The boys are home, and they just might have something better coming their way this season than presents under the tree.
Gerard heard the bell on the door jingle softly as another person came in. It was a woman. She let her hood fall as she crossed the floor, revealing her disheveled dark blonde hair. Her slight frame was covered by a dark jacket that buttoned up to her neck; her jeans were black and slightly damp, molding them to her body. He had to admit that the view was pretty nice from his seat. Her boots were wet, but looked warm enough for the season and her gloves seemed to be water repellant, you just couldn’t wear mittens this time of year, the cotton would just soak up the water.
She, slightly out of breath, walked to the counter unbuttoning her jacket to hang it over her arm while smiling at the man behind it as she waved and chatted with him upon ordering a cup of black coffee. They talked while he poured it slowly and Gerard found her soft lilting voice to be oddly pleasant as she asked the barista to leave off the lid. He wondered what it would be like to hear her sing. Gerard mentally groaned at how unlikely it was.
As he listened he realized that she lived nearby and the two seemed to be everyday acquaintances. He wondered why he had never seen her here before. As the woman reached for her cup and turned to the back, dimly lit section of the café to find a seat, she spotted Gerard. He knew that she recognized him, but slouched over his book, obscuring his face in hopes that she would politely ignore him in the corner. He really didn’t want anyone to bother him for autographs tonight.
Gerard cringed as she took those few steps and stood by his table. He had to face her now. Her pale hand slid to the chair opposite his booth bench and before he could ask her to leave she pulled it out and sat down.
“You don’t mind if I sit with you, do you?” Her eyes lingered on his book and her now warm pink lips tugged up into a small smile right before her moved to meet his. Gerard shook his head and went back to reading; not bothering to give the fan any more attention, but she wouldn’t have it.
“Do you like it?” The Stranger asked. Gerard looked up, and rudely asked her what she was talking about. Her smile dropped slightly and she gave a light chuckle as she pointed to his book, with her finger.
“The Road.” He nodded dismissively and hoped she would get the hint, but she didn’t.
”Sometimes, I feel like I can relate to the little boy, but then again, I guess most people can.” Her voice grew troubled and her eyes traveled to the far wall of the shop as she continued.
“His struggle is so simply defined, but his motivation is much deeper. His love and compassion are what drive him, but his battle is always uphill. It makes you pick at our sense of humanity, doesn’t it?” Her eyes now came to meet Gerard’s. He felt enraptured as she spoke.
“I think I relate more to the Father. I struggle with the part of life that’s about losing and surviving, but not the leaving.” He knew it wasn’t much of an analysis, but it was how he felt. As he saw her smile, he knew she felt the same way.
“It is hard to just lose someone; they’re behind and out of your life…” She paused and drummed her nails against the coffee cup.
“You know, you should tell Kristi you guys are back home.” Her voice was soft as she looked down into her coffee, searching for something in the inky liquid. Gerard spoke to her again, but this time with a chill in his words.
“I’m not sure who you are, or why you think I know anyone named Kristi.”His frigid tone didn’t seem to faze her any more than his curt gestures had. She just laughed at him.
“Just call your baby cousin. She misses you all.” Gerard had no idea how this crazy woman knew his cousin, let alone why she was here talking to him about her.
“How the hell do you know my cousin?” Gerard asked still in shock.
“We were roommates in college and now we work together, she always talks about you guys and how much she misses all of you. She wants to spend Christmas with her family again this year since your all home.” Gerard nodded.
Walking home in the rain to get away from this woman wouldn’t be so bad. He thought about it, but still, he didn’t know if this woman was for real or just a super crazy fan… Before he could move to get up the woman spoke again.
“My name is Rose, you can check with Kristi to see if I’m, telling the truth. I wouldn’t be offended.” She flashed a beautiful smile his way.
He decided on a much simpler test.
“If you’re really as close as you say you are then I’ll just ask you a question,” Gerard’s voice was warmer now. Rose let her fingers tap on the table, impatiently waiting as her pretty light blue eyes looked into his chocolate brown ones.
“What nick-name did I give her when she was little?” Gerard held his breath and found himself hoping she would know. Why was this woman so interesting? Maybe he hadn’t gotten enough action during the tour. He thought, but couldn’t actually remember the last time he had gotten lucky. Crazy stuff, that. He turned back to Rose and wondered what her skin would feel like. She looked like a snuggler; he liked to snuggle too… Why did he suddenly want to get to know this woman?
“Snow. You could have given me a hard question you know, doll face.” Rose childishly taunted Gerard and put her hand on his, waiting for him to reject the contact. She wanted to get to know this mysterious cousin of Kristi’s, and not as the singer of My Chemical Romance, but as a real person.
“Well, do you have a cell phone?” Rose was thrown off by Gerard’s question, but simply pulled it from her jacket pocket and placed it on the table between them with a quizzical look. Gerard picked it up and scrolled through it, searching for something. When he found it he smiled at her then proceeded on. What that something must have been, she didn’t know. It turned out to be someone’s number because he lifted the phone to his ear and waited for whoever was on the other end to pick up. His eyes met hers and he flipped his hand over under hers to intertwine their fingers. It was warm, but not unpleasantly so and his fingertips were a little rough as he smoothed them over her palm, but not calloused from labor. Suddenly his movements stilled and his smile got brighter, but not for her. Although his touch was exciting all Rose could focus on was Gerard’s phone call.
“Nope, not Rose…” He rolled his eyes and pulled the phone away from his ear as a woman’s voice came loudly through the speaker. She knew the voice. It was Kristi. Rose smiled and brought her coffee up to her mouth taking a sip with a knowing smile placed on her lips.
“I met her in the café by my house and we… hit it off.” He paused, letting her speak. “Yeah, I asked her your childhood nickname-” He made a face pretending to be offended for a moment and scrunched up his nose in what would normally be an ugly looking face, but on him, it was just silly although not so pretty all the same.
“I thought it would be a difficult question for a stalker to know, so I asked. Why would any fan know you, hun? No offence, but we don’t hang out a lot anymore, you know?” Another pause. “That is actually the reason I’m calling…”He was cut off once again by Kristi.
“Well, since me and the boys are back in town, how about you come work at the Jersey location your business has open for a few weeks and we can celebrate like the good old days?” He paused for a few minutes, getting an explanation, but Rose knew Kristi would be coming down. She just sat back and gloated while Gerard finished his conversation.
As soon as Gerard set the phone back on the table he noticed the smug smile Rose was wearing. His own lips tugged up seeing her act so lofty. It was nice to talk to a woman who gave him attitude for a change. Most of the girls he had met lately were really bad for his ego. They all practically worshipped him.
“Come here.” Gerard whispered leaning forward onto the table waiting for her to do so as well. Rose scooted forward and leaned close until they were practically breathing the same air. His smile got wider as she whispered to him.
“Do you have a secret you want to share with me Mr. Way?” Her teasing was cute, but honestly all he wanted was to be close to her. It was his turn to surprise her.
“Yeah, I do. Do you wanna know, Sugar?” His voice was soft and as Gerard saw her nod he quickly covered her lips with his own. It was a gentle kiss, not pushy or intrusive and he felt like he was in Junior High again kissing his first crush. Her hand slid slowly off of his and she pulled back from the kiss first. Had she not been blushing he might have thought she didn’t appreciate it, but he knew she had. She looked like a guilty child as she stared down at her coffee. Gerard kept looking at her, and as she stole a glance up at him he knew that this wouldn’t be the last time he would see her. He had to make sure of that though, so he grabbed her phone again and inserted his number, then proceeded to call his own cell. Which, he had stupidly left at home. He wondered: If a phone rang in a lonely house, did it really make any noise?
“So, Mr. Way, as pleasant as this has been, I should get going and I have no doubt you have better places to be as well.” Gerard realized her cup was empty as he placed his hand back over hers.
“Let me walk you home.” He formed his question into more of a statement. Rose was smiling though as she nodded in concession.
“I only live a block from here in the new apartments that went up for rent last month. I’ll be fine” He had walked by those on his way here. His house was less than a half mile or so away from those. Gerard; however, didn’t stand to leave, but placed his other hand under hers and ran his fingers along her smooth porcelain skin.
“Let me walk you, do me the favor?” His voice was almost uncertain as he spoke, but Rose smiled brightly and nodded, releasing his hand and standing. Her coat was back on before he had the chance to grab his and now she stood by the table, waiting. Instead of putting her gloves back on she stuffed them in her pocket with her hands.
His own coat was haphazardly flung onto his shoulders and his beanie back on his head. They swiftly walked through the door and back into the cold air. The rain had stopped for now, creating a fresh scent in the air. He lifted his head and took a deep breath. Rose suddenly giggled breaking him out of his peaceful moment.
“I thought I was weird for liking the air after the rain for so long…” Trailing off she lifted her head to breathe the clean air as well. Gerard smiled and kept on walking by her side. It was perfect tonight. The moon was almost full and created the perfect light as the clouds were dissipating and the night was just dark enough to hide the imperfections of the streets that you could see during the day. Really, it just seemed like the perfect winter evening.
Soon they had reached the new building and Rose turned to face him. Her smile again on display and brighter than the moon, she reached out to hug him good bye and gently pressed her lips to his cheek before walking into the apartments. Gerard lingered for a few moments, thinking. He was suddenly saddened by the loss of company. His eyes trained to his feet as he kicked at some foggy water on the concrete. He noticed a glove on the walkway though and he knew exactly whose it was. Maybe, this was an excuse to see her again.
Kristi hung up her phone, walking back into her bedroom. She had known the moment the guys had gotten home thanks to Frank. He had called her as soon as he put down his bags asking her if he could see her again. Butterflies were always in stomach when she thought about him, his company always made her giddy and happy. The fact that he was currently asleep in her bed gave her hope. Maybe now they could handle themselves like grownups. She walked into the kitchen, grabbing a glass of water. She wondered what tomorrow would bring with Frank, he was always so unpredictable, but that was something she admired about him. His impulsiveness often got him into trouble and always allowed him to give his fans one hell of a show night after night. She smiled, washing out her glass and setting in the dishwasher. Her robe pulled tight, she walked into her office and pulled down a book. This book had all the pictures they had taken during high school and as the boys grew up. The first one she saw was of Mikey and Gee sitting on their mother’s couch, both holding comic books and frowning at the camera. They really hadn’t changed too much over the years. She skipped to the middle of the book, high school. A group picture was crammed into the page cover. Gee, Mikey, her, Frank, Ray. She remembered meeting Frank for the First time, she was only a freshman and he was a year ahead of her, same as Gee. Mikey had been in her year and they had been the best of friends. It was always her and the boys. She never had felt awkward until her junior year. Frank wasn’t what you would call a ladies’ man, but he didn’t let that stop him. He tried to ask her to prom that year and she had gladly accepted, which kicked off the most miserable relationship she had ever been involved in. She never got him, though. Obviously. She closed the book, glancing towards the hall way where she heard footsteps. A second later Frank stood in the doorway. His hair sticking up in every direction and a sleepy smile on his face.
“You should come back to bed, KP. I got lonely and cold without you next to me.” His voice was ragged as he walked over and fell onto the loveseat with her. Laughing, she allowed him to rest his head on her lap and stroked his hair, lulling him to sleep again. She sat there with him in the faded lighting for some time. Just long enough to see snow start falling. She loved the snow; it always made her feel happier. Maybe this winter wouldn’t be too bad if she was with all her boys again.