Death-Wish Kids


I didn't know how Mikey and Frank knew I'd spent the day hanging out with Gerard, but they were waiting at my desk when I showed up to my first class of the day. This was the first time I'd ever seen them early to class and when I rounded the corner through the doorway into the room, I immediately slowed at the sight of Frank sitting in my seat with his feet on my desk and Mikey's expectant gaze from the chair next to him.

I pulled my bag up higher on my shoulder and continued towards them, offering our teacher a tight-lipped smile across the room. "What are you two doing?" I asked suspiciously, dropping my bag next to my chair and shoving Frank so that he'd move. "Shouldn't you be in first hour? There's like seven minutes left."

Mikey shrugged his shoulders and sat back as Frank scrambled to sit on his desk and blurted out his words. "We heard you hung out with Gerard without us, again," he added, referring back to the day he walked us home from the park.

"Gerard wouldn't say what you did," Mikey continued softly, sparing a cautious glance at our teacher, who sat at his desk going over something that seemed to bore him beyond belief. When he saw that Mr. Oliver wasn't interested in what we were doing, he added, "I don't see what the big secret is."

Frank was grinning and Mikey elbowed him hard in the side, causing him to glare at the tall, lanky boy next to him. "Mikes, relax," he muttered, shoving his friend back, "You know Gerard likes to keep his secrets."

"Why does Cyren get to be his secret?" he asked rhetorically, obviously frustrated by not knowing why the two of us were hanging out alone.

"I'm not his secret, Mikey," I replied, folding my arms over my chest, "I ran into your brother and he tagged along while I ran and did some Micah stuff. It's not a big deal." I tried to meet his eyes, but when I did I was surprised that I could easily see his brother in them. I looked away and focused on him instead of his eyes.

"Gerard is a bad influence," Mikey said, his voice softening half way through his statement, "I'm not trying to discourage you from him but I know you've been through a lot and I don't want you to get caught up and go through anything like that again."

Frank added, "Gee's a good guy. He just has a lot going on," in defense of his best friend.

I gently touched his arm. "Thanks, guys," I muttered, not meeting their gazes as I pulled my binder out of my bag, "It's sweet of you to be worried about me, but there's nothing that you have to worry about. Gerard and I are just friends."

"That's because you're in love with me," Frank answered, attempting to wrap his arm around my shoudlers, "I mean, how could Gee possibly live up to all of this?" He motioned towards himself.

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, that's it," I said. We changed the subject and Frank sat in the desk in front of mine. I explained to them the deal my dad had made and how I was being forced to go down and visit our mom.

"That sucks," Frank grumbled, "You shouldn't have to take Micah down there. If your dad pulled you out of there, it's obviously a bad situation for a baby to be in."

"Yeah, but he keeps saying that she's my mom and that I have to see her. Ryder is basically boycotting everything in hopes that he'll cave and let her stay home. She's not even at school today."

"How does your brother feel?" Mikey questioned, focusing on the softer side of the situation, "How old was he when your parents split?"

"Three," I replied, "and he's pretty quiet about everything. He doesn't really like going but he'll do anything to make my dad happy - including spending time with our mom." I shrugged my shoulders. "We leave on Friday."

"How long are you going to be gone?' Frank questioned, raising his eyebrows hopefully, "You're going to be back in time for school, right? Your dad doesn't seem like the type of parent who would let you miss out, even if it was to see your mom."

I nodded. "Yup, coming back on Sunday night. I just can't believe he's making me take Micah with. I'll probably spend the entire weekend sitting at my mom's house."

"You could visit your old friends."

I shook my head. "I don't think so. There's no one really down there for me to visit." I leaned forward and rested my elbows on the desk as I thought back to the people who I spent my time with in Florida. Before Micah and before all of it started, I was a person who was out every night trying to find some way to waste my time.

"You had to have at least one decent friend," Mikey replied, "They couldn't all be assholes. You spent seventeen years down there."

I shrugged. "It was basically just me and a group," I murmured. I changed the subject to stay away from the direction that the conversation was heading. Mitchell was not a topic that I wanted to discuss in school and with Mitchell came Micah and there was no way I wanted Mr. Thad Oliver to overhear anything personal about my son. Or that I even had one.

Mikey and Frank didn't know the specifics about my mother and they didn't ask, even though I could see that Frank really wanted to know. Mikey stayed in his seat but Frank began slowly making his way back to his desk by cutting through the rows until he got to the farthest one by the time the bell rang.

There was about five minutes left of second period when Frank caught Mikey's attention and the youngest Way brother reached out and pushed my arm. When I looked over to him, he pointed towards the classroom door.

I was surprised to see Gerard standing outside. Through the window I could see him leaning against the wall with his phone in his hand like he was checking the time. I turned and looked at Mikey with wide eyes. "What is he doing here?" I asked, hoping that he was here for his brother and not me.

But Mikey shrugged his shoulders.

When the bell rang, I gathered my things slowly and allowed Frank to catch up before the three of us headed out of the class room behind the crowd of people. Gerard stood to the left of the door with his hands shoved in his pockets. When he saw us, he stood up straighter and looked at me sheepishly.

"Gee, what are you doing here?" Frank questioned, grinning as he playfully ran into his best friend, "I thought you never wanted to set foot back inside again?" Frank stood to the side of his friend and turned to face Mikey and I.

The look on Mikey's face made it known that he knew why Gerard was here and that he wasn't particularly pleased. "Aren't you afraid they're going to throw you out?" he asked his older brother, "None of the adults particularly liked you much."

Gerard grinned and shrugged his shoulders. "You're forgetting about Mrs. Allurian," he defended, referring to the art teacher who was just the slightest bit insane.

"She doesn't count," Mikey argued.

"I'll meet you two in the cafeteria," I said, speaking up for the first time before I turned to walk away from the three of them.

"Cy, wait -" Gerard reached out and grabbed my arm. It wasn't harsh and he didn't hold tightly, but I shrugged out of his grasp and pushed his hand away.

"Don't, Gerard," I demanded, stepping back a bit father into the hallway, "I told you that I don't want to do this. I've got other things to deal with right now."

Gerard glanced at the two younger boys who stood on either side of him before he stepped past them and licked his lips, shoving his hands back into the pockets of his dark jeans. "Cyren, Lyndsey..." he trailed off, trying to figure out how to word what he was trying to say.

He sighed loudly and grabbed my arm again. I let him pull me away from his brother and best friend and we rounded the corner back towards the front of the building and the office. "Lindsey isn't my girlfriend," he said when we were away from other people, "I don't know what you think, but it's nothing serious."

"I don't think anything," I replied quietly, "I just don't have time to deal with not-girlfriends and whatever is happening with us."

Gerard looked slightly surprised by my words. "What do you think is happening with us?" he questioned, crossing his arms over his chest as he waited for my reply.

I glanced to the tiled ground and then back up to him. "I honestly don't know," I said, "but it's already becoming complicated and I can't do it."

He chuckled which caught me off guard. "The only thing happening is that I like you," he breathed whispily, "It's not complicated, Cyren. I like being around you. You're one of the strangest girls I've met but you intrigue me and I like having you around to tell me to go away. Lindsey and I had something, but I don't know, I just feel like there's something with us that's worth figuring out."

"I don't think so, Gerard," I said after a few quiet moments. He composed himself and I couldn't tell what his real reaction was. I continued and tried to explain myself. "I'm not allowed to date or anything that goes along with it. I'm not ready for any of it. You know what my priorities are and I won't cave. There's just more to think about then myself." I shrugged my shoulders, trying not to care if he understood or not.

"I'm not asking you to give anything up," he replied, meeting my eyes with his own, "I'm just asking you not to think that I cheated on Lindsey when we kissed."

I nodded slowly, keeping eye contact and then motioned back in the direction we came. "I have to go to lunch," I said.

He nodded and turned to head that same direction.

"What are you doing?"

"I wanted to talk to you about one other thing, but since you have to get back I figured that I'd walk you," he explained, standing at my side.

I frowned and turned back so we could continue our conversation where we were. "Fine, what do you want to talk about?" I questioned, hitching my bag higher on my shoulder and giving him a look.

He grinned. "Do you want me to meet you at Micah's class on Friday?"

The class was two times a week and Gerard knew that. Monday nights and every-other Friday night were Micah's. "I have to go out of town on Friday night," I explained, hoping that he'd accept it without arguing, "My siblings and I are going down to Florida to visit our mom."

"Way to disappoint the middle-aged moms," he muttered, running his fingers through his hair, "I'm the highlight of their week."

"You're also very humble," I replied, elbowing him in the side. I turned towards the doorway into the cafeteria and looked at him, expecting him to leave. "We'll have to reschedule, I guess."

"I'll meet you there on Monday, then," Gerard said. He stepped back from the opening into the cafeteria, probably to avoid spare glances from any of the students eating lunch inside. "Have fun in Florida. I'm sure it'll be a riot."

I rolled my eyes at his sarcasm. "See you later," I said, knowing he'd be back later to pick up his little brother and best friend.

He grinned crookedly and dipped his head in a nod. "See you, Cyren." He turned on the ball of his foot and took off back towards the main door of the building. I watched until he was down the hall and around the corner, out of my sight, before I headed into the lunch room to meet the boys and dodge their questions.