I should have known better, though the voice sounded so much like my father's that for just a moment I felt my stomach flutter with panic and excitement, but Salvatore Magnoli would never have called me "kiddo". He would have smiled with his perfect white teeth and quietly admonished me for my foolishness.
What I got instead was, "Oh, sorry. I thought you were my niece. Oh hey! You're that girl from the movie! Can I have your autograph?"
It took everything I had to not cry.
Naturally, everyone within earshot heard him, and those who missed out on his exclamation eventually caught on, so before I knew it the entire population of our town and all their relatives converged on me asking for me to sign this and that and bless their babies. You know, the usual. Gerard stood there awkwardly, silently hating everyone who was taking away from what he believed to be our last conversation ever. I wanted my daddy, on that day of all days. He wasn't there. He was never there. Unlike Gerard, who always seemed to be. Even when I didn't want him around. Where was my mother?
When the crowd dispersed I felt tiny frail arms grab me, crushing me against Gerard and what felt like a pile of bones. It didn't take me long to realize that Grandma Elena was forcing a group hug. My face was squished against Gerard's chest, I hadn't realized how much he'd grown since we met, and my nose was filled with White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor. But something about being almost flush with his body made me feel nervous, and my cheeks became hot. When Grandma Elena pulled away I felt suddenly cold, as if something was missing.
"Oh how proud I am of you both!" she exclaimed, kissing our cheeks. She looked so sick, so tiny, so breakable. Like a piece of thin glass. Where were my mother and sister? I wanted my mother. I looked around trying to find her. What I saw took me aback. She was talking to, no no, flirting with my history teacher while my sister stood there searching the crowd.
"Uhm," I mumbled out, continuing to stare at the odd pair "I need to see my mom."
"Oh honey, have you met David?" my mother giggled when I got there. Not bothering to hug me or tell me how proud she was.
"Yes, Mom, he is my history teacher." emphasizing the word 'my'.
"Was." I looked at him. "I WAS your history teacher. You've just graduated." he smiled. His teeth were perfect, and his smile reached his eyes. During school he was never that nice. What had my mother said to him? Or worse, what had she offered him.
"I've offered David an invitation to the big party tonight!" my mother's face was flush with excitement. She'd yet to mention my having graduated. My sister then found her target.
"MIKEY!" and off she ran.
I was stunned. Could my day get any more fucked up?
As one last hurrah, the Iero's hosted a neighborhood wide graduation party for all of us. The streets were closed off, and paper lanterns were hung from all the trees. Golden and sparkling Christmas lights were woven delicately in the branches of every bush, and lovers were hiding behind sheds stealing a kiss or two.
Standing in the middle of it all was me. On the exact spot I'd curled up in the rain and asked God to let me die. I felt like curling up again and taking the good Lord back up on the matter. As the sun began to set I felt someone walk up behind me. "One last sunset?" I nodded back without speaking. "Come on, I know a spot where nobody will bother us." but I was aware of the 'hidden' camera's following my every move behind every shrub and corner. I knew what the headlines would read. "TAKING HER NEW ROLE AS AN ADULT TOO FAR? ACTRESS RUNS OFF WITH DRUG ADDICT" I didn't care.
I allowed Frank to lead me to Gerard's back yard. I felt like vomiting. I was leaving at sunrise for the movie set. It was bound to be a smash. I might never see Frank or Gerard or this town ever again. I realized I was staring directly into the Sun when Frank shook me slightly. "Are you alright?" I nodded, unable to speak, rubbing my eyes as they teared up. I didn't want to leave and enter into the word of The Vampires. Back then they sucked me dry and spit me out when they grew bored. I knew if I opened my mouth to speak the sob sitting in my chest would escape. The sunset was a blur of colors that I barely remember. Frank said some things that I never heard, and suddenly I was very aware of his mouth close to mine.
I pulled away. "What are you doing?"
He was taken aback, "Kissing you. Is that no longer okay?" he looked confused.
"No." I nudged my head toward a paparazzi hiding in a nearby bush. He disappeared when he saw us staring at him. "ACTRESS STEALS KISS WITH LOCAL JUNKIE" I could just see it.
Frank and I went back to the crowd of people and most of the night was a blur of congratulations and hugs from people I'd never met before, or from girls who hated me until after we graduated. There was something about graduation that made everyone friends again. Bitter enemies were now sitting down over smores reminiscing over first grade crushes and eighth grade field trips. It was disgusting. Fakeness radiated off of every surface. It was like Hollywood. I had to get away, so I ran up to my room and slammed the door.
As soon as the door was closed I began to sob uncontrollably for no reason and every reason. Without warning I flew into a rage and ripped the posters of my wall before smashing everything off my vanity. I tipped over my night table, and when I did the drawer fell open. Just as I was about to step on the contents I realized the drawer was full of cassettes from my mysterious follower. Dropping to my knees I sat there trying to stop crying when I realized that the table had fallen on one of the cassettes and smashed it to pieces. Lifting the night stand I picked up the broken piece of plastic only to realize it was the very first one I'd ever received. Number One. The one with my favorite song, Losing My Religion by R.E.M. The tears immediately returned with a vengeance. I wiped my nose with a sweater I had laying on the floor when I heard a knock on my door. "One second." I managed to squeak out while I looked for a real tissue. Once I properly wiped my nose I glanced at the amount of damage I'd done and almost lost it again.
I finally opened the door, and saw Gerard standing there, staring at his shoes. He had a something large and flat in his hand. It was wrapped in brown paper and was about half as tall as me. "Should I come back?" he said after looking up and seeing the havoc I'd wreaked.
"No no, you can stay." I suddenly didn't want him to leave.
He glanced down at what I had in my hands and looked pained. "Music?"
"It was uhm, a very emotive song." I lied
"We only truly hear the music when our hearts begin to break." his voice cracked. His voice was still changing. At eighteen he was still awaiting facial hair. I wanted to touch his smooth cheek. It looked nice and cool. I was burning up. "So. Can I come in?" he glanced hesitantly around at the mess I'd just made; like a rabbit being eyed by a rattle snake he seemed ready to bolt.
"Uh yeah, come in."
"I just wanted to give you this." he thrust the package at me and I almost dropped my tape. Placing the cassette down on the dresser I took the package and sat down on the bed with it. He stood in front of me staring at my face, waiting for my reaction. Carefully I opened it and slowly began to see the back of an artist's canvas poke out from behind the paper. I looked up at Gerard. He half smiled.
"Go on. Open it."
What I saw amazed me. I knew immediately what it was and became embarrassed.
"You called Frank that day, didn't you." it wasn't a question. It was a statement.
"You were crying in the middle of the highway."
Most people wouldn't have cared, but he did. "Very presumptuous." I whispered, staring at the beautiful painting.
"You could have been killed." he chuckled slightly, "Or caught cold."
My eyes filled with tears, "Heh, yeah, it was raining." That day I'd wanted to die, and he noticed. I wiped my nose on the back of my hand. He handed me a tissue and I wiped my face. He waited for me to stop crying. I put the painting down, stood up, and hugged him. Tightly. I stood there sobbing into his chest. He didn't hug me back. He stood there, frozen, with his arms held about a foot away from me, but after a few moments his arms slowly closed around me and he petted my hair, shhing me soothingly. I don't know why I did what I did next, but I stepped back, grabbed his face and kissed him like I'd never see him again. I thought he would push me away, but instead he pulled me against him and kissed me back passionately. I felt his tongue, warm on my bottom lip, begging for entry and I allowed it. His mouth tasted sweet from my mother's iced tea and I explored every inch of it. It was a kiss that had been a long time coming. A kiss that filled the void inside my chest and I never wanted it to end. My head was spinning a million miles a minute, but everything around me stood still. Finally, we parted, panting from the lack of breath.
"For the last night I'm here could, uhm, I-"
He looked at me, with that arched eyebrow I loved so much, "Could you what?"
I traced his brow with my fingertips. I traced the side of his forehead, down his cheek and across his jaw. He closed his eyes and pressed his face to my hand, kissing my sweaty palm. I wanted to ask if he'd sleep with me. Not as in sex. Just sleep. I just wanted to be with him. I didn't realize how much he meant to me until I was about to lose him. But did he really mean that much or was I just being emotional?
That night around three o'clock I finally got into bed alone, my mother disappeared somewhere with David, when there was a tap on my window. I got up in my undersized t-shirt and underwear to open the window. It was Frank. I was lonely and he was horny, and we were both about to lose our sex partners. For lack of a better way of putting it, we hit one another like freight trains that night.
"Miss Magnoli over here!"
"Bri! Over here please!"
"What about our magazine?!"
The photographers were vying for my attention like puppies after an oversized bone. When the paparazzi was on your side they were a beautiful thing. I was a shoo in for Best Actress that night, but I was trying to stay levelheaded and not get my hopes up. Three years my senior, Leonardo DiCaprio, the boy from What's Eating Gilbert Grape (He was one year away from Romeo and Juliet and two away from Titanic), held onto my arm as we posed. The perfect couple. We'd been dating since we met my first night of filming. I saw him sitting across the nightclub from me with a cigarette in one hand and a scotch in the other. He was a lanky kid, but handsome, with a quiet sexiness about him. Immediately I was drawn to him and after about a week of exchanging glances at events we started dating. But we weren't perfect. At least, I knew we weren't perfect.
Twice over the course of filming I was able to sneak home to see my mother and sleep with Frank, but there I was, three months after filming ended standing next to my boyfriend awaiting the Oscar everyone knew I'd get. I hadn't spoken to or seen Gerard since graduation. But I did receive an engagement notice from Ray and Christa.
Finally, after twenty minutes of flashing lights and various interviews we were able to take our seats. People like Meryl Streep and Elizabeth Taylor were seated around me. I was star struck, and when I won my award, I cried and said I didn't deserve it like a good humble girl. But there was a girl across the room, from Sense and Sensibility, named Kate Winslet, and once Leo laid eyes on her I knew we were over. I couldn't compete with her honest and open face. She was a true beauty and I knew that while I'd won the award, she won the man. I was oddly alright with it all. She could have him. I'd cheated on him anyway.
Three years later my next adventure included music. I decided to make a CD to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I covered Etta James and James Brown, and I performed with Tony Bennett and sang Stevie Ray Vaughan. I won a Grammy. My career was exploding and I was loving it. I finally reached the point where I could tell people when I wanted to work and when I didn't. I was twenty one and promised Frankie my first legal drink back when we were twelve even though he was a month younger than I was.
So, September of 1998, I flew home to Jersey from Hollywood and met Frank at a local bar where Pencey Prep had their first official paid gig under their new label, Eyeball Records. Frankie had dyed his hair to look like Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it made me laugh. I walked up to him and hugged my best friend. I hadn't seen him in almost three years. I looked around and saw Ray, Christa, Mikey, Matt, the band Thursday, and a chubby girl all sitting together at a large table.
"Come on, I want you to meet someone." he said grabbing my elbow and dragging me over to the table.
"oh. My. GOD!" Christa screamed. She hugged me until Ray had to pry her off because I was turning blue.
After everyone hugged me and I got a few Bro Nods from Thursday Frank brought me over to where the young, full figured woman was sitting. "Bri, this is Jamia." Uh oh. I knew this girl was special. Frank didn't bring girls around. Ever. I gave her a once over. She was a bit on the pudgy side, but her face was thin and pretty, and her eyes seemed kind.
"Hi, it's really nice to meet you." she extended her hand and I felt Frank pinch my side. Automatically I turned and punched his arm like old times before turning back to the girl and shaking her hand coolly.
"Pleasure." I said. Was I jealous? Maybe a little, but I was more concerned about how Frank had found someone he'd cared enough about to bring around. I put my bag down next to Chris and said to Frank, "Let's get drinks then? On me." I took everyone's order and Frank and I went up to the bar to get them. As soon as we were out of earshot of the group I ordered drinks then turned on Frank. "Who is she, where'd you meet her, how come she is here, and what did you pinch me for?"
He stared at me with a smirk, "Her name is Jamia Nestor, we met while at a Thursday recording session. She grew up with them-"
"Kind of like you and me?"
"NO." he said sternly. "And she doesn't know about us, and she never will, do you understand?"
Never was a long time. "You plan on being with her for a while then."
"Yes. And that is why she is here. She's my girlfriend."
The word hit me like a brick, and I didn't know why. "Oh."
He sighed sadly, "I couldn't wait around my whole life for you, Bri."
"I know. I know." I smiled then, "Well if she is good enough for you then I guess I like her." I was trying to be supportive. I had a boyfriend anyway. A few years my junior, I'd met Josh Groban on the set on Ally McBeal, in 1997, and we'd been together ever since, but our relationship was something we'd managed to keep out of the tabloids. As far as Hollywood was concerned, we were both single. Not even Frankie knew.
"Uhm, so, where's Gerard?"
"Ah you just missed him."
What? Where did he go? Was he gone? I was freaking out, but I couldn't let on. "Oh?" I said half-heartedly.
"He just left for his third year of art school yesterday."
So he did achieve what he wanted. I was happy for him, and New York wasn't that far away.
"Here's your drinks kids." the bartender said. "Can't wait for your set Frank!"
I smiled and Frank helped me carry the drinks back to the table.
Frank's set was great and over the hours we spent at the bar that night I got to know Jamia better, and I really liked her. She was kind, and selfless, and honest. Everything I wasn't.
"Sweetheart? You have a phone call." Josh walked into the bedroom and handed me the phone. "It's some random guy." he mouthed, covering the mouthpiece. Puzzled and half awake I took the phone, from my love.
I shot up like a bat out of hell, startling the puppy, making it pee itself. "GERARD?!" I screamed into the phone.
I heard a tired laugh on the other end. "Yeah, it's me. How are you?"
I couldn't breathe. My throat closed up and I almost started making choking motions so Josh would know I was suffocating, but I managed to squeak out a few words. "Good. You?"
"I read somewhere in a magazine that you lived in New York City, so I got a hold of Frank after not speaking to him for years, and got your number. I hope that's alright."
I still wasn't sure what was happening. "Uhm, yeah."
"Well I work in New York City at Cartoon Network Studios."
So he did become an artist after all. "Mmm?" Talking was still too difficult an activity after the shock I was in. I stared across the room where I had hung the painting he'd given me all those years ago. It hung directly across from where I slept. Sure that was probably wrong, but Josh thought I bought it at a thrift store in Greenwich Village.
"Maybe we could get together for a drink?"
A drink? Together? With him? Oh God save me. Save me O' Lord, please, I'm begging you. "Oh? Uhm, yeah I don't know when-"
"It's alright." He sounded defeated. " I figured you were busy." there was a shout from behind him. "I have to go. Deadlines you know?" the phone clicked.
I threw the phone at the wall, shattering it. Josh came running in. "Baby are you okay?" he looked frantically around to find the source of the noise as if I'd been beaten with a heavy club and then flung against the wall.
"Get out" I whispered
"JUST GET OUT!" I screamed throwing a pillow.
It seemed like years until Josh got some clothes on and left. The second I heard the lock click I cried like a small child, and I didn't know why.
It took me almost a year to get up the courage to go see Gerard, and so September 10, 2001 while Josh was recording his debut CD and I was filming an indie movie about the romance between Batman and Cat Woman I got on the train and before I knew it I was standing in front of Cartoon Network Studios. Looking to the left I had a beautiful views of the bottom of the Twin Towers. The damn things took up the whole view, and I couldn't see anything. I shook my head and walked in. I went to the reception desk. "Excuse me. I'm looking for The Breakfast Monkey?"
"Do you have an appointment?"
"Uhm, I'm an old friend of one of the creators, you can call him."
I stood there arguing with the woman for ten minutes until a young woman walked in and said, "Do you know who this is?! Miss Magnoli you can go wherever you want! The Breakfast Monkey is on the fifteenth floor."
"Thank you." I said smiling kindly
"Gerard? You're here to see GERARD WAY?" The coffee boy said, almost disgusted. He's in cubicle seven, but he's probably flirting with Kay over by the water cooler."
"Yes Miss Kitka." the boy said, using one of Cat Woman's most classic aliases.
I walked up and down the rows until I reached cubicle seven. I stood there at the opening of the cubicle, assessing the situation. He was still chubby, and he looked like he needed a shower, badly. His greasy hair hung in his face as he huddled over a piece of paper underneath a bright lamp.
"Miss Kitka, eh?" he asked without turning around. "I like it. I think that's what I'll have to call you from now on."
"Your heels, and the coffee boy's mouth." he finally turned around to look at me. He looked tired and worn out. Almost sad. His smile didn't reach his eyes. Eyes with the dark circles. And his face was very pale. "Is it alright if I hug you?"
I remembered the last time I hugged him. "Yes of course." I extended my arms.
The hug I got was a far cry from the last one. It was quick and light. He smelled heavily of booze. "Want to catch a drink?"
No. He seemed to have had enough of that. "I'd rather eat."
"We can do both, I know a great place."
We walked out and stood waiting for a cab. "I love the Towers. I get to look at them every day. At five blocks away they seem so massive and present."
I thought they were obnoxious and ugly, unless seen from the skyline. Then I found them majestic and beautiful. So I just said, "Yeah."
The cab took us about thirty blocks away and we got out next to this little hole in the wall. Jack's. I'd read about this place in creative magazines. Musicians and poets hung out there. When we walked in everyone seemed to know Gerard, and they waved and shouted his name and whistled at me. I didn't like it.
"Alright guys, don't whistle at her, she's a proper lady. Come on now."
If I was such a proper lady I wouldn't have hidden this meeting from Josh.
"It's all on me. Get what you'd like." he smiled again. But this time the smile reached he eyes. "You look really good, Bri. Hollywood's been treating you well?"
His compliment made my face hot. "Thanks, Gee." I blushed. "And yeah it is."
"You're dating that kid from Ally McBeal? Isn't he a bit young?" he judged
I hated when people bothered me about Josh's age. "No." I said curtly, but suddenly embarrassed and self-conscious about my boyfriend's age.
I ordered a light piece of fish and some wine, and Gerard ordered a burger and a Stella Artois. It was a beer I'd never tasted.
"Really? You can taste mine." he said, offering me the bottle. I hesitated, then I realized I'd already kissed him so what could it hurt? I took a sip, and squished my face a bit. At first it had a slightly bitter taste, but then it turned sweet. It was a pleasant beer. One I'd drink again. "My drink of choice while the sun still shines." he said. I imagined that after dark his drinking scene got much harder than a simple beer.
When our food arrived I saw Gerard staring at my plate. "What?" I asked
"I just still can't believe you ordered wine and fish. What's Hollywood doing to you?"
I was insulted, "What's wrong with this meal?" I tasted it. "It's wonderful. Here taste it." I said shoving my fork at him. It wasn't until it was too late that I realized I was sharing my fork with him, much in the same way he had with me back in hospital. He allowed me to feed him the fish.
He chewed appreciatively, "Your right," he said swallowing, "it's wonderful."
We sat quietly eating our food when I couldn't handle the silence anymore. "How have you been? How is everyone? Your grandmother? Ray and Mikey?"
He finished chewing, "I'm doing alright. They're not approving my cartoon, so I'm back to working on other people's ideas."
"I'm sorry to hear that." and I was.
"My mom and Mikey are doing really well, and Ray and Christa are still engaged. Me and Frank and Ray and Matt and Mikey are actually in a half-assed band right now."
Frank hadn't told me this. "Really? What's it called?"
"My Chemical Romance. It'll never make it, but we're having fun filling up our free time. We got signed with Eyeball."
"Oh cool." I smiled at him. "What about Grandma Elena?"
A dark shadow fell over his face, "The cancer's back."
"Oh God, I'm so sorry." I reached across the table and placed my hand over his. He squeezed my fingers before pulling away.
"It's alright. We just gotta hope she pulls through. She's getting old. She'll be seventy eight you know." he said sadly. I didn't mean to upset him, and we'd finished our meals. So we sat there awkwardly. "Well I need to go back, and I'm sure you've got things to do, Miss Kitka." he halfheartedly chuckled. I didn't want to leave. I'd only just gotten there, but he needed to work. He picked up the tab, and we both stood. I leaned forward and chastely kissed his cheek. He closed his eyes, and held them closed for a few seconds before he pulled back, and smiled at me one final time. It was the saddest smile I'd ever seen. "Fair thee well Miss, Kitka." and we parted ways.
September 11, 2001
Josh had called the night before to say he was staying late at the studio and he came in around seven in the morning, waking me up as the puppy barked at his entry. So I decided to get up and work out. Around 8:40 AM I turned on the news, and six minutes later I saw the first plane crash into the North Tower. "JOSH!" I screamed running into the bedroom of our apartment. I opened the bedroom blinds and screamed again. There is was. The burning tower. I turned the television on in the bedroom and put the news on. They thought it was another commercial flight that met a tragic end. Josh rubbed his eyes and asked me why I was screeching until he saw the window and the t.v.
"Holy Mother of God." He sat up on the edge of the bed and we sat together watching the news casters try and figure out what was happening. About fifteen minutes later at 9:03 Josh pointed at the window, "Uhm, Bri. That plane is really low." I looked out the window just in time to watch it crash into the South Tower. I screamed again, and it was evident that this was no accident. The news casters were going berserk, and the cameras on the scene started going static and the anchors on the scene got panicky and shaky, but were not given the OK to leave the scene. For almost an hour I sat there with my love trying not to cry until 9:59 came and the first tower began to fall. I heard people in the surrounding apartments start screaming and crying. I watched the skyline out of my window shudder and collapse.
"Oh God, Josh, Oh God." I cried into his shoulder. What else could I do but cry? 10:28 came thundering around with the second tower collapse. As it fell news came that a plane had also crashed into the Pentagon. Suddenly I saw the camera man drop his camera and take off running. The building the camera focused on stopped me dead in my tracks. It was Cartoon Network Studios. "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" I let out a blood curdling scream and tripped over Josh trying to get to the phone. I dialed Gerard's cell number frantically, but with the towers down there was no service. I collapsed, just like the towers, onto my floor and I sobbed so hard that my entire body violently shook.
"Bri, Bri, Sweetheart, Baby, there is nothing you can do. Honey calm down. Oh God, it'll be okay." he picked me up into his lap and rocked me back and forth until there was nothing left in my body to cry out.
That afternoon I got frenzied calls from all of my family members making sure I was alright, but the call I waited for didn't come. I sat, then got up and paced, then sat again, only to get up and pace again. The phone rang and I practically leapt across the living room to pick it up. "Hello?!"
"Bri are you alright?" It was him. Oh thank God. It was him.
"Oh my God your alive." I started crying all over again. "You're alive."
"Yes, I was off work today. Tuesday's are my days off, and I live in my Mom's basement. But are you okay? You're the one who lives in New York."
"No no, I'm fine. As fine as I'm ever going to be after seeing what I saw. Can I ever reclaim my innocence after that?"
"No." he said plainly, "No you can't"
"Are you home?"
"Yes, but my mother and brother took my grandmother on vacation to Maine."
"That's fine. Can I come over?" I needed to see him, to touch him. Make sure it was real. That he was still here.
I ran and grabbed my keys and slipped on some flip flops. "Josh I need my mother. I'll be back whenever I can." I hugged him and wouldn't let go for a long while. "I love you." I said for the first time before rushing out the door.
It took me two hours to get out of the city. Most people were forced to walk home, but being famous had its perks. I should have been ashamed of how selfish I was being, but I needed to see him. Oh God I needed to make sure it was real.
When I pulled off of Main Street and into his driveway I didn't even bother using the breaks. I threw the car in park and yanked my keys out of the ignition before sprinting up to his doorway where I started pounding on the door, practically putting a hole in it. When he opened the door he started talking, but never got a word out because I flung myself on him, hugging him and crying about how I thought he was dead and how I saw the studio get wiped out.
"Let's run away and hide." I said, slightly crazed. "Come on let's go." I began dragging him out to my car.
"Wait wait." I thought he'd tell me to calm down and stop, "Let me get my shoes on."
The sun seemed to be setting early that night.
I took us to the Plaza. It was the perfect place to hide from the world. It was empty. We walked past elevators and half price sales until we got to the movie theatre. I was wearing my glasses and beat up clothing, so nobody even recognized me. We picked the first movie we saw playing within the next five minutes. It was a romantic comedy. The movie was wonderful and funny and had beautiful photography. I suddenly felt something warm cover my hand. I realized that Gerard was trying to hold my hand. I let him. Life was perfect, just like up on the screen. We were in our own little bubble. And it was an evening that was eventually turned into the song Early Sunsets Over Monroeville. And for those of you who know the song, the evening wasn't completely perfect. As we walked out of the movie theatre the paparazzi accosted us, "I never thought they'd get me here." and I immediately shoved Gerard away, and shrieked "Ugh get OFF! I'll sign your shirt but you canNOT touch me." He looked shocked, and I didn't know if he was playing along or genuinely hurt. The camera's bought it.
When we got into the car I sat with my forehead against the steering wheel. "I'm so sorry."
"I never thought you'd change from just one bite."
I looked up, confused. "What?"
"The Vampires? You were completely different around them."
I'd forgotten that's what I used to call them back when I was younger.
"I wouldn't have let them hurt you." he said earnestly
"I know." I sighed. "I'll take you home now."
He just sat back silently. He reminded me of the boy I first met back when we were fifteen. It made me miserable.
When I pulled up to the house Gerard didn't get out. "You can come in you know."
"I should probably get back."
"Just for a beer?"
We went downstairs to the basement where his room was and a beer turned into shots and next thing I knew it was two in the morning and I was drunk, so we sat around drinking water and sobering up for an hour. Around three I pled exhaustion.
"I should really go to sleep." I scooted closer to him
"You really should."
I didn't want to sleep though. I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. I scooted even closer to him until I was cuddled up against his side. He stroked my hair and I put my hand on his knee, then moved it up so it was casually resting on his inner thigh. He kissed the top of my head, then my forehead, the my cheek, and when I lifted my head up he kissed his way along my jaw until he reached my lips. He kissed me sweetly, lightly, like he didn't need to, but wanted to. Lifting my other hand I cupped his cheek and deepened the kiss. Our tongues danced the dance of death and I squeezed his leg. The hand he had behind my head moved down to my waist, trying to pull me closer, so I climbed into his lap and held his face in my hands. "Thank God you're alive." I whispered against his brow. Then I kissed my way around his face before pulling back.
With a slight growl he pulled me back in and kissed me hard like he was trying to steal my soul. So I let him. He leaned forward a little and I wrapped my legs around his waist. I was getting drunk all over again on this man's mouth. He put his arms around my waist and stood up without breaking our kiss, and began to walk over to the bedroom. I didn't stop him when he gently lay me down on the bed and placed himself in-between my legs. We kicked our shoes off and he began slipping his hand under my shirt. He lifted it until it was off, then he unbuttoned his shirt and dropped it on the floor. I could already feel him hard against my leg, but I was in no rush. He leaned back down and kissed his way tenderly down my stomach until he reached the button on my pants which he quietly undid as he watched my face for any sign that I wanted him to stop. I watched him through dark eyes and smiled, encouraging him. Soon I lay there in only undergarments while he still had his pants on. I reached in-between us and unbuttoned his oversized jeans which he then took off. And I laid there with him kneeling over me. Both of us in our underwear, when I started laughing. He was confused. "What?"
"No what?" he backed off a little bit. I was making him self-conscious. He thought I was laughing at him.
I sat up until we were face to face. "No, I'm not laughing at you, Gee." I stroked his smooth cheek. It was cool and dry against my hot moist hand. "I'm just laughing because I'm so happy."
That was all he needed. He kissed me again, reaching behind my back he unclasped my bra and when it fell he pulled back and stared at me. The moonlight was coming in from the high tiny window. The blinds created black and silver lines across my naked breasts, and Gerard looked as if he'd never seen anything so wonderful in his life. I chuckled deep in my throat as I led his hand to my left breast. He treated me like something special, like something that might break. He kissed my neck and I tilted my head back to allow him better access. He nipped his way down my neck and across my collar bone where he began kissing his way down my chest and onto my breast. When he took it into his mouth I laughed with delight. It was as if he knew exactly what to do. As if he was here to pleasure me, and that was the only reason for this. Josh was still awkward with sex, and Frank took what he wanted and hoped you kept up. But Gerard must have read the manual on how to pleasure a woman, because he was making all the right moves. He left my breast and kissed his way down my stomach until he reached my white and purple polka dot undies. When he pulled them down I began to panic slightly but he came back up and kissed me, reassuringly, until I calmed myself and he made his way down my body once more. When he took me into his mouth I gasped and arched my back, hissing with pleasure. Wrapping my legs around his shoulders I ran my hands through his hair when a wave of pleasure wracked through me and I grabbed a handful of it. "Oh CHRIST." I shouted. He laughed evilly against my skin and the vibrations of his laughter sent me over the deep end. When I thought I couldn't take anymore he left me and led my hand to the top of his boxers. They were black with little skulls on them. I slipped my hand below the cotton and he shuddered with pleasure when I took him into my hand. After a few moments I started to try getting his boxers off, and when he noticed me struggling he helped me. The realization of what I was doing hit me all at once as I lay there naked with Gerard kissing my neck and touching me at my core. I should have been ashamed but I wasn't. I'd never wanted a man more than I wanted this one, and I was going to have him. And have him I did.
"Is this okay?" he whispered into my hair.
"Oh yes." I said huskily, my voice raspy with need.
When he slid into me it was as if every void I'd ever felt was filled. As he rocked against me I began to meet him stroke for stroke. Our bodies a symphony of movement in that moonlit basement. I could feel myself peaking, and came loudly, but he wasn't done. Snickering against my neck he slipped his hands behind my back and lifted me up so I was sitting in his lap. The wind was knocked out of me.
"Oh God." I swallowed. "So deep." was all I could say.
I brought his mouth to mine and kissed him with a deep needful passion as I rode him. He suddenly pulled away and pressed his forehead to my cheek. Both of us hot now. "Oh fuck." I heard him say, and I knew he was close. I rode him faster and harder until we both came together in one massive crescendo. I screamed out and we held onto one another as if letting go would mean literally exploding. We sat there holding one another until the shaking stopped, and we lay down, still joined. When he pulled away I actually whimpered and pulled him close, feeling empty and lost again without him inside of me. "Thank you." he rasped sleepily.
"You're welcome." I pulled his head to my chest and we fell asleep like that. Naked in the moonlight, our bodies entwined. Fitting together like a puzzle. As if we were always meant to be there like that.