Things finally seem to be looking better for Eliza.
When I awoke I felt terrible.
I hadn’t slept well at all. My face felt itchy from the dried tears and my head hurt. It wasn’t the fact that I had slept in someone else’s bed, sleeping in Gerard’s bed made me feel safe, it was the fact that my brain had been working in overdrive. I had fallen asleep at around six AM with strange thoughts about Gerard spinning through my mind.
I shifted my body over so I could see the boy who had been distracting me for a long while. He was lying on his sofa in what looked like an awkward position; his left leg was hanging from the side of the sofa along with his left arm, and the quilt I guessed he had been using was now piled on the floor. I presumed that he was still asleep. I wanted so desperately to climb onto the small sofa with him, have him wrap his arms around me and sleep, the warmth of our bodies mingled together.
If I had still been fithteen I probably would have, thinking about it I’m sure I used to sleep with Gerard all the time.
Not have sex.
Just sleep, in the most innocent sense. When my parents used to argue I would run away to him. He would take me to his room and hold me underneath his covers and tell me that everything would be okay until I fell out of consciousness. I knew these were lies. I also knew that Gerard was aware that everything wouldn’t be okay, he only said that they would be to sooth my cries. At least his words gave me some sort of hope.
Now I lacked the courage to climb into the security of his arms. I felt awkward due to what had happened between us; what had been discovered, what I had been told and what we had spoken about, but most of all what we had done. I pulled the duvet closer around myself and thought about getting some more sleep.
But I couldn’t sleep, it was a Thursday. My head shot up to see what the time was. “Shit.” I cursed under my breath. It was half past twelve. I leaped out from the warm comfort of the bed and over to Gerard.
“Wake up!” I shook him vigorously. He mumbled something unintelligible and turned away from me. “We’re late for school!” I hissed and shook him again. “No we’re not.” He groaned and turned back to me.
“We’re not going.”
“We’re not?” I asked suspiciously. “Nope. I told ma I felt sick.” He said bluntly with his eyes still closed.
“When was this?”
“This morning. I got up and told her.”
“Does she know I’m here?” I quickly began to feel panicked that I would be in trouble if anyone found out that I had slept at Gerard’s, especially with my mother.
“Not yet.” Gerard rubbed his eyes and opened them wearily. “Ma and dad are at work and Mikey’s at school.” I felt a rush of relief flow over me. I relaxed and knelt down on my knees so me and Gerard were at eye level.
“Still, what’s my excuse for not going in?”
“You’re tired because you were up all night… doing homework?” I couldn’t help but snigger at his cockiness, but I hurriedly hid my laughs and put on a serious expression. “If my mum finds out she’s gonna’ flip.” But then I remembered she probably wouldn’t be home until later that afternoon since she had been out all night.
“…Unless you want to go to school.” Gerard said, his voice dropping a little. I bit my lip, realizing that Gerard obviously wanted to spend time with me, and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass. “I guess I can phone in absent.” I gave him a small smile before reaching to find my phone in my back pocket. “It’s lucky that seniors are allowed to call in sick for themselves, huh?”
“Well I guess it gives us more chances to skive.” Gerard chuckled quietly. I rolled my eyes and took my phone from my pocket, thankful that it hadn’t fallen out during the night. Rummaging through Gerard’s bed for my phone wouldn’t be the most convenient thing to do.
Throughout the day the kiss was not mentioned at all, and there were no signs from Gerard to show that he wanted to talk about it. It was almost as if it hadn’t happened, I even began to wonder if it had been a dream - a very realistic dream. I didn’t know how to take it, so I figured it would just be best not to bring it up.
I didn’t know the school’s phone number, so Gerard had to go through Donna’s phone book to find it for me. We sat in his living room whilst I phoned the school and explained that I felt ill and tired, which was a complete lie of course. I didn’t feel guilty at all for not telling my mother, after all she had left the house last night to see her precious lover without even a note to tell me that she’d gone. The Way’s living room was exactly the same as I remembered it. It held a warm and homely feeling to it. The walls were painted a deep cream colour and with a darker shaded carpet and the short, un-drawn curtains were draped over the double set of windows, the shallow sun from outside seeping in through the material.
“Thank you, bye.” I coughed, putting on my best ‘sick’ voice. I hung up the phone and beamed at Gerard for approval, but he looked as though he were trying to hold back laughter. “You’re such a bad actress.” He snickered. “Shut up!” I said defensively. “You know I’m the one who had to help you with your lines in our old drama lessons.” Gerard pulled a face and crossed him arms, almost like a child. “Whatever.” I knew he was blatantly joking though. I knew Gerard too well. I shoved his arm teasingly. “Awh, grow up Gee Gee!” His mouth twisted into a small grin and he lightly pushed me back. I laughed and fell against him.
“I’ve missed you Gerard.”
He pulled me closer and rested his face on my head, breathing in the smell of my hair. I let out a sigh and snuggled further into his hold, letting the mesmerizing scent of him surround me. The scent of coffee and…
“Cigarettes?” I said abruptly. Gerard lifted his head and looked down at me, surprised. “Huh?”
“Cigarettes.” I repeated. “You smell like cigarettes.” Realization seemed to dawn over Gerard’s face. “Oh right, yea. Cigarettes.” He said, clearing his throat and rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. “You’re a smoker, aren’t you?” I didn’t need to ask. I knew a smoker from a mile off. Alex smoked, so did Greg. I would catch him every so often when he was around. Outside in the rain or shine. He would be standing against the garden wall, fag in hand. He never liked to admit it, neither did my mother, but he was addicted.
“It’s okay.” I said coolly, resting my head back against Gerard’s shoulder. “I’m not gonna’ be angry.” This wasn’t entirely true. I hated the idea of smoking, especially when it involved someone I cared about. Every time I watched someone inhale that grey mist I could just imagine it going through their body, invading their throat first, and then their lunges, ripping them up and turning them black and weak.
I blinked and shook the images out of my head. I didn’t want anything to ruin the time me and Gerard were having together, and seeing as it was the first, almost normal convocation we were having. “Well, yea, I guess I am.” Said Gerard. “Only started a couple of months ago, but I’m pretty much hooked.” I looked up at him and raised my eye brows. “Seriously?”
“I know it’s bad.” Gerard sighed and peeled his arms away from me. “I should probably cut down.”
“Probably.” I agreed.
Gerard stood up from the living room sofa. He was still dressed in his pyjama bottoms and his large black hoodie. I smiled bashfully at the way the pyjamas hung loosely around his small waist and the hoodie was a little too big for him. It was cute. I quickly looked away when I realized I had been staring again. It really did surprise me that I was finding it very difficult to keep my eyes off of him.
“You alright?” Gerard’s voice pulled me back down to reality and my strangely girlish thoughts about him. “Yes. Yes I am, sorry.” I gave my line of sight back to Gerard, who was standing in front of me, one eyebrow raised. He had obviously noticed me staring at him. “Right.” He said and began to walk toward the door. “Are you hungry” Suddenly remembering that I hadn’t eaten a single morsel since the last afternoon made my stomach clench and gurgle. “Of course!” I gasped and followed him, maybe a little too eagerly.
I leant against the fake wooden kitchen surface and watched Gerard search through the pale yellow cabinets lined across the tiled wall. “Are you still a veggie?” He asked and opened the door to the freezer, which was attached and connected underneath the refrigerator in the corner of the kitchen. “Sure I am.” I said, walking over to Gerard. “Good.” He shut the door to the freezer and moved back to the cabinets. “I was gonna’ offer to make you bacon, but I can’t stand the thought of it.”
“Really?” I furrowed my brow. “You still a vegetarian too?”
“Duh, It was my idea.”
The fact that I was a vegetarian was mostly due to Gerard. At first it was Gerard’s idea that we both became non meat eaters for a short while, just as a what seemed like funny act of rebellion against, well, everyone, but after a while it kind of stuck, and stayed.
“Cool!” I followed Gerard across the kitchen to where he had found two boxes of cereal and some bread from the cabinets. “So, you can have cereal or I can make you toast.” He said and tilted his head toward me. “I like the sound of toast, and a cup of tea would be nice too.” I walked through to the dining room table, sat down and grinned. Gerard stuck his tongue out at me, which only made my smile widen. “Is that a hint?” He laughed and dropped two slices of bread into the small white toaster. “It possibly is.” I giggled slightly as Gerard switched the kettle on and then sat next to me at the table.
“Can you remember how I take my tea?” I asked, still smiling. “Hmm… let me see.” Gerard pushed his hair away from his face and pulled an expression as if to say he couldn’t remember. “Milk with… two sugars?” He said with fake doubt. I let out a hearty laugh and sat back further into the chair. “You got it.”
It really did feel as though I had never left Belleville, and like Gerard and I were still the best of friends, which, I suppose we were, besides the fact that he had admitted his love for me only a few hours before.
Gerard left the table to go back to the kitchen, but as he did so he winked at me, which again to my surprise sent butterflies shooting through my body.
It seemed like it was going to be a good day, at long last.