If I'm asking for help it's only because
Being with you has opened my eyes
Could I ever believe such a perfect surprise
I drop Frank off in the most random spot, about halfway between our houses, I think. After our awkward exchanges of hugs, I get back in the car and drive home.
Mikey and I don't talk. I saw him kiss Amber, I see how happy they are together and that only makes me angry. Yeah, I should be a good big brother and be happy for him but I can’t be. It’s fucking annoying. They’ve only known each other for what, three days maybe. How the hell do you start a relationship after three days? I’m just upset. I need time to chill. Frank’s clinginess kinda caught me off guard as well. I’ve not had a drink in at least twelve hours and it’s making me stressed. Seriously all I need is sleep right now.
Frank. What did Frank mean by what he said? Loosen up? Am I tense or something? He was all over me tonight, and it was awkward, to say the least. He kept touching me whenever he got the chance, that smile of his appearing whenever he looked at me. I’m confused about it all. I mean, I’m flattered that I’m getting his attention, but I hadn’t really been asking for it at all.
I hate attention, in all seriousness. Like, if I was in a room, I'm the one all alone in all black going, ‘look at me’ and when they do, I'm instantly go, ‘no don’t look.’
I seek attention, but in reality, I hate it. I confuse myself sometimes.
Pulling into the driveway I park, and turn off the car. Mikey and Amber get out of the car somehow not letting go of each other. Love makes me sick to my stomach.
As we walk inside Mikey let’s go of Amber’s hand, pulling off his sweatshirt and giving it to her. She smiles and goes to sit on the couch. Mikey looks up at me, awkwardly shifting his weight from foot to foot, cheeks slightly pink as if he’s embarrassed by something; what the hell is going on?
“Amber is staying over,” he eventually blurts out.
I stare at him in shock. First night and my fifteen year old brother is going to get laid. This is fucking insane.
“You can make as much noise as you need bro, I’ll be in my cave.”
Mikey turns red, “No, dude, she’s crashing in my room so I’m gonna sleep downstairs in your room as long as it’s cool with you.”
I nod, not really caring. Amber will probably end up downstairs anyway. I have a feeling none of us are going to sleep tonight even though that’s all I want to do.
Mikey goes to get Amber as I head downstairs. They join me a few minutes later.
Amber sits with her feet hanging off my bed, her back against the wall. Mikey’s head is in her lap, his beanie on the floor. Her fingers trail through his light brown hair. My brother’s eyes shut, a smile on his sleeping face. I can’t blame him. If a girl was sitting there stroking my hair I think I’d fall asleep too.
Right now I’ve got bigger problems.
I sit down at my desk, mulling over what Frank could have possibly meant by what he said little over an hour ago.
"Loosen up..." I whisper to no one, hoping Amber doesn’t hear.
I glance over at her…she’s lost in her own world.
“Loosen up…” I whisper again.
As in, respond to his attention, to do the same back to him? Is that okay for two guys to do to each other? I’m sure about that. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m into girls, and always had been. I mean I think Amber’s hot…kinda.
To be honest, I’m fucking confused. My sexuality has never been questioned before until now. I have no idea what to think or say about things. This is one of those moments where alcohol would help me think, but I force myself not to drink, turning to Amber instead.
“Princess, am I…gay?’ I blurt out figuring she’d be cool with anything I want to talk about.
“I don’t think you are. I mean…are you? Do you like guys, Gee?”
“Up until today I was positive I liked girls but with Frank hanging all over me…I don’t really know. Can guys have a friendship like that?”
“Frank is just ultra comfortable with himself. He gets a lot of crap from people but I think he’s learned not to care too much. His hanging is just him being happy, his acknowledging you as a friend. If it makes you uncomfortable just tell him. He’s used to being touchy…I let him be that way. Just let him know if it’s too much for you.”
I smile, walking over to sit next to Amber, trying not to wake up Mikey who looks so content. She rests her head on my arm, Mikey’s beanie is still on her head.
“Thanks,” I whisper.
“Gee, know that if you are…gay or whatever that doesn’t change anything, you’re still my friend.”
I smile at her, glancing down at Mikey. I am happy for him. Granted I’m still confused but not enough to be mad at him for being with Amber. Mikey deserves some happiness in his life; Amber is that happiness.
For a while we just sit there staring off into space. I reach over and twist Amber’s bracelets around her wrist. Quickly, she pulls her arm away, eyes full of fear. This confuses me. I gently try to pull her arm towards me but she won’t have it.
“What are you hiding?”
“Nothing, I just don’t like people playing with my bracelets.”
I give her a stern look, “Don’t lie to me.”
Amber looks down at Mikey, brushing a few strands of his hair out of his face and removing his glasses, “It’s really nothing, Gerard, please don’t worry.”
Sighing, I grab her arm trying not to be too rough. In the end I’ve got her arm in my lap and am pulling the multiple bracelets off. Amber bites on her lip, looking around the room nervously. I really wish she had just told me.
Looking down at her arm I have to hold back a few tears. There, staring up at me is at least a dozen red marks. Hundreds of other white lines criss-cross her arm. I’m caught of guard. Never in a million years would I think that Amber would do that.
“I really don’t wanna talk about it,” she whispers pulling her bracelets back on and tugging Mikey’s jacket sleeve down.
I just nod, wiping a tear away from her face with my thumb, “I won’t tell Mikey until you’re ready.”
“Thank you,” Amber sniffs.
“Will you please try to stop…for Mikey?”
Amber nods, looking down at my little brother. I can tell that she likes him a lot.
After about an hour Amber nods off, her head leaning against the wall, her lips slightly parted; left eye open. She looks kinda creepy.
Having no one to talk and still being overwhelmed by what I discovered about Amber I head over to my desk. I reach for my sketchpad and pen. After finding them, I start drawing, not really paying attention to what I am doing. I just trace the picture that is in my head onto the paper, and after an hour or so I can make out what it actually is and it fucking scares me; making all the fear and confusion come back. I widen my eyes as I stare at it. It’s a picture of Frank and me, in close embrace, about to kiss on the mouth. Frank has a few scratches on his arm.
I flip out.
"What! The! Fuck!" I say, ripping the paper out of the book, crumpling it up and throwing it across the room.
I’m so fucking freaked out right now. Why is that going through my head? Why am I thinking of shit like that? Even after talking to Amber…nothing has been cleared up.
I flip off my chair, reaching under my bed for the half empty bottle of vodka I store there. I go unscrew the cap, holding the bottle.
“Stop it Gerard,” a voice says from the bed. “Remember what you said to Mikey. You can’t.”
It’s Amber and in the dim light I can see tears running down her face. I think she saw my entire outburst.
"Stop!" I growl, throwing the bottle across the room, causing it to bounce off the wall with a loud bang before rolling off into my closet.
I can’t do it again. Amber is right; I’ve got to think of Mikey. I told her to be strong for Mikey and yet here I am about to slip up. What would he say if he found out I lied to him again…he’s never trust me.
I pace back and forth across my room, hands on my head, freaking out. I want to talk to Amber, work things out, but she has fallen into an uneasy sleep, her breathing uneven.
What is going on with me; with Frank? With us?! Are we friends, more than friends? Can we stay friends if I say he can't hang on me anymore? Do I tell him about this? Do I show him the drawing, or do I hide it, never to see the light of day again? All of these questions rush through my head at once, and I have no answers.
I fall to my knees, yelling into the carpet in anger, “Fuck!”
I punch the floor with my fists. I hate this, not knowing what to think or what to do about what is going on. I guess that is the curse of living in your own head; not being able to talk about things. I eventually stop punching the floor, and bite my lip; a nervous habit. I debate wither to wake Amber up. I need someone to talk to.
The one thing I know is that I have to talk to Frank about what he meant by his words. That is a given because those are more confusing than his actions.
I lift up my head and run my hand through my hair, getting it out of my face, taking a deep breath.
"Okay, Gerard, calm down..." I comfort myself, trying to steady my heartbeat; I’ve decided not to wake Amber up, she needs her sleep. "You can get through this…without drinking."
I glance at the bottle at the edge of my closet door. I stare at it, then shake my head, "No."
Standing, I walk across my room, finding myself standing on top of the crumpled drawing; curious, I un-crumple it, looking at it closely. Without examining it closely, it just looks like Frank with a girl with long hair. I squint, looking closer, and I can see my own facial details on the feminine figure drawn on the paper. My eyes, nose, mouth, lips...if anyone knows me and looks at this, they’ll see what is going on in my head. This thought scares the living shit out of me.
Sighing, I stuff the paper in my desk drawer and prayed I will never see that ever again.
I crawl back onto my bed, gently tilting Amber’s head so it is resting on my arm. That has to be more comfortable than the wall. She adjusts so that her nose is buried in Mikey’s sweat shirt hood, moaning a little.
I try to sleep but it doesn’t happen. Instead I just sit there, thoughts racing through my head, until eventually my eye grow heavy and blackness surround me. My dreams, the effects of having no alcohol to ease the pain and hurt and confusion, are riddled with images of Frank and me.