She snapped awake at the sound of her phone. She must have drunkenly reset the ring tone because “I’m not OK” was blaring from the blackberry.
“’Ello? Escher Drake speaking”
She pushed herself up in her bed so that she was sitting, getting the sinking feeling that this was going to be serious. She reached over and switched on her lamping.
“Yes? With whom am I speaking?”
“E it’s Gerard”
“Gee? What’s going on? What’s wrong?” She quickly checked her alarm clock, it was 3:23am.
“Frank’s in jail”
Escher slapped her hand to her forehead.
“We need you here Escher”
“Sweet merciful fucking Christ, what the fuck has he done?” She screamed.
“It was a fight, we’re at the Manhattan CIB, can you come?”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can”
Escher swore again as she swung her 05 Viper haphazardly into a park. It was perhaps the 80th time she’d sworn on the trip.
Gerard was in the reception area, looking quite the worse for wear.
“You look like hell” He said sardonically when she appeared.
“It’s 3:45am on a Thursday morning, I have to be at work in a couple of hours, get fucked, but first tell me where he is”
“He’s in a cell, they won’t let me see him”
“What?” Gee exclaimed, “no way!”
“Gee, go home, this could take a few hours, you guys are due in the studio soon, I will have him there but at least one of you should be as bright eyed and bushy tailed as possible and I can only fit one person in my car and that precious place is reserved for the felon”
She finally convinced Gee to leave, promising that she would have Frank in the studio later that morning.
“I’m legal council for the…well, the defendant I guess” Escher repeated quietly to the young police woman behind the desk.
Soon she was being led along the linoleum floor towards Frank’s cell. She stopped out the front of the cell, cocking her head as she peered in.
The cell was only four by four, with two bunks and Frank was stretched out on the bottom of one, his arm slung across his eyes. He stirred only when he heard the clank of the cell door being flung open.
“Iero, you’re free to go”
Frank shuffled to his feet but stopped dead when he saw Escher. He doubted that he’d ever seen her look so pissed off. Standing in a pair of baggy jeans and oversized cardigan with her sunglasses on although according to the window in his cell, it was still dark outside.
“I’d rather stay here” he muttered, sitting down stubbornly on the bed.
“Iero! Get your fucking ass off that disgusting bunk!” Escher commanded, earning an appreciative glance from the young police woman.
Frank glanced up at her, her arms crossed in front of her, her entire body radiating fury, but something else as well, weariness? Exhaustion? Reluctantly he stood to his feet and followed them back down the corridor.
“Nice car,” He commented as they approached her custom painted purple Dodge Viper, complete with racing stripes in black.
“Thanks,” Escher replied, “Puke in it and I’ll fucking destroy you”
Frank tried to control the rolling in his stomach as Escher darted in and out of traffic, seemingly without care for the legality of her driving abilities.
“I’ve spoken to the police and the DA, it looks as though we might get you out of this, which would be nice considering your little anti-violence message you and Gee like to spout,” She finally said, “Do as I say, not as I do,” she muttered afterwards.
“Fuck you” He muttered, swearing as he was thrown forwards as she slammed the brakes on, coming to an abrupt stop in the middle of Manhattan.
“No! Fuck you Frank!” She spat, “It’s fucking 3:30 on a fucking Thursday morning! How dare you have the audacity to get angry with me for saving your ass!”
Frank snorted obnoxiously.
“Save my ass? Whatever”
“Oh so you were what? Gonna stay there all night? Wait for Gee to try and get you out of there? What the fuck ever Frank! I know you have a problem with me but Jesus Christ, you could stop sticking your head up your ass for a few minutes and realize that this is not just you, that everything you do affects not just the band, not just the record company, not just everyone who works for you, but everyone who has ever seen you, watched you, listened to you. What do you think would happen if all of those young fans heard you picked a fight in a sports bar? That’s why I was hired Frank, because I’m good at controlling this sort of shit, but you could help me out a little and stop being a complete asshole”
Frank managed to maintain his shame faced look throughout the drive, until Escher was nearing his apartment.
“I can’t go back there” He whispered, almost too low for her to hear.
“My apartment, I can’t go back there” He said, louder this time.
“Why?” Escher asked, her pateience wearing thin.
“Because it’s not mine, it’s hers and mine. Not tonight”
He was babbling, Escher realized that.
“Fine,” she said simply, continuing on past his apartment, and heading towards hers.
“Where are we?” He asked, in the elevator, sounding so lost and confused that Escher had to fight the urge to take him in her arms.
“My apartment block”
“I’m staying at your place?” He slurred confusedly.
“Yes,” She replied, “on the couch”
The elevator opened up in her foyer.
“Holy shit” Frank breathed, “the penthouse?”
Escher took his arm and led him to the kitchen where she sat him down and proceeded to whip up some powdered French toast for him. As she served his meal she took one last stab at a serious conversation with him.
“Frank, I know you don’t like me working for you, but you have to understand that I do, and when shit like this happens you don’t call Gee, or Bob, or Mikey or Ray…you call me. Can you handle that?”
“What would you do if I said no?” He replied as he chewed on his toast.
Escher grimaced at the sight of the bread rolling around in his mouth before shrugging.
She looked up suddenly as he choked on his test.
“What?” He finally sputtered, “Are you serious?”
“Yes, I couldn’t continue to work with you if you can’t handle that. It wouldn’t be productive”
She turned to flick the espresso machine on in the awkward silence that ensued.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“Making coffee, it’s almost 5am, I have to be at work soon, no point in sleeping”
“How many hours do you spend at work each day?”
Escher silently calculated. She usually arrived at the bar at 6 or 7 am to do the books from
the night before, unless something pressing was going on at Reprise that needed her attention. She would arrive at Reprise between 8 and 9, and work through to 6pm when she would go to the bar until midnight.
“I usually work 18 hour days”
Frank frowned, not that Escher could see with her back turned to him.
“Are you sure that’s healthy?”
“It keeps me sane” She muttered as she poured an espresso.
“I’m sorry I woke you up tonight” He whispered, although the moment was broken when he bit into another crunchy piece of toast. Escher smiled.
“It’s my job” She replied simply, not being able to bring herself to add 'and I’d do it even if it wasn’t'.
“I don’t want you to quit” He muttered suddenly, slurring a little still.