Two months later, on February fourteenth, 1995, and I was in a taxi on my way to Gerard’s house. He had kicked Mikey out with Pansy for the night and their parents were at dinner until twelve, so we would have the house all to ourselves. The taxi stopped and I paid the driver before getting out and heading up the walkway. I was about to knock when I noticed the note on the mailbox.
The door is unlocked. Come right in.
I smiled, taking the note down and walking in. I kicked my shoes off and walked to his bedroom door, pulling it open and going down the stairs. It was dark at the bottom and I began to wonder if Gerard was even down there. I felt the carpet floor beneath my feet and carefully stepped forward.
There was no reply. I took another few steps forward and shrieked as I was swept off my feet; literally. I heard a soothing “shh” in my ear and felt breathing on my neck. He nipped at my neck and I wrapped my arms around his shoulders.
“Scared?” He whispered, sending chills down my spine.
I felt his lips softly brush across my cheek and sighed.
“Don’t be.” He replied, setting me down. He stepped by me and the light came on. I saw him wince a little and smirked.
“Been down here long?”
“Only an hour.” He came back over and leaned down, kissing me.
“I’ve got things set up in the living room.”
I nodded and followed him back upstairs. We walked into the living room and he clicked on a dull lamp. I smiled at the ‘set up.’ There was a big, fuzzy blanket on the couch and a few candles around. He sat on the couch, pulling me down beside him.
“So, what did you have planned?” I asked.
“I got a few movies. I thought we’d just stay here.”
“Good. I ordered Chinese. It should be here soon.
“I love Chinese.”
“I know. So, yeah…” He leaned over the arm of the couch and handed me a small box wrapped in red wrapping paper.
“Gerard, we said no presents. I have nothing for you.”
“I know, but I had to get you something.”
I raised an eyebrow, but he ignored it.
I sighed and unwrapped it to find a small piece of paper. I read over it once then looked up at Gerard who was still smiling. It was a pre-paid coupon for a tattoo.
“So you like it?”
I nodded slowly.
“But I thought you didn’t like tattoos.”
“I like them on other people, I just don’t want one myself. I’m afraid of needles. But you’ve been saying you want one lately and I thought I’d be perfect.”
I smiled and put it down on the table, hugging him.
“Thank you, Gerard.”
I let him go as the doorbell rang.
“That’ll be the Chinese.”
A few days later, we were sitting in art class, fucking around. I had been going a lot more since we’d started dating. I was trying to paint and he just wouldn’t let me. He stuck his finger in a blob of red paint, making a red streak on my abstract page. I giggled.
“What’s that line mean, then?” I asked.
“It means I love you.”
I smiled and picked up a blue blob with my paint brush, making a squiggly line down the middle as he dipped his finger in some yellow, smudging it across the bottom.
“And that one?”
“I dunno. I just feel like painting now.”
I laughed again, picking up a bit of black paint.
“You dork.” I said, smearing it on his cheek. He gasped, staring at me, laughing.
“Bitch, please.” He replied, taking a bunch of purple, sticking it on my nose.
“Oh, it’s on.”
I dipped my finger into a huge blob of white, wiping it across his forehead.
We continued painting each other’s faces and I was laughing so hard I didn’t even hear the teacher come up behind us. He cleared his throat and we both looked up.
“What are you two doing?” He asked.
He rolled his eyes, holding up a hand to silence us.
“Go get yourselves cleaned up.”
We nodded and both stood, exiting the portable. We burst out laughing as soon as the door was closed. We headed into the school, our paint-covered hands clasped together tightly at our sides, mixing the wet paint. We both went into the washrooms, cleaning up, before met back where we parted. He hugged me tightly as soon as he was close enough.
“I missed you!”
“I was only gone for a minute.”
He looked up at me, smiling.
“And I couldn’t stand it.” He dipped his head down, capturing my lips with his own and we kissed for a few minutes before heading back to class.
After class, we met up with Jimmy, Frank, Pansy and Mikey and went to they Way’s house as usual. My parents said we spent too much time over there, but I paid them no attention. It was better than being at home alone, like we used to be. Those times were so close, but felt so long ago. It didn’t matter to me, then. Nothing did.
I ended up getting my tattoo a few weeks later. It was a beautifully detailed rose on my left shoulder with the words Belle Muerte around it. Gerard said it was gorgeous and he loved the phrase. I had thought so to, and the phrase was the perfect expression of how I felt then. If only it could have lasted.
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