I've always wondered what it would be like if I died.
Would people cry? Would I be missed? How would it happen? Would there be a bunch of people stood at my deathbed as I slipped away in my sleep, or would I die alone, nobody left to grieve me; nobody there to remember my name when I'm gone?
It's as if I can picture it in front of me- like I'm standing amongst the scene playing out in my head.
I'm stood in an enclosed graveyard in a forest-like area- my local graveyard. I'm surrounded by crowds of people. It is drizzling with rain, which seems rather fitting to the occasion. A cameraman stands holding a large news camera and a microphone, filming and interviewing certain groups of people.
Currently, a woman stands in front of the camera in solemnity, dressed in a black coat. She sobs into the microphone. There are large bags under her eyes from sleepless nights of crying, and her brown bob is slicked back into a short ponytail. I recognize this as my own mother.
"He was just so sweet, and- and- we all just miss him so, so much-" That's all she can say before she is swept away by a flood of tears.
Behind the camera are my peers- people from my school who I've never even interacted with before stand scattered around the small, enclosed forest in huddles, everyone dressed in shades of black and grey.
This is my funeral.
I can hear the cries of my classmates surrounding me. My attention is drawn to a boy with long, jet-black hair and teal roots, on his knees at my headstone, sobbing into his hands. I can't seem to get a good look at his face, but I feel a certain familiarity around him. He seems distraught.
A few of the girls from my music class stand in front of the camera, shaky and tearful. One of them leans into the microphone, "I- I wish we could have had the chance to get to know him better... He- he seemed so charismatic, full of life, y-you know?"
The other girl nods, "We'll just miss him. We all will." She says.
Flowers are tied to the fences surrounding the graveyard in commemoration of me. This shit is fucking dark.
I can almost feel the stomachs of my classmates dropping as it was announced over the school intercom that I was dead. The refusals of the teachers to give an answer as to how I had died. The looks on everyone’s faces. It sends shivers down my spine.
Slowly, the crowds begin to die out. I see my mother leaving with a group of girls from my school. She thanks them for their kindness in turning up to my funeral, and hopes they're alright. I've never met them before.
Soon, everyone has cleared out. All but one person.
The boy with the teal roots, who remains weeping at my headstone.
I look up. I'm sat in a dull, grey classroom. My 'alternative' English class, to be precise. Mr White stands at the front of the room, pacing back and forth, going over the register.
There are only five other people in my class. This is because the school assumed we were having some sort of 'difficulty' with English, and put us in this shithole. I'm not having difficulty. I just think. I think a lot. I think so much that I get entangled in my thoughts; lost beyond my control until the bell indicates that I have to leave the classroom. It's the reason I'm failing at everything. I can't help it.
Once I figure out when and how I will inevitably die, maybe I'll pick my grades up. But not for now. I like it in my thoughts.
"Frank Iero anyone?" He looks around the room as if he can't see me. I'm glad Mr White is pretty much ancient- it means that I don't have to get shit done until the last minute.
"Yeah, here sir."
This is quite a short chapter, but I swear, it has a good reason behind it.
I don't speak a word as I enter the waiting room. I just turn to the woman at the front desk and tell her who I'm seeing and what my authority is.
I don't want to be here.
I don't want to speak to anyone.
I don't feel like responding to the false, generic smiles of the staff members passing by, or glaring back at the people giving me sympathetic glances as I make my way over to the sets of shitty plastic waiting room chairs, occupied by shells and sunken figures of broken people.
I don't want to look at the TV in the corner of the room, playing some corny British comedy, and listen to the overplayed laughs of the staff at the reception desk as they watch it out of sheer boredom and curiosity.
Everything is dull to me. Grey. Everyone's faces; sunken and tragic, many staring into space, lost in their own world of sorrow; others faking smiles and laughs. The four, white walls are lined with noticeboards. 'No negativity in this room!' one of the several posters reads. Many others feature phone numbers for mental health hotlines or counselling services that can be visited if in need. I scoff in disgust.
My chest is weighed down with impending sorrow. The hole that once contained my heart is now a pit of dread. My whole body aches and throbs in grief an regret. I can still feel the blood on my hands, pulsating from cuts and grazes, and the tears that once fell from my eyes like a waterfall now leave a sting against my lightly grazed cheeks.
My brain replays what happened over and over in my head until it hurts to think about.
My thoughts cannot be averted from this topic; for what I did was unthinkable, and the anguish of regret is all I can feel, seeping through my body.
A young woman sits herself next to me. I edge myself away from her, in fear of her accidentally brushing against my arm as she shuffles anxiously in her seat. She wears bright red lipstick and black pigtails. She looks so tired. We exchange a knowing glance, and then proceed to look down at the floor in opposite directions. Eye contact stings my eyes like the sun's rays sting a vampire to its touch.
"She knows what you did," My brain screams at me, "She knows that you fucking killed him. You should be fucking ashamed. You should be dead, Gerard."
Suddenly, a voice calls from the other side of the room. I immediately lose my train of thought and turn to them.
"Do we have a Gerard Way in here?" A man with a large afro stands at the door, looking down at his clipboard.
I stand up and walk over to him.
"That's me." I say, shyly.
"Hi, Mr Way. I'm Nurse Toro, and I'll be monitoring Frank during his stay. If you would just follow me, he'll be in in room 322." He gives me a weak smile. I can feel its touch of underlying empathy.
I don't really know how to feel about this chapter. I don't think I like it.
I walk in from my mother's balcony, panda-eyed and freezing cold.
I bury myself in her bed sheets to warm. The dream has been keeping me awake again- the one where I'm dead.
It seems to follow me with my every move. It feels branded into my mind, or as though it's all I'm allowed to think about.
The idea of death creeps upon me like a predator creeping upon its prey. It pounces at me and keeps me captivated within it for countless hours.
It's not like I haven't already accepted death- I mean- I've realized that everyone will die, and that's fine; it's that I'm terrified of not knowing the cause, and thus, the dream makes it all worse.
The thought of dying of old age, surrounded by my loved ones is much more comforting than one of suddenly dying a premature, untimely death. That's what scares me. It's how people would react in a situation such as that.
This image of my future partner, or someone really close to me, receiving the news that I'd died haunts me. The thought of them dropping to their knees in despair. Tear-filled, sleepless nights.
And then the funeral; it replays in my head in a cyclical motion, spinning around my mind; each time, it ending with the boy with the teal roots appearing further and further towards me, sobbing harder into his palms every time. Yet when he looks up or moves his hands for a split second, his face is till indistinguishable.
I still can't tell who he is, nor can I remember what he looks like after the dream finishes once again.
He just seems to know something.
Something that I don't.
I snap back into reality. I'm covered in goosebumps, millions. Whether it's the fear that shakes me into alertness, or a strange awakening of my previously undiscovered intellect, I manage to translate them from Braille as I run my icy hands across my arms.
The words speak more to me than the reams and reams of half-written lyrics and scrapped melodies that lie across my bedroom floor, and all of the unfinished songs that have been played out of my guitar and never continued like a final, fatal LiveJournal entry.
A chill runs down my spine.
I need to know who the teal roots boy is.
I have to go to the fucking graveyard.
We stand in silence outside of room 322.
My entire body is tense. I can feel myself shaking. I'm a wreck of fearful anticipation.
"Okay, before we go in, we need to discuss Frank's condition." The nurse looks down at his clipboard, before giving me a false-looking smile.
He motions towards the chairs by the door.
"Do you want to sit down for this, sir?" He asks. The tone in his voice falters slightly.
I nod, reluctantly, sitting down in the one of the chairs beside us. The guilt that sits upon me begins to grow heavier as the seconds pass by.
He takes another look at his clipboard and sighs. I desperately try to brace myself for the news in fear of the worst.
"Okay, so, obviously the accident meant that Frank was severely injured. He was in and out of consciousness for a while." He sits down beside me and sets his clipboard down on his lap. I bounce my leg anxiously. I want to be anywhere but here, "and the severity of the trauma that was inflicted meant that he was left in a critical condition."
I draw in a small, shaky gasp. I feel as though my heartstrings have been snapped, leaving my heart to plummet from my chest.
"Frank's immediate family were contacted whilst he was in surgery," I want to run as fast as I can. I just want to get the fuck out of here, "and they decided it was best for us to go ahead and place him into a medically-induced coma."
I suddenly begin to feel weak. The room spins around me. The words I'm trying to say are entangled in the back of my throat; trapped inside of me.
A certain numbness takes form in my body, as though a part of me has been ripped out.
All I can do is sit here, letting the salty sting of tears burn my eyes. This is all my fucking fault.
The nurse continues to talk about his state and what's going to happen.
"This is gonna help him to heal a lot faster, and potentially give him somewhat of a second chance, if you will. I understand that-" My breathing suddenly becomes fast and shaky.
He pauses and shoots me a concerned glance, "Look, I'm so sorry. It's alright to be shocked at this sort of news." He tries to comfort me, "it can be a really awful thing to process. Do you still want to see him?" His words linger in the air for a moment as I try to comprehend everything he's just said.
Nothing's going through.
"I- I think I'll try." I mutter, looking down at the floor, trying to hide the tears in my eyes.
He gives me a sympathetic smile and rests his hand against the door handle, "Alright, well, you're allowed to leave at any time. I'll stay in the room for as long as I can; I need to document some stuff whilst I'm in here anyway."
I tilt my head in acknowledgement and signal for him to open the door. I stand up and try to keep my eyes locked to the ground.
I don't want to face anyone.
As the door opens, I catch a slight glimpse of Frank, lay on the bed in front of me.
I drop to my knees in the doorway, feeling pain of them hitting the floor ripple across my body. I sob into my hands.
What the fuck have I done to him?
"Oh my god, Frank..."
hey. although i don't think it's as well-written as it could have been if i had taken another route with the previous chapters, this chapter is, as you can see, a really hard-hitting one. it's also a major plot point, i guess, so if you need to, take this as a trigger warning for what might come later on in the story. stay safe.
also, i'm so sorry i had to put you guys through this.
hi !! this is a nice chapter, i promise !! :)
I stand at the entrance to the graveyard. I just need some air; some space to stroll around and think about shit.
Fucking hell, this place is eerier at night.
Trees enclose the graves like a huge wall, preventing anything from getting out. There's no light that leads down its singular, narrow path. You kind of have to make your way around and find out which is which on your own, by tracing your fingers over the lettering that's etched onto the headstones until you can make out a word or two, unless, of course, you have common sense, which in that case, means that you would likely have brought a fucking torch. There aren't very many graves here, so it's not hard to find the one you're looking for.
Autumn leaves of deep reds, yellows and browns from the trees settle on the ground to shrivel and decompose,
and the looming trees, shed of their leaves, look upon me as I try to let my eyes adjust to being swallowed by this pitch darkness.
When I can finally see a little better, I stroll down the path that leads through the yard, my hands shoved into my pockets. The emptiness of the graveyard gives me space to think. To breathe a little.
I'm desperately rooting for the image of teal roots boy, trying to remember his face, and whether or not he resignates enough in my min for him to be real.
Suddenly, I see a flicker of orange light from one of the trees; like fire from a match, or a lighter.
Who the fuck could be hiding here at this time? A vampire? A fucking bodysnatcher?
"Hello?" I call out timidly, "Is anyone there?"
There's a faint grumble in the distance. I make my way over to where I hear it coming from.
It's a tree; overhanging two unmarked gravestones, perfectly separated apart. The fact that they have been left unmarked makes me feel uneasy. The idea that nobody was left to remember their name. People probably walk past their graves, day by day without knowing who these people really were.
Down from the nearest branch falls three lit matches, which are immediately put out by the rainwater that coats the grass.
I look up. There sits the figure of a boy in a trench coat, lighting matches and proceeding to flick them to the ground straight after lighting them.
"Hello?" I ask again. What the fuck is this guy doing?
He jumps slightly, sending his matchbox toppling to the ground.
"Uh, yeah, hello?" He looks down, startled. It's too dark to see his face.
I feel slightly guilty. "Holy shit, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to scare you like that."
"No, no, I- It's fine." He climbs down from the tree, picks up the matchbox and walks over to me.
He puts his hands in his pockets and stands to face me. Neither of us can see each other in the dark.
Fuck, I'm tiny in comparison to this guy.
"Are you okay? Why are you here this late? I didn't think anyone comes to places like these this late. I mean, shit's enclosed as hell." I ask, concerned.
"I'm fine. I just like to come here to think." He mutters. Despite him actually getting up to approach me, he still seems shy in his words.
"Me too. What's your name, anyway?"
"Gerard. Gerard Way." The name has a certain familiar ring to it, in a way. It could roll off my tongue like it's nothing; like it doesn't take getting used to using.
"Right." I nod, "I'm Frank Iero."
I take a hand out of one of my pockets to shake with his.
"You don't have to do that, you know. I'm not really a hand-shaky kind of guy."
An awkward silence sits between us for a minute or so. All that can be heard is the whistle of the cold, gentle breeze, and the quiet rustling of Gerard's woolen scarf as he adjusts it around his neck.
"Let me see your face, Gerard." I break the silence.
"I wanna see what you look like."
"O-okay." He shakily reaches into one of his pockets and pulls out his matchbox. He strikes one of its matches to life and holds it in between us. There's just enough light for us to be able to see only our faces.
Despite the flame being very dim, his features are extremely distinguishable, even in this shitty lighting.
He has eyes of a thousand tragedies, and lips of those who will never reveal a single one of them. His nose is upturned and perky, and his long, jet-black hair frames his face perfectly.
I can see him studying my features carefully, frowning.
A gust of wind abruptly puts out the match, leaving us standing in the darkness once more.
I scratch one of the bleached sides of my hair awkwardly as the silence settles among us again.
A minute or so passes.
"I better get home, I guess." I say, on impulse. Fuck, fuck, fuck, I didn't mean to say that.
"Yeah, that's fine. It's late." He nods, "Maybe I'll see you again, then, Frank?"
"Yeah, maybe." I smile.
"Okay. See you later." I see the silhouette of his hand as he waves. I notice that his pinky sticks out from the rest of his fingers. Huh, cute.
"Bye!" I begin to stroll towards the gate.
My mind is swimming in questions right now.
i'm so sorry about this chapter. shit's getting deep.
"Should I leave you alone with him for a moment?"
The nurse asks, after running several tests.
I nod, and he quickly exits the room.
A deafening silence settles around me. All I can do is sit in the chair beside Frank and sob; sob until I can feel my head pounding, until my throat is raw, and I'm retching on my tears and choking when I open my mouth to speak.
The only reassurance that he's alive is the tube in his mouth, resting between his slightly parted lips, and the various machines he's attached to. There's no rise and fall of his stomach; no soft sighs. Just the beeping of the monitors around him.
I can't speak. I can't think of anything to say- no sob stories, no apologies. Nothing.
I shakily caress his cold, pale cheek and scan my eyes over his face. Bruising begins to settle around his left eye in an array of purples, reds and yellows.
He looks empty; drained of all signs of life.
His cold hands and sunken eyes assure me that he isn't going to live.
I can feel the words at the back of my throat slowly start to unravel.
"Hey, Frankie." I cough, "I don't know whether you can hear me right now or not, but-" I pause and let my head fall into my hands. My tears wash away my words into a sea of sorrows.
All I can think about is Frank falling limp into my arms; his small, unsteady breaths, the blood on my hands, and the ever-slowing pace of his heart.
"I'm so fucking sorry." I slide my hand into his, half expecting him to squeeze it back. His arms are bandaged from top to bottom, fixing needles from several IV tubes in place, or covering freshly sealed wounds, "Please, wake up."
I cry against his hand, "Please don't leave me like this, baby. I love you so, so much." My whole body shakes. A cocktail of anxiety, fear and guilt settles in the pit of my stomach. My leg bounces repeatedly, loudly tapping against the tiled floor.
"I didn't mean for this to happen. Maybe if we would have left the house a minute later- I- I could have saved you."
ok i'm really sorry about how heavy the last chapter was. here's a nice one in return.
in other news- i got mcr tickets !!
I don't know what is is about the graveyard, but there's a constant urge inside of me to go back. I've found myself lay awake at night, lost in thought about the secrets that lie behind it; my mind filled with questions. I just can't bring myself to set foot in it.
I don't know whether it's the reoccurring dream, or the interaction I had last time I was there, but something's pulling me in like I'm attached to a rope.
The anxiety of seeing Gerard again dawns on me and lectures me about the many reasons as to why I shouldn't start hanging out there- why it might be dangerous.
Yet, I'm here.
Stood at the foot of the grand cemetery gates all over again, thinking of the ways I can get over them without making too much noise.
I grab onto the smooth metal bars and hoist myself over the spiked top, making sure I don't get jabbed in the ass- after several experiences of sneaking out late at night and climbing over fences to get into shut-off areas, those spiked things fucking hurt.
The small torch I remembered to bring this time rattles in my coat pocket, buried among several used tissues and useless arcade tokens that have lived in there for months.
After getting over the gate, I dust my coat off and begin strolling around the graveyard. I don't really know what I'm expecting to see. I don't know why I'm here.
Suddenly, I hear a noise from the trees. I grab my torch out of my pocket and clutch it like a weapon, positioning my finger over the 'on' button as though I'm holding the trigger of a gun.
"Frank!" A voice calls- it's Gerard. I sigh, turning on my torch, and walk over to the tree. Everything looks different in the torchlight. Almost normal.
Gerard dangles from the tree he was sat in last time; his matchbox in one hand, a match in the other. His face is masked by a cluster of dying leaves that sit on a branch in front of him.
"Fuck, Gerard, I thought you were a fucking murderer, or a ghost or some shit." I shoot him an irritated glance.
"Yeah, sorry about that." He drops his matchbox to the ground and hops down from the tree, picking the small box up when he's reached the floor, "Maybe I am a murderer, Frank. You never know." He winks sarcastically.
As he's walking over to me, I take a closer look at him. His features are much more delicate than I remembered, yet he looks so worn. So tired. He's fucking gorgeous, though.
My gaze stops at the top of his head. I notice the strange patch of color hiding in the roots of his jet black hair.
It's teal roots boy. It's fucking teal roots boy, what the fuck.
I let in a silent gasp. He's real. He's actually real.
"So, do you want to like, sit down or something?" He says, and I snap out of the trance I didn't even realize I had entered.
We walk over to the nearest bench and sit down. I shine my torch along the graveyard. I've only ever seen this place in the light in my dreams.
Moss clings to everything- the edges of the path, the stumps of the trees, the gravestones.
Ivy entwines itself into the stone walls that section off the yard from the vast forest it sits inside, thorns taking a stance in front of any possible exit routes.
I then settle the torch in between us. It casts a light around our faces. Gerard's cheeks are flushed a light pink.
"You're blushing..." I blurt out.
"Am I? Fuck." He groans.
"Shit, no, I didn't mean to call you out on it- I- I guess I was just-" I stutter, "You look kind of cute."
"Yeah, to to be weird or anything. I'm sorry if it-"
"No, it's okay." He stops me, quirking a brow.
There's a pause. I realize that the thought of him being the guy from my dreams is still bothering me. It's like my brain is urging me to tell him where I know him from. Fuck it.
"Gerard, can I tell you something stupid?"
"Go ahead, I guess."
"I think I know you from somewhere."
"And? This place is tiny. Everyone knows everyone." He looks confused.
"But like, I've never met you before. I don't think I know anyone that knows you. I mean like- like a dream or something." I anxiously flail my hands around as I speak, trying to get my point across.
"Well, uh, what kind of a dream?" He pulls out his matchbox and looks down at it, fiddling with it awkwardly. Fuck, I'm making this uncomfortable for him.
He nods as I explain the dream to him. I leave out the end part, where I see him stood alone at my grave. It's not the right time to talk about that yet.
He doesn't look phased when I finish my story. He just shrugs.
"You've probably just seen me in the street or something. Maybe you've passed me by and accidentally stared at my face for too long. Things get manifested into your dreams that way all the time."
No, this feels different.
"I just feel like I'd have noticed you a lot more if I'd have seen you in the street. Plus, it's more of a reoccurring dream than a one-off thing."
"Eh, I don't know, honestly," he shrugs, "It's not too big of a deal."
Gerard and I spend the next few hours discussing random shit about ourselves. I learn that he enjoys frequently lighting matches- that it puts him at ease. He's also an artist.
I tell him about my guitar, my need to be in a band, and how much I'm lacking in school.
"Right, it's getting late." He says, standing up.
"Yeah." I agree, collecting my torch from the bench and sliding it back into my pocket.
"Well, anyway," He rubs the back of his neck, awkwardly, "I'm gonna go."
"Okay, well, I'll see you again, then?"
"Yeah. Uh, meet me here at six on Thursday, and bring a camera of some sort." He smiles, before spinning on his heels and walking away.
if you want to get the full effect of this chapter, i suggest you listen to this whilst reading it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbuGWgYLqWk
There's a weight on my chest that I can't get rid of.
A voice in my head telling me I can't wash the blood off my hands no matter how hard I try.
An impending feeling of falling deep into this pit of infinite sadness.
I get into one of the taxis waiting outside of the hospital exit and tell the driver my location. I slump in the back seat, letting my long, black hair drape over my face. The night sky traps me in the cab; the streetlights being the only light to carry me home. My eyes are puffy and dry from trying to rub my tears away.
It's like I can't cry anymore; there's nothing left to get out of me. I'm preserved in such a state of shock and guilt that I've forgotten how to feel properly.
I've ruined everything. Our fucking futures have been torn away from us and thrown into a burning pile. It's my fucking fault.
I suddenly feel my phone vibrating in my pocket. I pull it out and flip it open. It's Frank's mom.
Frank's parents moved to California as soon as him and I got our own little house. It's as though once they knew Frank was remotely safe for the time being, they could fuck off to the other end of the country and forget about their only son. They only ever keep in contact in case of emergencies like this. They told us before they left that they couldn't live around their son knowing that he has committed a 'deadly sin', that will 'wind him up in hell'.
Pressing the phone to my ear, I take a deep breath in and prepare myself.
"Gerard?" Her voice is hollow and monotonous, "Are you there?"
"Yes, Mrs Iero." My throat still feels as raw as my grief.
"We'd just like to say that we're really sorry about Frank. We know how close he is to you." She shows no pity in her tone. It's as if she barely knows him anymore. Her son can't even breathe on his own anymore and all she can say is 'sorry'.
"Listen, we didn't want to drop this on you now, but we feel like we have to. As you know, we don't really agree with Frank's..." she lets out an awkward cough, "lifestyle choices."
My eyes begin to fill with tears again. I hate this woman's fucking guts.
"I- yeah, I know."
"Well, despite all that, we've decided that because you love him, we want to keep him alive for you, honey."
Does she want me to thank her for this? After the heartbreak and the horror that wound Frank and I up like this, she expects me to say thank you for making me watch him wither away in his sleep?
"Seeing as though this is for you, we're going to have to ask you a big favor," her tone has turned a sickly sweet, like she's about to reveal some really fucking lovely surprise, "If we pay ten percent of Frank's medical bills, you'll pay the rest for us, right?"
I keep silent.
"Remember, this is for you, not us sweetie. He's yours now." I can sense her grin on the other end of the phone, "We'd really hate to see Frankie go, but we just don't agree with his lifestyle choices, and we think you should have the responsibility of taking care of him now." Is this a good thing to them?
I burst into tears. I can feel the taxi driver's glare burning into me as though he can see me from the back of his head.
"We'll be in contact soon. Goodbye!" she hangs up. My hatred for Frank's mother is indescribable. She's been a manipulative, blackmailing bitch for as long as I've known her. She has no sympathy. She's never had. Not after she found out her 'little catholic boy' is gay.
Abruptly, I look up. The cab has come to a stop in front of our house. I pay the driver and get out, not a word being spoken between us. I wonder if he's used to this- the driver- having sorrow-filled customers cooped up in the back of his car, sobbing about their loved ones or sitting in silence. I wonder if he's phased by any of their trauma.
I walk up the empty driveway and open the front door to the house with the spare key under the doormat. It's never been used before. The key ring filled door key Frank and I usually keep has likely been destroyed beyond recognition, lost under the damage I've caused.
It's dark and dull inside. All signs of color has been drained around me. I want to see Frank, rushing out of the living room and running up to hug me as I return home after a long day of work; the scent of takeout pizza or some shitty microwave meal filling the house.
It's not as though there's some ghostly presence of him here; no 'signs of him watching over me'. He's just gone, indefinitely. This house is not a home without Frank-
there are no real signs of life here anymore.
I throw my bloodstained coat and scarf off and walk up the stairs, clutching the banister tightly for support. My eyes are wide, unmoving and glassy. I'm lost in a trance of empty thoughts.
As soon as I reach the top of the stairs, I feel a sense of darkness creeping up on me from the corners of my eyes. It rapidly begins to close in on me, making my head spin.
I collapse on the landing, my cheek pressed against the cold wooden floor. I clutch my chest with both hands, a single matchstick, rolling out of my pocket. The image of Frank, fighting for his fucking life, reliant on tubes and machines to keep him alive, is burnt into my mind.
This is my fucking fault.
i'm so sorry i haven't updated in a while ! i've been really busy lately. i have the day off school today so now i finally have the time to upload. i hope you like this chapter. personally, i don't know how to feel about it, but i think it's okay lmao.
I'm sat on a bench in the middle of the graveyard, shivering in just my thin t-shirt and ripped jeans. I always seem to forget that it gets colder as it grows darker. I feel as though the cold is biting at me from every angle.
In the light of the sunset, withering in the distance, it's much less sinister.
The branches of the winding trees recoil to keep their distance, and the sound of the crunching frost that lines the grass can no longer jump up on me as I step on it.
Slung over my shoulder is a camera bag. Its contents; a decade-old Polaroid camera and a fresh box of film that I spent a good four hours looking for. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing with it or why.
I look down at the floor and shuffle my feet, hoping nobody else walks in and wonders why I'm here alone and what the fuck I'm doing with a camera bag and no coat.
Suddenly, I hear the gate creek open. I look up- it's Gerard. I awkwardly scratch one of the blonde, shaved sides of my head as he walks towards me.
He holds a small sketchbook and several pencils. He's wearing his usual attire- a black coat and scarf. I wonder if that's some pretentious metaphor for something.
"Are you not cold, Frank? It's the middle of January," He grins as he reaches me, looking down at my try-hard punk attire.
He sits on the bench beside me and begins tracing the goosebumps along my left arm with his index finger. If anyone else did that to me, I'd usually tell them to fuck off, but something about Gerard doing it makes me shudder a little, like the butterflies in my stomach are beginning to increase, flying around in a giddy haze.
"Nah, I'm good..."
"No, Frank, you're fucking freezing!" He looks at me, concerned, "Look at you- you're so pale, and you're shivering like crazy!"
"Fuck, I didn't even notice." I lie, "I guess I was just too distracted to notice."
"Whatever. Here," He pulls his scarf from his neck an wraps it around mine, "You can keep this on for the time being. I don't mind."
We both giggle, and Gerard opens his sketchbook out on his lap, flicking through it quickly. Its pages are lined with doodles and sketches of comic book-like characters. He finally flicks to a blank page and rests one of his pencils upon it, putting the rest in his pocket before turning to me, "You got the camera?" He asks with a shy smile.
I lift up the bag that hangs from my shoulder and open it up, pulling the camera and film out, "This any good?"
I insert the film into a small slot inside the camera and flip it shut.
"So what do we need this for?" I ask, curious.
"I want you to kind of, uh- model for something. Basically I'm just gonna sketch you and stuff," He blushes, "I- I just need a reference... for a character, I guess."
I nod and pass the camera, skeptically raising an eyebrow.
"Okay, so if you just wanna move over here..." He gets up and directs me over to the tree he usually sits in, the camera pressing up against his face, ready for him to take the photo, "Yeah, just sit there."
He takes a couple of photos of me and sits back town on the bench, where the used film comes toppling out of the camera. He leaves the pictures to dry and motions for me to sit beside him.
The orange sky begins to fade to a dark grey.
"Hey, do you have a torch or something?" I ask Gerard, who's sat fiddling with his matchbox in his hands.
"Will one of these do?" He waves the box in front of him, making the matches inside rattle.
"I guess so." I nod, and he strikes one of the matches against the side of the box. The light is dim, but illuminates our surroundings a little.
I glance over to the photos beside us- they're now perfectly developed. Gerard picks one up and puts his sketchbook back on his lap. He studies the picture and begins to trace out the basic shapes of the photo. The lines are thin, light an clean. They dance across the page and start to take shape of me, stood leaning against the trunk of a tree. He pauses, suddenly, resting the tip of his pencil against the page.
"Can we take one more picture?" He asks, picking the camera up again, "Together?"
"Yeah, sure!" I nod, smiling.
He gestures me a little closer towards him and points the camera towards us with one hand.
As if in slow motion, he brings his other hand up to my face and rests it on my cheek. I shut my eyes as he begins to move closer. Our lips interlock, sending a rush of warmth and a haze of anxiety across my body. The camera flashes, yet again.
I jump and pull away, hesitantly as I hear the photos roll out of the camera. We sit in silence, facing each other on opposite sides of the bench; wide-eyed and in shock, we stare at one another with not a word to say.
hello ! bit of an early chapter, as i think i'm pretty confident in this one. enjoy, i guess ! :)
I creep into the darkened hospital room and take a seat beside Frank, still unmoving and drained. My heart drums inside my chest with anxiety.
The beeps and hums of the cold machines around us are rhythmic and droning, never changing in tone or pace.
Always the same
My tear-flooded eyes are rimmed with natural browns and deep reds, settling darker day by day like increasing bruises against my pale complexion; my hair, having gone unwashed for days, settles over them.
I stare at the half-lifeless body of Frank. His life seems to slip away with every artificial breath his ventilator takes. He's dying.
"Oh, Frankie." I sigh, tears suddenly beginning to spill over my eyes and running down my cheeks, "Please, wake up."
His unresponsive state brings back the vivid memories of what happened that night. The bruising on his face; the neck brace; the pale hospital gown; the stitches beneath the bandages that wrap tightly around his pale, needle-pierced arms.
It's my fault. It's my fault. It's my fault he's in a coma and he's never going to fucking wake up.
"Can you hear me?" I pick up his bandage-clad hand. It's cold and pale, "Do you miss me? Because I miss you. I miss you so fucking much and I don't know what I'm gonna do."
It's like the steady beeping of his heart monitor narrates the scene before it.
"Your parents, Frank, they- they're making me pay your medical bills, I- I think." I run along the palm of his hand with my thumb as tears roll down my cheeks, "They rang me the other night- the night they put you under. They said that- that they'd help pay, a-and that they'd get back to me in a few days, a-and they haven't said anything since."
"I seriously don't know what I'm going to do- I- I'm gonna have to book a load of extra hours at the shop- a-and maybe even get an extra job or something, I-I mean the pay at the comic book shop is really shitty and- and-" I can't continue. I let go of his hand and slump my arm over his abdomen, where I rest my head and cry gently. My head pounds.
"You don't deserve this. You're so wonderful. So fucking perfect. And now- now you're basically gone. And I can't even bare to look at you anymore. I'm so, so sorry."
"I love you so much, Frankie. I don't want you to ever forget that, no matter what happens to the two of us. I don't fucking care if you can't hear me, but I hope you know this, wherever you may be in your dreams right now."
I quickly raise my head from my arm and look up, half expecting his eyes to slit open slightly; for him to sleepily mutter- "I love you too, Gee.", before drifting off to sleep, and for all of this to be just some horrible nightmare.
But there's no response. Just the sunken shell of a man, whose life is slowly diminishing, falling apart by the second.
"Oh god, baby. Please wake up."
Suddenly, I hear the door creek open. It's the nurse with the fluffy hair and the smile that looks a lot less false compared to the other nurses.
"Hey, Mr Way." He grins. I focus my eyes on the name badge that's clipped to his breast pocket. 'Ray Toro', it reads.
"Hey, Ray." I reply, not realising I've referred to him by his first name. I look at him and back at Frank. I wonder if he knows Ray too. I wonder if he can hear him running tests on him or monitoring him. I just hope he can hear me.
He seems to brush off my mistake, and proceeds to walk over to the chair I'm sat in. He stands by me in silence, watching over Frank with me.
"How's he doing?" I ask shakily, stroking Frank's hand.
"Well, we can't say exactly. All we know is that he's stable, but still in a critical condition." He sighs.
I don't respond; instead, staring blankly with vacant, stained eyes at the slightly crumpled bedsheets that I grip in one hand,
"I miss him."
"We're gonna try our best to help you two get through this with the best possible outcome, okay?" He gives a sympathetic smile, "We can't really start promising anything at this stage in his recovery, but whatever happens, we'll try our best to get you guys through it."
I nod weakly, desperately holding back yet another bout of tears.
"Saying this, we need to discuss the outcomes- something I forgot to tell you the last time you visited." He moves himself towards the end of the bed.
"Okay. Frank's suffering from severe brain trauma. The uh- the accident-" His voice falters in saying that, "also led to spinal damage, a collapsed lung, as well as some minor to moderate wounds and bruising."
"Oh my god." More tears begin to rush to my face, causing my head to throb even harder.
"What I'm saying is- putting Frank in a medically-induced coma was for the best. Really, if it weren't for the anaesthetic, he would have died there and then." He sighs, "There are several outcomes to situations such as Frank's. Either Frank wakes up with lasting damage of some sort, or he doesn't wake up at all. I can't specify what kind of damage, as we don't know at this point, but we have to warn you that there is going to be some there."
The wave of tears that has built up inside me finally crashes over me, sweeping me into a flood of sorrows.
"This could be cranial damage- whether it be a case of amnesia or severe damage, that could be an issue. Another problem would obviously be motor damage. For example, problems concerning him being able to walk and move around, et cetera."
"Y- yeah." I look back at Frank; my throat is hoarse with angst and raw, bubbling grief.
"Sir, you do have to understand though, that no matter what happens, if and when he wakes up, we're going to get you through this, no matter how long it takes." He sounds genuinely sorry.
"Do you really think he'll pull through?"
"Only time will tell, I guess. It's really just a waiting game. Patients can be in comas for a few days to a few months. There's even cases of coma patients being under for several years. That's rare, though."
"I'm here if you ever need to talk. I know I'm just a nurse and all, but I'm genuinely so sorry. This is my first time being assigned to a specific patient before, and it's really made me realise the shit their loved ones go through. You guys don't deserve this shit."
My brain wants to scream at him.
Tell him that I did it.
He looks at his watch abruptly and turns back to look at me.
"Well, my shift is over now. I'll see you guys soon, I guess."
I give a weak smile and wave him out of the door, before clutching Frank's bedsheets with both of my hands and sobbing into them.
"I'm so sorry. I'm so, so fucking sorry. I-I just wanted for us to be happy." I wail, "We could have had a family. We could have got to that concert, and we would have been engaged by now if it weren't for me; not looking where i was fucking going."
I raise my head and stare at his cold, colour-drained face, "I'll never let them hurt you, I promise. I won't let them take you off these machines until the day you wake up. We're gonna get through this together, no matter what happens, baby." I grip his hand as tight as I can as tears stream down my face, "I love you so much."
nice chapter i promise. not my fav but it's pleasant.
A few weeks have passed since Gerard kissed me for the first time. Graveyard visits have become more frequent and the awkward, preteen romance-like tension between him and I has begun to slowly melt away.
We sit on the bench in the middle of the yard, his arm around me as I curl up beside him; me in my school uniform and Gerard in his usual attire- a black trench coat and scarf. In his spare hand, he fiddles with his matchbox and gazes blankly into the distance.
"Hm?" He asks, shuffling upwards slightly.
I sit myself up to face him. His skin is a pale white; covered by a veil of sleep deprivation and cold.
"So, we've been coming here a lot lately." I say.
He sighs and lets his head fall, so that his greasy hair dangles over his eyes. All I can see of his expression are the corners of his mouth, which begin to slowly upturn.
"Mhm." He nods a little.
"And I guess you could say we've grown closer, in a way, right?"
He raises his head and brushes his hair away from his eyes. He smiles from ear to ear, as if he knows what I'm about to say.
Fuck, he knows.
"I kissed you, Frankie." He giggles, "And you liked it. And we carried on. We've been 'carrying on' or whatever for the past two weeks."
"Oh shit, yeah."
"Well, anyway, does this like-" I pause, butterflies beginning to form and flutter around my stomach, "Does this mean you're my boyfriend or whatever? Or are we just-"
My stomach churns as I realize what I've just said. I can feel how naive I sound.
He lets out another giggle and wraps his arms around me, kissing me on the forehead.
"It can mean whatever you want it to mean." He mutters softly into my ear.
"I mean- yes. I guess that kind of does mean we're like- a thing, if you want." His words are full of awkward pauses and anxious stutters.
"Okay, cool." I smile, curling back beside him as he wraps his arm around me again.
"Come to think of it, we've never left the graveyard together, have we?" He asks, after a moment of silence.
"You wanna come over to mine?" He runs his fingers through my hair, "You can meet my brother if you want."
"If it's okay with you. I mean- I don't wanna intrude or anything-"
"It's okay, Frankie. Trust me."
"Come on, let's go." He stands up and holds his hand out in front of him, urging me to grab it. He pulls me up from the bench as our fingers interlock. His ink-stained hand is icy against the tips of my fingers, which poke out of the tops of my fingerless gloves.
Gerard lives in a narrow, three-storey house in the center of town, sitting between several small shops.
A wave of warmth blasts my face as he opens the front door.
"Hi, Mikey!" He calls out as he takes off his coat and scarf and closes the door behind us. I've actually never seen Gerard in anything but the coat and scarf he wears to the graveyard. It's weird now, seeing him in just a plain black hoodie and skinny jeans. He looks less like a gay spy and more like a goth-y artist.
We walk into the living room and perch on one of the sofas. A younger looking guy, who I assume is Mikey, sits on the opposite couch, his legs slung over one of its arms, "Hey." He says, not looking up from the TV.
"Mikey, uh, this is Frank. He's my boyfriend now, I guess."
He looks me up and down and turns to Gerard, giving him a sarcastic grin, "Oh, Gerard's been telling me all about you!"
"Mikey, shut the fuck up-"
"Yeah, he's been saying you're into all this really cool music and that he think's you're really precious and cute and-"
The two cut each other off, back and forth, playfully arguing. Gerard's face is flushed bright red with embarrassment. I sink into the corner of my side of the sofa and watch the argument unfold before there's an awkward, splitting silence.
"So, Frank. You wanna go down to my room?" He nudges me as Mikey quietly continues to become invested in the TV once again.
I nod, and we walk down to the basement, where Gerard's room spans out across it.
"So, how come you don't like- go to school or anything?" I ask, sat cross-legged on his bed, flicking through one of his boxes of vinyl.
"Me and Mikey have pretty much always been homeschooled." He shrugs, "That's probably why I'm so strange."
"I mean, I visit that graveyard basically every day, and my hobbies are lighting matches and writing crappy comic books about vampires and shit. Does that not strike you as unusual, in any way?"
"I guess I just didn't realize how strange it sounds." I let out a humorless laugh, "It doesn't really look weird on you, to be fair. Just seems kinda normal, to be honest."
"Oh, and why's that?"
"Probably because you're sorta goth-y anyway. It just fits."
"Yeah, I get you."
I gaze at Gerard's face as he pulls out another box of records for me to look through. I admire how delicate and unique his features are; how his red eyeshadow-rimmed eyes are like pools of honey in the light; the way their golden-green flecks pull me in. He's fucking gorgeous.
here it is. the moment you've all been waiting for. prepare to get sad.
I clutch Frank's body in my arms as he grows limp; his head lolling on my chest, leaning against my arm. I can feel his unsteady breaths touch my neck as I cry softly.
The burning cars before us, one abandoned and the other flipped on its side, light our bloody faces in the dark. My cheeks sting with salty tears and thick blood running cold.
My phone lies in a patch of ice on the ground, having just called 911.
This is my fault.
I admire the engagement ring from its box, hiding it in my coat pocket as I hear Frank's footsteps coming towards me in the snow. A few hours and I can call him mine.
"Hey, what're you looking at?" Frank asks, smiling.
"Oh, it's nothing, I was just, uh... texting Mikey about the concert tickets." I respond nervously, my face suddenly growing hot.
"Oh, I see. Did he manage to get some for us, then?" He seems to buy the lie I just made up, despite it being slightly nonsensical.
"Yeah, he'll be at the stadium with them in a bit." This part made up- this concert is where I'm planning to propose to Frank, "He's worked his ass off for these tickets. I think he's sold about twenty-five bootleg Disney movies in like, a week to get them." I laugh.
"Mikey will do literally anything for Smashing Pumpkins tickets, won't he?"
"Yeah, it's crazy." I roll my eyes, getting into the driver's seat of the car, Frank getting into the passenger's seat beside me, "It's like- he doesn't give a shit about the cops showing up at our Mom's front door or anything- he just needs his Smashing Pumpkins tickets to fuel his addiction. And for some reason the only way he thinks he can actually get them is well- by selling shitty unreleased Disney movies. No fucks given."
"That's hardcore, to be fair."
We both giggle, before I start the car and pull out of the driveway, onto the main road.
A thin sheet of snow paves the roads, bejeweled with ice. Frank stares at it in awe.
"You think it's gonna snow tonight?" He asks, excited.
"Maybe." I smile, imagining what it would be like for snow to fall upon the open roof of the stadium as the band plays, proposing to Frank at the perfect moment. He's gonna be so fucking happy.
I hear him beside me, rummaging through our little CD compartment. He pulls out and album- Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
"It feels appropriate. Gotta prepare ourselves for the concert."
I laugh, "Good choice. I think the title of this album is how I'm gonna feel after the concert's over."
"Hah, me too. Gotta hate post-concert blues."
The album comes to a close. Snow layers heavily upon the vast countryside roads. Despite the clock only reading 7:14, it looks and feels much later into the night.
"You know, I love you. I love you so, so much." I smile, turning to Frank, whose eyes are beginning to grow heavy.
"I love you too, Gee." He smiles back, wearily.
"You just mean so much to me-"
I'm cut off by a sharp scream.
"OH MY GOD, GERARD, LOOK OUT!"
I cry over Frank, his body now completely limp against mine.
"Please, stay with me."
"G-Gee..." he says, weakly, "It hurts..."
"Frank- I- Oh my god. Stay awake for me, please, Frankie." I plead, pulling him tighter to me and pressing my lips against is blood-splattered forehead, "Shhh, it's okay. You're safe now..." I lie.
He opens his mouth to speak, but it's all too much for his frail body to handle. His eyes slip shut, and he succumbs to a riptide of unconsciousness. He lets out a pain-drenched groan and drops his hand from his chest.
"Frank? Can you hear me? Frank?!"
"No, no, no, please, look at me." My voice becomes shaky and panicked. I gently tap the side of his face with the palm of my hand, shaking his head slightly, in an attempt to wake him up.
"Stay with me, stay with me, please, please. Open your eyes... I'm so sorry."
"I can't lose you." I can't lose you." My cries become screams.
Blood runs through my fingers like the sand of an hourglass.
"Hey, hey, hey, hey. It's okay. It's going to be okay. You're okay. I promise." My screams become hoarse, strained whimpers.
"I promise, we'll be okay." I grab his hand and squeeze it as tight as I can, my other arm still cradling him against my body.
I feel a slight squeeze back.
"Look, baby, look!" I exclaim, smiling hysterically in the midst of my sorrows, "You're doing so well. So, so fucking well, come on. Just wake up, please." I pant.
Despite being unconscious, Frank's face is still stricken with fear and panic. I can tell he's clinging on for dear life at this point; his body fighting to stay alive. The guilt begins to settle in, stinging me like it's being branded into my skin with a hot iron. I did this.
I could have saved him.
"I'm so sorry."
I hear the faint wailing of an ambulance in the distance.
"Look, we're going to be fine. Just hang on, okay? We'll be alright soon. They're nearly here now."
I can feel his pulse slowing down as I grab his wrist. His breaths are becoming less frequent. More labored and short. The crimson trails of his life seep out of his glass-embellished wounds and weave into the frost below us.
Meanwhile, the weight of the unworn engagement ring in my pocket holds me down.
The wails of the ambulance sirens grow closer and closer.
Frank's body is laid out across a stretcher. A paramedic is sat beside me, asking me questions about the accident. I can't think. I can't feel.
Everything is a blur. The voices around me are fuzzy, as though I'm being dragged underwater by my feet.
"Can you tell me how the accident happened?"
"Rip his shirt off."
"Check his vitals."
"Mr Way, can you hear me?"
"He isn't responding."
"Do you need a glass of water, sir?"
"We need to defibrillate him, stat!"
The voices begin to fade out. My vision becomes hazy-
I shoot up in a cold sweat, panting, my eyes bolted forwards and unmoving.
Tearing up, I reach for Frank on the other side of the bed, longing to be held as I cry in his arms.
But there's nobody there. Just a cold, empty spot where he once lay a couple of weeks ago.
This wasn't just a dream. It's the memories. They're all coming back.
I lay back down and curl up into a ball. My tears stain my bedsheets like raindrops as I cry gently.
"Frankie, come back. It hurts."
I'm a fucking monster.
djsksjdk sorry 4 tha late upload lol i haven't been feelin the motivation to write
four weeks later
Gerard places a hand on my cheek as we lay opposite each other on his bed, heavy-eyed and weary. We're covered by a thick layer of blankets and duvets- it's fucking cold in the basement. I don't know how the fuck he sleeps in here every night.
"I love you." He says sleepily, his speech slurring.
"I love you too." I blink slowly, my eyes growing too heavy to pick up.
"Goodnight." The light flicks off. I curl up to Gerard and bury my head in the crook of his neck.
I scream. There's a collision of metals. Sparks. A crunch. I'm hung upside down, suspended from my seat. The sharp, heavy scent of gas and motor oil fills my senses and clogs my nose.
My head is spinning; my body is in unimaginable pain- like I'm sprawled out in the hands of death, waiting to be taken away. I'm being pulled out of the car and cradled in somebody's arms. The air around me is thick and hot. Smoke alters my perception of my surroundings. The two collided cars burn before our eyes.
The person holding me sounds horribly distraught, yet their voice is so soothing as they cry for help down the phone.
"There's been an accident- we- we were hit by a drunk driver- please, help us- my boyfriend... he's unconscious, I think-" He pants, looking down at me, "Hold on for me, okay, Frankie..." Boyfriend?
It feels like someone is squeezing my throat shut and slowly filtering the air out of my lungs; like they're slowly filling up with water. The taste of blood seeps over my tongue and taints my senses. Everything numbs. A growing pain in my head begins to roar and pound, faster and louder with each second.
"Please, he's barely breathing... I don't know what to do- okay, okay." He drops his phone beside him and looks at me, a hand cradling my face gently, his thumb caressing my cheek.
I breathe shakily against his neck, trying to fight the urge to fall completely unconscious. Hot blood runs down my face. He cries over me; his tears dripping onto my torn t-shirt.
"Please, stay with me..." he sobs. The familiar-sounding voice becomes clearer in my mind- it's Gerard.
"Gee- it hurts." I say, pain rippling throughout my body again. Speaking just makes me feel more heavy. More tired.
"Frank- I- Oh my god. Stay awake for me... please, Frankie." He presses his lips to my bloody forehead, "Shhh, it's okay now." His voice sounds like I'm underwater, and he's above the surface, trying to beckon me out.
I'm trying to cling on. My head pounds as I try to clutch onto every ounce of consciousness I have left. I want to hold on. For Gerard.
But I feel as though I'm going to die.
'Gee- please, I'm trying to stay awake. I promise. I love you' I want to say, but no words come out of my mouth. The only sound that slips out is a groan, laced with fear and immense pain.
It all becomes too much. Gerard's soothing, yet pain-riddled voice begins to fade out. The pounding in my head starts to become slower and slower; there's a ringing in my ears like the flatline of a heart monitor. Black. The pounding is gone; all that fills my ears is the ringing.
I wake up, tears already beginning to form in my eyes.
It was a fucking nightmare; nothing more, nothing less.
I try and stifle my sobs, attempting not to wake Gerard up.
My body hurts with every jolt. I can't hold it in.
"Frankie?" He stirs, his eyes opening slightly.
"G- Gerard, I'm so sorry, I-" I stutter.
"Frank, what's the matter, baby?" He asks, stroking my hair as I hyperventilate, "Calm down, it's okay."
"I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do."
I feel as though I'm breathing out of a paper bag.
"What are you talking about?"
"I had a dream, th-that I-I-" I gulp, "We were in a car crash- and- I think I died, Gee."
"Oh, baby, no- it's okay."
"N-no, it's not- I- I died in your arms, and- and you were screaming for me to wake up, and I was trying to keep my eyes open and I j-just couldn't, and-"
"Frankie, don't worry." He rests a hand on my cheek and gently caresses it with his thumb, "It's alright, baby. I won't let that happen to us. You're safe here."
Slowly, my breathing begins to even out again.
"I'm just scared of that kind of shit, you know?" I think back to the reoccurring nightmare I had a couple of months back, where I'd find myself in a graveyard at my own funeral, Gerard being the only person to stand at my grave after the ceremony had ended.
"Try not to think about it, baby. Stuff like that doesn't happen as much as you'd expect. It's gonna be okay. I love you."
"I love you too."
I bury myself into Gerard's chest and let out the remainder of my tears, as he strokes my hair softly before he drifts off to sleep.
"Goodnight, Frankie. I miss you." He mutters, half-asleep.
I miss you?
i feel like y'all deserve a bit of an early chapter bc ur all nice n ily huehehe :)
I'm immune to the cold sensation from the metal door handle that chills my hand as I open the doors to the ICU.
The droning sounds of the ventilator is blocked out by any dread or grief that is scattered around my brain, along with the beeping and whirring of several other machines Frank's been hooked onto.
I fucking hate it here. I never like coming. I'm just trying to stay a bit more fucking positive, though. Ray said it might help with the grief.
It's been two months without Frank now. Two whole months.
It feels like a year with him gone. The box containing the unworn engagement ring still sits heavy with memories in my left coat pocket. Blood still lines the edges of my sleeves, despite all of my attempts to scrub it off to rid myself of any reminders of the accident.
I just can't let go of the ring.
I sit down beside him and look down at him, smiling a little. He looks so peaceful. Sometimes I wonder if he can actually hear me. Or if he can't, whether he's dreaming of something pleasant. I hope he is. I just want him to remember.
"I miss you." I break the eerie silence that sits in the corner of the room, "I hope you're doing well in there. Hopefully you're dreaming of something nice."
I caress his cheek gently with my thumb, tracing over the pale feeding tube that rests against his face and travels into his nose.
"So, uh, I went through our stuff earlier." I say, desperately trying to keep the mood slightly more positive than usual, "I found a few pictures of us from when we first met..."
I reach into my pocket and pull out a couple of slightly damaged, pen-smudged Polaroid pictures from my pocket. It's Frank and I, sat on a bench in the graveyard where we'd always meet. Our lips are interlocked and our cheeks are flushed. It's our first kiss.
Looking at them, I can remember everything so clearly- the nerves that built up within me; the rush of fear that swept over me as if to tell me to stop; the sudden click of the camera's shutter as our lips collided.
That's what started it all.
"It's our first kiss, Frankie." I explain, "We were sat on that bench in the graveyard, and I started taking photos of you as 'art references' or whatever, and then- then I got kind of carried away and well, we kissed."
"Do you remember that?"
I begin to tear up. This time, it's not the anger or the grief that's getting to me. I just miss him. I just want Frank back.
I press the photos to my chest and smile weakly through my tears as they begin to roll down my cheeks.
"Oh, Frankie. I hope you're the same as you were back then when you wake."
Animated in my head, the memories of Frank and I, running through an empty, forest-surrounded graveyard replays in my head. It's like a fuzzy little TV, sitting at the back of my brain and collecting dust. It feels like I'm sitting in front of it; a box of old cassette tapes in my lap, inserting tape after tape, in an attempt to desperately hold onto what I might only have left of Frank.
Echoes of things we've said to one another bounce around in my mind.
"Does this mean you're my boyfriend or whatever? Or are we just-" Frank asks, curled up beside me.
"It can mean whatever you want it to mean." I reply calmly. I remember the excitement that bubbled up within me as he said that. I didn't know how to respond properly.
We were so fucking innocent back then, despite it only being two years ago. I miss that.
I wish I could plant a kiss on his tragic lips, or hold him tight in my arms like the world is falling apart.
I don't want to see him, dependent on machines, not knowing how to breathe on his own anymore. Not remembering who I am as he wakes up, me clinging to his arm as I excitedly encourage him to open his eyes. And then I find out he's never going to be able to walk again, or that he doesn't know how to function normally anymore.
I miss when he'd kiss my cheek softly every morning, and when we would hug each other he'd wrap his arms around my waist and bury his head in my chest because he'd be too short to reach me at head-height.
I hate walking into his room to see a bunch of nurses cleaning him up, or pumping him with more medication. Or when I walk in and the room is totally empty- just him, alone on his bed, withering away. He's so unaware. So fucking comatose.
Oh, to think that he was going to be awake after just a few weeks of recovery.
"Please, wake up, baby." I say, running my fingers through one of the overgrown blonde sides of his hair. He'd never changed that part about him, throughout the two whole years of knowing him. I'd gone through countless hair colours since meeting him, while his just stayed the same. He said he thought it made him look 'edgy as fuck'.
I kiss his cheek lightly and sigh longingly, feeling the tears clinging to the rims of my eyes, "We didn't know what was coming for us, did we?" I ghost my hand along the side of his bed, "I wish everything could go back to the way it was. You don't deserve this. I'm so sorry."
"But we're going to make it through, okay? Promise. I love you."
I long to see the day he can tell me that he loves me too again.
"I start work next week, anyway. I have two new jobs. I'm gonna work at the record store where you usually work, filling in your shifts and stuff, then I'm gonna work at Mikey's comic store like usual, and then Bob's gonna let me lend a hand at that shitty coffee shop that's around the corner from our house." I smile falsely, knowing deep down that three jobs probably isn't going to be enough for Frank's medical bills alone, let aside living expenses, "It's all going to work out, baby."
I fiddle with his bedsheets anxiously, before standing up and giving him another kiss on the cheek, "I have to go now. Wake up soon, please, darling- I miss you."
I shove my hands in my pockets and begin walking down the hallway towards the exit.
"Mr Way?" I hear a voice from behind me. I turn around- it's Ray. He looks worried.
"Oh, hey. What's up?" I say, leaning casually against the wall beside me.
"Look, this probably isn't the right time to tell you this, but- it's Frank..."
"W-what?" I stutter, panicked. Fuckfuckfuckfuck.
"We ran a few tests on him the other day and- uh, well- his chances of waking up," He sighs, "they're pretty low."
the moment you've all been waiting for hehe. also i'm so sorry i had to follow the whole 'frank has a bad relationship with his parents' trope- it's necessary, i guess.
Alternative fucking English.
One of the only lessons of the day where nobody gives a fuck if I don't do my work. Here, I can think; free of any teacher's grasp.
I think about Gerard. How soft his lips are pressed against mine. The sensation of the heat our bodies give off as we lay in bed together. How we fit so perfectly together when we interlock.
My parents still don't know about us. I don't really know how I'm going to tell them. I guess I love them and all, but they don't know shit about me.
They still like to make me go to church with them. They forced me into a Catholic school. They constantly urge me to go see my old church friends from when I was a kid, most of which are still devoted Christians to this day. They tell me how I dress and how I act is wrong- how fucking tragic it would be if their only son became the frontman of a shitty punk band, whose only gigs are in support of slightly more popular shitty punk bands.
They think being gay is a deadly sin- always complaining about LGBT people in movies and TV shows; showing no remorse when they lecture me about how 'all gay people go to hell'. To them, I'm still their Catholic boy. I know for a fact that they'd hate to see the sight of me if the truth about Gerard and I. Let's just hope they don't start catching on about Gerard and I, for the time being.
I snap back into reality for a second, hearing Mr White, my teacher, calling my name.
"Do you have that assignment?"
"That one you promised you'd hand into me the other day."
My face grows hot with guilt.
"That's another after-school detention with me, Iero." He shakes his head, folding his arms like my parents would after lecturing me about coming home late or some shit, "Honestly, you're going nowhere in life at this rate."
"What, a detention? That's not fair!"
"And why's that, then?"
"I didn't even get to-"
"It's obvious you didn't even do the assignment. I can clearly tell by looking at your face that you didn't even try and have a go at it, meaning you'll stay with me and learn your lesson." He spits, "Is that clear?"
The five other kids in my class scramble out of the door, leaving just me in there, along with Mr White.
He sits at his desk, typing away at his computer. He looks at me for a second, judgingly watching me tap my foot against the grey linoleum floor. I stare at the chipping plaster walls, admiring its sickening cream tinge.
There are dicks scrawled across every wall at table-height, along with the names and initials of freshman couples that lasted only weeks, written in hearts and little boxes.
Suddenly, I hear a door open. I feel a slight draft of air against my face, and a sharp antiseptic scent that fills my nostrils,
The door is shut. So are the windows. How the fuck is this supposed to work?
"Did they let Frank's parents know?" An echo of a female voice mutters quietly from one side of me.
I almost spring out of my seat, spinning my head around to locate the person talking. There's nobody there, though it feels like she's next to me.
"Yeah, they were told. You know- they haven't visited once since Frank was put in here. I think the only visitor that's been to see him is, uh Gerard- his boyfriend." Another voice says from the other side of me. This time, it's a man's voice. It's very soft and chirpy, but completely unfamiliar. Again, there's nobody else in the room apart from my teacher.
And how the fuck do they know Gerard?
"And how did he respond to the news?" The woman replies.
What news? What the fuck is happening? Where are these voices even coming from? They seem to be talking in such a tone that the noise level in the room would be high enough for Mr White to hear them, yet their voices appear quiet, like small murmurs in my ears.
The man continues, "Oh, he was torn. I feel bad for the guy- first his boyfriend was literally put into a coma after they were in that accident, and now he's been told he might not even survive. That must be so hard for him. Well, both of them, to be honest."
Knocking my chair against the wall, I suddenly stand up, "What the fuck is going on?"
Mr White slams his hand down on his desk, "Mr Iero! Sit down!" He yells, "I don't want to hear you using that language again in my classroom, you hear me?"
"Yeah, Sir. Sorry."
My heart pounds like a drum. I think I'm going fucking crazy. An accident? Being put into a coma?
"Between you and me," The female voice whispers, coming in a little closer. She sounds rather concerned, "You think he'll make it?"
"I don't know. He's definitely stable, but his brain activity's been going all over the place recently. I don't think he's gonna be the same at all- if and when he wakes up, that's for sure. I mean, the brain damaged he received from that crash... that was life-threatening." His voice is solemn and firm, as if he's mourning a loss, or delivering some painful news.
From the woman's side, there's a steady beeping. Like a heart monitor.
"This is probably so distressing for his boyfriend."
Gerard? Is he okay?
"He's not taking it in well, that's for sure. Frank seems to be his be-all and end-all. Apparently the paramedics found him holding Frank in his arms at the scene of the crash."
"Yeah, well let's just hope he pulls through. God, I might cry if he wakes up, whether that's from sadness or joy, I don't know. Gerard's gonna be so upset if he wakes up and he's not the sa-" The voice comes to a halt. There's a sharp scratch against my arm, like the tip of a needle digging into my skin, or a bee-sting.
"Ow, fuck." I exclaim in surprise, before gasping and clapping a hand over my mouth, "Sorry, Sir."
"Right, Iero, I've had enough of your foul language for one day. You're free to go now, but once Monday comes around, it's my office, straight after school for you. Got that, kid?"
"Yeah,." I stand up and quickly grab my bag, immediately making a beeline to the door, "Bye."
I notice I'm shaking, likely with a mix of fear and embarrassment.
Those fucking voices sounded all too real, in a way I can't explain.
"Frankie- where were you?" My mom rushes into the living room to see me on the couch, legs-crossed, a fistful of popcorn in my hand, glued to the music video currently playing on MTV.
My mom's brown bob is tied into a scrawny little ponytail, poking out at the back of her head. She twirls her little cross necklace in her fingers.
"I had a detention. Forgot my assignment."
"Yeah, sorry." I mumble, shoveling another load of popcorn into my mouth.
"Frank, I told you. You have to knuckle down in school now! You're almost in Senior year, and I do not want to see you falling behind a grade because of your lack of interest in academic subjects." She angrily points a finger at me, her eyes wide with rage, "You hear me?"
I'm actually quite intimidated.
"Yes, Mom. I said I'm sorry."
"Okay, but sorry doesn't cut it right now, Frank. You need to stop hanging out with your friends all the time and start studying."
"Yeah, I'll start revising and stuff, I swear."
"Alright. Oh, and turn that MTV crap off, please. It's brainwashing."
I wish I could stand up and tell her to fuck off, but I know I'd never hear the last of it. Or worse, she'd tell me to find somewhere else to go for a few nights whilst she cries to my dad about how I'm an awful son.
I can't get a fucking break in this house. I just want to see Gerard.
I take my phone out of my hoodie pocket and flip it open.
1 Unread message, it reads.
I click it open.
Gerard: Hey :-)
I type out a reply back.
frnk: hey, g. how r things?
Gerard: Pretty cool. How about u? i miss u btw :-((
frnk: rad. weird day 4 me i guess. had a detention n heard all these voices around me about me bein in a coma and u bein really sad about it, lol. also, i miss u too :-(
Gerard: Maybe it was something to do with that dream from the other nite? Or ur prob just really tired loool
frnk: well according to some random dude in my thoughts, i hav severe brain damage n prob won't live ahaha, I joke.
Gerard is typing...
frnk: reply pls lmao this is kinda freaky
Gerard: Lol. I love u!!!! I wouldn't let that happen to u bby. I would simply force u to live.
frnk: thank u loool. btw, i love u too, g !!! <3