Frank is officially assigned to Gerard. Jamia is conflicted.
The plan agreed upon, things actually went well for quite a while. Mikey took Gerard home and cared for him, and Frank and Ray both called in once a day to check on progress. As far as Mikey would tell them, everything was great. Gerard was slowly recovering, and spoke on very basic levels.
Meanwhile, Frank had to endure many a conversation with Jamia about the possibility of taking Gerard home to live with them.
This left Jamia in a slight predicament. She had always respected Gerard, and that was mostly out of her love for Frank. Jamia knew how much Frank loved Gerard, and their friendship was something to be reckoned with. She acknowledged all that, and from time to time, even supported it. However the little known fact remained was that she did not particularly like Gerard.
It was not anything he had done against her, or anything he had really done at all. She just did not particularly care for the way the boy presented himself. She also did not know him all that well, and she tried to keep that in mind. Some would even say, afterall, that she did very well dealing with someone who often had very sexual tendencies towards her own husband.
Yet Jamia only dealt with him well due to the fact that she did not have to deal with him very much at all. One could easily see how Gerard Way actually living in her home would pose a threat to this relationship.
Still how could she deny Frank, who now spent so much of his time worrying over what would become of his friend? And afterall, Gerard had done them many favors in the past. It would be certainly ungrateful of her to turn him away when he was in need.
And yet again, doing someone a favor and allowing someone to live in your home to be cared for were two entirely different things. Had Gerard simply asked for a few bucks, or for them to feed his dog for a few days, there would have been no questions or qualms about it.
Unsure of how to react, Jamia had merely hoped that Gerard would have a speedy recovery, and they would never have to deal with it -- for both their sakes.
Which is why she felt greatly dismayed on one lazy November afternoon, when her husband looked at her over dinner and said, "Mikey called today, he said it's time. He wants me to take Gerard."
"Why doesn't Ray do it?" was her immediate response.
Frank smiled slightly, seeming to choose his next words carefully.
"He feels that I have more of an initiative to take care of Gerard than Ray does."
"You also have less space and less income." Jamia tried to explain. "Think about this babe, it's not like were watching a cat or a dog. This is another human being, another mouth to feed! We already have three!"
"Jamia, if it's me he wants, I'm not going to turn him down." Frank said with such a finality in his voice, Jamia could only purse her lips and back away.
"I'm going to go get him on Tuesday. I already arranged the guest room." Frank sighed, "I know you're worried about the extra responsibility. You don't have to trouble yourself though, I know he's my problem. You do enough already."
Frank gave her what she supposed was meant to be an encouraging smile. Jamia forced herself to smile back, not daring to tell him he was not entirely correct in his assumptions.
They went back to eating dinner, and no more was said on the matter, although they both knew it was far from dropped.
Tuesday arrived faster than anyone had anticipated. Jamia prepared the house for an extra person, and Frank went to Mikey's to retrieve his new housemate.
When he arrived at Mikey's home, the younger Way looked quite ecstatic to see him. He did not allow Frank to see Gerard right away, and insisted he stick around for some chatter. Frank found this odd and insisted he take Gerard in haste, claiming he had business to attend to later that night. It was not actually true, but he found Mikey's behavior suspicious.
Sure enough, Mikey, after being backed into a corner, let out a solemn sigh and said "...Look, I haven't been entirely honest about Gerard's progress."
Frank stared at him, a sense of anxiety rising. How bad was his former best friend?
"Elaborate." he told him.
Mikey sat down on their maroon leather sofa, a beer in his hand, and encouraged Frank to imitate him. Frank did so, and Mikey lowered his voice, as if afraid Gerard might hear.
"He is recovering like I said, but his behavior has been a little...strange." Mikey said with hesitation.
Mikey turned around and shouted down the hallway, "Alicia honey, can you bring Gerard over here?"
A few minutes later, Alicia emerged. She had begun to show belly wise, and had an air about her that was quite radiant and glowing. Her eyes were aflame, her cheeks were flushed. She had gained a bit of weight, but it only served to compliment her, filling out what had always been a very thin frame.
However, her shining appearance provided a drastic contrast to the person who was behind her.
Gerard had his head bowed, his eyes plastered to his shoes. They had allowed his hair to be black again, but it was still the same length he had when it was newly red. He had many bags below his bloodshot eyeballs, and he looked nothing short of haggard. It was difficult to see much of him: he almost seemed to be hiding behind Alicia, as though fearful. His eyes flickered upward at Frank and Mikey very slightly, but he showed no sign of recognition.
"Sit down, Gerard." Mikey ordered his brother. With some hesitation, Gerard obeyed. He sat next to Mikey, his gaze remaining anywhere but up.
"Hey Gerard." Frank ventured.
He got no response from the boy. Mikey began to explain. "Don't worry. He isn't usually this quiet. Just around people he doesn't feel familiar with."
Frank seemed to want to interrupt, but Mikey held up a hand and asked for patience. "He hasn't been near you for some time, so this is normal. It's become obvious he does have some brain damage from the accident, we just haven't been able to asses how much yet, or whether it's permanent. He does seem to be getting better, so we're still hoping it's not."
"Well whats he like when he's talkative then?" asked Frank.
"He's still okay -- he's just, childish, in a sense." Mikey answered. "And... he gets pretty handsy sometimes."
"We think he's just vying for attention." Mikey shrugged, "We've taken him to a few doctors. I've written you a list of some potential therapists we havent been able to try yet."
"You are, of course, going to help out with him right?" Frank prodded Mikey. Mikey shifted uncomfortably.
"...I don't want to make you any promises, Frankie." Mikey told him.
"He's your brother." Frank said in a way that made Mikey flinch.
"Yes, but I also have a child on the way." Mikey argued.
"And I have two that are already born!" Frank reminded him, "Yet I'm still doing this for someone who isn't even family!"
"You always said we were all family." Mikey said crossly.
"That's besides the point. You know I love Gerard." Frank glared. "I'm just...surprised."
"I do know you love Gerard. That's exactly why I picked you to do this." Mikey told him.
Frank sighed and looked at Gerard again, who was looking incredibly bored.
"Alright Gerard, I guess it's time to go."
Gerard looked up at him but did not budge. Alicia reappeared, bringing along duffle bags full of Gerard's things.
Mikey turned to Gerard, running a hand through his hair.
"Gee, you have to go with Frankie now, okay? He'll take good care of you, just like we talked about."
Gerard stared back at him and whispered softly, "...I don't want to leave..."
"It's going to be okay, I promise." Mikey kissed the shorter boy on the forehead, and rubbed his back soothingly. Gerard looked like he was on the verge of tears, and he reached out and clung to Mikey's shirt.
Alicia came in to intervene, pulling Gerard off of his brother, who just held on tighter.
"I don't want to go, I don't want to go!" Gerard began to mutter repeatedly.
"I'll see you soon Gerard, don't worry!" Mikey kept trying to reassure him.
Gerard was fully crying by the time he separated from his brother, and Mikey immediatley distanced himself by going to put the bags in Frank's car.
Alicia embraced Gerard, muttering soothing reassurances in his ear. Frank watched the display, wondering just what the hell he had gotten himself into.
When Mikey was finished, there was nothing more to be done. Gerard was dragged to the car, and placed in the passengers seat. Mikey and Alicia both gave Frank a small hug, and wished him luck.
"One more thing." Mikey said just before he went back inside his house, "He has alot of nightmares. Be sure to keep an eye on him at night."
Frank nodded uncertainly, and Mikey disappeared. Frank got into the drivers seat, and looked at Gerard, wondering if it would be of any use to reassure him verbally. Frank felt that he himself could use the reassurance. It was he, after all, who assumed he could do this job because of how well he knew Gerard. He had dealt with Gerard through episodes of trauma before, such as his addiction withdrawals and depressions. He knew what to watch out for, he knew when Gerard was feeling sad or angry. He knew how to make Gerard smile, and how to cheer him when he cried.
Yet as he looked at Gerard now, his eyes full of hurt and confusion, he felt unsure that this was the Gerard Way he knew at all.
Next chapter: Adjusting to a new home.