Gerard's kiss is still stinging on my lips like an open wound.
Oh, and before you read, could you guys please check out my new chaptered fic if you haven't already? It's called Scabbed X-Ray Blues and it's a Gerbert, but please don't let that put you off...at least give it a shot first? I'd really love feedback on it. http://www.ficwad.com/story/204858/reviews
Time melts into snowflakes and snowflakes melt into minutes, soft and utterly unbroken, falling gently around us in the lonely darkness. The night howls on, icy and bitter with snowflake-grazes, but I’m barely aware of anything besides the soft, anguished pressure against my mouth; the melted electricity radiating through me from the wonderful simplicity of it.
Everything else; the fevered thud of my heart, half numb with the elated feeling of being completely vulnerable to someone else; is hazy and muted, like it’s been tuned out by impact of the tender lips moving intently against mine.
Even though my hands are trembling on the soft, supple leather of his jacket and I can taste the ghostly cigarettes and snowflakes and burn of cheap party alcohol on his tongue, I can hardly believe it’s really Gerard- broken, angry, lonely Gerard I thought I hated. Gerard with his lips working against mine in devastated kind of angst, his fingers curling fiercely in my hair, his heart beating feverishly in his chest crushed up against mine as though they only exist together.
But it is- it’s really him, his mask crumpled like it never even existed.
His mouth is warm and wet in contrast to the icy darkness churning round us, slightly hesitant, and it tastes like scars; like force-forgotten dreams; like snow- and a little like the fierce, scared smile he gave me moments before everything changed to this.
My skin is searing with the cold whipping icily round us, my feet are numb from standing in the snow for so long, I’m half terrified and I can’t breathe properly, but none of that even registers.
I do the only thing I want to; close my eyes and kiss him back, soaking up every second of this Gerard; his midnight split-ends flopping in my face, his lips meshing against mine, his long, pale fingers cupping my jaw as though I’m fragile and he’s scared he’s going to break me. It’s like nothing I could have imagined, nothing I would have imagined. I want to do is cling to him and kiss back until I could forget every scar on my body, every scream in my mind, here in the snow-cloaked darkness of the poplar trees, finally so, so not alone with the loneliest person’s arms wrapped round me like they never want to let go. I hang onto his tense frame and kiss back as hard as I can, never wanting to have to open my eyes again, because I’m scared then I’ll have to let go.
I know I’ll have to let go, but not yet. Not yet.
Please. Not yet.
It’s so softly silent with the intensity of the kiss and the snow falling like secrets, that the second a voice echoes out through the lamplit park, we both jump wildly, breaking apart instinctively, wide-eyed and breathing fast in the raggedy darkness that suddenly seems to be a whole lifetime of barbed wire between us.
My heart beats and beats as I stare at Gerard’s conflicted, pained emerald eyes and the way his hand is still half-holding my jaw, like he forgot to let go, or maybe just couldn’t bring himself to.
“Frank!” The voice splits through the icy silence again, and Gerard wrenches away from me properly, eyes anguished, glimmering green in the dull lamplight shimmering across the snow. My heart’s thudding faster than it has all night, pounding like a sinewy drum behind my ribs as I swallow, dropping my gaze guiltily from Gerard and turning towards the shout, suddenly choked with humiliation.
A skinny, hunched figure is hurrying across the lonely, snowy grounds of the park, deflecting the snowflakes from where they’re meant to fall. As he gets closer, I see that it’s Mikey, eyes anxious behind the frosted lenses of his glasses, and my heart tangles in with panic. I glance at Gerard for some kind of indication of where I stand, the panic welling up in my chest with every snowflake that falls between us.
He’s looking at the ground at our feet, where I can see the two scuffed imprints of where our footprints pressed together, toe-to-toe moments ago. Something cold and lonely aches horribly at my chest then. Gerard’s face impassive and pale- but the way his breath is frequent and opaque between us in the December air shows he’s not as unaffected as he makes out. The kiss lingers heavily in the threadbare dark between us, vulnerable, smoky, shattered.
I don’t know what to do, where to look. I feel like the snow’s melting under my feet where I stand and any second I’ll be falling and falling with nowhere to land.
It’s getting harder and harder to breathe the longer the silence snags between us, to the extent that I’m actually grateful when Mikey skids to a halt in front of us, panting slightly, eyes shining nervously in the lamplight as his gaze swivels worriedly from me to where I don’t dare to look anymore.
“Frank,” he blurts, panting slightly, his nose bright red from the cold as his breath puffs out smokily in the December air. “I-I’m sorry, I was so worried when you ran off, I didn’t mean to say anything to offend you, I just wanted to help, you’re right, I don’t know what you feel, I just sort of thought because of how you’ve been-”
“I’m fine, Mikey,” I cut across flatly, shoving my hands in my pockets and looking awkwardly at the ground. “Fine.” My voice is hoarse and unused, and it wavers slightly on the last word, betraying me.
I can practically feel Gerard’s gaze burning into me, and wince horribly as I realise he probably understood exactly what Mikey was trying to say, especially after what just happened. My cheeks burn with utter humiliation and self-hating anger writhes through me at the thought of being pitied by him.
“I- I also needed to find you guys because Dad just texted me to say he’s on his way to pick us up,” Mikey adds, suddenly sounding a lot quieter, as though he’s realised he’s just entered into something out of his depth. I notice his hazel gaze flicker nervously towards Gerard, then back to me, as though he’s putting two and two together. He bites his lip, and if I wasn’t so lost in the kind of dark whirlpool that’s sucking me down into nothingness, I’d probably feel sorry for him. As it is, I feel blank, numb, lost. The only sign of life is my heart that beats faster and faster, and the cold, dull ache in my chest.
I look at Gerard’s empty face and the imprint of our feet, and suddenly want nothing more than to sprint off across the snowy park and never look back.
Instead, I close my eyes and ignore the tugging scent of charcoal and smoke and honey shampoo coating my skin with the snowflakes, teeth grinding together with the impact of containing the overwhelming, cold ache in my chest.
“Gerard…?” Mikey’s voice ventures tentatively, and I suddenly realise that Gerard’s staring furiously at the ground like me, fists clenched, shoulders rigid and angry, frame silhouetted against the soft lamplight sparkling its way across the snow under the dark sky. Hurt infiltrates the numbness then, and have to clench my jaw even more tightly to suppress it as it stings the raw gash ripped between us.
“What?” Gerard mutters eventually.
“Are you okay…?” Mikey trails off the second his sentence forms the question, as though he knows its pointless and risky asking.
Gerard nods curtly, shoving his hands defiantly in his pockets and looking down at the disordered snow at his feet, ruffled from where we stood mere moments ago. Misery scales its way up from the pit of my stomach and I huddle desolately into my hoodie, trying to ignore the horrible, cold ache in my belly that’s completely crushed all the hopefully little flutterings and warmth from earlier, leaving it devastatingly empty.
There’s a horrible silence that claws its way through my skin and slashes at my lungs. Mikey looks wretched as I study the perturbed snow at my feet, remembering its cause. The falling snow is beginning to falter slightly, tumbling more unevenly from the ripped raven sky, like its unsure where to fall now. Eventually, Mikey speaks tentatively, fiddling with the toggles of his coat.
“Um, shall we go and wait for Dad, then?” he mumbles, pulling at the sleeves of his duffel coat and looking distinctly guilty. Unlike Ocean when she called me while I was in the graveyard with Gerard last night, I think Mikey has got too much of a sense of just what he’s interrupted. He’s looking at me, hazel eyes liquid with burnt questions, and I haven’t the heart to look back.
Mutely, I nod, mind in utter turmoil, flinching and fluctuating with each heartbeat. Something a lot like sympathy flashes nervously through Mikey’s gaze before he ducks his head and starts across the untouched snow in the dark.
I take one last glance up at the darkened serenity of the snow-glittering, bare winter park before following him, and accidentally snag on Gerard’s emerald gaze through the darkness hanging between us. The impact shocks through me instantly, and I flinch and look away, cheeks burning, chest smarting and aching.
The antagonised gleam of green remains imprinted on the back of my eyelids as I squeeze them shut against the overwhelming numbness, and suddenly, I realise I have no idea just whose eyes those are. A series of different Gerards flash through my raw mind; cool, calm Gerard who sneers coldly at me and hangs out with the popular kids; drunken, unbalanced Gerard who retains his attitude but clings to me as though his life depends on it; sad, lost Gerard who tells me bloodstained things in the teary shadows of the graveyard; shy, smiling Gerard who flicks flour at me and teases me gently; fierce, anguished, beautiful Gerard who kissed me with trembling hands mere moments ago. Those confusing emerald eyes could belong to any one of those different Gerards- or the silent, tense Gerard who’s walking away from me like it’s the easiest thing in the world, like he’s never going to look back.
Hurt surges up inside of me, starting at the wispy corners of my skeleton until it’s growing and growing, ready to implode as I stare numbly after Mikey and Gerard’s retreating silhouettes, walking away from the place I found Gerard less than twenty minutes ago, staring up at the stars.
It doesn’t matter how much my chest sears achingly, hollowly- I have no option but to follow them; to walk away and leave it all behind.
It feels horribly like going back the way I came- in a much more permanent sense than just tonight. I suddenly feel a million miles away from the person who set out to the party earlier this evening- even though the same snow is falling on my skin, and Gerard’s kiss is still fresh and stinging like an open wound on my lips.
Or maybe because it is.
By the time we get back to the party and are waiting on the sidewalk outside the gate for Steve to arrive, Mikey seems to have realised that questions are not welcomed and doesn’t speak to either of us. The result is a horrible, thick silence cloaking the air between the three of us as we wait for Steve’s car to draw up. The snowfall is getting thinner, dwindling in the greasy orange glow of the nearby streetlamp, but the air somehow seems colder, harsher on my skin, sandpapering all the softness away to bleeding, red rawness.
Under the dull glow of the streetlamp, I can’t bring myself to look at Gerard. The artificial light seems to creep into the shadows and expose everything tentative a little too clearly, when all I want is for it to stay hidden in the darkness forever.
Gerard somehow seems even quieter than Mikey and I, even though none of us are speaking. His silence isn’t quite the mask-like one he could have reverted to, but it’s almost worse; deep and intense and scared.
I can feel it slowly ripping at my chest, feeding off the multiplying blackness inside. I have grit my teeth together with the effort of keeping it all inside; it feels as though it’s wriggling into every bone in my body and rupturing it until there’s nothing left to implode but my entire being. I don’t know anything anymore.
Standing in the stark, bitter snowfall with my feet numb and my chest aching and my lips stinging, I could be anyone.
The party is still thumping on loudly, but lots of people are starting to leave, stumbling intermittently out of the gate to our left and onto the snow-streaked streets, talking loudly and walking slightly unsteadily. Their loudness only seems to make the silence hanging like dense mist in the air between us quieter still.
I shiver numbly, watching my breath curl up into the ebony December air and remembering the way it mingled with Gerard’s as we stood under the stars in the park.
“Where the hell did you lot all get to?”
Swallowing, I turn around to see Ocean standing in the shadows the greasy light of the streetlamp hasn’t invaded. She’s holding a can of beer, her blue hair falling in pretty waves around her face as she smiles warmly. Something thick and ugly plummets in my stomach then- she’s not smiling like that at me or Mikey.
When this is met with a dead silence, Mikey eventually mumbles something about waiting for a lift before the atmosphere lapses back into miserable silence again. Ocean doesn’t seem to notice at all, though, and looks disappointed.
“Oh, you’re all going home already?” she asks, her face falling.
Mikey nods apologetically, looking slightly wary.
“Oh, that sucks,” Ocean says disappointedly, looking in the direction of Gerard. “I was hoping to get to know you a little better.” She sidles past me, leaning casually against the wall beside the shadow I know is Gerard. I think I see him wince, but I can’t muster up the courage to look at his face- the thought of meeting those bleakly hollow green eyes again makes my stomach lurch uncomfortably and my chest ache.
“Hey,” she nudges Gerard’s shoulder, smiling. “How’s it going?”
“Fine.” Gerard’s tone is empty.
“Settling into this shithole alright?”
“Yes,” his voice is strained then, like it’s too small to stretch round the lie.
“I was wondering, are you musical?” Ocean continues hopefully, eyeing Gerard flirtatiously and taking a sip from her beer. “Because Frank and Mickey and I were talking in the park the other day, about music and shit.”
“Mikey,” Gerard corrects her blankly.
“Yeah,” Ocean waves a hand dismissively. “Well, we were thinking that with Frank playing guitar, me playing drums and Mikey playing bass, if we had a singer we could have a proper band. Do you sing?”
Gerard doesn’t say anything.
“Mikey says you don’t,” Ocean rambles on, blind to Gerard’s discomfort. “But I think you look like a singer. You’ve got that whole frontman kind of charisma or something. Would you be interested in giving it a shot?”
“No.” Gerard says, very quietly.
“Oh, please,” Ocean pleads, making her eyes go wide. “I bet you’d be great.”
“Oh, why not? Maybe-”
“I don’t sing, okay?” Gerard shouts suddenly. The words rip from him, loud in the snowy silence, spat with such anger I see Ocean recoil in surprise, blinking in the hollowing yellow of the streetlamp. I force my gaze to linger on Gerard a little longer and realise he’s shaking all over, like he’s trying to suppress breaking down completely. He looks wild, damaged, out of control, so lost.
He looks like I feel.
“I was only asking,” Ocean says defensively, backing away, a confusion creasing her forehead as she looks at him, perplexed at his sudden outburst. I feel a pang of sympathy for her through my numbness.
“Well don’t ask,” Gerard cries, face contorted vehemently as he backs away, features scrunched up in utter anguish, eyes gleaming with accusatory pain. “I don’t sing.” He’s stumbling blindly back now, eyes glittering with tears, trembling.
“Is that so, handsome?”
Gerard freezes completely. The snow continues to flit and flutter around him in the raw, icy night, like confetti- or debris.
I whip round, the bitter December air scouring my skin as I see that the rough, seductive voice came from the same blonde guy that spoke to Gerard at the party earlier. He’s not with Danny now, but he’s coming up into the glow of the streetlamp, and his wide smile suddenly looks crumbled with darkness in the fake gleam of the orange lamp, hollowed out, like a skull with no fleshy morals.
Mikey bites down so hard on his lip blood spurts down his chin. Ocean stares, confusion lacing her eyes. But the blonde guy’s eyes bore solely into Gerard, eyes that know all his secrets and want to exploit them, destroy him with them, seeking only Gerard’s pain and suffering and fall from everything that matters.
Gerard himself looks blank, but I can see his eyes obliterated behind their mask, his hands trembling as they’re clenched into fists, ready to fight something impossible.
I just stare numbly at them both; the fear silently grazing Gerard’s emerald eyes, the vindictive roughness making the blonde guy’s eyes gleam ruthlessly, handsomely alive in the darkness. Hatred burns the underside of my skin as I watch what that gaze does to Gerard, but the emotion is unable to make contact with the numbed surface.
“Leave him alone, Jeremy,” Mikey’s voice surprises me, sudden and fierce in the black snowfall. The blonde guy, Jeremy, is clearly surprised by it too, but masks it quickly with a kind of curling sneer, rounding on Gerard’s younger brother. The light from the streetlamp overhead hollows out his face, making it look gaunt and ruthless.
“So, baby Way,” the guy called Jeremy goads, slinging a mocking arm casually round Gerard’s tensed shoulders and cocking an eyebrow at Mikey, who glares right back at him. “How is it having such a mess up for a brother?”
“Gerard’s not a mess-up,” Mikey defends fiercely.
Jeremy laughs hollowly, and I distinctly see Ocean shoot him an angry look- but she does nothing more. What could she do? She’s as out of her depth as I feel, cold and alone and insignificant in the drained night. We’re all out of our depth, but Gerard’s the one drowning.
“Not a mess-up?” Jeremy is laughing derisively, still leaning his weight mockingly on Gerard’s shoulders. “Do you not remember him, Michael?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Mikey says, but his voice quivers.
Jeremy’s smile widens. “Shall I refresh your memory, then? Remember the drink, the razorblades, and the cowardice? Remember the fire, Michael Way?”
Mikey goes pale, and Gerard makes a noise like a wounded animal as he tries to escape from Jeremy’s grasp. However, Jeremy grins and hangs on tighter, forcing Gerard to his side. It makes me feel sick to the pit of my stomach to watch, but there’s nothing I can do, because I am nothing now. I can only watch the glitter in Gerard’s green eyes slowly turn to agonised shards of crushed glass, scraping across his vision.
“I thought you might remember,” Jeremy says lightly, turning to face Gerard’s wild, desperate eyes with cold triumph. “You seemed so different, when I saw you in the party,” he shakes his blonde head, watching the shaking, anguished Gerard as though he’s fascinated by him. Then his face splits into a grin that makes his smooth features look twisted. “But you’re still the same really, aren’t you? Inside. You’re still the same. You can’t hide- you can hide from the world, Gerard, but you can’t hide from me. And you can’t ever hide from yourself.”
Gerard is so pale he barely looks alive under the hollowing gleam of the streetlamp overhead. He looks ready to explode, to vomit and bleed and scream. But most of all, worst of all, he looks ready to crumple into nothingness.
Blindly, he shoves Jeremy off him and tries to back away, stumbling backwards into the shadows, making strangled sounds like he’s choking on the darkness.
“Running away, are you?” Jeremy challenges tauntingly, and through the shadow and the falling snow and the yellow light I see Gerard’s eyes flicker with defeat. “You never change, do you?”
Gerard’s eyes cloud. I can practically see his heartbeat thrumming behind them, but there’s nothing I can do- I don’t know where I stand. It’s funny to think less than half an hour ago, everything was beginning to make sense- now it’s being swallowed up by nothingness, messy and dark and confusing, ripping at my gut and making me want to scream until my lungs are full of dark, black blood because it aches, it hurts, so much.
“Leave him alone. Now,” Mikey says angrily, and Jeremy just smiles. I barely notice the conjunctive threat behind it; from being too scared to look at Gerard, I suddenly can’t look away. He’s really breaking, being stripped apart and wrecked. I can see it, and I can’t stop it.
“You really believe he’s changed, don’t you, Michael? Bless,” Jeremy is remarking patronisingly, shaking his head in smirking disbelief. There’s a razorblade thrill to his suave smile it now, and I can suddenly see how it’s a mouth that has the serendipity to cut wounds deeper than any kind of blade. Wounds horribly familiar.
I glance numbly from Gerard to Mikey, wondering what I’m meant to do. I suddenly realise that Ocean is no longer anywhere in sight, and the tiniest flare of anger flickers somewhere very distant inside me at her desertion.
“He has changed,” Mikey says shortly in response.
Jeremy lets out a low, soft laugh, and then it all happens so fast I barely have time to register what’s happening; Gerard is pinned back against the wall behind us with a cry, Jeremy holding him by the throat with one hand, the other at Gerard’s sleeve, his thick-fingered hands greedy and repulsive for someone else’s humiliation and ruins.
With a jolt of numb horror, I realise what he’s about to do, but its happening before I can do anything to stop it. All I can do is stand, rooted to the spot, and watch the expression on Mikey’s face as Jeremy thrusts Gerard’s exposed forearm under the streetlamp. The letters ‘UGLY’ sneer up at me from his pale flesh they were forced into by blades that didn’t belong to Gerard, and my heart tumbles from its strings and plummets to the cold ground, leaving my ribcage empty and hollow with horror.
Gerard squeezes his eyes shut in agony as Mikey’s gaze falls over him.
“Changed, has he?” Jeremy challenges softly, the smirk a spill of ugly oil across his handsome features. Mikey’s expression is devastated as he stares unblinkingly at the barbed-wire resembling letters woven from his brother’s veins.
Gerard whimpers in Jeremy’s grasp, eyes crying out more forcefully than the ugly, jagged black blood carved into his forearm. I watch the dried black beads glitter like the snow in the lamplight, macabre and real, and feel sick with the intensity of it all; and wonder for the first time how Danny could have brought himself to mangle something so beautiful. But he did, and it’s Gerard’s blood, even though it’s tainted with Danny’s fingerprints.
But Mikey can’t see those. It looks exactly how Jeremy wants to portray it.
“Gerard…” Mikey bites his lip, eyes full of pain as he looks at Gerard’s struggling, defeated form; the straggles of raven hair sticking to the straining muscle of his clenched jaw, the resignation killing his eyes. But whatever Mikey is about to say is cut off as the sound of a car engine slides to a halt beside us on the road, and Jeremy lets go of Gerard instantly, taking off at a run down the slushy street. He melts away into the darkness like a knife in the back.
I stare at Gerard, appalled, eyes stinging. I don’t have time to think about whether he’s going to look and meet my gaze, because it doesn’t matter where I stand now, nothing matters apart from the broken, broken, broken expression faded into his face like paint from one of his own masks. I just need him to look back so I can see he’s still there, but he’s not looking back. He’s looking over my shoulder, motionless. I manage to tear my eyes away for a moment and with a jolt, I see Steve beside the car that’s just drawn up, keys in his hand.
I know the instant I look into his grey eyes that he’s seen everything.
The car is silent on the drive home. None one wants to acknowledge what’s just happened, so it festers and broods in the shadows of the car, soaking up the oxygen; glances are heavy, making the whole atmosphere airless and choked with unasked questions. I try to close my eyes to it all, but the silence somehow imprints itself under my closed lids, devious and dark.
Instead, I stare out at the slushy, deserted roads of the snowy city and watch as the snowfall dwindles, trying not to notice how Steve is gripping the steering wheel so hard his knuckles are protruding from his skin, as white and anxious as Mikey’s face beside me. I watch as my mousy-haired stepbrother nibbles at the nail on his thumb, tearing at the softened skin as we drive silently through the lonely, snow-cloaked suburbs, leaving a grey trail of pollution in the pristine white and raven.
Gerard is motionless. He could be asleep, but every time we drive under a streetlamp, the light reflects in his bleak, green eyes. His expression is impossible to read apart from one blinding emotion written over every feature; defeat.
I just sit there, holding myself together, numb. Everything that’s happened in the last hour is a blur, like the snowflakes fluttering past the window beside me. I’m hurt and elated, angry and sad, so lonely all at once. I want to forget and remember, hate and love.
Every time I try and close my eyes to block it all out, all I can see is Gerard’s scared, blazing face drawing close to mine under the shadows of the poplar trees, feel the air tremble between us, the warm, anguished pressure against my mouth that made me feel amazingly, completely, wonderfully vulnerable; that made me shiver and lean into it without a second thought. It’s too fresh, too raw in my memory for me to be able to convince myself it wasn’t everything it would be a mistake to want.
I don’t know whether I want to lose myself in the memory or never look at it again. I don’t know whether I want to lose myself in Gerard or never look at him again. It churns round me, tangled, hurting.
I don’t know if I want to risk everything for someone I thought I hated- but something tells me I already have.
When we eventually turn into the driveway, the car atmosphere in the car is more silent than ever; Mikey has gnawed right down to his hangnail and the remains of his nail are bleeding. Gerard still won’t look at me. That hurts in a kind of resigned way that tells me I expected it, but had still hoped it wouldn’t happen. I can’t quite understand how he can block everything out when it’s still stinging so painfully between us.
But maybe he’s not as unaffected as he’s trying to make out, because the second Steve turns the ignition off, Gerard fumbles with his seatbelt, hair falling untidily across his face, and bolts from the car, stumbling unsteadily up the garden path. Ice-cold December night seeps into the comparative warmth of the car from the door he flung open, and I shiver numbly, staring bleakly after his undone silhouette.
Steve is racing after him, calling his name, leaving Mikey and I alone in the hostile coldness of the car. I can tell Mikey is watching Gerard too, because his eyes are full of pained disappointment. I want to tell him that the word carved into Gerard’s arm isn’t what he thinks it is, that they aren’t Gerard’s words- but I can’t quite bring myself to speak, to tell him what Gerard won’t.
“Did he really do that, Frank?” Mikey’s voice makes me jump. He’s looking at me solemnly, hazel eyes grave and wounded behind the lenses of his glasses.
“How would I know?” I mutter uncomfortably, studying my hands so as I don’t have to meet Mikey’s eyes- they’re like Gerard’s, but innocent, untainted.
“I just…Gerard told me about how you helped him yesterday night when you met him in the graveyard,” Mikey says quietly.
My heart thumps faster and faster, pumping memories into my skull like blood, until I’m drowning in the memories of Gerard’s raw, green gaze, his fierce hand holding mine, the feeling of never wanting to let go when he hugged me, the smell of tears and alcohol and charcoal on his hoodie, the way he hung onto me like his life depended on it…
“I don’t know anything, Mikey,” I choke, flinging myself out of the car and storming up the path, smothered by what I might never have again. The air is like blade against my skin, slicing it raw.
The snow has stopped falling.
The front door has been left open, leaking warm light out onto the snowy path and making the crystalline snow glitter under my feet. As I pause on the threshold, heartbeat thrumming in my temples, Gerard and Steve’s voices shatter the silence. I hear Mikey’s footsteps behind me, nervous and apologetic, but I don’t turn round, just brace myself and walk into the hall, teeth gritted.
“Gerard, wait!” Steve is shouting, face lined with worry as he tries to apprehend Gerard from escaping up the stairs. “We need to talk about this, it’s serious! Let Mikey and Frank past and come back down and talk to me,” he pleads, noticing us, but barely taking his eyes from the wreck of his elder son.
Blankly, Gerard moves slightly to one side, allowing Mikey and I to sidle uncomfortably past him on our way upstairs. As I pass, I glance at him, stomach tied in anxious knots, just hoping for some sign of recognition; anger, hatred, guilt, anything.
But he stares right through me, as though I’m not even there.
I’m left to stumble upstairs after Mikey, numb, blistered with hurt, the ache in my chest so hollowing I have to sit down on my bed and pull my knees up against my ribs to try and keep it from breaking. I rock backwards and forwards numbly, huddled up, mind blank with too much, too much, too much. I don’t know how not to crumble, so I just close my eyes and blot it all out to the simple, rhythmic pound of my heart.
I only become aware of my surroundings again when Mikey sinks down on the other end of the bed, changed into his penguin pyjamas, but still wearing his glasses. I surface slightly, looking at him bleakly.
“Frank,” he says, and his tone says everything. He looks at me, hazel eyes beseeching and full of the hurt they gained when they were exposed to Gerard’s arm, and I know they understand completely.
“Don’t,” I mumble, closing my eyes against the ache. “Please.”
There’s a long silence, before I feel Mikey’s weight shuffle up the bed, and then he tentatively wraps an arm round my shoulders. He’s too skinny and cold and he smells different; like toast and bass strings and talcum powder, but I can’t help clinging onto him anyway, because now there’s no one else.
Oh, we're getting closer to the truth now- I'd say there will be around eight to ten chapters left. I hope that's okay- I know this has been going on a ridiculously long time already, so I hope you guys don't mind. I'm getting excited for the next bit of this story! Rates and Reviews would make my bloody week and cheer me up from all the exams- I'd love to know what you're all thinking at the moment about Gerard. Thanks so much for sticking with this, I love you guys so much :'D Please, please review?