank's advice.
The next day, at Ray's, when the guys came back to take part in whatever it was that Frank had planned, Frank himself showed up with a full grocery bag. And the second the short man pulled out a book from his bag, Ray, Gerard and Mikey all internally sighed. The book looked like a notebook of a four year old girl. The covers were pink and fluffy, and the title... Well...
"'101 ways to make that special someone notice you'?" Mikey read out loud as Frank showed them the book.
"Yeah, there's this great recipe in here, let me just find it..." Frank said, shuffling through the pages that were all apparently decorated with pastel-colored hearts and flowers. No, it was not looking good. "Here it is!" he finally announced. "This is certain to make her want you!"
When Ray looked at the page Frank was showing him, he asked in disbelief: "A love potion?! You want to make a love potion!"
"Well why not?!"
"Frank... You do know things like that don't actually work."
"It worked in Harry Potter!"
"And this is what the future of my love life relies on?" Ray asked, shaking his head. He was definitely not doing this. It was a ridiculous idea!
Frank must've sensed the unwelcoming atmosphere for his brilliant idea, because he stuck his chin up as if challenging them, and said: "Well do any of you have a better idea?"
And so, ten minutes later, they had emptied the contents of the Wal-Mart bag on the kitchen table, and Frank had put a kettle on the stove.
"Alright," Frank said, examining the recipe. "First, we need to boil half a liter of orange juice, then we need to crush some peanuts into a fine flour, mix it with fresh semen of a virile young man, and add it into the juice, then stir seven times clockwise and then... Why are you guys looking at me like that?" Frank asked, realizing his friends were staring at him like he'd gone mad.
"What was it that we needed to mix the peanuts with?" Ray asked. He was pretty sure he had heard incorrectly, and dreaded the answer. And, of course, the answer was just as bad as he thought it would be.
"Actually, you're right, I misspoke" Frank admitted, and the three others sighed in relief. "It specifies that if the maker of the potion is a male, the semen used must be his. And it has to be fresh." Next the grabbed a measuring cup from the tabletop and thrust it in Ray's hand. "Fill this."
"You have got to be kidding me!" Ray shouted out in disbelief.
"Not at all, this is serious," Frank said frowning. "If you need some help, I brought magazines."
Ray took one look at the magazine the man handed him. He had to close his eyes and count to ten before he could speak. "Okay. First of all, this is Winnie the Pooh," he said in a surprisingly calm tone of voice. "And second of all, I am not going to do this."
"You can't just make a cocktail with your cum in it and make people drink it, Frank," Mikey piped in.
"Well I've never had any complaints before," Frank claimed, and when he spotted the shocked looks he was getting, he added: "A man has to have a hobby, doesn't he?! But fine," he frowned, "we can substitute the semen with a lock of hair."
"Well why didn't you say so in the first place?!" Ray demanded. He would have no problem providing hair for the potion, as he was already ripping out tufts of curly hair from his head because of the potion master.
"I hadn't read the part yet. I'm not a fucking speed reader, am I?"
They trusted Frank with most of the potion, as it was his idea, and he clearly enjoyed being the master of the kitchen. "I feel like Snape," he announced at one point gleefully as he was adding a handful of raisins into the mixture. "And do you guys know what? We're almost done!"
"Oh thank god," Gerard groaned. He had been given the task of grinding up peanuts, dog bones, egg shells and everything else hard that needed to be converted into a fine powder.
"The last thing we need is the functioning heart of a newborn," Frank announced. "Any volunteers for a donor?"
"Do we look like newborns?" Gerard asked, but Mikey snatched the book away from Frank and asked: "Where on earth did you get this book?!"
"Don't be so snappy," Frank frowned. "But fine. No hearts. But if it doesn't work, it will be your fault for not sacrificing your firstborn children."
"Does that mean we're done?" Ray asked. He would have never admitted it, but after four hours of grinding, mixing, stirring, boiling, cooling, whisking, cutting and God knows what else, he was actually starting to feel a bit hopeful. Or perhaps the toxic fumes of the potion were just getting to him, making him delusional. He crouched over the pot, as did the other three, and they breathed in the scent.
"Guys?" Ray asked.
"How are we going to get Christa to drink something that smells like a pair of dirty socks?"
The four of them were silent for a time, thinking about it, and then a huge smile spread over Frank’s face. It made the other three very scared, as the smile looked more like he was about to steal Christmas rather than that he had a bright idea.
It all seemed like a bad dream. Looking back, Ray wondered how he hadn’t known it would all end in a disaster. Or perhaps he had known, but simply chose to disregard that uncomfortable knowledge of impending doom because of the hope that somehow it would all work out. It didn’t.
One of the places Ray had most often seen Christa was the bar they now, due to Ray’s insisting of course, regularly went to. And that is where they chose to put their brilliant plan into action.
“Guys, I’m not sure about this,” Ray whispered to Mikey and Gerard as they stood by the bar, waiting for Christa to appear. “It feels wrong. I feel like a creepy rapist stalking his next victim.”
The Way brothers shared a glance. Yes, they felt the same, but they weren’t going to say anything. Ray was a nervous wreck as it is, they didn’t need to add up to his stress by agreeing with his insane (yet completely justified) concerns.
Frank, who had been waiting by the door to keep a watch for Christa’s appearance suddenly slipped into their company. “She’s here!” Frank said in a sing-song voice, obviously excited to test this crazy love potion of his. “I feel like a father on his daughter’s wedding day! Ray, you and Christa will be so happy together!”
Somehow the short guitarist’s confidence didn’t assure Ray at all. When he saw Christa approach him and his group of friends, he instantly felt the palms of his hands get sweaty and his stomach adopted the hallucination that it was in a rollercoaster. She was looking calm and collected as she always was, with a small, warm smile on her face when she spoke to the bartender to order a drink.
“Guys, this is it,” Frank whispered. By now he seemed so excited that he was about to soil himself.
Of course, with all the stalking Ray had done during his staring at her in awe, he had picked up a few snippets of valuable information about the girl. One of those pieces of information was her favorite drink, which she always ordered. Today was no exception. All they had to do was order the same drink, create a commotion to divert her attention elsewhere, and then perform a simple switch.
The switch was fairly easy. Ray was the one who had been given the task of being the diversion. When Christa was leaving the bar, all he had to do was be slightly in her way so that some of her drink splashed on his shirt. All went according to plan. Except that instead of being the perfect gentleman he was supposed to be, Ray stared at her in a way that made him seem half-witted while she thrust her hand to Mikey and started fussing over the tiny amount of spilled liquid. And during this commotion, Mikey swiftly picked up the other drink which was infused with some disgusting love potion (which surprisingly didn’t smell at all when it was mixed with alcohol), and waited for her to ask for it back.
Ray was still staring at her dumbly when she had made sure she hadn’t ruined his shirt. When she was done apologizing, she snatched her drink away from Mikey, gave Ray one last apologizing glance, and walked away to her own friends. After she had disappeared from his eyesight, Ray seemed to snap out of the state of trance he’d been under.
“I can’t believe that worked,” Gerard said, peering through the crowd at Christa so she could see when she drinks the potion.
“Do you think the potion will work, though?” Mikey asked.
“I hope so. If Ray doesn’t get laid soon, I fear he’s going to act like a lovesick teenager forever,” Gerard replied, and nodded towards Ray who was looking longingly after the girl.
“Shut up,” Ray snapped after he realized he had been insulted, his cheeks assuming quite a lovely shade of pink. He concentrated back on Christa, who was chatting with her friends, anxiously waiting for her to drink the potion. According to Frank, even a small sip would be sufficient for the potion to work.
“Guys, I feel funny,” Frank complained with a scowl on his face, his arms folded over his stomach as if it hurt.
“Not now, Frank,” Ray snapped, his gaze fixed on Christa. But mere moments later his eyes widened and he jumped in surprise when he felt a pair of hands on his butt. “Frank! What are you doing?!” he shouted, staring at his friend in shock.
Frank’s face had assumed a dreamy look. His eyes had gone glossy and he licked his lips before speaking: “Mon cherie!” he said in a very bad French accent. “I’ve never noticed how... how incredibly beautifully the angelic curls of your hair catch the light. It makes me feel inspired, as if I should paint a picture to preserve it forever.”
Ray and Gerard stared at the short man dumbfoundedly while Mikey tried to see what was so special about the light on Ray’s fro. “Okay Frank, you can drop the act now,” Ray said, but the adoring look on Frank’s face made him doubt if this was an act after all.
“Raymond my dear, this is no time for play, for what I feel for you is completely serious. And from the bottom of my heart, I can say... I... I love you! I must know, do you feel the same?!”
Ray watched in shock as Frank flushed crimson in the face. The man was staring up at him with huge eyes, expecting an answer.
“Uh... Guys? I think I may have given Christa the wrong drink,” Mikey said, sniffing the empty glass in his hand. When he had allowed Frank to have the remaining drink, he hadn’t thought twice about it. How was he supposed to know if it was the wrong one?!
“Dear god,” Gerard gasped, utterly shocked by the revelation. “The potion worked!”
“Yeah, on the wrong person! Frank, how could you be so stupid?!” Ray scolded, but Frank’s ears chose to hear something else.
“Oh Raymond!” he squealed, “I knew you felt the same way! We shall buy a house in the countryside and you shall conceive many, many children to secure our golden retirement years! Oh darling, we shall be so happy!”
What happened next had only before happened in Ray’s worst nightmares. He watched in horror, frozen to his place, as Frank’s face came crashing towards his. Being relatively short, Frank jumped up, embraced Ray by his neck to keep himself up, and kissed him right on the mouth, French style.
During the split second that Ray gathered his thoughts, the one thing worse than having Frank kiss him happened. Christa saw it. From the corner of his eye Ray saw Christa glance at them, shrug, and turn away. His face red, Ray pushed the man away from his person, and Frank fell to the floor.
“Well,” Gerard observed dryly while Ray was strangling Frank. “This did not go as well as planned, did it?”
The effect of the potion had worn off by the time Ray stopped trying to murder his bandmate. “I’m sorry,” Frank apologized from the floor, still panting. But whether the shortness of breath was from the strangling or the passionate kiss they shared, Ray did not want to know.
“You should be,” Ray complained. “You ruined everything!”
“No!” Frank shouted. “This is not over! To make it up to you, I will hook you up with that girl, even if it kills you both!”
“I won’t listen to your advice anymore!”
“Ray!” Gerard shouted over the ruckus they made. When he had caught their attention, he smirked and said: “I think I might have an idea.”