We get to a small little restaurant/ grind. I have never even heard or seen this place. We walk in and sit down. “You come here often?” I ask. Gerard nods.
“I do most of my drawing here”
“Yeah just comics and stuff nothing big, I was working for a comic section in the New York paper but quit. Wasn’t happy with what I was doing with my life so I started a band” he says lighting another cigarette. He offers me one again but I deny this one. A young waitress comes by “Hey Gerard! Do you want your usual?” Gerard nods. “and how about you?” she asks looking at me. “I’ll just have your special” I say handing her the menu. She takes it and skips off.
“So you want to come to my show tonight?”
“Um sure why not?” I say looking at the art work around the restaurant. I look back at him and he has a kiddish smile on his face. My heart starts pounding again, when our food comes.
“Wow that was fast” I say looking at the club sandwich in front of me
Gerard has the same thing to and takes a bite into it.
“So tell me why did you become a musician what wasn’t going right in your life?” I ask taking a bite of my sandwich. Gerard finishes chewing and replies
“9-11, I saw the bodies falling, people running and screaming, made me realize how short life really was, and made me want to do bigger and better things” Gerard takes a sip of his coffee and looks at me waiting for a response only I don’t really know how to respond to that.
“Well I am glad some good came of it” I say
“Yeah me too” Gerard says smiling and taking another bite of his meal. We both finish the rest of the meal in silence. I have honestly never felt this comfortable around someone before. Gerard looks up and stares into my eyes and my heart is pounding at its fastest. He just keeps staring, I start to shake and he laughs and looks away.
“Wanna ditch this place and go somewhere else?” Gerard asks standing up.
“Um yeah sure, but where?” I ask just staring up at him.
“How about we just walk?” He says heading for the door.
“Hey arnt you going to pay?” I ask. Gerard turn around and looks to the cashier stand at the front of the restaurant.
“The owner owes me, we will be fine” He says gesturing for us to go. So I stand up and walk out with him. I have to walk very fast to keep up with his pace. He just keeps walking and doesn’t tell me where we are going until we get to a park.
“wanna sit and have a smoke?” He asks. I look around and notice the swings are empty. My inner child comes out and I can’t help but say “Race you to the swings!” I say taking off my flip flops and sprinting towards the swings.
“Wait!” I hear Gerard call after me but I keep running and laughing when I feel a tug behind me and I am pushed back and Gerard gets in front of me. I smile and run again and yell “Cheater!” I soon pass him up and get to the swings before him. He is huffing and puffing by the time he gets to the swings. I laugh and stick my tongue out at him.
“what are you 7?” He asks still out of breath.
“Nope! Just faster than you!” I put my flip flops back on and sit on the swing. Gerard sits next to me. I look over at him and he is smiling a crooked smile again. He pulls out a lighter and a cigarette and lights up and hands me one. I take it and light up too filling my lungs with smoke. I just feel so relaxed and at peace with him. Why I don’t know.
“So how long have you been with this Chad guy?” Gerard asks digging his feet into the sand below us.
“6 years” I say inhaling more smoke.
“Ah so you must really love him then” He says in a monotone voice.
“Yeah…I do” I say questioning myself as the words come out.
“What about you? You must have plenty of girls just coming after you, there has to be one special girl” I say but really hoping he says no. Why? I have no idea.
Gerard lets out a laugh “No, there hasn’t been anyone special ever, but recently I’ve been seeing this girl and I don’t know why she just makes me, feel different ever since I first saw her ya know?” he says looking directly at me. I let out a nervous sigh/laugh. I can’t believe he likes someone else, damn! Wait why I am thinking this?! I have a boyfriend of 6 years that I am madly in love with!
“Well that’s good I am glad! Maybe we can double date some time!” I say taking a drag.
“Now that would be interesting” he says with a laugh. I laugh too not knowing why I laugh. I finish off the rest of my cigarette.
“Bet you anything I can swing higher than you!” I say starting to push myself on the swing.
“Really? This again?” He says laughing finishing off his cigarette too and starts to swing with me. I can’t help but laugh as we swing higher and higher and neither can he. The cool air hits my face and pushes my hair loose hair back. I close my eyes and for a second I pretend I am flying.
Gerard and I both stop laughing and out of breath from swinging so long and fast.
“I so went higher than you!” I tease
“You did not I did!” He says laughing back at me.
We get off the swings and start walking back towards his car. This time we walk side by side. I can feel the electricity between us, and I can’t wait to get back to the car and make it go away. We get back into his car and we both light up another cigarette.
We get back to my house and Gerard rushes straight to the crate and lets Batman out baby talking him. I just laugh and watch when the phone rings.
“Hello?” I answer.
“Dr. Retorio?!” A panicked voice on the other says. .
“Yes this is she?” I say with a curious tone.
“It is Angela! Listen there was a hit by car dog, its bleeding internally, and I know I am the one on call this weekend but I don’t know what to do, you are the one with the best surgery skills I don’t know if I can do this” Angela says Panicked. Angela is a newly graduated Vet. She is very good and very smart…just not when it comes to surgery.
“Angela! Calm down okay? I’ll come down and do the surgery okay? Just get the dog ready I’ll be down there in about 15 ok?” I say calmly. I can hear her sigh on the other end.
“Okay! Thank you!” She says and hangs up. Gerard looks at me with a sad look.
“Hey sorry but I have to go, dying dog needs to me saved!” I say placing my fists on my hips making me look like Superman. Gerard laughs.
“Okay well you gotta do what you gotta do, I’ll just see you at my show? Same place, but at 8:00” He says with a hope full smile. I nod.
“I’ll see you then” I go into my room and change into a pair of scrubs and walk out to see Gerard is still standing in my kitchen.
“Sorry I wanted to see what you looked like all Dr’d up” His eyes go from the top of my head to my feet.
I turn my head sideways and laugh.
“ok? But I have to run I’ll see you later!” I say heading for the door. Gerard Follows. I close the door behind us. And head for my car as he does the same.
“wait!” Gerard says jogging after me with Batman in his arms. He reaches over and gives me a hug.
I go numb, and my legs shake. I take in his scent this is the first time I have been this close to him, it is a mixture of cinnamon and soap. He smells like heaven.
“Thanks for helping me today!” He pulls away and looks into my eyes again and hold the stare. His hands shake and he walks away. I watch him leave. He has a cute butt…..stop! I have a boyfriend that I am madly in love with! I tell myself and get into my car.
3 hours and lots of blood later the surgery is over and the dog is recovering nicely. I go into my office and sit down taking a deep sigh. That was very stressful and I can’t help but think I need a cigarette . Angela walks into my office.
“Thanks so much for helping! I was just so nervous…” She trails off,
“It is okay” I say looking up at her. She is very pretty. Black hair with blonde streaks and light makeup she could be a model .
She walks over and picks up a picture of me and Chad in times square about a year ago.
“You’re so lucky” she says sighing at the picture. “I’d do anything to have a love like that” she set the picture down and sits on the chair across from me.
I sigh “It isn’t as good as you think.” I say looking at all the pictures of Chad and I.
“What do you mean? You have been together 6 years, you are obviously going to get married and have kids and be happy. I’ve seen you guys together, nothing can separate you two” She says aweing at the pictures. I let out a sarcastic snort.
“If we are so perfect together then why the hell am I feeling things that I have never felt before for a guy I just met last night?” I cover my mouth as I say it. I can not believe I just said that.
Angela looks at me. “Oh my gosh really?!” She says in a giddy school girl voice.
I start to blush and she notices. “Dr. Retorio it is okay you can talk to me, your secrets are safe with me” She says. I sigh. Who else am I going to talk too? I really don’t have any other friends and if I told my mom she would be so upset, she loves Chad.
I sigh. “Fine. I met this guy Gerard last night, from the moment he looked at me, my heart stopped. He gave me chills. We fought at first, but then we rode home together in a cab, he came over today we went to have lunch we played in the park like two 7 year olds. And I havnt been happier, her makes my body go numb and sends chills through my body just by one look” I say all in one breath feeling relieved that I said all that. Angela just sits there and takes it all in.
“Wow….that sounds like love at first sight. Same thing happened with my parents, they were both dating other people thought they were in love but the moment they saw each other they knew they really wernt in love” She says with a twinkle in her eye. I laugh.
“I just…I don’t know . I don’t even know him! “ I say. Angela giggles.
“Love doesn’t need a reason to happen it just does.” I sigh at her comment and wonder.
I get home at 6:00 and see Chad is home. I walk in and see him sitting on the couch. I walk in and close the door behind me.
“Where were you?!” He yells getting up from the couch.
“I was at the clinic there was an emergency surgery I had to do” I say placing my keys on the table.
“And you didn’t let me know?! I was worried sick you got raped or murdered by that Gerard freak!” My heart twinges when he calls him a freak.
“I’m sorry okay?” I walk away from him and into the kitchen. He grabs my arm in the same spot squeezing again, tears fill my eyes.
“Don’t you ever do that again!” He screams.
“Chad I am a grown women! I’ll do what I want when I want to!” I say pulling my arm away from him. Next thing I know I feel a stinging on my face. Chad looks blankly at me, then rushes out the door. I hold my hand up to my cheek and feel the burning, I let the tears flow.
I am so done with him! I hate him! I don’t love him! I fall onto the bed and begin crying hysterically just wishing I had something to comfort me when I feel a thud on the bed and my face is being washed off by a giant tongue. I push Pickles off and he lays besides me and puts his head on my stomach. At least he is here to comfort me. I lay there for a while and get up to get ready to go see Gerard play like I promised. I go into the bathroom and see my face is still swollen and is turning blue. I grab my cover up and begin to put it on by the palm full. After I am done I change into a pair of black pants and a long sleeve shirt and wear my hair down curling it. I hear a knock at the bedroom door.
Chad comes in holding a box in his hands and a piece of paper in the other. He hands me the box first. I open it and see a diamond necklace, I gasp at it and look at him.
“I know…I have a problem I was just so worried about you, then you go attitude with me and I lost it. So that is also why I have this” He hands me a piece of paper that shows he signed up for anger management classes. I sigh and look up at him. His big blue eyes pierce my heart, but they don’t make me go numb or feel tingly like Gerard’s do. I get the thought out of my head. I love Chad, look he is trying to be a better person, he is getting help….
Chad leans down and kisses me and I kiss back.
“I love you Johanna, more than you know” He takes the necklace out of the box and puts in on me. I look in the mirror and admire how it catches the light. I smile.
“So where are you going?” Chad asks.
“Out to a movie with Angela, she asked me to go see one with her tonight” I lie.
“Oh okay, well have fun, I will be here when you get back.” He kisses my swollen cheek and I wince from the pain.
I get to the bar and see the stage is set up and ready to go. I sit at the closest table and order a beer. And wait. The band comes on one at a time, Gerard is last and he looks straight for me and smiles.
1 hour and 4 beers later the show ends. I stand and clap and Gerard smiles and look at me again sending chills. After everyone has left he comes up to me smiling from ear to ear.
“What did you think?!” He asks excitedly .
“Very good!” I say taking a big drink of my beer. He smiles and looks at the 4 empty bottles on the table.
“wow you’re getting after it tonight!” Gerard says laughing. I laugh too.
He steps closer to me and looks me in the eyes again, and I can’t tell if it is the beer or him, but I feel like the room is spinning. He stops smiling and looks at me with a serious look.
“What the hell happened to your face?!” I put my hand up to my face and feel it is even more swollen. Quick think of a lie.
“The dog was pretty big, trying to put him under was hard, he lifted his head and smacked me in the face pretty hard I guess now it is worse than I thought” I lie. His face becomes calm and he believes me.
“ I have something that can help with that” He says reaching into this pocket and pulls out a white pill from a prescription bottle.
“What is it?” I ask.
“Just a pain reliever I take it all the time” He says placing it into my hand. I shrug and trust him and take the pill with a drink of my beer. He smiles at me and goes up to the bar, I follow. He orders us shots of vodka and gets out cigarettes for us. I gladly take one and begin to relax after I smoke it.
“So how was the surgery?” He asks.
“Good the dog survived” I say smiling.
“Great!” He says excited. The shots come and we take them, Gerard orders two more for us plus beers.
“ So where did you get the new bling?” He asks pointing to my neck. I forgot I had the diamond necklace on.
“Chad gave it to me today” I say touching it.
“Wow, well it must have cost him a lot” Gerard says staring at it with envy.
“That it did” The bartender brings us our shots and more beers. By now I am feeling the best I have ever felt in my life.
“I feel soooooooooo good right now” I saw smiling from ear to ear. Gerard laughs and moves his hair out of his eyes.
“Me too!” he says laughing. He puts his hand on my leg and I go numb and I know its from him, not the drugs or the alcohol and this time I kind of like it.