(Rated for language) Just a small one shot to give a sort of abstract view on the things happening on this site recently. Just as a therapeutic thing for myself: Frank is angry, but Gerard doesn't ...
“Frankie?” Gerard’s stomach lurched as Frank seized his cigarettes off the table and stormed out of the class, his destroyed artwork lying on the floor. Gerard stared stupidly at the canvas for a long moment, horrified to see another beautiful piece destroyed. Frank had gotten quite the temper now a days, he was bogged down with all kinds of worries and work and Gerard could kind of understand why he was super sensitive right now, but... to destroy something he worked so hard on...
Gerard glanced up at the front desk of the class, sighing sadly. There was no sign of the teacher. Again. The marked work always got left at the front for when they arrived, and any work they wanted marking they had to leave at the front when they left... As such the class had been getting more and more out of hand, but Gerard still loved it, even when stuff like this happened.
For a while the other students stood around, whispering about Frank’s outburst and looking nervously at the broken canvas on the floor. Gerard glanced at his own piece, hesitating before he laid down his paintbrush and moved to scoop up Frank’s canvas and move it to his own desk. He didn’t have the heart to throw it away, maybe something could still be done with it.
“Hey Gee...” Zacky looked terrified as he handed Gerard a few watercolours he’d handed in to get marked. He was holding the pile of returned work, trying to be helpful by giving it out to people but now he looked like he was regretting that decision. Gerard saw the bright red ‘C’ on his work and sighed, forcing a smile as he took it from the younger boy.
“Thanks...” He said gently, noting the relieved look in Zacky’s face as he scampered away. Gerard watched him for a second before looking back at his mark, feeling a small pang of rejection in his chest. He tried not to let it bother him, but of course it did. Sighing, Gerard ripped the piece of paper with the mark from his work and took it along with Frank’s ‘B’ outside to find the younger man.
Frank was sitting on the wall outside the art building when Gerard found him, a cigarette between his lips and a scowl on his face. Gerard hesitated behind him for a moment, not wanting to irritate the younger boy further, but eventually he sighed and sat down beside him.
“Can I bum one?” He smiled shyly, Frank glancing at him for a second before shrugging and handing his pack of cigarettes to Gerard. The older man sighed and mumbled a soft ‘thanks’ as he took one and lit up. Frank used to be so bright and talkative, but now it was like he had a black cloud constantly hanging over his head. Gerard could understand... He had been in positions like it tons of times before, but it stung even more when it was Frank who was miserable. Gerard just wished he could make it better.
“You okay?” He eventually asked after taking a long drag on his cigarette to calm his nerves. Frank scoffed and shrugged, blowing a stream of smoke past his lips and frowning at it as it got lost in the air.
“No.” He said bluntly, Gerard blushing.
“What’s up?” He asked as gently as he could, Frank scoffing again and flicking some ash from his cigarette, his eyebrows still knitted together. He didn’t say anything for a long time, but Gerard knew he had heard him. He was just ignoring him. “Was it the mark?”
“I just don’t get it Gee.” Frank’s voice was loud and abrupt, making Gerard jump as the younger man angrily stubbed out his cigarette. “I worked so fucking hard on that piece! And then I got a B, a B!. Do you know how much that fucking hurts?” Frank demanded, turning his angry eyes on Gerard who shuddered a little under his gaze.
“A B is still a good mark Frank...” He offered softly, Frank’s frown intensifying.
“You don’t get it.” He snapped, making Gerard blush. “That piece deserved way more than a B, there are idiots in there who can’t draw for shit who always get an A. But I always get marked down, and I never get an explanation. It’s always just the same old B no matter what I do. How am I supposed to improve if there’s no teacher here? Why are other people getting better marks than me? I’ll tell you why, cos’ it’s fucking favouritism and that’s not fair!”
“Frank...” Gerard didn’t know what to say, his cigarette dangling forgotten between his fingers. Everything Frank had said was right, but Gerard still didn’t see why he would destroy his work for it. That didn’t change anything. “I only got a C.” He offered timidly, holding out his own mark for Frank to see but this only seemed to make him angrier.
“This is exactly what I’m saying!” He snapped, snatching the piece of paper from Gerard and waving it around. “You’re like, the best artist in that place and you got marked down too. Whereas I dunno... Bert – he gets an A every time and he always draws the same shit over and over again. And he isn’t even that good at it! If you’re gonna draw the same thing at least learn how to draw it!” Frank snapped, jumping off the wall so he could kick it instead.
“I don’t really mind that I got a C...” Gerard mumbled softly, feeling a little put out that Frank thought it was so bad. A C was fine for Gerard, it was average... It could be worse. Sure he wanted an A as much as the next person but he joined this class to have fun, not to get told he was good at it. Plus he liked Bert, it didn’t matter he didn’t draw that well, he was a nice guy.
“Well... Well he only joined the class a couple months ago Frank. He’s still learning.”
“What?” Frank looked confused for a second, too far gone in his ranting to understand who Gerard was talking about, once he did though he scowled even more and stormed closer to Gerard, leaning in until their faces were almost touching. “But that’s the point Gee. I’ve been here for almost two years now, and I’m way better at drawing than he is. I mean shit, I have nothing against the guy ya know? But he could at least learn to draw properly. There are plenty of books in that room that could help, or he could ask someone else to help him, but no, he goes along drawing the same shit and being shit and everyone worships the ground he walks on.”
Frank turned and continued to pace back and forth angrily, Gerard sighing and dropping his cigarette. He didn’t want it anymore. He felt sick and he bowed his head as he shrugged sadly. He decided not to point out that if Bert’s drawing skills annoyed Frank so much then he should offer to help him, he already knew what Frank would say. He would complain he was too busy. Point out that his exams were coming up, that he needed to revise, that he had a ton of assignments to finish, a band he needed to practice with... He’d say that this class was supposed to be fun, that he joined as just something to do in the afternoons when school ended, that he didn’t have time for it anymore. And Gerard didn’t want Frank to say that because then he’d just finish with that he was leaving...
“Well I...” Gerard sighed, running his hand through his hair. What could he say? Frank was angry and he was right, Gerard didn’t know how to make it all seem okay again. “Well, I’ve been here for four years Frankie and... And you just gotta keep trying you know?” He offered softly, Frank’s eyes blazing.
“I’m through with trying. This place was great when I started, but then we stopped getting teachers, and all the good people left and I thought well... maybe this is my chance. Maybe now I can be the one at the top. I’m a better drawer than half of those guys in there and you know I am Gee.” He whined, Gerard sighing and smiling a little at Frank.
“But this class isn’t about being the best Frankie... It’s about having fun.” He pointed out gently, Frank scoffing as he rolled his eyes.
“There’s nothing fun about it anymore.” He snapped, some of his anger disappearing and leaving him drained so he sat back down on the wall. “It’s just stressful Gee... I’ve started hating coming here. I used to enjoy it, I used to look forward to seeing what everyone else had been working on and then showing my stuff too but now I just don’t... Now I only come here to see you but you’re so involved in your work we don’t talk or anything.”
“What?” Gerard blushed deeply, his heart breaking to hear that. He had no idea that he had been hurting Frank too and he felt a lump in his throat. “I’m sorry Frankie, I... I didn’t realise you...”
“Don’t apologise.” Frank groaned, interrupting Gerard as he ran a hand over his eyes. “It’s great you’re so focussed Gee. And you know what, it’s great that you keep working even though you don’t always get the marks you want. And it’s great that you like everyone and nothing matters and all that shit but I’m not you Gerard. I’m not. And it does matter to me. It’s just another thing to fucking get me down.” Frank sighed and bowed his head, hunching right over until his chest almost touched his knees. “I just wanna leave.”
“But... But...” Gerard felt tears sting in his eyes and he blushed as he pushed them away. Just because Frank was going to leave didn’t mean they weren’t going to stay friends. It didn’t mean he couldn’t still see him and see his work. “But I don’t want you to leave.” He whispered, Frank turning his head to smile sadly at him and take his hand.
“I need to Gee. God, for the sake of my health I need to.” He laughed hollowly, biting his lip at the pained look in the older boy’s eyes. “I’m still gonna draw...” He offered softly, squeezing Gerard’s hand. “I’ve found another club down the road, I could join there. A fresh start ya know? Somewhere with a teacher and people who actually know what they’re doing. Just like this place used to be.”
“But you can’t give up.” Gerard whimpered, sighing as Frank sat up to hug him. “I don’t want to move club Frankie, I’ve been here so long... I want you to stay.” Gerard held Frank tight, hoping in some way he could convince him that things would improve but Frank simply kissed his cheek and shook his head.
“It’s not a big deal Gerard. We’ll still hang out all the time, I just won’t be here every week anymore. It’s not a big deal.”
“But it is...” Gerard mewled, not sure how to prove that it was. Sure the teacher had gone and the marks seemed unfair sometimes... so lots of new people had joined and made cliques and they weren’t that good at even the basic stuff that everyone should do. But it didn’t matter to Gerard, he just wanted to draw. He wasn’t good with change, he couldn’t just up and leave and go somewhere else. He was content here. He was content with Frank here.
“If you go then... then it’ll feel so different.” He sighed, Frank shaking his head as he unwrapped his arms from around the older man and simply leant against him instead.
“Nah... People will forget I was ever there after a little while. Even you.” He chuckled, smiling at Gerard and touching his hand again. “I’m not staying Gerard. I’ve made up my mind. I need to go somewhere where I can improve, where I’ll be...” Frank sighed, shrugging. “I dunno... Noticed.” He finally settled, Gerard blushing and bowing his head.
“Okay...” He breathed, realising that nothing he said was going to change Frank’s mind. “If... If that’s what you want.”
“It is.” Frank said certainly, smiling a little at Gerard as he slid off the wall and started to unravel his iPod headphones. “Anyway, I should get going... I’m going to finish my exams and then I’ll go to that class down the road... Maybe... I dunno, maybe you should join with me.” He offered gently, Gerard looking at him in surprise.
“What? N – No, no way. I don’t wanna leave.” Gerard shook his head frantically, Frank sighing.
“But you’ll be noticed more there Gee. And you’ll be around real artists, real good artists. It’ll be a way better environment.” He grinned hopefully, Gerard biting his lip as he looked thoughtfully over his shoulder at the building where the art class took place. He had to admit it was looking a bit shabby. It was small, falling apart, it felt like soon the whole place would probably crumble into the ground. But Gerard still liked it, he didn’t want to give up on it.
“No... I don’t care about real good artists... I just wanna draw.” He shrugged, Frank frowning at him.
“But come with me and you can still draw. You’ll enjoy it more too.” He insisted, Gerard smiling at Frank and shaking his head fondly. He slid off the wall and kissed Frank’s forehead, angling his body to return to the class.
“I enjoy it here.” He shrugged, already starting to walk back towards the building, Frank watching him go with sad eyes. “I just wanna draw Frankie. Nothing else matters.. Not what people think... Not how good they are or whether I’m the best or not... I just wanna draw...”