“What did you do? After he shut the door?” I’d been crying for the past thirty minutes, listening to Bert tell his story. I really did feel terrible, if he was telling the truth. The way he was acting made me believe he was.
Bert laughed, wiping his own tears from his eyes. “The only thing an addict knows how to do. Get more drugs.” He shrugged, putting the last of the empty glasses into the sink. “It only took me two days to find a dealer. Things just spun out of control after that.”
It didn’t make any sense. The person talking to me right now didn’t seem like a drug crazed addict. Yeah, maybe he was a little crazy, but he was in love. Who could blame him? Oh my God, I was starting to not only believe Bert, but feel sorry for him too.
No, this couldn’t be happening. But he was so convincing. I just needed to trust my gut on this one, and my gut was telling me that Bert wasn’t all bad.
“One day I was back in town, and I saw Gerard. He was at McDonald’s eating. All by himself. I had almost forgotten about him, until that moment. That’s when everything came back. Sitting there in the McDonald’s I decided I was going to get help and get back to Gerard.” He sighed, leaning against the counter. “I checked myself into rehab the next day. After two weeks, I left. I couldn’t take it anymore. I loved Gerard, but the addiction was controlling me. Eventually, I ran into my sister and she helped me clean up. I’ve been off drugs for... three years now.”
I nodded, everything starting to make sense. “That’s when you started drinking.”
“It was bad at first. It was just another addiction. But I found Gerard again, and we got back together. Everything was great. Until he found out how bad my drinking was.” I could see tears forming in his eyes again. He was trying so hard not to cry, but this was obviously one of his most painful memories. I didn’t blame him for crying. Actually, it was kind of nice seeing him like this. All vulnerable, and not so terrifying.
“We dated on and off for a long time, my drinking getting better and better every time. Then one day I found out about you. Gerard didn’t love me anymore, because he was in love with you. It killed me. All I wanted was my Gerard back, he was mine. He was supposed to love me.”
He looked up, meeting my eyes for the first time in a while. “I regret everything I did to you. I wasn’t myself. If I could go back and change everything, I would.” All of a sudden he groaned, running a hand through his hair. “God, all I ever wanted was Gerard back. But now, seeing you here, I don’t know anymore. You two were happy together before I fucked everything up.”
Did I just hear what I think I did? My heart skipped a beat. It almost sounded like he was going to let me go. I couldn’t wait to be with Gerard again.
“I still love him, you know. Nothing is ever going to change that.”
I nodded, stepping towards him slowly. “I know. You never really stop loving your first love. They always have a special place in your heart.” Before I knew what was happening, I was thinking about Mikey. How I broke his heart. No, I didn’t just break his heart. I tore it into a million pieces, set it on fire, and then ran it over with a semi. He even admitted to me that he still loved me, even after everything. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have feelings for him too.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Gerard. I love him more than anything else in the world, but there is a piece of me that cares about Mikey.
Bert shook his head, “Gerard just has this way of making people fall in love with him. Me, you. Everyone.”
He was right. It was like everyone Gerard got close to ended up falling in love with him. If I ever did get back to Gerard, I would have to start watching him. I couldn’t handle anyone else falling in love with him and then going psycho and trying to break us apart. Been there, done that.
“You’re too good for him. He’s done terrible things.” He shook his head. “I love him more than anything in the world, and that’s why I initially started this. But now, a part of me wants to protect you from him. I don’t want you to get hurt like I did.”
My heart melted. Bert started this because he wanted Gerard back, but now he was only keeping me here because he didn’t want Gerard to hurt me. Gerard would never do anything to me, that I was sure of. But hearing Bert say that, brought tears to my eyes. The person standing in front of me wasn’t a monster. He was just a person who went through some bad stuff, and made terrible mistakes.
Even if one of those mistakes was taking my innocence. I never imagined that I would be able to forgive him for doing that, but here I was. Not only forgiving him, but feeling sorry for him. He’d been through a lot of terrible stuff.
“Gerard would--” His phone rang, interrupting me. He looked at me apologetically before answering it. I watched as he left the kitchen, and walked through the living room. A few seconds later, I heard the front door open and then close. He was probably just standing outside on the porch, but even if he was gone I wouldn’t have tried to escape.
If I could do this for a little longer, maybe Bert would see that Gerard was okay. Then I could go home, and we could pretend like none of this had ever happened.
A//N: I just want to say thank you guys for reading this. It really means a lot. You're all awesome :)