"You're naive Hayley but... thank you."
"Fuck..." Gerard moaned, rolling over.
I sat up, realizing that I was quite sore. I didn't say anything as I moved the blanket off of me and stepped out of his bed. I felt dirty, how could I not? My mouth tasted of Gerard, my body holding his scent. I'd never felt so stained. What Gerard and I did wasn't anywhere near what Frank and I did when we were together. Gerard and I fucked. It was senseless and somewhat violent, holding no love at all.
I didn't really regret it though. I'd needed it. Was it my wake up call? Maybe, I really wasn't sure yet. I wasn't thinking too clearly. When was the last time I remembered making sense? It was too far away, I couldn't think of the last time.
Gerard was watching me. I could tell. My back was too him but I had that feeling you got when someone was staring at you. Finally he cleared his throat, "I'm sorry." He sounded so sincere but why would he be sorry?
I turned to face him, unconcerned with my naked state. "Why?"
"I'm pretty sure I hurt you." Gerard said, shaking his head. "I'm pretty selfish when I'm doing drugs. Everything just becomes... for the thrill."
"I didn't expect to make love to you." I replied, "You gave me what I needed."
"That being?" Gerard asked.
I looked away, knowing it would never make sense to another person. "I need to be stronger."
"Are you afraid Frank is going to hurt you?" Gerard asked.
"I'm counting on it."
"Then why don't you just stay away from him?" Gerard asked, not hiding his confusion.
"I can't. I love Frank." I said, realizing I'd never stop. "This time if he hurts me... when he hurts me, I won't fall apart."
Gerard shook his head, "But that's a lie."
"You're still falling apart. You may think that breaking yourself down more is going to fix you, or make you stronger... but that's bullshit." Gerard said, back to his calm self. I hated how much sense he made, when I thought I had it all figured out.
"Then what am I supposed to do?" I asked, voice cracking. I'd done this all to feel stronger but with just a few simple words from Gerard... I felt weak once again. Would I ever feel as I did before, wrapped in Frank's arms? Then I felt safe; I felt sane.
"I can't give you the answers." Gerard said, shrugging.
"Of course not." I muttered, looking down.
"Come here." Gerard whispered, gently.
I slowly stepped towards him, unaware of what I even expected.
Gerard's fingers brushed against my bare skin before he wrapped his arms around me, hugging me close to him. I felt his breath upon my skin as he spoke, "When Frank held you... was it like this?"
"... No." I replied, after a pause.
"When I fucked you last night, did it remind you of Frank?" Gerard asked.
"So then why are you attempting to use me to fix your feelings with Frank, when we are so obviously different?" That put everything in a different light.
The warm water from the shower had waken me up, but I still felt like an idiot. An idiot who happened to be more awake. My new bruises from sex the night before with Gerard stood out upon my skin, making me pray that Frank wouldn't notice.
Gerard was awkwardly sitting on his bed when I came out, waiting for me. "Feel better?" He asked, still looking guilty.
"Yeah... I guess." I didn't really know what to say. He was a good man. I'd pushed him. He was already down, and I just made things worse. What was wrong with me?
"Good." Gerard smiled but the smile wasn't convincing. "Frank called. He's being released. I was going to go pick him up. Did you want to come with?"
"Sure... but Gerard?"
"Are you going to... drink again?" I asked, concerned for him.
"I don't know." Gerard replied. "I'm going to try to stay sober but we both know... that doesn't always work for me." He smiled, sadly.
"I'm here for you."
"I don't want to hurt you again." Gerard said, shaking his head. "When I'm drinking you'll stay away from me."
"No, I won't." I replied, finding more confidence coming forward. "You didn't do anything without my permission. I asked for the pain you gave me but now I'm... I'm better, I want to get better. I- I'll help you as much as I can."
Gerard smiled, "You're naive Hayley but... thank you."
Frank looked like shit. It turned out his pain medication had worn off for the most part, leaving him feeling every painful movement he made. "... Are you sure? I mean... You would feel better if you..." I was uncomfortable with Frank being in pain.
Frank shook his head immediately as I knew he would. "I'm going to beat this addiction Hayley. It all starts here. I promise I'll never fucking hurt you again." The words sent a surge of emotion through my body. Was it love? I'd loved Frank before but now things felt so fucking different that it was hard to determine just what it was that I felt now.
Frank stood, looking away from me as he grimaced. "What if you rip your stitches?"
"It'll be fine." Frank said, clenching his teeth. This shouldn't have to be so hard!
The door to Frank's hospital room opened and Gerard stuck his head in, grinning. I was amazed at how calm he could act, when just last night everything had crashed down upon us. Then again... Frank hadn't suspected anything was wrong with me either. Was I that good at hiding shit or did Frank not want to see what was right in front of him?
"Ready to go?" Gerard asked, carefully placing his arm around Frank in a way that would allow Frank to displace most of his weight on to Gerard. "I'm sure Mikey is a step away from lighting your apartment on fire without you there..." Gerard joked so carelessly. I found myself staring openly at him, wishing I could act just as he was acting.
"I'm sure Hayley was helping him light the fire before she decided to stop by the hospital today." Frank joked, unaware that we had even come to the hospital together.
I found myself grinning, thinking of past kitchen accidents I'd had. Frank always came to the rescue, fixing whatever it was that I'd nearly wrecked. "Hey! I'm not that bad. I don't think there has ever actually been fire..."
Frank laughed, grimacing at the motion. "But paired with Mikey... I'm sure you two could somehow create fire together, accidentally of course." He winked at the last bit.
I felt as if my emotions were being torn apart and re-examined. It was so hard to choose a way to feel when your feelings changed every five minutes. Frank seemed like my old Frank now. I couldn't help but stare at him in adoration and feel as if everything were fixed but at the same time I knew things were far from fixed. I wasn't even sure what 'fixed' was anymore.
"You guys could have at least knocked!" Mikey shouted, closing the bathroom door behind him.
"It's my apartment." Frank called back, rolling his eyes.
Gerard laughed loudly, "Don't you know that cooking nakedly is dangerous?" I walked over to flip the bacon he'd left as he ran to the bathroom to get dressed. All I'd seen was his tiny ass as he ran away from us upon hearing the door open.
"Dangerous?" I muttered, prepared to hold any conversation possible. The car ride had been awkward. Gerard listened to music but Frank kept glancing back and staring at me. Each time we met eyes I looked away but he didn't.
I knew he wanted to talk but I didn't know if I was ready.
"Yeah. His cock is all out and about." Gerard said, grabbing an apple off of the counter. I was honestly surprised to see an apple in Mikey and Frank's kitchen. "What if some of that hot grease pops out of the pan and takes out his tiny cock?"
I laughed, horrifyingly picturing a tiny cock popping upon being touched by hot grease. It was like a cartoon horror show going off in my head, with Mikey as the victim.
"Yeah, that's fucking hilarious Gee." Mikey said, walking out fully dressed.
I placed Mikey's bacon on a plate. "It's ready."
Mikey grinned. "Thank you!"
We fell silent as Mikey noisily ate but then the loud chewing stopped and Mikey's eyes narrowed. "You don't look so good Gerard."
I stiffened and watched how Gerard calmly shrugged the statement off. I wasn't nearly as calm as Gerard and I found myself spouting out a lousy reason as to why he looked so obviously hung over. None of us were prepared to face the truth; That was all too obvious. "Gerard got sick last night."
Mikey nodded, staring at me. "Is that where you were last night? Helping Gerard with his... what was it, a stomach bug?"
"Wait, you were with Gerard last night?" Frank asked.
Gerard interrupted, not losing his confident tone through out the entire mini speech he threw together. "So, Hayley's whereabouts matter more than my health? I'm hurt, truly hurt." He even pouted convincingly. "I got a little naseous. Turns out sometimes feeling naseous can turn in to vomitting. Dear Hayley decided to help me home, then she made me some soup and got stuck at my place when I passed out in the bathroom. I ate some weird seafood shit."
Frank seemed to relax at the explanation. A small grin crept on to his face. "Yeah, Hayley's always been there for her friends." His grin grew wider. "I remember this one time..."
I promptly cut him off, "No!" I shouted it, catching myself off guard. "No more stories Frank. You always make me sound like such a dork." That wasn't the main reason I stopped him though. When he talked about our past... He got this light in his eyes. It was unextinguishable, forever shining. It reminded me of the love I'd felt for him before. It reminded me that the love I'd felt would never disappear completely and sometimes that scared me. It scared me more than anything else, even the idea of Frank relapsing because the truth was in the words Alex had spoken before leaving. I would stand by Frank through his darkest days, even if I didn't live to see the light.
Frank grinned sheepishly. "Fine but... Mikey, Gerard... you guys must be dying to do some brotherly things..." His hints were strong enough for the most idiotic person to understand but... Mikey evidently topped that idiot.
"What? Dude, you know I've missed you more. Gerard is... Gerard. I think by the time he turned 18 we were both sick of all of the 'brother' time." Mikey said, putting his dirty plate in to the sink.
Gerard rolled his eyes and loudly declared, "Yes Frank... Mikey and I would absolutely love to evacuate the apartment so that you and Hayley can have a little time to talk things out." He paused, glancing at me. "Is that alright with you Hayley?"
My palms were suddenly sweaty as I gripped the countertop in front of me. "Yeah, of course that's fine." The words came out easily, shocking my frightened insides.
Gerard smiled but still seemed to hesitate. "Well, call us when you're done... talking."
Mikey bounced out of the apartment without a word, seeming to gain incredible amounts of energy within minutes of freeing himself of the greasy plate.
The door shut behind them, leaving Frank struggling to find the words I already knew he would speak.
They didn't make things right. Nothing we could ever say would. Something inside of us had to change in order for things to go forward. If we couldn't manage to figure out what had to change... Well then things would forever remain the same and that was our true fear.
Neither of us would say it but it was the truth. We were afraid that things would never change. We were afraid that we would never feel the happiness we'd felt beforehand. We were afraid of so many things, only a handful of those things were even describable.
Frank was the first one to speak the words I'd been broadcasting yet not fully understanding. "I'm scared."