While coping with a divorce, Gerard begins to act strangely.
Puppet Boy, Your Strings Are Mine.
Chapter One: It Begins.
Ray, Frank, and Mikey were coming back to the bus with fresh Chinese takeout in their arms. Extremely excited to dig in, they scrambled inside as fast as they could. Mouths watering, they set down the food and Mikey noticed his brother sitting on the couch. Gerard had had an interview that day, and the other boys had gone to search for food, agreeing they were going to meet back here.
"Hey." Mikey nudged Gee on the shoulder while Frank and Ray set out the utensils. "How'd the inte --- what's wrong?"
Mikey had only then noticed Gerard's expression, and Frank and Ray turned their attention to Gee as they heard Mikey ask the question.
Gerard's face looked distraught. His eyes were puffy and red. Although he wasn't now, Gerard had clearly been crying. And Mikey had not seen Gerard cry in a long, long time.
3 weeks later.
Frank sighed as he saw yet another tabloid with a picture of the former Mrs. Way gracing its cover. The girl's face had been everywhere since she was caught cheating on Gerard and, as a result, launched a massive media frenzy. This of course made things very difficult for their lead singer, who had fallen into a depression for obvious reasons. Mikey, Ray, and Frank had all equally been doing their share to help Gerard get back on his feet again, however the media's need to rub this whole ordeal in their faces by asking for information on a constant basis was really interfering with that.
He heard Mikey growl at it as well, and he grabbed Mikey by the shoulder almost as though to restrain him from attacking it. Frank wasn't sure if he was angry at the tabloid, or simply at the sighting of Lindsey's face.
They were walking in the downtown area of the city they were touring in. It was only a few hours after a long show, during which Gerard had clearly been too upset to really to give his all. They had just finished yet another discussion on what to do about their friend that led absolutely nowhere. The fact was, Gerard was too upset to even try to fix things. He had become pessimistic about every option they had given him. Mikey insisted he just needed a little push, but any pushing didn't seem to be working. And one thing was certain, things could not stay like this forever. Something had to give.
When they eventually got back to the bus, they came to find Ray watching tv alone.
"Hey dude, where's Gee?" asked Mikey.
"I have no idea." Ray said as he absent-mindedly popped a bit of microwave popcorn in his mouth, still staring at the screen.
Frank raised an eyebrow and looked at his phone "It's nearly 4 a.m... did he tell any of you guys where he might be going?"
Ray and Mikey shook their heads. Just as Mikey was about to dial Gerard's number, the tour bus door opened. Gerard walked in, followed by someone else.
A man that looked nearly in his fifties was behind him. He looked classy, a nice dresser. Yet they had never seen him before and that was enough to cause the rest of them to tense. As a general rule, people in famous bands were ill advised to bring strange men onto their buses.
Yet that wasn't the biggest surprise of the picture. No, what really caused them to do double takes was Gerard. He was smiling. Giggling, even. Frank noticed the man had his arm around Gerard's waist, and something inside him hissed angrily.
"Hey Gee. Whose your friend?" Ray was the first one to pipe up.
Gerard's head perked up, as though he was barely noticing they were there. He grinned at them "Oh hey guys! This is Paul. He works at the club we just played at."
Paul gave them a wave that no one returned. Frank could see Mikey eyeing the man suspiciously. Mikey then spoke saying, "Coming home a bit late, aren't ya Gee? What um.... what were you guys up to?"
"Oh! I'm not staying. I just came to grab some stuff." Gerard giggled again. "I'm staying over at Paul's! His apartment is just down the street!"
It seemed like everyone else but Gee and Paul opened their mouths to protest at this point, but they were all too slow on the pitch. Gerard sped past them to the bunks, not even waiting for their reply. They could hear him shuffling around back there, evidently packing clothes. As he did, Ray diverted his attention to Paul.
"So um, Paul right?" Ray asked. Paul nodded. "When did you guys meet?"
"Like... an hour ago." Paul said casually. "You ready?"
They all turned to see that Gerard had very quickly packed his things into a duffle bag and was standing at the doorway of the bunks looking eager. Gerard nodded and walked over to Paul. Paul slung an arm around him again, and that hissing feeling in Frank made its return. Frank, Mikey, and Ray each seemed to be waiting for one of them to stop him but each of them remained it what seem to be a shocked silence. Gerard and Paul left without another word to any of them.
After a while, Mikey was the first to speak.
"The fuck was that?" he gaped.
"I have no fucking idea..." Ray shook his head.
While one might say they were overreacting, anyone who really knew Gerard would say otherwise. First and foremost was the fact that he had let this man into their bus at all. Second was the fact that he had gone home with someone he had not only just met, but who was evidently rather handsy. In both cases, they all figured.... no, they all knew Gerard knew better than that. Not to mention Gerard's apparent giddy manner that made Frank feel strangely nauseated.
They all moved on with the night and hoped it was merely a strange occurrence. Mikey said he would give Gerard a talking to when he got back. Ray assured him they were overreacting at least a bit, and that Gerard deserved to have a bit of fun after what he's been through. But a thin lipped Mikey made it clear that this wasn't something he was going to loosen up about.
Frank was just worried about the present. Gerard didn't even give them a time as to when he'd be back. He honestly had the urge to march down there and physically drag Gerard back. Instead, just before he went to bed, Frank opened the messaging app on his phone. He typed out "Please be careful...", went through his contact list, and sent it to Gerard before falling into an uneasy sleep.
Next chapter: The hope that this was a onetime occurrence gets smashed. Brutally.