Frank does something no one ever expected.
I hear them storming after me, furious. Again. And they have a right to be. Because I messed everything up. Again. I speed up, hoping to make it to the dressing room before they catch me.
I glance behind me quickly. I have plenty of room, there’s no way they’ll catch me before I get there and the door has a lock, I made sure to check that before the show. I turn the corner in front of me, planning to sprint the last twenty feet or so to the dressing room.
But as I turn the corner my eyes land on an unwelcome sight. Brian is standing in front of the dressing room door, waiting for me. Blocking my path.
“Shit” I mumble under my breath as I turn around, only to find that the guys have made it to the corner and are standing there, blocking the only other way out.
I stop and lean back against the wall, sighing. I knew it would come to this. I’d tried mentally to prepare myself for it. Still, I know I’m not ready. I’ll never be. But I have to do this. It’s the only way.
“What’s going on, Frank?” Brian asks quietly, slowly closing the distance between us.
“Why don’t you tell me?” I snap back. “You’re the one who’s fucking cornering me in the middle of the god damn hallway!”
“You missed the meet and greet this morning,” he comments. His tone is simple. Conversational even. I almost expect him to ask me about the weather. Unlike the guys, he’s not accusing me of anything. Not yet.
“I fucking told you. I overslept,” I mumble. He is staring intently at me but I can’t make myself meet his eye.
“Again?” He asks, doubtfully. “Frank, you’ve missed every meet and greet, interview, and signing we’ve had scheduled for the past month.”
I glare at him. “And I’ve explained all of them to you.” he continues staring at me. I know he doesn’t believe my excuses. It’s written all over his face. And I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t believe my excuses either.
“You think I’m lying?” I snap at him.
“I think there’s something you’re not telling us.”
“Well that’s fucking great. My own manager doesn’t trust me.”
“Frank,” Ray says from behind me, his voice so soft it’s almost a whisper. “If it’s drugs or booze, we can help. I mean look, we got through it with Gerard and Mikey. We can help you get through it too. Just….talk to us. Let us help you.”
His words make me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Booze! If only it were that simple. I am touched that he wants so bad to help me but he can’t. He won’t understand, he’s part of the problem. He’s not helping me he’s only making this harder. I can’t stay here anymore. I can’t be a part of this band anymore. If I stay with them even one more day…well, I don’t want to think about how awful that would be.
I feel my hand in my pocket, fingering my phone. I think about the call I received this morning.
“Come on, Frankie, you promised!” Her soft voice rang through the speaker into my ear. “You promised you’d be out by the end of the month. That’s tomorrow!”
“I know. I will be. Just, give me some space, ok? It’s going to be tough to break it off with them, they’ll want to know why.”
“Just tell them about us.”
“Yeah like they’ll believe that.”
“Well I have faith in you, babe. You’ll find a way to end it. You know what I’ll do if you don’t.” Her laugh echoed as though she were in a tunnel.
“Two days, Frankie. And then you’re all mine.”
“You can’t help me,” I growl at him.
Gerard snorts. I glare at him.
“You think that’s funny?” I ask.
“The way you’ve been playing recently? I think he’s the only person in the world who can help you.”
“You have been blowing songs at every show for the past month,” Mikey adds.
I look all of them over carefully. Bob hasn’t said anything yet, but the disappointment is plain in his eyes. Mikey looks the same, and the helpless confusion in his voice kills me. Ray looks hurt. He’d offered his help and I’d thrown it back in his face. The three of them look sad and frustrated.
And Gerard, well, he looks furious. And he should be. Nobody has worked harder or given up more for this band than he has. And here I am throwing it all away. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hated me for the rest of my life.
But, then again, that was the plan, wasn’t it?
“Yeah, well fuck you. The songs weren’t any good anyway. My changes just improved them.”
“Is that why we just got booed off the stage?” Gerard snaps.
“Whatever, that wasn’t my fault. Maybe the fans just got sick of your whining.”
Gerard looks like he’s about to hit me but Mikey puts a hand on his arm, stopping him.
“What’s your problem, Frank?” Brian speaks up again. “You’re one of the best guitarists I’ve ever seen and it used to be quite obvious that you loved this band more than anything. It’s like your heart’s not in it anymore. What happened?”
“My problem? Who the hell says I have a fucking problem? There’s noth-”
“Alright you shut up and listen to me,” I was interrupted by Bob. “For almost a month you’ve been missing appointments, coming late or drunk to practices, and fucking up the shows. Damn it, Frank, you the guitarist in a world famous band. You’re living your dream. You’d better start appreciating what you’ve got or you’re going to lose it.”
“My dream? You think this was my dream? To play crappy songs to the preteen masses with the four most untalented musicians I’ve ever met? You think that’s my dream? I never even wanted to be in this band. You needed a guitarist because Toro couldn’t handle it on his own and I pitied you. I never thought I’d be stuck with you for the next seven years.”
“Well, we’d hate for the great Frank Iero to feel like he’s stuck with us.” Gerard’s voice is incredibly quiet and controlled. Quite honestly he’s scaring the shit out of me. “If we’re so awful why are you still here?”
I lean in, knowing he’d like nothing more than to beat the smirk off my face. So I smirk wider. In a voice coated in fake sweetness I answer, “Because you’d fall apart without me.”
His eyes are cold and full of hate. Goading, I continue, “I’m the only good thing about this band. Without me you wouldn’t last two months.”
“Watch us,” Gerard growled and then spun on his heel and stormed off. “I never want to see your fucking face again Iero,” He shouted back over his shoulder. “If you’re so great, try a solo career. We don’t need you.”
A thick tension filled the air. Mikey looked nervously between me and Gerard’s retreating form, then he turned and followed his older brother, Ray and Bob right on his heels.
“Congratulations,” Brian said from behind me. “You’ve just thrown away everything you worked for. I don’t know what sick reason you’ve got for doing this, but I hope it’s worth it.”
With that he walked away up the hallway, following the band. As he turned the corner I let myself slide slowly down the wall until I was sitting on the ground. Don't worry, I think. You are.
Hey guys, lot's more to come. I have the whole story planned out in my head (though not yet written down) and it's much longer than anything else I've done. So bare with me. I happen to think it's rather good. Let me know what you think! Review! Review! Review! Love you to pieces (don't make me make that literal).