"Relax Frankie, I’m not mad if that’s what you’re worrying about. Oh no, quite the opposite.”
Ok it's really short, I know, but since you're practically getting two updates a day now you don't get to complain.
I can’t sleep but stay in my bunk for the whole ride anyway. I need to talk to Bob but I can’t. I don’t like to talk to Jamia but I have to. I want to talk to Gerard but I don’t know how. But all that has to wait. There’s nothing any of us can do right now.
We make it to the next venue just barely on time. Bob is dragged off by some crew to help with the sound booth, and the band and I are rushed away to sound check. It’s been agreed that as long as Ray’s hurt I’ll be covering his parts. Sound check goes quickly and we’re left with a few hours before the show. As usual on touring, it’s a game of hurry up and wait.
I excuse myself and go look for Bob. I wander to the stage and see him, but he’s surrounded by crew and he looks busy. I decide to leave him be. I’m left alone wandering the venue with dangerous ideas running through my head.
Jamia saw me yesterday in the parking lot with Bob, tattoos and all, looking like Frank. So did a dozen cameras. She’s probably heard from Gerard that Mikey saw me in the hospital. At this point there’s no hiding it. I don’t know what she plans to do about it, but one more can’t hurt right? And Gerard practically invited me…
With that my mind’s made up. I go back to the bus and find my most Frank-like outfit. I pack a backpack with spare clothes and make up in case I can’t make it back to the bus. Then I sneak into the far side of the venue and find a bathroom where I change and remove my makeup and contacts. I put my piercings back in and cover my hair with a winter hat. I hide my bag in one of the stalls, then I make my way back to the MCR dressing room.
I stand outside the closed door, my hands are sweating and it’s getting hard to breathe. This is a terrible idea. An absolutely terrible idea. How could I even consider it after how bad things turned out yesterday? No, this was a horrible idea.
I turn and leave, walking back down the hallway as quickly as I can, when I hear the door open. Shit! Damn these long arena hallways. There’s not a chance I’m going to make it away without being seen.
“Wait.” I hear the voice behind me. It’s Jamia.
I turn around in place slowly. She’s still about twenty feet away.
“That’s a good look for you,” she says, looking me up and down as she walks closer. I don’t reply. She laughs. “Relax Frankie,” I cringe at the pet name. “I’m not mad if that’s what you’re worrying about. Oh no, quite the opposite.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well.” She’s next to me now, too close for comfort. “The guys may not talk to me much but I hear the rumors Frank. They were starting to want you back. But breaking poor Mikey’s heart like that, and shoving Bob… You’ve done a better job turning them against you again then I ever could.”
My heart drops. This isn’t what I wanted.
“And now,” she continues. “You’re going to go in there and finish the job. Or I tell them all how I just discovered they’re favorite guitar tech is actually Frank Iero.”
Jamia leads me back to the dressing room and before I can build the nerve or find a way to back out she opens it and strolls inside calling out, “Look who I found!” with a smile.
The guys look up. I stand awkwardly in the doorway. Ray smiles, but Gerard and Mikey look me over with stony apprehension. Nobody speaks for a long moment.
“Hey,” I say awkwardly. Gerard grunts. Still nobody speaks. I turn to Ray. “How’s the hand?”
“It’s alright. Still can’t play. Jason’s covering for me though. I’m not sure where he is right now. You need to meet him.”
“What he needs to do is explain why he’s here, and then leave,” Gerard snaps.
Before I have a chance to say anything I sense someone in the doorway behind me and I turn. There’s a small roadie, the boy can’t be much older than 16, holding my backpack from the bathroom stall.
“So sorry to intrude,” he squeaks to me. “You left this in the bathroom.”
“Oh, uh, thanks,” I mutter.
“Hey that’s Jason’s bag,” Mikey says studying it carefully.
The roadie looks confused. “No, sir, I definitely saw Mr. Iero take it into the bathroom with him.”
“A lot of people have the same bag Mikes,” I say, mentally willing him to just let the bag thing go.
“Yeah, but that’s his shirt too.” I look down and see the damn thing isn’t zipped all the way and Jason’s belongings are clearly on display, including… oh shit.
“Wait, what’s that?” Gerard asks, seeing the makeup tube just as I do. He hops up and grabs it. “Since when do you wear foundation?” he asks.
He grabs the bag off my shoulder, ignoring my weak cry of “Hey! That’s mine!” he rummages through it. Makeup, contacts, clothes. Then at the bottom he finds the photo I always carry. I had stolen it back from Mikey last night, I hate to be without it. I watch the emotions play across Gerard’s face as he connects the dots. Jason’s clothes, Frank’s picture, make up and contacts.
He turns sharply to glare at me. “Take your hat off,” he growls.
“What?” I say, still playing dumb.
He moves toward me. “Take it off or I will!”
I hold one arm out stopping him and with the other I slowly reveal my blond hair.
Mikey stutters. “Jason? You’re Jason? What?”
I don’t respond. How the fuck do you explain to your best friends why you were in disguise?
Gerard looks ready to kill.
“Alright,” he says surprisingly calmly. “Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to answer all of our questions and it had better be good. But not now. We’re on in twenty minutes and Jason or Frank, you’re still the only person here who can play Ray’s parts. So you’ll play, and then you’ll have a lot of explaining to do.”
With that he pushes roughly past me and leaves.