Part 3 of 'The Bet'
Bandit did not like the strange man that was living with her and mommy. She did not like him one bit. He stole mommy from Bandit, and would do mean things to her.
“Bandit, come here sweetie.” He would say in the nicest voice.
Bandit did not want to go to him, but she new that she had no choice.
“So did you two have fun last night?” Billie Joe snorted as we all sat around the table in the restaurant of the hotel eating breakfast.
“Billie just fucking stop it. We didn’t do anything, okay?” Mike glared at him.
“Well I’m just saying, Mike. It seems pretty weird to me that you offer to drive him to the hotel, then stay with him all night.”
“Wanna know why, dumbass?” I had never seen Mike be so cruel to Billie Joe.
“Gerard got raped last night.”
I watched as everyone at the table choked on their food and drinks. I looked down, my face burned with embarrassment as I covered the scratch on my cheek.
“Seriously? Who did it?” Billie Joe’s tone went from bitter to almost sympathetic.
Mike nodded. “The security guard that was stationed outside his room was the one who did it. I heard Gerard screaming and went to see what was going on. I fought the guard and he ran away. I had to clean up Gerard and stayed with him so he could sleep without being afraid.”
The table was silent after that.
Usually I enjoyed singing more than anything else. I loved to perform for my fans, but tonight was different. Tonight it felt like they were all staring into my soul, and knew what that man did to me. I felt like they knew I was a slut who tried to screw Billie Joe, and a man who had been accused of child abuse.
I sang on, because I couldn’t stop the show no matter what. Even though I wasn’t enjoying myself, I heard the voice of my late grandmother whisper in my ear, ‘The show must go on, Gerard. Don’t let anything get in the way of your performance.’
I got through the show and tried to get to the bus as quickly as possible before I had to sign anything. Of course that didn’t happen and I was mobbed by fans this time instead of my angry friends.
The first fan was a young girl who must have been about fifteen. She handed me a book and smiled big as she said, “I made this for you.” I thanked her and smiled while I signed her band merchandise.
“Gerard can we take a picture together?!” I looked to see another girl, a little older than the first. She was beaming while holding up a camera in her hands.
I wouldn’t be able to deal with the fact that I had a fake smile while taking a picture with a fan and shook my head. “I’m sorry, no pictures tonight. I’ll be happy to sign something for you, though.”
Her face dropped and the light was gone from her eyes. “Forget it...but thanks anyway.” She muttered and walked away with her shoulders slumped. I felt so terrible as I watched as she covered her face with her hands, obviously crying.
I sighed and pushed through the crowd after her. “Wait!” I called and she turned around. “I’m sorry...I’d be happy to take a picture.”
Her whole face lit up and we posed for the picture. “Thank you so much, Gerard!” She laughed and kissed my cheek before running back to her friends. I rubbed the cheek she kissed and noticed it had been the one with the scratch on it. Shit, I had totally forgotten about the scratch, and now it was going to be in that picture forever. I shook my head because I didn’t care as long as I made that young girl happy.
I made my way back to the crowd and finished the signing. It took about an hour and a half before I finally got back into the bus only to find that everyone was already sleeping. I went into the bunks and groaned because Frank was fast asleep on my bunk. I went back out to the living area and lay on the couch.
I shivered and curled up without a blanket to cover me. Damn, it was freezing. I finally managed to get to sleep when I felt something on me. I woke up startled and whimpered, “Please don’t hurt me again!”
“Shh...Gee it’s okay. It’s just me.” My eyes focussed to see that it was Mike, and he was covering me with a blanket.
I was embarrassed by my panic but sighed as the blanket warmed me up. “T-thank you...” I said sleepily.
“Don’t thank me.” He hugged me and left me to sleep.
My dreams that night were filled with memories of the good old days when I had a whole family. Memories of when Lindsey and I were still very much in love, of when we would rent a bus for ourselves when we were on tour and would make love after almost every show. I relived our marriage backstage, and our honeymoon at Disneyworld. How silly the idea seemed at the time, but how perfect it was in the dream.
I also got to relive the moment where Lindsey told me that the pregnancy test was positive and I had fainted because I was so shocked and overjoyed. Bandit’s birth came just as fast in reality as it did in the dream. The moments when she first started to walk and talk were also a part of the beautiful dream.
Even though the dream was beautiful it held a terrible feeling of nostalgia; I always had a love-hate relationship with that particular feeling. This dream was one of those times where I wished that nostalgia didn’t exist.
I woke up crying, with a pool of tears on the couch’s arm. In that moment I wanted nothing more than to have my old life back. I missed everything, even Lindsey. All those times we would cuddle on the couch, watching horrors. The good times and the bad times we went through. Every time we would comfort each other, kiss each other, touch each other. I thought we would be together forever but damn, was I mistaken.
I wiped my eyes and went into the bathroom. Using a warm washcloth I rubbed my sore, bloodshot eyes and also wiped the tear stains from my cheeks. When I cleaned myself off I decided to go outside for fresh air. I got out of the bus to see that the sun was just rising and we were stopped at a rest stop. The driver most likely needed a nap as he must have been driving the whole night.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, filling my nose with the sweet smell of the early morning. It was so quiet, so peaceful...just how I liked it. My eyes flung open as I heard a muffled sob that came from around the bus. I walked to the other side of it to find that Mike was there, holding his hands to his face while shaking.
He jumped at my voice and looked up at me, his eyes red and puffy. “O-oh hi, Gerard.” His voice was hoarse.
“Are you okay?” I was worried as I knelt down beside him.
“Yeah, Gee. I’m fine.” He responded.
“Then why are you crying? Mike you can tell me...” I sat beside him and draped my arm over his shoulder.
“I just can’t take anything anymore.” He responded.
“What do you mean?”
Mike held his head and his voice was shaking as he spoke, “Brittney called to tell me that she’s about two weeks pregnant. The thing is that we haven’t been intimate in months, so she must be pregnant with another man’s baby.”
I couldn’t respond to that, I didn’t know how to. That was such a rotten thing for someone to do, especially to someone as kind as Mike.
“That’s just another thing added to my list, though.” Mike sighed.
“What else is bothering you?” I rubbed his shoulder.
“Everyone just ignores me because I’m quiet. No one cares about me, they only pay attention to Billie Joe and Tré. I’m always thrown to the side because I’m the ‘quiet bass player’. I almost never sign any autographs. Hell, I bet if I left the band no one would even care.” He chuckled sadly.
“Mike don’t say that...So many kids are fans of you. You’ve probably saved so many kids and inspired them to follow their dreams.” I tried to sound comforting.
“Stop trying to make me feel better...you know well that Billie Joe and Tré make Green Day.”
I shook my head. “I’ve had the same conversation with Ray so many times when he felt down...” I bit my lip. “You always were my favorite in Green Day.”
“You’re just saying that.” Mike looked at me.
I shook my head. “You were always the one to try and stay out of trouble while the others just went bezerk. You keep Green Day in line, you’ve kept the band alive.”
Mike smiled a bit and looked down.
I shook my head. “Don’t hide that smile.”
He slowly lifted his head to look at me and without even giving it a second thought I pressed my lips to his. The kiss was short but sweet and filled with nothing but love. Lust wasn’t even present in that moment. I wasn’t doing it to be a slut, I was doing it because Mike and I had a connection that I never felt with anyone else...not even Lindsey.
When I pulled away I half expected Mike to slap me or call me a slut, but he didn’t. He was smiling a lot now and his hand was resting on my thigh, while slowly rubbing it.
“Hope that made you feel better.” I giggled.
“It did.” He chuckled. “We should probably get inside, the guys should be waking up soon.”
We took each other’s hands and walked inside of the bus. As soon as we got inside we let go of each other’s hands because we smelled food, which meant someone was up. Without a doubt we found Frank heating up a left over slice of pizza.
“Well good morning.” I laughed and watched as Frank took the pizza out of the microwave and bit into it.
“Morning, Gee.” He spoke muffled with his mouth full. “There’s more pizza in the fridge.”
“Mm...three day old pizza, just how I like it.” I said sarcastically.
Rehearsal that day went smooth and Billie Joe acted as if we were best friends, as if we never even fought. The show that night was a success, and for the two hours we played I completely forgot about all my problems. It was just like old times, when the stage was the only thing that could make me smile.
That night I got my bunk back and slept without any dreams of the past. I dreamt about Mike that night. He introduced me to his children, and we lived together in a beautiful victorian styled house. The dream was not sexual at all and was filled with the beautiful feeling of love.
I woke up early in the morning to find myself smiling. I finally realized that love felt better than mindlessly having sex with men, and that dream helped me realize it.
We had the day off and we could go off to do whatever we wanted. Mike offered to keep me company because the guys still didn’t trust me too much and wanted someone to watch me.
“Where should we go first?” Mike smiled as we walked down the street.
“Umm...lets go to Starbucks.”
Mike nodded and we walked into the nearest Starbucks. The line seemed to go forever and when we ordered I was surprised that he was paying for my coffee.
“Mike don’t do that, let me pay for mine.” I said and opened my wallet.
“Oh stop it.” He chuckled and handed the cashier the money.
I was shocked because no one had ever paid for me before. I wasn’t used to it and felt like I was cheating him.
“Go find a spot, I can bring the drinks.” Mike smiled.
I nodded and went over to a table by the window. As I waited I took out my sketch book and started to draw. Mike sat down across from me and said, “Okay little artist, time for coffee.”
I giggled as he chuckled and handed the coffee to me. I took a sip and thanked him for buying it.
“It’s not a problem, Gerard.” He smiled and looked at my book. “What are you drawing?”
“Just some Killjoy stuff. Even though the whole Killjoy biz is over I still love drawing scenes from that world.” I explained.
“You’re really damn creative, you know that?” Mike smiled as he flipped through the sketch book.
“Thanks.” I could feel my face start to burn and I took another drink of the scalding coffee.
He nodded and kept looking through the book. “You’re really good.” He smiled and handed the book back to me.
I smiled and put the book back into my bag.
After Starbucks we went to a record store because I wanted to see if they had any Iron Maiden shirts since mine faded too much. I was happy to find one in my size and also bought a few Misfits records.
“Is there anything you want?” I asked Mike, who had been silently following me.
He shook his head and got his wallet out. “Mike it’s okay, I can pay for this.”
“C’mon let me treat you.” He smiled.
I bit my lip and watched as he paid for the merchandise. No one had ever treated me this nicely before and it made me surprisingly uneasy. I felt as though I didn’t deserve kindness from anyone, especially him.
The rest of the day went by smoothly and Mike took me out for dinner at a 50s styled diner.
“How did you know I love anything 50s style?” I chuckled as I took a sip from the strawberry milkshake that him and I were sharing.
“Well who doesn’t love the 50s?” Mike smiled at me.
“True.” I giggled.
“You’ve got a really cute laugh, you know that? You should do it more often.”
My cheeks burned and I looked down. “I guess I haven’t really laughed in a long time...ever since the divorce. Even before that I didn’t really ever laugh.”
“Well you shouldn’t hide that laugh, or that smile.” Mike’s hand was on mine, gently caressing it. I shivered as he continued. “I’ll stop if you want me to.” He spoke softly.
“I-it’s just that...I don’t want to lose the bet.” I looked into his eyes and was shocked, because the expression he held wasn’t that of lust, his eyes were soft and caring.
His hand pulled off of mine, and he smiled.
The man and mommy were yelling at each other and Bandit didn’t know why. They never fought before, they were always happy with each other. Was it something Bandit did?
Bandit was pulled from her mommy’s grasp as the men with the guns took mommy away. She was held by the man that replaced daddy as mommy was pushed into a car. The man closed the door and set Bandit down on the floor.
“You’re mine, Bandit.” He spoke in that scary voice once more.