Gerard contemplates what home really means. He and Frank both make decisions. Unfortunately, they conflict.
Gerard was 26 again. He was walking with Bert around a deserted canyon. It was the middle of the night. They hadn't told anyone else they were leaving of course, just snuck out as usual. Other people would just be intrusive about it anyway. They were walking up a steep hill. "I want to show you the scarecrow.", Bert turns to him and says, and he grabs Gerard's hand and pulls him. Next thing Gerard knew they were standing by a wrecked car, that looked like it had been there for decades. Gerard peered in the back seat and screamed. The corpse of a faceless child was lying on it, its abdomen ripped open with the entrails pouring out, maggots eating at its flesh. Then there were maggots crawling all over the car. Gerard began to run, the area had turned into a forest and Bert was nowhere to be found. Something grabbed his ankle and he tripped, hitting the ground. He began to sob softly. It was dark. He was lost. He was scared. He didn't know how he got there, or what was happening, why this was happening, he just wanted to go home. He tried to scream for help, but no sound was coming out of his mouth. He had lost his voice. He was going to die here.
Gerard woke up to the sound of someone yelling his name. He sees a girl looking down at him with a concerned look on her face. Chantal! Wait Chantal? What was Chantal doing here? Then all the events of last night came flooding back. The party. The smell of alcohol. The sex. Mikey. Frank.
Oh god, Frank.
Gerard buried his face in his hands. He was going to kill Mikey. He felt Chantal put a hand on his arm.
"Heeey, you feeling any better kiddo? You didn't seem like you were sleeping to well so I woke you up."
Gerard offered her a smile "Thanks." He looked around and saw that this wasn't their hotel room. "Where am I? Where are the guys?"
Chantal looked uneasy now. "Well we took you to our room after you blacked out. Seemed like you kinda needed to get away from whatever drama was going on there, and your bro was going berserk after --- well ---- "
Gerard's cheeks flushed in humiliation when realization hit him like a brick. His brother and his dead wife's best friends just caught him slutting himself out to a very drunk Frank. Could a more disgusting human being possibly exist?
"Oh well everything's cooled down now probably.", Chantal assured, probably sensing Gerard's unease. "How bout some coffee?"
Gerard smiled, "I'd like that."
"I have to ask something though, I've been wondering since you guys left. Why on earth did you guys still decide to tour after what happened?", Chantal asked while she poured Gerard a cup as well as herself.
Gerard thought it over, " I think Mikey and the other guys really wanted us to. They think its important for us to be together right now."
"Well, I think its tearing you guys apart. Not trying to jump to conclusions but if last night was an indicator of how things have been I ---- I really think you need to go home. Go home, and try to work all the stuff out before jumping on the tour bus again."
"Well Mikey wants --- "
"Forget what Mikey wants for a minute. What do you want?"
Gerard pursed his lips, "I guess I really don't know..."
"Well at least think it over then.", Chantal smiled at him.
"Sure --- where's Jimmy and Steve?", Gerard asked, desperate to change the subject.
"Oh they went out shopping."
"Shopping?", Gerard raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, Jimmy reckons he's in need of pants tighter than yours."
And they both laughed.
"We've really missed you.", Chantal set down next to him, putting her head on his shoulder. They hadn't seen or heard from Gerard since the accident, and they had been quite worried.
"I missed you guys too. Its just --- hard, you know?"
"Oh, I know sweetie. But you're like family to us, just like she was. Like they both were.", Chantal insisted, "We don't wanna lose you too."
"I miss her...", Gerard gave a sad smile. It was the first time he had said it. It felt heartbreaking and good at the same time. Truthfully the reason he had avoided Chantal, Jimmy, and Steve was because being around them reminded him so much of Lindsey. And right now wasn't any different.
"We all do, honey. She would know how to deal with this mess..."
"Yeah, she would."
Mikey sighed. He had spent the morning trying to apologize to Frank but Frank refused to speak to him, or acknowledge his presence at all. And Gerard, he wasn't even sure how he would approach Gerard after this. How angry must he be right now? It wasn't just the punch in the face, but he had told Gerard he would try to get things back to normal. Yet things were now about as far from normal as they had ever been. He had to make this right, at least to some degree. Making up his mind, he went to win back his brother.
He walked over to Chantal, Jimmy, and Steve’s room and pounded on the door. Chantal opened it and looked Mikey over apprehensively. From behind her, Mikey could hear the sounds of cheerful sounding chatter.
“Yes?”, she raised an eyebrow at him.
“How is he?”
“Better, no thanks to you.”
“I’m sorry, alright! I was kinda drunk and I misjudged. Can I please have Gee back?”
“No more shows. No more touring. He has enough on his plate to deal with without having to do a whole tour."
Chantal gave him a stern look.
“You’re sending that boy straight home.”
“And you’re making him see a grief counselor.”
“Alright, alright! He’ll get whatever he needs, can I please just see him?”
Chantal narrowed her eyes at him and stepped aside to let Mikey in. He saw Jimmy, Gerard, and Steve huddled on a bed playing Magic The Gathering. Gerard had a grin on his face and seemed to be very entertained by whatever Jimmy was muttering to him. Mikey cleared his throat to call Gerard’s attention, and the three heads snapped up at him.
“Hey Mikey.”, Gerard smiled at him.
“Hey…” Mikey winced at the splint he saw was on Gerard’s nose. “….you wanna go back to the room? I think we have a lot to talk about.”
“Hmm. Nah. Actually I think I’m probably going to spend the rest of today here.”, Gerard said with somewhat of a weird cheerfulness.
“I’m having a good time. Does there really need to be a reason? We don’t have a show till tomorrow anyway.”
“Yeah, Mikey .” Jimmy butted in to Mikey’s annoyance, “Don’t be such a kill --- joy.”
Everyone laughed except Mikey. Chantal attempted to lighten the mood. “Gerard should stay here for the day, we have a lot of catching up to do. BUT, how about we all go out for drinks later tonight at like this Dave & Busters type place down the street? It’ll be fun! Then we can all catch up! And Gerard can go home with you guys after.”
“Sounds great to me!”, Gerard chimed before Mikey got a chance to speak. Steve and Jimmy all threw in their agreement.
“That sounds…”, Mikey looked around the room, and realized he was outnumbered. Whatever it took to get Gerard back. “….fine.”
“It’s settled then. We’ll meet you guys in the lobby at 7.” Chantal said cheerfully and rather hastily ushered Mikey at the door.
Chantal was talking to someone on her phone, Jimmy was in the shower, and Steve had stepped out for a walk. This left Gerard to entertain himself. He was browsing around Jimmy’s laptop when he saw something that made his stomach turn. Pictures of him with Lindsey and Bandit. Immediately, he wanted to reach for his shard again but there was no way someone wouldn't see. So he just kind of curled into a ball again.
He contemplated what Chantal had told him. He needed to go home. But where was home? Was home back in Los Angeles, where his family used to be? Where he would be alone with constant reminders of the loved ones he was never going to see again? Perhaps home was with Mikey, the last living fragment of his family. But that couldn't be home --- because Mikey had his own life, with a lovely fiancé. He couldn't intrude on that. What about Frank? Frank had his own home to attend to, with Cherry and Lily. Sure Frank fooled around with him now, but it was only ever sexual, and only because they go on the road without their wives to go to for so long, it gets lonely. Frank would never love him that way, or think of him as more than a friend. Right? The more he narrowed down the list, the more and more he realized there was nowhere to turn. People were helping out now, sure, but once they send him "home", they'd all just go back to their regular lives and their homes. Their happy, living homes.
He just wanted to go back to his home. His real home. So where does that leave him now?
He had heard Jimmy talking to someone earlier. They were talking about the future of the band and Gerard caught wind of the possibility of a new bassist. That left a bitter taste in his mouth. They were replacing her so soon?
What he hated more than anything right now is all the things that felt more important to him than anything just two months ago, suddenly felt so disposable to everyone else. Was he just disposable like the rest of it?
Frank watched Gerard. They were at the eatery, and everyone else was having a splendid time. Gerard was laughing and smiling like he used to. He was still pissed at Mikey, but that didn't overpower the happiness he felt at seeing Gerard happy. He was laughing his real laugh again, the slightly girly, kinda weird laugh that Frank always loved. Frank couldn't help but smile too. After they had finished eating, and watching a drinking match between Jimmy and Steve (which Steve won), Gerard approached him.
"Wanna play some ski ball?", he motioned at the arcade the restaurant offered.
"Hell yeah, you fucking suck at that game.", Frank chuckled and followed Gerard to the ski ball stands.
They had a blast. The whole night consisted of video game matches between Frank and Gerard. Or at least as far as Frank knew, as he wasn't exactly watching anyone else. Gerard won a stuffed dog at the crane machine, and automatically gave it to Frank. Frank decided it was his new favorite dog. Although Gerard did kick him the shin for rubbing his loss at the driving games in his face. He couldn't help it, he was a sore winner, and Gerard was a bit of a sore loser. But Gerard was awful at driving games, he should have known better. Gerard got his revenge at air hockey however, with the score 9 to 2. Gerard didn't hesitate to rub it in Frank's face either.
So Frank naturally felt bitter when Jimmy pulled Gerard aside to spend a few games with him. But what could he do? It wasn't like he was on a date with Gerard.
Even though he kind of wished he was.
Instead Frank went over to play some Marvel vs Capcom with Ray. And even while he did, he now couldn't get Gerard out of his mind. But that was an understatement. Lately he had tried to convince himself he was just worried about his best friend, after all the awful shit he's had to endure. But Frank had an inkling it was more than that. Since they both had gotten married and had children, Frank had managed to push down his feelings for Gerard, but being with him lately has made him realize they were far from dead. And Gerard really needed someone to get him through all this. While he seemed happy at the moment, Frank knew he couldn't be really. He knew Gerard, and he knew when Gerard was keeping something locked up inside. Frank wanted to be the person to help him through this, to be with him through this, but he didn't want to hurt his family either.
So where does that leave him now?
He spent another hour chilling with Ray, but by the time they were done with the second round of basketball hoops, Frank had made up his mind. He had to go tell Gerard he loved him. At least tell him, so Gerard knew that someone did. And that there was someone who was willing to do damn near everything for him, in exchange for spending more nights with him like he did tonight. He went to go find Gerard, but he couldn't. He saw Jimmy talking to Mikey and approached him as to where he had gone.
"I don't know, he just said he was stepping out."
Mikey and Frank exchanged glances.
"How long ago?", Mikey asked, now interested as well.
"Holy shit, I'm not even sure. Like an hour or two ago."
Frank had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"I'm going to go look for him.", he said and stormed off out the door and down the street. He was surprised Mikey hadn't followed. Must be still felling uncomfortable about the previous night. He had good reason to. He looked around as he walked. No Gerard to be found. Maybe he had gone back to the room?
After about 20 minutes he managed to reach the hotel room and went inside. "Gerard?" No answer. "Gerard?" he called again. Still no answer. Frank realized he was still clutching the stuffed dog and put it down on the bedside table. That's when he saw the light on in the bathroom. He opened the door.
Gerard was sprawled out on the bathroom floor, an empty bottle of Tylenol next to him. His lips were blue and his eyes were wide. There was vomit on the floor that narrowly missed the toilet. Frank's heart was pounding in his chest, and he kneeled down next to Gerard to make sure his was at least beating. It was there, but very faint. Fuck it, he needed to call an ambulance. He called for one frantically and afterwards grabbed a hold of Gerard's cold hand. He was close to tears. "You can't do this to me right now Gerard, you gotta hold on okay?"
In a very creepy manner, Gerard slowly twisted his head so his eyes met Frank's. He was trying to say something but Frank couldn't understand, and Frank started crying in frustration. He could only make out the word "home." Realizing he was wasting time, he dialed Mikey's number.
Next chapter: Ray contemplates on the irony of it all.