Gerard woke up surprisingly early. Usually after nights like last night, he slept until noon and then woke up with a pounding headache, which made him go back to bed.
The first thing he realized was that it was completely dark. No light got through the thick curtains and the door to his room was closed. The smell was almost unbearable and it burned his sinuses so badly that he thought he was going to throw up. Again.
Gerard checked the clock on his night stand and groaned. It was six in the morning. Far too early for someone with a hangover to be up. He was still feeling very strange. on the other hand, the hangover was killing him, especially because he hadn’t drank so much in a long time, but still, he may have still been a little bit drunk. If he had sobered up, he would’ve felt ashamed rather than annoyed and irritated.
“Gia!” he shouted, hoping that the girl was up already. She would most likely be awake, since it was Thursday and a school day.
Gia was weird like that. All responsible and good. Gerard had no idea where she got that from. Surely not from her parents.
When Gia didn’t bring him painkillers and water, Gerard frowned and figured that he’d just have to do it himself. But he was not going to drag himself all the way to the bathroom yet. Instead, he crawled to the other side of the bed and reached for his nightstand. He opened the drawer and didn’t hear the familiar clink-sound. Gerard figured he must’ve drunk all of them last night, since all the liquor from his stash was gone. Strange, he didn’t feel like had drank that much.
Having no other choice, Gerard got up and stumbled his way to the bathroom. The aspirin bottle was now the only medicine there, since Gerard had gotten rid of everything else in the move, even Gia’s iron pills.
“Gia!” he repeated, this time louder, when he was filling the cup with water. He decided to brush his teeth while he was at it. He could still taste the mix of alcohol and acid that came up from his stomach the previous night.
While brushing his teeth, Gerard stared at himself in the mirror. He looked absolutely dreadful. If he didn’t know that the man in the mirror was himself, he would have pitied him. Now, the shame started creeping to his conscience.
However, Gerard felt like he had needed the break. In his mind it was completely justified that he gets to empty his head and drink a bit every now and then. He deserved it.
Then again, he had a feeling that Gia wouldn’t quite see it that way.
Gia and Lucas had taken a bus to go as far as a bus could take them. Well, not really, but they did get away from New Jersey. Currently they were sitting on a bench in a train station in Pennsylvania. And actually, Gia was the only one sitting. Lucas was lying on the bench, using her lap as a pillow.
“What’s the time?” Lucas asked. He wasn’t asleep obviously; he just had his eyes closed.
“Almost seven”, Gia replied and sighed. “Right now I would be up, bringing my dad aspirin and water for when he wakes up. Then I’d make sandwiches, put them in the fridge to wait for when he can eat, and then go to school.”
Lucas opened his eyes and looked up at her. Gia was looking straight ahead with a blank look on her face.
“Why do you do that? Take care of him, I mean. It’s his job to take care of you, right?”
“Because he needs me”, Gia answered, and then got a sad smile on her face and glanced down at him. “I suppose now he has to get by without me.”
Lucas nodded. “Don’t worry. It’s for the best. You have to let them make their own mistakes.”
“It seems like his life is one mistake after another. Well, we should go. The train arrives in ten minutes.”
They got up from the bench and went to the platform to wait for the train to arrive. There were a few other people waiting for the train too, but they didn’t even notice the two fourteen-year-olds. Still, Gia couldn’t help but worry that someone recognized them and wondered what they were doing here, so far away from home, without their parents.
The further they got from home, the more Gia started to think that this was a good idea. Running away was something she should have done a long time ago.
“Gia?” Lucas asked when he noticed the train coming.
“Are you sure you don’t want to go back?”
She turned her head to look at him. Lucas was slightly taller than her, so she had to look up. She nodded. “I’m sure, as long as you don’t want to go back.”
“Never. I’ve had enough of that place.”
Gerard couldn’t find any alcohol in the whole house. Well, any that would help. There were only a few beers in the fridge, but experience told him that beer won’t help with the hangover. For a moment he thought about going to the liquor store to get some, but then he decided that it wasn’t worth it. He’d just wait until the headache goes away.
And the headache sure was taking it’s time. When his phone began to ring at about nine, his head was still about to explode.
“Hello?” he answered quickly. He hated the ringtone. Sure, it was just a beep, but right now nothing could be more irritating.
“Hi, it’s Mikey. Are you still sick?”
“Sick?” he asked confusedly. How did Mikey know he was hung over?
“Yeah, mom said that you had a cold so you and Gia couldn’t come to her birthday party yesterday.”
Gia must’ve lied for him. “Uh, sure”, Gerard answered.
“So you’re not coming today?”
“That meeting. Remember?”
Gerard could tell that Mikey was getting suspicious. “Oh, right, of course. No I don’t think I can come today.”
“You’re lying!” Mikey accused. “You wouldn’t miss this meeting because of a cold! You’re hiding something. Is Gia dead?”
“Of course she’s not dead. And I’m not hiding anything.”
“I’m coming over.”
“No, Mikey, you really don’t –“The rest of his words got caught in his throat. Mikey had already hung up. And he was coming over.
Gerard hurried to tidy up his room and the rest of the house to make sure there were no signs that he had been drunk. Then he took a quick cold shower, which helped with the headache a bit, and was just about to start shaving the stubble off of his face when the front door opened and closed.
“Gerard? Are you here?” Mikey called into the house.
Gerard cursed the day that he gave his brother the house key. ‘In case of an emergency’... The worst decision he ever made.
“I’m in the bathroom!” he shouted back and quickly put the shaving stuff on his face. “I’ll be right there!”
“Okay. Do you mind if eat something? I didn’t have breakfast yet.”
“No, help yourself.”
He heard Mikey walk past the bathroom door and head to the kitchen. Gerard shaved his face as quickly as he could without accidentally cutting his throat open, decided that there was nothing he could do about the red eyes and dark bags under them, and walked out of the bathroom just when Mikey was coming out of the kitchen.
Mikey had a piece of paper on his hand, and the look on his face was not happy. When he noticed his older brother, he was practically shooting flames out of his nostrils, that’s how angry he looked. And it took a whole lot to make Mikey angry.
“Well now you’ve done it”, he said. “Let me guess. You were drunk. On drugs, even? Came home wasted?”
Gerard glared at his brother. He was partly right, sure, but that didn’t give him the right to say it out loud. Or something. “I was not on drugs. Drunk, yes, but not on drugs.”
Mikey muttered something, gritting his teeth. “You know, I can’t even look at you.”
Mikey wasn’t usually angry at him for being drunk. Only disappointed and all judgmental. But never angry. That made Gerard confused. And he was curious about the paper Mikey had. Gerard snatched the paper from his hand and read it aloud.
I really hope it was all worth it. Don’t come looking for me. This is for the best. I’m sorry.
Those words, those simple words written with blue ink on the yellowish paper struck him like a lightning bolt. Gerard looked up at his younger brother.
“She’s...” was all he could say. Gerard felt his eyes burning, and he felt hopeless. Now the shame and regret reached him with full weight, crashing over him like a wave. How could he for a minute have thought that this couldn’t affect Gia? His drinking and poor decision had already once made her want to follow in his footsteps down the druggie-road, and now… Now this.
Mikey didn’t do anything, he just stood there. He didn’t know what to do. All he wanted to do was either beat up his own brother or run out and start looking for his niece in panic. But it would be cruel to kick a man when he’s down, and the latter wouldn’t work out either. Gia could be anywhere by now.
“Okay”, Mikey finally sighed. “We can’t panic.”
“What?!” Gerard shrieked. “My daughter is out there somewhere, all alone, with nowhere to go... And it’s all my fault. And you’re telling me not to panic?! What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
“Call her school. Maybe this is just a joke. Maybe she just wants revenge. I know, long shot, but it’s possible. I’ll call Frank, Bob and Ray. Maybe she went to stay with one of them.”
When Mikey left to the kitchen to talk in private, Gerard took out his own cell phone and chose the number of Gia’s school.
“Hello, this is –“
“Hi”, Gerard cut her off. “I need to know if Gia Way came to school today.”
“I’m sorry, who is asking?”
“Gerard Way. I’m Gia’s father.”
“Of course, wait just a moment, please”, the woman on the other end of the line said happily and Gerard heard her type something on her computer. “No, Gia hasn’t attended her first class yet. Should I inform her teachers that she’s –“
Gerard hung up. He didn’t have time to listen to some school lady. He was just about to call 911 when Mikey came back.
“Who are you calling now?” Mikey asked.
“Gerard! Don’t!” Mikey snatched the phone from him just in time. “It’s useless. They won’t even do anything yet. She might be at mom and dad’s or something. Call the police later.”
“The guys haven’t seen her?”
Mikey shook his head. “No. They’re coming over though.”
Then there was a knock on the door. It couldn’t be the guys yet, since Mikey just called. Then again, knowing Frank, he could have grown a pair of wings or a propeller or something and flown here.
Gerard went to open the door, and he was surprised to see Lucas’ parents, Tina and Patrick. The expressions on their faces were like reflections of his own. Worry, concern, panic, shame... Gerard recognized all of the emotions in himself, too.
“Is Lucas here? Have you seen him?” Tina asked, looking ready to cry.
“No, I haven’t seen him all day”, Gerard answered.
“My little Lukie baby! He’s gone! Packed up his things and just left!” the hysteric woman shrieked, bursting to tears, and threw himself on Patrick for support.
Her husband patted her back comfortingly and shushed. “Don’t worry dear, we’ll find him.” The Patrick turned to Gerard. “Could we speak with Gia? Maybe she has some idea of where my son could be.”
“Uh... Well, Gia’s gone too.”
Putting two and two together wasn’t a difficult task. Where ever Gia and Lucas were, they were together. If there was one good thing about that, then Gerard was glad that at least his daughter wasn’t all alone. He didn’t know Lucas very well, but he knew a thing or two about Gia, and she didn’t have much street-smarts.
Later, Tina and Patrick were sitting with Gerard and Mikey in the living room. Tina was obviously going crazy, and Patrick did his best to calm down his wife.
Gerard could have killed for a drink. After all, this was all his fault, and he wanted to just forget everything. But he controlled himself. Alcohol was what caused all this.
He just couldn’t stand the thought that he was the reason Gia, an innocent little girl who wouldn’t hurt a fly, felt like she didn’t have a home here anymore.
They had eventually called the police, and were promised that someone would come over and ‘investigate’. At that point Gerard and Tina both freaked out, yelling at the phone that there was nothing to be ‘investigated’, that their children ran away and they needed to be found before something happens. The police woman they talked to seemed to be used to this kind of behavior and stayed calm, and told them to wait patiently, and that their kids would be returned to them safely.
Frank, Bob and Ray didn’t bother knocking when they arrived at the house. They just kind of... stormed in.
“Has she come home yet?” Ray demanded to know.
All three looked rather flustered. Or, actually, Ray and Bob did. Frank was downright crazy. The guitarist ran around the house in panic, until he finally ran up the stairs and started making a lot of noise.
“No, she hasn’t”, Mikey answered Ray’s question. It was obvious that Gerard wasn’t going to talk.
“Well have you called the police?”
Mikey nodded. “They’re on their way.”
Gerard sunk deeper in his chair. He couldn’t understand why everyone wasn’t pointing fingers at him and accusing him of all of this. He wanted everyone to just go away, but he didn’t say anything.
Gerard glanced at the couple sitting on the couch. Tina and Patrick were holding hands and she was silently crying. For the first time since Gerard met Tina, he didn’t feel irritated about being in the same room with the woman. No, he actually felt sympathy. Tina might have not been Lucas’ biological parent, but it was obvious she loved him as if he was her own son, and that she would never want to hurt him.
He knew all this, because he felt the way she did, too. Gia was his daughter. His flesh and blood. Gerard wouldn’t hesitate to take a bullet for her, he’d never want her to get hurt.
Only, if he had realized earlier how much it actually hurt Gia when he got drunk, resulting to her having to take care of him and not the other way around.
Gerard’s thoughts were interrupted when Frank came back downstairs. He was carrying a mermaid Barbie doll and a pink toy carousel that was playing a song, like a musical box. Gerard recognized them. Frank had gotten her those.
“This is terrible”, Frank complained, sitting down next to Gerard on the other couch. “My little baby girl... My sweet, innocent little Gia... All alone in the world, without any money or anyone to take care of her! And do you know how much effort I put into raising her?”
“You didn’t raise her. You just bought her presents and candy and did magic tricks”, Mikey said.
“She loved my magic tricks!” While Frank nearly burst into tears, Gerard rolled his eyes. Nothing goes past Mikey, so he noticed the eye-rolling.
“And I can’t say that you did much raising either, Gerard”, Mikey accused. “You’ve been drunk for half of her life.”
Yes, Gerard knew that he was the one to blame, and that Mikey had every right to say these things, but it still stung. Right now Gerard wanted to bash his brother’s head in with a shovel.
“You honestly thought that she would stick around after you treat her like she doesn’t matter?” Mikey continued. The whole room, besides him, was silent. Tina had stopped crying and she and Patrick were staring at Gerard with confused looks on their faces.
“Gia is not stupid, you know. She’s smart for leaving. If our dad was like you, you would have hated him too.”
“Mikey –“Ray started, stepping closer, but was cut off.
“You have no right to fuck up her life. And you know what? You –“
“Shut up”, Gerard growled, standing up. His fists were clenched and the look on his face was frightening. “I know I’m a fuck up. I know she has every right to hate me.”
The Way brothers looked like they were ready to rip each other’s heads off, and Ray and Bob prepared themselves to stop them if they tried anything. Frank was too busy explaining the stories behind the Barbie and the carousel to Tina and Patrick, who seemed more than confused by the whole situation.
Just on cue, when the situation was starting to get out of hand, they heard a car drive to the driveway.
Bob went to check who it was and came back looking relieved. “It’s the police.”
Lucas stared out of the train’s window. It was raining, and he was glad that he didn’t have to be out there in the rain. He felt Gia stir in her sleep against his shoulder and looked at her. Even in her sleep she looked troubled and worried.
Lucas sighed. He should have never convinced Gia to come along. Yes, she had trouble with her father, but for some reason it seemed to work for her. That or Gia was just excellent at faking. If Lucas had a father like that, he would have run away years ago, even if his father was the Gerard Way.
Looking out of the window again, Lucas noticed that the landscape had changed. The forests and nature had disappeared and buildings had replaced. They would soon come to another station.
He relaxed on his seat again when the train stopped at the station. Everything was okay, and things will remain that way. They’ll find a place to stay eventually and then they’ll live by their own rules, no stupid Tina to tell them what to do. No.
Right now, this moment, was gold. Birds singing, people rushing in and out of the train, a few police men walking around, talking to people, handing out fliers, families and lovers saying their good-byes on the platform... Wait, what?
Lucas mentally slapped himself. “How could I have been so stupid?” he gasped and shook the girl next to him awake. “Gia, wake up! We have to get off!”
“Not yet Frank, I want to sleep. I don’t even like the circus”, Gia complained in her sleep.
“Gia!” Lucas hissed. “Wake up!”
Finally she stirred from her sleep, and was immediately pulled up from her seat by Lucas. He grabbed both of their bags from the space above the seats and dragged her out of the train. It had already started moving a bit, and they managed to get out right before the doors closed.
“What is wrong with you?” Gia complained. She had nearly fallen down when they jumped out of the train.
“Never mind, just look normal and walk”, the boy said, took her hand and started walking away. One police was looking at the two of them curiously, and the last thing they wanted was the attention from a police.
When they got to a safe distance and out of sight, Lucas noticed the glare he got from Gia. “I’m sorry”, he finally sighed. “We just can’t risk getting caught.”
“You think those police men were looking for us?” Gia asked nervously. She hadn’t even thought of that.
“Not yet, it’s too soon. But I think we can forget about public transportation.”
“What? You’re saying we should walk?”
Lucas grinned. “Exactly. Oh come on, don’t look so miserable! It’s good exercise!”
“Are you saying I’m fat?” Gia frowned, but picked up her bag from the ground anyway and followed him. She could never be mad at him. Besides, he was the only person she had right now. And surprisingly, the thought of relying on someone as reckless as Lucas didn’t seem too bad.