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Boarding Up Our Hearts

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"Gee!" The 10 year old Frank Iero yelled. He ran next door, where his best friend lived and was currently playing outside with his younger brother.

"Frankie!" Gerard, or 'Gee', called back as his best friend ran over to him. Mikey, Gerard's younger brother, walked into their house after mumbling something about food. "We're playing super heroes! Wanna -- what's wrong?" He changed what he was saying mid sentence when he saw Frank was close to tears. Frank wrapped his small arms around Gerard. He hugged his friend as a few tears sliding down his face and dripping onto the other boy's shoulder.

"Frankie talk to me! What's wrong?" Gerard questioned, enveloping his smaller friend in a hug.

"M-My p-parents are m-moving us across the state! I c-can't go to school with you guys anymore!" The shorter boy wailed.

"Don't worry Frankie," Gerard whispered. "We'll keep in touch, we'll see each other again, I promise."

 

~ Six Years Later ~

 

"Have you got the rest of your stuff?" Mrs. Way yelled up the stairs to her son Mikey.

"Yeah Mom!" Mikey called back, "Is Mrs. Wentz here yet?"

"Not yet! She will be soon! Hurry up!" She opened the door to the the basement, where the room of her oldest son was. "Gerard! Hurry up! Mrs. Wentz will be here soon!"

"All my stuff is in the living room, except my backpack!" Gerard yelled back, climbing up the stairs. There was a towel on his head, covering his hair, which he was rubbing dry. "Hey how does this look?" He pulled the towel away, showing his dyed, bright red hair.

"Sweet Jesus Gerard! Is that what you were doing this morning?" His mother demanded.

"Yeah, how'd you know?" He asked.

"I heard you bumping things around at five in the morning," she said.

"Oh yeah, I knocked an easel over," he told her. Right then, Mikey walked down to the living room where they were standing.

"Nice hair," he said, glancing up from his phone briefly.

"Mrs. Wentz and Pete are here!" Their mother yelled, and Gerard dashed down the stairs to grab his forgotten backpack.

 

Today was the day Gerard, Mikey, and Mikey's best friend who just so happened to be their neighbor, Pete, would be moving to a boarding school. Apparently, it was a 'great school' and 'an honor for them to attend'. They were only going because Mr. Way wanted 'the best for his sons', which was kind of ironic seeing that he was always away on business. Their mother usually was too, but she actually made time for her sons and cared about them. Pete was going only because they were. Even though he was Gerard's age, he was always closer to Mikey, but still got on with Gerard quite well.

Their classes didn't start for a week, but they had to be there by Wednesday. It was only Monday, so they figured: why not be early? Gerard had wanted to tell Frank, who he still talked to. They hadn't seen each other in six years, so they would always text, but Frank was at a summer camp that had crappy phone service. He had gotten home yesterday, but had to pack. He didn't tell Gerard what was he was packing for though.

 

Gerard grabbed his backpack, which had some notebooks and folders for school in it. His sketchbook and personal notebook were in there as well, along with some randomly selected pens and pencils.

 

He trudged back up the stairs and saw Pete and Mikey grabbing some of the bags. Gerard grabbed his duffel bag and a suitcase near him. He and Mikey each only had two bags, but the younger had his bass and amp. The three of them could carry everything between them and load Mrs. Wentz's mini van without any problems. She offered to give them all a ride because her car was the biggest. The brothers hugged their mother goodbye and got into what Mikey always referred to as the 'Wentz Mobile'. They were sitting in the back seats while Pete occupied the passenger seat. The school was an hour's drive away. They'd get there by about eleven or so.

 

"So we agreed that we're gonna go to our rooms, meet roommates if they're there, maybe unpack, and meet in the dining hall for lunch. Oh and we can invite the roomies, in case they want to join," Pete said, turning around in his seat to face them. They both just nodded in reply. "Nice hair by the way Gerard. It suits you. It's flamboyant," he told Gerard, in his usual scatter-brained manner, before winking.

"Gerard dyed his hair?" Mrs. Wentz asked, not having seen him properly yet.

"Bright red!" Pete said, flopping back into his seat so he was sitting the correct way.

"Ooh! I bet all the boys will love it!" She giggled. Gerard was gay, very gay, and it was no secret. Well, it wasn’t a secret to anyone except for his very homophobic father.

"Mrs. Wentz!" Gerard fake whined, causing her to giggle. She was like a second mother to the Way boys.

 

After a few minutes and many questions later, Gerard pulled his phone and earbuds out of his bag, blasting Iron Maiden. He continued working on the comic he had created, one about vampires and zombies, which wasn’t anything different for him.

 

They arrived at the school and walked into the main building, leaving their bags with Mrs. Wentz in the car. They got their schedules, their room assignments, and their room keys from the extremely rude and judgemental lady at the administration desk. They grabbed their bags again, going to say goodbye to Pete's mother before splitting up to go to their rooms. They were all in the same building, so the only split was to different floors. Mikey and Pete were both on the same floor, with Gerard's room being on the floor above theirs.

 

Gerard lugged his stuff up the stairs and was panting by the time he reached the third floor. He was in room 304C -- building C, third floor, room 4 -- which he, surprisingly, found rather quickly. He opened the door and saw a boy, who he could only assume was his roommate. The boy was taking things off the bed he had claimed, and putting them in the trunk at the foot of it. He had claimed the bed at the far side of the room. Gerard's roommate seemed...interesting. He had a curly afro that fell in front of his face while he was leaning over the trunk.

 

"Um...hi, I'm Gerard," Gerard said awkwardly waving at the other boy.

The other looked up, "Oh! Hey! I'm Ray, your roommate. That's obvious, sorry," he said shyly. "It's your first year, right?"

"Yup," Gerard said. "I'm a Junior but it's my first year here."

"Oh cool, I'm a Junior too," Ray said.

"Awesome," Gerard told him, smiling, "Hey, my brother wanted to meet up with me for lunch. He's a year younger than I am. Oh and uh this may seem kind of forward, but do you want to come?"

"Oh! Sure," Ray said, shrugging.

"Oh cool. He texted me to say that our friend and neighbor Pete will be there. Well, I already knew that, but apparently some guys named Bob and Frank will be there too," Gerard said, throwing the heavy burden that he had been carrying onto the free bed.

"Oh! Those guys are my friends! It's usually just the three of us, but now you guys too, that's great! Oh and Patrick, how'd I forget him? And Jamia too sometimes. I'm kind of forgetful!" Ray told him sheepishly. "Oh and just a warning, we aren't really ‘well liked’. If you're 'popular', I wouldn't hang out with us."

"No, we're like the opposite of that. And Pete's pretty scatter brained and bipo -- uh I'm just used to it," Gerard said, figuring he shouldn't give away the mental disorder his friend had just yet. "Besides, you seem really cool," he gestured to the Blink-182 tee-shirt Ray was wearing.

 

They walked down to the dining hall, talking about music and comic books the whole way. When they got to their destination, they noticed Mikey and Pete were sitting with two guys -- one had black hair and a pierced nose, lip, and ears. The other had blonde hair and a pierced lip.

"Hey Gee," Mikey said, "this is Frank and Bob, his friend." He pointed to black haired boy and blonde haired boy, respectively revealing their names as Frank and Bob.

"GERARD MOTHER FRICKING WAY!" Frank yelled, throwing himself into Gerard's arms and hugging him.

"Uh, do I know you?" Gerard asked, confused and slightly scared.

"You don't remember me?" Frank asked, removing himself from Gerard's arms and  mock pouting. "How about now?" He made his high pitched voice like a child's and said, "We'll be best friends forever, Gee!"

"FRANKIE?!?" Gerard yelled.

"Yup!" He said, ruffling Ray's fro and walking to his chair, sitting back down. "So Princess Fro Fro here is your roomie?" Gerard nodded.

"Remember, you have to wait until next Monday to change roommates," Bob added, referring to Ray and Gerard’s living arrangement.

"Hey!" Ray yelled indignantly, "I'm a good roommate! Unlike some people," he looked pointedly at a group of boys. The jocks.

"You seem cool so I believe it," Mikey said, "What's up Pete? You look like you’re going to start steaming from the ears."

"My roommate isn't here yet and what if he's a psychopath?" Pete whined. "Or worse, what if he's a jock?" He looked absolutely disgusted at this possibility.

Mikey sighed, "Peter, you play soccer, you could be considered a jock."

"Well, Michael, I'm actually a nice person unlike those douche canoes," Pete whined, shoving Mikey and laughing.

"What ever you say Peter," Gerard sassed.

"SHUT IT GERALD!" Pete screamed, causing nearly everyone to turn around and go silent. Bob broke the silence by laughing like an idiot at the whole scene.

"Anyway," the blonde said, as the jocks and popular kids all went back to their own petty conversations, "Patrick's not here yet, he's coming tomorrow. How funny would it be if he was your roommate? Patty's a good guy, you'll like him."

"I hope so..." Pete trailed off as a girl with short black hair approached them.

"Jamia! Hey babe!" Frank called to the girl. He stood up and kissed her cheek when she approached.

"Hi," she said, "I need to talk with you, come on." She grabbed his hand and lead him into the hallway.

"That's his girlfriend," Ray said even though it was painfully obvious.

 

Dammit, Gerard thought, Frank's straight. But he's so hot! It's not fair! Ugh I need to get over this crush.

It's been a year since it developed, even though you only ever talked to him over text -- but good luck, part of his brain said sarcastically.

"Oh dude guess what!" Bob yelled to Ray. "Frank's stuck rooming with Brian."

"Ooh that's rough," Ray said.

"Who's Brian?" Pete asked.

"Total neat freak. Any mess in the room and he flips out. It's really bad. Franks pretty messy too. Oh and Brian's not allowed to switch roommates because no one wants to share with him. He's a great guy, just has really bad OCD. Like the taps the light switch eight times before turning on a light type of OCD," Bob told them.

"Wow, that's unfortunate," Gerard said.

"Yup," Bob agreed, "they have the room next to yours, Ray, so enjoy the fighting." He pat Ray on the fro before getting his hand swatted away.

 

Frank didn't return the whole rest of the half hour they were sitting there eating and throwing crap at each other, as if they’d all been friends for years. Gerard walked back to his dorm, Ray having decided to hang out with Bob, and came across Frank outside his room with his head in his hands.

"You okay Frank?" Gerard asked, sitting next to him.

"No! Jamia cheated on me over summer break! She fucked some guy! That little bitch!" He screamed, slamming his fist into the wall behind him.

"Oh I'm sorry. She seemed kind of bitchy anyway," Gerard said.

Frank laughed and wiped his eyes, "Thanks Gee," he said, laying his head on Gerard's shoulder. "You're a great friend."

I wish I could be more, Gerard found himself thinking. He obviously didn't say that, he just smiled at Frank and hugged him.

 

But having him this way is better than not having him at all, Gerard thought, making him smile even more, as he lay his head on Frank's.