a shift of power, and the breaking of a love
The other bunks were silent. I had been curled against him since he lay next to me, and I felt sleep tugging at the back of my eyes. But I wasn't ready. I had things I wanted to know. I had /him/, and in the familar territory of my bunk, I finally felt brave enough to take on the things I wouldn't have considered on the back couch and almost foregin air.
"What do you dream about?"
A calmness followed my words, broken only by the almost soothing sound of wheels against road as he turned to look at me. His eyes shined in the faint glow that never seemed to have a source, yet was always there. I wondered briefly whether they came from his eyes themselves.
I shrugged slightly, a little too afraid that the movement would cause him to think I was uncomfortable and he would try and shift away. It was silly, really; but it worried me. "'Cause...because it sounds like you have bad dreams sometimes, you know? Like nightmares." I paused and burrowed my hand further under my pillows, since my fingers were near freezing. "What could scare you so much that you'd...?"
I meant to end it with something along the lines of sob, or cry, or choke--but it didn't feel right. It never felt like anyone of those things. It...was just--
He was silent for a minute before answering, his hair falling gently in front of his face as he looked at me. "You remember when Elena died?" he asked, and I nodded. "I was upset, yeah, but...I always knew that she was happy. Because she died happy. It doesn't hurt so much if you know that, and in the end, really, it was all that mattered in the first place. Someone can have an shitty life and be miserable on their deathbed...but if in that one moment, the last breath they take, something beautiful happens to them, and they smile...it feels like that's the only moment that ever really meant anything. At the end."
He swallowed and studied my face, his eyes absent of the piercing stare, the knowing gleam, the hardened resolve...they were soft and open, asking sweetly for hope, words, comfort, touch, /any/thing that would willingly be given. The simple look nearly drove me insane with a tormenting guilt, though I had never done anything to hurt him.
"Your last moment wasn't like that, Frank," he continued, his voice below a whisper. "It was harsh, and swift, and...there wasn't any time for pleasure or nostalgia, or love or words or anything. It was cold. And I was cold. I'd dream it over and over again, until it haunted me at night. I knew I had to make a choice. A decision. One I hoped I could ignore, like I have been. I couldn't let you die like that, not like what I see." He touched my face, running his hand across my cheek. "Do you know why that happened?"
I shook my head, my eyes stinging.
"Because I wasn't there for you."
I took a deep shaking breath, muttering, "Is that why you're doing...this? Because you're afraid?"
"Partially," he answered, slipping his hand underneath the pillows and taking mine in his own. It instantly warmed up. "And partially of something more. However, I do believe that those intertwine quite nicely with each other."
He smiled and I let out the breath that I was holding, allowing it to turn into a relieved, almost thankful, soft laugh. "Anything else you want to lay out for me, now that we're doing this little therapy session?"
He leant up against me, pressing against my side. "Other than myself?" he whispered into my ear seductively, running his hand down my hip until it cupped the bone.
I jolted, and a pleasant shiver passed through my entire body before I instinctively shifted closer to close the space between us, a low hum eliciting from my throat--I silently blamed my still-half-asleep body for that one. He pushed the hair away from my face and giggled lightly. "Go to sleep."
"After you just said that? No way."
I placed a feather-light kiss to his neck and smirked when I felt him unconsciously tilt his head back, swallowing quickly.
"Come on, Frankie, stop," he sighed, his voice laced with a humorous impatience (yet his hand had found it's way to the back of my head to tangle in my hair as I maneuvered my lips around his neck). "Be the good little Catholic boy that I know you are."
"I'll be whatever you want me to be," I said hoarsely, slipping one of my legs over his and pressing myself against him. He let out a barely noticeable moan and his hand tightened in my hair. As retaliation, I nipped the skin of his neck harshly, and he brought his wrist up quickly to stifle the groan that he made.
"I want you."
My body temperature was rising and my jeans were even more uncomfortable than they were before. My mind was swimming in the darkness, and I moved only by touch, sense, and feel. Oh, and how marvelous those movements and senses were turning out to be. My breathing was harsher, but I didn't care about it; I didn't care about the other guys; I didn't care about morals; all I cared about was the gorgeous man beneath me that was writhing under my ministrations, and why did this have to wait so long?
But Gerard cared. Almost panting, he pried me off of him and placed a hand over my mouth, turning to face me. I was more than awake now, and my eyes tried to catch a good glimpse of his face; I imagined what it would look like--flushed, reddening, with eyes darkened over from lust.
They'd be so deliciously green.
"Frank, Jesus Christ, we're in a bunk!" he whispered harshly, his hand still placed over my mouth; I thought that was a bit unfair, since he was the one making the noises. "I mean--I know, but...no. Calm down."
I tore my mouth away from his hand and replied indignantly, "You started it!"
"I know, I know...sorry."
I leant up and whispered in his ear, "I'm not."
"Frankie," he warned, his voice slightly out of tone as a hand found it's way to my shoulder and pushed me back down to the pillow. He lay down next to me and let out a long breath while I watched him, dying to do nothing but finish what I started. But I knew that I wouldn't get far before his common sense kicked in, so I simply laid there, watching his chest rise and fall quickly, then slowly...slower...finally back to normal. He turned to me.
"Do you know how hard it's going to be to concentrate on stage now?"
I smirked. "I have an idea."
"Bitch," he muttered, wrapping his arms around my waist and snuggling closer. "Now I'm only going to ask you this one more time: Go to fucking sleep."
I smiled. "Aye aye, Cap-i-tan."
He was silent for a moment, before, "Frank?"
"Are you mad?
"It's my lunch, you bitch."
I sat down next to Bob on the front couch, yawning and scratching the back of my neck. I frowned down at the thing on Bob's plate, which may have passed for a hamburger if it didn't have an odd assortment of things sticking out from between the buns. From just one look, I had managed to locate French fries, mustard, and what may have been some leftover macaroni and cheese.
"Of course it is," I answered dubiously, scrunching up my nose when I went in for a closer inspection. "And what exactly do you call your creation?"
"Whatever-Bob-can-find-in-the-fridge-since-no-one-made-any-fucking-food," he answered, not looking up from the magazine that was propped against the arm of the chair.
"Well, it's appropriate," I answer. "Now, do you think you could tell me what lovely cornucopia of flavors I get for lunch?"
Bob shrugged. "Whatever you find. I think I saw some Cheetos in the back cupboard."
"What? You're not even going to make me anything?" I asked incredulously. I knew I was just going to piss him off, but that was half of the joy of having Bob on tour. Like poking a tiger through the cage when the gate is obviously open.
"Well why don't you just open the goddamn door and eat the fucking dirt, fucking vegan."
"Now that's just /rude/," I said, opening my mouth to once again teeter on the years of my life expectancy, when something caught my eye. "Bob...what are you reading?"
"Nothing. Go away."
"You're reading that girly magazine Gee bought, aren't you!"
"Shut up, you fucking pansy. I swear to god that I won't hesitate to tie you to the roof of the bus."
"Ha, so I'm right!" I cried, pounding my fist into the couch. A small cloud of dust rose up and threatened to engulf us before filtering outwards.
I stared at it for a moment, making a face. And I thought this bus was /new/.
I slammed my hand against the course fabric again, as if expecting a different reaction--and I might as well have gotten one, since almost twice as much dust from the first hit bounced up and hit me straight in the face, launching me into a coughing fit as I waved my hands around frantically, trying to clear the air.
When I finally got my breath back, Bob was watching me with a blank expression on his face. "You're a dick," he muttered, before taking another huge bite of his monstrosity of a burger.
Muttering thickly, I returned to the bunks and flopped into mine, leaving the curtain open. Only Bob and I were here; Mikey was meeting up with Alicia somewhere before the show in a couple of hours, Ray was off somewhere trying to contact Brian, who had likewise disappeared. And the last time I saw Gerard about two hours ago this morning, when he said he was going to get some coffee and take a walk. I asked if he wanted me to come with him, but he had just smiled and shook his head no, saying he had some business to attend to.
I was still wondering whether the sick feeling I had in my stomach was from nerves, hurt, or something different. I plucked mindlessly at the blankets, and listened to the TV in the front of the bus. At least Bob had given up on the magazine.
Then my fingers brushed over something cold and hard, and I tugged my cell phone out from underneath a few layers of fabric. It must have fallen out last night during...yeah. I flushed at the thought and a hot surge of embarrassment that passed through me.
Followed shortly by the cold sink of guilt when I saw that I had a missed call.
I pressed "send" to call her back, getting out of my bunk and retreating to the back of the bus quietly, shutting the door behind me and filtering out the television from up front. I had thought about making this call the past few days, but my guilt always stopped me. I'd feel so sick. I usually just tried to ignore it.
I smiled at her voice, despite myself. It always reminded me of vanilla. Simple. Elegant.
No. I gave myself a mental shake and tried to sound cheerful.
It didn't work.
"Sweetie, what's wrong?"
I swallowed. "I..." I swallowed again, balancing my elbows on my knees and running a hand through my hair. "...I, I think that I..."
She sounded concerned. Fuck/. What the hell is my problem? Why did I think I could do this? Why did I do /that?
"Frank? You think what?"
I bit my lip. "I think I...kinda cheated on you, Jamia."
To my utter surprise and bewilderment, she laughed. "You think/, huh? Well /I think that you can't kinda cheat on someone. You either did or you didn't."
"Alright. I did. But...it's complicated."
What the fuck does that matter? Jesus, Frank...
"So I've heard," she muttered (giggled?), and I started.
"...What did you say?"
"So tell me, who started it? You or him?"
I didn't answer. I couldn't answer. What the fuck was going on? She sounded strange... I felt strange. Sick. Ill.
"...What's happening? What are you saying? Why are you...? What's going on?"
"Oh, I'm sorry Frank," she said. "I just wanted to hear your side."
"My side of what?"
My mind was speeding. I felt like throwing up. Was she mad? Was she okay? Would she forgive me?
"Well, what happened between you and Gerard, of course. He called me earlier, you know."
My pulse raced. This wasn't happening. This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
It was never supposed to be.
"What did he tell you?"
My voice was unnatural, I knew. My throat felt tight, and my hands were cold and shaking in front of me.
How could you do this to me?
"He told me... that he's developed an interest in you."
I swallowed again. The lump wouldn't leave my throat. I felt like I was choking. I felt like choking. Panic rushed through my veins, exaggerated by the fear that slammed against me.
"Jamia, are we...?"
She sighed. "Frank, I love you. You're my best friend. You're the best friend I'll ever have, and I've known that since that day in eight grade when you pulled that stunt to get yourself noticed. I'm not saying that I won't miss us, but--"
"You won't need to miss us!" I interrupted, almost hysterically. "We're fine. I just need to tell Gerard to get his fucking fantasies--"
The words caught in my throat. Added to thickness of emotions already threatening to do me over. It wasn't just him. Memories flooded in.
"I want you."
My lapse gave Jamia time to take control of the conversation.
"Frank--Frank, listen to me. Gerard knew this was coming. I knew this was coming. You knew this was coming, Frank, no matter how much you deny it."
"I always thought...unrequited."
"Jamia..." I muttered half-heartedly. I almost imagined that I could hear her smile over the phone.
"I always knew this call would happen," she laughed, but it was punctuated. It was broken.
"I knew, and it's not surprising. Maybe not with Gerard, but...you need to believe me, Frank, I don't wish ill on you. I'm happy, I really am. Just...you know, promise me you'll come visit after tour? I'll cook for everyone, like I did before you guys left."
"Jamia, stop, please...just forget what happened. I'll talk to Gerard. We'll get this sorted out. I...I need you."
She laughed again, and I was heartbroken that it sounded genuine. Yes, I could still hear the tears in her voice, but her laughter and smile were there. Was it really that obvious? Could everyone see it but me?
"Frank, Gerard needs you. You know that. And you need him. I'm not alone--don't worry about me. I just want you to promise that you'll come by so I can make you guys dinner. Promise?"
Tears were leaking from my eyes, but I didn't know why. Relief? Hurt? Anger?
"I'll see you soon, Frank. Take good care of Gee for us."
No. I wouldn't give up this easily. I wouldn't let her slip away from me.
I snapped my phone shut and wiped my eyes. Three years. Three years just lost down the fucking drain because of one stupid...whatever the fuck it was Gerard and I were doing. I'd just lost the woman of my dreams for a goddamn romantic lark. And that lark just had the fucking guts to call up the love of my life and tell her that him and I had been having more-than-friendly relations.
Rage surged up through me to replace the disbelief, and I knew I was becoming irrational, but I didn't care. Jamia wasn't going to be mine. We weren't going to get married. We weren't going to raise children and buy a house together and live happily ever after.
And it was Gerard's fault.
I shot out of my seat and tore the door open, determined to leave the bus and find Gerard, wherever he was, and get revenge on him for ruining the perfection I had with Jamia. For ruining my life. For taking away the one person that had always been there for me.
Just as I reached to open the front door, ignoring Bob's questioning stare, it flew open to reveal a panting, flushed Mikey. If I hadn't been so set on getting my hands around Gerard's throat I might have cared about his wide-eyed expression and his shaking hands.
"Mikey, where the fuck is--"
"Shut up, Frank. Gerard's been attacked."