“Damn it, Frank! You hurt us and leave! Just like that! Did you even care? Did you have any idea what you did to us? You destroyed everything! I hate you!”
I leave Ray’s room and stand in the hallway, unsure of where to go. I can’t stay here, I know that. I can still hear them talking inside the room and I don’t want to know what they’re saying. I’m not ready for that. Gerard seems to be taking it well, at least while talking to Ray. I wonder if he’ll be so understanding to me.
I start wandering down the hallway, only to find Bob and Mikey walking towards me.
“Hey Jason,” Mikey greets me.
“Hey Mikey,” I mumble.
“You alright? You look like crap.”
“Gee, thanks Mikes.”
He laughs. “So you’re ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just need to find a bathroom.”
He points me towards the closest one and I thank him. Bob is staring at me questioningly, but I ignore him. I watch as they enter Ray’s room, then I pass the bathroom Mikey showed me and just start walking. I find another bathroom on the other side of the hospital and go into it.
I stand at the sink, staring into the mirror. And suddenly I hate what I see. I absolutely loath the blue eyes, the blond hair, the pale skin and the coward hiding behind them. I can’t stand him.
Angry, I grab a bar of soap off the counter and start scrubbing madly at the makeup, revealing the tattoos I love so much. I’m not thinking about what I’m doing, I’m just doing it. I ignore the fact that the guys are here, they’re my only ride back to the bus, and I have no spare make up with me. I could be blowing everything right now, but I can’t concentrate on anything but the anger for long enough to care.
I pop the contacts out of my eyes, thankfully readjusting my vision. The only time I took them out before was in the shower, and then only if I was sure the other guys wouldn’t be able to walk in and see me. I even slept in the bloody things. Those damn contacts have been irritating my eyes for weeks now, it feels good to have them out. I take off the plaid button up shirt I am wearing, leaving only a black t shirt.
I look in the mirror. I almost look like myself again. I glance around the room. There is a small lost and found bin in the corner, and sitting on top of the pile is a black beanie. I pick it up and put it on my head, hiding my fake blond hair. I turn back to the mirror and there, for the first time in months, is Frank Iero staring back at me. I smile.
I reach into my back pocket, removing the old picture for the ‘I’m Not Okay’ video shoot. I always carry it with me so that Jamia won’t find it. I stare at the picture, almost happy again.
I stand there in a trance, I’m not sure how long, before I hear footsteps entering the bathroom. I think nothing of it, it is a public bathroom after all, then I hear the voice that accompanies the footsteps. It belongs to one Mikey Way.
I glance around me. The picture drops from my hand, forgotten. Should I try to jump into a stall? Is there time? But it’s one of those really big bathrooms with the lobby type things by the mirrors, there’s no way I’ll make it without him seeing me. So instead I turn my back on him, and just stand there, waiting for the worst.
“Jason? Are you in here? Ray can leave at nine, so we’ve still got an hour before we have to – Frank?”
I turn around, faking surprise. “Mikey?”
“What are you doing here?” his tone is harsh, defensive. He’s letting me know he’s not going to be hurt by me again. I wish he knew he didn’t have to worry about it. I would never hurt him again, not purposefully.
“I heard Ray was here, I was in the area, I wanted to make sure he was alright.”
“You were in the area?” he repeats, processing. I nod.
“In Phoenix?” I nod again, dumbly. Mikey takes a moment to speak again.
“Gee said you called Ray last night.”
I nod. Suddenly Mikey looks angry. “And what about the rest of us? When were you going to make sure we were alright? Damn it, Frank! You hurt us and leave! Just like that! Did you even care? Did you have any idea what you did to us? You destroyed everything! Did you know Gee’s talking about ending the band? Because of you! Because you made him doubt what we had! I hate you!”
Mikey is screaming and crying. I let him vent for a moment before pulling him close. He struggles at first, beating on my chest with his fist. After a minute he relaxes into my embrace.
“I’m so sorry, Mikes,” I mutter, I hope soothingly. “I had to leave, but I never meant to hurt you. I would never want that. You guys meant everything to me.”
He pulls back and looks down. “Past tense,” he whispers.
“You said meant. We meant everything to you, that’s what you said. It’s past tense.”
I stiffen. “I can’t care about you right now, Mikey.” I cringe, hearing how that sounds. It sounded so much better in my head. “It’s dangerous and it hurts too much. Just give me some time, let me finish some things.”
Mikey rips out of my hold and pins a death glare on me. “You can’t care about us right now? Well by all means, just let us know when it’s convenient for you to care about us. Because we’d hate for you to have to feel anything, like the rest of us. You’re only walking out on your best friends. Again! No big deal, right? After all we meant something to you before but not any more apparently.”
How did this conversation get so wrong? “Mikey, I - ”
“Shut up! I think you should just leave.”
I stand there, shocked. “Leave!” He shouts.
So I do. I walk out of the bathroom and out the back of the hospital. I hit the road and just keeping walking. I stop when I reach a small diner. I ask to borrow a phone book and I call myself a cab back to the venue. Once it arrives, I clamber inside and give the cabbie directions. Then I pull out my phone and call Gerard.
“Hello?” he answers.
“Gerard, it’s Jason. I wasn’t feeling well so I called a cab, I’ll meet you guys at the bus.”
“Oh, ok. Did you see Mikey before you left by any chance?”
“Try the bathroom on the far side of the building, I thought I saw him headed that way.”
I hang up without saying goodbye. Why does everything have to be so hard? If Mikey took it that bad, how must Gerard be feeling? Maybe I was wrong. What if, even if Bob’s plan works, I can never go back? Maybe happy endings are only for the fairy tales.