Gerard digs deeper.
It was the weekend, and I was awake at seven thirty in the morning. I was also slightly tense, because it was Mikey’s birthday in three days, and I still hadn't left the house in order to buy him a present. So, today I was going to make my way out into civilisation, and get him something. Civilisation meant people, and I wasn’t really looking forward to the idea of shopping, but it had to be done, and I knew Mikey would appreciate it. I just wanted to make him happy on his special day. I made sure that I was dressed and out of the door before Mikey was awake. I had spoken to my mum last night when she had got back from work, and since she also hadn't got anything for Mikey yet, we decided we would give him one, joint present. So, here I was, on my way to the shopping centre; with my mum’s credit card and the knowledge of exactly what I was gonna get him.
It was fairly obvious what he wanted from the conversation we had had last Saturday, before the episode.
I was glad that we didn’t live that far away from the town shopping mall; otherwise I would have been walking for fucking days. Still, it took me an hour to get to the place, and considering my lack of exercise, that was quite a lot.
I arrived at half nine, the shops opening at ten, and I stood outside for a while, before spotting an empty coffee shop and diving inside, giving myself a nice hot cup to take out. I didn’t care that I had already had three cups at home, I fucking lived on coffee.
By the time the shops all opened, there were a couple more people milling around and I had already finished my coffee. I wasn’t exactly sure where the music shop was, but I was content to just wander around vaguely looking for it, avoiding the crowds of people trickling through the now open doors. About fifteen minutes later I found the shop: Matthew’s music shop. Imaginative title, I thought to myself, and snorted briefly at my own (shit) joke.
Slowly, I pushed the doors open, and found myself in another world. Lining the walls must have been about 30 different guitars and bass’, with various amps underneath. Right at the back of the shop there was a complete drum kit, the sticks resting on the snare drum. As much as I didn’t want people to pay attention to me, the temptation to walk over to the kit and start bashing the drums was almost overpowering. On the speaker system in the shop, music was blaring, it wasn’t particularly loud, but it was rhythmic and I liked it.
Suddenly, a man popped out in front of me. He was fairly attractive and about seven or eight years older than me. A little tag on his shirt read Matthew Bellamy and I figured he must be the owner of the shop.
“Hey there. You need any help? I'm Matt.” I shuddered slightly at the name, and then turned my attention to why I was in the shop in the first place.
“Hi, umm… Yeah, it’s my brother’s birthday on Monday, and I want to buy him a bass guitar and an amp for his birthday.”
Matt’s grin stretched wider. “Hey, he wasn’t the boy who came in with Jon last week was he?” I nodded. “Jon’s my aunts step son, I know him pretty well. Anyway, Jon plays bass as well, and I overheard them talking about it. Your brother seems cool.” I smiled slightly, I already knew about Jon’s addiction to musical instruments, I had listened to him go on about them enough lunchtimes already. I wasn’t particularly surprised he spent his time in here.
“Yeah, umm, what kind of bass d’you think would be good for my brother? It can't be too expensive, but, I want it nice…” Matt’s eyes lit up.
“I know exactly the thing our brother wants. I saw him look at it when he was round here last week. Come with me… Uh… What’s your name?”
“Gerard.” I supplied helpfully.
“Right, Gerard. Anyway, over here…” I followed him until we were standing in front of the wall covered in the various instruments, and I watched him as he leant forward, plucked a bass off the wall and showed it to me.
I could see why Mikey wanted it. it was perfect for him. The main part of the bass was simple and sophisticated, a plain silver.
“It plays like a dream.” Matt said to me, lowering his voice like it was a secret. “I’m more of a guitar man myself, but after everyone who tried it told me how good it was I had to have a go myself. And, cos Mikey is friends with Jon, ill give it to you cheaper. Its £180.” I was surprised; I thought it would be more. “You need an amp too? And picks I'm guessing.” I nodded, and Matt pootled off again to another part of his store. This place looked so small when you first came in, but it was much bigger than it looked.
“Here we go.” Matt picked up a plain black amp, and slammed it by my feet, making me jump. “This amp is the best for bass. Everyone gets it. I’ll give you all that plus the leads, a guitar strap and four picks for £275.”
It was good enough for me.
“Great.” I smiled, “I’ll get it all.” Matt grinned, and picked up the amp, carrying it to the counter. “You wanna pick the picks?” He called over his shoulder, as he busied himself with getting everything wrapped up and ready to go. “I've got loads. They’re over there.” He added, pointing in a random direction. I walked over and started to look through them. I didn’t realise how many cool picks there were! The ones I chose were red and black, one with the Misfits skull on, another with the Smashing Pumpkins logo, and the last had a purple and black design on it that made my head hurt. I was pretty sure he would like them, since they were kooky, plus the two were his favourite bands. Win-win situation, I thought.
I was just getting out my mum’s credit card when I heard the ‘ting’ of the door being opened. I proceeded to ignore the new customer and carried on paying for the stuff, only turning round when I heard a familiar voice say “Gerard?” behind me.
It was Frank. Of course it would be Frank.
“Oh… Umm… Hey there.” I stuttered.
“What are you doing here? You play bass? That’s cool!” I blushed, like I was good enough to play anything.
“N… No, it’s for Mikey. It… it’s his birthday on Monday.”
“Oh cool. Oh hey Matt, you got the string I need in now?”
Matt looked up at the sound of Frank’s voice. “Hi! Yeah, I do actually; wait until I've just finished with Gerard here.”
Frank nodded and then began to wander round the store, looking at the various guitars on the wall.
“Okay Gerard, it’s all yours. How are you getting it home, because all this stuff is quite heavy… and large…”
I hadn't thought about that.
“Well, I umm… I walked here. I don’t know…”
“Hey, I’ll help you carry it all if you want. I don’t need to go anywhere after this.” Frank’s voice piped up behind me. As much as Mikey didn’t want Frank in my life, he had helped me beforehand, and I did need someone to help me carry all this now. I nodded apprehensively, and Frank grinned.
“Just wait for me to get a new e- string, and then we’re ready to go. Oh, thanks Matt.” He added, as Matt gave him the string he had been looking for.
“Sorry you had to wait for it; I think the new cold in the air is making everyone’s strings go fucking crazy, yanno?” Matt said sheepishly.
Frank smiled and shook his head slightly. “Don’t you worry about it.” he answered. “I understand. I've just been going crazy ‘cause I haven’t been able to play for three weeks, it fucking sucks! Here you go dude.” Frank handed over the money in return for the string, and Matt quickly gave him his change.
“See you soon, yeah?” Frank said over his shoulder, and he picked up the amp I had bought, while I grabbed the bass itself, wincing at the sudden weight. Christ, these things were heavier than I thought they would be.
“Ready to go?” Frank asked me, and I nodded briefly, setting the bass higher up on my shoulder and making sure the leads and picks were thoroughly in my bag.
“So your brother plays bass, huh?” Frank said to me as we ambled through the shopping centre and out into the light of the outside world. I breathed in a great gulp of fresh air (well, as fresh as it can get in New Jersey) and then answered Frank.
“Yeah… my mum encouraged him to start playing when we were at one of our old
Schools; cos they had lessons going there. He didn’t go to them for very long though. Preferred to learn himself.”
Frank nodded. “Yeah, same. Rather learn by myself and my own rules than have some shit teacher telling me what the fuck to do you know? Been playing guitar for about seven years now. Anyway, I have something to ask you. You know my party?” I sighed internally. I should have realised that Frank would have wanted to talk about this.
Still, I had said I was going to the party. “Yep?”
“Well, my birthday is on Halloween, cool, I know.” He added, seeing my surprised face. “Anyway, my parents aren’t home till, like Christmas, I'm gonna do whatever the fuck I want, and basically I'm inviting anyone who wants to come. My parties are kind of famous in this part of Newark, so I can guarantee it’ll be big. So, bring your brother and all his friends, I'm cool with it. You don’t even have to bring your own booze, I got it covered. There is only one thing you have to do.”
I looked at Frank, asking him with my eyes what I needed to do.
“’Cause its Halloween, you gotta dress up, k? That’s all, really.” I nodded again, I could do that easily. Getting Mikey to dress up though could be tricky… maybe the promise of Olivia in costume would get him pumped up enough.
“Sure I can do that. And I’ll tell Mikey. Thank you Frank.” I said. Better be nice than be an awkward fuck, I thought.
“You’ll have fun, promise. Anyway… Damn, this shit is fucking heavy.” He grunted, transferring the amp from one hand to the other.
“Yeah, it is… Umm... Do you mind me asking but you know all the rumours about you?” I asked timidly. I wanted to know if all the beating he had done were true. Whenever he was around me alone, he just didn’t seem like the type of person who just mercilessly beat up kids for the hell of it.
“Which ones?” Frank snorted. “There’s been quite a few of them.”
“Uhh… the ones about you… you beating people up.” Damn this was just so fucking embarrassing.
Frank snorted again, choking slightly. “Course they’re true! Why wouldn’t they be? How do you think I got so fucking popular?” I jerked back in disbelief. That was not the answer I was expecting.
“Could you tell me about some of them?” I wanted to know how I was really talking to here.
“Sure. The first person I beat up made fun of my hair, so I cornered him after school and broke his nose. Then there was… um… ooh, these three guys called Harry, Charles and Jack. They pissed me off big time so I kinda did the same thing, ‘cept I kinda broke Harry’s ribs and put Jack in hospital for two months… Can't really remember all of them to be honest, I've been doing it since I was fourteen. I’d say I've beaten up at least forty people, sometimes more than once. But it gives me power, yanno? Feel like I'm on top of the fucking world.”
Shit. Who was I even talking to?
“But hey.” Frank added, looking at my stricken face. “Haven’t done anything to you yet, have I? Don’t worry about it, I told you I ain't gonna beat you up. Hey is this your house?”
I felt slightly sick that this guy knew where I lived. Mikey was right, he always was.
“Y… Yeah, it… It is. Umm, I'm gonna p… Put all this stuff in the shed out back, till Mikey goes out and he d… Doesn’t see it.” I said, walking up the short drive and then opening the gate that would lead to the tiny garden out the back. I wasn’t joking, the patch of grass that was there was titchy, and not very useful in any way.
“Hey it’s cool. In here?” He asked, as I set the bass carefully down on the ground and opened the door to the shed. I nodded, picking the bass carefully up again and setting it inside, Frank following suit with the amp.
“Great. Umm… Thanks Frank; t… That was really kind of you and shit… I would ask you inside but… But my mum’s home, and she doesn’t like strangers in the house while she’s there…” Not to mention the fact that having that guy in my house again would seriously freak me out.
Frank smiled slightly, he didn’t seem to see that I was suddenly shaking slightly, which was a good thing. “Naa, its cool mate, I gotta get back to the guys anyway. They’re probably wondering where I am and shit. See you around, and eat something, okay?” I nodded briefly, and then fearfully watched Frank walk back up the street before unlocking the back door and slamming it shut behind me.
Mikey appeared in the doorway, watching me as I took off my coat and dropped my bag outside my door. “Where did you go?” he asked, as I made my way into the kitchen to make myself another cup of coffee. I couldn’t really tell him where I went so I just flat out lied.
“Umm… I went for a walk. Needed some fresh air, you know?” The lie was pretty unconvincing even to me, since I never went out usually, but I then distracted him by saying: “hey… shall we have lunch together?” The smile that lit up his face was almost hard to look at, and I felt a little guilty.
Although I probably wouldn’t eat everything, Frank had asked me to eat something. And I felt that I should probably do what Frank wanted, because fuck knew what he would do if I didn’t obey him.
There you go! Please, Please, Please could we get this chapter green as well? It would be so fucking good, and I would love you guys even more than I do now! Thank you, and tell me your thoughts!