[/Alcohol and drugs will make your pain disappear when you're awake, but once you fall asleep, it haunts you./] He eventually approached a house, “I hope he's home.” He lingered towards the doo...
“What's going on?” Mikey muttered looking at him worriedly.
“Didn't mean to wake you, baby,” Donna uttered before returning her attention to Gerard. “Shh... It's okay, sweetheart. Donald didn't mean it.”
“Dad's home?” Mikey asked worriedly.
“He's fucking right, mom,” Gerard cried burying his face into his shaky palms. “I'd just assume to live on the streets than stay with him.” She reached for him and he cowered back, “I'm sorry.” He stood up in a rushed manner and stormed towards the door, he repeated himself, “I'm sorry.” Before they knew it, he opened the door and walked out.
Mikey stared at his mother for a few moments, “What's going on?”
Donna combed her fingers through her hair and replied, “Well, your father came in and saw Gerard sitting at the table then all hell broke loose. Donald left after shouting some obscene things at your brother then stomped around like a big baby.”
“What'd he say?” he asked innocently.
“He told Gerard that he was a worthless piece of shit that'll never do anything with his life. And that Gerard will never talk to you again because he's a bad influence,” she stated in a tearful tone. “Then he slammed the door behind him before he scurried into the back yard and you saw how Gerard reacted. They're too much alike.”
“I'm going after him,” Mikey stood up and headed towards the door.
“You're father will be a bastard about it,” she warned as he opened the door.
Turning around, he blinked a few times, “He's not going to talk to Gerard like that.” He shut the door behind him and found Gerard leaning against the railing of the porch. “I thought you left.”
“I can't leave you and mom likes this again,” he stated gawking at his tattered sneakers. “Not again.”
“How about we go somewhere? Like out for lunch or something?” Mikey suggested desperately. “It'll be okay.”
“No, it's not, Wheezy,” Gerard murmured as he met his brother's gaze. “It'll never be okay. He's always going to rule over you two and I cannot do a thing about it.” Gerard glanced at the violet spots he noticed the day before that their father had painted on his younger brother's skin. “I first brought up those.”
“They're nothing,” Mikey uttered covering them with his hands.
“Maybe to you, but it pisses me the fuck off,” Gerard firmly stated. “I oughta go into that back yard, kick his ass, then...”
“I don't know,” he trailed off. “I don't think I can quit.” Tears grew in his eyes once again when he looked up at his brother once more. “It's hard enough as it is. I'm a mess. I'm high most of the time, except for right now.”
“It's good that you're not, at the moment.”
“That's it, Mikey,” Gerard hesitated. “I'm plotting how I'm going to get some more because I'm fucking out. I have no money and I don't want Ray to bust in on me when I stoop low enough to do stuff for drugs.”
“Ray only wants to help you, Gerard,” Mikey stated reaching for his hands. “He told me that at the comic store a few days ago.”
“Everyone does!” he shouted unintentionally then quietened back down. “Everyone fucking does... I'm like an old toy. Everyone can clean me up so we can play games like we did when we were younger, but one day, Mikey... One fucking day, my head will fall off and my batteries will die, so I'll get thrown out with the old vacuum cleaner.”
Mikey stayed silent for a few minutes, not knowing what in the hell to say after hearing his brother's analogy. He stared at his feet and said, “I don't want them to throw you away and duct tape will keep your head on.”
The sides of his lips curled, “Come here.” He brought Mikey into an embrace, “I love you; you know that? Go inside, tell mom that I'm fine, and I'm going to visit Ray, okay?” His younger brother nodded and he gently ushered him towards the door, “Tell her that I'll be back, like I promised, but not in front of Donny.”
They went on their separate paths. Gerard pocketed his hands and journeyed down the sidewalk. Ray's house wasn't too far away, but the walk there seemed to take forever. The last time he ever saw his friend was when Ray walked in on somethings that Gerard absolutely regretted and didn't even remember. The last few years had been kind of vague for him, but he still relived them every night he fell asleep. Alcohol and drugs will make your pain disappear when you're awake, but once you fall asleep, it haunts you. He eventually approached a house, “I hope he's home.” He lingered towards the door and reluctantly knocked.
Footsteps could be heard on the other side before it opened and revealed a slender man with curly hair. He looked as if he had just woke up, but Gerard knew he balanced two part time jobs to pay the bills. Gerard gave him a weak smile, “Uh... Hey. Bad timing?”
Ray focused his eyes, “No. Uh... Come in, man.” He let his friend in and closed the door behind them. “Is something wrong? Did you get kicked out of your place?”
Gerard shook his head and buried his face into the palms of his hands, “I talked to Mikey and mom. I need help.”
Ray's eyes softened, “Dude, we can get you some help if you promise it's not going to end up like last time.”
Gerard was fixated on the fact that his friend either forgot what happened the last time they spoke or just refused to bring it up. That had also been when Ray and Donna was trying to help him before. He stayed with Ray and went to counselors throughout the week, then one weekend, Ray came home from work to find Gerard lying face down in the floor in nothing more than what God gave him. “Please.”
Sighing, Ray drummed his fingers on the arm of the small chair, “You have to promise. I nearly gave up on you last time.” Gerard swallowed a lump in his throat knowing what was about to be said. “I walked in on you with Sean, in my bed. I let that go, then came in a few nights later and thought you were dead.”
“That's not helping, man,” Ray sighed. “You have to have will power.”
Gerard nodded, “Alright.”
“So?” Ray stated in aggravation. “You going to do it or what?”
“I promise it won't end up like last time; I'm going to pull through for you guys.” He laced his fingers together and stared at the floor.
“And you're not turning back down that road again?” Ray asked wanting to reassure himself.
“I promise,” Gerard murmured not taking his attention from the floor.
“Okay,” he stated standing up. “Here's the ground rules that I should've made last time. You can have Sean's old room. You'll have a curfew, set by me. No walking out without telling me where you're going. No drugs, no drinking, duh. Every now and then you'll be tested for drugs. When you're clean, you can still stay here, but you'll get a job or go back to school. Eventually, you will be able to move out when we all think you're ready. Is that clear, man?”
Gerard nodded now staring at him with wide eyes, “I like that you're really cracking down on me this time.”
“No problem, it's for your best,” Ray stated. “I can get your shit from Don's place if you want me to. That way we can let your mom know you're staying here so she won't be worried.”
Gerard gave him an odd look, “Mom has talked to you about this?”
“Not really, I haven't spoke to her in a while,” Ray responded in a light tone. “She kind of went down hill when you, ya know? I only see Mikey every now and then when he stops in at the comic store. He fills me in on everything. He'd mention seeing you at times, but other times we talked about comics and stuff.”
“Oh,” Gerard blurted guiltily. “I didn't mean to worry them.”
“You're in my care now,” Ray stated in a lighthearted tone as he slapped Gerard on the shoulder.
“Yeah, bye-bye freedom.”
“Exactly,” Ray laughed. “For now, at least.”