Actually, I can. Frank was never one to stay in a relationship for a long time. He was never good with commitments. I don’t know how I thought I could be any different to him.
I’m not even that hurt that he cheated on me. I’m more hurt that he cheated on Mikey. Mikey’s younger, more innocent. I know he’s an adult and has been for a while, but that doesn’t make me any less protective of him. I can’t tell Mikey about me and Frank. I can’t.
Mikey tells me everything. How they had to sneak around. How he had to lie to Alicia. How confused he was about who he should be with. The worst part is, I understand everything. It’s like me and Lindsey – I had to lie to her too.
Eventually, through all his tears, Mikey is done opening up to me. We haven’t talked like this is months – maybe even years. We’ve told each other stuff, but it’s never really come pouring out like this before. Well, Mikey’s doing the pouring out – not me. I have a huge burning question in my chest, one that I really don’t want to ask. I mean, Mikey’s my brother; I don’t want to know this kind of thing. But before I think about it, I ask him.
“Hey Mikey, uhh...”
He looks up and wipes his eyes with his jacket sleeve. “Yeah?”
The words stumble out of my mouth, jagged and stammering. “Did you fuck?”
Mikey actually smiles a bit. “No, don’t worry. We never got that far. Almost, but not quite. We-“
I hold up my hand. “Please, Mikey,” I whisper, my eyes squeezed shut, “Don’t say anything else. I don’t want to know.”
He laughs and gets up. “I’m so sorry, Gerard. I’m supposed to be there for you right now, but I just...”
I shake my head. “Don’t worry about it. Want to go home?”
Mikey nods and we walk back to the car.
After having a short time when Mikey couldn’t stop talking, we’re both strangely quiet in the car. Somehow I know that Mikey is embarrassed about how open he had been. I don’t talk about it any more. I don’t want to. I just want to go home and think about what he’s told me.
There’s no point in hating Frank. He’s gone. He’s not coming back. I can’t confront him about anything. There is absolutely nothing I can do except think.
When we get back to the motel, we’re greeted by Ray, Lindsey and Alicia. The girls have only just heard the news from Ray. Lindsey runs to hug me. “Oh my God, Gerard... I’m so sorry...”
Mikey is showered with commiserations by Alicia too. I know they’re trying to make us feel better. But somehow I feel even emptier. Being with Lindsey reminds me of being with Frank; all the same feelings are there. I love Lindsey, but I loved Frank. But I’m not sure who even loves me.
Lindsey breaks away from the hug and touches my hand. “Gerard, it’ll be okay, I promise...”
I have to go inside. I can’t cry, not now. It feels too late for that. Lindsey doesn’t understand. She follows me inside. I turn and hold her arms. “Lindsey...”
Then I stop. I realise that tears are in her eyes. I start to panic. Lindsey was never close to Frank – or so I thought. What if Frank was dating her too?
“Gerard,” says Lindsey, the tears rolling down her cheeks, “I need you to sit down.”
Here it comes. She’s going to tell me everything. How she and Frank were a couple, how upset she was when he died, all the stuff that Mikey told me – only not as weird. I prepare myself. I imagine how I would smile and say, “Don’t worry, it’s okay, of course I forgive you!”
But nothing could have prepared me for what would come out of her mouth.
Lindsey raises her head slightly; her face defined even further where the sun hits it, her eyes shining bright with a mixture of tears and reflected sunlight. Her hair falls into her eyes as she smiles sadly and says, “Gerard, I’m pregnant.”
I only just hear her. After that, my eyes start to sting. My head aches and my throat tightens. The feeling of someone gripping my throat stays with me as I black out.