The morning after.
“Yea, thanks Ray.”
Frank had been practicing guitar for about an hour, he was getting increasingly distressed at the fact that he didn’t seem to be improving at all.
“Yea, Frank. You were close then.” Said Jack, parroting Ray. Frankie was in a fiery temper, and it took all of his willpower to refrain from dangling Jack from the ceiling with one of his guitar strings.
If his mood could have been worsened any more at that point, it was. Gerard had just walked into the living room of the bus, his eyes were rimmed with red and he was pale, it was obvious that he had been crying for some time. Frank immediately felt guilty, he still loved Gerard, but he cared about him too much to let him fall back into drugs just as easily as Frank had, he was doing the right thing, he was sure.
However, Gerard couldn’t fathom why Frank would do that to him.
Had it all been a lie? Just some sick joke?
It must have been his fault. He knew he wasn’t deserving of love like Frank’s in the first place. With such a pathetic boyfriend, it was obvious why Frank had resorted to drugs. Gerard had seen so many people’s lives be ruined by drugs and alcohol, he couldn’t let the same happen to Frank, he had already been through so much. Throughout the tears he had shed last night, he still promised to be there for Frank, if not as a lover then as a friend, though it hurt him terribly to know the one person he loved in the world didn’t love him back.
Maybe the stress of having a relationship, especially a gay one, had cornered Frank into thinking drugs were his only option?
Gerard would rather never feel the warmth of love again than to see Frank’s life ruined.
Jack walked over to Gerard with a glass of water and a sympathetic smile, last night only he had heard what had been said between the two former lovers, eavesdropping had its advantages. He handed the glass to Gerard, who replied with an appreciative smile and began to drink. He could feel the thick animosity in the room between the two men he had over heard, though their faces remained blank. Gerard just stared blankly at Frank whilst the latter man’s eyes darted around the room to any other place rather than meet Gerard’s gaze.
God, Gerard looks so helpless….
Frank couldn’t bear to have to see the hurt in Gerard’s hazel eyes. He needed some relief, which reminded him, he had to meet up with Brock later, he was running low on his escape route.
“I need a smoke.” Frank announced, as he lifted himself from his position on the sofa to make his way outside.
“Yeah, Me to.”
“Gerard? Dude, I thought you’d quit?” Mikey pointed out.
“Heh… Uhhm, Oh Yeah??” Gerard stuttered.
Now the rest of the band knew there was something definitely up. Since when does a guy forget that they quit smoking?? And for someone who’s usually as calm as Gerard he was sure stuttering a lot. Frank used Gerard’s distraction as a chance to exit the bus alone, taking a lighter and a cigarette out of his pocket he ignited the tip and inhaled. It wasn’t much of a substitute for what he craved right now, but it would have to do.
As the door closed behind Frank, his other friends began to interrogate Gerard.
“So, Gerard, What’s up with you?” Bob asked, his brow furrowed in concern.
“Nothing, I’m fine.” Gerard replied.
“Mmmhm, So let me rephrase that. So, Gerard, What’s up with you? And DON’T lie or fuck us around, we’re your friends.”
Gerard sighed in defeat and gave in, they were going to find out sooner or later anyway.
“Me and Frank..” He trailed off, he couldn’t bear to say it, it would make it seem so much more real, “Well…. We broke up. He told me last night.”
Everyone had utter looks of surprise on their faces, Ray had even sprayed some of the milk he was drinking out of his nose.
“I mean like..-“
“You were made for each other!”
His friends certainly weren’t making Gerard feel better. He furiously rubbed his eye to disguised the fact he had nearly let a tear escape.
“It’s for the best.” He shrugged, though he could tell his friends knew that he hadn’t taken the break up lightly. He couldn’t tell them about the drugs, though. That was Frank’s business, only when he was ready to let people in would another soul hear.
“Really? It really is for the best?” Mikey said, a panicky tone to his voice.
“Yea, Bro. I think so…”
“Oh, GREAT! Because you think so everything is just dandy, happy days! Lets just go celebrate! I don’t think so!” Mikey exploded sarcasm, it was beginning to scare the other band members after regaining his composure he continued, “I mean, Gerard, you’re obviously not okay, and Frank? Well, he’s completely not himself, did you see what he did to my nose last night? That’s not the Frank I know…”
The rest of the band nodded in agreement, but Gerard remained faithful to Frank’s privacy. Gerard stood up and marched out of the door, towards Frank, who began to shuffle awkwardly. Frank dropped the end of his cigarette and released a deep sigh.
“So..” Frank began, “How long do I have before the guys get me? I know, I’m off the tour and out of your life… Drugs are bad publicity, and I’m wasting your time…”
“No, it’s not like that, Frank. I didn’t tell them anyway.”
Frank gave Gerard a look of gratitude and continued to look towards the ground yet again.
“And even if I had told them, They wouldn’t have been like that… They’d have understood, Anyways, it’s my fault you started with the drugs again… I’m an awful friend, boyfriend and person.” Gerard added bitterly.
“That’s not true…” Frank hated hearing Gerard talk about himself like that, it would have been better if he had never been a small fraction of Gerard’s life, he hated having to put him through so much pain to protect him from a worse fate than a break up.
“Then why don’t you love me..?” Gerard asked, his eyes glazed with tears.
“Look, here’s the receipt for the chain I gave you for Christmas, maybe you can get an exchange or something… Do you want the watch back that you bought me?” Frank asked, trying to keep his voice steady and cool whilst handing Gerard the receipt.
“They were /presents…/” Gerard mumbled as a tears slid slowly down his cheek.
Frank’s phone vibrated in his pocket, and he realized – he was late to meet Brock. He turned instinctively towards the concert venue without saying goodbye to Gerard, he hated confrontation.
“Oh, yeah. Frank..” Gerard called, “I hope you realize…. Skin is Non-refundable.”
Frank stopped dead in his tracks and turned around to look at Gerard, who wore an un-readable expression. He was right…. The tattoo! He had forgotten! The tattoo was there forever, to stand testimony to their short lasted love.