A tad more clarity on what's going on with Gerard. For us, anyway.
That and the chapter preview for last time ended up being not applicable to how this chapter actually turned out. Sorry bout that!
Chapter Nine: Candy Store
Frank straightened his suit one more time. He and the rest of the band, all of whom were very tense still, were on the way to MTV music video awards that evening. Of course, winning awards were the farthest thing from anyone's mind at the moment, but they were obligated to show up.
When they arrived, they were greeted immediately by a tall body guard. They had had this body guard a few times before, and he had grown to be a friend of Mikey's. He nodded at them and began to walk them down the red carpet.
Photographers flashed away, shouting questions at them, yelling for their attention. The name "Lindsey" was heard plenty of times. The body guard leaned in and muttered lowly, "Heads up, Lindsey's here with Bandit and her new man."
Frank at that moment could see Mikey physically tense. He knew that Mikey felt what he was feeling: angry that they weren't informed of this beforehand. They never would have come, no matter how important.
Frank wondered if Gerard had heard him. He was in the center of their little group as they walked down the carpet. He could see Mikey throwing worried glances at him, not even bothering to be subtle about it. Gerard did not seem to have a response. He simply stared vacantly ahead.
They had not heard from Lindsey or Bandit since the custody battle. Lindsey was awarded full custody , the verdict being that Gerard lived too erratic of a lifestyle to responsibly care for a child. They claimed that Gerard's history with drug use had nothing to do with it, but no one believed them. Lindsey had been iffy on the idea of allowing Gee to visit Bandit. Her excuse was that he must be too busy with touring anyway.
Yet it had become obvious to Frank that Lindsey just wanted nothing to do with Gerard anymore. She was trying to push him out of her life as though he were never there. Like she was ashamed of him. It would make sense -- Frank had heard that Lindsey had bagged herself a much richer man. He didn't tell Gerard in an attempt to shield his feelings --- his attempt would prove to be as effective as seeking cover behind a wicker basket to hide from a mortar.
They kept walking silently down the carpet, posing awkwardly for photos and offering fake smiles.
And soon enough, they saw them.
Frank did not see them right away. Instead, he saw Mikey's hands ball into fists, his expression changed as though he smelled something foul. He heard Ray mutter some obscenities under his breath and then turn to face Gerard. And the most heartbreaking sight of all, he saw the hurt on Gerard's face, reflecting that of a sad puppy.
Lindsey was in the lobby that met the end of the red carpet. She was in a white and gold designer cocktail dress, dirty martini in hand. The other hand held a smaller hand, attached to the small body of little Bandit Lee Way, who was also in nice clothing. Lindsey was conversing with Jessicka Addams, yet what drew Frank's attention was the man that had his left arm snaked around Lindsey's shoulders.
An unremarkable man: 5"9, Zac Efron style haircut. Combined with a face that forced Frank to wonder, just for a moment, if he had seen this guy in a toothpaste commercial. He flashed an award winning smile that gleamed proudly in the light. Looked like a money grubbing slime ball to Frank --- not attractive at all.
Frank turned, deciding it would be best if they simply ushered Gerard away --- but Gerard was gone.
Frank nearly asked Mikey if he had seen where he had left to. Yet he thought second of it, remembering Mikey's angry message to Gerard about going off alone. If Mikey realized Gerard had scampered off yet again, they might have another situation to deal with all together.
Seeing no other way, Frank separated from the group to go search for him. He figured maybe when Mikey did realize Gerard was missing, if he saw Frank was missing as well, he'd simply think they went off together.
He weaved in and out of all the people, keeping his head down in hopes that no one would notice and stop him. He had to find Gerard --- if he really was developing a drug problem, being in a room full of rich celebrities was like letting a kid loose in a candy store.
Finally, after fighting through a sea of tuxedoed bodies, he found him.
His striking red hair easily caught his eye. He was standing with a familiar group of people, a goofy grin on his face. It looked as though he was latching onto someone. As Frank came closer, he saw that he was indeed in someone's grasp.
The grasp of one Bert McCraken.
Frank's blood boiled. Of all the fucking people Gerard had to run into, fucking Bert?! With Lindsey here as well, this award show was starting to feel like a convention of people Frank hated. True, The Used and My Chemical Romance had supposedly made their peace --- but there were just some things Frank could not bring himself let go of. Such as Gerard's previously very "close" friendship with Bert.
Completely forgetting that this was starting to be a repeat of recent events, Frank stepped forward to yank Gerard away. He'd make a scene if he had to. Unfortunately, he was hindered.
Jeph Howard noticed him and walked over to him, greeting him merrily. Dammit.
"Frankie!" Jeph grinned, patting Frank on the back.
Frank forced a smile, returning the greeting with what he hoped was equal enthusiasm "Hey Jeph."
"How ya been man?" Jeph pressed on, taking a sip of his drink.
"Good, good." Frank nodded. "You?"
"Doing great, already excited for the after party. You gotta get fucked up with me tonight!" Jeph punched Frank on the arm playfully. Frank only felt more annoyed -- so not in the mood for this. Yet he couldn't help but ask...
"So Gerard and Bert are getting along pretty well, huh?"
"Oh yeah." Jeph nodded "They've been inseparable for weeks now. I'm not even sure what got them talking so much again. Bert never gets off the fucking phone anymore."
"Wait, wait... what?" Frank gaped "Weeks? I've only seen them talking now!"
Jeph gave him a strange look. "Well then you must not have been around Gerard very much. They went BFF since... well, come to think of it, around when the divorce happened."
Frank stared openly at Bert and Gerard, who were being very handsy with one another. No, he hadn't been around Gerard very much, but only because Gerard had been running around with all these dates. Frank was still unsure of what was going on with his best friend, but he now had the inkling that Bert McCraken was somehow to blame.
He saw Gerard staring over at Lindsey, who had traveled in near vicinity with her guy. Her new family. He saw the look of jealousy flash across Gerard's face. If Frank were near a mirror, he'd see the same look on his own.
Gerard frowned as he saw Lindsey come near. He yearned to go over to his daughter and see how she was. However she did look very well looked after, thanks to Lindsey's new man. Gerard took in his replacement. He looked very well off. He had dressed all of them in designer wear. Gerard's suit looked absolutely shoddy in comparison to his nice, shiny one.
He saw Lindsey was looking over at them, and instantly he pulled Bert closer to him. He had told Bert that she was here, and he had agreed to be his date for the evening. Childish yes, but two could play at the "look who's got a new boyfriend" game. Gerard felt satisfied when he saw her throw them a disdainful look.
"So did you meet up with Jason last week?" Bert asked him. Bert had been trying to help Gerard find a new lover as of recently, although Gerard had yet to mention to Bert that the guys he kept setting him up with always turned out to be complete sleezeballs. He figured his friend was trying, and he didn't want to upset Bert by insulting any of his friends.
"Yeah, I did..." Gerard replied, hesitant to elaborate any further.
A chill ran down his spine just thinking of his experience with Jason, the handsome bartender. They had had quite a bit of fun at first. Jason had been very charming. They had done some foreplay involving bondage. Yet just as Gerard was ready to spread his cheeks for the man, he had pulled out a syringe filled with cocaine.
Jason had wanted them to do it while high. Gerard had politely declined.
It didn't take long to figure out however that Jason had already taken some PCP beforehand. Jason had been angered by the denial of his request. He and Gerard started arguing. During which, Jason had stabbed the syringe into his arm, pushing down on the plunger harshly. Gerard had screamed bloody murder, although was more panicked about the needle than he was the drug. He had finally managed to push the bartender off him, and was trying to scramble from the door when Jason overtook him. He had started beating him.
And that's when Frank had walked in on them. Frankie. Forever his knight in shining armor. Speaking of whom, Gerard could notice was staring at them.
Bert had once suggested just trying Frank. Fulfilling the fantasies of their fangirls, and making "Frerard" as they liked to call it, come true.
But Frank was married.
To an amazing woman.
Frank and Jamia deserved each other. They were both amazing. Gerard wasn't amazing. He was just the same fat, ugly whore he was years ago. That's what it felt like anyway. Gerard did not deserve someone as amazing as Frank. Hell, he apparently could not keep anyone as shitty as Lindsey. Amongst the sleezeballs was where he belonged.
"How was it?" Bert prodded, noticing Gerard wasn't saying much else.
"It was great." Gerard lied. "...but I just don't think he's really my type."
"You didn't like Paul, and you didn't like Jason? God, you're picky..." Bert rolled his eyes.
"I'm sorry." Gerard mock pouted, leaning his head on Bert's shoulder playfully. In the corner of his eye, he saw Frank walk away.
'You know he'll take you if you asked him to..'
...yes, but Frank deserved so much better.
Next chapter: Frank confronts Gerard about his motives. Forcefully.