Pedicone's poor judgment hurts Frank more than any other member of the band. Gerard tries to help him through the night.
"That was great, guys! You guys did fucking awesome."
"Naw, man - you were the best! You nailed those solos."
Ray shrugged and smiled sheepishly at Frank's compliment. "Thanks."
Going backstage after shows had always been Frank's favorite part of the night. The minutes that went by while the adrenaline finally wore off was when he felt that the band was closest - everyone grinning and patting each other on the back, wiping the sweat off their foreheads and hugging one another.
Frank spotted Gerard standing nearby gulping down a bottle of water.
"Gerard! You were amazing tonight, man!"
Gerard grinned and returned Frank's tight embrace. "When am I ever not amazing?" he teased.
Frank punched the taller's arm with a "Fuck you."
"Hey, where's Pedicone?"
Frank shrugged. "Dunno. He's probably outside having a smoke or something. Lemme go check." He headed for the back door while Gerard joined the rest of the band on the other side of the room.
Frank pushed the door open and inhaled deeply as the fresh air hit his flushed face. He reached into his pocket and took out a pack of cigarettes, pulled one out with his calloused fingers and lit it. While he puffed out a cloud of smoke he absentmindedly wandered around the corner of the building to the parking lot. His eyes scanned the area, watching as hordes of fans struggled to get to their cars. As he glanced over to the back lot where the band's bus was parked, he caught a glimpse of a tattooed arm disappearing behind one of the vans. He frowned and began walking toward the bus. Once he was close enough to the vehicle to be able to see through the windows, he could tell at a glance that there was nobody on the bus.
Frank ran a hand through his hair in puzzlement. Perhaps he had just been imagining things. After all, he was exhausted from the touring they'd been doing and was in desperate need of sleep. He sighed and turned around to get back inside, but paused upon hearing a car door opening nearby. His heart skipped a beat - that was definitely not his imagination. Frank tossed his cigarette on the ground and stomped it out. He then retraced his steps toward the bus. His eyes darted aback and forth, searching for anything out of the ordinary. Then he saw it - one of the vans' back door was open.
He strode over to the back of the van and saw someone rummaging around in the trunk. The person, upon hearing Frank's footsteps, froze and slowly turned their head.
Frank thought his heart was going to drop to his feet and explode.
Pedicone paled and stuttered, "I-I, this isn't - it's not what it looks like-"
"I think," Frank said coldly, "this is exactly what it looks like."
"No, Frank - I d-didn't mean to, I'm not-"
Frank lost all control of his emotions. "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?" he bellowed. "WHAT MAKES YOU THINK STEALING FROM THE BAND IS ACCEPTABLE? I THOUGHT I TRUSTED YOU - HELL, WE ALL FUCKING TRUSTED YOU."
Pedicone flinched despite the fact that the other man was about half his size.
"Mike, we as a band are a family. We do not steal each other's belongings and WE DO NOT LIE TO EACH OTHER."
Pedicone blinked as a fleck of spit flew into his eye. "Frank, I'm sorry-"
"SORRY?" Frank almost laughed. "You think you can just say sorry and-"
"What's going on?"
Frank whirled around and saw Gerard, Mikey, and Ray walking toward him.
"What's all the yelling about?" asked Mikey.
Frank closed his eyes, trying to keep back tears of anger. "Guys, I-" his voice cracked. "I don't think we can trust him anymore."
"What are you talking about?" Gerard asked.
"Ask him." Frank motioned toward Pedicone standing behind him. "He's the one that was trying to steal from us."
Gerard narrowed his eyes. "Is this true, Mike?"
Pedicone glanced nervously at each of the four pairs of eyes glaring at him and nodded. He knew lying would be no good in a situation like this.
"You..." Gerard's voice was deathly quiet. "I thought I trusted you - we were thinking about letting you in as a permanent member of the band, but you just went and fucked everything up. YOU SON OF A BITCH, YOU-" Gerard lunged toward Pedicone.
Pedicone flinched and backed away but Mikey grabbed his brother's arm and held him back.
"Gerard, calm down." Mikey said sternly.
"Calm down...? How can you tell me to calm down when this fucker-"
"Mikey's right, Gee." Frank muttered. "He isn't worth our time."
Having remained silent all this time, Ray decided to speak up. "Michael, we all know what you did was wrong. All we want now is for you to just get out of our lives."
Gerard, who was still seething with rage, clenched his teeth and nodded in agreement.
"Please." said Frank. "Just leave."
Pedicone took one last look at the band and turned away. All four men hoped that was the last time they would ever see Michael Pedicone.
After he was out of sight, the men turned to go back inside, all of them except for Frank. He slumped onto the curb by the bus and put his head in his hands. His body began to shake from the chilly night air and his silent sobs. It seemed like he was always the one to become closest to those who would eventually break his heart.
He looked up at the stars through his tearstained eyes and whispered the single word that was constantly going through his mind.
Of course, nobody answered him. Frank shook his head and burst into another fit of tears. He wrapped his arms around his legs and rested his head on his knees. Soon enough he was out of tears so he just sat silently on the cold pavement with his eyes glued to his shoes. Even when he heard footsteps coming towards him he didn't raise his head.
Frank could tell it was Gerard who had just sat down on the curb beside him.
Frank shook his head.
Gerard sighed. "You're gonna get sick if you stay out in the cold like this."
"I don't care." Frank muttered.
"Well, I do."
Frank blinked but his eyes remained on the ground.
"Are you going inside or not?"
Frank shook his head.
"Then I'm staying out here with you."
Frank finally raised his head and looked at Gerard with his bloodshot eyes.
"You know we're all pretty upset-"
"Why is it always me?" Frank cut him off mid-sentence.
"I'm the one that's always hit the hardest. Why?"
Gerard sighed again. "You know what, Frankie? You may be the smallest one out of all of us, but I've never met anyone as tough as you are."
"You call crying tough?"
"There's nothing wrong with showing emotion."
Frank burst into tears again. Where all these tears were coming from, he had no idea. He wondered if anyone had cried so much that they died of dehydration. Maybe he'd be the first person in the world to die from crying.
He also found it fascinating that Gerard would have enough patience to sit by him and watch as he blubbered like a baby.
"See?" Frank cried out in frustration. "I'm just a fucking crybaby. I-"
Gerard hushed him and he fell silent. He scooted closer to the smaller man and wrapped his arms around him.
Frank buried his head in the other's shoulder, his body wracking from his sobs. His frustration at himself was only making him cry harder.
Gerard did his best to calm Frank and stroked his hair with one hand while rubbing his back with the other. "It's alright..."
"No it's not." Frank's voice was muffled by Gerard's shoulder.
Gerard took Frank's head between his hands and tilted it up so that their eyes met. "Yes it is." he said forcefully.
Frank began to shake his head but Gerard stopped him. "Then I'll make it better."
"How?" Frank sniffed. "It's not like anyone cares, or-"
He was cut off by Gerard's lips crashing into his. Frank froze for a split second; Gerard had caught him completely off-guard. But soon enough he eased into the kiss and his lips began to move in sync with Gerard's.
He was disappointed when Gerard pulled away, and blushed as the other brushed his tears from his cheeks. Only two seconds later though, their lips met again, and Frank couldn't help but smile as he felt Gerard's tongue running over his lower lip. He parted them slightly to allow him entry and moved his hand up to weave his fingers through the other's bright red hair.
This time, it was Frank who pulled away.
"Feeling better?" Gerard asked with a smirk.
Frank smiled and trapped Gerard in a tight hug.
"We should get on the bus - it's getting pretty late." Gerard stood up and held his hand out for Frank.
Frank nodded and took Gerard's hand. They walked quietly onto the bus and made their way to the bunks. The rest of the band came in as they were changing into more comfortable clothes.
Frank, now in pajamas, padded softly over to Gerard. "Gee?"
"Can I sleep in your bunk tonight?"
Frank grinned. "Thanks."
He crawled under the sheets up close to Gerard and put his arm around him. Gerard kissed the top of his head and slid his hand underneath Frank's shirt, making him shiver with delight. Frank slowly ran his hand up and down Gerard's chest and turned his head to meet the other's lips.
The two men would wake up late the next morning to complaints from Mikey and Ray about the loud noises that had been coming from the back bunk.
R/R Let me know what you thought about that.