Three Cheers for Tragic Ends

Chapter Two

August 4th, 1997

“Oh, Jesus it smells like pasta in here. Ave Maria,” and the younger boy set his hand down on the table, feigning a bout of faint. “Nonna, what in Lord’s name– wait, Gerard?” The younger boy looked up in shock, and he bustled to his brother’s side, staring at him intently as he cooked.

“Fratello, can you not? You’re getting in the way, and by God if you’re actually seeking to help standing there, then you can at least pass me the…” and Gerard trailed off, and made a vague gesture to one corner of the room.

“Pesto?” Mikey supplied. The older boy grunted. “Ah, oregano? More pasta?”

“Oh, for Mary’s sake, no!” and Gerard turned around, and shoved his sleeves farther up his elbows, and said, “Man the pot, I’ll fucking find it myself, inutile.”

“Vaffanculo!” the younger boy retorted.

“You would,” Gerard grunted, and he searched frantically through the cupboard over the oven. “Oh, fuck me.”

“Really? I just offered, you weren’t very willing–” but the blonde boy was cut off by a stern glare from his brother. “Alright, Gee, you know I could be of more use if you’d actually tell me what you were looking for–”

“Parmesan!” and Gerard hit his palm against his forehead, and let out a loud groan. “Duh!”

“In the fridge?” Mikey supplied, but he wasn’t sure if his brother heard him over the fussing about and all the Italian curses he was giving out. “Gerard, calm down.”

“Piccolo, shut up,” the older boy retorted. “I’m calm. I swear; I’m calm. I just need to finish this dinner before Nonna gets back from her friend’s house, because I told her I’d cook dinner tonight and she wouldn’t have to fret over it, and oh God, lo vado pazza…”

“Gee?” Mikey asked, when his brother had seemingly stopped bustling about enough to hear a full question. “Do we have enough forks, and stuff? Last night we ran out… oh, I think Nonna keeps the extra in the attic.”

“Oh, Jesus, I don’t know.” And the older boy stopped where he stood, and let his elbows fall on the table, and ran a hand through his black hair and sighed, “I need a break from life.”

“Don’t say that, non è vero. Just– look, fratello, I’ll stay here and finish up this, and you can go get the silverware and everything will be fine. Grandmamma isn’t going to bite our heads off if this isn’t done before she gets back dalla casa del sua amica.”

“Okay,” the older boy sighed, and then, “You’re right. Okay.” He pushed himself up from the counter and began to exit the kitchen, but not before stopping to give Mikey a hug. “Essere persa senza di te, I swear to God.”

“That’s like, a lot of Hail Maries,” Mikey joked, and he squeezed Gerard’s arm reassuringly. “Go. Frolic in the attic with your kind, whatever weird close-space dwelling creatures may be up there.”

“Stupido,” the older boy laughed, and stuck his tongue out, before leaving the kitchen and ascending the stairs.

Gerard did not enjoy heavy lifting, and he sighed dramatically as he moved box by box out of the way to access the attic trapdoor. “I swear,” he muttered to himself. “I swear, she has an attic, why the Hell doesn’t she use it?” and he kicked a nearby box, wincing when something in it shattered. “Oh, Jesus.”

He sidestepped around the myriad of cardboard, and pulled the drawstring of the trapdoor, jumping back when the ladder came slamming down onto the already-seen-much-better-days hardwood floor.

“Fratello?” he heard Mikey call, and once he’d collected his frantic heart to a normal beat, he responded, “S’all good!”

He heard Mikey mumble back something that sounded particularly like, “Give me a heart attack, I swear to God,” and he rolled his eyes at no one, and gripped onto the edge of the ladder, and started his ascend into the attic.

The artist popped his head through the attic trapdoor, and looked around; and all he saw were boxes. “Great,” he muttered, dragging out the vowels. He lifted himself into the attic completely, and once he had, looked down at the trapdoor hole in disdain, and prayed to Mary and whoever else that he wouldn’t step in it and break his neck and die, which he could easily see himself doing. He kicked around a few more boxes, bending down now and again and checking the words sharpie-d on the sides, but none of them yet said silverware, or cutlery, or knives, or anything useful. So he raised his head to look around more, to see if any of the boxes in the rafters were the one that he needed; and that’s when the boy caught his eye.

He was sitting on the window ledge and looking out into the garden, lost in thought. He had on a plain white shirt, and the sleeves had been pushed up to his elbows, revealing foreign markings in ink across tan skin. His pants were simple brown slacks and he wore simple black boots, of which one the laces had come undone upon. His hair was loose in his face– mild brown curls that danced above shimmering hazel eyes; and a Lucky Strike cigarette hung from his pouted lips, the logo burned half off so that Gerard wouldn’t have even ever noticed it if it weren’t for his artist’s eye for detail.

He stopped; and he blinked a few times, because Lord knew that he’d only been going crazy a few minutes ago– but when the boy didn’t disappear, he asked aloud, “Who are you?”

The boy looked up suddenly from the window, hazel eyes wide as he took in Gerard’s presence. “Oh?”

Now the boy was facing Gerard somewhat more, and the artist took this time to take in his features. He looked not much older than fifteen, with a glimpse of something childlike in his eyes; he had a slightly pointed nose with a single pock-mark accented across the bridge, and freckles. His cheeks were full, and lightly blushed; his pastel lips were parted ever so little around the Lucky Strike. He arched a thin, neat eyebrow at Gerard’s question and coughed slightly, as if to clear his voice.

It was deep when he spoke, rough of little use and much too mature for a boy of fifteen, and he mumbled around his cigarette, “Pardon me?”

“Who are you– what… in my grandma’s attic?” Gerard tripped over his words, his voice held back at fault of his confusion. The boy blinked– nice, and long, and slow; and his dark eyelashes brushed the pale of his cheeks. Suddenly, as if realizing himself, he swung one leg down off the windowsill and turned to now be facing the noirette completely.

“Pardon me,” he said again, and it wasn’t a question this time. He gestured vaguely to the window, then himself, and Gerard, “I’m most terribly sorry.”

Gerard’s mouth opened in confusion, just barely as if he was going to begin to speak, but he didn’t. He closed his lips and furrowed his brow a bit. The boy faltered- and his shoulders slumped in exasperation.

“Oh, gosh,” he said. “I’m truly sorry to be hiding covert in your Nonna’s attic, but I– I….” the boy trailed off, shutting his mouth and blushing under Gerard’s watch.

“Why are you in here?” Gerard asked, his voice a whisper lost in confusion. The boy sighed again.

“I’m hiding. I was running.”

“In the attic?” Gerard appalled, and the boy shut his mouth tight and glared in an embarrassed outrage.

“Most certainly not,” and he began to flail his hand again, exaggerated-like in the direction of the window. “Out there.”


“I was running from them, they– oh, Maria, they were trying– are tr– I mean– augh. I cannot let them find me,” the boy finally said; and he slumped down again, dropping his hand from gesturing to the window to the thigh of his slacks, where he brushed off debris that had fallen from his cigarette in his haste. “Terribly sorry,” he said again, and then, “but I fear I cannot leave yet.”

The artist didn’t say anything at first– he didn’t know what to say, although if the boy meant what he thought, he could relate to being bullied; and he’d have to admit that he pitied the kid, even if he didn’t actually yet understand how the boy had gotten in the attic in the first place. Whatever, he wasn’t trying to harm Gerard –as far as the noirette knew; because that would be just his luck, wouldn’t it, stumbling across a lay-in-wait serial killer in his grandmother’s attic– so he took a step towards the boy, ever so much, moving to sit next to him.

The boy flinched away, and Gerard held a hand out, but continued to move next to him. “Relax, dude. M’not gonna hurt you.” And he sat down next to the boy, who dropped both his legs down in haste to make room.

“So who are you?” the boy asked, wide-eyed and watching the artist intently. His lips popped open around the Lucky Strike, which he nimbly slipped away with calloused fingers. Gerard laughed at his childlike curiosity, and he rested his head back against the window pane.

“I asked you first,” he responded. “Plus, I live here. You’re the stranger in my house, I think I should know your name first?”

The boy opened his mouth, almost to seemingly protest, before steeling himself; and he thrust a hand out to the noirette, and simply said, “Frank.”

Gerard let his hand meet the boy’s in a light slap, and he said, “Well. I’m Gerard.”

Frank stared down at his hand in confusion, neat eyebrows furrowed, and he rubbed it lightly on the chest of his white button-up before saying, “That’s nice. That’s a nice name. I’ve never met any Gerards.”

Gerard like how his voice sounded in the other boy’s slightly nasally tone. He smiled coyly, and he shrugged. “I’ve never met any Franks, so…”

“Well. I’ve never seen you around?” The boy slumped himself against the wall of the window seat, took a puff off his cigarette, and said, “I know; I’da recognized a face as drop-dead darling as that had I ever seen one.” He smirked around the Lucky Strike when the artist blushed, and brought a sleeve up to hide his face.

“Not true,” he mumbled into his sweatshirt sleeve, and Frank said, “Yessir.” And he leaned in close to Gerard and pulled his hand down, and said, “Lemme see that pretty face. Nah, nope. Never seen you before a day in my–” He cut himself off before he could finish, looking almost miserable to continue before his attitude changed split-second, and his hazel eyes got all hazy and he said, “You’ve got a crooked mouth. Hah.”

He sat back again, and he put his cigarette out on the bottom of his shoe– and Gerard looked at the wasted cigarette in disdain, and Frank laughed. “You smoke?”

“Oh, yes,” Gerard said, longingly. Frank laughed; well, it was more like a giggle– light and full of life and air, like he’d never experienced a day of pain. Gerard was surprised, because the boy’s eyes said differently. But he didn’t say anything.

“So you live here with your Nonna?”

“And my baby fratello Mikey, yes.”

“How old is he?” Frank asked; and the haze was gone from his eyes, replaced with interest and Gerard couldn’t tell if it was feigned or not.

“Almost seventeen,” the artist sighed. “He’s graduating this– well, I mean he’s– this is his senior year.”

“So, not much of a baby? You look proud. I can tell in your eyes; cos you smile when you talk about him. Most people don’t do that, not most I’ve known. Most people think, well…” and he sighed again, that sad, far-away sigh, “that family is a hassle.”

“No, never,” Gerard said, voice shocked. “I love him, he’s like my child. I mean, I practically raised him…”

“So, how old are you then?” Frank asked; and he leaned forward again in curiosity.

“Twenty. And you?”

“Oh, I have seen nineteen years of life,” Frank breathed. He leaned closer to the older boy, eyes distracted, and he smiled. “Why you got that crooked mouth, anyway?”

Gerard blushed again, and looked down. “I dunno, too much smokin’ or something, talkin’ out the side of my mouth and such…” and oh, Frank’s face was .2 inches away from his own, and there was that same, lost, hazy look in his eyes, and–

A crash, followed by a thump, and a, “Gerard! Dammit, you’ve been up there so long–”

Gerard jumped away from Frank and his attention diverted to the attic trapdoor, and he watched as the top half of his brother popped up out of it, and he looked annoyed. “What the Hell, Gee? I asked you for the silverware, not the damn slip.”

“Sorry!” the older boy said, exasperated. “Sheesh, I was only talking to Frank–” But his gesture was to empty space, and when he turned to look at the younger boy, he was gone. Sot a trace was left of him, nothing but a few stray ash that rest where he’d sat.

Mikey’s eyes narrowed. “Stupido, pazzezco fratello…” and he sighed, “Well, I’m glad you made an imaginary friend, but we kinda need your mental state to be, you know, here?”

Gerard blurted, “Well, I swear he was there!” but Mikey had already disappeared back through the trapdoor, and he called out, “Sure he was,” before leaving his brother in silence.

The artist was lost. He looked around the attic and, sure enough, there was no Frank or trace of him. There wasn’t boxes moved, the window wasn’t cracked open, and not ever a speck of dust looked as if it had been displaced. The only thing the noirette noticed slightly off was the faint smell of vanilla that hung in the air– and so he assumed to himself he had indeed imagined the boy with the pretty hazel eyes and funny words; and so he let himself down from the attic, having completely forgotten about the silverware.
♠ ♠ ♠
So sorry this took so long!
Enjoy~ xokilljoy