Gerard sends Frank a message.
Gerard told Mikey about turning down the waiter, and Mikey had enwrapped him in a tight bear hug for a full two minutes, telling Gerard how proud he was. It reminded Gerard heavily of the days of his alcoholism recovery.
Despite Frank being gone, Gerard began feeling a lot better about himself. He had to admit, he did not miss the person that had been lurking silently in the dark corners of the bus, throwing him accusing glances. He had never thought it had affected him till now, yet feeling constantly watched had taken more of a toll on him than he realized. Mikey and Ray had also been taking many measures to make sure Gerard was happy and doing well, which he appreciated greatly.
However, there was something he did miss. Something that left a hole in his heart, no matter how accomplished or happy he felt. And that was his best friend.
It was perhaps for this reason that he felt such motivation to better himself to begin with. On one hand, he wanted to prove Frank wrong. On another hand, he craved for Frank's respect once more.
It baffled him, really. One would wonder why he cared so much. As far as he was concerned, Frank had acted like a real asshole. Had it been anyone else, Gerard would have shunned them for life.
Perhaps he appreciated Frank more now that he had been to the lowest of the low, as far as men go. Even if he could never really have Frank, perhaps he wanted the idea that someone like Frank could still love him.
Still, there was no point in proving Frank wrong if he did not know about it.
So, once he got a breather away from Mikey's coddling, Gerard opened up his email account and began to type up a new message:
Since you're not answering anyone's phone calls, you leave me no choice but to resort to this. I'm going to go ahead and apologize to you for anything I said or did that might have hurt you in the past month or so. I never meant for you to get involved in my little problem, but I know you were trying to look out for me, and I do appreciate that.
The truth of it all is, the divorce with Lindsey hurt me more than I was willing to admit. Not only to you guys, but to myself. I panicked and handled it badly, and that's no one else's fault but my own. It's not Bert's fault, it's not Lindsey's fault, its mine.
I really just...wanted to feel loved again.
While I know you and the guys care and everything, I missed that special kind of love. God, that sounds gay. But it's true.
Anyway, I hope you'll accept my apology for my behavior. I should have seen that what I was doing would affect you guys too. It was selfish, and I never wanted to drive any of you away. Trust me Frankie, you mean a lot more to me then the best fuck in the world. Which is why I've turned down any recent offers that have come my way. I'm ready to be the old Gerard again, before Lindsey broke me. I don't know when you're coming back, Frankie but I promise you'll be proud of me when you do.
I miss you.
Gerard read it a hundred times over. Feeling like there was nothing more that could be added, he took a deep breath and sent the email on its way. He shut off his laptop and prayed that he'd hear from Frank soon --- he knew the wait was going to be murder.
And he was right.
Gerard constantly refreshed the email app on his iPhone for the next few days, and the weeks after that. He would hold his breath each time it would say "checking for mail", and feel a terrible sense of disappointment when nothing from Frank was received. An entire month passed in excruciating silence.
Eventually, Ray began to try to contact Frank as well, just for different reasons. They could not stay in this town much longer, just to wait for someone who showed no signs of even wanting to return. Eventually, they had to go home.
This caused Gerard to become all the more anxious to hear from Frank. Home was the last place Gerard wanted to be. There was nothing at home except reminders of someone who he was supposed to grow old with. He figured the only reason he had been able to refrain from fucking men's brains out was because at least he was surrounded by friends and away from that whole nightmare. If they went back home, and Gerard was left alone to dwell in an empty house, he would surely lose his mind.
He did not want to bother Mikey although Mikey had propositioned the idea. Both he and Ray had done enough for him for the past month or so. Gerard felt like it would be even more selfish of him to ask for any more favors.
After about two weeks, he became desperate. While he still did not want to ask Ray or Mikey, there was one person who he had been tempted to ask.
"Hey Gee." came the familiar voice on the other line.
"Hey.. do you think..."
Gerard hesitated. It only occurred to him then that Frank would be even more ticked if he found out about this. Still, Gerard knew Bert was a good guy. And at this point, he was beginning to lose more and more hope that Frank was ever speaking to him again.
"..do you think you could stay over at my place? Maybe in about a week or so?"
Silence. Gerard regretted the question instantly. But just before he was about to take it back, Bert finally replied, "...yeah. That's fine."
"Thanks. You're the best." Gerard grinned. He hung up the phone and crashed on his bunk.
He could not wait around for Frank forever, he figured. He knew Frank had gotten the message. If he did not want to accept the apology, then that was fine. Sad, but fine. Bert would take good care of him, anyway.
Gerard comforted himself with that idea before falling asleep, also noting that he suddenly had a rather harsh sore throat.
Next chapter: Gerard comes down with a strange flu. Bert is left to take care of him, but is concerned about a variety of things.