Frerard. After Frank is held hostage, he begins to develop a strange case of Stockholm syndrome.
Gerard chewed on his thumbnail in the other room, visible through the large, wooden walk way. He was leaning forward, elbows on his knees. Frank said nothing. He watched condensation gather on the kettle’s metal surface, beginning around the middle and then dripping down and hissing in the fire. Like tears or sweat. He picked up the tea kettle by the black handle, gritting his teeth together and listening to the SSSS of the water against the hot metal. Like piss. He set the kettle back down and crossed his arms, leaning against the counter.
Frank’s insides knotted, then rose and fell in a movement that reminded him of a swing set.
Gerard didn’t look away from the television. Cyan lights flashed on his face and his voice was low and slow, like a song played in slow motion. His fingers were intertwined, his hands folded as if in prayer over his mouth. His eyes were flat, but Frank felt like Gerard was watching him even if his eyes didn’t move.
“What’re you thinking about?”
Hot little spiders erupted over Frank’s skin and an internal heat pulsed in the top of his head and in his stomach. He could feel the handle of the counter behind him on his backside and he knew Gerard had locked it because it was full of knives. Steam began to rise from the tea kettle and for a moment Frank wanted to take it and throw it at Gerard.
“Nothing.” He dropped his hands and tried to discreetly curl the tips of his fingers underneath the drawer behind him. He pulled gently, trying to keep from making a sound, but the drawer jammed, stopped because of the lock, and the silverware in the drawer clanked and made loud, metal sounds.
Gerard blinked and Frank could feel the pressure of Gerard’s imaginary stare. His fingers flexed against each opposite hand and his eyebrows became straight lines of dark hair above his eyes. The man on the couch said abruptly, but in a soft tone, “Don’t ever leave me.”
Frank said nothing. He let heaviness settle between them. Gerard’s eyes narrowed. Then Frank whispered, “I won’t.”
The tea kettle screamed.