Ayasha returns home. Gerard is able to hear the pain he's caused loved ones.
She took a deep breath, shoved the key in the lock then threw the door open.
Gerard’s eyes opened and he blinked in surprise as Ayasha ran through the living room to disappear down the hallway. “Ayasha?”
“Don’t move.” She hollered back.
He was confused, what the hell was she doing?
She stashed the bags in the closet, took a deep breath then walked back out.
Gerard had done as she’d requested but he’d heard a door open and close. “What’s going on?”
She smiled brightly. “Just didn’t want you to see something.”
He turned to look out at the bright sunlight. “What time is it?”
“Just after two. Told you I’d come home early. And I don’t have to work tomorrow.” She hadn’t planned on telling him that but she was feeling so happy she hadn’t been able to stop herself.
He had never seen her look so happy. “That’s good. Uh, but why couldn’t I see what you brought home?”
Ayasha giggled, “Because it’s a surprise for later.” She shifted the books in her arm. “I also went by the library and checked out some books on Native American legends and myths.” The library stop had been to ease her guilt about the fact they’d done nothing the past few days to research his situation.
Gerard walked towards her. “Oh, okay.” He was still in awe of her apparent joy. “So you had a good day?” he asked trying to understand.
She handed him the books then sat down to slide off her shoes. “I really need a shower.” She sighed. The long walk had left her sweaty.
“You need a shower because you had a good day?”
She giggled again, “Sorry I didn’t answer your question, did I?”
“Why are you so exhausted?” He asked suddenly. Now that he looked at her closely he could see it.
“Oh, well I had to go somewhere and since I didn’t drive this morning I walked. Damn, I’d forgotten how far it was. Either that or I’m just out of shape.”
He gave her lithe body the once over. She was definitely not out of shape. “Where did you go?”
“Not telling. But I’m gonna go take a quick shower. You can start looking through the books.”
He nodded taking a seat on the sofa. “Okay.” As she stood he asked, “Did you have lunch?”
She shook her head, “No, I didn’t have time.”
Her good mood was catchy. “And you got me a surprise?”
“Well it’s for both of us but yeah. Now sit right there, okay?”
“I can’t move?” He was clearly confused.
“Oh, you can move just don’t go in the closet.” She said as she removed the rubber band to release her hair from the braid.
He was intrigued. “Don’t go in the closet?”
She shook her long black hair now that it was loose. “No closet for you.” Again she giggled.
He loved the sound. “You know for years I think a lot of people were expecting me to come out of the closet.”
Ayasha laughed, “Oh, ha ha.”
“Tis true.” He grinned. “Okay, I’ll be a good boy and wait right here. No closet for me.”
She titled her head, “Promise?”
“That I’ll be a good boy or not go in the closet?”
Ayasha rolled her eyes. “Both.”
She looked so adorable at this moment he couldn’t stop himself from saying. “Okay I promise I won’t go in the closet but the other part…”
Her eyes grew wide. “About being a good boy?”
He nodded, “Yeah, can’t promise that. Looking at you right now is definitely making me want to be a bad boy.” He watched her face closely hoping his flirting wouldn’t upset her.
She stared at him a moment then surprised herself by blurting out the truth. “I sorta like the sound of that.”
Gerard gave her a lopsided grin. “Really?”
“Gotta shower.” She muttered forcing herself to look away.
“Need any help?” It was hard for him not to laugh when her mouth dropped open.
Finally she found her voice. “Stay there, Mr Way. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“As you wish.” He said softly.
Mikey reached across to take his brother’s lifeless hand. “Gee, I don’t know if you can hear me or not.” He sighed. “But I’m here. I’ve always been here for you and I always will be. Please come back."
Gerard suddenly closed his eyes loosing the page of the book he was reading. His brother’s voice echoed in his head. He focused all his attention on the words. “I’m trying Mikey.” He whispered.
Ayasha who had just walked back into the room came to an immediate standstill.
A few minutes later Gerard opened his eyes. “Mikey was talking to me.”
She nodded. “It’s good you can hear him.”
“I just fuckin’ wish he could hear me.” Gerard said sadly. I can hear the pain in his voice.”
She sat down next to him on the sofa. “Find anything in the book?”
He glanced down. “Oh, well not really. I did fine one story about a man who was trapped between life and death because he couldn’t choose which he wanted. But that ain’t me. I want life.”
“Of course you do. You want to get back to your family and friends.”
Until now he hadn’t really looked at her. She was wearing shorts and a tank top. Her wet hair was loose. “Wow.” He muttered.
For a moment he was angry with himself. Why the hell was he having thoughts like this about her? He should be more concerned with his brother’s pain.
Ayasha was confused, “Gerard?”
Her sweet voice so full of concern pushed his anger away. “Uh, wow was because I just got a good look at you.”
She glanced down at her clothing. “I threw on an old pair of shorts and a tank top.” His intense gaze was making her nervous. “Look.” She pointed to a spot on her tank top. “It’s even got a stain.”
Gerard once again thought her actions were adorable. “Do you really think that little stain makes that tank top any less sexy?”
When she looked up he was afraid he’d upset her again. The last time he’d admitted how sexy he thought she was hadn’t gone well.
She’d never flirted with a man in her life but her good mood made her want to try. “I don’t think it’s my tank top that caught your attention.”
He grinned feeling relieved he hadn’t upset her. “Very true.” His gaze lowered to take in her shapely legs.
Ayasha felt her face flush. “Damn I forgot to shave.” As the words left her mouth she flinched wishing she could take them back.
Gerard couldn’t stop himself from laughing.
“Stupid.” Ayasha muttered looking away.
Immediately he stopped believing she was mad at him. “I’m not laughing at you.” He said softly.
“Oh I know.” She nodded. “Stupid was for me. I get you’re flirting with me and I was trying to flirt back only I’m obviously not very good at it.”
He reached out for her hand. “You were flirting with me?’
“See?” She sighed, “I was trying but I got it wrong. Mentioning my legs are fuzzy wasn’t right.”
He released her hand then slowly lowered his to her leg. He heard her sharp intake of breath as his fingertips ran down her leg slowly. “Can’t feel if they are fuzzy. But damn, woman. The look just fine.”
While he couldn’t feel she most definitely could. His touch sent a shiver through her body.
He looked up into her face. “What?”
“Uh, that feels really good.” She admitted in a breathy voice.
He continued to move his hand on her leg just above the knee. “Does it?”
“Oh hell yes.” She nodded.
His fingers inched a bit high. “How good?” he whispered leaning closer.
Ayasha tried to make her brain work. “Too good.”
“No such thing as too good.” He said softly as he slid one finger just under the hem of her shorts. Before he could stop himself he moved even closer to press his lips against hers.
Ayasha was suddenly overwhelmed by emotion. His lips were so soft, the kiss sweet. Without realizing it she shifted her body to get closer to his.
Gerard continued to stoke her leg at least what he thought was her leg not realizing she’d moved and it was no longer under his hand.
Ayasha however caught the movement of his hand now stroking the air. The brutal reality hit her hard. Sitting back he saw the horrified look on her face.
“Honey, what’s wrong?”
She took a deep breath. “I can’t make out with a man who can’t feel anything. It’s not right.”
It was then he realized what had happened. She started to stand but he grabbed her arm. “Listen to me. Just because I can’t physically feel doesn’t mean mentally I can’t. Knowing my touch pleases you makes me feel fuckin’ good, do you understand?”
She nodded but refused to look into his eyes.
He reached out and with his fingertip tilted her chin up. “I want to make you feel good. If you were ready I’d lay you down on this sofa, strip off your clothes and watch my hands make love to you. That would bring me pleasure.”
“Oh.” She whispered as that image flashed through her brain.
He could see her thoughts were confused. “But you’re not ready.” He said softly. “I understand.” Suddenly he stood. “Now let’s go into the kitchen. I’m gonna make you a tuna fish sandwich.”
The abrupt turn of events shocked her. “Tuna fish?”
“Yep, tuna fish.” He held out his hand to help her stand.
Ayasha was still feeling the effects of his touch and words. “Okay.” She whispered.
He wanted her to know he understood how she felt. “If I make a sandwich it will help me keep my hands off you.”
Alicia was watching her husband closely with a troubled look on her face. She knew just by watching his mannerisms something wasn’t right but he was trying to hide that fact. She was relieved when Donna said she was going to go sit a while with Gerard. Once she was gone leaving only herself and Mikey in the waiting room she spoke. “What happened?”
He leaned back in his chair. “Shit, I can’t ever hide anything from you.”
She shook her head slowly. “Nope. But I figured it was something you didn’t want to talk about in front of your mother.”
He leaned forward to grasp her hand. “Right, I didn’t want to because I don’t want to get her hopes up. Shit, I’m probably just grasping at straws.”
He sighed, “Look, I’ve heard what the doctors have been saying about patients in comas. I get they can sometimes move, open their eyes, even make noise.”
Alicia nodded waiting for him to go on.
“But I was in there holding Gerard’s hand, I was telling him I’d always be there for him and to please come back.” He lowered his head, “I swear right after I said that he squeezed my hand. It was like he could hear me.”
While Alicia was afraid of getting his hopes up she too wanted to believe it had been a sign. “Hey, remember the doctors said that often coma patients wake and remember people talking to them. So that could mean he did hear you.”
“God, I hope so.” Mikey whispered. “I need to believe Gerard is trapped in the coma but trying to come back.”
They both looked up to see Ray enter the room.
“Hey.” He said softly sitting down. “Any change?”
Mikey didn’t want to share what had happened so he simply shook his head.
“Donna’s sitting with him right now.” Alicia explained.
“I’d like to sit with him a few minutes too.” Ray said taking a seat across from them. “Talked to Don last night and he told me the doctors think it’s a good idea for us to talk to Gerard.” Nervously he went on not knowing how Mikey would react. “Uh, and I talked to Frank.”
“He hasn’t been here.” Mikey said in a hollow voice filled with hurt. While Ray had been to the hospital multiple times as of yet Frank hadn’t.
“He’s really taking this hard.” Ray said glancing down at the floor. “He’s afraid he’ll lose it if he sees Gerard.”
“It’s hard for all of us.” Mikey answered angrily. “Fuck, I’d think he’d get that.”
“He does get that.” Ray said slowly. “But I think Frank’s blaming himself for what happened.”
Alicia was surprised. “Why would Frank blame himself?”
Ray spoke slowly trying to explain his band mates thoughts. “He and Gee used to be so close. But with the birth of his kids, and not living out here like the rest of us…well, he thinks he let Gerard down. He said he feels like he lost touch with a man who used to be like a brother to him.”
“Well he is my brother.” Mikey said angrily. “And I’m here for him. Fuck, it kills me to go into that room and see him lying there. But I do it because I love him. I do it not matter how fuckin’ bad it hurts because Gee needs to know we’re all here for him.”
While Alicia understood her husband’s anger she also understood Frank’s reaction. “Is he going home?” She asked fearing that was what Ray was going to say.
Ray nodded, “Yeah, tomorrow morning.”
Mikey stood up quickly. “So he’s just gonna go home. Fuck, if Frank was laying in a coma Gerard would be there with him.”
Ray looked at Alicia hoping she could help.
She spoke softly. “Mikey sometimes when we’re in pain we need our loved one. Frank needs to be with Jamia and his kids. There isn’t anything he can do here right now. I think Gerard would understand that.”
Mikey refused to let go of his anger. “Whatever.”
The room grew silent for several minutes before Ray spoke again. “Uh, we need to discuss something.” When Mikey didn’t answer he went on. “There has been an outpouring of love for Gerard by the fans. Our website it overflowing with it. I read some of the comments last night, shit, the kids are confused and scared.”
“Like all of us.” Alicia whispered.
Ray nodded. “I think we should make some sort of formal statement. Right now a lot of shit is being put out there, a lot of rumors that ain’t good.”
Mikey knew some of what was happening. “That woman he was with before it happened still talking?”
Ray’s eyes were full of pain. “Yeah, she’s weaving quite a story. Now she’s saying that Gerard opened up to her that night. She said he told her how no one understood him anymore. That the rest of the band had turned their backs on him.”
“Son of a bitch.” Mikey exploded. “Lies.”
Ray stood and went over to him. “We both know that’s not true. We’d never turn out backs on Gee no matter how bad he’d gotten. We were all trying to help him. But that last day in the studio he was angry when we weren’t happy with the song. I think maybe there might be a small amount of truth to some of the things she’s saying. He was angry at us he probably talked about that.”
“That sure as fuck don’t mean we’d turned our backs on him.” Mikey spat.
“No, it don’t mean that because we hadn’t. We never would have and we all know that. But that’s why I think we should make a statement. Let the kids know we’re all here for Gerard that he is our brother. We need to thank them for their support, tell them how much it means to us.”
“I think it’s a good idea.” Alicia said softly.
Mikey was still filled with anger, his life was spiraling out of control. “Yeah, but because it’s true or because we’re just trying to repair the damage Gerard’s done to our fan base?”
The question hung in the air for several minutes.
Finally Ray answered. “Mikey I can’t lie to you, we all know Gerard’s behavior had hurt a lot of fans. But that was because of his disease. His alcoholism and drug abuse had taken over. Fuck, we all could see it. But I don’t believe in my heart that person was really Gerard. If he’d been sober he’d never have done those things. He cared about his fans.”
Alicia spoke up. “He loved his fans.”
Ray nodded, “Yeah, he did. And I know he’d never want people to believe anything else.”
Mikey’s eyes were full of pain. “You’re making it sound like we’re trying to repair his memory.”
Ray blinked back tears. “Yeah because I sure as hell wouldn’t want anyone to remember Gerard any other way. Don’t mean I don’t believe he’ll recover. God, I have to believe he will. But some of the ugly shit that’s been said, I can’t stomach it.”
Slowly Mikey sat back down feeling mentally and physically exhausted. “He will recover.” He whispered.
Alicia placed her arm around him. “And when he does he’ll be able to overcome his addictions and we’ll all be here to help him.”
“Frank wants to write the statement.” Ray said watching Mikey closely for his reaction. “You know he loves Gee. He wants to do it for him.”
Mikey wiped his eyes. “Yeah, Frankie should do it.”
Gerard looked up from the book in his hands and smiled. Ayasha’s head was bent over the book she was reading, her long hair almost covering her face. He was touched by her commitment to help him find the answers he needed. “Hey.” He said softly. “We’ve been reading for hours. Don’t you think we should take a break?”
She looked up with a sigh. “I guess.”
“Honey, I know how much you’re trying to help me. Thank you.”
Ayasha wanted him to understand. “I am trying. It feels like you being here has given me a chance to help you and that’s what I want. But so far I’ve failed.”
Gerard set his book down on the table then walked over to sit by her on the sofa. “You haven’t failed. I wish I could put into words how much just being here with you has helped. Fuck, I think I’d have gone insane already if it hadn’t been for you.”
She shook her head, “I haven’t really done anything.”
“Yes, you have.” He said softly. “You’re making me realize so many things I’d tried to ignore. You’re making me want to change the man I’d become. When I’m with you I truly believe I can change if I’m giving another chance. I won’t fuck it up, I…” Suddenly his whole body tensed.
Ayasha understood he was hearing something not auditable to her ears. She saw the pain on his face and quickly took his hand in hers.
Frank held Gerard’s hand while wiping away tears with his other hand. His voice was low as the words poured from his heart.
“You stupid mother fucker, why?”
Moments passed as the only sound in the room was that of the machines monitoring Gerard’s heartbeat.
“You’re my brother.” Frank whispered. “Seeing you like this is killing me. Is that what you wanted? Did you want us all to feel your pain? Well, you’ve done that.”
Gerard’s eyes were closed but a single tear ran down his cheek.
Frank took a deep breath. “Mikey don’t understand. I know he things I’m deserting you but that ain’t true. I’d never do that. But I have to go home, I need Jamia and the kids. Please, I gotta believe you’d understand that. I need their love to help me through this.”
Ayasha felt helpless as she watched Gerard’s face covered in sorrow.
“Gee, I love you.” Frank whispered. “Always will. We’ve been through hell together but we always made it back. Fuck, I wish I could lead you out of this hell now.” He swiped at his eyes. “But you gotta do this on your own. You gotta come back to us but know we’ll be here waiting.” He lowered his head while tightening his grip on Gerard’s hand. “I ain’t giving up on you, I couldn’t if I tried. When you wake up out of this fuckin’ coma I’m gonna kick your ass for doing this.” His voice broke. “Because I love you.”
When Gerard finally opened his eyes he saw Ayasha was holding his hand. “Frank was with me.” He whispered.
Ayasha nodded not sure if he wanted to share what had just happened.
“He asked me if I’d done it so they’d all feel my pain.” His head fell to his chest as another tear rolled down his cheek. “He’s right in a way I think that’s what I was doing. I was so selfish, so fucked up, I wanted those around me to feel my pain.”
She gently wiped away his tears.
Slowly he looked up into her eyes. “It can’t end this way. I have to get the chance to tell them I’m sorry for all the shit I’ve put them through.”
“You will get that chance.” Ayasha said softly. “I believe that with all my heart.”
“Can I just hold you for a few minutes?” His eyes pleaded with her. He needed to feel the strength he knew would come from the action.
Ayasha nodded. Gerard slowly pulled her onto his lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck then laid her head on his chest. “You will find your way back.” She whispered as he held her close.
“As much as I want to go back, I’m afraid.”
She sat back so she could look into his eyes. “Don’t be afraid. They love you, they’ll help you.”
He spoke from his soul, “I know that, that’s not why I’m afraid.”
Ayasha tilted her head, “I don’t understand.”
“I’m afraid because I don’t want to leave you.” He whispered.