Frank didn’t like the fact his stutter had gotten worse. He hated it even more since he couldn’t get the words out as fast as he wanted them.
Those surges, as the doctor called them, had died down a lot. Only ever happening when Frank was stressed too much.
Mikey had helped a lot with the issue. Calling to see if I needed anything at all, asking if I wanted a break to go out and have coffee with Ray or Bob. I always declined, feeling badd just at the thought of leaving Frank while he was going through so much already.
Mikey visited every day, almost always bringing his wife with him. Whenever Alicia came, she brought cigarettes and coffee with her. I always thanked her with a smile. Frank loved Alicia. He’d met her before he went into a coma but only a few times, not enough to actually like her. Now, whenever she came around, he’d run into the room to hug her and kiss her cheek.
‘Your husband’s stealing my wife.’ Mikey said as we sat outside at the table. He sipped at his coffee, watching Frank and Alicia talking and laughing. They did this nearly every day. It amazed me how they never ran out of things to say. It’d been 3 weeks since Frank had came home.
‘Your wife’s stealing my husband.’ I said, watching as well. I picked up my cigarettes, pulling one from the pack and placing it between my lips. I felt around for my lighter, finally locating it in my jeans.
‘Why are we the adults in these marriages? Since when am I the kill joy?’ Mikey ranted as I lit my cigarette finally.
‘You’ve always been a kill joy, Mikes. It’s in your nature. As for me, I’m not the adult. I’m just watching out for Frank.’ I said, ashing my cigarette and puffing on it again. He looked back at his wife who was now straddling Frank, tickling him. If it weren’t for the simple fact that I trusted Frank, I would have been over there screaming like a banshee.
We just sat there in silence for a while. I finished 4 whole cigarettes before Mikey spoke again.
‘How are you holding up?’ He asked, taking my pack away from me. I sighed, putting out the cherry.
‘Pretty good. I told you, all I needed was time to settle in.’
‘Are you sure you want to do this alone? You know mum wants to help and-‘He was cut off by Frank leaping onto my lap. He wrapped his legs around the back of the chair I sat in and his arms around my neck.
‘I-I l-love you.’ He mumbled into my chest. I wrapped my arms around him, resting my head on his shoulder.
‘What's the matter, baby?’ I asked, keeping my voice low. He looked up at me, a small smile on his face.
He sat up more so his lips were at my ear.
‘…N-Nothing.’ He whispered, sucking on my earlobe. His hands ran up my shirt, pinching my nipples.
‘Love you bro, but this is sick!’ Mikey yelled. Alicia giggled as she sat on his lap. Frank stopped sucking on my ear but left his hands up my shirt.
‘B-Bite me, M-Mikey!’ He giggled, sticking his tongue out at my brother. I loved how he could be so childish, even though he was 25. It reminded me of when we were younger. When we could run around and be stupid without getting weird looks from people.
Mikey reached across the table and whacked Frank across the head.
‘Hey! Hands off my husband!’ I laughed, kissing Frank where Mikey had hit him.
We all sat outside till the sun when down, watching the sunset with our lovers. After the sun had disappeared behind the earth, we all ran inside. Mikey and Alicia had invited themselves to dinner, meaning I didn’t have to cook. Always a bonus.
While Alicia and Mikey fussed over food, Frank and I sat in the art room. He’d gotten used to playing his guitar again, improving slightly.
‘G-Gee? C-Can I a-ask you a qu-question?’ He asked, looking up from his guitar. I was at his feet, listening to him play.
‘You just did.’ I smiled. He put his guitar on the ground and sat in front of me.
‘F-Fine. C-Can I ask t-two questions?’ He smiled. I grabbed his hips and pulled him to my lap.
‘Course baby.’ I said, kissing his ear.
‘I-I was t-talking t-to Bob the other d-day and he s-said th-that he c-can’t unders-stand me p-properly. I-I was w-wondering i-if you have t-trouble underst-standing me t-too.’ He said slowly. I didn’t cut him off or interrupt him. When someone did that and finished his sentence, he’d get upset. I let him talk, whether it took him 10 minutes to finish or not.
‘No, baby. I don’t have trouble understanding you. I never have.’ I smiled again. He leant back against me, melting against my chest.
‘W-When will I-I get b-better?’ He asked, fiddling with my fingers. It took me a moment to understand what he was talking about, it took me even longer to reply. I didn’t want to upset him, nor did I want to lie.
‘Baby… You have to understand that... well, there is a chance that you won’t get better. A small chance. It depends how your body reacts to the medication. But I promise, baby. No matter what, I’ll be here for you. Till the very end.’ I said, holding him tighter against my chest. I felt him sigh, his chest expanding against my arm.
‘I-I d-don’t want t-to be on m-med-dication f-for the r-rest of m-my life.’
‘I know baby. But it’s only a tiny chance. Just give the meds a few months, keep going to the doctors and we’ll see what happens, okay?’
‘O-Okay.’ He whispered.
We sat there in silence till Mikey called out, telling us dinner was ready. Mikey and Alicia couldn’t decide on one particular meal so they ordered pizza, which didn’t bother me. I had gotten kinda sick of spaghetti bolognaise, roast beef and Alicia’s special dish which was a mystery to everyone but her.
‘How about a movie night?’ I suggested. It was already past 9 o’clock, the usual time everyone would be packing up and leaving.
‘I’m picking the movie!’ Alicia yelled, already dashing towards the lounge room. We all groaned, knowing exactly what movie she was going to pick. I cursed myself for even buying it in the first place.
Mikey brought down the 3 pizza boxed while Frank grabbed us all drinks. By the time we were all gathered around the TV, all sitting on the floor, the movie had started. Before I could get comfortable, I remembered Frank hadn’t taken his pills so I jumped up and got them from out bedroom. As soon as he saw them, he groaned. With a little coaxing on my part, Frank took swallowed the medication.
I took more notice of my pizza slice then the movie. Mean Girls had never appealed to me. I didn’t have a reason to buy it. I just did.
Frank sat in my lap, munching on his pizza while watching the screen. He hated the movie as much as I but he thought some of the guys in it were hot.
‘Can we just knock her out?’ I whispered to Mikey. He was playing with Alicia’s hair, doing anything but watch the movie.
Mikey glared at me. I smiled and turned back to the screen.
About halfway through the movie, Frank passed out with a slice of pizza in his hand. He looked so adorable, I had to take a photo. Alicia had fallen asleep too. Mikey, being the arsehole husband he is, smeared tomato paste over her face and took several photos.
Mikey got up and turned the TV off, leaving us in the dark. I couldn’t move to turn on the light since Frank was using me as a bed/pillow.
Mikey had no idea where the light switch was, to start with so I had to direct him. It took him 5 whole minutes and 2 stubbed toes to get it.
‘You can stay the night, if you want. Saves waking Alicia up.’ I said, standing up with Frank in my arms.
‘Sure, thanks man.’ He said, smiling.
‘I’ll go put Frank in bed and I’ll help you get the mattress out.’ I said, already down the hallway. I gently laid Frank on the mattress, tucking the covers around him. He turned in his sleep, searching for me. He woke up when he couldn’t find me.
‘Shh… Baby, go back to sleep.’ I whispered as his eyes shot open.
‘W-Where are y-you g-going?’ He asked sleepily.
‘I’m just gonna help Mikey with something and then I’ll be in, okay? Just go back to sleep, baby.’ I whispered, stroking his hair till his eyes fluttered closed.
I walked back into the lounge room. Mikey hadn’t moved much. He followed me to the spare room, grabbing the mattress that was supposed to be Franks. We laid it on the ground next to Alicia. While Mikey lifted her onto it, I went and got a blanket and pillows. After I had made sure Mikey was right, checked all the doors and windows, I climbed into my bed. Frank had fallen asleep again, his arm over where I normally lay. I lifted his arm up, sliding underneath and curling against him.
I lay there for a while, staring at Franks face. No matter how long I got to stare at him, no matter how long I was with him, he still made my heart leap. His tiny features, his perfect body and the tattoos that decorated his skin.
When I did finally fall asleep, I was smiling. I doubt that smile came off my face at all during the night.
My mind slowly eased into consciousness. I could hear rustling next to me but my eyes wouldn’t open. I felt so drained for no reason at all. Frank and I barely left the house, in case something happened and we forgot his medication or something.
‘G-Gee?’ I heard Frank whisper to me. He shook me shoulder a few times and tried again.
‘G-Gee. I-I… n-need you.’ He whispered again, struggling with his words. I shot up, suddenly feeling like someone had fed me crack or speed. It was just morning light, giving me enough light to see.
‘Baby, what’s wrong?’ I said quickly, cupping his cheek. He looked at me, his hands wringing together. I noticed a red smudge on his wrist. Instinctively, I grabbed his arm and twisted it so I could see. Along his wrist and palm where 2 long gashed. They looked deep, the blood darker red than normal.
‘Why, baby?’ I asked, squeezing his arm to stem the blood flow.
‘I-It w-was an a-accid-dent. P-promise.’ He whispered, his head down. I stood up off the bed, pulling Frank gently along with me. I took him into the bathroom, sitting him on the counter. I got the first aid kit out.
The whole time I was disinfecting his cuts, wrapping them up and washing the blood up, he didn’t look at me.
‘Baby, can you tell me how you did this?’ I asked slowly. He shook his head, staring at the floor.
‘Frankie. Come on, baby. I’m not madd at you. Please tell me?’ I begged, squatting down so I could see his face.
‘M-My hand s-slipped.’ He whispered, still looking away from me. He jumped off the counter, walking away from me. I followed him, intending on getting an explanation. He walked right into the kitchen. I stopped in the doorway, looking at the sight in front of my eyes.
There were 2 apples on the chopping board, one sliced in half and covered in blood. Blood on the floor, the knife also covered in blood and on the floor.
‘M-My hand s-slipped.’ He insisted, holding his injured hand to his chest.
‘Frankie. Baby, hear me out okay. If you’re hand slipped, you wouldn’t have cut yourself twice.’ I said. Frank was very stubborn. If he believed something was true, you’d rarely ever change his mind
I was shocked when he ran into my arms, sobbing against my chest.
‘I-I… I c-can’t d-do it a-anymore!’ He sobbed. I held him tightly to my chest, rubbing his back.
‘Can’t do what, baby?’ I asked, trying to keep him calm.
‘I-I c-can’t l-live on m-medic-cation, I-I c-can’t s-stand th-this f-fucking s-stutter! I-I d-don’t want to b-be here a-anymore!’ He screamed, shaking violently.
As those words passed his lips, my heart shattered. A million-thousand tiny pieces falling to the pit of my stomach.
‘Frank? Gerard?’ Mikey’s tired voice echoed around the kitchen. I could hear him, hear Frank crying, yet I didn’t move. It felt like someone had hit the pause button on my life.
‘Gerard, what’s going on?’ Mikey’s voice was more alert. Had someone given him speed too?
‘Frank?’ He tried again once I didn’t reply. Even if I could get my mouth to move, how was I going to say my husband wanted to end his life and leave me?
‘N-No!’ Frank screamed. I pulled myself away from him, falling back into the corner with my knees to my chest.
‘Gerard! What’s going on?’ Mikey yelled. When I looked up, he had Frank in his arms. Alicia had just walked into the kitchen, dropping her phone on the floor.
‘What did you do to him?!’ She roared, taking Frank from Mikey’s arms. I stood up slowly, my heart beating too fast. I stood in front Mikey and slid my wedding ring off, placing it in his hand before leaving the house. As I walked through the front door, I heard Frank screaming louder. And you know what? I didn’t give a fuck.