Hayyy guyys merry Christmas!
Sixteen-year-old Frank Iero sat in his new bedroom in his new house in a pristine London neighborhood. It was a far cry from his beloved Belleville, New Jersey.
He hadn't had too much of a problem moving to London; after all, his mom had simply needed a drastic change, and Frank just wanted to make her as happy as possible.
But Frank wasn't happy. He missed his friends, those silly Way brothers; his best friend Ray Toro, greatest guitar player in New Jersey (Frank always felt lame playing next to Ray); and he especially missed his girlfriend, Jamia.
He and Jamia had been best friends since they were born, growing up a few houses away from each other. With mothers who were best friends, the children had been destined to be friends from the beginning, but Frank felt that he had always loved Jamia. It was only a year ago that those feelings turned into something.
Her own sixteenth birthday was coming up in 3 weeks, and he had planned to play her an original song; but now that he was in London, it skewed plans a little bit. And even then, the song remained unfinished. So Frank's mood was really down.
He laid down on his bed, ignoring the moving boxes in the corner of the room, and fell asleep. School started for him the next day.
"Hi! I'm Penina!"
Frank looked up from the lyrics notebook that was on his lap and squinted at the girl standing in front of him.
It was free period at his new school. Classes were okay. The students generally tried to ignore the American boy in a Misfits t shirt and old jeans- that was fine, though. Frank had no problem with solitude. Today, his third day there, he sat on a bench outside, trying to write Jamia's song. Usually, everyone else just let him do whatever he wanted in peace.
"I think you're my new next door neighbor, right?"
Except today there was a curious girl who wanted to talk to him. He didn't really want to deal with her, but he was raised to be a gentleman. Frank sighed.
"Um, yeah, I guess. I got here a few days ago, so I don't really know."
Penina nodded. "Cool. What are you writing?"
"I'm working on a song for my girlfriend."
At this, Penina broke out into the biggest smile. "Oh my goodness!" she squealed. Frank put his head in his hands. "That's so cute! Do you need any help? I dabble in music a little bit myself, actually." She grinned proudly.
Frank leaned forward, resting his forearms on his legs. He looked at the ground. "No."
"Are you sure?"
"Because I can-"
"I seriously don't need help."
Penina raised an eyebrow and smoothed out her straight brown hair. "Okay, then. Um, I guess I'll see you around..."
She smiled again and walked away, leaving Frank to mutter in annoyance and resume staring at a blank piece of paper.
"Frank, you said you would make friends! Why did you brush off that girl like that?"
Because it was Saturday in London, Frank and Jamia had been able to coordinate a time to talk on Skype. It was late at night for Jamia, and early morning for Frank, so they were both tired. But somehow, Jamia found it in her to strongly lecture her boyfriend.
"J, come on, she was weird!"
"Oh, so now you have something against weird people?"
Jamia had her arms crossed and eyes narrowed, staring Frank down. It was impossibly adorable.
"Come on, Frank, at least be a little social."
"Do I have to have fun?"
"But I'm not going to have fun."
"Have fun or I'll fly over to London just to punch you in the nuts."
"But that would be fun."
Jamia shook her head and muttered, "Goddammit, Frank..." but a smile played on her lips.
Frank noticed it and grinned. "You know you love me..." he sang.
His girlfriend smiled. "Iero, you motherfucker. I'm going to bed now. I have to wake up early tomorrow."
Frank pouted like the little motherfucker he is. "You can't talk a little longer?"
Jamia smiled tiredly and rested her head on her hand. "Bye." And Frank was left to stare at a blank screen.
On Monday, Frank found himself in a familiar situation.
He didn't even look up from his lyric notebook. "Hi, Penina."
The peppy girl sat down next to him. "So, how's the song coming along?"
Frank glanced up at her. "It's... still in progress..."
Penina smiled kindly. "Can I take a look?"
"If you want."
Frank passed her the notes.
She glanced at the page, sighed, and stood up. "You seriously need some inspiration."
The boy glared at her. "Yes, I'm aware."
"Well? Think about your girlfriend-"
"-about Jamia. What about her is so special? Why do you love her? Great songs often come from great emotion, you know." She smiled at him.
Apparently Frank was very frustrated, because he was a huge bitch next, watch.
"/Yes/, okay. Great. Use my emotion. Got it. /You know/, you're not helping a lot," he snapped.
"Penina, why are you even here? To annoy me? I have to get this done, and you're being a distraction. Come on, you don't even know me. We're not friends."
Tears made their way down her cheeks.
And Frank just WATCHED, the scumbag! You thought he was a gentleman? NOOOOO.
"Oh, well, I was trying to help-"
"-but if that's how you feel, then... alright. Bye, Frank."
She smiled weakly, turned around, and walked away. Frank smiled in triumph for half a second, then his face crumpled and he put his head in his hands.
"The FUCKING FUCK, FRANK. The fucking fuck... WHAT THE FUCK, MAN?"
Gerard Way stared daggers upon his best friend through the computer screen.
"I was... I don't know! Frustrated? She was just so /happy/, man. It was annoying?"
"THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD BE AN ASSHOLE."
"Why aren't you on my side?"
"Because you were being an asshole. Plus, I've been reading up on post-feminist ideals. Trying to impress the ladies, you know."
"It won't work."
"Fuck you, Frank. What are you gonna do about this Penina girl?"
"Obvious. Avoid her for the rest of my life."
Gerard shook his head. "You have to apologize, Frank! Didn't your mom teach you anything?"
"Don't bring my mother into this!"
"She's a good woman! I know she would have raised you right!"
Frank just stared, slightly horrified. "Don't talk about her like that!"
"Like... like you know her!"
"But I do know her!"
"But you're /creeping me out/."
"Oh... okay. Well, I'm going to leave. I can't stand to look at you right now. But you better apologize to that girl, or I will beat up your puny ass."
"Okay, I'll do it for you and our forbidden love, Gerard."
"Iero, you are literally the worst person I've ever met."
"But we're still friends, right?"
Gerard flipped him off, then closed Skype. Frank looked at the screen for a few moments before going to bed.
Frank was having one of those Sunday nights. The kind of night where all of your heartache and loneliness manifests itself until it's almost tangible, hanging thick in the air. He was lying in bed, looking at the stars through his window, when he felt the biggest urge to hear his girlfriend's voice.
He called Jamia's phone. It went to voicemail, so he left a message.
"Hi, Jamia, it's Frank. Um, I just wanted to say that I really love you, a lot. I don't know why you would wanna date someone like me. You're way too good for me... like, remember that one time when you were sick, and I held that boombox out in the street for you, like your favorite movie? You deserve to have someone to do that every night for you, not just when you're sick... I miss you, J. I guess I'll talk to you later."
He hung up, smiled, and stared at the ceiling for a few minutes.
The next Monday, Penina did not make a comeback.
Nor the next Tuesday.
Or Wednesday, or Thursday.
On Friday, Frank sat on the bench outside, looking at the song he'd just written.
Penina had been so completely right. And Frank had totally dissed her and hurt her feelings.
If he didn't feel like scum then, he felt like scum now.
Yeah, Frank, you hear that? IT'S THE SOUND OF YOUR DOUCHEBAG-NESS. GOSH, IT'S REALLY LOUD.
Before last period, Frank tried to find Penina in the halls. He saw her at her locker, getting her books out for science class.
She turned around, smiling. Then she saw Frank and her face fell.
He rushed over to her, apology all over his expression. "Look, Penina, I'm such a jerk. I was really insensitive, and I'm sorry. Your advice really worked, I have a really great song right now, I just-"
"Frank, I really don't want to talk to you right now. I'm sorry." She held her books close, looked down, tucked her hair behind her ear, and walked away quickly.
Frank put his head against the locker and sighed.
On Saturday night, Frank sat on his bed, absentmindedly strumming his acoustic guitar. He had been composing the music to Jamia's song all day, but-
He stood up, set the guitar down, and opened the window to his room. The night air was cool and it felt good, so Frank propped it up, then resumed lying on his bed, strumming the guitar.
Why does it not feel RIGHT, yet?
He thought and thought. He had a week to get it recorded, so he had to think fast.
Oh, god, I don't understand! What the FUCK is wrong with this?
"Well when you go..."
Frank bolted upright in the matter of half a second.
"Don't ever think I'd make you try to stay..."
Where was that voice coming from?
"But maybe when you get back, I'll be off to find another way..."
He sprinted to the window and peered out.
What Frank hadn't thought about when he had opened his window was the fact that Penina was his next-door neighbor. And apparently, her bedroom was right across from his.
"When you go, would you even turn to say..."
Penina had her bedroom window propped open as well. Frank looked into her room.
She was singing.
"I don't love you, like I did, yesterday..."
It only took a moment for Frank to grab his guitar and lyrics, and run downstairs and out of the house.
He knocked on Penina's front door, then saw the doorbell. "Oh, yeah." He pushed it.
A few seconds later, a woman opened the door.
"Hello," she said, "May I help you?"
"Um... is Penina here?"
"Yes, in her room. You can go up to talk to her. I'm her mother, by the way. Mrs. Dayne."
"Thank you, ma'am." He really is a gentleman, aww. Frank smiled and stepped inside.
Mrs. Dayne brought him upstairs, and called Penina out.
"Penina? Your friend is here."
Frank stepped into her room.
Penina was sitting at her desk, and when she noticed Frank, she sighed.
"Penina, I'm sorry! I'm sorry I'm an asshole and I'm sorry for being so mean! I lash out when I'm frustrated, which I was, but you don't deserve that! You're much too nice, and I understand why you wouldn't want to be friends with me, but I need your help again!"
The London girl sighed, stood up, crossed her arms, and faced the Jersey boy.
"Look, for the record, I don't think you're an asshole, okay?"
Everything was silent until: "Whaaaaaaaaaat?"
"I understand, don't worry. When I'm stressed out, I'm a really cranky bitch, so. It's okay. And besides, would an asshole be so worried about a present for a girlfriend that he loves, a lot?"
"...You're really nice."
Frank set his things down and hugged her. Penina smiled and accepted it. "Oh, it's okay... oh, stop it, you... okay yeah get off of me." He let go of her and picked his stuff up again.
Penina smoothed her hair. "You needed help?"
"Oh, yeah!" Frank set his guitar on the floor, sat on Penina's bed, and began digging through his papers. Penina sat down next to him, just as she would on the bench.
"Here." He passed her the notes.
She read the words. "Whoa."
Her mouth hung open as she turned her head slowly. Frank looked worried.
"It's absolutely perfect."
Frank sighed. "I mean... I think they're actually really good... after I left her a message this weekend, the words just kinda poured out of me..."
Penina put her hands over her mouth. "Awwwww."
"But as I composed the music, I realized that something was missing."
Frank rubbed the back of his neck, his face beginning to burn. "And, well, I heard you singing earlier..."
Penina's eyebrows had been knit together in concentration, but slowly her eyes widened as she began to blush as well.
"And I think that this song needs a duet. Not just backing vocals, but I want you to sing with me."
She grinned. "Of course. I would love to."
Jamia was taking the Thursday off of school. After all, it was her sixteenth birthday.
She had been celebrating with her family most of the day, but she wouldn't get to Skype with Frank until late that night. She sighed, opened her laptop, and checked her email.
Frank had sent her a message. Jamia opened it quickly.
"Happy birthday, J. I'll talk to you later, but for now, here's my crappy little present."
She grinned and downloaded the file attached to it. A video popped up on the player.
Frank sat on his bed with his guitar, sitting next to a very cute girl. Jamia raised an eyebrow.
"Hi, Jamia! I'm Penina."
"That's Penina. She's my new friend."
"Yeah, he's kind of a jerk, but he's nice when you get to know him." Jamia nodded in agreement.
"Yes, anyway... we're here to sing you a song. Penina's duetting with me."
Frank nodded and started playing the music. Then he started singing.
/Why are you so far away?
Even when you're standing next to me
Your eyes give you away
Telling secrets when your mouth don't feel like talking/
Penina joined in, the two voices harmonizing perfectly.
/And I'll be your Lloyd Dobbler
With a boombox out in the street
And I'll be there if you need someone
Even if he isn't me/
They stopped singing, and Frank strummed for a few seconds. Then Penina started singing in a pretty, clear voice.
/Lying in your bed
As lights dance across the ceiling
I listen to you breathe
Toss and turn in your sleep
And I wish that you'd believe/
Their voices intertwined for the chorus and final verse.
/That I'll be your Lloyd Dobbler
With a boombox out in the street
And I'll be there if you need someone
Even if he isn't me/
/There's a Norman Rockwell painting
Two kids sitting on a bench
It reminds me of all the stupid things
I'd like for us to share
But I don't care/
Frank played for a while longer while Penina hummed, and then they stopped.
Jamia blinked and straightened up in her chair. She wiped her eyes, and her hands came back damp. "Oh my god, Frank."
In the video, Frank and Penina smiled.
"Bye, Jamia! You seem lovely!" Penina waved.
"Yes, okay, bye Jamia. I love you. Happy birthday." Frank smiled, walked closer to the camera, and turned it off.
A/N: Once again, I apologize for what you just read. Oh my god. What even happened? Idek. Idek man. -cries- anyway, I hope you all had a good Christmas!