16 - What's The Worst You Take
There were no words that could describe the feeling the whirled through the older Way's stomach as he sat in the backseat of his car. His younger brother sat beside him, their hands clenching the others tightly, trying to hold back tears that pricked their eyes.
Ray sat in the driver's seat, his hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel, gripping it tighter then he ever had before. The stoplight turned green and he placed his foot back on the gas pedal, tapping it gently as he tried to prolong the ride to the church.
Bob sat in the passenger's seat, his eyes flickering to the review mirrow every few seconds to stare at the Way brothers. Then his eyes would lower to his hands before returning to the mirror. Occasionally he would glance towards Ray and exchange a single worried look before he turned away again and Ray would look back to the road.
Frank sat beside Mikey, his hands fidling with his red tie as he tried to find a way to break the overwhelming silence in the car. His head was ducked, his eyes staring intently at the floor. He knew that if he brought his gaze to rest on either of the brothers then his eyes would start flooding with tears, he couldn't do that to them. Not when they needed their friends so much.
A shaky sigh filled the air and immediately everyone's eyes traveled to Ray. He glanced in the review mirror and caught the brother's gaze.
"We're here," he muttered softly, hoping that they wouldn't hear but to no avail.
Their eyes dropped and Gerard reached for the handle on his door. The rest in the car followed his lead and pulled open their own doors before stepping out. Ray, Bob, and Frank lingered behind the brothers. Their gazes quickly flickering from one to the other as they slowly began to make their way to the church doors were a large group of people were standing around the opening.
Then Frank stumbled to the side. He felt something collide with his side and he jerked to the side, trying to look at who was latched onto him. Slowly, a soft smile spread across his face.
A younger girl stood wrapped around his arm. Her jeans were wrapped tightly around her legs and her boot were large and rather clunky but she still managed to walk in them. A sky blue color whirled in her irises that seemed to flare against her black hair that fell to her waist in soft waves.
"Lily," he said softly and wrapped his arms around his cousin.
"Frankie, she's gone," the younger girl murmured softly as he pulled her closer.
"I know, Lils, I know." His voice was low as he saw the Way brother's stop a few feet in front of him and lower their eyes when his cousin spoke to him. "Is Jessie here yet?"
His eyes snapped up as another girl stood a few feet away from his. Her eyes flashed a light shade of brown and her hair tumbled just past her shoulders, laying gently against her jacket, and her legs clad in jeans and boots similar to Lily's.
"Jay," he murmured and let go of Lily only to wrap his arms around his other cousin.
"Hey Frankie," she whispered and pulled herself tightly into his warm embrace.
A brilliant flash of eyes the color of stormy waves that crashed against the sky flared for a second and then a girl about the same age as Jessie, twenty-one or so, stood beside them. A dark grey hoodie pulled over her that reached her faded jeans.
"Oh," Jessie said as she pulled away and walked over to her friend. "This is my friend Christina, she wanted to come with me today." Her eyes flashed over to the Way brothers. "I hope thats alright."
They bowed their heads and walked forward to greet the three girls.
"Of course it is," Mikey said as he and Gerard took the time to pull each of the girls into a hug and thank them for coming.
As the brothers reached Lily and Jessie they launched themselves into their arms and pulled them close, trying to convey as much comfort as possible to the Ways.
"I'm so sorry," Lily whispered as she pulled Gerard closer and then turned to Mikey, her eyes swimming with tears that gently began to fall along her cheeks.
They nodded to her and then turned to the doors again, their eyes stinging with unshed tear.
The group around the door that seemed to writhe as idle chatter lifted around the air seemed to hush when the brothers neared them. Mikey and Gerard shared a quicky glance before they felt arms wrap around them.
"Momma," Mikey and Gerard whispered softly and pulled her closer to them.
"I know," she said back, just as quietly, before pulling back and grasping each of their hands in hers. "I know."
Gerard's gaze looked past his mother and felt his heart ache.
"Lizzie?" He asked.
Her black dress fell to her knees but her leggings covered them to her feet. A black shawl was draped across her shoulders as she gripped a tissue tightly in her glove covered hands. The girls head snapped up and he stared at her.
For a moment he stared at a single bright green eye that seemed to flash emerald and then she turned her head more and her other chocolate brown eye flared into his own hazel orbs.
The girl rushed forward and quickly fell into Gerard's embrace not bothering to wipe away her tears anymore.
"Elizabeth," he said in a hushed voice as he pulled his cousin closer to his chest and ran his fingers gently through her black locks that cascaded to her shoulders, barely brushing against them.
She pulled away only to wrap her arms around Mikey just as she had with Gerard.
"Mikes," she whispered and he gave her a single tight squeeze.
As Gerard stood back and watched his cousin hug his brother and then she pulled away and used the tissue in her hand to wipe away the tears that fell against her cheeks.
The trio turned as one to face the two girls who bit nervously at their lips and their eyes flushed red.
"Deseree," Gerard and Mikey murmured as they reached towards one of the girls, her hair pulled back into a small bun at the back of her neck.
Her eyes were a soft shade of brown. A black dress fell to her knees, a thin veil of red lace falling over it. She let out a breathless sob as she gripped them tightly and then tried to choke back her tears.
They nodded to her, a silent thank you before turning to the other.
Her eyes sparkled an emerald shade of green, only further enhanced with the tears that tumbled in small streaks down her face. Her hair was tugged forward on her shoulder and vibrant red streaks ran through it. Her hands were at her neck, twisting a silver cross in circles.
"Danniella," Mikey muttered and reached out for her.
She let herself fall into his embrace and sniffled quietly, before she felt Gerard wrap his arms around her as well.
"I have to," she choked out and wiped hastily at her tears. "I have to go see Donna."
The brothers nodded and gently let her go as she turned and continued to wipe away her tears.
"So, this is real," Gerard whispered to himself when he felt Mikey grip his hand tightly again.
As one they turned to the doors where Bob and Ray stood, handing papers to the people who walked though the opening. Mikey caught a glimpse of them and quickly turned away, not wanting to see the strange black branches of the tree printed upon the paper. Gerard noticed Mikey's discomfort and gave his hand a gentle squeeze. Just inside the doorway Ray offered his arm to Jessie who tried to blink away her tears and took his arm as he escorted her to her seat.
At the end of the aisle, raised onto a slight platform the coffin was placed. It was deep black color and the top was open. Suddenly the brothers grip was desperate as they tried to catch their breath.
Yes, this was real.