There's a ghost in the house.
Really short chapter this time, sorry. Then again, you might be really thankful. Maybe you’ve had enough of long chapters. Here you are, anyway.
It was late by the time I finally got myself out of there. I had to get a bus home because Sam and her parents weren’t ready to leave. I left her sleeping off vodka in the arms of gorgeous Adam; it would have been a shame to wake her when she looked so peaceful.
I open the door slowly, the darkness of the sleeping house soothing to a migraine I can feel coming on. Sooo damn unfair! I hardly drank ANYTHING and I’ve still got a headache. Why does God/Allah/Ram/Buddha/Kurt Cobain hate me so?
I creep to the kitchen quietly, unwilling to wake up mom, dad or Mikey. Mind you “quietly” is all comparison isn’t it? No one said I have feet like a goddamn pixie. But what I really, really need now is an aspirin. Like, right now. I flick on the light and reach upwards to open the cupboard, rummaging around a little bit for pills. Seriously, why the hell does mom keep drugs with the peanut butter? There’s definitely something very wrong with that.
But the aspirin doesn’t appear to be next to the peanut butter. It doesn’t appear to be anywhere. Confused, I rummage a little more, oblivious to the little jars of spices and condiments falling off the shelf onto the floor.
“It’s not in there.”
FUCK!!! IT’S A GHOST. THERE’S A FUCKING GHOST IN THE HOUSE!!! I act quickly, grabbing the handle of a long, conveniently placed object and holding it defensively in front of my body. “Show yourself!” I whisper into the dark.
My baby brother steps out of the shadows. “Put the spoon down, you retard.”
Spoon? I look down at my chosen weapon of defence. Aw, hell. I’m really gonna suck when it comes to the zombie apocalypse.
“Well, where is it?” I ask, placing the wooden spoon back on the counter.
“I gave it to the hobo who lives at the top of our road. He was so sad and asked really nicely.”
“Kidding loser, kidding. I moved all the drugs to the bathroom. It’s wrong that dad should keep Viagra next to the peanut butter.”
Oh. That’s cool then. Nobody takes my aspirin without permission. It’s like, the law. Well, it’s not, but it should be. Mikey is staring at me oddly. His face is half shrouded in shadow and the whites of his eyes shine brighter than the rest of his head. He’s actually looking pretty sinister to me right now.
“Mikes?” I say slowly. “Are you high?”
Mikey rolls his eyes. “Nooo.”
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Like what, Gerard?”
“Like you’re about to slice open my face with a kebab skewer,” I reply. “Or chase me around the house screaming “red rum” with a rusty axe.”
He laughs. A hollow, chilling, sound that makes me cold all over. Okay, if I was creeped out before, it’s NOTHING compared to how I’m feeling now. “You’re such an asshole, Gerard.”
“You. Are. Such. A. Fucking. Asshole,” says Mikey, punctuating every word with pure rage. “Call yourself a friend? What friend stands up one of their dudes for a debutant ball when he needs them most?”
“What are you talking about, Mikey?”
“You got Frank’s call, right?”
“Yes I got Frank’s call, but-”
“-Why didn’t you go?”
“Because...” I stutter, heart slamming against my chest. “Because he was...he’s being a prick.”
“Goddammit Gerard, you’ve known Frank long enough to know that’s how he works! He’s a prick, especially when he’s upset and doesn’t want to show it. Breaking his act by calling you should have made you realise how vulnerable he was feeling then!”
“Vulnerable?” I repeat, fearing the worst. “Mikey, what happened?”
Mikey looks me hard in the eye. “Frank just got raped, Gerard.”
My heart stops. My breath catches. My brain slams against my head as I stare at my brother. “Seriously?”
“Nah, I’m just dicking with ya,” Mikey shakes his head. “I want to cause you as much emotional pain as possible.”
I am now torn between wanting to cry my eyes out for Frank and shoving Mikey’s head in a blender and pressing “Start”. “I hate you.”
“And I really, really don’t care,” Mikey shrugs. “Pete dumped him.”
“What?” My eyes widen in shock. That doesn’t happen. That has never happened. Frank dumps, doesn’t get dumped. “How?”
“He was two timing with some Spanish exchange student called Gary. Said he was only using him to make Gary jealous. Via text message.”
Irony, thy name is tinypunkrockingmanwhore. “Sonofabitch!”
“He was a wreck, Gerard,” says Mikey. “I actually think he loved that bastard. He had to excuse himself in English when he got the text to go cry and punch walls. Then he just walked out of school and went home. We haven’t seen him since.” He fixes me with his hardest, most damning gaze. “And he called you. And you hung up on him.”
“I didn’t...” I stutter, trying to think of words to protest my innocence but coming up with nothing. “...Fuck.”
“Exactly,” Mikey nods. “Hope the party was worth your best friend, Gerard.”
With that he turns around, walks out of the kitchen and upstairs, leaving me more alone than I’ve ever felt in my whole life.
“Frank, I’m so sorry.”
No answer. I sigh and try again.
“Frank, please. You know that I would have come if I’d known.”
Still no answer. Frank continues to put up flyers, completely ignoring me and irritatingly blocking my view so that I can’t even see what the flyers are for.
“I had no idea you were so upset,” I persist. “Mikey said you cried.”
“Mikey lies,” says Frank, finally. “I don’t cry. I never cry. I don’t even know how to cry.”
“They said they could hear you from the toilets.”
“Allergies,” he shrugs. “It’s cold season. I had the sniffles.”
Oh my God. I’m apologising to him and he’s still trying to make out how tough and badass Mr Frank Knuckle-duster Iero really is. “You don’t have to pretend with me,” I tell him quietly. “We’ve been friends for, like, ever.”
Again, no answer. I sigh, my last card played. “What are the posters for?”
“Battle of the Bands,” Fr:ank replies dully. “Don’t bother coming. There’s an entry fee and all the bands are decent except ours. We’ll be the laughing stock of the club...again.”
“I’ll come anyway. I want to see you play.”
“Gerard,” Frank fixes me with his hardest, most painful stare. “I don’t want you to come.”
He walks away and doesn’t look back, adding just a little extra weight onto my already heavy heart. He doesn’t want me there. Okay. Fine. I won’t go, if he doesn’t want me there. I don’t want him to catch sight of me in the crowd and be distracted with loathing and mess up.
That would be bad.
I grab my stuff together quickly and make my way slowly to Maths, telling myself that at least I still have friends on the A-list. Annie has always been so nice to me, Austin is pretty cool and I really like Tina as well, despite the obvious stupidity. She’s really sweet and quite funny if you know how to take her. Also, she’s an optimist. Although sometimes cheery to the point of annoying, you get the feeling that nothing could get her down. Ever.
That name sounds familiar. Oh, right. It’s mine. I turn around, feeling a sudden thrill at the sight of Lindsey running towards me. She’s talking to me again? She wants to be friends? She’s come to declare her undying love for me?
“Gerard, come quick!” she pants upon reaching me, eyes wide with distress. “It’s Tina. Come on.”
You could have told it was bad by the way they all sat together, staring at the screen of the television in the corner of the Drama room. I followed their gaze. They were watching the news.
“Witnesses report that at 9:15 this morning a high school student by the name of Tina Lopez broke into a bank and is subsequently hurtling through the streets in a red Ferrari with absolutely no concern for the safety of herself anyone else, killing two people with her reckless driving. The story is that Tina consumed testosterone pills accidentally, resulting in the growth of an unusual amount of facial hair for a female so in anger and under the heavy influence of drugs, prescription or otherwise, is looking for revenge on New Jersey and the people who did this to her...”
Oh my God.
“Here is a clip of a video taken by a witness this morning...”
The clip shows Tina in a bank, firing bullets from a handgun into the ceiling. But I would only have been able to tell that it was Tina from the caption because her pretty face was completely obscured by a thick, black, curly beard. She screams something inaudible and then turns to the camera, eyes wider than dinner plates and her hair in a mess, looking like a madwoman: “I’m gonna fucking kill you, Gerard Way you bastard!!”
The clip is paused. The entire Drama studio turns to stare at me. I continue to stare at the screen, unable to believe my eyes.
“You,” Annie’s eyes narrow, snapping me back to reality. “You did this to her.”
“No, I didn’t,” I say, adamantly. “It wasn’t me.”
“Then why did she say your name on the clip?” asks Gav.
I shrug. “No idea. But I didn’t do it. I wouldn’t even know where to get those pills from.”
“Liar,” Christina snarls. “You knew about the pills but you didn’t stop her taking them. It must have been you who put them there.”
Bizarre logic but due to mob psychology the others are nodding and jeering along with her. I look for Lindsey for support. Her hair covers her face and she says nothing. I have no way of knowing what she’s thinking.
“Christina,” I say, desperately. “This isn’t fair. I didn’t put those pills there and you know it. If you’re looking for an excuse to treat me like shit then at least take the piss out of something that’s true, like, my hair or the fact that I wear makeup to school everyday. I know you hate me, but-”
“-Damn right I hate you,” she snaps back venomously. “I knew it was a bad idea to let emo freaks into the musical. You just fuck everything up. Why don’t you just go back to your faggy boyfriend and leave us alone?”
The others continue to nod in agreement. Even Annie and Austin who I’d let myself like a little bit. Lindsey looks up. Our eyes meet and in that brief second we share something. I don’t know what it is. Then she nods slightly. So slightly I’m not even sure if she did. But the expression in her eyes says it all. I believe you. I thank heaven for that look.
But it’s not an expression shared by many others. The shouts of “emo fag” are so loud I can’t even get a word in. So I walk out of the Drama room, out of the building, across the quad until I’m out in the playing field and only then do I sit down and allow myself to cry.
Only three chapters left! :0 Review or I won’t even get that far!