Gerard was in the kitchen, treating a cup of coffee as if it were the Holy Grail and generally looking like a sleepy eyed vagrant. But he saw Egan enter the room and smiled—something that was a real effort in the morning. She passed right by him, heading for the coffee first. She had priorities; Gerard understood that.
“Okay if I use this cup?” she mumbled sleepily, taking a huge glass with piano keys painted on it from the cupboard.
“That’s a soup bowl.” Gerard said slowly, blinking frequently.
“Perfect.” Egan filled it to the brim with the aromatic liquid and took a long pull. She sighed, leaned her head back and rolled it around on her neck, now feeling completely ready to face the morning, Gerard, and whatever shit she figured was due to hit the fan.
“Good morning,” she smiled, turning fully towards Gerard and swallowing some more coffee.
“Same to you,” he replied, still smiling, maybe a little creepily. “You hungry?”
“Eggs.” She said decisively. “Eggs are good. I want them.” She moved to the refrigerator, rooting around and hoping she wasn’t getting the vibe from Gerard she thought she was getting…
“Egan…” She spun around.
“Yeah?” Maybe, maybe the word was spoken a little sharply. Maybe. As a preemptive warning to any questions that might arise…
“Is there any butter in there?” Oh.
“…Nope.” She surveyed the interior of the refrigerator dismally. “No eggs either. Damn.”
“You don’t want anything else?”
“Cereal. Cereal is good. I want some of that.”
“Always got cereal. Goes well with the coffee.” Gerard muttered distractedly, ambling towards the pantry. “Which kind would you like?” he called from a little ways down the hall.
“Mmmm…” Sugar sounded good. “Lucky Charms?”
“Ah, let’s see.” She heard something being dropped and a muffled “Shit!”. “You’re in luck with the Lucky Charms.” Gerard shambled back into view with the red box, chuckling.
“In luck. Lucky Charms.” He responded to Egan’s questioning look. “It’s a pun, you see.” He explained more slowly when she failed to laugh. She took the cereal from him and turned on her heel, digging out another soup bowl and some milk. Gerard wandered back to the pantry.
She had managed to sufficiently submerge the grain portion of her cereal, allowing the only worthwhile part (the processed sugar) to float to the top where it could easily be scooped off, when Gerard plopped down across the marble island from her. He plunged his hand directly into a box of Frosted Flakes, then tilted his head back and dropped the handful into his mouth.
“Hope you wash your hands…” Egan muttered. Gerard waited until she was looking at him, then opened his mouth to display chewed up flakes.
“I know you are, but what am I?”
“I’m pretty clean for a guy. Wash my hair. My face. Shave.”
“You’re wonderful.” She rolled her eyes.
“Yeah.” Gerard watched her for a minute. “So…How are you?” Egan surveyed him with a death glare over her spoon, a don’t-you-fucking-dare-go-there look.
“Fine.” She answered with finality.
“You sure?” Gerard asked tentatively. He wasn’t sure whether he really wanted to start this right now, but better now than never at all, right?
“Because it’s okay if you’re not.” Egan quirked an eyebrow at him.
“Good to know.”
“I’m just saying—“He was cut off by the chink of silverware against china when Egan let her spoon clatter into her bowl. Sighing, she closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair.
“Do you remember the first time we really talked? And you told me stuff about you, and I told you stuff about me?” Gerard nodded, not that she could see. “I was up front with you. I told you shit. The real stuff.” She sighed again. “But I can’t just tell you everything. I don’t want to. Right now, I really don’t want to talk about last night. I don’t want to get into shit right now. Can you understand that?”
“Good.” She nodded her head and opened her eyes. “Okay. That’s all I have to say on that.”
“Okay.” Gerard seemed to consider something. “Can I ask one thing?” Egan didn’t speak, so he took her silence as permission. “Was it something I did?”
“No.” She leaned forward, shaking her head. “God no. It had nothing to do with you. You were great”
“I didn’t hurt you?” He had agonized over this thought later, after Egan had fallen asleep.
“No. You didn’t hurt me.” It seemed to Gerard there was a strange emphasis on the word ‘you’, but he let it go.
“DOWN IN FRONT!”
“What the fuck?” Egan whipped her head around, trying to find the source of the yelling. In the very back row, she saw something bobbing up and down in the gloom.
“Hey,” she nudged Gerard, pointing, “Is that…?”
“I do believe it is. Throw a bit of popcorn at him. Go on, he’ll probably catch it in his mouth.” Egan gave Gerard a scandalized look, then set off navigating the dimly lit stairs to the back of the theater.
“Frank!” she cried happily, smacking him on the side of the head and dodging his retaliation swipe.
“Hey! What’s goin’ on?”
”What’s goin’ on, what’s goin’ on?” Egan echoed him. “It’s a Marvin Gaye song. Have you never heard that song? Good song.”
“Shut up before they kick you out of the theater. The movie’s gonna start soon. Sit down!”
“Well move the fuck over!”
“Egan,” Gerard implored, “Just sit here. I don’t want to cause a scene.” So Egan poutingly dropped into the seat to the left of Frank, pinching him hard every few minutes.
“Pssst. Psssst! Hey!” She heard fiercely whispered from somewhere to the right of Frank. “Hi!” It was Mikey, and she smiled her biggest smile at him.
“Hey Mikey.” She craned her neck. “Hi Bob.”
“Hey.” He returned quietly, focused intently on the opening credits of the movie.
Three deaths in, while Bob and Mikey were busy discussing who the killer was (It was the father. It’s always the father) Egan felt something creeping lightly along her shoulders. She shrugged them and popped a Skittle. But just as the fourth victim was losing his hand at the wrist—poor soul—she felt it again. This time she shifted in her seat, then pinned the side of Gerard’s head with a glare. If he thought that just because they hadn’t gone through with it last night that he was going to get some action now—but there it was again! And it wasn’t Gerard. The creeping traveled down from her shoulder, right to the top of her bra strap. And in that instant she knew who it was, just as she felt the clasp opening.
“Fucking FRANK!” she whispered as loudly as she could. She delivered a swift blow as close to his groin as possible without actually palming his dick.
“Shit, ow! What?”
“You know what!” she glowered before stalking down the stairs, tripping only once, and heading for the girl’s bathroom to “move some things around”.
“Hey,” Gerard leaned across the dividing seat between Frank and himself. “What did you do?”
“Unhooked her bra.” Frank put his hands behind his head and looked proud. “One handed.”
“Better cut it out. She won’t take much more of that from you I don’t think.”
“Nah,” Frank was sure. “She doesn’t care. She loves me.”
“She really does. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure she would have decapitated you just now for pulling that shit a second time.” He shook his head. “I don’t understand it. You can do whatever the hell you want to, but I can’t put a hand on her without something going wrong…” he muttered, thinking Frank had stopped paying attention. Trouble with Frank is, his eyes might look vacant, but he’s still listening.
“Alright,” Egan said under her breath as she slid into her seat, “Do it again and I’ll junk punch you. No joke.” She looked at Frank just once, but it was enough, then turned back to the movie. Frank sat still and quiet for the remainder of the film.
It had been decided they would go out after the movie for something good to eat. Italy’s culinary talents were chosen to be showcased that evening. They had gotten a booth in the back, one of those with curtains that kind of closes off, but someone had recognized the group as they came in and while they were choosing what to order, a girl approached the table.
“Um, excuse me? Hi. Are you…? Oh my God, you are. Um, I know this is really embarrassing, but will you all sign this? Please?” She thrust her iPod at the closest band member, Bob, and he took it warily, pulling a Sharpie out of his pocket.
“Here, Mikey, sign.” He passed it off and the marker after signing what looked like a plain old scribble more than a name to Egan.
“What’s your name?” Bob asked.
“I’m Kaylee. Hi.” She beamed at them with braces and Egan tried not to giggle. The girl was adorable; she was so excited. “This is cool. This is really cool. Thank you all so much!” she said, taking her iPod back.
“Our pleasure,” Mikey said. “You live around here?”
“Yeah. Belleville. Just like you.” She seemed to take pride in this fact.
“Oh yeah?” Gerard leaned towards her. “Go to Belleville High?”
“Nah, I’m in private school. My parents think I should concentrate on school, not boys. No boys at Catholic school.” She looked around, spotting her mother and father, both of whom were looking warily at the group their daughter had sought out.
“They don’t look pleased that you’re over here.” Frank said, grinning and waving at them.
“No, no, they just look like that a lot. They’re both accountants. I think it’s hard for them to smile.” She observed them thoughtfully. “They probably don’t like that I’m talking to boys with tattoos though.”
“Really?” Frank smiled at Kaylee’s parents again. “Well, come here.” She walked towards him haltingly, mystified at the good fortune that had Frank Iero asking her to step closer to him. When she reached a few feet from his chair, he stood up and pulled her into a hug.
“Go with it” he whispered to her when she stiffened. Kaylee wound her arms around Frank, which was probably for the best because it looked like she might collapse any moment. He held onto her a bit longer than friends would when they hugged then turned her loose. Egan swore she saw her swaying a little.
“Hey, I want a hug too,” Gerard grinned, standing up and motioning to Kaylee. And one by one, each member of My Chemical Romance (Minus Ray, who had not been able to attend) hugged her, leaving her blushing and giggling and almost vibrating.
“Ah, look at their faces now!” Frank giggled, craning around Kaylee to see her parents shocked looks. “Hope you’re not in too much trouble.” He said, turning back to her.
“It was worth it!” She gushed. She shook everyone’s hand at the table, including Egan’s, then walked back to her table, clutching her iPod and the occasional chair back to keep steady.
“That was sweet,” Egan smiled. “For that, you’re forgiven for the thing in the theater.” She said, turning to Frank.
“You know you liked it.”
“Sorry, no,” she sniffed, “You’re just not my type.”
“I am,” Gerard interjected, putting his arm around her but never taking his eyes off the menu.
“Not what you said in the theater.” Frank muttered.
“How’s that?” Egan asked, Gerard motioning behind her for Frank to shut the fuck up.
“When you were gone…Gerard, what’re you doing buddy?—When you were gone, Gerard hinted at a bit of trouble in paradise.” Frank wiggled his eyebrows at Egan, then frowned when she didn’t giggle. Instead, she turned to Gerard, a look on her face like she’d been kicked.
“You were talking about me? What did you say?” she murmured so the others couldn’t hear.
“I wasn’t…I didn’t say much of anything. I didn’t think he was even listening.”
“Well, he was!” she hissed, feeling the pain in her eyes like the night before. “Now, what did you say?” she demanded.
“I said…I don’t remember. I said,” he looked down, “I think I said something like I couldn’t touch you without something happening.”
From Egan’s left, Frank studied his menu and tried not to hear. He’d had a hunch he was pushing it, bringing up what Gerard had said in the theater, but he hadn’t thought…well, he hadn’t thought this. Now he felt like a screw up, because Egan looked like something awful was happening to her and he’d made her look like that.
“I’m sorry!” Gerard was apologizing, “I shouldn’t have said it. I didn’t mean it like it sounds—“
“Well good, because it sounds like you were saying that you weren’t getting as much action as you wanted, and that it was my fault! Now, are you sure that’s not what you meant? Don’t lie to me.”
Gerard looked down at the menu again. “That’s not what I meant.” He muttered finally.
“Liar.” Egan stood up gracefully and placed her napkin on top of her menu gently, Southern manners the only things keeping her from storming out.
“I’m not hungry right now,” she said to the table at large. Everyone but Gerard had been studiously occupying themselves to avoid seeming nosy, and everyone but Gerard looked up at her when she said that.
“I had a nice time hanging out with y’all today. Thanks.” She turned and walked past Kaylee, who waved (She waved back) and out the door.
And then realized she didn’t have any way to get out of there.
Gerard had driven her, and currently she had no cellphone, no change to make a call, no payphones even in existence anymore anyway, fuck, no money for a cab if she could flag one down…She didn’t even have a key to the house if some miracle of God delivered her there, though if God was getting involved after all this shit, he could at least not be a punk and unlock the door.
She walked to the end of the block and leaned against the building, shivering and hoping no one thought she was a hooker. She bummed a cigarette and a light off a guy in a nice suit walking to his car from the offices above the restaurant, but the charity stopped there. A mother leading her child on a leash yanked him sharply away when he walked too near Egan, eyeing her clothes and tattoos with disdain and, maybe, fear. Like she was some kind of freak. And she wasn’t the only one. Even a homeless man shifted farther down the wall, moving his grocery cart full of things deeper into an alley, apparently to get away from her.
“Hey. Hey!” she called to him. When he didn’t look up she started towards him, yelling as she went. “Hey!” she had stopped in front of him. He looked at the shoes before him, up into her face, and then quickly away.
“Why’d you move away from me? Hey, did you move away from me? Why?” The homeless man kept looking down. “Hey!” She poked him in the shoulder, hard, and he looked up again.
“Why’d you move away from me? Huh? Am I not normal enough to share your space?” The man was shaking his head as she yelled. “Is there something wrong with me? Can everyone see it? Can everyone tell, huh?” He kept shaking his head.
“Am I scary? Come on, answer, am I scary? Look at me, I’m small, I can’t hurt anyone! Big man like you, why should you move away from me? Huh? Huh?” She was screaming at him, people were looking.
And he was still shaking his goddamn head.
“Fucking say something!” she yelled at the top of her lungs, kicking at his grocery cart. He lunged for it, stopping it from rolling away and fumbling around in the junk for something. He pulled out a badly weathered piece of cardboard, on which was written in kindergarten lettering:
No booze, food
He pointed to the top line, searching her face for comprehension.
Oh God. She hadn’t just…
“I am so sorry,” she whispered, feeling the beginnings of rain the prick across her face. She looked the man straight in the eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” she repeated, and he nodded. He rummaged through his junk cart and pulled out a marker.
Not scared of you
Man next to you looked mean at me
He wrote on the back of his sign. Now she was the one nodding, remembering how a guy getting on a bus had given her the once over before shooting a nasty look off to her right. She hadn’t noticed it had been meant for him.
Didn’t want to get hurt
"He wouldn't..." she murmured. The man looked at her, saying silently he'd been hurt for less.
Didn't want to get hurt
“I understand that,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry for yelling at you. So sorry.” She turned to go, but felt a strong grip on her elbow. She turned around, and the man motioned for her to stay put. He rummaged through the things in his cart one last time, pulling out a small loop of cord and handing it over to her. It was dark blue, with knots tied in it periodically. On one end, a cheap medallion stamped with an image of the Madonna dangled, on the other, a knot in the shape of the cross was tied. It was the kind of thing nuns gave little children when they taught them how to pray.
“Beautiful. It’s beautiful.” She told the man, smiling. She moved to hand it back, but he withdrew his hands, shaking his head. She tried to hand it off again, saying “It’s yours.” The homeless man sighed and pulled out his marker and cardboard again.
He printed carefully in the small space left on the back of the board, tapping it with his marker for emphasis when he showed the message to Egan.
“Oh!” she nodded and the man rolled his eyes, making it obvious he thought she was a bit slow on the uptake, before smiling at her. “Thank you. This is so nice.” He nodded, patting her a little.
“I have to go,” she said, “But thank you. This means more than you know.” The man smiled and nodded some more. She slid the cord around her wrist and walked towards the restaurant. At the door, she turned and waved. The man didn’t see her; he was already moving on.
The minute she stepped inside Gerard was at her side.
“I’m ready to go.” She said to him. All he did was nod.
Author's Note: Alright, now I said (To shysmile) that there would be Frank in this chapter. And there was. He kind of fucked stuff up, but...
It's sort of filler. I'm big enough to be able to admit that, but I think the homeless scene had some meaning, yeah? Anyway, you all know what I like.
I'm pretty rpoud of myself. This is the most rapid update in a long time.