From the beginning...
I say my name so I don’t forget it, or forget what I sound like. There’s nobody to talk to, nothing to see, nothing to do. I’ve been here for nearly three years now, in this small silent world. I used to be in a band and we were good, people really liked us. But now…
Maybe I should start again? Oh, God how I wish I could start again! It began a little over three years ago. Okay, from the beginning…
I woke up and, at the time I couldn’t honestly say where we were. I thought it might have been Chicago and, well, I’d have been prepared to place a small bet, but well, you get the idea. We were doing a series of signing sessions across the country. We’d turn up in random towns and cities at record stores. Meeting and greeting the fans was always something we liked to do; we loved them as much as they loved us. The fans we met were always fun and intelligent; they really got our music and our message. Some of the things they’d say were really heart warming and many said that we’d saved their lives. I wonder if they realised that they saved our lives too?
Anyway, the day got off to a good start. For one thing, we arrived on time! There had been so many hold ups on the road, we truly worried we’d be late and I think the store did too! We must only have got there about ten minutes before the store was due to open. Piling in the back entrance, we took our seats. Already we could hear the kids outside, there were hundreds if not more and we knew then and there we’d be there most of the day. We were only scheduled for two hours, but we held the day open just in case. We hate to let our fans down. We all seem to attract different types of people, I’m generalising of course, but I always find it fun to try to guess who people are most exited about seeing. The guys are generally there to see Ray or Bob. They’re guitarists and drummers who recognise talent when they hear it. Be it Ray’s breathtaking soaring solos or Bob’s solid yet intricate drum patterns and amazing speed will always get attention from fellow musicians, they’re so talented. Frankie? Well he’s so small and cute. I’m not gay, but men are able to recognise a good-looking guy as much as women notice when another woman is pretty – just most feel too embarrassed to say anything. Frank throws so much of himself into his performance and has so much life and energy. All the girls love Frankie; he’s adorable. What can I say about Gerard? He’s confident, handsome, outspoken. He could have his pick of girls, or guys for that matter, if he were so inclined. But he doesn’t. Well… I’ll get to that, but before I do, I’ll just say that I admired him. Me? Well, I know I’m Mikey Way, vulnerable, shy and fragile – I attract the girls who want to look after me. And that was pretty cool actually.
Gerard had been acting a little strange that morning. It was hard to put my finger on it, I doubt anyone else really noticed, but he just seemed a little over-eager to get to the store. Taking his seat, I remember he looked towards the entrance and smiled. It wasn’t a pleasant smile either; it was a self-satisfied smirk. I read more into it now, because I know better, but at the time, I just thought it looked odd. Gerard was enjoying fame and that was good. He’d quit drinking and that was better. Well at least I thought it was at the time but again, I’m getting ahead of myself.
The doors opened and the queue that had stretched for about two blocks filed in quickly, threading their way around the intricate maze of the rope barrier constructed in front of our table. The queue stretched an unfathomably long way and mentally, we settled in for the day.
Like I said before, I love meeting the fans and this was no exception. We signed, we shook hands, we kissed, we chatted. Within an hour, my jaw ached from too much laughing and I knew that I was by no means the only one. Even then, I couldn’t help but notice that Gerard’s eyes seemed to be on one girl only. As she drew near to the front of the queue, Gerard’s eyes lit up. Only able to glance briefly between fans, I noticed she was blonde and very pretty. Petite and delicate looking, maybe sixteen or seventeen, it was hard to say. As she arrived at the front of the queue, she seemed terrified of meeting us; so shy. I offered her a warm and friendly smile and received one in return only to see it fade almost immediately as she glanced nervously to the side. I turned my gaze to see Gerard apparently glaring at me; I don’t think I’d ever seen him that angry looking. Catching his eye, he coughed suddenly and took a drink of water, then offering his most charming smile. I settled back to meeting the girl standing in front of me, once again smiling, her pretty eyes lit up.
“Hi, I’m Mikey,” I grinned.
“I’m Sarah,” she beamed back at me. “It’s so great to…”
She paused abruptly and I felt a pair of hands on my shoulders. I couldn’t even see who it was, his head so close to mine that his lips brushed my ear.
“She’s mine, li’l bro,” he whispered, audible only to me. “Don’t make a move on her just because you’re first at the table.”
It was Gerard saying the strangest thing I had ever heard him say to me – like I could win a girl he was after? Even if I tried to, which, in all honesty, I really wasn’t.
I nodded briefly as he settled back down satisfied with my reply. Turning back, I smiled at Sarah, trying to put Gerard’s strange comments to one side.
Sarah presented me with a CD and opening it up I signed the insert.
“You must have got here pretty early to be near the front of the queue?” I grinned.
She shrugged. “About five o’clock, but I still wasn’t first!”
Passing the CD back to her, I was just about to ask if she’d caught any of our shows but was interrupted again.
“Mikey, don’t hog the pretty lady,” he said smiling broadly at her, gesturing with his finger.
Sarah smiled at me and wandered over. I briefly caught sight of Gerard handing her a folded note and holding onto it as she reached forward to take it.
“Don’t I get a kiss?” he asked pulling the note back towards himself, making her lean in. “Or do I have to wait?”
I frowned. What was the matter with him today? He was acting like a… well like a rock star. Taking the note, she smiled shyly and moved on down the line.
I settled again, but couldn’t quite get the incident out of my head. About an hour or so later, Gerard excused himself and the queue halted. I took advantage of the chance to speak to him in private and headed off towards the bathroom too.
As I arrived, he was waiting for me.
“I wondered if you’d come too,” he said leaning back against one of the sinks. “Won’t they talk, Mikey? The Way brothers going to the bathroom together.”
“No more than they’ll talk about that scene you threw earlier,” I replied.
“Don’t sweat it, bro. I like her, I saw her first and we’re meeting up later.”
“And this is why you sleep alone, Mikey boy!”
“I sleep just fine!”
“Yeah? Well, after I hit that, I’ll sleep just fine too.”
I’m pretty sure I looked disgusted by what I had just heard him say, but he just laughed.
“Now if you’ll excuse me,” he waved his arm around the room to indicate his reason for leaving the table and I turned on my heels.
The signing continued for hours and whilst it was fun, my day was marred by his odd behaviour. Tiredly, I flopped down in my hotel room and switched on the TV. Flicking through the channels until I found a news report, I leaned back on the pillow to watch. It had become an almost unconscious thing to do. In interviews we were always being asked to comment on recent events and news stories – like we’re experts! We knew that we had to stay up to date; there really wasn’t a choice. What had started out as a chore became a habit and then an interest.
Today was different. I leaned forward in shock as the face of Sarah, the girl from the store, flashed up on the screen. She had been found murdered. My mouth dropped open and I knew this would come back to bite us. I got up immediately and headed for the adjoining door to Gerard’s room, if he didn’t know yet, he soon would and I wanted to prepare him but he was nowhere to be seen. At first I wondered if he may have gone out, but I heard whistling from the bathroom and headed towards the door, which I noticed was wide open.
Glancing through the open door, I saw Gerard stripped to the waist leaning over the sink. He was scrubbing hard at something.
“Get chilli on your shirt, Gee?” I called trying to keep the mood light before I had to give him the other news.
He turned, the shirt half raised from the water and that’s when I saw it – the blood. It was all over the shirt, the water was red with it and Gerard’s eyes blazed when he saw me.
Stepping back, my eyes wide, I didn’t want to believe what I saw. I didn’t even want to believe it when he came at me slamming my head back into the doorframe. Pain spilled everywhere and I felt my muscles weaken. Everything went black and I slipped to the floor.