Gerard begins to feel the effects of his illness.
I walk back into Gerard’s room, he's crying again and I can clearly hear his ragged, panicked breathing, which is occasionally interrupted by a terrified whimper.
"Oh, Gerard..." I sigh as I put a hand on his shoulder. He flinches slightly at the touch but does not pull away, so I pull him into a tight hug.
We stay like this for a long time, his face pressed against my now tear soaked t-shirt and my arms wrapped firmly around his shaking body.
"Shh, you're gonna be okay, I promise." I murmur, even though I know I can't promise anything. I don't think he's going to say anything for a while, then he says quietly.
"Only if you stay with me, Frank."
"I'll never leave you." I whisper back, before kissing his greasy hair.
This seems to calm him down a little and we stay like this until he, exhausted, falls asleep against my chest. I stay with Gerard all night, I expect someone to come in and tell me I can’t stay all night, but no one comes. Except a guy called Doctor Grant. He comes into the room around midnight and replaces the bag of liquid on Gerard’s IV stand, with another bag of liquid, saying it's the first stage of his treatment. Eventually I go to sleep, still in my chair, my head resting on the side of Gerard’s bed, it's an extremely uncomfortable
position, but I'm to tired to care.
I'm woken when light filters through the thin hospital curtains, Gerard is still asleep. I still haven't forgotten about Mikey, I do wonder who he is; I guess I'll just ask Gerard, but not now. I have important things to think about. Like telling the police. Although I have been reluctant to say anything to the police before, I'm starting to change my mind.
Gerard has a life threatening illness, and the thought of the people who did this to him just sitting somewhere getting away with it makes my blood boil, mind, this might not be the best time, the stress of a police investigation might make his illness worse. But then I can't let them get away with it... I figure I'll just ask Gerard, if he says no, that's it, we won't do anything else about it, at least not until he's got better. "But what if he doesn't get better?" Says the voice in my head before I can stop it. No. He will get better. He has to get better.
My internal debate is cut short when Doctor winters walks in. "Have you been here all night?" She asks me.
"Yeah.." I reply.
"Hmmm, visitors aren’t actually allowed to stay overnight."
"I'm sorry, I just couldn't bear to leave Gerard alone when he was so scared."
"Well since it's his first night I'm prepared to let it slip." She says, giving me a small, knowing smile. Speaking of Gerard, the man has begun stirring awake.
"Hey, sleepyhead." I greet him, only realising after I've said it, what a dumb nickname it is.
"It hurts." he mumbles, then closes his eyes again, frowning in pain.
"What’s wrong? Where does it hurt?" I ask him hurriedly. Gerard swallows, opens his eyes, blinks heavily, and then looks up at me.
"Stomach.." He says, and then gasps in pain. I see his body curl up into a ball under the covers.
"Yes, you will experience stomach pains. I'll give you some pain killers." Says Doctor Winters. I'd almost forgotten she was there. Doctor Winters does give him pain killers, and she stays in Gerard’s room for a long time, explaining to us about his illness and the medication, which he could have to take for up to a year. It seems like she's done telling us about the illness, but she has one more thing to say.
"Now Gerard," She starts off, "I'm going to have to tell the police about what happened to you, but I have to check that you're okay with it first."
"Police? Why?" Gerard asks, he looks confused, bless him.
"Well, someone’s made you very ill," I say, choosing my words carefully. "We can't just let them get away with it."
"No, you're right, we can't." He says.
"So, do I have you're permission?" Asks Doctor Winters.
"Yes," He says, but something seems to still be bothering him. "But, will they like, want to ask me questions?" He asks. Doctor Winters sighs.
"Yes, someone will want to ask you questions. I will tell them that a stressful police investigation could heed your recovery, so it will only be one person talking to you. If you want them to leave at anytime you just tell me." Thankfully, Gerard seems reassured by this.
"Okay." He says.
"Great." says Doctor Winters, then she smiles at us both, before leaving. Gerard stays at the hospital for the next couple of days, he's quite thin already, but he refuses to eat, claiming he's lost his appetite. I go home at nighttime to sleep but apart from that I spend most of my time with Gerard at the hospital.
A lot of the time he's asleep, and when he is awake, he's either suffering from his stomach aches, throwing up, (yet another symptom of Hepatitis C) or he's delirious from painkillers.
One day when Gerard is actually awake, not in too much pain and aware of everything that's going on around him. I'm sitting in my chair next to his bed, while he bites and chews on his nails. "I'm bored." Gerard announces.
"Well what you wanna do?" I ask.
"I wanna draw something... I used to be an artist, y'know, before..."
He trails off.
"Wow, you were an artist?" I can't help but sound a more than little
"Yeah" He says, looking down at his hands, face reddening. I decide I
have to see some of Gerard’s art work, how though?
"Well then, in that case I have an idea." I say mysteriously, getting up.
"Where are you going?" He asks, frowning up at me.
"Just out, I'll be back in an hour or two." I say, as I put my jacket on, then kiss his flushed cheek, and step out the door. I don't know why I kissed his cheek, it just seemed really right at that moment. I shrug as I get in to my car.
When I get to the art store, it's almost deserted on this... Fuck. I don't even know what day it is. I look through the isles until I find what I'm looking for; a sketchpad and a pack of pencils. Perfect.
I go to the till to make my purchase. The young man at the till has sandy blonde hair and tanned skin. "That'll be twenty-two pounds fifty please." He says. Fuck, that's expensive, I sigh, I should probably get a job, and the money I inherited off my granddad won't last forever.
“Thank you." says the clerk as I take my bag of items. He was so checking me out, I think to myself as I walk away and out of the store. He was kind of cute, I could go back there, get his number... Nah, he wasn't that cute. And besides, I have to get back to Gerard; he'll be wondering where I've got to.
When I get back to the hospital I find Gerard in the same place that I left him.
"Frank!" He says as I walk into the room, a smile playing on his lips
"Hey.. Oh look Gerard, there's pee in your pee bag!" I observe merrily while pointing at the bag attached to the side of Gerard’s bed, before dissolving into fits of giggles. Oh god, I can be such a child sometimes. I'm red in the face from laughing when I sit down beside Gerard
"Fraaa-aank!" He whines, face in hands, although I can see he's holding back a laugh. He tries smacking me playfully on the arm, but he's so weak it might as well have been a butterfly flying into me.
When we both calm down, Gerard leans back against his bed with a tired smile on his face. "I needed that." he says.
"Yeah, me too." I say, because really, I can't remember the last time
I laughed like that. "Oh! Yeah, I have something for you." I almost forgot.
"What is it?" He asks, looking at me with his big hazel eyes. I pull the sketchpad and pencils out of the bag.
"Just because, I know you're an artist, and you must be bored in
here.. So yeah..." He stares at the sketchpad, his mouth making an 'O'
shape. Then it turns into a wide grin.
"Thank you so much Frank! It’s perfect I love it!" He beams, before hugging me tightly, and then inspecting his new sketchpad gleefully.