Anyway, here you are:
A/N: Hello loyal readers! Welcome, new readers! Here's the next chapter. Hope you're all more than satisfied with it! :)
For those of you in New York / somewhere along the US's eastern coast, isn't this weather absolutely gorgeous? Makes me want to do some more writing.. :)
Could I Lie Next To You? – Chapter 13 REVISED
I woke up the next morning in a tangle of limbs and bed sheets. Gerard's dark comforter was wrapped awkwardly around my torso, his fingers hooked loosely into my hair and his legs entwined with mine. I'd almost forgotten why I was with him until the slightest movement stirred an aching in my muscles and reminded me of the night before. I smiled. It was a good kind of pain – the kind you get after a vigorous workout that leaves you feeling contentedly achy and euphoric.
Those few hours were probably the best I'd ever lived and, thankfully, were still vivid and fresh in my mind. My cheeks flushed with every moment I was able to recall. I stared up at the ceiling, intending to mentally relive the entire night, but soon had to stop when a part of me that was especially excitable in the mornings started to rise to attention. To be honest, as long as Gerard was in the picture, it didn't matter what time of day it was. He made me feel like a teenage boy with no self-control.
My eyes inevitably traveled back to him. His features were soft and relaxed as his body moved slowly in time with his deep breathing. His dark hair wound wildly around his round cheeks and about his pillow, giving him the appearance of a young child. He looked so peaceful, especially since he hadn't suffered from any night terrors. I hoped he never would again since everything between us was resolved… assuming the rift between us was what caused it.
I placed a light kiss on the tip of his nose and worked on freeing myself from his grip. When I had finally gotten his fingers out of my hair and snaked my legs through his, I disentangled myself from the blankets and stood up to stretch.
Ouch. Yep, still in pain.
I yawned, ever-so-carefully bending over to pick up my scattered clothing with a wince. If girls thought they had it bad when it came to losing their virginity, they could think twice. It had to have been ten times worse for a guy losing his… erm, whatever it's called.
I carried my clothes into the connecting bathroom and turned the showerhead on. When the water was at a comfortable temperature I stepped in, letting go a satisfied sigh as the droplets softly pelted my skin and rolled down my body. A moment later I reached for the soap, stopped short and chuckled to myself. Gerard had an array of different scents and textures of soaps and body washes, accompanied by several types of shampoos. He must have learned a thing or two about hygiene from our tours and how lovely they left us smelling.
I chose the closest bar of soap and shampoo and set to work on my well-used body, using the slipperiness of the soap to work out my sore muscles. The familiar scent teased my nose, causing me to sneeze. I quickly scanned the back of the bottle and smiled. Honey.
He always smelled like honey. I'd always attributed it to his pre-show warm ups, which always included a spoonful (if not a bearful) of the viscous liquid for his throat. Cigarettes and hot coffee all but wrecked his voice over the years, and he always said the honey was what kept him fit. The shampoo must have been what kept him smelling so pleasant in-between shows.
Well, when he did smell pleasant.
With a chuckle, I stepped out of the shower to find Gerard still asleep, the covers tossed off of him as he shifted into a more comfortable position on his stomach. I wrapped one of his towels around my waist and pulled the sheets up over his beautifully pale body.
As adorable as he was when he slept, I was hoping he'd wake up sometime soon. And I knew just what would do the trick.
Still clad in only a towel (and ignoring the open windows – I must have given all of Belleville a show), I went downstairs and put on a pot of coffee. The aroma slowly filled the kitchen and I inhaled greedily. Ahhh. If comfort had a smell, it would smell like coffee.
A few minutes later I returned to the bedroom with two mugs in my hand. Setting one down on the night table, I sat on the edge of the bed and watched Gerard silently. Sure enough, he began to stir. His vivid hazel eyes fluttered open and moved around the room a bit before settling on me.
"Good morning," I chuckled. He looked slightly confused before recognition passed over his face and settled his lips into a content smile.
"Mornin'," he mumbled. He curled his hands into weak fists and rubbed the sleepiness from his eyes with a yawn.
"Here," I handed him the mug with a grin, "time to get back into a healthier addiction."
He took the cup from me gratefully and took a sip, wincing slightly.
"Oh, sorry. I just made it."
Gerard gave a short nod and took another sip, slowly this time. We sat in comfortable silence for a while, just drinking and occasionally glancing at each other with a smile. It was cute enough to make someone sick.
But I sure as hell didn't mind.
I reached over and took his free hand with mine as I downed the last of my coffee. His thumb traced my palm slowly back and forth before he finished his, as well, and put the mug aside. Leaning in, he pulled me closer by the back of my neck and captured my lips in a soft kiss.
"You know," he mumbled, sucking my bottom lip into his mouth, "you make the best coffee."
I giggled and explored his upper lip with my tongue before sliding it into his mouth. Wrapping my arms around him, I gently massaged his tongue with mine until I managed to coax a moan out of him.
"Mmmm, and you make the best kisses."
I felt the corners of his mouth lift into a smile and mine involuntarily did the same. We'd definitely smiled more in the past five minutes than in the past two months.
Suddenly Gerard stood and stretched, drawing his arms over his head. God, he was a masterpiece. The way his pale skin was painted so perfectly onto his body, how every curve and angle seemed to be chiseled to perfection… he really drove me crazy. I stood as well and wrapped my arms around his hips, pulling him close to me.
"You should take a shower. Y'know, wash away all the bad stuff that's been going on. Today's a new day and a new beginning." I smiled, as cheesy as it was, and pecked his lips softly.
"Yeah, good idea. Though that's not the only reason I have to shower."
I returned his grin and took his hand, pulling him into the bathroom.
"Here, let me help you."
I turned the shower back on and pressed down on the lever connected to the faucet. Water began to flow into the tub and I blocked the drain, adjusting the temperature with my other hand. Gerard waited patiently behind me.
"Feels good," I said, swirling my tattooed fingers through the water. The tub was only about half-full, so I turned to him and wrapped my arms loosely around his waist while we waited.
The thing about us was that silence didn't feel wrong. We could enjoy it, accompanied only by the soft rumble of the water, with no desire to fill it with superficial chatter. We were so comfortable in each other's presence that what usually would be considered "awkward" situations were the most meaningful ones to us yet.
My heart leapt when he smiled bashfully and reddened at the cheeks. "You're really going to bathe me?" he asked.
"Yeah, unless of course you'd rather be alone in here while I finish off the coffee downstairs."
"Okay!" he laughed, holding his hands up defensively, "I'll do it for the coffee." He stepped into the tub and shut the water, settling in with a content moan. "Oooh, that's warm…"
"Good. Now just relax," I cooed, using the tone a mother would with a small child. I knelt beside the tub and reached for a bar of soap, dipping it in the water before gliding it against Gerard's soft skin. He sighed and leaned his head against the tile wall as I slipped the bar slowly across his chest in a circular motion.
"Mmmmh, feels nice," he breathed. I chuckled and met his temple with a kiss. Moving slowly, I dragged the soap from his chest down to his stomach and lower, stopping just short of his thighs and moving back up to his neck, circling around to his back until his entire torso was slippery and wet. Then, dropping the soap, I placed both of my hands onto his chest and rubbed him gently, moving up to stroke his jaw with both of my thumbs and sliding them back down his neck to massage his shoulders. His lips parted in a small gasp, his eyes fell shut, and he sunk further down into the water.
"Okay, under..." My voice came out as barely a whisper; he had me in a trance. He held his nose and ducked under the water, shaking his head slightly before surfacing. I grabbed my new favorite shampoo scent—honey—and poured a generous amount into his hair before working it through with my fingers. While slowly massaging his scalp, I paid close attention to his facial expressions. Oh, he was enjoying it.
Suddenly Gerard shifted so that he was facing me. He leaned over the edge of the tub and grabbed my shoulders, forcing his lips onto mine. I smiled and moaned softly into the kiss, loosely grabbing fistfuls of his hair to pull him even closer. My clothes were getting soaked, but I didn't care. I felt myself being drawn against him by the collar of my t-shirt and kissed down his dripping neck, sucking gently on his collar bone.
"I love you," he breathed shakily into my ear. I smiled and pulled away, leaning my forehead against his.
"I love you, too."
We stayed like that for a moment, neither of us moving, until he leaned back and grinned mischievously.
I stood up; eyes squeezed shut, dripping from head to toe. Gerard was smirking up at me from the bathtub like a child that just soaked his mother after she told him no.
"Was the massage not enough attention for you?" I mocked. I was honestly angry for a moment before I saw the look on his face.
Ha, too cute. A smile tugged at my lips and I peeled my dripping shirt off with a chuckle.
Gerard washed the remainder of the soap and shampoo out, stepping out of the bath and into the towel I held out for him. I wrapped both the towel and my arms around him and helped rub him down.
So far, so good. I was able to keep his mind off of the alcohol and drugs. I grabbed a pair of boxers, jeans and a t-shirt for Gerard and gave him his privacy while he dried and dressed. Some breakfast would probably do him good, complete with plenty of coffee. Maybe some pain killers for the hangover? No, not a good idea. He was addicted to those, too.
I sighed and went into the kitchen, taking my cell phone out of my pocket and dialing Mikey while I raided Gerard's refrigerator for some eggs.
"Hey Mikes, what's up?"
"Frank? Nothing, you?"
"Nothing. I'm at Gerard's house right now."
There was a considerable pause on the other line, then:
"Is everything okay?"
"Yeah. Well, no. I'm not sure." I took a deep breath. "Gee called me yesterday after my doctor's appointment and I rushed over 'cause he sounded really fucked up. You guys didn't tell me how bad he got. His house was turned upside-down and there was alcohol and pills all over the place." Glancing around to make sure Gerard wasn't near, I lowered my voice. "Mikey, did you know he was back on coke?"
My cell phone nearly exploded. "What?"
I winced. "Yeah, he got back into that too. I thought you were keeping an eye on him?"
"We all were, but he got annoyed 'cause we were smothering him. And it's not like we lived with him, so he still had chances to get messed up…"
"Yeah. Well, he took those chances. It was bad. I was seriously afraid that he was going to suffer from alcohol poisoning or something." Holding the phone between my head and my shoulder, I struggled to concentrate on cracking the eggs without getting shells into the skillet with them. "I want him cleaned up; I can't see him like that. So I stayed over last night and helped clean his house, drained his alcohol supply and threw all of the pills and coke away."
"How do you know he won't just buy more? Withdrawal is tough."
"I'm going to be living with him for a while. I haven't run it past him yet but I'm not really planning on giving him a choice. I mean, he needs someone here to help him through all of it and keep his mind off of the withdrawal, so maybe we can get our parts done for the new album to keep him busy." I heard footsteps and scooped the eggs onto a plate, following them with some bacon I cooked up as well. "Look, he's coming down now and we're gonna eat. Just tell the guys everything's okay now, 'kay?"
Mikey said he would and asked to talk to his brother first. Gerard had just walked into the room so I handed him the phone and put two more mugs of coffee into the microwave to reheat. He didn't say much, just nodded and smiled now and then, giving an occasional grunt or "mmhmm" of agreement. I set the two mugs on the table along with the plates and struggled to get the toast I made out of the toaster.
"Okay, thanks bro." He made a face. "Yeah, yeah. I care about you too. See ya." Gerard hung the phone up with a smile and placed it back onto its base.
"Man, it's too bad Mikey isn't here right now," I grumbled. "We need someone willing to stick a knife in the toaster."
Gerard gave a lighthearted laugh and rammed the side of the appliance with his fist. The bread popped out, nice and crispy.
"It does that sometimes."
"Kind of reminds me of those crappy lockers from high school," I mused. I took the plate with just eggs and toast for myself, leaving the bacon for Gerard. He sat down as well and started munching on a strip happily.
"Geezush, Frank, ish there anythin' you can't do?"
I handed him a napkin with an amused smile.
"I can teach you some manners if you'd like."
He swallowed his mouthful of food sheepishly and wiped at his lips with the napkin. We ate in silence from then on, making a comment or two here and there about the band or the new song or whatever else was on our minds. It didn't take me too long to realize, though, that it wasn't the good kind of silence we'd shared earlier.
Gerard was distracted, glancing at the clock now and then with anxious eyes. He grabbed another strip of bacon with trembling hands and forced a smile when he noticed me watching him.
"Nothing, it's just…" He paused, looking ashamed. "I'd usually be drinking by now." He squirmed uncomfortably in his seat and I followed his gaze to the two black hands ticking above the stove.
It was 11 AM.
I bit my lip and lowered my eyes to my food. Wow, he really had gotten worse than I thought. Much worse. Looking back up at him, I reached across the table and took his hand gently.
"I'm going to help you through this if it kills me, baby. I promise."