Gerard and Mikey took me home. We were silent apart from a few hicks in our breaths. I was in the back seat of Mr Way's car curled up with Gerard. I hadn't cried in about an hour. My eyes felt like there were rubbed with sand paper every time I blinked. I tried to sleep but all I kept hearing was the flat line. Aunt Jess was dead. My whole family was gone now. And I wish I could say I still had Frank, but where was he tonight? When I needed him most. We left him messages, we had people searching for him and nothing. It was as if he vanished.
Gerard carried me upstairs to my apartment and helped me into bed. Mikey explained to Alyssa what had happened.
"Frank called looking for her. He seemed pretty mad." I heard Alyssa say. Mikey croaked something but I didn't quite catch it. I gripped Gerard's shoulder as he helped me get into my pyjama bottoms. I started trembling.
"Hey," Gerard said. "Its ok..." He sat me down and looked for the matching top. "Actually." He opened my closet and found my dad's old shirt. I started crying again. He remembered. "Here we are." He helped me take off my bra and put on the shirt.
"Told you it wouldn't be awkward seeing me naked." I whispered. He smiled weakly and kissed my forehead.
"Nancy, you need to get some sleep." Gerard replied. "Come on." He helped me into bed. He kissed my tear soaked cheek and turned to leave.
"No, Gerard. I can't be alone..." He nodded, and took off his coat. He kicked off his shoes and climbed into the bed with me.
I slept but only for little while. Gerard had stayed with me all night. We talked for a little while, cried for most of the night but we fell asleep and I woke up first. It was 8 in the morning. I needed to call work. I got out of my bed, found my slippers and went into the sitting room. I found a note next to the phone from Alyssa.
"I called work for you and told them what happened, they said to take as long as you need, don't rush back into work."
After I found the note, I didn't know what else to do. On my days off, I went across the hall to steal Gerard and Mikey's coffee but I didn't want to disturb Mikey. He had been up most of the night too, talking to Ray on the phone, calling Frank again and again, and calling funeral homes in New Jersey. I didn't ask him to do it but he insisted.
There was little knock on the door.
"Come in." I said. I honestly didn't care who it was. I wanted some company. Mikey stuck his head around the door.
"We didn't think you'd be awake." Mikey said. We? Was Frank with him.
"Is Frank-" The opened widely and Ray appeared. "Ray," I smiled as he rushed over to hug me. He stroked my hair and kissed my cheek.
"I'm so sorry Nancy." I nodded and tried to smile at him. Mikey had a pot of coffee in his hand. I smiled at that. He brought the pilfered coffee to me. He poured out three mugs and put sugar in mine.
"You weirdo and your sugar." He mumbled like he did every morning. I smiled again.
"I can't believe you're able to smile." Ray said.
"I know, me either." I sighed. "Has anyone heard from Frank?"
"I went to his apartment this morning, he wasn't there but I left the note under his door." Mikey said. "I told him that Aunt Jess had passed away and that you needed him to be here as soon as."
"Thank you." I replied, just as Gerard came from my room.
"What are you doing in there?" Ray asked.
"I didn't want to be alone last night and since Frank was MIA..." I took a sip of coffee.
There was another light tap on the door and Frank came in slowly, as if something was going to hit him.
"Where the hell have you been?!" Gerard yelled.
"Gerard." I warned. "I don't want any yelling."
"I'm so sorry Nancy." Frank said. "I'm so fucking stupid, I should have been here."
"Its alright, you don't own a cell." I said. I went to sit down on the couch.
"I'm sorry." He said again. "How did you know I don't have cell anymore?"
"Mikey told me." I replied.
"Mikey, why did you tell her?" Frank half yelled. I stood and let go of every bit of anger I had in me.
"Don't you dare! Don't you dare yell at Mikey! At least he had the common sense to tell me! Where were you Frank?! You don't have a job so couldn't have been at work, you had to be at home all day! We called and we called you last night and we got nothing. Nothing!"
"I was waiting for you..." Frank mumbled.
"I waited for one hour at that italian place you like so much! And then I went to a bar, because I was convinced that my girlfriend didn't want to celebrate our anniversary!" Frank yelled back.
"Get out." I spat. "I don't want to look at you anymore."
I stormed into my bedroom and slammed the door. The noise hurt my ears but I didn't care. I slumped against the door and buried my head in my hands. I was grieving. It was natural to be angry but Frank didn't even comfort me the way he should have. He was in a bar while my Aunt was dying. He was blaming me for his disappearing act.
I heard a few raised voices and then the apartment door slamming. There were a few hushed voices and then silence.
I hadn't spoken to Frank for days before but it had been two weeks. He didn't come to Aunt Jess's funeral but his mother called me and said he had left flowers at her grave two days after the funeral. She also told me that he was moving back to New Jersey to get back on his feet. I told her to tell him that I missed him and I wanted him back.
I spent most of my nights in Gerard's bed, because I always felt alone in my own bed. I spent the days trying to sort out my head. Alyssa did her best to keep me fed and made an effort to get me to go out and do some shopping or something.
I was in the laundromat when I saw Frank walking by. He had put on weight, and I took that as a good sign. It means he was eating. He looked, clean and shaven, that too I was glad for. I got up from my seat and banged on the window. He looked startled but he smiled weakly. I tried to give him a big grin but I couldn't muster the strength. He went over to the door and came in.
"Hey." He said. I looked around the room and I was the only one there. If there was going to be yelling, then it would be in private.
"Hi." I squeaked. "How are you?"
"Shouldn't I be asking you that question?" He let the door close as I went to find my seat again, I put my hands on my thighs.
"I'm getting better." I replied. "Everything, is getting a bit easier." It was a big fat lie.
"Really?" He asked. He took the seat across from me. I shook my head.
"I don't like not talking to you." Tears filled my eyes but not because of Aunt Jess. "I've missed you."
"I missed you too." He said. "I thought maybe we broke up."
"I hope we didn't, because I love more than anything and I hate being apart from you." A tear slid down my cheek. He knelt down in front of me and placed his hands on my hands.
"I love you more than eating, drinking and breathing." Frank said. "And I'm so, so sorry I wasn't at the funeral. I was going to turn up but I thought you would just kick me out."
"No, I really needed you then." I admitted. "I need you now too."
"I'll always be here for you, no matter what." He whispered. He moved and wrapped his arms around my waist. I cried into his shoulder for a while before the machine beeped at me and told me my clothes were done drying.