Frank is breaking.
The next few days were difficult to say the least. While Frank had managed to procure them food and supplies, Gerard seemed even more emotionally unsteady than he was before.
Frank, on the other hand, found himself also stricken with grief. It was not very long before he truly began to regret what he had done, although he also remained firm that it was the best thing at the time.
Still, with everything that was happening, Frank began to become much less patient with Gerard. An outside observer might say that he had begun to resent Gerard in a way, although Frank would deny it.
During this time, Frank was frantically reminding himself that he loved Gerard, and could never abandon or hate him. He reminded himself of all the good deeds Gerard had done for him, and all the support be had given him over time. Yet despite all these good thoughts, Frank could not overlook one question.
"What were you doing in the pool with my daughters, Gerard?"
Gerard looked up at Frank from the arm chair in which he sat, with his usual dazed stare. It was not the first time Frank had asked him this, as it had certainly not left his mind since it happened. Still Gerard never once provided an answer, no matter how many times Frank asked. Although Frank had to admit that it was silly to expect much of anything -- it was a wonder if he even understood the question.
Today, however, was different.
For today, Gerard actually lifted his hands, and slowly, he brought them to his neck. He then made sort of a motion as though he was choking. Frank watched this display in confusion.
"Gerard, were you trying to kill Cherry and Lily?"
Gerard had no more response to offer after this, but looked severely annoyed. Frank waited for a moment, and found Gerard's silence unnerving.
Dear Jesus, what if Jamia had been right?
"Gerard!" Frank snapped at him, a hint of panic in his voice, "Answer me! Now!"
Gerard jumped a little at the volume of Frank's voice. He began to seem frightened, but still had nothing to say.
Frank only became frustrated, thinking that he may be in the same room as someone who had intended to hurt his daughters. He loved Gerard unconditionally of course, but be was still a parent. Anyone laying a hand on his children was completely unacceptable.
"Gerard...fucking god dammit!" Frank screamed a little, turning to kick at a table that was next to them. He began to shed a few tears, a sensation that had become disturbingly routine as of lately.
And it was to his great surprise that Gerard, who looked like he was cowering a moment ago, then stood and attempted to approach him. Frank felt himself enveloped in Gerard's frail, skinny arms a second later, holding him to a body that seemed like it would fall and shatter if it were knocked down with the gentlest push.
Yet that was exactly what Frank did. He spun around, grabbed Gerard by fistfuls of his shirt, and pushed him away while still gripping him at the same time.
"What did you do, Gerard? What did you do?!?" Frank moaned sorrowfully at his friend while he shook him back and forth. Gerard of course looked positively terrified at this point, but he still seemed to be trying to say something.
"FUCKING GODDAMMIT!" Frank shrieked again before releasing Gerard finally. He could describe what wave of fury and dismay had washed over him at the moment, but Frank knew he had to distance himself.
"Just...stay...away from me." Frank instructed him in a quivering voice. Finally he turned heel and took his leave.
Gerard stayed frozen on the spot in which Frank had broken down for some time. It was long after Frank had been gone that Gerard finally managed to mutter the words that he had been trying to whisper over Frank's screaming.
A very minuscule, very meek "I'm so sorry..." escaped his lips at last, only no one was around to hear it.
Gerard sighed and began to make his way back into his own room. It was then he saw Frank's car keys on the coffee table. Gerard looked through a window at the darkened sky outside, and thought about what might be best for both of them.
Quietly, he picked up the car keys and ventured out the front door. Of course, he could not for the life of him begin to remember exactly how to drive a car. Yet after watching Frank do it so many times, Gerard figured, how hard could it be?
It would take Frank a very long time to realize Gerard had gone, and by then a many, many things would have happened to the boy. So in the meantime, it would perhaps be best to check in on anyone else.
Mikey, for instance, was with Alicia that evening. They had invited Donna over for dinner, and the three were having a nice time reminscing.
Poor Donna Way had been, as of lately, torn between sadness for one son and joy for the other. However she had been assured that Gerard was doing well under Frank's care. And although she never particularly cared for Frank Iero's personality, she had known that Frank loved her son very much, and she trusted him to give Gerard the care and protection he needed.
The subject of the tragedy, however, still seemed unavoidable for the entire family. It seemed to always strike at the most random of times, but when it did, it lingered like a horrid aftertaste. Just as it did that night, it seemed the event would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
"Elena always taught us to embrace death." Mikey recalled as they were picking somberly at the delicious desert of apple coobler that Alicia had prepared.
"Yes." Domna smiled sadly at her son. "She always had a saying for that. What was it? Something in Latin..."
"Memento mori." Mikey reminded her, and Donna nodded her agreeance. "She would say it whenever someone died or if we were talking about death at all. She would say to me and Gerard 'memento mori, my child. Live every day to the fullest.' I never really cared to think about it until Ronnie died, because he was the first death that really effected me."
Donna sighed, "Your grandmother always enjoyed cryptic messages like that. I used to scold her for telling you things like that when you were so young, I didn't want you to become as morbid as she always was."
"So much for that." Alicia smirked, and all three of them chuckled.
"She was right though. I don't see what's wrong with teaching a child about the evils of the world early on, as long as it's not exaggerated. They should be prepared." said Mikey. "Elena prepared us, and I intend to prepare my kid the same way."
Alicia nodded as she finished the last of her cobbler. She was the only one to finish the meal, as she was the only one who was required to eat well.
"What does it mean though?" she questioned.
"What?" Mikey asked.
Donna then smiled at her sadly, although something about it felt rather eerie. Alicia looked away, a chill running through her, but she could not turn away from the sound of it's definition, which she found to be just as unpleasant.
"It means..." she said, "...Remember, you will die."
Next chapter: Frank awakens to quite the unpleasant surprise.