All eyes on me in the center of the ring, just like a circus!
“To avoid cackling strangers…”
Wow. He literally thought of everything. It was almost scary. Like he wasn’t scary enough already sometimes. After I curled my hair I placed the beret on my head. I grabbed the makeup and my compact, placing them in the trench coat pocket along with my cell phone. Fastening my trench coat, I walked out the door, notes in hand. In the hallway I dialed the number he had given me for the car.
“Yeah, hi. I was told to call this number to have a car come pick me up?”
“Oh. For Mr. Way?”
“I’m outside. Hurry. You don’t want to upset him.”
“Upset him?” I choked on my words a little.
“He hates it when people are late. Now hop to.”
Click. I blinked furiously for a second, trying to make sense of it all. He hung up and suddenly my feet moved to their own accord. My heart was racing and my stomach was uneasy with nerves. I made it quickly to the lobby and outside. There was a small sedan with blacked out windows. I could only assume it was for me. I approached the passenger side and tapped on the window, which rolled down. A man in a black suit was occupying the driver’s seat. Without even glancing at me, he spoke.
“Get in the back, miss.”
I did as told. When I was seated he asked me for the address and I handed him the tiny sheet of paper.
“That address please.”
“You got it.”
I grabbed the makeup and compact and strapped myself in. It was really dark in the car and outside. I was starting to think putting it on here would be impossible. The driver must have sensed my predicament because he turned the backseat lights on as we drove.
“Thank you.” I managed feebly.
I started to apply the white. How did mimes do it? Oh yeah, the white face and the black point looking things. The process seemed simple and it was. When I was done I had to make sure I’d done it right.
“Hey, don’t laugh, but do I look like a mime to you?” He looked back for a brief moment.
“Yeah, looks like you could join the circus if you wanted to.”
My eyes jolted at his words. Did he know what Gerard had planned? Was he apart of it? Did I even want to know?
“If you’re wondering right now if I know what he has planned I don’t. I just follow instructions and I get paid enough not to care. To each their own, sweetheart.”
I calmed down slightly. I couldn’t tell where we were.
“How much further?” suddenly my phone rang and the car stopped.
“Go around back. It’s open.” It was Gerard’s voice.
“We’re here actually. Off you go.”
“Thank you. Do I owe you?”
“No, no. Mr. Way picks up the tab.”
“I would go now if I were you.”
I left the car and I was shaking for a mixture of cold and fear. I scanned the building and the parking lot. Not a car in sight. Not a soul. It seemed like a ghost town. I walked around until I found the back of the building. There was a set of double doors. I paused to take a deep breath. When I approached the doors, I heard muffled sounds. It resembled music and a voice, but I wasn’t entirely sure. I took another deep breath and pushed the door open. Instantly, I recognized the song and Gerard’s voice.
“Come with me, and you’ll enter a world of my creation. Come with me and you’ll see a world of pure imagination.”
It was the tune from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It was frightening hearing him sing it. It was dark, all except for rope lighting lining the hallway. I had no idea where to go. I just decided to follow his voice. It was so eerie yet beautiful. I followed it to another door. It was still muffled. I opened the door and I could hear it completely. The room was pitch black. My heart began to pound a little harder. I didn’t know where to go but my feet told me to stay put. Suddenly I heard the shutters of stage lights. It was one single spotlight in the distance. I stepped closer and dim lights appeared on the stairs. We were in a small theatre it seemed like, but there was no stage present. He was sitting in a red velvet and wood throne like chair but I couldn’t see his face. I suddenly felt like I was in the beginning of a suspense or horror film. He was still singing. My feet moved without my consent it seemed like. The song was about a minute from over. I was close enough to see he was dressed like a ringmaster. He had a whip placed across his lap, legs crossed, and his arm rested on his calf. His hand held the brim of his top hat, still managing to conceal his face. I was at the last step as he sang the final words. He finally looked up to me. He stood and walked toward and the spotlight followed.
“Come one, come all. Watch the angel take her fall.” He let out a neurotic giggle and silenced himself.
“Oh what’s this, ladies and gentlemen?”
I started to open my mouth to speak but he stopped me.
“Ah, ah, ah. Oath of silence, dearest.”
I shut my mouth. He turned walking back to the throne; set the microphone back on the seat then glided his way back to me. I scanned him up and down. He was so sexy. Everything clung to him in the perfect way. The top hat, I loved. His eyes were lightly coated with eyeliner and I could see fire and hunger in each of them. He looked me straight in the eyes, and put his hand to the side of my face. I felt my heart and the walls around it start to dissipate. I didn’t want it to. Apparently, my heart had a different agenda. We stood there and he looked over my face.
“Are you afraid yet, sugar?”
I shook my head no.
“Good.”, he said it in a sweet sort of way. I blinked innocently and he grinned as he pressed his lips to mine. This is the Gerard I fell in love with. Please God, don’t let him retreat to shadows. He’s so beautiful like this. I almost got lost in his kiss. When he pulled away I felt woozy, unbalanced. We’d never kissed with so much passion. I felt like I was going to fall. My feet reacted. I tripped, but he caught me.
“Careful, darlin’.” He drawled.
I was in a trance. He chuckled softly as he began to unbutton my coat and pushed it off my shoulders. It fell to a pool at my feet. He took my hand and led me to the middle of the floor. All was dark again. Circus music began to play. The shutter of stage lights rang in my ears again. One spotlight at time until there were six of them all together surrounding the ring. Each of them shining on tall cases covered with red velvet curtains on all four panels. What on earth had I gotten myself into? What was beneath those curtains in the cases? I had a bad feeling I was about to find out. He let me go and walked a few steps away and turned to look at me. Suddenly a spotlight was delivered on me. I was sure my emotions were a dead give away on my face.
“Oh darlin, don’t look at me like that. I gave you something pretty to wear. So perk up baby doll, we’re going to have so much fun.”
I wanted to protest but I knew he’d only stop me. I just stood there, finally in the right mind and scared damn near shitless.
“Now, sugar I need you to do me a favor.” I looked at him inquisitively.
“Pick a case. Stand by it. Then the fun can begin.”
I looked at him again, fishing for sympathy.
“Come on now, don’t be shy.” He giggled.
Nervously, I began to circle and look at them all. I knew all of them were sure to scare me so I might as well just pick one. I walked toward the fourth one I had seen. Gerard looked pleased when I stood by it.
“Christine, how is it you know me so well? That’s the very case I was just dying for you to pick.”
Oh god, what had I done? My heart was racing again. This was a horror movie. What is wrong with me? How can I love someone seeming so insane?! Christine, get yourself together, girl I thought. Remember what he’s really like! I wanted to cry so badly, and I was choking back tears. I didn’t want to know what he would do if he noticed me crying. He walked toward me. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes
and I began to shake. He stopped in front of me; his look of concern shocked me.
“Christine? Is this too much? My angel, please don’t cry--“he totally enveloped me in his arms.
“We can stop.”
There it was again. The complete one-eighty turn of personality. I couldn’t help it. I started sobbing. He held me tighter.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I should have known. Baby, please don’t cry.”
I finally found the courage to speak.
“Gerard what the hell is all this? I love you! Why do you have to do this?!”
“I wanted to see if you would go through with it; to see if you could stick it out with me if shit got scary.”
Tears were streaming down my face. I was angry but it didn’t feel justified. My love for him was taking precedence. Then he kissed me again. I could feel the sorrow. Something else I hadn’t felt in a kiss, yet again. He pulled away to look at me.
“You can go. I can understand if you don’t want to be here.” He let me go, pulling off his top hat, stepping away from me. I could see tears glistening in his eyes from the light, even thought he averted them from me.
“Just tell me why you had to test me? What wasn’t enough?”
He looked up to me again, like a wounded animal.
“It was all enough. More than enough. I was just so scared. I had to make sure you wouldn’t leave me when I’m haunted by my darkness.” I could hear his voice breaking.
“Leave you? Gerard, what made you think I was going anywhere?”
“Well look at us. I put you in a fucked up and scary situation. Why wouldn’t you leave?”
“Unless you tell me to. I’m not going anywhere. I told you before. Whatever it is that you have, whatever it is that you hate about yourself, I’ll be here to love it that much more. Are you that dense?”
Before I knew it, he discarded his hat to the floor and grabbed me passionately and kissed me with such intensity I felt my head spin. He held onto me tightly, as if he knew I would fall again. He looked me solemnly in the eyes.
“I love you.”