"Mistletoe at this time of year is just suspicious," Ray said wisely.
“Oh my goodness, that is such a surprise,” Bob said monotonously when Frank told him after school at the McDonalds in the mall. He didn’t even bother looking up from his double cheeseburger and pickles. “Isn’t it such a shock, Ray?” he continued dully, reading the ingredients on his fries.
“I am flabbergasted,” Ray said boredly, taking a sip of milkshake.
“You guys knew?” Frank exclaimed indignantly, setting down his coke, eyes wide. His stomach did another of the weird little twirly movements it had been doing all afternoon since Mikey told him. He hoped he wasn't getting some kind of bug- it felt like there was a whole tribe of butterflies partying in his small intestine. He glared at Ray and Bob. “You knew, and you didn’t tell me?”
“Oh no, this just shocked and flabbergasted and gobsmacked the pants right off of us,” Bob said drearily, frowning as he read further down the list of ingredients.
“Bob!” Frank yelped, smacking Bob on his Bobberty bicep. Bob used the simple pressure of his index finger to push Frank away, who suddenly found himself sprawled on the floor of McDonalds, the contents of his Happy Meal scattering the floor and his crotch, because life just works like that- your crotch takes the weight of the world.
“We couldn’t believe you didn’t know,” Ray said a little more helpfully, helping Frank to his feet. “It was unbelievably obvious, Frank. I mean, even to a stunted gnome-sized human being such as yourself. Gerard might as well have painted it on a bloody banner and worn it on his forehead. Or just shown you one of the multiple boners he sprouts when he hugs you.”
Frank choked on his milkshake. "Boners plural?!" He stared at Ray and Bob, wide-eyed.
"Yup," Ray said, dipping one of his fries in Bob's coke and making a face when he tasted the combination. "I mean, it happened several times rather than he sprouted several boners at once. Just to clarify."
Frank's eye width decreased slightly, and he managed to swallow his next gulp of milkshake without spewing it all over the table.
"But really, you didn't know?" Bob frowned incredulously, looking at Frank.
“No, I really didn't...How was it obvious?” Frank blinked, full of the twirly, fluttery and excited belly movements. "I mean," he blushed and looked down. "Other than the boners."
“Hm, let's see...Well, he draws pictures of you all the time, he stares at you, he’d do anything for you, even get his entire body tattooed- and dude, that’s a lot of needles- he gets this stupid little smile on his face whenever you talk to him and he goes bright red whenever he’s around you. Oh, and he jerks off to your guitar videos on Youtube,” Ray said brightly.
“Also, he’s been driving Mikey crazy for months with his lovesick whining. I guess the poor kid finally cracked,” Ray sighed sympathetically, stealing one of Frank’s non-crotch seated fries.
“No, he was just getting revenge on Gerard because Gerard spilt fake blood all over his encyclopaedia of quantum physics,” Bob cut in, still reading through the ingredients of his meal. The frown on his face was deepening with each line.
“Oh,” Ray blinked. “Mikey’s a weird kid, isn’t he?”
Bob snorted. “Raymond, that’s like saying ‘humans breath air, don’t they?’”
“When did all this happen?” Frank asked, feeling somewhat dazed. It was still difficult to take in that Gerard- arty, shy, quirky Gerard who always bit back his smile because he thought it made him ugly, who smelt of charcoal and acrylic paints and honey shampoo, who drew him awesome vampire bats at lunch time and did his eyeliner- Gerard, who he’d been best friends with since the start of high school and who got him through four years of hell alive, liked him. Liked him.
“About eight months ago, officially. I think it was around the time you shaved off that extremely misguided goatee you grew for the Halloween disco,” Ray shruged casually. “Bob was the first one he told. In fact, Bob probably knows the story better than I do…Bob?”
They both looked expectantly up at Bob, who had just reached the end of the ingredients. The colour drained from his face.
“Holy Catfish Crap!” Bob yelled suddenly, jumping to his feet in horror. He pointed an accusing, shaking hand at his Happy Meal. “What fresh hell is this? They’re poisoning us, poisoning us with goddamned beautiful little fries! DIE, YOU BRAINWASHING MEAL OF PLASTIC! DIE!” Bob roared, before violently dismantling his Happy Meal and throwing it at the floor. He took one disgusted look at the spotty, scared looking cashier and the silent restaurant before shoving his middle finger up at the remains of his disemboweled meal and storming from the café.
Ray and Frank blinked at each other for a moment, Frank almost momentarily distracted from the twirly tummy movements and fuzzy chest feelings he was having. For a moment, they both watched Bob attacking the bin outside McDonald’s, before Ray took a sip of his milkshake and said mildly, as though their friend hadn’t just had a mini-breakdown over fast food, “Or, I could tell you.” He sets his empty drink cup down. “The park?”
“Sure,” Frank shook his head bemusedly, taking one last fry and following Ray out of McDonalds and into the darkening street.
So as they walked along the dusky streets towards the park, cold rain nipping their skin, Ray told Frank the story of how Gerard had been despairingly crushing on him for the whole school year, too scared to say anything, and Frank was suddenly trying not to beam all over his face as his stomach flipped and did another somersaulting movement that threatened the dislodging of his insides.
“But...What am I going to do, Ray?” Frank asked, stopping short as the thought suddenly occurred to him. He stopped walking and looked seriously at his ‘fro adorned friend, suddenly anxious.
“Well, we all know you like him back,” Ray snorted continuing through the park gate and pulling a bag of sweets from his jacket pocket.
“What?!” Frank stammered, stumbling after him. “I don’t. I mean. Yes. No. Plums. Ray! What am I going to do?”
“What do you mean, ‘what are you going to do’?” Ray demanded incredulously, the wrath of the ‘fro beginning to quiver ominously in the wintry dusk. He whirled round to look at Frank crushingly. “You like him too, you faggatron. Don’t be an ass, or I will crush you, you puny piece of poop.”
“Nice alliteration, man,” Frank complimented as they reached the deserted swings. Ray flopped down on the left one and opened his bag of sweets, leaving Frank to sink down on the bird-shit covered one, breath spiralling out into the cold winter air as he stared down at the frosty ground.
“Thank you,” Ray beamed, swinging back and forth and chomping on his sweets like the Catfish he was. “I’ve been working on it a lot lately. Mrs. Ellis will be so happy. But back to the point,” his expression suddenly darkened. “Gerard.”
Frank gulped. “Ray, I-”
“Franklin Anthony Iero, don’t even think of giving me any spectacular bullshit claiming you don’t like him back. I’ve read your diary.”
“I don’t have a diary.”
“Then why…? Never mind. But, Ray, I-”
“Don’t lie to me, I know everything,” Ray rolled his eyes. “I know you fell for Gerard last year but were too damn chicken to admit it, even to yourself. I know that you’ve managed to convince yourself you’re straight, while secretly reading very, very gay The Used fanfiction late at night. I know that you’re not a total jackass, and that you care about Gerard, and therefore, you won’t be able to let it go and it will eat you up inside just like McDonald’s food until you admit that actually, you are a huge fairy and you want to make out with Mikey’s brother until your lips fall off. And also your cock,” he added as a kind of afterthought, finishing his last sweet with gusto.
“…I do not read fanfiction,” Frank blustered, suddenly becoming very interested in the left quarter of his thumbnail.
“Dude,” Ray looked belittlingly at him, 'fro all sceptical. “Please.”
“Where do you store all this knowledge and wisdom?” Frank protested, blushing.
With a very serious expression, Ray pointed wordlessly to his ‘fro.
"So you admit you want Gerard's manly parts?"
“Look, I need some time to think!” Frank protested, biting his lip hard and wincing. “I’ve gone sixteen years thinking I’m straight, I don’t know how to figure it out, Ray, it’s so complicated,” he groaned.
There was a small silence as the soft winter breeze swept dead leaves across the tarmac at their feet. Then-
“Have you ever sprouted a boner while hugging Gerard?” Ray piped up.
“I-what-well-only coincidental boners!” Frank blustered.
Ray raised his eyebrows. “Complicated, is it? I think not, Fronkbottom.”
“Shut up, Catfish.”
“Why does everyone call me that, anyway?”
“It’s because your facial hair makes you look like a catfish. They have moustaches, you know.”
“Really? What a wonder of nature.”
“Yes, they're delightful. But can we stop talking about catfish? I’m in the middle of a life-changing decision, Ray!” Frank wailed. “I don’t know what to do! I want to entangle my tongue in Gerard’s saliva, but I’m not gay, I’m not, Catfish, I swear!”
“Frank, have you ever had a girlfriend?”
“Have you ever wanted one?”
“Does Jordan count?”
“Jordan was a dude wearing a dress, Frank.”
Frank scowled. “She was still hot.”
Ray closed his eyes in some kind of silent despair, Frank didn’t know- maybe he was fantasising about Catfish. They were pretty awesome, and it seemed like something Ray might do.
“Frank,” he breathed very evenly through his nose, like he was trying not to explode. “Just admit it.”
“Give me a while to think about it,” Frank insisted stubbornly. “Be quiet so as I can think.”
He was pretty sure Ray gave him the finger, but Frank closed his eyes and swung backwards and forwards on the swing, letting the cold air sting his cheeks. It made him really dizzy, but also gave him some time to feel slightly less gob smacked, and for that weird fuzzy, warm feeling in his chest to take over completely. Somehow, Frank suddenly realised that maybe it wasn’t the kind of chest-discomfort a doctor could deal with, and maybe had more to do with those dreams featuring him and Gerard skipping through flowery meadows in flowing, frilly skirts- and the fact he really, really wanted to go and make another guitar video and put it up on Youtube right now.
He opened his eyes, swallowed, pulled a chocolate bar out of his pocket, and looked seriously at Ray.
“Yes?” Ray sighed tiredly.
“I need your help, Ray,” Frank said seriously, unwrapping the chocolate- seriously, drastic times called for drastic amounts of sugar, and really, Frank would count the realisation you want to do unholy things with your best friend a drastic time.
“I’m not kissing you, Frank,” Ray said quickly, looking worried.
Frank rolled his eyes. “Not that kind of help, you snogaholic. I need your help to get Gerard.”
For a moment, Frank thought Ray was going to be all cool and deadpanned and Ray-ish, despite the fact Frank had just announced his burning desire for willies- but instead, Ray burst into tears and beamed like a deranged, proud parent until Frank poked him in the eye.
“Ow!” Ray squealed, batting Frank away crossly.
“Stop crying, or people will start thinking you’re the gay one,” Frank rolled his eyes. “Seriously, pull yourself together, Toro. If anyone cries, it should be me- I’m the one who’s been through emotional turmoil and torment today.”
Ray rolled his watering eyes. “Okay, okay. So, what are you going to do to win Gerard’s heart?”
“I think…” Frank paused thoughtfully. “I think I won’t tell him that I like him straight out- I’ll be all subtle and use all those metaphors he’s into and shit. See, last month when we were talking about the perfect romantic encounter-”
“You are such girls,” Ray sighed. “How could you not see you were both total fairies?”
Frank threatened to throw a piece of chocolate at him for being a fucktard, and continued, glaring. “Anyway, he thought thinking your crush was destined for nothing one moment, and then suddenly having everything changed so fast you’re not sure if it’s a dream or not would be his perfect one. Like, cheesy-movie ways of getting together. Like…mistletoe or something."
"It's a month 'til Christmas, Frank. Mistletoe at this time would just be suspicious," Ray said wisely.
"Oh," Frank drooped despondently. "Well, some other romantic way. Like, a candlelit dinner or- I don’t know. Things like that. So that’s exactly what I’ll do, y’know? When he's least expecting it. Subtlety and spontaneity, man.”
“How is it spontaneous if you’ve planned it?” Ray frowned.
Frank threw a piece of chocolate at him.
Ray caught it deftly and guzzled it like the bastard he was. Frank glared furiously, but Ray only beamed that Catfishy smile of his.
“So, what’s your plan?” he asked, when the facial muscles in Frank’s face had given out and he couldn’t glare anymore.
“Okay,” Frank grinned, enthusiasm suddenly bubbling excitedly in the pit of his stomach. “Operation Saliva is underway.”
“Operation Saliva?” Ray choked on the stolen chocolate.
“Because the aim is to do some saliva swapping with Gerard, honestly, do keep up, Raymond!" Frank huffed impatiently.
“Ooh, I've got it- at break I could take him to that kissing gate thing in the woods behind the school that he always likes to walk in when he's drawing. That’s romantic, right?” Frank said excitedly.
Frank beamed triumphantly, and stuffed half the bar of chocolate into his mouth in celebration, feeling triumphant.
He didn’t feel quite so triumphant a minute later when he had to spit it out, choking, all over Ray’s shoes- but he was still beaming all over his face at the thought of putting Operation Saliva into action.
With some careful planning, a sprinkle of sexy, a dash of sauve and a spoonful of subtle, this time tomorrow, Frank should be living out his kissing-skipping-through-the-meadows dream with Gerard.
Only maybe without the skirts.
Aha, what did you guys think of chapter two? I'd love to know what you thought and which bit you liked best (if any), so if you'd like me to post chapter three soon, please Rate and Review? :D Thanks so much for reading, you guys are awesome!