Status: In Progress

The Majesty of Choice


“You can’t even name one?”

“We live in a town of intolerable people, Patrick, I can’t name a person aside from you or Ray who I would rescue if they were dangling off a cliff.”

Patrick sighs, “Okay, but nobody? There’s not a single girl who you think is even kind of okay?”

“No,” Gerard says firmly. Really, everyone in this town is pretty scummy in his eyes and they’re all a million times more disgusting as they get older. The only bearable people are the ones who haven’t learned to resent Gerard’s very existence yet. Unfortunately, all girls do dislike Gerard, or at least they’re cautioned for their entire lives to stay away from him.

Gerard isn’t sure how visible his curse is to these people. He doesn’t think he’s been ordered around by half of them, but maybe it’s such a bad aura around him that he repels anyone who comes into contact with him. He’s a social outcast simply by nature, not by any real action on his part. It’s unfair, and it has left him incredibly cynical of the people around him, but he can’t help it.

Still, Gerard refuses to even kind of reduce himself to their level. He’s not fond of most people in this town but he doesn’t necessarily look down on them inherently because he can. Only when you’ve proven yourself unworthy of his respect does Gerard ever decide not to care for what you have to say or think about him. That is, this is his life motto unless royalty is involved, than his stance on the matter is fuck the lot of them.

“And you wonder why Ray and I tease you about the Prince?” Patrick continues, confusing Gerard, because he’s certain they weren’t talking about the Prince a moment ago. They were talking about girls, not the Prince, and those are two very dissimilar topics if you ask Gerard.

“Why is the Prince important?” Gerard asks. “It’s been almost a week since he left, when will we be able to get past him, and onto interesting things? Like grass growing, or the consistency of goat milk.”

“Because he’s going to rule the kingdom someday.”

“No, I didn’t mean like that, I meant in this particular conversation.”

“Because you totally liked the guy.”

“I didn’t,” Gerard replies, shaking his head. He’s not sure what’s true, but he doesn’t need to deal with that anymore since he’s never going to see the guy again. It makes things easier. Probably. If he never has the chance to know the guy more than he already does, then Gerard doesn’t have to grapple with how he felt because it’s simply not in the cards anymore. It works for him. Or it has so far. He hasn’t reached a crippling point of existential crisis yet over the guy so he’s really hoping he’ll be able to push that back for as long as he can. That is, if he’s even aware of his oncoming identity crisis at all.

He hasn’t told Hattie or Olive about the Prince yet. He’s not sure he’s going to. They don’t talk to each other often. Mostly Gerard ignores them and when they speak to him he pretends he can’t hear and walks away. He doesn’t want to acknowledge them any further than that. Just because they live in his house doesn’t mean he has to have any real sort of connection with them. They don’t need him, he doesn’t need them, and meeting the Prince doesn’t intersect those boundaries.

“You did.”

“Okay, I didn’t. I mean, I don’t like having friends. Well, other than you, but I’m still undecided on how I feel about that. I just don’t think you know how I felt about the guy because if you did, you certainly wouldn’t think I actually liked him.”

“You think I think you liked him like a friend though.”

“I have no idea what you just said,” Gerard says, confused.

“I never said that I thought you liked him the way you like me, or so to say, completely platonically.”

“You’re heading down a path I don’t want to listen to,” Gerard says, terrified of wherever he’s going with this. He’s also terrified of what it means to him.

“You can’t avoid this conversation forever,” Patrick groans. Technically though, yes Gerard can.

“I don’t know what conversation it is you think I’m ignoring, but you’re wrong about whatever it is you’re thinking.”

“Oh my god, Gerard,” Patrick says.


“You’re so stupid,” Patrick says.

“Why? What did I do?”

“It’s everything about you, really. And how oblivious you are.”

“Okay, tell me what it is that you think I’m oblivious about?” Gerard requests of him.

Patrick just shrugs and says, “I think you’ll just tell me to stop if I were to tell you what it is that I know about you.”

“When have I ever stopped you from saying something to me?” Gerard asks, and Patrick gives him this look of utter disbelief.

“Well you did that just now,” Patrick says, “Like less than a minute ago.”

“Okay, but other than that.”

“Basically every time I bring up Frank. So at least thirty or forty times in the last week.”

“I don’t think that’s true,” Gerard says, and obviously, he would be wrong.

“Alright fine, but do you want me to actually tell you what it was that I know or do you just want to cut me off once again to live on in ignorance?”

“Ugh,” Gerard sighs exasperatedly and overdramatically, “out with it. You’ve got me waiting on pins and needles over here.”

Patrick says, “Well okay. I don’t think you like the Prince in a platonic way.”

“And you would be right about that,” Gerard interrupts, yet again, so Patrick is expecting it and is already prepared to hit him in the shoulder. “Ow, sorry. Go on.”

“I don’t think you liked the guy in a platonic way at all. And that’s because I think you like him in a different way.”

“What kind of way?” Gerard asks, and Patrick looks at him with the exact same expression of utter disbelief that he had had a moment ago.

“In a romantic kind of way, Gerard.”

“In a what kind of way?”

“Romantic, Gerard. Sexual even.”

“He’s a guy,” Gerard says.

“I’m aware of that.”

“I am also a guy.”

“I’m aware of that as well,” Patrick confirms.

“In this equation you have made up in your head, I like him?” Gerard asks.

“Yes,” Patrick says, nodding, and internally rolling his eyes just as much as he can, but he doesn’t actually because then Gerard won’t listen to a word he says.

“But how does that work?” Gerard asks.

“You’re kidding me, right?” Patrick asks, eyes rolling so far he almost hurts his own head. He actually does hurt it a little bit. But then he recovers and rolls his eyes again just to reiterate how stupid Gerard is.

“What? No, like how does... is that allowed?”

“Allowed by who?”

“By anyone. By people?” Gerard asks.

“Is what allowed?” Patrick asks, like he’s talking to a child. But he kind of is in a way.

“That?” Gerard asks, which is really not helpful. He could specify at the very least.

“What century do you live in?” Patrick asks.

“It’s a valid question!”

“It’s a dumb question,” Patrick corrects.

“Can you please just answer me?” Gerard pleas. The identity crisis that he was pushing to the back of his brain and pretending he wasn’t going to have now feels like it’s about to rear its head and shit all over his life. In all likelihood, this will happen very shortly, and it will result in many a panic attack.

“Okay, yes, Gerard, you are allowed to like the Prince. You’re even allowed to like him the way that your stepsisters like him, except maybe not in such a vapid way. You’re not snotty Gerard, but you very much are attracted to the guy on an emotional level, and you must be blind not to be in a physical way too.”

“I don’t though,” Gerard says, “Like I thoroughly dislike him, I think he’s a dick, and he’s gross.”

“So then why were you so interested a moment ago?” Patrick asks.

“I just was. I didn’t know... or well, okay, so I mean I’d thought about that, but it never really occurred to me that... you know what forget about it.”

“Forget about what? I don’t even know what it was you were trying to say just now.”

“Well it was unimportant.”

“Gerard, you’re confusing me,” Patrick says. “You like boys, okay, that’s all I’m trying to say here. Maybe you don’t like Frank, which we both know isn’t true, but I’ll humor you for now if that’s what you want, okay? So what if you don’t like Frank in particular, you like boys in general.”

“I don’t!” Gerard says, a little too loudly. He eyes the door cautiously at that, fearing what would happen if Hattie or Olive were to hear this conversation. He hates their presence more now than he had a month ago, because at first it was funny to make fun of them, now he’s just scared of what might happen if they tell him what to do.

“You do, Gerard,” Patrick says. He’s pushing this too much. Patrick knows he is, and so does Gerard, but Patrick is on a roll here. He might as well do his best because he knows he’s right. He doesn’t think Gerard will be able to accept that for a while, but he still knows himself to be correct. Gerard’s got to figure this out eventually, and Patrick just doesn’t have the time or patience to wait for him to do it by himself.

“I’m not like that!” Gerard insists.

“It’s not a bad thing.”

“But it’s not a good thing,” Gerard rebuttals. He’s not sure what brings up that idea, but it’s just something that he feels should be true. He doesn’t know if it is or not, but he feels like it probably should be if it isn’t already a written rule somewhere. Boys just shouldn’t like other boys. Gerard is no exception.

“Why do you think that?”

“What do you mean?” Gerard asks.

Patrick groans, “Why do you think that’s a bad thing?”

“Because it just is.”

“But why?”

“Is it something that needs explaining?” Gerard questions. He really hopes Patrick lets it go, because Gerard can’t back his statement up. He has no explanation. He just doesn’t know how to say that he’s afraid of every word coming from Patrick’s mouth. It scares him to think that Patrick is so sure of this fact about him that Gerard’s never even considered before.

He still refuses to consider it though. It’s just not acceptable. Gerard can’t want those things, because he simply won’t allow himself to. That’s all he needs to know. He doesn’t want to be, therefor he isn’t. Gerard is fighting a losing battle with himself on that front.

“Evidently it is, because I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Gerard, I don’t care if you like boys, or if you don’t, or, if you want to run away and elope with an elf, it’s not my place to judge you for that. I’m not judging you when I say what I see, but what I’ve observed is the very presently clear, and quite conspicuous if I do say so, fact that you either like boys in general or Frank in particular.”

“I don’t, Patrick!” Gerard shouts, and he’s definitely pushing it, that was really too loud. Someone must have heard him, he just hopes it isn’t someone who’s going to come meddling.

“Gerard, if you don’t want to admit to it that’s fine, but just know that you’re not fooling me.”

“I’m not trying to fool you,” Gerard says, feeling as though his insides have turned to chalk and are now being churned up to make him feel both numb and nauseous at the same time.

“Good, because you’re not doing a very good job at it if you are,” Patrick says.

“Can we just please stop talking about this,” Gerard asks. Begs, almost.

“You’re seriously that afraid of this?”

“I’m panicking, you really just need to stop or else I’m going to freak the fuck out, okay?”

Patrick nods, not happy about it, but not wanting to push Gerard over whatever edge he’s teetering off of. Patrick needs to push him a little though otherwise Gerard won’t ever be able to figure any of his emotions out, because as it is, he seems completely clueless to his own feelings.

At this point, Patrick thinks it’s possible that Gerard genuinely doesn’t know that he feels the way he does about Frank. He might be so completely clueless to it that the thought hasn’t even attempted to cross the realm of possibility in his head. Patrick’s still not given up on the idea that Gerard is pretending not to feel anything, and swallowing down his very real feelings, but this other option is starting to hold some water as well.

One thing that’s for sure, and it’s something that Patrick’s had a suspicion or two about for years, is that Gerard doesn’t like girls. It was never not obvious. It’s more obvious now, but it was never much of a reach for him. Patrick and Ray, who don’t talk often, usually just small talk or a nod of the head, both have this silent understanding not to bring this up around Gerard, for fear of exactly this reaction. Patrick admits that maybe meddling isn’t a good idea, but someone needs to tell Gerard what’s going on with him. Gerard could remain ignorant forever, and that would just make him miserable. It may hurt now but it will be fairer to Gerard in the end.

“Can I just ask you why you’re so freaked out by this prospect, Gerard?” Patrick asks, nervous that he’s really pushing the limits here.

“I’m not like that,” Gerard responds.

“You’re not, or you’re afraid that you are?” Patrick asks.

“We’ve had this conversation before. You were never so blunt.”

“It never looked to me like it was hurting you as much as it is now,” Patrick says, because he has floated this theory by Gerard in more subtle ways before. Gerard was short and choppy with his answers, but he’s never looked more troubled with himself, which is part of the reason why Patrick had to bring it up. Gerard has looked for days like he’s fighting two forces within himself but Patrick knows he can’t have known what those forces were. Instead of letting him continue to spiral downward, Patrick wants to offer him this rope to pull himself from the hole he’s digging around him.

Gerard’s unwavering fear of his own sexuality is killing him from the inside out, and Patrick can’t bear to see him ruin himself anymore. He’s digging a hole with ever steepening walls. As cruel as it seems, pushing Gerard to the limit is the best thing Patrick can do for him.

“I’m just done talking about this okay,” Gerard says.

“You can’t deny forever that you liked the Prince.”

“I didn’t though!”

“If you need to tell yourself that, then fine, but we both know that you liked him. You told yourself not to, but the second you met the Prince, you were already falling for him,” Patrick says.

Gerard is given the ultimate proof that they’re having this conversation too loudly when the door to his bedroom suddenly bangs open.
♠ ♠ ♠
I intended to update this quicker than I did and I suck for that, but as an explanation, I did attend NerdCon and I did get like ten books signed so at least it was for a good reason.