SUMMARY: Mikey doesn't appreciate his new neighbor.
NOTE: Used the prompt "garden."
Mikey despises his new neighbor Frank Iero. Mikey thinks there should have been a neighborhood meeting where they would of decided not to let this Iero guy move into the house next to Mikey’s. Obviously he’s bad news, a troublemaker. He’s covered in tattoos everywhere Mikey can see his skin, and Mikey bets he has tattoos in other totally inappropriate places because that’s the type of guy this Frank person is.
Mikey’s new neighbor also seems to have lots of friends that come over at night and disturb Mikey from reading a book or from watching a movie. They play music and not just on a stereo, but with real instruments hooked into amplifiers. Mikey swears he heard the drums one night and that is more than he can handle. Mikey doesn’t understand why a young guy like Frank would want to move into a small, quiet neighborhood like this one. Mikey is young too, but he’s just mellow, more mature and he’s proud of that. He was always admired by family and teachers by how grown-up he was and still is.
It takes several weeks before Frank comes over to Mikey’s house to introduce himself. Mikey hears the doorbell ring and is surprised to have a guest at 2 pm on a Saturday. Mikey peers out the window and shivers when he sees Frank standing at his door, sucking on his stupid lip ring. Mikey answers the door out of politeness.
“Hi, I’m Frank Iero, you’re new neighbor,” Frank says. But Mikey already knows his name, just as everyone in the neighborhood does.
“I’m Mikey, um, Michael Way,” Mikey replies and stands there. Is he suppose to let this kid in?
“Cool, I just wanted to introduce myself, since you know, we live right next to one another and my bedroom window directly faces your bedroom window,” Frank answers and Mikey is appalled. Is this guy spying on Mikey at night when he’s about to get into bed? Mikey makes a mental note to buy new steel-tight shades.
“Right, yeah. So, how are you liking the neighborhood?” Mikey asks and secretly wishes Frank will say he hates it and that he plans to move immediately.
“Oh, I love it, it’s the neighborhood my grandparents used to live in when they were still alive, so I basically grew up here,” Frank says and smiles. Mikey wants to die just about now – apparently Frank had his stake on this neighborhood way before Mikey did.
“Oh, that’s nice,” Mikey gulps.
“Well I wanted to tell you I’m finally having a house-warming party now that I’m more settled in and I’m inviting the rest of the block so I hope you can make it, it’s tonight at eight,” Frank says. How can Mikey say no if the rest of the block is possibly going to be there? They might think he’s the weird one.
“Um, sure, I’ll bring wine or something,” Mikey answers and sighs internally.
“Great, that’s so awesome of you, I’ll see you then,” Frank radiates up at Mikey with the biggest smile, ever.
“Um, bye,” Mikey says and shuts the door quickly before Frank can beam him up to his spaceship and suck his brain out.
Mikey spends the afternoon out in his garden, the most peaceful and beautiful spot on his property. He grows vegetables and herbs and other kinds of nice plants and flowers. His father taught him how to garden when he was young and it always stuck with him. His snot-nosed brother never could appreciate it. Gardening is why Mikey saved his money and bought a house in the first place. He realizes he might need to put up a bigger fence to keep Frank and his hooligan friends from traipsing in on his hard work.
Mikey gets ready at 7 pm for Frank’s party. He showers, shaves and irons his clothing. He makes sure to keep his shades closed while doing this. At 7:45 pm he picks out a bottle of wine from his small collection. Nothing too fancy, but nothing too cheap either. At 8 pm he walks over to Frank’s place and rings the doorbell.
“Mikey! You’re here, I wasn’t sure you were going to come, you had this look on your face, anyway come in, come in,” Frank ushers Mikey inside, “You’re the first one here, but I expect people to be arriving any minute now. Can you help me in the kitchen for a second?” Frank babbles like he could talk forever.
Mikey just follows him while he inspects Frank’s home. There are a lot of photos hanging up on the walls, some artistic and some that look like Frank’s family. Mikey catches a decent looking couch in the living room along with a large stereo and record player. In the kitchen there are marble countertops and Mikey is so jealous.
“Can you help me put the cheese on top of the crackers here? I’ve never done this before, you know, host a formal party, I’m more of a fall down drunk kind of guy,” Frank admits and Mikey is so not surprised. He pushes Frank aside and sets up the platter of food effortlessly. He starts on another tray of food when the doorbell rings and Frank runs to get it.
Mikey brings out the food into the living room just as several groups of people arrive at once. Mikey knows everyone from the neighborhood so he makes his rounds talking and catching up with each person. Mikey is pretty good at making small talk and working his way around parties, but he kind of hopes Frank fails at it and everyone hates him.
But as the night moves forward, Mikey begins to watch Frank interact with everyone and can tell that he is a natural entertainer. Which Mikey should of known since Frank has had several parties prior to this one, all loud and raucous. Mikey studies Frank in his cardigan sweater over his threadbare t-shirt and corduroy pants with Converse sneakers. He looks at his wide eyes and long hair that needs badly needs a cut. Maybe he’s not so evil, but Mikey won’t fully admit that.
People start to exit slowly, congratulating Frank on a great party and welcoming him to the neighborhood. Mikey doesn’t want anyone around when he exits because he doesn’t plan on saying any of those things.
So Mikey is the last person left and is running toward the door when Frank grabs his arm and pulls him back.
“I barely got to talk to you all night, you were always talking to someone else,” Frank says and his huge eyes look up into Mikey’s.
“Yeah, good party Frank,” Mikey concedes. He just wants Frank to let go of his arm.
“Why don’t you stay a little bit so we can get to know one another?” Frank asks as he finally releases Mikey’s arm.
“Um, it’s late, I don’t know,” Mikey falters. He’s not good at being put on the spot in uncomfortable places.
“Oh, come on, you’re young,” Frank winks at him and Mikey feels suddenly sick. Frank pulls him along anyway and sits Mikey down in the living room. Frank sits next to him, kicks up his feet on the table and turns on the TV.
“So what you do for a living?” Frank asks as he flips through channels.
“I, um, I’m a computer engineer,” Mikey answers and tries to shift away from Frank.
“So you sit in front of a computer all day and write code?” Frank asks.
“Yeah, but it’s great money and it’s challenging,” Mikey replies as if he feels Frank is implying computers jobs are only for hardcore nerds.
“Yeah, that’s awesome, I used to play around on computers a lot before I got my first guitar, now I just play music in bands that always end up falling apart just as a new one starts up,” Frank muses, eyes on the TV.
“So how did you end up here, besides your grandparents?” Mikey asks.
“It was just time for something different, I always knew I was going to move here, my grandparents left this house in the will and my family just rented it until now,” Frank answers and turns to look at Mikey, “What brought you here?”
“Um, it was quiet and nice and had a big backyard, apartments are too cramped and I, I like to garden so,” Mikey quietly responds.
“Oh yeah, I saw your garden, you did all that? It’s fucking great, I wish I could do that,” Frank replies in awe as he finally looks at Mikey.
“I think I should be going now,” Mikey says and fakes a yawn that turns into a real yawn, “It’s getting late.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll see you again neighbor,” Frank laughs and walks Mikey to the door.
The next morning Mikey goes out to work in his garden; he has some new seeds he wants to try out in the far corner. Mikey puts on a pair of gym shorts and an old t-shirt since he’ll probably get dirt all over himself. He sets a small antenna radio nearby and tunes it to the station that plays music from all the recent decades. He almost forgets a bottle of water and a bandanna to wipe his forehead with.
Mikey starts makes rows of holes of an exact depth when he hears his name being called. Mikey looks up and sees Frank climbing over the small fence separating their yards.
“Hey man, what are you doing?” Frank asks. Mikey thinks it’s obvious what he is doing, but he’ll humor Frank anyway.
“I’m planting some seeds,” Mikey replies and goes back to his hole digging.
“That’s cool, can I help?” Frank asks and Mikey cringes. Gardening is his time to zone out and do something productive with his hands other than type endlessly on a keyboard.
“Um, you can…make sure each hole I dig is 3 inches deep,” Mikey says. Frank gives him a quick look, then quickly shouts that he’ll do it.
They work like that for a short period before Frank gets bored and starts to bother Mikey.
“Can you help me with my own garden? I think I could do one, like grow tomatoes and then I can make my own pasta sauce and it will be so good that I’ll bottle and sell it and then I’d get bought out for millions by like Ragu,” Frank goes on as he lays on his back in the soft grass.
Mikey just nods along to Frank’s diatribe about the safety of organic food versus genetically engineered food and finishes his work. When it’s time to break for lunch, Frank walks right inside Mikey’s house with him as if Mikey invited him.
“I can make you lunch since you did like all the work,” Frank offers. Mikey is hesitant to let Frank bang around in his kitchen, but he’s sweaty and hungry and needs to wash up.
“Okay, but don’t burn the place, break anything, cook poison, hurt yourself, or anything outside of making lunch, I’ll be upstairs washing up,” Mikey commands.
“Yes sir!” Frank calls out to Mikey’s retreating back.
When Mikey returns downstairs he is surprised to find the table set and what looks like grilled cheese sandwiches sitting on plates.
“I didn’t know what else to make,” Frank sheepishly claims.
“No, this is great,” Mikey says and actually smiles.
They sit and eat their sandwiches in silence for a few minutes before Frank starts asking Mikey about his decorating choices. He’s got a few blown-up prints of classic comic book covers, one hidden picture of his family and not much else besides furniture from Ikea. Mikey couldn’t really afford much after he bought the house, but he’s saving up for that.
“I can help you decorate some more, I got these great abstract prints that my friend helps me print out on glossy paper and frame, I’m thinking of selling them but I have a few in mind that you would totally love,” Frank reels.
“That’s okay, I’m happy with my decorations,” Mikey tersely replies. Frank looks crestfallen.
“Oh, well they’re original prints by me, I’m going to be famous some day, so it’s your lost,” Frank says, looking away.
“I can take a look at them,” Mikey gives in and Frank smiles again. He kind of thinks he likes it better when Frank is smiling.
“So I was thinking…do you want to come out with me and friends tonight? We’re going to some bars in the city and it’s going to be awesome,” Frank says, all excited again.
“Frank, it’s Sunday and I have work tomorrow,” Mikey answers, getting annoyed again as he places their plates in the dishwasher.
“But you work with computers, can’t you work from home for one day?” Frank asks.
Technically, yes, Mikey can work remotely from home if he wanted to, most people at his work do it at least one or two days a week, but Mikey is trying to get noticed by his bosses and maybe get a promotion.
“Please, it will so much fun, my friends are great people, we have a designated driver and we’ll just drink a little and dance and whatever, please Mikey,” Frank pleads, his wide eyes wider and kind of creepy.
“Umm, if I do will you leave me alone when I’m gardening? I like to work in peace out there,” Mikey responds, hands on his hips.
“Oh yeah, sure, I’ll leave you to your garden gnomes or whatever,” Frank laughs, “Well finish your gardening and come over at eight sharp.”
“Okay, okay, I don’t know how you’re getting me to do this,” Mikey sighs.
“It’s because I’m so cute,” Frank replies and walks out.
Mikey goes back out into his garden, plants his seeds and finishes up. Hopefully in a few weeks he’ll see something sprout. He goes back inside and slides down onto his couch. He wonders how Frank has infiltrated his life so fast. He guesses it could be worse – Frank could play the bagpipes instead of the guitar.
Mikey gets ready like normal, putting something on a bit more causal like when he goes to bars with his brother. He walks over to Frank’s house right on time, but when Frank opens the door his face drops.
“Mikey you can’t wear that out tonight, how old are you?” Frank says and drags Mikey in and up the stairs. He pulls him into Frank’s bedroom, which is messy as can be and it makes Mikey uncomfortable. Mikey looks out the window that is aligned with his own bedroom window except his shades are drawn tight.
“You can borrow something of mine,” Frank decides. He starts throwing shirts from the floor to another spot on the floor until he makes an ‘aha’ and stands up holding a dirty t-shirt.
“This is my favorite shirt, so don’t puke on it, okay?” Frank instructs and hands him a faded, thin ACDC shirt. Mikey just holds it in his hands like he doesn’t know what to do with it. Frank is still shifting around his mounds of clothing.
“Well are you going to put it on?” Frank asks as he looks up at Mikey. Mikey is about to ask where the bathroom is when Frank comes up to him and practically yanks Mikey’s shirt off him. Mikey turns pink from this stomach up and quickly slips the t-shirt on.
“I don’t think I have pants that will fit you, you’re too tall, but here’s a hoodie,” Frank tells him and hands him another well-worn piece of clothing. Mikey looks at himself in the mirror and supposes he looks okay.
They head back downstairs to the living room where people are apparently waiting for them.
“Mikey, this is Bob and Ray and James, and guys, this is Mikey my next door neighbor.”
Everyone says hello to Mikey and so far they seem nice and not too much like ax-murders. They exit the house and get into an old Cadillac Seville. Ray is the designated driver and Bob sits up front for radio control. James, Frank and Mikey squeeze into the back, with Mikey stuffed in the middle and Frank practically sinking into the cushions and the side of Mikey’s body.
The guys try to talk over the loud music but Mikey feels pretty left out of their conversation. From what he can tell they’re all in a band together as they endlessly speak of songs and riffs. James seems to be the really crazy one, chain-smoking cigarettes out the window and twitching and screaming. Frank tries to make talk with Mikey but it’s too hard to hear.
After forty-five minutes they reach the city and pick their first club, some place called Sparkles. Frank promises they’ll only stay here an hour before they move on to some bars.
When they walk inside Mikey almost passes out – it’s clearly an overt male gay club. Mikey is suddenly paranoid that Frank knows Mikey is a very closeted-gay and took him here on purpose. But when he looks around he sees the other guys jumping around and having fun. Mikey definitely needs a drink.
Mikey walks up to crowded bar and is shocked to see the male bartenders in little hot pants. He gets the attention of one and orders a beer, but apparently they don’t serve beer here, only specialty cocktails.
“I recommend a Captain Jack Sparrow,” Frank calls out to Mikey as he sidles up to him.
“Okay, two Captain Jack Sparrows, or whatever,” Mikey orders and smirks at Frank. Frank only gets closer.
“Okay, that’ll be twenty-five,” the bartender says and Frank quickly slips him the cash.
They walk away from the bar to a tall table and Mikey tentatively takes a sip of his drink. He almost spits it out immediately as it burns his throat like no other drink before.
“What the fuck is in this?” Mikey yells.
“Well, let me think…pineapple juice and peach liqueur, spiced rum and oh, Bacardi 151, my favorite,” Frank winks and takes a gulp of his drink. Frank must be made of steel to down 151 like that.
“Oh well, great,” Mikey sarcastically replies and looks down at his overpriced drink that Frank paid for. Mikey figures if he’s going to get through this night he’ll need to be absolutely wasted. So he downs the cocktail in one go and smirks right back at Frank.
“That’s a-boy, now let’s dance,” Frank commands as he pulls Mikey to the dance floor. Mikey hasn’t danced since he was in college and his head is already spinning, but he has a go at it and tries to keep up with Frank.
But Mikey can’t help staring at Frank’s tiny, lithe body as he rocks his hips near Mikey’s – it’s not even obscene, just natural and fun. Mikey tries to mimic him, but he can’t come close with his too long limbs. Frank keeps getting closer and closer to Mikey’s body and Mikey will need more alcohol right away if Frank keeps this up.
Eventually James, Ray and Bob pop up behind them and they stop dancing. James has two beverages in his fists and is talking sips from both of them. Bob has an empty glass and Ray is, of course, sober.
“How do you do it, stay sober around this?” Mikey asks into Ray’s ear.
“We take turns,” Ray replies and smiles. At least Ray smells nice and isn’t sweaty like the other guys.
“So what do you play in the band?” Mikey asks him.
“I play lead guitar, Bob plays drums, James plays bass and sometimes keyboard and Frank is vocals,” Ray answers. James starts jumping around them and places his empty glasses on a nearby table. Eventually he jumps over to Mikey and swings an arm around him.
“So Michael, what is it that you do?” James slurs, breath hot in Mikey’s ear.
“He’s a computer engineer for some evil company that plans to take over the world,” Frank shouts, leaping into the conversation.
“Oh really, well I better keep my eye on you then, evil boy,” James replies and slinks away.
“Come on, more drinks,” Frank pleads to Mikey as he slowly drags him to the bar.
“My choice this time,” Mikey commands and turns to the bartender, “Two gin and tonics.”
“That’s fine, that’s okay Mikey Way, I’ll get you later,” Frank smiles and Mikey almost leans down into him.
They drink up and then it’s about time to move on. So they get in the car, Frank on the hump this time and drive around until they find a respectable place with parking. They get a rounded booth and decide to order some food to sop up the excess alcohol.
“Sorry we took you to a gay bar, we just always do that for fun, it’s quiet the crowd there you know,” Frank whispers into Mikey’s ear and he sounds entirely sober.
“It’s all right, definitely interesting,” Mikey whispers back.
They order French fries and onion rings and pints of lager. It’s nice to be sitting down and relaxing, except for the few moments when Bob has to keep James in check.
Mikey starts a conversation with Ray about his job as it turns out Ray knows quite a bit about computers and coding languages himself. Frank makes yawning noises at Mikey’s ear, but Mikey can’t stop talking about computers once he starts.
Frank starts to get antsy and Bob is kind of bored with lager and ale, so they decide to go to one more place. Mikey asks Bob if he can sit in the front seat this time so he can finish his conversation with Ray. Bob agrees and vows him not to change the disc already in there.
Ray drives around aimlessly as Mikey and him talk and Frank starts to kick the back of Mikey’s seat.
“What the fuck is wrong?” Mikey ask as he spins around to look at Frank. He looks like a little kid tucked into the backseat.
“Nothing, I’m fucking bored, pick a place Toro,” Frank yells and kicks on Mikey’s seat again.
“Oh, there’s that awesome club we went to a couple months ago,” Bob points out and they agree to go there.
Frank gets out of the car and tries to act happy again as he pulls Mikey away from Ray and into the club. They pay a ridiculous cover charge, but get two drink tickets each. This place is dark and moody and females are actually present.
Frank drags Mikey to the bar and orders them two Blue Motherfuckers. Then Frank takes Mikey to a tiny secluded booth and sits him down. They drink in silence when Frank starts to sidle closer to Mikey. He rests his head on Mikey’s arm and Mikey prays that he’s not about to vomit or pass out.
“Are you sick Frank?” Mikey asks. Frank sits straight up.
“No, why did you think that?” he asks, “Whatever, let’s just dance,” Frank says and stands up.
Mikey follows him onto the dance floor and Frank gets immediately into it again, like his bones will turn brittle if he just doesn’t move. Mikey starts to pick up the pace and watch Frank as he trembles in front of him, on top of him, Frank’s eyes closed and his face relaxed. Frank grabs Mikey in his arms and moves with him and it’s so sensual and carnal, Mikey has never moved this fluidly in his life.
Frank gets even closer, his legs intertwining between Mikey’s thighs and Mikey feels what he thinks is Frank’s hard-on. Frank notices too, and jumps back right away and scratches the back of his head like he doesn’t know what to do next. But it’s okay, Mikey knows those things happen, and he had his eyes closed so maybe he was imagining Mikey as a sexy female.
“It’s okay, dude, let’s get a drink,” Mikey whispers into his ear and pulls Frank with him.
They sit down again with their drinks, the other guys off who knows where, and they just sit there, drunk and tired.
“I was just so caught up in the moment, didn’t mean to surprise you there,” Frank mumbles and for once Mikey sees him as embarrassed and not so brash. It’s kind of endearing.
The rest of the guys walk up, wailing about how they couldn’t find them for a hour and that it’s time to get out of here. Once they get outside Frank does puke and Mikey feels the obligation to take care of him.
They get Frank in the car, but he is still kind of dizzy and half passed out, so Mikey cuddles him in the backseat and keeps his head tilted to the side in case he vomits again.
They make it home in record speed and Mikey kind of wants to take care of Frank at his place, but he knows Ray is sober and can handle it. It would be weird otherwise. But Ray is intuitive and invites Mikey to stay the night, saying he couldn’t just leave them at this point.
So Ray and Frank each help Frank up the stairs to his bedroom and Ray starts to undress Frank down to his boxers.
“This isn’t the first time this has happened,” Ray says. Mikey walks into the adjoining bathroom and find a towel to wet and wipe Frank’s sweaty face with. He grabs the Listerine and the Advil for later.
“I’m just going to go downstairs and eat some food and pass out, I’m sure he’ll be fine, there’s plenty of other rooms with futons or sleeping bags so you can sleep,” Ray explains.
“Okay, I think I’ll just stay here for a few minutes,” Mikey quietly replies.
Ray exits, closing the door behind him. Mikey sits on the bed next to Frank and the alcohol finally hits him like a rock. Mikey quickly passes out next to Frank, his hand resting on Frank’s stomach.
Mikey wakes up with a vicious headache and dry, horrible breath. He notices the Advil and Listerine he set out the night before and starts to go for it when Frank comes marching into his bedroom with one glass of water and another with OJ. Mikey is thankful and completely mortified.
“Have fun last night?” Frank asks in a low-tone voice as if he knows firsthand how Mikey’s head feels.
“The most fun, could you point me in the direction of my glasses?” Mikey asks. Frank hands him his glasses and four Advil.
“I guess I should go and get to work at home,” Mikey groans.
“Well, I’ll walk you out, the other guys are still asleep, so typical,” Frank states.
Mikey stands up with some initial effort and makes it down the stairs and out the front door. Frank waves him goodbye and looks as if he just lost his teddy bear.
Mikey stumbles inside and checks his voicemail. Four messages from work wondering where the hell he’s at. Maybe he should just suck it up and go in. But the migraine blooming in Mikey’s head tells him it would be better to just call out sick.
Mikey lays in bed, watching television in between sleep and the phone ringing every half hour. He finally picks up on his brother’s fifth call.
“What the fuck Gerard?” Mikey shouts into the receiver.
“Wow, what the fuck is wrong with you?” Gerard asks, halfway between annoyed and concerned.
“I’m absolutely hung-over and it’s the worst thing in the world, I rather die right now,” Mikey complains.
“Right. Why were you drinking on a Sunday night?” Gerard asks with that smirk in this voice.
“My new neighbor, he won’t leave me alone and he dragged me out with his friends and it was awkward so I had to drink myself stupid,” Mikey kind of lies.
“Right, new neighbor. The one you hate?” Gerard continues on with his higher-than-mighty tone of voice.
“Yes, that one,” Mikey answers, too tired to argue.
“Well I’m coming over to take care of you, see you soon!” And he hangs up. Mikey really knows that his brother is only coming over to check out said neighbor.
The doorbell rings half an hour later, but the fucker has keys and is just trying to mess with Mikey. Gerard walks in the room with a grin and plops down on the bed.
“What the fuck are you wearing?” Gerard asks incredulously. Mikey forgot his is still wearing Frank’s shirt.
“Nothing, fucking clothes, is that a problem?” Mikey exclaims as he puts a hand to his forehead. Maybe his agony will stop Gerard from being an annoying asshole, but it’s doubtful.
“That isn’t your shirt, I know for a fact, so don’t lie…is it the neighbor’s? Did he throw out your hideously lame clothing before he agreed to go out in public with you?” Gerard laughs and falls back onto the bed.
“Actually, yes, that’s exactly what happened.” Mikey turns on his side facing away from Gerard. Gerard jumps up suddenly and Mikey knows bad news will follow.
“You know what you need? Well I’ll tell you, you need some light in this dingy, smelly room, you need to shower, get dressed in your normal clothing and go play with your flowers or whatever shit you do out there,” Gerard states, his plan set in stone in at least his mind.
“Gerard, nooo, I just want to curl into a ball and die and that’s it. Is that so much to ask for?”
“Did something embarrassing happen last night? Is that why you want to die and leave your brother your wonderful house?” Gerard asks. He knows Mikey way too well.
“Let’s just go with plan A, okay?” Mikey replies, knowing his brother won’t give up no matter what. His older brother was placed on this earth to solely torture his impending younger brother. Gerard opens the shades and looks out the window. His eyes go saucer-wide.
“Is that the neighbor? Oh my, he’s cute isn’t he?” Gerard coos and Mikey stomps over and closes the shades. He prays Frank didn’t see that.
“Can we just eat or something? Help me through my pain, will you?” Mikey complains and walks downstairs.
Gerard starts poking around the kitchen when the doorbell rings. Mikey looks at Gerard and gives him a nod to go answer it. Gerard comes walking back in with Frank, who is carrying tupperware of food.
“So I just met your new neighbor, Frank right?” Gerard asks and takes the food containers out of Frank’s hands.
“Frank, Gerard, Gerard, Frank,” Mikey mumbles and he is so not ready for this.
“I just wanted to check on how you’re feeling, last time I was here you didn’t have much food so I brought some just in case,” Frank says. Frank looks between Gerard’s awful smirk and Mikey’s frown and appears confused.
“Well I don’t want to interrupt you, so I guess I’ll just head back now,” Frank says almost dejected.
“Nonsense, let us all enjoy the food you brought,” Gerard replies and starts setting the table. Mikey wants to die even more – why is his brother such a twisted freak?
They all sit down at the table with a plateful of lasagna that Frank’s mother apparently made. Mikey picks at his food, not sure if his stomach can handle it, but he doesn’t want to be rude so he eats as much as he can.
“Your mother makes good lasagna, Frank, you should have her come over and teach Mikey a thing or two,” Gerard laughs.
“Yeah, she’s great. So, um, what do you do Gerard?” Frank politely asks.
“I work in graphic design and do side projects for extra cash, it’s a lot cooler than what Mikey does, that’s for sure,” Gerard laughs again. Mikey drops his fork and knife against the table, stand up and pulls Gerard out into the other room by the collar of his shirt.
“What the fuck are you doing Gerard? Trying to ruin my life like usual? I finally make a friend and you’re making me out to be some kind of incompetent goon when I’m actually doing much better in life than you are. So either shut the fuck up or leave,” Mikey yells a bit too loud.
“Fine, I’m sorry, I don’t realize how I get some times,” Gerard apologizes and pulls Mikey into a hug. They walk into the kitchen where Frank is sitting over his plate of lasagna.
“Frank, it was nice meeting you, but I have to go now and run some errands, maybe I’ll see you again,” Gerard says, “Thanks for the food.”
“No problem, nice meeting you too,” Frank replies.
Mikey walks Gerard to the door while Frank cleans up their lunch. Mikey walks back in and Frank is staring out the sliding glass doors at the garden.
“I was jealous,” Frank says against the door.
“What?” Mikey steps closer.
“Of Gerard, I thought he was your boyfriend or something, and of Ray, when you kept talking to him all night.” Frank doesn’t turn around, just breathes humid air onto the glass.
Mikey doesn’t say anything – he doesn’t know what to say. What does this mean, Frank was jealous? Is he possessive of his friends, or does he mean something more?
“Mikey,” Frank calls out, “Teach me how to garden.”
“Okay,” Mikey answers and the word feels scratchy again his throat.
Mikey goes upstairs to change out of last night’s clothing and into something more comfortable for gardening. He grabs his toolbox that’s filled with seeds, nitrile gloves, soil pH testers, pruning shears, a weeder, and a hand-held spade. His larger tools are locked up outside in his tiny shed.
“Why don’t we start a garden in your yard? Just a small one to see how it goes and when it starts to get colder we’ll transplant plants that can survive the fall and early winter,” Mikey explains.
Mikey starts tilling a patch of ground in the sun, mixing in compost for organic matter. Frank rakes the soil down but keeps it loose. Mikey goes through what he has left for seeds while Frank checks the pH of the soil. Most of what he has left are low maintenance plants known for their soft, romantic flowers. It might seem odd, but it will have to do.
But Mikey realizes they should water the soil bed for a week so the weeds grow in order to be pulled out. They should also get some stones to place a border around it. Frank doesn’t mind the wait. Actually, he doesn’t quite seem like himself. Mikey is surprised at how much this is bothering him, how seeing Frank deflated makes him sad too.
“Why don’t you come in and watch a movie with me?” Mikey asks, hoping he won’t refuse and ruin his plan.
“Um, maybe I should go home, I don’t want to overstay my welcome, so,” Frank replies. But Mikey pulls his arm just like Frank has done to him ten times by now and yanks him inside the house. They take turns washing the dirt off their hands and then Mikey marches him to the couch.
“Stay right here while I go make popcorn, or whatever it is I have,” Mikey commands. Frank just settles into the couch and turns on the TV.
Mikey comes back with some Skittles instead, but Frank seems pleased. Mikey starts going through his DVD collection, but decides to let Frank choose the movie. He picks Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 version of Lolita.
They sit back and watch the first half hour of the movie in comfortable silence. But Mikey has realized what Frank was talking about and what he wants, and he wants it too. But being out of practice, his starts with his arm around Frank’s tiny shoulders. Frank doesn’t say anything, but cuddles into it. They stay like that for awhile, but Frank is starting to turn back into his twitchy self. Mikey doesn’t know what to do next.
“Oh fuck it Mikey, so you’re dense,” Frank yells and presses his lips firmly to Mikey, their arms reaching around to envelope one another.
Mikey finds that Frank’s kissing is just like his dancing – unbearably hot and confident, natural and sexy, and maybe this time, just a bit obscene. Mikey never felt this good in years and he can’t stop squeezing Frank or kissing him.
But Frank is always ten step ahead of him and he starts stripping his clothes off. Frank nods at Mikey to do the same, so he strips down and there they are, naked against one another. Mikey looks down to see the thing that poked him in his thigh last night, and he is thoroughly impressed.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” Frank breathes into Mikey’s ear, having clearly been caught checking out Frank’s dick.
Frank starts to slide down Mikey’s skinny body and kisses his pelvic area, but avoids Mikey’s obvious hard-on. He kisses and nips further down, spreading Mikey’s legs to tickle the inside of his muscular thighs with his tongue. Mikey is quietly whimpering at the sensations, a shiver vibrating its way down Mikey from head to toe.
Finally Frank takes him in his mouth but continues to tease him a moment longer before going completely down to the shaft. Mikey decides one moan couldn’t hurt, but Frank stops and looks at Mikey in complete awe for that. Then Mikey pushes his head down and Frank resumes his awesome blowjob. Mikey warns him when he’s about to come, but he doesn’t move and just swallows it all. No one has ever swallowed for Mikey.
Frank crawls back into Mikey’s arms and whispers something in his ear. Mikey is a little surprised at first, but he thinks can handle it. So he runs upstairs and digs through his top dresser drawer for condoms and lube. He briefly turns on the light to make sure they haven’t died with age and disuse.
When he comes back down Frank is laying on the floor slowly stroking himself. Mikey has never been this lucky in his sexual conquests before, to have a beautiful and sexy man just waiting for him like nothing else in the world even matters – everyone else in Mikey’s small love life have quickly turned and left. He gets down by Frank and hands him the items.
Mikey turns onto his back and spreads his legs again. Frank lubes his fingers and begins to prepare Mikey. They’re both anxious so shortly Frank is sliding on the condom and lubing it up extra.
Frank slides in slowly, letting Mikey figure things out and then he pushes all the way in and Mikey’s pupils turn backwards. Mikey knows the intensity is not just about sex, but the feelings that are behind it – he thinks Frank feels the same way.
Frank doesn’t last long as he pants over Mikey’s sweaty body and pushes with all his might. He collapses over Mikey and breathes heavily.
“I like you Mikey, I hope you know that,” Frank whispers.
“I like you too, except when you’re all sad and quiet, then not so much,” Mikey giggles and exhales slowly. He feels oddly happy and satisfied. They briefly clean up, but Mikey knows it will be his turn soon.
The next day Mikey wakes up early with Frank next to him in his bed. Frank held onto Mikey for dear life throughout the whole night, but Mikey didn’t mind too much. After Mikey quickly replays last night in his mind and wipes the sleep out of his eyes, he hears talking coming from underneath the covers.
“Oh shit, I gotta go Gerard, he woke up, text me later okay!” Frank says and flips the phone shut.
“What the fuck?” Mikey asks, then “Screw it, Gerard always manages to weasel his way in one way or another. Might as well get used to it.”
Frank kisses Mikey back into being calm and they lay there in bed for some time.
“You know, I immediately hated you when you moved into the neighborhood, I wanted you banned,” Mikey admits and kind of laughs.
“Yeah, you acted pretty weird toward me, but not outright rude, so, glad you changed your mind,” Frank replies.
“Who said I changed my mind?” Mikey snickers. Frank steps out of bed naked and admires himself in the full-length mirror.
“Not bad, not bad, you got lucky Way,” he states with a grin, “I think I’m going to head on home and get changed and have band practice and maybe, maybe I might stop by later or something, I don’t know, I have so much to do.”
“That’s okay, I’ll be at work making up for a lot of lost, lost time,” Mikey smiles.
“Right, jobs, ugh,” Frank gags, “See you maybe later…um, my clothes are downstairs right?”
The remainder of the summer flies by, but they manage to create a beautiful and healthy garden for Frank’s backyard. He insisted on getting a birdbath, but when the chirping of the birds every morning woke Frank up he passed it off to the far corner of Mikey’s yard.
Frank has been living off of cash he’s made from selling his photographs and doing shows with his band, but things are tight even though he doesn’t pay rent or a mortgage. He’s thinking of getting a “real” job and this makes Mikey proud, but he comes up with a better idea.
“I’ll just sell my house and move in with you, so we’ll have money for utilities and no mortgage and that way you don’t have to get some job as a bill collector or as the burger-flipper at Burger King. You can focus on your art and your music and get fucking famous,” Mikey explains.
Frank looks at him skeptically, then kind of offended and then grins.
“You want to move in with me? Like live with me night and day?” Frank asks.
“Yeah, we’re always together anyway and I want it to stay that way.”
“Hmm, this means I can’t jerk off in my bedroom thinking of you because you’ll be right there,” Frank explains.
“Well, there’s the shower, or you know, since I’m there already we could jerk each other off, but just a thought,” Mikey answers.
“That seems reasonable,” Frank agrees.
“Okay, but one more condition, I get a room for all my expensive computer shit and you sound-proof the basement for band practices,” Mikey offers and Frank accepts with a wink.
“Oh, grandma and grandpa Iero would be so proud, two gay men living together in their house in a loving, caring relationship with compromises and shit and stuff,” Frank sighs.
“They would be proud of the garden definitely,” Mikey replies.
“They would be proud that their only grandson found love no matter what,” Frank whispers and curls into Mikey’s lap.
“Well my mother is still transitioning, but Gerard is thrilled so maybe he’ll stop being such a dick and buy us a toaster,” Mikey says, but wishful thinking.
“Oh! Maybe he’ll buy your house!” Frank exclaims.
“Yeah, he’ll buy the house, but I’ll get ripped off,” Mikey answers knowingly.
“I know, we can set him up with James, they can go fucking crazy and weird together,” Frank suggests.
Mikey stands up and pulls Frank into his arms. They walk outside to their gardens and admire them and all the work, patience and love that went into them.
Gardening is no longer a solitary event for Mikey and neither is anything else he does in his life.