So is it him?
"Do you want to go to bed?" I ask a pained Gerard. It's only seven o'clock but I get the feeling he's not up to much else.
"Yeah, I wanna go to bed." Gerard says. He struggles to get up, but he manages it in the end. He stands there, doubled over in pain. I decide to accompany him to the bedroom, even though there's no way I'm going to bed at this time my self. I just want to make sure he gets in to the bed without collapsing, which he seems in terrible danger of doing right now. Eventually we make it to the bed. Gerard lies down on his side and I sit down next to him, rubbing his tummy.
"Try and get as much sleep as you can, okay?" I say softly.
"Okay." The hair covering his eyes is damp with sweat. I push it away and place a soft kiss on his forehead, before returning to the living room.
At about ten o'clock I decide to call it a night. I make my way to the bathroom to take a dump before bed, only to find it locked. I wait patiently, assuming it's Gerard in the bathroom. I don't know how long I wait there for, but it feels like a long time. "Gerard... Are you okay? Are you throwing up again?" I ask, knocking on the door quietly.
"Um, no, it's um.. The other end." Comes his reply. The other end wha- Oh. Right.
"Well, um, call me I'd you need anything." I say awkwardly as I walk away, trying to ignore the sounds of someone suffering from diarrhoea that are currently coming from the bathroom.
The next morning I wake up to find Gerard sleeping soundly beside me, his forehead resting on my upper arm. It's the day he will be identifying Mikey's body, which is no doubt going to be very stressful for him. Because of this and the fact that it's a particularly cold morning, I make a special exception and put the heating on. I also decide to make Gerard his favourite cooked breakfast. I want to make this day as comfortable for him as possible. It's not long before the man himself ambles into the kitchen in his pyjamas.
"Hey." He says, trying (and failing) to smooth down his mass of wild, black hair.
"Good morning." I reply with a smile.
"You made breakfast?" He asks, leaning over to the hob and smiling a tiny bit himself.
"Yep, just a minute 'till it's ready" I pull out a chair from the table, gesturing for him to sit down. He does so gladly, looking up at me with his big eyes. And he keeps looking at me with a secretive smile on his face.
"What?" I ask.
"Nothing." He says, looking down, his face tainted pink. I decide to let it go; I've given up on trying to figure out what goes on in that boy's head. When the breakfast is ready I place the plate in front of him and he begins tucking in happily.
"How are you feeling today?" I ask.
"Better than yesterday, I suppose." He says through a mouthful of toast.
"Good, you know you've got a big day today." I say, almost immediately regretting reminding him.
"Frank.. Please, I don't want to think about that at the moment." He says.
"Okay, then I won't talk about it." I reply, and I don't talk about it and he doesn't think about it, well, as far as I know he doesn't. We spend the morning in a blissful bubble of toast and cartoons, but unfortunately, that can't last long. By half past eleven it's time to go. Gerard goes very silent after we leave, he doesn’t talk to me once. All me attempts at conversation are responded too with disinterested grunts or nods of the head. Before long we arrive at the morgue. The building is plain, red brick, flat roof. I get out of the car and lock it as begin walking towards the front exit.
Only a couple of seconds later I notice Gerard is not following me. Looking back at the car I see Gerard still sitting in the passenger seat. He's not looking at me, he's looking somewhere in the vicinity of the car dashboard instead. There is a blank look in his eyes. I sigh and walk back to the car. I should have expected something like this. I open the door on the passenger side but he stays exactly the same, not even acknowledging me. "C'mon." I say quietly. For a minute he doesn't move but eventually he gets out the car. He crosses his arms against his chest tightly and sets off towards the building at a fast pace. I'm still trying to catch up with him when I see him stumble on a crack in the tarmac, almost falling over. "Are you okay?" I ask, rushing over to him.
"I'm fine." Gerard mumbles in response, his face stormy. When we get inside the building, the first thing I see is a single desk with no one sitting at it. The next thing I see is Paul, he shakes both our hands in greeting before leading us along a thin, plain corridor which smells like disinfectant. Finally the corridor comes to an end and Paul stops outside of a door.
"Take a seat," He says, gesturing towards a row of chairs opposite the door. "I'll just go and see if they're ready for you." He informs us, before slipping inside the door. I sit down on one of the chairs provided and Gerard follows shortly. I look to my right to see him gnawing on his thumb nail, a worried look on his face.
"You nervous?" I ask, although I already know the answer. Gerard nods his head and looks over at me, still chewing nervously on his thumb. I don't have time to comfort him, because at that moment we are joined by Paul.
"Go through that door when you're ready." He says, pointing towards the door he just came out of. "You don't have to go in straight away. Take as long as you want." He says in a softer voice, his face showing sympathy I wasn't sure he was capable of.
"Thanks." I say, grateful for his understanding. Out of the corner of my eye I see Gerard stand up and walk towards the door. I follow suit and Gerard stops a few feet away from the door. "Are you ready to go in?" I ask.
"No, but I have to do it sooner or later. I'd rather get it over with." He says, looking remorse. It's times like this I really admire him, people don't realise just how brave he is. "Will you come in with me?" He asks quickly, the worry back on his face.
"Sure I will" I say, I hadn't really thought about it, I'd just assumed he wanted me to come him. I'd assumed right it seems. Gerard nods at this, then, he takes a deep breath and walks into the room. I follow him and Paul follows me.
Inside the room is small and there is a strange smell, it's not a bad smell as such, but it's certainly not a nice on either, it's a bit like the disinfectant smell outside, but much, much stronger. There's a single table in the centre of the room, on that is a white sheet, covering a body shaped mound. Gerard breaths in sharply. I grab his hand instinctively. Together we approach the table, there's a woman in a white coat standing behind it. Once we're standing next to the table, Paul on one side of Gerard, myself on the other, the woman moves forward to pull away the sheet.
In the next second the sheet has been pulled away, revealing who I suppose to be Mikey. He has a very thin face and sharp cheek bones and his hair is dark brown and short. Although at first glance he looks nothing like Gerard, I can see something similar in the bones of his face that tells me, yes, they are brothers. His eye's are closed, there is no expression of pain or panic on his face, he looks very calm. He would appear to be sleeping, if it was not for the deathly colour of his skin, white as the sheet that covered him, but with a green tint. “Is it him?” Paul asks.
“Yes.” Gerard replies in a hoarse voice, his face remorse. There is no tears and no sobbing, just a look of utter despair on his face. His eyes are fixed on Mikey's face. Even when it has been covered back up, his eyes remain in that space. His grip on my hand is stronger than ever. After that, there is nothing else left to say, Gerard and I leave the room, walk back down the corridor, out of the front exit, and across the car park. Only once we have reached the car and sat down, that's when Gerard breaks down.