“Well, well, Frank Iero. Twenty-one letters ending in T” She breathed. Frank cocked his eyebrow. “Who,” She began, as she took the beer offered by the redhead, “would have guessed it?"
She looked and smiled when she saw Frank standing in the doorway. Their relationship had been flipped on its head since the night he was arrested, there was still something stilted between them, but he had stopped being outwardly cold towards her and they talked more about shared memories than dwelling on the shitty parts of their history.
“Yeah that’d be great”
“Sweet, light me a cig would you? I’m out”
He laughed shortly and lit her a cigarette and she tried not to go weak at the knees with the realization that Frank Iero’s lips had touched the cigarette he was now offering her.
A few minutes later, with huge caramel lattes in front of them, they sat opposite each other in one of the booths.
“What’s up?” She asked.
“Couldn’t I just come in to see you?”
“You could,” She replied, taking a sip of her coffee, “but I highly doubt you did”
“You’re right. I…I’ve gotten a letter, from Jamia. Well, less from Jamia, and more from her lawyers”
Escher nodded and indicated for him to go on. He fumbled in his jacket pocket and pulled out an envelope, passing it to her.
“It’s about Skeleton Crew, as far as I can tell she wants to go to court over how we split it…”
“Give me a minute to read it” Escher interrupted him, scanning her eyes over the document.
After a couple of minutes she laid the letter down on the table.
“Well Frank, do you want the good news or the bad?”
He looked terrified.
“Uh…the bad first I guess”
Escher sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose.
“The bad news is that you’re right, she wants to contest the verbal agreement the two of you made when you broke up, which was to split the company fifty/fifty”
Frank breathed deeply through his nose and put his head in his hands.
“And the good?” He mumbled.
“Well there’s two good points,”
He looked up at her hopefully,
“Well,” Escher began, “The first is that this sounds as though it has been ordered by someone who is hurting, someone who has had a few months to stew and now wants you to hurt”
“How can you tell that?”
“She had her lawyers send it directly to you, not to me, which would be normal proceedings”
“Why would she be hurt?” He asked, “It was mutual”
“I don’t know Frank,” Escher replied, laying her hand over his, “I don’t know your relationship”
“What’s the other good point?”
Escher smiled at him,
“Jamia’s not a bitch”
He stared at her,
“What do you mean?”
“I mean she’s rational. Sure, she’s hurting, but she’s not trying to take you for everything. She’s petitioning for what she thinks she deserves. Her lawyer claims she did more work on Skeleton Crew when it was a baby concept. And from what I know of her, I think we can talk her around”
“Wait,” Frank interrupted, “From what you know of her?”
Escher squeezed her eyes shut before replying,
“Yes…Frank, I met with Jamia back in April, after we first spoke about Skeleton Crew. Please don’t be angry, it’s my job”
“I can’t believe this, I can’t believe you’d do this to me”
“It’s my job Frank. If you must know, I’ve also met with the guy you beat up in that bar”
“Oh Jesus Christ Esch, surely you can understand that I’d be pissed that this is the first I’m hearing about it”
Frank was getting louder and louder. Out of the corner of her eye, Escher could see that Laz had poked his head in from the store room to see what was going on. Slowly Escher leant towards Frank.
“Frank, can I ask you a question?”
He calmed down long enough to nod grimly.
“Are you upset that someone spoke to Jamia without you knowing? Or are you upset because it was me who went to see her?”
Frank started at the question.
- Flashback -
Escher sat opposite Jamia in the diner that she had chosen for their meeting. Escher had already laid it out to the other girl that Frank was standing by their mutual agreement to split the company 50/50 and was waiting to see how that had been received.
She took the time to study the girl who, nearly a decade before, could almost have been considered her love rival. She was beautiful, it didn’t take a genius to figure that out, with her fresh face and mane of dark hair. Escher had never met her when she knew Frank, only heard about her, which often had been enough.
As though Jamia felt Escher’s eyes on her she looked up.
“I’ll have to take this back to my lawyers”
“Of course” Escher replied, taking a sip of her coffee. She slowly started to repack her satchel but was stop, mid-action by Jamia’s next words.
“I know who you are”
“Excuse me?” Escher replied quickly, barely missing a beat. She looked up into Jamia’s eyes which were clouded by something Escher didn’t recognize.
“I know who you are Ms. Drake” she repeated, “You used to be Escher Green and I know about you and Frank”
Escher’s eyes narrowed.
“I don’t know what you think is going on…”
“Not now,” Jamia replied calmly, “in high school, I know you were in love with him”
Escher paled and she sat back down abruptly.
“Don’t worry, he doesn’t know…he’s so fucking clueless at times”
Both women smiled vacantly at that.
“I have to get back to the office” Escher finally said quietly, “It was nice to meet you Jamia,”
“You too Ms. Drake. Oh and by the way,” Jamia said tauntingly as Escher stood once more, “it almost worked for you”
Escher still didn’t know what Jamia had meant by that, and she had tried to push the comment to the very back of her subconscious mind.
She smiled up at Laz gratefully when he deposited a plate of eggrolls in front of she and a still stunned Frank.
“Isn’t that the guy who lives with you?” Frank asked as Laz returned to the store room where he was preparing kegs to be tapped. Frank had met him the morning he had slept on the couch.
“Yeah, Laszlow, he’s a gem”
“Why do you work in a bar?” Frank finally blurted out, “I mean, you’re obviously earning pretty good money to be driving the car you’re driving and living in the apartment you are”
“Okay Frank, I’ll come clean” Escher said, holding her hands up in a sign of innocence, “I don’t work in a bar”
Frank quirked his eyebrow.
“I own the bar” Escher said, laughing.
“You own it?”
“Yup, Laz and Sarah are my assistant managers, the best you’d ever find too”
“How do you own a bar at 24-years-of-age?”
“I used to work at this place when I was at college, it was Saffron then. The old owner decided to sell a few months ago and I was keen, I had a concept and an old…family friend who I helped out at one point offered to act as silent partner”
Frank leaned back in his seat, exhaling heavily and shaking his head.
“So you managed to get somebody to bankroll you in the Canary?”
Escher shrugged as she bit into a egg roll.
“That shouldn’t surprise me, you were always extraordinarily good at getting what you wanted”
“I know, right?” Her cocky smirk covered what she was really thinking “Sure Frank, the only thing I wanted that I never got was you”.
“Well I’d better get going” Frank announced a while later, “are you sure you’re right here on your own?” He asked.
Lazslow had left a few minutes before on a supplies run. Escher nodded and wiped a speck of dust from the table.
“Peachy” She replied.
Frank stood up and began to walk towards the door.
“I’ll have to let you out” Escher said, grimacing as she tried to suppress the headache that had been building behind her eyes for the past fifteen minutes.
She stood up quickly and passed her clammy hand in front of her eyes, squeezing them closed.
Frank noticed the strange, almost queasy look on her face.
“You okay E?” He asked.
She nodded momentarily as another wave of pain swept through her head and then she felt everything go black as she slumped backwards, hitting her head on the table as she fell.
AN: Thankyou so much to all the people who have reviewed this story so far. I'm so glad people are enjoying my first foray into MCR fanfiction!