Winona meets up with Gee and explains everything, then is reunited with her old best friend and his Mom, and Frank makes a surprise entrance.
“Dane! DANE!!” I shook my brother awake. “What?” He groaned, rolling over in bed.
“Look after Jamie, okay? I’m going to meet an old friend who can help us.” I stated as he stared at me, his eyes only half open. “Order breakfast when Jamie wakes up. I won’t be too long.” I kissed his forehead and left the room. I made my way downstairs quickly, afraid of being late. As soon as I arrived at the bar I saw the familiar head of ivory black tangles. I walked towards him and a I approached, he turned around, obviously hearing me nearing him. I paused and looked at him. He looked so different, yet exactly the same. After a few seconds of staring at one another, he opened his arms for me, I ran over to him and hugged him as hard as I could, feeling safe and protected with this old friend. I thanked god I hadn’t worn any make-up as the tears began to flow steadily down my cheeks . We pulled away from each other and he wiped the tears from my eyes.
“You look exactly the same…” He smiled down at me, then pulled me back into his arms again.
“You too…” I bit my lip, a nervous habit I had recently been developing. “So, now we’ve gone through all the reunions, lets get down to business.” He said as he took his seat by the bar.
“Well…it all started when I was 11, and you and mikes were 12, my dad started getting more and more agitated about the little things, and eventually he started to hit her. Only softly at first, but it got worse and worse and she started to bruise and scar. That carried on until I was like…14, and that was when she finally stood for herself and kicked him out, of course what she didn’t realize was that with Dad gone, there was no income, no money at all, so she went to the local strip joint and got herself a job, working on commission. Anyway, so that brought in enough money for food, aswell as the money from my job. But it wasn’t enough for her, she wanted better for us and herself, so one night at the club, she gets called out to some bachelor party, and after she’s done dancing, she robbed them blind, takes everything she can carry, and runs, completely forgetting that they have her number, and can find her easily. And they did. Yesterday…and this guy, he…he hit her and he…violated her…raped her and then murdered her. I knew it would happen so I was prepared, had all our bags packed and everything. We left after they did and came here…and now….now im stuck. We have no family, no nothing…” I trailed off, once again sobbing. Gee pulled me into his arms for the third time and comfortingly stroked my hair.
“Listen, we can sort this, thinking about it, it’ll be easy. Frank works here weeknights, weekend and holidays, he’ll get you a job here. And as for a place to stay, stay with us, mom’ll let you stay, you know she will. Then…you can transfer Dane to Belleville and Jamie to a pre-school, and you can play out your last year at Belleville too, with us!!” He seemed incredibly excited by the prospect of us getting so close again.
“I don’t know, Gee…I don’t wanna just barge in like that…”
“Oh shut up!! Of course your not barging in! Mom misses you almost as much as I do!!” He exclaimed, waving his hand in dismissal.
“But…” I pressed, worrying about everything I could think of. “Switching schools…it might be too much for Dane….Jamie’ll be fine, but Dane…”
“He’ll be fine, He’ll get on a lot better with the people there.” I thought about it for a few seconds, thinking about the pro’s and con’s. “…Okay. We’ll stay with you.” I nodded, more for myself than for him.
“Tonight.” He pressed, “The holidays finish in a few weeks, we’ll have to get you enrolled. You’ll be a senior, with me!” He smiled.
“Fine, come on up, you can call your mom and ask first.” I said in a mock stern voice, pulling myself off the bar stool and heading to the elevator. As we waited in silence for the elevator, I felt my phone vibrate in my back pocket; I pulled it out and unlocked it. Seeing I had a text, I flicked into my inbox and read it in my head;
Hey win, It’s Frank, How’s it going? ;) x
Obviously he wasn’t familiar with the “wait 3 days to call/text a girl” rule. I was kinda glad of that. I quickly tapped in a response and turned back to Gee, who was now looking at me questioningly. “What?” I asked, holding my hands up, surrender style.
“It was just a friend.” I exclaimed, feigning complete innocence. Once we got to the room, I knew telling Dane to order room service was a VERY bad idea. I walked through to the bedroom to find both of them sitting on the floor, surrounded by empty plates. I looked over to the kitchen to find Frank sitting there, staring at them in awe.
“I thought I could eat a lot, but these dudes…their like…machines!!” He shook his head in shock. Then turned his attention to me. “Hey.” He said, grinning widely. I replied with a small wave and smile, then turned to face Gee, who was now raising his eyebrows at me. “Go call your mom!!” I said, diverting the attention. Gee slowly made his way to the phone, being incredibly careful not to tread on any random plates, and began to dial. Meanwhile, I began to gather the empty plates and repatriate them to the trolley on which they came. Once the floor was clear of crockery, I went to join Frank and wait for Gee to come answer.
“So. You gonna tell me how you really got that bruise on your eye?” He raised an eyebrow, and I caved, and told him everything, apart from the thing he wanted to know. When I was done, he sighed, hugged me, and looked at me, “There’s more. He wouldn’t just leave you like that. You can trust me, just tell me.” He shuffled closer to me and lifted my chin up so that I was looking into his eyes. I was about to tell him, I swear, when Gee came walking back in saying, “I hate to say it, but I told you so. She screamed, and said, and I quote “OH MY BABY!!” and then started crying…” He scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment and smiled at me and Frank.
“Fine. You win. We’ll come and stay with you.” I sighed and arose from my seat, but felt Franks hand go around my wrist. I turned to face him and nodded, as a way of promising to tell him another time. I walked around the breakfast bar and into the bedroom, where the boys were still glued to the TV.
“Dane, I need you to pack up any of the stuff you got out of the bags, okay?”
“Why?” He said, slowly tearing his eyes away from the screen.
“We’re going to stay with Gee and Mikes and Donna.” Jamie squealed in excitement and turned to Gee, holding his arms up, begging to be held. Gee picked him up and hugged him awkwardly. I laughed and walked over to the wardrobe, where I hung a couple of nice clothes. I folded them and shoved them back into the case they came from, once everything was packed up, I turned to Gee, who was now in a lengthy conversation with Frank about their little band.
“You gotta name?” I asked, dragging the third bag to the little hallway to the door.
“Nah, not yet, we got some ideas though…But anyways, you ready?” He stood up and took the suitcase from me. He dragged them out the door and down the corridor, following where Dane had taken the other two. I picked Jamie up off the bed and followed them out, letting Frank close the door behind me.
“I’ll, uh, I’ll text you.” He winked at me and smiled, then headed off in the opposite direction to the elevator.
“WINONA!!” Donna ran out of the house and down the drive to envelope me in a warm and rather smothering hug.
“Hey Donna.” I said as she cried into my shoulder. She pulled away from me and held me at arms length, inspecting me, much like her son had not long ago.
“Oh my dear, your so beautiful!! I just knew you’d grow up absolutely gorgeous!!” She pulled me back into her arms squeezing me so hard I felt the breath leave me.
“Donna…Need…breath.” I choked and she loosened her grip.
“Im so sorry, I just…Oh I’ve missed all of you so much, and your mother…I’m so sorry,” She began to sob a little harder, “Im gonna miss her…” She trailed off. “Come on now, lets get you inside…Oh Gerard, give him here, honestly, your hopeless.” She took Jamie from Gerard’s arms, rolling her eyes.
“Winny!!” Mikey shouting, enveloping me in the same fashion as his mom. I hugged him back hard, I had missed Mikey more than almost more than Gee.
“Hey Mikes.” I said, beginning to sob lightly into his shoulder. “Aww, jeez, im sorry, I got your shirt all wet.” I felt him laugh and smiled, loving his laugh.
“Come on inside.” He said, stretching his arm across my shoulders and pulling me in beside him.
“So my darling, how have we been?”
“I have been, well, as good as anyone who’s Mom’s just been raped and murdered could be to be perfectly honest.”
“Now, now, Winny, no need to be sarcastic and cynical.” He said, hugging me close to him. That’s why I loved Mikey, despite the fact that he was bitterly shy, he still managed to tell me the truth, and make a joke of everything, lighten every mood.
“I love you, Mikey, you know that?” I smiled, and looked up behind his cute glasses and into his eyes.
“I love you too, dear, now, why is it that I haven’t heard from you in so long?” I cringed away from the question, not wanting to remember the life I had been living not too long ago.
“Well…when Dad left I had to start working any time I could, I was working at a diner from 2 to 6 in the morning, then at the shop from 4 to 10, and weekends working 8 to 10 at the shop. I didn’t have any time…ever...” I looked at him guiltily, hoping to be forgiven, He looked down at me sympathetically then removed his arm from around me.
“Right, Dane can share with Gee downstairs and Jamie can go in with Mom, she’ll look after him, she’s been missing having someone to baby now we’re all growed up and shit. And that just leaves you, meaning you will have to share with me. K?” He winked at me and I smiled more, having known this would be the outcome. “Wait here, I shall go fetch one of the bags for you, Gee and Dane can get the others.” He left me standing in the hallway of his house, staring at the place that was so much more like home to me than the other house. I folded my arms around my body, hugging myself, and waited until I saw Gee dragging the huge pink suitcase through the doors.
“Is it me, or does this case make me look ever so slightly more feminine?” He joked as I moved out of the way of the stairs, He turned back to me as a way of asking me where to go with it. “Put them all in Mikey’s room.” I said, planning to beg Mikey to clear out a few draws for me to shove some shit. I watched him ascend the stairs and Dane enter after him. “Mikey’s room.” Mikey followed shortly after and took the last one up to his bedroom.
“Come on in to the sitting room, we have some things to discuss.” Donna said, cradling a gurgling Jamie in her arms. I followed her in and we were shortly joined by all the boys. “Right, well, first things first, we need to figure out sleeping arrangements. Jamie will come in with me, well, if that’s alright with you Winona…?”
“Of course!! He would be better with you anyways.” I smiled widely at the fact her face lit up at my blessing.
“Right, well, Dane, you can go in with Mikey or Gerard?” He looked at me, knowing I would want to go in with Mikey.
“Gerard…as long as I can sleep on the floor.” He looked at Gee, and Gee smiled, blushing. We all knew what Gee was like to sleep in a bed with, he was very…clingy, he liked to pull you into his arms a lot and never let you go.
“Okay, Winona you can share with Mikey.” She giggled slightly. “Mikey, you can clear out some of those draws you’ve filled with useless rubbish and make some room in the wardrobe for Winona. And Gerard you can do the same for Dane, and I’ll get the crib down from the attic, won’t I baby.” She cooed at him and I smiled at how amazing a mother she was.
“What are you grinning about, huh?” Gee asked me, nudging my elbow. “Just how amazing your Mom is, she’s gonna raise Jamie better than any of us could of. Its almost a good thing Mom did what she did.” I said, tears welling up in my eyes.
“Don’t be so stupid! Don’t ever say that, you know you don’t mean it!!” He scorned, pulling me into his arms and letting me cry.
“Right, Winona if you could unpack as soon as is possible and I shall get on the phone to the schools in a minute, but…um, there’s one more thing…obviously the body has been found, so…do you want to do a funeral or just, leave it?” She asked tenderly.
“Um, no funeral…just…well, I’ll phone…the hospital and tell them to have her cremated and then…um…scatter her…actually, bring her here, I know exactly where to scatter her.” I finished, then pulled myself off the couch to go and start unpacking. I made my way out, thanking Donna on the way out and only paused to ensure that Mikey, Dane and Gee were following me. It took me over 2 hours to unpack completely and when I finally did I was completely exhausted.
“Dinner!” Donna called up the stairs at around 6, and as I walked down the stairs I planned the rest of my evening; I would eat, then shower, then make the call to the hospital, then go to bed and cry myself to sleep for the second night. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to tell anyone the truth about that night, not even Mikey, but I knew Frank would pull it out of me, and I could only worry about when he would manage it. After dinner I went through with my plan and climbed into the shower, washing the day off me, much like I had the day before, changed into my PJ’s and walked to Mikey’s room. I opened the door to see him sprawled across his bed, smiling into the phone.
“Ha, yeah right, anyways, I gotta go, yeah…love you too…Bye.” He flipped the phone shut and smiled as he put it down on the nightstand.
“Oooh, who was that?”
“My girlfriend, Nikki.”
“Girlfriend…? Are you telling me that after all these years of thinking your gay, your telling me you have a girlfriend…?” I asked, talking in a mock surprised tone. I quickly raised my arms to protect my face as a pillow came flying towards me, I caught it and threw it back, laughing at his pitiful excuse for a throw.
“So tell me about this Nikki.” I said, lying down next to him. He smiled lovingly at me and turned so we were facing each other, not 10 centimetre’s apart. That was another great thing about Mikey, he knew that our relationship was purely friendship, so we could fuck about and joke about almost anything, and we could sleep on the same bed and share a lollipop without fear of the other thinking it meant something more serious than it did.
“Well that’s a biased opinion if ever I heard one. Alright, if I have to pull it out of you…what does she look like?”
“She’s got huge blue eyes, curly auburny hair, nose piercing and two tattoos…don’t look at me like that, they aren’t in dirty places, I only know because their on her neck and foot, god, you’ve got such a trashy mind, anyway, she’s kinda shy, like me, but she’s not shy once you get to know her. And she’s, like, always happy…umm…she plays guitar, and she can fix cars with astounding skill.”
“Woah, she sounds absolutely perfect for you Mikes.” I smiled.
“So what about you? Have you got anyone to love…or anyone your taking a fancy to?”
“No…” I lied, knowing that it was futile, as the entire Way family knew exactly how to tell when I was lying.
“Liar.” He grinned, “Come onnnn, tell me.”
“No, its…its completely irrational, I’ve barely met the guy, and its irrelevant anyway, he doesn’t like me.” I said stubbornly and thankfully Mikey left the subject alone. We lay there talking for a while, until I heard my phone ringing out “Basket case” by Green Day. I quickly jumped off the bed and scrambled to answer it.
“Hey, its Frank, come outside. Im waiting.”
“What? What are you doing here?” I grinned, then stopped myself, knowing Mikey would be able to tell why I was smiling so much.
“You never finished telling me that thing. Come for a walk with me. We can talk.” I heard the sexy grin in his voice, as if he knew how weirdly excited I was to be alone with him.
“Okay.” I said, and flicked the phone shut. I turned around to find Mikey staring at me the exact same way Gee had at the hotel, he knew. Smart ass fucker. I stuck my tongue out at him and quickly pulled off my pyjama bottoms. Yet another great thing about Mikes, I can change in front of him and not be worried about him jerking off over me later or whatever, It was exactly like it had been before. I changed into a random pair of jeans and grabbed one of Mikey’s many oversized hoodies and pulled it over my head. I pulled my converse’s on to my feet while explaining to Mikey that I was going for a walk with someone and listening to him demand to know every detail of said walk when I returned. I walked out the door, after quickly applying some concealer, eyeliner, mascara and chap stick. I made my way downstairs and snuck out the front door, then walked down the porch steps, smiling at the waiting Frank, “So, you managed to change out of your little outfit did you?” I giggled and he stuck his middle finger up at me. “Where to Iero?” I asked, walking along beside him down the street.
“Lets go to the playground in the park, I wanna go on swings.” I laughed at his childishness and agreed. We walked along, talking about music and comics. When we made it to the swings, Frank turned to me with a serious look on his face. “So, picking up where we left off.” I nodded and hung my head, embarrassed.
“Well…you know how I told you about what happened and how the guy raped my mom…?” He nodded as we swung lightly. “ Lets just say I wasn’t exactly truthful about the events.” I looked at him guiltily and he nodded at me to proceed. “The guy…after he killed Mom he…he…” I trailed off, crying hard. Frank got up off his swing and walked over to me, hugging me to him, rubbing my back comfortingly.
“He…he-…he raped me…said he might as well because he was already prepared for it…and when he finished…he-….he told me I was nothing…how nobody would ever want me now, because I was damaged, broken.” I continued to cry into Franks shoulder, soaking the tee he was wearing. “And I-…I believed him.” I pulled away from Frank and looked at him. He was in complete shock, but I could tell it wasn’t because of the violent sexual abuse, it was because of the fact I had believed the guy. Suddenly he kissed me, hard, his tears entwining with mine as they fell from both our eyes. When he pulled away I looked at him questioningly, “You shouldn’t have. I know I probably shouldn’t have done that, but I couldn’t stop myself…I…well…I want you…and not just because of that…when we were younger, when I met you through Gee, I immediately liked you, and seeing you again, well its been amazing. But im sorry for kissing you. Im sorry if it…made you uncomfortable. I mean, I know you probably don’t feel the same-” I cut him off, kissing him again. It was a long kiss, my first proper kiss. I opened my mouth and I felt him slip his tongue inside it, exploring and making want to moan out loud. I wound my arms around his neck, and he pulled me up off the swing and wound his arms around my waist. When he pulled away I smiled, blushing furiously. “…why?” He asked.
“Because I feel the same way…and it didn’t make me uncomfortable, at all. Believe me. I’ve been thinking about you all day.” He grinned widely and kissed me again.
“Im glad you told me…Im so sorry.” He pulled me closer to him, and I felt warm inside. I realized the warmth was happiness. I was happier than I’d been since I was 14 years old. And I felt wanted, I felt like I wasn’t worthless, wasn’t completely disgusting, like the guy had made me believe I was.
“Come on, I’d better get you back to chez Way.” He said, pulling away from the embrace, but entwining his hand in mine and leading me away from the swings. We walked home in silence, our hands swinging together between us, but it wasn’t an awkward silence, it was an amazing silence, during which, every so often we would look at each other and smile. It took around 10 minutes to get back to Gee and Mikey’s and when we did, he walked me up the drive and to the porch. I turned to him and smiled, he kissed me goodbye, then turned away to walk home. I raised my hand to knock, but before I could, the door was swung open by a smirking Mikey. He ushered me inside and upstairs and made me explain everything, leaving out the part about my rape. After we’d talked, we climbed into bed and he fell asleep quickly, leaving me to reminisce about what had to be one of the best days of my life.