Chapter Six: Swing To Safety
The next week went on a bit better. Mikey was taking care of renovations being done to the house. He wanted handle bars installed everywhere. Frank was taking care of smaller things. One of them being reorganizing the pill bottles into sections so Gerard didn't get them confused. Now that would be a nightmare. He would also lead Gerard down to the basement whenever he could so he could paint. Frank had told him not to go down there alone because the basement involved a long staircase at its entry, and many cluttered items on the floor. They didn't need another incident.
So when Frank came home one day to find the basement door open a little, he panicked. He ran down the steps and heard voices before he could see what was going on.
"Hold still!" came Gerard's voice.
"Ow, Gee, that's my eye!" came Mikey's.
Frank turned the corner and the sight that met him made him laugh. Gerard was pawing at Mikey's face while Mikey sat on a stool next to the canvas. It was easy to figure out that Gerard was trying to "see" Mikey by feeling him, much to Mikey's discomfort. On the canvas was a very sloppy attempt to paint Mikey's face. One would barely be able to tell really, as it just looked like a gathering of scribbles, but Frank knew.
Frank looked at Mikey apologetically and Mikey glared. Of course, Mikey could just walk out and Gerard wouldn't have been able to do much about it. Yet Frank knew that Mikey wouldn't do that to Gerard. Mikey knew it made Gerard happy, so he grit his teeth and bared it. Whatever works.
"How does it look?" Gerard asked.
"It's gorgeous!" giggled Frank. "Just one more thing." He saw Gerard jump a little and he flushed as he became suddenly aware of Frank's presence. Frank grabbed Gerard's hand and helped him paint a large, curly moustache onto the picture.
"There we go." Frank snickered. Gerard laughed too. And in the corner of his eye, Frank saw Mikey give a begrudging grin.
"I wanna go out."
Gerard pouted at Mikey as they sat around the dinner table. Gerard had been trying to persuade Mikey to take him out somewhere, anywhere. He had been cooped up in the house for way too long. Mikey understood the way his brother felt, but he just didn't feel it was the right time.
"Why not?" Gerard whined.
"A lot of reasons. What if someone sees you?"
"Oh. You're embarrassed." Gerard mumbled.
"No! Of course not Gee. I will never be embarrassed of you. But think about the public. If they see what happened to you, they'll never leave us alone about it! We can't deal with press right now Gerard. For the sake of our band too." Mikey tried to convince him.
That wasn't all of it. There had been many incidents before when fangirls have jumped, bitten, and scratched at all of them. A few fan boys too. You never know what people might try to do. And these little random fan attacks often got sexual. Grabbing of the ass, package, etc. Mikey didn't think Gerard would be able to handle something like that. Mikey was only trying to protect Gerard. Gerard would just have to understand.
Gerard sulked in his chair angrily, and Frank watched the exchange with interest over his salad.
"Are we even a band anymore?" Gerard braved the question. That was when Frank and Mikey stopped eating. No one knew how to answer this, but the silence was unnerving. No one had dared touched on this subject since the incident. Frank offered an answer.
"Sure we are, Gerard." he said with resounding uncertainty.
Gerard waited in silence for Mikey to say something. It took him two minutes to realize Mikey had left the room.
It was 3 AM. Frank knew what he was doing was wrong. He knew all the things that could go wrong with it. He knew Mikey would murder him if he found out, which wasn't that unlikely. But he felt he had to do it. Frank crept into Gerard's bedroom and tip toed to the bed. He placed a hand on Gerard gently. The last thing he wanted to do was scare him into a screaming fit and wake up Mikey. To his immense relief, Gerard's iris-less eyes fluttered open and Frank spoke quickly as he could before Gerard came to his senses.
"Gee." he whispered "Its Frank. Come with me. Quietly."
Frank took Gerard's hand and Gerard tried to move out of the bed as softly as he could. Frank somewhat pressed Gerard to him as he reached for Gee's cane and gave it to him. Gerard followed Frank silently out of the door.
Gerard wondered where this was going. He wasn't suspicious, he trusted Frank. But his curiosity was itching at him. They walked for a while and Gerard was surprised to hear the sound of the locks turning on his front door. He wanted to ask, but he was afraid to make any sort of noise. Frank squeezed his hand tighter, and they stepped forward.
Gerard felt air. Sweet, sweet air. He was finally outside. He smiled. He inhaled deeply, taking it all in. He could hear the crickets. They sounded beautiful to his ears. Frank kept pulling him forward. He used his cane to navigate the walkway in front of his house.
They waked further and further. It had to have been at least 15 minutes of walking. Gerard was starting to get impatient. Just when he was ready to say something, Frank finally stopped him. Frank grabbed him by the waist and spun him around.
"Sit." Frank said.
"Do you trust me?"
Gerard did as he was told, letting his bottom plop down on god knows what. Sure enough he felt himself land on a rubbery surface. It wobbled, but Frank kept a strong hold on Gerard's waist. After throwing down his cane, Gerard felt around the sides of it. It was a swing. Frank must have taken them to the park a few minutes away.
"Whenever my daughters are down," Frank began "they swing on the swing set and everything is better. Not that I'm saying you're 3, or anything. I know how upset you are about not being able to go out. And I get where you're coming from. But your brother also has a point. We can't risk anything right now. So... this is the best I can do for you."
Gerard smiled and hoped Frank saw it. "It's perfect, Frankie."
"Then it's worth it." Frank replied. Gerard heard Frank get on the swing next to him. Gerard gripped the chains, prepared to project himself, and launched himself forward. He giggled a little. The next time he hit the ground, he aimed for higher. Higher and higher he went. The cold, night air felt amazing against his skin. It filled his lungs, and he felt like he could breathe again for the first time in weeks. He loved the sensation of his own hair whipping against his face. He only wished he could see the heavens that he flew towards, or the angel next to him that guided him there.
Frank awoke the next morning and checked the time. It was already 11 AM, far later than he was used to waking up. He stretched and yawned. He remembered the night before. Seeing Gerard as happy as he was was just amazing. Like he had figured before, whatever works.
When he saw Gerard off, as far as he knew, Mikey had still been asleep. They had gotten away with it. Still he felt a bit nervous going into the rest of the house and seeing Mikey, simply based on the fact that he had gone behind his back. But its not like he had done anything harmful to Gee. If anything, Frank felt as though he was just trying to help Gerard keep his sanity. Still, he felt already hungry, so he forced himself off of the bed anyway.
Sure enough, when he reached the kitchen, Mikey was sitting at the breakfast table gripping a mug of coffee. Yet Frank could immediately tell there was something wrong with the younger Way. He looked immensely shaken. White as a ghost. His hands were trembling. Frank hurried forward.
"Mikey, what's the matter? Where's Gee?"
"H - he's in our room." Mikey squeaked.
"Well what's wrong? Why do you look so ---rattled?"
Mikey cleared his throat. He closed his eyes and shook his head a little, as though trying to gather himself. He took another sip of coffee.
"You... um... you remember those photos the hospital took of Gerard's injuries? For the rape examination?"
"They... um... they.... they leaked on the internet. All of them."
"WHAT?!?" Frank roared. He was suddenly flooded with a powerful mixture of emotion, none of them good. "Well, did we get them taken down?!? Who the FUCK posted that shit?!? I'll fucking murder them, Mikes!"
"Yeah, we got the original posts taken down. But it's spread across the net like wildfire. Online news sites already got them. People are eating it up. It's fucking disgusting."
Frank felt nauseated himself. He slowly took a seat and tried to refrain from vomiting.
Mikey looked up at Frank with tear filled eyes and slowly shook his head.
"You can't tell Gerard. You can't..."
Next chapter: More news, less celebration.