As the rest of my family goes inside I pull Frank aside. I just don’t want to awkwardness to continue. It’s not like us and if he’s spending the night this can’t go on. Taking a deep breath I lay my hand on his chest.
“Frank Anthony Iero,” I start our eyes locking together. “I’m sorry for what I said. It wasn’t right. I was just upset that even after you promised you’d be there for me you got up and left. Do you hate me?”
Frank laughs, kissing my forehead, “Never, now let’s go inside and eat.”
I allow him to lead me inside. Gerard is waiting and directs us towards the back of the dimly lit restaurant. I don’t let go of Frank’s hand, not even when we sit down. He’s my protection blanket. If he dies I die…simple as that. Despite our disagreements and sometimes major fights Frank and I have always been friends and I plan on keeping it that way.
Instead of ordering anything I take samples of everyone else’s stuff, finally deciding I like Gerard’s the best. We fight over who is going to get the last bite but in the end I win. He’s in a much better mood than I’ve seen him in a while.
Mikey is leaning on his hand looking barely awake. I hope he snaps out of this drinking thing. It’s stupid and I miss the old Mikey terribly. Maybe now that Garry is behind bars and I’m going back to school he’ll improve. I’m really not in the mood to baby sit my eighteen year old cousin.
Once the bill is paid Frank and I head out to the car while everyone else stays at the table to chat. The two of us sit on the hood of the car, looking up at the stars.
“I’m sorry I got up and left,” he says quietly, his fingers intertwined with mine.
“I understand. Are you going to tell me why though?”
Frank stops breathing. What is he keeping from me? Why the hell won’t he just go ahead and say what’s on his mind? Sometimes he can be so frustrating.
“Maybe not right now Amber but later, I promise.”
“Can you keep that one?”
“Can you wait till Christmas break?”
“If I have to, I suppose. Is there anyone new at school?” I ask.
If I’m going back I’d like to know what I’m getting into. I’ve been away for what feels like forever.
“Just one person,” answer Frank keeping more secrets from me.
We hop off the hood as everyone comes out.
Frank only goes back home to change out of his suit and into his pajamas. I take advantage of this time to ask Donna something that’s been eating away at me since mom left.
I understand that business trips sometimes go on for a week but mom has never been gone this long. Aunt Donna and Linda seem to be talking a lot recently as well as giving me a lot of sympathetic looks.
Once I’ve changed into a night shirt I head downstairs, catching Donna in the middle of a television show. I don’t much care if she’s enjoying it or not. I turn the TV off and just stand there, looking at her. I’m almost afraid to hear the answers to my questions but that doesn’t stop me. I need the truth. All this keeping things from me is bullshit.
“Aunt Donna, when is my mom coming home?”
She just looks at me blankly for a while, “She’s probably not sweetie.”
This is exactly what I didn’t want to hear. What happened to her? Why the hell have people been keeping things from me? She’s my mother; I have a right to know what’s going on with her.
“She didn’t leave for a business trip, Amber. She left for Russia. I found the note she left explaining how she just couldn’t take it anymore. She felt like she lost her little girl. It’s a terrible thing for a mother to do but I couldn’t stop her Amber,” Aunt Donna explains as I stand there, too numb to do anything.
Frank comes in the back door, moving to hug me. He has not clue what is going on. I’m glad he’s spending the night. I need him. He’s the one person I know won’t walk out on me. He’s seen me at my worst and is willing to stick around and wait for my best. I guess my mom just got impatient.
“What happened Amber?” Frank asks once we are upstairs and under the covers.
I snuggle up as close to him as possible, “She left…my mom…she left for Russia.”
Instead of saying anything Frank just nods, petting my hair. In the end I’m glad he says nothing. I just want time to think. Does she love me? Was the decision hard? I decide that both of those questions can be answered with a yes. If my mother hadn’t of loved me she wouldn’t have stuck around for so long.
In the end I guess things just got too hard. I don’t resent her. Sure, I’m a little upset and angry but I’ll never hate her. My mom saw me through the troubled times and thus completed her job as a proper mother. Now, with me only two months away from my eighteen birthday, she decided it was time to cut the chord.
“Will you drive me to school the first day?” I ask Frank hoping he hasn’t fallen asleep.
“Of course, if you want me to. I’ll pick you up at seven thirty. Most unfortunately school still starts at seven forty-five.”
I laugh not exactly sure why I found his comment to be funny. Maybe I just felt like laughing. My therapist told me that doing things like that help. I think I needed it after everything today. First the trial then the news about my mom, I’m surprised I've not broken down into a sobbing mess. I think Frank being around has helped a lot.
“How are you?” Frank asks.
“Exhausted but not enough to sleep, there is too much going on in my head. I’m glad they put Garry away. I hated having to tell the story again but I think putting it out there made me feel a little better. Like now it’s out for everyone to hear it’s a little less weight I have to carry around,” I explain hoping Frank gets it.
“Why didn’t you want them to give him the treatment?”
It’s not something I had to think about. No one deserves that…not even a bastard like Garry, “Because one day he’ll find someone special and even though he hurt me I don’t want him to not be able to make someone very happy…I don’t want to rob him of the ability to have children.”
Frank looks frustrated with me, “He assaulted you and you still think he can find a wife? Amber, people like Garry don’t just do that shit once.”
I fully support my decision and I won’t have Frank planting doubts in my head, “No Frank. Garry made a mistake. I can tell he regrets it. I can tell because I know him and when he started to choke up…he’s a bastard and a million other bad names but he’s not going to become a serial rapist. For him this is a one time deal.”
“How can you know that?”
I sigh, this is the only thing that makes me wonder if I did the right thing and it was an after though, a thought that started budding during dinner, “I can’t...but even after all the bad things he’s done I still have faith that he can change?”
For a long while Frank is quiet, not saying a word, “How can you be so amazing...so forgiving, Ambo?”
Instead of answering I kiss his chin before turning on my side, back pressed against Frank’s chest, and close my eyes. Monday will bring school but for now I can sleep, comforted by Frank’s warm body.
Note: So what do you think? I'm pretty proud of this chapter. Bad_Romance, I put in the promise he broke so you can remember now. Haha. :)