Gerard's dad calls with bad news.
I was just about to speak but I stopped. What could I possibly say to make it any better? Madelyn was committed with the evidence of her past stamped all over her body. She’d been through more than I could even understand. I wanted to help people because I didn’t really understand pain- emotional or physical. I’d been sheltered my entire life. All I ever saw was good, and here I was trying desperately to see Madelyn’s bad… because I couldn’t understand it, and I wanted to- but at what risk? Could I risk her mental health, or anyone’s? That was what my future held. I would probe, just like my father, until I found what I wanted but what became of the patients? That was the real dilemma.
That was why I could never be like my father- or I hoped I couldn’t. That question always weighed me down, always ran through my mind. It plagued me.
Madelyn was staring at my blank wall while I searched for words but I continued to come up empty. Then my phone rang, saving the situation.
“I’ll be right back.” I muttered, standing and answering the call. Madelyn stayed seated as I exited the room. Being away from her for a second would help clear my mind. I was seething. How dare he? “Way.”
My dad laughed, “Since when do you answer your phone the way I do?” Oh damn.
“Hey Dad, just practicing.” I replied, rolling my eyes.
He laughed again, “Glad to hear it. So son, where are you and Madelyn?”
“Uh, we are just about to get something to eat.” I lied, well kind of. “Why?”
“I’m going to need you to wrap up your outing.” He answered. “Her brother, Mr. Iero, is here to pick her up.”
“What?” I wracked my brain for a reason against Frank taking her. “Doesn’t that kind of thing take… days, sometimes weeks? What about all of the paperwork and exit sessions she has to complete?”
Dad cleared his throat before answering, “He expedited the paperwork. It’s under very unusual circumstances but seeing as how she was committed by a different family member who is no longer living… there really is nothing that can be done to keep her, and seeing as how she hasn’t spoken to any of our facility other than you- there is no reason to think she will possibly harm herself… and so we have no reason to keep her.”
I bit my tongue, knowing I couldn’t tell my dad what Madelyn had told me. I would completely lose her trust, and any chance of helping her in any way. “She’s really hungry, so it will be a few hours. Can you… keep him occupied for that long?” It was a lot to ask, and I was ready to hear a stern lecture of how I needed to rush back but… surprisingly that wasn’t the case.
“I will ask him to pick her up at 7 o’clock. She needs to be back here by 6:45 sharp. Do you understand me son?” I glanced at the clock. That gave us three and a half hours.
“Thank you.” I closed my eyes, knowing I had to tell Madelyn. I just didn’t want to tell her /yet/.
“See you then.” The phone went dead.
“Gerard?” Madelyn was standing in the doorway.
“Hey.” I smiled.
“Is everything okay?” She seemed concerned, but she didn’t even know yet.
“I’m a little hungry.” I admitted, with a cheesy smile.
She chuckled and stretched, “Do you have food here? I could… try to cook.”
“Try?” I grinned.
“Well, yeah. I never have before…” Madelyn blushed. “I’ve always kind of wanted to.”
“Yeah?” The idea sounded nice. “I’ve never had anyone cook for me… you know, besides my parents. I could go to the store and pick up some stuff.”
“Give me a piece of paper and a pen.” Madelyn held her hand out with a smirk upon her face.
I didn’t need to be told twice. Madelyn gazed down at my notebook. “What, have you scribbled every single disorder there has ever been and the medicine used to minimize the effect of it on people?”
“Pretty much.” I could feel the skin upon my face heat up. “It’s what I do when I can’t sleep.”
“Ever hear of counting sheep? That sounds more entertaining.”
“Well, if I was entertained I wouldn’t really want to sleep now would I?”
“Sleep is overrated.” Madelyn had a beautiful smile, and now that her personality was coming out… it was clear to me that all those days of silence were really worth it. Madelyn was worth my time, and more.
“It is.” Madelyn handed me her list and I looked it over. “This is an interesting mix of items. Anything else?”
“Orange juice? I really like orange juice.” Madelyn scribbled it on the list and then gave me the pen.
“Sure you wanna stay here? My place is boring. You could always come with.”
Madelyn looked around. “I want to stay here. Are you going to get mad if I snoop?” I had to hand it to her; she was pretty straight forward.
Then again her being straight forward was really the only reason I was on a ‘date’. Even ‘crazy’ she was still out of my league.
“Is that you warning me that you’re going to snoop either way?”
Madelyn scrunched her nose up and glanced up at the ceiling with a grin on her face, “Er- yeah.”
I couldn’t help but laugh, “Well don’t hold anything you find against me, okay?”
“I can’t promise that.”
“Well, then… er- how about, a um-“
“Goodbye kiss?” Madelyn offered, which was more than I could ever ask for.
I just nodded, as I blushed bright red.
Madelyn didn’t even blink as she leaned towards me, pressing our lips together. I felt a warmth spread through my face, and it wasn’t just a blush this time. She had an impressive touch.
“So, um go now!” Madelyn laughed, “Before I change my mind about cooking.”
I couldn’t hide my grin as I left, attempting to walk casually. I had a slight swagger though, and the tremendous urge to dance entered my mind.
I heard the door close behind Gerard and I pressed my fingers to my lips, relishing in the way they tingled after the kiss. I was moving fast, and attaching fast- just as Dr. Trinity said I would. How could he know things like that about me, without me ever even talking to him? It was disturbing and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like how accurate some of my file was. I didn’t like how easy it was to talk to Gerard- or how much I liked kissing him.
It had felt good, and right- and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
But was it because of some mental disorder, or because of the million men I’d been forced to sleep with in order to make money for my brother? I didn’t want it to be either of those things.
Without really thinking it over I walked the few steps to the kitchen, pulling open each drawer until I found the one that held Gerard’s knives. Some were sharp, most weren’t. I hadn’t seen a knife in a long time. They weren’t really accessible in mental facilities.
It was as I was running my finger along the smooth blade of the sharpest knife that Gerard possessed that the front door opened, and Gerard froze in mid-step gazing at me.
I opened my mouth, instantly feeling guilty. It wasn’t like me. I felt like a turtle, caught outside of its shell. The outside world was rough, and emotions were like waves from the ocean- easy to pull a person under.
I could feel the tension quickly build and Gerard just stood there, working his jaw before the words came out. He sounded strangled. “My car keys must’ve fallen out of my pocket.”
I didn’t say anything and Gerard didn’t move.
It was during the long awkward silence that I realized I was still holding the knife to my fingers. “I warned you that I’d snoop.” I finally said, after clearing my throat.
“I was kind of hoping you meant you’d look through my underwear drawer.” Gerard admitted softly.
I slowly and carefully placed the knife back in the drawer and closed it. “That was next.” I teased, failing at my attempt at bad humor.
Gerard didn’t say anything as I stepped around the kitchen counter. “You thought I was going to hurt myself.” I was going to. Maybe. I thought about it.
Gerard didn’t answer.
“Because you think I’m crazy.” I whispered, stepping closer to him.
His entire body was tense but still he did not speak.
“I think I’m insulted.” I commented, just inches from him.
Gerard swallowed hard, “I think I like you.”
“I think you’ve liked me for a while.” I replied, confidently.
“Why else would you wait by my bedside for days, when I never said a word? Why would you talk to me endlessly with no response? Why would you… Why would you watch me while I slept? I could feel your eyes on me when I woke, and so sometimes I pretended I was still asleep.” That was a mouthful and dangerously close to being a rip-off from some cheesy chick flick.
Gerard’s face lit up as he blushed bright red once again. “I think you’re right.”
“I usually am.” I cracked a smile. “Do you forgive me?”
“You were never in trouble.”
“I’m always in trouble Gerard.” I glanced around the room, “That’s why I’m in a mental facility, and you’re in this apartment.”
“Right now you’re in this apartment with me.”
“I am, because I’m with you- only because you’re a little crazier than your dad thinks.”
“I’m crazy?” Gerard grinned.
“Who else would dig a crazy chick?”
“A really smart guy that knows how to pick the right girl?”
“Flattery will get you nowhere.” I winked. “And really… you’re stalling, and my stomach is growling.”
Gerard stepped inside, “Let me go grab my keys.”
I waited by the door as he went in to his bedroom. I was gazing at the wall paper in his living room when he snuck up behind me. “I’m heading out again. This time try to keep the snooping to dull objects, will you? I don’t mind going on dates with crazy chicks, but I’m not so in to the whole dead thing.”
“I’ll remember that.” I replied. I heard him chuckle before the door closed and I was once again alone- and free.
It was a nice feeling, but my safety net was gone.