Frank sees Ray in the hallways at school, his nose swollen and the skin around it red. Frank makes a scared squeaking sound and ducks into a nearby restroom.
“Hey, pervert, the sign reads girls’ room,” a female voice barks.
Frank blushes when he turns around and sees a girl in the bathroom, standing in front of one of the mirrors and carefully applying mascara. The girl is almost smaller than him, and she has the same dark locks. She has big eyes that remind Frank of a puppy. Frank thinks she’s pretty damn cute.
“S-sorry, I-I was just,” Frank stutters.
“S-s-s- I-I-I-,” the girl mimics, pushing past Frank. Frank grabs the girl’s arm, and she whips around and kicks him in the crotch.
Frank collapses to the ground, tears blurring his vision.
“Ow!” he squeaks.
“That’s what you get, rapist!” the girl scoffs. She chews her bottom lip. “You are kind of cute though.”
“What?” Frank asks hoarsely. “I’m not a rapist!” He clutches his dick and pushes his face against the cold floor, whimpering in pain.
“Then why’d you grab me, sicko?” the girl demands.
“Oh my God, I was just going to tell you that eyeliner would really pull your eyes together!” Frank whines.
The girl blushes herself. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” she grabs under Frank’s armpits and helps him to his feet. She gives him a hug and then begins to root through her purse. She finally shows him a stick of eyeliner.
“Great,” Frank says breathlessly. He begins to limp out of the bathroom.
“I don’t really know how to use it,” the girl informs.
Frank stops and turns, grabbing the makeup from her hand. He looks her dead in the eye and instructs,
She does as she’s told, and Frank easily runs the eyeliner under her eye. He does it carefully so as not to jab her. The only reason he could do it himself is because his old friend Pete used to always wear the stuff. Frank finishes and breathes out, satisfied with his work.
The girl blinks and takes it back, slipping it back into her purse. “Thanks.” She’s quiet for a moment, and then she holds out her hands and smiles. “I’m Lindsey.”
Frank shakes it. “Frank.”
The girl twirls her hair between two fingers and then pulls the eyeliner back out. She turns Frank around and lifts up the tail of his shirt.
“What are you doing?!” Frank squeals. He struggles to pull his shirt down, he knows that his camouflage boxer briefs briefs are visible to her, and being a bullying victim, he half expects her to grab his underwear and try to yank it over his head.
But she merely writes down her number on his back, dotting the i in Lindsey with a heart and also making an arrangement of x’s and o’s.
“Call me,” Lindsey orders, and her fingertips brush against Frank’s ass as she pulls his shirt down. He reddens and wonders if it was an accident.
Frank lifts up the back of his shirt and twirls around, trying, but failing, to make out what her message says. Frank points at his back. “How the fuck am I supposed to read this?”
Lindsey pats him on the shoulder. “That’s the fun part.” She then kisses Frank on the cheek and waltzes out.
“I met a cool girl today,” Frank shares. He sticks his tongue out in concentration. No way is Gerard beating him in Mortal Combat again. “Her name’s Lindsey.”
Gerard’s eyes widen in disbelief. “But you’re Frank. You don’t meet people.”
“That’s what I thought,” Frank laughs. He finally kills Gerard’s character.
There was a long silence. The two watch the winning clip flash across the screen.
“Is she pretty?” Gerard whispers.
Frank looks over, and Gerard immediately looks down, pretending to pick at his fingernails. He doesn’t want Frank to know how jealous he is, or how much he’s praying that Frank doesn’t like her.
“Yeah she is, Gerard,” Frank replies. He turns his attention back to the screen.
Frank calls Lindsey that night. The line rings… and rings… and rings. She’s not there. Frank hangs up and tries Jamia instead. She picks up, and they go from having a light conversation about school to talking about bands and movies. It turns out they have a lot in common.
Frank paces around in his room nervously. “Jamia?”
“D-d-do you want to go out with me?” Frank sputters.
Frank can sense Jamia’s smile by her tone. “Yes! Yes! You know… there’s a gig tomorrow. A band called Bony Shoulder is playing, and they’re supposed to be really good.”
“Actually I’m going with Gerard,” Frank responds.
“Well I’ll join you guys!” Jamia suggests.
Frank nods, honestly not seeing the problem with that. “Okay, sounds great! See you tomorrow, bye.”
Frank hangs up and for the first time in a long time, is able to go straight to sleep.
“Hey midget!” Ray shouts. He hoists Frank over his shoulder and walks straight over to a locker. He swings Frank onto his feet and picks him up by his arms, trying to put him into it.
Frank’s facing the locker, so he’s able to plant his feet against the back to keep from going in.
“Help!” Frank squeals. He tries to bite Ray, but the effort is fruitless as his neck can’t bend the right way.
Bob joins in, folding Frank’s legs so he can go into it.
Frank struggles and hollers for all he’s worth. Dozens of kids are watching, but no one’s helping.
Frank is fully in the locker and they slam the door shut. Frank pounds from the inside, already feeling his claustrophobia set in. He starts to wonder if he’ll be able to breathe in there. What if no one opens the locker for hours? Tears start streaming down his cheeks.
“Gee! Lindsey! JAMIA!” Frank cries.
The door swings open, and Frank has never been so glad to see Gerard in his life. He hugs him and tightly clutches the back of his blazer as he sobs into Gee’s shoulder.
Gerard narrows his eyes at Ray and Bob, who are standing idly by. “He’s claustrophobic, you know.”
“That makes it even funnier,” Bob snickers.
“I can’t believe he fit in that thing,” Ray laughs.
Gerard has the most hateful look in his eye as he demands, “Get the fuck out of here.”
The two hold up their hands mockingly and swagger off.
“Shh, it’s okay,” Gerard whispers. He rubs Frank’s back in small circles. He finally pulls apart the hug, giving Frank a sad smile. “I’ll see you after school, okay? Come to my house and we’ll get ready for the gig.”
“Oh yeah by the way, I’m meeting Jamia there,” Frank sniffles.
Gerard squints. Jamia? “The girl from the party?”
Frank blushes a little. “Yeah. W-w-we’re kind of d-dating now.”
Gerard bites his lip and feels jealousy, and loss, tear up his stomach. “Good for you Frankie.”
They begin down the hall to their next class.
“Hey maybe I could set you up with Lindsey. She’s pretty cool,” Frank suggests.
Gerard’s face grows hot. “I don’t… um…. I don’t like girls.”
Frank reddens, feeling sorry for being so insensitive. Of course he should’ve considered the possibility Gerard was gay. “Oh well, that’s fine. I-I don’t really have any guy friends apart from you and Mikes.”
Gerard frowns. “You don’t have any other friends besides us four?”
Frank turns scarlet. “W-w-well I mean I j-just moved here.”
Gerard raises his eyebrows knowingly at Frank. “Frank, did you have any friends at your old school?”
Frank looks at the ground and kicks a stray pencil. “Not really, no. One time this-this guy called me and…and….and another guy… he said that we were fuck buddies, but I-I’m not sure if that counts.”
Gerard takes Frank’s hand and gives it a soft kiss. “You poor thing.”
Frank normally doesn’t like being pitied, but right then it was just what he needed.
After school, they drive to Frank’s house so that he can grab some of his own clothes to change into. If Frank didn’t know any better, he’d say that Gerard knew Frank stole his underwear and was just taking a step towards preventing it from happening again. Which was a pretty smart move in Frank’s book; because when it came to Gerard’s undies, he didn’t know if he could help himself.
They then go to Gerard’s, and they play Pokemon Snap! and listen to the Misfits. When it’s a half hour before the gig, they get in the car and leave. Gerard offers to take Mikey, but Mikey says he’s going to the movies with some guy he likes named Patrick, who apparently is really cute. Gerard told Mikey he’d be the judge of that.
Frank sees Jamia as soon as he gets there. Jamia wraps her arms around Frank’s shoulder and gives him an open mouthed kiss. Gerard stands there awkwardly, feeling a stab in his stomach. He shouldn’t have come…
“Hey! Jared, is it?” Jamia asks.
Gerard turns around and then realizes she’s talking to him. “It’s Gerard, actually.”
“Isn’t that what I said?” Jamia questions.
Gerard prays that she just can’t hear him properly over the music. Because if she can hear him, then Frank’s dating a dumbass.
“Yeah, sure,” Gerard mumbles.
Jamia talks mostly to Frank for the rest of the night, but Gerard thinks Frank feels bad for him because he keeps looking over with those melodramatic doe eyes of his.
Gerard tries to focus on the music, which is pretty shit and frankly disappointing, but he can’t with Frank and Jamia swapping spit the entire time. Part of him just wants to turn around and yank Frank out of Jamia’s arms and say,
But he’s Gerard. He doesn’t voice his emotions. Not his negative ones, anyways. He’s more than okay with telling people how he feels when he’s happy, but he’d never dare admit he’s sad or jealous.
After a nearly insufferable hour and a half, the concert ends and Frank parts ways with Jamia to spend the night at Gerard’s house.
“Bye Gerard!” Jamia wishes as she swings an arm around his neck and forces him into a hug.
“Bye,” Gerard mumbles into her shoulder. He trips on his own feet as he pulls away. “Fuck!”
Jamia giggles. “You’re so cute when you swear.”
Cute? Gerard’s about to get real fucking adorable then. He doesn’t say anything.
Jamia pinches some of the baby fat left over on his cheeks. “You know, you’re kind of adorable. I’m surprised you don’t have a girlfriend.”
Gerard blushes. “Oh I’m-I’m gay.”
It’s now Jamia’s turn to blush as she turns scarlet. “Oh! Well… boyfriend then.” She laughs, but Gerard doesn’t. He just kind of narrows his eyes at her.
Jamia looks nervous as she says, “Well, see you guys.”
When they get to Gerard’s house and they lay squished in his single person mattress with Batman bedding, Frank mentions,
“You know, you don’t seem to like Jamia much.”
Gerard’s glad Frank can’t see his face. He wants to say that he doesn’t like her cause she’s not the one for him. Because she’s not Gerard.
“Meh, she’s okay,” Gerard lies.
“Do you think she’s right for me?” Frank wonders.
“That’s for you to find out,” Gerard replies, and it feels like the first truthful thing he’s said all night. He rolls over and goes to sleep.