Gerard goes out for a night on the town. Mikey nearly explodes from worry.
What was probably about 5 seconds of silence felt like 5 hours. Then suddenly, Gerard found himself engulfed tightly in the arms of Bert McCracken. Unsure of how to react, Gerard reluctantly returned the hug, giving Bert more of a pat on the back.
"Fuck Gee, I heard what happened, I'm so fucking sorry.", Bert spoke into Gerard's shoulder, and then stepped back. Gerard still couldn't bring himself to say anything, and instead just stared at Bert. This caused Bert to feel nervous and he stared down at his feet instead of meeting eyes with the broken man in front of him. "I missed you.", Bert then said, and he looked up at Gerard again and offered a small smile. Gerard tried his best to return it, although it probably looked more like the side of his mouth had begun to twitch. Quietly he said, "I missed you too.".
"You wanna go get something to eat? Catch up?", Bert offered.
A million thoughts raced through Gerard's head. Bert had never been a good influence on him. Bert had always led to crazy adventures, and usually not the good kind. Bert had been working against Gerard for many years, only to show up very suddenly now. Gerard was in vulnerable spot at this point. Gerard did not need to complicate things by bringing Bert back into his life. Then he thought of the band. The band would be angry. Mikey would be angry. Mikey had wanted Gerard to be with him, Ray, or Frank at all times since the accident. And lately, the band had been suffocating Gerard. So with that, Gerard nodded, glanced at Ray to make sure he was still asleep, wrote a note the he had gone out, grabbed his jacket, and left.
After all, it was just lunch, right?
"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN HE LEFT?" Mikey roared.
Ray was taken aback at the volume of Mikey's voice. "Calm down dude, he probably just went out for a walk or something."
"IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER WHERE HE WENT! HE SHOULDN'T BE AROUND PEOPLE RIGHT NOW!" Mikey fumed, his hands curled up into a fists.
Ray rolled his eyes, "Right, because he's allergic to those."
Ray had woken up to find Gerard's note on the bedside table, and he had already braced himself for the reaction that he knew Mikey was going to have. And sure enough, Mikey stood before him quite infuriated. Frank said nothing, but looked troubled.
"We're making too big of a deal out of this," Ray continued, "There has been absolutely no indication that he intends to do anything to himself, anyone, or anything. To be honest, he probably needs the alone time."
"I know you're just worried Mikey, we all are," Frank said, trying to offer some consolation,
"But Gerard'll be okay. He's a strong one."
Mikey nodded and Ray and Frank smiled, all of them trying to take comfort, but still doubting, in Frank's words.
Gerard and Bert had both lost track of the time. They could only guess it was far past lunch time. The sky around them had been growing dark, but he and Bert were going all over the place. They were walking in somewhat of downtown area looking a various things, talking about various stuff. Bert did most of the talking, which Gerard didn't mind one bit. Bert had even made Gerard emit somewhat of a laugh a here and there. It felt like old times. Bert looked at Gerard, he couldn't help but stare. Gerard was more beautiful than ever with his cherry red hair that fell so well around his perfect face with its silken appearance and its gorgeous features. The only thing that was missing was that winning smile. Bert wanted to see that smile again. They turned around a corner, and Bert stopped suddenly.
"Hey I know this place!", Bert said excitedly inspecting what at first glance looked like a hole in the wall.
Gerard examined it. It was what appeared to be a burger place. And a bar.
"C'mon, lets go inside," urged Bert, "I'm getting hungry again and its about dinner time anyway."
Gerard shrugged and followed Bert inside. They both settled into a table and a waitress handed them some menus. When inquired as to what they had wanted to drink, Gerard ordered a raspberry iced tea, and Bert ordered an electric lemonade, which contained a strong amount of vodka. Gerard frowned, it seems his old friend hadn't changed his ways.
"So how's Mikey, Frank, and Ray, and what not?", Bert asked, realizing Gerard hadn't spoken much of them.
Gerard winced. He had almost totally forgotten about his band mates. He wondered just how pissed off they were at him for wandering off like he did.
"Doing good," Gerard shrugged, not really wanting to go into the details of the trouble he had been putting the band through over his problems. He felt guilty. He knew he shouldn't let Daily Mail's words get to him, but it was partly true. Had he stayed at home for maybe just a little longer before going on tour, maybe none of this would have ever happened. Maybe he would have been the one driving, maybe he would have seen the stop sign that destroyed his family by being hidden. Gerard felt his eyes water again and he looked down at his lap, his cheeks flushing in embarrassment. He didn't to too good of a job hiding however, Bert noticed it and sighed.
"Here.", Bert said, pushing the electric lemonade towards Gerard. Gerard stared.
"You know I can't...", Gerard said softly, reluctantly.
"I know you shouldn't normally. But I think you need one now more than ever. It's better than having to bear through the pain sober, I mean I can't even imagine the awful shit that's been in your head lately. This is the best thing for you right now, trust me.", Bert insisted, a determined look in his eyes.
Gerard closed his eyes and let out a long breath. He was just in so much pain. And this was safer than pills. So then, making up his mind, he grabbed the glass and took the first sip of alcohol he had had in six years.
It was 10 at night. They were nearly ready to go out and start looking for him themselves. There was no point in calling the police, as one would have to be missing for 24 hours for them to actually do anything. They had called his cell around 1,000 times but had gotten no answer. Mikey was a nervous wreck who wouldn't keep still. Ray had gotten pretty fidgety himself. Frank had agreed to go down to the lobby and see if he spotted Gerard anywhere there. At last, at about 10:20, he did.
"Gerard!", Frank exclaimed, running up to his friend. A huge wave of relief crashed over him. Gerard smiled. Frank smiled. It was the first smile he had seen Gerard crack in what felt like an eternity.
"Frankie! I missed you!" Gerard said loudly, pulling Frank into a tight hug. And immediately all the good feelings that had washed over Frank a moment ago shattered, and he felt his heart sink --- he smelled alcohol in Gerard's breath. All over Gerard.
"Gerard... where were you?", Frank asked, now frightened of the answer.
"Oh! Thats right!" Gerard said, laughing a laugh that didn't suit him, "You'll never guess whose here! Bert! From the Used! I've been hangin out with him all day!"
Frank's heart sank even lower. Now he felt angry. When it already felt as though Gerard had hit rock bottom, Bert had to fucking come along and possibly ruin any progress they had made with Gerard. He watched Gerard stumble over to the elevators and followed behind him far enough so that Gerard wouldn't see the tears that were threatening to spill out of his eyes. Not that he would have been sober enough to notice anyway.
Next chapter: Gerard doesn't want to. Bert doesn't care.