“Well, well, Frank Iero. Twenty-one letters ending in T” She breathed. Frank cocked his eyebrow. “Who,” She began, as she took the beer offered by the redhead, “would have guessed it?"
“You should get one of the college guys to do that, what else are they getting paid for?” Came a voice from the doorway of the storeroom. Escher jumped and spun around to face a smirking Frank.
He dangled a lit cigarette from the slender fingers of his right hand and glanced at the ground.
“Well hello stranger” Escher greeted him, wiping her hands on her jeans.
She hadn’t seen him in a couple of weeks, the guys had been busy in the studio and she had been busy with her work, apart from seeing each other in the hallway they had had little to do with each other. And that had suited her fine. On one hand if she wasn’t being called in at 3am, that meant nobody was getting into trouble, and on the other, she was more than happy to be ignored by Frank after their unpleasant encounter at Starbucks after he’d seen her with Gerard.
“Hey” He replied, before inhaling against his cigarette.
She tucked away a strand of hair that had fallen loose from her messy bun, trying not to notice how sensual his pursed lips were around the cigarette. Feeling the heat rising, she ducked her head.
He shrugged noncommittally and exhaled. Escher thought she would die as he pursed his lips, letting out the blue plumes.
“Nothin’, I was bored, there’s nothing going on tonight so I figured I’d come out for a beer”
“And you chose /The Canary/?”
He shrugged again,
“I didn’t think that I was your favourite person at the moment” She replied, readying herself to lift another keg.
“Look E…er, Escher, I don’t care who you fuck”
“I’m not fucking Gee”
“Whatever” He replied, “What should I do with this?” He asked, brandishing the cigarette butt.
Escher nodded to the large can that was acting as the ashtray that week.
“So you decided to come out here why? To have another go at me? Get all high and mighty?”
He sighed heavily.
“I came out to try and talk, I’m sorry that I brought up Gee”
Escher just nodded in receipt of his apology and indicated a couple of chairs and a table that the staff used for their breaks.
“Want to sit down? My back’s killing me”
Escher had gotten herself a beer by this point and took a sip as Frank started to talk.
“Do you go back to Jersey much”
“Hell no” She replied, a little too quickly.
“Why not?” He asked perplexedly, Escher laughed.
“Why the hell would I? I left Jersey behind a long time ago, I have no desire to go back”
He nodded, although he didn’t really understand.
“Do you still see anyone from highschool?”
She sighed heavily as she sat down.
“Yeah a few, Mischa Grey – she’s married with kids now, they live upstate, but she drops in every now and then. I saw Luke Jane not long ago…and Brad of course” She looked up from under her eyelashes as she said that most hated of names for Frank. As could be expected his face contorted like she hadn’t seen in years.
“You still see that asshole?”
“He’s not an asshole anymore Frank, he’s a nice guy. He works on Wall Street of all places, who would have guessed…”
“I don’t care what he does” Frank interrupted her.
“We talked about you last time we went out to dinner”
“Oh yeah, remembering the good times huh? Shoving Faggie in the locker? Throwing shit at him”
“Frank,” Escher sighed, “Why did you put those scenes in the video for ‘I’m not okay’?” It was something she had wanted to know ever since she had first watched the video and recognised herself in it.
Frank leaned back in his seat and scratched his head, sighing before he replied.
“I guess because I know what it’s like to be made to feel that shitty every day, I wanted to let other kids that happens to know that they’re not alone”
- Flasback -
Escher walked quickly through the yard but stopped when she felt an arm land around her shoulders. She turned to see Brad grinning down at her and she smiled back.
“Hey,” He replied, stooping down to peck her lips, she frowned but didn’t say anything.
Luke and Marianne called out to them from the table the four shared when they were all getting along.
Escher chewed thoughtfully on the crust of the sandwich she’d made that morning, ignoring the chatter at the table. She didn’t know why she bothered with Brad half the time, he could be such an asshole, but then there were other times when he wasn’t. And anyway, it was highschool, and she wasn’t going to be one of those losers without a date for the parties. He still pissed her off though, she knew he went home from the party the weekend before with Jenny Burke, then he started kissing up to her on the Monday.
It wasn’t like they were exclusive, they didn’t even really move in the same circles. Sure Escher sat with him and the other jocks a bit, but she mostly floated through the various cliques, associate to everybody, friend to none.
She frowned and stared down at the chipped purple varnish on her fingernails. She didn’t like that he would arbitrarily fuck someone else and then come crawling back to her. She looked up and caught sight of Frank and his friend Cortez. She smiled a little when her eyes settled on him. Frank Iero, there was another mystery for her. She had been madly in love with him until high school, there was still something there, she felt silly and giggly any time they spoke. But he had been dating Jamia for months by that point, not that Escher ever met her - she didn’t go to Queen of Peace – but Frank would never shut up about her.
As though sensing her gaze he looked over in her direction and smiled that goofy grin (that she wished at times he held only for her) over his coffee mug. She smiled back but turned when Marianne nudged her under the table, grinning evilly.
“Watch” Marianne commanded.
Escher saw Brad wad something up in his hand, realizing it was a banana peel from Luke’s lunch. And then it was airborne. Escher closed her eyes as it sailed towards Frank, hitting him as he was about to take a sip of his coffee. Brad and Marianne started laughing hysterically and Brad wrapped his arm around Escher’s shoulders, drawing her closer to him. She opened her eyes and found them on his beautiful hazel ones. She never realized, until that moment, how difficult it was to convey ‘I’m Sorry’ through a simple look.
“I think you guys are doing a good job of that”
Frank laughed a little, still staring at the ground.
“I’m serious Frank, it’s a good message you guys are getting out there. I mean, come on, you’re the band that saves people lives. I wish that I’d had that type of band when I was a messed up
Frank’s eyebrow shot up and he looked up at her.
“You? A messed up teenager?”
“What do you mean by that?” She snapped.
“Oh come on Esch, you were the town Princess. Straight A’s, jock boyfriend, wealthy family, big house, your parents bought you a car for your 16th birthday, your parents were together and happy”
He saw her eyes harden as he spoke, and wondered vaguely what nerve he’d hit.
“Frank, just because we were acquaintances during high school, doesn’t mean that you know me or my life”
“Now you’re sounding like a messed up teenager” He said with a smirk.
Escher rolled her eyes and took another swig of her beer.
“Seriously Frank, you need to get over high school. Yeah some shitty things happened, there were bitches and assholes and whores and pop quizzes but fuck, we’re Twenty-fucking-four years-old. It’s in the past man”
Franks eyes flashed momentarily.
“That’s easy for you to say. You just disappeared. And even before then you had decided that I was beneath you, not good enough for you to talk to or be seen with”
Escher’s eyes widened as she noticed, for the first time, the pain in his. It was true, she had run away, and she had ignored him in the weeks before that, but it wasn’t for the reasons he thought. She couldn’t bear to think that her actions - the actions of a petty and confused teenager – had caused him pain.
“Frank I never thought you were beneath me, I can't bear it that you felt that way”
He shrugged and pulled his hand out from under hers where it had been resting.
“It’s just hard to let so many years of bullshit go”
“I know,” Escher replied softly.
AN: And the plot thickens, as you can see, more of Escher and Frank's past is beginning to be explored. As well as er present with Gerard...what's the connection??? Please review and let me know what you think of 21 Letters so far.