Gerard was standing in front of him, holding a steaming mug of coffee. “C’mon Mikey,” he said, keeping his voice as soft as possible. “Need you to get up so I can fix the room a bit.”
Dumbly, Mikey accepted the coffee and gulped it down. His head began to clear a little, though it was still swimming painfully. “Sup Gee?” he muttered, raising a hand to shield his eyes. God that light hurt.
“I am so glad I’m not you this morning,” said Gerard, and laughed. Mikey swore as the sound cut his sensitive ears. “Sorry little bro, but I need you to get off the couch. I’m trying to clean this place up a little.” He took Mikey’s arm and gently guided him to his feet, ignoring the curses and groans that ensued.
Once he’d successfully manoeuvred Mikey up the stairs and into his own bed, Gerard returned to the lounge and surveyed the dismal scene. A quick look around told him that the damage was much worse than he’d thought last night. The crockery cabinet had been upset, and shards of his mother’s best dinner plates littered the carpet. A hole had been ripped in the cover of one of the armchairs, and the whole room stank of alcohol. If mom and dad see this we’re both fucked, he thought to himself. He needed to get it clean, but he wasn’t quite sure where to start. The mess was everywhere.
Just as he made up his mind to start by righting all the toppled furniture, he was interrupted by the doorbell ringing. Clambering over the mess, he reached the door and opening, wondering who the hell would want to drop in on them at this hour. When he saw Alice standing at the door, in torn jeans and a paint-stained t-shirt, he almost did a double-take.
“Hey,” he said, trying to conceal his surprise.
“Thought you might like a hand,” she said chirpily. “I saw what the house looked like yesterday, and since my brother was involved…”
Gerard was taken aback. “You didn’t need to bother, really…it’s bloody Mikey’s fault…” Alice merely shrugged. “But uh, thank you! Honestly, I think I’m going to need all the help I can get here.”
They set to work immediately, trying to restore the room to a respectable state. Alice seemed far less dismayed by the mess, and soon her cheerful mood began to rub off on him. The two talked casually as they worked, about school and Mikey and anything else they could think of. The awkwardness of the night before was gone. After about an hour Mikey joined them in the lounge, with a throbbing head and looking distinctly disgruntled, but much more human after a hot shower and several cups of coffee. He seemed surprised to find Alice in the house, but took it in his stride quickly.
“Hey Alice,” he greeted her cheerfully. “Didn’t expect to see you around here this early…” He looked around the room and grimaced. “Fuck, I’m sorry Gerard,” he muttered. “Things got pretty out of hand last night, I didn’t realise it was this bad.”
Gerard shook his head and half-smiled. “You can go lie down again if you want,” he said. “Your head must hurt real bad. I wasn’t planning on yelling at you for several hours yet.”
Mikey shrugged and pushed up his sleeves. “I’m fine,” he said, rubbing his sickly-looking face with a grimy hand. “I’m not just going to cop out and leave you to do all the work.”
Alice watched the interchange, feeling slightly awkward and very much touched. She was surprised to witness how close Gerard and Mikey’s relationship seemed, and how forgiving Gerard was being; the first thing she herself had done that morning was barge into her brother’s room, fling the curtains wide open and yell at him as loud as she could before he’d had time to fully regain consciousness. Mikey briefly patted Gerard’s arm and, taking up a dustpan and brush, began sweeping the shattered fragments of crockery up off the carpet.
Between the three of them, they managed to get the living room clean and tidy by midday. The boys had taken care of the heavy work, while Alice found a needle and thread and set about trying to mend the couch cover. The result was ugly and obviously faulty, but she covered up the messy seam as well as she could with cushions. Gerard had managed to sort out the china cabinet, salvaging a surprising number of plates which had somehow survived the fall. Mikey put away the dishcloth and collapsed on the couch, pressing his hands to his temples. Gerard smiled.
“Wow…” he said, wiping his hands on his jeans. “That was quicker than I expected.” He went into the kitchen. “Want a drink?” He called to the two exhausted bodies in the living room.
A pot of coffee later and the trio were feeling a little more energetic. Mikey’s headache had more or less abated, and he was watching idly as Gerard flirted. He’s not very subtle, he thought to himself, biting back a smirk. Eventually, Alice excused herself, saying she had to get home to meet family friends. Gerard escorted her to the door and thanked her again, then returned to the lounge and collapsed on a newly restored armchair. Mikey whistled.
“What?” Demanded Gerard, looking at his hands. “Aren’t you meant to be in agony or something?”
Mikey chuckled. “You two were getting along ok,” he said. “Maybe you’ll actually get a date for once, Gee-bear.”
Gerard rolled his eyes. “I dunno,” he said. “I’d kill her socially, I think. She’s meant to be off flirting with the jocks.”
Mikey shrugged. “Hey dude, I really am sorry about last night. I fucked up so bad. If I was you I’d have beaten the crap out of me this morning.”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Gerard firmly. “We’ve got all the damage sorted now, I was just worried how mom would react but she doesn’t need to know about it anymore.”
“Yeah…hey, it didn’t turn out all bad for you I guess.” He smirked again.
Gerard just rolled his eyes.