"You can't chose how you feel, Frankie."
This secret is not mine.
This secret is force-fed.
This secret is a killer.
This secret is blood-red.
This secret is your bullet,
Because it is the only thing that scares you.
And I have it.
Maybe you should watch your shadows.
Chapter Twelve: Novocaine
Unsurprisingly, John Iero was not keen on the idea of Frank going out on a school night.
Needless to say, he would doubtlessly have been even less keen on the idea, had he known just who Frank was planning to skip a night’s revision with- but Frank, having foreseen this, had tactfully left Robbie hopping up and down impatiently in the threadbare dusk while he ventured inside in search of parental permission.
However, even without the presence of a green-haired punk who nicknamed Frank after German sausages, John Iero was nothing short of incredulous.
“Out? What do you mean, ‘out’?” he demanded, looking up from ‘The Evening Times’. A domineering frown creased his forehead as he stared incredulously at a slightly windswept Frank, who was hovering anxiously by the back door, golden eyes wide with apprehension, his chestnut hair tangled from the rusty October darkness.
Frank blushed, ducking his head and mumbling something with a lot of ‘um’s.
“Sorry?” his father questioned belligerently, setting down his newspaper on the kitchen table and continuing to stare demandingly at Frank.
“I think it’s quite clear what he means, honey,” Linda intervened calmly from where she was rinsing salad in the kitchen sink. “Who is it that you want to go out with then, Frank?” she called over her shoulder, turning off the tap and expertly shaking leaves of rocket and lettuce so that little droplets of water showered the tiled floor.
Frank shifted uncomfortably, scuffing his foot against the floor, feeling his heartbeat increase nervously. He didn’t want to lie- but neither did he want to let his parents know he’d taken to hanging out with green-haired, eccentric punks who kissed boys in the common room and went skydiving at the weekends. He could imagine their reactions all too well, but that wasn’t what was worrying him- they would also forbid him from seeing Robbie, and the mere thought of that suddenly sent chills of horror down Frank’s spine. He blinked, shocked at the unexpected and instinctive impact that simple little thought had caused.
He knew, instantly, that he couldn’t tell his parents the truth. He couldn’t have Robbie cut from his life- he was already floundering in an inexplicable sea of ensnared questions and doubts, and the green-haired punk might be the only thing keeping him afloat, because the thought of having the turquoise-eyed rebel disappear from his life was far more devastating than the thought of losing any his friends from the Homework Club- who he’d hung out with for the whole of his high school career.
“Frank!” Linda’s concerned voice slapped Frank back into reality with a start, and he focused his gaze to realise that both his parents were staring at him. Linda wiped her hands on the tea-towel and turned to face Frank properly, anxiety creasing her features, while the radio continued to burble in its corner as if there was nothing wrong at all.
“Are you quite alright, honey?” she asked, surveying Frank closely. “You’ve not been yourself these last few days.”
Frank didn’t say anything, because how could he respond to a question like that when he didn’t know what ‘yourself’ meant anymore? He didn’t know who he was. And that wasn’t an answer he could just get from a textbook- it was an answer only he could provide. And he’d never been more lost for answers in his life.
“Is there something on your mind?” Linda continued, hazel eyes golden with worry. “You’ve been very…dreamy. Distracted, or something. Is there something on your mind, honey?”
Frank gulped. For a split second, he considered saying something- but he knew it was pointless. He was used to his mind being as organised and straightforward as his schoolwork, but now it was muddled and tangled into a mess of answerless questions and unexplained feelings and blood red ribbons. It was too intricate and mangled for him to even comprehend, let alone convey.
“Frank!” Linda said loudly, rousing Frank from his thoughts. He jumped and looked up to see both his parents staring at him, and quickly gathered his broken thoughts.
“Oh, um, I’m fine. Just fine,” Frank said hurriedly, covering up with a smile that stretched the skin of his face uncomfortably. “I’ve just…been thinking a lot about…university. Yes. A lot about university- it’s getting closer and I’ve just been thinking about what I want to do and…yes…” he trailed off, nibbling at his lip and struggling to meet his parent’s laser-beam eyes, because actually, university hadn’t even crossed his mind since well before Saturday.
“I thought you were taking a medical degree so you can become a doctor?” John asked in a way that sort of crushed out the question aspect of his sentence. He set his mug down on the tabletop with a clunk, the lukewarm liquid slopping over the sides slightly.
Frank shifted awkwardly again, suddenly feeling horribly aware that, out in the dusk of the yard, Robbie probably had his ear pressed against the door and was listening to every word. It made him feel stuttery and self-conscious as he forced himself to concentrate on the conversation. “Oh. Um…I…I might. But…I don’t really know.”
“What do you mean, ‘you don’t know’?” John demanded, mopping at the split tea. “You do want to go to university, don’t you?” It was a rhetorical question.
“Yes, of course I do,” Frank said automatically, the words tasteless and mundane in his mouth- husks that no matter how long he chewed, refused to soften. “I just meant that I was thinking about it. And, um, I was kinda asking about going out tonight…?”
“Who with?” his father demanded.
“Uhm…Just a friend from sixth form,” Frank said truthfully, choosing his words carefully- knowing that ‘sixth form’ sounded more studious than just ‘school’. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, uncomfortable under his father’s critical stare.
“Is there some new girl we’ve not been told about?” John asked, narrowing his eyes suspicious. Linda paused in her chopping of the carrots and turned round again to look at her son expectantly again, wiping her hands on her apron. Silence fell over the warm kitchen, apart from the familiar, homely crackle of the radio and the patter of black rain against the blind windowpane- and Frank was pretty sure he could hear Robbie’s stifled laughs just behind him on the other side of the back door.
“Frank!” John slapped his hand down on the table. “You’re doing it again- spacing out and not listening! What’s going on in that head of yours? I asked if there’s some new girl. Is there?!” he repeated forcefully.
“W-What?” Frank squeaked, cheeks heating up. “O-of course not! You know Clarissa’s my girlfriend.”
“Then why all the sudden going out? And when was the last time you saw her?”
“I saw her today, Dad,” Frank said honestly.
“I meant out of school, and you knew that full well.”
Frank bit his lip and ducked behind his hair then, because something about his father’s remark hit home. He wasn’t quite sure exactly what, but it was definitely something. Something he wasn’t sure he wanted to look at.
“I mean, you’ve been dating the girl for months, yet you hardly seem to actually go out with her, and she’s a lovely girl. Very ambitious and bright- just the right type of girl for you,” John ploughed on, still looking condemningly at Frank.
“Mm,” Frank agreed listlessly, listening to the funny, snuffly-snorty noises Robbie was making on the other side of the door and suddenly having to bite his lip to stop one of those huge, genuine and infectious smiles stretching across his face.
“So what is all this going out about, then?” John demanded, his grinding tone crushing Frank’s momentary lightness. “I feel as though you’re hiding something from us, son.”
Frank jumped, head snapping up to meet his father’s gaze. “Of course I’m not hiding anything! What would I be hiding?” Frank squeaked, cheeks burning. “Um. I just…Can’t I be a little sociable for once?”
“Answering questions with questions is always the sign of hiding something,” John concluded, still staring suspiciously at Frank. “Son, you’ve got your exams in under a month’s time. Can you really afford to go out?”
“Yes,” Frank lied, knowing that if he did stay home, he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on schoolwork to save his life, anyway- and he’d be consumed with thoughts of escaped convicts in the woods and blood red ribbons. He sighed earnestly and pushed his glasses up his nose, suddenly exhausted by the turmoil raging inside his innocent mind. He glanced up and looked his father in the eye, although his heart was thudding against his chest with nerves.
“Dad, I have As in every subject- I’m sure one night out isn’t going to affect the outcome of my exams. I won’t be back too late, either, I promise,” Frank said quietly, watching the rain roll down the glass of the black window just behind his Dad’s head.
“Yes, that’s all very well, but you need to maintain your grades and studies, or you’ll drop to a B or a C. You should be aiming for the A stars, Frank!” John exclaimed, frowning as his gaze bore into his son’s stature, who shifted uncomfortably, feeling as though he was being held under questioning.
Why were people treating him as if he was suddenly just as bad as the escaped convict, just because he didn’t want to stay at home every night revising or liked a certain type of music? Was one stumble over the line he’d been set enough to make everyone suspicious and disdainful?
“John…” Linda said calmly, somehow diluting her husband’s forceful tone with a soft sigh. “He’s young.”
“Yes, but does that mean he has to be stupid?” John challenged, raising his eyebrows sceptically, his forehead still split up with the same domineering frown.
Frank blinked in shock at his father’s mistrust, hurt suddenly prickling his skin. He’d never really tried to push at the boundaries his parents had set before, and was shocked to find how confined he really was with just this one, tiny little nudge. He suddenly felt choked and trapped by it- almost claustrophobic. Trapped in one, mundane, boring little world that he hadn’t even chosen himself.
“Can’t I just go out?” he muttered through gritted teeth, sudden unable to bear looking at either of his parents. “Don’t you trust me or something?”
John raised his eyebrows, and Frank began to get angry. He rarely got angry, but suddenly, it was building inside of him, scrabbly and hot and pooling. It was an ugly feeling, like some kind of grotesque firebird whose wings were jagged, scraping against the confines of his body as it rose up in his throat, taking him over.
“Thanks so much,” he spat, making Linda jump slightly, but his father didn’t even flinch at Frank’s uncharacteristically bitter tone, just looked tired and sceptical.
“Don’t be so melodramatic, Frank,” he sighed dismissively, somehow demeaning Frank’s annoyance and making it seem petty and childish.
“Look, I hardly ever go out. Most other people my age go out every night, and I just stay at home doing homework,” Frank pointed out, trying to swallow down the scalding, rough frustration welling up in his gullet. “For once, can’t I just-”
“No, Frank. Not on a school night,” John cut in decidedly, opening his paper once more as if the matter was settled. Something snapped inside Frank.
“Well, I’m afraid you just can’t stop me,” he blurted suddenly, and before either parent could quite comprehend what he was doing, Frank, on a sudden whim of rebellion, was hurtling for the door and flinging it open, staggering straight out into the bitter October dusk where he practically fell into Robbie, who was laughing delightedly and grabbing his hand, pulling them both unevenly towards the beat up car.
Frank felt exhilarated and terrified at the same time as they both stumbled wildly for the car at the other end of the yard. It was rebellion, Frank realised- the way the bitter, cold autumn air shrieked past, stripping his skin with its ice; Robbie’s warm, easy fingers looped through his; the crawling, ascending thrill of someone chasing you. It was rebellion, and Frank almost loved it in that split-second moment.
“Well, who’s a little rebel now?” Robbie cried as they both flung themselves against the car, panting and grinning so widely Frank could feel it tearing his face in two.
He blushed a little in response as Robbie started fumbling for his keys as Frank fidgeted nervously, adrenaline coursing through him more sickeningly now there was no motion to exorcise it. Suddenly, the back door at the other was flung open and yellow light spilled out into the darkened, bitter yard- and then Frank’s father strode out into the icy air, his breath igniting the smoke in the blackness like a warning.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Frank squeaked frantically, adrenaline spiking his veins like an instinctive injection. He turned and started scrabbling frantically in Robbie’s pocket too, getting their fingers all tangled up together. “Keys! Get the fucking keys! Hurry UP!”
“Oh, I know where I put them!” Robbie exclaimed suddenly, and put a hand down his jeans. Frank’s eyes widened. He felt decidedly thankful that the former had untangled their fingers before doing so as he watched Robbie’s fingers move around in his jeans with some sort of morbid fascination.
“FRANKLIN!” John Iero’s yell thwarted the silence, spattering the steely dusk with choked-down regrets, and Frank jumped, shoving Robbie desperately, who still had one hand down his jeans and a slightly raised polka-dot eyebrow.
“Come on, Robbie!” he cried, just as Robbie proudly produced the keys from somewhere in his crotch and, beaming, unlocked the beat up old car while Frank jumped up and down on the spot, practically beside himself as John neared the car, face thunderous. Frank wasn’t sure he’d ever seen his father look so angry. Then again, Frank wasn’t sure he’d ever done something so rebellious.
“Quick!” Frank squeaked in terror, scrambling into the passenger seat and fastening his seatbelt as Robbie revved up the engine, still chuckling in amusement.
“You said ‘fuck’. I’ve never heard you say fuck before, Sausagey,” Robbie said interestedly, leaning over and getting a stick of eyeliner out of the glove compartment, his green hair tickling Frank’s cheek as he did so. “I must say, you say it like a pro. All sort of anguished and desperate,” Robbie commented casually, now applying the eyeliner. “Have you actually ever said it before? I thought you were more of a ‘damn’ or ‘goodness gracious’ guy.” He looked round, grinning.
“Robbie!” Frank exclaimed incredulously, his voice reaching alarmingly high-pitched decibels as he gestured frantically out the window beside him, where his father’s face was now pressed furiously, gesturing angrily for Frank to get out of the car.
“Oh tortoise poop,” Robbie said cheerfully. “Hi, Mr. Iero,” he called loudly, waving happily at Frank’s father’s furious face.
Frank put his head in his hands.
John began to pound on the window with his fist.
“Ah,” Robbie said lightly, giving the fuming Mr. Iero a happy salute. “Perhaps it’s time to go.” Casually, he revved the engine, stepped on the accelerator and then the car was screeching from the yard, leaving Frank’s father standing alone in the yard, Robbie laughing and Frank cowering in his seat as the vehicle hit the country roads at full pelt, bouncing over the potholes and wrenching so fast round the corners that Frank was thrown against the window even harder than the way his heart was being thrown against his chest.
“Have you ever heard of a speed limit?” Frank asked timidly over the groan of the car’s engine, as his head was thrown against the headrest again.
“Those things were made to be broken, Frankieboy,” Robbie said happily, and Frank watched in horror as the speed dial made its way to ninety. “Or should I say Franklin,” he smirked wickedly at Frank, and then had to hurriedly swerve back to the right side of the road.
“Shut up,” Frank said weakly, holding onto the seat and praying for his life in the cheap, petrol smelling interior of the cold car.
“Aww, c’mon,” Robbie grinned, nudging Frank and yelping as the car promptly swerved off into the verge with an ominous clunk. Undeterred, Robbie simply swung it back onto the road and stepped on the accelerator at the same time as fumbling with the crappy little stereo system that was illuminated red and blue in the dark of the car. Seconds later, ‘Porn Star Angels’ blasted out into the car, and Robbie sighed happily, settling back into his seat as the car jerked along the dusky, rainy October roads.
“I think this is illegal,” Frank pointed out tentatively, when the speedometer neared a hundred and he realised that the reason the road in front of them was so dark was because only one of the headlamps appeared not to be working.
“Relax,” Robbie waved a hand carelessly, accidentally hitting the rear-view mirror in the process.
Frank wasn’t really sure how he was meant to relax when he was in a small metal tin with a green-haired lunatic, hurtling along dark, twisty, one-track countryside lanes at very illegal speeds, so he squeezed his eyes shut tight and clung tightly to his seat, praying that somehow, just somehow, he wouldn’t die.
After several moments, he became aware that Robbie was laughing and the car was slowing down a considerable amount.
Tentatively, Frank opened one eye, and was instantly met with Robbie’s wicked turquoise gaze that glinted in the darkness of the car like the eyes of a cat. Something funny happened to his stomach, which was probably the result of the car swerving violently round a pothole and narrowly avoiding smashing straight through a hedgerow.
“What’s going on?” Frank mumbled, heart beating fast.
“I can’t bear to see you looking so scared, Sausageykins,” Robbie smiled, shaking his head disbelievingly and patting Frank on the head. “You and your boring safety regulations win. I promise the car won’t go over forty until we get to mine.”
Frank smiled shyly and blushed slightly, feeling flattered. “Oh. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” Robbie said cheerfully. “Now, you’d better talk to me about something interesting, ‘cause at this snail pace, Venom will get a girlfriend before we reach my house.”
“What sort of interesting things?” Frank asked, shifting in his seat and sighing in relief at the slowed pace of the car.
“Up to you, Sausagey,” Robbie beamed, tapping his fingers in time to the beat of ‘True Love Disembowelled’ on the steering wheel.
There was silence- if you could call it silence with the stereo blaring out bad metaphors about soul mates and unravelling intestines- for several moments as Frank stared out the window at the darkened world where the trees were all illuminated like a black and white photograph, their branches drooping with meaningless leaves that every so often detached themselves and skittered through the cloudy night air like moths.
Frank wasn’t really sure what to talk about- he was pretty sure anything he’d want to talk about would be something Robbie would find boring, so in the end, he just blurted-
“Can I ask you a question?”
Robbie looked round, tucking his green hair behind his ear earnestly. “You can,” he smiled, eyes glittering.
Frank squirmed in his seat, wringing his clammy hands slightly apprehensively. He wasn’t really sure why he needed to ask what he was about to, but something from his conversation with his father had planted a seed of doubt in his thoughts, and, as always, Frank needed to discover the answer.
“How are you meant to feel about a girlfriend?” he stammered, nails digging into his palms as he refused to look up.
“Hm,” Robbie sounded thoughtful. “I’ve only had a couple, honestly. But I would say when it comes to any type of feelings, there is no ‘meant to feel’.”
“But…what is considered normal to feel towards someone if you like them in the way you’d like a girlfriend?” Frank mumbled, fiddling with the unravelling thread on his ivory knitted sweater and feeling his cheeks burn with mortification behind his hair. “Like…what do you feel if you like someone?”
“…A lack of urge to kill them?”
“Robbie,” Frank mumbled as the car chugged over a hill, branches scraping the roof from a particularly enigmatic oak tree at the side of the road. “Seriously.”
“Well, Frankfurter, you’re the one with a girlfriend,” Robbie pointed out, grinning.
“I…” Frank broke off, shaking his head and tearing the unravelling thread on his jumper right off.
“Well, why don’t you tell me about Clarissa first? You know, the soppy story of how you guys met and fell in love and made babies and got married,” Robbie smirked wickedly, changing gear as the car chugged up another hill, protesting wheezily.
“Um…” Frank bit his lip, thinking. “There’s not really much of a story. We’ve been friends since the start of High School and on Valentines day, she kissed me and we sort of ended up going out.”
There was a long pause. The engine of the car spluttered and rain began to slash more loudly at the windscreen.
“…Wait…” Robbie said incredulously, taking his eyes off the darkened road and looking at Frank. “That was it?”
“What do you mean?” Frank asked, confused.
“That was the great story of your relationship?”
“God, you are so different to Lindsey,” Robbie remarked, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Yes, I’m glad you noticed that,” Frank said, trying to lighten the horrible darkness of enlightenment that was suddenly washing over him, oozing up from his gut and contaminating his heart and his lungs and his blood with answers of poison.
“Ha Ha, very droll, Sausagesniffles,” Robbie rolled his eyes, smiling slightly. “No, I mean- well, Lindsey’s been dating this guy, Roger, for about a year now. Whenever you even mention the dude’s name, she starts spewing about how they met and all the dates he’s taken her on and the special little memories and presents and how when they kiss she gets this wonderful, warm, feeling inside, and…Are you okay, Sausage?”
Frank was biting his lip, looking at his clasped hands. He nodded. A horrible, cold feeling was filling him up, and his heart felt dead and heavy, weighing down uncomfortably on his ribs like a stolen gravestone.
Robbie frowned, taking his eyes off the road. “You’re not. What did I say?”
“Nothing,” Frank mumbled, not looking up.
“Sausagesniffles,” Robbie said with a tone of great seriousness. “I’m not stupid.”
“I said, nothing,” Frank said angrily, his voice coming out a lot louder than he’d intended so as the second the words had been ripped from his mouth, he felt ashamed, and huddled into his jumper, leaning his forehead against the cool glass of the window beside him with a small, unheard sigh.
He could see a familiar, pure, golden-eyed face reflected in the dark window where he was leaning his head, but he wasn’t sure who the face belonged to anymore, so he closed his eyes so all he could see was the murky black that choked him.
There was a long silence as rain started to drizzle down on the windscreen, and the incessant squeak of the windscreen-wipers drowned out any awkwardness- not that Frank was sure that was the feeling that filled every inch of the car, pressing against the windows and choking the engine.
Eventually, as they turned off onto the little side road to Robbie’s house, the green-haired punk spoke softly.
“Feelings are the simplest things in the world, Frankie. They aren’t what people want you to be or what you want to be. The only thing they ever can be is what you really feel,” he said quietly, with that lilt of wisdom Frank admired so much.
Frank didn’t reply- not because he didn’t agree, but because he simply didn’t know what to say. He didn’t feel like he knew anything at all anymore, so he just sat in silence, watching the wet, stark countryside blur past as the howl of E. Artery filled the car and his heart forgot to beat in the language it had been taught.
When they got out of the car at Robbie’s countryside house, it was raining harder than ever, great, cold bullets slamming down into the muddy ground- and Frank was sort of grateful, because their hiss made up for his silence.
“Okay?” Robbie asked gently after he’d locked the car and they were both standing in the rain and the black silence. Frank looked up and found Robbie a lot closer than he’d expected. His eyes were warm and empathetic, his lashes long and spiky from the rain, and Frank suddenly had to look away. He nodded, staring at the muddy, darkened grass and scuffing his foot back and forth along it.
Robbie sighed. “Right. Smile, then.”
Frank ignored him.
“Hey,” Robbie was suddenly reaching out and tilting Frank’s face upward. “I said- smile!”
Frank attempted to smile, thankful that the raindrops on the lenses of his glasses had almost completely obscured his vision by this point. It meant he couldn’t get lost in those quirky, deep turquoise eyes and they couldn’t see the despair in his expression. He felt like he was one of the raindrops- falling and falling and falling through unscribed blackness without the comfort of smashing into the ground.
“Well, that’s just not good enough,” Robbie said, tutting slightly. His fingers lightly touched the corners of Frank’s lips, making him jump as the former gently pulled his mouth into a smile, his fingers hot on Frank’s skin compared to the icy rain beating like fate’s heartbeat.
Frank rolled his eyes and bared his teeth at Robbie. “Happy?” he muttered, still staring stubbornly at the ground.
“Not entirely,” Robbie admitted. “But it’ll do for now. C’mon Sausagey. Makeover time!” he grabbed Frank by the arm and started pulling him off down a grassy track towards what looked like a rusty old barn at the bottom of the track.
Frank wasn’t sure because he hadn’t been allowed to see many horror movies, but he was pretty sure this was a little like them just before someone got murdered.
However, it was difficult to see the dark side when Robbie was with him, burbling away enthusiastically with his arm slung casually round Frank’s shoulders, somewhat numbing the coldness inside of him that reminded Frank of the time he got pneumonia as a kid and it had felt like his lungs were frosty.
“Where are we going?” Frank squeaked, hurrying to keep up with Robbie as their footsteps squelched along the muddy mush of dead leaves and tangled, black grass.
“The loft in the barn. I basically live there- it means I can play my music as loud as I like without my parents murdering me in my sleep,” Robbie replied brightly, pulling open the wooden barn door and letting the golden light from inside seep out into the dusk. “Ladies first, Frankieboy.”
Obediently, Frank ducked into the barn with Robbie just behind him.
“Up the ladder,” Robbie instructed, gently pushing Frank towards a thin wooden rope-ladder towards the sound of music, where Frank could make out the distinctive howl of E. Artery and the dull murmur of voices.
When he reached the top of the ladder, his mouth fell open in surprise. He wasn’t quite sure what he was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this. The barn loft was spacious and cosy, and was like a goth-haven. The walls were painted a deep red and were adorned with various black and white posters of moody boys and blonde girls. Fairy-lights were strung across the ceiling, and there was a large, cracked black leather sofa against the wall, where Lindsey and Venom sat, both sipping cans of beer in the warm, smoky atmosphere.
They both looked up at Frank’s slightly clumsy entrance- Lindsey smiled prettily and waved. Venom’s eyes darkened and he licked his black lips hungrily.
“Okay?” Robbie put a reassuring hand on his shoulder, and Frank relaxed a little at the familiar, warm touch. He glanced up at Robbie and nodded, trying for a smile, which Robbie returned with one of his wonderfully genuine beams that just radiated happiness and warmth and made Frank want to smile all over again.
“Hi, Frank,” Lindsey called as Robbie propelled him into the room gently. “How’s it going?”
“F-fine thanks,” Frank stuttered politely, straightening his glasses and feeling very out of place in the barn loft. He felt as though he should be wearing entirely black and sipping from a bottle of Jack Daniels, not stuttering and wearing raggedy farm clothes.
“Hey, Linds, we’re gunna give Sausagekisses a makeover,” Robbie grinned, eyes twinkling in the dark light. “See what he’d look like as one of us, y’know?”
Lindsey laughed. “Poor kid. Don’t corrupt him completely, Robbie.”
Venom licked his lips.
“I wouldn’t do such a thing!” Robbie protested in mock-offence. He turned to Frank, grinning wickedly. Frank felt his belly do something funny. “Sit down and get drinking while I go find you something to wear,” He patted Frank on the head, then looked sternly at Lindsey and Venom. “Be nice to Frankfurter. Don’t eat him, okay? Stroke his hair.” He grinned, ruffled Frank’s hair, and sauntered off behind the screen to the other, slightly darker half of the room.
Frank sort of hovered awkwardly where Robbie had left him, shifting from one foot to the other and trying to ignore the way Venom was drooling.
“You can come and sit down, you know,” Lindsey called amusedly, gesturing for Frank to join her on the sofa. “We don’t bite,” she glanced sideways and winced. “Well, I don’t, anyway.” She grinned at him.
Somewhat shyly, Frank smiled back, and tentatively approached the sofa, sitting down nervously in the space between Lindsey and Venom. Lindsey was reassuring- she didn’t look like she’d just risen from the grave, and her red-lipstick smile was pretty and genuine. She smiled this smile again, and Frank felt himself relax a little.
“You don’t need to let him do this if you don’t want to,” she said gently, gesturing towards the screen where Robbie was presumably gathering together an outfit for Frank. “Just say no and he’ll stop.”
“No,” Frank heard himself saying. “No, I want to be madeover.”
Lindsey smiled more widely and shook her head. “Oh dear. Robbie really has corrupted you, hasn’t he?”
Frank blushed and sort of mumbled and shrugged his shoulders at the same time, making Lindsey laugh- but it wasn’t an unkind laugh, just an amused one.
“On your own head be it,” she told him. “So. Tell me a little bit about who you are- I know we met at the gig, but to be perfectly honest, you were either so shy you didn’t say anything or so drunk you couldn’t say anything.”
“Was I really that drunk?” Frank asked, nibbling guiltily on his lip.
“You were pretty pissed,” Lindsey smiled, tucking a strand of ebony hair behind her ear and slapping Venom’s knee as he edged hopefully closer to Frank, still licking his lips.
“I’ve never really been drunk before,” Frank admitted embarrassedly.
“I could tell,” Lindsey replied, looking amused. “So- come on. Tell all.”
“Um,” Frank considered, trying to ignore the way Venom was dribbling and edging un-subtly closer to him on the cracked leather sofa. “Well. I’m Frank.”
“I think I already knew that,” Lindsey grinned.
“Uh…I go to Greystaines High with Robbie. I live on a farm. My favourite school subject is English or Biology. Um…” Frank broke off and shrugged, feeling his cheeks burning with all the attention. “What about you?” he asked, as a last hope to direct the spotlight off himself.
“Well, as you know, I’m Lindsey, I’m home-schooled which sucks ass. I’m in a band and I play bass, I’ve been friends with Robbie since he accidentally groped me at a gig three years ago, thinking I was someone else,” Lindsey smiled a little at the last bit. “He hasn’t tried it since.”
“Oh,” Frank squirmed uncomfortably.
“And this is Venom,” Lindsey continued.
“Uh. Yes. I’ve met him already- he drove Robbie and me to the gig,” Frank mumbled awkwardly, as Venom bared his teeth in what might have been a smile, but looked more like a threat.
“Venom,” Lindsey hissed. “Say hello.”
Venom dipped his head very close to Frank’s. “Hello,” he said eerily, his black eyes very wide and dead, his breath smelling uncomfortably like blood. Frank made a funny squeaky noise of shock and jumped back, nearly knocking Lindsey’s glass of cider from her grasp.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” he apologised hastily, blushing. “I didn’t mean to-”
“Relax, its fine,” Lindsey reassured him. “That was Venom’s fault.” She threw the enigmatic Goth a filthy look, and he recoiled slightly, sulky.
“Want to come and help me get the beers?” Lindsey offered, perhaps sensing Frank’s discomfort. “They’re just outside on the little balcony thing to keep them cool.”
“Um. Sure,” Frank replied, secretly grateful to escape Venom’s glassy stare.
“Come on then,” Lindsey got up off the sofa, and wordlessly, Frank followed her across the room to a door just right of the black sofa. A ‘The Crow’ poster covered its surface, rippling slightly in the night air as Lindsey opened it into the darkness and stepped outside, Frank just behind her.
The air was bitterly cold with an allusion of glittery, rusted frost despite the cold, hard rain that sliced down through the ebony clouds, tearing the velvety sky apart and dribbling icily down the back of Frank’s neck.
He sighed heavily and stared out across the cobwebby blackness of the countryside, wondering if somewhere out there, a gaunt-eyed, terrified convict was trying not to break into tiny pieces.
“Don’t take any notice of Venom,” Lindsey called over her shoulder as she fumbled with a large cardboard box in the corner. “He’s just like that. You get used to him.”
“Oh,” Frank replied, not really sure what to say. His doubt curled out into the sky like his own uncertain cigarette smoke. Lindsey straightened up with a six-pack of beers, her hair flitting around in the breeze as she smiled a little.
“Are you alright, Frank?” she asked kindly, putting a gentle hand on his shoulder and looking seriously at him with liquid hazel eyes that reminded Frank a lot of his Mom’s.
Frank shrugged, because it was really the most honest answer he could give.
“Feeling a little lost?” Lindsey probed gently, her hazel eyes sympathetic.
“A little,” Frank admitted, his heart thumping at how close her words stung to the truth.
“Aw, don’t worry,” Lindsey smiled kindly, pulling him into a quick, one-armed hug. “Tonight’s just for relaxing and having fun. You don’t need to worry, yeah?”
“Thanks,” Frank managed a grateful smile. “It’s just…like my head’s suddenly so full of stuff I don’t know what to do with.”
“Brains,” a dark voice hissed just behind Frank, who jumped wildly with a squeak, and whirled round to see Venom behind him, eyes lit up as he licked his lips, eyeing Frank wildly.
“Venom!” Lindsey hissed, slapping the unpredictable Goth on the shoulder. “Behave yourself and stop terrorizing Frank. Go back inside right now.”
Venom scowled and reluctantly sloped back into the loft, head hanging.
“Sorry about him,” Lindsey smiled wanly. “What were you saying?”
“Nothing,” Frank mumbled awkwardly.
“Well, whatever you’re worrying about, you can forget about tonight. We’ll all have a couple of drinks and listen to music and just have a good time, okay? Don’t worry,” Lindsey smiled, swiping her raven hair out of her eyes and hoisting the six-pack more securely under her arm before shunting Frank back inside where The Black Rainbow Lies was playing even louder than ever and the air was warm and thick with smoke.
“Thanks,” Frank said honestly, managing to throw Lindsey a small smile before they sat back down on the sofa with Venom.
“Anytime,” Lindsey replied warmly, chucking Frank a can of beer. “There you go, drink that.”
“Um…” Frank looked apprehensively at the green can for a second.
“It’s beer,” Lindsey told him kindly. “It’s not strong like the stuff you had on Saturday, don’t worry.”
Gingerly, Frank cracked open the can and took a sip. It was cool and dirty tasting, but it had a nagging sort of after-flavour that made him want to drink more.
“So did you enjoy the concert on Saturday?” Lindsey asked conversationally, taking a long gulp of beer herself.
“Yes,” Frank nodded earnestly, taking another sip of beer. “It was pretty amazing.”
Lindsey smiled. “Was that your first gig?”
Frank nodded, swallowing another mouthful, because although the beer tasted cool and dirty in his mouth, it made his insides feel all nice and warm.
“Mine was when I was thirteen,” Lindsey remembered, leaning back on the sofa and putting her Dr. Martens clad feet up on the coffee table in front of them.
“Who did you see?” Frank asked, vaguely aware that Venom was licking his lips again. He took another sip of beer to distract himself.
“A band called ‘Void’. They were shit,” Lindsey laughed, shaking her head.
There was silence for a while, barring the stereo system in the corner blaring out ‘Fuck everyone to hell’. Frank began to relax a little as he sipped his beer- it was as if the cool drink was liquid confidence trickling down his gullet and washing through his system, warm and smouldering.
“So, um, what’s it like being home-schooled?” he asked after a while, turning to Lindsey.
She made a face and then grinned.
“That bad?” Frank asked, smiling a little.
“No, it just means spending a horrific amount of time with your parents,” Lindsey grinned. “And I don’t get on with my parents. What about you?”
Frank shifted, not really sure of the truth. “I don’t know.”
Lindsey smiled sympathetically and offered Frank a bowl of crisps. “You’re a bit of a muddled one, aren’t you?”
Frank had never really been muddled in his life before, but suddenly, there wasn’t a single thing in his mind that seemed clear, and, as someone who’d been overfed answers, this terrified him.
“Frankfurter!” Robbie’s enthusiastic voice cut through Frank’s thoughts and he looked up to see Robbie standing in front of them, holding out possibly the scariest outfit Frank had ever seen.
“…Is…is that for me?” Frank gulped.
Robbie laughed. “Aww, aren’t you the cutest? Yes, this is for you.”
“To…wear?” Frank breathed, horror-stricken.
“No, to sexually molest,” Robbie smirked, and Frank blushed and made some kind of dismissive swatting gesture before choking on his beer. “Come on, Mr. Sausage. Time to get naked.”
Lindsey interspersed glaring at Robbie and thumping Frank on the back as the latter choked violently.
“Okay?” Robbie beamed when Frank had recovered a little. Without giving Frank a chance to answer, he grabbed the former’s hand and pulled him up off the sofa, twirling him round in some slightly crazed form of ballroom dancing until Frank fell back onto the sofa, slightly dizzy.
“Robbie!” Lindsey scolded. “Be nice.”
“Sorry,” Robbie grinned, not sounding sorry in the slightest. “Now, would you like to take this to my bedroom, Sausagesniffles?” he held out a hand for Frank again, grinning in that wild, exciting way.
Frank felt his stomach do the funny thing again as he took Robbie’s hand and was pulled off the sofa and towards the section of the loft behind the screen.
“Do I really have to wear that?” Frank whispered as soon as they got into Robbie’s bedroom, eyes wide.
Robbie smiled. “Yes. Now, sit down while I change the CD.”
Frank stared round Robbie’s room as the green-haired punk fumbled with the CD player. It was painted a dark, wine-coloured blood red and was plastered with yet more posters, although most of these were simple lyrics. The bed he was sitting on was unmade, and smelt strongly of the spicy, minty smell that always lingered in Robbie’s hair. The cushions on the window seat were worn and frayed, and Frank wondered if that was where Robbie sat and thought.
“Clothes off, Mr. Frankfurter,” Robbie’s teasing voice brought Frank back to the present with an uncomfortable jolt.
“Um,” Frank said awkwardly.
“Look, I’m not gunna take them off for you- that would just be weird,” Robbie said. “Would you like me to leave?”
Mutely, Frank shook his head and began to awkwardly slide his jumper off until he was left in just his underwear, awkwardly gulping from his nearly empty can of beer in the hope it would dull his embarrassment.
But suddenly, standing there, in just his boxers, looking at his reflection in the looking glass, Frank felt the most alive he had for years. It was just like being a kid again- he was a blank canvas, ready to be painted on in any way he wanted again. It sent thrills of excitement through him, because he’d never really chosen a skin for himself, he’d just occupied the one that had been expected of him.
But now, with the lights low and the candles flickering in Robbie’s blood red bedroom, he could be anyone. He didn’t need to match up to anyone’s expectations.
“Here you go, Sausagey,” Robbie’s gentle voice interrupted Frank’s thoughts and he turned round to see Robbie holding out a bundle of clothes, a slightly odd expression glittering in his turquoise eyes. He had one polka-dot eyebrow quirked, and Frank thought he looked sort of amazing in the candlelight, with his green hair and turquoise eyes and crazed attire.
“Thanks,” Frank said eventually, when he realised he’d been staring. He blushed slightly, suddenly self-conscious. He took the clothes Robbie was offering him and unfolded them slightly warily, his heart thumping at his bare chest.
“Just put them on- look at them afterwards, okay?” Robbie said, biting his lip and looking away. “Um.”
Obediently, Frank pulled on a mangled black t-shirt and velvet waistcoat and struggled with a pair of what appeared to be black leather skinny jeans, yanking them up his thighs with great difficulty. By the time they were finally on, he was sweating slightly, and panting.
“Ready,” he announced, voice trembling slightly.
Robbie turned round, eyes all expectant- and then a wicked grin spread slowly across his face. “Holy fuck,” he whistled softly, getting Frank to twirl round so as he could admire the full extent of the outfit. “That is…”
“Can I look in the mirror?” Frank asked hopefully, feeling embarrassed, but pleased too.
“All in good time, Sausagey, all in good time,” Robbie said lightly. “Hair and make-up time.”
“You’re going to put make-up on me?” Frank squeaked.
“Oh, I think so,” Robbie said, eyes twinkling in the dim, flickery light. “Sit down on the windowseat and I’ll get started.”
Somewhat nervously, Frank sat down on the windowseat, wincing as the leather skinnies restricted his movements. Rain was falling outside, illuminated by the vulnerable glow of the moon that made the rain look like falling wings.
“So,” Robbie said quietly, sitting down opposite Frank with a silvery box of cosmetics and a can of hairspray. “Tell me stuff.”
“What stuff?” Frank murmured, watching Robbie’s nimble fingers sort expertly through the box of makeup. Rain dribbled silently down the indigo windowpane, and moonlight filtered vulnerably through the clouds, illuminating their stormy, rippled and ripped black satin.
“I don’t know,” Robbie smiled, glancing fleetingly up at Frank and letting his gaze linger a little longer than the movement seemed to. “How you don’t want to take a medical course at university?” his eyes twinkled.
“I knew you were listening in on me!” Frank said indignantly, trying to frown but just ending up smiling instead.
Robbie shrugged, hair falling across his face and shielding his features- but Frank knew that lopsided, beautifully crazy grin was playing across his lips. “Red or Black?”
“What?” Frank blinked, taking a sip of the can of beer sitting beside him. He knew he was slightly tipsy from the way everything had a nice, warm sort of lucid feeling, but he wasn’t drunk- and certainly not the way he had been at the gig where everything had been so blurred he could barely remember it. Everything felt real enough now- just sort of like looking through rose-tinted spectacles.
“Eyeliner,” Robbie clarified, sounding amused.
“Oh. You pick,” Frank said. “I don’t really know a whole lot about eyeliner.”
“I thought you were a professor of eyeliner!” Robbie gasped in mock-astonishment.
“Sadly not,” Frank grinned, watching Robbie get out a tin of white powder. He looked up, and the warm feeling in Frank’s belly increased.
“Right,” Robbie said softly, taking off the lid and dabbing some of the powder onto his fingers. “This might be a little tickly.” His eyes glinted that wicked, glittery wildness that sent shivers down Frank’s spine.
It wasn’t so much tickly, Frank decided, as Robbie started artfully dabbing the compressed powder onto his face, but it felt sort of nice. It made his stomach go all funny and his heart beat faster, because Robbie’s face was very close, and the way he bit his lower lip in concentration was sort of endearing.
“You cheered up a bit now?” Robbie asked softly, the words brushing Frank’s skin. “You seemed awfully down in the car on the way over.”
“Sorry,” Frank bit his lip. “I just…I don’t know.”
“Problems with Clarissa?” Robbie asked astutely, smudging the powder expertly down Frank’s jaw.
Frank shifted, wishing he had another sip of beer. “Sort of,” he admitted as Robbie dabbed the power under Frank’s nose and ghosted the top of his lip, making the latter shiver slightly.
“Robbie,” he said suddenly, looking seriously at Robbie, who was dipping his hand back into the powder tin. “How am I meant to feel?”
“I told you before, there is no ‘meant to feel’, Frankfurter” Robbie said, looking honestly at Frank, all whimsical turquoise eyes and polka-dot eyebrows.
There was silence for several moments as Robbie started to apply red-eyeliner to Frank’s lower lids and Frank’s thoughts cobwebbed. Then he looked right at Robbie again, despite the fact it made his heart shudder.
“Not for you. But for me…” Frank broke off, dropping his gaze. “People expect me to be a certain way. There is a ‘meant to feel’ for me.”
“There isn’t,” Robbie murmured, looking at Frank earnestly, still applying the liner. “Trust me. There really, really isn’t.”
But Frank knew there was. And he wasn’t feeling what he was meant to.
It took a further ten minutes of hairspray, backcombing and various other scary things before Robbie finally sat back, satisfied, and said, with a very big, proud grin; “All done, Sausagekisses.”
Frank felt his belly jump nervously. “Really?”
Robbie nodded, beaming. “Wanna take a look?” he jumped up and offered Frank his hand. Frank stared at it for a second before taking it. Head spun slightly as he got up, but Robbie’s fingers curled through his kept him steady, steering him towards the full length mirror.
Nervously, Frank raised his gaze and looked straight into the glass. His heart just about stopped.
Looking back at him was a good looking punk-kid in a tight, ripped black shirt and tastefully frayed black velvet waistcoat, leather skinny jeans so tight they showed every fucking bone and curve, and a studded choker. His hair was slightly backcombed and dishevelled, and his eyes were lined in vivid scarlet, which made them look almost green in the mingled light of the silvery moon and the flickery, burning-out candles.
“You like?” Robbie asked, his breath brushing Frank’s neck.
“Fucking hot, I know,” Robbie smiled, reaching up and pushing a stray strand of Frank’s hairspray-smothered hair into place. Before Frank could realise that this had made his belly somersault, Robbie was dragging him back into the living room where Lindsey and Venom were still sat, and crying; “Look at Frankfurter, guys!”
They both looked up, and Lindsey shook her head disbelievingly- but she was smiling in a defeated sort of way. Venom simply licked his lips.
“Doesn’t he look gorgeous?” Robbie demanded, getting Frank to twirl round and slapping his bum in the process, causing Frank to let out a loud squeak of shock.
“You do look good,” Lindsey conceded. She smiled. “Do you like it?”
“I…I think so,” Frank replied, finding he was grinning.
“Great,” Robbie beamed. “Now…let’s have some fun. Who’s up for a game of truths? Sorry, but I promised Mom and Dad no more dares after last weekend.”
Lindsey rolled her eyes. “You are so predictable, Rob.”
“Hey, it’s a good way for us all to get to know each other,” Robbie protested, glugging down the beer. “You in, Sausage?”
Wordlessly, Frank nodded. He didn’t quite dare speak. Venom had been gazing at his calves for the past minute with what Frank could only describe as hunger.
“All righty!” Robbie announced, tugging Frank across towards the sofa, where Frank sank back down in-between Venom and Lindsey, while Robbie sat cross legged on the coffee table in front of them.
“Who’s gunna start?” Lindsey asked, fishing in a carrier bag by her feet and chucking Robbie and Frank a can of cider each.
Venom licked his lips.
“Ven can ask the questions for the first round,” Robbie concluded, cracking open his can of cider and taking a long sip.
“Lindsey,” Venom said in his lifeless voice. “Best kiss.”
“Roger,” Lindsey replied without hesitation, a smile playing at the corners of her red lips. Robbie made gagging noises, and her dreamy look was spoiled as she rather violently gave him the finger in retaliation.
“Fresh meat,” Venom said hungrily, eyes glinting ominously. “Same question.”
“He’s talking to you, Sausage,” Robbie clarified, patting Frank sympathetically on the head.
Frank blinked. “Um. Well, I’ve only kissed one person.”
“Ahh, the lovely Clarissa,” Robbie said in amusement. “Is she a good kisser? I’ve always wondered. She seems to spend half her life pouting…”
Frank shrugged uncomfortably, taking a sip of cider. “I don’t know. She’s okay.”
“Yoowch,” Lindsey laughed.
Frank blushed and took another glug of cider. In all honesty, Clarissa’s kisses were sort of like a lazy Sunday. Tedious and dragging-on, but necessary.
“Robbie,” Venom hissed, caressing Frank’s kneecap. “Biggest crush.”
“Hmmmm,” Robbie considered, looking thoughtfully at his can of beer and tapping his foot in time to ‘Satan’s Cock: lll’. “Probably that chick with the purple hair that always used to go to gigs last year. She was hot. What happened to her? I haven’t seen her around in ages.”
Venom didn’t quite meet Robbie’s eye, and suddenly became very interested in Frank’s calves again.
“Right, my turn to ask the questions,” Lindsey announced, setting her cider down on the table beside Robbie. “Frank.”
“Yes?” Frank was beginning to feel a lot more relaxed. The beer was warm and easy inside him, and suddenly everything just seemed a lot brighter, sitting here talking and listening to The Black Rainbow Lies and drinking. He felt sort of…fuzzy.
“Secret crush,” Lindsey said mischievously.
“I have a girlfriend!” Frank protested feebly.
“The one who’s so wonderfully ‘okay’ at kisses?” Robbie grinned.
“And who you like so much you’ve been staring at Robbie’s crotch for the past several minutes?” Lindsey added, sounding very amused.
Frank wasn’t sure he’d ever gone so red before in his life. “I haven’t! I don’t have any secret crushes and I definitely, definitely wasn’t staring at Robbie’s…um…lap.”
Lindsey and Robbie burst out laughing, and Frank felt himself turn redder still and hurriedly took another drink of cider.
Venom just licked his lips.
“I’m serious!” Frank squeaked, flailing slightly in his tipsy attempts to be taken seriously.
“Okay, okay,” Robbie sniggered, wiping his eyes. “We’ll ask you again in a bit when you’re a little more tipsy.”
Frank’s eyes went wide and he instantly put his cider down on the carpet by his foot in horror, heart thudding.
Robbie grinned wickedly. “Why you doing that, oh Sausagey one?”
“I don’t want to get drunk,” Frank mumbled.
“Why, something you’re afraid of telling us?” Lindsey raised her eyebrows, looking amused.
Frank squirmed and blushed again.
“Okay, Robbie…” Lindsey said thoughtfully, saving Frank from further mortification, pushing her black hair back and contemplating. “Best fuck.”
Frank’s eyes widened.
“Mr. Green,” Robbie grinned, taking a sip of his beer.
Frank’s eyes widened further still.
“You had…sexual intercourse with…a teacher?!” Frank yelped, choking on his beer as he looked incredulously at Robbie.
Robbie, Venom and Lindsey burst out laughing uproariously again. Lindsey was actually wiping tears of amusement from her eyes, and Robbie was choking on his drink.
“What?” Frank pouted, utterly perplexed. Plus, everything was slightly blurry, which was making it even harder to think.
Robbie and Lindsey only laughed harder. Venom had returned to looking hungrily and unblinkingly at Frank’s calf muscles.
“What?” Frank repeated indignantly, kicking Robbie lightly on the shin.
“Sexual intercourse?!” Robbie snorted, waving his hand wildly and wiping his eyes. “Oh, and when I thought you couldn’t get any cuter.”
“What’s so funny?” Frank pouted, nudging Robbie a little too enthusiastically. He ended up falling onto his lap with a small, bemused squeak.
“I think our little German Sausage is tipsy,” Robbie smirked as Frank tried and failed to get up from his lap.
“I’m not German!” Frank exclaimed. The words felt a little too fluid in his mouth and that nice heat was back in the pit of his belly. Somewhere in the flood of lucid thoughts, he thought perhaps he shouldn’t have finished the can of beer and then started on cider, but he didn’t really care, because Robbie’s knee was warm and felt all nice on his cheek and his thoughts were all mushy.
“C’mon, either sit still or fuck off,” Robbie said fondly, pulling Frank around so the latter was sitting more comfortably on his knee and stopped squirming.
“Sexual intercourse off,” Lindsey corrected Robbie seriously, draining her can of cider and setting it down on the table. “I’m so gunna start using that.”
Robbie grinned and tweaked Frank’s nose affectionately. “Who says sexual intercourse apart from PSE teachers, honestly?”
“PSE teachers you fuck,” Frank added, shifting around. Robbie’s lap was slightly bony, but he smelt nice- all lemongrassy and minty and Frank suddenly wanted to sniff his green hair, but he didn’t, because Clarissa wouldn’t like that.
“Fuck is a rude word, Franklin,” Robbie said primly, tapping Frank lightly on the nose- but his eyes were twinkling.
“Fuck you,” Frank retorted, smiling stupidly.
Robbie pretended to be shocked. “Shame on you, Sausagey. I’m disgusted.”
“Get a room,” Venom drawled.
“Venom!” Lindsey hissed crossly, jabbing the Goth with her elbow. “Did you really fuck your PSE teacher?” she asked Robbie, eyebrows raised.
“Yeah. Admittedly, he was under the influence of alcohol and didn’t recognise me, but still. Damn unprofessional,” Robbie said mock-seriously as Frank wriggled about on his knee and tried to sip from Robbie’s can of cider.
“Hey!” Robbie reprimanded him. “That’s mine, Mr. Sausage!”
“There’s none left,” Lindsey sighed, checking in the carrier bag. “Damn.”
“Have we still got some hidden at the bottom of the farm?” Robbie asked, finishing his cider.
“I think so,” Venom said quietly.
“Great, let’s go get it,” Lindsey announced. “C’mon, Ven.”
Reluctantly, with one last longing look at Frank’s calf muscles, Venom prised himself up off the cracked leather sofa to follow Lindsey.
“You guys coming?” Lindsey called over her shoulder.
“Na, we’ll stay here,” Robbie called back, shifting Frank back onto the sofa. “I think it’ll be safer for Frankfurter. He’s a little drunk.”
“Okay, we’ll be back in a while then,” Lindsey smiled, before climbing down the stepladder after Venom, leaving Frank alone with Robbie.
There was a small silence, and Frank hiccupped, smiling blearily.
“Wanna watch a movie, Sausage?” Robbie asked, smiling slightly at Frank’s glazed expression.
“Sure,” Frank replied happily, burrowing into the sofa. “What movie?”
“The Crow,” Robbie called over his shoulder as he fiddled about with the DVD player and turned the stereo down a little. “It’s awesome.”
“’Kay,” Frank giggled, feeling dizzy, but in the nicest way possible.
“I think you’re drunk, Sausagekisses,” Robbie smiled gently, sinking down on the sofa beside Frank as the movie began to play.
“Only a little,” Frank said honestly, sighing a little.
“Do you like your makeover then?” Robbie grinned, turning his head sideways and looking at Frank, who nodded.
For a while, they watched the movie in silence, until Frank let out a small squeak.
“You okay, Frankfurter?” Robbie asked, turning to look at Frank, who was half hiding his eyes from the screen. “Is this too scary for you?”
“No,” Frank insisted stubbornly, still not looking at the screen.
“Then why are you hiding your eyes?”
“Shut up,” Frank pouted, swatting at Robbie, who grinned and pulled the unsteady Frank onto his lap.
“There you go,” he smiled, turquoise eyes glittering in the dim lighting as Frank shifted about on his lap, trying to get comfortable. “That better?”
Frank nodded contentedly, resting his head on Robbie’s chest and hearing the latter’s heartbeat thud against his eardrum.
“Your heart’s beating fast,” he mumbled, poking Robbie’s chest.
“I know,” Robbie said quietly, breath ruffling the top of Frank’s hair.
Frank didn’t know what to say to that, so he just closed his eyes and enjoyed the warmth of Robbie’s chest, the way the contact made him feel warm and fuzzy, and that whenever Robbie shifted his arm on Frank’s waist, it made butterflies soar in his stomach, their fluttery wings grazing the edges of his innards and sending goosebumps down his spine.
He sat up suddenly, facing Robbie.
“You alright, Sausage?” Robbie asked gently.
Frank nodded his head, then shook it. “I- I don’t think I like Clarissa as much as I should,” he blurted suddenly. That was the thing about drinking. His thoughts and his words seemed to be alarmingly unconnected, and he often found himself blurting out things without even thinking about it first. He blinked, and felt Robbie freeze for a second before recovering himself.
“Why do you say that?” he murmured without breaking eye contact.
“Because I don’t think I feel attracted to her,” Frank slurred. “How do you know if you like someone, Robbie?”
“You’re not gunna drop this are you? Look, you just… know,” Robbie rolled his eyes, smiling slightly. “But I’ll break it down for you if you really want, Gorgeous.”
“Please,” Frank sighed, slumping a little.
“Hmm…Fluttery feelings in your belly when they look or smile at you. Not being able to imagine your life without them, no matter how long or short a time you’ve known them. Not wanting to leave when you hang out. Getting nervous if you’re meant to meet them. If they lean in close enough for a kiss, there’s nothing you want to do more than close that gap. Boners. Like, inconvenient ones. And- …Frankfurter? What’s wrong?”
Frank was looking at him, eyes slightly wild. “I don’t get that.”
Robbie stared. “Wait…You don’t get boners?”
Frank blushed and shoved Robbie slightly. “Of course I do. I mean, uh, doesn’t everyone get boners?”
“I’m guessing Lindsey doesn’t.”
“Oh shut up,” Frank slurred, pushing Robbie again.
“I think I like you tipsy,” Robbie announced with a grin, poking Frank’s nose affectionately. “You talk about boners. Before, you’d probably be too embarrassed to even say the word.”
“I still was,” Frank admitted, not meeting Robbie’s turquoise gaze.
“How are you so adorable?” Robbie sighed. Then a wicked grin spread across his face. “Go on, say boner. I want to see you blush.”
“Robbieee,” Frank whined, rocking back and forth on his lap.
“Say it.” Robbie jabbed him in the stomach.
Frank squeaked, recoiling. “Okay, okay! Um…boner.”
Robbie grinned widely. “Ha. Again.”
“And tell me, Mr. Sausage, what do you do with a boner?” Robbie asked, eyes glittering mischievously in the dull lighting from the TV screen and the fairylights.
“Fuck you,” Frank snapped, folding his arms huffily.
“Good answer, Sausagesucker,” Robbie grinned approvingly, and Frank felt his cheeks burn bright red as he realised the meaning of his answer.
“I didn’t mean- I just- you know I didn’t mean-”
Robbie put his hand over Frank’s mouth. “Sausage. Stop burbling.”
Humiliated, Frank stopped and refused to meet Robbie’s amused, flirty gaze.
“Aww, don’t go all sulky on me,” Robbie said gently, tucking Frank’s hair behind his ear and smiling warmly in a way that made Frank’s belly go all funny.
“But Robbie…“I…I don’t feel any of those with her. I just don’t. I don’t want to kiss her. I don’t want to spend all my time with her. I don’t get fluttery feelings in my belly when she smiles…” Frank trailed off, ducking his head.
“Then maybe she’s not what you’re after,” Robbie suggested quietly, looking seriously at Frank with those x-raying turquoise eyes.
“But…she’d hate me. She’d especially hate me looking like this,” he added truthfully, eyes wide.
“Is she crazy?” Robbie snorted. “You look fucking hot like this, Frankfurter. Not that you weren’t already.”
Frank stopped jiggling about and looked at Robbie. “You think I’m hot?” he blinked, blushing.
“Shut up, Sausage,” Robbie grinned, trying to shove Frank off his lap, but Frank whined and tried to stay on, clinging onto Robbie’s hair and trying to resist the pushes that sent him scooting back on Robbie’s knees until he slid his knees either side of Robbie’s and knelt up so that he couldn’t be moved.
“Ha,” he giggled, suddenly realising Robbie’s face was quite close to his. He could taste the other boy’s breath and suddenly his heart was thudding in his chest and he wanted to slide closer so as he could taste the cigarettes and rebellion and lemongrass on Robbie’s breath, let it dust his skin in what he’d never have. Something was fizzling across his skin and pooling in his lower belly- like broken-up electricity, tingling, buzzing all round him with a weird, tugging sort of longing.
“I…” Frank’s thoughts felt all cloudy, as though someone had poured oil into them.
Robbie wasn’t grinning anymore either as he gazed back at Frank, turquoise eyes full of depth and beauty that tugged at Frank’s pulse- the latter could feel his heart beating and beating and beating all in one held breath, so fast he was worried he was going to implode.
“You can’t chose how you feel, Frankie,” Robbie murmured, his eyes not leaving Frank’s the whole time- not that Frank could have looked away. He just stayed, transfixed no more than an inch away from Robbie's face, getting lost in those quirkily beautiful turquoise eyes and soft lips and green hair that tickled Frank’s own. He could feel Robbie’s smoky breath ghosting over his lips, feel the heat of the other boy’s body, and suddenly, something tugged powerfully at the pit of his belly, silencing the whirring of his frenzied, worrying mind.
Everything else but Robbie was wonderfully blurry and fuzzy and thoughtless, so Frank suddenly found himself doing the one thing that seemed possible; shaking, he dipped down and smushed his lips onto Robbie’s, causing the latter to let out a small gasp of surprise as Frank began to slowly, tremblingly, kiss him, his insides going crazy.
For a second, his heart fumbled a beat at the simple pressure of someone else’s lips against his, but then he let his feelings take over and held tighter onto Robbie’s crazy green hair as he meshed his lips desperately against the punk’s, who slid his hands up Frank’s thighs to hold his waist, the movement making Frank’s heart-rate skyrocket and his belly jump. Robbie’s mouth was hotter than Clarissa’s and his response was far more honest, slightly messy and sloppy in the most amazing way, because it was sending tingles all over Frank as he tasted the foreign flavours of cigarettes and lemongrass and rebellion, kissing Robbie like he’d never kissed anyone before. It was scared and wild and hot and electric, and he clung onto it as though without it, he’d fall.
Frank’s reaction to it was the most different thing of all.
He wanted it.
Robbie’s lips tangling with his, the heat of their two bodies crushed together, the warm, wetness of Robbie’s tongue sliding into his mouth and tasting of cider, the way it all made his lower belly tingle and flip inside out and his heart race and-
“Frank,” Robbie was breaking away, breathing unevenly onto Frank’s lips with that same, smoky breath that had reeled him in to begin with, his pupils dilated in those crazy turquoise eyes as he looked breathlessly at Frank. “You…You’re drunk.”
“I know,” Frank replied. “When else would I be this honest with myself?” He wasn’t sure his heart had ever raced as fast as it was doing now, and his hands trembled at his sides as that pull of almost pleasure-like longing in his lower belly yearned for the contact it had just lost. He didn’t want to stop and think, because it felt as though he’d spent his entire life on pause, thinking- so he leant back up and placed his lips tremblingly on Robbie’s, and almost instantly, the taller boy sighed and kissed him back, softer than before- but deeper too, all intense, sending shivers down Frank’s spine as he tentatively pushed his arms round Robbie’s shoulders and sunk further down into his mouth with a small sigh. Robbie’s tongue snaked wetly into his mouth, sending shivers all down Frank’s spine and making tugging pleasure shoot through his groin.
He let out a small, surprised squeak into Robbie’s mouth at that, because that had never happened from kissing someone before. It was new and exciting, and as Frank eagerly meshed his lips up against Robbie’s harder, he felt sort of exhilarated and scared at the same time- just like he had after defying his parents earlier. It was the same rush of blood-hot adrenaline, crashing through his veins and over and under his thoughts.
But he didn't want to think now. He didn't want to think about rebelling or his parents or escaped convicts or Clarissa or the future that was already planned out for him.
He didn’t want to think about anything but kissing Robbie, because that was like novocaine of the mind, and it was making his whole body fizz and tingle with a kind of deeply-pulling excitement he'd never experienced before.
Robbie’s hands were tangling into Frank’s freshly styled hair, tugging at the scalp as their kiss grew messier and faster, stumbling out of sync, tongues lapping eagerly against each other and straying onto chins or cheeks, until Robbie grabbed Frank’s waist and pulled him down onto his lap and Frank let out a loud gasp as he felt the hardness of Robbie’s crotch pressed against his, making sparks of pleasure shoot up his already hardened cock and his lower-stomach go wild.
Frank had to pull away, gasping for air, lips all swollen, heart beating furiously at his chest, resounding right through his body so it was all he could feel apart from Robbie’s breath against his.
“Okay?” Robbie murmured, hair all dishevelled from where Frank had been clutching it. Wordlessly, blushing furiously, Frank nodded, closing his eyes again and letting himself sink back into the hot, plush wetness of Robbie’s mouth, needing to soak up as much of this new, wonderful feeling as possible.
Robbie was kissing him tenderly now, as if to reassure him, deeper and slower, his hands sliding up to tangle with Frank’s freshly styled hair. Frank kissed back with everything he could muster up, tugging at Robbie’s hair and tentatively sliding his hips forward. He had to choke back a gaspy sort of moan at the feel of Robbie’s cock pressing against his, hot and hard through his jeans, and he started to kiss the punk more recklessly and freely, letting his tongue explore Robbie’s mouth and feeling the boy beneath him moan very softly, the sound resonating dully in his chest as his hands slid up under Frank’s shirt, fingers warm and needy, making Frank's belly flip inside out with excited adrenaline.
The kiss was getting wilder, along with the tugging, tingling feeling in Frank’s lower belly. He was shyly bucking his hips against Robbie’s, overcome by the longing pleasure tugging through his body almost like sweet pain, awakening every sense and making Frank’s heart race like it never had before, making him want more and more and more and more...
Blindly, he became aware that they were rising up with the energy of the fierce kiss, hands wandering everywhere, grabbing and hair and clothes, until they were both kneeling on the sofa, bodies crushed together, grinding and gasping and grappling; panting as Robbie pushed Frank down onto his back and landed on top of him with a grunt, still not breaking the heated kiss.
Frank felt as though all his innocence had been exploded and its pieces were forming a kind of fuzzy, tugging pleasure that pooled in his groin, making his cock ache as the hot, liquidizing feeling radiated all the way through the tensing muscles of his body. He clung to Robbie, continuing to kiss wildly, until it was too fast to make sense and Robbie was trailing his tongue down Frank’s neck, nibbling and sucking on the pale skin in a way that made Frank gasp and buck his hips, squeaking slightly as he felt Robbie’s hardened cock rub against his.
Robbie groaned, his teeth digging into Frank’s collar bone as the latter tossed his head and continued to grind his hips up against Robbie’s, consumed with the ache of almost that made his lower belly shiver and his cock throb and his skin tingle. He choked slightly, pulling Robbie’s face back to his as they started to kiss again, rhythmically, recklessly, relentlessly. Frank could feel the pound of Robbie’s heart against his own chest as their lips bumped needily together, getting more fragmented and sloppy, hot, heady breath mingling together.
It was like reveling in everything forbidden that sent the little itch of curiosity at the back of Frank's mind wild, and it was driving every inch of his body crazy. He was sweating and shuddering and kissing Robbie so wildly it was as though his life depended on it.
“Tell…tell me if you want me to stop,” Robbie gasped out between kisses, his hand trailing up Frank’s thigh and lingering on the waistline of the leather skinny jeans.
“O-okay,” Frank breathed, eyes wide. His heart was thumping with nerves, because despite being seventeen, he’d never gone this far with anyone before- but he wanted to. Not just with anyone, with Robbie, who was dishevelled and tender and quirky, kissing his neck half fiercely, half sweetly as his fingers undid the buttons and zipper of Frank’s jeans.
Frank closed his eyes and let the hot, liquid beat of his heart resound through every inch of his thoughts, until it had consumed him completely and all his thoughts were burnt.
When he felt Robbie’s callused hand curl round his cock, he squeaked and gasped out, golden eyes wide, pulse going completely crazy as Robbie started to pump his hand up and down, his grip tight round Frank's throbbing length, sending the aching pleasure of almost almost buzzing round Frank’s groin as he gasped for air and blushed at Robbie’s warmly amused expression above him. Soon, though, he forgot to blush and just let himself get lost in the waves of pleasure that surged through him, making his cock ache as the squeezing feeling started to build agonisingly.
The feeling was consuming every inch of him, fuelling him, weakening him, and once Robbie sunk his lips back onto Frank’s and started kissing him messily, his tongue lapping hotly at his own, Frank started to feel the building feeling of everything rising uncontrollably inside of him, threatening to spill like tainted blood all over his pure, innocent reputation.
Frank let out a stifled groan into Robbie's musky collarbone, overcome by the hot, careless feel of Robbie’s mouth against his in messy, disjointed kisses; the unbearable pleasure tingling and shooting and throbbing up his cock; the squeezing muscles in his lower belly; the thud thud thud of his fevered heart- until it all reached a crescendo and the unbearable pleasure started to come in violent waves and surges that wracked his whole being, making his lower-belly squeeze unbearably until it reached its peak and exploded over the edges in a spasm of melted ecstasy.
His vision became distorted with white stars as his cock jerked in Robbie's slightly sweaty grasp, and then he came violently with a choked gasp, clutching Robbie’s hair as the surging impact rocked his whole body.
For several fevered heartbeats, he just lay there, gulping down the air he needed so desperately before he realised that he should probably return what Robbie had just done and sat up, eyes wide, heart still racing with panic because he didn't want the moment to end- he didn't want to sober up or stop touching Robbie, because he was scared that if he did, it would never happen again.
“You okay?” Robbie's breathless voice cut through Frank's rapidly escalating panic, and the latter looked up to see Robbie smiling at him through half-closed eyelids, raking a shaking hand through his dishevelled hair.
“Um,” Frank knew he was blushing as he gestured wordlessly at Robbie’s crotch, pulse still jumping and fluttering from the aftermath. “I should…uh…I don’t know how to…”
Robbie grinned suddenly, the smile eating up his whole face despite the fact he was still panting feverishly. “Oh my god,” he groaned. “Why do you have to be so god damn adorable?” he leant forwards and cupped Frank’s face, kissing him softly and sweetly. His lips were soft and hot, like breathing silk, tasting comfortingly of pure, smoky Robbie, and Frank felt himself relax, melting into the kiss and letting his eyes flutter shut against the screaming questions that were eclipsed entirely by the feel of Robbie's mouth on his.
After a moment, Robbie pulled away, the same smile still playing at his lips. “It’s okay, you don’t need to, Sausage. I can tuck you up and you can go to sleep or-”
“I want to,” Frank mumbled determinedly, blushing furiously, heart racing.
Robbie blinked. “Um. Well.”
“I don’t want to think,” Frank told him, feeling the words roll drunkenly round his mouth. “Please, Robbie.” He looked beseechingly up at the green-haired boy and felt his heart flip a little at the other boy's swollen lips and heavy breathing, matched clashingly with kind, concerned eyes that shimmered empathy between them.
“Okay,” Robbie said gently after a moment. He held out his hand, and slightly nervously, Frank took it, his belly jumping a little as he felt Robbie lace their fingers together. “It won't take me long. Close your eyes and kiss me if you like,” he said softly, voice slightly ragged round the edges.
Obediently, Frank leant forwards and kissed him a little shyly, heart thudding as he felt Robbie’s guide their hands downwards and under the waistline of his jeans onto hot, hard flesh. Frank felt his breath hitch in his throat and his lips stilled on Robbie’s as Robbie wrapped their interlaced fingers round his cock and Frank felt the hot, pulsating flesh twitch beneath his sweaty fingertips.
“You okay?” Robbie breathed into his mouth. Trembling, Frank nodded, and Robbie began to move their linked hands up and down, soft at first, but then harder and faster as Frank relaxed, feeling Robbie’s breaths quicken against his lips, choking out needily and breathlessly. It didn’t take long before Frank felt the other boy’s cock jump and then Robbie let out a low, guttural sort of moan as he came all over their hands, slumping down onto Frank, breathing fast and hard into Frank's neck with heady, lemongrass and smoke scented breaths.
The Black Rainbow Lies was still playing in the background as Frank clung onto Robbie’s hair, half-scared, half elated with the rain pouring down outside and his thoughts drowned with alcohol and his heart just beating and beating and beating as though it would never stop.
And Frank never wanted it to stop, because he was scared that when it did, he'd have to go back to the person everyone wanted him to be.
He didn't want to do that, because now, he knew-
That wasn't who he was.
Um. Yesh. …I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this chapter, as a) it’s been ages since I’ve written this story and b) did the smut fit with the storyline? I think it did, but I may well be wrong, so if you think so PLEASE tell me, and I can change it. I’m a little uncertain about the whole chapter, so please let me know if it was okay. I may just change it tomorrow, I don't know. To anyone wondering, yes, this IS a Frerard, but that is all to come…Oh, and a spoiler for the next chapter: there shall be a meeting ;D The smut might not have made a lot of sense right now, but it’s crucial to the plot, as you will see in the next chapter.
Thanks so much for reading…Please, please rate and review? I worked so hard on this, it would be amazing to know your thoughts.