The next stop for the Black Parade is Topeka Kansas. For Monica this means returning to the place she never wanted to see again.
"Well it is sort of weird," she agreed. She raised her arm and checked her watch. "It's really noon?"
"Yep, that's why I was checking to see if you were OK. The rest of us have been up for hours. We are gonna be stopping soon and I thought you might want to get up."
She stretched, "I am sort of hungry." She admitted. "So is Gee up?"
Frank laughed, "Nope, you must have worn him out." He was smirking.
Monica gave him an innocent look, well at least the best one she could fake, "I have no idea what you are talking about."
He laughed "Right. You two are so touchy feely it's pathetic. Makes me miss Jamia. I know she is working hard back home with Skeleton Crew and all but I really wish she was here."
"Ah, does Frankie need a hug?" Mikey was standing behind him listening. "I'll give you a hug"
"Oh, Mikey my love I thought you would never be mine" Frank turned and threw his arms around the thin bassist.
"Get off Iero" Mikey laughed. He pushed him away and turned to look at Monica who was giggling. "We are almost to Topeka. There is a signing lined up by the local radio station at 2:00."
"Missouri?" Frank asked.
"Kansas" Monica corrected him in a tone that suggested she wasn't pleased. "Topeka is in Kansas."
Mikey looked at her strangely, "You're originally from Kansas, right?"
Monica swung her legs out of her bunk. "Yea, I'm from Alma a small town not too far from Topeka." She stood and stretched.
"Are there relatives or friends you want to see while we're here? Cause maybe we can work something out." Mikey asked.
She tried to keep her tone nonchalant. "No I don't have any one in the area anymore. I'm gonna change now" She headed to the bathroom grabbing her small clothes bag.
Ray who had been standing just down from them looked at Mikey and shook his head. Once again he wondered what it was about Monica that seemed "off".
Frank had noticed the change in Monica when she had learned where they were "She knew we were going to this venue. Doesn't seem to happy to be in the area does she?"
"Nope she isn't too happy" Mikey said shrugging. He turned to the bunk across the way, "Oh Gee time to get up"
Gerard mumbled something that sound like fuck you and rolled over.
Come on sleepy head, time to wake up" Frank pulled his curtain completely open and pulled the covers off him. Gerard just scooted over towards the wall and ignored him. Frank crawled in next to Gerard and threw his arm around him "Oh Gee, your brother has rejected me. Will you be mine?
Gerard was trapped between the wall and Frank "Hey somebody please remove Iero from my bunk" he yelled.
Frank laughed, "Come on Gee, you know you want me"
Gerard pushed against the wall causing Frank to tumble out of the bunk and hit the floor with a loud thud. "Sorry Frank I'm taken." He said looking down at him.
Jerry walked over and looked down at Frank. "Guys we have the signing at 2:00 for radio station B100. That means when we get to the Expocentre we will have time to get some lunch first."
"That's V100" Monica corrected. She had just come out of the bathroom and was looking down at Frank too.
Jerry looked over at her. She nodded "It's V100. I used to listen that station." She stepped over Frank and put her bag back on her bunk. "So Frank why are you on the floor?"
"Cause your stupid boyfriend pushed me out of his bunk" He answered trying to look hurt.
"And you were in his bunk why?"
"He was leading me on. I thought he really loved me" Frank sat up but was quickly hit on the top of the head by Gerard.
"Go away Frank. None of us love you." Gerard told him with a grin.
Monica joined in the fun "That's not true Frank. I love you I was just pretending to like Gerard so I could be near you." She helped him to his feet and gave him a hug.
"Back away from my girl" Gerard said getting out of his bunk. He pulled Monica to his chest and hugged her.
The bus had arrived at the Topeka Expocentre and had parked. "I'm tired of all this rejection. I'm out of here." Frank said smiling. He moved towards the front of the bus where Jerry was now standing.
Mikey, Frank and Bob walked up and joined them. Jerry was explaining the itinerary. They were going to lunch then the signing. Monica and Gerard moved to join the group.
"They moved the signing to the mall here in town because of a very large expected crowd. Monica what is the name of the mall?" Jerry asked.
"West Ridge" she answered. "It's a large mall"
Gerard notice the tone of her voice sounded wrong. He knew something was bothering her. "You OK?" he whispered in her ear.
She forced a smile "Sure, I'm just sort of hungry."
"Worked up an appetite last night?"
She glanced around to make sure no one was listening to her. "Made me wicked hungry."
"OK then lets load into the van in 10 minutes and get some lunch." Jerry said in conclusion.
They were all in the van in eight minutes. Monica tried to calm her nerves. When she had left this area she had vowed never to return. Now here she was looking out the window of the van at the familiar sights. So much for leaving the past behind.
Gerard reached out and took her hand "You are pretty quiet. Sure everything is OK?"
"Yep, no problems. Where are we going for lunch?"
After a vote they pulled into the Applebee's parking lot. Lunch was a relaxed affair and Monica actually felt better than she had earlier. They arrived at the mall ten minutes early. The music store FYE had everything set up for the band in corporation with the radio station.
Monica stood back and watched as the band took their seats behind a long elevated table. The line of fans waiting for autographs was huge. The dedication these guys had to their fans was inspiring. They talked to the fans who came to see them like they were old friends. They posed for pictures and gave hugs. After the first hour she decided to walk down the mall and look around. When she returned two hours later there was still a long line. She knew they would stay until the last possible minute to make sure they got to talk to every last person who had come to see them.
They were close to the end of the line and Jerry was reminding them they had to get back. With just moments to spare they signed the last autograph. Jerry ushered them towards the malls back entrance where the van was parked. Monica followed behind walking quickly to catch up. She was almost to the van when she heard her name.
Turning back towards the mall she saw a woman rushing towards her. "Monica Knight. I thought that was you. Where have you been all this time? You have no idea how much we've prayed for you."
Gerard turned to see the look of fear on Monica's face. As the woman neared she turned to him and surprised him by saying "Oh fuck."
Authors Note - Yea for Topeka Kansas! I am going to see MCR at the Topeka Expocentre on March 2nd!!!