Death-Wish Kids


Gerard grinned and climbed up from the couch. “Get your things,” he said, grabbing for his jacket and taking the food menu back into the kitchen. He hurried back around the corner and quickly slipped back into his shoes. He grabbed his laptop and I gathered our barely eaten food and we headed out of the apartment as fast as we could. He held my fingers with one hand and his computer with the other as he pulled me down the stairs. I focused on my breathing and I wondered if he could feel the weight of my blood rushing through my veins.

He quickly set the computer on the roof of his car and pulled his keys from his jeans. He unlocked the doors and we clambered inside, setting our things on the seat behind us. “Where are we going now?” I looked at him as he started backing out of the narrow parking lot.

He responded with a hint of a smile and turned down the radio, colored eyes glancing towards me. “How was your trip?” he asked, fingers tapping rhythmically on the steering wheel as he glanced back to the road.

I narrowed my eyes at him, and then let it go, deciding to answer his question. “It was weird being back there,” I answered honestly, “Felicia acts like she’s always been there for us. She thinks she has a right to have us there and she puts this big smile on her face like everything is normal. Ryder can’t stand her.”

“What’d you actually do?” he asked. He drove haphazardously, his eyes sometimes on me and sometimes on the road. He was one of those people who spoke with his eyes, and when he opened his mouth, I could read his eyes like subtitles.

“Nothing really,” I answered with a shake of my head and a shrug, “Quality time, I guess.”

“Did you see Micah’s dad?” Gerard asked without any hesitation. He didn’t turn his eyes from the road though, I could feel him waiting for my answer.

“I thought about it,” I answered, watching his expression, “But seeing Mitchell is too stressful. I decided I’d wait as long as possible.”

Gerard nodded, green-gray eyes glancing back towards me. He didn’t say anything more, but his movements shifted, and he pulled off the main road and through an open gate.

I looked at the buildings around us and the lack of other cars on the narrow roads. “Where are we?” I asked, looking back to see if I’d missed a sign when we were talking.

“This is Brookdale College,” Gerard answered, “I take some classes here.”

I was surprised at his words and I looked at him. “Seriously?” I asked softly, remembering his brother mentioning something about art classes, “What are we doing here?”

“There’s some gallery thing set up,” he answered nonchalantly, “I wanted to show it to you.” He turned the headlights on as the sky dimmed and maneuvered through a series of two-lane campus streets. It was Sunday night, so there weren’t many people around, and it seemed like a ghost town to me. But there was something about this Liberal Arts college that had me intrigued.

Gerard drove to this huge glass building on the backside of campus. It was light up all the way around and empty, and I wondered if they were even open. “How are we going to get in?” I asked as Gerard parked and took off his seatbelt, intending to get out.

He paused and looked at me. “It’s not locked,” he answered. He pulled his keys from the ignition and climbed out without waiting for my response.

I let out a deflated breath and followed him. The building was landscaped beautifully and even the path to the door had me in awe. Gerard slipped his fingers between mine and led me inside. The floors were granite and the building was huge and deserted. I had a hard time composing myself.

“This is where you spend your time?” I asked, looking at the dark-haired man, “This is beautiful, Gerard.”

“This is nothing,” he answered. He tightened his grip on my hand and pulled me towards the elevator. Even the inside of the elevator was decorated. It was all mirrors, but those were covered in little drawings, each signed by the people who’d done them.

We got out on the fifth floor and Gerard peered down the hall before he lead me out. I knew then that we weren’t supposed to be here, but that made it even better somehow. “Where are you taking me?” I asked, looking incredulously at the man as he pulled me through a dark room with a bunch of tables and art supplies and half-drawn canvases, “I thought you said there was a gallery?”

“There is,” he answered, “but we’re not going there yet.”

I rolled my eyes at the back of his head and followed him through the workshop. He took me to a door in the back that seemed like it’d lead to a supply closet, but when he opened it, we walked through into another adjoining art-room. Gerard let go of my hand then, and hurried over to a series of drawers.

I walked over slowly and saw his name labeled on one near the top. “You’re showing me your art,” I asked, surprised.

“Yeah.” He nodded. He tossed a couple things onto a partially clear table and then slid past me to turn the light on. He grinned as he moved past me again, his chest brushing my arm. “Come on.”

I sat down next to him on one of the stools and waited for him to slide his pieces out of the folder. The only noise in the room was the sound of his tapping his foot against the leg of the stool. “Are you nervous?” I asked, leaning on my elbows, “We won’t get caught, will we?”

He chuckled. “I’m not worried about that,” he rebutted, “I just don’t show much of my work to anyone, so this is kind of a first for me and I’m hoping you won’t rip it to shreds.”

I scoffed in surprise, smiling slightly. “I wouldn’t do that to you,” I answered, tucking my hair behind my ear, “And I’ve seen your room, so I know that it doesn’t suck.”

“This is different,” he answered. He didn’t say anything else, instead he slid a couple large canvases from the big folder and placed them in separate places on the paint-splattered table. The first one stunned me silent and I couldn’t think of any words to say about it.

Gerard took my silence nervously. “What do you think?”

“I-“ I turned towards him in my seat and just looked at him. He looked softer than I’d seen him before, timid almost. His dark hair stood accented his eyes, and they stood out in the dimness. “I can’t believe you drew these,” I said finally.

There were drawings of me. But not only me, the first one was my son and I, and we were sitting in the grass. I was pulling blades of it from Micah’s mouth and the baby looked mischievous and life-like, although Gerard certainly had a style. The second one was Gerard and I, and it was a little harder to look at. I knew I was close to blushing, but I couldn’t take my eyes from it.

It wasn’t a specific scene from our past, but the fake him was kissing fake me, his body bent down to mine, my fingers in his hair. I didn’t think like him. I wasn’t art-brained. I never imagined what we looked like from the outside, but seeing it now; it stunned me. Gerard was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

“These are incredible,” I said, finally looking at the man who created them, “I can’t believe you’re able to do this. It’s just…” I smiled at him because I couldn’t find the words to explain what it was that I was trying to say.

“Thanks,” he answered, “I had some pretty incredible inspiration.”

I rolled my eyes and turned from him.

He shifted so that I’d look at him again. “I’m serious,” he said, eyebrows furrowed, obviously bothered that I didn’t believe him, “You’re pretty great, Cyren, and I can’t stop thinking about you. When you were in Florida, I was pissed because all I wanted to do was go to Micah’s class with you, and talk about nothing, and be near you.”


“I like you, Cyren,” he said.

I closed my eyes for a moment, just so that I wouldn’t have to see how much he meant it, and took a breath. “Gerard, you don’t mean that,” I answered, wishing it were true, “You’re better off not liking me.”

“Stop being so fucking self-deprecating all the time, Jesus Christ,” he answered, rolling his eyes, “I do, I fucking like you and there’s nothing you can do to change my mind, so just accept it and move on.”

I couldn’t help but smile at him out of surprise. I didn't know what was left for me to say and repeating myself wouldn't change his mind. I shrugged. “Okay,” I said, turning to him, “What now, Gerard?”

He grinned, shaking his head at me, and stood up so that he was standing between our stools. He put his arms around me and leaned down to press his mouth to mine. I cupped the back of his neck and accepted him easily. He was strange, unlike any guy from my past, too honest, too blunt, and completely fucked up, but I liked it, even though I was trying hard not to.

I wrapped myself around him and he lifted me up. We laughed as he stumbled across the room, flipped the light off, and took me into the first dark room. He moved to a couch in the back and we fell down easily, him landing heavily on top of me.

I pushed his jacket off his shoulders and he barely took his mouth off mine as he took it off completely, dropping it to the floor. I slipped my hands just under his shirt, melting at the feeling of his hips jutting out from under his skin. He was so slender, so gorgeous.

My shirt left next and Gerard breathed out hot air across my skin. He grinned, fingers between my ribs. “You’re beautiful,” he said.

I rolled my eyes at him playfully and yanked his mouth back to mine by grabbing fistfuls of his t'shirt. He laughed against my mouth and it was the most gorgeous sound. He slipped his shirt over his head and there were only a few articles of clothing left between us.

When his shirt was gone, he sat up with his knees on either side of my hip and looked at me with bright eyes. “You sure you want to do this?” he asked, fingers tangled with my own.

I nodded, smiling at him easily. “Yeah, Gee, I wouldn’t be in this situation if I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do this,” I answered, freeing one hand from his so I could touch the edges of his hair.

“Fuck,” he muttered, chuckling, “I have to run back to the car.”

I looked at him incredulously as he reached for his shirt. “What for?” I asked, grabbing his black t’shirt from him so that I could cover myself instead.

“Condom,” he answered, laughing slightly.

I groaned, covering my face with my hands. “Why wouldn’t you think of that before hand, Gerard?” I asked, shoving him off of me.

“I didn’t plan on this,” he answered. He moved to the end of the couch and pulled his shirt back on over his head as I reached for my own, “That’s not why I brought you up here, Cyren.” He gave me a look.

“I thought guys were always prepared,” I answered, taking his jacket from him when he offered it to me, “but forget it, moment ruined,” I added. I resituated myself on the couch and crossed my arms over my chest.

He gave me a look, half-smiling, half-smirking in disbelief, but then shook his head. “Fine,” he let it go, “I don’t want our first time to be like this anyway,” he added, surprising me slightly.

“You’ve thought about it?”

“Not in detail,” he answered, looking over his shoulder at me as he fixed his shoe lace, “but I don’t usually sleep with women in grungy art rooms.” He stood up and held his hand out to me. “Want to get out of here?”

I nodded and got up.

“I just need to put everything back the way it was,” he said, leading me into the other room yet again.

“Wait, I can’t keep them?” I asked in shock, “That hardly seems fair, Gerard.”

“They’re not graded yet,” he answered, darting back to the table to wrap them back up and put them in his drawer, “I’ll let you have them when I get them back.”

“Fine,” I muttered, crossing my arms over my chest, “Just hurry up, I have a feeling we’re going to get caught here and I really can’t afford to be arrested.”

He stuffed them back where they belonged and grabbed my hand. We hurried out of the building, but Gerard made a point to offer to show me the gallery. I gave him an unamused look and we darted back to the car.

“You should probably take me home,” I said when I saw the time on the clock on the dash, “It’s going to take a while to get back, isn’t it? It’s better if I’m there a little early.”

“Yeah, sure,” Gerard replied. He started the car and turned the lights on. I looked at the art building as long as I could before we were too far away and it was just a blur in the distance. “I’ll see you for Micah’s class tomorrow, right?” he asked.


“Do you want to come to dinner at my ma’s on Tuesday?” he asked, eyes on the road, “Did Mikes tell you that she’s been wanting to have you over again?”

“No, he didn’t,” I answered, frowning as I pulled my knees up onto the seat, “I’ll have to check, but I don’t think I’ll be able to come out this week. My dad, you know.”

He nodded slowly, but his eyes lingered on me. “Are you okay?”

I smiled slightly. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“That’s bullshit,” Gerard answered automatically, "I know when somthing's not right with you, Cyren. I've seen you upset and pissed, and you're somewhere between there right now." He glanced in the rearview mirror before he cut over across traffic and parked us on the side of highway.

I jolted in my seat as he slammed on the breaks and threw the car into park. “What the hell, Gerard?” I asked, heart beating out of my chest, “What did you do that for?” I looked behind us, a delayed reaction. “You could've gotten us killed!”

“We’re fine,” he answered mildly, turning the car off and leaving us in the darkness on the side of the road. The keys jangled as he pulled them out of the ignition and then stuck them back in. The tone in the car changed again. "Did I do something,” he asked, hazel eyes looking across the console, "I really didn't mean for things to go that far, Cy."

"No, I know," I breathed, “You didn’t do anything that I didn't want you to do. I'm just worried that things are going to change between us now, and I don't know if that's such a good idea."

Gerard was silent for a moment. “You don’t want them to change?”

"I don't know," I said, "We have fun when we're together. I don't want things to get more complicated than they already are. It's just going to cause trouble for both of us."

"I know what it's going to be like being with you, Cyren," he answered right away, "I know you've got things to deal with and I've definitely got some shit to deal with, but I didn't think it'd make it too complicated." His eyes were turned down and he was picking at a thread on his jeans. Softer Gerard, less confident, more honest.

“I just can’t date you,” I answered, hating the way his head snapped up to look at me.

Gerard frowned and turned almost completely in his seat. “Why not?” he asked diligently. “I’m not with Lindsey in anymore, I’m not planning on sleeping with you and walking away, your dad seemed to like me well enough, and I know I’m older than you, but I don’t really think that matters much.”

“Gerard, it’s not just because of those things, I have a son-“

“I know that,” he answered, “and I love Micah. He’s a great kid. It doesn’t bother me. I know you’re trying to do what’s best for him, and I’d never get in the way of that, but I don’t know how being with me subtracts from what you’re doing with him.”

“Nobody would understand,” I rebutted, “My father is completely against me dating and I understand why. I’m supposed to be focusing on Micah right now and my family will get the idea that I’m neglecting him if I’m spending all my time with you. You’re a distraction to them. They’d never approve.”

Gerard paused, sitting still. “Would they think that of you if I was really Micah’s dad?” he asked, “What difference does it make if I’m his blood or not? I care about you both, more than Micah’s father does, that’s for fucking sure.”

I pressed my fingertips into my palms. “I know that,” I answered, “and I know it’s messed up, but you’re not Micah’s dad and you don’t deserve to be tied down like this. You’ll never get to be with just me, especially if people know we’re together. It’ll be a series of days spent taking care of Micah and my father keeping me home to keep me away from you.”

“I don’t care about that,” he answered, “I know that Micah is always going to be number one, and I’m completely happy with being lower down on your list of important people. Hell, Cyren, I’d be dead-last so long as I just get to be on the fucking list at all.”

“You’re not last,” I answered softly, pushing my hair back out of my face, “and I really like spending time with you, but there are other people to think about. Like your brother and Frank.”

Gerard sighed, covering his face with his hand. “Seriously?” he asked, “You’re bringing them into this? What do Mikey and Frankie have to do with you and me being together?”

“How would it make them feel, Gerard? I met then first and it would be really shitty of me to bypass them and start spending all my time with you. Plus, I like hanging out with them and if my dad knew I was with you, he'd never let me hangout at your house, and that means I wouldn't be able to spend time with Mikey either.”

“Cyren, I love my brother, I really do - Frank too, but this isn't about them. When it comes to you, I don’t care if they met you first. I like you and they’re just going to have to live with it. And as for your dad, let me talk to him. I’ll tell him that I know Micah comes first and I’m 100 percent on board with that. You won't have to give up anything because of me."

I was slightly stunned. "Do you have a death-wish?" I questioned, completely serious, "You can't just walk up to my dad and tell him that you want to date me, but it's cool because you know about Micah and you're not an asshole like Mitchell. There's no way."

"I'm twenty years old, Cyren, I don't want to sneak around. I like you, I want to be able to spend time with you. I'd rather just talk to him and let him know that I'm not going to screw you over and take away from you being with Micah."

"What about your parents?" I asked, arms crossed, "They don't even know that I have a son. What will they think if they find that out and find out you're tying yourself down with us all at the same time? They'll hate me for it."

Gerard gave me a look. "You're an idiot," he answered, "My parents love you and they'd love Micah if you'd just tell them. Then you wouldn't have to leave him at your dad's when you come over." He groaned, fingers running through his short hair again. "Cyren, it's not that difficult, just tell your dad, I'll tell my parents, we'll work it out and in the end there's nothing either of them can do about it."

I wasn’t sure what to say to that. I knew how frustrated he was because I felt the same way. Gerard had only met my dad for a few minutes, he didn't know how strict he could be. So I crossed my arms and shrugged my shoulders, trying a different approach. “It's your funeral," I muttered, "Want me to arrange for you to meet him, then fine, I will. When works for you, Gerard?"

Gerard didn’t waiver. He just pulled the pack of cigarettes from his jeans and lit one, cracking the window open as he did so. “Whenever you think the best time is,” he said, exhaling the smoke from his lungs - a nervous habit. “I'lll just be upfront with him.”

“You do remember that I am underage, right? And if your plan goes wrong he can ground me from ever seeing you again. As well as seeing Mikey and Frank, and ever leaving the house. In fact, he might pull me out of school all together. Then the only chance you'll have of seeing me is when I take Micah to his class, that is, if my dad doesn't start chaperoning those too."

Gerard picked up on the sarcasm easy enough and caught on to the point I was trying to make. "Fine, Cyren, you figure out a way for this to work then, because I know that you want to be with me as much as I want to be with you."

I rolled my eyes at his confidence. “I have to think about it," I said, "I have to figure out how to make him get used to you first, because you marching in and telling him things, isn't going to work. You have to make him like you."

"Great," Gerard muttered, "Because I'm sure he hasn't heard anything that would make him think otherwise about me." He gave me a look, one that made me shake my head at him despite the truth in his words, and he started the car again, cigarette between his fingers, and headed to take me back home.