Gerard had hated this place since the he pulled up. Actually, he'd hated it since his mother told him he and his baby brother had to spend the day here because they offered a great music program.
What his mother didn't tell him was that the place was a piece of shit. It was called "Camp Ottawa" but he didn't see any cabins, or activity areas, or even benches. Just a squat brown building with a wooden statue of a Native American man smoking a cigar. The bus (which Gerard had the pleasure of not having to ride on and followed with his car) pulled into the parking lot and a heaping twelve kids got out, all toting instruments. Gerard knew he wasn't going to enjoy this. He was too old for this. He was in his fourth year of high school. Mikey was a sophomore, practically a baby compared to him. That must have been why he was so excited to come here. It looked like a friggin' daycare. It might have actually been one because he hadn't seen a kid over nine come off the bus besides Mikey. Gerard parked his car near the building.
As the bus doors closed, a short plump woman emerged from the building. Her hair was in curlers and her pink sweater had holes in it where cigarettes had previously been put out. She smiled a bored smile, and opened the door to let the children in. As Gerard approached the door however, she walked inside, closing the door. Asshole. He figured she was the teacher and if that was the case, today was going to suck. He huffed and walked inside.
The building was surprisingly bigger on the inside than the outside, and there were more kids in the single room building, clutching guitars or seated behind drum sets that looked too big for them. The room was painted blue and had posters of dolphins and the alphabet on its walls. This was totally a fucking daycare.
Small blue chairs were arranged in neat rows in the center of the room, and most of the children had taken a seat. Gerard sat next to Mikey in the back of the room, opening his guitar case and sliding it under his chair. The plump woman stood in the front of the room, trying to get the classes attention. Once she had it, she began speaking.
"Welcome to beginners guitar and drums. This class is from twelve to two. It should cover the basics of your instuments." She spoke like she'd said this line a hundred times over and had a smoker's voice. But Gerard was pissed! How the hell was he supposed to spend two whole hours in a daycare? He'd rather chew off his own arm.
The woman left the room which Gerard guessed was her going to grab her instruments. But Gerard saw a puff of smoke come in from the window, and realized she was having a smoke. But if she wasn't teaching the class, who was?
From the area where the woman was seated outside the door, Gerard could make out another figure through the stained windows. It appeared to be male and holding a guitar case. So he was the teacher.
It was another ten minutes or so before the man came inside. Gerard had started doodling on his hand with a pen he found and wasn't paying attention. He heard the smack of the guitar case on the floor and the man clearing his throat, so he shoved the pen in his hoodie pocket and picked up his guitar lazily.
He almost dropped his guitar when he saw his teacher. He was gorgeous. The best part was he looked to be about the same age as Gerard, if not younger. But his tattooed arms assured Gerard he was at least eighteen. He pushed a loose strand of black hair behind his ear smiling at the class and whistling to get their attention.
"Hey guys, I'm Mr. Iero. Or you could call me Frank if you'd like. I'll be your guitar teacher today, and Mr. Bryar will be around in about an hour to teach the drum part of the class." He smiled a perky smile and looked around at everyone's face, pausing on Gerard's and losing his smile for a millisecond before continuing.
He stretched his hands and started to play something Gerard recognized but couldn't place the name of, definitely something by The Misfits, and Gerard swore Frank had to be in the band to know that part so well. He played for a solid five minutes before stopping and smiling at the class.
"By the end of this class, you'll have the skills needed to play something as great as that."
He was a cocky bastard wasn't he, with his shit eating grin. But the kids loved him, so he must have been a pretty good teacher. Frank got up and wheeled over a mid-sized chalk board and began to write something that had to be in Greek because his handwriting was just that awful. But Gerard couldn't care less because he was able to get a better look at his tattoos (and maybe Frank's butt) this way.
Frank turned, clapping his hands together and started to explain what was happening on the board. Gerard was well aware of how much he sucked at guitar and at playing instruments in general. The only reason he was here was for Mikey, who had some crazy idea that he would be the next member of the Smashing Pumpkins or something when he grew up. Gerard's mom managed to find this place in an ad in the yellow pages, and here they were. Gerard was only here so he wasn't tempted to sneak over to Ray's and smoke for hours.
An hour and one or two inappropriate fantasies later, the class had ended. Frank was packing up his things and saying his goodbyes to the class as who Gerard could only assume was Mr. Bryar wheeled in a starter drum kit from somewhere Gerard couldn't see. Gerard was pissed that he had to stay here for another hour without someone to look at, so he decided to go outside for a smoke.
In the hour Gerard had been inside, it had started down pouring. Gerard swore under his breath and took cover under a nearby awning, under which someone Gerard didn't recognize in an oversized sweatshirt was talking loudly into a phone. He didn't mind their presence, as long as they didn't talk to him. He was not in the mood for human interaction what so ever, and needed to get home or find the nearest bathroom as soon as possible because he thought he was gonna puke.
Leaning against the brick exterior, he took a long drag from his cigarette, thinking about how he should probably quit smoking but knew he never would. Exhaling, he began to pay attention to the man's phone conversation. Something about his ride home bailing on him and needing to find another one? Gerard deemed the conversation too boring for his tastes, and continued to think of his guitar teacher. At this point the man next to him began swearing loudly into the phone before hanging up angrily and slamming his back against the building. With an exasperated sigh, the man took off his hood and reached for his carton of Camels. Gerard had to double take to realize that this was his guitar teacher. Gerard had to focus on the row of houses in front of the school to avoid staring and looking like a creep. His teacher grunted next to him and sighed before speaking.
"'Scuse me, would you mind if I bummed a cigarette?" He asked calmly.
Gerard took a second to register he was being spoken to. He nodded quickly and fumbled in his pocket for the pack and a lighter before handing it over. The man nodded his thanks and lit up before handing Gerard them back.
"So, what'd you think of the class?" The man asked. Gerard was surprised he remembered his face, with all the other kids in the class. Gerard thought things about the class that were ridiculously inappropriate to tell strangers, so he settled on "Good."
"Really?" The man replied. "Well, I've been told worse. Thanks." He took a short drag.
"So, how long have you been teaching here? The kids really seem to like you." Gerard's mouth was working against him on this one, he didn't have to courage to even look at him, much less speak.
The man smiled to himself. "A few months? I don't remember. But I love it here. The kids are all great. You know most of them don't have music programs in their schools? Their schools let them go here for free to make up for it. Some of the kids are really talented and I wish they were able to have a music class more than once a week for an hour. But what are you gonna do…" he took a longer drag this time. Gerard nodded politely and inhaled.
"So what about you? You look a little old to be coming here from school." The man asked.
"I'm here with my kid brother. My mom signed us up."
"Well you didn't look very enthusiastic in class today." The man chuckled.
Gerard had to think fast. "Uhm, yeah sorry about that. I'm a little out of it today."
"That's fine, so am I." The man said.
"Yeah?" Gerard asked. "Everything alright?"
The man sighed. Gerard guessed not. "I guess so…just angry."
"Parents,school, the universe, the usual."
"You're still in school?"
"Yeah. Senior year. You?"
"Same. You live in Belleville?"
"No, just I've never seen you around before." Gerard would have remembered having a cute punk kid in his grade.
"Oh, that's because I go to St. Marys." Jesus fucking Christ, this kid was hot, had tattoos, played guitar and went to a uniform wearing Catholic school? It took all of Gerard's energy to not get a boner in front of him.
"A kid like you going to St. Mary's?"
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"Just that you're in school and you have a bunch of tattoos, Catholic school must love you."
The man laughed. "Yeah, they're not exactly in my fan club over there."
Gerard chuckled. "Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Gerard"
"Frank." He said, extending his hand. Gerard took it politely, inwardly panicking.
Frank then launched into some conversation about bands he liked, which turned out to be a lot of the same ones that Gerard liked. About an hour later the kids began pouring out of the building into the bus. Mikey stopped next to Gerard.
"Gerard, are you coming?"
Gerard looked at Frank, who was definitely friend material, and asked if he needed a ride home. Turns out he did, and Gerard told Mikey he'd be home later. Mikey shrugged and joined the others on the bus.
"Thanks for the ride man. I appreciate it." Frank said as they began to walk to Gerard car.
Gerard smiled. "Anytime. So how did you learn that Misfits song so well anyways?"
"I just kept practicing. To be honest I only played that in class today because it's the only song I know how to play really well." Frank giggled as Gerard and him got into the car.
"Well you sounded like a pro, man. I'd love to hear you play more." Gerard said. He was usually a complete failure when it came to talking to guys. He knew he was blushing, but it wasn't that noticeable if he was able to speak properly, right?
They began driving, radio blaring Bowie when Gerard realized he had no idea where Frank lived. It turned out he lived just down the road from Gerard, in a small white house in a cul-de-sac. Gerard pulled up to his house, getting out of the car to help Frank with his guitar case. Frank thanked him.
"So.." Frank said timidly as they walked to the door. "Are you busy tonight…maybe?"
Gerard was blushing. "No, don't think so. Why?"
Frank looked at the ground. "Well, I was going to have a movie night with my friends but uh-they cancelled on me..maybe you could come over?"
Gerard was just about ready to leap out of his skin. He was so stoked. He nodded, which made Frank look like he was ready to leap from his skin too.
"Great! So is uhm, sevenish alright?"
"Sevenish would be great."
"Great! Okay..so see you later?"
"Definitely." Gerard smiled.
Frank smiled so hard Gerard thought his cheeks would burst. Gerard smiled wider at the sight of it.
"Later then." Frank said with a smile, and with that he walked inside.
"Wait!" Gerard said. Frank quickly turned around.
Gerard grabbed Frank's hand to pull him closer, and without warning kissed him on the cheek, barely missing his mouth. His lips were dry from the winter weather, but his face was warm. Gerard tried to analyze Frank's face to see if he'd just fucked this up or not, but he couldn't see Frank's face because it was too busy returning the kiss. Frank grabbed the back of Gerard's neck, Gerard holding Frank's waist. Frank slowly pulled away, red and grinning ear to ear. After an awkward silence, Frank slid his hands back in his pockets.
"So…we still on for sevenish?"
Gerard just smiled and nodded, walking back to his car slightly dizzy and with the worst case of butterflies in his stomach he'd ever had.