Mikey in Frank's dream starts to put his plan into action
“Don’t look so nervous, Gerard,” Mikey laughed. “You don’t need to be worried about me.”
“I’m not worried about you,” he snapped back.
The corners of Mikey’s mouth turned down into an angry frown.
“No, I know!” he growled. “You never have been! I’m just the inconvenience that you’re forced to deal with.”
“What!” Gerard stared back in astonishment at the reply. “Is that what you really think?”
“Oh, come on!” Mikey scoffed. “Don’t tell me it’s not true or I’ll know you’re lying to me. I know you better than that.”
Mikey turned his back on his brother and his shoulders sagged as he continued.
“You’ve never cared for me, you just tolerate me.”
Gerard’s breath hitched as he heard the catch in his brother’s throat. Stepping forward he placed a hand tentatively on Mikey’s right shoulder.
“That’s not true, Mikey, you have to believe that.”
Mikey turned slowly, his eyes lowered at first. Extending his hand, he gently ran it down Gerard’s left arm. Taking a step closer, Mikey moved his hand and ran it across Gerard’s soft cotton shirt. Stopping as he reached the buttons, he deftly unfastened the top two.
“Mikey…” Gerard spoke quietly, with hesitation clear in his voice. “Don’t.”
“See?” Mikey lowered his eyes again. “I knew you’d turn me away.”
“Can you blame me?”
Mikey stared back. He looked hurt by the reply, then saddened.
“No,” he shook his head sadly. “I deserve it, I know I do.”
“Mikey?” Gerard began, unsure exactly what to say. “I thought you hated me.”
“I’m sorry, Gerard,” Mikey gripped his arms. “Give me one more chance? Please, Gerard? Just one more?”
Gerard nodded with a kind smile. He glanced down; Mikey had poured his heart out to him and begged his forgiveness – how could he refuse him? How could he have misunderstood his own brother by such a degree? He felt guilty.
His guilt was soon washed away by a wave of surprise as Mikey slid his left arm around Gerard’s waist and pulled him closer so that their hips touched.
“Mikey?” Gerard gasped at the action but was prevented from saying more as Mikey pressed his lips to his.
He felt himself responding as Mikey ran his fingers through his hair.
“Gerard?” Mikey whispered through the kiss. “I do hate you.”
As his hand reached the back of Gerard’s head, he closed his fingers, snatching a handful of his hair and pulled back painfully. Gerard screamed with pain and humiliation as Mikey took half a step back and brought his knee sharply into Gerard’s crotch. The normal sensitivity of the area heightened by Mikey’s apparently genuine advances only made the pain more excruciating and Gerard gasped and sagged as the agony weakened him. Landing a heavy blow to his abdomen, Mikey laughed as he let go of Gerard’s hair and watched him drop to his knees. Swiping a half-clenched fist across his brother’s face, re-opening the gash on his lower lip, Mikey watched with satisfaction as Gerard fell backwards to the floor.
“Still conscious?” Mikey asked harshly.
“Yeah,” Gerard replied with a mere whisper as he lay still on the floor.
In reply, Mikey landed a sharp kick to Gerard’s head.
“How about now?”
Frey waited at the servants’ entrance of the mansion, outside stood Gerard’s carriage. Sighing with relief as Bob and Ray finally arrived, Frey opened the door and ushered them inside.
“Where are the Way brothers?” Bob asked urgently.
“They’re both out,” Frey lied.
“And Angela? Does she know why we’re here?”
“Of course not!” Frey snapped. “You know what she’s like. She’d confront him and you’d never see her again.”
Ray nodded. Angela knew her own mind, it was one of the reasons he loved her so much.
“I’ll get her, you just take her and get her as far away as you can.”
As Frey disappeared through the opposite door, Ray turned to Bob and offered him a questioning look.
“I still can’t believe it,” he shook his head. “I mean, I knew something was wrong, but I never expected it to be Gerard.”
“I know,” Bob nodded, “but maybe he and Mikey aren’t so different after all?”
As Frey almost pushed Angela back through the door, her eyes grew wide as she saw Ray and Bob waiting by the far wall.
“What is it?” she cried as she ran over. “What’s wrong?”
Bob reached out and fixed a firm grip on her wrist.
“We’re getting you out of here,” Bob replied gruffly, making it clear that he would tolerate no refusal on her part.
“Why?” she demanded, pulling back automatically as he tried to drag her towards the door. “I’m not a prisoner here, you know!”
“You will be if you don’t come with us,” Bob returned, this time a little softer.
“What?” she replied, confused by Bob’s cryptic response.
“Angela, it’s true,” Ray spoke gently as he took her other hand. “We know what he’s been doing to you, but now we’ve discovered that he plans to force you to marry him.”
“Marry!” Angela’s eyes stared back in panic.
“I can’t lose you, Angela,” Ray begged, “please, you must come now.”
“He can’t force me,” Angela insisted, but the seed of doubt was firmly planted in her mind. “Can he?”
“He’s rich, well connected. What if he can force a reverend to marry you against your will?”
Angela buried her head in Ray’s shoulders.
“What can we do?”
“Leave now,” he replied confidently, “go straight to Woodridge.”
“That’s not far,” Angela raised her head and shook it. “He’s bound to find us.”
“By then we’ll be married, it’s all arranged. A private ceremony.”
“But… our families, friends…” Angela’s eyes misted.
“We’ll come back when it’s safe to, I promise. And when we do, we can marry all over again; no one will miss a thing,” Ray assured her.
“What about your farm?”
“Bob’s going to run my farm while we’re away.”
Angela turned her eyes towards her brother.
“You can’t run a farm and your blacksmiths, it’s too much!”
Bob shook his head sadly.
“Not since Woodridge got a Smith, things have been pretty slow,” Bob shrugged, “I need to help you just as much as you need me.”
Angela kissed her brother on the cheek.
“I love you, Bob,” she added with a smile. “You’re brother, father and friend, all in one.”
“Go on,” he smiled back, urging her towards the door. “Take the carriage and go.”
“My things?” she asked. “I’ll need clothes and other things.”
“It’s all right, don’t worry, we have time.”
“But not much,” Bob added.
“Will you just go!” Frey ordered.
Ray and Bob pulled Angela gently, but firmly to the door and the waiting carriage.
Gerard groaned softly as he rolled onto his back. If Mikey hadn’t been nudging him with his booted foot, it seemed likely that he’d still be unconscious.
“Come on, sleepy head!” Mikey called. “Time to wake up!”
“You’re a real bastard, Mikey,” Gerard complained as the persistent taps to his arms and hip pulled him back to wakefulness.
“I know,” Mikey laughed.
“It wasn’t a compliment!” his brother growled as he pushed himself upright.
“Maybe not in your world,” Mikey shrugged casually. “But I guess you’ll want to know about Frank now?”
“How do I know you’re not making all that up too?”
“You don’t,” Mikey grinned as he pulled Gerard to his feet. “I’ll just tell you what I know, then it’s up to you.”
“Well, what do you know?”
“What? We’re not going to kiss and make up first?” Mikey asked slyly.
“Where’s Frank!” Gerard yelled, infuriated by his brother’s delays and taunts.
“Bob Bryar’s got him,” he lied.
“Angela’s brother? Why?” Gerard asked with a degree of scepticism.
“Ray’s found out about you. Probably from Angela.”
“B... but… no…” Gerard shook his head as the stammered reply escaped his lips.
“If you’re going to say she doesn’t know about your preference for men, then you are seriously deluding yourself, dear brother.”
Gerard hung his head.
“No. I know she knows,” he sighed. “We were talking one night and she said I should find myself a wife.”
“But you said you’d rather have a husband?” Mikey cut in gleefully.
Gerard exhaled deeply.
“Not quite so bluntly, no.”
“Ah!” Mikey clapped his hands together. “Another drunken mistake!”
“She said she didn’t mind, swore she wouldn’t tell anyone!”
Gerard slumped in a chair, saddened and still hurting from the beating he had received earlier from Mikey.
“Ah, yes, but Ray isn’t just anyone. He’s her fiancé now.”
“Ray? He finally proposed?” A brief smile danced across his lips at the news. But within moments, he realised that Ray was probably not quite so open minded as Angela. “So, Ray got Bob involved?”
“Ray’s taking her away from such a depraved environment.”
“I’m not depraved!” Gerard snapped.
“Bob’s looking after Ray’s farm until he and Angela are safely married and you can’t do her any more harm. Really, Gerard, it’s pretty obvious if you think about it.”
“Okay,” Gerard turned a stern glance towards Mikey. “What’s not so obvious is how you know about it.”
Mikey smiled; he had everything planned perfectly and so far it was proceeding without a hitch.
“They asked to borrow the carriage.”
“They asked you?” Gerard shook his head in disbelief.
“No, idiot! They asked Frey. Bob drinks with him occasionally.”
“And he told you?”
“He told me.”
“He just volunteered the information? Why didn’t he tell me?”
“Well, I don’t know. Did you beat it out of him?”
“No,” Gerard sighed.
“That’s where you went wrong.”
“And Frank?” Gerard sighed. “He overheard them planning all this?”
Mikey clapped his hands.
“Congratulations! I knew you weren’t as stupid as you look!”
“Hilarious!” Gerard replied dryly. “Where’s Angela now? I have to speak to her.”
“Gone. They came for her about twenty minutes ago.”
Gone too,” Mikey shrugged. “Probably took the silverware with him.”
Pushing himself out of the chair, Gerard headed to the door. “I have to find them. Twenty minutes, you say? They could still be packing then?”
“Probably,” Mikey replied absently as he settled himself in the seat near the fire.
As he turned the handle, Gerard turned back to face Mikey.
“I don’t know if this is another pack of lies you’re spinning for your own twisted amusement, but I want you out of here, Mikey. By the time I get back, I expect you to be gone.”
Mikey watched from the comfort of his seat by the fire as Gerard slammed the door behind him on his way to the stables to saddle his horse.
“I’m not going anywhere, Gerard, because you won’t be coming back.”