Title: Choices left unmade
Rating: R for language
Fandom: Frank Iero/Gerard Way
Summary:It's a road trip across time and space. His past, his present and what the future could have been if he had said yes.
Word Count: ~1500
Dedication: To the lovely x_missdarko_x, because she is still in Africa and I miss her.
Disclaimer:This is a work of fiction, not written for profit. I claim no connection with any member of MCR their families or friends. The events hereby narrated are absolutely false and are not meant to reflect the person's private life. No harm, misrepresentation, libel, malice or copyright infringement is intended. At no time is this meant to be construed as reality.
The day he decides to leave, summer is blistering the asphalt with licks of gasoline, and the car eats the miles stretched long across Frank’s twenty-eight years. He feels time uncoiling from his guts like trails of bloody entrails.
“I’m a fish, I am a fish, I can’t breathe above water…”
Trashing, trashing on the floor, his granddad’s large hands tickling the ripples of his five years’ old belly.
July baked like a lizard, twisted into August, days spent at the communal pool, hair smelling of chlorine, and the Jesus Christ sitting on the life-guard high chair, all dark hair and droopy eyes.
Franco, Franco, his name sweet like ice-cream, so much better than the hard clip of his teacher’s voice.
Franco. Franco and his nana’s bright eyes, her smile made of “baba’ con l’uvetta” and the sunshine she had left back in Naples.
“Ha gli occhi di mamma mia.” Her voice tinted with the sweetness of an old pain.
His granddad kissing her cheek and Frank was seven, sitting on the carpet banging pans and making a racket.
“Music is in your blood, Frank’”
Years counted on the slow rhythm of Angelina’s hands; the brush of olive oil, the garlic roasted in the oven, bread, the bitter taste of olives, summers trying to learn Italian, the language rolling stubbornly off his tongue.
Frank looks in the rear-view mirror and Jersey is a fist of vapours, mephitic and familiar; telephone lines a scarring of black in the bright, bright sky, too much road out of New Jersey, and he feels totally lost when he passes the first state line.
Like the first day of high school, straight tie and the sign of the cross, the secret of his cigarettes in the folded over socks under his too long pants.
Like the day he walked into a room and there she was, looking straight at him, eyes like the wet soil in his nana’s potted basil plant, rich and dark and a bit scary, filled with power.
Like the lizard he kept chasing into Gerard’s eyes, the flash of green when he squinted, the jade of endless notes lingering on the slurred drag of his tongue, the emerald shine he caught once. Only once. “Stay.”
The sun cracks under the weight of an indigo shadow just outside Lancaster, and Pennsylvania is quieter than Jersey, hushed like a nun, the blue of the sky like the veil of Sister Domenica.
“Pray for your sins, Frank.”
Sticking his hand under Jamia’s bra, the taste of her neck, perfume and sweat, skin warm like bread.
“Pray for your sins, Frank.”
Thinking about the long, long lines of Mikey’s body, a San Sebastian’s with lips stained with morphine.
“Pray for you sins, Frank.”
Wanting too much, too soon, all the time. Him, her, his music, days, months, years all written on his body.
Winter night in Buffalo, Gerard’s fingers touching the canvas of his brutally garish skin.
“I would make a pillow book of you if you’d let me.”
Dirty snow on the van’s windows, his breath heavy, stuffed with cold, slicked against Gerard’s wet lips.
Gerard’s voice made of curses and coffee and cigarettes. Rasped straight out of six months of touring, not enough honey in the world to soothe the scarring.
Gerard’s throat fingerprinted with all his stories, all his songs.
Too many things, too many images, too much love, all messed up. All messed up. Like his heart.
Chicago it’s a line of wind howling straight across the highway, cold even in summer.
His mother’s yells when he had dropped out of college, a semester shy of graduating. His father’s disappointment at the mark on his neck, stupid and defiant and ugly.
His granddads’ eyes kind and hopeful. “Franco e’ musicista. Come me.” His grandfather’s hand on his shoulder. Feeling like a man for the first time in his twenty years.
Tasted and tested.
In long days hoping to make it, and long months afraid that the only thing made was going to be his soul. Made over. Lost. Stolen.
Him and her.
Idaho, long stretches of crops and the shiny bright of an unforgiving sun, the bus hot like an oven, too many bodies, music stretched thin, fear of losing Mikey. Again.
Mikey, the sinuous of his spine like a telegraph pole, tall and charred, the signals broken at the seam, words stretched across static, his eyes tired, his mouth thin, like a millions years ago, bumming a cigarette, watching Thursday. ”I’m Mikey.”
Lips stained with morphine.
A midnight stop, air smelling like soil and the echo or daydream of rain, and all that Frank could think was the way he had folded himself inside her that last time, soft, soft like the earth, rich and his.
Running in circles, a dog chasing his tail, concerts, screams, the hot flames scorching Bob’s fear, heating Frank’s back, the pads of his fingers, the inside of his mouth. A parched desert of want.
The sharpness of pleasure, Gerard’s mouth like a cut, a razorblade of kisses.
Shark-like, a frenzy dictated by fear and instinct; and Frank had bitten a chunk off of Gerard’s tender heart and coated his teeth with Gerard’s blood.
Sharp, copper and desolated loneliness.
Sharp like his eyes.
”Stay.” Gerard had said. And it hadn’t been a question, but Frank had chocked on the answer.
The turn of another summer and the entire world is getting married.
There are words he cannot translate, messages written on skin and he is the guy left out, and it’s like being five again, and he is the wop in an Irish neighborhood.
There are smiles he cannot claim for himself, there is a ten minutes break to say “yes, I do” and it’s supposed to be forever.
He doesn’t understand and summer eats another bit of heart.
He sleeps in a cheap hotel on the border of another state line, clean sheet and the grease under his nails it’s black, half moons of dirt and oil, and still he feels barren.
“Nonna, nonna, what did you do when you were in Italy?”
Stories of sunshine and poverty, dignity starched white, like his nana’s wedding dress, like the snow on Christmas’ day.
Stories of coming to America, the journey in the smelly boat, the statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
He dreams of home, of her. The way she smiles, the way she walks, the way she always brushes her teeth twice before going to bed, her last kiss before sleep, cool with peppermint.
He is as happy as he can be, and it’s okay, it’s good. Sometime it’s almost perfect. And sometime he can even think about the future without being too scared. He can think about kids, grandchildren even, teaching them how to play, telling them about Angelina and Lillian and Italy and the soil and the flash of green he had seen that one time.
He wakes up sweating; the drum roll of thunder makes him think of Bob, the cat-like nonchalance of his affection, the silence of his acceptance.
It rains all the way to Pocatello. A week of nothing but sheets of water, a silver of streaming grace, the air so saturated with humidity, it tastes like electricity on his tongue, and then there is a shard of yellow cutting through his windshield and sunshine is a resurrection of light across the sky.
He thinks of Tokyo; the depth of all despair, the garish lights in Shinjuku and the sunshine over Mount Fuji.
And Gerard, Gerard, always Gerard, bigger than anything, bigger than himself, bigger than Frank’s heart. Too big for Frank’s heart.
When he gets to Los Angeles, Helena Marie Way is two weeks old; she is asleep in a pretty crib by a large window, the sun streaming across cream curtains, turning everything soft yellow.
“She’s beautiful. Thank the Lord she doesn’t have your nose, Way.”
She does. Small and upturned, and the skin over her eyelids is lavender, flimsy and delicate, Frank watches her sleep for a while, leaves a teddy bear by the mound of gifts that lies in the corner. His heart clenches hard, a beat or two lost in the small, snuffling sounds Helena makes.
They drink coffee on the patio, a baby monitor on the table. Helena is asleep, Linzy’s hand on her tiny belly.
Out east Jamia is packing her bags.
“I’m glad you came, Frank.”
Frank sees the flash of green in Gerard’s eyes, the lizard darting in and out.
He knows he has waited too long.
Baba con l’uvetta = Traditional cake from Naples, rich cream and sultanas.
“ Ha gli occhi di mamma mia.” = “He has my mother’s eyes”
Pillow book = The pillow book
“Franco e’ musicista, come me.” = “Frank is a musician, like me”
Nonna = Grandmother