“It wasn’t exactly a love triangle. It was closer to a love...gazillionogon.” Crazy Bert Alert!
What About Bob?
Bob Bryar had a problem.
It wasn’t exactly his problem, but being one of the problem creators’ best friends had gotten him involuntarily involved.
The problem could have been summed up in two frightening words: Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day hadn’t always been so bad. Bob remembered those good old days back before the seventh grade, when the teachers forced every single kid in the class to buy a valentine card for every other kid in the class. It was a great system; nobody felt left out. And Bob got chocolate. It had been like a second Halloween. Almost.
However, middle school had this irritating way of overcomplicating the smallest of matters. Last year, when he was a mere sixth grader, he recalled staying home, warm and happy under his covers because of the snow day. School had been cancelled, and as a result, so had Valentine’s Day.
There was no such luck this year; the New Jersey sun shone brightly, with all its happy ultraviolet rays. It left Bob in a state of sweaty discomfort despite the fact that it hardly affected him when he was indoors. Bob didn’t have a valentine, nor did he want one. He was barely out of the “girls have cooties” stage anyway. He, however, was the only one with that stance. The reason for his nervousness concerned his four closest friends. They had been going through a conflict, and Bob knew that V-Day would be the day it would all be out in the blue. Or out in the red, white, and pink, more like it.
He sat in his fourth period math class, staring at the random polygons he was subconsciously copying down from the board. The triangle caught his eye. It reminded him of love triangles; what his friends were going through. Except in their case, he guessed it wasn’t really a love triangle. It was closer to a love...gazillionogon. Bob wasn’t sure—Geometry wasn’t one of his subjects.
Neither was love.
His eyes darted to the analog clock on the painted white walls and winced; only five minutes until lunch time (A.K.A certain disaster.) The straight lines on the paper were all turning squiggly because of his shaky hands. He kept trying to remind himself that the situation had nothing to do with him. Yet, a part of him kept arguing. If his four best friends in the whole wide world got into a fight because of the stupid idea of only giving one person a valentine, he’d be forced to pick sides. That automatically meant the other side(s) would hate him.
A ringing in his ears caused him to stand up with a jolt, screaming his lungs out in the middle of class. More girls looked at him at that moment than they had in his entire life. Bob didn’t care much, though. The school bell signaling the next period had never before been such a horrible thing.
With each miniscule step he took away from the classroom and towards the cafeteria, dread filled his body. The rhythm of his feet on the ground matched his heartbeat; loud and hard. Just to make his pulse faster, someone grabbed his hand, and pulled him to stray away from his path. He was tugged into a janitor’s closet, with only one light bulb to help him see. The darting green eyes of Frank Iero stared up at him from what seemed like a foot down. In his hand, the small boy held a heart-shaped card with a Hershey kiss taped on top. Bob sighed...so it began.
“Help me, Bob!” Frank whispered sharply, holding out the valentine, “Look, I wanna give this to Gerard.”
“So give it to Gerard,” Bob said matter-of-factly.
“But Bob,” Frank continued in his high-and-mighty tone, “Everyone says Mikey likes me. He’s gonna be so upset if I give it to his own brother, his kin, his own flesh and blood, his—”
Bob cut him short, “Mikey has a girlfriend. And if he does like you, give him the card and tell Gerard in private that it was meant for him.”
Frank bit his lip, “Mikey’s girlfriend thinks he likes me. She’s super jealous. That means I can’t give the card to him either, or she’ll kill me.”
“Then give it to Gerard!” The solution seemed simple enough in Bob’s blue eyes.
“But what if Gerard likes Ray?!” Frank replied, throwing his small arms up dramatically.
“Where did Ray come in?!” Bob was getting pretty pissed off now.
“People are saying Ray likes Gerard. I don’t want to hurt his feelings...and I don’t want him to hurt my face! They guy’s like, twice as tall as me!”
Bob shook his head irritatedly, “Either give it to Gerard or toss it in the trashcan. Except save the Hershey kiss, ‘cause I could use some chocolate right about now.”
Frank pouted, “You’re no help.”
Bob shrugged his shoulders and left the closet, but only before wishing Frank good luck. He wanted to stay as out of the situation as possible. His mind, though, automatically analyzed everything Frank had said. The information he had figured out so far was that Frank liked Gerard, but Ray also liked Gerard, while Mikey liked Frank. Bob felt sorry for Mikey. His older brother got all the love. Bob continued his slow stroll to the lunch room, staring at his converse against the floor. His heart rate was now more normal, and he felt overall better. The reason to that was unexplainable, but Bob was glad. He whistled a happy tune under his breath and shoved his hands into his pockets. Just to ruin his peace, he was once again yanked away into a small dark place. The light was even dimmer in this one. A bespectacled boy looked at him, with a nervous expression on his face.
“Help, Bob!” Mikey Way hissed, “I want to ask Christiana to be my valentine.”
Bob once more could not detect the problem, “Okay...she’s your girlfriend, right? Don’t you have a right to do that?”
Mikey’s voice lowered down to a whisper, “I heard Frank liked me. He’s already having a rough time, being bullied and everything. I don’t want to make his life any worse.”
Bob nearly laughed, realizing the stupid mix-up, “Dude, Frank doesn’t like you. Frank likes Gerard.”
Mikey’s whole face lit up, “Are you serious?! That’s awesome! That’s wonderful! That’s the best news I’ve ever heard! I love you, Bob!”
Unexpectedly, Mikey grabbed Bob and kissed him on the lips. Bob’s jaw dropped with disgust. Mikey just kissed him! It was most likely just a sign of happiness, but that was enough. This closet was horrible. He pushed the door open, shaking his head. He didn’t bother wishing Mikey good luck. He wiped off the spot where Mikey had kissed him as he carried on with his walk. At the next broom closet, he slowed down, not very surprised when he was dragged inside. Pale, well-built Gerard Way sat inside, his amber eyes glistening up at Bob in that mysterious manner. Gerard was his friend, but sometimes his dark style made Bob very tense.
“I have a problem, Bob.” Gerard said quietly, “I kind of have this huge crush on Bert McCracken.”
Bob’s eyes widened, “The one who stalks me?!”
Bob shuddered. There was no doubt that Bert was a nice guy, but he was very...crazy. Bert was not even one of his closest friends, and now he was involved in this love gazillionogon that Bob had believed to be over with Mikey’s news. The most horrible part was that now, Bob was not just a little pawn to the chess-love game; he was one of those big pieces in the back. Stupid Bert.
Gerard nodded, “He likes you a lot.”
“Uh, seriously Gerard, you can have him.” Bob offered, “It’s not that hard to make that guy like you. If you say hi to him, he’ll probably fall for you.”
Gerard smiled momentarily, “One more thing, though...Frank likes me...what do I do about that?”
Bob contemplated an answer, but could only point out, “And Ray likes you too.”
Gerard’s eyebrows furrowed, “No, Ray likes Mikey.”
Bob’s mouth kept snapping open and shut. A whole new twist, just perfect. Before Gerard could add any more horrible news to the pile in Bob’s brain, Bob sprinted out of the closet. His blonde bangs fell in front of his face, and he couldn’t exactly see where he was going. It scared the crap out of him when he slammed into someone, falling forward and knocking them down. It scared him even more when he saw who it was.
“Bobby!” Bert cried happily from under him, “I missed you!”
With a shrill, girl-like scream, Bob rolled off the ground and ran as fast as he could. He could hear Bert’s wild giggles right behind him. To lose the insane boy, Bob quickly stepped into the next nearest closet. The door slammed behind him and he breathed in and out very fast, against the door.
“Hey, Bob! What are you doing here?” a voice asked with surprise.
Bob spun around to face Ray Toro and his vivacious afro. Bob attempted to explain that he was running away from Bert, but all that would come out was a meaningless jumble.
Ray frowned, shaking his electrocuted hair slightly, “Um, okay...well, as long as you’re here, you could help me out. I sorta—”
“NO!” Bob shouted protestantly, “I’m fucking tired of all this shit! Just come with me and tell your goddamned afro to stop jiggling!”
He grabbed Ray and dragged him all the way to the cafeteria, ignoring the whiny arguments. He really didn’t give a shit what anyone else thought at the moment. At their table, the usual places were already filled; Mikey, Gerard, Frank, and Christiana. In addition, Bert also sat there, bouncing in his seat like he was on crack (which he might’ve been.) Bob tried his best to ignore the explicit gestures the boy made towards him as he took a seat.
All his friends (not including Bert, of course) held a small valentine in their hands. Their faces were pricelessly anxious. None of them seemed to have the courage to actually give any of their cards out. Bob sighed and rested his head in his palm, simply watching and avoiding Bert’s gaze. There was complete silence.
Frank was the bravest (and shortest) one. With trembling hands, he held out his chocolate kiss to Gerard. Gerard smiled nervously and took it without complaining. Meanwhile, Mikey had handed his valentine card over to Christiana and the couple was busy kissing. Bob wrinkled his nose. Kissing still bothered him.
Gerard looked back and forth from Frank to Bert before finally making his decision. He bashfully gave his valentine card to Bert.
Bert, who had calmed down quite a bit, was hyper once again, “Are you serious?! Someone actually likes me?!” His arms wrapped around Gerard’s neck and squoze. Gerard started to cringe in pain. Bob felt more relieved than sympathetic. At least it was not him in that headlock.
His gaze wandered over to the reject side of the table. Ray and Frank looked pretty depressed. Bob’s heart sank. Seeing their disappointed faces hurt him, because he was such a nice guy. But suddenly, a cheeky grin formed on Frank’s face. He grabbed his valentine card from where Gerard had left it and offered it to Ray. Ray laughed and handed his own valentine to Frank. The two friends gave each other a hug, which made Bob happy. At least they were not feeling vengeful.
Bob sighed. All his friends were relatively happy, and he supposed that the love gazillionogon had been broken apart. Yet, something felt missing inside him. He realized that he had not received any valentines. This wouldn’t have bothered him, except he noted that every last card at the table had a piece of sugary goodness attached. A sad look formed on his face, and no one seemed to notice. That made him scowl.
Bert became aware of it and let Gerard breathe for a second, “Hey, you guys, what about Bob?”
Everyone else broke away from their “significant others” to look at Bob. Bob sat back in his chair, waiting to be showered with chocolate. However, this did not happen. The only thing Bert’s comment resulted in was Frank slowly moving closer to Bob.
“Don’t you dare kiss me, Frank Iero!” Bob pushed him backwards, “I already wasted my first kiss on Mikey today!”
This was a horrible thing to say when Mikey’s girlfriend was at the table. She shot up from her seat, slapping Mikey before leaving. Mikey cried out in melodramatic agony that the love of his life had left him. Ray took this opportunity to take back his valentine card from Frank. He handed it over to Mikey.
This made Frank mad, “Hey! What about me?!”
Bert proposed a solution, “Ooh! I’ll be your valentine!” He wrapped his arms around Frank’s small body, crushing it between his arms.
Gerard was quite upset, “But Bert, what about us?!”
Bert snorted, “I never liked you anyway!”
Frank pushed Bert away, “Don’t you just say that to him! He’s the hottest guy alive!”
This started a whole shove fight between most members of the table.
“CHRISTIANA!” Mikey moaned in between.
Bob sank down in his chair, trying hard to ignore all the noises. His devious mind hatched a plan. Fallen from the pockets of his friends were the valentine cards. He gathered them all in a bunch and crawled away from the fighting table. He was not going to take part in the silly love gazillionogon. He was going to the nearest janitor’s closet to eat chocolate; after all, that was really what Valentines Day was about. Being with someone (or something) you truly love.
Happy Belated V-Day!