Meet Mikey Way; psychological ninja. Read, review, rate and feel my love! ;P
“Let me guess; you are somewhat sexually confused and/or frustrated.”
“You caught your dad jacking-off and are now scarred for life?”
“Okay. I think I got it. Your eyeliner got stolen by the cheerleaders and now you feel the need to write some dark, deep poetry about how your soul is getting swallowed by the all-encompassing black hole that is high school.”
“For a counsellor you’re not very good at listening, are you?”
I stop spinning on my swivel chair, my one ray of sunshine in this overly-grey little box room, and stop to regard the boy sat in front of me with a halfway apologetic look. I know I should be taking this more seriously, that this kid probably does have some real problems that need real help or else he wouldn’t be here in front of me, but I don’t think my sanity can take sitting through another session of comforting a teenager through the loss of their beloved pet woodlouse.
Yeah. That really happened. At around nine o’clock this morning when my first appointment came in, sobbing about how her big brother had squashed her woodlouse who was, according to the nutter, the only living being around to listen to her problems. So without the bug I had to become her agony aunt.
Agony aunt. I never really understood that saying before now. But believe me; I most certainly do understand it now. Because listening to self-centred teenagers droning on about how the smallest little issues in their lives could cause the apocalypse certainly is agonizing.
Seriously; by my third appointment I was about ready to put my paperclip noose to good use and end my suffering there.
“Sorry. It’s been a long day.” I mumble, using extreme amounts of self-control not to start howling with maniacal laughter at the thought of how much of an understatement that truly is. “What’s your name again, Buddy?”
I’m trying, I really am, but I just can’t get myself to sound nearly as interested as I know I should be in this kid’s problem. It’s not that I don’t care, which I kind of do, but I just don’t see why it should be me fixing this kid’s life up like some sort of fairy fucking godmother. Maybe the kid does need help and if that’s the case then I truly feel sorry for him because I know I won’t be able to actually give him that help. Then again though, it is equally as likely that he’s just had a teeny little drama and thinks it means the end of the world. Looking at the way he’s dressed, with skin-tight jeans and an over styled dark mop, it wouldn’t surprise me if the worse thing that’s ever happened to him is his daddy not being able to afford gig tickets.
“But I already told you that when I came in!” He all but yells, eyes full of exasperation.
Hang on; it’s not just exasperation. It’s desperation too. Not the kind of desperation bought on from a beauty queen finding a broken nail, but actual, proper desperation. The kind that makes me think that he might just be worth helping.
But he doesn’t have to know that. Not yet. After all, if he really is all that desperate he can prove it to me by working for my attention. And he’s going to have to do something pretty fucking spectacular after the day I’ve had. Seriously, right now I’m starting to think that I’m going to be needing therapy by the time this semester’s through. If I make it through, that is.
The lanky kid, who looks somewhat familiar from a few of my classes, runs a hand through his hair and removes his faux-designer glasses, wipes them on the sleeve of his Green Day hoodie and then replaces them to be perched right on the edge of his nose. He drags out the movements in what is clearly meant to be some quiet form of revenge; I wasted his time by not paying attention, so now he’s wasting mine.
I think I like this kid already. He’s smart, in a crafty sort of way. Kind of like me too, what with the way he’s acting so self-assured. Not to mention his rocking taste in music, if his hoodie is anything to go by.
Perhaps he might just be worth my time.
“I’m Mikey. Mikey Way.” He reaches out a hand across my purposefully cluttered desk, and I automatically shake it like I have done with the other five kids who came to seek my counselling today. “And you’re Frank Iero, right?”
I just nod as he drops my hand and starts examining the dirt under his fingernails, knowing just how to get someone to pay him attention by not paying them any. It’s a tactic that I would normally use with a teacher, so I know exactly what kind of game he’s playing. And I must say, I think I admire him for it.
Or rather, I would if it wasn’t so frustratingly like something I would do if I was in his place.
“So, what brings you to my office, Mikey?” I ask, trying my best to sound professional. I might not like that I’ve got to be here, but this whole student-to-student counselling program was my idea; I want to show the world that I was right, that my ideas are good ones. “I’m here to help.”
He raises his eyebrows at me, his pupils feasting on my features as though trying to decide something about me. If it wasn’t for his skinniness or the bright pink unicorn pin-badge he’s got on clear view, I would most likely be a little intimidated by him. A lot intimidated by him, actually.
A bird flies past my window, swooping through the air like a minnow in a summer stream. I think it might be a swallow, not that I really give a damn, and I can’t help but take a moment to envy it’s freedom. Sure, I know birds don’t live all that long or have overly interesting lives, but if one creature could represent freedom, a bird would be it. I think it would be sort of nice to be something like that; something with no restraints, something that can defy gravity even though nothing else on this planet naturally can. That’s true freedom, breaking the rules.
I guess that’s why I sent Sparky skywards; to gain my own small sense of freedom by breaking the rules in the most outlandish way possible. Of course I did it because Ray double-dared me, but had the dare been something dull or within the confines of school law, then I doubt I would have done it.
Mikey slams his hand down on my desk with enough force to make it shudder beneath my elbows, making me turn to give him my full attention. Judging by the sly smirk on his sharp face, that’s exactly the effect he was going for.
“It’s my big brother, actually. Gerard. He’s a senior.” He pauses a little, looking me over once more before nodding contently to himself. “I want you to help him.”
“Hang on a second there, Buddy. You’ve come to me for help, to help someone else?” The confident look on Mikey’s face falters at my incredulous tone, thus somehow making me somewhat regret interrupting him. “Sorry, it’s just you kinda look like the type to worry about their own ass.”
“You really aren’t used to this counselling thing are you, Frankie?” I let out a guttural groan of frustration, hating that every time I open my mouth with this guy I’ve managed to firmly plant my converse-covered foot in it. “Don’t worry about it, Man. Just don’t mess up when you see my brother. He actually does need help.”
So somehow I’ve wound up to be a sort of hero in this guy’s eyes; a saviour of sorts. Now, that would be pretty goddamn cool if it wasn’t for the fact that there’s no conceivable way that I actually will be able ot help his big brother. I think I do want to help him too, which is something rather strange in itself.
Maybe it’s because I can see a shimmer of myself in my Mikey, or maybe it’s because it’s painfully obvious how much the boy cares about his brother. Either way, for some reason or another, I want something to happen to help Mikey to help his big brother. Which is precisely why I can’t be the one giving the help.
I mean, I’m a sixteen-year-old who’s a little loose in the head himself; I couldn’t help a fish learn to swim.
Seriously though, I’ll be about as much help to this Gerard kid as a coffee made of cyanide.
Besides, it’s not like I physically have to help anyone. If anything, I should be pissed that this cocky emo-kid has waltzed in here demanding things from me that he should be able to sort out by himself. Actually, I should be pissed off with him; he has no right to be telling me what to do, to come in here and invade my freedom.
Yeah. I’m pissed off with Mikey Way.
“What makes you so sure that I’ll help?”
Now the tables have turned and I’ve got his attention, not the other way around. His face is set in an unreadable expression, yet his eyes are wide enough to conjure up a slight stirring of sympathy somewhere deep within me; the two aspects forming the perfect poker face and pointing to one thing.
Mikey Way is not giving up without a fight.
Normally I’d find that to be rather admirable, I still sort of do, but right now it’s just plain annoying. Because I know I won’t be able to actually help and I’ll end up feeling like a rodent-exploding failure. A rodent-exploding failure who will be the laughing stock of the entire fucking faculty.
Not to mention the me supposing to be pissed-off with this guy’s sheer audacity getting in the way with me agreeing to help.
“Well, it’s your job. To help, I mean.” He looks up at the clock, making me too realise that he’s only got five minutes before the bell goes and his chance is lost. “You’re the student-to-student counsellor. Ergo, it is your job to help the students.”
“Correction; this is not my job at all. A job is something you get paid to do and trust me, Buddy, I certainly ain’t getting paid to be here.” I sigh, looking down at the ever-extending chain of paperclips that I’ve placed into my lap. “Look, if your brother really needs help, then why doesn’t he see the proper counselling guy?”
At that Mikey’s poker face gives way to a look of all-consuming rage. The kind of all-consuming rage that is so strong and vehement that it can only possibly be bought on by one thing; true, deep care. Care so deep that it rivals that which any mother can give their child. And that strikes up a sense of envy inside me, because the only person to ever care about me enough to get angry is my mom. Nobody else; just the woman who makes me cherry pie whenever I look low and makes me watch high-octane musicals with her because she hates loneliness. But not nearly as much as I hate watching Mama Mia whilst being forced into singing along.
Of course there’s Toro, my best friend since the dawn of time (or at least since the dawn of my time at Belleville High), but he doesn’t get angry or rage-y. He’s too smart for that. And kind. Way too kind to ever even consider doing something such as demanding a guy to go sort out his own big brother for him.
“Listen here, Iero. You’re going to get my brother into a counselling session and you are going to help him or, I swear on all that is rock and fucking roll, you’ll be seeing a doctor about getting your head removed from your ass.” His tone is solid and sincere, as though he actually thinks he’d be capable of carrying out his blatantly empty threat. “Capiche?”
“Buddy, you and I both know that I could snap you in half in the blink of an eye.” I ensure that my voice is at least a little lighter than his; I might not exactly be the friendliest of people, but the last thing I want is to upset the guy. “So let’s cut the crap right now.”
His head drops down, lolling into his chest as his cheeks burn a hilariously bright hue of ketchup.
No. It isn’t hilarious at all. It’s actually quite sad, in a strange kind of way. Because when he lifts his head there’s something new in his big brown eyes; despair. The despair infuses with his earlier desperation to give his entire face a hue of something that I don’t quite understand. Not at all, but I do understand that it’s making my black little heart go out for the boy just trying to help his big brother.
“Please! You gotta help him; I don’t know what else to do!” His eyes start watering, lower lip starts quaking and I swear to God I can see his soul breaking in the darkest part of his pupils. “Please, Frankie. Help my big brother.”
I want to say yes and then glomp the boy, who all of a sudden looks very small and childlike sat here crying in front of me, without a second’s thought. But it’s that kind of rash thinking that got me into this position in the first place.
And I’m not about to fall into something so easily again. No way. Not a chance and certainly not just because some kid turned on the waterworks in front of me. In fact, that should make me resent his case even more. I mean, he has no right to come in here, demand my help and then, to top it all off, start fucking crying.
Before I can stop myself, I’m handing him some tissues out of the half-empty box on my desk and trying desperately to get him to mop himself up before his tears can seep into my mind and unlock my better nature.
“Don’t cry, Mikey! Please, please don’t fucking cry!” I’m surprised, although I really shouldn’t be, when my words come out as a plea of pure encouraging sympathy. “It’ll be okay, I promise. Just please, for the love of Batman, don’t start crying.”
Instantly the watering and the quaking and the soul breaking stop, a gigantic beam taking their place instead. A little too quickly for me not to question the authenticity of his tears.
“So you’ll do it then?” His voice is no longer that of a brother in dire need, but more like a kid who just found out his dad is actually Willy Wonka. “You’ll help Gee?”
I groan, burying my face in my hands because I’ve done it again; I’ve managed to get trapped in a situation that will most likely drain me of all happiness. But how can I not do it?
Just say no, Frankie, just say no to the kid and send him on his way. All that will happen if I get involved is that I’ll end up losing more of my spare time helping out Mikey’s older brother, who could be a psychotic murderer for all I know, and get absolutely nothing out of it other than maybe gaining a tiny bit of favour with the faculty. And since when do I care about the faculty’s favour?
Since forever, actually. I’ve always cared about the faculty’s favour. Cared about staying firmly out of it. I think it’s another part of the whole freedom-comes-with-rule-breaking thing that I seem to have drilled into my mind.
But what’ll happen if I don’t help?
Mikey will start crying again and, as stupid as this might sound, that kid looks really fucking convincing when he turns the taps on. Convincing enough to make my heart bleed for him.
Not that he’ll ever need to know that.
I glance quickly to the clock, an idea formulating in my head to help me make my decision even though I know I should just say no now before I get in too deep. Unfortunately for my sanity though, both my better nature and my curiosity seem to be getting the best of me right now.
“You’ve got two minutes, Buddy.” I say, sounding so cold and business-like that it scares me into thinking that I might just be turning into my father. “Convince me.”
Mikey nods and does something that I really hoped he wouldn’t; he somehow manages to bleed out a few more tears and returns his face to the look of complete innocence and despair that is so impeccably believable that it makes me want to nominate him for an Oscar of some description.
“Gerard’s like you, Frankie.” I raise my eyebrows a little, quietly wondering when we became well enough acquainted for him to be calling me Frankie and assuming that he knows enough about me to be comparing me to his big brother. “Neither of you like being told what to do and it makes you difficult to get along with.” I’m about to haul him out of my room by the collar at that, but then I see the look of sincere, I don’t know, pain in his eyes and stop myself. I gave him two minutes and I’m a guy of my word. “Apart from you’ve got spirit, Gerard doesn’t. Not anymore. He used to, but lately… I don’t know. It’s like he’s dying inside and I don’t know why.”
It’s strange, the effect words can have over someone. Like, they can start wars or end pain; they can make everything better or bring the world crashing down around you. And they can make someone change their mind should the right words be uttered in the right tone by the right person.
Just like they have just been.
“He won’t see a counsellor; he doesn’t want someone who’s paid to care. Says it’s pointless.” Just like me, then. “But he needs someone; he needs something, before it’s too late.” He stops and checks the time before turning back to me with a glint in his eyes that I can’t not look at. “And I think you might just need him, Frank. You need to see how you’ll turn out if you don’t start listening. If you don’t start talking.”
Who the fuck is this kid, this Mikey Way, to start telling me what I need? Who does he think he is, coming in and acting like he’s all that, then insulting me? Well, if this is his way of going about finding help then he’s clearly quite insane.
Insane but smart. Too smart for my own good. Because the sneaky bastard’s got me sussed, knows how to get my curiosity whirring around my mind like the blades of a helicopter propeller spurring me onwards into the Great Unknown.
“I’ll do it.”
“I know you will.” Mikey pulls out a folded piece of paper from his pocket and hands it over the table to me, his smug smirk not faltering even when his eyes land on my begrudging scowl. “Here’s Gerard’s cell number. Text him tonight.”
I want to say no; I don’t have to do anything this skinny kid tells me to do because I am my own person, I’m free. I should say no too, if only to prove a point, but there’s something about this entire thing that I just can’t let go. Like when you see a new kind of chocolate bar on sale and you just have to try it or else you’ll always be bugged by not knowing what it tasted like. This is kind of like that; I have to help or else I’ll always be stuck wondering whether this Gerard really is like me, whether I really will wind up like him.
Not that I think I will. I’m unique, after all. Unique and free; that’s me.
But, just, what if?
“Yeah, okay. I’ll text him. I’m not making any promises, mind.”
“I know you aren’t; your eyes are making them for you.”
A/N: So, here’s the first proper chapter; I hope it was alright! Thank you very, very much to all of those who reviewed/rated the prologue. Seriously, reviews and rates make my day and help me to write. So a big ‘thanks’ to you guys! And thanks for reading this chapter; please let me know what you think! :D