I got off the bed slowly, trying not to shake it too much. I couldn’t sleep, my insomnia was back. I could feel it.
While I was in the kitchen, organizing the pantry, my phone rang. I ran into the lounge room, hoping it hadn’t woken Frank.
‘Hello?’ I whispered.
‘Gerard? I’m sorry! I know it’s late but can you…’ Bob trailed off. I knew what had happened. I was the only one he’d call if he was taken to the cop shop. Ray had bailed him once and given him the third degree all the way home. Mikey never answered his phone and Katlyn would leave him there till the morning. I was his last option seeing as his mother wouldn’t drive from Chicago.
‘Franks just gotten to sleep. I’m not waking him up just to bail you again.’ I whispered.
‘Please, Gee! I don’t want to stay here! There’s a fucking tranny in my cell!’ He moaned.
‘It’s a 5 minute trip. He won’t notice you’re gone.’
‘Fine. But this is the last time!’ I hung up, tossing my phone on the couch. I grabbed my jacket from the coat rack and checked on Frank one last time. He was still curled up. I grabbed the keys and closed the front door quietly.
I cringed as I started my car. The engine wasn't loud but it was so quiet out.
As Bob said, it was only a 5 minute trip. If there was traffic, it would have taken longer.
I stepped up to the desk, waiting for the desk person.
‘Hello. Can I help you?’ A nice looking woman asked with a fake smile. She looked tired and pissed off. I didn’t blame her. I was like, 3am.
‘I’ve come to bail a friend out. Bob Bryar.’ She nodded, rolling her eyes. Everyone knew who he was.
‘Sign these and I’ll bring him out.’ She said, pushing a clipboard and a pen towards me before she stood and left the desk area. I signed what I needed to, adding the date. The bail was $50, which was better than his last $400 fine that I had to pay for him. I slipped the 50 under the first page and put the clipboard back on her desk. I sat down in one of the leather chairs in the waiting room. They used to be plastic but people complained so they went and got more comfy seats.
Bob walked in the room, escorted by a police officer, with a frown. The officer was older. Usually Bob would have kicked and screamed at whoever had brought him out but he wasn't game enough to fight Officer Benson.
‘Good morning, Gerard.’ The officer said, taking the cuffs off Bob’s wrists.
‘Morning, Officer Benson. How your wife and kids?’ I asked, being polite. I’d been in the holding cells enough on my own account while Officer Benson was on duty. We’d always talk.
‘All good. Sharon’s going through menopause so its hell at home. But the kids are fine. How’s Frank? I heard about what happened.’ He gave me a sorrowful smile.
‘Frank’s good now. He’s on medication for everything. Thank you for putting up with my bullshit over the last couple of years. I won’t be back.’ I said, standing up. Officer Benson shook my hand and patted me on the back.
‘Take care of yourself. And Bob, next time you’re sharing a cell with the prostitutes.’ He walked off, smiling.
‘Come on. I want to be home before Frank wakes up.’ I said, pushing Bob roughly towards the doors. He mumbled under his breath the whole way to the car.
‘Thanks, Gee.’ He said once we were on the road to his house.
‘Like I said, never again. Call someone else from now on.’ I said, taking the last corner and pulling into his driveway. The lights were all on, a figure pacing back and forth could be seen through the front window. I looked over at Bob.
‘Don’t ask. Thanks again, man. Last time. Promise!’ Bob smiled, jumping out of the car before I could say anything. I shook my head, letting a small breathy laugh escape my lips before driving home.
I tried to open the front door quietly but the key got stuck in the lock. I cringed as the lock rattled a bit. I sighed as the door opened, quickly closing it before some random dog came running passed barking. That’d just be my luck.
I locked the door again, placing my keys on the table in the hallway. The lounge room light was on and I was pretty sure I hadn’t turned it on. I crept slowly into the lounge room.
‘H-Hey, Gee.’ Frank said, a tired smile on his face. I smiled back, sitting next to him on the couch.
‘What are you doing up, baby?’ I asked, kissing his temple. He rested his head against my chest, his body slumping down.
‘I-I woke up-p and you weren’t th-there. Can’t s-sleep by m-myself.’ He yawned, mewling against my shoulder. I stroked his hair, letting him relax.
‘I’m sorry, baby. Bob got in shit again. I didn’t want to wake you.’ I explained.
‘It’s o-okay. Y-You’re not my b-babysitter, y-you can go out i-if you want.’ He said. I felt guilty. I knew I’d been treating Frank like a chore more than a husband but I couldn’t be with him in that way while he was unstable. It wasn't his health stopping me, it was my own fear. I’d been alone for 2 years. What if he goes back into a coma? What if he decides he wants someone else? Yeah, over reacting.
‘Come on. Come to bed with me.’ I said, taking his hand. Frank dawdled along, dragging his feet. I helped him into our bed, tucking the blanket around him before climbing in. I lay on my side, facing Frank who lay on his back. I wrapped one arm around his waist, pulling myself closer to him.
‘W-What’s the matter, G-Gee?’ Frank whispered after a moment of silence. I’d been thinking, getting lost in my head.
‘Nothing, baby.’ I said, not sounding one bit convincing.
‘D-Don’t lie t-to me. I-I only want t-to h-help you.’ He whispered back, his hand clutching mine.
‘I love you, Frankie. More than anyone on the god-forsaken earth… And I’ve been treating you like a burden. Like I have to take care of you. I want to care for you. I don’t know what wrong with me. All I know is that I fucking love you and I’ve completely lost it.’ I nearly yelled out in one breath. Frank flinched away.
‘I-I underst-tand why y-you don’t want t-to touch me in t-that way. I-I’m sick. I kn-know. B-But you d-don’t have to touch m-me, if you d-don’t want to.’ He said, fidgeting around.
‘It’s not that I don’t want to touch you, I’m just scared. You look so fragile, Frankie. Like, I could break you so easily. It’s stupid, I know but I fear losing you again. I’ll say it till I’m blue in the face, I love you and I’d be so lost without you.’ I said, resting my head on his chest. I listened to his sturdy heartbeat, a small smile creeping to my face.
He didn’t say anything back. He just lay there, stroking my hair.
‘R-Remember that s-song I was singing e-earlier?’ Frank asked as I was falling asleep.
‘Yeah?’ I mumbled, forcing myself to listen to him.
‘Th-that song was i-in my head th-the day w-we crashed. I-It played in my h-head all th-the t-time I was in a coma.’ He whispered, his fingers stopping for a moment.
‘It suited your situation.’ I smiled, nestling closer to him.
‘N-Night, babe. I l-love you.’ He whispered, kissing the top of my head. I waited till I could hear him softly snoring before I let myself fall.
I was woken by the bed shaking. At first, I thought I was dreaming, more like hoping. I cracked my eyes open, fighting against the fatigue. I’d have to kill Bob later.
‘Gerard, Frank! Get up! Doctors today!’ My brother yelled, still shaking the bed.
‘The appointments at 3, fuck off.’ I groaned, rolling over and hugging Frank. He hadn’t stirred. Waking Frank up was like screaming at a deaf person. They won’t hear you.
‘It’s already 1. You have to get ready.’ Mikey said, jumping on the bed right next to my head. I swatted him blindedly with my hand before tossing a pillow over my head.
‘Come on, you don’t wanna miss it.’
‘Fine! Fuck me dead. Go make some coffee, I’ll get Frank up.’ I said, sitting up. I rubbed my eyes, trying to get used to the bring sunlight.
‘Frankie.’ I whispered in his ear. He groaned and rolled away from me.
‘Come on, baby. You have to get up.’ I said a little louder. Nothing. Not even a groan. I sighed, slipping out of the bed and walking over to his side. I ripped the doona back and grabbed his wrists, being careful of his cuts. I swung him up, grasping him to my chest. Frank’s eyes popped open, a shocked expression on his face. I smiled back at him, putting him on the ground.
‘F-Fucking hate you a-at the m-moment.’ He whispered. I took his hand and dragged him to the lounge room.
‘Don’t go back to sleep. We have to get ready.’ I said. Mikey came back in with 3 cups of coffee. Frank dove on his, sculling it down like it was his life source. He also took his pills with the left over dregs at the bottom of his cup. I sat back, sipping at mine.
‘Brian’s coming for a visit sometime next week. We’re celebrating.’ Mikey said, taking our empty coffee cups up to the sink.
‘Celebrating what?’ I asked.
‘His marriage and Frankie.’ Mikey said as he came back. If Frank had ears like a dog, they would have perked up. Frank sat up, staring at us at the mention of his name.
‘Where you even paying attention?’ Mikey asked, an annoyed edge to his voice.
‘N-No. Didn’t th-think I had t-to.’ Frank said simply. Mikey rolled his eyes.
‘You two can argue while I shower.’ I yawned, stretching as I stood up. I left them both, still arguing. I grabbed a towel from the linen press on my way to the bathroom.
After turning the shower on, I sat my towel down and peeled my shirt over my head. I jump to the roof as I felt something touch my stomach. I tore my shirt away from my head.
‘D-Didn’t mean t-to scare you.’ Frank said, biting his lip to stop himself from smiling.
‘I want t-to try a-again.’ He said. I looked down at him, taking a minute to understand what he meant.
‘Are you sure?’ I asked. Frank nodded, his hand flattening on my stomach. I grinned back, placing my hand over his.
Frank let me undress him and I returned the favor. It felt a little weird standing naked in front of him. It wasn’t the “first-time” weird, just the “I-haven’t-seen-your-body-in-a-long-time” weird. I let my eyes venture only as far as his tattoos. I took Frank’s hand that was resting on his thigh. He was nervous, I could see it in his eyes.
I pulled him into the shower with me, letting the water soak him first. I loved seeing him wet. His hair plastered over his face, his skin shining. He tilted his head back, opening his mouth a little.
I reached forward, running my fingers through his wet hair and pulling him to face me. His eyes opened, a small smile on his face.
I wrapped my arms around his waist, pulling both of us under the falling water.
‘L-Love you.’ Frank whispered, gently pecking my lips. One peck turned into two. Two turned into three. I’d forgotten about the doctor’s appointment, again, and ended up pushing Frank up against the tiles so I could kiss him properly. It felt amazing to be that close to him again, his skin against mine, no barriers.
As we carried on, kissing harder, I discovered one little problem with reuniting with your husband’s naked body. That little problem was between my thighs. I bit my lip, pulling away from Frank a little.
‘Come on, we really do have to get ready.’ I said, stroking the hair from his face. Though disappointed we had to stop, Frank was cheerful. We finished in the shower, washing our hair and bodies. I kept my little problem concealed till we could get out of the shower. I helped dry Frankie off. He ran to get us clothes for today, his request. I let him. While he was gone, I leant up against the shower wall, thinking. Dead puppies, slaughtered pandas.
‘W-What are you d-doing?’ Frankie asked, scaring the shit out of me.
‘N-Nothing.’ I stammered out. Frank shrugged his shoulders.
Getting dressed took longer than I thought. I kept my eyes off Frank, fearing my little problem would come back. I couldn’t have that in the tight fucking jeans Frank had picked out for me. They were mine, though, apparently, I’d gained a bit of weight.
I ran a comb through my hair, letting it flop anyway it wanted. Frank’s hair was the easiest. A quick run through with the towel and comb and he was done. His hair wasn’t as stubborn as mine.
Mikey was sitting on the couch when we finally got out of the bathroom, flipping channels.
‘Took your god damned time!’ He shouted.
‘Sorry, got carried away.’ I winked at him.
‘We’re ready to go.’ I said, pulling on some socks and slipping my shoes on. Frank did the same.
‘What? No make-up today?’ Mikey teased.
‘Bite me.’ I snarled, whacking him across the head. He whimpered then stuck his tongue out at me.
‘Th-that’s enough, ch-children!’ Frankie laughed, taking both of our hands. Mikey wasn't too happy about Frankie’s attitude that day. I wasn't sure why, though. PMS maybe?