I knocked ferociously on my Mom's front door. She'd changed the locks and Ellie had left earlier taking her keys with her.
I was in shock. Ray had had to get me a mug of coffee to calm me down and Ellie had left after a brief hug of reassurance from Ray.
Shortly after she'd left I pulled myself together, grabbed the booth door and swung it close behind me. I had grabbed the headphones and the microphone and Ray had switched on the backing track at my hand signal. For 2 hours I'd screamed my every breath into that stupid microphone. I had given it my all. And now the track was finished and printed. Packed up and sent off to Brian. He'd love it, Ray had told me. I didn't care what Brian or anybody really thought of it. Anybody bar one person.
I knocked again on Mom's door and this time William pulled it open. He stood behind the door, his whole body frozen as I took a step into my childhood home.
Kat came trundling up the basement stairs, being dragged along by a laughing Trace. They both continued to laugh until they realized Ray and I were stood watching them. I closed the door behind us and stood in the lobby. Kat's face looked shocked and her eyes glistened with something I thought might be excitement but again they seemed to become shadowed with anger. Trace stood protectively in-front of her. His face was set as stone, his arms at his sides but his muscles visibly tensed. He'd cut his hair short and looked more like the man-boy that he was.
Kat smiled and I realized Ray was stood behind me. He came out and hugged Kat, but she struggled to grasp him around her stomach. It was huge. But she looked more beautiful than ever.
Her hair was hung in loose curls around her shoulders and she'd had her bangs cut straight against her face. Her skin was a dusty pink color and her cheeks were rosy. She took my breath away. Ray moved away from her and they stood between Trace and I. He hadn't taken his eyes from me. As Ray released Kat, he took her behind him again as if I was to hit her. I looked past him and Kat's face seemed almost apologetic. “Trace,” I noted his existence and he only pushed Kat further behind him. “ CAN YOU COME AND GRAB THE WASHING BASKET TRACE?!” Mom's voice echoed throughout the house from the garden. Trace slowly let go of Kat's hand and he slid quietly out of the entrance. William disappeared through to the living room and Ray followed, glancing at Kat and I first but seeing there seemed no problem he left us.
Trace had been in my bedroom with Kat. Alone, together. Anger burned my veins and blood flushed my face. “Gerard,” I turned away from her. “I can explain,”
“Whys he here?” I continued to look at the cold wooden door. “Why were you alone? Down there?”
“He's, well, he's here for me, to, Support me,” I snorted and shook my head, he was supporting something of hers. Somewhere a little more intimate than she seemed to want to let on though.
“I don't want him anywhere near you.”
“You can't choose who I see Gerard.”
“This is my home, and I don't want him here with you.” This time she was the one to snort and I noted that she grabbed her stomach out of the corner of my eye. “You don't live here anymore Gerard.”
Tears filled my eyes. This was still where I'd grown up, where Mikey and me had played, where I'd had my first kiss, where Mikey had had his first bipolar attack and where I'd helped Mom to save him.
My arms fell to my side but my fingers were quickly caught by Kat's. “I missed you.” Her forefinger traced the lines on my palm and I locked my fingers tightly around hers. “I missed you too.” My voice was only a whisper.
“Look, Gerard, all you have to do is apologize to Simon for hurting him. Then we can be together.” I dropped her hand.
“I'm not going to apologize to him! He hurt you and I don't here him apologizing to you!”
“But I forgave him!”
“But He Raped You!”
“I forgave him. You nearly killed him! And he hasn't forgiven you!”
“I WILL NEVER APOLOGIZE TO THAT BASTARD! NEVER!”
“THEN GO! GET OUT!” Tears were streaming down both our faces and she thumped her fists against my chest. Ray had come out from the living room as had the others and he grabbed my arms and pulled them behind my back. “Kat, don't do this, please, I love you.” My voice warbled and Trace threw down the washing basket to grab Kat from behind and pull her off Ray and I. “GET OUT GERARD!” He screamed a t me, pulling Kat away. I pulled Ray off me and went to grab at Kat's hand and she held onto it briefly before Trace clawed our hands apart. “Please Gerard, I love you too,” Mom stepped into the doorway now and she began to cry. I went to hold her but Trace pulled his fist up and it was thrown into my face. I heard something break and the warm trickle of blood down my face. “GEE!” Kat screamed hysterically as Trace pulled her away. Ray pulled me back also but I grabbed the CD packet from my pocket and threw it down onto the floor.
The last thing I heard was Kat's scream as she fell down onto the floor and watched as water flooded her jeans. Ray closed the door on the scene and led me off to the van to cool down.