Keep it, keep it coming, all your loving, oh please don't stop/Fill me right up from the bottom to the top/Keep me cracking like a bubble, pop, pop, pop!/All your loving!
"Dude, no," said a voice which I assumed was Frankie's--I wasn't sure, as I was still debating whether or not I should open my eyes. "Nightmare Before Christmas. End of conversation."
The other person, who I'd by now pegged as Bob, swore some more, and I opened my eyes just in time to see him throw a piece of toast at Frankie's head. They both started yelling and chucking things.
I closed my eyes again immediately, though, because my head hurt so bad that it wasn't even funny. 'What the shit did I drink last night?' I wondered. I could remember the conversation with Frankie in the kitchen, and then going back out to the lounge room, but after that everything was vague--the only thing I remembered clearly was crying and hugging Bob for about fifteen minutes straight. 'Oh fuck--what the fuck did I tell him?' I opened my eyes again and sat up quickly.
I was on the couch in the living room, and someone had draped a quilt over me, which would explain why I was still alive, and not frozen solid. Leon and Ben were snoring on mattresses on the floor; Andy, Dee and Ester where nowhere to be seen; and Frankie and Bob had stopped their squabbling when they saw I was awake.
"Hey, girl," Frakie grinned. "Come get some, uh...what was it again, Bob?"
"Brekky," Bob said, grinning sheepishly at me. So he'd told Frankie about my Aussie heritage. Smashing.
"Morning," I mumbled, stumbling off of the couch and over to the table the boys were sitting at. I realized I was still wearing the hoodie Frankie'd given me last night. It smelt like smoke--I loved the smell of smoke.
"Whose hoodie am I wearing?" I questioned, even though it didn't really matter.
"That would be mine," Bob shrugged.
"Aww thanks Bob," I smiled sleepily.
"Anytime, girl," he said, pulling me into a hug. Bob gave the best hugs ever, I think. He was so cute and cuddly and soft, like a life-sized teddy bear--and he smelt like smoke, too, which was a definite plus. I closed my eyes and pretended to faint, but he held me up.
"You okay?" he whispered. Frankie had gone to the kitchen for more toast, and apart from the sleeping giants on the floor, we were totally alone. Bob sounded really concerned--I must've told him everything, then.
"Im fine, Bob," I sighed. "But, uh...what did I um...tell you last nigh?" I asked hesitantly. He sighed too.
"You just, uh...told me about your dad," he said reluctantly. I nodded into his chest. "Was that, uh...was that the first time it happened?" he questioned gently. I nodded again, and he sighed again.
"Oh my fucking god! Um, I didn't realise you guys were having a, er...MOMENT!" Frankie practically yelled, coming back with a plate of toast. "I'll leave you guys alone, IF YOU WANT!!"
"Shut the fuck up," Bob growled. I giggled as he let me go. Frankie passed around the toast and we all sat munching.
"I wish I had some Vegemite right now," I blurted suddenly. God, I hadn't thought of Vegemite in years. Now that I did, I really, REALLY wanted some. Bob and Frankie looked at me strangely.
"You want WHAT?" Frankie asked.
"Vegemite," I repeated. "It's an Aussie thing, kind of like Marmite, only...different. You eat it on toast. "
"What does it look like? And taste like?" Bob asked curiously.
"It's black...and it tastes kind of..."I struggled to find the right word. "Sour."
Frankie made a face. "Fuck, girl, you're weirder than I thought! Who wants to eat sour shit on their toast!?"
"I do, for one," I said, wondering why I'd even brought it up. "But whatever. So what school do you guys go to?" I asked.
"Belleville High," they said in unison.
"I do too," I said. "I started like a week ago. How come I've never seen you?"
Bob and Frankie glanced at each other sheepishly.
"We, uh...we kinda wagged last week," Frankie admitted.
"You wagged? The entire fucking WEEK?" I asked incredulously.
"Well...yeah. My cousin in Chicago invited us to his band's first gig, and we kinda stayed a little longer than we planned," Bob said, laughing a little.
"Whoa. And you didn't get in trouble?" I asked.
"Well, we got some chick to pretend she was Bob's mom, and she called the school and said we got food poisoning," Frankie shrugged. "But we're expecting some shit tomorrow."
Fuck--I'd completely forgotten that tomorrow was Monday. I'd have to go to school, which meant I'd have to go home-- something I was not looking forward to doing.
Frankie seemed to remember the same thing.
"Oh yeah, you probably wanna go home," he said. "I can drop you off, if you tell me where to go."
I nodded absent-mindedly. Knowing my dad, he'd probably passed out at my house and, knowing my mom, she'd probably seen his car outside, and kept away. So basically, I couldn't go home, AND I couldn't go to school without my uniform. Maybe I could sleep over at Gerard's place, and just see what happened after that. Yeah, that seemed somewhat plausible.
"Well, Bob has to be home for church at like 10:30, so I can drop you then," Frankie offered.
"Church?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at Bob. That sounded amusing.
"Yeah, I gotta go. My mom doesn't like going by herself," Bob shrugged. Aww. Even more teddy-bear-ish-ness.
"Yeah, Bob's our resident saint," Frankie scoffed, his voice dripping with sarcasm, which earned him a punch on the arm from Bob. Just as they'd started swearing again, a sleepy-looking Dee walked in. They both stopped immediately.
"Morning Dee," Bob smiled, and then quickly punched Frankie again. The death-glare he received in return was enough to chill the heart of Satan himself. Dee smiled and waved, continuing on her way to the kitchen. Frankie sighed and stood up.
"Let's go, Bob," he said.
"No way!" Bob said indignantly.
I haven't eaven finished eating--and besides, I don't have to be home for another twenty minutes."
"Yeah, well, I'm dropping Verity off first," Frankie said irritably. I shot him a sympathetic look.
"Come on, Bob, let's just go," I said. Bob muttered a 'did-I-miss-something,' but got up anyways.
"Shit, you guys are leaving?" Dee asked, coming back in with a mug of coffee. "Aww, did I drive you away?"
Frankie looked pained.
"Nah, we have to take Bob to church," I said hastily. "But, uh, what should I do with these clothes?"
"Aww, just keep 'em," Dee said dismissively. "You can bring them back next weekend.
I looked blankly at her.
"Oh fuck, did you guys really not tell her?" she said, glancing from Frankie to Bob. They shrugged sheepishly. "Well, Frankie's having a party next weekend, and last night we all decided we want you to come. And we won't take no for an answer," she grinned.
"Sweet, I'll come for sure," I smiled back. "Oh, do you, uh, want my number?"
A few minutes later, after I'd scribbled my number on the back of Leon's Kerrang!, Bob, Frankie and I piled into Frankie's car and pulled out onto the road. After a little arguing, it was decided that Greenday was the band of choice, and before long Billie Joe's dynamite vocals were crashing through the air.
We drove around a bit until we got to the main road, and I gave him the directions to Gerard's house. I just hoped their parents weren't home.
I noticed Bob and Frankie were looking at each other strangely as we came to a stop. Frankie spoke up.
"You...you live HERE?" he asked, sounding skeptical.
"No, it's just, uh...I can't really go home right now," I said, glancing at Bob. "This is a friend's place."
"So you know Gerard and Mikey, then?" Frankie asked.
"Yeah...wait, you guys know them too?" I asked, leaning forward. This was a whole new development.
"Fuck yeah!" Frankie laughed. "They're like, the only decent people at Belleville High--except Ray, of course. But you don't know Ray. He's great."
I waved my hand dismissively. I didn't really want to hear about how great some unknown was at that point. "That's so awesome that you know them," I said. Frankie nodded.
"Let's go inside and say hi," Bob said, unbuckling his seat belt.
"What about church?" Frankie teased him.
"Fuck church," Bob shrugged. Then he looked horrified. "I mean--oh, shit--I didn't mean to, you know...commit sacrelige." He looked apologetically at me. I just smiled.
"Wait--sack WHAT!?" Frankie laughed, turning around to look at me.
"Never mind," I giggled. "Let's just go inside."
I ran ahead of the guys (let's not forget, the grass WAS soaking wet, and I WAS barefoot) and banged on the door breathlessly. Gerard opened the door warily as Bob and Frankie joined me on the step.
"Oh! Hey--uh, ha, hum," Gerard trailed off, looking from me to Bob to Frankie in confusion. "Holy fuck!" he yelled suddenly, making me jump. "Verity, what the hell happened?"
For a second I didnt' know what he was talking about, but then I remembered the cuts, the bruises, the swollen lip.
"Umm..." I looked at Bob, who looked like he didn't know why I was looking at HIM. I looked at Frankie, who looked just plain curious. I looked back at Gerard, who looked pretty pissed. "Can we come inside?"
"Oh, shit. Um, sure," he said, stepping to the side and opening the door wider. I hesitated a little before walking in. Frankie and Bob followed me, and both hugged Gerard.
"Your parents--?" I asked.
"Nah, they took Mikey to the doctor," he said. I frowned.
"Just a checkup," he assured me. "For his asthma."
"Oh." I didn't even know he HAD asthma.
"So, um, how do you know these guys?" Gerard asked, scratching the back of his head.
"Umm..."I said again. I glanced at Frankie and Bob.
"Hey Frankie," Bob said quickly, "let's go get some food." I shot him a grateful look.
"Wait, what? We just ate break--" Frankie started, but stopped quickly when he saw the look Bob was giving him."Ah--sounds great." They scampered off to the kitchen. Gerard turned to me.
"Seriously, Verity, now you're starting to worry me. What happened? Are you okay?"
I sighed slightly. As much as I didn't want to tell him, I felt he had a right to know--I mean, I HAD just rocked up to his house, and he didn't yet know that I wanted to stay the night. So I told him everything--my 'visit' from my dad; running onto the street and getting lost; then getting found by Frankie; drinking myself to sleep; and finally, waking up and realizing that my dad was probably still at my house.
"So that's why I came here," I finished, looking up at him. He looked angry. I looked down again. "I know you're probably pissed at me, and I would've called, except I didn't have your number, and--"
"Hey, hey, hey," Gerard cut in. "Don't even mention it. I'm--" He paused and pulled me into a hug. "I'm just sorry that had to happen to you, is all."
"I closed my eyes and let my head rest on Gerard's shoulder as he stroked my tangled hair. I started to cry softly again, letting out the emotions that I'd mostly repressed last night.
"It's okay, it's okay," Gerard breathed, hugging me tighter. I heard him kick the front door shut. "You can stay for as long as you want."
"Thanks, Gerard," I sniffled, pulling back a little to look him in the eyes. He smiled sadly.
"Aw, sugar, don't worry about it."
I smiled back at him and he gently wiped the tears from my cheeks. I winced a little when he accidently touched one of my cuts. Gerard let go of me as Bob and Frankie returned, obviously having eaten nothing.
"Umm...Bob has to go to church, so we're gonna go," Frankie announced, pretending not to have seen us hugging.
"Thank you so much, Frankie," I said again, hugging him. He patted my back awkwardly before pulling away. I smiled a little to myself, and hugged Bob.
"Thanks for listening to my shit last night, Bob. And sorry if I said anything stupid...I was off my rocker," I said, my voice slightly muffled since my face was buried in his chest--he WAS really tall, after all.
"Don't worry about it. And you didn't say anything stupid," Bob lied kindly.
"Oh, and you both gotta come on Saturday," Frankie said, his foot halfway out the door. "And bring Mikey too, yeah?"
Gerard nodded, and they left. We both stood in the hallway, a little unsure of what to do now that we were finally alone.
"You, uh...wanna watch something?" Gerard ventured.
"Sure," I said, wondering if it were possible that he was as nervous as I was. "You got any good movies?"
"Yeah, we have...well, you can just choose one from the cupboard in there," he said, nodding in the direction of the lounge room. "I'll get us something to eat, kay?"
I went into the lounge room and sat in front of the cupboard, looking up at the huge array of DVDs. Most of them were shlock horror, but there were a few psychological ones too, like The Blair Witch Project, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and...The Sixth Sense! That was my favourite scary movie ever! As I grabbed it and read the back cover for what was probably the billionth time in my life, Gerard came back in with a bag of jellysnakes and one of Maltesers.
"Did you find one?" he asked, putting the bags on the coffee table and pulling the couch up close to it.
I nodded. "How about this one?" I asked, holding it up so he could see the cover.
He chuckled. "You like that one? Okay, put it on."
I hesitated. "You sure? Cause if you wanna watch something else..."
"No, it's okay. I wanna watch that one," he said, still with a smile around the corners of his mouth.
I smiled to myself as I put the movie on. I sat next to Gerard on the couch and he got up to turn off the lights. It was pretty dark, even though it was mid-morning. Gerard came back and sat down next to me; he was so close I could feel the warmth of his skin, and it felt so good that it was distracting me from the movie. He ripped open the bag of jellysnakes and held it out to me.
"You want?" he offered. I took a red one and started to suck on it. I pulled my knees up to my chest as we watched.
"Hey Gerard?" I asked, without taking my eyes off the screen.
"Do you mind if...if I hold your hand?" I know, that sounds like the type of move a retarded retard would pull in place of flirting, but I was genuinely freaked out--no matter how many times I watched this movie, it scared the shit out of me every time.
"Sure," he said, laughing a litte as he reached over and grabbed my hand. I seriously couldn't have been happier just then; I loved the feeling of being scared, and just being next to Gerard was enough to make all the shit in my life worthwhile.
I looked at Verity out of the corner of my eye. Even though her light brown hair was messy and she was wearing pajamas, I thought she looked fantastic. Her lips were just the right shade of red, and her dark grey eyes darted intently as she watched the screen. The truth was, I'd seen the movie about a hundred times, and I pretty much hated it by now; but I would've told many more lies than that if I could only make her happy.
"Hey Gerard?" she said suddenly, startling me out of my reflection. She was staring at the screen and sucking on a jellysnake. God, she looked so fucking beautiful.
"Yeah?" I said, trying to sound casual rather than worshipful (if that's even a word).
"Do you mind if...if I hold your hand?" My heard started to beat a little faster. No matter that we'd already kissed--that gesture meant the world to me just then. She was scared, and she wanted me to comfort her.
"Sure." I sort of laughed as I took her hand. I don't know why; maybe because I was just too happy to hold it all in. But I didn't know what was happening in New York at that very minute--somehitng that would threaten the happiness I'd barely grasped ahold of.