Gerard and Kathryn have an ideal relationship, in the spotlight.
"I've been fantastic," Kathryn smiled, but spoke almost mechanically. These dinners with the group came twice a month on average. Sometimes, everyone was too busy and it was limited to once a month. More often, though, someone would be bored and call up the rest of them, and they would be in this restaurant, again. Regardless of how many times they were there, the conversation rarely changed. Given recent events, however, they had a new topic to throw around the table.
"We finally set a date." Gerard said, putting his arm around her and smiling at the other diners at their table. His brother, Mikey, nodded approvingly.
"Well, it's about time," He laughed, holding onto Aiden's hand. Their wedding bands matched and shone as brightly as their smiles, "After five years, could you be any more sure that she's the best thing to ever happen to you?"
"Mikey, stop." Kathryn laughed, her cheeks taking on a distinct pink tinge.
"This bum would be lost without your amazing domestic abilities." Piped up Layla, from her spot next to Frank.
"That was a low blow. Ouch, Lay." Kathryn scrunched her nose. It was common knowledge that she was the last one you would ever want to trust with much of anything in the way of cleaning. Sure, she meant well, and did attempt to get things done, but it always seemed to backfire on her. Her good intentions didn't make the laundry in the dishwasher combination work any better, though.
"No, really, though. We're happy for you guys," Bob said, putting his arms around his girlfriend, Cheryl, "Now, Gerard won't die a lonely loser."
"Yeah. He'll just be a loser." Frank grinned.
"You guys are mean." Kathryn laughed, shaking her head and kissing a pouting Gerard.
"I'm so unloved." He said, frowning.
"We love you, Gerard. You're just not very cool." Layla said rationally.
"Nor are you very intelligent." Added Mikey.
"Or, attractive." Ray smirked.
"Dude, I think that's the first thing you said all night...and, it's that?!" Mikey looked at him, with his eyebrow raised.
"I know. I wanted to be part of the conversation."
"Where the hell were you when we were talking about your relationship?"
"He's only useful if Charlene is around. Otherwise, his head's in the clouds." Frank shook his head.
"Like Gerard without Kate." Layla smiled.
"Only, Gerard is worse." Aiden laughed. Gerard stood up quickly, startling the table and laughed in a good natured way.
"We'd better be going." He said, taking Kathryn's hand. She stood up next to him with a smile. He dropped some money on the table, covering him and Kathryn, as well as a nice top. After saying their goodbyes, Kathryn and Gerard departed. They walked into the brisk cold and waved down a taxi.
After the long and silent cab ride, they entered their house. Kathryn could sense the tension in the air, but wasn't quite sure what had put him off. Knowing him, it could be anything. She realized how few people knew about his anger and she almost felt happy that he shared it with only her. Almost.
"Tell me, Kathryn. Tell me what the fuck that was." Gerard said dangerously, looking at her. She looked back at him, calmly and cautiously.
"What was what, Gerard?"
"You don't even know. Oh, my god..." He looked away from her and started pacing the living room. She sat down and looked at him expectantly. She knew that he wasn't anywhere close to finished, "How dense are you? There were sitting there...sitting there fucking tearing me apart and you say nothing." Kathryn opened her mouth to speak, but shut it as he continued, "No, you did say something. You told them they were mean." He looked at her and shook his head, "Mean?! Are you a fucking child? You're supposed to defend me when I'm attacked and what do you do? You laugh and tell them they're mean. What kind of fiancee are you?"
"Gerard." She said firmly, bringing his tirade to an abrupt stop, "Gerard, I didn't see it as them attacking you. They were kidding around. We all know you're not stupid or ugly or any of those things."
"Yeah, well what about your love sick puppy? I didn't see you correcting them on that one."
"What's to correct? Don't you love me?" She asked, furrowing her brow. She regretted her questions, as she felt the back of his hand hit her face. A moment of silence followed as the loud slapping noise replayed in Kathryn's head, over and over. Her cheek flamed with heat, and her eyes dropped in submission.
"You look at me...look at me!" He yelled, and her eyes slowly rose to meet his. He grabbed her face and she stood up to make it easier on herself, "I am not a lovesick puppy. I love you, but I don't fucking rely on you. I don't need you for anything."
"Gerard, please." She said, her voice cracking and her eyes brimming with tears, "I get it. Just stop."
"Don't you tell me to stop!" He yelled, grabbing her by the shoulders. She closed her eyes and turned her head away, "I am the man, alright? I call the shots and I make the fucking rules. You just play by them."
"How can I?" She asked him, almost desperately, "The rules are always changing!" She looked at him, crying.
"It's common sense, but obviously you don't have any. Don't talk back to me. Don't question me. Don't step out of your place," He practically spat at her, as she watched him, solemnly, "Are you listening to me? Do you understand?"
"I understand." She mumbled. He shoved her roughly, which caused her to lose her footing and stumbled a few steps. She fell backwards, hitting her head on the corner of the coffee table. As it was rounded, it did little more than knock her out.
Kathryn laid still on the ground, with her tear stained eyes shut and her ragged breathing slowly regulating. Gerard looked down at her pitiful form, softening some. Most of his anger had passed, he realized, as he knelt down next to her. He ran a hand through her hair, seeing if any blood was present. None. He figured she was fine. As if routine, he went into the kitchen to get some ice, and then sat down on the couch with her head in his lap. Gerard held the ice to her already bruising cheek, frowning with the knowledge that this would leave a mark.
After a few silent moments, he took the remote and turned on the TV. The ten o'clock news blared from the small speakers, reporting the story of a man who was going to jail.
"According to neighbors, Kennedy was a soft spoken but charming man. No one knew of the terror that he put his wife through on a daily basis." The reporter said, his voice coming over the image of a man being lead away from a house in handcuffs. The frame moved to a body on a stretcher, being put into an ambulance, "Police say that he took it a step too far, last night, and killed Mrs. Rachel Kennedy. The court will decide punishment for Kennedy, but until then, he will be held in a detainment cell. Back to you, Tom." Gerard watched the story, shaking his head and muttering to himself.
"What a monster."