Something terrible happens to Taylor; Frank does something that surprises Gerard.
Frank’s car had trash /everywhere/, mostly just old cups from gas-stations and stuff. Courtesy of the air freshener hanging from his mirror the entire car smelled like vanilla, which happened to be my favorite scent. It made the car feel comfortable, despite the trash. It was nice, and I didn’t actually mind that my foot landed in a half filled cup of… something.
“I’m a pig.” Frank admitted, as he started his car. “Are you cold?”
“A little.” I answered, shrugging. “It’s not too bad though.”
“The heat sucks in this thing.” Frank commented, “There is a blanket in the backseat though. Want me to grab it for you?”
“No thank you.” I glanced outside, “Didn’t you say your house was close anyway?”
“Yeah, it’s just down the street.” Heavy metal suddenly blared through the speakers, killing any chance of conversation but that didn’t really matter because with the way Frank sped it only took five minutes for us to make it to his place, and the only reason it took that long was because of other cars.
By the time I stepped out of his car my ears were ringing. I found myself surprised that he lived in such a nice house. I’d figured from his clothing that he was poor, but that was just his style… and my way of judging.
It was so hard to change, but since Frank had saved me I’d realized I really didn’t like myself very much. I figured that’s why other people didn’t either. How could anyone else like me, if I couldn’t even like myself? So I was trying. I really was trying. It just wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
“Too fast?” Frank smirked at my expression.
“Very fast.” I replied, “But too fast? I don’t think so.” His grin widened and for a second I felt accepted until…
“Frank! … uh, Taylor?” Gerard, another student from our grade, looked happy to see Frank but as soon as he saw me that happiness melted away, leaving me feeling out of place and unwelcome. It was what I deserved but it was still hard to take.
Frank glanced at me for a moment and shrugged, before speaking to Gerard. “Hey Gerard. I didn’t know you were going to be here.”
“Seems we’re both surprised then, because I didn’t know she was going to be here.” Gerard answered, shooting me a dirty glare.
Okay, he didn’t like me. I got that. He couldn’t make it any clearer, unless he used neon signs. I was kind of just waiting for that to happen. How had I been so blind to all of the hate before? Now it hurt. It hurt a lot.
“Taylor and I were just going to play some video games. You could join us.” Frank suggested.
Gerard looked confused. “Video games?”
“I should just go actually… I um, yeah- I should go.” I interrupted whatever it was that Frank had been about to say. I couldn’t stand sitting next to Gerard, knowing how much he hated me. It was already so clear from the way he was looking at me. I wasn’t even sure what I’d done to him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was terrible.
I deserved all of this, but I didn’t want it.
“Go?” Frank frowned. “We just got here.”
“Wait, are you guys… like on a- a date?” Gerard’s mouth hung open in surprise.
Frank shrugged again, “No.”
How had I been so stupid? Of course it wasn’t a date. Why would Frank want to go on a date with me? Why would I want to go on a date with him? We were so different.
“I’m just going to go.” I spoke as quickly as I could. “See you guys around.” I was sure they’d make themselves known as they spit hurtful words at me. It wouldn’t be surprising.
“Let me give you a ride.” Frank suggested, grabbing his keys from his pocket again.
I shook my head quickly, “No, I really… I would like to just walk.” I gathered the courage to push my shame away and look in to Frank’s eyes. “Goodbye Frank.”
He just stared at me, and I could see his confusion- then I saw his understanding and the humiliation burned brightly as I turned away from him.
He didn’t say anything and I didn’t wait.
The cold night air was welcoming and each step I took brought me a step closer to a place further away from Frank, and I needed that.
I’d never been so humiliated in my entire life.
I was so stupid to think it had been a date, /an actual date/. I was so stupid to think Frank liked me. It wasn’t like anything had changed between us. He saved me, but I didn’t do anything. I was still just some bitch that he hated, as he’d so nicely put just last week.
I touched my lips, shivering for reasons other than the weather.
He had been my first kiss, and it had meant nothing to him.
That was something I couldn’t quite handle.
“Whoa, calm down.” Gerard was frowning. “What the hell did the coffee machine ever do to you?”
“Deprive me of coffee.” I responded, slamming my hand on to the stupid machine again. “What’s taking it so damn long? I need coffee!”
“It always takes this long.” Gerard reasoned. “So what the hell were you doing with Taylor?”
“She’s never played Mortal Kombat, or any other video game, before. Can you believe that?” I chuckled, before frowning again. “I should go make sure she made it to her car. It’s too late for her to be walking around all by herself, especially after- fuck. I need to go. Just- just stay here dude, but I need to go.” With that said I quickly walked out, leaving the coffee machine and Gerard alone.
It took three tries to get my car to start because my hands were shaking so badly from anger. I was so angry with myself. How could I be so stupid? I saw how hurt Taylor looked after I’d foolishly opened my big mouth. When Gerard asked if we were on a date… I just kind of panicked. I’d just lied to my friends about her, and that would kind of be admitting it- so instead I lied again, and hurt Taylor’s feelings.
Then I let her walk all by herself late at night in a not so great neighborhood, when half of the city hated her.
I drove slowly, watching carefully for Taylor. I didn’t know how slow she walked, or if she’d have slowed down for any reason. I just didn’t want to miss her.
I didn’t see her anywhere though, and so I continued on to the bakery, at a slow pace.
I saw her before I saw her car. As I pulled to a stop it gained my attention though. Jesus. I stepped out. Taylor was just sitting there, in the parking lot. Her head was down, buried in her arms which were crossed over her knees. Her shoulders were shaking, and I figured she was crying.
This was twice I’d seen her cry, and twice I didn’t know what to do.
She slowly glanced up. Once she saw me her eyes widened. She looked humiliated as she wiped her tears away. “W-why are you here Frank?”
I just shook my head, saying nothing. I was shaking with anger. This was over the fucking line. It was Alexis. It had to be Alexis. That little bitch.
Without saying anything to Taylor I walked past her and in to the bakery. Alexis was humming behind the counter. She didn’t even look at me. Not until I slammed my hands on to the counter. She looked up, grinning. “What’s up Frank?”
“What the fuck were you thinking doing that shit?” I snapped.
“Doing what?” Alexis innocently batted her eyelashes but I could easily see right through the bitch.
I controlled my anger, calming down quickly. Alexis watched curiously as I dialed a number. You see, my parents were very close with the owners of the bakery. I had their number, and they answered quite quickly. “Hello?” It was Mr. Thomas.
“Hello Sir, this is Frank Iero.” I knew how to play nice too.
“Oh hello dear boy.” Mr. Thomas was a friendly older man. He was one of the few people that I could actually stand out of my parents’ social circle. “To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”
“Unfortunately it’s not a good call.” Alexis continued to watch me. “My friend’s car was vandalized outside of the bakery, and I’m here right now. I was wondering if you could come down and maybe look at the outside videos to see who did it.”
By the time I closed my phone Alexis looked terrified, as she now knew she was in trouble. “You called my fucking boss!” She hissed. “I didn’t know you were a snitch.”
I shrugged, “I’m not really snitching, now am I? You’re innocent, right?” I batted my eyelashes as she had, before smiling widely. “That’s what I thought.” She said nothing, but her glare spoke for her.
Mr. Thomas only lived a block away so I wasn’t too surprised when the door opened just minutes later. He breathlessly entered. “My god, I saw the car outside.” He shook his head. “I can’t believe that someone would write such vile things. Frank, is that your friend outside?”
“Please invite her in while I look at the video footage. Alexis, give them both anything. Free tab, my dear. It’s too cold for her to be sitting out there.”
Alexis nodded, and Mr. Thomas caught on to the way she was nervously biting her lip. “Oh Alexis, I’m sorry dear. This must be getting to you too. Did you see anything?” She quickly shook her head. “Why don’t you get yourself some coffee and sit down as well?”
Alexis just nodded again, as her cheeks brightened.
I didn’t wait around for their conversation as I went outside to get Taylor. She was still in the same position. I glanced at her car, frowning. “You know this shit isn’t true, right?” I was hoping that wasn’t what was getting to her. I mean, the vandalism would probably get to anyone… but I didn’t want her to take the words to heart.
Taylor wiped her eyes again as she gazed at her car. “/Whore./” She read off what was spray painted across the wind shield. “/Open for business./” She read the back.
I just listened, catching on to the way her voice cracked. Her words broke apart, and tears formed. She was hurt because Alexis was a bitch, and she was hurt because I was a coward. For all the bad she’d done in the past… nothing about tonight was her fault and yet it was all coming down on her.
“/Fake./” Taylor continued reading. “/I hope you die./” She shook her head, “/Worthless./” This time she used her hoodie to wipe some of the tears away. “What about this isn’t true Frank?”
“None of it is true.” I answered.
“I’m so fake that even my friends hate me, and the person that I considered my best friend set me up to be raped. I haven’t done anything for anyone in my entire life, and whoever wrote this certainly isn’t the only person who wants me dead.”
“That doesn’t make you a whore.” I pointed out. “Just because you haven’t found your worth yet doesn’t make you worthless, and you’re trying to be real. You’re here right now because you’re trying- which is more than a lot of other people can say. People do hate you, but fuck them. I don’t care what they think, and you shouldn’t either.”
Taylor frowned and looked away, “I thought we were on a date earlier. They forgot to write on here just how stupid I am.”
“That’s because I asked you on a date, and I took you on a date.” I took a deep breath, completely ready to shame myself with the truth. “Then Gerard got involved, and I got flustered… and I lied to him, but I didn’t lie to you. It was a date Taylor, and technically… it kind of still is.”
Taylor looked at me again. “Are you… are you ashamed to be on a date with me?” The way she asked the question really got to me. It got under my skin, because she looked so hurt, and she sounded so hurt. She was hurt.
“No, no that’s not it.” I shook my head, but it was pointless. She already knew the truth, and I was just too ashamed to admit it.
In all honesty I didn’t want my friends to know that I was on a date with her.
The door to the bakery opened and interrupted us. Mr. Thomas looked furious. Alexis followed after him, and she was crying. I could figure out what was happening all on my own. Mr. Thomas turned and glared at her, “Alexis has something to say.”
Alexis glanced at Taylor.
Taylor looked completely confused, but still she gave her attention to Alexis.
“Taylor, I’m sorry that I vandalized your car and I’ll pay for all of the damages.” Alexis didn’t even bother to wipe her tears away, but I wasn’t all that impressed.
I moved closer to Taylor, putting my arm over her shoulders. She took a really deep breath that shook her entire body. “W-why did you do it?”
“Because you were on a date with Frank, and I used to date Frank.”
“Don’t lie Alexis.” I kept my voice soft, just because Mr. Thomas was listening. I just wanted to scream at her for being such a bitch, but I couldn’t. “We never really dated, and that’s not why you have a problem with Taylor.”
Alexis gritted her teeth before responding. “I did it because I’ve hated you since freshman year when you gave me a complex about my weight. You’re the reason that I became bulimic.”
Taylor’s frown deepened. “I remember.” She finally whispered. “I’m so sorry. I-“ She dropped the statement, as if lost.
Mr. Thomas spoke up. “I don’t want to get the police involved. Alexis has agreed to work until the damage is paid off. Her checks will go directly towards that and I will see to it. Then once it’s paid off she is fired.”
I smiled at Alexis, happy that the bitch was paying for what she’d done.
Taylor spoke up though, leaving Alexis and I both surprised. “What if- What if she just put the checks towards help for her eating disorder, like counseling or something?”
Alexis’s mouth fell open a little.
Mr. Thomas thought it over and nodded, “You’re the victim here. Is that what you want?”
“It is.” Taylor answered.
“That’s a very nice thing for you to do young lady, and I am sorry that this happened to your car.” Mr. Thomas replied. “Come on Alexis. I have revisions to make to our contract, and you will sign or the police will be involved.”
Alexis glanced at Taylor one last time before disappearing in to the bakery again.
“She didn’t deserve that.” I commented.
“She didn’t deserve to become bulimic because of some stupid comment I made about her in freshman year. She didn’t deserve to feel inadequate in her own body, just because I feel inadequate in mine.” Another surprising admission. Taylor had a gorgeous body. How could she feel inadequate? I didn’t get this girl, not at all. “The truth is… I deserve this.” Taylor gestured to her car. “It’s been coming for a long time now.”
“You’re just as much a victim as she was, once upon a time.” I replied. “We can be our own worst critics Taylor, remember that.”
“That’s something I’ll never forget.” Taylor spoke softly, and the wind carried away her words.
“Let’s get your car to my place.” I held my hand out for the keys. “I’ll drive. You can drive my car.” I never let anyone drive my car.
Taylor hesitantly took my keys as she handed hers over. “Will you be able to see?”
“Not really.” I answered, “So stay out of my way, just in case.”
“Why are we taking it to your place?”
“So that I can work on it.” I shrugged. “I doubt you want to take it home to mommy and daddy.”
Taylor let her surprise show clearly, “You’d do that for me?”
“Obviously.” I gestured to my car again, “Now drive that thing carefully. It’s my baby.”
Taylor just nodded.
It was interesting driving her car with the window down. I ended up sticking my head out of the window so that I could see, and I still sped because that’s just how I drove. I could see no other way. I hated slow. I had to be fast.
Again it didn’t take long to get to my place, but I was dreading talking to Gerard again… with Taylor. It was time to face up to the fact that I’d lied to my friends though, and it was time to own up to the fact that I was on a date with Taylor, because she was worth more than being lied about.
Taylor’s car was clean, which didn’t surprise me. It smelled like girly perfume, and I bet the perfume had some fancy name like obsession or enchanted which with a quick glance around Taylor’s car was confirmed. The body spray she used was called enchanted. Not a huge surprise, since she was proving to be pretty damn enchanting.
Taylor parked behind me, and Gerard was waiting outside for us. His eyes widened in surprise as he looked over Taylor’s car. “Who did that?” He asked loudly, once Taylor and I were both outside of each car. I moved towards Taylor, though I’d pocketed her keys. She handed me mine. Gerard’s eyebrows rose. “How the hell did you get him to let you drive his car? I’ve been trying forever. He doesn’t trust anyone with it.”
“It came down to necessity, I guess.” Taylor answered.
I nodded, “And the fact that she’s a good driver, unlike you Gerard.” Though I hadn’t known her driving record beforehand, and had never before really seen her drive. I was glad my car was safe. “And Alexis spray painted her car. It shouldn’t be too hard to fix up. It’ll take me about two weeks probably.”
“You’re fixing her car?” Gerard cut in. “And I’m a better fucking driver than you!”
He kind of was. “Yeah, I am. It’s the least I can do, seeing as how our date ended in the vandalism of her car. It’s partly my fault, you know?” I slipped in the date reference nicely, and I noticed that Gerard didn’t miss it. He didn’t comment immediately, but I knew later he would.
“It’s really not.” Taylor commented. “But I’m grateful that you’re going to fix it. Thank you Frank.”
“You know what would be a really nice thank you?” I asked, deciding that it was something that Gerard had to see. He needed to realize that this date was real.
“What?” Taylor innocently asked. She pulled off the innocent act a whole lot better than anyone else I knew, and I had the suspicion that it was because she really was innocent- it wasn’t just an act.
“A kiss.” I grinned at the shocked look that fell across her face.
“A- kiss?” Taylor asked.
“Yeah, a kiss.” I repeated.
I leaned down, closing the distance between us. Taylor leaned up the few necessary inches and our lips met. She pressed against my lips, deepening the kiss. I pressed back, sliding my tongue over her bottom lip. Unfortunately she cut the kiss short and nervously glanced at Gerard, with her cheeks bright from embarrassment.
I chuckled, “That’s the best thank you I’ve ever gotten.”
Taylor nervously stuck her hands in to the pockets of her hoodie. “Well, I should really be getting home. I-“
“You are not walking.” I laughed. “Why don’t you take my car?”
“Take your car?” It was Taylor and Gerard who simultaneously asked the question.
I shrugged, “Well, yeah. I don’t have anywhere to be tomorrow and I don’t want you to be without a car.” They were both making this more awkward than it had to be.
“Sure.” Taylor smiled shyly, and it was pretty damn adorable.
Gerard glanced between us with a look of disbelief.
Again, I just shrugged at him. It wasn’t that big of a deal. I was just loaning her my car. She was a careful driver, and somewhat trustworthy. It wasn’t a big deal, they were just making it seem like one.
“Another kiss?” I suggested, but this time it was just for me. She tasted good, and I wanted that taste to get stuck to me.
Taylor leaned forward and gently kissed me. I wanted to protest as she quickly pulled away again but things were falling in place for me. She wasn’t that great of a kisser, and she said I’d been her best. Had I been her only? I was starting to think so.
“See ya.” Taylor awkwardly commented, before waving her hand which had my keys. I waved back, feeling a little odd.
How could I be her first kiss? That couldn’t be true. She was 17, for godssake. It could be that every other guy she’d kissed had been terrible too, and so she never got any better…
It could be but I didn’t think that’s how it was.
I was her first kiss, and deep down I knew it.
That was strange, and changed my entire view of her.
She was so different than I ever could have guessed.