"Where are we going?"
"The, um, the Starbucks on the corner."
"Gee, it's like…eight in the morning. I could've made you coffee at home!"
"I need to talk to Mikey and Ray."
"Right now? C'mon, can't it wait? You made me disrobe and now you're not going to do anything about it?" Frank was actually pouting now, his arms crossed as he glowered at me from under the dark fringe of his hair.
"I wasn't…shut up, just…" I slammed on the brakes in the car as a red light appeared out of nowhere. My heart was pounding, and not from the near-accident I'd just had. I'd texted Mikey and Ray after running upstairs and muttering excuses about having to take a shower (which was true, but that doesn't mean I actually did). The simple message read:
starbucks on main. now
I figured I'd gotten my point across.
Ignoring Frank's whining and suggestive suggestions, I pulled into the tiny parking lot and all but shoved him out of the car. He was being quieter now, and looking at me in a way which could have been concerned. Most people looked at me like that, so I wouldn't have known the difference. Still, I was grateful that he let me drag him into Starbucks, seeing Mikey and Ray already there – they both lived closer to the place than I did. They were looking at Frank curiously…they were looking at Frank! My heart sped up. I wasn't insane. He was real. Frank was real!
"Frank, can you stay here for a second? I um…I need to…"
"Yeah, go ahead, Gee." Frank was furrowing his brow, trying to figure this all out. I hurried over to my brother and friend.
"Who's that guy?" Mikey asked immediately, raising his eyebrows. Probably, he thought Frank was much too attractive for me. He was very right.
"Frank," I whispered, my eyes wide.
They both stared at me.
"He's alive," I said faintly. "I don't understand how, but…I went downstairs this morning and he was just there, in the middle of my kitchen. He thinks he's real."
"Let me get this straight," Ray said finally, "the Frank Iero you were writing about in the romance story…that's him? He just showed up?"
"I know it's unbelievable, but he's the Frank Iero. He's got all the tattoos and mannerisms and everything, and he thinks he knows you guys and that he and I have been together for five years. And according to the story, I'm going to ask him to marry me in what, twelve days now?"
"What if you don't?"
I threw up my hands. "I don't know! I don't want to know."
"Can you change the story?" This was asked by Mikey, very calm and unruffled, as usual. I'd never know how he did it.
"I…" I blinked. "I don't know."
I jumped, Frank was right behind me. For a second I feared he'd heard our entire conversation, but from the merely inquisitive look on his face, I knew that was not the case.
"Oh," I said lamely, "just this book Mikey read. He wished he could change the ending."
"It was a bad book," Ray added pointlessly.
"What book was it?" Frank asked, and he was definitely suspicious now.
"Twilight," I supplied, and Mikey glared at me.
Frank huffed at my brother. "C'mon, really, dude? Why would you even…how many hours of your life did you waste reading that?"
Mikey sighed. "Alicia forced me into it."
"She likes those books?"
"No. She wanted to make sure I disliked them as much as she does."
Frank giggled. "Remind me to hug her next time I see her."
Ray cleared his throat. "Um, I'm not so sure that-"
I cut him off with a very loud and pointed cough. We could tell Alicia later.
"Right, then," said Ray, standing up, "who wants what? Coffee, breakfast?"
I gave him Frank's coffee order, because I already knew it.
In fact, I knew everything about him.
"Not that I don't love it and all, Gee, but…what's all this for?" Frank blinked at me from across the table in the restaurant, long lashes batting across hazel green eyes. Oh, god, now I sound like a romance novel. Make it end.
Actually, no. Frank being real had proved to be rather rewarding, and I didn't particularly want that to end anytime soon. Besides the fact that, well, he was gorgeous, he was also basically perfect in my eyes because I had created him. That sounded awfully arrogant, but I didn't mean it like that. There was just something incredible and satisfying about seeing your own creation in the flesh, perfect down to the way he chewed his lip ring and how he said a few words with a Jersey accent, drawing out the vowels and making it sound inhumanly hot. Jersey accents were not hot. It was probably just Frank.
Anyway, we were going out for dinner at the fanciest place I could find in town, some Italian place called La Casa Bianca. All the waiters wore pure white uniforms and it was beginning to make my eyes hurt. In fact, I was so distracted by their fluorescent clothing that Frank had to repeat himself.
"Gee?! What's all this for?"
"Oh," I said, turning back to him. "I don't know. I know you like Italian food." And your favorite pasta is cavatappi with pesto sauce, you hate pepperoni pizza, and you love fruit flavored Italian ices.
"That's because I am Italian," Frank said, raising an eyebrow. "It's kind of a given."
"Well, I'm half Italian, so, you know, I thought we should take advantage of things we have in common-"
"We're also both very attractive. We could take advantage of that, too." He winked.
I rolled my eyes and was saved by the waiter wishing to take our orders.
Sure enough, Frank got cavatappi with pesto and a strawberry Italian ice.
We also split a pizza – half cheese and half pepperoni.
I think you can guess who didn't want the meat on his half.