Twenty year old best friends Gerard and Agnes have a few things in common, join then as they try to cope with them.
Agnes wasn't sure what was happening as she walked in the front door. There were things being whirled from one side of the room to the other. "Get off my fucking back!" She heard be screamed before a door slammed and it all went silent. A sigh echoed through the room. Gerard stood quietly at the door to the basement stairs. "Hey." She said causing him to turn towards her. He shut his eyes briefly and sighed again. "Hey Aggie." He looked back to the door for a second before looking at her again. "Kids." He said with a bit of humour in his voice. "Tell me about it." She laughed. "Brought you your Psych homework." Dropping the books on the coffee table she sat down on the couch. Agnes and Gerard had been friends since they were thirteen and roommates since they were eighteen, now they were twenty and Gerard was the sole caregiver to his little brother Mikey. Had been since their father had followed in their mother's footsteps and gotten lost. Going from cool older brother to sudden parent of a fifteen year old kid was a tough job. Suddenly, it was no longer Gerard's job to be Mikey's friend and idol, it was now his job to keep him alive. Not exactly easy when you're struggling to figure out how to do it yourself. "Thanks." He said dropping down next to her. "I just don't know how to get through to him anymore." Agnes laughs quietly. "You sound like every other parent of a teenager out there." Gerard laughs too. "Remember when I stressed about getting a date to prom? What happened?" Shrugging Agnes laughed again. "You got old." Gerard smirks and ruffles her hair. "Jerk."
Since they were kids, Agnes had always been the together one. The one who made sure everything got done. She had taken care of her nut job mother before she'd died, raised her two younger siblings. Made sure that there was food in the house for everyone, made sure the report cards were signed, took out the trash. So when the sudden responsibility was laid on Gerard, no one understood more than Agnes. The pressure that you felt having to take care of someone you were under qualified to care for. In those first couple months after his father left, Agnes went from being Gerard's good friend to being his rock. The person he could count on when he needed some advice. Agnes's mother had died by that point and she was struggling to support her sisters, so when Gerard began to struggle as well, the pair had decided to team up. They moved into Gerard's house and tried their best to run things as a unit, as a family. Two years later, things had begun to run smoothly. Well, as smoothly as any unordinary family could. Agnes will admit that she had an easier time establishing herself as a mother like figure to her sisters as they were younger when she first became one to them and there fore escaped the 'you aren't my father!' struggle Gerard was now having with Mikey.
"How the fuck do they know which exact buttons to press to make you fucking crazy?" He asked resting his head on her shoulder. "It's a talent." Gerard sighed. "He's a fucking button pushing prodigy." Agnes kicked her boots off. "It gets worse with age." Gerard laughs. "Wait till, Maggie and Rosie hit their teens." Agnes goes limp against the couch. "Dear God. That's something I don't have to worry about for another two years. Until then, it doesn't exist." Gerard looks at his watch. "Speaking of." Agnes sighs. "Already?" Nodding Gerard get's his keys. "I'll go."
"Thanks." Gerard chastely kisses Agnes's cheek before exiting the house.
Agnes picks her head up off the arm of the sofa when she hears the door open and close. Little footsteps come towards the living room and then they are in her view, dropping their back packs on the carpet at the end of the sofa. "Aggie! Rosie and I are hungry, can we have pizza for dinner?" Agnes sits up and pulls them both in for a hug. "Frankie and Jamie are coming over for dinner. How was school?" As the girls begin to tell her about their day Gerard's voice can be heard entering the room. "Where?" He's following Mikey into the living room. Mikey has his jacket on and in hurrying to the front door. "Just out! Fuck!" The girls grin next to Agnes as she watches the exchange. "Okay, when will you be home?" Mikey mutters another curse. "Gee, 'Dad', I don't know" He slams the front door behind him leaving Gerard standing there with his shoulders slumped in defeat. Agnes turns to the girls who are giggling at each other. "Can you guys take your things upstairs and start your homework please?" The girls whine and Agnes mocks them before they scurry up the stairs. Agnes walks over and puts a hand on Gerard who watches Mikey trudge down the sidewalk out the window. "You okay?" He sighs. "I don't know which is worse. The fact that he called me dad or the fact that he meant it sarcastically." Agnes pats his shoulder and tries to lighten the situation. "He called you dad? You really are getting old." Gerard tries to glare at her but a smile breaks it's way across his face. "Fuck off." She laughs and goes to follow the girls upstairs. "Better start dinner 'Dad', Frank and Jamia will be here soon."
Thirty minutes later, after struggling to get the girls' homework finished, Agnes shuffles down the stairs to the kitchen where a smell is wafting from. Gerard is standing at the counter layering a lasagna with cheese and noodles. Agnes giggles quietly noticing that he's wearing the apron Frank had jokingly bought him for christmas last year. He turns when he hears her laugh and pouts. "What?" Agnes starts towards him and gives him her seductive face. "Can anyone kiss the chef or is that reserved for your boyfriend?" He stuck up a tomato sauce covered middle finger. She manoeuvres herself to sit on the counter next to where he works and picks up a long noodle, splitting it into strips as she nibbles on it. There is noting unusual about that moment. It's weird how domesticated they had become. Like they were part of that family Agnes had envisioned them becoming when she'd first thought about moving in. Her and Gerard made such a perfect parenting team. He worried about everything and she was an old pro. They balanced each other out. After the noodle was through, she dipped her finger in the sauce and licked it. "Can you not put your fingers in the food? You're worse than Maggie." Agnes dipped her finger again and stuck her tongue out when he sighed. The doorbell rang just as she began to giggle. "I'll get it, I'll get it!" They heard two little voices chorus as they ran down the stairs. Agnes jumped down and walked towards the front door. "Hey." Jamia said sweetly, hugging Agnes and the girls. "Hey guys." Agnes said kissing Frank's cheek. "Hey, brought you guys some soda." Agnes laughed at how funny that sounded. They were a group of twenty year old collage students, drinking soda on a Friday night. However the thing about it was that after Frank and Jamia left to do their collage student things, her and Gerard would spend their evening bathing the kids and worrying over Mikey. "Thanks. Gee's in the kitchen." They moved like a parade procession into the kitchen where Gerard had now shed his apron and was sliding the lasagna into the oven. "Hey guys." He said going over to hug them. "Hey dude. Nice looking lasagna, did your husband buy it for 'ya." Jamia smacked him lightly but Gerard laughed. "Yeah, actually. He also bought me this awesome vibrating…" Agnes interjected. "Kids!" Gerard bit his lip and Frank laughed. "Sorry ma." He said. "Frankie! Gee bought the new guitar hero. Wanna see?" Frank's eyes lit up like a three year old as he dashed into the living room causing the kids to run after him laughing. "He worse than they are." Jamia noted laughing. Agnes scoffed. "You wanna trade?" Jamia laughed in response. "She thought I was kidding." Agnes said turning her head towards Gerard. "Fool." He replied. "That's a no then?" Jamia raised an eyebrow. "I think I'll stick with the pretend eight year old." Agnes laughed leading Jamia towards the table. "That's a wise choice my friend, wise choice."
Half way through dinner, Frank and the girls were bickering over who was better at guitar hero while the rest of us had a slightly more adult and slightly less boastful conversation about comic books. Gerard caught Maggie picking the broccoli out of her lasagna. "Maggie, I see what you're doing. Five piece rule." Frank looked up quickly and saluted him. "Yes sir!" And began shovelling his own broccoli into his mouth causing the girls to laugh. Agnes patted Gerard's arm as he giggled as well. "At least one of the children listens to me." Frank automatically looked up. "Hey!" He protested with his mouth full causing everyone to laugh again. It was in that moment that the door opened and shut loudly. Gerard froze and sighed before standing up from the table and exiting the room. The conversation that followed was muffled but there was no doubt who was dominating it. Frank looked at Agnes and raised an eyebrow before turning and continuing to entertain the girls. A few moments later the conversation ending with Gerard emitting a loud. "Fine!" and a door slamming. He waited a minute before reentering the room with a tense look on his face. "Is uncle Mikey okay?" Rosie asked quietly with concern on her face. Agnes smiled at the ten year old and nodded. "He's just a little grumpy." She replied but Rosie look unconvinced as if to say 'I'm not three anymore'. "Aggie, can we play more guitar hero now?" Maggie asked completely unfazed by what had just happened. Agnes nodded and as they walked away, she noticed that there was a tiny pile of broccoli on her plate, she sighed. "What was that about?" Frank asked. Gerard shrugged. "I don't fucking know! It's like the second dad walked out the door, I became his enemy." Frank looked uncomfortable with the seriousness of Gerard's statement. "So it's going well then." Gerard let out a shaky laugh. "Like gangbusters, can't you tell?" Everyone laughed slightly. "It's just angst Gee, we all do it. I was a little dick back then." Everyone raced to give the same comeback. "Back then?" A laugh followed and Frank pouted. "Funny." Jamia kissed his cheek. "We love you anyway." Gerard and Agnes looked at each other before making gaging noises.
Maggie and Rosie were sitting on the couch watching Spongebob Squarepants on tv when Agnes and Gerard walked Frank and Jamia to the front door. Jamia smiled at Agnes sweetly and said. "You guys are doing a really good job you know." Agnes smiled back and kissed her cheek. "We're trying." With that Frank cut in hugging Agnes tightly. "Goodnight you!" Agnes giggled slightly before calling the girls over to say goodnight. Once the door was closed behind them, Agnes turned to face the girls, she gave Gerard a cheeky smile and said evilly. "Who's ready for bath time?" The girls gave a slight squeal before running up the stairs. Agnes gave Gerard a slightly frightened expression. "Have strength my child." She kissed his cheek before racing up the stairs. Gerard paused a moment in the hallway before shuffling in the direction of the kitchen where he picked up the plate of lasagna he had saved for Mikey and went in the direction of the basement. He knocked gently before letting himself in. At the bottom of the stairs Mikey lay on his bed playing Halo 3. Mikey didn't even acknowledge Gerard's presence, just kept on playing his game. "I brought you some food Mikes." No response. Gerard put the plate down on the only open space on his desk. "Please eat it." Mikey scoffed. "Alright, 'Dad'." Gerard clenched his fists at his side and cursing silently. "Mikey, can I please have your attention for just a sec?" Mikey hesitated and continued playing for a moment, then he realized Gerard wasn't leaving so he pressed pause and threw down his controller moving to sit up. "Thanks." Again there came no response. "Mikes, I'd really like it if you went to school tomorrow. Please?" Mikey laid back down and picked up his controller. "Whatever, dude." Gerard picked up the hostility and automatically went to defend himself. "Hey, I graduated high school, don't give me that shit." Mikey just nodded his head sarcastically and pressed play on the game. As Gerard went to say something, Mikey spoke again. "Fuck off now would you." Gerard walked over to the tv and turned it off causing Mikey to sit up and yell. "What the fuck! Are you retarded?" Gerard didn't let Mikey see that his feelings were hurt by the way he was speaking to him, he simply snapped back. "Don't fucking talk to me like that!" Mikey smirked, not fooled. "Whatever 'Dad'." Gerard again was about to say something back when he heard the basement door open and little feet come rushing down. Rosie appeared in her pyjamas, hair wet and cheeks rosy. She paused at the bottom looking from Gerard to Mikey and back again before scurrying over to Mikey and throwing her arms around his neck. "Please, don't yell uncle." Mikey's harsh face softened to a small smile when he looked at her face. "Sorry." She kissed his cheek. "Goodnight uncle." She whispered before hurrying back up the steps. There was silence for a minute before Gerard spoke. "Look, I'm not trying to tell you how to live your life. I'm not trying to be your… dad. I just, want to… it's my job to make sure that you get better than what I got. I want you to be better than me." Mikey hesitated for a second before picking up his headphones and muttering, "Whatever." He then pressed play on the stereo shutting Gerard out, leaving him to once again walk away from Mikey defeated.
Gerard walked down the upstairs hallway to the girls' room. The door was ajar and the light came spilling into the dark hall, he could hear Agnes's voice coming out in an excited pace as she told them a story. Gerard knocked quietly before going in. Agnes was sitting cross legged on the end of Maggie's bed in her pyjamas, Maggie was laying flat on her back and Rosie was propped up on her bed. Agnes smiled at him and waved him over. Gerard took his usual spot on the floor next to Agnes, his back resting against the side of the bed. "So, what's the story tonight?" He asked. Maggie giggled. "Aggie is telling us about you singing." Gerard threw his head back to look up at Agnes. She just smiled. "Well, that's a boring story." He said before rubbing his hands together. "Who wants to hear the story about the shiny-one-socked monster?" Agnes giggled and Maggie instantly looked interested while Rosie looked a little weary. "It was very late at night, and I was trying to get to sleep like the good boy that I was…" Agnes giggled again and Gerard shushed her with his serious face still in place. "Like I said, I was trying to get to sleep when I heard this noise coming from outside the window. It was all dark in my room since I no longer slept with my night light. I had just started sleeping in the basement where Uncle Mikey lives and I was still a little frightened. Anyway, I heard this noise and at first I thought it was just my imagination but then I started to hear actual words being spoken. They sounded like they were in another language. I started to get a little scared so I grabbed the flashlight I kept under my bed, just incase and I shone it around the room at at the window just to be sure, but there was nothing. I put my flashlight away and tried to get back to sleep. That's when I heard the hinge on my window screech, like it was being opened. I shut my eyes tight and tried to snuggle down into the blankets to hide. Suddenly I heard a loud thump, like someone had jumped in through the window and landed on the floor. I jumped but kept myself hidden. I heard more of that voice in the different language. I was so scared I felt like my heart was gonna jump out of my chest but I wanted to be brave so I took a deep breath and peeked my eyes over the covers. At first I could't see anything, but as I looked closer I saw it…" He paused trying not to smile. Rose's eyes were twice the size they had been when he'd started the story and Maggie was squeezing Agnes's hand tightly. "There was something scrunched up real small in the corner and that's where the voice was coming from, it was slightly shiny, like it had scales. I didn't know what to do, if I should run or scream or what. And then the voice started to get louder and just as I was about to scream, it jumped out at me, landing itself straight on my bed with a loud BANG!" Gerard stomped on the ground for good measure and Rosie let out a tiny little squeak. "And in that second, right as I went to scream, my bedroom light flipped on and I saw what it was…" There was a silence. "What was it?" Maggie whispered in a tight voice and Gerard let out a smile. "It was her." He said pointing to Agnes. "She was wearing a sparkly dress and only one sock and she threw her head back and laughed like a crazy person." The girls looked at each other for a minute as though to makes sure they had heard him right and then turned back to him. That's when their laughter filled the room, Gerard and Agnes laughed right along with them. "Aggie! That's so mean. Why did you do that?" Agnes laughed. "Because Gee was a big scaredy cat and I thought it would be funny." They laughed once more and Agnes stood up. "Are you guys gonna be able to sleep now?" She asked and they both nodded. She smiled knowing that even though the antagonist had turned out to be her, Rosie would still probably have a nightmare. Agnes kissed each of their noses. Gerard kissed their foreheads and as they went out, Agnes turned and whispered. "I love you guys." They smiled. "Love you too." She said goodnight and shut the door a bit. Agnes and Gerard walked quietly down the stairs and when they got to the bottom, they looked at each other before cracking up into laughter. "You forgot to mention the fact that you and I were both wasted." Gerard grinned. "Did I?" She nodded. "Oh and the fact that you had gotten me the week before." Gerard laughed and shrugged. "Well, it certainly got them." She nodded. "I know, did you see their faces?" Again there was laughter. Finally Gerard sighed. "Oohhh, I needed that." Agnes nodded and patted his shoulder. "Ice cream?" She asked and he nodded heading towards the kitchen.
The pair were quiet as Agnes got out the carton of ice cream and Gerard got two spoons from the drawer. Sitting at the table, the ice cream sitting between them, they ate quietly. "So? Did you talk to Mikey?" Gerard nodded. "Yeah." Agnes waited for a moment before prompting him to continue. "And?" Sighing, Gerard put his spoon down. "Do you ever regret taking them on?" He asks. She is silent for a long minute. "Not really. I know that our life is hard sometimes but I know it could also be a lot worse." Gerard laughs. "How could it be worse?" Agnes grins and shrugs. "Well, let's see… none of us are dying of aids…" Gerard laughs slightly. "That is a plus, yes."
"We're not starving, that's good. Uh… Neither of us is a heroine addict." He nods in agreement. "We both have all our limbs… yeah, that about it." Nodding again he agrees. "Yes, I suppose you're right." They are silent for a moment before he speaks again. "Do you think we're doing a good job?"
"As parents?", "Yeah." She nods. "I think so. I think we're doing a better job than our crappy parents would have. We're trying, so we're already ahead of the curve. Besides, does anybody ever do a good job? I mean, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't think they had a crappy childhood. The best we can do is try, beyond that, I think we have very little control." Gerard puts a hand on hers. "I know that it would be harder without you." Agnes smiles and gives his hand a little squeeze. "Don't kid yourself, life would be a lot harder without each other." He smiles nodding. "What do you think the point is? With children, I mean. I don't think, after having to care for Mikey, that I would ever willingly choose to have one of my own." Agnes, takes another bite of ice cream thinking for a minute. "The point?" She trails off. "Yeah, like what do you think the ultimate goal of parenting is?" Agnes smiles. "To make them better people than you are." Gerard laughs. "No, I'm serious. I think that if you can honestly say that your child is even a slight bit better at life than you are, if they make better decisions than you do. That's when you know that you've done your job as a parent." Gerard thinks about this for a minute. "I don't know how to do that." Agnes nods. "Because it's different for us, especially for you because Mikey is older. Most of the damage has already been done. There really isn't anyway to undo the things that have been done. No way for you to erase the memories of your idiot father beating him up, no way for me to erase the memories of my mom coming home drunk and puking on the living room rug. These are things that are always gonna be with them. The only thing we can do is try to create new memories, show them what life can be like. It's our job to make sure that for the time we have with them, they only create happy memories. And imagine what kind of parents they will make some day. Because they've seen both sides, the good and the bad and they will be able to know which is which. I think that's all we can do. I know it's something we're are gonna struggle to do for them for the rest of out lives." He smiles at her, thinking that she's hit the nail on the head. "Besides when you have your own, you'll be an old pro at the teen angst. It's the babyhood you'll have to worry about." Gerard rolled his eyes. "Oh God! Diapers." They both laugh. "Can I ask you another question?" He asks, taking another bites. She nods. "Do you ever think about the things you're missing? The experiences you're missing during the times that you're bathing them, or cooking for them or picking them up from school?" Agnes nods. "Of course I do. But not really in a longing sort of way. I mean, really when I look at my life now and what I would ideally like it to look like. It's not really all that different." He raises an eyebrow. "Really?" She shrugs. "I always knew I wanted to raise children, granted in my fantasy they were always my own. I had a nice house and a partner who would be caring and nurturing. I have all those things. They just… aren't the same ones that I thought they would be. Like I said, it's not something that I think I'm missing." Gerard couldn't help but smile at her. She really was everything he could want in a partner as well and he was flattered that she felt the same way, because she was right before. There was no way that they could do it without each other, no way he could do it without her. "I love you y'now." He said softly. She smiled back at him, but it was a serious smile, genuine. "I love you too."
AN: Hope you guys like it. I know that's it's been a while.