The aftermath is never beautiful.
He moved up behind her and slid his arms around her waist, rested his head on her shoulder. She leaned back into his embrace, their bodies touching at every possible point. As they stood like that, together in the night, he lost track of time. He held her close until her breathing calmed and she stopped shaking, then he kept right on holding her. He would have stood on that balcony until the sun came up if she needed him to. She was his Angel and he was her Hero, it was how it was supposed to be.
The silence hung around them, a fragile blanket, until she broke it. “I’m scared,” she whispered. He let her go and gently spun her around, to look deep in her eyes. They say eyes are the window to the soul. Her soul was laid bare in that moment. He saw every aspect of her, every hope, every fear, every dream. He saw a part of her he hadn’t seen before. A part he didn’t recognize. It unnerved him.
“What happened?” he asked her. She looked down, breaking their gaze. He softly put a hand under her chin and lifted her face back to his. “Always,” he whispered. The simplest promise he could give her. And the most honest. Always.
Her voice cracked on the words, but now that she’d started she seemed unable to stop. The words poured out of her in hushed, urgent tones as the tears began, once again, to streak down her face.
“I’m pregnant, and I know what you’re going to say, but we can’t Frank! I know you want kids, and I know you want a family, but…How, Frank? How can we possibly? I can’t tour with a child! What am I supposed to do? Stay home while you’re always gone? Am I supposed to lose my job, lose you, so we can live half a world apart and wait for the day when we might be together again? And when that day comes, who knows Frank! Who knows if it’ll be too late?”
He put a finger to her lips and pulled her close to him. “Shhh, it’s ok. We’ll make it work, it’s ok.”
She pulled back. “It’s not ok, Frank. It’s selfish and awful of me to say it.”
She twisted from his grip and started toward the door. He held onto her wrist, stopping her. She looked at him and he noticed that her eyes were closed off to her soul. She was hiding. He couldn’t stand the thought that she was hiding from him.
“Yes,” he told her. “I want kids. Yes, I think it would be wonderful to have a family. But that’s nothing compared to what I feel for you. I want you more than anything, I want you with me always. If that’s selfish, then I’m the most selfish man in the world. The family, the house, the ‘normal life’, all that can wait. After the band there’ll be time for that. I love you more than anything.”
Her eyes turned stony and Frank would forever remember that night as the closest they had ever come to a true argument. “There won’t be an ‘after’ Frank. There is no ‘after’ for you. You love your job too much.” She rolled her eyes. “You love me more than anything. That’s bullshit, Frank, and you know it. You love this band more than you love me and you always have. I’ve accepted that, I can almost understand it even. But I’m not sure how long I can live with it.”
Frank’s eyes shot open. He lay in the dark, sweat beading on his face. The dream had left his mind confused and his heart racing. He sat up slowly, trying to get his bearings. He looked around the dim room, his eyes bleary and unfocused. He felt the signs of a major hangover coming on. He groaned, it was bad, but he’d felt worse. He scrutinized his surroundings. Nope, he definitely had no idea where he was.
The room was small and dark and cluttered. The only light entered from a window set high on the wall, nearly touching the ceiling. He stood tentatively, one hand on the bed to keep his balance. He hobbled over to the desk, strewn with papers and clutter. He studied the top page, it was a cartoon drawing that looked eerily like – but no, no way that’s possible. He hastily began shuffling through the papers, all of them covered with artwork that he knew he had seen before. He was still trying to make it all make sense when the artist himself knocked gently at the door, and then entered. Frank just stared.
Frank found himself up against a wall and he leaned back on it for support. He tilted his head back and closed his eyes. “Not possible,” he muttered. “This is not possible. I’m dreaming. Or drunk. Or both. But this is not happening.”
His eyes still closed, he heard a soft chuckle. “Nice to see you too, Frank.”
Frank cracked one eye open, ever so slightly. Gerard was still there, grinning stupidly at him. He doubled over and retched all over the floor.
“Aw, seriously? Come on…” Gerard mumbled. “Alright, come here.” Gerard led Frank to the kitchen and sat him at the table. “You stay here and breathe while I go take care of your little mess ok?”
Frank nodded and Gerard started back toward the bedroom, then paused and looked back at Frank. “You look like shit, man, you’re not gonna barf again are you?”
“I didn’t barf, it was just a little spittle,” Frank muttered, dropping his head into his folded arms on the table.
“Right, ok.” Gerard laughed, as he began walking away again. A few minutes later he returned.
“Seriously, dude, you sure you’re alright now? I don’t feel like cleaning up any more spittle, thank you.”
Frank raised his head. “What am I doing here?”
Gerard shook his head slightly. “I haven’t seen you in four years, Frank.”
Frank just stared at him, his headache was throbbing a bit too loudly to merit a response and Gerard still hadn’t answered his question. Gerard sighed.
“You were drunk and looking for a fight, the barkeep kicked you out. You passed out in the street. I may not be a part of your life anymore, Frank, but I wasn’t going to just leave you there.”
Vague memories came back to Frank. Mikey. He was arguing with Mikey. Mikey had told him something…Sara. Sara was in a coma and Mikey wanted him to go see her at the hospital. That’s what they were arguing about, Frank refused to go to the hospital. Mikey was pissed. Frank stormed out with the intention to go to a bar and get shit faced. That was all he remembered.
“Maybe you should have,” he muttered. Gerard shot him a glance. Frank quickly diverted. “How’d you find me anyway?”
Gerard saw through Frank’s sudden topic change, but gracefully allowed it anyway. “When I dropped Allie off Mikey told me what happened.” Frank felt bile rising in the back of his throat at Allie’s name. Between the hangover and the dream he was a bit touchier than usual. He suppressed it as best he could. “You know, Mikey’s starting to think Sara did the right thing four years ago.” The bile became more threatening. Frank fought it harder. “Anyway, you’re rather predictable. I found you at the second bar I checked. Waited till you passed out and brought you here. What?”
Frank realized he was scowling. “Enjoy spending time with your niece?” he essentially growled. Gerard looked startled by Frank’s outburst.
“With my - ? You mean Allie? You think Allie’s my - ? Frank, Allie’s not Mikey’s daughter. Shit, he didn’t tell you?”
Gerard ran a hand through his hair and sat down, looking shaken. “Shit,” he mumbled.
Frank let it sink in. So she had cheated on Mikey too. Unbelievable. Unable to contain it any longer he ran to the bathroom and threw up.
Who'da thunk it?