“What kind of savages keep the Oreos on the top shelf anyway?”
So far I’ve been doing good. It’s been – quick glance at the kitchen clock – 3 hours and 7 minutes I’ve been back with the guys and so far so good. I’ve remembered to disguise my voice and pretend I don’t know most of what they’re talking about. I’ve managed to be likeable, without being too much like myself.
Gerard helped my get all my stuff settled and gave me a quick tour. Jamia went straight to her bunk to get her personal time or beauty sleep or whatever the fuck she does and having her out of my face has helped immensely.
Now Gerard’s camped out at the table in the lounge sketching, Bob’s somewhere in the back and Mikey and Ray are playing Call of Duty. My stomach growling prompts me to get up and wander to the kitchen, wondering if any vegetarian cuisine still exists in the post-Frank world of My Chemical Romance. If Gerard was the last one shopping it’s bound to be all bacon and cold cuts.
Turns out no one was the last one shopping, the fridge is totally bare except for some mayonnaise and a few cans of soda. Sighing I close it and check the cupboards. Not much better. But there, on the top shelf -
“Rayyy,” I whine, hopping up and down, reaching as high as I can. He pauses the game and sticks his head around the corner and laughs.
“It’s not funny,” I pout. “This is serious business! I can’t reach the Oreos!”
I continue bouncing on my toes. I’m debating trying to crawl onto the tiny narrow counter. I’d probably just fall and make a damn fool of myself. But it’s Oreos…And I’m starving… Fuck it, I’m going for it. I lift one knee up and start pushing myself up, losing my balance and finding absolutely no traction on the slippery surface. I squeal and wiggle in a desperate attempt not to fall. I end up half wedged between the counter and the cabinet. I look back at Ray, wearing my best puppy face.
“Help?” I squeak. He laughs again.
Slowly, so damn slowly, he gets off the couch and walks over. By now both Way brothers are watching us with quiet amusement. Without hardly trying Ray reaches up and easily swipes the Oreos from the shelf with one hand and scoops my up by the waist with the other, freeing me from my kitchen cabinet prison.
“Thanks,” I mumble as he sets me down and hands over the cookie shaped pieces of heaven. “What kind of savages keep the Oreos on the top shelf anyway?”
He shrugs. “Sorry. We haven’t had to make special considerations for the vertically challenged since Frank left.”
I make a noncommittal noise. Somehow the conversation always gets back to Frank. And though I may be doing alright with almost everything else, I still have no idea how to start to deal with that particular topic.
“Ow! Shit!” We’re all distracted from my current bout of idiocy by Jamia’s yells. “God dammit, Bob!”
I lean so I can see the bunks. Bob’s shit is spread out all over the tiny floor space. By the looks of it Jamia just stepped on something getting out of her bunk. She huffs at Bob angrily and then pushes past him to the bathroom and slams the door.
I walk slowly toward the back, Oreos in hand. “What happened here?” I ask Bob.
He looks up, snatches the Oreos, then turns back to what he’s working on.
“Hey!” I yell, reaching for the Oreos. He’s able to hold me back with one hand as he laughs.
He dumps a few on his bed then hands me the package back. I snatch it possessively.
“Well now that you’ve stolen my food you have to me what’s going on. It's common courtesy” I pout.
“Packing,” he grunts.
“Packing?” I repeat stupidly.
“Packing,” he says again, then grabs the Oreos once more and shoos me effortlessly out of the bunk area.
I turn around. Mikey and Ray are absorbed in their game again but Gerard is looking at me with a small smile. I walk over and sit next to him. “Why’s Bob packing?” I ask dumbly.
“He doesn’t actually tour with us anymore,” Gerard explains. “He’s been helping us with this… transition,” he voice falters a bit on the last word. “But we’re playing in Chicago tomorrow night, Bob’s hometown, and he’s staying there when we leave.”
“So he’s not touring with us after this?” I’m genuinely sad as I say it. Gerard shakes his head. “That’s too bad,” I continue. “I miss him.”
I zone out a bit as I remember all the good time I had with Bob on tour. When I snap out of it I find Gerard looking at me funny. “I mean, I miss him already. I will miss him. He seems like a great guy,” I rush to correct my mistake. Jason mentally shout, You’re Jason!
“He is.” Gerard at least seems satisfied with my answer. I’ve got to be more careful though.
I’m lost in thought again when I hear Gerard’s voice. A beat later I realize he was talking to me.
He laughs. “I asked, how long have you known her? Jamia?”
I think back as hard as I can to our car ride here when Jamia gave me all the details of my fake life but I honestly wasn’t paying attention.
I shrug. “I don’t know exactly. A few years.”
Gerard nods, considering. “Did you know her before the accident?”
I feel my blood freeze a bit. Man, this is not what I want to talk about right now. But Jason, stupid ignorant pathetic Jason, wouldn’t know about the crash that ruined my life so for appearances I have to ask, “What accident?”
Gerard leans back and runs his hand through his bright red hair, looking like he wishes he hadn’t brought it up. I wish he hadn’t either. I want to tell him that and just call the whole thing off.
“If it’s too personal –“ I venture, trying to find a way out. “She never told me anything like that, I don’t want to pry.”
Gerard shakes his head, he looks distant. “No, you should know. It’s kind of why you’re here.”
“You have no idea,” I mutter under my breath.
“I said I had no idea. What happened?”
“Jamia and Frank were married,” he starts.
I fake surprise. “Really? She never mentioned that.”
“Yeah. Five years. They had two little girls, twins.”
I look away. I can’t talk about this. How would I explain it if I start crying?
“But they died two years ago, in a car accident. Frank was driving.”
“That’s terrible,” I say. Then a thought hits me. Maybe being Jason isn’t all bad, I can ask things Frank never would have. Or at least things Frank wouldn’t have gotten a straight answer on. “Was it Frank’s fault? The accident?”
Gerard looks surprised, even angry. “What? No! You mean like, was he drinking? No way, not a chance. Frank loved those girls more than anything, he never would have risked hurting them. No. Some asshole ran a red light, there was nothing Frank could do.”
“I’m sorry,” I backpedal. I didn’t mean to upset Gerard, but to be honest a small part of me is doing backflips right now at how adamantly he defended me. Ok, a medium to large sized part. “So the accident, it ruined their marriage too I take it?”
Gerard nods. “Yeah. And it messed Frankie up pretty bad. I mean, naturally it would.”
“Is that why he left?”
“I don’t know. I mean he was different after it. He lost so much, it would have been strange if it didn’t change him. But it didn’t change how he was with the band you know? If anything he gave even more to this band. It was his everything. Then a few months ago it was nothing. Just like that. Like a switch got flipped. I think if it was because of losing the girls it would have happened sooner you know? The timing doesn’t make sense. He wouldn’t talk about it.”
He looks thoughtful. “Anyway,” he continues. “I was just wondering if you knew Jamia before the accident. If you knew how she was handling it. I worry about her. She used to be like family. She didn’t deserve the way Frank just cut her out after the accident. Hey, are you alright?”
I feel a bit queasy and it must show. Was it really my fault? Does Gerard think that too? “Yeah, I uh… I’m just feeling a little carsick I think,” I cover. “Or bus sick maybe.”
“Oh, you should lie down, man.”
“Yeah I think I’ll do that.” I make my way back to my bunk (but not without snatching up the Oreos when Bob’s not looking) and pull the curtains. Then I pull my knees to my chest and stare at the wall, thinking about my life and how in the world I ended up here. I stay that way all evening, until I hear the guys come to bed, and still as I hear them snoring.