another one-shot Frerard...
Everyone at college loved him. He could cheer them all up with a stupid joke; brighten their day for the briefest moment. He often wondered what they would think if they knew the truth; would they shun him, avoid him, send him pitying glances? And what about him? The one Frankie tried so hard for. Whenever he was around all the cracks had to be smoothed out, all the flaws and imperfections that crept through his illusion had to erased. Frankie always reserved his best mask for Gerard.
Gerard was different from the others. He had a presence about him that could easily be mistaken for arrogance, always seemed slightly distanced from the others. But at least he wasn’t afraid to be himself. Everyone had enormous respect for him; he had been through so much and come out the other side. Unlike Frankie he wasn’t ashamed to admit his life wasn’t perfect, wasn’t embarrassed to show he was hurting. Sometimes, when Frankie accidentally caught his eye, he felt that Gerard could see right through him, see beneath the smokes and mirrors to the liar inside, but he told himself not to be so stupid. Gerard may have been admirable, but he was not psychic. He was someone people looked up to, someone who could always say the right thing. Frankie often wished he could be a little more like Gerard.
Frankie had always known in the back of his mind that one day he would break. There was so much he was holding in, so much he was hiding from the world, and sooner or later he knew it would all come gushing out. He had hoped it would happen at home, alone in the privacy of his bedroom. Or maybe in his dorm, when all the others were out. But such things were beyond his control, and in the end he was at college when it happened.
It had been something tiny, just a poem a girl had written and was reading out, but it struck a chord deep within him and suddenly he was hit with a tide of long suppressed memories. His mother walking out for the final time, her eyes accusing him of being unfaithful. His father, staying in bed, drinking, sleeping, trying to forget her. No, not now, he couldn’t take it. The girl he once loved, her body dangling from a rope in his bedroom. If he had missed that stupid rehearsal he would have been there in time to save her. The bell rang, releasing him from the class. With a bright smile behind him he hurried to the toilets, locking the door after him before he fell to the floor. His best friend slowly fading away until he was nothing but skin and bones. They came and took him, locked him up until he got better, but it was too late. He was already gone. By now the tears were flowing freely, but Frankie didn’t try to stop them. He let them fall, finally allowing himself to feel all the pain he’d been hiding from. The packets of pills, lined up on his desk, more than enough to end this nightmare. But he couldn’t do it; he was too afraid, too selfish to take that final step. His own weakness bit into him, destroying every ounce of self-worth he’d fought so hard to maintain over the years.
Faintly Frankie could hear someone calling his name, he thought he recognised the voice, but the images were flooding in again, and once more he lost himself in the past. That beautiful child, her hair so long and golden, her face bright as she lay on the hospital bed. She looked so peaceful, as if she were sleeping, a passer by would never guess that hours earlier her fragile heart had stopped beating as the car ran her down. If only… but it was no good now. Nobody blamed him, but he could never let it go. Sobs wracked through him, years of bottled up emotion, he couldn’t stop, didn’t want to; finally he was tearing the plastic away.
Scars etched into his skin, words branding him as the liar he truly was. The blade digging deeper and deeper, but never enough to shatter this illusion. He shut his eyes trying to forget, but it couldn’t. Each memory was a part of him, each moment of sorrow building up like a damn, until it was finally let lose and came rushing out to drown him.
The lock on the door was turning, Frankie froze, cursing his stupidity for forgetting it was possible to open it from the outside. No one could see him like this, no one. His eyes were red and puffy, his eyeliner smudged down his cheeks, but as the door swung inwards he fixed a bright smile on his face and stifled his sobs. Though his vision was blurry the figure coming in was unmistakable; dark hair, black shirt, pale skin… Gerard.
“Hi,” Frankie murmured as cheerfully as he could mange, letting the plastic slip back on. Why did it have to be Gerard? Why did it have to be him who saw Frankie at his worst? Gerard didn’t say a word. He turned around and locked the door behind him, then sat on the floor next to Frankie, putting his arm around the smaller man’s shoulder.
“You don’t have to pretend for my sake,” he whispered at last. “I just thought you might want someone there when you let it out.”
That was Gerard, always knew exactly what to say, exactly what to do to make you feel more comfortable with yourself. So Frankie cried. He cried for his parents who couldn’t make it work, his friends who he couldn’t save, that child whose life he had destroyed, all those others he had hurt in so many ways. And finally he cried for himself; his weakness, his selfishness, his uselessness, his whole pathetic self. And all the while Gerard held him tight, his strong grip reminding Frankie he was not alone; that another could understand him, could be there for him, if only he’d allow it.
Eventually his tears subsided and he just sat there, breathing heavily, safe in Gerard’s embrace.
“You want to talk about it?” the older man asked. Frank shook his head. Gerard nodded as if he understood, then leant over and brushed a tear gently off Frankie’s cheek, smiling sadly. “When you’re ready then,” he whispered. And maybe one day Frankie would be ready; ready to talk, ready to let go of the past. Maybe he’d be ready to forget, ready to move on. To live again, to love, and be loved again. Maybe one day he would be ready to stop hiding, to drop his plastic mask. And he knew that if that day ever came Gerard would be there, waiting for him, and maybe they could have something beautiful together.
Really not sure about this one... I need advice!
How can I improve it?