We walked through a few corridors until we came to a grey door that looked a little familiar. Gerard opened it and stepped out; I followed him. Outside the door was a set of stairs leading to a bush-lined pathway, which in turn led to the road.
"Are you kidding?" I said, looking around. "Gerard, I was just here with you the other day!"
"No you weren't," he said, looking confused.
"Yes, I was! Don't you remember?" He shook his head, and I sighed. "Come on, it was when you were drinking, and then--" I stopped, noticing he was smirking.
"Of course I remember!" he laughed.
"Oh." I felt like an idiot. "They why did you bring me early?"
"Because I wanted to do this." He wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me into him, pressing his warm lips against mine. I closed my eyes, letting my hands wander up to his neck. That was probably the longest kiss I'd ever experienced. I kept my eyes closed for a few seconds after he finally pulled away.
"You're weird," I sighed, opening my eyes. He laughed, looking a bit confused.
"How am I weird?" he said, sitting down on the steps and pulling me onto his lap. My head was just about level with his. My heartbeat quickened immediately, but I kept talking.
"Because when I first met you, you barely said a word to anyone, and now you're all--" I paused and kissed him softly. "You know."
He smiled and bit his lip at the same time, in a way that was incredibly sexy and cute all at once. "Oh, you like that do you?" he said, pulling me a little closer to him.
"Mmm-hmm," I hummed. I quickly looked away, for fear that if I looked at his face one more time I'd be overpowered by the urge I felt to tackle him to the floor and...never mind.
He let go of me and I sat back a bit as he pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket.
"You want?" he asked. I shook my head. Fuck--I just refused a smoke for what was probably the first time in years! What was this guy doing to me?
"Hey, Gerard?" I asked timidly as he took a drag from the cigarette.
"Yeah?" he said. He turned his head away from me as he exhaled, so as not to blow smoke in my face. Awww.
"Umm..." I wasn't exactly sure how to say this, so I just went with the first thing that came to mind: "What's up with Mikey?"
He took another drag. "You noticed that, huh?"
I nodded, looking down a little.
"I'm not really sure," Gerard sighed. "I mean, it's not like he tells me things anyways, but I can usually figure out what's wrong by the way he acts. But I've never seen him like this about anything before--girls, school, bullies, anything."
"Mikey was bullied?" I asked. It shouldn't have suprised me, really; he was so small and skinny, and such an obvious nerd, that I had no trouble picturing him as a prime target for bullies. But I liked nerds. Gerard himself was one of them, and I was starting to show signs of nerdishness myself--like spending hours on the internet and listening to music alone in my room [A/N: lmao, no offense to anyone who does those things; I'm not calling you a nerd. But I do those things, and it's true, I generally do like nerds. I just thought I'd put a bit of myself into Verity. grins]
"Yeah, just for awhile, in middle school. I, er...talked to the kids who were doing it, and they left him alone." He stopped and sighed a little, puffing out more smoke. "He didn't talk to me for like a week after; I think he thought I was trying to show off how I was better than him or something. But even then he wasn't as depressed as he is now." He held the cigarette out to me and I couldn't resist; I took a long drag and handed it back to him.
"I asked him about it before, but he wouldn't say anything," I said. Gerard was shaking his head before I'd even finished my sentence.
"Mikey never talks about his problems. Or his feelings, for that matter," he sighed. "Not even to Frankie."
"Are him and Frankie close?" I asked.
"Yeah," Gerard nodded. "Pretty much best friends. He's kinda both of our best friend, actually, so it gets a bit, you know...awkward."
I nodded absentmindedly. A theory was formulating in my mind as to why he was so depressed...but I quickly decided it was ridiculous, and pushed it out of my mind. At least, I told myself I did. But it was really still there, although way in the back, where I was trying to simultaneously push all thoughts of what I'd like to do with Gerard. Meh.
"So, uh, about that party next weekend," he said, changing the subject abruptly. "You still coming?"
"Oh, yeah, for sure," I smiled. To be honest, I hadn't thought about the party all that much since I'd heard about it, but everyone else seemed to be uber-psyched about it. Then again, they'd all seemed uber-psyched about Ray...
"I can, uh, pick you up if you want," he grinned.
"Um, right. In your nonexistent car?" I questioned.
"Nah, I'm getting one on Wednesday. Me and Don are gonna go pick it up," he said, jutting his chin out proudly. I grinned.
"Aww that is so cute," I teased him "Widdle Gewarwd's fiwst caw."
"Shut up," he grinned, pushing me a little. I giggled. "It's not funny!" he said, even though he was starting to laugh too.
"Um, correction: yes, it is," I laughed. He laughed too. But the crazy thing was, it wasn't funny at all. We were laughing for no reason, and having the best time.
"Wait!" he said suddenly. I stopped laughing, and immediately heard the sound of footsteps.
"Shit!" he hissed. I jumped up, and he grabbed my hand and pulled me into the bushes. "That can't be the guys, it's too early."
We held our breath and tried not to laugh as the footsteps came closer.
The door banged open suddenly, making me jump, and Frankie, Ray, Bob and Mikey spilled out onto the steps. I raised an eyebrow at Gerard, who shrugged sheepishly.
Frankie looked around. "Where are they!?" he said, looking panicked.
"We're right here," Gerard said, stepping out of the bushes. I followed him. They all stared at us, and then Frankie broke into a mischievous grin.
"Uh, Gerard?" he snickered. "What were you guys doing in the bushes?"
I burst out laughing again, realising how odd that must've looked.
"Uh, we...we thought you guys were teachers or something," Gerard said, looking at me curiously. Of course that only made me laugh more, which made things look all the more suspicious.
"Bullshit!" Frankie said, laughing too. Gerard looked really confused. Bob started laughing as well. Mikey just looked at the ground.
"Um, it's like one ten past one," Ray broke in. "Can we go?"
"What?" Gerard said, making a face. "No way is it one! We've only been out here for like ten minutes!"
"Uh, no, you've actually been out here for...forty minutes," Bob grinned.
Gerard looked at me, and we both started laughing again. We'd sat there for over half an hour without even realizing it! Again, we were laughing at something that was aggressively non-funny. What the hell!
Ray rolled his eyes. "Well now that we've established the time, can we please go?"
I swear to god. I was about to crack it at Ray and tell him to take his little man-PMS problems and shove them up his ass, when Gerard grabbed my hand. And I forgot all about Ray's temper tantrums as Gerard smiled down at me.
"Yeah, let's go," he said, turning to the rest of the guys. Frankie skipped down the steps and grabbed my other hand, swinging it as we started to walk. Gerard glared at him a little, and I laughed again.
"Bob, you have to join the chain," I giggled. Bob turned around and stared blankly at us for a few seconds, before grinning and rushing over to grab Frankie's hand.
"Mikey, you too!" Frankie practically squealed. Mikey glanced over his shoulder, still keeping his head down.
"No thanks," he muttered.
Bob looked at Frankie, and they both grinned evilly. Bob ran over, grabbed Mikey (which wasn't that hard to do, considering Mikey's size), and plopped him on the ground next to Frank. They both grabbed his hands and swung them back and forth, giggling like a couple of girls. Actually, we were all giggling, except Mikey--who we did manage to get to crack a smile--and Ray, who was walking ahead and listening to his iPod. I was glad, because I didn't really feel like listening to his crap right then.
"So who's your favourite superhero?" Frankie said suddenly, turning to me.
"Uhh...Spiderman?" I shrugged. He was really the only one I knew anything about. They all snickered. "What?" I asked.
"Umm...you really don't know a lot about comics, do you?" Frankie asked condescendingly. I shook my head. "Well if you did, you'd know that Spiderman is about the worst superhero ever."
"Riiiiight..." I said, looking at Frankie like he was a crazy person. I dropped his hand and stepped closer to Gerard.
"You broke the chain!!" Frankie yelled, stopping dead in his tracks. A mother with two little kids glared at us and crossed the street, and a few little old ladies stared at us from their gardens.
"Frankie, shut up," Gerard hissed, trying not to laugh. Which was hard to do, seeing as we were all trying not to, and making the weirdest faces in the process.
"No, Gerard!" he yelled even louder, a silly grin on his face. He was clearly enjoying being the center of attention. "She BROKE THE CHAIN!! You can't just let her get away with something like that!"
"Oh yeah?" I said, letting go of Gerard's hand and stepping up to Frankie. He was still a little taller than me, so I couldn't exactly tower, but whatever. "Well what are you gonna do about it?"
Frankie smiled again, and I didn't have time to even blink before he picked me up, threw me over his shoulder, and started to run up the sidewalk (he wasn't particularly strong for his size, but it doesn't take a sumo wrestler to lift me, if you know what I mean).
Ray's jaw dropped in shock as Frankie ran by carrying me--he hadn't heard anything that had been said, and I also happened to be laughing hysterically. He span around to look at the others--Gerard was just standing there laughing, and Bob and Mikey were still holding hands. He raised his eyebrows at them, and they looked at each other in horror, before quickly pulling apart and stuffing their hands in their pockets.
"Frankie, stop," I panted, barely able to breathe from laughing.
"NEVER!!" he yelled. My head was kind of smacking against his back as he ran.
"SERIOUSLY!" I yelled back. "Put me down, you...you short motherfucker!"
"Short!? Look who's talking!" Frankie laughed.
And that's when he tripped. He fell face-forward, smacking his face on the ground, and I whacked the back of my head on the hard concrete sidewalk. We lay there groaning for a few seconds. Fuck, my head was spinning.
"Ima fucking kill you, Frankie," I moaned. He just grunted, his face still smooshed up against the sidewalk. Gerard and Bob ran over.
"Shit, are you guys okay?" Gerard asked, skidding to a halt.
"Uhhh..." Frankie moaned, finally lifting his head up. His nose was bleeding, and suddenly I realised that a) he was practically lying on top of me, so that his face was right next to mine, and b) my skirt had ridden up almost all the way. He seemed to realize this at the same time, as he rolled off of me quickly. Gerard and Bob kind of looked away as I sat up and tugged my skirt down.
"You okay, Verity?" Gerard asked, taking my hand and helping me up. I nodded, even though my head hurt. Frankie sat up, cupping his hand around his bleeding nose.
"Doesn't anyone care about ME?" he said, his voice slightly muffled.
"Well it's your own fault," Bob said, reaching down to help him up. "You should known not to carry people who are almost as big as you."
Frankie rolled his eyes as blood trickled from between his fingers.
"Can we save the lecture for later, Bob?" he said in a strained voice, as Ray and Mikey walked up behind us.
"You are such an idiot, Frankie," Ray said, shaking his head a little. "What were you thinking?"
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," Frankie huffed.
"Hey Frankie, you, uh...you got a little something on your face," Mikey grinned, gesturing towards the blood that was now dripping off Frankie's chin and onto the ground.
"I know!" Frankie yelled suddenly, making us all jump a little. "And it hurts like fuck!"
Suddenly Ray sprang into action. He pulled off his blazer and held it to Frankie's nose.
"Pinch the top of your nose," he instructed. "And tilt your head back."
Frankie did so without argument, and I thought I saw a tear in his eye. Once the bleeding had slowed, he pushed Ray's hand away from his face and cradled his nose gently.
"Fuck, I think it's broken," Frankie moaned.
Gerard, Bob, Mikey and I looked at each other worriedly.
"We should take him to hospital," Ray said gravely. Mikey winced, and Gerard shook his head slightly. Bob squeezed his eyes shut.
"No!" Frankie yelped. "It's fine. I'll just put some ice on it."
Ray sighed in frustration. "Frankie, if your nose is broken you can't just leave it! Do you want it to be crooked for the rest of your life!?"
Frankie shook his head gingerly. "But what can the doctors do about it?"
"Crack it back in place," Bob supplied helpfully. Gerard glared at him and I smacked him on the arm. "What?" he asked.
"No fucking way!!" Frankie yelled, backing away a few steps until he was on the road. "I'm not going to no hospital, crooked nose or not!"
"That's what," I sighed to Bob as Ray tried to coax Frankie to at least come off the road.
"Come on, Frankie, get off the road," Ray said.
"NO!" Frankie yelled. He must really hate hospitals; he was getting really worked up.
"Frankie, if you get hit by a car we'll all be sent to jail for manslaughter--including you!" Ray yelled wildly. Gerard and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows. But wait; it seemed to be working--Frankie had stopped yelling and was taking little baby steps back towards the sidewalk.
"Okay, you just need to calm down," Ray said rationally once Frankie was safely off the road.
"Calm down?" Frankie said incredulously. "You're not the one with the broken nose that the doctors are gonna crack back in place!" He was getting worked up all over again, and his nose had resumed its bleeding. Ray turned to us in desperation.
"I'll go get Donna's car," Gerard said quietly. "We can decide where to take him after that."
"But what about the sale, Ray?" Mikey asked. Ray shook his head.
"Don't worry about it," he said. "We'll go next year."
Bob sighed. "Ray, you've been looking forward to that sale all year," he said. "We don't all have to go to Gerard's house. You can still go to the comic store."
"Yeah," Gerard broke in. "You and Bob go to the store, and I'll go get the car."
"Really?" Ray asked, breaking into a broad grin. We all nodded. "Thanks guys," he called over his shoulder. He and Bob had already begun running down the street.
"So, uh..." I trailed off. Frankie had sat down on the grass beside the sidewalk and was staring down at the ground, while trying to avoid getting blood on his uniform. "I'll stay here with Frankie," I finally said.
"You sure?" Gerard asked. I nodded. "'Kay, I'll go get the car, and Mikey...uh, you can come with me, 'cause mom will worry if you don't." Mikey nodded silently. "See you in a bit," Gerard said. I smiled, and Frankie kept on staring at the concrete sidewalk.
I sat down next to Frankie on the grass.
"You really don't like hospitals, do you?" I asked gently. He shook his head hard.
"They scare the shit out of me," he said. "Ever since I was a kid. I don't know why."
I couldn't think of anything to say to that, so I just nodded.
"Hey, Verity?" he said, turning to face me.
"Uhn, you know this party on Saturday?" he asked. I nodded again. "Well, um, Dee's coming."
"Okay," I said. I got the feeling there was more to it than that. "And...?"
"Well, she...she's bringing a date," he sighed. Fuck.
"Do you know the guy?" I asked.
"No," he said. "But I don't think I'm gonna be able to sit there and watch her with someone else." His voice was desperately depressed.
"It might not be that kind of date," I suggested. "They might just be friends...you know."
He shook his head sadly, wincing a little at the pain it brought to his nose. "Doesn't matter. I plan on getting really drunk, and when I'm drunk..." He trailed off; I got what he was saying.
"Well if you want I can, like...make sure you don't do anything to him," I offered. He smiled slightly.
"Yeah, that would be good."
We turned our attention back to the sidewalk. Then, out of the blue, Frankie said,
"So...you and Gerard, huh?"
I was caught a little off guard. "Uh, y-yeah, I guess so. I mean, I don't know."
"I'll take that as a yes," he smirked. I felt myself blushing, which made him smile even more.
"So tell me..." he said, leaning back against someone's garden wall. "What were you REALLY doing in the bushes?"
I grinned. "We were having wild sex like mating primates," I said. "Duh."
Frankie nodded. "Righteous," he said, and we both laughed. Then he sighed.
"Do you think they'll really crack my nose?" he asked anxiously. "I mean, if Gerard forces me to go to hospital, which he probably will."
"I don't know, Frankie," I said cautiously. "But whatever they do, I'm sure it won't be too bad."
He sighed unhappily again--he obviously didn't believe me.
"Well...if they do have to crack your nose back in place, I promise I'll hold your hand," I joked.
"Promise?" he asked, looking straight into my eyes. I nodded. "No, I mean do you really swear? Like no matter what?"
I was a bit surprised by his intenisty, but I held out my pinkie for him.
"Pinkie swear," I said. He smiled a little and grasped my pinkie with his.
We were still shaking pinkies when Gerard and Mikey pulled up on the asphalt next to us. Gerard got out and came around the car.
"You guys okay?" he asked. I nodded; Frankie didn't say anything.
"What did your mom say?" I asked him.
"She was pissed that we wagged school, but she said we'd have to take Frankie to the hospital," he said, glancing sympathetically at him.
Frankie sighed and hardened his face. "Okay," he nodded. "Let's just go and get it over and done with."
Gerard glanced incredulously at me as Frankie got into the car.
'What did you do?' he mouthed. I grinned and made a face like I was licking something. He looked worried for a second, but then I started laughing at him, and everything was fine. Well, until we got to the hospital, that is.