Reflections, past and present, shattered on the floor.
“Are we always going to feel so broken?”
“I don’t know sugar. I’ll spend all the time in the world trying to make our pieces fit if I have to.” he said, smiling faintly.
I remained silent trying not to cry. The words from his mouth were always like poems. Embracing the kind of happiness and pain there is with love. In this moment I realize there is nothing quite like love. The twists and turns it has, how it ensnares you with allure. Yet it can be painful... and rewarding all at the same time. It can be deformed and wretched or the most beautiful thing to ever grace your life. It’s all about perception I guess. Love has been my biggest downfall, my greatest teacher, and above all the recent destruction of the walls I’ve built around myself for so long. I can’t help but burst with so much emotion when I’m with him. So this is what it is. What love feels like. Holy fuck. I’m 100% batshit crazy in love with this man. There’s no going back is there? I raise my head to look at him. He kisses my forehead. With that and my reflexive smile I’m going to say no.
“Do you think you’d be ready to face everyone?” Gerard spoke brushing the hair from my face and tucking it gingerly behind my ear.
“Honestly? No, I’d rather just be here with you. I-I don’t know but everyone is most likely freaking out over me so I should at least go see them.”
“Right you are. Do you want me to go with you?”
“I don’t want to cause any more fights.”
“Let me worry about that. I’ll be fine. I’ll be more of a shadow than anything. Do you want me to go with or not?”
“I do.” I sighed parting myself from him placing both my hands on my lap bracing myself to stand up.
“Or never. Frankie first, Ray last. Bob? I can see him if he’s around.”
“Fair enough. I’ll stay out of the way.”
I inhaled sharply and headed for the door with him a step behind me. My head was swimming a bit, I knew this was probably going to be ugly. This situation was a broken mirror. Time to pick up the pieces and hope we steer clear of the seven years of bad luck. We were totally quiet walking the halls. I gathered because both of us didn’t even know what we could say. I felt my heart in my throat arriving at Frankie’s room. I knock on the door and I can hear my heart pounding in my ears. I look back to Gerard for some reassurance. I get a slight nod. His eyes say what his mouth can’t seem to. “You can do this.”
I see the door creep open and my stomach drops. I see Frankie’s eyes adjust to the sight of me, too shocked to say anything. Suddenly his arms crashed around me hard. I hug him back and I can feel him start to sob. Lately I had seen such a sensitive side to him. I can’t help but tear up a bit.
“I’m so happy you’re alive. I thought-- I thought we lost you like we lost--” Frankie trailed off and started crying again. I felt like that sentence was going to end with “Ellie.”
“It’s okay, I’m here. I’m totally fine. No one’s losing anybody.” I say holding him tightly. Here I am, no less mess than Frankie’s is at the moment and I’m the one doing the comforting. It’s a little funny because it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who’s breaking. He let me go.
“Get in here.” he said walking into the room. He hadn't even noticed Gerard was with me. I stood by his bedside waiting for him to acknowledge that fact. Frankie went to go shut the door and finally realized who was before him.”
“H-hey man.” I could hear the shakiness in Gerard’s voice.
“H-hey. You can come in, but you’re not off the hook you know.”
“Not like I expected to be.” he said walking in the door as he closed it behind him.
“Sit, both of you.” Frankie gestured toward the couch in the room. Gerard sauntered over to it and I meekly followed suit.
Not knowing what to say or who should talk first we just awkwardly sat looking at Frankie. He was pacing back and forth, arms crossed and one hand covering his mouth with a few fingers. Frankie pivoted toward us stopping mid pace. He took a breath to speak.
“So you two wanna tell me what the FUCK is going on now?”
“Frankie-- I--” Gerard started in but Frankie stopped him.
“Actually I wanna hear it from her.”
I swallowed hard. Looking nervously at the two men near me with back and forth glances I took a deep breath.
“Well, I know everything now. About Gerard, about Ellie.”
“You really do know everything? Gerard, did you actually tell her everything?” he said shooting a discerned look at Gerard. He nodded to Frankie.
“Am I missing something?” I asked.
“If Gee says he told you everything then he did. Christine, I- I am so sorry. It was wrong to keep you in the dark like we did. I was just so scared that if we let it spill that history would repeat itself.”
“Excuse me?!” Gerard’s voice raised a little, his body leaning into his words.
“What?! Like you didn’t think it either?! Don’t even fucking act like you’re a saint Gerard. God knows all of us are far from it!” I jumped a bit when I heard him yell.
“Can we please not fight. Haven’t we all had enough fighting?” I pleaded.
“You’re right, you’re right. I’m sorry.” Gerard said, retreating back into the back of the couch.
“So what now? I guess you probably want to leave when tour is over.” Frankie said sounding a bit wounded.
“I hadn’t really thought about the tour honestly. I guess I’ll finish it out and go from there. I’m not leaving Gerard though.”
“Thank god.” his words paired with a sigh of relief. Frankie sat on the bed.
“What?” I asked.
“It’s just. Gerard needs you. Whether he likes to actually admit it, he does. I know you don’t always get to watch but I see how different he is on stage after being with you. He lights up, he loves it again. He hasn't done that in a while. I mean he always kills it for the kids but it’s a giant change. I know because I’m his best friend. I know he’s been kind of a major dick lately, well we all have but, what I’m trying to say is… you gave him his passion back.”
“Whoa, cue the chick flick music.” Gerard joked. I shoved him.
“See what I mean? Kind of a dick.” Frankie laughed.
“Nothing I can’t handle.” I laughed. It was so nice to joke with them. It felt safe.
“If you really mean it; if you’re gonna stay,and you two are going to remain together-- then I’m gonna be here to back you up. Trust me when you deal with Ray you’re gonna need it. Gerard I swear, man, if you fuck this up, I’m gonna hurt you, capiche?”
“Capiche.” Gerard replied.
“Come here.” Frankie stood arms open toward me. I got up to hug him tight.
“Are we all okay now?” I asked.
“Yeah we are.” Releasing me he walked toward Gerard.
“You too, you son of a bitch.” Frankie approached him arms open.
“I thought you loved my mom.”
“Oh shut up and hug me.”
“ Ugh no. I think I’m getting a case of the too-touchy-feelies.” Gerard smiled trying to act like he was disgusted.
“Really? Really?! Coming from the dude I kiss and get my face shoved in the crotch of on stage?! I think we can hug it out. We’ve already out-gayed the levels of hetero friendship.”
I burst out laughing. God this felt amazing to laugh.
“Just hug him goddammit!” I walked over pushing Gerard to him. Gerard hugged him.
“Just for that, no makeup sex for you mister.” Frank laughed as Gee grimaced.
“You just have to take everything from me don’t you? First spooning in our bunk isn’t allowed, now this?” Gerard pouted playfully. The conversation was getting too close for comfort, joking or not, so I butted in.
“Alright you two break it up. Time to go mess with the bull since we already got the horns.”
“Ahh you’re talking about Toro! Funny.” Frankie shook a finger at me.
“Well it is what you say as a matador, right?” I retorted. They both chuckled at me.
“Go on, go talk to Ray. I’ll be here if you need me. Good luck.”
Frankie walked before us and guided us out the door. We walked out, and this time Gee took my hand. I smiled at him faintly. We didn’t need words. We approached the corner, Ray wasn’t too far off. I felt Gerard get a little shaky. I let my eyes say what his did earlier. “You can do this.”
I knocked on the door. I got no reply so I spoke through the door.
“Ray? It’s Christine. Can you open up?” I heard what sounded like a lamp breaking followed by an unintelligible scream.
“STAY THERE.” I heard a voice roar.
“Holy shit, that’s Bryar yelling!” Gerard exclaimed.
“What do you me--” I paused seeing the door swing open and hitting the wall. It was Bob, with a busted lip and a bloodied chin. The bathroom door behind him was being held back by a lounge chair. I could hear someone pounding on the door.
“What the--” I was so confused.
“It’s Ray. He’s-- he’s--” Bob tried to manage a sentence but he was a little out of breath.
“It’s okay dude, chill for a minute. Breathe.” Gerard said trying to hold him on his feet. Bob closed the door and walked into the hall with us. He propped himself up against the wall and slid to sit down on the floor. I could still hear the pounding in the room.
“Is Ray in that bathroom?” I asked.
Gerard took a breath and pushed his hair out of his face with both hands.
“Let me take a guess. He’s shit faced.” Gerard’s voice was a mix of angst and disappointment.
“Yeah. I heard him screaming and crying a while ago. By the time I got here I had seen about 3 or 4 bottles of liquor empty. I think he bought a shit ton without telling anyone.” Bob coughed and wiped his mouth on his sleeve and adjusted the beanie he frequently wore. He looked to me.
“I’m happy to see you’re alright though. I hope you liked your get well bear. I’m not usually such a sap, but I like you so I wanted to be nice.”
“I did, thank you. It was sweet. I--” Gerard interrupted me.
“What the hell happened when you found him?”
“Naturally I tried to talk him down, but he wouldn’t shut up about you. He wants to hurt you, man. When I walked in he was guns a blazin’. I tried to calm him down and get him to drink some water so he could chill the fuck out. He went nuts. Wouldn’t sit down, started screaming nonsense about how he’s gonna kill you and then he started sobbing. The only words I could make out was “Ellie, why?” He punched me when I tried to comfort him. Started throwing shit, so I decided to lock him in the bathroom. If he’s gonna act like a motherfuckin’ child I might as well give him a time out.”
“BRYAR. I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU DON’T LET ME OUT!!!! I FUCKING HEAR YOU TALKING TO THAT SWINE OUTSIDE!” We head Ray screaming through the walls.
“Ray calm the fuck down! You’re drunk!” Bob shouted.
“Not like I’m the only one in our screwed up family who has been.” Gerard shot his eyes away at the comment. I knew it was a dig at him from Ray.
“Bryar, let him out. I’m gonna punch him right in that fat ass mouth of his.” Gerard spat rolling up his sleeves.
“Gee, no!” I said stepping in front of the door, blocking the way.
“What’s wrong Gerard, gonna let your little bitch fight your battles for you?” I heard Ray cackle.
“Okay, that’s fucking it.” Gerard was fuming.
“At this point decking him is the only thing that might pass him out. After bustin’ my fuckin’ lip and what he just said he at least deserves that.” Bob was trying to reason with me.
“I don’t agree with this one bit, but the only way we can really talk to him is if he’s sobering up and calm.”
“Let’s do this.” Gerard said offering a hand to Bob. He pulled him up. Bob reached for the door. He retrieved the room key from his pocket. Before swiping it Bob looked to me.
“Stay back okay? I don’t want you hurt.”
In that moment, I realized that Bob was really just a gentle person. Rough around the edges but all around a good person. It was weird, but comforting. I needed that with what was about to go down. I didn’t really want them sparring with the drunken lunatic Ray was right now, but it seemed like the only way. I watched them open the door. Bob pushed back the chair in front of the bathroom. I backed up and watched.
“Ray, we’re not gonna hurt you unless you force us to, okay?” Bob spoke through the door, signaling Gerard to hide around the corner.
“Okay, okay. I’ll play nice.” I heard Ray say as the door creaked open. Ray walked out, spotted me and spoke.
“Oh there she is! Chrissy! Congratulations! You’re fucked!” he said slow clapping and smiling like an idiot.
“Shut up. I can smell the liquor from here.” I could. I was on the opposite wall of the doorway, near another room.
“Oh don’t even act like you’re innocent. You’re just as fucking deranged as Gerard is. Speaking of, where is he, anyway?”
“Ray, c’mon man let’s just get you some coffee or something.” Bob interjected.
“Was I TALKING to you Bryar? I think not. Answer the question, Chrissy. Where is he?”
“You really don’t pay attention do you?” I smiled.
“Excuse me, bitch?” He tried to stumble towards me. Bob held him back. I could see Gerard peer from around the corner to tap Ray on the shoulder two times. Ray turned around and before he could even react, WHAM! Hello, Ray’s face? Meet Gerard’s fist. He was out like a light and Bob caught him. Gerard’s face lit up with a smirk that I felt like was never gonna go away.
“Yeah, baby?” he sniffled adjusting his sleeve, looking down at Ray knocked out, then back to me.
“You’re okay, right?”
“Never better.” He laughed.
“C’mon, help me lift him. We need to put him on the bed.” Bob gestured to Gee with his head, struggling to keep Ray somewhat upright. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. Drunk or not, Ray was right. We were our own little dysfunctional family. I walked into the doorway, stopping myself.
“Is it safe to come in?”
“Yeah Chrissy, come in.” Bob replied. I tread carefully inside.
“How long do you think he’ll be out?” I said looking to them both, crossing my arms.
“Dunno. Long enough I s’pose. I’ll stay with him till he sobers up.”
“Thanks, Bryar. I owe you one.”
“Nah, you knocked him out. Good enough for me.”
“Tell him to call me when he’s good to talk?” Gerard asked.
“Yeah sure thing. I’ll call you or Frank if he goes ham again.”
“Definitely.” Gerard nodded.
“You guys go spend some time, I’ll hold down the fort.” Bob nodded towards me. I felt my stomach growl. I realized I hadn’t eaten in three days. Gee must have read my mind.
“Let’s get some food. Ass kicking makes me hungry.”
“Bob, do you want anything?” I asked.
“Once you figure out what you’re having, text me and I’ll make up my mind. I’ve got to babysit boozy over here.”
“Will do.” Gerard walked towards me as I walked out. He took my hand again. I noticed Gee held mine with the hand he didn’t punch Ray with.
“So how’d it feel punching him?” I ask cracking a grin.
“How’s the hand feel?”
“Hurts like fuck. Toro’s got a motherfucking boulder for a nose.”
I broke into laughter and Gerard did too.
It was refreshing, acting like this with him. Maybe there won’t be seven years of bad luck after all.