Like I've learned something.
Onwards for the last time this fic!
Chapter 20: Epilogue
Summer comes almost as a relief to the socially retarded misfits of Belleville High, like the log cabin at the top of a really bitchy mountain or the oasis set into a vast desert. It’s like...everything’s back where it should be again. Everything makes sense.
“This year has gone so slowly,” yawns Ray, burying his head in the grass. “I swear, if the holidays were, like, delayed or something I probably would have killed myself.”
“Dammit. Why didn’t I think of that? Come on Gerard, there’s still time to ask the principle to cancel them all together if we hurry,” says Mikey. Ray sticks his tongue out at him.
I tut-tut at them. “You guys are so immature.”
“Shut up, Gerard,” Mikey snaps. “Just because you’re finally in an actual lasting relationship which isn’t built on lies and fakery.”
“Whatever you say, baby brother,” I smile dotingly, which of course only makes him madder.
It’s true though, the holidays have gone slowly. They seem to have dragged on forever and ever, a lot like the musical, I reminisce. It may interest you to know that I was, obviously, incredible. Voice like an angel, moves like Jagger, and my acting skills? WOW. Immense. Samantha was fantastic too, playing the part of the beautiful but airheaded leading lady seemingly effortlessly (cough, cough.)
I can see her in the distance, walking through the park hand in hand with Gorgeous Adam. Word on the street is they’re back together. I wave and she waves back with a smile. We bare each other no ill will. It’s not her fault she’s two-dimensional and it’s not my fault so many women love me.
And not just women.
I was kinda worrying about what Frank would think about Lindsey and I. Not that he has any control over my thoughts or anything but I kinda hoped they’d get along.
Backstage, just after the musical.
“You were brilliant, Gerard!”
“Fuck yeah dude! Up top! Men in tights!”
“Excuse me, who are you?”
“...Who am I? Who am [/I? I’m Frank motherfucking Iero, you wanton! Skippy’s best friend! Who the hell are you?”/]
“I’m his [/girlfriend.”/]
“Oh, right yeah. His [/girlfriend. Well, nice to meet you. Come on Gerard, the guys are waiting with mentos and coca cola to celebrate your awesomeness.”/]
“Hold up. Gerard is with me tonight. We’re going to celebrate his awesomeness at a post-hardcore club downtown.”
“Oh no you didn’t.”
“Suck it, bitch.”
“Would if I could but I can’t so I won’t.”
“This isn’t going to work. We need some kind of schedule.”
“Agreed. How about you get him Monday after school, Tuesday lunchtime and Thursday after school?”
“No, because then you get him more than me and that’s not cool because you’re just a step in the staircase of his love life. I want him Sundays and Wednesday lunchtimes too.”
“Okay, fine. Then I can have him Monday lunchtimes, Tuesday after school, Thursday lunchtimes, Friday after school and the whole of Saturday. He can have Wednesday after school free.”
“Deal. Shake on it.”
“Do I get a say in this?”
“Shut up Gerard, when have you ever had a say in anything?”
“You know what? You’ve got your head screwed on the right way round. I don’t totally hate you, Gerard’s new girlfriend.”
“And I don’t totally hate you either, person with a bizarre fetish for men in tights.”
A week later.
“Dude, I’m in love with your new girlfriend,” Frank and Lindsey suddenly appear and sit down on the grass beside us.
“Well that’s going to confuse things,” says Mikey.
“She has like, the best taste in converse ever!” he squeals happily. “I bought six pairs!”
“Hey, check out this eye shadow on me,” Lindsey closes her eyes. Her lids are coated in shimmering blue. “Pretty sweet, huh? Frank picked it out. He has a great sense of complexion!”
“Glad to see you two girls are getting on nicely,” I say sweetly. They flip me off simultaneously.
Frank lies across Ray’s back, oblivious to his screaming about crushing lungs. Lindsey scoots up next to me, resting her head on my shoulder. “Sorry Gerard, but we’re gonna have to reschedule Saturday. There’s a crazy ten minute sale down Think Shoe! Boutique and Frank’s taking me. You know Tina owns the place now?”
“Really? That is so cool!”
“I know, right? She’s also opened a branch of hair removal cream but I don’t think it’s legal in the US yet. Something about burning skin cells. So you’re okay with going to Loud festival next weekend?”
“Yeah, that’s cool,” I yawn. She snuggles into the crook of my neck and I put an arm around her.
“Hey!” says Ray suddenly, rubbing his ribs and glaring at Frank evilly. “I heard you got into the New York School of Dramatic Arts for your performance in the musical!”
The others turn to stare at me. I open and close my mouth like Heather’s dead goldfish. “It’s true,” I admit at last. “I did.”
The reaction is crazy and totally predictable. Ray gasps and goes green. Frank starts screaming at me not to go and swearing at every God he can think of. Lindsey starts clapping and telling me I’m not a total failure. Mikey and Heather do nothing.
“Relax, relax,” I tell Frank who is starting to make people stare. “I’m not going.”
They all shut up at that. Lindsey’s eyes are wide and confused. “Huh? Why not?”
“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure the stage is my thing,” I shrug. “All those people staring at me? I’d rather not.”
“You lie!” screams Frank. “You love being on the stage you pole-dancing sex kitten!”
Ignore, ignore, ignore. “I just don’t think I belong in theatre. I don’t want it as much as other people do...like Samantha, for example.”
“So you gave up your place for her?” asks Lindsey. I nod.
There is a thick silence while everyone processes the fact which Mikey is first to break. “That is sooo fucked up.”
“God Gerard, you’re so noble and generous,” Lindsey huffs. “You’ll never get anywhere in life.”
“Well, I happen to think that was a lovely thing for you to do,” Frank beams. “I’m proud of you, Gerard.”
“You’re just saying that because you don’t want me to go to New York,” I grin.
“Nooo”, Frank protests. “I couldn’t care less if you went to New York. You could go right now and I wouldn’t shed a tear.”
“Well, in that case I’ll go tell the board I’ve changed my mind,” I say, making to get to my feet but Frank pulls me back down screaming “No!”
“Fine!” he cries. “I don’t want you to go to New York. And yes, I would miss you. More than a mother misses her child. More than the moon misses the stars. More than chicken misses rice. Happy?”
“Very,” I grin, leaning back against the tree.
Frank lies back across Ray who is now asleep, tiny ants trecking into his nose and Mikey returns to War and Peace. The afternoon sun casts diamonds in Lindsey’s hair as she leans against me, our backs against the sturdy tree trunk. I take a strand between my fingers and twist it round, watching how it bounces away when I release it like a spring. She looks at me and smiles, the sun hitting her face and making her look all the more radiant. I feel like something is completed inside me, like I’ve just come to the end of a really difficult time. I also feel like I’ve learned a few things which is a great achievement for me.
I have learned that:
1)The world doesn’t end for people who are different.
2)My talents apparently lie beyond the sketchbook.
3)Sometimes when you think you’re living the dream it can turn out to be your worst nightmare.
4)In the end, all that really matters are the people that love you.
Four things. That’s more than I’ve ever learned in a whole Chemistry lesson. One thing I really wish I understood though...
Who the hell was the sonofabitch who melted my goddamn PE kit?
N’aaaw. Another baby all grown up. Although I’ve just given birth to another, check out A Misfit’s Guide to the 20 Ways if you’ve got the time. If you like DSM you’ll probably like it, it’s totally stupid and more random than a platypus.
Thanks again! Love you all!