A Necessary Requirement
Frank shut his cellphone and reached up to slide it onto the couch. He tucked it under Mikey’s thigh for safekeeping, turned to Gerard, who was lying on the floor next to him, and said,
“He’s gonna do it. Jepha’s gonna get a cock sleeve.”
Gerard screwed his face up and jammed his hands between his thighs, curling them protectively over his crotch like a rogue tattoo artist might leap out and come at him with a needle at any moment. “Jesus Christ.”
“Why?” Ray, sitting next to Mikey, had his hands over his face. He moaned into them. “Why would someone do that?”
Frank shrugged. “I dunno, that dude’s insane. So the other guys can pick him out of a cock and balls line up, maybe?”
“Right,” said Mikey. “All the cock and balls line ups he’s likely to need picking out of, Christ.”
“Your new best friend is Pete Wentz,” Frank said, knuckling Mikey’s bony shin. “He probably needs picking out of a cock and balls line up like three times a day.”
“Fuck you,” said Mikey. He stomped his foot around near Frank’s shoulder.
Frank rolled away to avoid it. He looked up at Ray. “You think you could pick me out of a cock and balls line up?”
“Uh, yeah. You’re naked all the fucking time,” Ray said, not sounding too happy about it. He took his hands off his face and pulled a bag of gummi bears out of his pocket. “Seriously, how hard is it to remember to put on clothes before you get out of your bunk?”
“Prude,” said Frank. He held his hand out for a gummi bear and Ray ignored him, the bastard candy scrooge. “You’re a prude and a bastard candy scrooge.”
“Even if you weren’t naked all the time, we could just look for your tattoos,” Gerard piped up suddenly. Then he frowned. “Or is it like a glory hole set up, where you can’t see anything else?”
Frank stuck his hand in Gerard’s shirt and tickled his side. “When have you been visiting glory holes, huh?”
Gerard rolled away, saying, “In porn! In porn!” in a high-pitched voice. Then he banged his head on the coffee table and immediately rolled back to Frank to have it petted.
Frank let Gerard arrange himself on top of him, kissed his forehead, and said, “I probably couldn’t pick you out of a line up, though. I’ve never seen your dick.”
Gerard yawned and snuggled closer. “That’s okay. Mikey could do it.”
Frank looked around Gerard’s hair at Mikey. “You've seen Gerard’s dick?”
Mikey rolled his eyes and said, “Well yeah,” at the same time that Gerard said, “We shared a room,” and Ray said, “They’re brothers, Frank.”
Frank gave them all the finger. “Excuse me for being an only child, fuck.”
“I shared a room with three brothers, you know,” Ray said.
“We all know,” Frank told him. Ray threw a gummi bear at him. Frank caught it and ate it, and then asked Mikey, “So what’s it like?”
“It’s my brother’s,” Mikey said, looking determinedly down at his Sidekick. “That’s all I wish to say on the matter.”
“I’ve seen it,” Ray said suddenly.
Gerard lifted his head off Frank’s shoulder, looking horrified. “When?”
“In the locker room, this one time,” Ray said, grinning. He bit the head off a gummi bear. “In high school.”
“Oh, my God,” Gerard moaned. He pulled Frank’s sweater over his face.
“What’s it like?” Frank said again, banging his fist on Ray’s foot for emphasis. “Everyone’s seen it but me!”
Ray ate another gummi bear. “I’m not sure it’s fair to describe it. I mean, I’m sure it’s…matured since then.”
Gerard pulled his head out of Frank’s sweater. “Fuck you, you fucking tripod,” he said. His hair was sticking up everywhere. “Just because you need two hands to piss.”
Ray grabbed his crotch and shook it. “Damn right.”
Frank took advantage of Gerard’s distraction to try and pry his waistband away from his body. He looked down, but all he could see were his own fingers jammed underneath Gerard’s belt.
Gerard looked down too. “What are you doing?”
“Trying to see your dick.” Frank tugged harder. “It can’t be that small, unless you’ve been stuffing a sock down your pants or something.”
“A stuffer!” Ray laughed and slapped his thigh. Ray was like the only person who actually did that in real life, Frank was pretty sure. “He’s a stuffer!”
“I’m not a stuffer!” Gerard protested. “Mikey, back me up!”
Mikey held his Sidekick in front of his face as if he thought that would hide the fact he was totally trying not to laugh. “I am so not getting involved.”
“Let me see,” Frank insisted, wrestling with Gerard’s belt buckle. Gerard squirmed and fought him. “Come on, is it weird?”
“No, it’s not weird!” Gerard tried to scramble away, but Frank clung and let his dead weight hold Gerard down. “It’s a totally normal, average-sized, regular-shaped dick. That I would rather keep to myself, thank you very much.”
“Bob!” Frank hollered, twisting to look towards the bunks. “Gerard won’t show me his dick!”
“He’s not here,” Ray told him.
“If he was, he’d be on my side,” Gerard said confidently. “Bob’s my dog.”
“I’m not interested in your dog,” Frank said. “I’m interested in your dick.”
Gerard waved a hand around. “So are a lot of people.”
“Ugh, fine.” Frank dug his chin hard into Gerard’s shoulder. “You and your weird body issues, Christ.”
“This has nothing to do with my weird body issues,” Gerard said, wriggling away. “I just happen to think that dick-showing is something that should happen within the confines of a stable, loving relationship.”
“And just what do you think we have?” Frank demanded, outraged. “I let you sleep on me when you hadn’t showered for ten days! I cleaned up your vomit! Yesterday I gave you my last Twizzler!”
“Fine, fine.” Gerard patted Frank’s stomach soothingly. “A stable, loving relationship with orgasms.”
“So if I get you off, I can see your dick?”
Gerard made a face. “Wouldn’t you need to see my dick to get me off?”
Frank puffed his chest out. “Hell, no. I got mad skills, yo.”
“He’s not going to let this drop,” Ray said, nudging Gerard’s hip with his foot. “You might as well just show him your dick.”
“Who’s showing who their dick?” said Pete Wentz, appearing suddenly in the lounge.
Gerard groaned and put his head under Frank’s sweater again.
“Gerard won’t show Frankie his dick,” Mikey said, patting the couch next to him.
Pete went and curled up with his head under Mikey’s chin. “If you’re going to show anyone your dick,” he said, pointing at Gerard, “I think it should be me.”
“You are the natural choice,” Ray agreed, because he was a bastard traitor.
“You’re a bastard traitor,” Frank said. Ray stuck his tongue out and wouldn’t give Frank another gummi bear. “A bastard candy scrooge traitor prude.”
“I’ve seen Mikey’s dick,” said Pete.
Gerard, under Frank’s sweater, went, “LA LA LA LA LA.”
“But it’s probably not the same,” Pete went on thoughtfully. “I mean, you don’t really look that much alike.”
Frank put his hand over his eyes and sighed. Loudly. “Everyone’s seen everyone’s dick except me.”
“You saw mine when we went skinny-dipping that time,” Mikey reminded him.
Pete and Gerard both sat up and said, “When did you two go skinny-dipping?” in identical injured tones.
Ray gave Mikey the thumbs up. “Way to go.”
Mikey patted Pete’s thigh. “It was before I knew you.”
“Yeah, and you wouldn’t go skinny-dipping anyway,” Frank said to Gerard, who had his arms folded. “You won’t even show me your dick, let alone get all naked in a lake or whatever.”
“I might,” Gerard said, pouting a little. “Anyway, the point is, I would have liked to have been asked.”
“I’d get naked in a lake,” Pete said, to nobody’s surprise. He leaned down and squeezed Frank’s ankle. “I feel your pain, though, Frankie. Patrick’s exactly the same.”
“I’m going to start a gang with Patrick,” Gerard said determinedly, drawing his knees up to his chest. “We’ll call it the Never Nude Dudes and keep our clothes on all the time. It’ll be awesome.”
Pete pulled out his cellphone and pressed a button. “Patrick?” he said, stretching his legs out over Mikey’s lap. “Do you wanna be in a gang with Gerard where you never take your clothes off? Uh huh. Yeah. Okay. I love you! Bye.”
He squirmed around putting the phone back in his pocket – Frank was amazed anything else could fit in there – and said to Gerard, “He says okay, but can he join tomorrow, because he’s having sex right now.”
Ray looked up, interested. “Who’s Patrick having sex with?”
“Someone very lucky,” said Pete, lacing his fingers through Mikey’s. “He never has sex with me.”
“I’ll have sex with you,” said Mikey, and Pete beamed at him.
Gerard went, “LA LA LA LA LA,” again, and Frank offered him his sweater.
“Have you seen Patrick’s dick?” Frank asked Pete, when Gerard was safely tucked up against his chest.
“Duh,” said Pete. “We lived in a van for three years. Anyway, I made everyone show me their dick when they joined the band. Like a necessary requirement, you know.”
“We should do that,” Frank said to Gerard.
“Yeah,” said Ray. “That’s not creepy at all.”
Pete just grinned at him. Then he tugged Mikey’s hand and said, “Wanna go make out?”
Apparently Mikey didn’t think it was that creepy, because he said, “Okay!” and the two of them went off hand in hand.
“They’ve gone,” said Frank, but Gerard didn’t come out from under his sweater. Frank didn’t mind.
A couple days later, Frank found himself rooming with Gerard. That was happening a lot over the summer, actually. Mikey roomed with Pete at every available opportunity, and Ray was in a room by himself because Bob was – Frank didn’t know where Bob was, actually.
Ray didn’t seem to care. He just bounded gleefully into his single room, the lucky bastard, and then bounded back out again and started doing Bee Gee moves in the hallway.
“I shared a room with three brothers, you know!” he said, doing a sort of jig.
“We all know,” said Gerard, trundling his little suitcase behind him. He reminded Frank of a stewardess, a little. A stewardess on like, Tim Burton Airlines.
Ray pointed his finger in the air, then at Gerard, then spun himself into his room and shut the door.
Frank followed Gerard into their room. They flipped a coin to see who got to shower first – even Gerard wanted to do something about the three-day thick layer of Tour they both had all over them – and Frank won.
He was clean and dressed in sweatpants and sitting on the bed checking his voicemail when Gerard came out of the bathroom, wearing a towel around his waist and a weird look on his face.
“Your face is a totally different color from your body,” Frank told him, half-listening to a message from his mom about remembering Uncle Dan’s birthday. It was true – Gerard had really tan hands and his face was brown, and everything else was white. Like a farmer’s tan, if a farmer wore long sleeves all the time.
Gerard didn’t say anything, he just stood there looking.
“What?” said Frank, and then Gerard opened his towel and flashed him. “Oh my God!”
“You said you wanted to see it,” said Gerard, grinning madly. He was holding the towel tightly closed again. “Now you can stop bitching.”
“No fair, you didn’t give me any warning!” Frank put his phone down and scooted over to sit on the edge of the bed. “I wasn’t ready. Do it again.”
Gerard hesitated. “You’re not going to try and grab it or anything, are you?”
Frank crossed his heart, but also crossed his fingers where Gerard couldn’t see. He waited for Gerard to open his towel again, and then stuck his hand out as fast as he could.
“Fucker!” Gerard squealed, snapping his towel shut. Frank tried to open it again, and Gerard laughed and backed up, and Frank followed, and soon he was chasing Gerard around the room while Gerard yelled, “No, nonono help! Help!” at the top of his voice and Frank couldn’t speak for laughing.
Gerard leaped up onto the bed and Frank followed so they stood at opposite ends, balancing on the mattress.
“Don’t!” Gerard laughed, staggering backwards when Frank made another grab for him. “You’re like a pervert!”
Frank lunged forward, forcing Gerard to step back and up onto the pillows, where he flailed around and let go of his towel so he could hold Frank’s shoulders for support.
The towel clung stubbornly around his hips, and Frank put his hands on it. “I won’t,” he promised, when Gerard shook his head. “I’m just going to look at it.”
“No!” said Gerard, but he was still laughing and he didn’t try to stop Frank from undoing the towel and dropping it over the side of the bed.
“Okay,” he said, putting his hands on Gerard’s hips so he didn’t fall over and land somewhere unfortunate. “Ready?”
Gerard kind of rolled his eyes, and they both looked down at his dick at the same time.
Gerard was right. It was a totally normal, average-sized, regular-shaped dick. It was pale, like the rest of Gerard.
“It’s nice,” Frank said after a minute.
“Thanks,” said Gerard. “Um.”
Then the door burst open and Mikey and Pete came tumbling through it, Pete holding his cellphone out in front of him like a sword, and Mikey brandishing a bag of marshmallows over his head.
Frank shoved Gerard up against the wall and tried to cover as much of him with his own body as he could. “What the fuck, Mikey?”
Mikey took one look at them and clapped his hands over his eyes. “LA LA LA LA LA,” he said, banging into Pete and then the doorframe and then Pete again as he scrambled back out of the room.
Pete grinned at them. “Frank, when a girl shouts no, no, help, she usually wants you to stop.”
Frank tried to turn his head to look at Pete without moving away from Gerard, who was still very naked and was muttering, “This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening this isn’t happening,” under his breath.
“It sounded like your virtue was being besmirched,” Pete offered.
Frank rolled his eyes. “And what, you were coming to defend his honor with marshmallows?”
“Sweet Little Dudes to the Rescue!” Pete said, brandishing his mobile phone.
“Pete,” Gerard said into Frank’s shoulder. “Please get the fuck out and shut the fucking door, Christ.”
Pete pointed at Frank. “No means no,” he said seriously, and then he left, yelling, “Mikey! It totally is different from yours! I like yours better!”
Frank waited for the door to shut, then turned back to Gerard. “You okay?”
“No,” Gerard shook his head. He didn’t open his eyes. “Pete Wentz saw me naked.”
“Yeah.” Frank stroked his hair. “That sucks.”
“He’s going to write a song about it.” Gerard opened one eye. “He’ll call it I Like Your Brother’s Better, but I Probably Still Would.”
Frank laughed. “We can write about it too,” he said, and kissed Gerard’s temple. “We’ll make it about harpies. Metaphors all over the place. It’ll be great.”
Gerard opened the other eye. “Harpies? Like…the naked chicks who fly?”
“Whatever, you’re the myths and legends guy, you pick something,” Frank shrugged. “Now, about your dick.”
“What?” Gerard shifted around warily.
“I like it better than Mikey’s,” Frank said. It was true, he did. There was nothing wrong with Mikey’s dick, as far as Frank could remember, but it had never given him the urge to say, “Can I touch it?”
“Um.” Gerard’s eyes darted back and forth. “I guess?”
Frank took a wobbly step back and braced one hand on the wall by Gerard’s shoulder. He curled the other one around Gerard’s dick and said, “I seem to remember promising you an orgasm.”
“Did you, I’d forgotten,” Gerard said airily, which was a lie because he was already half hard in Frank’s hand, and when Frank stroked him lightly he moaned and bit his lip.
It reminded Frank that it was sort of rude, maybe, to be all up in Gerard’s deal without even a courtesy nod to first base. “I’m going to kiss you now.”
“Okay,” said Gerard, so Frank did, and that was much better. Gerard was a good kisser, and he sucked on Frank’s tongue while Frank jacked him, slowly but nice and firm.
After a minute, Gerard pulled away and leaned his head back against the wall with a thump. “I can’t stand up anymore,” he said shakily, and Frank had to let go of his dick so they could both sort of stumble down onto their knees.
When Frank put his hand back on it, Gerard gasped and snapped his hips forward. Frank took that as his cue to go faster, and then almost forgot what he was doing when he felt Gerard’s fingers on the front of his sweatpants.
“You’re hard,” Gerard said, like it was this big shock. Frank laughed but it came out a hiccup because Gerard squeezed his dick and then moved his hand down to rub Frank’s balls.
Frank said, “Oh, God,” and kissed Gerard again, hard and wet and a little sloppy, moving his hand in time with Gerard’s hips.
Gerard groaned something garbled into Frank’s mouth when he came, and Frank kept his grip tight, letting Gerard ride out the pulses. Then Gerard pushed Frank onto his back and pulled his sweatpants down and put his hand back on Frank’s balls and his mouth on Frank’s dick, and he tugged a little and sucked hard and Frank came in like a minute, which was probably embarrassing because Gerard had barely touched him, but whatever, Pete Wentz saw Gerard naked. Frank was pretty sure he was still coming out on top.
He wiped his hand on the sheets and kicked his sweatpants the rest of the way off and shuffled around to lie next to Gerard.
Gerard nudged Frank’s stomach with the back of his hand. “Hey,” he said, still panting a little. “I like your dick too.”
“Thanks,” said Frank, and he put his hand over Gerard’s and held it.
He held Gerard’s hand on the way down to breakfast the next morning, too, and under the table while they were eating, and on the way out to the bus.
Nobody said anything about it, because they held hands a lot, Frank supposed, if he thought about it. Everyone had a lot to say about Bob, though. Specifically the fact that he kissed Patrick Stump goodbye before climbing onto the bus.
“You’re sleeping with Patrick?” Ray said, waving his arms around. “This fucking summer, I swear. What the hell’s next, Frank’s going to hook up with Joe?”
“Not if I have anything to do with it,” Gerard murmured in Frank’s ear. He pinched Frank’s ass and Frank grinned crazily out of the window.
He could see Pete gesturing excitedly at Patrick with a ketchup bottle. Patrick was laughing and shaking his head.
“What’s his dick like?” said Mikey. Everyone turned to look at him. “What, Frank’s the only one who can ask these questions?”
“I’ll bet it’s not as nice as Gerard’s,” Frank said, and got absolutely no reaction, except for Bob saying thoughtfully,
“Actually, they’re kind of similar.”
“You’ve never seen Gerard’s dick,” Frank scoffed. Then he looked at Gerard. “He hasn’t, right?”
“No!” Gerard squeezed Frank’s hand. “Bob! You are no longer my dog.”
“Oh no,” said Bob. Then he pointed at Mikey. “You’re just jealous you and Pete aren’t the hot new couple on the tour anymore, Mikey Way.”
Mikey folded his arms. “We are too.”
Frank said, “What about me and Gerard?”
Mikey flapped a hand at him. “Old fucking news. He’s only had a crush on you forever.”
“Seriously,” said Ray, and even Bob rolled his eyes.
Frank turned to look at Gerard, who was looking sort of sheepish and embarrassed and pleased, all at the same time. “You’ve had a crush on me forever and you kept your dick hidden the whole time?”
“I told you,” said Gerard, fiddling with his sleeves. “A stable, loving relationship is a necessary requirement for dick-showing.”
“We’re in a stable, loving relationship.”
Gerard shook his head. “With orgasms.”
“I gave you an orgasm.”
“LA LA LA LA LA,” went Mikey.
Gerard ignored him. “I won’t keep it hidden from you anymore,” he told Frank earnestly.
Ray said, “Your dick or the crush?”
“Well.” Gerard looked at the floor. “I wasn’t hiding the crush.”
He looked up at Frank and smiled. Frank smiled back at him, and put his arms around him and kissed him because it seemed like a kissing moment, and said, “A stable, loving relationship with orgasms, right?”
“Right,” said Gerard, and he smiled so wide Frank thought the top of his head might just fall off onto the floor.
“Oh, God,” said Mikey.
Ray thumped them both on the shoulder. “Right. Well. Congratulations. Can we get back to Bob and Patrick now?”
“Oh, that reminds me.” Bob pointed at Gerard. “Patrick says to tell you he doesn’t think the Never Nude Dudes is going to get off the ground, but maybe you can be in a gang called the Dudes who Don’t Feel the Need to Strip all the Fucking Time, instead.”
“Okay,” said Gerard happily. “I’d pretty much given up on being a Never Nude Dude anyway.”
“Damn right,” said Frank, and this time he pinched Gerard’s ass.
“Fuck,” said Mikey. “Don’t remind me, please.”
“I feel you, buddy.” Ray patted Mikey’s shoulder. “I shared a room with three brothers, you know.”
“We all know,” said everyone.
Ray said, “Oh, fuck you all,” and went off to drown his sorrows in the Gilmore Girls.
Bob and Mikey went back to arguing about who was the hottest new couple on the tour. Frank tugged Gerard’s sleeve.
“You wanna come show me your dick again? In your bunk?”
Gerard said, “Absolutely,” and he followed when Frank led the way.
And Jepha really did get a cock sleeve, because that dude’s insane.