The half empty cup of coffee in front of him had become cold a long time ago, and the ashtray next to him had been filled with ash and cigarette butts. Gerard had been sitting outside for a long time, just smoking and staring into the bright new day.
“Aren’t you cold?” Lindsey asked, sitting next to him.
Gerard quickly butted out the cigarette he had been smoking, and swatted away the smoke so Lindsey wouldn’t have to breathe it. “No. And you shouldn’t be out here.”
“You’ve been out here a long time… Were you thinking about last night?”
Stupid question, really. What else could have made him so troubled? “Is she still asleep?”
“I think so. I haven’t tried to go talk to her. And anyway, I don’t think she would want to talk to me. I’ll go offer her some breakfast soon though.”
Gerard nodded. Lindsey really hated seeing him like this. He tried so hard to keep his daughter safe, and if he could have, he would have started everything all over again. But he couldn’t help it. Everything that has happened between the two of them couldn’t be erased. And it was obvious that they couldn’t work around it. They had tried, but it just wasn’t working.
Lindsey took his hand gently, in attempt to comfort him. “It’s not… entirely your fault.”
Sighing, Gerard stood up. “I think I’m going to take a shower or something,” he said and without another word, went inside. The way he was acting made Lindsey even more worried. Usually he would even talk to her about what was on his mind, but now he obviously didn’t want to. Maybe he was still processing it all. Or maybe he was just afraid to confess what he was thinking about.
While Gerard was in the bathroom, sitting on the edge of the bathtub, thinking, Lindsey went back upstairs to check up on Gia.
The door wasn’t locked, but Lindsey knocked on it before opening it. The bed was neatly made like no one had slept on it. That wasn’t very surprising, seeing as Gia always made her bed after she’s woken up. It was already 11 AM, so Gia should be awake. Lindsey took a quick scan around the room, but it was pretty obvious that Gia wasn’t there. Jersey however was on the floor by the open window, sitting like he was waiting for something.
It didn’t take her long to put two and two together. Sighing deeply, she went back downstairs as fast as he possibly could with the growing stomach, and went to knock loudly on the bathroom door.
“Gerard! Get out!”
“Go use the other bathroom, I’m taking a shower,” he replied.
“It’s not that! Gia’s not in her room!”
The door opened so fast that Lindsey was sure that it would fall out of its frames. Gerard (who obviously hadn’t been taking a shower judging by his fully dry clothes and hair) had a panicked look on his face.
“What?!” he shouted, running up the stairs to his daughter’s room. “Oh no, not again!”
Jersey tilted his head in wonder when Gerard walked to the open window and groaned.
“Okay, what are the chances that she’s gone off to California?” he asked Lindsey once she got to the room also.
“I’d say pretty slim. Her wallet is here, she took no clothes… And besides, don’t you think she would’ve taken Jersey?”
“I’m going to call Lucas,” Gerard announced.
“Shouldn’t you try to call Gia first?”
“True. Get me my cell phone. No wait, you’re too slow, I’ll get it myself.”
Once again, Lindsey followed her husband slowly while he was practically bouncing on the walls. When she got downstairs, he was already on the phone.
“She’s not answering,” he said, and chose another number from the phone’s memory.
It took a while for Lucas to pick up the phone, but when he did, he didn’t sound too happy. “What?”
“Lucas! Has Gia called you?”
“She did call a few hours ago. Why?”
“Did she tell you where she was going?”
“Oh come on! I know you hate me but do you really have to call just to mock me?! I know she was going on a date with that creep from her –“
“Yeah, he doesn’t know either,” Gerard said to Lindsey, hanging up the phone. “Oh my god, I bet he has something to do with this! Or that Ryan kid. Oh, I knew he was up to no good!”
Lindsey rolled her eyes.
“And don’t you roll your eyes at me! Don’t teach the baby any bad habits.”
“Oh, now you decide to be all caring and parenting?” Lindsey snapped.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?!”
“It means that you can’t exactly give me any parenting advice after you’ve just made your daughter run away. AGAIN!”
Thankfully the fight ended before it even started when there was a ring on Gerard’s phone. His heart started beating faster, thinking that it could be Gia, but the number on the screen was unknown. He pressed the green button nervously, and answered.
“Hello, is this Gerard Way?”
“Have you any relation to Gia Way?”
“She’s my daughter. Why?”
Gerard’s panic started to rise again, and Lindsey waited impatiently to find out who was on the phone.
“I’m calling from the Belleville police department, we found your daughter last night, and because of the high alcohol level in her blood and the broken arm, we took her to the ER. I believe she was in a car crash.”
“Oh god,” was all Gerard could say. Well, at least now he knew she was alive.
“What is it?” Lindsey asked worriedly as soon as Gerard hung up.
“This is all my fault. I’m a horrible, horrible person,” Gerard said, sitting down as his knees suddenly felt very weak.
“What? What is it?” Lindsey repeated.
Gerard shook his head. “She’s at the ER. Car crash. Alcohol. I need to go pick her up.”
“I’ll go with you. You can’t drive like that. You’ll just put both of you in danger.”
When Gerard realized that he’d have to face his daughter, actually speak to her, after everything that’s happened, he suddenly got the feeling that he didn’t want to see her. That only boosted the belief that he was a horrible parent and person.
The ride to the emergency room was spent in silence, and Gerard being aware of the fact that it was all because of him. He was just now beginning to realize that for the past half-a-year or so, he had been living a make-believe world.
Things weren’t okay. Far from it. Gia had kept everything bottled inside, had all of this pain, and as her father, Gerard was supposed to make it better. But did he even notice? Of course not. And what did his ignorance lead to?
“Gerard, we’re here,” Lindsey said gently, breaking him free from his thoughts.
Hesitantly, Gerard got out of the car and followed her, not saying a word, until they got to the room where they had been directed to.
Gia’s bed was the one on the far left, by the back wall. The bed was partly hidden by the curtain, and as they approached it, Gerard started to dread seeing his own daughter’s face.
The first thing he noticed was the cast covering her hand and arm. Then his attention turned to her face. In her sleep, she looked peaceful. But the cut on her cheek, and the obvious signs of being drunk all night made the peaceful front shatter.
This is how he had made her. This is the outcome of every mistake he’d done.
Somewhere in his mind Gerard did realize that things could be worse. At least she was alive. At least she hadn’t taken drugs. At least he knew where she was now.
But right now, the only thing mattered was that he had to get away. He was a changed man, running away didn’t mean getting drunk or high anymore, but he still needed to run away.
“I don’t think I can be here,” he said to Lindsey and she didn’t protest. It was his sanity at line, and if he couldn’t deal with this right now, then he shouldn’t be forced to.