“I just seems like too much effort” Frank murmurs “to change the direction I’m heading” part one
Gerard had known that the darkness was not the reason he wanted Gerard to stay, he knew this but he was fine with it. He couldn’t cope with going back to the apartment yet anyway.
So Mikey is fixing dinner and muttering about the economy and Gerard is sitting at one of the bar stools by the island, Rowan cradled awkwardly in his arms. He’s only half listening to Mikey’s bitch fit about cuts and whatever, most of Gerard’s attention is on the small gurgling body in his arms.
Rowan is small still, she had been premature so Mikey said it was normal for her to be tiny for a while, there’s something about this smallness that touches Gerard.
The baby in his arms doesn’t care that Gerard is a wreck, or an alcoholic or destined to be forever alone, the baby in his arms cares only about the warmth of Gerard’s chest. It makes him smile because he never understood children before, in his mind all they did was consume and scream and there was never the appeal there for him. But now, but now he can see, see how her big amber eyes reflect nothing but hope, she doesn’t know about the world, about people, all she knows is the warmth and love of her mother and family and Gerard doesn’t want this tiny baby in his arms to ever grow up.
“She’s beautiful,” He says to Mikey, and it’s the first time the words have slipped his lips
Mikey looks over from the chilli on the stove, confused for a second, then he smiles and his eyes crinkle and Gerard doesn’t know the creases on his brother’s face, like he grew up and Gerard didn’t even notice.
“I know” Mikey says and Gerard thinks he’s going to repeat himself like usual, but he doesn’t because Mikey really does know.
Gerard smiles down at Rowan and she makes a happy sighing sound and shuts her golden eyes.
“You’re so lucky” He says
Mikey moves over towards Gerard now and looks down at him sympathetically, and it should be the other way round, Gerard thinks, his little brother shouldn’t be the one to comfort him now.
Mikey’s mouth twitches “It’s not luck, Gerard”
And the moment is filled with a brief silence, it’s almost awkward, except it’s not because it’s just Gerard and Mikey like when they were kids in hand me down clothes and bad haircuts. And Gerard realises that Mikey hasn’t changed, he’s grown up sure, but Mikey was always a mature kid, he always knew what was best.
Then there are keys in the front door and Alicia swings round into the house, her Black Berry clutched in her hand and a grin on her face. Her eyes zone in on Rowan straight away and she floods into the kitchen, all smiling and motherly.
“Hello, baby” she says and Gerard stands to pass over the infant “Oh something smells good” she chirps, Rowan resting comfortably in her arms
“How was your mom?” Mikey asks
Alicia makes wide, exasperated eyes before saying “Oh same as always, says I should get a hair cut, maybe my nails done. Didn’t even ask about the new job or Rowan”
“You know that’s her love language” Mikey sighs sympathetically
Alicia shakes her head “Oh I don’t know” she’s more talking to Rowan now “What are we going to do with her” Alicia’s voice is high and playful as she giggles at her child.
“Where’s Frank?” she asks suddenly, once she’s sat down on a stool, Rowan over her shoulder
“Some kind of job interview” Mikey says
“At this time?” Alicia cocks an eyebrow
“He was very secretive about it” Mikey ads, “I think it’s important”
“Well it better be if they’re having him out at this time” Alicia snaps, angry on Frank’s behalf “I do worry about that boy”
Frank had left a little over an hour ago, he was funny about it, jumpy and snapping at Mikey when he asked questions. Gerard hadn’t seen Frank that way before so it was… strange to say the least
“He’s not a boy” Mikey sighs “He can make his own decisions”
“Yes and look where those bloody decisions got him”
It seems like an old running argument to Gerard and he’s carful not to get involved, any argument between Alicia and Mikey is best to be avoided. But he listens, takes in what they’re saying absorbs Mikey’s words he’s not a boy Gerard knows that this statement can mean one of two things. The first would lead to Gerard having to seriously question his sexuality, the second is a little more promising.
However there’s not much time for him to dwell on his thoughts because moments later Frank is shuffling through the house, his face stormy and his hands fisted into the front pouch of his hoodie.
“Frank” Mikey says, a crease between his brow
Alicia puts on a stricken face and hands Rowan over to her husband “Oh, sweetie” she coos then draws Frank into a tight hug, “You’ve had a rough day, hm?”
Frank doesn’t visibly relax but his voice is soft, a contrast to the clenched lines of his jaw “You could say that”
The table manners mean that the three of them avoid asking Frank about the interview or his day or about why he was so stressed earlier and Gerard picks at his food and shoves it around his plate a little because he can feel Frank’s eyes on him.
The thing is, Gerard’s not that comfortable eating around people, like it’s not that he thinks he’s fat or that he doesn’t like to eat, not exactly. It’s more that the idea of getting food on his face, like that he’ll spill source down his shirt of get something stuck in his teeth, that Gerard’s not such a fan of.
And he knows, he knows it’s paranoia because he is like the most carful eater in the world, like when he was a kid his mom was so fixated on table manners and making sure Gerard had the knife and fork in the right hands. And Gerard remembers as a kid literally having his ice cream taken away from him because “You’re making a mess, Gerard. You’re such a mucky pup” and maybe that has something to do with it. But mainly it just means, he’s a carful eater, food goes in his mouth and nowhere else.
Not that it would even matter if he did get some salsa on his chin, he just- he just can’t. The thought of it makes him want to run and hide and shower and just-no.
So Gerard doesn’t eat much that night and he sort of wishes there was more conversation so he wouldn’t have to focus so much on the full plate of chilli in front of him. But someone really should have warned him, before he opened his own mouth
“So I” he starts, not really knowing just where the point is heading. He has nothing to say, no reason to have even started to talk, but now everyone’s looking and he defiantly can’t just shove something in his mouth and carry on in silence “Food’s good” He eventually manages
Mikey gives him this look, like of course he’s noticed the full fucking plate of food in front of his brother, but he’s not going to say anything because Gerard would kill him. So he just sits for a moment as if contemplating the bare wood table
“Thanks” He mumbles after a while, he gives Gerard the eyebrows that translate to ‘we need to talk’ but he doesn’t push the not so empty place, full of apparently good food.
Frank scrapes his chair back, his hands pushing against the table “I’m going to bed” he says and leaves
It’s abrupt and out of character and the three left at the table just watch, mouths open and eyebrows raised and cutlery clanking down onto the table. Gerard pats a napkin to his lips, like somehow the food as managed to jump onto his lips whilst he was focused on Frank. Rowan gurgles in her chair and Alicia uses this is an excuse to move and fuss and talk in baby English to the child.
“I best get her to bed too” she says then cradles Rowan in her arms, moving across the room with an easy grace “Say good night, daddy” she coos and Mikey kisses his daughter’s cheek “And night Gee” she pushes Rowan forwards and Gerard kisses her forehead, she’s pretty much asleep by the time Alicia leaves the room.
Gerard relaxes into his chair, synchronising with Mikey, he smiles softly and tries not to worry about Frank when Mikey says, “He’ll be fine, Gee he gets like that sometimes”
Gerard hms and nods and doesn’t let his mind sneak upstairs to where he knows Frank is probably brooding. It’s just, he wants to help Frank, Frank helped him when he was- when he first got here. So it would be the least he could do to return the favour.
“You’re not eating” Mikey notes, casual his gaze not shifting from Gerard’s eyes
“I’m not hungry” he lies
Mikey nods a couple of times and looks as if he wants to say more, but then he drops his gaze and lets Gerard off the hook, for now at least.
“I’m going to bed” he says then and excuses himself from the table, Mikey smiles lazily and lets him go.
Gerard has a shower before he goes to bed, and thinks about how it’s probably pathetic how his mind keeps lingering on that almost kiss. He washes his hair and doesn’t jack off because he feels to bad thinking about Frank when he’s this close and clearly upset. He can’t help his mind wandering back to the morning though, back to the warmth of the bed and the happy, sleepy look in Frank’s eyes. The proximity of their faces as he leant in, the small amount of hope he just couldn’t let go. The drop in his stomach when Frank pulled away.
He gets out of the shower and avoids the mirror, despite it being foggy and there being no chance of him seeing himself, he doesn’t risk it. He gets dried and dressed and shrinks away from the glass and into the hallway. The lights are out upstairs, and there’s a hum from the TV downstairs where Mikey and Alicia have stayed up.
He creeps along the hallway and past Frank’s door, there’s a shuffling noise coming from inside, Frank probably rolling around in his bed and there’s another noise too, like the tinny sound of music. Maybe he has headphones on, Gerard thinks, and then he thinks no more of it he carries on to his room and flicks on the light.
He’s already in his pyjamas so he doesn’t leave the light on for long, just long enough for him to put down his clothes and move the art stuff from his bed. Then he flicks it off and clambers into the mess of white sheets. Another day done.
It’s dark when Gerard is awoken, it’s still night, or maybe early morning and there’s a small tapping on his door that had woven into his dream confusing his mind. He had been dreaming about the circus again, it was third person but Gerard still knew, still knew that he was the elephant. Stuck in the cage alone, just waiting for the flames to take over his body all he could think about was his leg, it ached and it was burning. And then there was the tapping, a small tapping sound against the bars beckoning him across the cage, away from the flames.
He shot up, a cold sweat on his skin, left over from the flames, the tapping is still there, small timid sounds hitting the door. He gets up and creeps across the room pulling open the door, sleep still sticking to his eyes.
Frank is standing in the dark hallway, squinting at Gerard in his sweats and Elmo t-shirt.
“Hi” he says, rubbing the back of his neck and showing off the inked rosary beads looping down his arm “Can I come in?” he asks
Gerard nods a few times and tries to tell his brain that his eyes are not lying “sure” he breathes and Frank stares for a while before Gerard remembers that for Frank to come in, he has to move
Frank pads across the room and perches like a bird on the edge of his bed, looking hopefully at Gerard. He pulls his legs up to his chest after a moment and Gerard moves more into the room.
“Hey” he says, smiling at Frank
“Hey” Frank smiles then motions for Gerard to come over to the bed
Gerard obliges and sits a little awkwardly beside Frank, not close enough for them to touch, but close enough “You ‘kay?” he asks
Frank nods a little “Couldn’t sleep” he admits then collapses into Gerard’s side.
Gerard is shocked at first, but then he remembers that he does in fact have limbs and he wraps one of them (an arm, it doesn’t feel like the right time to be wrapping his legs around Frank) around Frank’s tiny shoulders.
“Bad day?” he asks, his voice similar to Alicia’s
Frank nods and nuzzles a little into Gerard’s shoulder, whatever anger he had earlier has worn away, leaving Frank all timid and cuddly. Gerard wouldn’t be one to complain
“I guess” he starts to explain, pulling his face away from Gerard’s shoulder, but he stays close to his side his head tilted “I’m just realising that my life isn’t turning out the way I expected”
It’s a line Gerard has said so many times to Mikey and Mrs Harte and it breaks his heart to hear the solemn words drip from Frank’s mouth. He sighs and squeezes his shoulder and Frank’s head collapses once again as he closes his eyes.
“There’s still time. You’re in your golden years, Frankie” He comforts petting at Frank’s hair now
“I just seems like too much effort” Frank murmurs “to change the direction I’m heading”
And with that he climbs into Gerard’s lap, like a baby or maybe a puppy and he tucks his head into the crook of Gerard’s neck and his hair tickles Gerard’s chin. Gerard lets his hands rest on the hollow of his back and he hums comforting words into Frank’s ear until he falls asleep, maybe ten minutes later.
He pulls them back so that they’re fully on the bed and keeps Frank tucked up in his chest letting the warmth spread round his limbs because apparently Frank sleeps better around him.
Eventually he falls asleep too.
End of part one! Yeah this chapter’s in two parts because it’s looonnng anyhoo I will try and get the next bit finished by this time next week maybe? Thank you for all your support so far, it means the world to me. Especially PartyPooperX I’m transmitting internet hugs into your brain right now.
Oh I cma back here to ask something but I totally forgot what. Hmm Hmm. Whatever I'll tell you when I know