the morning, coupled with questions and crumbcake
I blink several times and groan, trying to adjust to the morning light. Shit, did I sleep the entire night through?
The sunlight streaming through the window is irritating and distracting, and adding that to the obvious fact that I was still half asleep, I must have asked Mikey what he was eating without realizing it, because he mumbled "Muffin," and held out the half open wrapper to me.
I ignored him and looked around, mentally slapping myself awake. Finally registering the response I had gotten from him earlier, I glared at him and tried sitting up to stare out of the offending window.
"You guys are in a hotel and you just left me out here to rot from bed cramps?"
Mikey rolled his eyes and swallowed. "No, we just checked in. I was voted to do the dirty work; i.e. collecting you. So, you know, get your lazy bitch ass up, and all that..."
I flopped back down into the comforter that I neglected to realize was there. I was still on the fucking couch, and I was trying really hard not to think about what happened before I fell asleep. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if I had just created all that in my mind, maybe from a mixed result of graphic cartoons and bad food, but it still wouldn't explain what I'd be doing in the game room at the back of the bus.
"Oh, come on Frankie. You really don't want me to do this the hard way, do you? Get /up/, before I send in the--"
"No way," I mutter from the fortress of fabric I had built over myself. "The only chance you'd have of getting me out of here is if you've made a fucking giant pot of--"
"Want some coffee? You get it free with the breakfast buffet in there. And it's /good/."
I slowly pull the covers over my head and sit up, shaking my head to clear it all while muttering half-assed curses under the breath, most of which don't make sense and lack grammatical clarity.
He grins widely at me. "You have ten minutes to get your damn coffee and meet me in room 207."
And he was gone. With my caffeine-filled excitement quickly deflating at the prospect of a Mikey-Frankie talk, I ran a hand through my mused hair, trying hopelessly to get it to lie flat, before declaring it a lost cause and stepping out of the bus myself.
I immediately regretted it, since it must have been at least forty degrees outside and I was already fucking freezing, standing there without a jacket, or really a purpose anymore--since I dreaded what awaiting me inside of room 207. I really, truly did.
But I'd do anything for a cup of coffee right now. Even face the unknowable dangers of the omnipotent Michael Way.
When I stepped inside, I was instantly greeted by Brian, our tour manager. He smiled broadly and held out a plate of crumb cake a steaming mug of the liquid energy I so craved. Bewildered, I took them and stared at him, as if waiting for instructions.
He shrugged. "Gerard and Bob are in a booth over there. They said you should be coming in soon, and I thought I'd get you something. Are you feeling alright?"
Ah. So that was it. He was worried about my health.../again/. Though I could hardly blame him--I was sicker than a dog more than half of the time, and my sudden bout of insomnia wasn't helping my condition.
"Yeah," I answered, albeit uneasily. "I've just been pretty tired. Jet lagging, you know."
I can't recall if I've used that excuse on him before; I've used it so much that I lose track of who I said it to. He eyed me curiously before nodding and walking away, and I began to think bitterly that I was in desperate need of more explanations to piss around.
"Frank! You're finally up!"
Gerard smiled and scooted over so that I could sit next to him, while Bob laughed through his plate of waffles.
"Wow, man. It's been awhile since we've been able to say that," he chewed thoughtfully. "So, you've found a secret method to finally clocking in?"
I bit my lip. "You could say that," I muttered, quickly changing the subject. "So, what rooms are we in? Is all my shit here, or did you just dump it along the road like last time?"
"We told you," Gerard said, his cheeks reddening. "It was a complete accident. We didn't mean to--"
"--You mean you didn't mean to--" Bob interjected.
"I didn't know the clasp was open, all right? Jesus, you two..."
We talked in ease and comfort for a few minutes, before Bob finished his breakfast and excused himself, his eyes locked on something behind us that we didn't dare question or look for.
When he walked off, I leant towards Gerard. "Ten bucks there's a certain redhead back there."
Gerard smiled, and countered, "Ten bucks it's someone we've never seen before, and we'll never see again."
We shook hands, counted to three, and flipped around in our seats simultaneously. Bob was standing by the entrance to the hotel, his arms around a petite girl with familiar flaming red hair.
"Hell yes! Pay up, Gee," I said, pumping my fist into the air as Gerard cursed loudly. Both of these actions proved to be unwise decisions as Bob's acute hearing honed in on our booth and he shot us the most lethal glare we'd ever been on the receiving end of.
"Shit!" I said, turning back around and sinking into the cushions. "Is he coming?"
Gerard was still facing the entrance, his eyes barely peeking over the top of the booth as he tried to spy inconspicuously. "I don't think so. But man, he looks pissed. I think we'd better hide out in Australia for a few months."
He plopped into the booth next to me, looking guilty and mischievous, but I refused to acknowledge it.
"Well, despite how fun that sounds, I'm afraid I'll have to pass," I said, stretching as best as I could in the position. "I have a very important meeting that I must attend."
Gerard didn't look at me, and I could tell that half of his mind was still hung up on Bob and what the consequences of their betting on his love life might land him with. "Oh? With whom?"
His eyes shot to mine. I swallowed, wondering if there was some sibling drama that I was missing, or if Gerard was just overly curious. "Why?"
"I don't know. He probably just wants to talk."
"Um, stuff. We always talk. You know that."
His gaze held mine relentlessly, and I knew I should think about turning away, or restating myself, or asking him what was wrong, but oddly enough, I felt as if the only thing right then I wanted to do was feel. Feel /something/. Anything.
"Don't listen to that kid," he said finally, his hazel eyes shimmering with amusement. "He'll fuck with you."
And then, whether it was because I was still kind of asleep, or because I felt drastic, or because I simply have no common sense whatsoever when it comes to wordplay, I heard myself saying, "Yeah, just like his brother."
He stopped smiling and tried to fix my gaze again. I wouldn't allow it.
I cut him off with a smile. "Sorry," I grinned, stepping out of the booth. "Mikey asked first."
And I turned and left, my legs feeling much more unstable than when I had come in, and my blood pulsing faster than I figured was normal.
I let my feet carry me through the hallways and followed my eyes unseeingly down the correct turns until I reached the two hundred row. When I found the right room, I knocked politely, looking behind my shoulder for reasons that I didn't know yet felt entirely stupid about.
"Frank, is that you?"
"Yeah," I called back. "Can I come in?"
I placed my hand on the doorknob, waiting for his usual "Yeah, yeah," before pushing it open.
He was laying on his back on top of the bed, blowing smoke from his mouth as the cigarette was held limply in his right fingers. I closed the door behind me and walked over, kicking his shoe with my foot.
"What do you want? I had to walk down, like, twenty hallways to find this damn place."
He looked up, eyed me curiously, then pulled himself into a sitting position.
"I want you to tell me what's up."
I shifted. "What's up with what?"
He rolled his eyes. Great, fifteen minutes into my day and I've already managed to sound like an idiot /twice/. Fantastic.
"Fuck, Frank, don't give me that. You spend over an hour with my brother in the back of the bus before he comes back and climbs into bed and we find you in the morning, sleeping like a fucking baby for the first time in weeks," he states clearly, and I feel my face flush. "So I just want a straight, honest answer. Did you two fuck, or what?"
"/Mikey/!" I hiss, but he shrugs.
"What? It's not like it would be surprising. But I won't go into that; I believe we've had that conversation earlier." He takes another drag, and looks at me expectantly.
"/Nothing/ happened," I say crossly. "We sat there, he named off the bones in my body, and I fell asleep. Is that so hard to believe?"
He raised an eyebrow, and I wondered if that counted as an "eye roll stupid Frank," or a different version of "stupid Frank."
"So...that's what happened?"
"That's what happened."
He smiled. "All right. I'm going to take a shower, so, you know, don't steal the hotel stuff for yourself, because I claim everything in here, bitch." He got up and headed into the bathroom.
I shook my head. "That's sad, Mikes. Still resorting to jacking hotel products? Shame, shame."
There was a slight bang in the bathroom (most likely him dropping something) before he shouted back, "Yeah, well, at least it's not as shameful as you jacking off to my b--"
"You finish that sentence Mikey, and I swear to high heaven that I'll smash your fucking Sidekick to pieces."
He feigned horror. "You wouldn't!"
I nodded, even though he couldn't see me. "I would. So shut up, and take a fucking shower. You reek, man."
"At least my stink is natural," he shouted back over the sound of the running facet. "Unlike yours, which smells oddly like se--"
"Shut /up/, Way!"
A sudden knock made me jump out of my skin and I stared at the door for several seconds, still tense. Finally regaining myself, I walked over and opened the damn thing to reveal Gerard, who stood in the hallway, smiling slightly.
"Well, speak of the devil," I heard Mikey say in the shower, and I barely had time to think about how deep their brotherly connection went, and whether it had surpassed the borders of telepathy before he opened his mouth.
"Frankie, I forgot to ask you... did you sleep alright?"
I hesitated, unsure how to answer and feeling increasingly more uncomfortable. If I told him "well", would he assume...? But if I lied, well...I'm a terrible liar. It wouldn't matter either way. But still...
"Yeah, I did," I paused, finally tacking on a "thank you" to the end of my feeble sentence.
"No problem," he answered, smiling wider. He turned out of the doorway, but I caught his arm. I wasn't sure why. I just needed to know that he was real. That I could hold onto him without having my hand clutch nothing but air.
"Gerard...was it...was I dreaming? Did it actually...?"
He paused, considering the question I hadn't really asked, and yet hadn't really needed to, before reaching out his hand and touching my collarbone.
"Scapula," I say automatically.
I shiver after realizing what I just said, and what I've just given away to him.
The red make-up left over from the show last night emphasize the green in his eyes far more than I had noticed earlier, and the touch of his fingertips lingers on my collarbone long after he's left the doorway and I'm lying on top of Mikey's bed, smoking the remains of his cigarette and wondering where the fuck I went wrong.