Patrick meets Mikey and Gerard.
“What’s wrong Patrick?” he asks softly.
I shrug a shoulder.
He sighs, “Patrick, you can talk to me. You don’t have to be afraid. I’m your best friend, and I would never hurt you for just telling me how you feel. You can tell me anything.”
I shake my head and stare out the window, at nothing in particular. I feel terrible for my inability to talk about my feelings. I’ve gotten a bit better being around Pete but every time I try to admit that I’m unhappy, it’s as if something is pulling me back. It’s a reflex, by now because of my parents. If I showed any signs of depression, I’d get a slap across the face, if I was lucky. I got used to bottling everything, and eventually only spoke to them when asked a direct question. The day I met Pete, he instantly knew something was wrong.
I fumbled with my stack of books, sorting through the one’s I’d need for the morning classes. The locker on the left of mine had always been empty, but I saw Pete open it and shove a few notebooks inside. He noticed my trouble with the stack of books and grabbed half of the stack for me.
“Don’t you have a back pack for all of these, kid?” he raised an eyebrow.
I shook my head and looked down at my feet.
“That’s awful. How many classes are you taking? A million?”
I shrugged and closed my locker, taking the books back, “Th-Thanks.”
“No problem.” he smiled, “I’m Pete, by the way.”
I looked up to him nervously, “P-Patrick.”
He nods, “You don’t talk much, huh?”
I shook my head.
“Well that’s fine, I do a lot of talking so there won’t be any awkward silence, eh?” he smiled, “I also have a spare back pack, I’ll bring it with me tomorrow.”
I shook my head, “I-It’s fine.”
“I’ll bring it in case you change your mind.” He nodded firmly, “Do you know where room 14 is?”
“Between 13 and 15?” I shrugged.
He laughed, “No shit?”
I gave him half of a smile, “It’s my first class, I can lead you there if your counting is off.”
He grinned, “Lead the way.”
At lunch, he sat with me. I’d always eaten alone, but he wouldn’t allow it. He was determined to be my friend. I don’t know why, at all.
He sighed, taking a sip of his milk, “You look so miserable.” he pointed out, “I can literally feel the misery pouring out of your beautiful green eyes.”
I blushed and shrugged.
“It’s fine, though. You don’t have to talk to me about why, or anything like that until you’re ready. But when you are? My ears are always open.”
“Patrick, I think this is it.” he pulls into the driveway of a white brick house.
I look up and shrug, “Did Mikey describe the house?”
He nods, “White brick...with a tire swing but I don’t see it.”
I point to the tree beside the house, a large oak tree with a tire swing on one of the branches, “Right there.”
Pete grins, “So we did find it!”
The front door opens, a tall lanky boy with glasses running out to the car. Behind him, a shorter guy with dark black hair covering parts of his face slowly walks out.
“Pete!” the taller boy yells, pulling Pete into a hug as soon as he steps out of the car.
Pete hugs back, “Hey Mikes, it’s been too long!”
I look down at my feet, not having even removed my seatbelt yet.
“Hey, Pete.” the shorter boy waves.
“Hey, Gee.” Pete smiles and walks over, pulling him into a hug as well, “Guys this is Patrick...still in the car. He walks over to the passenger seat and opens the door, unbuckling my seatbelt, “C’mon Patrick..” he says softly, “You’re safe, remember? If you don’t want to talk, that’s okay.”
I nod and reluctantly get out of the car, looking over to Mikey and Gerard and giving them an awkward wave. Mikey hurries over and hugs me tightly.
“Patrick! I’ve heard so much about you!” he hugs tighter.
Panic spreads through my chest as I try to struggle out of the hug, “P-Pete!”
“Mikes, let go, okay?” Pete requests.
Mikey lets go quickly, “Shit, sorry Patrick, I just, I’m a hugger and I feel like I already know you!”
I nod, biting my lip as I stare at the ground.
“He’s a bit quiet.” Pete rubs my back gently.
Mikey nods, “That’s fine, Gerard and I have our quiet moments too. And Ray, it’s amazing if he ever talks.”
Mikey... If Pete’s mentioned me to Mikey, surely he’s told me about Mikey. Unless, maybe Mikey was the kid from Pete’s last school who got bullied violently. In fact, I’m pretty sure he is. He had a brother who wasn’t as threatening as Pete, so Pete kept them away. It had to be Mikey.
Mikey and Gerard lead us inside, helping us carry our things. They lead us to the bedroom we’ll be sharing. It’s got a queen sized bed with the headboard against the wall, a night stand on each side of the bed, both with a lamp. It’s a nice room, and doesn’t at all make me miss my own. My bedroom, was originally part of the hallway. They shoved a bed in there and put up a wall and eventually a window. My bed was not this big, nor as comfortable as this one looks. I look over to Gerard and Mikey and smile a bit. They’re being so generous for letting us stay here.
“Th-Thank you.” I say quietly.
Mikey smiles, “It’s no problem at all, Patrick. It’s nice having Pete back, and I’m glad I’m getting to know you as well. Can I hug you now?’
I nod slowly, before he hugs me tightly, “Can you and I talk a bit later?”
He lets go and smiles at me, before pushing Gerard out so Pete and I can unpack our things. We out our clothes in the closet and decided that’s enough for now. Before we leave the room Pete sits on the bed and asks me to join him.
“I need to talk to you about something.” he says quietly, “And I’m really hoping you won’t be upset with me.”
I frown and nod.
“Mikey knows about your parents. I didn’t know how to help you, alone so I asked for his advice. I’m very sorry, and I know that it’s your personal life, but he helped a lot. I’m not sure this would have been successful without his help...”
I bite my lip, “Only Mikey?”
He nods, “I swore him to secrecy.”
I nod, “Th-Then it’s okay. Because he helped. It’s not like you were gossiping about it or anything. You went to a friend for help, a-and I’m really grateful.”
Pete smiles and hugs me tightly, “I’m so glad you’re not upset with me.”
I shake my head and hug back, burying my face in his neck, “Y-You saved my life.”
When we walk into the living room, two other boys have arrived. I assume one of them is Ray, but I don’t know about the other. One of them is rather tall, and has very curly hair. The other is shorter, about my height, and has a lip piercing and a few tattoos. I bite my lip nervously, positive I won’t be speaking much at all.
The taller boy, I’ve learned, is Ray, and the other is Frank, Gerard’s boyfriend. I can’t help but feel relieved, knowing that they aren’t homophobic. As everyone continues to talk, I sit quietly, leaned against Pete’s shoulder. Mikey smiles over at me.
“Want to go talk?” he asks.
“O-Okay..” I stand, almost tripping over my own feet.
He smiles and helps me catch my balance before walking with me into Pete and my bedroom.
“I just wanted you to know...that Pete told me everything. Please don’t be angry with him, he was just looking for some help, and I haven’t told a soul. But, oh Patrick!” he hugs me without warning, “I’m so sorry and I know you don’t want to hear that, but I am. I understand what it’s like to get bruised up every day. It’s horrible and painful in more ways than one. But, if you ever need to talk I’m here, okay?” he gives me a comforting smile, “And if not me, then I know for a fact Pete would love to listen.”
“H-He deals with enough of my pr-problems.” I look down.
Mikey shakes his head, “I used to feel that way too. But you know what? I was wrong. Pete loves helping someone. It’s just how he is. Although he hates that you’re in pain, if he can make you smile, even once, it’s made his day. He’s a great guy, and he doesn’t feel like you’re a burden, so you shouldn’t either. It’s what friends do for each other, you know?” he smiles.
I nod, “I-I guess.. h-he seems pretty upset when I say I’m wasting his ti-time.”
He nods, “It does upset him, because he wishes you could see what he does. You’re not at all a waste of time, Patrick Stump. Pete knows you’re really special, and hopes one day you will too.”
I blush lightly and nod.
Pete thinks I’m special?