"I think if I was going to do anything to hurt him I would have done by now. I won’t let anything happen to him."
That afternoon arrived far too quickly for my liking. Before I knew it the bell was ringing, signaling the end of last period, calling everyone to home. But for me, it wasn’t home. Not this time around. It meant ‘home’ for Frank, but I didn’t know what would result out of that.
I met him outside the gates. There was no car, no angry parents, just rows of kids eager to escape the school for the day. When I saw him, I caught a split second glance of the sadness in his eyes, before he walked straight into my arms.
“Ready?” I asked after a second of standing there.
“No,” said Frank, but he chuckled at the same time. A little hint of the carefree Frank, the one that had hopped into the school before his feelings for me had completely wrecked his and his parents’ relationship. I let a small smile flit across my own face, took his hand, and began to walk down the street.
None of our friends interrupted and tried to pull us away to a movie, or a coffee shop or whatever. Valerie and Jenna knew, but I was certain that they would have let the rest of the school, and probably the entire town know what was happening. But at least Frank seemed calmer about it, not in a wreck like he had the night before.
“So, how you going to go about this?” I asked, swinging our hands together. He shrugged.
“I guess... I’ll talk to them on my own for a second, then... I don’t know. If it’s Mum, she might be okay. Feel free to hit Dad in the face,” he said. I laughed.
“You sound like you’re feeling better,” I said. He smiled and nodded.
“I am. Maybe it’s because I know I’m going back there instead of them turning up. And you’re here with me this time,” he said. My heart fluttered.
“Well, I’m not going to just leave you to face them on your own. Unless you wanted to, like yesterday, but I won’t unless you say so,” I said. Frank giggled quietly and blushed, looking down at his shoes. I smiled, my heart leaping affectionately, and wrapped my arms around him from behind. He didn’t complain this time, and lifted his arms around behind his head in a weird reverse hug.
“You know, it’s really awkward walking like this,” he said. I laughed.
“Well, I’m not complaining. It’s only the entire street staring at us,” I said. Frank shook his head, still giggling.
“Oh, let them. It’s not like I care about them,” he said.
“That’s good, then,” I said, resting my chin on the top of his head. He made another little squeaky noise and turned around in my arms, almost tripping both of us up. “Hey, watch it!”
“Sorry,” he said, poking out his tongue. I poked mine out back at him, then quickly kissed him on the nose, and again on his eyebrow. “You can stop that.”
“Nope,” I said, placing another kiss on his temple. Frank rolled his eyes and scowled playfully, trying to duck away. I grinned and didn’t let him, holding his waist tightly so he couldn’t run off. He squealed suddenly and I didn’t know why, until I noticed that I had been digging into the sides of his waist... a ticklish bit. “Oh? You never told me you were ticklish,” I said, grinning.
“Don’t you dare...”
“Oh, I dare,” I said, digging my fingers into his sides. He squealed and turned around, trying to run away, but I held on tightly, tickling his sides. Soon enough, he was laughing and had stopped trying to battle me away. “I never knew you were ticklish!”
“Ger-Gerard! Just... eeep!” he squealed again. Soon enough I was laughing too, at his squirming and all the ridiculous squeaking he was doing. “S-stop it.. you... gettoff!” he choked out between his laughing, still weakly trying to run off.
“Aww, you’re no fun,” I said, but I stopped tickling his sides and just held him from behind until his giggles and squealing had subsided. “That sounded like putting a mouse into a blender,” I said, bringing around a whole brand new round of laughter.
I let him laugh, savouring the beautiful sound until he calmed down. An old woman walked past us and glared, muttering something about ‘bloody kids’. I giggled at her walking away, and pressed my nose and lips up behind Frank’s ear until he was quiet.
“Maybe we should get going,” I said finally. Frank nodded and turned around to face me.
“Okay.” We stared at each other for a very long minute, before I gently pressed my lips onto his. He sighed audibly and brought his arms up around my neck, clinging on like a little koala cub, warm hands on my cool white skin, my own arms around his waist. We kissed slowly for a moment that seemed to pass in a second and drag out at the same time, before I pulled apart meaningfully and resting my forehead against his.
“It’ll be okay,” I said quietly. Frank nodded unsurely. “Believe me. We’ll work something out.”
“I believe you,” he whispered. And in that moment I suddenly felt the entire weight of his problem come pressing down on my shoulders. How could I promise something I couldn’t ensure? I didn’t know. But what I did know is that I would give all four of my limbs to make sure things would be okay.
Frank’s hand in mine felt like a death grip by the time we’d arrived at his house, me being sure that he’d cut off some sort of vital circulation to my fingers. He stopped me walking up the front path though, making me wait at the gate for him to knock on his own front door.
“If my Dad sees you he’ll go mental,” he whispered, tugging gently on my black tie with trembling hands. “I want you to... be a safe distance away, I guess.” I nodded, running my fingers up his chin and temple line soothingly. Frank’s hand flitted up to meet where my fingers lingered on his chin, then he was gone and walking up the steps. I sighed and leant back against the garden wall, keeping my eyes fixated on him as he knocked three times on the door.
Nothing happened for a moment, then the door swung open. A woman, about Frank’s height, with soft brown hair, jeans and a jumper. She looked like she’d been crying, but as soon as she saw that it was Frank standing on the doorstep she squeaked and her hand flung over her mouth to stifle a squeak.
“Frankie! Oh Frank, thank goodness you came back here, your...”
“Mum,” said Frank, holding up his hand and stopping the stream of apology that was bound to come streaming out. Mrs Iero stopped and shook her head, a weird expression on her face like she was about to cry, but in joy instead of sadness.
“Frank, I’m so glad to see you,” she said in a slightly quieter voice. Frank nodded, twisting his fingers around together.
“I’ve come to get some more stuff, Mum. I forgot some music and my second guitar,” he said quietly. Mrs Iero’s expression fell.
“Frankie, can’t we talk about this? Your father’s not in.” I could visibly see Frank relax at this statement.
“I suppose we could...” he said, hopping from one foot to the other and glancing back at me. Mrs Iero then seemed to notice that I was there.
“Oh, hello there,” she said. I raised my hand in greeting.
“Mum, this is Gerard...” said Frank slowly, and I stood up form my perch on the garden wall. “He’s my boyfriend.”
I watched a million different expressions cross Mrs Iero’s face all at once, something of shock, recognition, understand, even hatred. I kept my eyes fixated on her soft hazel ones as I moved to stand next to Frank, resting my hand on his shoulder very gently. Mrs Iero finally nodded and stood back.
“I suppose you two should come in,” she said, and the agitation on her face now clearly visible and the motherly tone faded from her voice. I nodded politely and moved inside the house. It wasn’t special, it was pretty much a mirror image of mine; exactly the same but everything was opposite. That’s what you get on rows and rows of identical suburban houses, I suppose. Mrs Iero lead us through to the living room, on the right of the hallway instead of the left like mine was and gestured for us to sit down on the sofa.
I sat quite formally, feeling really awkward and a lot like a severe intruder in this house. Whilst the layout was pretty much the same as mine but backwards, it felt... clean. Too clean. At my house, the tables were scattered with coffee mugs, the floors with shoes and coats, papers and paints and all manner of random household items. Here it was spotless. Frank perched next to me and the sofa a lot more comfortably, tucking his feet gently underneath him. I took his hand and smiled reassuringly as his Mum sat down on a chair opposite us.
“I’m not going to say I’m displeased to see you, Frankie, I’m thrilled,” she said, her tone very gentle. “Your father was so angry last night, and we tried to call you but you weren’t picking up.” I looked at Frank and he blushed guiltily; I knew full well that after three ignored calls from his Mum he’d just taken out the battery and left it on my bedside table.
“Sorry, Mum,” he said, not raising his gaze from the floor. Mrs Iero, turned her gaze to me.
“But I don’t know what I’m supposed to say to you... what was it?” she asked.
“Yes. Because...” she didn’t say anymore, her gaze flickering between me and Frank, before she sighed and tapped her fingers against her lips thoughtfully. Then she shrugged. “I don’t know what I want to say.”
“Maybe you want to ask if this is the right thing and if I am actually willing to take care of Frank,” I said quietly, looking her directly in the eye, keeping my tone polite. Turning on the charm. I don’t think Mrs Iero was expecting that, she sat back and raised her eyebrows in surprise.
“And are you?”
“I am, ma’am,” I said, looking over at Frank and finding that he was looking up at me with a small, sad smile on his face. “It’s been three weeks already, did you know?”
“No I didn’t.”
“I think if I was going to do anything to hurt him I would have done by now, ma’am,” I said, looking back at the startled Mrs Iero. “I don’t want to. I won’t let anything happen to him. That’s why I let him stay over last night, that’s why I hid him when you and his father came to find him the other morning. That’s why I giggle every time he gets jealous of all my other friends,” I said, now smiling. “I care about your son, Mrs Iero. I can understand why you wouldn’t want Frank in love with another boy, but there’s nothing I can do to change that.”
The silence that filled the room after my speech fell heavily and suddenly. Mrs Iero’s mouth was hanging open slightly, the look on her face pure bewilderment. Frank’s hand twitched in my own and I squeezed it reassuringly, enclosing his fist in both of mine. Then he shuffled closer to me and I automatically lifted my arm around his shoulders, holding him close.
“Do you love him?” asked Mrs Iero suddenly, cutting through the ominous silence. My heart bounced and began dancing at a frantic pace. “Gerard, do you honestly love and care about my son?” I kept my eyes fixed firmly on Frank’s and nodded, and I saw his eyes light up. “Well... I suppose...” Frank and I both looked up and saw a smile, a ghost of a smile on Mrs Iero’s face.
“Are you okay with it, Mum?” asked Frank hopefully, and I couldn’t help but smile at the pure elation in his voice. The ghost smile filled out into a full smile, and Mrs Iero nodded.
“Just make sure to take care of him, Gerard,” she said, as Frank made a sound of relief and began to giggle, leaning into my chest. My smile turned into a full blown grin and I giggled too, out of the pure thankfulness that something was finally going right.
“I will, I promise,” I said, still grinning and resting my chin on Frank’s head, his giggles emanating throughout the room.
“You don’t want to anger the Italian Mama,” he said, his voice muffled against my chest. I laughed. It wasn’t just a laugh of happiness, it was joy, and relief and the gratefulness, and the dawning of the fact that I was going to be allowed to keep Frank.
“I have an Italian Grandmother, they’re even worse,” I said. Mrs Iero laughed quietly, a sweet, tinkly sound, and I realized that I liked Mrs Iero, she was kind, and she wasn’t the kind of strict evil Nazi queen I had been imagining.
The sound of a door slammed. Our smiles and laughter immediately stopped and we all sat up straighter, turning our heads towards the corridor. A split second later, someone else came into view. A man, only as tall as Frank, his hairline receding and a mustache on his face. A cold fear set in my heart as I recognized this man, the same one that came to find Frank with Mrs Iero and the one Frank was, he’d admitted, terrified of. It was his father.
“Dad,” said Frank, freezing in his spot. I instantly withdrew my arm from around his shoulder and made to move away, but his hands grasped onto mine and clung onto them like a life support. Mr Iero’s eyes narrowed.
“You came back.” Frank nodded. Mr Iero’s eyes drifted across his son and landed on me, flashing coldly as he looked down briefly towards our connected hands. “And who’s this?”
“Frank, this is Gerard,” said Mrs Iero, looking up at her husband. The use of the name ‘Frank’ threw me for a minute but I looked up, and realized that they must be Frank Senior and Frank Junior.
“What is he doing here, Linda?” asked Frank Sr, not taking his gaze away from me. I gazed back, not breaking eye contact.
“Frank came back to speak to me, to sort something out,” said Mrs Iero, Linda. Her kind tone had vanished and was now steely, her gaze at her husband far from friendly.
“Have you sorted it out, then?”
“I have,” said Mrs Iero, standing up. “I’ve decided everything’s okay.” Frank Sr looked at her incredulously.
“Okay?! Linda, our son has brought home another faggot, and you think that’s okay?!”
“What did you call me?” I asked coldly, leaning back in the sofa. Frank’s Dad looked at me, a sneer curling his lip.
“No, I would like you to say it again to me in the full knowledge that I’m listening and will retaliate,” I said, my voice cold as I could muster, my glare full of loathing. Frank Sr.’s eyebrows lifted into his receding hairline, but he said nothing.
“Frank, go to your room and collect your stuff, if you want to go and stay with Gerard, I won’t complain and I would like to have a word with your father,” said Mrs Iero, staring her husband in the eye.
“You’re not going anywhere, Mister!” he shouted as Frank leapt to his feet, dragging me up with him.
“And why not, Dad?” said Frank.
“Because it is despicable that you decide to go and start sleeping with other guys, let alone bring them into this house!” shouted Frank Sr. “Who do you think you are?! I did not raise you like this!”
“You don’t raise your children into heterosexuality, Dad! You can raise them with beliefs but you’re not going to stop them from being themselves! And I don’t go around ‘sleeping with other guys,’ I may, oh what was the phrase, ‘be a disgusting faggot’ but I’m not a whore!”
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve been with one man or one hundred, it’s disgusting either way!”
“Dad, what is your problem with it?! Can’t you just be happy that I’m your son?!”
“Why would my son go around frittering around with men like a poof?!”
“Why would me own Dad judge because of my sexual preferences? You don’t even deserve to call yourself a father!”
“Then you’re no son of mine.”
“STOP!” I shouted, holding up my hands. Frank and his Dad stopped shouting each other and stared at me; the older one in anger and to my horror, my Frank with tears in his eyes.
“Now listen to me, young man,” said Frank Sr, advancing towards me with his finger pointed at my chest. “You have no right...”
“No, I won’t listen to you,” I butted in, putting my hand on my hip. “Don’t tell me that I have no right to whatever, you have no right to mistreat your own son in this way. I’m not going to sit back let you insult Frank in front of me.”
“So I advise you to back down because yeah, I may be the fag twat that’s invaded your house but, and believe it whether you like it not mister, because I love your son and you better learn this before you get rid of him.”
The room was silent when I finished speaking. The three Ieros were all staring at me, their jaws dangling around their knees. Frank’s Dad in particular looked like he was about to start smoking from the ears. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he did. Or start growling. Or sprout horns and start chanting in latin.
A small muffled sob slipped from Frank’s chest, the tears now streaming heavily but silently down his face. I glared at his Dad and moved over to where my angel stood, fists clenched, cheeks paled, eyes damp, and I wrapped my arms protectively around him. He shrunk into my chest the moment I touched him. I glowered at Mr Iero, unable to refer to him as another Frank now, daring him to say anything. When neither parents said anything, I took Frank’s hand and gently tugged him after me into the corridor.
When we were clear of the living room, standing in the kitchen at the base of the stairs, Frank burst into tears.
“Hey, Frankie,” I hushed soothingly, pulling him into an embrace. He whimpered and clung on to the back of my shirt, crushing his fingers into the flesh of my back so hard it hurt, pressing his face into my chest so strongly that I thought he would break my ribs. I whispered into his ear comfortingly, stroking the soft back of his hair, tracing the shape of his ears.
“Let’s just get out of here,” he growled suddenly, shoving me away but keeping his hands clenching tightly onto my shirt. “Just... I need to go. I can’t be here. It didn’t work.”
“We’ll run upstairs, get your stuff and we’ll leave,” I said. Frank continued to glare, unfocused, at something in front of him, tears swimming in his vivid green eyes, the anger he was holding back shaking his body, and he nodded.
ASDFGHJKL! I hope you liked this chapter! This is, sadly, one of the last ones! The next chapter will probably be the very last, and then there will be NO MORE of this story. I mean, there will be that prementioned sequel, but HOFTH will be done! D:
In other Fanfic-related news, I've started a brand new, very humourous type Frerard. You'll find it at http://www.ficwad.com/story/204190 . Please go and read, and Rate and Review, it would mean so much because I worked so hard on it. Thank you so much my loves!