They say ignorance is bliss. They actually got something right for once.
Frank knew the address well. It, at least, had not changed. It was a pent house suite in the better part of town, one that Sara had had her eyes on when they were together. He was planning to surprise her with it after the honey moon. Seems Mikey stole that from him too.
Frank dropped the napkin and banged his head against the wheel. This was stupid, what was he doing here? He should be home, ignoring the world, ignoring the pain. Why did he ever have to leave his apartment in the first place? He groaned. Weren’t you supposed to become wise with age or something? Why did he just keep making the same mistakes?
Muttering to himself he put the car in drive and pulled out of the parking spot. He told himself he was just going to the store, and when he drove straight past it he convinced himself he was headed to Starbucks, but he passed that up too. No more than 10 minutes later he found himself in a parking lot once again, staring up at the penthouse apartment that should have been his. He felt as if the apartment were staring back at him, judging him for every mistake he made in his life that kept him from his happy ending.
He looked up at the imposing building. It looked so cold and uninviting. He could hardly remember a life where he had considered living here. He snatched up his phone and the napkin, then got out and walked to the door, laughing to himself at how his beat up old car stood out like a sore thumb among the shiny Ferraris and Lamborghinis. He looked himself over. He looked like shit. His clothes were worn and faded, his hair was far too long to look respectable, and he hadn’t showered properly in days, maybe weeks. He wouldn’t be surprised if someone called the cops on him, think him a robber or some such. He chuckled sadly to himself. Things could not possibly have fallen apart more completely in the last four years if they tried.
He reached the door, and was, predictably, stopped by the doorman.
“Can I help you, sir?” the man asked, looking Frank over with obvious disgust. Buddy, you’ve got no idea, Frank thought, bitterly. In some nonexistent alternate perfect world, I’m your friggin’ boss.
“Yeah, I’m here to meet a friend, he should be expecting me.”
Frank heaved a dramatic sigh. “Michael Way.”
Something seemed to click in the doorman’s head. “Ah, I’m sorry sir, Mr.Way is not to be disturbed. I realize you must be a great fan to have pursued the matter this far, but he does not take visits from fans any longer. I’m sorry.”
Frank rolled his eyes, impatient. Honestly he didn’t want to be here any more than the doorman wanted him here. A few more seconds of the man’s pestering and he’d happily leave. He was having a hard time convincing himself to stay. He turned to the doorman, smiling as sweetly as he could manage.
“Is that so? I’m sorry to have bothered you. Thanks for your time.” With that he turned and headed back to his car. Behind him he heard the doorman’s phone ringing, but he kept walking.
“Hello? … Mr. Way, how can I help you sir? … Yes … One moment, I’ll ask.” Frank tensed. He heard the man set the phone down and stand. He knew what was coming next. He wished it wouldn’t come. “Oy, you!” the doorman shouted at his back. Frank froze. Turned around ever so slowly. Looked at the doorman.
“You Frank?” the man yelled over. He nodded slowly. “Mr. Way is waiting for you upstairs, sir.”
Frank nodded again and made his way back over to the booth. The doorman pointed him towards the elevator and he pressed the button and got in. The elevator moved slowly, but to him it was all too fast. Sara would be there, probably. And Allie, or at the very least evidence of Allie’s existence. He wasn’t sure what this was all about, but he desperately hoped it was worth it, because he was entering the belly of the beast and he wasn’t all that sure about his chances of making it out alive.
The elevator reached the top floor and dinged softly. The doors opened but Frank found it impossible to move. Most likely she was there, just feet away from him now, on the other side of the door. He couldn’t do it. He had no idea why he was here, why he ever let himself get this close. He closed his eyes. He knew if he stood here long enough the doors would close on this night mare and he would slink back into oblivion.
He heard the doors start to close. He let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. Then the doors hit something and bounced back. His eyes snapped open and he found his self, for the second time in less than 24 hours he found himself face to face with Mikey Way, his arms holding the elevator doors open.
Mikey’s face was grim. He gave Frank a tight smile. “Sorry, I can’t let you leave until you talk to me.”
Frank felt his heart plummet. He wanted to explain. To beg, plead, cry. To do whatever it took to make Mikey let him go. His pride just barely stopped him from doing something stupid. He drew himself up to his full 5 feet 5 inches.
“Don’t feed me that shit. You can’t,” he spat at Mikey. “You can do anything the fuck you want.” Lowering his voice he added, “Or anyone. As you’ve proven.”
He didn’t mean to sound so bitter, but he felt cornered and he lashed out. He saw his former best friend’s face cringe at his words, but he felt no sympathy. Mikey made his choice four years ago. Mikey composed himself quickly and leaned against the doorway.
“Well I can’t force you to do anything, so I guess really it’s your choice. But I won’t move, and this elevator won’t leave with the doors hanging open, so since you’re going to be here anyway you may as well come in and sit down.”
Frank glared at Mikey but he knew it wasn’t worth the fight. His old friend was stubborn. Plus there had to be some reason he was here. Some part of him desperately wanted to know whatever Mikey had to tell him.
So he took a step, then another, until he was officially inside Mikey and Sara’s apartment. Frank looked around tentatively. From where he stood he could see a kitchen full of empty pizza boxes and carry out containers, and dirty dishes. Through another doorway he could see what must have been Allie’s play room, but the small girl was nowhere to be seen. Frank felt an inexplicable twinge in his heart at her absence.
“Where’s Allie?” he heard himself ask, though he had no intention to even mention her. He heard Mikey sigh.
“She’s at Gerard’s, he’s looking after her for me for today.”
Frank shrugged, trying his best to look nonchalant. “Good for him, he deserves some quality time with his niece.” He practically choked on the last word. Mikey refused to meet his eyes.
“Gerard keeps asking about you, you know. He’s been pretty bummed that you just cut us all out like that.” He got quiet for a moment then looked up at Frank. “It’s not their fault, you know. Gerard and Ray and Bob. I know you’re angry at me and Sara, as you should be, but there’s no reason to cut them out too. They had nothing to do with it. They miss you Frank. We all do.”
Frank just fixed him with a stony glare. Mikey sighed.
Mikey walked past him and led him into a large living room. The rugs and walls were white, the furniture sleek black leather. An entire wall was panoramic windows that led to a balcony. All of this was lost on Frank. His eyes had latched onto the messy piles on the table, the dirty dishes, the spilt chips. The room looked like a war zone.
Slowly Frank took it all in. The messy living room, Allie at Gerard’s. Dirty dishes. Take out containers. All the signs of a single man, no trace of a woman's touch. He fit all the pieces together and as he did he reached one, unavoidable conclusion. He turned to Mikey.
“Mikey, why doesn’t Sara live here anymore?”
Mikey looked incredibly sad. And old. The youth drained out of him. He sat down on the edge of the giant black sofa.
“That’s what I needed to tell you, Frank. There was an accident, she’s in a coma. Frank, they say she’s not going to wake up. And if she does she won’t be Sara. She’s gone Frank.”
Mikey let his tears run freely, and why wouldn’t he? He’d just lost his love. But Frank had lost her four years previous, his heart was frozen. He tried the words, to see how they tasted on his tongue. “She’s gone.”
But he’d already known that. He’d known that for four years.
Oy! Look! Another chapter! No way...