Mikey walked down the stairs just as I opened the door. There was a policeman.
“Mikey, we’ve got to tell the police.” I said, quietly.
“No.” Mikey spoke up. Gerard didn’t say anything he just looked down at his hands.
“Mikey--” I tried to speak up, but Mikey wouldn’t let me say anything. Stubborn jackass.
“We can’t tell the police. I… I don’t want to worry my parents.” He said sheepishly. “And besides, we don’t even know if this guy’s for real. It could just be a prank.” He muttered. I opened my mouth, but Mikey got up and ran upstairs before I could speak. I moved towards Gerard.
“You okay?” I asked.
Gerard looked up at me and I saw his eyes were glistening. “This is all my fault.” He whispered.
I sighed. Leave it to Gerard to blame himself for something he had no control of. “Gee, it’s not your fault. What the hell makes you think that?” I questioned.
Gerard took a deep breath. “If I hadn’t wanted to leave… If we hadn’t left… And Mikey would be safe… He still doesn’t even think I’m his brother… He likes me but…” He shook his head, not able to finish his sentence. “God, what if he actually… What if he comes back? He’s… He’ll kill Mikey… Oh, my God, what if he hurts you?” He looked at me his eyes wide. “Oh, my God, Frankie!” He let out a sob and wrapped his arms around himself in a hug.
I hugged him tightly and kissed his hair. “Hey, it’s gonna be okay.” I knew how awful that sounded; especially since I knew that things were absolutely not okay.
He pulled away and stared at me. He slowly shook his head. “It’s not gonna be okay, Frankie…” He whispered. “Nothing is ever gonna be okay.” Tears were pouring out of his eyes like a waterfall and I wondered if he could even see. “I’ve ruined your life, and now I’ve ruined Mikey’s…” He began to sob audibly again.
“Gerard, listen to me.” I grabbed him by the shoulders. He was still looking down so I shook him. “Gerard!” He looked up. “Listen to me. You didn’t ruin my life and you sure as hell didn’t ruin Mikey’s. We’re gonna get through this.” I whispered.
He stared at me. “What if something bad happens, Frankie? What if…” He shook his head and took a deep breath. “I’m scared.” His voice was small and he looked so fragile and young. I wanted to let him know that I was scared too – but I also wanted him to feel safe. I wanted him to feel as though everything was going to be okay, even though there was a strong chance that it wouldn’t be.
“Nothing bad is going to happen.” I couldn’t believe I was saying this. I had the sickening feeling in my stomach that practically screamed at me, “YOU’RE LYING.”
Gerard seemed to be thinking the same thing. “You don’t know that.” He said, shaking his head. “Something bad could happen. God, Frankie… There’s a serial killer out to murder me and Mikey.” He raised his voice – As if I needed reminded.
“All those years ago, when that bastard first came after us, all I wanted to do was protect him. I’m his older brother – That’s what I’m supposed to do!” He half yelled and half sobbed. “I’m supposed to protect him now but I feel like I can’t, I’m just so fucking scared. God…” He leaned forward and let his head fall into his hands. “Oh, my God, Frank. What am I supposed to do? What if he kills him? I just got him back.” He whimpered. “I can’t lose him again…”
“And I can’t lose you.” He looked up at me and I sighed. “Gerard, you’re everything to me, you know that?” He didn’t say anything. “If something happened to you… I don’t know what the fuck I would do.” For the first time in a while I felt hot tears running down my cheeks. “I can’t live without you. I know that sounds lame, but I mean it.” I said softly.
His lips twitched and he leaned forward and his lips met mine. I could taste the salt on his lips from his tears and I’m sure he could taste the same on mine.
I took a deep breath. “I’m never gonna let anybody hurt you.” My lips brushed against his as I spoke.
His green eyes bore into mine when he asked quietly, “You promise?”
I nodded. “I promise.” I kissed him again.
The corners of his mouth twisted up and he nestled himself into my arms. I hoped that for the moment I could forget about all that was occurring. I almost thought Gerard had fallen asleep but I was soon proved wrong when the doorbell rang. We both jumped and Gerard sat up so I could go answer the door.
Mikey walked down the stairs just as I opened it. There was a policeman. My heart was pounding in my chest and I opened my mouth. “James Harmon?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. I shook my head and moved aside, my heart still racing.
Mikey went and stood in the doorway with a frown on his face. “That’s me. What is it?” He glanced at me anxiously. Gerard got up and walked over to me, wrapping his arms around my waist – preparing for the policeman to ask about us; the two runaway mental patients.
But he didn’t.
What he said was worse.
Much, much worse.
“James, I’m sorry to inform you, but your parents – Jonathon and Melinda…” He looked uncomfortable for a minute.
“What about them?” Mikey asked, his voice cracking.