There is an unexpected turn of events during the concert.
Think, damn it! Freaking out isn’t going to save anyone. Get yourself together. Jess is staying on her side of the stage, so whatever it is probably won’t happen there. That means if Gerard stays closer to her he should be alright. Mikey and I however are far enough away to merit concern. She said she wouldn’t go after me, so that means…what does that mean? If I stay close to Mikey will he be safe? Safe from what? What even is she going to do?
Focus, Frankie. Come on, think! Ok, cords. Cords are dangerous, right? Maybe she’ll cause a short in one of the lines? But everything is already plugged in and running, so that’s not it. Unless she spread them out a bit more than usual in hopes that someone would trip, it’s not the cords. Jess is much more precise than that.
I consider the guitars. No one would think twice about Jess hanging around by the guitars. Could she rig them somehow? So far nothing’s happened. I’m having such a hard time thinking clearly right now, I can’t even think of what she could rig them to do. Explode? I don’t think so.
The amps all seem to be working fine and they look stable. Just to be sure they’re not going to fall on anyone, I work my way between Mikey and the wall of amps, forcing him to walk further out onto the stage.
What else? The stage is a permanent one, so there’s no way she could make it collapse. The only things we brought in were the banner behind Bob and some lighting and effects equipment. Maybe something will fall, or break? That seems unlikely. So what if the lights break, we play in the dark. Big deal. No one gets hurt. And I’m pretty sure Jess wants me to see whatever is about to happen. The banner could fall. If it did it might hit Bob, but that’s not a sure bet either. And even if it hit Bob, it’s doubtful he’d be seriously injured.
Wait! The pyro equipment! What if she moved something? What if it’s pointed in the wrong direction? Like, at some one. Shit! That might be it!
Alright, calm down. Focus. Where are all the flame throwers? There’s some behind Bob, some on the sides of the stage, and some on the ceiling above Bob. Any of those could be a problem, if they aren’t in exactly the right place. I’d bet she’ll go after Bob first, he’s the only one who actually knows Jason is Frank, and that’s the biggest threat to her plan.
Ok, so that means she won’t use the ones on the sides, they’re too close to me and her, and it’d just be easier to use the ones in the back to go after Bob, plus they’re blocked by the riser, so no one would notice that they are out of alignment. So is it the ones behind Bob, or above him?
I glance up nervously, wondering if I’d be able to see if the nozzles have been moved. Even if they were, would I be able to tell? I never looked at them before, so I don’t know what normal even looks like. I mentally kick myself for not paying more attention.
The flame throwers haven’t been used yet in the concert, which only reinforces my suspicions. I’m almost certain that’s what she’ll use. We don’t actually use pyro equipment until ‘Welcome to the Black Parade.’ I go over the set list in my head. ‘Black Parade’ is next. That gives me less than 2 minutes to come up with a plan, and I need a damn good one.
I look over at Bob. It takes a minute, but he meets my eye. He raises his eyebrows at the panic I am sure is on my face. I glance up at the equipment urgently, clueing him in as best I can.
‘We have to stop the show,’ I mouth to him. He shakes his head. He has a plan, I know he does, but I’m having a hard time believing in it right now.
Suddenly everything stops. I can see everything more clearly than ever. I hear every breath, every rustle of clothing, every voice singing along. All my senses are sharpened to the point of insanity. Straining, I focus in on one sensation, the feeling of eyes on me, a feeling so familiar, it calms me. It’s not the thousands of screaming fans, or even the guys.
She’s looking at me, but it’s not like it’s been these past months, since the breakup. Not like knives, boring into my back, more like butterflies, resting a moment on my skin. It’s like it was before. When she was my whole world and I would spend every show basking in that feeling, loving it more than life as she would watch from backstage.
In that moment I remember what it was like to be in love with her. I remember every laugh we shared and every time I let her cry into my shoulder. She was the love of my life. At least, she should have been. I remember the day I found out she was cheating on me. I remember how hard it was to get over her. In a way I never stopped loving her, despite everything she’s done to me.
You only find true love once, and if your true love cheats on you then comes back to ruin your life and get revenge, well, sucks to be you.
Surprised, I turn to face her. I meet her eyes and she looks more peaceful than I’ve ever seen her. The anger is gone from her face. Behind me I hear the keyboard pick out the opening notes to ‘The Black Parade’ and I know I’m running out of time, but somehow I can’t break away from her gaze.
She nods, like it’s just the two of us, in on a secret. The calm on her face is unnerving, and unreadable. I wonder what she’s agreeing to. Does she know I’ve guessed it? Is she agreeing that it’ll be over soon? As soon as the song reaches its first verse and the flames shoot out, killing someone I love.
I’m frozen in place, helpless and hating myself for it. I should move, I should stop them, I should do something! Jess turns away and the strange heightened senses experience ends. Suddenly everything is moving too fast again. This song never seemed so fast before, but now it’s racing towards disaster. I need to do something!
I finally regain control of my limbs, I run forward, not quite sure what I intend to do. But whatever I was going to do, Jess beats me to it. She puts her guitar down, and walks off stage, whispering something to Gerard as she does. Gerard stops singing and stares after her. Then he turns and looks at me. I don’t know what’s going on, but this is a better opportunity than I could have hoped for and I’m sure as hell taking it.
“Stop the song,” I yell to Gerard, who is still staring questioningly at me. “Get everybody off stage, now!”
By now I’ve finally made my way to him, and I grab the mic from him. Speaking to the fans I say, “Sorry guys, there’s some technical difficulties going on right now, and we’ve got to end the show early tonight. We’ll make it up to you next time.”
I put the mic down and turn to Gerard, he opens he mouth, probably to ask what the hell I’m doing, but I interrupt him. “Trust me,” I snap. “Get off the stage.”
He looks confused and thoroughly pissed, but thankfully he doesn’t argue. I glance back to find that Bob has already ushered Mikey off the stage. I look up one last time at the sprinklers, wondering if that really was her plan, or if she’s got something else up her sleeve. If I was right and that was what she was planning, why would she leave right before they were set to go off?
What if that’s just what she wanted me to think and getting everybody offstage is actually sending them right into the real trap?
“Worm!” I call. He’s next to me instantly. “Don’t let anything happen to them, ok?” he nods. I trust Worm with my life, but my life isn’t what’s at stake right now. Theirs are. And that’s harder for me to handle. I’d risk myself to save them any day, but risking them is killing me.
I walk over to the guys, where I am instantly attacked by a round of “What’s going on?” from both Ways and Ray. Ignoring them, I turn to Bob.
“Was this in your plan?”
He shakes his head and my fears are confirmed. We’re in over our heads now. Everything we thought we knew, everything we planned for, is gone. I glance around. Jess isn’t here. I need to find her, I need to figure out what she’s up to.
“Alright, stay here, stay together, stay by Worm,” I instruct, praying to God, if there is one, that for once they won’t be stubborn and they’ll just listen to me. I turn to leave but a hand on my shoulder stops me. I turn to see Gerard, looking incredibly angry.
“Where are you going? What is going on? Unless you can convince me otherwise, there was no reason to stop the show and we’re going back out there to finish.”
I’m just standing there, trying to come up with something short, vague, and convincing to tell him, when suddenly I don’t have to. Bob covers for me.
“No we’re not, I won’t play.” Gerard turns on him and I’m certain he’s about to start yelling when Bob speaks again. “Go.”
I realize he’s talking to me and I turn and start walking again. I get about four steps away when I hear Gerard lose it. Bob’s and Worm’s voices try to reason with him but I can’t stay to listen. I race along, looking for her, praying I’m not too late.
Wow. I really thought that more would happen in this chapter, but it turned out really long so you only get half tonight. The next chapter was really fun to write so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I'll have that up soon. Love you to pieces (don't make me make that literal).