Frank’s eyes were large, his hair dark and wet and in his face, his gloved hand pressed to the glass on his window, and Gerard really couldn’t believe this was happening. He had heard that old cliché about how history always repeated itself but he seriously didn’t think that history would have an affinity for bad things happening when he was in his car. Currently, one of Gerard’s hands was on the gear shift, the other on the steering wheel, all of his knuckles white. He couldn’t see his face, but he was sure that the look was completely wide-eyed and stupid. It was odd how quickly his emotions could change. Less than five minutes ago he was suffocating on fear and pain, and now his insides felt cool and clean, as if they had been rinsed with fresh water. He felt a sudden pang of attraction occur in the core of his being. Frank looked, through his eyes, beautiful and innocent; his lips were slightly parted as he leaned into the window (he was so close that Gerard thought his lips might press against the glass), his hair was wet, the longest part down by his ears waving ever so slightly. In the grey and the gloom of the raining sky, his skin looked as smooth as porcelain, the hand against the glass small and childlike. Gerard pushed away the feeling of guilt and shook his head slightly, as if to arouse his brain from its Frank-induced fantasy.
Frank pulled upward on the door handle to find it locked. Gerard saw him let out a sharp sigh through his nose and look up at Gerard through the window. Frank wrapped his arms around his torso and shuddered- Gerard had forgotten how cold the rain was, even in the warm air. When he raised his eyes and looked directly at Gerard, his body cold, the tight sweatshirt he was wearing accentuating his short stature and lean physique, Gerard felt all of his body and soul cry out for Frank. He was so attracted to him at that moment that he forgot about the pain, the hurt. All he knew was that the epitome of sex was standing wet and cold outside his door and a specific organ in Gerard’s body wanted him in so badly that he would probably have a stroke if he didn’t obey.
Gerard leaned over the passenger’s seat and unlocked the door, allowing Frank to climb inside. He sat down on the cheap fabric and shook his hand in his hair, attempting to rid himself of the wetness. Gerard pulled his hands close to his body. This was not only to hide the wounds he didn’t want Frank to see, he realized, but because there was this strange, abstract shame in being too close to the boy next to him. Frank sighed, the sound jerking Gerard’s senses to life, and looked over at him. Neither of them spoke for a moment.
“…So…Hey…” Frank began. He averted his eyes, the awkward feeling mutual. He rubbed his gloved hand on the back of his head, the gesture so simple and so human that Gerard thought he might explode. Frank looked back up and him with his large, sleepy eyes. “Are you…What /happened?/” Frank seemed uncomfortable asking. Gerard liked it and didn’t know why.
“I don’t…It was something stupid. It doesn’t really matter.” He could tell Frank didn’t believe him. The issue wasn’t pressed any further for a few moments. The two of them sat in silence, a strange sort of tension building between them, as though they both wanted to speak while not wanting to speak at the same time. Frank bit down on his fingernail and starred out the window.
“Gerard, do you…hurt yourself?” He asked suddenly. The silence was shattered like glass. Gerard suddenly felt fragile. He shuffled inside his seat and looked out the window to his left. It was still raining. There was more silence, more discomfort lingering in the air. Gerard didn’t want to answer, but didn’t want to lie either. In fact, he thought the question was pointless. It was obvious he hurt himself. Frank saw the thick red scratches when his arm was forced out in front of him. He would have killed for a pair of gloves like Frank’s or a wristband at that moment.
Why Frank didn’t press the question, he didn’t understand. If it had been him in his place, the agony of curiosity would have gnawed at his insides until he was practically begging to be told. But he didn’t. He didn’t claim that he wouldn’t tell anyone or guilt him in with words and phrases like, ”Don’t you trust me?” like Finch had. Maybe it has something to do with gender. Girls talked their way into your head and boys…well, they did what they had to, whatever that may be. But Frank didn’t do anything. He just sat there and starred out the front window.
Gerard suddenly became hyperaware or everything around him. All his senses had somehow been…/enhanced/. He could feel his hand pulsing and throbbing, the dull pain somehow more acute than it had been only a little while ago. Colors seemed…not exactly more vibrant, but…he was more aware of them now. Color was something that, unless you were colorblind he supposed, you just /saw/. You saw it and accepted it and that’s just the way things were. But now it was as if he was seeing them for the first time. Every color seemed to be a new shade of its former self and he was transfixed by it. But it was the smell that consumed him the most. As soon as Frank sat down beside him he had noticed it, but now it was alive and wonderful and almost all he could think about. This was Frank’s scent, that masculine aroma of cigarettes and hair product and skin and some sort of soft undertone Gerard assumed was laundry detergent. It awakened every emotion inside his body, sending sensation up and down his spine, the hormones inside him jolting to life. He watched Frank breathe for a few minutes while neither of them spoke; his chest rose and fell beneath the dark, fitted sweatshirt, and the simple movements were so attractive to Gerard that something inside him threatened to burst free.
Gerard concentration shattered when Frank turned his head and looked at him. The tension increased about ten fold. Frank started to bite on his nail again and Gerard mentally noted that this was probably Frank’s form of stress release. Why he wanted to remember that, he wasn’t sure, but the feeling of knowing something about Frank made him feel closer to the boy, even if it was that he chewed on his nails when he was nervous. Frank glanced down at Gerard’s hand- or, rather, where Gerard’s hand should have been (it was hidden inside his jacket). He opened his mouth, then closed it again, and opened it a final time before he spoke.
“I’m…I’m sorry you have to do that,” he choked out. He coughed, cleared his throat, and continued. “I-I, um, think that maybe…you could, I dunno…get help for it so you don’t have to-.”
Gerard shifted uncomfortably in his seat and put his covered hands in his lap. He was suddenly aware that they were both around fifteen minutes late for class. He also realized that he didn’t care.
“I don’t need help,” Gerard snapped. He didn’t mean for it to come out so aggressive, but the words were sharp and angry regardless. “I’ve- I’ve been there. I’ve talked to those people. I’ve answered those same questions over and over again. Yes, I hurt myself of a daily basis. Yes, I know it’s not right. No, I won’t take those pills. Yes, I know I don’t have a f-fucking choice…” He bit down on his lip. This time he didn’t care if he hurt himself. He took a small amount of the flesh between his top and bottom teeth and bit and tore until he tasted the metallic liquid on his tongue. It was okay. It was okay because he wasn’t crying in front of Frankie. It was okay because Finch couldn’t see it. It was okay because…because, fuck, it was just okay.
“Hey-Hey, Gerard, I’m sorry,” Frank stammered out. The way he said the words so innocently, as if he was a child apologizing for some petty transgression, made Gerard only love him more. He didn’t want to love him more. He wanted to love him less. If he didn’t love him so much he wouldn’t be sitting in his car again, trying not to cry for the (what felt like) hundredth time that week, feeling weak and stupid and broken. Frank twisted around in his seat and sat on the side of his legs. Gerard held back a pathetic sob of a laugh as he realized how short Frank was. He was probably only a few inches over five feet.
“Gerard…I…dude, I didn’t mean…” Frank winced and clenched his teeth, looking down at his legs. “I mean that…Ah, Jesus…I mean I know what it’s like to want to like, wanna…hurt…/kill/ yourself because you hate yourself so much. I’ve…I’ve been there. And I’ve talked to people. I mean like, I didn’t like them all because some of them are shit but sometimes they help…kinda.” Gerard wasn’t sure exactly what Frank was trying to say. He knew it was trying to be helpful but somehow the message had gotten lost on the way out of Frank’s mouth.
The funny thing was that in the midst of all this, Gerard could not stop thinking about how attractive Frank was. He knew it was stupid and the emotion was driven by hormones but, you know what, he could really have cared less. The pain and angst was permeated with the pleasurable sensation of attraction. He couldn’t help but love how small and delicate Frank looked with his wet clothes and tiny stature and green eyes that shined even in the gloom of the rainy sky. It was corny and romantic and poetic all at once and fuck it if it wasn’t the most amazing thing he’d ever seen or felt.
Gerard wanted to kiss him. He wanted to pleasure of touch. His body cried out for it. It screamed and cried out for release of pain and if he wasn’t going to hurt himself for it the he was going to get it via the human being in front of him. He wanted to run his hands through that still moist hair, to feel those firm muscles beneath the sweatshirt, the heat, the scent, the touch, the sensation/; he wanted all of it and he wanted it /now. It permeated the seriousness of his thoughts and distracted him from the fact that the two of them were still sitting in the car, they probably weren’t going back to school, and that there were was an immense gaping hole where his stomach should have been. Metaphorically, of course.
“Can I see it?”
Gerard suddenly was jerked back to life. Frank was looking up at him again with giant, childish eyes. Gerard had been so absorbed in his thoughts that if Frank had been speaking, he hadn’t heard him. He shook his head slightly as if to reawaken his senses.
“Um- what?” He asked. Frank looked uncomfortable but repeated the question.
“When Emmie was pulling your sleeve up…she said you had a word there. Can I…see what it was? Or, like, can you tell me?” Gerard felt his heart begin to pound quickly and painfully inside him. He realized now how…/creepy/ it was. He had known Frank for only a few weeks now (three at the most) and his name was dug deep into the soft flesh of his inner arm. If Frank saw it, he would be likely to run, to get away from the freak that scarred himself for someone he barely knew.
“I don’t know, Frankie,” Gerard protested, his voice quiet and thin. He felt uncomfortable saying the name now; as if its repeated use might be a clue into what was on him arm. “I…” He clenched his eyes shut for a moment and shuddered. “…I don’t want you to see. No.” Frank furrowed his eyebrows slightly. It didn’t make him look angry or even deeply confused, just concerned.
“Oh,” he breathed. He scratched his nose with the back of his hand. “Is it…that bad?” Gerard swallowed.
“It’s not that it’s like…/bad/…I just don’t want you-/anyone/- to see.” Frank blinked quickly a few times then sat upright in his seat and muttered something that sounded like a resigned ’Okay.’ He ran a hand through his two-toned hair and breathed out heavily, puffing out his cheeks. Gerard took his eyes off of Frank and looked out through the windshield.
“I’m…sorry,” he said. There was the sound of Frank rubbing on his nose with the back of his gloved hand again, followed by a sniffing sound.
“Why?” Frank asked. Gerard shook around his hair.
“You’re like…here with me,” he tried to explain. “You could be in school. You stood outside and got all cold and wet. And you’re here and listening to me and…I don’t…whatever. It deserves an apology.”
“I don’t think it does.”
And that was it. If Frank (also known as God to Gerard) didn’t think spending time alone together in his car deserved an apology then it didn’t. Gerard felt the familiar light-headed feeling he got around Frank return. It was pleasant, hopeful. The important thing was, it didn’t hurt. He heard Frank shuffle in his seat and the familiar tension surfaced once again. This time it was so thick that it could have been cut with a knife. The silence between them was almost heavy enough to crush them flat. Regardless, neither of them said anything. They listened to the soft pitter-patter of rain on the roof of Gerard’s car. The sky had lightened. It was still grey and cloudy but now the grey was lighter, beams of sunlight permeating the dark. Gerard became aware of Frank’s smell again.
“So, um-,” Frank broke the silence suddenly, startling Gerard. “You still wanna like, hang out sometime?”
Gerard was honestly taken back. After the whole spiel consisting of bitter emotions floating around the cramped car and what he thought would be a forever fractured relationship, Frank still wanted to be near him. Gerard had the sudden urge to dance. He didn’t, which is good because he possessed the rhythm of the whitest man on earth and dancing was not a skill he was particularly gifted with. But he wanted to.
“Y-yeah,” he stammered out. Frank suddenly smiled softly, almost to himself and let out a small laugh. They both glanced at each other awkwardly.
“Like, um,” Gerard began. “Me and you or me and you and Finch or what?” Frank swallowed and shrugged, his smile falling slightly.
“I don’t, uh, care,” he replied. “She can come. I wouldn’t want your girlfriend to like hate me or something.”
Gerard made an involuntary movement somewhere between and twitch and a jump. Some deep part of his brain threatened to short circuit.
“G-/girlfriend?!/” he sputtered. Frank looked as if Gerard had started speaking Chinese. And if you saw Gerard Way speaking Chinese you’d look pretty surprised too. “No, no. Finch and I…no. We’ve /never/…Just no.” He shook his head almost violently and Frank was surprised Gerard didn’t accidentally decapitate himself with the way he was moving.
“Seriously?” Frank asked. He seemed honestly in disbelief. “I thought…you two are always together and then she told me to like, “Watch out” or something…”
“Wait, what’d she say?” Ah. Just like Finch to try and help, but fuck things up instead. Good ‘ole Finch. Frank shrugged. It was hard to say things about other people’s friends without either lying or pissing someone off in the process.
“It was…just like, I dunno. I guess she was trying to protect you,” he explained delicately. “She just said something like, ”Watch out for him, don’t hurt him” or something. I thought she was just being a protective girlfriend or something.” Gerard shook his head again.
“Nonono,” he protested. “That’s just her being…Finch…-ish.” Frank sighed out the word ”Oh” and relaxed into his seat. It took his gesture to make Gerard realize how tense his whole body was. He relaxed his muscles and took a deep breath. Gerard swallowed. “So, um, we can like…I don’t know…just hang…the two of us. Because I mean, Finch is my best friend but I haven’t had like, a guy friend in a really long time.” He bit down on his lip (nonviolently this time) and tried not to smile. “Makes me sound really pathetic or something.” Frank shook his head in disagreement and put his hands in the front pockets of his sweatshirt.
“I don’t think it does,” he said. “I think it sounds like…you haven’t had any other friends in while.” Frank suddenly stopped as if catching himself. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I mean.” Gerard nodded. He noticed that the sun had come out. Apparently, weather was in charge of all clichés.
There were a few more minutes of stuttering out jumbled words as the two boys exchanged phone numbers, tried to give directions to each other’s houses (Frank was still new, after all, and didn’t quite remember where he lived), and attempted to break the nervousness between them. As they spoke, they felt a little more relaxed, they breathed easier. Gerard no longer felt the discomfort of the weight that had been in his lungs. Frank suddenly reached into the back pocket of his skinny black jeans and pulled out his cell phone. He flipped it open and looked at the time, his eyes widening.
“Holy /shit!/” he exclaimed, sitting up straight. “Dude, we just missed all of first period. Oh, fuck, I hope I don’t get like, suspended for this or something.” Gerard chuckled almost sarcastically.
“This is a /New Jersey public school/,” he said. “Like fuck if you’ll get suspended.” Frank smiled. When he did, it was without parting his lips, the smile more in his eyes than his mouth. Gerard was being driven out of his mind.
“Are you going back in or are you just gonna like, go home or something?” Frank asked. Gerard thought about it for a moment, looking from Frankie to the building in front of them. He crinkled up his nose, the expression he made when he was thinking about something mildly displeasing.
“Nah,” he replied. “I think I’m just gonna get outta here.” He ran his hand through his hair. “I hate it there.” Frank didn’t say anything but Gerard could swear he could hear him thinking an agreement. Frank opened his door and went to step out.
“Y’know,” he said. “It was really…nice…talking to you. And if you like…ever need to…someone to talk to, you can talk to…me, I guess.” He looked somewhat embarrassed. “You don’t have to but you can if you want.” Gerard nodded and said he would. Frank smiled, they said their goodbyes, and he left. Gerard felt a pang of sadness as he watched the boy walk away.
But that familiar balloon of happiness inflated deep inside him, and he’d never been so happy in his life.
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