Although the radiator in the corner is turned on I keep my jacket pulled around me. Gerard is wearing his dirty, beat up leather jacket with fingerless gloves as he paints the setting sun.
We are alone. Mikey is in the bathroom and Frank is at home in Jersey. Today is a cousin day.
“Gerard?” I ask quietly.
“Hmm?” he responds.
“Are you still with your girlfriend?”
“Who,” he asks, turning to look at me.
“I can’t remember her name, but you brought her home once for dinner.”
Gerard laughs softly, “Nah, she ran off with some football guy.”
“That slut,” I gasp.
My cousin laughs again, “No loss to me.”
“She didn’t deserve you.”
Gerard just gives me a nervous laugh, “We just didn’t work out.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Why did you leave me for so long?”
Gerard pauses to look at the floor for a moment. Eventually he looks up at me, “I’m sorry I abandoned you.”
“I just want to know why.”
“I was broken, Amber. I just wanted to be alone. I spent all my time here in my bed in the fetal position. I know that’s really fucked up of me because you needed me, but it’s the truth. I didn’t know how to face you because I was afraid it would never be enough. I felt helpless.”
I tap my feet again, looking at them, “I though you were afraid of me.”
“I could never be afraid of you. I was afraid of myself.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I wanted to kill myself, Amber.”
I freeze, locking eyes with him. My cousin, that strong figure I look up to wanted to die. It hurts. I wish I had known. I would have tried my best to help even if I was hurting myself. I hate what I did to people when I depressed.
“I thought if something so horrible could happen to someone so special then there was no hope left for the rest of the world. You kept me alive though.”
“How did I do that if I was lying around moping in bed,” I question.
“I knew couldn’t do that to you or Mikey. You both mean the world to me and I knew I had to stay alive for the both of you.”
I glance at me feet, “You’re a very special person, Gerard, you just don’t know it yet.”
He just gives me that short nervous laugh again before going back to his painting, “You’ve been saying that since you were six.”
“You just don’t know yourself like I do.”
“Yeah, and if you knew me like I know me, you wouldn’t think that.”
I shrug, “That’s why it’s a good thing I don’t. If you knew you like I know you, your ego would be so big there’d be no room left for the rest of us.”
Gerard laughs, a real one this time, “You’re an amazing person, Amber. You’re the strongest person I’ve ever met. I wish I could be more like you.”
I frown, “If you knew me like I know me, you wouldn’t be saying that.”
“You’ve come a long way, kid, in a very short period of time. You’ve been down a road that a lot of people don’t make it back from.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever make it out,” I admit as I wipe away a new tear, my voice waivering.
Gerard puts down his paint brush, hurrying over to me. He doesn’t say anything, just wraps him arms around me, holding me to his chest. I grasp him tightly by the shoulder, pressing my face against his jacket and release a sob.
“Hey,” he says gently. “It’s a very long road. You might not be completely out of it but you’ve come very far, you’ve tried very hard to get there. That’s what matters. I don’t think anyone completely heals from what you’ve been through. There is always going to be times when that black and hopeless feeling is going to sneak up on you. Its how you make it through that really matters. You started to smile again, Amber, and you have no idea how amazing that smile is…how fucking inspirational that smile is to me. You’re happy again. Yeah, things are still going to sting and hurt but you’re happy and that’s how you know you’ve come a long away.”
I continue crying. I don’t cry as much as I used to but once it get started it just snowballs out of control. I hear the bathroom door open and without a word Mikey sits down on the bed on my other side and hugs me too. I am now squished between the two of them, like the Amber filling in a Way sandwich.
“I’m scared,” I tell them honestly.
“What are you scared of?” Gerard asks.
“I’m afraid that I need Frank too much. I’m afraid that one day he’s going to leave me and I won’t know how to live without him.”
Mikey pats my back, “That scares us too. We’ve come to the conclusion that Frank would have to be an idiot to leave you willingly.”
“That’s what scares me. He does stupid things sometimes.”
Gerard laughs, “We all do, Amber. Frank knows as well as the rest of us that he can’t live without you either. I think he’s just as afraid of losing you as you are of losing him.”
“I’m afraid that I’m too needy.”
“You’re not. You spend a lot of time together but you’ve barely been apart since the first grade. I think if you guys were apart you’d be so confused and lost you wouldn’t know what to do with yourselves,” Mikey says, smiling at me.
“I need you two, you and Gerard.”
“I know you do,” Gerard says. “The feeling is mutual.”
“We’ll always be here for you, Amber,” Mikey says.
Note: I went over word count today and my boyfriend is away on a family outing so I'll update as much as I can. Hope you enjoy :)