Ditching the School Bus
Gerard gives Patrick a ride home
He smiles kindly, “I could give you a ride home instead, Patrick.”
I blush lightly and shake my head, quickly erasing with my sleeve.
“No, it’s okay. I don’t mind. Plus, school buses suck.” Gerard smiles and gently places his hand on my shoulder.
I bite my lip and scribble, “I don’t want to be trouble.”
“You aren’t trouble.” he smiles, “C’mon, I’ll have Frank take Mikes home.”
I look at him questioningly.
“Mikey is my little brother.” Gerard fills in the blank.
I nod and bite my lip.
“Please? I could explain what I was telling you...” he frowns, “You just can’t treat me like a freak, okay?”
I roll my eyes and scribble, “You say to the guy who can’t speak.”
He chuckles and wraps an arm around my shoulder, making me blush as he leads me over to Frank and two boys I’ve seen, but can’t name, “He Frankie, do me a favor?”
Frank looks up and rolls his eyes, “Didn’t I tell you to leave that boy alone? You might not be trying to annoy him but you are.”
I blush and scribble, “I don’t mine. Gerard is nice.”
Gerard smirks at his friend, “See? I’m not bothering Patrick!”
Frank gives me an unsure glance, “What’s the favor?”
“Can you drive your boyfriend home? I’m giving Patrick a ride.”
The boy with glasses blushes and looks down shyly, “G-Gerard shut u-up.”
Frank smiles at the blushing boy, “I’ll give Mikey a ride, but don’t irritate Patrick.”
Gerard rolls his eyes, “Thanks Frank. See you at home, Mikes.”
He leads me to his car and gets inside, buckling his seatbelt before starting the car. I sit and buckle my seatbelt and look over to him.
I quickly scribble, “You’ll have to do most of the communication, You can’t read and drive.”
He smiles, “Do you like Starbucks?”
I smile and erase my previous message before writing, “It’s Pete’s favorite. He used to drag me along a lot, so I don’t mind.”
“My best friend.”
He smiles and pulls out of the parking lot, then bites his lip, “Okay so you want me to tell you?”
I nod, curiously.
I roll my eyes and prod his shoulder, afraid he’ll change his mind.
“Don’t worry, I’ll tell you.” he stops at a redlight and looks over to me, “I um.. I hear people’s thoughts.”
I raise an eyebrow. What the fuck is he talking about?
“What the fuck I’m talking about, is exactly what I said.” he smiles and drives once the light changes.
I roll my eyes. Okay I’ll try something less predictable. I’m gay. I blush, thankful he’s just messing with me.
“You’re gay?” he glances over at me.
My eyes widen as I shake my head. No no no fuck no!
“Don’t worry, Patrick. I’m not homophobic. My brother’s gay, most of my friends are gay, I’m gay...” he shrugs.
I blush and look down.
“Does anyone know?” Gerard asks curiously.
I look up to him. No. No one does. Not even Pete. It’s pretty difficult to come out when you don’t have a voice.
“I guess you’re right. But you do have a voice.” Gerard pulls into the Starbucks driveway, “We could go in, or, if your parents wouldn’t mind me over we could go through the drive through and go to your house.”
My mom would be thrilled. What do you mean I have a voice?
“The voice in your head is completely yours.” he smiles, “I bet one day you’ll be able to let everyone hear it.” he pulls into the drive through line.
Gerard I’m seventeen and I can’t speak. Not in seventeen years. It’s looking hopeless.
“Can you laugh?” he tilts his head.
“Then you can speak.” he smiles.
I blush and shake my head.
He orders two coffees as I scribble down my address.
Mom opens the door, and her eyes widen at the sight of Gerard, “Um, hello?”
He smiles, “Hi Mrs. Stump, I’m a friend of Patrick’s, from school. I’m Gerard.”
“Oh..” she smiles, “Hi Gerard. Patrick, you didn’t let me know you wouldn’t be on the bus, I was worried!” she frowns.
I look down and blush lightly, quickly scribbling, “Sorry.”
“I offered him a ride home, ma’am.” he smiles, “We just got caught up in conversation.”
She gives Gerard a cold gaze, “You’d better go home.”
Gerard’s eyes widen, “I don’t understand...”
“Don’t play stupid with me.”
I groan and tug her sleeve before writing, “He wasn’t teasing me. We were talking, my part was just written.”
“Oh.” her gaze softens, “I’m sorry Gerard I-”
“It’s okay, my friend Frank thought I was just trying to mess with Patrick too, but I’d like to he his friend.”
I nod and look up at my mom.
She steps aside to let us in, and we quickly escape to my room.
I scribble quickly, “Sorry she’s just protective. She hated Pete for months.”
“I understand.” he smiles and sips his coffee, “Kids are cruel...” he lies back on my bed.
He grins, “Quite.”
Can you hear everyone’s thoughts?
He nods, “I can block people out, but I wanted to hear you. If you ever want me to back off, just say the word and I will.”
Think the word, or write it...
He frowns and sits up to hug me, “Don’t beat yourself up.”
But I’m good at it.. I rest my head on his shoulder. And so is everyone else. More than once I’ve been beaten up, just because I can’t talk.
He hugs tighter and rests his head on mine, “People are awful.”
I nod into his shoulder and breathe him in. He smells like coffee and fabric softener. It’s a relaxing smell.
He chuckles softly and gently rubs my back, “Apparently I smell..decent to people.”
I blush. It’s relaxing.
“You don’t relax much do you?” he asks in a whisper.
I shake my head. I’m always afraid.
“Well you don’t have to be afraid. Not around me. I can’t promise anyone else will be nice, but that’s just because they’re jerks. You’re a sweet guy, who deserves a chance.”
I blush and pull back from him. Thanks.
He pouts, “Come back.”
I blush more. Why?
“Because I like hugs and we were both comfortable.” he nods simply.
I lean back into him, gasping in surprise when he lies back, pulling me along. He chuckles and places the pillow under our heads and cuddles into me. I blush and push my glasses up the bridge of my nose.
He smiles, “Am I making you uncomfortable?”
No.. I’m very comfortable. Just, no one else from school has been in my room, on my bed besides Pete. And he gave me space.
“Oh, am I not giving you enough space?” He pulls back from me.
Without thinking I grab his shirt and pull him close to me, blushing deeply. I hide my face. I didn’t say I liked the space. No one wants to be close to me. Little mute freak.
“You’re not a freak.” Gerard whispers and holds me close.
Don’t patronize me.
“I’m not. You’re a sweetie. So what you don’t talk? You know how many people can’t shut up and just piss everyone off?”
“Look at me.” Gerard tilts my chin up, our eyes meeting.
I raise an eyebrow.
“Don’t make yourself feel worthless. One day, you’ll talk. And when you do, I hope I’m there.” he grins.
I blush and look back down. Do not let yourself get attached. He’ll get sick of you soon enough. He’s far too cute to worry with a little mute boy. He has friends. Friends who can make him laugh with funny jokes. All I can do is nod. My thoughts go deeper than I realize, causing me to blush more.
“I’m cute?” Gerard blushes.
He frowns, “You’re right, I do have friends. And you, Patrick, are one of them. Now, enough self loathing, and cuddle me.”
I sigh and lean into him, closing my eyes.
“Patrick?” my mom gently taps my shoulder.
“Hmm?” I rub my eyes and blush. Gerard and I are tangled into each other.
“Fall asleep?” She raises an eyebrow.
“Well dinner is ready, your dad is home, wake up your friend and you two can join us.” she walks out of the room, glancing back at the two of us curiously.
I look up to Gerard, snoring softly. I smile and gently tap his shoulder. He buries his face in my shoulder, making me blush. I open my mouth, but no sound comes out.
Gerard. Ger-ard. Or just Gee, like Mikey and Frank call him. Gee. Barely even a word, surely I can do that.
“G-Ge-ee.” I shake him gently, “Ge-Gee.” my eyes widen, “Gee!”
He jerks awake and looks to me, “What?”
“G-Gee.” I blush.
He grins, “See? All you needed was a little cuddling.” he hugs me tight.
It’s one word. barely a word, Gerard. And I stuttered.
“Ah shut up and be happy. You said something.” He grins and kisses my cheek, making me blush deeply.
What was that for?
He blushes, “Sorry.”
Mom wants us to come down for dinner. My dad is home. Please keep my sexuality to yourself.
“And my own too?”
I bite my lip before nodding. Just in case.
We walk downstairs and eat dinner with my parents. I’m so distracted with Gerard, I forgot to bring my whiteboard.