I didn’t want to lie to him. I didn’t want to leave him. It was either him or Gerard. And it sure as hell wasn’t easy to choose.
At the foot of the hill he watches them.
He doesn’t know what’s happening. He has asked her numerous times before. She ignores him. And now look where it’s gotten you, he thinks bitterly. The cherry tree is dying. Only a few blossoms are left hanging on its withering, barren branches, now no longer the soft pink they were but a sullen grey. A tear forms in her eye at its death. It was so beautiful once.
Her companion wipes the tear from gaunt pale cheeks with its rough calloused hand and cups her chin in it. She is growing withered and weak as well these days. He has tried hard to save her from this fate. He sees them everyday; each time she grows weaker and frailer as this horrific beast of the dark places drains her heart, her life, her soul. Until one day she will be nothing but a pile of unwanted bones in the brown dehydrated grass.
But he would always want her.
The beast kisses her one last time. Its kisses are no longer the sweet warm ones she once craved but harsh, cold and violent. The other at the foot of the hill screams out her name but can’t move anymore, his cries but muffled whines hanging on the air. The beast pulls away and grins wickedly. Her eyelashes flutter and one last breath leaves her lips before she falls, like a leaf on the wind, crumpled, used and disposed. The beast’s grin widens as it feels the power within him...
I shot up in bed, the sweat trickling fast down my skin. Gerard quickly followed, only to smack his head on the head rest in his haste to get up.
“Sonofabitch,” he grumbled, slowly sitting up and rubbing his forehead in frustration. “You okay?” he asked, the concern written obviously across his face.
“Yeah.” I shivered, pulling the sheets back over my bare skin. “Bad dream.”
Gerard put a steadying hand on my back and said nothing. Gradually my breathing became normal and I sighed, falling back against the pillows before he did also.
“Wanna talk about it?” he asked. I shook my head and sighed again.
“Guess I’m just scared,” I replied.
I nodded and smiled at him reassuringly. He didn’t look very convinced. In fact, the hurt in his eyes was definitely apparent.
“Scared of me?” he said quietly. I ran a hand through his mess of jet black hair.
“Scared of everything, Gee,” I whispered. “I guess I don’t like the idea of being alone again after you leave.”
“You have Frank!” he replied indignantly. I shrugged.
“Is he enough?”
It was more of a rhetorical question, I gathered, from his lack of answer. I lay my head in the crook of his neck and he snaked an arm around me.
“Is there a way to make you stay longer?” I wondered.
“I’d have to do something really bad again I guess,” he answered. “Not that I would.”
“But what about me?” I continued. “Like, if I killed someone now what would happen?”
“You’d go to hell when you die,” he deadpanned, “and I would still leave.”
“Yeah. Hell’s a bitch.”
I chuckled but fell silent again, lost in my thoughts.
“I can practically hear your brain whirring,” he laughed after a while. “What’re you thinking?”
“I was just wondering,” I replied. “Whether there’s a way to keep here longer and maybe, I don’t know, to put me...there. In your situation.”
“What, you mean purgatory?”
Gerard suddenly stiffened. I raised an eyebrow and lifted my head to look at him curiously. Maybe I was onto something...
He swallowed and turned his head to look at me. “There is a way,” he said quietly.
“Seriously?!” I shrieked, eyes widening to the size of saucepans. I was probably grinning like a psychotic clown but I didn’t care. “Then what are we waiting for?”
He shook his head firmly. “There is a way but there’s no chance in hell I’m doing that to you.”
My face fell dramatically. “What do you mean?”
“Lee,” he began I was stupid. “I would be taking away your life. I’d be stealing you away from your home; Frank, your mom. You’re whole life, to put in a world of eternal pain and suffering. How could you want that?”
“I’d be with you forever though, like wanted.”
Gerard smiled sadly and kissed my forehead. “I love you, Lee,” he said. More than anything. But I just can’t do that.”
“B-but if we do this,” I croaked. “I-if we do this then...then we’ll be together at last. Screw mom and Frank, just you and me. We could run away together, and no one could stop us! What d’you say?”
“I don’t - "
“- If you do this we’ll pack our shit and get outta here. No one will know; we’ll be able to do whatever we want whenever we want. It’s perfect!”
Gerard raised an eyebrow, obviously a little more convinced. “And what about school?”
“What about school?” I grinned. Gerard chuckled and sat up, scratching his head.
“And if,” he said, “if it works, which I won’t guarantee it will, but if this plan works...no one will get in the way? You’ll stay with me?”
My grin widened and I stuck out my hand. “You’ll be stuck with me forever, babe. Deal?”
One last look of doubt and reluctance flickered upon his face before he cracked a lopsided grin and shook my hand. “Deal. But we’ll have to do it soon. Who knows how much longer I can hold on for.”
My belly did back flips. How exciting.
It was kinda weird, you know? Like, having Frank over for what would be the last time. In fact the more I dwelled on it as he spun around childishly on the wheelie chair in my room the more I grew immensely scared of the idea. Obviously I hadn’t told him, but I figured when I did completely disappear he deserved a reasonable explanation for it, true or false. I just hadn’t thought of one yet.
Oh God. I was such a bitch.
“So how’s the vamp?” Frank joked, referring to Gerard.
I smiled. “Alright I guess,” I replied vaguely.
“Still giving you hell, huh?”
I rolled my eyes. People misused that phrase way too much these days. Frank grinned and fiddled with the draws of my desk. He always did that; he was such a fidget. Just one of the many things I loved about him.
I felt bad again. Really, really bad. Second thoughts, please don’t take me now.
Feeling gradually guiltier, I sat gingerly on my bed. Sigh. That bed had performed great things when needed. Always so comfortable. I would miss that bed.
I looked back at Frank who was sifting through a pile of useless papers he had found in my desk draw, suddenly feeling the pang of guilt surge through me again.
“Hey what are these?” he laughed, peering curiously at the papers. “St Eloise Mental Institution – “
“– Don’t read those!” I cried, practically lunging at him to grab them from his hands. Once finally claiming them, I held them away from him and hid them oh-so-conspicuously under my pillow away from prying eyes.
“Okay, okay,” he said, holding his hands up in mock surrender. “Boy, have you got some oddball junk in your room.”
I don’t answer. Man that was close. And then came the pang of guilt again. I didn’t want to lie to him. I didn’t want to leave him. It was either him or Gerard. And it sure as hell wasn’t easy to choose.
Had I made my decision already? Had I already condemned myself to eternal life just to be with the guy I loved? Well, condemned was a bit strong.
But was it?
I would witness the world change. People that I loved dying. I would sit through that and just...watch. Incapable of stopping it. Mom, Minnie, Bob.
Fuck. I had lied to myself. I had lied to Gerard. I had lied to Frank. And now all I could do was back out like a coward and break Gerard’s heart. Or stick with it or break Frank’s.
I changed my mind. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay here with Frank. But man, did I want to be with Gerard.
I looked back up at him. Could he hear my thoughts?
Can you hear me, Frank? You know what I said? I wanna stay here. I don’t wanna go. I wanna be here with you. I wanna graduate from high school. I wanna go to college. I wanna get married and have kids. I wanna die old and wrinkly and happy. I want you to be by my side till that day comes.
I’m sick of lying, Frank. And God, if you can hear me I want you to know I’m not leaving out of choice. Not really. I love –
“There’s something you should know.”
Frank looked up, eyebrows raised expectantly underneath his messy fringe. “Shoot.”
This was it. I was going to tell him everything from the start. No one could stop me. I knew I’d feel so much better if I told him. And so I would.
“My mom’s work is transferring us to Michigan.”
Well, metaphorically speaking.
Frank was beyond shocked. “What?”
“I’m moving,” I forced myself to say, looking away so I wouldn’t have to see the pained look on Frank’s face.
“You’re moving?! When? W-why?”
“Soon? Why the fuck didn’t you tell me, Lee? What, you thought you could just leave without a fucking explanation?”
“Seriously?!” Frank’s eyes were the size of dinner plates. His lip quivering, he got up from the wheelie chair and sat tentatively next to me on the bed. He took my hand.
“I can’t believe you’re going,” he murmured. I tore my eyes away from the spot outside the window I had fixed them upon to stop myself from crying and saw the tears sliding down his cheeks.
What the hell.
Next thing I knew I was kissing him. I guessed I really...wanted to. Really wanted to. It was nice to feel something so warm against my lips again, not like the cold rough touch of Gerard’s.
Frank smiled, causing a fuzzy elated glow to throb inside me and pulled away.
“I’m calling you. Everyday,” he smiled sadly. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily. I’m gonna miss you like hell, dude.”
I found Gerard waiting patiently for me when I finally got to the cherry tree. We had arranged to meet and do it there. Whatever we were...doing.
“I didn’t think you’d come,” he said as I ascended up the hill towards him. “Cold feet and all that.”
“Hey, I’m not that spineless, Casper.”
“Casper?” Gerard raised an eyebrow.
I grinned, trying to hide the tear tracks on my cheeks. “Yeah. Casper. The friendly ghost.”
Gerard frowned and flicked his fringe out of his eyes. They were shadowy and darker than before, and his hands even more skeletal, so pale almost blue in the moonlit dark. He took my hands in his and peered into my eyes, red and swollen from crying.
“Ready?” he said gently. “You don’t have to do this.”
I shook my head. “I wanna do this. So do it before I change my goddamn mind.”
Gerard sighed and leaned in to kiss me before a scream split the dark like a bullet.
“DON’T DO IT!”
My head snapped in the direction of the speaker and I froze instantly as I saw him there, kneeling on the grass at the foot of the hill clutching a pile of papers in his hand.
It was Frank alright. But Frank as I had never seen him before. There was no cocky, arrogant air, no smirk or condescending raised eyebrow, no dirty jokes or high pitched giggle. Here he was kneeling before us, stripped bare of the hard badass shell he wore so there was nothing except a crying kid with messy jet black hair and red and blonde streaks wearing thick eye liner and an oversized Misfits T-shirt adorned with safety pins and holes. But it was Frank. He was here. Trying to stop me.
Frank pointed accusingly at Gerard. “I know your secret you sonofabitch.” He tossed the papers to the ground for us to see. A few newspaper clippings. A police file. And a 4 year old patient census for St Eloise Mental Institution.
“Y-you stole my files?” I stammered pathetically.
“I read your stupid files,” he spat, finger still raised at Gerard. “He’s a fucking psycho. I’m not stupid. There’s something wrong with him and I know the papers don’t say it all. He’s more than just a schizo escapee and I know it!”
Gerard stepped forward. “And what,” he sneered. “You gonna sue me? She’s made her choice.”
Frank dropped his hand and stared at me. I looked down at my feet sheepishly.
“You think I’m dumb enough to believe that you’re going to Michigan? As soon as you didn’t let me read those papers I knew everything you said was bull shit. It’s all bull shit. I know you’re lying to me!” he cried. “Just come home, Lee. Just go back with me. I know this isn’t what you want.”
I still didn’t say anything.
“We need to do this now, Lee,” Gerard whispered in my ear. “Forget him. We’ll run away together, remember? He’s just trying to lock you back in your cage. I know you want this more than anything. So we can be together forever, like you said, right? Because we love each other, right?”
I gulped. He was good. “Go home, Frank,” I croaked. “Please, just leave me alone.”
“He’s manipulating you, Lee!” Frank screamed. I shook my head, the tears falling thick and fast. “I love him, Frank. I want to be with him.”
Gerard smiled. Frank let out a cry of anguish. And me? I turned my back on him to face Gerard once again.
Be strong Lee. This was what you wanted. Right?
“Let’s do this,” Gerard said, taking me in his arms.
“Lee, no - "
Goodbye, Frank. This was what I wanted.
“Ready?” asked Gerard. I nodded.
“Please, Lee – "
This. Was. What. You. Wanted.
Gerard took a deep breath and crushed his lips on mine. The kiss was cold, violent and really, truly unpleasant. As soon as he forced his tongue against mine I could feel something inside me, icy and slippery, work its way up like a cold fish gliding through water. I was going to puke. I screamed inside for it to stop. I wanted to curl up and die; I wanted the whole world to leave me alone to rot in hell. The slippery feeling clambered up my throat, gagging me, making me wretch. Finally Gerard pulled away and cracked a weird, unsettlingly wicked grin.
I felt drained. My eyelids felt like there were weights on them; just to keep them open was a great struggle. The whole scene swam in and out of focus and the muffled cries of the boy kneeling at the foot of the hill seemed much further away.
And then I was falling. Falling to the ground. The dark figure standing before me grabbed me before I hit the ground, resting my head in his lap.
“Time to go to sleep,” he whispered in my ear. My breathing was raspy and strained. I sighed into his lap and closed my eyes.
Fade to black.
Sorry it took so long. Rate and review pleases. x