Mr Way tells Frank some stuff. (Yay for sucky summaries ^^!)
“Frank!” mom calls after she’s sent Mr Way back home with a tin of biscuits forced upon him. I don’t look up from my pillow, and when she realises that I’m not going to come through she quietly opens the door and comes in, sitting down at the foot of my bed.
“Frank, outbursts like that are unacceptable. Do you know how embarrassed I was? Mr Way kept insisting you’d had a rough day, and judging by the state of your face you did, but that’s no excuse to be silly! Do you have anything to say for yourself?”
“No,” I say, the pillow muffling it slightly, and she sighs.
“Would you like to tell me how you got that black eye now?”
“Or would you like to tell me why you got so upset earlier?”
“Frank, you know you can trust me with anything, and I’m sure you can trust Mr Way with anything too...”
“No mom, I can’t. You wouldn’t understand, no-one does!” I reply, sounding totally pathetic.
“Honey, I was a teenager too once, you know? So what’s wrong? Have you and Patrick had a little falling out, is that it?”
“Or have you fallen out with one of your other little friends?”
“Mom, I don’t have other friends. I’m kind of a loser, if you hadn’t noticed.”
“Honey, you’re not a loser, you just need more confidence. I’m sure people would love you if you just opened up more!”
See, this is why I’m convinced my mom’s from another planet.
Suddenly, a look of realisation flashes across her face. “Is it girl troubles? I’m sure I’d be able to help if-”
This seems like a pretty good opportunity to tell her that I find girls the most repulsive creatures in the universe, but then I remember how my dad reacted. I’m sure my mom wouldn’t be a complete dickhead if she found out I was gay but then again I’ve been wrong before.
“Oh god, it is, isn’t it?!” Mom grins excitedly, “ What’s she like? Are you friends with her? What’s her name, love?”
“Mom, it’s not girl-”
“Is she pretty? What does she look like? Oh god, my little Frankie’s in love!” mom sighs happily, nipping my cheek with her pointy fingernails. I’m beginning to think I should hurry up and tell her that I’m definitely not having girl troubles.
“Tell you what; you can invite her round tomorrow! I’ll go out and leave you two alone for a couple of hours!”
“What is it, love?” she smiles.
“Mom, I’m gay! Jesus Christ!” I snap.
Mom stares at me in disbelief for a moment but then she beams and wraps her arms around me. “Oh Frankie, why didn’t you tell me sooner? I’m so proud of you, honey! Oh, this is great, I’m so glad you told me! We have to tell your father, he’ll be-”
“No mom!” I say quickly, “I mean, I told him already, when I was staying in Newark. He, uhh, wasn’t exactly pleased...”
“...Meaning...?” Mom presses.
“Uhh, he sort of yelled at me and tried to ‘straighten me out’,” I shrug, “But it didn’t work. I actually think he put me off girls even more.”
“Oh god, what did he do?!” Mom asks and I bite my lip.
“I’d rather not talk about it,” I say, thinking back to the belts and the horrible cheap porn videos that were hidden underneath my dad’s bed. I shiver, trying to block out the memory and concentrate on what my mom’s saying.
“Well, if you insist you’re okay I won’t push it, but you know I’m always here for you, right love?”
“Yeah mom,” I give her a small smile and she nods, seemingly satisfied. She stands up, kisses the top of my head lightly and leaves my room, going through into the kitchen to drink her coffee. I sigh heavily, collapsing against my pillows, willing myself to fall asleep and forget the events of the past day.
“Frankie!” Mom calls through the flat and I open one eye, sighing when I’m met with sunlight flooding in through the window. Great; it’s morning. That means school.
“Fraaaankiiiiee!” Mom calls again, assuming I’m still snoring.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m getting up!” I grunt, shutting my eyes again. The door opens a moment later. Of course; my mom knows that I’ll never leave my bed without being physically dragged. I dive under the comforter, hoping it’ll miraculously turn me invisible.
Mom gently shoves me and I groan, “Don’t wanna get up!”
“Coffee’s ready,” she chuckles, “Get your ass out of bed. Now!”
I hear the door close again and come out from underneath the duvet, sighing. I know that I’m gonna have to get out of bed sometime, so I untangle myself from the blankets and stand up, stretching. I go over to my drawers and pull out some skinny jeans. And so the day begins...
When I get into school I pull my timetable out of my pocket, checking to see which classes I have today. I smile lightly when I find out I have music first. Well; that makes a pleasant change from the Tuesday morning double period of maths I had last year. And after music I have...
I decide I don’t want to read on and fold up my timetable again, stuffing it carelessly into the pocket of my tight jeans and making my way to registration early.
Once I’m sitting safely in one of the music practice rooms I sigh happily. This is possibly the only place in the entire school where I can feel completely at ease. No one’s going to disturb me here; it’s just me, the guitar, and the music. I can forget all about my past and present, and stop worrying about the future. None of it exists, here; I’m safe. I plug my guitar into one of the cheap school amps, stick the headphones in and collapse onto a chair, opening my music folder and taking out the first sheet of music I come across; Boulevard Of Broken Dreams by Green Day. It’s possibly the only half decent piece my music teacher gave me for my exam, therefore I already know it pretty much by heart; mainly because I rarely give the other pieces a second look.
Just as I’m strumming through the chorus, the door flies open, almost hitting against the adjacent wall. I jump, the headphones flying out of the amp as I do so, filling the room with a warm C chord. I look up, expecting to see a jock, or my music teacher. Instead I’m faced with my light haired best friend who grins at me and closes the door behind himself as he enters.
“Fuck, Patrick!” I laugh, “You gave me a heart attack!”
“Sorry, Frankie,” he chuckles, “Just thought I’d come keep you company, y’know?”
I want to tell him that the music’s the only company I need, but I guess it was a kind gesture so I just smile and nod. He sits his acoustic guitar down, propped against a wall as he drags a plastic chair over to face my own.
“Weren’t you supposed to be doing singing today, or something?” I ask him curiously, knowing full well that Mr Davidson – the singing teacher – pretty much wants to adopt him and have him singing for millions by the end of the year. The end of the month, even!
“Yeah,” Pat nods, “But Mr Davidson’s sick and couldn’t come in today, so I swiped a guitar and here I am! So...”
“So, what happened when you went to Mr Way’s room after school yesterday?”
I think back to the events of yesterday evening and frown, trying to forget them.
“He just... Made me do the hoovering, s’all...” I shrug uneasily. Patrick seems satisfied with my answer and nods.
“Wonder if he chooses a girl he’ll start on them?” Pat wonders, “I mean, that’s what most of them want anyway; you should’ve heard Carolyn during French yesterday! She wouldn’t stop talking about how she was planning to bed him!”
I swallow and avoid eye contact with him when I agree, “Yeah, maybe...”
Sometimes it’s sad just how oblivious Patrick really is.
When we get to English I avoid looking at Mr Way, and instead keep my eyes glued to my desk. I don’t even look up when Patrick tries to make conversation before the lesson starts, answering to the ‘Jamie Loves Hannah!’ scrawled on the table instead.
“Okay, class, settle down,” Mr Way’s voice drifts over from the front of the room. The conversation dies after a few moments and I can hear the marker pen squeaking as Mr Way scrawls something on the board.
“So, we’re going to be doing a film study for a bit, okay?” he says, and the class murmur in agreement, “And,” Way continues, “It’s up to you to decide what film you want. I have... Ah! I have Shaun Of The Dead and The Hills Have Eyes!”
The class chatter excitedly amongst themselves, and from beside me Patrick gives my arm a gentle nudge.
“What one d’you like better?” he asks me quietly and I finally glance up from my desk.
“Shaun Of The Dead,” I state, “It’s fucking funny as fuck,” I shrug and look back down again.
“Hey, you haven’t looked up for the whole period! What’s wrong, Frank?” Patrick asks curiously.
“Nothing’s wrong. And the period’s only gone ten minutes!”
“Well, maybe you could face me when I’m talking to you?!” he sounds slightly annoyed now and I sigh, looking up again.
“I’m looking at you! Happy now?”
“Frank, what’s wrong? You’re acting weird...”
“I don’t know... Different. Did something happen at home, or...?”
“Is it Laurence and his cronies? Is that it? Because if they’re annoying you again, I could-”
“No, Pat, it’s not them, it’s just... Look, I got this from my mom last night, I don’t need it from you too.”
“See! Proof that something’s up and everyone can tell!”
“Pat, just drop it. Please, I’m fine!”
Someone at the front of the room clears their throat, and when Patrick and I look up all eyes are on us, including Mr Way’s.
“If you two are quite done with your conversation, I’d like you to pick what film you want to write about?”
“The Hills Have Eyes,” Pat says immediately, and Mr Way nods at him, turning to face me.
“Uh... Shaun Of The Dead,” I mumble, looking back down at my desk once again.
“Well,” says Mr Way, “It looks like Simon Pegg wins!” He slides Shaun Of The Dead into the DVD player, and fast forwards through the adverts until he reaches the menu and slamming the play button.
I don’t pay any attention to the film whatsoever, not that it really matters anyway. I’ve seen it before about fifty million times and I have better things to think about right now, so the way I see it; free period!
I try to come up with a way of making Patrick and my mom believe that nothing’s wrong with me. I can deal with everything on my own.
No I fucking can’t!
I can! I have for six years anyway. Besides; if I did tell my mom that Mr Way raped me, of course she wouldn’t believe me. The way she sees it, Mr Way is just some nice young man who teaches English at the local high school and lives two doors along. How on earth could someone so pleasant have done something so horrible, so wrong? Exactly; he just couldn’t.
Mr Way stops the film five minutes before the bell’s due to ring. “Well guys, we can watch the rest tomorrow. Now, I just need someone to stay behind after class. How about you, Morgan?” he asks a blonde haired boy who sits at the front of the room.
“Uhh... I can’t miss my bus, sir. It’s the only one until half six...” Morgan excuses himself.
I half expect Mr Way not to give a flying fuck, but he shrugs, “’Kay. I guess I’ll have to ask Frank to stay again, then.” He looks up at me and I gasp.
“I... Umm... Sir, I need to, umm, uhh... Catch the bus too?”
“Yes!” I say, earnestly, “To get home, and such!”
“You were walking yesterday, though,” he smirks.
“How d’you know I was... Oh,” I suddenly remember Mr Way making his appearance when I got covered in the contents of Mrs. Jackson’s rubbish bin.
“See you later, Frank,” he chuckles as the bell rings and the class slowly file out of the room.
“Alright Frank, seriously, what’s up with you?” Patrick demands at lunchtime when we sit down underneath one of the large trees situated behind the science block. I look up and he’s peering at me from underneath his grey cap.
“What are you on about, Pat? Nothing’s wrong!”
“You’ve been acting weird since English. C’mon Frankie, you can trust me with anything.”
I sigh heavily, leaning backwards against the tree and closing my eyes. I want to tell Patrick, honestly I do, but everything’s just so complicated, and he would try to help but he just can’t. He’s just a fifteen year old boy, not a councillor or a psychiatrist. And he’s not a policeman, so he can’t stick Mr Way in a jail cell so I never have to see him again. I sigh again, wishing that everything was simpler; wishing that everything didn’t exist at all.
I open my eyes again and Patrick’s still closely observing me, “Frank...?”
“I’m not acting weird,” I insist, “I’m fine.”
Now it’s Pat’s turn to sigh.
“Frank,” he says, and I look down at the grass I’m sat upon. A moment later he grabs my cheek and tilts my face to look him in the eye. “You know you can talk to me... If you ever feel like it. I won’t judge you, and I won’t try and make you tell someone else if you don’t want to. That’s what friends are for, right?”
He drops his hand and smiles comfortingly at me and I manage a weak smile in return.
“Thanks, Patrick,” I nod, “I just... I don’t want to talk about it right now.”
He finally decides to drop the subject and we sit in silence for a while, Patrick with his iPod headphones in, and me gazing up at the fluffy white clouds which drift by in the airway.
I take as long as possible to drag my feet across the school to the English corridor at the end of the day, not looking forward to seeing Mr Way one bit. No doubt today will be a repeat of yesterday, and that is something I’d rather avoid. When I finally reach his door I stand for a minute or so, trying to convince myself that it’ll all be fine.
When I finally get the courage to open the door, Mr Way’s sitting on his desk, looking through a pile of papers. When the door creaks he looks up, and he smiles when he sees me.
“Hi Frank, you okay today?”
I look down at my feet, my cheeks pinkening slightly as I remember my outburst from last night, and simply mumble an, “Yeah, I'm okay,” in reply.
“Right, Frank,” he says, “I don’t need any help with tidying up today.”
I look up at him, and he’s looking at me closely. I swallow.
“Then, uhh, why am I here?”
“Shut the door, please,” he says, and I stare at him, shocked. Surely he’s not going to try anything, not after I called him out as a rapist yesterday evening?
He obviously notices my alarm though, and says, “Don’t worry, I won’t touch you. I’ll even sit behind my desk if it makes you feel better. I just want to talk to you, Frank.”
Oh god, this can’t be good.
I close the door and make my way over to the teacher’s desk, my converse squeaking with every step I take.
“Sit down,” he says, waving his hand at one of the grey plastic chairs sitting behind the desk closest to his and I sit, watching him closely, ready to make a run for it if he tries anything at all.
“So, Frank,” he begins, “Are you ready to talk about what happened yesterday?”
I try to work out what part of ‘yesterday’ he’s talking about; the part where he tried to feel me up, the part where I was covered in mouldy banana, or the part where he invaded my mom’s living room and announced that he’d kissed a student before; but my mind comes up blank, so I just sit there quietly.
“Who tipped the litter all over you?” he presses.
“No one,” I mumble, looking down at my lap.
“You mean to tell me you poured the contents of a trash can all over yourself? Is that it?”
“Then it must have been someone! Frank, please, I want to help you!”
“I don’t need any help,” I answer listlessly.
“Frank, believe me, when I was at school I got picked on too. Every day I would get beaten, or dumped down a toilet or inside a bin, and the comments, Frank, the things people said about me... It ate away at me slowly, until I wanted revenge so badly...”
I don’t say anything, mainly because I’m not sure if Mr Way wants to be interrupted right now or not. His eyes are vacant, clouded and full of hurt and anger; much unlike the shiny, sadistic orbs I’d gotten used to. He looks almost broken, full of the rage and pain that comes with years of bullying and being outcast. They almost remind me of... Me.
“... but then I told someone, Frank. I spoke to someone about it. I spoke about everything that had happened to me, right from the beginning, and it got better after that.”
He looks at me expectantly, but I still say nothing. I don’t exactly know how to respond to that, so I chew on one of my bitten down fingernails quietly.
“You know I’m always here, don’t you? If you feel like talking about anything, anything at all, just come and see me, okay?”
I nod, and he smiles.
“... Sir,” I ask slowly, “... What happened after- I mean, when you spoke to someone about it- Basically- Were you- What happened?”
Mr Way smiles warmly at me, probably happy that I’ve finally said something to him without accusing him of sexual abuse (despite the fact that I know he’s an offender) or bursting into tears.
“Well,” he said, “This was when I was about your age, maybe slightly younger. I was a bit overweight when I was a teenager, and people liked to poke fun at me for it and it just killed off the little confidence I had in me. At first it just made me sad; I stopped going out of the house unless I had to go to school, I sometimes cut myself, and I got started on heavy alcohol consumption at a young age.”
It’s not every day your English teacher admits to have self harmed and been an alcoholic.
Mind you, it’s not every day your English teacher raped you when you were ten either (unless you’re me, of course, because luck just fucks me over every single day).
“It kept up like that for a while,” Mr Way continues, “And then I started getting more angry than sad. I would come up with all these ways to get revenge on the people who had picked on me for so long. I would sometimes lie awake all night trying to work out how I could get my hands on a shotgun; that way I could take it to school, get one up on some of the bullies, and finally get rid of myself. Obviously that never took off, but it gives you a good idea of what was going on in my head during my early teens.”
I’m still quite unsure of what to say. I have no idea why he told me all of that because there is still no way I’m going to spill any of my secrets to him, mainly because he knows the deepest, darkest one there is; he just doesn’t remember it. I look at him and he meets my eye. His eyes aren’t pained any more, but they haven’t returned to the cold orbs they usually are either. He just looks concerned. Concerned for me.
A good five minutes must pass with neither of us saying anything, but finally the silence is broken, and it’s Mr Way speaking again.
“Frank, please tell me what happened yesterday afternoon while you were walking home,” he almost begs me, “I want to help you. It’s not like I spill my past to every student I teach, but you looked like you needed to know that I’m more like you than you think.”
“You’re nothing like me!” I exclaim, taken aback and breaking my silence in a moment of shock. He looks me in the eye and reaches across the desk. I reel away from him, but this doesn’t stop him from grabbing my arm and pulling my sleeve back. I shut my eyes painfully as my scarred forearm is exposed. I feel embarrassed and almost naked without my sleeve covering them up. Mr Way says nothing for a moment, and when I open one of my eyes a crack he’s just staring at my arm sadly. A second later he looks up at me and I’m quite startled when he looks furious with me.
“Frank, why?” he demands, still not releasing his grip on my arm, and I can’t help to think he’s being a little hypocritical when he admitted he’d done it himself, not ten minutes ago.
I shrug, feeling extremely awkward about this whole situation I’m faced with.
“Why?!” he half shouts, making me jump, “Why do you do it?”
How can I answer that question when it all started with the man sitting in front of me raping me six years ago?
“B-because... Because e-everything they...” I stop, unable to answer. A tear I didn’t know had formed slides down my cheek slowly, closely followed by another one. I can’t see how any of this is fair on me; I manage to hide my scars well for six years, and then it takes two days for the man who was responsible for some of them to spot them, and then he demands to know why I do it.
In fact, I can’t see how he raping me in the first place is fair for me either.
And after that the tears can’t stop falling. Mr Way sighs heavily, dropping my arm so that it falls onto the desk, all of the pale, faded scars still blatantly showing on my wrist, and he holds his head in his hands, looking stressed.
After a minute he looks up, “Look, Frank,” he says tiredly, “I can’t make you talk to me. But just promise me that you won’t end up doing something stupid like I did?”
I hiccup, choking on a sob as I ask, “... You did?”
“It doesn’t matter what I did,” he says sharply, “The only thing that matters right now is that you stay safe and stay out of trouble.”
“Umm, I’ll try, sir.”
He smiles weakly, “Okay. You can go now if you like, don’t let me keep you. But if I find you laying on the sidewalk again today I’ll make you give me names.”
I manage a small smile which fades the moment it appears, and make to leave the room. Just as I’m walking out of the door, Mr Way calls from behind me.
“Oh, and Frank?”
I turn to face him and he nods at my arm, “Make sure you do a better job of hiding your scars if you don’t want people to find out.”
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