All night long I had the same dream replaying in my mind. It wasn’t so much of a dream, rather a memory.
Everyone started to leave soon after I went back inside. There were hugs and mumbled goodbyes, but I wasn’t kidding when I had told Gerard that I was tired, so I didn’t notice who was saying goodbye to me, rather just faces. I thought Ray had already left when I remembered that I needed to talk to him.
I had decided that I was going to the party tomorrow, all I wanted to do was spend my birthday with my friends and I didn’t see why going to a party would stop that, but I hadn’t even invited my friends.
“Ray,” I looked around, trying to see if he had left yet and found him in a cluster with Mikey and Gerard by the back door. “You going?” The end of my sentence was lost somewhere. I wanted to ask if he was going to the party tomorrow.
“Um, yeah. Mr Way is giving me a lift home...” He looked confused at me.
“No. I mean. You know that Halloween party tomorrow; it’s sort of a party for me as well. I was just checking that you were going, then coming back here to stay over?”
When it had actually happened I had been looking at Ray, waiting for his answer, but in my dream the scene froze, so I could see everything that happened in that moment. The first time I just kept looking at Ray. The second time I dreamt it I just looked around at anything, but then I noticed something.
Gerards face. I hadn’t realised how much I was really hurting him until I asked Ray to come to the party, told him that I wanted to see him on my birthday, and not Gerard. The more times I watched the dream the more I could see Gerard wanting to hate me, but not being able to. It made me hate myself.
It just kept going, until I woke up to Darcy trying to get under the covers with me.
I smiled at the dog, not really wanting to smile, but it looked like she was smiling at me. “Come on then.” I lifted the quilt, letting cold air in before Darcy shuffled under and I hugged her while she put her head on my pillow. Sometimes I honestly thought she was a person disguised as a dog, she was so human sometimes.
“Happy birthday to you...” It started quietly, but soon my Mom pushed open my bedroom door and saw I was awake so didn’t try to be quiet.
“I don’t like this.” Mikey looked at me as if I was crazy when I started having second thoughts about the party again. We were maybe ten steps from Kristin’s front door and my gut feeling was to run all the way back to my house and put on some stupid Halloween costume and go trick or treating with my best friends on my birthday.
“Come on. We don’t have to stay long, just until some more people turn up, she won’t notice us leaving then. We gotta wait for Ray to get here anyway.” He shut up the second I knocked the door.
I was glad Mikey was there with me. He didn’t have to be early, Kristin hadn’t asked him to be early, neither had I; Mikey was just incapable of being late for anything, neither was Gerard, it was a Way thing.
“Frankie. Happy birthday.” Kristin smiled at me, opening the door wider, then her smiled faded slightly. “Mikey? The party doesn’t start for another twenty minutes...” She looked confused, and hesitant to let us in.
“I thought I might as well walk with Frank. You know, it’s the same walk anyway, no point us both walking on our own...” He gave her a smile, which made me realise there was something going on with them, he never smiled like that.
She shuffled in the doorway for a second before composing herself again and stepping aside to let us both in. “Okay. I guess I’ll show you both the house. I just wanted to show Frank the decorations before everyone got here just, you know, to get his opinion.” She smiled at me when I walked into the hallway and got a look at how big the house really was.
“It’s okay. Mikeys basically me, just a big taller and ... well... obviously not as cool.” I smiled, trying to tease Mikey, but realising my mistake when Kristin laughed and nodded. It made me nervous to be around the two of them.
“Yeah. It’s fine, I just wasn’t expecting the two of you.” It seemed odd but to me it sounded like she said she wasn’t expecting Mikey.
It was painful with Kristin showing us around. She pointed out things of little or no purpose and things that didn’t interest her, let alone the two of us. There was obviously something else she had been planning because after the short tour the three of us just sat on the sofa waiting for someone to knock the door and free us from the awkward situation, but Mikey being here to too disrupted whatever she was planning. From the second she saw Mikey it was obvious that she didn’t really want him there, which seemed odd to me seeing as though they were meant to be going out. When I saw them at school together Mikey looked awkward, he always did, but Kristin looked like she was still her normal self, laughing and just hanging out with her friends, just with Mikey there too.
Kristin seemed to think it was her duty to stay with me and Mikey. People had started turning up about twenty minutes ago, but no matter who it was she stayed with us. It was mean of me but I started to wish she would just leave us alone. I didn’t feel like I could talk to Mikey with her there too. I told myself she would leave us alone when Ray turned up, with the three of us there she wouldn’t be getting a word in edgeways, not that she would understand what we would be talking about.
There were more than enough people to make me feel uncomfortable so I had no idea how Mikey was dealing with it; he just stood next to me, putting into the slight conversation when he was talked directly to or when it was necessary.
Ray took his time turning up. The second I saw him I told Kristin we would ‘catch her later’. I pushed Mikey towards him and was following him when Kristin pulled me back by my arm.
“Maybe we can talk better later” She released my arm and turned to leave me, I had a feeling it wasn’t just because she knew I was walking away anyway that she felt the need to turn her back on me.
“Thank god you’re here Ray, we can leave now.” Mikey smiled when I caught up with him. Both him and Ray looked as out of place as I did at the party.
“You want to go already? You’ve only been here for an hour.” Ray looked around; trying to spot what was so bad about the party that we had to leave now. But it wasn’t the party that was bad, it was the company.
“Just a bit longer, I'm sure it will get better now there are more of us.” I smiled, trying to make both Mikey and Ray happy. Mikey obviously didn’t want to stay, and Ray didn’t seem like he wanted to leave after he had just arrived. I didn’t know if I wanted to stay or to leave. But it didn’t seem like a good idea to leave now.
It didn’t get much better. The music was so loud that I could hardly hear Mikey and Ray even though they were right next to me. I wouldn’t have minded the music loud, I play loud music all the time, it was just that the music wasn’t exactly what I would call good. It was all rave music and some old disco. Ray and Mikey didn’t look too happy about the music either.
There were people acting like they were really drunk too. I knew that there was going to be alcohol, but Kristin had told me there wouldn’t be much. I doubted there was enough there to make a great number of people this drunk. People kept walking into us and spilling drink and generally acting like morons.
“We’ll go. I just need to say bye to Kristin.” I glanced over all the people but couldn’t see Kristin. When I looked back to Ray and Mikey they looked at me like I was actually insane. “Oh come on. We know this party isn’t really for me, but she likes to think that it sort of is, I can’t just leave without saying bye. I’d feel mean.”
Mikey and Ray didn’t understand, I didn’t really expect them to. So I left before they could try to talk me out of it and prolong our time here.
It was crazy how many people were there. I didn’t think I knew as many people as there were crammed into one house. It was hard to push through people, trying to see Kristin. People looked at me like I wasn’t meant to be there, but I was leaving anyway so I didn’t take much notice of it.
“Frankie!” Kristin squealed. She saw me first. She was leaning against a wall near the stairs, if she was talking to people she wasn’t anymore, all her attention was on me now, and I didn’t like it. “I knew you would like the party. Isn’t it fun?” She laughed and pulled me towards her.
I tried to pull away from her, to tell her that I was just leaving and wanted to say thanks before I left, but she put her hands around my neck and kissed me.
I pushed her away from me, trying to be gentle but freaking out a bit. “Kristin you’re drunk.”
“No.” She pulled me around and pressed herself against me, so I pushed my back against the wall and panicked when I found nowhere else to run. “I'm really not drunk. Frankie, I'm not” In that moment she looked so sober that it made me want to run faster than I could and get out of this party.
I didn’t say anything back so Kristin kissed me again, and I froze. I didn’t know what to do, I knew that I wanted to push her away from me again and then leave, and hopefully never have to talk about it. But I couldn’t move, my body was frozen while my mind raced on.
What would I tell Mikey? Would he forgive me or would he hate me forever? Would someone else see and tell him before I could? Why was she doing this to me?!
“I just need to borrow Frankie for a bit, you don’t mind, right?” For the first time in a long while I was glad to hear Gerards voice, saving me from the worst situation in my life.
Kristin pulled her face away from mine; giving me the chance I needed to move away from her. She looked through Gerard, holding her hand up and walking away from the two of us like we weren’t even there to begin with.
“Come on...” Gerard pulled me away from the wall, turning me around and lifting me up onto his back. “Piggy back for the birthday boy.” I could hear the sad smile in Gerard’s voice and I started to relax.
I didn’t speak to Gerard at first, not because I didn’t want to, but because I just couldn’t think of anything to say. I felt like I didn’t have words anymore. But as we pushed through the crowd of people, getting closer to Mikey and Ray, I knew that I had to talk to him, to just look normal, or else Mikey would guess right away that something was bothering me.
“So you didn’t get me a birthday present?” I tried to make my voice sound normal.
“How’d you suppose?” Gerard tilted his head back to call me his response. It was easy for him to hear me seeing as though I was speaking right next to his ear, but I couldn’t hear Gerard that well over the sound of music and people.
“I looked at all the present’s. There wasn’t one with your name on the tag...” I felt clever with my logic, so smiled, just as Mikey and Ray came into view. I tried to keep that smile on my face.
“Okay...But you’re wrong.” Gerard nodded at Ray and Mikey as we walked past them, looking purposefully towards the exit. Ray and Mikey followed obediently. “I did get you a present; I just haven’t given it to you yet.”
“How’d you make them follow us like that?” I looked over my shoulder to see Mikey and Ray trying to follow us as closely as they could so we wouldn’t get separated in our escape. “Are you scheming something with them?” It seemed likely that he was, but then I thought about it again, and realised that it was unlikely.
I wouldn’t put it past Gerard to plan something with the two of them behind my back, I knew that they both wanted me and Gerard to get on again, but I didn’t think Mikey would go along with something without telling me about it. Even if he didn’t tell me I would have noticed that he was hiding something from me. At least I hoped I would notice.
Gerard didn’t reply to me until we were outside, although I could still hear the sounds of inside coming out through the open door.
“I'm not scheming anything. I just knew how much they would want to leave. Even if it did look like I had just gone and abducted you.” He laughed softly. If anyone else had said it I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but I could never tell if Gerard was joking around or being dead serious. I wouldn’t imagine that he would ever force me to go with him against my will, but if I was being a big jerk... like I was for the last week or so...
My Mom look surprised when the four of us turned up at around nine. She looked at me as though she hadn’t expected us back for another few hours. I don’t think that she minded though, if anything I think she was happy that we hadn’t stayed at the party. She had obviously picked up on the fact that I didn’t even want to go.
“Sorry…” She smiled at my friends, but it wasn’t very apologetic. ”I wasn’t expecting you back for a bit so I didn’t make you any dinner.” She looked to me as though I would have an answer to this. But I didn’t.
“It’s alright Mom. There was some food at the party, and there are all the chips that you hid on the top shelf.” I knew that she hadn’t realised that I knew she had brought chips for us all, and she knew that there hadn’t been food at the party, at least not that we ate anyway. So we both kept our mouths shut.
“Right… Do you want me to go get them or are you boys heading out?” She seemed to want us to go out again. I knew that she wasn’t happy about me not going trick or treating this year. I normally went every year on my birthday; it was my version of having a birthday party. But this year because there was going to be a proper party I had decided there wouldn’t be enough time to go trick or treating as well as going to the party.
But seeing as though we had left early…
I looked at my friends, wanting to know if they wanted to go out or not. Because if they didn’t want to go then I would tell my mom that we were just gonna watch a film or something then go hang out upstairs.
“Yeah!” Mikey jumped at the opportunity to go trick or treating, we had gone together every year since my sixth birthday. I knew that it made Mikey uncomfortable to be doing anything different on my birthday than our norm.
Ray nodded and smiled at me, he looked like he didn’t really know what to say, but I could see that he was excited.
My mom looked to Gerard for a response before I did. The entire walk home I had been trying not to talk to Gerard, aiming whatever I was saying directly to Ray and Mikey. I was grateful to Gerard for saving me from a horrible situation, but I just didn’t know how to interact with him. He seemed like a complete stranger to me ever since he started drinking, but now it seemed as though he had stopped, did that mean that he was regular Gerard again?
“Sure. It’s not like sixteen is too old to be trick or treating or anything…” He laughed slightly but looked down. It was almost like he could feel the awkwardness too.
“We don’t have anything to wear…” I don’t know why I said it, I wasn’t even thinking about it. But I had just found a way to ruin what was probably going to be the best part of my birthday.
“No entirely true…” Gerard smiled at my mom, and the scary thing was the she smiled back to him before leaving the room quickly.
“What do you and my mom know that I don’t?” I turned to Gerard, panicking.
“You really think that she was going to let you go to a party you didn’t want to go to and then not go trick or treating?” Gerard fidgeted slightly where he was sitting in the big arm chair across from the sofa where Mikey, Ray and I were. “And did you think I was going to not celebrate your birthday with you? I don’t care how much you hate me or for whatever reason right now. It’s your birthday and we’re gonna celebrate Halloweeeeen style.” Gerard smiled at me as though he was just the best thing in the world.
“Ray! Your costume is the wolf man one?” My mom called into the room. My eye’s snapped to Ray.
“We left our costumes with Gerard then he brought them around before coming to the party to rescue us.” He sort of smiled, but he looked too out of place to have a proper smile, as though he wasn’t sure if I was happy or annoyed about this new situation.