It's not anywhere close to the main reason that Gerard walks away from the band, but he'd be lying if it wasn't in the back of his mind. Lindsey's always in his mind, of course: her screaming, stomping stage persona, her careful hands when she's working with paper, the grin on her face when she's twirling Bandit around in circles. But it's not fair is there with everything else, almost like he piped it through an effect pedal, the edges catching on the insides of his brain.
She goes on tour. He thinks about it some more.
The PO Box is part of it, in his own way, and being on Twitter. It's giving a piece of himself to the fans without dressing it up and shielding himself in his usual pretty standard. The fans seem to like him anyway.
Lindsey sends him emails, calls him, does everything she would do if she was actually there. She's just as there for the Bee, of course she is, but Bandit's only just getting to the age where she'll see the secret messages onstage. Gerard grins when he takes her to the Vegas show, and Lindsey purposely turns toward them more than once and winks at Bandit. The kid's the kind of serious only a kid can be, but she clings to Lindsey after the show just as much as she clings to Gerard the rest of the tour.
Gerard's birthday is really the point it solidifies in his head. Because who could walk in on their dream made real in their garage, know their wife was behind it, and not want to walk through fucking coals to give something back? Not Gerard. Never Gerard.
Lindsey lands in the airport like anyone lands in an airport. It's just moreso if you've been touring on top of it, that wired exhaustion that lingers until you can put your guard down. She scoops up Bandit, and Gerard takes her luggage and her free side.
They all cuddle on the couch at home until Lindsey's tired enough for bed. Beezus conks out hours before that point - she's too young to have her blood swapped for caffeine yet - and she sleeps on her mom as Gerard strokes Lindsey's hair, listens to all her stories of the shows, trails fingers over her Death Spells shirt, breathes in the air that's got the flavor of Lindsey again. She claims some of his space, too; his legs prop up hers, and she takes his free hand, laces their fingers together.
No one makes it to bed. Lindsey because she's too out of it to move, Bandit because she could sleep anywhere, Gerard because he watches his ladies sleep.
Bandit goes off with the neighbor kids the next day; they have standing play dates, one of which Gerard made sure was the day after tour ended. He washes Lindsey's clothes before she wakes up and cooks her favorite foods. She looks more tired after waking up than she did before, but she smiles without words as she crams the food down and slumps to bed.
She's half awake as Gerard strips her down carefully and climbs over her back. Playing guitar a lot has made his hands easier to direct and shape, and it's perfect for full-body rubs. Lindsey moans through it, and that and the rub of their skin together makes his palms and forearms tingle.
Lindsey naps, and Gerard folds and puts away her clothes. He picks out her favorite movies and sets them out in the living room, but when he checks on her, she sets down the phone she was flipping through, and he knows. No movies yet.
It's a different kind of attention that the massage was. He ends up on similar parts of the body; he kisses every inch he can find while she lays back and strokes his hair. But while the touches before were about soothing aches, bringing her down, slipping between her legs and putting his mouth on her is more about focusing. It's easy to leave a part of a person on tour, and Gerard was always happy to let his go. Lindsey was the first time he'd seen that maybe it was something he should have wanted back.
When she's close to coming, she looks a lot like she does on stage, hair wild, face intense with concentration and joy. She cries his name and brings her legs in beside his head as she shakes, and even though it isn't about him at all, he's so happy to be able to feel her, stroke the soft skin of her inner thighs, taste her. Make her happy back.
She looks him straight in the eye when she's finished shaking, and Gerard grins back.
One round is never enough for Lindsey - that's getting her warmed up - and Gerard knows it. He planned for it, actually.
Round two is in the bathtub, Lindsey cuddled against his chest. The bubbles are her favorite scent, and Gerard breathes in the sweetness and the moisture as his fingers roam her body, slip between her legs. She reaches behind her to hold him close as she comes again, making happy noises as the water sloshes gently with her movements.
Bandit comes home, and they have a group coloring session. Bandit's much more careful with crayons than she used to be, more conscious of lines than she was even a couple months before, but her strokes are still effortless, unconcerned. It's way too early to tell, but watching Lindsey and Bandit share their drawings, Gerard thinks Bee's going to take on her mom's style if she keeps going with it.
Round three comes after they put her to bed, and Gerard lays still in bed and lets Lindsey have her way with him. Before Bandit was born, he would have done this with her in the living room, but locked doors are important for a lot of reasons. It's kind of nice to be pressed into the mattress anyway, to be able to stretch out and let Lindsey take him inside and get the leverage to thrust up when she guides him that way. She doesn't cry out - Bandit's too light a sleeper for that - but she does grab her hair in a violent way that gets the idea across.
After they've cuddled for a little while after, he tucks her into bed and takes her dinner order. She doesn't get up, and it's never in his mind to eat at the table; instead, he feeds her fruit and chips with guacamole and spreads napkins to keep things from getting too messy. Clean up is pretty quick afterward, and Lindsey tastes sweet when she kisses him in thanks.
He resists the urge to thank her right back.