It was a few hours later when there was a soft knock against the door. I knew it was Bert, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk to him yet. After a while of silence, I heard his body press against the door. “I just want to explain.” His voice was soft, and ragged. It almost sounded like he had been crying for a long time.
When I didn’t say anything, I heard him sigh. “I know you don’t believe any of this, but I want you to know that Gerard really has been cheating on you. I didn’t make that up.” He paused for a long time. “It might be hard for you to believe, but I knew he would eventually cheat. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times he cheated on me. With men, and women.”
That didn’t sound like my Gerard at all. There was no way he would ever do something so terrible to a person. But why was it so hard to believe? Hadn’t he cheated on Bert when we first got together?
God, I was going crazy. I was believing Bert more than I should, more than I wanted to. More than anything I wished this was a bad dream and that I would wake up in bed next to Gerard, and everything would be okay.
“I’m not going to lie to you, Frank. I put my sister in that office because I knew Gerard would cheat on you with her. But I never thought I would end up sympathizing with you. If I would have known, I would have stopped her, but by then it was too late.” He sounded defeated.
“This was all some part of your sick plan to make me hate Gerard! If Gerard would have never met your sister, then he would have never cheated!” I shook my head. At that moment, I was glad Bert was on the other side of the door. I didn’t want him to see my tears. “You knew I would never leave him unless he did something dreadful, so you created the perfect situation!”
“And I hate myself for it. I wish I wouldn’t have.” He was quiet for a moment, but I swore I could hear him crying. “You have no idea how much it hurts me to see you like this. I just wish you would believe me. Get away from Gerard and leave, before he ruins your life like he ruined mine.”
I shook my head, tears falling. “No matter what Gerard may have done in his past, to you, or anyone else, I will never stop loving him. He’s changed! The only reason he’s doing terrible things now is because you interfered. If you would have stayed out of this, everything would be fine.” I sighed, running a hand through my hair. “I’m not going to hate him for cheating on me with that woman, but I will hate you for creating the situation.”
This whole situation was frustrating. My emotions were running around in circles, and I had no idea what I was feeling anymore. One second I was mad at Bert for putting Gerard in a position that led to him cheating on me. And the next second, I wanted to hug Bert because of what Gerard did to him. Then I remembered how much I loved Gerard, and how he would never hurt me.
I shouldn’t be having any kind of feelings for Bert, except hatred. But I didn’t. I had started to care about him, maybe a little too much, and maybe in a way that I would have never expected. It was tearing my heart apart. I couldn’t take much more of this.
It was quiet for so long I thought Bert had left, but eventually he sighed. “Go ahead, hate me. It wouldn’t be anything new.”
Never before in my life had I actually felt my heart break. All Bert wanted was someone to love him. Deep down, I felt like Bert deserved someone to love him. No one in the world deserved to be hated.
I slid off the bed onto the floor. My chest was physically aching. “Bert...” I couldn’t think of anything to say. He didn’t deserve anything from me, especially not now, not after what he had done. But I couldn’t stand to see someone hurt that much. I’d been there, I knew how if felt to love someone so much it hurt.
It took all the strength in my bones so stand up and close to short distance to the door. I twisted the knob and slowly pulled the door open. Bert was collapsed on the floor, just on the other side. I don’t think I’d ever seen anyone look so miserable before in my life.
I sat down beside him, not saying a word. He probably didn’t even know I was there. I sat there, staring at him, trying to think of something to say for the longest time, until I realized I didn’t need to say anything at all. Sometimes the best things in life are left unsaid.
So, I wrapped my arms as tightly around him as I could. “You did terrible things. You never should have tried to break Gerard and I apart, and I will always hold that against you. But that doesn’t mean I hate you. You’re not a terrible person, and you deserve someone that loves you the way Gerard loves me.”
He didn’t say anything, and I wasn’t expecting him to. I felt his arms reach around me and hug me tightly, his fingers grabbing a handful of my shirt. His face was buried in my neck and I could feel his tears.
What I was doing was wrong. I shouldn’t be sitting here with Bert, crying with him. He’s the one that put me in this mess. He’s the one that started all of the madness.
Yet here I was, sitting here anyway. My mom raised me to be a gentleman, to care for everyone no matter what. Just because Bert hurt me all those years ago, and was now trying to tear Gerard and I apart, didn’t mean he was a terrible person. I was sure, somewhere deep down inside him, there was some good. And I wanted to be the person to help him find it.
I wanted to help Bert get better. Even after everything he did, and was still trying to do.