“Frank,” He hissed, “I don’t want to… I can’t go in there.” Frank squeezed his hand and smiled slightly. “Yes you can,” He said, “Come on, I’ll come with you.”
“Hi, uh, Gerard Way?” Said Gerard, pulling on his hoodie anxiously.
“One second,” The receptionist paused and tapped something into a computer before smiling in a sickly sweet and thoroughly fake way at him. “Yes, he’s running early so you can just go straight in. Second door on the right in that white corridor over there, okay honey?” Gerard nodded, biting his lip and slouched across the room, dragging Frank along behind him by his hand. They walked across and reached the wooden door, then Gerard stopped, looking at Frank worriedly.
“Frank,” He hissed, “I don’t want to… I can’t go in there.” Frank squeezed his hand and smiled slightly.
“Yes you can,” He said, “Come on, I’ll come with you.” Gerard paused for a second then nodded, his hair flipping over his eye heavily. He held Frank’s hand tighter and pushed on the gold door handle, nudging the door open with a creak then stepping slowly inside.
The room was small and square, like an office, with white walls and a beige carpet. There was a row of blue, plastic chairs along one of the walls next to a gurney, adjacent to a cabinet with a modern looking computer, pens, paper and a printer stacked onto it. A white framed window stretched across the wall opposite the door – it was sunny outside but that did nothing to lighten the grim aura of the room – and a pale yellow lampshade hung from the ceiling. In front of the computer was a blue swivel chair on which a short man with brown, thinning hair and thick glasses squatted, reading a piece of paper in his hand. He looked up as he heard the door squeak open and smiled almost patronisingly at them.
“Ah yes, Way, is it?” He chirped, and Gerard nodded almost shyly.
“Is it okay if he stays?” He asked, pointing at Frank and still holding his hand tightly.
“If it’s okay with you then it’s a-okay with me!” Gerard was getting annoyed with this man and his cheeriness already, Frank could tell. He gave him a comfortingly look and they sat down next to each other on the cold, plastic chairs, Gerard quivering slightly. “So, I’m Doctor Rooney,” The man said, reading something from the computer screen, “Ah, you’re considering a rehabilitation centre? Yes, don’t worry, it’s nothing I haven’t dealt with before.” He smiled like a frog. “Would you be able to name for me the substances you’re dealing with?” Gerard bit the inside of his lip and nodded slightly.
“Um, yeah, uh… Alcohol, cocaine, LSD, ecstacy…” He went bright red and shook, his hair covering his face, “Marijuana, crank and sometimes, uh, Cosmic Kelly.”
“What were those last two, sorry?” The man asked, writing something on a notepad in front of him. Frank felt anger rising up his neck but tried to stay calm. Weren’t doctors supposed to know all the slang?
“He means meth and piperazines,” He snapped, glaring at the rodent-like man, who raised his eyebrows slightly and wrote it down.
“That’s quite a list,” Rooney said, making Frank’s skin burn angrily. “Okay.” He put down the paper and turned to face them both, trying to look understanding but ending up just looking smug and self-important. Gerard looked to the floor and didn’t let go of Frank’s hand, shaking more than when they’d entered the room. “How long have you been taking each of these?”
“Um,” Gerard croaked, staring at his hands, “Like… I dunno, I…” He looked at Frank pleadingly and he answered for him.
“Between six and seven months,” Frank said firmly, looking at Rooney coldly.
“Heavy usage, I assume?” There was a pause.
“Yeah.” Gerard whispered. Rooney nodded.
“Any mental disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety…?” Gerard looked up at Frank again.
“Depression and anxiety,” Frank said, stroking the side of Gerard’s hand with his thumb, “He takes Prozac.” Rooney frowned.
“I would suggest you stopped taking Prozac,” He said, “Mixing it with other drugs can be very harmful, even toxic, in some cases.” He tapped something into the computer then turned back to face them, a serious expression on his drooping face. “I would also advise against attempting to quit these things cold turkey; doing so could wreak havoc on your psychical and mental health, even more so than they already have.” Frank scowled. What was this guy saying, that Gerard was a physical wreck and a head-case to boot? He bit his tongue and thought of the colour yellow, breathing slowly. “If you’re set on rehabilitation, the costs would be high, possibly monumentally so, but-“
“How much?” Frank asked, his stomach squeezing into anxious knots. They needed to be able to afford this. Rooney paused for a second in thought then replied.
“Realistically, the least I can see you paying would be two-thousand five-hundred dollars.” He said.
Gerard choked on his tongue and stared at him, holding back tears for want of keeping his dignity if nothing else.
“Two-thousand dollars?” He spluttered, “Please, isn’t there something else we can-“
“I’m sorry,” Rooney said would-be softly (a thinly veiled attempt to show that he cared), “There are alternatives, of course, but rehab centres are often expensive, and that is a very inexpensive-“
“We can afford it,” Frank cut in hastily, earning a death stare from Gerard, “We’ll work it out. Who do we call?”
“I can give you some phone numbers of local courses,” Said Rooney, tapping on his keyboard again and making the printer whirr, “But you need to be aware that for such a low price, the success rate is not high. Below twenty percent, likely.”
“I don’t care,” Gerard said, quietly, “If I just try hard enough I’ll do it, right?” The doctor frowned and looked uncomfortable.
“It’s possible,” He said, “But not definite.” The printer whirred and spat out a sheet of numbers. “Don’t hesitate to come back if you’ve got any more questions or if anything happens. And stop taking Prozac,” He nodded at Gerard.
“Thanks for your time,” Frank said, trying to make him stop talking as he passed him the sheet of paper inscribed with ten or twenty addresses and phone numbers of local rehabs and AA groups.
“Of course,” He replied, nodding and smiling at Gerard, “You know, coming here is the first step.” Gerard forced a smile back.
“Thanks.” He said, as Frank guided him out of the eerie room and hugged him tightly when they were outside, feeling relaxed to be out of there.
“You did great,” He whispered, clutching the paper in one hand and Gerard’s bony fingers in the other, “You can do this, I know you can.” He kissed Gerard’s pink cheek and smiled genuinely, receiving one in return, before walking out of the white entrance doors and leading him back to their house in the bright, warm sunlight that Gerard hadn’t felt against his skin in an eternity. Maybe things were looking up for them now, he thought.