When Gerard and Lindsey couldn't agree on touring in light of the birth of their first born daughter, Gerard found a solution in the language of music.
When The Lights Go Out
"I can't believe you're leaving again."
Lindsey sulked on the king sized bed, staring at her husband with exaggerated disapproval. Gerard stared back at her from beside the dresser, biting his lip in the way he always did when under the angry looks of his wife.
"Well you had to know it was happening eventually, I do still have a band..." Gerard argued his case, although knowing exactly what she was going to say next.
"Yes, but you also now have a baby. I didn't think I needed to point that out, either." Lindsey scoffed.
The baby. The baby had become her line of defense for everything these days, her sure fire way to end conversations. Because if he had anything to say about it, then he wasn't thinking about the baby enough. He wasn't being considerate to the baby. Gerard sighed and crossed his arms defensively, perhaps knowing this next line would upset her --- but hey, she was using low blows too, so why not?
"Yes, exactly, Linds, I now have a baby. That means two mouths to feed instead of just yours. I can't do that if I don't perform my shows, now can I?"
Lindsey gave him and indignant glare and responded with, "Not much point feeding either if you're not around to see us, is there? Yeah, you supply the cash -- but cash isn't a rarity, Gerard. There are plenty of other ways you can make money and stick around here."
"Yeah, but what about the guys?"
"Are the guys really your priority over your own child?"
"Of course not, but -- " Gerard stopped himself. While it was undeniable that his daughter should be his highest priority above all else, the logic didn't really make sense to him. He had, after all, been in this band for nearly ten years -- along with his little brother, who was like his baby at one point. He had raised the kid since he was an infant -- didn't he count just as much as Bandit did? Yet Gerard also knew that Mikey was now a full grown man with a wife, while Bandit was barely born and still needed him. Mikey could probably handle abandonment a lot more than Mikey could.
But he had missed going on tour so much, and the electric feeling that was in the atmosphere of his musician's mind was difficult to suppress. The Black Parade had nearly brought the band to the brink of extinction, while Danger Days was promised to give it a jumpstart back to life. That, after all, is what he had promised the band, his brothers, his best friends...and how could he back out now?
"There's nothing I can do." Gerard said with finality, "Everything's set in stone, and we can't just release a comeback album like this without the tour. The tour is how we make back the cash that we used to create the album! I'd be financially screwing all of us!"
Lindsey rolled her eyes, "Yeah, hi dipshit, I was in a band too remember? But I gave that up. For us."
A pang of guilt dug into Gerard's side at her words, and he pouted a little before his resolve hardened again. However he still had no sort of come back, and so Gerard simply left the room.
He had to head out to meet with the guys, anyway.
As Lindsey heard him slam the front door, the baby monitor went off with the sound of childish cries. The noise must have woken her up. Lindsey sighed and left to Bandit's room, where there was a thirsty mouth that was gaping open in its dismay.
"Hey B." she smiled despite her exhaustion. Lifting Bandit up from her crib quelled her sobs slightly, and Lindsey was able to lament as she brought Bandit into the kitchen.
It wasn't that she couldn't handle Bandit on her own, of course. She was all too used to it by now, and on top of that, Bandit wasn't all that hard to manage. She had babysat plenty as a teenager, and partnered with her own maternal instincts, she knew what to do.
It was simply that she missed Gerard being around.
No, the tours were nothing new. They had both always had a tour going on for one person or the other. Yet when they had been childless, they were actually able to tag along with their partners. And whenever they couldn't, or perhaps simply didn't want to go where they were going, they would be able to go out to drinks with friends and just have a good time.
When Lindsey had become pregnant, however, all of this had changed. And Gerard going on a world tour only translated to one thing in her mind: A very, very, very long time apart.
As if he hadn't already been taken from her by all the recording they did these days. So many things happening, so much for him to do. Lindsey had to admit, she may be even a bit jealous.
The only things she ever had to do anymore were revolving around the bundle that was now contented in her arms.
Stupid Gerard., Lindsey mentally huffed as they brought them both back to the master bedroom for a well deserved nap. At least she knew Bandit wasn't going to get up and leave to record any albums.
When Gerard returned home that night, he and Lindsey barely spoke. They said nothing throughout dinner, nor did they speak when they went to sleep. The week that followed was a typical "fight week" where neither of them talked to each other more than they really had to. It was, at least, not difficult to do since Gerard spent so much time in the studio. Lindsey could not tell if he had begun to avoid her, or if his workload had simply increased. Both seemed perfectly believable.
She once heard him on the phone in the bathroom, trying to keep his voice down but forgetting that they had paper thin walls.
"...Just one more, Rob, please? It's really important to me. I know, I know, last time, I promise. It'll be one of the best tracks on the album, swear to god."
Of course, its always about the tracks. Lindsey rolled her eyes and walked away, not caring to hear anymore. It was after that phone conversation that Gerard just never seemed to be around at all.
What she did not notice, however, was that their photo albums had gone missing as well.
This was because Gerard had taken them with him to his studio, using each photo for inspiration to his lyrics. He sifted through years of visual memories, paying particular attention to the ones that had to do with the summer he and his wife had first fallen for one another. He took note of every message they had written on each other, every private joke. He took a stroll back into their past, in order to help him down the road that would lead to the future.
The time soon came for the closing of the album, which also meant the closing of Gerard's time at home with his family. They were already planning show dates before the album would even be released, for promotional reasons. Lindsey and Gerard had not made up, and finally the last week came.
He gave it to her on a Thursday, right before he was to leave for a week long promotional tour for interviews and photo shoots. A crystal case that had a disc inside it.
"I want you to listen to this, please?" Gerard told her in a voice that held no malice, and so Lindsey did her best to agree graciously.
He leaned forward to kiss her on the lips, walked out the door, and left.
Lindsey did not open the crystal case until she was upstairs in her bedroom. The moment she did, something that she had not notice before then fell out of it, landing on the bed. She picked it up, realizing that it was some sort of folded up note. She unfolded it and read:
I recorded this for whenever you miss me while I'm gone.
Use it as a substitute for my hugs, but only until I can come home and give you a real one.
All my love,
Lindsey hurriedly took the CD from the case and inserted into the disc player on the dresser. She played it's one track -- and by the end of it, found herself crying into her pillow so Bandit wouldn't hear. Of course, they were nothing more than tears of overwhelming love and regret.
They had fought over not having enough time together as a family, but they wasted what little time they did have over the very thing they were fighting against. Lindsey waited until Gerard called her that night to tell him that she absolutely loved his little surprise.
Lindsey had other means, of course, to keep Gerard with her while he wasn't actually there. She would wear his clothes, especially the ones that smelled of him the most. She would hug the pillow that he would usually sleep on, or sometimes she would spray the area with his body sprays. She found keeping his smell around to be her preferred method of convincing herself, for maybe a few seconds, that he wasn't far away at all.
But the song Gerard had written for Lindsey became her new favorite, and for the entirety of the World Contamination Tour, it would be playing on an endless loop in the Way household. And so it was with the tours after that. It became such a tradition, that by the age of five, Bandit could sing almost every word of it.
Lindsey was certain she would never tire of it, as she swore the lyrics had become embedded into her heart. They were like a prayer, to keep away the loneliness. She knew it second by second, word for word, sound to sound, and treated it like something sacred and extremely necessary.
Eventually, Gerard did deem himself wealthy enough to retire. The band broke up, just as hers had. It was only then that the CD in the crystal case, still with his note inside, began to collect dust in their attic. Lindsey didn't need the song then. His hugs, embraces, kisses, and love were all finally there for her in person.
In their middle age, they had become a family again with no substitutions needed. They savored this short time together, although Bandit grew apart from them as a teenager. Yet that was to be expected.
There were times when Lindsey would ask him to sing it to her, and it felt particularly nice to be able to touch him while he sang the song, while before she could only touch the cold plastic of her stereo system. And while he had been wrong all those years ago -- no one else thought of it as one of the best songs on the Danger Days album, there was no doubt in her mind that it was her favorite song of all time.
The next time Lindsey would pick up the CD again was with wrinkled fingers, trembling and unsteady from old age.
She inserted the disc into a likewise very old, barely working CD player. The computers these days almost never had them anymore. Bandit had one, but Bandit also now lived many states away with her own fiancée. Thus it had been difficult for her to find this one, but she was able to dig it up from the storage and bring it into her own room. She swore she felt cobwebs around it as she carried it there.
Lindsey pressed play, and the familiar notes started filling her bedroom. Gerard's own voice began to mix in with it, and her heart skipped a beat. She sat on her rocking chair, closed her eyes, and listened.
It was just such a strange experience to hear him.
He had died of lung cancer two years ago.
It was on this day, just another day where she felt lonely once again, that Lindsey thought upon the origins of this song. She thought of the silly fight they had such a long, long time ago. She thought of the fights they had like it, and she remembered the note he had written. She glanced back at the crystal case on her table, and was happy to see that it was still there.
Lindsey took a good minute to get a hold on it, unfolding it almost pathetically slow. She read through the messy scrawl to the last line.
...Use it as a substitute for my hugs, but only until I can come home and give you a real one.
Tears in her eyes, Lindsey smiled to herself and thought:
I'll be waiting.