"Thanks, Frank" he nudged his shoulder again. "That means a lot"
Frank stood in the lively, buzzing lobby awkwardly as he usually did. He didn't know if he should go looking for Gerard or just stand there dumbly until he turned up. If he was being honest, all he wanted to do was run and find Jamia. Nervous wasn't even the start of the emotions he was feeling, and now that his stomach was churning, he realized all those cookies weren't such a great idea after all.
But still, he knew finding Jamia now would be an impossible task, so he had a choice. Go home and pretend he'd never come and lie to Jamia or stay and make a fool of himself. He couldn't lie to Jamia, so he decided to stay.
Didn't stop you the first time his unhelpful brain cells reminded him, making him sigh and roll his eyes. Sometimes he hated his own brain.
You know why he lied, he covered your ass too! the others replied boredly. Even they were sick of the nasty comments and bitchy insults that came from the other side.
Frank decided to tune them out the best he could by looking around, his knuckles white as he clutched to the messenger bag slung across his chest. Though he could still make out the quiet chatter of his unwanted and unhelpful brain cells, he focused on the many happy faces of tourists, students and few workers. Standing by one of the large pillars on the other side of the lobby were a group of five, short school uniform skirt wearing teenage girls giggling and pointing at the desk Jeremy stood behind. In front of the desk, however, for all Frank could see through the crowd, was Gerard. Blue waist coat neat, white shirt sleeves rolled up loosely at his elbows and his hair pushed back sexily. The girls weren't giggling about Jeremy, that was for sure.
Frank watched as the girls slowly edged their way towards Gerard, fixing their hair and lip gloss as they went, and stopped behind him, giggling and quietly arguing over who was going to talk to him. They all agrees on the short, brunette girl. She took a breath and tapped his shoulder. Then she stepped back into her group a little, watching as he spun around with a surprised look on his face. He obviously hadn't heard them approaching. Frank watched them badly flirt and talk for a short while before he found himself feeling strangely jealous, his feet, with a mind of their own, started towards him. He hadn't realized he was nearing the good-looking-guide until he was standing at a stop just in the crowd, still hidden.
Just go for God sake. Isn't he the reason you broke up with Jamia? his cells said, starting the riot again.
He turned around so he wasn't looking at Gerard anymore and looked down at his feet as the others replied with As the dumber side of the brain, you wouldn't understand the feelings of nervousness, would you? Honestly, you're only still here because Frank hasn't started narcotics
His nasty cells were cut off when he was tapped on the shoulder. First he contemplated not turning around. He was terrified of who it could be. Sure it would be a little bit awkward if it were just someone asking for help, but if it were Gerard... well, Frank was sure he would melt into a puddle of liquefied human. So he froze for a moment and took a deep breath. Then he turned around, becoming face to face with Gerard. Was that his feet starting to melt...?
"I haven't seen you in a while" he said with a small smile. The smallness of his smile didn't hide how happy he was that Frank was here. As soon as he had noticed him standing lost in the crowd he'd left the privet schooled girls with a small, unneeded apology and weaved his way towards Frank. "How have you been?"
Frank, who had heard his kind question, just continued to stare at him. He looked up at the pale, green-eyed face of the guide and stood frozen. He was awaiting his brain to work, but with the pink, nasty, stupid and homosexual brain cells now seeing Gerard in front of them, they'd just started drooling. They were flooding his head with gooey mucus and drowning what cells were left unfrozen.
But still, as always, the rest of his body sprung to action. Years of dealing with those cells taught his body to go on without them. He still had a little bit of his mind left to send at least one signal. So he said "Okay" dumbly, almost making Gerard laugh as he blushed. His cells came crashing back to reality and started scolding him for being so stupid. How was it he couldn't yell at them back?
"You've been okay? Well, that's better than horrible I guess" Gerard laughed. "Where have you been all this week?"
Frank scratched his neck and said "School, home... work. Y'know"
He wasn't particularly lying. That's what he had been doing, only he left out the countless hours he spent in the coffee shop across from the center staring at it, trying to muster the courage to go in. He didn't want to sound any more pathetic than he already was. Gerard was way too cool for him.
Gerard pushed his hair back and looked up at the clock on the wall. "It's almost closing time for today, I think I could squeeze you in for a tour" he looked back down at Frank and added "If you'd like"
Without thinking, he said a quick "Yes" and blushed, looking away from the amused guide. "I mean sure, if you want to" he added in a calmer tone.
"Alright, cool, I'll just tell Jeremy..." he stopped and looked at Frank, grabbed his wrist and gently started dragging him towards the desk Jeremy was sitting behind. As he tried to keep up, Frank still found himself tripping over his own feet the entire way. He'd even had to grab hold of the desk to keep his face from slapping against the cold, marble floor.
He stood against the desk staring at the guides feet instead of listening to the two talk. It wasn't until Gerard had nudged him that Frank realized he'd been spoken to.
"Huh?" he said obnoxiously, blushing almost straight away. He hadn't meant to sound rude, he just hadn't been listening and for once, it wasn't the fault of his brain.
Instead of being the adults Frank thought they were, they just laughed. He'd been ready for a scolding or a few disgusted looks. But instead, Gerard and Jeremy laughed.
"I said how have you been, Frank" Jeremy repeated with an amused smile. "You been okay?"
Frank nodded while Gerard said "He's been okay" with a small nod and added "I think"
Blushing, Frank looked back down at Gerard's shoes, nibbling on his lip as the guide finished his conversation. He'd never been so spaced out before and he didn't even know what was causing it. The cells had been silent since they'd seen Gerard.
"You coming Frank?" Gerard asked, making him turn around quickly. "You seem a little out of it today... do you want to do this tomorrow?"
"No" Frank replied quickly, shaking his head. "I'm fine I... I want the tour"
The first few minutes of the tour were slightly awkward. Frank had been quiet as he walked beside Gerard, still clutching onto his messenger bag like his life depended on it, and Gerard awkwardly told him a few things about the exhibits he hadn't seen while silently worrying there was something wrong. But then they stopped at the animal exhibition.
"Can we not go in there please?" Frank asked quietly as he he looked up at Gerard through his hair.
The slightly taller guide nodded. "Sure. Any particular reason why not?"
Nodding, Frank said "Stuffed animals creep me out in packs" and blushed when Gerard started laughing. It had sounded smart in his head.
"We won't go in there" he said with a small laugh as he started walking again, nodding at another guide that walked passed with a group ready to leave. "What creeps you out about them? For most people it's their eyes" he said as he clasped his hands behind his back and looked down at his feet with a small smile.
But it wasn't their eyes. Or their stuffed bodies. It was the entire thing. They had been living once before, and now the're dead on shelves for people to look at. They died for the shelves of a magnificent building, and Frank hated that. He was even against animals in circuses.
"Um" he started dumbly, looking away from the man beside him. "I like animals when their alive, so... yeah. Dead stuffed ones are..." he trailed off as his eye was caught by a glass cabinet of ancient Chinese tea sets. "Are those-"
"Yep" he replied happily before Frank could finish his question. He started over to the cabinet, Frank in tow.
"Which ones are the oldest?" Frank asked as he stared studied the tea sets, trying to figure it out before Gerard told him. They all looked old and unusable.
"Guess" he replied with a small, amused smile.
Frank looked at him and shook his head. "You're a great guide" he said sarcastically as he looked back at the sets. "You do your job real well" Gerard laughed as Frank bent down a little to study the bottom shelf. "Um..." he stood back up and shrugged. "I don't know, maybe that one?" he pointed at a few pieces of a brown, porcelain set of large saucers and small, handle-less cups. Then watched as Gerard shook his head in the glass doors reflection. "Which one is it?"
"First I'll tell you what you chose" he said quietly. "You weren't that far off it, to be honest. Just a couple of Dynasty's" he laughed, making Frank pout softly. "You chose the Song Dynasty set- well... it's not really a set it's more of a few pieces, but..." he shrugged and shook his head. "The oldest one was around a Dynasty before that one. It was before the Tang Dynasty" he gave a small nod. "Which is that one there" he pointed at the cleaned up, yet chiped, light brown tea cups and saucers on the top shelf. They were obviously hand made and, inside the cup, had what looked like a flower carved into it. The few set pieces finished off with a clear glaze.
"What Dynasty are they from?" Frank asked as he admired them. He thought they looked fairly good considering they were extremely old.
Gerard shrugged. "We don't know. All we know about those ones is they are the earliest ones here" he sighed. "It kind of sucks. I wish I knew too"
Frank nodded and looked down at the latest sets which had been well made out of various bone and glass. They were colorful, unlike the old ones, and had symbols painted onto them neatly. They looked good, yes, but Frank preferred the old ones. They had history.
"They're awesome" he said quietly with a small nod. "I like them"
Gerard smiled, unaware that Frank was watching him in the reflection, and stared at him. It wasn't every day he had someone so interested in the displays.
"I'm leaving now, Gerard, you'll be okay to lock up yeah?" Jeremy said, making both Gerard and Frank jump and turn around. "Sorry..." he said slowly, looking at Gerard and wriggling his eyebrows suggestively. Gerard just shook his head. "Everyone else is gone and I'm not hanging around. Kayla said if I'm late home again..." he shook his head and Gerard laughed. Frank just stood there awkwardly. "See ya tomorrow Gee"
Gerard gave a small wave and watched Jeremy walk away, leaving the two in the same awkward silence they had been in at the start. Something about Jeremy did that...
"Does that mean we have to leave?" Frank asked, making Gerard look from Jeremy turning the corner to Frank.
"No" he shook his head. "Nope, I have to lock up, means I can be here as long as I want" he shrugged. "Plus, we still have the security guards so we're not entirely alone and we're safe" he shrugged again. "We've got basically hours to do this tour I guess. Unless you have to be somewhere..."
Frank shook his head. "I have nowhere" he gave a miserable smile. He never had anywhere. Until Gerard had given him the slip of paper, that is. The only places he was ever wanted was work and school. He had no friends, except now he had Jamia, so he wasn't invited anywhere. He had all the time in the world for this. "So where do we go next?"
Giving a small smirk, Gerard said "Is there anything else you're afraid of?" before starting to walk down the wide hall full of old pieces of history. He turned around and started walking backwards, smiling amusedly as he said "Are you afraid of Mummy's?"
"Ew" Frank said as he stared down at the open-in glass-sarcophagus. "I don't know if its disgusting or if I like it" he continued as Gerard leant on the glass and stared down at the mummified corpse. In Franks eyes, they didn't do a very good job in the mummifying.
"Shh" Gerard hushed as he looked up at Frank with widened eyes. Frank stood there silent, frozen. "He might here you" Gerard's lips curved into a smirk as Frank let out a breath and shook his head. "I scared you didn't I?" he asked, making Frank nod gently. "It's just too easy" he whispered before pushing off the glass and starting towards the entrance to the Egypt exhibition.
"Where are we going now?" Frank asked quietly.
"Well apart from the art exhibits you've already seen, the only thing we've got left is our limited time "The worlds best writers" thing" Gerard answered as he looked over his shoulder. "I wish it was a permanent thing"
Nodding, Frank followed Gerard, slightly relieved to be leaving the dead body behind, and walked into the next exhibition. It was full of boos and papers, photos and scrolls. There was a tonne of literature just sitting in this one area. It made Frank wish he could read it all. He'd even found himself smiling softly as he looked around, slowly walking further in as Gerard watched on, leaning against the door frame.
Frank gasped quietly and stepped towards a photo. On the wall sat a photograph of one of his favorite authors; Agatha Christie. He'd read so many of her books from Miss Marple to Hercule Poirot. He adored her work.
"Miss Marple was some of her best work in my opinion" Gerard said as he stood behind Frank. "But I'm no expert-"
"You work in a museum and you're no expert?" Frank asked as he turned around, amused. "Right. I've heard everything now-"
"I'm not an expert at everything" he shook his head. "Definitely not about books. I'd have been a librarian if that were the case-" he stopped and narrowed his eyes. "you work in a library. You'd be the book expert"
Frank shook his head. "I've worked in a library for a little over a week now, I think. I'm hardly an expert"
Gerard shrugged. "Did you want to see the art again when you're finished in here or...?"
Frank looked around the room in thought. He'd seen the art not that long ago and it was still fresh in his mind.
But if you say no, that's the end of the tour. It's goodnight Gerard and hello event-less bedroom Frank almost sighed. Now the cells were back.
But if you say yes you run the risk of staying out past your curfew the others said. You'll be grounded and won't be allowed out. Imagine the time you won't see him!
Frank didn't want to be grounded, but he didn't want to leave Gerard as of yet. He was stuck. Perhaps he could lie to his parents and say the bus ran late or there were delays. They'd believe him too because he's the "perfect son". It was decided.
"Sure" he said quietly with a nod. "Of course I wanna see it again"
He gave a small smile and let Frank continue to look at the many pieces of writing and read about the authors. occasionally he'd ask a few questions, but he was just so engrossed in their work he didn't feel the need to ask anything. Even Gerard didn't mind.
It wasn't until they reached the art when things got a little... awkward and strange. The two knew that after this that was it. Frank would be going home to a boring house hold while Gerard was left alone to lock up. Frank didn't want to leave yet, so he looked at each piece slightly too long. He knew Gerard sensed something was up because no one stares at art pieces they've seen before for that long and they definitely don't go looking for details that just simply weren't there. It wasn't until they were both sitting on a soft, cushioned bench that they realized they were at the last painting. They'd seen everything and Frank was even contemplating asking to see the creepy stuffed animals that would end up making him feel sick and weak at the knees. But he knew that would be weird.
"I like this one" Frank managed to say, hoping they'd start a conversation that would go for a while. He didn't want to go home and face the wrath of his parents. He was already half an hour late home. "Andy Warhol was an awesome artist"
Gerard nodded in agreement as he stared up at the pop art painting of Marilyn Monroe. "He was a strange artist" he said as he nudged Franks shoulder gently with his own. "He said his painting had no meaning or intent" he sighed. "I think he just misunderstood his own meanings or over-thought them all until they meant nothing to him. I bet if he had have told us every aspect it wouldn't have been nothing at all"
Frank smiled and watched as Gerard slowly turned to him. "You're really smart, you know" Frank admitted. "It's really cool how much you know about all this stuff" Gerard shrugged. "No really. I think it's awesome. Imagine all the meaningful conversations we could have. You can hold a conversation, not many people in this shit hole of a city can"
"Jersey isn't that bad..." he said quietly as he shook his head. "Jersey just hides all the creativity and IQ. It takes it all away from everyone. I watched it happen to all my friends in college and I wasn't going to end up that way. I fought to be different, I wasn't going to let he dull grey city streets strip me of everything I could be. I didn't allow it to hold me back"
Frank nodded. They both had the same theories on the town. Everyone else he'd ever spoken to about that theory had thought he was crazy. Gerard had the same theory. It was perfect-- He was perfect. "I totally agree with you" Frank said with a small nod. "You're like the color of this city"
He smiled and looked at Frank. "You think?" Frank just nodded and stared up at him, happy that maybe Gerard understood that he was special. That he could leave this place and be somebody. "Thanks, Frank" he nudged his shoulder again. "That means a lot"
"No-" Frank cleared his throat. "No problem"
The two sat staring at each other with small, delicate smiles on their faces. Neither felt awkward about the silence that had just consumed them, nor did they want it to end. It was a comfortable silence they were enjoying.
That was until Franks Brain cells took over his body like he was an evil machine.
That was when they made him move forwards and press his lips to Gerard's, surprising the both of them.
That was also when Frank jumped up repeating mumbled apologies as he forced his taken-over body to start towards the exit. He had to leave. He was beyond embarrassed now and never before had he wanted his brain removed so strongly. It had ruined everything he was building.
As Frank dashed for the door with Gerard calling his name behind him, his cells thought it was a great time to start a conga line and party, making him lose balance and fall, hitting his head on the marble floor hard. The conga line of dancing, glitter wearing cells were thrown about his head, crashing into his skull. They had all been knocked out.
So had Frank.