Death-Wish Kids


Monday came too soon for anyone's liking, but surprisingly the hours didn't drag on. At lunch, Frank told me that he had to stay after school for detention since he was late too many times, and Mikey frowned, knowing he would have to wait around for the hour so that Frank could have a way of getting home.

At the end of the day, after Biology, Mikey headed outside with me to wait for the parking lot to clear out. We sat on our usual ledge, the only difference being that it was quiet without Frank on my other side.

Mikey watched the cars file out of the U-shaped parking lot. "Gerard's been acting a little different," he said, focusing his gaze on me, "Do you have any idea why?"

I shrugged my shoulders. "Why would I?" I questioned, watching as a student climbed into a car that had been waiting for him, another student behind the wheel.

Mikey frowned, dropping his gaze to the cement under his feet. "I thought something might've happened when you two hung out," he said, hitting the nail on the head, "When he got back home from Ray's later, he went straight to his room."

"He just walked us home," I clarified, "Maybe something happened with Lindsey?" I asked, automatically feeling guilty about keeping what had really happened from him. The truth was, I didn't know how he would take it when he found out that Gerard had kissed me. Mikey was soft-spoken, but I could see there was a little of his brother in him. The other reason was that I hadn't made my mind up about the older Way. Mikey would question me and I didn't have answers for him, so I wanted to keep as far from that conversation as was possible for the longest amount of time.

Mikey shrugged, looking at me from the corner of his glasses when he turned his head just slightly. I slowly moved my eyes to the main entrance of the building. "I don't know," Mikey said, "He wasn't in a bad mood, it was just different. He's usually quiet when he gets home from Lindsey's, like he doesn't want to say anything in fear that we'll bring her up or something."

I could hear the concern in Mikey's voice. Gerard hadn't been hurt or showed any obvious signs of change, but the younger brother picked up on even the slightest shift in him. I was astounded. "How do you know something happened?" I asked, realizing that I would never have the same bond with my sister that Mikey and Gerard did, "Maybe nothing happened and you're just reading too much into it. A good mood isn't usually a bad thing, Mikes."

He smiled, surprising me. "That's the first time you've called me that," he said, referring to the nickname, "That's what Gerard calls me constantly."

"I'm sorry, I'll try not to," I said immediately.

"No, no, it's fine," he replied while still smiling, "I was just pointing out that Frank and I must be growing on you."

I bumped his shoulder with mine and turned my face away from his view when I smiled. They had grown on me and I'd grew comfortable with them. They were both a year younger, but they were far better friends than anyone I'd been 'close' with in Florida.

"I guess..." I trailed off, holding out the vowel.

Mikey continued smiling, even when he got up. "I should get inside. The parking lot is clear enough for you to go get Micah, so I'll see you tomorrow." He waited for my nod and reply before heading back inside the doors to locate Frank, who undoubtedly sat in the small room within the back office of the school.

I got up and grabbed my bag. Slinging it over my shoulder, I weaved between a few cars and made my way down the left side of the parking lot to where mine had sat all day.

I didn't look up until a car beeped at me. I expected it to be someone trying to get through, but when I looked out to apologize for being in the way, Gerard was already pulling into an empty spot in front of me.

He rolled down his window and offered me a smile. I glanced back at the building before lifting my bag higher onto my shoulder and walking over.

"You know Mikey and Frank have to stay after," I said as I walked up and stood just a foot from his car, "Frank was late again today, so Linda had no choice but to give him a detention." I crossed my arms and stared at him as he unbuckled his seatbelt. "What are you doing?" I asked.

I stepped back as the driver's door opened and Gerard stepped out. He wasn't much taller than me but he was thin and lanky and leaned back against his car after he shut the door.

"I know," he replied, "Mikey called an hour ago."

"Then what are you doing here?" I questioned, keeping my posture the same.

Gerard put the bottom of one of his feet against the car, bending his knee. He leaned back and shrugged his shoulders. The look in his eyes, however; answered my question and Gerard knew it too.

"I can't go anywhere with you today," I said, glancing over his car to my own just a couple spots down, "I have to pick up Micah from daycare soon and then we have somewhere to be."

"Skip it and come hangout with me," he replied easily, "What is it, anyways? It can't be that important."

"You're so arrogant," I stated, "and I can't. It's for Micah." I turned to the right to walk around him and his car to my own, but he slid over and stopped me from doing so by standing right in front of me, practically chest to chest. I looked up at him and glared.

He grinned. "What is it?" he asked, "Maybe it'll be fun."

"It's a class for babies," I stated, taking a definite step back for him, "It's like a Mommy & Me program but it doesn't just have to be the mom." I recrossed my arms and gave him a look. "Sounds fun, doesn't it? Now if you would move I ha-"

"I'm in," he said, stopping me in my tracks as I walked past him.

Turning around on one foot, I stared at him like he'd lost his mind. "What?" I asked.

He turned around to face me and shrugged. "I said I'm in," he replied, "I like kids. Micah seems cute. Why not?"

"Because you're not his father?" I replied, flabbergasted that a twenty year old guy like Gerard would have any interest in attending my son's development classes.

"What does that matter?" he asked, shoving his hands into the pocket of his dark green jacket, "Micah and I can be pals. I don't see what the big deal is." He leaned forward against the side of his hood, staring at me as he waited for my reply.

I got a better grip on my bag and stared at him for another moment. "I guess," I said finally, peering at him through squinted eyes, "But it's probably not going to be any fun and you can't say anything or talk to anyone. And I swear to God, If my dad finds out about this, he'll kill us both."

He grinned. "Yeah, I'll just pretend I'm mute," he replied somewhat sarcastically, brushing off the warning about my dad, "I'll ride with you. Just drop me off back here later instead of at the house." He went and started his car again so he could roll up the driver's side window before he was at my side, walking with me to my car.

I got into the driver's side and he into the passenger's seat. I felt strange having Gerard in my car. He seemed so out of place among the cloth seats, crappy radio music, and Micah's car-seat. He wore black jeans and a bomber jacket that was the military's version of forest green.

"You're not wearing any swear words, are you?" I questioned, trying to get a better look at his shirt as I pulled out of the now-dead parking lot.

He rolled his eyes. "It's the Smith's," he said, "and they can't even read yet, anyways."

I didn't remind me that while the babies couldn't, the parents could. I drove us to Micah's daycare and Gerard silently watched out the window, seeming to take an interest as we pulled up in the parking lot. When I shut the car off, he undid his seat belt.

"What are you doing?" I asked, peering at him over the center console. I held my seatbelt in my hand, frozen as I watched him reach for the door handle.

"Getting out," he said, and then he did.

I quickly got out too and closed the door. "Gerard, I'll be right back," I told him, but he was already walking around to my side of the car so we could walk into the daycare together. I sighed and walked beside him to the main door. "Just don't say anything."

He pressed his lips together, but raised his eyebrows at me, managing a smirk even then.

I sighed and looked away from him, knowing that I was probably going to regret letting him come along.
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