Categories > Celebrities > My Chemical Romance > 'Cause Love Isn't About Affection, It's About Leadership1 Reviews
Gerard's expression matched mine - we both knew I'd said too much.
I was halfway home when I stopped dead on my tracks. I wasn't the brightest person in town but did know how to count one plus one and I was fairly sure that instead of running home to hide under the bed, I should first call Mooney and make a point clear.
Unless it was too late.
I could remember seeing a public phone booth (which were a dying source of nature in the area) nearby and found it too, along with a few spare coins in my back pocket that I thought would be enough for the call.
The phone only beeped once before I heard Mooney's all-too-familiar, rather unenthusiastic voice greet me the way we'd all been taught to do.
"You have called the Black Eye music bar, how can I help you?" He said.
"Mooney? Hi, it's Avery. Listen, that guy from the band that claimed to be playing tomorrow-"
"Gerard, I think"
"-Yes, that would be him. I really, really need you to not give out any personal information about me to him"
"Like what?" He asked, letting his tone make it clear just how uninterested he was.
"Like phone number, address, all that"
"Sorry Avery, you should've called earlier, I already gave him your address. Where are you calling from anyway? I hear traffic"
"You what?" I gasped
"..I hear traffic. Are you calling from a payphone?"
"Nevermind" I sighed ready to end the call but then came up with one more thing before hanging up "Was he on foot? Do you recall?"
"Who was?" It was obvious his concentration was entirely elsewhere.
"The guy, Mooney" I hissed through gritted teeth.
"Oh, no. He drove a van. A dirty, battered old thing. If he's headed to your place, you'll probably beat him there. I doubt he'll make it far with a piece of shit like that" he chuckled, and hang up.
I threw the phone on the holder with a bit too much force than necessary and it bounced back with loud clatter, but I was already running.
I was going to strangle Mooney for this. Wasn't giving out an empolyee's personal contact information against some kind of firm policy? If I was going down because of him, I'd take him with me.
My heart rate seemed to pick up its pace much quicker than it would due to just running, and I suddenly realized I was panicking like a squirrel on drugs. I had to slow down. And what point was there to running, anyway? He would be there, if not waiting for me to arrive then at the very least knocking on my door the moment I'd stepped in.
What choices did I have? Starting over, again? Claiming he was some mainiac and file for restraint order? Kill him and dump him in the Hudson river - I would'nt be the first at that?
A thought occured me.
He had seemed oddly delighted to see me back at the bar. A little confused - yes- but by no means furious or accusative or even betrayed. He didn't seem to want to call the police or Ray to come squeeze his long-ago-spent money out of me. He didn't seem to understand.
Would it be that bad to confront him? Tell him another story, since I was apparently so very convincing when it came to story-telling? I started walking, which eventually evolved into jogging but I didn't panic as much as I did before. I would lie and ask him not to contact me anymore - simple as that.
When I arrrived at the condo, his van was indeed parked outside the building, which didn't exactly surprise me. I had hoped that his van would've fallen apart or that he would've gotten lost on the way but the odds for that weren't that good to begin with. His van looked battered but it was a thing worth trusting. And also, he'd been living in Jersey long enough to know the streets by heart.
I walked steadily towards the front door, refusing to give in to the hyperventilation that persistantly kept trying to take over. I was pterified, but it wasn't the only reason my heart felt like a jackhammer against my chest. I realized that even though one of the guys showing up at my new job in my new life had pretty much been my biggest worry for the past couple months, I'd also missed them terribly. All of them.
"I would hate to think that you're following me around, Gerard" I called, more confidently than I felt. There was a teasing edge to my voice but I kept my face grave.
"Avery Banker" He nodded to me in a way that felt uncomfortable and amused at the same time; uncomfortable because I'd been discovered, amused because his manners were straight from the ABC of how to act like a comic book character. "That is your name, right?"
I decided give him an ounce of truth, cause I was fairly convinced that he wouldn't understand the full meaning of my words to begin with.
"Ugh - drop the act Gerard. You're not a detective from one of your magazines. As for me being refered to as Avery, well.. It's not more or less my name than Willow was"
I took a cautious step towards him. He launched forward and I staggered backwards, ready to either bail or face my death and the cold, gray river. I was surprised to no extent when I felt his arms wrap around me and squeeze me into a very tight and very warm hug. It took me a minute to recover, after which I self-consciously patted him on the back twice and tried to do my best to return the hug in a natural way while my body was still stuck in the prepare to die mode.
He pulled away after the most awkward three minutes of my life and he seemed perfectly at ease as he smiled at me - that charming no-teeth all-lip kind of crooked smile that wasn't always that far from a sneer.
"Aren't you angry?" I sputtered.
"Cause you left? Naw, I mean you're an adult right? So you leave when ya wanna. Frank seemed to be pretty pissed though, for reasons unknown." He shrugged "I'm curious though, what have you been up to? I couldn't believe my eyes for a minute! And what's up with the new name?"
The part about Frank made my skin crawl, the sound of his name and not to think of in which context it was mentioned. Frank was angry. I shook my head in attempt to erase all thoughts of Frank.
This was hardly the right time for that so I focused on eyeing Gerard suspiciously. Was he really that oblivious? Had Frank told him nothing? And the rest of the guys, they knew nothing as well? It didn't feel very likely for someone to hear the shocking truth (which were in fact lies, of course) and then shut up about it. It was more than unlikely, it was totally different from any human behavior I would've expected.
"Have you talked to Frank?" I asked, fishing for more clues as to what exactly had Gerard been told.
"Sure I have? I mean, we do live together" He shrugged again, and kept on smiling.
"About me, Gerard" I specified.
"Naw, not really. Just that you left and he didn't have such warm feelings about that. Ray wonders though, but mostly was just worried you'd gotten into some sorta trouble. You're a tiny thing and it is Jersey, so yeah.. But since you're not in trouble or dead or whatever.." The smile was slowly taken over by a frown.
"..You're really starting to look a whole lot like a thief" He finished the sentence with regret, and his expression said it all. He'd been happy to see me, and to see me alive, but it was a little too much to expect him to overlook the money thing.
"Well that's what Frank thinks" I blurted out without giving it a second thought. He raised an eyebrow as I sighed in defeat.
"Do you want to come in for coffee? I think we need to talk"
He followed me to the hallway and into the apartment, obviously saving the 20 questions for later.
Being here with Gerard was awkard. It wasn't so much about him as it was about the fact that I'd already put the identity of Willow whats-her-name behind me, and now we were sitting here as Gerard and Avery. In my new, careful and desperately anonymous life. He sipped on his coffee whidch tasted rather muddy thanks to the ten dollar coffee maker I'd barely afforded.
"I had to leave very urgently and it was vital for me to not be in contact with you guys anymore. So I lied to Frank to make myself look bad and I expected him to share the news with you guys." I explained carefully.
"He didn't, though" He confirmed.
"So it would seem.." My head felt as heavy as my heart but I put on a brave smile and gave him the permission I was pretty sure he'd been waiting for.
"You can start the asking now, after which I wish you leave and well.. Forget all this" I smiled re-approachably.
"You're not planning on coming back, are you?"
"No" Confident, confident, confindent, I chanted to myself. Don't sound like a trapped rabbit, for fuck's sake!
"What about Ray?" Definitely a hint of challenge in his voice.
"What about him?"
"The money, Wil- uhm.. Avery"
"Look, as soon as I get my next salary I can give you the money and you can personallY deliver it to him" I bargained. That should work as well as anything, since I didn't seem to be able to lose these people off my tracks.
"So I'll be seeing you again?" His eyes lit up as his spoke.
"Yeah, I guess you will. What's so great about that anyway?" I muttered under my breath.
"You do realize those were just the practical questions? I got more" He grinned and I'd be damned if he didn't just about bounce up and down on his seat.
I went to the little corner that was supposedly my kitchen, a tight corner with a pair of cabinets, a cuboard, a single hotplate and a tiny little sink. The miniature fridge I'd bought stood by itself on top of the cabinet, looking extremely out of place.
I poured myself a refill and asked Gerard if he'd like another cup. He declined with a cringe.
"Shoot" I sighed as I sat down by the dinner table.
"I know you're something" He whispered tentatively and all blood drained of my face for a second. Gerard was persistant. Also, he was prone to imagining things he thought would be outrageously cool, and slowly my face started regaining its previous colour. My hope that that had gone unnoticed by him was useless; it hadn't.
"You can trust me" He added.
"I know" I replied even though I really didn't know, and didn't think so.
A moment passed without any words spoken. Gerard stared intently at me.
"Okay, tell me - what exactly did you have in mind? What am I, Gerard?" I laughed nervously, failing in attempt to mock.
He put his elbows on the table and leaned his face on his open palms. His face still held that tiny smile put his eyebrows were furrowed in a way that, although wasn't, resembled a frown. It looked as if... Oh god, he had a dozen theories and was noW picking the first one to try out! Oh how I hated his comic book world from the very bottom of my heart.
"An alien. Or a vampire. Maybe both.." he whispered. He was no longer smiling, and his eyes grew darker as he studied my face - was that fear I saw? Was he frightened now?
I was feeling relieved for the fact that people had never really came up with a word for what we were. No old tales, no books, no movies.. Vampires, witches, werewolves and other mythical and, for the most part, fictional creatures were the stars in those. Not us.
The vampire bit stung though. They weren't like the others. They were real. Quite harmless and invisible but definitely real. His guess wasn't exactly a homerun, but close enough to make my voice tremble as I spoke.
"Gerard" I touched his hand because that was as much as I knew about assuring humangestures "If I was a vampire... Don't you think I would've bit you? You're here by yourself. Nobody knows where you are." I stated matter-of-factly. "Vampires hardly ever resist, do they?"
"What do you know about vampires?" He muttered in response.
"A minute ago I was one" I scoffed. "Look, I really really hate this lying, it's so much worse with an actual conscience. That's not how I wanted things to work out for me here. I just want to live peacefully and anonymously and you're not helping! I made a mistake, alright, I shouldn't have taken you up on your hospitality back then, but it was all I could to not freeze and starve during my first fucking day to this new world-" My mouth was left hung open as I forced the words to stay inside, they had flown out a little too smoothly for anyone's liking.
Gerard's expression matched mine - we both knew I'd said too much.
"What are you?" He asked again, this time his voice was more pained than curious, his face more shocked than persistant with intriguence.
I hesitated, then opened my mouth and closed it again. The words were gone. "I don't know" I finally stuttered. In a situation like this, that worked as well as anything.
"You don't know?" His face demonstrated pretty well the depth of his disbelief, which I tried my best to ignore
"Technically, not" I said slowly. "Well I'm human now, obviously" I added quickly.
"Human? Now?" His face turned various shades of red, and in the end, white. When he opened his mouth again, it could've been another man's voice he spoke in, it was a flat and toneless monotone. "Yes, obviously." It said.
Was he acting unimpressed? Acting like he wasn't the least bit shocked by what he's heard? Acting not scared? Cause if that's what he was doing, he gave himself away long ago, and his face still kept revealing his true feelings - shock, horror, disbelief, even awe, which disgusted me.
"I want to know" He said, sternly.
"There's nothing to tell" I shrugged.
"What if I decided to call Ray, or to call the police maybe? Tell them you took Ray's money and left? They would propably take one look at your ID and declare it fake. I don't know if we'd be able to prove the thing about the money, but fake identity would be enough to cause you a whole lot of trouble, wouldn't it? Now if I was considering to do that, don't you think there would be something you'd like to tell me first and maybe change my mind?" He cocked his head to the left "My curiousity outweighs my reason, y'know"
"What, are you trying to threaten me now? Threatening a vampire, oh Gerard" I shook my head and laughed nervously, but since instead of replying he kept staring at me with that determined look on his face, I had to ask.
"You wouldn't really do that though, would you? I mean, I took it you were glad to see me" I felt the remains of the supposed confident smile abandon my face as I processed what he'd said.
"I wouldn't want to. But I will, if you won't tell me the truth"
I tried one more time to call on his foolishness.
"What if there really is nothing to tell, Gerard? What if I really really am nothing but a human being with a complicated life situation? No science movie material?"
"I know you're something" he argued and I could tell I wouldn't succeed in convincing him even if we kept this conversation going for the rest of your lives. I should just throw him out. But scaring him, I thought, might have a much more permanent result than kicking him out, and considering what the truth was, what better way to scare someone than just tell it?
He wouldn't believe in it anyway, not even though he wanted to. He'd think I was crazy, and Gerard being fond of everything abnormal didn't include crazy people - only mythical, alien things that had a certain touch of fascination and mystery to them. He would be ecstatic about what I was - in theory- but in a real life situation, sitting face-to-face with me, he'd be too out of his depth to belive any of it no matter how many times he might've dreamt of something like this to happen.
"Look, don't call anyone, okay? It's not something I can explain, I've never had to" I rubbed my temples with my forefingers and my heart beat like hell even though I kept telling myself that he'd be out the door as soon as he'd heard me out and decided I was being serious and without a doubt, insane.
I still couldn't overlook the fact that I was going to tell him this, tell him something I don't think anyone has ever told anyone before. Not me, atleast. My heart revolted against my rib cage as I racked my brain for the right words. There weren't any.
"Try" he whispered, smiling again. It looked like he was trying to look composed and reassuring when all the while he was bursting with anticipation on the inside.
His eagerness almost made me gag.
"There's not a word for what I am. Or, in case there is, I've never heard it. Im not a vampire Gerard, that much I can tell and it's really quite insulting for you to imply such a thing. Vampires are harmless, they drink mostly animal blood, cows and pigs and well, they're the dumbest creatures you ever saw. Not much intelligence there."
I paused to see his reaction.
"Vampire's are real?" He squealed quietly. I'd never thought it was possible to squeal in a whisper.
"Oh, I thought you knew!" I said in mock astonishment.
"Are you fucking with me?" He asked nonchalantly. My eyes felt like they'd just popped out of their sockets, leaving two gaping holes in my skull. The guy was unbelievable! What was wrong with these human people?
"What? No! Is that why you're here?" I shrieked yanking my hand from his and folding both of my hands tightly across my chest.
"No no no, shit Wil- Avery, it's a figure of speach, okay?" He leaned over the table "It doesn't mean 'are you going to fuck me' it means like.. are you're playing me or something, y'know, shitting me"
"Shitting you? 'The hell are you talking about Gerard?"
Just when you thought you started to really know someone!
I made an effort to get up but he pulled me back and wouldn't let go of my arms. He was still leaning over the table in, by the look of it, a very uncomfortable way and as I glared him in the most murderous manner I was capable of, I realized his face was twitching because he was fighting a smile. I kept scowling more viciously since aparently my death glare wasn't working it's magic on him, yet.
"Listen, it means the same thing as if I asked you if you're not being entirely honest with me, okay? Grasp that and get back to what you were telling me" he reasoned and my cheeks started burning again. I absolutely hated this blushing thing, and my anger only made my face flush deeper.
"You're not my type, sorry" He joked and retreated back to his original position on the plain wooden chair.
"Well the feeling's mutual" I muttered because I couldn't think of anything wittier or snarkier to say.
I took a deep breath and continued.
"And no, I'm not lying. It's just.. not the easiest thing to do. People do not know, Gerard. People aren't supposed to know. That how it's always been, that's how it should be. But you're not giving me much choice here."
"You said you're not a vampire"
"Are you something, like, better?" He asked making a face.
"Yeah I'd say so. Vampires are to us what worms are to snakes. Kind of alike as in more than a few similarities yet, nothing to be compared with" I explained.
"And you're saying I'm not giving you much choice. Why don't you just put me out? Or is it like a night-time thing?"
"I'm human now, I really did tell you the truth"
"How can you be human now? Do you like.. change? Back-and-forth? Cause it's like the perfect disguise if you think about it.. Can't be caught" He whispered with a far-away look in his eyes.
"Not back and forth, as far as I know.. As far as I want to know."
I had a feeling he did believe me. An unforgivably big part of me was happy about that, relieved, even consoled. But that wasn't what I'd meant, and that wasn't how it was supposed to go.
Could I confide in Gerard? If he really did believe all this?
No human was ever supposed to know, but since I was human myself now.. Hadn't that cause kind of been lost already? We were both human. I felt so light-headed that I actually would've kissed him right now, hard and fiery, if he hadn't just told me I wasn't his type.
Oh, the selfloath..
I braced myself and told him more, only pausing every few minutes to study his face from under my lashes and while he remained silent, I kept on talking.
Whether he actually believed me or not was starting to feel less irrelevant as the weight I'd been carrying on my shoulders started to slowly fade, the weight of secrecy that I'd only begun to understand here, in the new world.
I was content with either of the possibilities - the original plan which included him deciding I was a nutjob and storming out of the condo or him truly believing me, becoming my sudden confidant and, naturally, shutting up about it.
For the first time in my life, I had no bad options. I'd come more accustomed to things ending up the other way around, but as long as he kept from calling the police to come invetigate my oh-so-illegal ID and getting me in managable but inconvenient trouble, I was happy.
"So you're telling me it's some sort of an alternative universe? That exists over, under, inside and in between the real world?" He checked, his face giving away nothing.
"That's how I would describe it. Also, I wouldn't use the word 'real' to describe this world. They're equally real, only the old world is, well, older."
"How can it be older? I mean if you need people for uhm.. your.. eating habits then don't you like-" For the first time I detected trembling in his voice. I'd waited for that.
"Yes, we do. I wasn't there in the beginning so for me it's always been this way. They say though, that in the beginning that place was much like this place. And that place got cleared out in record time. I've even heard tales of truces where the human population had agreed to sacrifice an unlucky one every week, but according to the story that went to hell pretty quickly. But they might as well be just legends." I shrugged.
"You say you weren't there in the beginning, where were you then?"
"Where were you 5 billion years ago?" I smirked "But I'm guessing you meant to ask where I was before I became like that, huh?"
"Yeah, something like that"
"I don't remember anything about being human, of how I was of how it felt. I remember some things, my parents' occupations for example. Social status was such a big deal back then, a life-defining matter. I was the third child of an accountant and a servant. It wasn't all that long ago. I walked around in the clothes I'd worn the night I was changed for half a decade, and they were a clear indicator of early 20th century. If I had to guess I'd say something like 1910 - but that's just a guess."
"How.. How did you.. y'know..?" he twicthed awkwardly on his seat and I was guessing that his curiosity just started a war against his sanity - he didn't want and wanted to know at the same time.
"That's a long story, Gerard. I'm not like the others, why do you think I'm the only one here? Why I'm human all of a sudden, or as human as I can be? Why you and the rest of the inhabitants of this world are still alive? They can't come here, they can't change. They wait for their prey and the prey always comes, oh, there are plenty of ways for that but not the other way around. I'm a half-breed, I guess you could say, even though personally I think it sounds kind of degrading." I scoffed with a tiny sneer "We- or they- can't be created. Not from a human, atleast. They breed the way humans do and that's that. I'm the only one who has ever been turned. It worked out well, but not perfectly."
I took a breath and decided to slow down, I was starting to talk too fast.
"For example, I could always eat the shit that humans eat, there just wasn't a lot of that around. Sometimes you could find fruit, berries.. Nuts, even. Most of the flora was long gone though. I was as fast, strong and sharp-sensed as any of the others, but there was always something inescapably human about me even though my new body had long ago supressed all my remaining humanity. Morality, conscience, feelings. I hardly felt anything and the only memories I had of such things were the ones I saw in the eyes of our victims. But physical things, such as the digestion, were still there. It creeped them out and I was never really accepted as an equal. Not until they found a use for me, that is. Some were ready to build a palace for me, wanted me to rule them all and lead them to another world. Some wanted me dead. Oh, some wanted both.."
"You say you could eat what we call food. But you did ugh.. feed in other ways as well?"
I gave him a sad smile and nodded. I didn't really need to say it out loud, the way his eyes shifted trying to find a safe place to look at without getting any revolting mental pictures told me that he understood the full meaning of this.
I'd told him about it earlier. It had been, along with every other difference between my kind and his precious vampires, the very first thing he'd wanted to know so much more about, though it seemed to disturb him to no end. I didn't blame him.
There were many differences between us, too many to count really, but I gave him the essentials. Vampires were stupid - there was no way for me to emphasize that enough.
Vampires were everywhere, I highly doubted that there would be a single dimension in the entire existance that wasn't habitated by a vampire or two. They couldn't move around in normal circumstances but death gave them a lot of options.
Most of the vampires that came across our land were dead by the next week. They didn't survive long without fresh blood and there were practically no animals in sight. They talked about the cows and the pigs, describing them in an adoring manner to the point where words failed. Sometimes they starved, sometimes they were mistaken for humans and attacked upon. Occasionally one of us got sick of them and finished them off in case they didn't starve fast enough for our liking, and they would move on.
I had to give the creatures a little credit though, a few years before my flee I stated asking around, getting ready for whatever was to come. And they gave me a lot fo answers, something to keep in mind in the sense of preparation. I knew about the development in human civilisation, the technology, the ever-growing cities.. We called them echoes - shadowy, touchable byet unreal echoes of other dimensons that appeared in our. There were echoes from other places, too, but for the most part the were from the new world, the human world. It was the only one that really ever changed.
Since my own human memories were distant, matter-of-fact basics, apart from the echoes, all of my knowledge came from vampires. Not that they knew much, either.
At death, vampires entered the Interval - a time gap, a limbo of one sort- just like all the living creatures did, except for humans. And they moved on, also, as everyone else did. But they would end up elsewhere, another dimension, another 'universe'. That was one myth about them that wasn't fictional - they truly were immortal.
They fed on blood only, preferably animal blood. The blood of huge, stinky animals. They became utterly crazed by the wild scent and the woodsy taste of their blood and human blood could never really compare.
We, on the other hand, hunted humans and nothing else. We enjoyed and prefered blood but consumed pretty much all there was to consume. We didn't have much choice, the supply was limited and though we couldn't die of hunger, starve to death, it was highly unpleasant.
Weakening and strenght-consuming. Hence fatal.
"I'm not gonna lie to you, I hated fruit and berries. I only ate them if I happened to find them at a time when the lack of prey went on for longer than usual and other started to go down. It was always a last option for me."
"So you've killed" He stated without notiable emotion.
"So I've killed"
"I should run for my life" He realized sadly.
"Not really. There I was one of them. Now I'm here and I'm like you. Nothing more" I disagreed in a fake cheerful manner.
"I don't really believe that, though. There was that breathing thing, for example.." His voice trailed off.
"Which was propably my body trying to adjust into all of this. I didn't transform like you'd think, and I'm guessing there's been a lot of little fine tuning going on since I came here" I shrugged. "But tell me, do you seriously believe all of this? For real?" I looked him in the eye and expected to see disgust.
He nodded. My face fell in reaction to my contradicted feelings and I wasn't surprised when Gerard picked up on it.
"What?" He inquired
"I was half counting on you not believing me" I let out a small laugh "I thought maybe you'd run away and leave me alone. I told Frank that I'd lied and that I'd really been on his mom's yard about to rob the place before I ran into him. I thought he bought it, but I'm not sure anymore. I mean, why not tell the rest of you, Ray, atleast?" I pondered.
"Are you sorry you told me?" He asked in a low voice.
"I'm not, actually. I find it absurd that you believe all this but I don't regret telling. It feels good, in fact."
We fell silent for a while until I opened my mouth again to ask him another question, one that I found I was insecure about asking.
"You don't find me mental, then? You don't hate me?" It was too impossibly absurd to be true. And too good, too.
"I only hate you for shattering my conception of vampires" he tried to smile a little, obviously being quite upset about it in reality.
I snickered in the back of my mind but kept my face straight. There was absolutely nothing glamorous about vampires, nothing romantic. They were mere leeches, not beautiful and mysterious in the least. Their postures were crouched, they limped and usually were completely hairless. No eyebrows, no beard, nothing. Some of them wore wigs, which used to be one of the very few things that our kind actually found funny.
"I want to see one" He announced confidently.
I gave him my best 'are you freaking kidding me' -look and he shrunk back a little.
"And how the hell do you expect me to find one? I wouldn't do a better job at locating one than you would! I mean, yeah, three months ago I would've smelled one from ten miles away but a human nose is a rather uneffective one" I ranted as Gerard grew more disappointed.
I sighed. "I'll tell you what. If I ever come across one, I'll arrange I blind date, okay?" I promised fighting a smile.
He nodded without really looking at me and I hoped to God that I would meet a vampire again, just to see Gerard's face as he'd come face-to-face with a creature that talked about luscious, magical cows and looked like an overgrown, exceptionally unwashed baby or a patient of some sort with a finders-keepers, brightly colored wig on her head.
Oh God, let me find a vampire, I thought and supressed another smirk.