Chapter 008: What Reality Really Looks Like
"Mina... he's dead." Pete whispered as he lifted his head from Frank's unmoving chest.
Those demented words simply hung in the air, waiting to be absorbed into Mina's mind. But she would have none of it.
"No." she said, firmly shaking her head. Her voice and resolution, however, began to weaken and crack as the scene before her burned itself into her mind, "No. No, he can't be....dead." At this, she scrambled across the glass, letting the jagged pieces rip viciously into the pale flesh of her legs, not even wincing once.
"Mina, its no use, he's dead--." Pete said weakly as he tried to pull her away from the sight of Frank's body.
"Don't say that, you haven't the right to." Mina snapped as she pushed Pete from her. She turned back to Frank, pleading, "Frankie, wake up! Wake up, please." But no matter how much shaking and screaming she did, there was no fruit of her labors. Reality was beginning to set in.
Frank had committed suicide. He wasn't coming back. Wasn't going to hear the words that would have given them the strength to escape what situations time and Frank's split second had put them in.
"I love you Frankie, I never stopped. Isn't that enough of a reason? Aren't I enough of a reason for you to stay this time?" Mina sobbed onto Frank's chest. "Why are you leaving me again?" She asked of him over and over, beating at him with her small fists as she cried hysterically. "Why?"
"Why, Frankie, why? Come back..." Mina moaned, clawing at the white hospital sheets, burning tears and icy sweat mingling in them. Fire soared through her body as she struggled to detatch herself from her nightmare. She continued to scream for Frank as though her life depended on it until a familiarly cool liquid pulsed into her veins, calming her in mere seconds. Moments later, sleep overtook her fatigued body.
Frank watched, for the second time in his life, as eighteen year old girlfriend's movement and screaming cease with an injection of her medication into her bloodstream. He and the doctor had been on their way to see Mina when a nurse had popped out of the room, notifying the doctor of Mina's distressed state.
"Mr. Iero, seeing as she is delirious with fever from her miscarriage, you cannot visit her even though I said you could." the doctor said crisply
"Mina lost the baby? Does she know? Is that why she's...?"
She nodded sympathetically and replied in a softer tone, "I'm sorry you have to hear this from me, but yes, she knows she's had a miscarriage. The reason she's delirious is another story. It's a combination of her fever and her post traumatic stress disorder. The end result, respectively, are delirium and nightmares of where her stress is coming from."
There was silence.
It was so much for Frank to take all at one time. The argument he had just had with Mina, barely hours earlier that day over those stupid pictures in an even stupider magazine. The lost of their baby. The fact that Mina was in a state of such high stress and stricken with fever. He felt more like an asshole right now than all of his life put together. Here Mina was, dealing with pretty much everything, plus school and him; here he was, watching agitatedly. There was no semblance of balance present in their current situation, causing even more feelings of incompetency in Frank. This fueled his drive to be with Mina, even if she was unconscious.
"Can I please see her? Just this once?" He knew he sounded like a little kid, but this was the woman who he loved and had carried his unborn child!
The doctor, who seemed to be reading his mind, reluctantly nodded. "Alright, go ahead."
"Thank you so much." Frank muttered and gave her a quick hug before ducking into the room, ready to wait as long as it took for Mina to wake.
Once inside, however, he found her crawling off the hospital bed, with her back to him, and taking a steady footing on the tiled floor.
"Mina?" Frank called tentatively to get her attention.
She gave a shuddering gasp and threw her arms around his neck when he came close to hold her. "Frankie you're here... I thought you..." but she couldn't continue, only cry openly onto Frank's shirt as he comforted her. "I had a horrible dream that you left and would come back no matter what I did. You would come back." Mina failed to tell him the whole dream, knowing it would truly freak out her boyfriend.
Frank was, to say the very least, shocked. Him, leave Mina? 'What kind of sick shit-head would leave his girlfriend like that?' he wondered as he held her as close as possible. "I would never do that to you. You hear me? Never. We've gone through too much to split up." Here he loosened his hold about her and held her at arm's length to look her square in the eyes. "Unless you want to because of how I treated you this morning and how I've been treating you. With touring and everything, I wouldn't blame you."
"I grew up around this, Frankie, I know what its like. But don't you ever accuse me of cheating, mister, especially with Pete." Mina gave a comical shiver, trying not to think about how gross it was to be engaged, in her nightmare, to someone she considered only as a friend. 'That's just so wrong on so many levels.'
"I promise." Frank assured her, pulling her close again.
"Frankie, the baby, I-" Mina began, only to have Frank hush her with a finger to her lips.
"I know." was all he said as he gave her a sad smile. This was all Mina needed, his understanding, and she was grateful for it.
They stood thee in each other's arms for a few minutes, Mina pinching herself secretly to believe she was no longer dreaming; Frank silently evaluating their ordeal. The pair enjoyed their private moment until a crash at the door sent them back to the present. There, crowded at the threshold were all the boys, save Patrick and Co. as they had visited Pete down the hall.
"Well, I guess you two want to be alone." Came Quinn's smart reply at which Mikey gave him a smack in the behind, clearly the doctor had told them everything also.
"So what if we do?" Mina shot back, winking at all of them as Frank simply played along.
"Yeah, we're planning to have a farm full of kids anyway." he grinned.
At this Bert began to sputter and hiss like a cat as the others' jaws dropped to the floor.
"What, Bert? Too young to be Uncle Bert?" Mina teased with emphasis on the uncle part.
Bert simply shook his head and gave an aggravated sigh. "You tell 'em they can go out and then they want kids, I don't get it. I just don't get it." He said as he stalked out of the room, arms thrown up in the air in surrender and the room busted in laughter.
"I'd better go make sure he doesn't break anything..." Gerard muttered as he, Bob, and Ray followed Bert, still chuckling to themselves.
As soon as the wave of cheer subsided, Jepha gave the couple a serious look. "You guys were just kidding, right? Frankie, you better as hell be kidding, you know she's still in school."
"Maybe." Frankie said, his mischevious smirk in place as he gazed into Mina's eyes still alight with laughter.
"Maybe." Mina agreed, kissing him with all the love she had.
Whether it was that they didn't want to see anymore puppy love or if they just wanted to leave the two to themselves, maybe both, Jepha and Branden skittered out of the room as fast as humanly possible. Quinn and Mikey were almost on their way out when the first dug into his pockets and pulled out a little square something and took aim.
"Hey, kids, if its a maybe on the kids, use one of these this time!" Quinn shouted at them when it struck Frank in the back of the head.
Frank was about to retort when the door shut as soon as Quinn finished speaking. The closed portal may have protected Quinn from Frank but not from Mikey who could be heard yelling in the outer corridor.
"What did you do that for? Couldn't you just let them enjoy that?" Mikey reprimanded like an upset girlfriend, making Mina and Frank snort with giggles.
"And miss your cute, angry face? Nah, c'mon baby. I have another." quipped with his sharp humor.
"You're lucky you're cute, you know that, right?" Mikey replied in the same tone.
Their footsteps receded from the door, leaving a very wide eyed couple behind.
Two And A Half Years Later-Newark, New Jersey
"No, a little more to the left."
"Jeez, if had known you were such a perfectionist, I probably wouldn't have married you." Frank joked as he stepped off the ladder and stood back to where his wife was to admire his handiwork.
Mina ignored the comment and instead motioned up to the portrait now hanging up on the wall above their fireplace in their new home. "I love this picture of us. That photographer was really talented in capturing us at our best."
The portrait had been taken in the backyard of her childhood home, the site of their wedding reception. Frank had chosen, at the moment of film capture, to kiss Mina affectionately on the cheek just as she bowed her head ever so slightly, creating a mysterious and cheeky vibe from the couple. Being that it was a formal yet simple gathering, Frank was dressed in a tasteful tailcoated tuxedo with a white wing collared shirt, bowtie, and matching pique vest. Mina, in turn, had donned a gorgeous short sleeved lace covered sheath silhouetted gown with a beaded bodice for the summer evening occasion.
"Me too." Frank agreed as he encircled an arm around his wife's slim waist. "Can you believe we've actually been married a whole month now?"
Mina closed her eyes, leaning against her husband as she inhaled his signature scent. "Feels like a dream. A long dream and, this time, I hope I don't wake up."
Bobby was sent to life in prison for two counts of attempted murder, violation of parole, possession of a dangerous weapon, and use of the said weapon. He now resides in a high security Missouri county prison.
Pete recovered from his wounds and remained close friends with Mina. He found love in a long time fan of Fall Out Boy, Caity Hansen. The pair are seriously dating and are living together in Chicago, Illinois.
Mikey and Quinn came out together as a couple soon after the Bobby fiasco. They eloped to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada only a few weeks later.
Gerard and Lane also married and have a beautiful daughter, Steph Way. The couple are currently estate complex neighbors with both the Allmans and the Ieros.
Frankie proposed on their two year dating anniversary when Mina was still studying at NYU at the age of twenty. Obviously, she said yes, and the two wedded, a year later, at her Orem, Utah home in an intimate union with only a few friends and family in attendance.
... The last three couples are all expecting parents.
"What do you think you're having Lane?" Mina, now twenty-three, asked as she fidgeted in the gynecologist's waiting room with her husband.
Yet, instead of the second time expecting mother answering, Gerard spoke up, a gleam of excitement in his eyes. "I'm thinking she's having a boy seeing as she was-"
"Okay Mr. Superstitious, he thinks that just 'cause I was on bottom, he's having a boy." Lane said offhandedly as Gerard took to cooing at her mid-section. "You?"
"Guess I'm having a girl then." the blonde replied, winking at her friend. "I was on top."
"Oh, well I know what we're having." Quinn muttered as he threw an arm about Mikey's shoulders.
"Wait, what are you two doing here?" Frank asked bemusedly. "This is an O.B.G.Y.N., Mikey."
Mikey gave him a 'whatever' look before gushing on his guess for his "baby".
"I'M HAVING PUPPIES!"
And that's that. Finito, darlings. The curtain closes here.