Sleeping bag surprises, confessions, and Bee's fluffy purple dressing gown...FINAL CHAPTER, PLEASE R&R, GUYS!!
Chapter Thirty Two
Gerard’s point of view:
Sleep is such an amazing thing; a state where you step into a world that’s entirely your own, created by your hopes and dreams and fears, the potency of imagination. You can soar fearlessly across serene, dreamily pink sunset streaked skies that stretch eternally overhead, or dance recklessly across the deep indigo oceans that roll relentlessly below; no one there to intrude or judge. Just for a little while, you can lose yourself, body and soul, in the engulfing dreams or nightmares that let you forget the bittersweet hurt of reality and live in the world of dreams.
A world where you can act on impulse, a world where your feelings make sense, and a world where you can curl up and fall asleep beside the person you love.
But then you wake up. And…they’re still sleeping softly beside you.
I open my bloodshot, sleep-deprived eyes properly to the ebony swamped surroundings of Bee’s darkened room and blink bemusedly. There’s still overwhelming silence broken only by the soft, deep breathing of slumber and tears of icy rain dribbling down the cold windowpane, still the familiar and almost comforting scent of Bee’s jasmine perfume, still the shadowy, dimly artificial light of the grimy streetlamps that line the darkened, silent street outside the window.
And Frank is curled up beside me under the warmth of my sleeping bag, his hand curled up millimetres from mine almost as if we fell asleep holding hands, breathing softly, sweet and vulnerable, soft, dyed black hair falling lightly across his shadowed face in tiny tendrils of innocence.
I actually find the soft flesh of my forearm and pinch it, hard.
He’s still there. And now my arm really hurts. I seriously need to cut my nails.
Frank, my former best friend, subject of my stupidly impulsive and obsessive emotions, my 5’4 red eyeliner wearing biology partner, my saviour and now probably my biggest enemy is curled up beside me in. My. Sleeping. Bag. What the actual fuck?
Or…wait… is this his sleeping bag? Has my insanity actually transferred to my subconscious and made me start sleepwalking?
I turn over to check the colour of the sleeping bag in the dim streetlight that filters into the room in tentative fragments and come to the unlikely conclusion that it is in fact my blood red sleeping bag. And Frank is definitely in it.
And as far as I can tell, I’m not in some fucked up dream that my brain has decided to torture me with.
I look down and blink. Twice.
Frank’s still there, cuddled into the warmth of the red sleeping bag, chest rising and falling softly, breath gently brushing my cheek, warm and sweet and faintly caramel. His eyes are shut; dark, spiky lashes fanned out across the smooth ivory skin of his cheeks, lips parted slightly, pink and lightly chapped as if he’s been nibbling nervously at them.
He’s soft and sweet and vulnerable, curled up innocently beside me, smelling of guitar strings and caramel and coffee, gentle chestnut lingering on his silky hair…it tugs at my heart and reminds me of golden autumn sunsets and rusty swings, Halloween sweets, amber leaves and shy smiles, a wide-eyed boy with red eyeliner and a shy, lopsided smile that made my heart stutter, my cheeks flush…
No. I can’t go there.
I shake myself out of it, not allowing myself to carry on down the dangerously rambling path of nostalgic thoughts; if I allow myself to stumble much further down it, I’ll meet with the memories that tear at my heartstrings and gouge deep into my chest with rusty barbed wire spikes.
I can’t let myself stray back there again, or I’ll never find the way home and be lost in never ending twirling paths of deception.
But he’s so close and innocent, lying with his hair spread out across the pillow, chest rising and falling softly…
For the first time in ages, I let myself really feel the full strength of the potent emotions that tug and tear at my vulnerable chest when I think of the small, skinny, scruffy-haired misfit lying beside me; the same red-eyeliner wearing outcast that turned my whole world upside down; saving me and destroying me at the same time, opening my eyes to a brand new world and leaving my old stagnant existence forever.
I let my heart ache as I stare at his innocent, ivory skinned face, slanting cheekbones, silver lip ring and dark, spiky lashes. I let my spine shiver when his exhales tickle my lips, soft and sweet. I let my stomach churn with loss and longing and love that mingle and mix like oil and water.
I let myself wish I was curled up, breathing softly in his skinny arms, nose buried in his chest, inhaling the gently scents that linger on his skinny being.
I let myself love him, just for those broken few moments in the ebony night in the soft sound of rain, feeling the power of the emotions tear me apart and slice through my soul as I huddle as close as I can to his comforting warmth and familiar scents under the duvet, almost pretending…
What the fuck am I doing? I can’t let myself pretend things like that. I can’t let myself feel what I really feel or I’ll never get over it.
But as I look over at the innocent, softly breathing broken soul with spiky lashes and nibbled lips lying so close beside me, I know that I won’t get over it anyway.
Suddenly I can’t breathe; the soft, sweet smells of guitar strings and caramel choking me, burning at my throat and clogging up my airways so as I can’t draw a breath.
I scramble up, shoving the bedding off of me and stumbling blindly from the room, the past and the boy with russet eyes who constricts my lungs until I feel I can’t even draw the tiniest breath of the deafeningly silent air, stumbling desperately down the darkened staircase and pushing my way blindly through the house I don’t know, hands grappling for a door, any door, anything that will open out to the cool, dark air of the outside world where I can breathe.
The house is darkened with black shadows that seep into the corners and blur my vision, but I finally manage to find my way into the kitchen and push fumblingly out through the back door, into the cool, dark air of the rain and night; the icy air and teardrops of bitter rain burning into my bare skin like icy needles, but at the same time cooling and almost calming me as I lean shakily against the doorframe, staring out into the darkened, rain-soaked garden, taking deep, gulping breaths of the cold early morning air.
Once I’ve finally regained my trembling breaths and washed away the choking taste of Frank with the cold air that tastes lingeringly of decaying leaves and salty raindrops of the night, I turn back towards the house, only to be stopped abruptly as a wave of panic washes over me, constricting my lungs again, tighter and more painful than before, and I stop, gasping and massaging my frantic chest.
I can’t go back to the deafeningly silent bedroom and Frank’s warm, sleeping form cuddled up in my sleeping bag.
I just can’t, so I duck quickly into the hall to tug on my red converse and chuck my hoodie over my stripy pyjamas before going back out to the garden, shutting the door softly behind me on the silent house of darkness.
The garden is cool and damp and quiet, calmingly dark; only the faintest glimmer of the dull streetlamps’ glow filtering through the rain-drenched branches of the tall evergreen trees that stand unyieldingly in front of the flimsy wooden fence lining the garden.
Tentatively, carefully, I start across the dewy, rain-soaked grass, dully green in the dim light, towards a wooden loveseat hanging under two of the biggest evergreen trees in the corner, their damp branches curling protectively overhead, shielding the seat from the tears that fall so freely out of the ebony clouds.
Wearily, chest heavy with sorrow, I sit down on the cold, slightly damp wood of the seat, its ivy incrusted roof protecting me from the icy bullets that crash around me while I sit, safe and silent, staring up into the ebony sky and the crying clouds, the bitter night’s sky that seems to stretch on endlessly and eternally, wondering if such a thing as happiness really exists in this mangled world of hatred and broken dreams.
My far-away thoughts are suddenly broken by the sound of the back door opening, the sudden sound shattering the soft, calming silence of the rain soaking into the muddy ground at my feet, the gentle whisper of the bitter wind sweeping through the trees behind me, my eyes snapping abruptly towards the house and away from the inky black sky and its rainclouds.
A short, skinny figure with ruffled hair is hovering uncertainly in the doorway to the kitchen, peering out into the seeping rain and ebony night as if they’re searching for something, their breath curling up into the icy needles of drilling rain, nervous and frequent.
I hold my breath, hoping they won’t spot me huddled on the loveseat across the garden in my black hoodie and stripy red and black striped PJ bottoms, but moments later, they start across the wet grass, tentative and uncertain, just a faceless shadow in the darkened silence of the rain-soaked garden.
They’re no longer a faceless shadow; once I hear that voice, I know immediately the face behind the nervous shadow, the soul concealed by lashing rain and icy wind; and my heart races, stomach dropping at an alarming rate to the muddy, leaf strewn ground, palms suddenly clammy with trembling dread and adrenaline that courses through me like violent shocks of the icy rain I’m shielded from.
I can’t face him now, I can’t look at him without it breaking me, especially right now; I feel raw and vulnerable after exposing myself to the shattering power of the feelings I try so hard to forget, to leave behind but never can.
Every time I look into his greeny-russet eyes it tears a little bit of me away, gradually breaking me apart, until one day there’ll be nothing left of me, just a mangled mess of my own emotions and a lonely, broken skeleton. I can’t face him right now without it breaking me completely; I can’t look into his eyes and know that he doesn’t care, that he doesn’t want to be with me how I want to be with him.
I stay silent and will with all my might for him to turn away and go back into the house, leaving me alone in the dark in the rain to ponder my existence and regret the impulsiveness that demolished the fragile happiness that I felt for that tiny fragment of time.
“Gerard?” the voice is closer now, and his shadow’s right in front of me.
I duck behind my tangled raven hair, studying the muddy ground and my scruffy converse with grubby trailing laces as if they’re the most interesting thing in the world.
I daren’t look up into his eyes, willing him, willing him to leave so I can go back to being alone, where it’s so much easier to deny the truth and pretend it doesn’t matter, because it’s almost impossible to lie to yourself when the truth is staring right at you with wide, greeny-russet eyes that look at you so perceptively, like they’re x-raying my very soul.
“Gerard?” He asks softly, uncertainly and I feel the loveseat swing slightly as his weight sits down beside me on the cold, damp wood that splinters and moulders with ivy incrusted age.
“Why are you out here?” he asks nervously, his voice quiet and worried, and even without looking at him, I can tell he’ll be nibbling nervously at his lower lip. “It’s freezing.”
I shake my head wordlessly, refusing to look up at him and just huddling further into the minimal warmth of my hoodie, knowing if I look up, it will be fatal; I’ll never be able to go back to pretending I don’t care, when I care more than I’ve ever fucking cared before; when I care so much it feels like it’s slowly destroying me. So instead, I just stay silent, nibbling at the already raw, bitten down nails of my left hand and counting the decomposing leaves that shroud the dying grass at our feet.
I notice Frank’s not wearing any shoes; his skull socks soaked from his trek across the rain-drenched grass to reach me.
“Gerard?” he sounds uncertain, innocent concern tainting his shaky whisper.
“Please…please just go away.” I mumble from behind my curtain of scruffy hair, biting more viciously at my soft flesh and shuffling away from him.
“…Why?” Frank’s voice sounds very small and vulnerable through the falling rain and whispers of wind.
“It just…it’s easier that way, okay?” I reply dully, staring at the wet grass and trying to block out all gnawing emotion. “Let’s just go back to how it was before that stupid fucking biology project, when we didn’t even care the other existed.” I wince at how harshly my words echo into the bitter night, rupturing around the dusky garden into the tense silence, but I can’t take them back now.
“No.” Frank says quietly after a moment, much to my surprise.
“No?” I repeat, almost looking up in surprise but catching myself just in time.
“Not when I know neither of us really want that.” Frank says shakily.
“How do you know if I want that or not?” I say bitterly, tearing the ragged flesh of my hangnail and wincing as the sharp pain sears through my hand.
“Um…sorry…” Frank mumbles quietly, and I suddenly feel terrible, pure, jagged shards of guilt lodging in my throat at the hurt in his small voice.
I shake my head wordlessly, not trusting myself to speak and getting up off the damp wood, turning to go without even looking fleetingly at the shivering misfit beside me.
“Wait!” Frank says suddenly, grabbing my sleeve and pulling me back as I jump at the soft fingertips on my skin.
“What?” I mumble, hiding behind my hair to conceal my blush and unsteady heartbeat.
“Iwanttotalktoyou.” Frank says all in one nervous breath that curls up into the cold raven sky.
“Please…I really don’t want to talk.” I shake my head, hiding further still behind my hair, trying to eclipse the small, trembling shadow I can see out of the corner of my eye shivering on the seat beside me.
“I really need you to listen to me for just a second…and then I promise I’ll leave you alone if you really want me to…” Frank’s voice is choked with nerves and I can actually almost feel him shaking beside me on the seat. “Please, Gerard?”
“Fine.” I mutter, still staying hidden behind my hair and staring resolutely at the ground, trying to ignore the fact my heart’s thumping in my chest and my palms are clammy with sweaty adrenaline.
“Okay…” Frank says shakily. “Here goes…”
There’s silence and I hear him take a deep, shuddery breath
“Um, I love you.”
I blink. Twice.
My heart just about stops.
I look up, eyes wide, all fear forgotten, and see Frank’s eyes wide, fearfully russet and scared as he trembles uncontrollably beside me on the loveseat, hair damp from the rain, cheeks pink from the cold, biting his trembling lower lip anxiously, eyes darting apprehensively from me to the ground.
“What?” I whisper, heart now beating so hard I can almost feel the blood pounding in my ears, drowning out the soft, soothing sounds of the night.
“I…um…think I…um..love you….” Frank says, and blushes furiously, hiding behind his floppy fringe. “Like, as more than a friend…I know I’ve been an idiot about it all- I was too scared to admit it to myself for ages and I’m really, really sorry…I messed up big time and I really didn’t mean to hurt you and I know I’ve fucked it all up, but I just wanted you to know because I really care about you and I didn’t want you to think I hated you, and I…I really miss you, Gerard.”
I blink again bemusedly as he tails off from his nervous rambling, the tiniest little bubble of golden hope starting to slowly swell in my broken chest. “You mean….you like me like me?” I whisper disbelievingly.
Frank’s cheeks flush brighter still. “Umm …yeah.” I mutters, ducking behind his hair nervously “And I know you probably hate me now cause I’ve been so mean to you over the past few weeks, but…I don’t know..” he trails off, nibbling his lip and then takes a deep breath. “I just really wanted to tell you and I’d really like it if you still liked me, cause then…” he turns pinker still and breaks off, shaking his head.
The little bubble is swelling and swelling inside my broken, bruised chest, its warm, golden fluid healing all the raw injuries that have been punctured though my ribs and torn through the fragile strings of my heart. It swells through my entire body, brimming right over the edges until I can’t suppress the huge smile that breaks across my face, basking in the wondrous, light feeling of happiness as the gloweringly grey clouds of sorrow and anguish tentatively start to lift.
“I…I do still.” I say quietly, trying to bite back the overwhelming feel of happiness and the Cheshire cat beam as the little bubble bursts inside me, showering me in the warm glow like scattered stardust that suddenly illuminates my whole, messed up world.
Frank looks up at me in shocked disbelief, greeny-russet eyes wide and startling in the soft light, eyelashes spiky with droplets of icy rain that look like tears, disbelieving and uncertain as he surveys my smiling features.
“You-you…what?” he stutters chokingly, eyes wide and staring.
“I still like you.” I repeat, the wonderful, alive happiness making me feel fearless as the glowering grey clouds that loomed over my being for so long finally, finally lift, letting me feel light and free.
“You-you do?” Frank chokes, a small, shy smile creeping across his face, his eyes still wide with shock.
I nod, still grinning like a lunatic on lunatic pills, and then Frank’s beaming too, his eyes lit up, golden and russet and shining in the soft glow of the streetlamps that filter through the trees.
Then it’s all trembly hands with frozen fingers curling round each other, wide eyes and frantic hearts, and slowly, nervously Frank’s face edges closer to mine, eyes wide flooded with anxious uncertainty, but at the same time glowing, beaming happiness that radiates off him as he slowly draws closer and closer, hands trembling round mine.
The rain is still crashing around us, the air still icy and bitter, the night howling on, but we stand still in time, lost in our own little world of shaky hearts and wide eyes, drawing slowly, shyly closer; hardly able to believe the moment we’re in, not sure if it’s just a dream that I know I’ve dreamt of for so, so long.
But the minute our lips touch softly, sweetly, uncertainly, my heart melts and Frank lets out a small sigh, and I know that it’s not a dream.
It’s wonderfully, blissfully, beautifully real; the cool, raindrop coated, uncertain lips, the trembling hands, the fluttering hearts and tentative breaths. It’s shy and scared and sweet and exactly the way it should be; two broken misfits with shaking hearts and tremblingly clasped hands, finally living the moment they’ve been dreaming of for what feels like ever, finally living the world they’re been too scared to step into for so long.
It’s not the kind of impulsive kisses that led to such confusion before, it’s not fearless and frantic, it’s not a movie star kiss. It’s real.
It’s raindrops and caramel and trembling and it’s just fucking perfect.
Completely and utterly perfect.
Finally, we both pull back, still trembling, breathing unevenly into the cold air, smiling stupidly at each other with wide eyes and thumping hearts.
“You’re so beautiful…I’ve wanted to tell you that for so long..” Frank whispers shyly, cheeks pink, a soft smile tugging at the corners of his warm, pink lips, and then we’re kissing again, nerves half eclipsed by fierce lips and brushing noses, warm breaths and soft skin, my heart pounding so much it feels as if it’s going to beat right out of my shaking ribs.
Frank’s lips are soft and warm and tender, working tentatively against mine, his trembly hands snaking round my skinny waist and dragging me closer into the warmth of his body as he sighs, soft and breathy into my mouth, trailing icy fingertips up to the nape of my neck and playing gently with the tendrils of ebony hair that linger there, sending goose bumps tingling up and down my spine.
My heart’s pounding wildly, eyes fluttering shut, the soft sound of Frank’s little sighs tugging at my heart as I wind my arms round his neck, holding onto him and never wanting to let go, never wanting to let go of the scruffy-haired, russet-eyed skinny misfit, heart leaping as I realise I might not have to.
Pure, ecstatic happiness and inner harmony floods my shaky body, making me feel ready to spontaneously combust with the pure, perfect happiness I’ve never felt before.
I tentatively move my hands round to cup his face, his skin soft and warm against my icy hands as we start to kiss more fearlessly, my tongue shyly poking into Frank’s mouth as he tightens his grip round me and pulls me closer still, so close I can feel the thump of his heart in his chest against my own, breathe in his soft, mingling smells of guitar strings and caramel, lose myself in the boy I’ve dreamed of being with for so long, losing myself in the dark and the cold and our hearts beating as one, warm, softly chapped lips joining two misguided ghosts, shaky hands linking together two misfits of the shadows that finally belong somewhere, with someone.
Suddenly, the sound of the back door opening shatters the blissful silence of a dream that hangs between us, slapping us back to reality and we spring apart guiltily, wide eyed in the half dark, lips swollen, blushing furiously as we look wide-eyed and shakily at each other in the dim light, fingers still in knots.
Frank looks down at our intertwined fingers and a small smile tugs at the corners of his pink lips as he squeezes my hand silently, the simple gesture conveying more than stuttering words ever could.
Still feeling lost in the overwhelming, incandescent happiness that makes my chest feel ready to combust as I smile shakily at him and gently squeeze his hand back, looking almost disbelievingly at the shy, skinny misfit who smiles so purely at me, eyes shimmering softly in the dim light, hair falling carelessly across his perfect face in dyed-black strands.
I can feel the cold wind stinging my skin, the warmth of his soft breath on my lips, shaky and slightly uneven, but it’s that simple, pure smile of shaky happiness that confirms it for me.
This is fucking real.
“Frank? Gerard?” Bee’s voice drifts out across the lawn, making me jump and finally drag my eyes from the beautiful being beside me, looking round to see a slim, pyjama clad figure huddled into a Slipknot hoodie hurrying across the lawn towards us in the cold rain that’s gradually lightened to a dusky drizzle, the ebony clouds now tinted with silvery dawn light.
“W-we’re here.” I call out, my voice sounding oddly high-pitched and uneven.
I half expect Frank to pull his hand away from mine, but he keeps his soft, slightly calloused fingers clasped determinedly round mine.
Bee comes into view just before us, sweeping her hair out of her face and panting slightly.
She barely even looks at us before saying- “Fucking finally you morons!” she beams, and before we can say anything, she envelopes us both in a huge hug.
Then, equally suddenly, she punches us both hard in the chest. “That’s for being such utterly moronic idiots and the most infuriatingly stupid people in the world.” She explains to our indignant expressions.
“Sorry, Bee.” I say slightly ashamedly.
“Yeah, sorry.” Frank adds, biting his lip and looking slightly apprehensively at Bee as if she’s gunna punch us again.
Bee rolls her eyes fondly at us. “It’s fine! I’m just so fucking glad you finally got the guts to say something, Frank, and that you actually stopped telling yourself those shitty lies that not even s psychopathic hamster hooked on heroin would believe, Gerard. Anyway…I’ll leave you two to it. I just woe up and wondered where the fuck you’d gone.” she winks jokingly at us and I feel my cheeks flush scarlet; beside me, Frank ducks behind his hair, and Bee sighs despairingly at the pair of us.
Despite my embarrassment, I can’t wipe the stupidly happy grin off my face, and when I glance at Frank, I see he’s doing exactly the same; trying to bite back the huge beaming smile that tugs at his lips.
“Oh jeez, you guys are going to be utterly sickening, aren’t you?” Bee groans. “I’ll see you later.”
She turns round just as the sound of the back door swinging open drifts across the half-dark garden once again, and the slightly panicky, high-pitched voice of my moronic younger sibling floats out towards us through the dawn drizzle.
“Gee? Frank? Bee? Are you out here? Where is everyone?!”
Bee rolls her eyes fondly. “We’re over here, Mikes!” she calls, and moments later, Mikey appears beside her, looking confused and slightly scared, bundled up in Bee’s fluffy purple dressing gown, his mousy hair ruffled, glasses slightly askew.
“Why are you all out here?” he asks, puzzled. “I woke up and everyone was gone and I got scared and thought you’d maybe all got eaten by zombies and….oh my gaaawd!!” he squeals suddenly, and we all look questioningly at him, perplexed at the sudden, high-pitched departure from his pointless rambling.
“You guys have finally stopped being such pathetic, gay retards!!” he beams, gesturing to our clasped hands and flailing his own about in a way I can only relate to sugar-high giggling ten year old girls in pink party dresses.
I seriously can’t believe I’m the only gay one in this family…
“Well, I mean, you obviously haven’t stopped being gay, but you’ve stopped being such retarded morons!” Mikey squeals, and to my utter mortification, he also bestows two bone-crushing hugs on me and Frank.
“Um, thanks Mikes…” I mumble, embarrassed.
“Aww, this is so great!” Mikey beams excitedly.
I roll my eyes. “Mik-”
“FINALLY I won’t have to put up with your lovesick whinging!” he beams.
“Oh god, you two aren’t gunna go all sickeningly loved up now, are you?!” I groans.
“Mikey!” I growl, and he jumps slightly. “Thanks for being so supportive, but if you don’t shut the fuck up and stop embarrassing me, I will have to tell Bee you are sexually attracted to your straightner.”
“Don’t worry, I already knew that.” Bee sighs. “C’mon Mikey, lets go back inside and leave these two alone.” She tactfully seizes the sleeve of her dressing gown which Mikey seems to have appropriated and starts dragging him back across the lawn, throwing Frank and I a quick, warm smile over her shoulder.
As I sit in the quiet, silvery dawn with grey satin rainclouds and the tentative beginnings of daylight filtering into the garden, beside Frank on the loveseat, fingers entwined, smiling widely as Mikey and Bee’s affectionate bickering floats softly out across the garden, I have to concede that such a thing as happiness does exist, no matter how hard or long it takes to find.
The last few weeks have been the worst and best of my life, the most hurtful and the most rewarding, the most happy and the most confusing, full of pain and confusion and self-hatred, denial and lies, but without all that, I wouldn’t be where I am right now, sitting beside the most important person that breathes in my fragile world.
And I know, as I look up into Frank’s warm, shining russety eyes, smiling and pure, that all that hurt and anger and confusion, the wishing I was somewhere else, all of that was worth it, just to be where I am right now.
For probably the first time in my life, I wouldn’t change anything for the fucking world.
So there you go…the final chapter. I’d really, really love to know what you all think- please? Thank you so, so fucking much from the bottom of my heart once more to all of you that have stuck with this story through thick and thin and to everyone who has rated, reviewed and bothered reading this. Words really can’t express how grateful I am to you all, and I really hope you all check out/like my new story! please? :D I really, really hope you liked this and PLEASE R&R to let me know what you thought- it would really mean a lot! Hope you thought the ending was okay and THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR READING AND BEING SUCH UTTERLY AMAZING READERS!! I LOVE YOU ALL!
Jeez, I’m feeling quite emotional! :’)
Keep on rocking,
p.s. I would LOVE it if you could all check out and tell me what you think of my new chaptered story which will become my focus now I’ve finished this- PWEEEEASE? puppy dog eyes (it’s a frerard, of course!) http://www.ficwad.com/story/173331