Bert plans the grand escape. Gerard likes being pushed against walls.
Heaven… When I die, this is what I want heaven to feel like. Warm and protected… If I ask him to, I know he’ll never let me go. I want to stay in the haven of Bert’s arms forever, listening to that wonderful music our heartbeats create. The thumping of his heart is like the bass to his steady breathing. From behind closed eyes, I imagine myself in a clearing in a forest. The sky is decorated with a million stars. A brilliantly white full moon perfects the image. Bert is holding me, smiling. The stars reflect off of his beautiful eyes. The sheer bliss of this moment is so unreal… my own personal nirvana.
Then Bert shifts and the moment is shattered. The stars and the moon are blown out and I’m left in the dark.
“Mmm… Bert?” I mumble groggily. I open my eyes to find that he’s gotten out of bed. He seems to be looking for something.
“Sorry, Gee.” Bert apologizes. He lifts a pile of clothes and searches through them.
“What are you looking for?” I ask, sitting up and rubbing my eyes.
“They gave me a notebook and some pencils… can’t remember where I put them.” he says.
“Oh, they give everyone those. I used mine as a dream journal.” I tell him. “What do you need it for?”
Bert sees it on a shelf and grabs it, along with a pencil. “We need to plan our escape.” he says in a serious tone.
“Bert… it’s impossible.” I bite my lip. I’m sure there’s a way to get out, but what happens if we actually manage to break free? What if Bert leaves me on my own? I don’t have anyone to go to. I don’t have any money. I don’t even know what city I’m in.
“I promise I will get us out of here. Now help me brainstorm.” Bert says, determined. He sits beside me and opens the journal to the first page.
“The front door is locked and guarded.” I mention. I might as well help him figure out that there’s no leaving this place. “No windows either.” I add.
Bert writes ‘No doors or windows’ on the paper. “Any emergency exits?” he asks.
I shake my head. “Not that I know of.”
Bert frowns. He seems to be deep in thought. Suddenly, his eyes light up. “Gerard. They obviously don’t grow food here. Something has to deliver it.” he says excitedly.
“I don’t understand…” I say, confused.
Bert is grinning from ear to ear. “All the plastic forks and shit, packaging from food deliveries, all the food scraps, trash from the patients… where do you think it all goes?”
I wrinkle my eyebrows. “Um… a trash can?”
“And what happens when the trash can is full?” Bert presses, eager.
“They… take it outside?” I’m still lost. What does escaping have to do with trash?
Bert stands up, pulling me with him. “Gerard, have you ever seen them take the trash out through the front door?”
Now that I think about it… I haven’t. “Well…no.” I reply.
Bert’s smile grows bigger. “Then there must be a garbage chute leading to a dumpster outside.”
It takes me a minute to process. Then it hits me. “You don’t mean… you’re suggesting that we go through the garbage chute?” I ask, incredulous. I don't even know if Berkman's has one.
“Yes! How else would we get out?” Bert pulls me in for a hug. “I’m gonna get you out of here!” he cheers.
I don’t know how to react. The idea of escape sounds so unreal to me. “Bert… If we fail…” I whisper.
“I won’t fail you. I’m getting our asses out of this place.” Bert says, determined. “Now we need to find out where that garbage chute is.”
I sigh. “Maybe on the second floor.” The second floor is no different than the first, but it has a small gym that’s rarely used.
“You’re probably right.” Bert nods. “Would we be able to go up there and look around?”
“Bert, there probably isn’t a garbage chute. There’s no point in dreaming.” I say in exasperation. But Bert ignores me, scribbling in his notebook.
“You’d go down first, of course, so I can..”
“Bert!” I cry, cutting him off. “We can’t get out! There is absolutely no way that-“
Bert puts a finger to my lips to silence me. Then he moves his finger away and replaces it with his own lips. I immediately kiss him back, forgetting my frustration and instead remembering that Bert likes it when I run my hands through his hair. His lips are strong and determined, as if he’s trying to assure me of our escape through a kiss. Bert places his hands on my back protectively, and I know in that moment that he will live up to his promise. He will do anything it takes to help me break out of Berkman’s. And I realize that I do want to get out of here. I thought suicide was the key, but I want to live. In the real world. With Bert. I will do anything it takes to get him out as well. I want him to be free. I want us to be free.
Us… free… and together. I break away from the kiss just as Bert pushes me against the wall. (By the way, I really like being pushed against the wall.)
“Bert…” I whisper.
“Something wrong?” he asks, brushing my hair away from my eyes. It’s getting long.
“A-are we together? Like… b-boyfriends?” I ask, my heart racing. Why am I so nervous?
Bert’s eyes are shining when he replies, “Together burning bright, darling.” Then our lips crash together once again.
That night, as I’m drifting off to sleep in his arms, he whispers “I love you.”
There is a Florence And The Machine reference in the chapter. Just wanted to throw it in for fun.