Ignorance is bliss?
“Do you want to get out of here?” He asks.
“Yeah. I do.”
“If it gives you a clear head then sure.”
“Starbucks it is then.”
“Do you want to invite Mikey? He'll kill you if you go without him.”
“No, it'll be okay. He can go later. Does everyone know you're okay?”
“Just you, Alicia, and Mikey.”
“Then we aren't going anywhere. They need to see you're okay.”
“Gerard. No. You're more important to me right now.”
“They've been worried sick though, I'm sure.”
“It will be fine. I'm sure Alica passed along the information.”
“Fine then. But you fucking better make the rounds when we get back. Frankie has been a mess and he won't even talk to me. Ray, well. You can imagine how he feels toward me. Bob just doesn't give a fuck. He did come to visit you though when you were out. Brought you this little teddy bear. I'm not sure if you saw it.” Awe, that was really sweet of Bob. I didn't see it in the room but he'll definitely get a thank you hug from me, I thought.
“I swear I'll go see everyone when we get back. Don't worry.” I reassure.
“Good.” Gerard fished a few dollars from his coat pocket and put it on the bar.
“Ready to go?” he asks. I nod.
We stood and he took my hand, somewhat forceful. Desperate even. This, this was new. It felt so possessive. He had never really held my hand. Not like this, anyways. He had only ever led me places. He put on his shades with his free hand to conceal his sleepless eyes. He put his hood up along with my own. I had put my coat on before I left the room, just in case I had to search the streets for him. We were out the door. It was cold, and for once I liked it. It shocked my uncovered skin and I felt. Awake. I didn't dare let him go. People were everywhere. The streets were incredibly crowded. I guess that's what you got for heading downtown in the morning. Where were we anyway? I didn't even know what time it was. Last I heard we were in Ohio, then on to Jersey after that for a short break, afterward onto New York to continue the tour.
“Where are we?” I ask.
“Cleveland. We're downtown. It's only 9:30.”
Holy shit. A.M.? He had been downing whiskey at nine in the morning?! Was that even legal?! Then it hit me, he had fame. Perhaps fame lets you get away with these kinds of things. The time made the city bustle much more logical. All these people were headed to work most likely.
“Where is a Starbucks, anyway?”
“Couple more blocks. Been there about five times already.”
“Oh. Go figure.”
I should have known. The Way boys love their coffee. I had never, in my 21 years ever seen such a caffeine addiction for it other than them. I focused on his face for a minuted. My lips parted and I take a breath, getting ready to speak but I stop myself. He doesn't seem to be in a talkative mood at the moment. So I settled for staring at passing strangers. They had no idea who we were, what we were. Strangers didn't know our problems. They didn't even care. If only they did, they'd probably tell me to leave him now. I can't. I won't. I took sincere comfort in the ignorance of strangers. We finally made it to Starbucks. It was only moderately busy. He hadn't let go of me the whole way there. I had to admit I was a little shocked. We made out way in and into the line. We stayed completely silent. I saw a group of teens ogling us. I was happy he hadn't taken his hood and glasses off. I didn't want him bombarded by fans. The group of mostly girls whispered among each other, debating most likely on whether it was really him or not. Gerard was too busy looking at the drink menu. The cashier finally attended to him and Gerard rattled off some impossible mouthful. Venti mixed mocha extra whip some bullshit like that. I didn't even know. I never really bought anything here because they want $5 for a damn coffee. It was good though, I gave them that. I look to the teens. They look as if they're trying to peer pressure one of the girls into walking over and talking to Gerard.
“Christine?” I snap out of it. I look to him.
“What do you want?”
“Uh. Hot chocolate? Please?”
Gerard paid for our drinks and I could hear a mini uproar coming from the horde of ogling teenagers. Gerard looked over, took his shades off, and asked the cashier for some coffee sleeves and a sharpie. He autographed five, one for each kid then he tossed a gift card at the cashier.
“I want you to get those kids' attention. Tell them they can order whatever they want, on the house. You can have the money left over. I don't care about that. Just make sure to put them in the sleeves, got it?”
The cashier nodded, smiling. We head to the side counter, grab our drinks and we're out the door again. I look back to see the kids freaking the fuck out seeing the signed sleeves.
“Did they see?”
“Yeah-- they did. Why did you do that?” I ask smiling.
“I wanted to be nice because I didn't feel like hordes of pictures right now. Besides, I'm with you. If your face is seen on the internet with mine, it'll start so much shit. I don't want those asshole photographers following you. Besides, this is the first time we've been together doing something, well-- something normal. ”
For the first time in a while he flashes me a genuine smile. Despite the October cold it warmed me down to my toes. Well that and my hot chocolate. We're back in the streets again. The morning rush is still very present. I look to the strangers again. It made me uneasy. I felt a twinge of guilt rise in me. I'm thinking about all they don't know. I felt so guilty. There I had been, trying to get his secrets to the light when I had barely opened up myself. I did, but not like him. I had never seen him that vulnerable until that night in the hotel room when he told me about Ellie. When I had told him my life hadn't been perfect, I meant it. I more than meant it. I winced at his words cruel echo in my head. “Since when have you ever had to cope with anything in your fucking perfect little life?!” How was he to have known anyway? I had only ever told him the happy parts of my past. It had all seemed so irrelevant then. I was always too focused on him. I can't do this to him, I thought. He practically bore his very soul to me. I could open up too. Was I ready to do that? I took the last sip of my hot chocolate, throwing it away into a street side trash can. We were about a block fro the hotel. Still, Gerard hadn't said anything to me since leaving Starbucks. I'm wide awake with the sugar in my blood. I knew we needed to talk, but would Gerard even speak? We were in the hotel lobby. What now? I wondered.
“Can I come up to your room?” He asks with this unexpected shyness, and he lets my hand go.
“What kind of question is that?” I joke.
“A legitimate one.” he snaps.
“You know my answer is yes.” I avert my eyes, not wanting to find him angry.
He says nothing. We took the elevator, reaching my floor. I walked beside hi, We get to my room and I find my key. The lock signaled green and we stepped in. I strip my coat, leaving my hoodie on but pulling down my hood. Gerard followed suit. His cheeks are flushed from the cold. I'm sure mine are too but he wears it so much better. Gerard finds a seat on the bed.
“Come here please.” He asks. I comply. He's seated right next to me. Suddenly he envelops himself around me. Gerard hugged me so tight.
“Please. Don't ever leave me again. I was-- I was so terrified.”
“It's not like I comatosed on purpose.” I mumble. Gerard laughs a little.
“I'm sorry I unhinged on you. It was a lot to process. I should have waited to calm down.”
“It's okay, honestly. I'm fine.” the last part is a lie. With what I know have to tell him, I'm not fine at all.