The living room was empty, except for me. For a few brief seconds I thought everything was in order, but then I remembered that I had fallen asleep in my bed--with Gerard.
It took me a little longer to realise that he must've left while I was sleeping (no small feat, since he had apparently been drunk), and that I should probably get dressed and find someone. I grabbed my clothes and shoes and slipped out of bed, my teeth chattering with cold before I'd even stood up. I crept through the kitchen and out into the hallway, but there didn't appear to be a bathroom down there, so I turned and went up the stairs.
They led up into a hallway with four identical doors branching off of it. I hesitated and tried to guess which one was most likely to contain a bathroom, but before I could make a move, the door closest to me swung open, spilling the sounds of angry rock into the quiet morning. Gerard stood there, staring at me, his face showing only minimal recognition.
"Um...morning," I said as brightly as I could manage.
"Hey," he grunted in reply.
"I was just looking for the...bathroom."
He pointed to the opposite door, without looking away from my eyes. "Just there."
"Yeah, er...thanks," I said awkwardly. I turned to go into the bathroom, and at that very second Mike opened the door. He was dripping wet and wearing only a towel. I stood frozen for just a few seconds.
"Oh...hi. Uh, I mean, sorry," I said, finally remembering to look away.
"'S okay," he said. He had a smug little smirk on his face, but I could tell he was just about as embarrased as I was--only HE wasn't blushing. I could feel that Gerard was still watching all this from behind. We stood there, the three of us, until I felt ready to scream from the awkwardness of the situation.
"Um...I was just gonna get dressed," I said finally.
"Oh--right." Mike quickly stepped out of the doorway and walked off down the hall--to his bedroom, I guessed. As I closed the bathroom door behind me, Gerard was still looking at me--and for the life of me, I couldn't tell what he was thinking.
I leaned back against the door and let out a frustrated growl. Why was he so strange? One minute he was the nicest person I'd ever met, and the next he was back to being some annoying enigma with no answer. Why the fuckwas he staring at me? Did he even remember what had happened last night? He had to have some idea--even if he didn't remember exactly what we did, he must've seen me when he got up that morning. What if he thought I'd come upstairs to look for him? Oh, fuck--what if he didn't remember anything at all, and thought we'd gone much further than we actually had!? All legitimate reasons to stare at me, but none of them seemed very optimistic.
I yanked off the t-shirt that still had a little of Gerard's scent on it, and put on my jeans and hoodie. I ran a comb I'd found through my hair and slipped my flats on. I found an eyeliner in the medicine cabinet (the absurdity of which made me laugh for a full five minutes) and smudged some around my eyes. There--I felt ready for whatever odd things might happen next.
I padded down the stairs and into the kitchen, where Mike was drinking from a steaming cup. He jerked his head in greeting, and shook the Nescafe jar in my direction. I shook my head.
"No thanks, I'm fine. I'll just, uh, clean up the bed."
I made the bed, collapsed on it again, and stared at the ceiling, trying to make sense of everything. Before long Mike came in and flicked on the TV. He sat heavily on the couch.
"You wanna stay for lunch?" he asked. "I'll get pizza."
"Sure," I smiled. Pizza was always good. "I mean, if it's not too much trouble. Your parents won't mind?"
"Nah, they won't even be back till tomorrow at the earliest," he said.
"Okay, cool, then."
We sat there for a while, until Gerard came downstairs and slumped on the couch next to Mike. What had been a comfortable silence was immediately transformed into an awkward silence.
"Um...I better go get that pizza, then," Mike said, more to himself than anyone else. He fumbled around for a bit, looking for his wallet, before quietly letting himself out the front door.
I surveyed Gerard. He was scribbling in a little notebook, and didn't seem to be taking any notice of me. I sighed and turned my attention back to the TV.
"Hey, Verity?" he said suddenly, taking me by surprise. He still wasn't looking at me.
"I, uh..." he stalled. 'Is Gerard nervous?' I wondered. If so, this was a whole new side of him.
"I just wanted to apologize," he said resolutely. "For last night."
"What do you mean?" I asked, hoping I had misunderstood him.
"Well...for what I said. I was annoyed and angry and...but that's no excuse. So, uh...sorry for talking to you that way."
I looked at him curiously. This obviously wasn't something he did a lot, and I wasn't THAT offended by what he'd said. So this was a compliment.
"Don't worry about it," I said. "But...were you really serious?"
"About what?" He knew what I was talking about, I was sure, but didn't want to admit it just yet.
"You know...that you kissed me out of habit. For want of a better substitute."
He looked at me then. "No. I wasn't serious."
I was incredibly pleased, but I wasn't sure what to say.
"What are you writing?" I asked him finally.
He looked like he wouldn't tell me, but after a few seconds he handed me the notebook. "Just lyrics," he said deprecatingly.
At first glance, I couldn't even read what he'd written. His handwriting was schizophrenic, to say the least--it never stayed the same for more than a few words. The top half of the page was scratched out and written over so many times that it was impossible to tell what it was meant to say, but underneath that, he'd written the words in comparatively neat handwriting:
If you wanted honesty, that's all you had to say
I never want to let you down or make you go
It's better off this way
For all the dirty looks
The photographs your boyfriend took
Remember when you broke your foot from jumping out the second floor?
I'm not okay
I'm not okay
I'm not okay
You wear me out!
I looked at him out of the corner of my eye. "Gerard...this is really good."
"Yeah, bullshit," he said quietly. He was laying on the couch with his arms behind his head and his eyes shut. I clucked my tongue in frustration.
"I'm not kidding. I love it." He didn't react. "Can you...maybe sing it for me?"
He opened his eyes and considered me for a bit. "I don't think so," he said finally. "They're not finished, and...I'm not much of a singer, anyway." (A/N: right...the fuck you're not!! :P)
I opened my mouth to protest again, but I decided that I was lucky just to be having a conversation with him, so I let it go. And then I decided that if anything was ever going to come out of this, I'd just have to take a chance, and so I did the unthinkable: I got up from my matress, walked over to the couch, lay down next to Gerard, and snuggled up to him.
He just lay there, completely still, for a few minutes. I could tell he was contemplating his next move. Then he shifted so that he was above me, looking straight into my eyes. We stayed like that for a little bit, he looking searchingly into my eyes, and I trying not to get nervous just when we were getting along so well.
"Can I kiss you again?" he asked. I managed a nod.
As he touched his lips to mine, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, the way they do when someone's staring at you from behind. I jerked my head away to look, and Gerard drew back, surprised. His eyes followed mine to the doorway, where Mikey stood, staring at us with a shocked expression on his face.
dont you all just love cliffies? i know i do... grins and yes, i know the lyrics are wrong...but lets just say he rewrote them a few more times in the next like...counts...ten years. :D