The two teenagers huddled together on the carpeted floor, the boy holding the girl close, stroking away her tears. The room was dark and lined with old rock posters. The girl clung to his chest, sobs wracking her small frame. He brushed the long black hair from her eyes and whispered in her ear.
"Forget him, Em. It's over now."
The boy's hair was just as black as hers, his face just as pale as hers. They looked very much alike, other than their eyes. His were hazel, hers a remarkable blue. Ice blue.
As her tears subsided, the boy kissed the top of her head tenderly. He loved her so much, but she didn't even know it. She would know one day though, he was sure of it. The girl looked up at him with those big blue eyes.
"Gerard, I don't want to go back there. I'm afraid of him."
"Then don't go back. Stay here with me. I'll keep you safe tonight."
She sighed and leaned her head back down on the boy's chest. She was quiet a minute before whispering once more.
"Promise me you'll never, ever drink. Okay?"
"I promise, Em. I would never do that to you."
She let out a contented noise and closed her eyes. As long as Gerard never broke that promise, everything would be okay.
I looked forward to every weekday afternoon, at about three o'clock, when Em would barge into my room and flop herself down on my bed. She would complain about all the people at school and about her teachers. I would normally be at my desk writing or drawing, and I would listen with a sympathetic ear until she was finished. After her rant, we'd either head out to do something or stay in my room just enjoying each other's company.
Emerson Quick and I had been neighbors since she was seven and I was nine. I remember the day she and her family had moved in just as clearly as if it was yesterday. I had been outside with my younger brother Mikey when Em's van had pulled into the driveway next to ours. Curious, I had watched as a tiny girl had leapt from the van. I was immediately captivated.
Her long brown hair clashed violently against her ghostly pale skin. I remember that. I also remember the look on her face when she spotted me and Mikey. Her whole face just lit up, and she marched over to us right away, not intimidated whatsoever.
"My name's Emerson, I like cats, and I don't like people."
That first sentence she had said had been stuck in my head since then. Also the look of pure innocence, but also of something I couldn't quite place, that rested in her eyes.
We'd been inseparable since that day, al throughout elementary, middle, and high school. I had graduated two years prior, and Emerson was a senior this term. Even though I'm two years older (I'm nineteen, she's seventeen), it hasn't made a difference in our friendship. The only problem was that I loved her. Not just like the best friend that she was, but as more than that. I wanted so badly for her to feel the same about me, but she didn't even know how I felt about her, so how could she?
My thoughts were interrupted as Emerson herself burst through my bedroom door, just as planned. It was Friday, so she was full of smiles. I watched her carefully, thinking how much she'd changed. Her once natural brown hair was now permanently dyed black, she wore thick black eyeliner, and she had her nose pierced. She had a punk sense of style. But those were all things I loved about her.
"Hey gee," she chirped, ditching her school bag among the other various crap that covered the floor. I spun around in my chair to give her a big hug. I noticed that she looked extra beautiful today (although Emerson was one of those people who could wear a paper bag and still look fantastic). Her hair fell in soft waves around her shoulders, and the long fringe of bangs fell into her eyes when she leaned over to hug me. I reached up to push them away and she smiled that dazzling smile she had.
"You look nice," I said cautiously."Going somewhere?"
Emerson blushed and ducked her head."You caught me. I'm actually going out tonight."
I frowned. "On adate?"
She nodded, a smile lighting up her face. "My first real date, yes! I'm so nervous."She bit her lower lip distractedly. Damn. I turned away.
"When do you leave?"
She glanced at the clock on my wall before answering. "Actually, in about ten minutes. So I suppose I should be going."
I nodded. Try and be happy for her, Gerard. "Good luck, Em. Come tell me about it tomorrow."
She grinned and hugged me once more before leaping over the bedroom floor and leaving. I was left staring at the spot where she'd just been standing. I sighed pathetically. Just watch, Iscolded myself. She's going to go and fall in love with this kid and I'll have missed my chance. I need to tell her. I suddenly felt extremely hopeless. Mikey was gone with my parents for the night, so I was totally alone. I stood up and walked into the kitchen, opening the liquor cabinet. I then found myself breaking the one promise Emerson had asked of me those few short years ago, as I poured the alcohol down my throat, the burn punishing me for my mistake.
I stomped angrily up my driveway, pausing only to flip the bird to the dark haired boy who had dropped me off. As he sped away, his tires screeched loudly against the asphalt. Arsehole. Our first date, and he'd tried to grab me and make out with me, in public. I barely even knew him!Needless to say, I wouldn't be seeing him again. I had only been thinking of Gerard the whole time anyways. I glanced over at the Way's house, looking for the light that I knew would be shining in his room. There it was, I could see it from the window. I stood there for amoment, wondering whether I should interrupt him or not. He always wrote at night. I decided against it; I'd see him tomorrow, after all.
I shoved my way inside my house. As soon as I stepped inside, I knew I should've gone to Gerard's. The overwhelming stench of alcohol hit and I could see my father's drunken form slumped against the hallway wall.
"Where the hell have you been?"
Oh no. Not again.
Okay, I guess I should explain. My name is Emerson Quick, I'm seventeen, and I live in New Jersey with my alcoholic father. My mum left us when I was twelve, because she and my dad didn't get on well at all. I haven't heard from her since. I remember the first time my father took to the bottle. I'd spent that whole night huddling in my room, sobbing for the mother I'd thought had loved me. I'd wished so hard for her to come back and take me away from this place. I never got my wish. My father's been a drunk ever since. I hate him. I know it may sound awful to say that I hate the only parent I have, but I do. I really do. You'd hate him too, if you had to deal with him.
The abuse started when I was about thirteen and a half. My father was completely washed up the night it started, and for some reason thought it'd be fun to beat the shit out of his only daughter. He did this now even when he wasn't drunk. When he was, it only got worse. I remember running to Gerard's house, bruises and welts covering my arms and legs. He would hold me tight and promise me he'd always be there for me. And he was.
Now that I was older, I spent more time at the Way's house than I did my own. When I was at home, I hid in my bedroom, satisfying my creative tendencies by drawing for hours. I normally could get up to my room without my dad noticing. But then there were nights like these.
"I was out on a date. Yes, a date, daddy dearest. My first date, and you couldn't even be bothered to care." I knew I was being testy, but he was going to hurt me no matter what I said. So I might as well speak my mind.
The first blow came quickly, a hard slap across the face. I gasped and pressed my hand to my burning cheek. Ihadn't expected him to move that fast. Maybe I should be careful. Even though it was dark, I knew exactly where he was. Right in front of me.
"What did you say to me?"
"I said, I was on a date."
"You whore!" he screeched and shoved my down, cracking my head sharply on the tile floor. I moaned. Fuck. Tonight was going to be bad.
I heard him take a swig from the beer bottle he had in hand and I prepared myself for the next hit. If you're wondering why I don't try and fight back, here's why. It's not that I'm some sort of weakling, not at all. It's just that he's a very large man. I wouldn't stand a chance.
Then next shot came to the ribs with the toe of his boot, and then he broke the glass bottle over my head. Ishrieked as stars exploded in my vision. I felt the beer mixed with war blood from my scalp trickle down my already stinging cheek. I had never once cried when he was beating me before, but now the tears started coming and they wouldn't stop.
"Why the fuck are you crying? Shut up!" the madman standing over me screamed. He kicked me one final time before staggering off to the kitchen, where he'd pass out like always.
I there in agony for a minute before dragging myself to my feet. I needed to get to Gerard. I tried to take a deep breath, but my bruised ribs throbbed painfully. I commanded my body to move. To Gerard. Now.