planning on apologizing but ending up with more to apologize for..
We'd been watching for this shitty B-class horror movie with Frank for an hour, laying on hour stomachs in the living room, bored as hell, when Frank finally changed the channel. There wasn't anything better on and he ended up switching the whole damn thing off. I turned to face him, leaning on my arm, supporting my upper body weight on my elbow.
His eyes were vacant and he had this faraway look on his face as if his mind was a million miles away.
"Are you alright?" I asked quitely.
He twitched and moved slightly, meeting my eyes for a split second before returning to his earlier position, staring at the blank television screen.
"Mhm.. what? Oh.. Yeah.."
"You switched the TV off so you may stop staring at it as if something was to pop up on the screen any second..." I smiled "Unless you're waiting for a message from the outer space in which case you really should inform your best friend about it"
He formed an uneasy smile and a sound that wasn't a sigh really, nor a chuckle, but something in between.
"Oh come on man, what is it?" I pushed. He obviously had something on his mind and I wasn't about to let it go, I considered myself his best friend and he was very much obligated to let me in. He rolled over to stare at the ceiling instead.
"I'm trying to figure out why you want to get back at Nick for beating up the older Way when just two nights ago you last declared your dislike for the guy" he finally mused.
It was my time to grow uneasy now, as I pondered for a way to explain something I didn't really understand myself to begin with. I did dislike Gerard. He had been nothing but a jackass after the first time we met, and had done nothing good since to change my impression of him.
Maybe it was pity, but was him showing up with a black eye really enough to make me feel sorry for him, to the point where all of my previous resentment would suddenly disappear altogether and I'd be planning on taking revenge on the person who did that to him?
Knowing myself, I would have to say hardly, I was never one to join a pity party, and a black eye wasn't supposed to change anything unless I was the one giving it to him.
"I don't know.. Maybe it's an apology of a kind?" I thought out loud. I saw the surprise in Frank's face from the corner of my eye and went on "Look I did cause this, unintentionally and without realizing it but still, it is all my fault. I acknowledge that althought I'm very keen on the idea of just denying everything.. I was stupid enough to drop a burning match into a puddle of gas and now it's a fucking fire out of control. He got dumped because of my thoughtlessness. He got beat up because of yours truly"
I was struggling with words, I didn't like admitting into anything, especially something as easily deniable as this. I could've put it all on Mikey's account, for minsunderstanding my words, but I was the one who spoke those words so I was bound to take some of the blame no matter how against my nature it was.
Frank nodded, but a had a skeptic look in his eyes.
"That's one hell of a way to say I'm sorry" he finally stated.
"I'm not very experienced in the whole apologizing business" I reminded him with a chuckle.
"Do you think he'll accept, then?" he laughed
"An eye for an eye, that's all I can do and he if doesn't appreciate my effort then he may fuck himself"
"You're not right in the head, Em" He laughed quietly, but the words sent my thoughts back to this morning and the cafeteria.
I felt all colour evade my face as I heard Gerard speak the exact same words. It's not that I hadn't suspected that myself several times during my infamous life, it was just another thing to hear it from someone else, not so much Gerard who had a habit of insulting me every chance he got but from Frank, someone I knew for fact wouldn't say such a thing to hurt my feelings, but to state the truth.
He really did mean it, no teasing included. My mind clouded as the words rang in my ears, mixing up Gerard's voice with Frank's.
You're not right in the head, Em.
You're not right in the head.
I didn't know what to say, nor did I trust my voice all that much with the hurt feelings that were so close to the surface, so I rolled onto my back as well and stared.
I almost got a heart attack when my phone rang after what felt like ten minutes of thoughtful, stuffy silence. My heart protested against my rib cage, still not getting over the startle, as I jumped up and ran for the phone I'd left in the front pocket of my coat. Without glancing at the screen, I hit the green button and called out a hasty hello.
"Hey, it's me, Gerard"
Why on earth is he calling me? My mind was filled with bewilderment for only a fraction of a second before it started to come up with the wildest theories, all of them including Mikes.
I never thought it was possible to vision such a number of potential deaths of a friend in such a short time and my heart beat faster, faster, faster, until I realized I hadn't said anything and hurried to reply.
"Yeah? What is it?" I tried to control the fear in my tone, but my words still came out as a cry. "Is it Mikey?"
The line went silent for a while, and I thought I had my answer there. Tears threatened to form although I still had no clue whether he was calling about Mikey or not. Somewhere in my mind I had already painted a picture of Mikey never coming back home, and the tears that were about to come were guilty ones.
"Mikey? What? No, what do you mean is it Mikey?" His hoarse voice breathed into the phone and I felt a fucking bulldozer being lifted off my chest. Almost. I still had to see Mikey to believe he was OK.
"Then what?" I sighed. My body wasn't built for this kind of suspense, my heart had been up for a close call one too many times and if it hadn't been such a relief to not get any bad news, it would've seriously angered me for Gerard to scare me like that. I felt like tossing the phone and drowning it like I had the last one I owned, but restrained myself.
"You wouldn't believe it.. Kat came back only to throw me out of the house, she says I can come back for my things in a couple days but threatened to strangle me with an electric cord if I dare to show me face near her before that. So I went to Mom's but Mikey's there and he threw a fit not allowing me in the house, so I backed off before he'd lose it and mom would hear a piece of Mikey's thoughts. I don't want her to get involved, and Mikey hasn't seemed to said anything to her yet. He still doesn't believe it's all bullshit, he kept saying that you were a-" he stopped dead at that and I had to whine and squeal and encourage him to go on for almost five minutes.
"What did he say, Gerard, tell me!" I barked into the phone for the tenth time.
"You don't want to know, I wasn't supposed to say anything. And he doesn't mean it, really, I know that" He explained with a pained tone.
"But I want to know so spit it out already!"
He was silent for a while, and when he finally opened his mouth to continue where he had stopped, I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"He said that you were a whore basically, an opportunist, always after personal profit and your main way of getting it is to sleep around with anyone or anything, and since he still thinks we're sleeping around, he also thinks that you're fucking me in order to gain shit. I asked him what that could possibly be and he screamed something about my apartment, my money, my school work and basically anything but my socks. He also mentioned you propably wouldn't hesitate to fuck a cow only to get yourself all the milk" He admitted sheepishly.
My face had gone through various shades of red but none of them seemed to perfectly match to the amount of rage, humiliation, embarrasment and fury I felt.
I opened my mouth to say something, but the words escaped. I tried again, and ended up gawking and only managing a weird choking sound.
"You there?" he asked quietly. I had somewhat recovered enough to express some of my bitter fury and snapped at the guy.
"What do you sound so fucking sorry for? Isn't that precisely what you think of me, too? Shouldn't you be thanking Mikey for coming up with ways to express his hatred and disgust toward me better than you? Shouldn't you.... oh fuck" My yelling died out to a strained whisper as I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks.
This was not good, I was on the phone with Gerard and Frank was only a room away, propably already on his way here to see what all the yelling is about. This was so not the time for crying, I screamed at myself and tried to keep myself together. I hastily wiped my wet cheeks and sniffed, trying to regain some control of my voice.
Honestly, the sniffing wasn't the greatest idea I ever had.
"...Em?" His voice trembled on the other end of the line. I tried to reply, but ended up forming a weird little queak that covered nothing.
"Em, are you crying?" Frank's voice startled me and I turned around to see his concerned face studying my appearance.
"No" I muttered defiantly, and pulled the phone away from my ear. Just as I was pushing the disconnect button, I heard Gerard's voice claim "I'm coming over" and my eyes shot back to Frank, horrified.
"He's coming over" I repeated, blinking.
"Who? Mikey? Did he yell at you? Why are crying, love?" Frank inquired, trying to get a hang of the emotional mess standing in front of him.
"No, Gerard. Mikey said I'd fuck a cow" I muttered incoherently, my thoughts were such a mess and what I managed to get out of my mouth reflected that mess with perfection and great accuracy.
"He said what?!" I don't think Frank's eyebrows had ever been raised that high up.
"And a bunch of other things" I sniffed. Frank pulled me into his famous, world-saving embrace and patted my back somewhat awkwardly.
"That little shit" Frank whispered into my messy hair, I felt his hot breath on my scalp. Yes, he was that much taller than me, and yes, I was short enough for Frank to count as normal height.
"Come, let's get you a drink" He finally said, pulling me into the kitchen. I like your way of thinking, Mr. Iero, I thought quietly as I followed him and sat by the table. Soon a huge glass of something red and sweet appeared in front of me, and I drank the whole thing with gratitude.
The alcohol spread across my body, warming up my insides and making the blood in my veins circulate in high speed. I felt warm and fuzzy inside, and my thoughts calmed down a bit. I was able to push the hurt beside and concentrate on my plan on hunting down the guy and take him through a very torturous ans slow route to death.
I wonder if I'd be able to manipulate Frank and Grace into doing that with me, as well. Ain't that what friends are for?
I wasn't entirely enthusiastic about Gerard coming over, and I didn't see the point in his visit, either. He thought he heard me cry and wanted to see it with his own eyes? Take pictures and call it the apocalypse?
The call had ended a little prematurely so maybe it's about something else entirely. Maybe he wanted to let me know more nasty things Mikey had said about me, maybe he wanted to make me feel worse than I already did..
In reality I had no fucking idea what the guy wanted, never did. Frank offered to make me another drink, which was kind of weird what with him being my guest, and much to my own surprise I declined.
I wasn't in the mood for drinking tonight, I just wanted to hang out with the best friend a retard like me could ever hope for with whom I didn't get to spend half as much time anymore as I used to. It saddened me to realize that what I'd just thought was the truth- Frank and I didn't see each other very often these days.
It made me feel like I'd chosen school over a friend. School, as in my future, as in myself. I wondered about that for a moment, thinking about whether it was selfish of me or not to try and concentrate on things that might improve my way of life instead of spending more time with the people I love. I snapped out of it when the doorbell rang.
Frank was already at the door, and I took back my earlier thoughts about him being my guest and all, he made himself at home anywhere he went and he hardly needed nor wanted a hostess to serve him food and drinks, make a bed and act like a mother in general. Frank wanted to fend for himself like that, he hated to be helped or treated as if he couldn't or wasn't allowed to do things himself no matter where or in whose home he was currently staying.
I put on my brave face, also known as the slightly mean and unsociable one, gathered myself and slumped into the hall.
I decided to stop by the doorway and observe, there is always that tiny moment when two men meet for the first time that I wanted to witness.
It almost felt like men made their opinion about someone in three seconds, like the handshake that usually took place gave away some secret information, it took years and years for women to figure out what men seemed to learn in an instant. Almost as if their hands weren't just hands, but some high tech devices with microchips and shit.
I read too much science fiction.
Gerard stood there, looking very out of place which I suspect was exactly how he felt, too. Frank politely stepped aside while Gerard had this unidentifiable, weird look on his face, as if he was unable to move his face. His eyes were shining bright, looking sort of hypnotic, and the slight awkward smile on his lips looked like it had been carved in stone.
"I'm Gerard" he declared finally and extended his hand. Aw, look at them acting all formal and polite and shit. Who do they think they're fooling? Not me, that's for sure. I know them both too well.
They shook hands briefly, after which Frank chuckled loudly "I've heard a lot about you"
Oh no, please don't sell me out dear Frankie. It was one thing calling Gerard names and being a bigmouth to his face but a wholly other thing to have Frank tell him I've been bitching about him to others at any given chance, as well. I prepared myself for embarrasment that I was going to cover, as always, with some snarky remark or a full-force scream fest if necessary. I was already thinking up things that I could say to him that would have a good chance at hitting a sore spot, but went back to paying attention to the conversation before me.
"Nothing good, I'm sure" Gerard muttered and shot a glance in my direction. I forgot all about my witty comments and stuck my tongue out, instead. Again, that's me being super cool.
Frank laughed quietly, "Well I ain't gonna lie and deny that"
Of all the ways Gerard could react, he actually blushed! B-fucking-lushed! I watched in great astonishment as the pink on his cheeks slowly spread all over his face but after a moment I thought it was best to look away. What the hell was that about? I shook my head and decided to speak up to avoid any further awkwardness...
"So.." I started uncomfortably "What's up your ass?" I asked with a weird sounding chuckle. My throat was dry and felt like I hadn't talked in days. Pretending I hadn't been crying already seemed like a lost battle. I received a spiteful look from him and quickly re-phrased my question "....I mean what's going on?"
"Nothing, just.. It sounded a little like you weren't OK and I didn't realize you had company so I thought it would be best for me to check up on you.."
"Oh" I didn't know what to say, all of a sudden the things I had planned on saying to him before didn't seem very appropriate, merely because most of them included a personal insult and a bunch of curse words.
"Are you trying to act nice in front of strangers?" I finally asked. It wasn't a nice thing to say, which was satisfying since saying something nice to Gerard seemed be a guaranteed way to lose my face. I mean, sure, beating Nick up to make amends to the guy was totally appropriate in my book, but saying something nice to his face, no. Just.. No.
"You should try it too" He snapped.
Frank let out an exaggerated sigh, infused with amusement.
"I'll leave you guys to insult each other, but I'll be listening closeby so I don't miss any good ones" he declared and disappeared into the kitchen.
"I'll start by calling you a socially untalented shitface" I muttered under my breath, and though I was strictly referring to Frank with that one, Gerard's face twisted into a slight frown.
A thick silence fell upon us and I tapped my feet restlessly.
He made a clicking sound with his tongue and switched his weight from one leg to another every few seconds.
He coughed and I cleared my throat.
He breathed out loudly and I snorted.
He took off his shoes and I-
"Hey!" I exclaimed "Why are you taking your shoes off?"
"You're not inviting me in?" He asked looking like a lost puppy.
"Of course not!" I practically shrieked but got a grip of myself pretty quickly after that "What I meant to say was uhm.. Why, I guess?"
"For the sake of politeness, maybe? for trying to seem like a normal, civilized human being?" He was getting aggravated, which in return aggravated me. Who the hell did he think he was, no one was allowed to get aggravated in my hall without my permission. In fact, I totally reserve the right to be aggravated in my home. Everyone else should just suck it up and behave themselves.
I sniffed and crossed my arms.
"Hear me out, Em, will ya? I didn't come just to check up on you, really. I was calling you because I needed a place to stay and-"
He was cut off by a popping sound my mouth made as my mouth fell open. I could almost feel my jaw touching the goddamned linoleum.
"-Hear me out" He repeated with a stern tone "I am desperate. I truly am. Mikey won't have me in Mom's house, Kat won't have me in ours and Nick, well.. he isn't exactly an option anymore. I let you sleep in my room the other night, now please do my a favor in return" His eyes had never looked so sincere before, he was basically standing there, pleading, all but begging on his knees.
An idea struck me..
"Beg" I stated smugly.
"Beg. On your knees. And you can stay" I held back a hysteric fit of giggles and I watched different emotions pass on his features. Disbelief, ridicule, fury, despair and back to disbelief.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" He finally asked, outrageous.
"I'm dead serious" I did my best to fight the smile off my face to make it convincing "Go on" I encouraged him, enojying this just a bit too much.
"On ya knees ya go" I sang twirling my forefinger in the air and then pointing it at the floor.
His body language screamed exasperation, his lips parted a little to let out a few barely audible curse words, running his hand through his thick, dark hair in frustration. Finally he lowered himself, crouching, and got down on one knee.
"I didn't ask you to propose, Gerard"
He lowered his other leg and leaned in, carrying his body weight with his stretched out arms. He was on all fours now.
I studied the sight before me and decided that this was exactly how I liked him best, on the floor and on all fours. I tried to block out the kinky thoughts that followed my epiphany and had to mentally smack myself. What the fuck was wrong with my brain these days? This college thing was fucking with my mind big time!
"Please, let me stay here" He muttered, his voice was icy and the words dripped with venom. The look on his eyes was almost enough to make me drop dead infront of him.. The phrase 'if looks could kill' just became that much more real to me.
I wanted to take this further, to make him ask me nicely, instead of spitting out the words as if they were made of poison and dogshit, but lost the courage. Suddenly reality dawned on me, and I was unable to see the fun part of the situation anymore. Guilt caught up with me with such intensity it almost knocked me over. I bit my trembling lip and crouched down, too. Standing up felt dirty and wrong, with the way I had to look down to face his fierce gaze.
"I'm sorry. I went too far. You can stay" I whispered before I ran into my bedroom, not bothering to inform Frank about the newest addition to our slumber party. Involuntary tears were starting to flow down my cheeks, hot and sour. I locked the door with shaky hands and started wallowing in shame and self-loathe - a project that would propably take all night, done as thoroughly as I was planning to...
The begging thing had started out as a joke, an innocent idea that made me feel better about myself, made me feel capable of letting him stay without appearing any less distant and unlikeable.
But the look in his eyes had changed everything. It wasn't a joke to him - it was humiliating, degrading. I was utterly disgusted with myself.
Mikey did the right thing leaving me, even though the main reason to that wasn't exactly accountable, it didn't change the fact that Mikey deserved better than a friend like me. In fact, no one deserved to have someone as awful and spineless and selfish and sick as me in their lives.
Gerard had been right.
I wasn't right in the head.
I was a disease.
I was nothing but a contagious, filthy disease, unworthy of any of the good things I had in my life.
Unworthy of neither of the men that had acted out of nobleness and big hearts, coming here to keep me company when they thought I needed it.
I heard their voices in my head, the things my mind made them say did me justice, and the echos kept me the kind of company I deserved until I finally drifted off, and fell asleep.
"You're not right in the head, Em"
"You're not right in the head"