Gerard tells Frank...his reaction is...well, not so great... If you didn't read the edited ending of ch. 7, this will not make sense.
Frank quickly paid the money. He hated that non-mustached face for interrupting Gerard. Now, Gerard sat leaning as far back from Frank as possible. His face looked ready to burst, his knees were hugged to his chest, and worst of all, he wouldn’t speak! Frank needed to know what had happened to Wilona. By now, suspicions had begun climbing into his mind. They were like snakes, sending chills down his spine. They’d be slithering in subtly at first, but then their unsettling steps would get faster as numerous serpents joined the first batch, until finally they all bit right down onto his brain, with their venomous fangs. He hated some of the thoughts that he was thinking; the ones that pointed to Gerard as the cause of Wilona’s departure. What if he had done something to her? What if he had told her some lie about Frank that would make her hate him? What if...what if... Oh, why couldn’t Gerard just tell him already? The long wait was simply torture.
Frank finally decided to speak up when it seemed apparent that Gerard was just getting more nervous by the minute, “Look, could you just tell me what happened to my girlfriend? I promise you, I won’t get mad. Please?”
Gerard squeezed his eyes together and then opened them. Frank stared back with the most adorable, pleading expression on his face. He melted once more.
“All right, don’t break your promise. While you were gone, this guy named Vince came up to the table, right? And he started talking to Wilona and telling her to forgive him, for whatever reason. He thought she was on a date with me, and he said he was so much better than me. Except, that doesn’t really matter. He obviously didn’t know about you. But the important thing is, she said she would forgive him and she kissed him! She’s not with her sister. Frank...she’s...she’s cheating on you,” he breathed out, fearfully awaiting Frank’s reaction.
Frank blinked back with a blank face. He didn’t want to break his promise. On the inside, he was raging, he wanted to punch Gerard in the face and make him take it back. How dare he accuse Wilona of such a thing? Frank knew it wasn’t true. It couldn’t be. Gerard was lying to...to... No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t think of any reason why he would be lying. The what-ifs returned to his head. What if Gerard liked Wilona and was thinking of some way to get rid of Frank so that he could get to her?! All the blood rushed to his face. His promise was no longer important to him.
He clenched his fists tightly, “Why the fuck are you doing this to me? If you like Wilona, that’s just too bad. She’s mine. You don’t need to make up fucking stories like this, Gerard. I’ve been nice to you ever since I met you, I can’t believe you’d do something like this. I thought you were my goddamned friend, you fucking bastard!”
Gerard gaped. Of all responses, this was the last one he’d expected. Now, he was a little angry too. He was trying to help and what he got was a useless bunch of curses thrown at him, “Did you just say...? I don’t like Wilona, okay? I hate her. She’s a bitch. Actually, she’s the queen of bitches. Never mind, she’s the queen of the queen of bitches! And I don’t care if you think otherwise. She doesn’t like you. She’s cheating on you. And she probably has been for a long time. You’re just too thickheaded to realize it. Just go buy some balls off of eBay and face the facts!”
The smaller boy exploded at this last sentence. After a roar of fury that no one would have thought him capable of, he grabbed Gerard by the shirt and spun him around. He shoved him roughly. Gerard stumbled backwards, slamming his back against a thankfully unoccupied table. He slipped down with a small moan. Frank didn’t stop there. He just couldn’t control himself. He kicked Gerard in the stomach three times, shouting rude insults. Gerard took the blows, unable to even attempt a counterstrike. He grabbed on to the table behind him and tried to pull himself up. This resulted in the table toppling over, causing four sets of silverware to fall onto him. As if that wasn’t worse enough, there were also four glasses on that table, which crashed down onto his head. Glass shards flew all around, slicing through the skin on his face and neck.
But Frank felt no signs of sympathy for him. He wanted to hurt Gerard even more. By now, there were other customers and even employees watching this. They all seemed to be entertained. It was just like a middle-school bullying scene, with witnesses shouting, “Fight, fight, fight!” But Frank was not the victim, for once in his life. His experiences should have helped him feel Gerard’s pain, but instead, it made him feel powerful. He clamped his fingers together again, ready to strike one more time. He aimed for Gerard’s eye, so it would turn a beautiful shade of purple and swung with all his might. This punch did it. Gerard’s shoulders slumped as he fell over.
There was a huge gasp from the “audience.” After two moments of blinking, Frank gasped too. He had no idea what had come over him. Never in his life had he ever felt that much anger. And he couldn’t even remember why he was so mad. He stared at Gerard, whose amazing hazel eyes were now shut. There were unstoppable red tears streaming down the nearly lifeless face. Frank moved towards his friend slowly. He knelt down and stroked his hair. When he brought up his hand, blood dripped off. Frank’s mouth opened. He tenderly lifted up the injured boy into his arms and held him closely but gently. He began to cry, so sorry for doing this. There was an, “aw” from the spectators. None of them—including Frank—were smart enough to thing of calling an ambulance. The compassion of the moment was too distracting.
“I’m so sorry, Gerard,” Frank whispered.
Seconds passed, slowly dissolving into minutes. The restaurant was deserted; all the customers must have been scared off. The staff proceeded to clean up, but they left Gerard and Frank right where they were. An ambulance had been called. It was rushing through traffic to get there. Frank couldn’t stop crying. He was so guilty. If anything happened to Gerard, it would all be his fault. He rocked back and forth with Gerard in his arms. In the corner of his mind, he was retracing the reason for all of this. Wilona. He sucked in the air. Was it because he knew that it might have been true that he became so infuriated? Or was the accusation just so wrong that he wanted Gerard to die? It had to be the second one...it just did... Frank never wanted to believe Gerard’s words, never ever. Ever.
Gerard let out a soft moan. His whole body was aching. He wished he could just die. He remembered exactly what had happened. In fact, the scene was replaying in his mind. He recalled on of this things Frank had shouted to him. “I hate you!” he had yelled. It made the pain even more unbearable. Not only had he demolished any chance of a relationship, he had also failed in saving Frank. He was a fucking letdown, for probably the millionth time in his life. Why couldn’t God just take him already? There was obviously no point to his existence. His eyes slowly opened. He felt someone’s arms encircling him. It was warm.
Frank breathed a sigh of relief, seeing Gerard stir, “Gerard!”
Gerard was confused. Frank was smiling at him. He was holding him. Was this heaven? It had to be! This was perfect! Sharp pain immediately seared through his back, convincing otherwise.
“Gee,” Frank started, touching Gerard’s bloodstained cheek, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do this to you...I didn’t mean to break my promise... I couldn’t contain myself...I’m so sorry, Gerard. Will you ever forgive me? I’ll understand if you don’t. I was just...” he trailed on, “I’m sorry.”
Gerard gripped Frank’s arm with the little strength left in him, “Yeah...Believe me...about Wilona?”
Frank froze. He couldn’t answer that question; his voice box was temporarily dysfunctional. At last, he shook his head in two staccato movements.
Gerard’s hopes crashed down. The pain was sending multiple jolts to every part of his body. He was sure that at any moment, he would literally explode into a thousand pieces.
Frank felt Gerard’s body sag again. Simultaneously, he heard many footsteps rushing into the building. He allowed the paramedics to take Gerard away from him and onto a stretcher. He climbed into the back of the ambulance and massaged his temples as they drove towards the hospital. If it was possible to die of guilt, he would have died on the spot.