Frank gets to school and has a new english teacher.
I wake up to sunlight streaming through the window and sigh, diving underneath the comforter again. I’m beginning to doze off when my mom comes in and shakes me gently.
“Frank... Frank you need to get up now love,” she says and I groan, realising that today’s the first day back at school. For a moment I wish I could go back a few weeks, back to halfway through the summer when I was staying with my Dad in Newark, but then I remember that I’m pissed at him and I sniff loudly.
“Fine,” I grunt and she smiles.
“Coffee’s ready honey,” she says before leaving to go back downstairs.
I slide out of bed, yawning widely, and pad over towards my drawers. I pull out my usual black skinny jeans. I’ve worn skinny jeans since I was ten years old, ignoring all the ‘faggot’ comments. I didn’t even particularly like wearing them; they were so tight that it took me about ten minutes to get them off at night but that was the point really – I was wearing baggy jeans that day when I was ten which made it easy for the rapist to rip them off, but if I couldn’t get my jeans off myself then surely something like that couldn’t happen again.
I shake my head, trying to stop thinking about that day, and continue getting dressed.
As I walk to school, the day from six years ago creeps back into my head again and I shove my iPod headphones into my ears in an attempt to drown out my thoughts with Black Flag. It feels like my past is haunting me, what with the way it waits till I’m all alone before creeping up on me. I turn up the volume on my iPod and I’m pretty sure that the woman walking her dog across the road can hear it because she gives me a funny look. I ignore her and continue walking, turning the corner onto the street that the school is on.
When I see the school I freeze for a moment.
I really hate school; it’s pretty much living hell for me and I guess if I was anyone but me I wouldn’t show up for a large percentage of the time and hang out at the swing park or in town instead (because, really, who needs to know how to work out the square root of X multiplied by seven in the real world anyway?) but since I was ten I’ve had a deep hatred of being out on my own. Even now that I live in Belleville instead of Newark I can’t relax; five miles or so isn’t exactly worlds apart, so anyone could be lurking round the corner.
The dark glimmering eyes of Gerard Way make their way into my head and I shiver, trying to think about something else, but I can still see the shiny sadistic orbs. It’s almost as if he can see me, that he’s watching me right now. I breathe in sharply and quickly make my way up the school steps, and in through the back door, sighing with relief as it closes behind me. As much as I hate this place, at least I can feel a little safer here than I do in public places. After all; how on earth could Gerard Way end up in here?
When the bell rings after registration I make my way down to my English classroom, taking a seat right at the back where no one can see me. I like it better that way; if people can’t see me they can’t hurt me, surely? As students begin to file into the room I look down at the graffiti covered desk, avoiding eye contact with anyone. Someone slumps down into the seat beside me but I still don’t look up until they speak.
“Hey,” comes the soft voice of my best friend Patrick. I finally look up and smile a little at the sandy haired boy.
“Hi Pat,” I nod.
“Great to be back here, eh?” he says sarcastically.
“Hey, it’s fine for you!” I sniff, knowing that Patrick actually likes school. Then again, he understands most of the shit that the teachers spout, and he always ends up having to explain everything to me as if I’m a five year old. I still can’t believe how lucky I am that Patrick got put up a year because if he hadn’t I’d almost definitely be stuck in Support for Learning right now.
After the second bell rings everyone was seated but Miss Campbell was still not present which I found quite odd; she was very eager about her work and was almost always in early. I’m beginning to consider the possibility of an alien invasion and Miss Campbell being their first victim when the door flies open and an oddly familiar man walks casually into the room.I swear I’ve seen him before, I’m just not quite sure where.
He picks up a marker pen from the teacher's desk and walks over to the white board, scrawling two words messily on it, although I’m not sure what they read because he stands in front of them before anyone has a chance to peer at the board. He runs one of his hands through his mop of greasy black hair before speaking, his lip curling a little.
“I’m afraid Miss Campbell has had... An accident,” he sneers slightly, “And she won’t be able to walk for a very long time. So I’m your new English teacher, okay?”
No one says anything.
Everyone nods quickly, still quiet until someone at the front of the room raises their hand.
“What?” the teacher asks.
“What, uhh... What happened to M-Miss Campbell?” the girl asks, sounding scared. I can understand why; this guy doesn’t exactly scream rainbows and unicorns and sunshine and candy canes.
“Don’t ask questions,” he responds sharply.
“Today we will just be getting to know each other, so let’s all introduce ourselves, eh?”
“But sir,” someone pipes up, “We were in the same class last year!”
“Do I look like I care?” the teacher demands and I can honestly say that he doesn’t.
“So,” he continues, “We’ll start with you,” he points to a blonde haired girl, “Tell me about yourself, anything at all.”
The girl doesn’t speak for a moment but then she says, “Well, I’m Carolyn. I absolutely love The Misfits...”
I look up in interest when she mentions one of my favourite bands
“... They’re an absolutely amazing clothing line!”
I look back down at my desk, the word ‘hipster’ flashing in my mind in big shiny neon letters.
“I’m bipolar, bisexual and random. Rawr!”
In the next ten minutes I find out that there are two more scene kid hipster creatures in the class, along with someone who has ten goldfish, someone who hates his brother, someone who can’t stand pizza, several people who disagree because ‘pizza is a godsend’ and finally it’s my turn.
“Umm...” I say, “I dunno.”
The teacher raises one eyebrow.
“Well your name would be a good start.”
“Right, yeah, I’m Frank Iero and I... I’m... I’m just Frank,” I shrug.
The teacher rolls his eyes but leaves it at that, moving on to Patrick.
I look at the teacher closely, not paying any attention to what Patrick’s saying from where he sits beside me. I’ve definitely seen him before but I still can’t place where. His skin is milky white and almost shines in the light as if he’s one of those stupid Twilight vampires that eleven year old girls obsess over. His shoulder length black hair is greasy and matted, casting a shadow across his face and his lip is still pulled up at the sides in a sneer. He’s wearing a black shirt and skinny jeans, a red tie and black Doc Martens. He doesn’t really look like an English teacher to me; in fact he looks as if he should be sitting at the back of a classroom just as I am.
“Well,” he says, “Now that I know who’s a hipster-” his eyes rest on Carolyn who apparently doesn’t notice, “And who’s ‘Just Frank’-” he looks at me and I quickly look down at my desk, “-I guess you should know what I expect from you this year. I expect all homework assignments and essays to be handed in on time, I do not want any doodling on your jotters and I want the noise kept at an appropriate level. I would also like one student to stay behind for an hour every day to help me tidy up the room.”
Several people sigh heavily when they realise that they would miss their busses if they stayed behind and would have to walk instead. The teacher just smirks. “And today,” he says, “I would like Frank Iero to stay behind.”
Just my luck.
“Well,” he says, glancing at the clock, “I guess there’s only ten minutes left this period. You can just talk amongst yourselves.”
The class relaxes, suddenly deciding that the new English teacher maybe isn’t that bad after all, and a loud chatter breaks out. The teacher doesn’t bother moving, he just folds his arms and watches everyone, raising an eyebrow and smirking slightly when he notices me staring at him. I look away quickly, turning to talk to Patrick instead.
“Just Frank?” he asks me, chuckling slightly and shaking his head, “You should have told him about your guitar – you’re amazing at that!”
I shrug, and he smiles.
“So what do you think of him?”
“I dunno,” I say truthfully, “He seems kinda... I dunno.”
I turn to look at him again, jumping slightly when he’s already watching me. I feel my cheeks go red and I turn away from him again. I know I recognize him from somewhere, I just wish I knew where.
“Sir?” someone says at the front of the room suddenly and the teacher looks at him, raising an eyebrow.
“You never told us your name.”
“My name,” he says, “Is Mr Way.”
And that’s when it hits me in the face. The picture from the ID card I picked up six years ago after being raped flashes through my head, the face matching that of the man standing at the front of the room. His hair is slightly longer now but it’s definitely him. Mr Way, my new English teacher, is the Gerard Way that raped me in the middle of the night when I was ten years old.
And I have to stay here after school with him.
Fear fills my system and I tense, my eyes growing wide.
“Frank?” Patrick asks cautiously from beside me, “Frankie, you okay mate?”
I look up at him and shake my head, my breathing rushed and uneven.
“What’s wrong?” he carefully puts his arm round me.
“I... I can’t... I...”
I feel like I’m about to pass out. Fortunately for me the bell rings at that point and I crash out of the room and into the corridor, gasping for air. Patrick stands beside me chewing his lip.
“Any better now?” he asks gently, “Or I could take you to the nurse if you wanted?”
I nod, leaning against the wall, “I’m fine,” I manage.
“Want to tell me what was wrong?”
“I... Just... I felt a bit dizzy,” I shrug, “All better now.”
There’s no way I could tell Patrick what was really up. I couldn’t even tell my parents when it had happened for god’s sake. I’m not sure why I couldn’t; if I had they would have gone to the police, maybe Gerard Way would have been caught, and maybe he would be in prison right now as opposed to in my school. I knew that I wasn’t to blame and I hadn’t asked to be raped; the bad guy here was Way, but something stopped me from opening my mouth and spilling all. I guess I was just ashamed. I was ashamed that it was me that it had happened to, and I had brought it all upon myself. Maybe if I had just gone home on time that day then it never would have happened at all.
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