Tired of being avoided, Gerard backs Frank into a corner.
Chapter Sixteen: Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Will Break Something Else.
Ray sat on his bunk, as he watched Frank pace back and forth in front of him. With all the attention on Gerard at the moment, it had been hard to notice -- but Frank was obviously angrier than they had originally thought. He had become more and more secluded himself, and it began to worry Ray. So he decided to try and have a chat with him.
He had thought it would be a challenge, getting Frank to talk about what was really bothering him. Yet he had thought wrong. Frank began ranting within minutes.
"It's fucking Bert!" he kept repeating, "How many years did we not like that guy for again?"
"It's in the past, Frank! The point is, he's trying to help Gee now..." Ray tried to reason with him.
"No, fuck that! How do we not know that he has something up his sleeve?" Frank challenged.
"That's what we thought last time, and we just ended up making idiots of ourselves!" Ray argued, "Face it Frank, you're just..."
Ray trailed off. He never really spoke on the issue of Gerard and Frank, as it was always an awkward topic. Before, he never assumed they would have to deal with it since Gee and Frank had both gotten married. Now that Gerard had become divorced, the issue was getting harder and harder to avoid. It seemed inevitable, and Ray just regretted that he had not seen it coming sooner.
"Just what, Ray?" Frank gave him a look that dared him to say it.
"You're jealous Frank!" Ray blurted out, "We all fucking know it! Just admit it and put aside your petty fucking issues! Gerard needs you right now!"
Frank stood there for a moment, seeming extremely shocked that Ray had actually pointed out the elephant in the room. Instantly, he found himself backing away from it.
"I am not jealous." he said bluntly.
"Oh for fuck sakes..." Ray rolled his eyes.
"Gerard is the one being an idiot here. Throwing himself at these --- these people!" Frank lowered his voice. "If you really think about it, this whole HIV thing is kind of his fault..."
"Excuse me?!?" Ray threw Frank the most disgusted look either of them had ever seen.
"Well if he hadn't been fucking around with these people in the first place, he wouldn't fucking be in this mess!" Frank explained.
"He was fucking raped!" Ray hissed at him, his anger clearly rising.
"Would never have happened had he just stayed here!" Frank snapped.
"Right! Here! With you! His owner! His fucking married owner!" Ray laughed bitterly.
"Yes! Here! Away from Bert! Bert and people like Bert!" Frank yelled.
"People like me, Frank?"
Ray and Frank snapped their heads to the door. Gerard was standing there, his arms folded, looking at Frank with eyes full of hatred and hurt. They were both shocked to see him there at all. He was supposed to be doing a radio interview, while Mikey was out shopping.
"Interview was cancelled." Gerard answered their question automatically. "Ray, why don't you go get some coffee? I think Frank and I need to talk. "
Ray looked between the two, nodded, and walked off, patting Gerard on the shoulder as he walked past him. He wondered how much of that conversation he had heard. He almost did not want to know.
"What the FUCK is your problem?" Gerard growled at Frank, his voice shaking with anger.
"Gerard." Frank said meekly. "I'm sorry. I never meant for you to hear tha --- "
"Well I fucking heard it! I heard everything!" Gerard yelled at him, "So why don't you just fucking tell me anything else you need to say while you're at it, and fucking face me like a man for once?!? Fucking coward!"
Something in Frank's eyes flared. He did not like being called a coward.
"I'll face you like a man when you start fucking acting like one!" Frank roared, "But you're not a man, are you Gerard? You're just Bert's fucking bitch! Always was, always will be!"
"Can't you think of anything but fucking Bert in this situation?! God, you're pathetic!" glared Gerard.
"Bert is the reason we're in this situation! You only started slutting yourself out when you started fucking talking to him again!"
"How the fuck would you even know that?" Gerard countered.
"You're right, I guess I wouldn't, because the only person you ever fucking tell anything to is Bert!"
"Fucking bullshit Frank! You stopped paying me any mind FAR before Bert came along! You're the one that shunned me, and you're just doing it again now!"
"You want me to start talking again?" Frank crossed his arms.
"It would be a fucking step forward, yeah!" Gerard nodded.
"Then I forbid you to talk to Bert. At all." Frank said sternly.
"YOU'RE JUST JEALOUS!" Gerard screamed, furious.
"Jealous of what? Don't fucking flatter yourself Gerard. You don't mean shit to me anymore."
Frank regretted it the moment he said it. They were both shocked by the statement, and they stood there staring at each other for a long time. Looking at each other fearfully, like two children who had just broken their mother's favorite vase. Yet instead of a vase, it was Gerard's heart that was shattered at their feet.
He should apologize, he knew. Explain that he hadn't really meant it. Yet a good part of him was still consumed with anger. Opening his mouth to speak would possibly only result in further damage. Unable to look upon Gerard's hurt expression any longer, Frank decided it was time for him to leave.
He brushed past Gerard silently. Ray sat on the couch of the bus, watching Frank pack a few things into a bag. Frank knew Ray must have heard the exchange. He wondered if Ray would stop him. If he would be the one to cease this madness. Ray had more maturity than all of them put together. He was the man with the plan, after all. He could have done something.
Frank took one last look at Gerard before he went. Gerard was standing in the same position, in the same spot he had been when they had been talking. He sighed and left without a word to either of them.
As he walked into the sidewalk, once the door closed, he heard a loud explosion of wails and sobs come from inside the bus. Frank put on his headphones, blocked out the sound with some Black Flag, and began walking to god knows where. He just knew he could no longer be in the same place as that boy -- that beautiful boy -- possibly ever again.
Next chapter: Gerard tries to cope without Frank, but there's only so much one person can take.