You should know mom by now.
The town was anything less than eventful. Frank had followed his dad around for two hours, giving a small shrug or nod when he'd ask if he thought his mom would like whatever he had found and held it up embarrassingly high. He was beginning to wonder why he had agreed to coming anyway. Surely there was something better he could be doing instead. But then again. This was Jersey.
"What about this? Anyone would want this" his dad said as he held up a portable t.v and radio, a smile on his face as he inspected the box.
Frank let out a sigh and leant his back on the shelves. "Why don't you try thinking of what she likes, dad? Or at least what a woman would want. Like, I don't know, make up? A romance novel? A stupid manicure set?" he rolled his eyes. "You've been married to mom for seven years. You have to have an idea of what she likes"
Shaking his head, he put the box down and sighed. "She changes her mind so often about things it's hard to be sure"
Frank looked down a random isle and said "Why don't you buy her a cook book or something? She's alwaysloved cooking and baking"
Frank Snr looked up from reading the back of a horribly cliché love story and smiled. "That's it! I'll get her kitchen things! She's always complaining about how all her pans are scratched!" He nodded, almost congratulating himself for the great idea.
Frank rolled his eyes. "Yeah, can I wait outside? I need some air, or, you know, real sunlight"
His dad nodded and started his search for 'The ultimate frying pan', leaving Frank to shuffle out of the store and into the bright light of the day, relieved that he didn't have to watch his father sigh and continuously glare at boxes and electrical appliances. He just wasn't cut out for birthday shopping.
Outside, the weather fooled everyone. Inside shops where it was warm, they would look out their windows wearing short sleeves and singlets, wishing they could be outside soaking up the suns warmth. But in reality, outside, it was cold. Everyone was wearing jumpers and jackets, teeth chattering quietly and cheeks rosy. New Jersey weather was just never great.
So when Frank stepped outside, he automatically flicked his sleeves over his hands and zipped up his hoodie, giving a small shiver as the wind gently whipped against his face. What was he going to do now? He no longer had his dad to sigh and roll his eyes at. He was now alone and hoping he wouldn't run into any classmates again because this time, he'd have to play Lazer Tag after promising last Friday. He wasn't in the mood for Lazer Tag.
Glancing around, he shoved his hands into the pockets of his hoodie and weaved his way through the large groups of people looking in shop windows, chatting and, to Frank's annoyance, stopping directly in front of him. He'd already walked into two different people from that happening and he was only two stores away from the one he had just left. But not wanting to seem rude, he kept a straight face, apologised and moved on. He wasn't really one for yelling.
As he weaved and dodged, he realised where he was going. He was a few stores away from the historic center. Sure, it was closed on Sundays and he hadn't actually planned to go there, but there he was getting closer and closer to the center. It was almost in full view now, and though he knew it was closed, he just kept walking towards it. It probably looked like he was hypnotized with the way he was staring at the building in such awe, bumping into shoppers and tripping up on the cracks in the pavement. He was just so in love with the beautiful building.
Standing outside the building in the spacey, metal sculpture filled seating area, Frank stared up at the detailed walls and amazingly mosaic stairs. He was inspecting it so well, he found himself walking backwards to get a better look at it.
"Hey! Woah, look out!" someone yelled. Frank, startled, spun around and was pushed to the ground hard as he let out a loud yelp. "I am so sorry!" the man exclaimed as Frank sat up, inspecting his hands. "Are you okay?"
Frank looked up, shielding his eyes with his arm. "I-I'm fine, it was my fault" he took the hand that had so kindly been extended to him, and allowed the man to pull him to his feet easily.
"I really shouldn't ride with things piled so high in the front" they said as he brushed himself off, happy that he hadn't been injured so badly.
"I really shouldn't be walking backwards either" he said quietly as he looked up. "U-Uh-"
Standing in front of him, holding a bicycle up at his side, stood Gerard, the wonderful and intriguing guide from the centre. "Oh!" he said with a smile. "Bellevue Academy, right?" Frank nodded. "I remember. What are you doing in town today?"
Frank shifted awkwardly. "I was um, Birthday shopping with my dad" he nodded. "I don't know why I agreed to come because now I'm bored, but you know"
"Birthday shopping. Ah, I always buy something I would want instead. They never like it" he laughed and looked up. "Hmm, weather's not great, is it?" he asked as he looked back down at Frank, a small smile still present.
Frank shook his head. "Um, no... What is all that stuff anyway?" he asked, motioning towards the boxes Gerard had piled and tied in the basket on the handles.
"All this? It’s old papers. I'm meant to be leaving them in my bosses office" he said as Frank nodded, looking down at the boxes. "I should probably do that..." he nodded to himself and looked at Frank. "Do you want to come?"
Frank all of a sudden felt anxious. The butterflies in his stomach made war as he stared at Gerard. His brain screamed yes, go. But another part of him said no. But Frank knew that no matter what reason that part of him had, he was going to say yes anyway. He knew that the reason he had come to the centre was because it reminded him of the guide. So he nodded. He nodded and let out a small "sure" and followed the dark haired man towards the building of history.