Gerard's wandering around the craft store when he runs into a guy. He decides to call him Yarn Guy since that's where he is when Gerard sees him, standing in the yarn aisle holding a tiny, sad piece of yarn and a thing of new yarn.
"Hey," Yarn Guy calls, holding up the piece of string like he has eyes in the back of his head and can see Gerard idly poking at the pattern books behind him. "Does this look like light or medium worsted weight to you?"
Gerard honestly doesn't know. "I don't know?"
He's about to say something else, maybe something about the fact that he doesn't even work there, but Yarn Guy turns around, kind of huffy and Gerard gets his first real look at him.
Yarn Guy is wearing glasses. The kind of glasses that Clark Kent wouldn't be caught dead in because even he would know, instinctively, perhaps, that they were bully bait.
"Okay, no," Yarn Guy says, shoving the piece of yarn and yarn thing at him. "Seriously. Light or medium?"
Gerard's starting to wonder if maybe it would be best to get someone who works there. Like Mikey. Or Bob. Bob knows his shit.
"I really don't know. Really. I don't even work here."
Yarn Guy's eyes narrow. "Are you one of those guys who has a problem with knitting?"
Even the Twilight Zone wouldn't be this bizarre, Gerard thinks. "I. Are there really people like that?" If so, Gerard's never heard of them.
"Knitting is a completely valid choice for a hobby," Yarn Guy informs him, like he's telling Gerard that he doesn't have to be ashamed, it's perfectly okay to admit to having an inner knitter.
"That's good to know," Gerard says. "Great, even."
Yarn Guy eyes him like he doesn't believe Gerard's okay with his choice to be a knitter in his free time. "Knitting is fucking awesome."
"Okay," Gerard says.
Yarn Guy looks like he's about to start in on how people are oppressing knitters everywhere, and while Gerard's all for social activism and progress, he's a little concerned at the look in Yarn Guy's eyes. Also, Yarn Guy's kind of hot when he gets all weirdly passionate about knitting.
Gerard points over his shoulder. "I have to go now," he says, and flees like the hounds of Hell are after him.
"Yarn Guy, twelve o'clock," Ray says, bustling past Gerard on his way to the mini-fridge in the break room.
Gerard kind of wishes he'd never told Ray about Yarn Guy. "Wait, how do you know what Yarn Guy looks like?"
Ray gives him a pitying look, and shakes his head. "You have a drawing of him on your refrigerator at home, Gerard."
“By the way, that's a little creepy," Ray says, like he's just stating a fact and doesn't, in fact, care one way or the other if it is creepy. "You know, FYI and all."
Gerard shrugs and sticks his head out to see that wow, yes, Yarn Guy is totally there. At his work. Talking to James and carrying a cardboard box full of what looks like office supplies and holy shit, not only is he Yarn Guy, he's also New Guy. New Yarn Guy, maybe.
"Go say hi," Ray suggests, standing right behind him. "Be friendly and welcoming!"
Gerard has no idea what they're doing to Ray in HR, but he suspects brainwashing.
"Ray - "
"Friendly! Welcoming!" Ray insists, pushing Gerard out of the break room and in full view of the entire office. If any of them ever bothered to look away from their computers.
New Yarn Guy does, but that might have more to do with him not actually having a computer monitor yet.
"Hey," New Yarn Guy says, squinting at him. "I remember you."
Gerard smiles and lifts a hand to wave, because yes, he actually is that lame. "You find the yarn you were looking for?"
New Yarn Guy stares at him a little longer, probably trying to decide if Gerard's messing with him, and smiles. "Yeah, this skinny kid helped me out."
"Mikey, right?" Gerard lights up because Mikey knows his way around a craft store, which is handy since he also happens to work at one.
Yarn guy's smile dims a little, and Gerard rushes on in full-on babble mode because he can see the top of Gloria from The Other Side Of The Cubicle Row's hair poking over her cubicle divider, her beady, beady little eyes fixed on the two of them. "He's a pain in the ass sometimes," Gerard says, "but that's what little brothers do, right?"
New Yarn Guy breaks out into an actual grin, and Gerard finds himself smiling back. New Yarn Guy is awesome.
Gerard's not a pathetic loser. Really. He just needs art supplies.
"You know," Mikey says, "you're not going to find drawing pencils here."
That's a filthy lie. "This is a craft store, Mikey."
"No, I know." Mikey pushes his glasses up and looks over at Bob. "Bob, back me up here."
Bob scowls at them, but it's more or less his default expression, so Gerard's not too worried.
"Gerard's looking for drawing pencils."
Bob frowns and looks at the shelves around them. "We're in the yarn aisle."
It's not so much an aisle as a huge fucking wall, but whatever.
"He's looking for New Yarn Guy," Mikey explains, and Bob nods like he understands.
It's not like Gerard's a creepy guy who goes around drawing people he meets in craft stores. Or at his work. Or -
“You kind of do,” Bob says, straightening the pattern books since he's there and everything.
When Gerard looks at him, Bob shrugs. “You had that 'I'm not a creepy guy' look on your face again.”
Oh, right. Gerard's friends are assholes.
Mikey's eyes widen just the tiniest, tiniest bit, it sort of looks like a nervous tic, really. He snags the strings of Bob's work apron, tugging him down the aisle towards the bead section. Gerard opens his mouth to ask what the hell is going on -
“Hey,” New Yarn Guy says, “I didn't expect to see you here.”
Gerard turns around and smiles, but it feels a little lopsided. Possibly sickly. “Hey.”
New Yarn Guy studies him for a moment, and then sticks his hand out. “Frank.”
Gerard blinks, and a moment later his brain kicks into gear and he reaches out to shake Frank's hand. “Oh! Gerard. I'm Gerard.”
Frank smiles and, Gerard can't help but notice, not letting go of his hand even though they're long past the socially acceptable time limit for the average handshake. “I know,” Frank says, and grins. “Ray told me.”
The next day when Gerard goes into work there's a little brown paper bag sitting on his desk. He looks around to see who might have left it, but everyone's staring intently at their computers as though they might find the answer to the meaning of life that way.
Nothing happens when he pokes it with a pen, so he unfolds the top of the bag and takes out whatever's inside, setting it on his desk.
He stares at it for a long moment because he's not really sure what it is. After looking at it for a few minutes he thinks it might be a dice bag, and then he notices the little folded up piece of paper sticking out of the paper bag and picks it up. Scribbled inside are four little words, and Gerard smiles when he reads them.
“It's totally true, you know,” Frank says, and Gerard looks up to see him standing in front of his desk, rocking on his heels and smiling really wide.
“I know.” Gerard does. Frank told him so. “Knitting is fucking awesome.”
Frank shrugs and looks away for a second. “Ray said you guys played games sometimes, so I thought,” Frank trails off and shrugs again, and wow, Gerard never thought he'd be the smooth one in this sort of situation.
“You could play with us sometime, if you wanted to?” Gerard's strangely relieved that he's still failing at being cool. It was a little terrifying to think he might have to be someone he wasn't. “I mean, it's just the five of us, but you're welcome to play too.”
Frank smiles at him, and yeah. Frank's pretty fucking awesome himself.