Final part... eeeks :)
“So Frank, how are you?” Mikey breaks me out of my reverie. Mikey's changed; for the better I suppose. No longer bespectacled and puny, he’s got serious muscles now and a tough exterior. I bet he’s still the same person inside, though.
“I’m great thanks.” I beam, looking at Mikey. I know Gerard’s eyes are searching my body, and I struggle to keep composure. He’s so close to me, I could do anything to him. I know he’d let me. Attempting to disperse the dirty thoughts forming in my mind, I offer to get the guys drinks. Even though we’ve been here together for about two minutes, I need to go and compose myself.
“No, its okay, I’ll get them.” Mikey announces. “What do you want Frank?”
“Erm...” Not wanting to offend Gerard by getting something alcoholic, not wanting to seem weak for getting fruit juice, I tell Mikey, “Whatever. I’ll drink pretty much everything.”
A knowing smile, and Mikey pushes his way through the throng.
So now it’s just me and Gerard. There’s a silence, not exactly awkward, but nevertheless I desperately want to fill it.
“You look... you look bad Frank.” Gerard says carefully, and I suddenly feel offended. My face obviously shows this, and I can see Gerard’s face changing as he realises the effect his words have. “No, I phrased that wrong. You look tired. Unhappy.”
“Oh?” I try and keep my tone light; carefree.
“Frank I think I know you enough – not as well as I should – but enough to see everything in your life feels fucked up.” Gerard has to shout so I can hear him over the noise, and I feel vulnerable knowing strangers are probably hearing all the things Gerard is saying about me.
“Can we, um, go outside Gerard?” I shout, and he nods. We push through the crowd, until I remember Mikey. No matter how much I like him, I don’t really want him to be with us right now. Like he’s reading my mind, Gerard stops and pulls out his phone. I watch the screen as he texts: ‘Outside. Give us 15mins.’
We step out into the cool street. I shudder as the cold bites at my face. Seeing this, Gerard slips off his leather jacket and hands it to me.
“Not so great considering your face is cold, but extra warmth nevertheless.” He smiles cheekily. He digs his hands into his jeans, then curses.
“Think my cigarettes are in one of those pockets. Check for me?” He asks, and I bite my tongue to stop myself from asking if he’ll get the packet out himself. The pockets are warm and lint studded, and my fingers brush against curious objects, until resting on the bulky packet and the slim lighter. I hand them to him, and I could swear his fingers linger on mine a second longer than is considered courteous. He proffers me a cigarette, which I decline, and then lights up. He looks so sexy attempting to flick the lighter on in the biting wind.
“So Frank, what’s wrong?”
And here it goes again. I want to tell him this should just be about us getting to know each other more, talking about happy, non wife related, memories. But it’s turning into a session with a shrink, and I’m the reluctant patient.
“Let’s not.” I whisper slowly. “Please... let’s not.”
“Frank your eyes look tired, worry lines are etched on your forehead and your skin is grey. You’re my friend and I want you to be happy.”
“Gerard DON’T!” I burst out, unable to control my bubbling tidal wave of anger. “I can’t be fucking happy. Let’s just NOT talk about this!”
“Frankie... I don’t want to argue. I owe you my life and now the first time we’ve met for years and we’re arguing. It’s not supposed to be like this.”
“You owe me your life...?” I question him slowly. I want to enter this part of our past and end it like it should have ended. Although considering our circumstances, what with marriage and everything, an ending like I yearn for is quite unlikely.
“If you hadn’t saved me that night I would have died. After you... kissed me and told me to basically stop pissing my life away on drugs and alcohol, I left your apartment feeling refreshed. I went to Starbucks, got a shitload of coffee, and completely sobered up. Then I went back to the trailer, apologised to everyone, and made them bin all the alcohol. I haven’t touched it since, and don’t plan to ever again. I can see that you’re as fucked up as I was, although not in the same way I was, and I want to help you like you helped me.”
“Gerard, back then I had no problems, and even if I did we could have easily solved them together. Now everything is different. I wish I’d told you back then how much I love you.”
Silence, as I realise I’ve just confessed my love to him. “Shit...” I mutter, bowing my head.
A couple of tense seconds, and then Gerard places his hand on my shoulder; a typical gesture, defining support and understanding.
“I know...” He sighs, and I look up. However, he turns away when I try and meet his eyes. “I heard you when you told me that night. I should have stayed and talked to you.”
“Gerard I’m sorry.”
His voice is sharp as he snaps, “Don’t apologise!” Then, in a smaller voice, “You’ve done nothing wrong.”
Images of Jamia flash through my mind. “No,” I say glumly, “I’ve done plenty wrong.”
And then suddenly it’s just like the movies. The feeling of serenity as Gerard pulls me into a bear hug, and then as he pushes me away slightly so we’re looking into each other’s eyes. “Frank I want to tell you... you’re my biggest regret.” Then he presses his lips to mine. Total submission on my part as his mouth forces mine open and his wet tongue pokes into my anticipating mouth. I kiss him harder and more passionately than I’ve kissed anyone before, except maybe from the time in my apartment. My hands cup his arse and his frame my face; I never want to stop kissing him and let go. I feel like he’s mine now, after all this time waiting. I’m smart enough to know this is probably his way of saying goodbye; his parting gift, even. But I can’t let him go, not this time.
He pulls away slowly, licking his lips. “That was...spontaneous.” He stutters, and I know that now he’s kissed me, he’s at loss at what to do next. I guess I better take the lead.
“Gerard, I want to tell you that it’s okay if you sever contact with me now. I’m only going to fuck your life up if I stay in it. I can’t deny that I love you... but I can work through it. Who knows, maybe I’ll get over you. Of course I regret not joining My Chemical Romance. I regret a shitload of things to do with you. But I want you to know I won’t bother you anymore. Gerard, I hope you succeed in all your future endeavours.” I cringe, realising what a douchebag I sound. “Bye Gee...” I turn and start striding away, my fists clenched as I attempt to stave off tears. Too late, I think, as one dribbles down my cheek.
I want to say I hear footsteps behind me as Gerard catches up with me, and tells me not to go, that he’ll leave his wife and run away with me. I want to say everything I ever wanted comes true for us, and we have our happy ending. But y’see, there’s no such thing as happily ever after. Sure, everything can be great for a while, but sooner or later something bad will come along and fuck it up. I love Gerard. Always have, always will. Maybe it’s just something I need to live with and accept that I’ll never be truly happy.
I pass Mikey as I leave. A puzzled look on his face, he asks what’s up. “Nothing, nothing.” I tell him, and stride past him to my car. The drive home is torturous. Suddenly I notice I’m still wearing his jacket, and I find his wallet in the pocket. Cursing, I realise this means I’ll need to return it to him somehow, but I know I can’t face him. I’ll have to mail it to him tomorrow.
The lights are off as I arrive home. Only Jamia's car is on the drive, meaning our guests have left already. The porch light flickers on as I step out, and I choose this moment of solitude to search his pockets. An unused Kleenex, his wallet (content: $48.34, several credit cards and a sickening picture of him and Lynz jammed into a photo booth.), a garish red lighter, half a pack of gum, and a tightly folded note. I know it’s invasive for me to read the note, but I can’t stop myself. My shaking hands unfold it, and I’m dreading seeing a scrawled message of love from Lynz. But it’s not that. It’s kind of like a conversation plan for the night. His writing is surprisingly neat, and it looks very meticulously set out. My attention is caught when I see the title is my name, ‘Frankie’.
Flirty behaviour, try and gage how interested he is.
If just being friendly, suppress feelings and be jokey and friend-ish.
If seeming kinda lovestruck go somewhere quieter to talk (get rid of Mikey)
Get him to tell me what’s wrong, and then kiss? soothe
Tell him I love him???????
Ask him to join MCR.
I freeze. My breath catches in my throat and my vision blurs. I’ve thrown it all away. Fuck.
I want to call him, and say I didn’t mean it, and that YES I will join the band. But I know it’s hopeless. A strange feeling spreads through me, something I hadn’t expected. Could it be... relief? Relief knowing that he feels the same way too, that he’s tortured too. But I already knew that. That was what drove him to kiss me like that, I’m sure. But why am I feeling relief that he hasn’t asked me to join MCR, and that I left before he could? Knowing that this meant as much to him as it did to me is proving to me that I’m not insane for loving someone I barely know anymore. Knowing he’s in emotional turmoil over me like I am over him is maybe enough for me to feel better about it. If he has his fucking great life and he’s lusting over me, well then maybe I have a good life too, but I’m looking for excuses to why I feel so dead inside. Yes, I had, HAVE a crush on Gerard, but could I have convinced myself it was much more than it was so I could escape into another reality? I look around. I live in a good neighbourhood. My wife is upstairs, possibly carrying my child. My job is fuckin’ sweet, too. And I’m wasting my days fantasising over a ROCKSTAR? On the outside, everything is good. On the inside, it’s certainly not perfect, but at least the foundations for something great are there. I know what I have to do so I don’t destroy everything once and for all. Unlocking the door, I slip inside the house. I drop Gerard's jacket on the floor, and creep upstairs. The bedroom door is open a crack, and I look inside to see Jamia sleeping in bed. I haven't looked at her properly in a long time. I guess she really is beautiful. Creeping forward, I gently nudge her awake with my hand on her shoulder. Her eyes open, and for a split second I see fear in her eyes. Probably afraid I’m going to tell her I’m leaving her. But then it’s like she puts a defence up, and her eyes go cold.
“Jamia... I’m sorry.”
I guess she wasn’t expecting that, because her mouth drops slightly and the steely look in her eyes dulls.
“I’ve been a jerk. And you’ve not been great either, but I think we should work through this.”
“What about Gerard?” She says his name so spitefully; I recognize how much she must despise him.
“He’s nothing to me.” I say. I’m shocked when I comprehend that I’m not lying; that the emotions I felt toward him are dimming away. Jamia’s eyes are still filled with suspicion, though.
“Look Jamia. I’ve been hard to cope with these last couple years. I’ve had an infatuation with Gerard, and I stopped putting you first. I know it must have been hard. But I’ve had a sort of... epiphany, if you will. I’ve been convincing myself of this love because my life is so perfect I feel something must be wrong. But now I think I can teach myself to be happy with what I’ve got. Please forgive me... I love you.”
I do have a fairytale with Jamia, for this moment being anyway. Of course she accepts my apology, and apologises herself for being a ‘manipulative bitch’. I kiss her ardently, grasping that this is the best kiss I’ve had all night.
Her hands slide up my top, and pull it over my head. “Don’t worry,” she laughs, a sound I’ve certainly missed, “I don’t want your sperm.”
I pull her towards me, but she looks down and pushes me away. “Frankie...what... what are these?” Her fingers trace the three cuts I inflicted on myself, and I mutter, “Shit.”
“Why did you do that?” Her voice laced with worry rings through my head. Full of emotions that can’t be expressed as words; I tell her it will never happen again.
“You’re an idiot, Frank Iero, but I believe you.”
Then she takes off the rest of my clothes and lets me make love to her. For the first time in a long time, we both enjoy it.
2 weeks later
My eyes flicker open as rays of sun burst through into the room. Jamia lies next to me, breathing softly. We’re in the honeymoon period of our relationship still; I know it will get harder later. But I know the baby growing in her tummy will help us get through those times. Jamia did the test four times, and each time the little blue line appeared, it was like a symbol of hope for us. This time I’m ecstatic over the prospect of being a Daddy.
I quickly change, and head downstairs. I leave out the coffee today, instead choosing water, and pick up the package lying on the sofa. Nothing fancy, just a padded envelope with Gerard’s jacket inside. I leave to take it to the nearest post box, a brisk walk means I’ll get there in five minutes and it should be in time for mailing today. I’ve paid extra for the delivery because I want it to get there today. I’d meant to send it earlier than today, but the last two weeks have flown by. Reaching the post box, I carefully ease the package open, and then search through my pockets for the clean piece of paper and pen I put in there earlier. I scrawl a note and then hastily shove it in the package, seal it, and push it into the post box. I won’t see Gerard again, yet this doesn’t scare me like it used to. Jamia and I have started counselling, and I’m determined for our marriage to succeed. I walk away, whistling, and I just know that everything is getting better. It may take time, but soon I’ll be appreciating my life for what it is. I can’t waste time worrying about mistakes I made in the past.
Gerard... it could have been great, but we chose different paths. I’m not gonna regret this anymore, and I don’t think you should either. Have a good life and appreciate whatcha got.
Write the future, and fuck the past.
Okay, i've officially finished this story! The ending could of gone two ways, but I chose this way. I'm not sure how much I like it, so R&R so I can see what you all think of it:) xo, Han