Gerard feels stronger when Ayasha reveals part of her past.
She felt the weight of his arm over her body, as she started to come awake. Her eyes snapped open.
Gerard was shocked by the fear he saw in her eyes. “Good morning.” He said softly.
Memories from last night suddenly filled her head. She took a deep breath trying to get control before speaking.
He knew what she was doing, he’d done it himself a million times. She was struggling with deciding how to handle the situation. He wanted to help put her at ease. “This bed is pretty damn comfortable.”
His seemingly innocent comment helped to lessen the tension. She nodded while moving away slightly. Suddenly she frowned, “You mean you think it is.”
She was sharp. It was true since he couldn’t truly physically feel anything he had no idea if the bed was comfortable or not. He looked into her eyes. “I don’t know if the mattress is soft or hard as a rock. But I do know it made me feel…” He paused then said softly. “Safe.”
Her eyes grew wide. “Safe?”
“Less afraid of what’s happening.”
“Oh.” She muttered moving away slightly.
He saw she was getting ready to bolt and he didn’t want that to happen just yet. “I was thinking…I mean you gotta realize when you don’t sleep it gives you hours to think.” When he saw her slightly nod he went on. “What’s gonna happen today?”
He sighed, “Well for the past two days when you leave I go back into the darkness. You’re not going to work today, right?”
“Well maybe it’s just a fluke that when you go I do too. But what if I suddenly just disappear into the darkness not because of that but..”
“Oh.” She heard the fear in his voice. “Well, I guess we’ll find out because I’m not going anywhere today.”
He sighed, “Was that your plan or are you just gonna stick around for me?”
She wanted to ease his fears. “No, Sunday is always the day I hang around the house doing laundry and cleaning.” She smiled slowly, “So we’ll see if you can use a washing machine.”
He knew she what she was doing, she was trying to help him through the fear. “You might not want me to. I just throw the shit in, no sorting.”
To anyone else this would be a ridiculous conversation but they both understood its importance. They both needed some semblance of normalcy.
“Just throw it in? Seriously you put in delicates with jeans?”
Gerard actually laughed, “Delicates? Do I look like I own any delicates?”
The giggle he loved erupted from her lips. “No, I guess not. But I do so I will sort.”
“Yeah, good plan.”
He was surprised when she suddenly grew serious. “About what I said last night...” She tried to word what she wanted to say but was having trouble.
“About me being the only man you’ve invited into this bed?”
She nodded looking down. “Uh, yeah. What I was really saying was…” Again she paused.
“You were telling me that this whole house is your sanctuary, your own private space. Thank you for sharing it with me.” He said softly.
She looked up. “That’s exactly what I meant. This house is the first thing that is truly mine. I was engaged and he was only inside my house three times, twice invited once uninvited when he came in while I was at work and threw my things away. It just never felt right having him here.” She sighed, “I suppose that sounds stupid.”
Gerard reached over to push a long strand of hair away from her face. “I don’t think that sounds stupid at all. This place is special to you and deep down I think you knew he didn’t understand.”
“Oh he didn’t.” There was anger in her voice. “You know I don’t think he even realized I didn’t want him here. Like I said he considers it a shit hole so he was happy we spent time at his place.”
“And like I said he’s an asshole.” Gerard countered. Then wanting to see her smile again he added, “I mean how cool is a house that has doors that lead to the stars.”
She did smile, a beautiful smile that lit her eyes. “Glad you liked that.”
“I did and I hope that maybe tonight we can spend some time up there again.”
She nodded “Sure.”
She started to get up but he spoke quickly, “Hey, take your time. I’m going to make your breakfast now.”
She glanced over at him. “That’s really not necessary.”
Yeah, he thought, it is. He was still afraid he’d fade away but believing if he was here with her doing something made him believe it might not happen, “Sure it is. I gotta earn my keep somehow.”
“Gerard.” She said softly has he crawled out of bed.
He turned to look down at her.
“Even if you go I’ll be here waiting.”
Her words touched something in his heart, a heart he’d believed until now was empty. “That means a lot to me.” He said his voice full of emotion. “More than you know.”
When Ayasha appeared in the kitchen dressed in jeans and a tee Gerard had poured the pancake batter into the pan. “Uh, these might not be great. I had to use water in the mix your milk is expired.”
“Crap.” She moved to pick up the carton off the counter and checked the expiration date. “This is always happening.”
“Guess you don’t cook very often?’
She sighed, “Well since it’s just me I sorta hate to cook for myself. As you’ve seen I eat a lot of frozen dinners.”
“Coffee’s ready.” He nodded towards the machine.
“Thanks.” She poured herself a cup but when she glanced over she saw he was glancing at the clock. “Uh, time to flip.”
He glanced down at the pancake. “Yeah, right.”
Ayasha understood why he was upset. Soon it would be her normal time to leave the house and he was afraid he’d disappear into the darkness. She wanted to get his mind off that thought. “So today we’ll get the laundry done, and the dusting and then I have a surprise.”
This did catch his attention. “A surprise?”
She’d come up with the idea while she’d been dressing and she prayed it would work out. “Yes, a surprise but I’m not telling you until after you’ve helped me with the housework.”
He grinned, “Deal.”
When her pancakes were almost done he ordered her to sit at the table so he could server her breakfast. He even warmed the syrup before setting it on the table.
“You’re spoiling me.” She said looking down at her plate.
“Hey making breakfast for someone isn’t spoiling them besides doing things like this made me feel better.” He admitted taking a seat across the table from her.
She looked up. “Did you try the computer again?”
He sighed, “Yep, still can’t make the fucker work. I see myself touching the keys but nothing happens.”
Ayasha had assumed he’d tried but was glad he admitted it. “After I eat I’ll see if there is any news.”
He tapped the tabletop with his fingertips. “Why? I mean obviously nothing has changed. I’m still in a fuckin’ coma. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t be here or..” He snapped his mouth shut.
“Well fuck, I don’t think I’d be sitting here like this if I was dead.”
She swallowed the lump of emotion in her throat. “Gerard, you’re not going to die.”
He refused to meet her gaze. “You don’t know that. Maybe this is just a punishment before it happens. It’s giving me a chance to think about all the shit I fucked up in my life, all the people I’ve hurt.”
Ayasha took another bite of her breakfast unable to answer for a moment.
Suddenly he looked up. “I didn’t mean that like it sounded. Being here with you ain’t a punishment. It’s just the time I spend reflecting of my past…”
She nodded, “I understood what you meant.” Not wanting him to sink into depression she smiled, “But you know maybe after I make you clean house you’ll think being with me is a punishment.”
In that moment he realized that being with this woman could never be something he’d consider bad. He smiled sadly, “Yeah, well like I said just don’t turn me loose with your laundry.”
She took another bite of her pancake then laughed, “I won’t.” She finished eating then stood to take her plate to the sink. She rinsed it off then turned. She was shocked to see he was no longer there. Fear gripped her, “Gerard?”
With a huge sigh of relief she moved so she could see into the living room. He was standing in front of the windows looking out. “Sorry, just wanted to see the sunshine.” He said softly.
Ayasha walked over to stand beside him. “It’s going to be a nice day.” Then she reached for his hand. “And it’s passed the time I usually leave.”
He looked down at her hand in his. “Knew I was still worried didn’t you?”
She smiled, “Yes, but as you can see you’re still here. Now I’m going to go grab my laundry.” She started to move away but stopped. “Oh, but first..”
Gerard watched as she went to the front door.
Knowing his eyes were on her she left the door open and ran outside to grab the paper. He was smiling when she walked back in.
“Bet people would wonder why you ran outside to grab your paper.”
Ayasha closed the door. “True. Here you go.” She handed him the large paper. “I only get the Sunday paper because I like the coupons.”
He grinned, “Let me guess another job for me? You’re gonna make me clip coupons?”
She giggled, “Think you’ll be able to handle it?”
“I’ll do my best.” He slipped the rubber band off the paper and took a seat while she went to gather up her laundry.
A few minutes later he looked up to see her carrying a small laundry basket towards the kitchen where her small stacked washer and dryer were located. He jumped up to follow her.
Ayasha sat the basket down on the floor then lifted the washing machine lid.
“Hey, you’re doing my job.” He said moving closer. When she started to lift the clothing he tried to stop her.
“I’ll throw them in.” She said grabbing a handful of things.
It was then he looked down and realized this was obviously a delicates load. “Oh, nice.” He lifted a red silk bra.
“Gerard.” She tried to push him away with a huff.
“Very nice.” He said tossing the bra in then lifting out a pair of silk panties.
Ayasha could feel herself blushing. “Stop it.”
He grinned, “Just doing my job.”
“Your job is to add detergent and start the washer.” She lifted the basket letting the rest of the items fall into the washer. She glared waiting for him to drop in the panties.
He held them over the washer then let them slide from his fingers so they could join the rest of the items.
Ayasha refused to look at him. “Okay now add a cup full of this.” She pointed to the liquid detergent. “And set the machine for delicates.”
He did as he was directed. “That seemed easy enough.”
She had poured another cup of coffee. “Okay, go read the paper while I check the Net.”
He thought her embarrassment over her delicates was adorable. “As you wish.” He moved back into the living room, grabbed the paper again but chose a seat where he’d be able to watch her at the computer.
Ayasha started with the usual sites. Unfortunately she found nothing new about his condition. On Twitter however she saw that the woman who had been the last person with Gerard before his overdose had been active.
Gerard saw her body tense. “What is it?” He asked.
“Nothing important.” She muttered.
He stood to cross the room. Looking over her shoulder he read the tweets. “What a fuckin liar. We had no relationship.”
Ayasha sighed, “Like I said before, right now she can pretty much say whatever she wants. People saw you leaving with her, so they know she really was with you.”
“I was at the bitch’s place for maybe an hour.” He ground out. “I’d never seen her before that night.”
While she understood his anger she wasn’t happy about his words. “Her name is Wendy.”
He realized she was upset but so was he. “How would you feel about people lying about shit like that? She’s making it sound like we had a relationship. I fucked her, that was all it was.”
Ayasha clicked off the site then stood. “I understand this upsets you.”
“Damn right, it does.”
She started to say something but closed her mouth.
“You think I’m being a dick, right?”
She tired to choose her words carefully. “I think you were acting like a dick. You used her then left.”
He ran his hand through his dark hair in an angry motion. “You don’t understand. I picked her up in a bar. We went to her place to fuck…”
“Not before you two went into the bathroom.”
His eyes grew wide. “Oh fuck. She’s tweeted about that too?”
Ayasha wished she’d kept her mouth shut. “On her blog. She’s given a pretty clear description of your activities together.”
“Son of a bitch.” Gerard roared. “Fuckin’ cunt.” He crossed the room and began to pace. “Yeah, so we went into the bathroom so she could suck my dick. She was pretty talented at it so I decided to go to her place.”
Ayasha shook her head.
Gerard’s anger was taking over. The last thing he’d thought would happen was for the woman to make this public. “I suppose you think that’s terrible? You don’t like to see the ugly truth about the man you thought was so good.”
Her eyes narrowed. “I’ve never believed you were anything but just a man. So get that stupid idea out of your head.”
She knew what he was thinking. “Gerard just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean I think you can walk on water, get over yourself.”
Her words surprised him. “Well, good.” He muttered feeling his anger lessening.
“But I think it’s sad this all has come to light. You have a daughter who one day might see this shit.”
He felt like he’s been sucker punched. “Fuck.” He whispered.
Ayasha wanted to get her point across. “People forget that their actions affect others. I get that. Admit it or not, you’d hit rock bottom. Things you were doing and saying…” She paused a moment. “Those things affected others.”
He fell into the nearest chair. “Shit, I know you’re right. But what can I do?”
Ayasha took a seat on the sofa. “We have to find a way to get you back to your life so you can change things. So you can fix things.”
He leaned back and closed his eyes. “What if I can’t?”
“Yeah that of course but what if I still can’t change things? I’ve hurt so many people. I’ve let them down. Maybe it would be best if I just died. Bandit sure as hell doesn’t need a father like me.”
“Do you love your daughter?” Ayasha asked softly.
“More than anything.” The answer came from his heart.
“Then do everything you can to be the father she needs.”
He sighed, “If only it was that easy.”
Ayasha took a deep breath. “Gerard do you remember when you asked me about my mother? You asked if I believed she loved me.”
His eyes opened, “Yeah, I remember.”
“And I told you I knew she loved me. No one else believed it. They thought my mother had returned with me in tow just to pawn off my care to grandmother but that wasn’t true. Now that I’m older I understand so much more. My mother was an alcoholic; she struggled with the disease every day. I have so few memories of her and some of them are bad. I remember her drunk, I wish I didn’t.”
“Ayasha, I’m sorry.” Gerard said softly.
She shook her head, “That can’t be changed but…”She was struggling to speak about his, she’d never told anyone else. “My mother died when I was four. It was a car accident. I was in the car with her.”
He got up and slowly moved to the sofa. “Can you tell me about it?” He saw the pain in her eyes.
The memory she’d repressed for so long filled her mind. “When it happened, people were so ugly. They didn’t understand. All they could talk about was how my mother had stolen grandmother’s car and tired to take me away.”
Gerard reached over and took her hand in his. “What really happened?”
Ayasha gave a hollow laugh, “Well she did take the car without permission. Grandmother had gone for the day with some friends. I remember mother telling me we were going on an adventure.”
He spoke softly, “Was she drinking?”
“No.” Ayasha answered quickly. “She had stopped drinking for about six months at that point. Grandmother was very proud of that fact. She told me years later that mother had been sober, she thought it was important I knew that truth.” Her eyes look on a far away look. “I believe mother wanted to take me away so we could start a new life. Our bags were found in the wreckage of the car. We were running away together.”
Gerard waited silently for her to continue.
“It was February and very snowy. The roads had been cleared but the driving conditions were still treacherous. I wish I could remember it more clearly but…”
“Maybe it’s best you don’t?”
Ayasha sighed, “I don’t know. I do remember my mother screaming. The car hit a slick patch of road and she lost control. The next thing I remember is the sound of the crash, we’d gone down an embankment and hit a tree.”
Gerard’s heart went out to her. “Your mother was killed instantly?”
“No.” Ayasha forced herself to continue. “It was an old car, no airbags but we’d both been wearing seat belts. But my mother was pinned by the steering wheel. I’d been cut by glass and was bleeding. I remember watching my mother struggle to free herself. Once she did she slid over and gently wiped the blood off my face. I don’t know how much time passed but suddenly she was reaching for our bags. She pulled out as much as she could and started covering me because I was so cold.”
In his mind Gerard was trying to picture the scene, trying to picture Ayasha as a child.
“Mother knew she needed to get help. It had started to snow again and where the car had come to rest wasn’t visible from the road. She knew the area, she knew it could be hours maybe days before anyone would find us.”
Gerard could see she was now reliving that day.
“Down the road there was a house but it was over two miles away. She told me she was going to get us help.” Ayasha voice was shaky. “I cried and begged her not to go but she kept telling me it would be okay. That she wanted me to stay in the car and wait. I know now she realized in the cold I couldn’t have walked that far and she couldn’t carry me.” She blinked rapidly. “Mother was bleeding internally, I believe she knew she was dying but she needed to get me help.”
He was watching her closely, shocked she shed no tears and she continued.
“She made sure the clothing was completely coving me the best she could. Then she whispered, “Ayasha be tsu li tsv ya s di" She smiled, “It means brave in Cherokee.”
“She kissed me told me she loved me then pulled herself out of the car. She could hardly move. I watched as she crawled up the hill, I watched until I couldn’t see her anymore…then I remembered I’d promised to be brave, I stopped crying.”
Several moments passed before she continued. “Mother dragged herself to the house, no cars passed by, she’d been right no one would have found us. When they came to get me I was so cold. I remember I kept asking about mother. The woman told me they’d called an ambulance for her.”
When she grew silent again Gerard gently prompted her. “What happened?”
“Mother had told them were I was then collapsed. She died before the ambulance ever got there.” Her voice was hollow. “And still people refused to see, they refused to acknowledge her last act was to save me.”
He reached out to stroke her cheek, “But you know.”
Ayasha pulled herself back to the present. “Yes, I know. I know my mother loved me. I know how much pain she had to have felt but it didn’t stop her.”
Gerard spoke softly, “And still you are being brave.”
His words surprised her. “I’m not brave.”
“I don’t know what has happened in your past but believe me I know you are brave. You’ve never given up.” He prayed she wouldn’t close down her emotions.
Ayasha stared into his eyes. “My past.” She whispered. Suddenly she shook her head. “The past is over. Grandmother always said to learn from your past but not to live in it.”
“Wise words.” Gerard nodded.
Ayasha suddenly stood. “Okay, well, time to get to work.”
He knew recalling this had been hard so he didn’t want to push her any further, at least not now. “Time to put the delicates in the dryer?”
Ayasha grinned, “I’ll do that. You find the coupon section in the paper.”
Gerard watched as she walked away. He knew in his heart she’d just opened up to him and it felt good. He felt stronger than he’d felt in a very long time.