There was a chain of factors that led to this outcome, as domino pieces falling one by one until they reached the inescapable end.
He would have been in time to Nate's concert if the car hadn't stopped in the middle of nowhere as he drove to his private high school, located in the countryside, too fancy to operate in the city. The car wouldn't have died if he wasn't so goddamn broke. And he wouldn't have been that broke if his parents had better, more stable occupations instead of needing to work two jobs each to make ends meet. His parents would have better jobs if their own hadn't worked even harder, if they hadn't been born and raised in the shoddiest part of the city, where money was tight and opportunities were even slimmer.
There were a lot of weird things to think about as you faced the inevitable realization that you were about to get involved in sexual intercourse, but reflecting on structural inequality was probably the weirdest. His train of thought tended to expand, to get lost like a million loose threads, in all directions. In all honesty, Frank having sex with Nate was probably the furthest from what every ancestor in his genealogical tree pictured for their descendants.
The car died and his phone didn't work, so he had to wait until someone stopped and called a mechanic for him. It took forever because people were assholes, pretending they didn't see him trying to attract their attention. The only one who did was an old lady who offered to drive him but he refused because he couldn't just leave the car. It might have been a piece of shit, but it was his family's piece of shit. He would get in enough trouble as it was.
So he asked for her phone instead and called his dad who was working, so Frank knew he would bust his balls about it once he was home, if he ever made it back. It took forever because his father had to wait until his break to call, to avoid getting in trouble with his manager. And then, it took forever because every mechanic in the city was fucking useless.
When he finally arrived, a girl was playing the violin on the stage and Nate was nowhere to be seen. He found him in his dorm room, surrounded by an impressive amount of flower bouquets and gifts.
If Frank hadn't known him better, he would feel bad about arriving not only late but also empty-handed. He knew Nate hated those big displays of opulence, though, that his presence was enough. He didn't need to explain anything, all it took was mentioning his shitty car to make Nate laugh and tell him it was okay.
"Are those roses?" Frank asked, faking surprise since he had accompanied Nate's mother to pick them.
"You know they are," Nate rolled his eyes. "Eighteen of them."
He kept rubbing his fingers while they talked, surely hurting like hell after many hours of practice. Nate with his ample smile, the only thing that managed to ease Frank's anxieties; who never complained and always put up with his bullshit.
"All for dear Nathaniel," Frank said mockingly and burst out laughing at Nate's face. Nate with his pretty eyes and his killer shoulders.
It was only right that Frank kissed him. When he got on his knees and his hands were on Nate's pants almost on their own accord, that was just the natural progression to everything that had been going on between them for years.
The art of blowjobs was one that Frank mastered with certain ease due to a bunch of frankly forgettable encounters and some experiences he wished he could forget. It was different this time because he wasn't in a utility room or a dirty bathroom, focused on getting off quickly to avoid being caught. It was different because he was in love with Nate and had been for a long time.
This, too, was the resolution of several occurrences intertwined that inevitably lead to it.
The day Frank learned about social inequity was also the day he visited the Richards' house for the first time when he was twelve. Nate gave him a tour around his house while Frank tried to calculate how long it would take to show him his own.
Sometime before, his teacher had told him he was a "ball of never-ending energy" and that his "attention was all over the place", that "his mouth moved faster than the gears of his brain", which were just nice ways of saying he was a pain in the ass. His father wasn't as soft in his choice of words, so Frank knew already. Still, he found certain fondness in the way his mouth curved whenever he called him "annoying little shit".
Mrs. Deslauriers visited his parents and urged them to take him to a professional, said something about learning disabilities, referenced a few names. Frank listened behind the door as his mother answered they couldn't afford it. Since money was tight, Frank was aided to make an effort. And he did, truly.
He knew Nate completely by chance. One of those things that, looking in hindsight, seemed almost impossible, too good to be true.
His parents' impossibility to pay for professional help led him to the closest thing they could offer to a boy with a wandering mind and too much time alone during the afternoons, which was a ride to the nearest library on their way to work. Nate's mom was volunteering in it and Nate accompanied her every day because he wasn't used to being alone. Frank didn't know that when he first met him, of course, Nate told him a while later, that loneliness was extremely harsh for someone who had grown up with a group of twenty kids, from morning until night, every day.
One of those afternoons, after Frank complained because all the Harry Potter's volumes had already been borrowed, Nate approached him and told him he owned them and he could let him borrow them if he wanted. Frank instantly accepted because his grandma taught him to be grateful, not before warning him that reading took him a while, that he wasn't very good at it. The next day, Nate arrived and looked around until he found him while holding three books in each hand.
When Nate's mom asked Frank the reason he was so interested in the series, he confessed that he had seen one of the movies on TV a few days earlier and that he imagined Harry Potter were the best books in the world. Nate told him he respectfully disagreed, and he said it like that, "I respectfully disagree", which Frank still remembered because he thought Nate spoke funny. He soon realized he tended to overuse adverbs, a speech pattern he still maintained, so Nate was always "terribly sorry" and "tremendously sad" or "delightfully happy."
The day he visited Nate's house, Gemma arrived in a car that seemed straight out of a TV commercial and took him to a part of the city he'd never seen before. Every house had high ceilings and lots of windows, Frank thought that was what fairytales meant when mentioning glass castles. The gardens were perfectly trimmed and there was a big pool in every single one of them.
On Wednesday, when his mom came to pick him up and Gemma asked for permission so he could hang in their house on Saturday, she paled. She looked pointedly at Frank, but when she answered affirmatively her voice adopted a soft tone he wasn't used to hearing. Nate's mom asked for her phone number and when his mom said they didn't have one, she went for their direction and assured her they would pick Frank up.
His mom didn't speak much, she was more of a practical displays of love person, such as having his favorite shirt clean at all times or always preparing his favorite dessert for the weekends, but on the ride home, she explained that the people who invited him had a lot of money, that she would have to take out the new clothes he got for Christmas so he could wear them, although she doubted they would dare to come to their neighborhood.
Nate didn't look like his parents. His skin didn't match the almost translucent of his father's and his brown eyes didn't match the blue of theirs, his dark hair had nothing in common with his mother's light tone.
Years later, his mother told him Nate was adopted. Their city was tiny enough that those things were virtually public, so his mom, despite never meeting them in person until he did, had heard about their story. Everyone knew his parents had tried everything, spent a lot of money on every treatment available until they decided to adopt. Many years had passed when they finally could bring Nate home, and they were older when it became possible. That was what caught his attention when Frank first met them, how Gemma appeared more a grandmother than a mom and looked so different from his own, who gave birth to him at twenty-three.
Up until that moment, Frank had made some inferences he never brought up because it wasn't his place to ask. He was a curious kid but mostly kept to himself because if he had learned one thing during his short life was that, sometimes, the truth hurt people.
He knew about infidelity. His neighbors had some pretty harsh opinions on the topic, which they discussed at a very loud volume all the time, so he learned about it pretty early on.
He knew about kids who were raised by their grandparents as well, that was his immediate conclusion, never taking adoption into account. It could have been because where he lived there were so many unwanted children, who couldn't be cared for, kids who spent their childhood from one place to another, friends he made for about a month, and then suddenly learned they had been sent with another relative the next. The idea of someone not being able to conceive their own and being in need to seek other's children was a concept new to him.
To be quite honest, at that moment it didn't matter how Nate ended up there, all that Frank cared about was that he was his friend.
The day Frank discovered he was in love with Nate was also the day he dropped by his house unannounced after Frank spent the entirety of the week in bed because the drugstore bought medicine couldn't do anything to placate his cold.
He felt terrible and was sure he looked even worse, but Nate invited himself in and plopped down on Frank's ratty couch, saying he didn't care if he got sick too. Frank was fifteen when he first felt there couldn't possibly be something better than being around Nate.
It was late, almost four when Nate told him he was glad he wasn't there to see him perform because he fucked up a note. That was how he said it, "I fucked up a note," and that was how Frank realized how frustrated he felt because Nate hated foul language and directed him a pointed look whenever he ventured in a delightful chain of insults about anything and everything. If he swore it meant he was truly bothered. "I wouldn't have noticed anyway," admitted Frank because it was true. He didn't know the first thing about music, he had an awful ear. It wasn't enough to mitigate Nate's disappointment, he was going to beat himself over it forever and beyond, but at least it erased the hurt from his eyes and made him smile a little before he exhaled with contentment and hid his face in Frank's neck.
"I'm so happy I told my parents to go home," he said, lips brushing lightly against sensitive skin.
"You knew this would happen?"
"I wished it would," Nate answered softly. "Did you?"
Frank wasn't good with words, he tripped with them, didn't know how to weave them together in the proper way, especially when it came to Nate and how he felt about him. Instead, he decided to kiss him while hoping Nate would understand how much Frank had waited for this moment.
I'm just a college student trying to cope through writing!
This is going to be written as a kind of past/present situation, I hope it isn't too confusing! The installments that belong to the past, such as this one, are going to be kind of chaotic in an attempt to reflect the narrator's state of mind during the time.
English isn't my first language, so CAUTION. No grammar corrector is good enough to control my sloppiness.
Thanks for reading!