Frank signs and smiles and signs and nods, laughs and smiles and signs and nods, and all down the table the guys are doing the same thing, Ray and Bob and Mikey are all signing and murmuring and laughing and smiling and signing and signing and signing, and it's like every meet and greet ever except on his left, Gerard is deep in conversation with one of their fans, his fingers suspended in the air between them, smiling all goofy and nodding his head. So okay, he's smiling and nodding, but he's not signing and there's an egg hanging around this girl's neck on a polka-dotted ribbon, an egg with a face drawn on it and a little knit cap, and Gerard is fascinated, and it's totally fucking up the flow. Totally.
The girl says, "It's for health class? We have to carry them around for two weeks and take care of them. Uhm. Like a baby."
"An egg baby," Gerard says, and Frank rolls his eyes, knocks his elbow into Gerard's. "Wow. What's her name?"
"Angelina," the girl says, blushing a color Frank's pretty sure doesn't even have a name. "Uhm. Her other mom is here somewhere, too. We couldn't get a sitter."
Gerard nods some more, says something Frank doesn't catch because he's signing and laughing and signing and signing, and when he looks over at Gerard again the girl is smiling like crazy, showing Gerard the little cocoon-thing the egg's other mom made, soft pink fabric on the outside, lined inside with downy cotton and bubble wrap, little grommets for the straps so she can still wear the whole thing around her neck. "That's so cool," Gerard says, his eyes all wide, and Frank grinds his teeth, does his best not to let it show.
He's not trying to be an asshole, he's not, it's just, it's mid-tour and he's fucking tired, okay? And he's smiling and laughing and signing and signing, and he doesn't mind, he loves their fans, he does, it's just that Gerard's off in his own little world, his own little world without Frank, and Frank would just like to get out of this room already and play a show tonight, wake up one more city closer to home. He waves his hand around over his head for a minute and Worm squeezes in behind them, rests his hand on Gerard's shoulder. Gerard sighs and nods, takes a picture with the girl and her egg and smiles softly, tells them to stay safe and enjoy the show.
Frank crashes out on the ratty couch in the dressing room backstage, barely wakes up when Gerard snuggles up behind him, all stale smoke and warm lips, his arm snaking around Frank's belly and holding him close. "I wanna have your egg babies, Frankie," Gerard whispers later, his lips dark and swollen and Frank's back pressed up against the dressing room door. Frank's jeans are down around his thighs and Gerard's jerking him mercilessly, his hand sticky with his own come, and Frank throws his head back and laughs and laughs, comes with his fingers twisted in Gerard's hair and Gerard's smile bright against his lips.
It's a good show, a great show, Mikey's all lit up inside and Ray's on fucking fire, and Gerard takes a few minutes between songs to talk about being different and being yourself, how it's important to just be who you are. Frank's got his back turned while Gerard communes with the crowd, Bob's watching him with narrowed eyes but Frank's just trying to rehydrate as much as he can, seriously. Gerard's voice ratchets up a notch and Frank grins as he pauses for a second, listens to the screams. Gerard dedicates the next song to everyone out there growing up with two moms or two dads, and Bob spins his sticks and counts them in. Frank twirls around so fast he gets tangled up with his mic stand, bounces into Mikey and throws himself at Ray, winds up flat on his back with Gerard standing over him, singing his heart half out of his throat.
-- End --