Categories > Celebrities > My Chemical Romance > Gerard? No way...

Chapter Thirteen

by CooCooPrincess 1 review

Heavy handed bartenders and boyfriends

Category: My Chemical Romance - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Characters: Frank Iero,Gerard Way,Mikey Way,Ray Toro - Published: 2018-12-29 - 5403 words

To be honest? I wasn't sure if Gerard would even show up for the show that night. Over the few months he'd spent recording the CD, he'd disappear without a trace every so often, and I'd get calls from worried friends and family asking if I'd heard from him. I hadn't. I mean, me? Of all people? They'd call me? It was almost as if they didn't want to find him. But I suppose they were just afraid of what they might find if they looked hard enough.
A few nights prior to the record release party I was at my mother's house with Josh. They'd been chatting behind their hands opposite from me the entire time I was there, only pausing to cast worried glances in my direction. Had David been there it wouldn't have been as bad, but he was off at some type of teaching convention in Ohio, so I was left to fend for myself. Eventually, I got tired of their shit and walked into the kitchen. Bending over the counter, I placed my forehead against my fists and began to grind my teeth. When suddenly, "Honey, will you take out the recycling for me?" my mother called to me from the living room, and I stood to look in her direction when a clap of thunder sounded from outside.
I sighed, "Ma, it's raining."
"It's just a drizzle, sweetie."
I looked out the window. "Ma, it's pouring."
"Honey, will you take out the recycling for me?" While I couldn't see her, I knew she was asking, no...demanding, through smiling, gritted teeth.
"Honey, will you take out the recycling for me?" I grumbled mockingly under my breath as I gathered the recycling, found an old pair of galoshes in the closet and put on a raincoat. "Don't worry about me!" I shouted sarcastically "I'll just try not to wash away, or come down with a case of death!" Josh and my mother ignored me. I opened the door and did my best not to slam it shut behind me.

The sky was pitch black, and the rain was falling in sheets. Somewhere far off a string of lightning bolts lit up the sky, and I began to count down the seconds until the thunder followed it. Three seconds. Three miles. The storm was almost right on top of us.

"Listen, bambina. Listen to the thunder." Papà said to me softly. His voice was deep and smooth, and I could almost hear him smiling. How was he not afraid? He was always so brave. Just like a superhero. Nothing scared Papà. Not thunder and lightning. Not anything. We stood in front of the living room window while my little arms wrapped tightly around his thigh, and my left cheek smushed against his black dress pants. The fabric was soft, and he was warm. I was safe. My eyes went wide with wonder when the entire room was filled with white light as a series of lightning bolts flashed. Once they stopped, my father began counting. "Uno, due, tre-"
I looked up at him, puzzled. "What are you doing, Papà?"
Without pausing he continued to count, "quattro, cinque, sei, sette, otto-"
Frowning, I asked again, "Papà, what are you doing?"
"nove, dieci, undici-"
I tried again, but in Italian, "Che stai facendo, Papà?"
"dodici-" The thunder that followed was deafening and it shook the portraits on the wall. It seemed to last forever. Fear welling up in my throat, I pressed my pudgy face into the back of his leg, and squeezed my eyes shut as hard as I could. Terrified that if I let him go, somehow the storm would swallow me up and I'd be lost forever. A final clap of thunder sounded and then everything was eerily quiet. I began to cry.
"Cosa non va?" What's wrong? My father asked.
I explained my fears as best as a frightened five year old could, and was surprised when he kneeled down and began to laugh. Highly offended I pulled back and glared at him. He took one look at my red boogery face and laughed even harder, drawing me into a hug.
When my Papà laughed it made everything okay. It was like listening to music. Soft, gentle, soothing music. People often say the Italian language is like listening to a song. That hearing an Italian speak is like opening a music box. That was what it was like to hear my father talk. That was what it was like to hear him laugh. Growing up, my father always told me that you could tell how many miles away a storm was by counting the seconds between the thunder and lightning. The storm that night had been twelve miles away. Nowhere near close enough to snatch me up and away from my father.

Suddenly, I missed him. I rarely missed him, and it made me feel really stupid to be standing in my mother's driveway, in the rain, almost twenty years later, thinking about things that no longer mattered. Shaking my head at myself I walked to the street to put the recycling out for my mother who always waited until the last minute. Hunched over, and huddled against the rain, I turned to sprint back into the house when I collided with someone, and got knocked flat on my ass in the muddy grass next to the garbage cans. Seconds after hitting the ground I soaked through to the skin. As the anger rose within me I could feel the water beneath me begin to boil.
"Aw shit. Sorry, kid." the figure said and held out a hand. Ignoring the hand, I snarled that I wasn't a kid and he should watch where he was going. The man only sighed, and let his arm fall back to his side. He smelled like alcohol. Cheap alcohol. I wanted to get away from him. I made an haphazard effort to push my hood back up by my forehead to see who he was, but it kept falling down over my face. Not as if it would matter anyway with the way the rain kept getting in my eyes, and his hood was covering half his face. As hard as I tried, I couldn't see the rest of the guy's face hidden underneath his hood. It was too dark and too rainy, s I resigned myself to glaring at my knees.
"Jesus, it was an accident." The man slurred to the top of my hood. "Are you going to get up or would you prefer to catch pneumonia and possibly ring worm from sitting down there moping in the wet?" I looked up enough to watch as he fumbled in his pocket a bit before pulling out a Zippo. "You women are all the same." he mumbled more to himself than to me. "Bitter and stubborn and angry all the time."
He was about to flick it open when I snapped at him, "What? Are you crazy?" At which point I tried to stand up, but ended up losing my footing and crashing to the ground. Muddy water splashed everywhere, on the guy in front of me, on the front of my jacket and all over my face. I must have looked like a fish out of water as I tried over and over again to get up, only to fall right back down each time. My entire body was covered in shit. I was freezing cold and furious.
"Possibly," he said without irony, "but no more than you appear to be. Here." he once again extended a hand and, realizing my defeat, I reached out and allowed him to yank me up. That was when he once again raised the lighter and the cigarette to his mouth. When he snapped open his Zippo a flare of light illuminated his face. I'd know those eyes anywhere.

"Gerard?" I choked on the word.
The cigarette fell from his lips and he barely managed to catch it. "Wha-?"
Unceremoniously, I knocked his hood back and yanked off mine. In doing so, I exposed the only dry part left on my body to the rain. Before long my head was soaked and my hair was sticking to my face.
His green eyes went wide with surprise, but also with fear and something else I couldn't place. "You're in town." he said quietly.
"My mom does still live here." I mumbled, wiping the rain out of my eyes. It was dark, but the soft glow of the street lamp cast eerie shadows in the hollow pits under his eyes, and caused his already pale skin to appear paper thin and yellow.
"I thought you were in a show or movie or something and were -" he stumbled over his words. "I thought you were, well, not here." Gesturing to our general surroundings when he seemed to decide he'd said more than enough to get his point across.
I noticed he'd cut his hair into short, artificial black spikes. "Sorry?" I said, unable to decide whether or not I should have been insulted. "Where have you been?" Changing the subject seemed to be a good idea.
Gerard tweaked his nose nervously "Where have I been?" he frowned at me until I made direct eye contact with him, causing him to quickly look away.
"I keep getting calls from people saying you're not showing up to recording sessions, and that you disappear without a trace for days at a time." My voice was barely above a whisper and upon a second look I noticed his eyes were bloodshot and slightly glazed over. I wondered when he last slept.
He sighed, and placed the cigarette in the corner of his lips. It had gone out from the rain. "I didn't know you were in town." Gerard sounded exhausted, and like he was trying to dodge my questions.
"I wasn't planning on it."
Re-lighting his Marlboro, he cocked an eyebrow, a look I had so missed.
"Well, you know, Josh wanted to come." I said, as if it explained everything.
"Oh." and just like that, the look was gone.
Hanging my head, I looked at my feet. My poor feet. When I fell the muddy water sloshed into my boots and left about two inches of ice cold muck. I looked back up at his face. It was such a sad face. After a moment of him taking a long drag of his cigarette I said, "I don't understand, Gerard."
"Don't understand what?"
"Where you go."
Gerard was silent before mumbling. "I go away."
Unsure where he was going with that comment I decided it would be best not to say anything as he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, allowing the rain to fall on his face.
Without opening his eyes he said "It’s - I just have to go sometimes. It's-it's...well," he pause and looked hard at me. "I just have to get away from everything sometimes."
"But why?" I ventured.
He looked at me questioningly. "Why do you care?"
Lightly, cautiously, I placed my fingertips on his arm. "Gerard you can't just disappear like that."
He pulled on his Marlboro and then slowly blew out a line of smoke. The wind blew it in my face. "Why not?" He didn't pull away.
That was not an answer I was expecting, "Because."
"Because why?" he said drolly. He seemed suddenly bored with the conversation.
"Because you can't just do that to people."
He laughed tiredly, "Oh, so it's what I do to other people."
Pulling his arm away he pinned me with a look I couldn't quite place the root of. "Bri." As my name left his lips the breath caught in my lungs. It had been so long since I had heard him say my name. Memories of him moaning it into my ear came flooding over me, and for a brief moment I wasn't cold anymore.
"What?" I managed to croak out.
After a moment he seemed to give up on whatever thought was running through his head, and chuckled, it was a bitter little laugh, before rolling his eyes and flicking the cigarette into the road. "You left though."
What was he talking about? The look on my face must have expressed my confusion
"You did leave. God. You so totally left, and you only talk to people when they go out of their way to get in touch with you, or if you accidentally run into them when you're taking out the recycling." he gave my muddied apparel a once over before sighing again.
"I work in Hollywood and in New York City. I'm an actress. It's not like I have a lot of wiggle room in my schedule. It eats up all my time. You think I WANT to be kept away from everyone?" with every word I got more agitated "I only ever see my mother a couples times a year. It's not that I just up and left!" my arms flailed in the air as if trying to grasp my next sentence. "I moved forward with my life. Chased my dreams. I grew up, Gee."
He looked hurt for a moment before deciding to ignore me. "Do you remember what I said to you the afternoon of our graduation?"
I blinked at him. He was on something. I knew that much. No matter how hard he appeared to try and concentrate, his pupils dilated in and out and I noticed his knee was shaking a bit. It scared me.
The only thing I remembered from graduation night was him giving me a painting and letting me kiss him. It seemed so long ago. It had been about seven years.
"Of course you don't." he breathed to himself. "I asked you if we were ever going to see one another again. And do you know what you said?"
I didn't. I couldn't remember
"You said 'Of course'. And did we?"
"Well," I said awkwardly, remembering our ill-fated sexual encounter "yeah. We did."
He pinched the bridge of his nose before looking back at me. "Only after I spent two months tracking you down to call you. Even then it took you a year to come see me." he seemed to get more and more upset as the moments passed. "Then after that you ignored all my phone calls. For a whole week."
"Gerard, you could have left a Voice Mail or -"
A dark shadow fell over his face. "Well you certainly went out of your way to see Frank over the years." At first I thought he was angry with me, but upon a second look I realized he was hurt and that he knew what I'd done. WHO I'd done...
He was not supposed to know about that. "I have no idea what you're talking about." I said, practically tripping over my words..
Then his face twisted from hurt to disgust, but he stayed silent for a few moments. "Why do you always lie to me?" he inquired quietly. "Even when I already know the truth?"
I couldn't answer him without lying. I didn't know. So I figured it would be better to not say anything at all.
When had I turned into such a shitty human being?
"Whatever, man. Just. I dunno. Just don't even worry about me. You clearly have your own issues." and he stumbled away without another word.

"Don't ask." I muttered miserably as I walked in the front door.
My mother looked worried as she got up and headed toward the hall linen closet. When she was out of ear shot Josh looked up at me. "I can't take you anywhere." and he just got up and went into the kitchen to refill his coffee.


The inside of The Loop Lounge was bustling with excitement. People with walkie talkies were rushing around in a panic, "Can we get someone to cut them off? I don't think they'll make it onstage if they drink anymore than they already have." On that note I grabbed Josh's hand and headed to the bar.
The bartender looked bored, and his tip jar was painfully empty for the amount of people that had already arrived and gotten drinks. "Uh, I'll have a Stella please? Josh what do you want?"
"Not a beer that's for sure."
I ignored him, "He'll have some Malibu and Coke."
As if he were only just aware of our presence the man behind the bar looked up, startled, and his eyes settled on Josh. "I don't serve infants, and don't serve them no bitch drinks neither." he sneered.
Angrily, Josh fished out his ID and smacked it down on the sticky surface.
"Fine. But we only got Diet. Our regular Coke spout is broke."
Josh crinkled his nose, "I'll have a Scotch on the Rocks then."
"Cripes. Where the hell you find this one, lady?" the man asked me. I didn't respond. Taking Josh to this part of town was already a gamble, and I had no desire to piss him off even more. Beneath my long sleeves my arm ached a bit.
We got our drinks and as Josh turned to search for a bar table, I fished through my wallet and slipped a fifty into the tip jar. The bartender's eyes got wide. "What gives, lady?"
"Don't mention it. Please. My boyfriend will kill me, but you're welcome."
Stella in hand I turned to see Josh still standing just a few feet away, appearing highly put off by his surroundings. "How long do we have to be here?" he hissed.
"As long as it takes."
"They didn't even invite you personally. They gave the flyer to your mom and made her give it to you."
Before I could say anything there was an uncomfortable yelp from near the stage. Whipping around to see what had caused the commotion I saw a group of women staring at me.
They were women I knew. Women who should have looked happy to see me, but didn't. They looked horrified, and one of them had her hands clamped over her mouth.
Always one to keep her cool, Donna Way immediately yanked Christa's hands away from her mouth and gave a stiff wave before plastering an uneasy smile across her face. She stood and squeezed her curvy body out from behind the high table to walk over to Josh and I. Who was the third woman? It wasn't until she made eye contact with me from across the lounge that I realized it was Jamia Nestor. She'd chopped off all her hair and dyed it a startling ugly shade of red. She and Christa stood looking from each other to me and back to each other, then Jamia hurriedly ran up on stage and disappeared behind the curtain. At this point Gerard's mom was within a few feet of me and my boyfriend. "Sweetheart! I'm so happy to see you!" Donna pulled me into an awkward hug. "I didn't expect to see you," she paused briefly, "...or Josh here tonight." there was an edge to both her voice and forced giggle that made me begin to feel as nervous as she looked. Donna's eyes darted uneasily around before turning back to me.
"Uhm, yeah. Frank mentioned something a few months ago and he gave my mom the flyer a few days ago."
"Well, glad you could make it, dears. Come stand with us at our table!" there was an odd squeaky quality to her typically even toned gravelly voice as she led us to the table where Christa stood, frightened and twitchy. Like a mouse trapped by a cat.
"Hi!" she practically screeched, and Donna cast her a warning glance.
I wasn't liking whatever was going on. "Is everything okay, Christa?"
"Oh? What?" she smiled. But it was a strained smile. "Me?" her eyes flickered back to Mrs. Way's for a brief moment. "Oh yeah! Just nervous for Ray you know? He's like, you know, my fiancé and stuff? So I'm, you know. Really nervous." she started giggling a manic creepy giggle before she suddenly picked up her beer and took a large gulp, as if trying to force herself to shut up.

The curtain onstage began to rustle and Jamia came out with a very excited Frank. "YES!" he shouted before taking a flying leap off the stage and onto me, causing us to fall back against Josh, who almost didn't make the catch. A little bit of my beer sloshed out of the bottle and onto my shoes, but at least someone was glad to see me. "Come on! You have to come see the guys!" he immediately started yanking me by my sleeve to the stairs by the stage. I'd barely had time to regain my balance.
"Frank, why doesn't she just stay here?" Jamia said. Her calm tone was very forced and it almost seemed as if she was speaking through clenched teeth.
"No fucking way the guys are gunna go fucking crazy!"
"Oh, I have no doubt." she growled.
I didn't know what was wrong with everyone, but I didn't sign up for this shit. I knew they were hiding something from me and I was going to find out.
"Come ON!" Frankie pulled, like an anxious toddler (who'd had far too much to drink), at my upper arm.
Stifling a yelp, I pulled away. He'd grabbed my bruise. "Alright, I'm coming, Frank. Stop it." He let go long enough to allow me to hand my purse to Josh who gave me a look that said I'd be dead meat if I left him alone. I could only shrug before I turned to follow Frank. No doubt I'd answer for it later. As I moved toward my best friend I made eye contact with Christa, who seemed to be trying to warn me away with every fiber of her being, but Frank grew impatient and grabbed my fingers to pull me toward the stage so she kept silent and watched me get dragged away and practically drop my beer as I tripped up the stage steps.

Frank led me behind the musty curtain and through a doorway that led from backstage to a long hallway made out of cinder blocks someone had thought to paint vomit green. Just as I was about to ask where he was taking me, he began to speak. All his words came out in a slurred rush. "I'm so glad you came. I didn't want to go to your apartment, because Josh probably would have called the police so I gave the poster to your mom and hoped she'd remember to give it to you and she did! I don't know what I'd do if you weren't here it would have been awful because sometimes you're gone but you're always there when it counts. You've always been there for me when I needed you and I'm so happy." the entire paragraph was said in one breath and when he paused to take in some oxygen I slowed down to a stop and turned him to face me. He smiled when I looked at him and I placed my fingertips lightly on his cheek. It was my first opportunity to get a good look at him. He'd gotten his nose and lip pierced since I'd last seen him. Admittedly, it was really hot. I briefly wondered what it would be like to kiss someone with a lip ring? Like maybe their lips would be hot and wet, while the tiny piece of metal would be icy against my mouth. Without warning he flung himself on me and hugged me tightly. "I missed you, you asshole. Why don't you ever come around anymore? I was afraid you'd forgotten about us. I can't handle my two best friends disappearing all the time on me." He wasn't mad. He simply nuzzled into my hair and sighed. It felt nice to be hugged like that and I wrapped my arms around his small frame. Frank was the only constant in my life. It didn't matter what I did or said or where I went or anything. He was there and he loved me. He even still felt like Frank. Comfortable and warm with the vague scent of Marlboro smoke in his soft hair. We stood like that for a while before he pulled back and grabbed me just below my shoulders as if to look at me. I jerked away again as he hit my bruise. "What's wrong?" he asked, his fingers hovering over my arm.
Shaking my head slightly before I did or said something stupid I looked up at Frank's eyes, "Frank. I need to ask you something."
"Anything." he bounced lightly on his toes and I had to put a hand on his shoulder to calm him down. "Sorry. I'm just. I'm drunk and nervous and did I tell you how excited I am that you came and -"
"Frank!" he flinched. I hadn't meant to yell, but I wanted his attention. "Frankie." I said, more calmly. "I want to know why everyone is acting so weird."
The question sobered him slightly. "Anything but that." Suddenly he didn't want to meet my eyes.
"Come on, Frank. You've always been honest with me."
"I know." he mumbled to the posters on the wall next to us. Autographed pictures and promotional posters of bands who never made it lined the hallway. They were faded and peeling. Ironic. Suddenly I was really worried that My Chemical Romance wasn't going to make it. When Pencey Prep didn't work out Frank was heartbroken. Music was something Frankie had always met with reckless abandon, and I didn't know what another failed project was going to do to him.
I looked back at my best friend. "Hey." I said gently "What's going on?"
He just turned his attention to an invisible stain on his t-shirt and shook his head.
"You've always been honest with me." I repeated
"I know." he finally looked back up at me. "That's why I can't say anything, because I can't lie to you, but I don't want to tell you the truth."
That was very unlike Frank to shy away from any kind of brutal honesty. Not a good sign. It meant that it, whatever IT was, was bad.
"Did I do something?"
"Not really, no. It's like, it's you, but it's not your fault. Does that make sense?"
Frankie sighed. "Just forget it. Come on. Come see the guys!" his smile slowly returning. "Oh hey are you going to finish that? They cut us off." he said gesturing to my other hand.
"Huh?" then I realized he was gesturing to my beer. "Oh, yeah sure here."
He drained the bottle. "Fuck that was warm. Stella? Only Gerard drinks this shit. I'm a Budweiser dude." I just laughed and let him drag me into an ugly room at the end of the hall.

When I stepped into the room the first thing I noticed was the over whelming smell of cigarette smoke and alcohol. Not that it bothered me per se, but it was a bit stifling. The room was slightly hazy with smoke and I cleared my throat lightly and looked around. Directly across from the door was a cheap desk with a lit mirror for performers to use for hair and makeup. To the right was a beat up table and dark greenish couch with questionable white stains all over the cushions. There were guitar cases scattered across the floor, and to my left I heard a curse. Sitting cross-legged on the filthy tile floor was Ray shaking his poufy little Spanish head and muttering to himself as he ran through a complicated chord. Behind him stood a young man messing with a bass who I almost didn't recognize. Had it not been for the coke bottle glasses perched on the tip of his nose I wouldn't have known who he was at all. Since I'd last seen him he'd grown at least six or seven inches and his face went from the round face of a little boy to the chiseled face of a young man.
"Mikey?" the boy's head jerked up so quickly that he lost his balance and tripped backward over Ray, and while he caught himself in his friend's lap his glasses fell off his face and clattered onto the floor causing the lens to fall out. Ray stared at me in silent horror as Mikey tried to untangle himself and find his glasses.
When he finally got a hand on his specs he turned to Ray and shoved them in his face, "Fix them!" It took Ray a second to drag his eyes away from me and focus on fixing Mikey's glasses. Once Mikey had his glasses positioned properly back on his face he turned angrily toward whatever it was that made him fall, and when we locked eyes his jaw dropped.
"They're just excited to see you." Frank chuckled awkwardly, shooting a warning glare at the two guys who then tried to cover for themselves as Frank pushed me toward the couch I didn't want to sit on. I didn't hear what they were saying though, because when I turned to tell Frank to stop pushing me I caught sight of a dark hunched over figure slithering into the room. A cigarette was dangling lazily from the corner of his mouth and his hair was even shorter than I remembered. The dark circles around his eyes were so prominent that they could have been make-up or they could have been real. I wasn't close enough to see, but I did notice that every time I saw Gerard he looked a little sadder, hunched a little lower, looked a little paler, seemed to have gotten a little less sleep.
"Mom, what are you talking about? I just got in from outside." he mumbled through his cigarette into his cell phone. "Mom I haven't seen her, no. Are you sure? No. I'm in the green room. What are -" he looked up and scanned the room, stopping when he saw me standing behind Frank. "I'm too drunk for this, Mom. I'll see you after the show. Yeah. Okay. OKAY. Bye." Without breaking eye contact with me, Gerard shoved his cell into his pocket so hard I thought he was going to rip right through it.
"Hey?" I don't know why but it came out as a question.
Gerard smiled crookedly. "Hi." Unless you were with Gerard from the moment he began drinking it was really hard to tell what version of him you were going to get. He could either be loud and excited and a bit rude, or he'd be sad and quiet and trying not to pass out. "I gotta say. Wasn't expecting you here."
He snorted, "You always seem to cause quite a stir wherever you go."
I chewed my tongue for a moment before picking something that wasn't Fuck You. "Occupational hazard I guess."
Gerard shrugged. "Okay."
The fighting was getting old. WE were getting old. "I didn't come here to bicker with you. I fucking came because you guys are my friends and I know this is something that really matters to you and I came to support you, because contrary to whatever you think, I DO want you all to be happy and achieve whatever dreams are floating around in your stupid little heads. So can we just be nice and not fight?" it all sounds much more dramatic than it actually was. It sounded more like some boring principal making a boring announcement about how they were tired of whatever asshole kept stealing the paper towels out of all the bathrooms.
Gerard looked up and I half expected him to be annoyed or mad or something, but instead he just looked at me and smiled and said, "Okay."
It was a nice smile. The smile that said, That's my girl. "I'm going to hug you now. And I don't care if you squirm or kick or scream or -"
"Oh my god please stop talking it's like a cheesy sitcom it's making me sick. Hug him and get it over with." Mikey whined from the other side of the room
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