Frank has to face his friends. Mikey helps him come to a conclusion that Hayley might not like...
I felt a sense of dread growing within my stomach as I walked in to my apartment, knowing I'd see the scene of Hayley's assault again. Kyla trailed in behind me like a lost puppy dog. I wanted her to go away. Didn't she get that? She seemed to take my angry silence as reason to follow me home.
My eyes avoided the obvious spots of Hayley's abuse but I heard Kyla's sharp intake of breath. Guilt tore at me as I realized I should have at least warned her. "If you want to wait outside while I clean up I'll understand." I informed her, the nice side of me taking over. I didn't want Kyla to have to deal with any of this. No one deserved that.
Kyla's hand gently landed on my arm and I turned to look at her with confusion, "What?" I asked.
Kyla smiled and leaned up to press her lips against mine. "You're such a good guy Alex." Oh, how sick I was of hearing that. Would I forever be nothing more than the good guy? The best friend? My lips pressed back hungrily at Kyla's as my anger increased.
I hadn't had sex since meeting Hayley. I hadn't dated anyone. I had waited, waited so patiently. I was done waiting. I was done being 'the best friend'. For once I was going to take something for myself. I was going to give in to temptation and let my desire guide me.
Kyla's hands went to my belt as I began pulling her shirt off. I knew Kyla didn't deserve this... but every time I closed my eyes I saw Hayley Parker. Every time Kyla's lips pressed against mine I imagined the taste of Hayley, I remembered her smell which lingered over my bed... I let her soft voice take over in my mind. Without Hayley, everything I was would fall apart. How could one person mean so much? For a fleeting second I imagined being Frank and felt a spark of jealousy... mixed with a spark of understanding.
The door to my hospital room banged open and two men stumbled inside, looking concerned. "Frank, what's going on?" One of the men asked quickly, taking a look at the situation. "Fuck, we thought you got in to an accident or something." He said, before shooting me an apologetic glance. "I mean, I see something here is wrong... It's just... I'll shut up now."
Frank nodded, "Gerard and Mikey Way meet Hayley Parker."
The first guy that had been speaking stared at me in amazement, "Hayley Parker, ex girlfriend?"
Frank nodded, "Yeah Mikey, this is my ex-girlfriend."
"Talk about out of your league." The other one, who could only be Gerard, remarked.
Frank rolled his eyes, "That's not why I called you guys here. Stop looking at her like that." He was definitely annoyed with how men looked at Parker. It was one of the reasons he had never introduced her to his friends, even though he never told her that. He had struggled with jealousy issues in the past.
Mikey sat down in the spare chair, "You look like you got the shit beat out of you." He remarked, tactlessly.
Gerard rolled his eyes and opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by Frank's admission which left each man in a state of shock. "I did it." Frank's eyes went to his feet, the guilt tearing him apart.
"... you what?" Mikey asked, his tone quiet as he stared at Frank.
Frank refused to make eye contact with anyone as he nervously toyed with his cell phone. "Please tell me 'I did it' is code for something not related to beating the shit out of your ex girlfriend." Gerard asked, eyes narrowing.
I found that I had lost access to my voice for the time being as I watched the three men fall silent again. Mikey stood up next to Gerard, his hand balling in to a fist. Gerard shook his head, glancing at me with a horrified expression. I hated that Frank was getting the blame for this, even though he had been the one to do it. I wanted desperately to say something but I had nothing to say to these strangers.
"I needed to call you guys here to come clean about a few things..." Frank whispered, tears filling his eyes as his mistakes came to life in front of his eyes.
"Well tell us then. What else have you done?" Gerard snapped.
Frank's tears caused tears to form in my eyes and his pain tore at me, leaving me a mess of emotion. I couldn't think straight. I could barely talk and yet I forced the words. "Frank has a drug addiction." My voice came out cracked, as if I hadn't used it in years.
The room got deathly silent before Mikey spoke, "For how long?"
"Since I broke up with Hayley." Frank mumbled.
Gerard's eyes had gone to the floor, his cheeks reddening. "What have you been taking?" He asked, fidgeting.
"Mainly meth, sometimes cocaine. I've been mixing alcohol lately though..." Frank trailed off, waiting for Gerard to explode.
"Why would you be so fucking stupid after you saw what happened to me during my drug addiction? Once an addict, always an addict Frank. You know I'm still struggling." Gerard said, anger vibrating through his tone with each word spoken.
Mikey just shook his head, "Hayley, has he hurt you before?"
Suddenly I felt all eyes in the room go to me. My body shook from the pressure I felt and my throat went dry. The truth sounded so bad... but I didn't want to say it. I didn't want to point the blame at Frank. I didn't want this to be Frank's fault.
Frank spoke up, standing. "I've hurt her before, just not this bad." As my eyes met his I noticed they were red, filled with more tears.
I cleared my throat, "The thing is... Frank needs help. Um, Mikey... Frank told me that you moved in with him after I moved out... So could you possibly grab the drugs that he has stashed in his apartment and get rid of it all?" I asked, trying to take control of the situation. My voice was shaking however and tears threatened to spill from my eyes. This was going to get harder way before it got easier.
Mikey nodded, biting his lip. "Why are you doing this for him?"
I looked at Frank as I searched for the right words, realizing at once just how wrong they made me feel. I felt so stupid. But I had to be honest. "Because I still love who he is."
Frank looked at me, confusion plastered across his face but it was Gerard who spoke. "When are you getting released?"
"Tomorrow." I said, grateful but also... worried. Where would I stay? Alex left. Would he want me to go back to his place?
"I'll call the same rehab that I stayed at. It's an outpatient rehab but don't take that to mean that it will be easy Frank. This is going to be hard." Gerard said, then he turned to me. "Do you need a lift home tomorrow?"
Mikey walked towards the door, "Come on Frank. We will go get rid of all of your drugs together."
Frank looked at me with hesitation until Gerard spoke, "I'll stay with Hayley." I really didn't need to be babysat.
Frank nodded and walked out of my room with Mikey. Uncomfortable silence fell over the room again as Gerard took a seat next to my bed. "Are you pressing charges against him?" Exactly the conversation I wanted to have with Frank's best friend...
"I'm not. I haven't even talked to the police yet." I admitted, dreading the conversation I would have to have. I didn't like the idea of being questioned. I hated the idea of being a liar. I abhorred the idea of Frank going to jail.
Gerard sighed, "Frank's not a violent guy. He's usually so..."
"Gentle. Yeah, I know. I used to date him, not too long ago. I'm aware of the kind of guy he is. Why do you think I can't stand the idea of him in jail? I realize that the drugs had some part in the assault and I- ... as much as I fucking hate him for how I feel, and what he's done... I can't blame him. I don't know why but I just can't. Maybe I'm just an idiot that can't face the truth but I can't believe that he would hurt me... I just can't." The tears that had been threatening to come finally began to descend down my face, leaving me feeling stained.
"You're not an idiot... You're just succumbing to your feelings. What Frank did is awful though and even though I'm his friend... I'm going to have to suggest that you don't spend any alone time with him until after rehab." Gerard stated.
"I don't think that will be a problem." I said, wiping tears from my face. The feelings the tears left still stained my cheeks. "I have trouble being alone with him in here... I don't know how things got so bad. I just want everything to be how it used to be. I used to feel so safe with him, so loved... how does something like that just change?"
Gerard stared in to my eyes, "You feel guilty."
How could he tell so easily? "I can't help it."
"You need to realize that you haven't done anything Hayley. Frank is the one who did this, not you. You can't blame yourself." Gerard said.
"You make that sound so easy Gerard. Just don't feel guilty... It's not that easy. Every single time I envision what he's done... all I can think is, what did I do to deserve that? Why couldn't I stop him?" I shook my head as Gerard opened his mouth to speak. "You can tell me a million times not to blame myself but I don't think I'll ever feel guilt-free."
Forty minutes later every single stash I ever had was ransacked. Mikey held a small bag filled with drugs and bottles of alcohol. "I'm sorry." I whispered, embarrassed beyond belief.
Mikey grabbed a soda from the fridge, "You did a number on her Frank..."
"I know." I said, my embarrassment growing with each passing second.
"What worries me is that... it wasn't just the drugs that would've caused you to do that." Mikey said, pointing out what I had been worried about. I had been angry at Hayley when I got high. I had been angry with Hayley when I got drunk. I had been angry with Hayley before any of that... The drugs and alcohol just intensified my anger...
"So what makes you think that she will ever be safe around you, sober or high?" Mikey asked, staring at me as he waited for me to answer his very important question.
"I'll never hurt her again." I wouldn't, would I?
"You don't sound very sure about that Frank." Mikey said. "What if you do hurt her again? You said you already have before this... What's going to stop you from doing it again?"
His words made me angry. I couldn't stop myself. Within minutes Mikey was on the ground, my hand around his throat. In absolute horror I stood, staring down at Mikey. "I'm so fucking sorry."
"You need help beyond the drugs and alcohol." Mikey said, shaking his head in disgust as he rubbed his throat. "You need to stay away from Hayley. She's the only person I've ever seen you get this way over."
Suddenly I realized he was right. I was still angry. I wasn't angry at Hayley anymore. I knew that Kyla had lied to me but... I was angry about the time I'd missed with Hayley. I was angry for hurting her. I was angry that she was in the hospital. Though my anger wasn't directed at Hayley... it was indirectly caused by her and when around her I couldn't control myself. Could I stay away from her?