Gerard meets Celeste at her work for a lunch "date".
Even though Gerard felt happy for the first time in months, he immediately lost the happy feeling since he had hurt his family the night before. Despite Ray's warning, Gerard pulled out his cell phone and dialed his brother's number.
"Gerard, I don't want to talk to you right now," came Mikey's angry voice.
"Listen, Mikey, I want to apologize. You caught me off guard and I-"
"Stop talking. I'm pissed and nothing you do right now is gonna change that. You need someone to talk to? Talk to Frankie. He's the only one who still thinks you can change." Mikey hung up on his brother.
Needing to talk to someone who would still listen to him, Gerard took his brother's advice and called their friend Frank. To Gerard's surprise, Frank answered.
"Hey, Gee! I can't talk for long, Mikes and Toro are coming over. What's up?" Frank asked happily. Even though Frank was the one who'd yelled at Gerard the most out of everyone who knew about his problems, Frank was also the most forgiving one. When Gerard was functioning normally, Frank would talk to him as though he'd never been on Xanax in his life.
"Not much, I'm just killing time before I go out."
"What are you doing?" Frank asked. Despite their four-year age difference, Frank and Gerard had always been able to talk about even the most intimate parts of their lives. While Ray was Gerard's best friend, Frank was Gerard's confidant. And so, at this moment, Gerard was intentionally vague so that Frank would question him and he could talk to Frank like they were gossiping teenage girls.
"I'm going to go hang out with a girl I met at the coffee house yesterday. Her name's Celeste," Gerard said happily. Even though he was fairly certain he wouldn't survive the next few weeks, he was strangely drawn to this girl and was willing to give into that.
"Really?" Frank asked excitedly.
"Yeah. I don't know why I'm even bothering but I like this girl! There's something about her..." Gerard's voice trailed off as he thought about her. He knew he shouldn't want to be around her, considering she was 19 and he would probably be dead soon.
"Goddamn, Gee, you sound like you're in love with her!" Frank laughed.
"No, I'm not! She's...interesting."
Frank was silent for a few seconds. "Gee, are you okay? You haven't looked at any girl since...for the past three years. None of us ever thought you would and now you're kind of going on a date with some chick you just met?"
"Listen, Frankie. I'm thankful that you're worried about me. But you don't need to. I'll get better. Trust me. And this girl is just someone I met. Nothing will come of this," Gerard added, laughing.
"Okay," Frank said slowly. "Gee, I gotta go. I'll talk to you later, okay? Bye."
"Bye, Frankie." Gerard hung up his phone and walked into the living room. Falling onto the couch, he thought about what would happen later that day.
Since he didn't want Celeste to know about his problems, Gerard just took some Xanax before taking a taxi down to Greenwich Village. He knew exactly where the bookstore was, and figured he'd stop in the nearby comic store and pick up some more reading material before he met Celeste.
By the time he walked over to the bookstore, he'd bought three comic books and had swallowed several more pills. Walking in, Gerard breathed in the smell of old books. He loved that smell; it reminded him of his grandparents' house when he was a little kid.
Gerard looked up to where Celeste's voice had come from. She was standing by the railing on the second floor and looking down at the front door. He grinned and walked up the wrought-iron steps to the second floor. "Hey, Celeste."
"I was just coming down to get you. I need to get back to my area so come with me!" Celeste smiled brightly and grabbed Gerard's hand, leading him down the stairs and into the main area of the store. Instead of stopping there, like Gerard thought she would, she led him over to another stairwell and down into the basement.
"This is my favorite part of this place," Gerard said as they walked down the stairs.
"How come?" Celeste asked brightly, pushing her bangs out of her face. Her black hair was in a single braid that was over her left shoulder with a bright green ribbon tied around the end.
"This is where all the rare books are kept and I love looking through those. They're always ancient and falling apart and I love them." By this time, they were at Celeste's "area" as she put it. She didn't let go of his hand, though.
"They're my favorite, too. Bryan never liked books," she said quietly.
"Who's Bryan?" Gerard asked, guessing the answer.
"My ex. He never understood why I loved hanging out in bookstores, even the big ones like Barnes and Noble or Borders." Celeste frowned and dropped Gerard's hand, quickly crossing her arms protectively. "What's in the bag?" she asked, suddenly dropping the sad exterior and brightening again.
"Oh, I got some comics before I came here." Gerard smiled sheepishly. Most girls hated the fact that he was a comic nerd.
"There's a comic place around here? I never knew that! I love comics," Celeste said happily. "What'd you get?"
Gerard quickly looked down into the bag and ruffled through the thin books. "Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and Hellblazer."
"I've never read those. Are they good?" she asked, reaching for the bag.
Handing it to her, Gerard said, "Me and my friends love them, but I'm not sure if other people would."
"I bet I would," Celeste said thoughtfully. "Hey, I need to get back to work for now, otherwise my boss will get pissed. Don't go too far," she added, winking and turning on her heel.
Gerard stared after her, surprised at how she was able to go from scared and closed off to giggly and even seeming to flirt with him a little bit. Blinking away, he turned around and started looking at the old books.
After twenty minutes, he'd found three rare books that he planned on buying when his cell phone rang. Quickly pulling it out, he checked to see who it was and answered. "Hey, Mikes."
"Gee, I wanted to apologize," Mikey said in a rush. "I was an asshole yesterday and-"
"Mikey, Mikey, it's fine. Don't worry. I forgive you," Gerard said warmly. He hated when he and his brother fought, and recently they'd been fighting more and more.
"But listen to me. Your problems are all on you. Ray told me what you said this morning and it's not all our fault. Me, Ma, and Dad. You're the one with the problem. But we'll help you if you want it."
Gerard sighed, biting his lip to keep from crying. "Thanks, Mikes," he whispered into the phone. Stronger, he said, "But I don't need your guys' help. I don't need anyone's help. I can get over this on my own, okay? I love you. Bye, Mikey."
"Wait, Gee-" Mikey started, but Gerard hung up the phone. His hands shaking, Gerard found a chair in the back of the store and sat down to read one of the comics he'd bought earlier. However, he couldn't focus on anything that was written, and checking to make sure no one was looking, he swallowed a few more Xanax. Finally, he was able to get into the comic.
"Ready to go?"
Gerard looked up to see Celeste, smiling at her. She'd gotten a black bag that slung across her chest and was holding sunglasses. "Yep."
"Aren't you gonna be hot in that?" she asked as they walked back up the stairs. She was referring to his black leather jacket.
"Yeah, but I always wear it. No point in stopping now. How long do we have?" Gerard asked. They were outside by now and he put his own sunglasses on.
"I've got an hour for lunch. Long, right? Now, since I'm new here, you have to decide on the place. I'll pay, though. Fair?" Celeste grinned up at him.
"I can pay for myself, but yeah." Gerard smiled and started to lead them in the direction of his favorite coffee shop in the Village. I shouldn't want to do this. I shouldn't be enjoying any of this. I'm not supposed to be happy anymore. So why am I? he wondered as they walked. I need to distance myself from this girl...
Did you looove it? ;D By the way, thank you to everyone who's rated/reviewed. :) It kept me going with this! Keep showing the love, baby XD