But then wiL would roll over in his sleep and jar Gerard's thoughts. And that was pretty fucking scary too, that Gerard's thoughts could be completely disentegrated just by glancing down at wiL's partially open mouth and his pink dusted eyelids and the dark curls that littered his forehead. Sometimes Gerard would think about stealing a kiss because--hell, it's not like wiL would mind. WiL was a sweetheart and he was always pecking Gerard's cheek for one reason or another, so it would be recriprocal to kiss him. But Gerard didn't because.
Because he didn't.
Because that would mean that he wanted to kiss wiL, and he still wasn't sure on what ground he stood with that issue. For his whole life he. Messed around a little, yeah, but never actually entertained that idea that he could spend the rest of his life with a boy. It wasn't like that. He never wanted to be part of THAT couple, you know, the one that, even thought it was the 21st century and homophobia had gotten a lot less frequent, was still so weird to see. They stuck out so much it was pathetic. Gerard didn't want to stick out. He didn't want people coming up to him and asking who was the girl in the relationship with a stupid pat on the back that hurt but is supposed to be friendly.
Messing around was okay in his mind, it was all just fun. So he kissed Adam a few times, no big deal. Neither of them gave a shit because--fuck, girls did the same thing! He knew it, because he's had girlfriends before and they all liked to brag about how they'd kissed girls before at slumber parties or behind the building at school just because. It was easy to kiss friends.
Like it was easy to kiss Frank. Because Frank's married. There was no commitment issues with kissing Frank or Adam or Bert because that's what some guys do. It's all in good fun. But if Gerard kissed wiL, it would be something different, because they haven't known each other long enough to laugh it off, and neither of them drank so no alcohol or stimulating drug could take the blame.
Plus we're married...
The view was the selling point of Gerard's house, honest-to-god. Brian had picked out a few houses for Gerard to take a look at, all of them situated in the same little culdesac of wherever, Maine that he was--he really needed to check what the name of his town was, one day when he's done being a retard. The first two were nice...nice. Yeah. And Gerard had always wanted a nice house. Sure, he liked his basement, but--after living in puke and dark and squallor and a number of things that just came from being an all around weirdo, he wanted to start fresh. He wanted to be able to look out his window and see a fucking lawn. It didn't have to have a funny mailbox or be a fucking botanical garden, but he wanted it to look nice. He was filled with a need to just be a little bit normal for once and not put giant action figures out in the grass or paint the outside of his house black. He wanted to blend in.
The first two houses were nice. The third, his home, was nice sprinkled with a balcony that overlooked the sea.
Growing up in Jersey, water wasn't...it just wasn't. You didn't drink from it, you didn't touch it, and you certainly didn't think it was beautiful. It was just there. It was deep pools of gray flooded with sticks and algae and snakes. Not even poets could make them sound anything other than...water. Gross water that no one really wanted to step in or look at or smell.
Now, Gerard had in firm belief that Maine water was fucking magical fairy tears. With sparkles. Shiny sparkles.
He leaned back in his chair and looked out from his balcony, gripping his wet-with-condensation glass tighter in his hand and with the other lighting the cigarette perched between his lips. He'd almost quit, actually. He was down to three a day. One in the morning, one after lunch, and one...dispersed at another time during the day, but it certainly wasn't fucking cliche like just before bed.
The sunlight poured itself down on his face and arms and the tops of his thighs, warming him from the inside while he took a sip of his pink lemonade. With his eyelids just barely squeezed open he watched the open waves slosh together and break on the rocky shore.
He had a fucking shore. Okay, so he didn't own it, but whenever he wanted to, he could go down there and walk. Sitting perched on top of the rocks at low tide was his muse. As was wiL, secretly. He liked watching wiL play 'don't let the water touch you because it's highly corrosive acid that will eat away your foot and confine you to a meaningless life in the seat of a wheelchair forever'. Gabriel had told him in recent days that his new comic was taking 'optimistic turns'.
Soon his eyelids became too heavy to keep open and he let them fall closed, just listening to the sounds of the sea and in the background the noise of wiL singing in French while he was down in the garden, probably talking to the plants that he had named. He half-wished that wiL would come upstairs and onto the balcony with him so he could scoot a chair close and lay his head on his shoulder and listen to him sing and actually hear it. They did that, sometimes, just like it was such a normal thing to do. WiL's hand would pet at Gerard's hair and he would sing him songs about the silliest things, Gerard knew because wiL had told him--attempted to, his English was alot better but still...--what most of the songs were about. But he knew that wiL was kind of busy with his horticulture, and he couldn't always have him around when he wanted to.
His breathing evened out slowly as his thoughts began to turn into mush and the crashing waves just got louder and the very air seemed wettened with freshness. It was like standing next to a waterfall and letting the soft wash that radiated off the water fill your brain. Everything just--got clearer but went away. It was a little frustrating, to Gerard, that he knew he could think his best during these brief spells of fresh if only he could bring himself to work his brain towards anything other than being contented. He could probably even write a whole song in those few minutes--but it wouldn't really be My Chemical Romance material. More like--the tempo of Bright Eyes mixed with words from Tegan and Sara. A completely sappy song about how he's okay. Or, more like in love but not with a person, more like in love with life.
Yeah, yeah. Gerard was in love with life. Maybe he could start a side project--the anti-Leathermouth. The happy side of being alive. He'd already done supernatural creatures, losing your loved ones and dying, so why not happy?
Oh right. Fans.
Teenage girls don't want to hear about how good life is. Riiight. He very well couldn't make a song about the pink plastic flamingo in his neighbor's yard and expect to be taken seriously.
He thought his fresh edge was starting to slip piece by piece, because his ear wasn't cool anymore--
"Dormez-vous, Gerard?" A playful voice asked into the shell of his ear and his eyes snapped open. He tilted his head back all the way until he was met with wiL's smile.
"No, I was just--thinking with my eyes closed."
"Theenking about wha?" wiL asked, wincing at his own terrible accent. He went around the chair until he was standing in front of Gerard, still grinning down at him. Little dark tendrils of bangs fell past his nose, brushing it softly and making him scrunch up his face a little before puffing at them.
Gerard let a smile invade his mouth, really couldn't help it because there was no way he could be moody now, and held out both hands in an open gesture. "About...nothing," he said softly as wiL got comfortable in his lap, tucking his legs under Gerard's, clutching at the front of his shirt and nosing into his neck. It was all really normal. cough
Gerard let his hand rest at wiL's back, thumbing over his shirt slowly and hoping to make wiL dazed just like he was. If there's anything better than being in a sweet daze, it's being in a sweet daze with someone else. Judging from the happy little sounds wiL was making into his ear and the small kisses to his cheek and neck and shoulder, wiL was on his way to a sweet daze.
"Mmm, sleepy, Gerard?" asked wiL, lifting his head from it's spot on Gerard's shoulder and leaving a cold spot.
Another of those terrifying moments could have happened--definitely would have happened, if Gerard wasn't so relaxed--over the thought that Gerard was starting to understand alot of the French that wiL said. Also, that wiL was understanding English. That they were understanding each other and would one day have an actual conversation.
"Aww, Mikey, lookit! Aren't they just--aww. I never thought your brother could be anything remotely close to cute, but aww!"
Gerard officially hated his sister-in-law. One, for waking him with her high-pitched girlish squealing that any other time she would whole heartedly deny she EVER does, and two, for having a camera. WiL stirred awake in his arms and blinked up at Gerard owlishly for a moment, like he always does (oh god, shoot me now, I know what he looks like first thing when he wakes up were Gerard's sentiments on this) and smiled, albeit confusedly. He turned around in Gerard's lap and, unfortunately, saw Alicia, and--
"Licia!" he squealed, jumping out of Gerard's lap to throw his arms around her neck and be cuddled mercilessly.
"WiL! Oh, I've missed you so much!"
Mikey edged closer to his brother and leaned down. "She knitted him a sweater."
"Another one?" Gerard asked increduously. This made the third one.
"With green dinosaurs on it. I feel sorry for the kid."
"...nah, don't. He actually loves his sweaters. Apparently, although they are hideously uncool, they're really comfortable."
A few meters away, wiL and Alicia were busy animatedly trying to have a girl fit, or something. Which involved alot of jumping and holding each other by the forearms.
"God Alicia, man up!" Gerard called, immediately regretting it, because she stopped and levelled him with a stare. A 'hell hath no fury like an Alicia distracted from her precious wiL' stare.
"You know what, Mikey, never mind what I said about your brother, he is a bitch. A mean bitch. And I hate him, and that's it, we're adopting--"
"We're not adopting anyone over the age of twenty, babe."
"...can we adopt Ryan Ross? And then replace him with wiL so that Gerard can be all 'creepy pedophile loser' and I can have wiL?"
Mikey raised his eyebrows at her. "We'll think about it. In the meantime, Gerard..." He cut himself off and looked over at his older brother a little hesitantly. This didn't garner much optimism from Gerard. "Um..."
"What, Mikey?" Gerard asked irritably. It was just starting to catch up to him that he was awoken from a really nice nap and now his lap was cold and his brother was stupid and married an evil woman.
"I may have let it slip to Mom that you're married to a boy."
Mikey and Gerard sat out on the balcony while Alicia and wiL hurried back inside because wiL wanted to show her how good he was at making pancakes. From inside the house they could hear the excited chatter of their better halves, then the banging of pots and pans as wiL searched through the messy cabinets for the right one. Farther off, maybe up the road or a little less, both of them could hear a dog barking and a car. Just one single car driving down the road. Mikey smiled up at the sky and took out a cigarette.
"You're happy," he observed, flicking the metal zippo in his hand. His eyes lazed themselves down to slits as he looked over at his brother, finally, after observing the half-set sun. He didn't exactly feel jealous that his brother was finally feeling comfortable with wiL, it's just--
Gerard was really pleased with his life. And of course Mikey was going to love that, he loved his brother, but he kind of wanted it too. He didn't know how to get it, though. He already had a wife whom he loved, and a house that he liked, and he knew that if he moved out to Maine here on the shore as well, it wouldn't be as good to him as it was to Gerard. They had different tastes, Mikey's just weren't as refined. Yet. Or ever, maybe, but he knew enough to know that something about his life wasn't working. Maybe it was just New York. Maybe it was Brooklyn.
"Yeah," Gerard muttered increduously, laughing. "I'm happy, Mikes." He sat up and hunched closer to Mikey, folding his hands over his knees. "I'm not on tour and I'm happy."
It took Gerard a while to answer him. He blinked, frowned, looked down at the floor for a really long time before shrugging and popping back up with a considerably smaller smile. "I don't know. I kind of feel normal now. I can go to the store down the street and not be recognized."
"Because you live in a community for seniors," Mikey pointed out. And no one over 14 really listened to them anymore, did they? But Gerard did have a very, very good point. Mikey couldn't even remember what it felt like to be normal. He thought it might also have something to do with the fact that Gerard had a job outside the band, while he was a bass player and just that. Gerard had all sorts of odd things he could do in his spare time. Especially now, with wiL living with him.
"So. WiL's English is getting alot better."
Gerard gave him a guarded look before answering. "Yeah. That tutor is really good."
"Mhm. Um...you know, Alicia wanted me to ask--cause I certainly don't want to know, but, are...have you and wiL...?" Mikey flushed red and turned his gaze back out to the water, Gerard's pissed off look answer enough.
"You actually think I'd take advantage of him like that?"
"I didn't mean it--you know I wasn't meaning anything bad towards you, Gerard. But--the kid's pretty. You know it. And you like him, and he's probably expecting something like that anyway." Mikey just quit there, he wasn't making it sound any better. Gerard wasn't doing anything with wiL, and it didn't look like he ever planned to. Story over. Mikey felt bad for even insinuating that his brother would do something like that.
"M'not even gay..."
Now that was just bull shit, but Mikey shut himself up before his mouth got him into any more trouble. Gerard was already mad enough just over him telling their mom, and it was just getting worse every time he opened his mouth. He settled for nodding and sinking back into his chair, sighing out all his worries into the clean air.
Unlike Mikey and Alicia, Gerard actually had a kitchen table. It was small, square, made of wood and situated up against a wall with a window to look out of. In the mornings, Gerard and wiL would usually sit at the table while eating breakfast, sharing a pack of cigarettes with the window open so the smoke wasn't caught inside the house. The walls were a really homey butter yellow color with some kind of floral print attached to it, all in all really fucking embarassing if any of the guys were to venture into his kitchen and really take a look around, but he really loved it.
Now, Gerard sat with his brother, wiL, and Alicia, staring out his closed window at the empty street in front of his house, the dull conversation only reaching his ears in echoes. Mikey and wiL were discussing basses, of all things, and Gerard didn't even know that wiL played anything, but he made a note to ask him later. And if it was true, buy him a fucking bass or steal Mikey's or something.
Alicia nudged him in the side after a little while and leaned in.
"Um. Hi?" Gerard said back a little nervously. But that was just the impression Alicia had on him. Nothing good could come from talking to her. But she had a goofy little grin on her face, and that aided to ebb his worries slightly.
"WiL made pancakes." And to demonstrate, she held up her fork, not paying any mind to the syrup dripping down her hand.
Gerard smiled. "He can make ravioli too. Not that canned shit, but like...erm, with spinach in it. It's really good. And he's not even Italian."
Damn. It kind of felt good to be able to brag about wiL. He didn't want to sound like a pig and go all out and say that wiL cooks and cleans and does all the womanly shit--because first off, he doesn't, Gerard does most of the work inside the house while wiL tends to his little garden, and second, just no--but it felt really nice to be able to say that yeah, wiL cooks for him sometimes and it's really good. He also wanted to tell her that sometimes wiL sung just for him, and that he picked out the wallpaper for the living room.
Alicia made a little sighing noise and glanced over at wiL and Mikey, both in deep conversation about strings and the mechanics and why it's never good to let them get cold. "It's kind of really fucking stupid, isn't it?" she asked, and Gerard had no idea what she was talking about. Unless--well yeah, unless she was talking about the situation, but he didn't think that was it.
"Feeling like this. Like, when I was younger and someone asked if I would ever be able to commit to one person, I'd have said hell no, but it's pretty nice once you're in deep. Right?"
Since when was he in deep? He was just living with the guy.
"Oh, shut up, Gerard."
Gerard trudged up the familiar driveway of his old house, wiL and Mikey and Alicia all in tow behind him. This was the first time he'd been to New Jersey in three months, and even then was only for a concert. The last concert of his previous tour, and he hadn't visited his parents. So really, on top of being nauseous about his mom knowing that he was married to a boy, he also felt really shitty for not going and seeing them sooner. He'd always had a really good and, for the most part, open relationship with his mom, and he knew she was probably feeling really bad right now too. First finding out that your son was gay--which he wasn't, but it sure as hell looked like it--and married--also, maybe he wasn't really, but. Still. Same principle. He was living with a guy, and it really didn't look like he was going to be dating any girls from now on.
He didn't even get a few minutes to stall in front of his old green door with the paint chipping off, mentally preparing himself to step inside and defend himself against his mom and her million questions. He didn't get the time to look back at his brother, to shoot him yet another glare and make him feel any smaller than he already did, because as soon as The Ways--and that was the weirdest part, really, that they were all now, ergh, family--stomped up the porch steps, Gerard and Mikey's mom threw open the door and levelled her oldest son with a stare.
"Gerard." She didn't say it curtly, or mean, and Gerard almost wished she did. Because she was mad, he knew she was, and knowing that while she acted like everything was peaches and cream was worse than the yelling. It just pushed the guilt further up into Gerard's throat until he was choking on his own emotions and couldn't say anything in return other than a hushed, 'Mom.'
There was a momentary lapse in--well, maybe one of those black holes that you always hear about, not a dangerous one, just one that stopped everything. That made it all painfully slow motion so every passing thought and facial expression inflicted arrows of sharp poison where normally humans aren't designed to catch every emotion others threw at them. Gerard could feel every afflicting thought from everyone around him. From his mom, red, warm anger that left his front side baked, from wiL who was clinging to his arm slightly behind him, utter confusion washing and covering his whole left side, and from his brother and sister-in-law, silent hesitation, which really just felt like not breathing.
They were so overpowering that he couldn't distinguish what his own thoughts were until time caught up with the rest of them and his mom was stepping forward to hug him. She pulled back quickly and held him at arm's length, gaze only gluing to him for a moment before flitting over to wiL. WiL was almost cowering under the look, hiding his face in Gerard's arm and looking too tiny in the oversized gray sweater. Gerard just wanted to scoop him up in his arms. He had no idea how Alicia was feeling about this.
His mom smiled, leaning down a little and bracing her hands on her knees as if she was talking to a child. Really, wiL was only smaller because he was on the bottom step.
"And you must be wiL, right?"
Gerard wasn't going to go into the intricacies of how wiL's name had to be spelled. He just nodded and tugged a little on wiL's sleeve. "C'mere," he said softly, opening his arm wide enough for wiL to slip under and curl himself into Gerard's side. He glanced up once more at Gerard's mom, who wasn't looking as scary as before and felt a little better. She stepped forward and leaned down a little, mouth hanging open like some people's do when they're concentrating.
"He's pretty, Gerard," she whispered.
She straightened up, sorting out her top and giving a little wave to the two left out Ways in the background before ushering everyone into the dark living room.
Aaandd, nostalgia. With stale, floral-patterned brown everywhere. Gerard sunk down into the lumpy cushions of the god-knows-how-old couch and pulled wiL down beside him because the kid looked tool scared to move. He didn't curl into Gerard's side when he hit the couch, just cowered into the crevice between cushions and looked down at his own shoes. There was a thread loose on his sweater and he started fiddling with it again while everyone else got seated, Alicia and Mikey squeezing onto the couch as well while Gerard's mom sat in the recliner to the left.
Gerard didn't know if he was supposed to start or not. But how could he? My stupid brother thought I was a really pathetic old guy....
His head snapped up to look at his mom, surprised at the guilt suddenly encompassing him. He didn't even do anything! "Mom?"
"Would you like to explain how you got a...husband?"
"...nuh-uh. Let Mikey do it."
It took Mikey close to an hour to tell what should have only lasted minutes, but he kept filling it with 'But I was only worried about him' or something unrelated about Alicia. And once the tale was over, the tension in the air still failed to leave.
"Gerard, are you actually married now?" his mom asked, like it was preposterious to believe any of this.
"I'm not sure," sounds so weak to his own ears but it's all he has and he said it quietly, inching closer to wiL subtley and not even flinching when wiL's hand reached out to curl around his own because that's just wiL.
"So you've just been living with him this whole time without knowing anything about your own situation? Is he even legal?"
Gerard glanced down at wiL and shrugged. He didn't know anything, come to think of it. Really, this was just getting more and more fucked up by the minute, and all he wanted was to go back home and sit around with wiL and maybe ask him about that bass thing.
"Did it ever occur to you that you could just get an annullment if you really are married?" she asked blandly. And no, that hadn't really crossed anyone's mind either, but that was the stupidest thing Gerard had heard yet.
"No, no annullments. Look, I don't know if we are married, or if we're not, or if it's even possible, but if we are...then we are. And it'll stay that way," Gerard said firmly, looking around the room to see if anyone was going to fucking argue with him.
"So you want to be married to wiL," his mom stated, cocking her head to the side.
He just shrugged again.