Bob confronts Frank.
I look at him, shocked. That was not a slip of the tongue or a force of habit. That was him, consciously addressing me as Frank. No. I can’t let him know, I can’t. I look down, I can’t meet his eye as I lie to him yet again.
“I don’t know what you’re -”
“Cut the shit, Frank.”
My eyes stay glued to the mat on the floor of the car.
“How?” I mumble. He smiles gently at me.
“You’re act was really good. But I notice things other people don’t. Like that your glasses aren’t prescription. Or that you keep dying your hair. Or that either you have a serious skin condition, or you’re trying to hide something. Like, oh, maybe tattoos?”
I finally look away from the floor, my eyes pleading as they meet his. “Bob, you can’t tell the guys. You just can’t,” I ramble, my voice panicked.
“Don’t worry,” he says. “I haven’t told anyone else. I’m pretty sure the guys have no idea. Not so sure about Jess though. She’s harder to read.”
“How long?” I ask, barely a whisper. “How long have you known?”
“Since you got here. The first night, I found you asleep in the back lounge watching old home videos of us. I guess I wanted to believe it was you. Then with all the other little hints, my suspicions were confirmed.”
A lot of things make sense now. Like Bob saying Frank when he woke me, or him supporting me when we were deciding if I should play. Because he knew I could do it. He knew I was Frank.
I look up again. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Why didn’t you?” he sighs. “I don’t know what’s going on or why you’re doing this but I trust you, Frank. And if you think it’s better if we don’t know about whatever it is, then I trust you on that too. I figured you’d come to us when you were ready. And as long as it didn’t affect us I was fine with that. But now it does affect us. Ray is hurt and you knew it would happen. You tried to warn us about it on the bus this morning. Now we’re involved. So I’m only going to ask this once, Frank, and don’t you dare try to get out of telling me. What’s going on?”
I drop my head into my hands. “I don’t know where to start.”
“How about with why you left the band?”
I straighten up and look him in the eye. “Ok,” I say.
And I sit there and tell him the whole thing. I tell him how Jess called me almost three months ago and told me she’d kill the band if I didn’t leave them. I’d laughed it off at first, but then one day Gerard mentioned that some crazy driver had almost run him down, and Mikey said his house had been broken into. The rest of the guys just shrugged it off as the craziness of life, but I had a sneaking suspicion Jess was involved. A week later I received a letter from Jess containing several pictures, stalker style, of all of us. At the venues, at the bus, at our houses. And I started to believe her.
So I left the band. I tell him about the phone call after the press conference, and the makeup and contacts and hair dye. I tell him about my midnight chat with Mikey and how hard it was to lie to them. I tell him about Jess’s threat of a surprise and how it was no coincidence that Ray hurt his hand the same day. I tell him about the other times Jess has been responsible for hurting my friends. I tell him about my call to Brian, and about the picture I managed to save.
But most importantly I tell him that I’m sorry. For lying to him. For not trusting him. For thinking I was strong enough to handle this on my own.
All this explaining takes quite a while and when I finish I am out of breath. Bob looks shell shocked. I sit nervously silent for several minutes. I study his face but I can’t tell what he’s thinking. Is he mad at me? Does he hate me?
Suddenly he leans across the seat and pulls me into a hug. I sigh into his shoulder. “I’m so sorry,” I mutter, yet again.
He pulls away and looks at me. “Don’t be,” he says. “You only did what you believed to be the best. That’s nothing to be sorry about.”
I smile weakly at him. Then my mobile goes off. It’s Gerard. I glance at the clock. Shit. We’ve been sitting here for an hour and a half. I answer my phone just before it goes to voicemail.
“Where the hell are you guys?”
“Uh, sorry…we, uh. Bob had to use the bathroom and then we kind of got side tracked. We’re leaving right now.”
Gerard laughs. “Don’t bother, we’re coming back. They want to keep Ray overnight because he got really dehydrated and they want to make sure he’s completely ok. Visiting hours just ended and we’re getting into the car now.”
“Oh, ok,” I say. “See you soon.” Then I hang up. I turn to Bob. “They’re on their way back.”
He nods. “So what are we going to do?” I ask.
He ponders it a moment. “We can’t tell anyone else,” he says. “The more people who know, the more likely Jess is to find out. And she’s already proven that she’s willing to hurt someone. We’ll just have to find substantial proof of what she’s up to before we go to the police. We need to get her on the first try, or she’ll hurt someone.”
I nod. “But how are we going to get proof?”
He looks at me sadly. “I don’t know. But we will. I promise.”
Alright, that's the last one I have typed up, and I'm really busy for the next couple of days, so it may be a while, sorry. Should update by mid next week. I may be inspired my thoughtful reviews, though. I love it when you guys review, I honestly do. Love you to pieces (don't make me make that literal).