A pair of hands grabbed my arm and pulled me forcefully away from Gerard. It was Bert, his eyes filled with tears. He shook his head. “No, Frank. No. I can’t let him have you. I can’t stand to see him ruin your life like he ruined mine.” His eyes met mine, pleading. I could tell that he really cared, and it shook me. How could someone like him do something so terrible, and yet still try and do the right thing.
He was breaking my heart. And it was wrong.
I grabbed his shoulders. “Bert, listen to me. Everything is fine. Gerard and I are going to be together, and you are going to find someone else that you love more than you ever loved him.” Without hesitating, I pulled him to me and wrapped my arms around his waist as tightly as I could. For Gerard this probably looked strange. The last time I had seen this man was when he raped me, and now here we were.
But so many things had changed since that moment. So many things that Gerard didn’t know about. Soon this would all be over, and Gerard and I would go back home and forget all of this had ever happened. We just had to get out of here first.
Unfortunately, Bert wasn’t willing to let me go. He was still dead set on keeping Gerard away from me. It was actually kind of sweet, him trying to protect me like this.
I felt Bert’s lips against my ear, whispering. “But that person will never be you.”
I stepped away from him. Of course, I’d known since we first kissed that Bert had some kind of feelings towards me, but I never thought it was anything this serious. I hated having to break his heart, but I was in love with Gerard.
Maybe for a few brief seconds there was something between Bert and I, but it was all shattered when he told me what he did. How he planned everything, how he made sure Gerard would cheat on me.
Gerard was my husband and I loved him, no matter what. That’s what love is about, learning from mistakes and then moving on.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. Gerard pulled me to him once again. Bert just looked at the both of us like we were crazy. Emily was standing in the corner of the room farthest away from all of us. She was awfully quiet.
All of a sudden Bert snapped. His loving gaze turned to hatred, and for the first time since I’d been here I could see in his eyes the man that raped me. I clung to Gerard, pushing him backwards towards the door. All I wanted was for us to get out of here before anything bad happened.
And I had a feeling something terrible was going to happen. If we didn’t get out, I just knew Bert would end up doing something we would all regret.
“I thought you were different, that you had changed. I guess I was wrong.” He paused, glancing back at his sister. “ God! How could I have been stupid enough to believe you? Believe that you actually cared, that you meant those things you said.”
“Bert...” I might not have ever had feelings for him, at least not as strong as he would have liked, but that doesn’t mean that I never believed him. At least a little bit. And it didn’t mean that I didn’t mean what I said to him.
Because I did. More than anything I knew in my heart that Bert would move on from this and find someone to really love him, love him like he should be loved.
“You were playing me, just like I was playing you!” He ran a hand through his hair. His breathing was speeding up, and he couldn’t stand still. Gerard and I needed to get out of there. Bert was about to do something crazy, I could see it in the way he was acting.
I watched in horror as Bert reached around into his jeans and pulled a gun. An actual gun. A gun he planned on using.
Gerard’s grip on me tightened.
Everyone was silent. All eyes were on Bert and the gun. Even Emily was watching now, her eyes filled with interest. She was just going to sit there and watch, which made her just as bad as Bert.
Slowly, Bert raised the gun, pointing it at me for a split second before turning to towards Gerard. He was crying again, and it he wouldn’t have been holding a gun, I would have felt sorry for him. Now, the only thing I felt towards Bert was pity.
He thought the only way to get what he wanted was through manipulation and violence. He was so broken, and so scarred from what people had done to him that he didn’t know any different. And it honestly terrified me.
“Fuck you, Gerard! Fuck you and your stupid life! You screwed me over and left me out on the street to die!” He was yelling as more tears fell down his cheeks. “Because that’s what you do, isn’t it? You just fuck people. You rip out their hearts and leave them to die.”
He shook his head, wiping away some tears with his free hand. “You can’t have Frank. I won’t let you do to him what you did to me.” He took a few deep breaths. “I thought I loved you. That’s why I did this whole thing. To get rid of Frank and make you love me again. But Frank changed me. He made me realize that I don’t love you, not anymore.”
His eyes met mine. “Because I can’t love you and love him at the same time.”
I clung tighter to Gerard, never taking my eyes of Bert. No matter what I wasn’t going to let him do anything to Gerard. Gerard was my everything, and I’d already been through so much for us to be together. I wasn’t about to let this lunatic rip us apart.
All of a sudden Bert laughed. “In a weird way, I guess I should thank you, Gerard. For bringing Frank into my life.”
Emily finally moved from her spot in the corner to come stand beside her brother. She grabbed his shoulder, smiling at him. “Come on, Bert. Finish what you started. Kill the bastard like you planned.”
Bert shook his head, obviously conflicted. “No, Ems. I can’t kill Frank now. It’s Gerard. Gerard has to go.”
She sighed, “But if you kill Gerard now, then this whole thing was for nothing. Come on, just do it.”
Gerard and I just stood there silently, watching them. Either way, we knew one of us was not getting out of here alive. Gerard grabbed my chin and brought face towards his. “I love you so much Frankie. I’m so sorry.”
“I love you too.” I kissed him, possibly for the last time.