Danger Days - Chapter nineteen: "If you're gone (maybe it's time to come home)"
Word count: 16,9K
Summary: Joey is not ready to start touring, but being away from Matthew sounds like a good plan to get over him. But... Matthew has other plans, and he is determined to be forgiven. Gerard is not letting his illusions go either, but he has to realize he is wasting his time.
Warnings: Cursing, there are some arguments, a little angst, and some fluff.
A/N: I'm soft.
Chapter one | Chapter two | Chapter three | Chapter four | Chapter five | Chapter six | Chapter seven | Chapter eight | Chapter nine | Chapter ten | Chapter eleven | Chapter twelve | Chapter thirteen | Chapter fourteen | Chapter fifteen | Chapter sixteen | Chapter seventeen | Chapter eighteen | Chapter nineteen |
::: March 30th, 2011. Los Angeles :::
Frank sighed and looked around. It was early morning, and there was chaos around him. It was video shooting day, and his family was with him at the small indoor venue where MCR was recording the “Planetary Go” music video. Five hundred kids were outside, waiting in line to get there and be part of the show. Meanwhile, inside the arena, his wife and kids hung out with Joey, Ray, and Mikey in the dressing room. They were still waiting for Gerard, who was late, as pretty much always.
- "I brought some things you might need through these next months"- Jamia said to Joey as Frank walked closer- Mostly books and a few maternity shirts I loved.
- "Thank you! I’m gonna need all your help, ‘cos I have no fucking idea what I’m doing."
- "You are gonna be just fine! You have mom material!"- Jamia pointed out as the young woman held Lily in her arms, smiling- "You are glowing"- Joey grinned- "Now tell me everything about, have you seen him? Have you talked to him? Did you tell him?"
The drummer widened her eyes and held her breath for a second. Mikey looked at her and kissed her temple.
- "I’ve seen him, I told him, he is thrilled, he has been..."- she made a pause and tried to find the right words to describe how the last ten days had been for her- "Incredibly caring and supportive. I hate him"- Mrs. Iero frowned.
- "He is making it hard for you to hate him, right?"
- "Awfully! I swear I have to do some exhausting mental work to keep myself from forgiving him each time I see him! It’s awful!"
- "If you want to forgive him…"- Jamia started, but Joey shook her head.
- "No! This is not about forgiving him because I won’t! once a cheater, always a cheater!"
- "Yeah… that’s true."
- "And I don’t trust him!"
- "I know…"
- "It’s ok, Joey. Don’t worry"- Jamia smiled and changed the subject- "Did you tell your parents yet?"
- "No, we are gonna be in Seattle in four days, so I’ll tell them in person."
- "Are they going to the show?"
- "Yeah! They are thrilled! And they want to meet the band, which I know is gonna be weird. I’m so glad you are coming along for this leg."
- "I was dying to come with you, and now you have two babies to get used to"- Joey chuckled, but her happiness was clouded when Gerard walked into the room with Lynz.
Ever since her talk with Mikey, Joey had successfully managed to stay away from Gerard. And the best part: no one had asked if there was something wrong, ‘cos though neither Frank nor Ray knew the details of the story, they both knew there was something definitely wrong in the way Gerard looked at the drummer, and she was clearly awkward around him.
Gerard was in hell, and he knew he deserved it. He had crossed the line, and the distance between him and Joey was the proof. Gerard was afraid even to talk to her, and he felt the wall his brother had created around her. Mikey wasn’t mad at him anymore. He was just worried about him and also a little disappointed. Gerard had always made sure to give him a positive example- even in his darkest times- and suddenly, that whole mess fell upon them.
- "Hey guys!"- Lynz said with a happy face and arms wide open as she walked into the room and started hugging everybody, including Joey, who felt like a whore the second she saw her. She had promised her she was never going to do anything with her husband, and she had failed.
- "Hi Lynz! How are you?"- Joey tried to keep a straight face and smiled.
- "Congratulations! Gerard told me about your baby!"
- "Thank you so much!"- the drummer was making the biggest effort to look happy and natural- "Wanna see the ultrasound?"
Gerard looked at the scene, and his stomach tightened. Joey seemed to be so happy. The drummer gave Frank his daughter and took the ultrasound from her backpack.
- "Hey! I wanna see it too!"- Ray said, moving closer.
- "That little bean is my baby!"- Joey pointed and chuckled- Can you believe that tiny thing is gonna be a person?!
- "Shit!"- Ray sort of mumbled- "It’s so small!"
- "Ok, kids! outfits ready?"- Brian walked into the room and looked at them- "Neither of you is ready, come on! Move! We are late!"
Matthew finished packing and smiled. He wasn’t carrying much, but it was enough to follow Joey for the next eighteen concerts she had with the band, starting march 21st and until April 23rd. His plan was simple: standing in the first row of every show and cheering for the drummer. He wanted to show her how much he loved her, and he was willing to postpone his whole life for her. He had gotten in trouble in his job for doing that, and he didn’t care. He wanted to be with Joey, and he wanted her to know how much he loved her, and if that meant being fired from Criminal Minds, so be it.
He put the eighteen tickets for the shows he had already gotten in an envelope and smiled pleased.
- "This has to work"- he said out loud- "I mean… it has to, ‘cos I don’t know what to do next…"- he grabbed his phone and looked at the hour.
- “Good luck with the video today”- he wrote and sent.
The latest days had been weird for him and Joey. She would accept to see him when it came to things related to the baby, but of course, she would never let him get too close. The nap they had shared had been the last time he had held her in his arms. The rest of the time, she had been distant, and though he had done his best to stay calm and positive, sometimes it scared him to think maybe he was really going to die trying to get her back.
But “weird” didn’t mean bad, though. And Matthew had made the best of the time he had shared with her. He would bring her treats she liked and would call every morning to know how she felt. She always picked up. That was good; it meant she didn’t hate talking to him.
He also took her to see a nutritionist, to help them make a meal plan, considering Joey wasn’t the healthiest person when it came to meals. They also had a conversation with a personal trainer to help her identify the exercises and movements she could do to train and stay fit those first months. Besides, Matthew kept getting thoughtful presents to make her pregnancy more comfortable, and he brought one every day as an excuse to see her, even for a minute. He got her the pregnancy pillow and customized it as one of his stuffed monsters. He got her natural spa products for her bath to help her relax. He even got a tiny drum for the baby. Joey hated him because she couldn’t stay mad at him if he was being so adorable. He bought her so much food she was sure she was getting fat for eating too much and not because of her pregnancy.
- “Thank you”- his phone dinged, and he quickly read the text, smiling.
- “Wanna come for dinner tonight?”- he wrote and held his breath. It was a bold move, but he needed to play all his cards.
- “Better not, I’ve got an early flight.”- she replied. Joey held the phone in her hands tight, locked in the bathroom. She really didn’t have to change for the video, she just had to put on an MCR t-shirt, and she wanted to fix her hair. Joey wasn’t really going to be in many shots anyway, she just was a support player in the back. She couldn’t take the eyes from the phone, though she knew she had to. She was waiting for Matthew’s answer.
- “Can I stop later to say goodbye?”- and a smile lodged on his lips as he wrote those words. Joey had no idea he was going to be on tour. Joey bit her inner lip as she considered the options. She wanted to see him but didn’t want to give him hope, but he was the father of her kid, but… he cheated.
- “I can bring some dinner, in case you get home tired and you don’t want to cook.”
- “Mother fucker!!”- the girl coursed and sighed- “See you at seven.”
- "Yes!!"- Matthew jumped from his bed and danced around his room on his own. He just had to be calmed and try not to fuck it up. He could do that, right?
Lynz kept a good eye during the whole day, trying to see if Joey would look at Gerard, but she didn’t. They didn’t really talk at all. She knew Joey had told her they weren’t close, which made sense with the scene in front of her. It was like Gerard didn’t exist for the drummer.
- “Isn’t that weird too?”- Mrs. Way thought. She could notice Gerard was concentrated entirely on the whole “making the video” process. He kept checking with the director and making sure everything was ok. Joey talked with Mikey and laughed a lot with Ray. Her husband and the young woman never interacted except during the show. Gerard wouldn’t stop going back to the drum and looking at her every time they had to perform. Just like Lynz had seen in the Valencia show. Joey didn’t seem to pay that much attention. She would be playing, their eyes would crush, they would nod, that was it.
- “Ok, if it doesn’t seem to be anything going on, why can’t I shake these thoughts from my head”- the bassist asked herself as she kept staring at her husband performing.
During the break, Joey walked away from the stage and the noise and locked herself in the bathroom again. She checked her cell phone and read.
- “Do you think we could ever get to be friends?”- and she held her breathing, nearly in shock. The text was from Gerard. When the fuck did he text her? He had been there the whole time. She looked around, but she was alone in the bathroom. She reread it, frowning. Why was he texting her? They had managed to spend weeks talking the minimal, and she was completely in favor of keep doing the same for the rest… of her life, basically. And so she didn’t reply. It was clearly easier for her to stay away from Gerard than from Matthew for obvious reasons.
- "Hey!"- Lynz walked into the bathroom and smiled. Joey kept looking at her reflection in the mirror, fixing her makeup- "How are you feeling?"
- "Like I could puke everything I’ve ever eaten, and at the very same time, so fucking hungry"- the drummer answered with a smile- "How have you been? I haven’t seen you since London."
- "Good, busy, thank God. That’s the only way I can stand being apart from Gerard for so long."
- "It was an eternal tour!"- Joey added- "It felt like a lifetime! Are you coming along these following dates?"
- "Yeah! I’ll be there on April 5th, I have to finish a project I’m doing with a friend, and I’ll take a plane to Canada."
- "Awesome!"- Joey was doing her best to be as normal as possible. Besides, she honestly liked Lynz- "You and Jamia! Finally, I’m not gonna be the only woman around! You have no idea how exciting this is for me. I’ve been around guys my whole life, but I really need a break after these last months. I’m actually hoping to have a girl"- Joey guided her hand to her stomach and chuckled.
- "What did Matthew say, by the way?"- the drummer sighed and closed her eyes- "Sorry, I didn’t mean to… Gerard told me what happened between you two."
- "No, don’t worry"- Joey smiled and sighed again- "Matthew is happy with the baby news."
- "That’s good."
- "He is thrilled, actually. He cried when I told him, cried during the ultrasound, cried when he realized the baby due is close to Halloween."- Joey couldn’t help but smile, remembering his face, tears filling his eyes as she told him she was pregnant. She had never imagined he would be so happy.
- "And how is everything between you two?"
- “Did that little shithead tell his wife everything going on in my life or what?!”- the drummer didn’t answer. She felt pretty awkward knowing Lynz was aware of the whole story.
- "Sorry… I didn’t mean to intrude."
- "It’s ok… I…"- Joey scratched the back of her neck, honestly nervous about explaining her mind- I’m sorry, I’m just not really used to talk about things with people.
- "No, please, I was out of place, I just… Gerard was in shock when he told me, and he said you were pretty affected"- Joey nodded and looked down.
- "Yeah, I was a mess, but I’m better now…"- the two of them stayed in silence for a few seconds, that felt like hours- "I should go back"- Joey pointed to the door, and Lynz nodded.
- "I’m sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable"
- "Don’t worry, I’ve got problems communicating with people… not just in this matter"- Joey tried to smile, though she knew she still looked pretty awkward- "It’s a long story."
- "Hey, no need to explain, really"- Lynz opened her arms and hugged her.
Joey didn’t get a thing. Why was she being so nice? Did Lynz want to be her friend? Was she being honest or just trying to be friendly under the circumstances? Did she want to get closer to her to know if she was crushed on Gerard? There were too many questions around Joey’s head, and she didn’t have the time or the energy to try to find an answer to any of them. She just hugged Lynz back and cut her a friendly smile.
The whole recording process took the entire morning and part of the afternoon. By the time they were done- and gave the kids in the audience a short show of five songs - the band and their families were ready to go home.
- "Bug, we are gonna go grab dinner together. Wanna come?"- Mikey wrapped an arm around Joey and kissed her temple as they all grabbed their things in the dressing room.
- "I’m too tired. I wanna go home."
- "Want me to go with you? Ask for some take-out? Maybe from the Vietnamese place you wanted to try, watch a movie… you know, rest before the tour that’s coming, what do you say?"- Joey smiled but declined.
- "I have plans…"- Mikey raised an eyebrow and nodded.
- "You are gonna see Gubler"- and by the tone in his voice, she knew he wasn’t happy with the news.
- "He is gonna drop by to say goodbye."
- "Sure… are you sure you are ok with him?"
- "What do you mean?"
- "You have been hanging out with him a lot."
- "No, I haven’t!"
- "Name one day this week you haven’t seen him"- Mikey furrowed his brows and crossed his arms on his chest, staring at the drummer.
- "Today?"- she answered, thinking.
- "He keeps bringing presents for the baby. What am I going to say? Stop being such a good dad?"
The whole band was overhearing the conversation. They were all pretty nosey, actually. And the whole Matthew/Joey drama was their favorite subject at the moment.
- "He ain’t trying to be a good dad! He is trying to win you over! Are you gonna let him break your heart again?"
That escalated quickly. Joey stood in front of his friend, not knowing what to say. Lucky for her, Lynz was the one to talk next.
- "Are you jealous, Mikey?"- though her words weren’t really the best to be spoken at the moment. The bassist looked at his sister in law almost in shock, nearly insulted.
- "Not jealous, worried. I am concerned about her ‘cos I don’t want her to get hurt again, is that a fucking sin or what?"
- "No, it’s not! I’m just asking ‘cos you sound like a jealous boyfriend worried his girlfriend is gonna cheat or whatever."
Joey hated Lynz’s comment, every single word in it, ‘cos it was meant to start a fight. Had she said it with those intentions?
- “No, she didn’t… did she? Is she trying to know if Mikey and I are into anything? No, stop being paranoid!”
- "I’m not jealous, Lynz"- Mikey’s words were cold as he responded with a serious face- "I’m just worried and taking care of her. That’s what friends do."
- "Sorry! There’s no need to get all serious."
- "Ok, dinner?"- Ray clapped and tried to lighten the mood- "Let’s go before Frank gets all cranky."
They all nodded and started walking. Gerard made sure to stay a little behind as his wife talked with Jamia and moved closer to Joey.
- "You didn’t answer my text"- he whispered, and the drummer froze in shock, even a little scared. Why was he talking to her? They had managed to spend weeks without saying a word directly to each other. Why did he decide to talk to her the only day they had been around his wife?
- "Sorry, I’ve been busy"- Joey mumbled and started walking quickly to get away from him.
- "And would we ever be friends?"- Gerard asked, following her and talking under breath, making sure no one except her could hear him.
- "Sure, if you stop saying nonsenses, we can be friends."
- "Nonsenses? You mean telling you that I love you?"- the young woman widened her eyes and turned to him immediately.
- "Don’t say that! Ever again!"
- "But I do. I am in love with you, Sugar."
- "And that’s why we can’t be friends"- Joey sentenced and walked to her car, never looking back. She said goodbye to the rest of the band, kissed Cherry and Lily a few times each, and drove home.
- “What the fuck Gerard?!”- she yelled inside her head- “What the fuck is his problem?! His wife was right here? And he keeps telling me that he loves me? is he stupid? Has the stress affected his brain functions? Did he start drinking again?”.
There was no explanation for his behavior, and it freaked Joey out, ‘cos a new leg of the tour was starting the day after, and she didn’t want to face it that way. She didn’t want to travel with Lynz knowing her husband was trying to get into her pants again.
Again, that was the worst part. Joey felt like a whore knowing what had happened with Gerard. She didn’t want to even think about it, but the image kept coming to her mind. His lips on her, kissing her jawline, her neck, her breast… If she hadn’t thought he was Matthew, would she have let him go on? If she wasn’t in love with her ex, would she had sex with Gerard, even knowing he was married?
The answer could actually scare her, ‘cos it was against everything she had ever believed in. But she thought it was possible. The only thing that kept her from having sex with Gerard was that she was in love with Matthew.
If she had sex with Gerard, would she stop loving Matthew? The girl shook her head, frowning, disgusted by her own thoughts. That was never going to be a good idea.
Gerard was in silence, staring at the food in front of him. He didn’t want to eat. He didn’t want to be there. He could hear his friends talking, his wife laughing, but all his mind could register was the fact Joey was now in her apartment with Gubler. With the guy he hated the most in the whole world. With the guy Gerard wanted to be. The guy he was jealous of. The one she loved instead of him. Just the thought of what could happen between them made him sick in the stomach.
Was she going to forgive him? Was she going to have sex with him? Was she going to marry him after all? Matthew was going to be with her that night. He was going to make her laugh, he was going to lean over her slowly and whisper sweet words in her ear. He was gonna make her blush, he was going to get her wet and cream her undies.
The singer shook his head and tried to think of anything else. But he couldn’t.
- "Are you ok?"- his wife asked, frowning- "You haven’t had a bite."
- "I’m not hungry"- Way whispered and tried his best to cut her a nice natural, all innocent smile.
- "Sure?"- Lynz touched his forehead in case he had a temperature, but he was ok- "Do you want to go home and rest?"- the singer nodded right away
- "Yes, I think I need to lay down for a while."
- "Ok, I’ll tell the guys."
Gerard was full of it. But going home and locking himself in his studio sounded like a nice idea. At least there, no one could see him freaking out over the idea of Joey being with someone else but him.
Matthew counted to ten as he stood outside his car and took three deep breaths to calm himself down. He had done the same, like a mantra, each time he walked into Joey’s apartment those days. He had to control himself from running over, from making a mistake. He had to make sure he wasn’t going to mess it up with her, Paget had told him over and over again: he only had one chance to make things right, and he couldn’t fuck it up.
His friend was the only one who knew Matthew was gonna be a dad, and she was as thrilled as he was, mostly ‘cos she knew how badly Gubler wanted to have a baby. And the fact he loved Joey more than anything made it even more perfect. Well, it would be perfect if he hadn’t cheated, but both of them hoped to fix that any time now. As soon as possible, as a matter of fact.
- "Hey"- Matthew smiled as his ex-girlfriend opened the door. She was already in her pajamas, make-up swept off her face, a messy bun on her hair, and some chocolate around her lips. Matthew had never seen her as beautiful as in that moment.
- "Shouldn’t you be quitting sugar already? We agreed no more lava cakes from this week on."
- "I’m eating the leftovers from the fridge, ‘cos it’s all gonna be rotten when I come back, and the whole place is gonna stink"- Joey answered, cleaning the corner of her mouth, turning back to the kitchen.
- "You know chocolate won’t get bad… wait, where did you get chocolate from?"- Joey turned to him and grinned.
- "Frankie got me some"- Gubler nodded and left the take-out boxes on the counter.
- "Are you hungry?"
- "Actually… I don’t know… are you?"
- "A little. But I can wait a while if you want…"- he smiled at her and stared in silence. The young woman turned away to the fridge again and opened it.
- "Anything else that’s gonna spoil while you are away?"- he asked.
- "Not much… peanut butter will live, I guess."
- "And ketchup."
- "Yeah… but ketchup was making you sick a few days ago."
- "But who knows next week..."- the conversation between them was so natural, neither of them remembered how bad things were between them for a long while.
They talked about the fridge, the new self-watering system Joey had gotten for her plants, and how excited she was to see her parents again. And that was when Matthew pushed things a little too far.
- "Are you going to tell them about the baby?"
- "I don’t know"- Joey simply answered and walked away from him. She had been walking away from him most of the time he had spent in her apartment, and he kept following her like a lost puppy through the whole place.
- "Why not?"
- "‘Cos they are gonna ask too many things. ‘Cos I want to know if everything is ok with the baby first, wait until he is twelve weeks. And mostly, ‘cos I’m gonna have to tell them you are a cheater mother fucker and that we are not getting married, and I haven’t seen them in forever… I don’t wanna ruin the trip."
- "Maybe you don’t have to tell them we broke up,"- Joey raised an eyebrow and looked at him, standing on the frame of the bathroom door, staring at her putting all her beauty products (the few she had) in a “go-to” bag.
- "Sure, Matthew"- her answer was snarky, and she refused to turn to him.
- "I mean… we don’t have to break up"
- "Again? You wanna do this again?"- her voice was annoyed, making it clear she was tired of talking about their relationship.
- "We’ve danced around the subject all week, and we haven’t properly talked about it."
- "We are over because your cock was in your ex’s mouth the night of your birthday a few weeks ago. That’s all there is to know about that subject. That’s why we are in this fucking shitty situation. And no, Matthew Gray Gubler, I am not going to forgive you! So can you just drop it?!"
A heavy silence hung in the room. Joey lost it, and she ended up yelling. She was tired, she was sad, she was stressed. And most of it, she was anxious and slightly depressed over the whole deal.
- "I’m tired of this shit! We are gonna be parents together. I swear I am doing my best to get along with you and have a healthy relationship. Still, the fact is, I am doing my best to stop fucking loving you ‘cos I am not going to get back together with you! Ever!"
Her words were full of anger, and she couldn’t stop herself from screaming at him.
Matthew looked at Joey in silence. He didn’t know what to say at that. He had a lot of ideas in his head, but all of them were probably just going to get her even more upset. And that was the last thing he wanted to do that minute. And so, he just nodded and turned around and left the room. Joey sat on the edge of the bathtub and bit her lips.
- "I got this for our baby today"- he murmured a few minutes later when he walked back to the bathroom.
- "What is it?"- Joey mumbled and looked at the iPod Matthew gave her- "What? You know the baby won’t use one of these in probably another ten years, right?"
- "It’s not the iPod, it’s what’s in it"- the drummer nodded and wondered what was in it- "I just…"
Matthew cleared his throat. Words came painfully slow from his lips as he spoke.
- "I recorded a few stories and tales and things for the baby, so they can listen to my voice while you are away. That way, they won’t forget me"- Joey’s heart ached in love at those words.
- “This is one smooth loving bastard”- she thought and took a deep breath- "Thank you, that’s very thoughtful"- he shook his head and took a few steps back from her, ‘cos he knew all his body wanted was to lean over her and kiss her.
- "It’s nothing"- he sighed and made a pause- "I’m just worried if we are not gonna be together again, my baby might forget about me."
Those words broke Joey’s already broken heart. The sadness that Matthew’s face reflected showed her how bad he was feeling and reminded her that this was also a troubled time for him. Even when he was the one that had brought those problems to their relationship.
- "I promise you, that’s never gonna happen. You are always going to be our baby’s dad, and you are always going to be part of their life, no matter what"- he nodded and looked down, biting the inner part of his cheeks.
- "I think I better go"- Joey didn’t want him to go. He didn’t want to go, but her words had been so hard, they had left him speechless. Uneasy. Depressed.
- "You…"- the young woman stood up and took a deep breath, not know what to say- "You can take your part of dinner if you want."
That was not what she wanted to say. She wanted to say, “I’m sorry I just said all that in the nastiest way possible. I fucking love you, stay with me and hold me ‘cos I am scared and sad and alone”. But that was not what came out from her lips.
Matthew nodded and walked to the kitchen. He sighed and closed his eyes as he grabbed his box of Chinese noodles. That evening hadn’t come out as he was hoping. It had actually been the complete opposite. He had fucked it up. Making Joey upset only caused more pain to the two of them. He knew she would say things in the most painful way possible, not because she wanted to, but because that’s how she reacted when hurt. Hurting back. Hurting deeper.
Joey stood in the middle of the hall, watching Matthew grab all his things and turn to her.
- "Take care"- he whispered, and she nodded slowly.
- "You too."
- "I’ll call you to know about the baby bean"- she nodded again.
- "Of course. I’ll see you when I come back, and we’ll have another check-up"- he looked at her as she whispered those words. Each one of them hurt as they left her lips, ‘cos they were goodbye words, and she didn’t want to say goodbye.
Matthew just stood there, staring at her, not knowing how to move. He didn’t have the strength to walk away from her at that moment. Still, the words she had just practically yelled at him were a warning he was pushing her, and by pushing, he was never going to make things better. He had such a sad look in his eyes, Joey took a step closer to him. He kept his eyes on hers, almost holding his breath.
- "And… thank you for being here with us"- she held her hand on her tiny belly as she spoke- "I know it’s hard and all, I just… want you to know… I appreciate it."
- "They are my baby too"- he simply answered with a short and sad smile on his lips- "I would do anything for the two of you, any day."
Joey bit her lips and took another step closer. He stood still, not knowing what to do. Joey walked slowly to him and stood right in front of him.
- "Sorry about what I said"- she managed to whisper.
- "No, Joey, please don’t apologize, you said what you said ‘cos it’s the truth, and I understand how mad you are… please don’t say you are sorry for something I brought to myself, to the two of us"- Matthew made a pause and sighed, his eyes stuck into Joey’s- "To the three of us, actually"- she nodded slowly.
- "I didn’t want you to leave with an argument if we were not going to see each other until another month"- Joey managed to murmur but couldn’t hold her eyes in Matthew’s for another second, and so she looked down.
- "I didn’t want to start a fight either…"
The two of them stayed in silence. The distance between them was so small Matthew could hold her tight if he only took one step ahead. But he controlled himself. It was one of the most challenging efforts he had ever made, and he moved his hand to her chin, lifting her face sweetly.
- "Take care, ok?"- his eyes traveled slowly from her lips to her eyes, and he noticed how her cheeks blushed sweetly.
- "Ok"- she whispered, nodding.
- "I’ll call you"- she didn’t say a thing and just nodded again. Matthew moved carefully over her and landed his lips on her forehead. It was the sweetest touch Joey had ever recalled feeling from him. So delicate and tender, and at the same time with such intense love. It was impossible for her not to close her eyes and feel her knees trembling. He stared at her in silence and smiled shyly before whispering “Goodnight” and walking out of her house.
Joey stared at the door and restrained herself from the deep desire to run after him and wrap her arms around his neck, to kiss him deeply. She didn’t. She couldn’t. She shouldn’t. Instead, she walked to her couch and laid down, wrapping her arms around her legs, feeling how warm tears fell from her eyes. How many times can a heartbreak after being broken? ‘Cos every time Matthew said goodbye, her heart ached, just like the day they broke up. And her body ached, feeling the empty space he left by her side.
- "I love you so fucking much"- she mumbled, sobbing. Tears kept falling like a waterfall until she fell asleep.
::: March 31st, 2011. Oakland :::
Mikey looked at Joey as they walked into the hotel and checked in. They had hardly shared a word that day, ever since they left California. She sat with Jamia and helped with the babies the whole trip, and her plan was to continue to do the same until it was time to play the show.
- "Are you mad?"- he asked out of the blunt as he stood next to her in the middle of the lobby, both waiting for their room keys.
- "No, why?"
- "You are not talking to me."
- "You haven’t talked to me either"- she answered with a shrug- "Are you mad at me?"- Joey furrowed her brows as she spoke, thinking maybe that was the point, and she never actually noticed it.
- "Are you ok?"
- "I’m tired and puked breakfast on the plane, you?"
- "I’m tired and drank three coffees on the plane ‘cos I couldn’t sleep"- Joey nodded at her friend’s words- "Why does it feel weird?"- Mikey pointed out and crossed his arms on his chest
- "I don’t know... - the drummer answered and looked at his shoes- "I love those boots."
- "I’m not gonna give them to you. They are not your number."
- "Shut up"- Joey cut him a short smile, and he did the same- "I hated Lynz’s comment last night"- Joey confessed and kicked Mikey’s boot friendly
- "Me too… Gerard said I was too rude to her."
- "You were, but she kind of deserved it"- Mikey chuckled at Joey’s confession- "Really, I just hated so much how she was insinuating you were jealous of whatever, considering she has no idea we are best friends!
- "I know! I thought the same"
- "That’s ‘cos we are best friends"- Joey added and smiled, giggling. Mikey looked at her and wrapped his arms around her slowly.
- "Did you have a good night after you saw that asshole?"
- "Yeah, it was ok"- Joey lied, hiding her face in his chest- "He brought dinner and left."
- "Good"- they rocked slowly, still hugged. Mikey kissed the top of her head and whispered- "I’m not jealous."
- "I know"
- "I’m just scared"
- "Why?"- Joey moved apart from him but never got an answer. Jeffrey showed up and gave them their keys.
- "Get ready. We’ve got an interview in an hour here in the conference room"- the bassist frowned, nodding.
- "Good news for me, I get to get some more sleep"- Joey added and stuck out her tongue to Mikey.
- "I hate you"
- "I know."
Gerard looked at his brother talking with Joey. He saw how they hugged. How he kissed the top of her head. How she smiled at him sweetly and hid her face on his chest. They looked like a fucking couple, and he hated everything about it.
- "Stop it"- Ray said and stood next to him- "I thought you were gonna be over your fucking obsession by now"- he pointed out with an eased tone of voice like he was just talking about the weather.
- "You are gonna fuck everything up if you keep looking at her like that"
- "What do you know?"
- "I know she won’t talk to you at all, and I think there has to be a reason I don’t know"- Gerard stayed still, pretending those hadn’t hurt him. Or scared him. He didn’t even look at Ray as he spoke.
- "And I know you like her, so stay away from her before you do something that ruins everything."
- "I’m not gonna ruin anything."
- "Your wife is gonna be here soon."
- "I love my wife."
- "I know… just try not to stare at Joey drooling, like she is the object of your undeniable desire and love when Lynz is around."
Gerard turned to his friend and tried to say something back, but nothing came out.
- "And for the love of God, don’t fuck it up!"- Ray tapped on his back and walked away.
Gerard Way was busted. He was fucked. And it was the first day of the tour.
Matthew laid on his bed and sighed. He was in Oakland, staying at a hotel two blocks from Joey’s. He had made sure not to book his room in the same place as her, to keep a safe distance in case she got too mad- which was always an option with her, especially under those circumstances. Those were the worst circumstances they had ever faced, so Matthew was being extra precautious. Even more after what had happened the night before. He was still angry with himself for pushing her too much. He had to be patient.
- “Let’s hope she won’t get angry with me for doing this.”- he thought and stared at the ceiling. He could only stay still for a minute or so. He quickly moved to his bag, grabbed a book and his phone.
- "Hey"- Joey’s voice at the other side of the line made him smile right away
- "Hello, how was your trip?"
- "It was ok"- Joey cleared her throat and looked at her feet as she walked around her room. She felt weird and awkward talking to Matthew after what had happened the night before- "How are you?"
- "I’m ok…"
- "How are you feeling from the bruises from the car crash?"
- "Like nothing ever happened"
- "Good…"- there was a silence on the line. Matthew could hear Joey’s breathing as she scratched the back of his neck and said the first thing that came to his mind.
- "So at what time is the concert tonight?"
- "At eight"
- "Good… and… are you having lunch soon?"
- "I don’t know. I was thinking about napping now and maybe grab a late bite before going to the arena."
- "Remember the nutritionist said you shouldn’t skip meals"- the drummer sighed, knowing he was right.
- "But I’m so sleepy, I’m gonna fall asleep on the table eating."
- "You couldn’t sleep last night? “God knows I couldn’t.”
- “I did. “No, I didn’t. I stayed up crying and thinking about how much I love you, damn it!”
- "Then why are you so tired?"
- "Maybe because I’m turning food into a human being"- Matthew chuckled at those words, and Joey smiled, listening to his reaction.
- "That seems to be a good reason. I’m sorry I questioned you"- the girl kept the grin on her face for a second
- "That’s ok. I should really go grab something to eat and then nap. You are right about that."
- "Talk to you later?"- he asked as casually as possible- "Maybe after the show, to know how you are feeling?"
- "Yeah, sure. Talk to you later, bye."
Matthew hung up and sighed. Just a few more hours and his plan to get his girl back would start. His stomach tightened as he imagined what Joey was gonna say when she saw him. Was she going to be mad? Was she going to be happy? Was the band going to hit him? There were too many questions for him to answer, so he did the only thing he could do: lay on his bed and grab the book he was carrying.
Jamia, the babies, and Joey had lunch together. The drummer loved having her around ‘cos she wasn’t alone back in the hotel all the time like she was in Europe, and that meant less time to overthink everything. She loved hanging out with Jamia ‘cos she was too nice and understanding with her. It felt like they could be friends. Jamia considered Joey her friend already, meanwhile the young woman still had trouble opening up with people.
Though she had to be honest with herself. The latest months had changed a lot of the things that made her a loner. It was all Matthew and My Chem. Except for Gerard. But for Joey, Gerard wasn’t really in the picture anymore. He was the guy she needed and wanted to avoid at any cost. Even if that cost meant to leave the band.
- "So… have you thought of any name already?"- Jamia and Joey were at the drummer’s room. The babies were napping, and the two women were laid on the bed, eating Oreos.
- "Not really… I just…"
- "It’s not real yet?"
- "It’s so not real yet"- Joey whispered and chuckled- "I keep looking at the ultrasound, and I can’t believe there’s a baby in my tummy… I bet I ate a sea monkey at some point, and that’s what’s been growing inside me"- Jamia snorted as she tried to keep it down and nearly laughed out loud.
- "Wait until the sea monkey starts kicking. That’s the weirdest thing of all"
- "You are not making it magical, J"- Joey made a pause and chuckled- "You are so gonna be J from now on"- and Jamia smiled.
- "Sounds nice coming from you."
- "Good, ‘cos I think I’ve got no more brain cells to think of anything else."
- "Oh honey! You are just starting!"- Mrs. Iero tapped on her friend’s leg as the two of them laid back next to the babies- "You have months of exciting emotions, like pregnancy arousal, cravings, hormonal changes, hair coming in weird places, and my personal favorite, pregnancy brain"- Joey frowned disgustedly.
- "I’m afraid to ask about the arousal, the hair, and the brain shit"
- "Whenever you are ready, I am here."
- "You are my Jamia San Kenobi"- Joey chuckled and sighed- "My pregnancy Jedi master"- and Jamia smiled.
- "I’m glad I can help"- and after a few minutes, they were both asleep as well.
The doors to the theater opened at five, and Matthew ran inside to make sure to grab a spot on the first row. He nearly tackled a few teenagers to get there. But he did and sighed, relieved at his success.
- "Hey! Where are you? did you make it?"- Paget called and didn’t even say hello to her friend. She just started asking questions right away, making him chuckle.
- "Hey! Yeah, I’m in Oakland, already at the theater. It’s a very cool venue, small, intimate… I’m almost sure Joey is gonna get to see me."
- "Are you in the first row?"
- "Of course, I am"
- "Good"- Paget smiled and nodded- "We miss you around here."
- "I’ll be there when everything is ok."
- "We know."
- "Is anyone mad at me?"- and Paget chuckled.
- "No, actually everybody thinks you are the sweetest and most romantic guy on earth following your girlfriend like that."
- "I’m following her to get her to be my girlfriend again, actually."
- "You get the point"- and Matthew chuckled- "Ok, Gubler, gotta go, please call me and tell me how this went."
- "Of course!"
- "Hey! Wait! Did you make a banner?"
- "Yes! I remembered your advice and got a banner."
- "What does it say?"
- “The distance is nothing when one has a motive”- the actor confessed proudly
- "Pride and Prejudice?"- Paget asked, puzzled.
- "Yes, her favorite, I’m making her banners with quotes from her favorite books"- and his friend sighed.
- "Stop it! I am gonna end up falling for you!"- and the actor chuckled- "If she doesn’t take you back, I am single!"
- "Shut up!"- Paget laughed, knowing Matthew had blushed, though he knew she was joking.
- "Call me later."
- "Sure thing!"
Joey kept jumping on her spot. She was backstage, feeling really psyched to play that day. She didn’t really know why. Maybe it was the two hours nap she had taken that afternoon with Cherry and Lily. Perhaps the fun size Snicker Mikey had just given her, breaking her meal plan on the first day on the road.
- "You look extra happy today"- and it all stopped the second she heard Gerard’s voice next to her.
- "Hey, yeah… I think it’s a sugar rush"- she answered and looked around, feeling safer knowing everybody was around her, including Jamia and the babies.
- "How are you feeling?"
- "Good"- Joey smiled and nodded- "You?"
- "Good… but I’m not pregnant"- the girl smiled and looked away from him, trying to keep that conversation as casual and distant as possible.
- "You look gorgeous, by the way"- Gerard whispered and even blushed as he moved a little closer to her- "I guess it’s true pregnant women glow and grow in beauty."
Joey took a step back and gulped as she felt her cheeks burning red as Gerard just continued talking.
- "‘Cos each time I see you, you catch my breath."
- "Please don’t..."
- "I’m just being nice"- Gerard smiled, pretending to look as innocent as possible.
- "You and I both know that’s not what you are doing."
- "Hey Iceland"- Frankie appeared all of a sudden and wrapped an arm around the young girl, kissing her temple and giving Gerard a glare that forced the singer to take a few steps back.
- "What are you guys talking about?"- and Joey sighed, relieved to feel him next to her, like a little guardian angel, though Frank Iero had nothing angelic.
- "I was just telling Joey she looks gorgeous today and that pregnant women are beautiful"- Gerard answered like it wasn’t a big deal at all. Joey wanted to run away or hide under a rock. Frank just tightened his arm around her and nodded.
- "Yes, she does… wanna help with my warm-up?"
That was the most random question Iero could come up with that second, but it didn’t matter, ‘cos Joey smiled and quickly said yes, escaping from Gerard’s presence. But not from his eyes that followed her through the room. He wasn’t worried anyone could see how much he loved her, ‘cos he didn’t want to hide it anymore. Not until Lynz was there, at least. But that was a problem he would face when the right time came, in a week or so.
- "What can I help you with, Jersey?"- Joey asked as Frank grabbed a few kettlebells and started making bicep curls.
- "Absolutely nothing, you just looked like you wanted to get the fuck away from him, and I decided to rescue you"- the young woman wanted to deny it all, but at that point, she was just so glad Frank had taken her away from Gerard, she just nodded and smiled.
- "You are such a smart guy"
- "You are gonna make me blush…"
- "Can I use one?"- she casually asked, pointing out the kettlebell.
- "Definitely not! You’re not lifting any weight until we talk with your doctor"- Joey rolled her eyes and shook her eyes.
- "We already did that. I am ok to work out… I just can’t… run and… carry heavyweights"- Frank raised an eyebrow, and she smiled guilty- "Sorry, I just love lifting weights."
- "Have your baby first, then we care gonna train like we are fucking CrossFit athletes"- the soon-to-be mother chuckled and reached out her hand to her friend.
- "Jersey, we’ve got a date."
The crowd was running anxious, and so was Matthew. He had stayed put on his spot in the first row, right in front of the drumset like his life depended on it, no matter how much kids would try to push him away.
- “This is gonna work, this is gonna work, this is gonna work,”- he kept repeating in his head as he felt the weight of two thousand people pushing him against the security fence.
The crowd started yelling louder and jumping as the band appeared on stage. And along with them came his girl.
His breath was caught in his throat as he looked at her walking to the drum, a huge smile lodged on her lips. She looked so happy, happy like she had always looked when playing. There was nothing Joey loved more than her job. She had fought so much to get there, Matthew could barely get a glimpse of how good she felt playing as a professional drummer.
Looking at her sitting behind the drum in a My Chemical Romance concert, with that sweet and happy grin on her face, made him fall a thousand times harder in love with her. He felt proud of her and jealous of all the people who had been able to see her glowing in joy in the latest months when he had been away from her.
- “You fucked it up! Now fix it!”
Gubler never noticed the countdown of the music had started, and all the kids were yelling every word in “Look Alive Sunshine” until Gerard’s voice took him from his thoughts. Joey started playing, and the singer yelled.
- Oakland!! Make some noise!!- and the show started.
The whole crowd jumped, and Matthew jumped along with them, his eyes locked in Joey, who was lost in her drum. He smiled, watching how her lips now moved along with the song, murmuring the lyrics. Of course, she had toured with them long enough to learn all the lyrics of each song. She would probably deny it but sing them in the shower when she knew no one was listening.
The first one who spotted Matthew was Mikey. He frowned as he looked at Gubler standing in the first row, not getting what the fuck was going on. But Matthew never cared -he hadn’t actually considered- the fact the band could spot him in the audience. There was no one else on that stage but Joey for him, and that’s why she was the only person he had eyes for.
As soon as “Na Na Na” ended, Mikey walked to Frank. The intro of “Mama” started, so the bassist talked as fast as possible.
- "Dude, Gubler is here"- Iero looked at him frowning- "The first row, staring at Joey"- Frank looked over and saw him. He hadn’t seen him ever since New Year, and if there was one thing the Jersey boy was dying to do was to break Matthew’s face so hard no one would ever recognize him again.
- "Mother fucker"- he said and didn’t take his eyes from the actor- "I’m gonna kill him!"
But at the moment, he didn’t have the chance, ‘cos he had to play a show. But for a second, he and Mikey shared a look and turned to Joey. She was playing, eyes shut, smiling. They knew she still had no idea what was going on. And that was ok for them.
It wasn’t long until Gerard found the actor. It wasn’t hard to see him ‘cos he was the tallest guy in the front row and the only one who wasn’t looking at him. Matthew was the guy who stood still, hypnotized with each movement of the drummer, drooling over her like a kid staring at his first love. Gerard felt how his whole body shook in anger. Even his hands shook with a deep desire to kill him. Right there, in front of everybody. But he couldn’t. He had to keep on singing, keep on playing. Keep on pretending everything was ok, not just for the show and the kids, but for Joey too. He kept wishing she hadn’t seen him yet. Maybe she could never see him.
But the singer needed to let Gubler know he was fucked. And so he stood right in front of him, at the very edge of the stage, and managed it to catch his eyes. Both of them looking at each other in such deep hate, it was obvious the pair knew they despised each other. Gerard didn’t think about it twice. He had the higher ground. It would be a shame not to take advantage. And so, he spit on Matthew, and an evil smirked lodged on him as he saw him cleaning his face in anger. That was a little piece of sweet, sweet revenge. But it still wasn’t enough to make the actor pay for everything he had put Joey through.
Ray widened his eyes when he spotted Matthew, just the second Gerard spitted on him. He saw the whole moment in action and knew it was gonna be hell after the show. What was Gubler doing there? Trying to get Joey back. Ray knew that moment was gonna come, eventually. Toro knew how much Matthew loved her. It was crystal clear for everybody to see.
Ray was the only one who could keep a cold head to analyze the whole picture, and that’s why he always tried to remind his friends Joey and Matthew weren’t a subject they could decide on. It wasn’t something related to them at all, though they were friends with her. They were their own thing, a thing they could merely watch but never ever control. It was clear neither of his friends had listened, and so Toro sighed. He was going to have to stop a big fight after that concert.
- "The next song"- Gerard said after “House of Wolves” was over. It was Joey’s favorite song, and they played it as often as possible- "It’s about being a kid, about you being a kid, about me being a kid, about us being a kid, about you having a kid"- Joey raised her eyes from the drums and looked straight into Gerard’s eyes. That’s when she heard him.
- "Yami!!"- it was Matthew’s voice, but it couldn’t be. Joey frowned and looked around.
- "Yami!!"- he yelled and raised the banner. Frank, Mikey, and Gerard looked at him in the most honest and pure hate anyone could have ever seen from them. Ray tried to concentrate on Joey. She was the one he cared about at that second. And when he saw the puzzled expression on her face as she looked at him, asking what was going on, Ray couldn’t control himself and pointed at the actor.
Joey’s heart stopped. It was Matthew, it was really him, standing there, on the first row of the concert, staring at her with the biggest smile anyone had ever had around her in her life. And he was holding a banner that read, “The distance is nothing when one has a motive.” She couldn’t move. She didn’t know what to do. He just smiled at her and mouthed, “I love you.”
- "Bug!! Bug, are you ok?"- Mikey waved in front of the drum and looked worried at the girl. She just nodded at him and then at Frankie, who stood next to the bassist.
- "Yeah, I’m ok"- she smiled and started counting. It was time to play “Kids from yesterday.”
Everybody loved that song, and she wasn’t going to fuck it up, not even if her eyes and mind were stuck looking at Matthew in front of her, as he kept smiling like a kid on Christmas morning as she played.
Gerard stared at the scene, and it felt he was gonna make a tantrum in the middle of the stage. Joey was staring at Matthew, and her whole face had lit up, even if she didn’t want to. And just like a little child, Gerard made sure to stand right between the two of them to stop them from looking at each other. And like if they could all build a fortress, Frank and Mikey stood around the drumset, protecting Joey, trying to make sure Matthew knew he wasn’t going to get anywhere near her, over their dead bodies.
Matthew didn’t give a damn. He just wanted to look at her. He just wanted her to know she was the most important person in his life and that he was willing to drop anything and everything just to be near her.
The song was ending. Joey kept playing drums, her eyes glued to Matthew’s, until Mikey stared at her, counting the beat at the song’s end. She nodded at her friend and kept playing, both of them, the two of them, to finish the song together, just like they had done for over five months now, in perfect timing. Joey loved that part, and he knew it, ‘cos it was the only part of the show they had a little solo. Mikey was happy Matthew didn’t take that moment from them. At least he felt Joey was still in the zone, playing and being present at the show and not lost in thoughts.
Joey was lost in thoughts, she was making her best to play a good show. But Matthew’s appearance had moved the ground underneath her feet. It had been the biggest and warmest surprised she had had in a long time.
“I’m not ok” set the mood for the rest of the concert. No one on that stage was ok. But Gerard was the one affected the most. He would sing, giving his back to the audience and looking at Joey as often as possible. He knew that was going to drive Matthew insane, but it also helped him stay focused.
His eyes locked in Joey’s face tried to read her. She looked… happier. And that hurt, ‘cos though Gerard knew she didn’t love him back, it didn’t help to know he was still in her heart. It was so obvious she was in love with him even a blind man would see it. Even Joey would try to keep her eyes shut or look away, she would always end up looking at Matthew, and Gerard could swear a smile lodged on her lips each time she saw the actor. It made him want to punch a wall, or Gubler’s face, whatever came first.
- "Give me all your fucking money!!"- Gerard yelled and ran to the drum set as Joey started playing “Vampire Money” with a huge smile- "Are you ready, Ray!!"
- "How about you, Sugar?"
- "How about you, Frank?"
- "Fuck you, Gubler!"- he answered, and Joey turned to him in shock, though Iero looked at her with the cutest and most adorable smile on earth.
- "How about you, Mikey?"- Gee yelled
- "Fucking ready!"
- "I think I’m alright."
Gerard would always call Joey “Bug” when he addressed her in that part of the show. It was the only moment of the day he could call her by a nickname, and “Bug” was her official band nickname. But that day, Way wanted to make a difference. He wanted to make it sound a little more personal than it was in real life. “Sugar” fit perfectly, and in his mind, Gerard would always call her Sugar.
Somehow, being so angry brought a different energy to the band while playing. They were mad into it. Gerard sang as his life depended on it, while Mikey wouldn’t stop moving, and looking in the most threatening way possible at Gubler, every once in a while. Frank would jump and yell and shout, playing his guitar with the energy of a caffeinated hyper ten years old. Matthew never even saw them. He couldn’t care less. All there was for him on that stage was Joey behind the drum, looking at him with the corner of her eye every couple of minutes.
She didn’t know what to think or what to feel. She was in shock. What was Matthew doing there? What was he going to do next? What was he planning? Joey needed to run away from that stage and hide under a gigantic pillow ‘cos she had no idea how to face what was going on, though, at the same time, she was dying to run to Matthew and hug him. She just felt so good to know he had followed her to see her one more time. She felt special like he always made her feel.
Gerard started singing Cancer, and Joey turned to one side of the stage. Jamia looked at her, literally waving. She could perfectly read her lips, “What the fuck?” and the drummer could only shrug.
- "Hey"- Mikey appeared in front of the drummer and cut him a quick, shy smile- "Are you ok?"
- "Yeah, just surprised."
- "You knew?"
- "I had no idea"- he nodded and looked around
- "Just a few more songs, then we can go hide and eat a pretty good dinner"- Joey smiled at him and watched him walk back to his side of the stage.
But Joey didn’t want to hide in her room and eat dinner with Mikey. Though she refused to admit it, all she wanted to do was to stand in front of Matthew and feel his eyes fondling her skin as he talked to her, just like he was doing at that moment, from a distance. She could feel his eyes running up and down her skin, though she didn’t look at him.
Jamia nearly jumped on Joey as soon as the girl reached backstage. The babies were miraculously sound asleep. No one got how, considering a huge rock concert had been happening that whole time a few meters away from them.
- "Oh my god, what the fuck??!"- Jamia made her best to whisper/scream to not wake the babies, but to make Joey wide open her eyes and frown.
- "I swear I have no idea!!"
- "He is adorable!!"
- "He is a cheater Jamia"- Frank interrupted his wife and took off his shirt, frowning- "And you shouldn’t be that excited. He is just trying to win her over."
- "He is being romantic, Frank"- Jamia corrected him and looked at Joey again- "What are you gonna do?"
- "I don’t know"
- "Call him!!"
Jamia was the closest to a best friend from high school Joey had ever had. Sure, back in the days, she had Tabatha, but her friend had her share of social life, and Joey was always shut down to any kind of social interaction. Now Jamia was talking about boys and telling her to call one. If that was high school talk, Joey had no idea what it was.
But before she could actually make a decision, her phone rang in her backpack, and J widened her eyes in excitement.
- "I swear to God, Jamia! you are just acting like this ‘cos you think he is hot!"- Frank turned around to see his wife, clearly annoyed, as Joey grabbed her phone and held it tight in her hands, not knowing what to do.
- "I’m just being honest with my friend. He is being cute and asking for a second chance. Coming unannounced to a concert with a cute banner is the sweetest thing I’ve seen a guy doing for love!"- Jamia stopped talking, and Joey’s cell stopped ringing. She looked at it feeling disappointed, until a second later, it started ringing again.
- "For Christ’s sake! Answer!"- Jamia sounded annoyed, and Joey did as told, not really thinking about her own actions. She just… deep down wanted to do it.
- "Hey..."- Matthew stood still in the middle of the arena, waiting for the kids to leave the place, he was anxious to know what Joey thought of what he had done, and though he had thought about waiting for a while to call her, he just couldn’t control himself.
- "What was that?"- Joey asked, blushing, as she locked herself in the bathroom.
- "That was me dying to see you, traveling to Oakland to be with you, even from a distance"
- "Why did you do that?"- Joey managed to ask, feeling she was nearly mumbling each word.
- "‘Cos I love you, ‘cos I miss you…"
Neither of them was able to say another word. Matthew was nervous and didn’t know how Joey managed the whole situation, though her voice sounded peaceful and calm. That should be a good sign.
- "You shouldn’t have…"- she whispered and felt her heart was about burst inside her chest
- "Do you wanna come out for a minute and talk?"- she wanted to, so badly, but it scared her to think what would happen if Frank, or even Gerard, got near Gubler.
- "Where are you?"
- "Still here"
- "You haven’t moved?"
- "Nop"- Matthew smiled and looked around- "I don’t know if they are planning to kick me out though"
- "Give me five minutes, I’ll change into something dry, and I’ll be right there."
Gerard Way was in hell. Literally burning alive as he watched Joey walking out of the bathroom in a fresh shirt and combed hair made a ponytail. She had even fixed her makeup.
- “God! She even got pretty for him!! What the fuck?! How can she be so eager to forgive him?!”- his eyes could burn holes in the wall as he did his best to look away from Joey.
- "Hey Bug, what are you gonna do?"- Mikey asked her as he stood next to her and held her hands. Gerard hated that too. He had managed to decode each movement from his brother around Joey like he was her couple. Lynz’s words had really fucked up with his brain. And if he was jealous of Mikey before, now it was turning into something worse.
- "I’m gonna go talk to him"
- "Are you sure that’s a good idea?"- Mikey looked worried, but Joey smiled at him and held his hand tighter.
- "Yeah, don’t worry, I’m gonna be ok."
- "If he does anything to you, I’m gonna break his fucking face"- Frank added from the other side of the room, already in a clean shirt and now holding one of the babies in his arms. For someone who sounded so threatening, he surely didn’t look the part.
- "It’s ok kids, let Joey take her own decisions, ok?"- Ray finally spoke up and sighed- "She knows we are here for her no matter what, but she has to do what her heart tells her to do."
- "Thank you, dad, but don’t think for a minute I’m gonna forgive him"
- "Even if you do, Bug. You will always count on me"- the guitarist walked to her and kissed her temple.
- "Best dad ever"- she whispered and opened the door.
Matthew felt his heart stop in his chest when he saw her walking over to him. He did the only thing that came to his mind and raised the banner he still held in his hands, so she could find him. It wasn’t hard to see him. There weren’t many people left at the arena, mostly just the crew setting everything to go.
- "Hey"- Joey said and waved as she walked to him and stood right in front of him. Just like she had imagined, she could feel the warmth of her eyes traveling down her face as he stared at her in pure bliss and love.
- "Hey"- he replied and smiled. He didn’t really want to talk. He didn’t know what to say. All he could think of was to kiss her and hold her tight.
- "What are you doing here, Matthew?"- she finally asked and crossed her arms on her chest to remind herself she couldn’t feel anything but anger against him and that she shouldn’t be so happy to see him. Or worse, she shouldn’t be showing him how happy she was to see him.
- "I just wanted you to know how much I love you"
- "By traveling to San Francisco to see a show?"
- "With a handmade banner"- he added and smiled.
- “That damn fucking adorable smile is gonna be the end of me,”- Joey sighed, thinking what to say next, making her best to stay calmed and not drooling over him.
- "That was a good touch."
- "Thanks, just like Lizzy, I would walk any distance just to be with you ‘cos you are my whole purpose."
Joey nodded, melting inside, as she made her best to stay cold and look indifferent. She didn’t know if it was working, but she wanted to believe so.
- "I’m not gonna forgive you just 'cos you showed up unannounced to a show"- that was all that came to her mind, it wasn’t the most intelligent answer, but it was all she had.
- "I wasn’t expecting you to forgive me today"- he simply replied and shrugged. There was a weird mix of security and happiness around his whole attitude Joey couldn’t wrap her mind around.
- "Good"- that was the whole answer she could give him, furrowing her brows. Matthew stared at her in silence for a second and took a step forward, closing the gap between them a little.
- "It was an amazing show, by the way"- he said and smiled. Joey’s knees shook as a response.
- "Thanks"- she whispered and looked down
- "How’s the little bean?"
- "Good… floating, I guess. I’ve felt pretty good today."
- "That’s great"- the two of them nodded at the same time and stayed quiet- "Remember to play the tracks I made for the bean."
- "Yeah, I will tonight."
- "They are just for the baby, so no peeking, ok?"- Matthew’s voice felt velvety as he talked close to Joey. She managed to raise her eyes from the ground, and Gubler swore his heart could be heard from any corner of that arena as it beat harder just to feel her looking at him.
- "I’ll put the headphones on the belly, so it will be the first secret you can share with your baby"- she smiled at the end of her answer, and Matthew held his breath.
- "That’s the cutest thing I could think of"- he mumbled, and the two of them stared in silence, sharing a moment that was a mix between love and angst.
Joey was still fighting to get away from him and stay mad at him. She had to play over and over again, like an old movie, the pictures she saw of Matthew cheating, just to keep herself from wrapping her arms around his neck.
- "Does she look in pain to you?!"- Jamia pushed Frank back as he kept trying to walk towards Joey and Matthew and drag her away from him.
- "She is gonna cry! He is gonna make her cry!"
- "Frank! This is not your war! Look at them and tell me they are not in love! If this was a cartoon, there would be hearts above their heads!"- Jamia was right, but Frank didn’t want to listen.
- "Hey!! Asshole!!"- Frank yelled, and Joey turned to him, frowning- "Stay the fuck away from her!!"
- "Oh shit!"- the words sneaked through her lips as Matthew looked at Frank and didn’t find anything better to do but to wave, infuriating Iero even more- "You know he wants to kill you, right?"
- "I am aware… the way they all looked at me made it pretty clear during the show, Gerard actually spit on my face."
The way Matthew said, it didn’t sound like it was a big deal. But it was, and Joey’s eyes were wide open as soon as she heard him.
- "He did what??!"- and she shouted- "Who the fuck does he think he is??!"
The young woman’s face was red in anger, and she quickly turned around and headed to the backstage area. But Matthew stopped her, grabbing her hand quickly.
- "Hey! Hey! Calm down, it’s ok! I don’t care!"
- "But I care!! This has nothing to do with him! He is not even my friend!! What the fuck does he think he is doing?!"
Unfortunately, the scene didn’t really look good from a distance, and Frank watching them, not getting what they were talking about, could only see his friend trying to get rid of Matthew and him not letting her go.
- "Take your hands off her!!"- Frank shouted and ran over, Jamia following close behind- "I said let go!!"- he pushed Matthew and put an arm in front of Joey, trying to keep her back.
- "What the fuck, dude?"- Joey shouted.
- "I don’t want him to hurt you, Bug!"
- "I’m not hurting her!!"- Matthew frowned, feeling insulted- "Why would I hurt the mother of my baby?!"
- "He ain’t hurting me!!"- Joey supported him, ‘cos Frank actually ignored Gubler’s words
- "Doesn’t look like he is being pretty nice either!!"
- "Frank! Stop it! Joey says nothing is going on!"- Jamia held Frank’s arm as Matthew tried to cool down the mood.
- "Hey! Nothing is going on"- Gubler used the calmest voice he could to talk to Iero- "I understand you wanna protect Joey from me ‘cos I was an asshole and fucked it up, but I am not gonna hurt her!! Ok?"
- "What fuck do you know! You broke her, and I am not gonna let you near her again!"- and just like the day Mikey had told him the same, Matthew’s heart tightened in his chest, listening to Frank yelling how badly he had hurt the woman he loved.
- "I can take care of myself!!"- Joey shouted- "So stop it! Now let me go kill that mother fucker!!"- the drummer turned around and started jogging to the dressing room. But Matthew followed her quickly and grabbed her hand again.
- "Please don’t! Joey, I don’t care! He can do whatever he wants to do. That ain’t gonna stop me!"
- "You don’t get it! I hate the guy! And the fact he thinks he can come and spit on your face like he is the fucking king of the world, or that he can avenge my sorrow, it’s wrong!!"- Joey pushed and let go of Matthew’s grip and continued her way until she opened the door and found Gerard, Mikey, and Ray playing with the twins.
- "Hey Bug"- Mikey turned and smiled, but Joey ignored him, ‘cos her eyes were locked on Gerard’s, staring at him with pure hate.
- "What the fuck is your problem, kúkalabbi (scumbag)?"- she spit every word with contempt- "You fucking think you can come and do whatever you want ‘cos you are the fucking lead singer of a band?"
Gerard frowned, though he had a hint of what might have happened.
- "I don’t care what the fuck came through your mind at the moment! You can’t spit on someone’s face! You can’t spit on Matthew’s face!"
Mikey wide opened his eyes as soon as he heard those words. Even for him, that was a little too much.
- "Joey, I think I can…"- Gerard tried to explain.
- "Haltu kjafti! (shut up!) No, you can’t!"- but Joey shut him up in a second- "This is my problem, my battle, and my fucking business!! You have no right in trying to avenge me! None!"
- "He fucking cheated on you, and you are mad at me?!"- he frowned, surprised, not getting what was going on.
- "Yes! I am mad at you! You are not even my friend, and you were doing shit I never asked you or wished for you to do!"
- "If I want to spit on his face, I can fucking do it!"- Gerard shouted back- "I hate the fucking bastard!"
- "So I can spit on yours then!!"- and Joey was about to do it when Matthew rushed and covered her mouth.
- "No! No! No!"- he held her tight, but sweetly- "Calm down! please! Calm down!"
- "What the fuck are you doing here?!"- and Gerard freaked out at the sight of Gubler- "Get the fuck out!"
- "I will be gone as soon as Joey asks me to leave"- Matthew simply answered and looked into Gerard’s eyes with the same hate yet calm he had the last time he saw Way at Mikey’s New Year’s eve party.
- "Who the fuck do you think you are?! Get out before I kick you out!"- at that point, Jamia and Frank were in the room as well. Jamia had an eye put on her babies, playing in their cart, while holding Frank back to keep him from getting into that fight.
- "Stop it!"- Joey managed to move from Matthew’s grip and looked into Gerad’s eyes in a fury- "I hate you!"
She didn’t yell, but her words were a dagger and cold as ice. The honesty was evident. Maybe now Gerard was going to understand he had to step back. She looked at him in the eyes for a second, then grabbed her things and stormed out, followed closely by Matthew.
- "What the fuck?"- Mikey asked to break the awkward silence that hung in the room after Joey had stormed out.
- "I spit on his face today, when I saw him there, looking at her with his stupid fucking puppy eyes, I just… lost it and spit on him- Gerard murmured, and his voice broke.
She hated him. She meant it. How was he going to win her back if she hated him? Jamia’s jaw fell as soon as she heard him. One thing was hating the guy, even trying to punch him, but spitting on someone’s face, that was… well, it seemed offensive and degrading. It was over the top.
- "Not that I wouldn’t think about doing something like it, but…"- Frank started, but Jamia’s eyes stopped him
- "That was out of line, Gerard"- Ray said with a calm, though stern tone of voice- "I told you all, the only thing you are gonna accomplish by acting like a bunch of possessive friends is to push her away. If you all call yourself her friends, you can’t fucking do this shit!"
It felt like Ray was scolding his kids. Mikey wanted to argue, but it was true, just like the day he had hit Matthew in Joey’s house, and she had freaked out and gotten mad at him.
- "I would do it again if I could"- Gerard whispered and sat down, fighting the urges of smoking a cigarette.
- "That’s why you ain’t her friend"- Ray added, and the look coming from Way’s eyes let him know he wasn’t happy with the reply- "Her words, not mine."
Matthew followed Joey on her way out of the arena. The cold air hit her skin and made her shiver as they stood foot outside the building.
- "Here"- he quickly took his hoodie off and gave it to her. She didn’t argue. She was too mad to argue about anything else. She was also too mad to talk about it. She just wanted to walk away from everything. Walk and ease her mind.
- "Excuse me, Joey?"- a girl walked over with a huge smile and forced her to take her eyes from the ground- "Can I have your autograph, please?"- Matthew wide opened his eyes in amazement. Joey quickly smiled and grabbed a sharpie from her bag. She signed the girl’s ticket to the show and smiled for a selfie with her.
- "Wow"- Matthew chuckled as the girl was gone- "That was…"
- "Weird, I know"
- "That was amazing! Kids are reacting to your work! Kids are looking at you and being excited about what you do! I am so fucking proud!"- he didn’t really stop himself to think. He just wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tight.
- "Thanks"- she whispered and felt how her cheeks turned pink- It’s still pretty weird. It’s not something that happens all the time, but…
- "It’s impressive, Joey!"- Matthew nearly yelled- "I mean it, sometimes it shocks me how cooler and greater you can be!"
He sounded honest. He sounded proud. Joey’s heartbeat in joy with those words but didn’t say a word. She was thankful it was night, and the street lights weren’t illuminating his face properly, or he would be able to see how blushed and nervous she was.
- "Don’t overreact"- she murmured and kept on walking in silence. Matthew sighed and walked with her, stuffing his hands in his pocket to stop himself from trying to hold her hand.
- "Are you hungry?"- he asked after a while
- "When was your last meal?"
- "An apple and a fun size Snicker before the show"
- "Mikey keeps controlling your candies?"
- "Yes… but Jamia is a horrible influence"- Joey chuckled at the thought of the two of them that afternoon acting like kids- "She gives me Oreos"
- "That’s drugs!"- Matthew acted shocked- You shouldn’t!
- "I know! But they are so good!"- the drummer smiled. Talking about anything was better than addressing the pink elephant in the room.
- "And how’s Jamia?"
- "Great, she is baby training me with the twins."
- "That’s very nice of her"
- "Yeah, and the babies are the sweetest…"- Joey made a pause and sighed- "She is the only rooting for you."
- "I knew I liked her for a reason."
- "Frank keeps saying it’s because she has the hots for you."
- "She doesn’t"
- "She totally does"- and the young woman laughed at her own words. Matthew only smiled widely to hear her happy for a moment- "I was actually considering selling Frank a picture of you in underwear for her birthday."
- "Double the price, and we go halfsies"- Gubler answered and chuckled- "I can even pose like a french model."
- "Deal"- there was a silence between them that lasted a few minutes. Gubler didn’t know what to say, and Joey didn’t know either.
- "Are you sure you are not hungry?"- he asked, just to ask anything
- "Do you think I overreacted back there?"- she just spit it. She was scared she had exaggerated the whole deal, and now the guys were going to fire her. Gerard could. He definitely should after how she acted with him. He was, after all, the closest thing she had to a boss. They were all the people she worked for, not with.
- "No, Joey, you didn’t… I mean… I really don’t care how he acts with me ‘cos I know he is a mother fucker asshole in love with you."
Joey’s heart froze at those words. She widened her eyes and looked at Matthew. She had almost forgotten he had always said that about Gerard. And he was absolutely right.
- "I know it’s true. I don’t care what he says, he is crystal clear, but that’s not the point."
- "The point is, I totally yelled at him in front of everybody, told him I hated him and stormed out the room like a brat after I tried to spit on his face… thank you for stopping me, by the way."
- "You are very welcome"- Matthew sighed and looked at his hand- "You totally spit on me, though"- he joked and cleaned his hand on Joey’s sleeve.
- "Gross!!"- she argued and chuckled- "This is your hoodie, by the way"
- "Damn it!"- the two of them smiled and just walked around.
- "Maybe I could eat some pizza"- Joey whispered and pointed to a little restaurant in the next corner
- "Pizza it is."
Mikey looked at his clock as he stared at the ceiling in his room. It was eleven-thirty, no news from Joey. He was worried but didn’t want to call her, ‘cos after hearing Ray talking, he didn’t want to push her away. He didn’t want to make her feel like he was mad at her. He was just worried. Worried as fuck. Feared to lose her, to see her sad again. Worried she might leave forever.
A knock on the door made him jump from his bed and run to the answer. It was Gerard. He looked like shit. Mikey left the door open and let him in, walking back to his bed.
- "How are you?"- his question was pretty stupid considering Gerard’s puffy eyes.
- "I fucked it up, right?"
- "Yeah… but in your defense…"- Mikey stayed quiet and thought about his words- "Well…"
- "I know, it wasn’t the way to deal with him"
- "It definitely wasn’t… but I don’t think it was so bad on its own. I think when you mix this with all the stupid shit you’ve done to Joey."
- "I haven’t done anything"
- "But keep harassing her and telling her that you love her"- Gerard groaned, annoyed, and laid back on the bed, hiding his face under his hands.
- "But I love her"
- "Dude! You are mad if you think this shit is gonna work. She clearly loves him. I’m starting to think she is gonna forgive him though I don’t want her to. And you are fucking married. There is no way you can get anything with her."
- "But maybe..."
- "She doesn’t love you, Gerard!"- Mikey shouted- "She doesn’t! You never stood a chance! And now she hates you! You can’t even be her friend. After today, you can’t even fucking try! You dig your own grave!"
Gerard heard his younger brother’s words. He wasn’t even sugarcoating it. Maybe that way, Gee would understand. Maybe he was doing it ‘cos he loved him. Mikey was being tuff ‘cos he was also pretty tired of his brother’s attitude. Gerard wasn’t being rational. He was acting like an animal, with no clear thoughts, just based on his instincts.
- "And what do I do now?"- Way whispered, and Mikey sighed.
- "Start with apologizing and pray she doesn’t want to leave the band"- the singer wide opened his eyes. He hadn’t thought about that, but it was a serious chance. Maybe he had pushed her too far.
- "Do you think she can quit?"
- "I don’t know what can happen. She isn’t the kind of girl who can take these kinds of things very easily"
- "If she can forgive Matthew, she can forgive me"- Gerard thought out loud
- "She loves him, she hates you, you do the math."
- "But we are in the middle of a tour. She can’t leave like that."
- "I think the same, but it all depends on her."
- "What does Ray think of this?"
- "I haven’t talked to him"- Gerard grabbed his phone and dialed Toro’s number.
Ray frowned as he stared at the brothers. Mikey was lying on the bed, looking at his phone, waiting for a call or a text from Joey. Gerard was walking in circles in the room, rambling about making Joey stay in the band.
- "If she wants to leave, she can leave"- Toro said when there was finally silence in the room. Both Ways looked at him, shocked, but Ray just smiled- "Hey! It’s her fucking decision! Not ours!"
- "Do you want her to leave?!"- Mikey nearly yelled
- "No way! I love her in the band! I’m just saying if she decides something, we should respect her."
- "You keep saying the same shit! And you are not considering the fact she could make a mistake"- Gerard frowned and kept walking in circles.
- "Come on! She ain’t a baby! And she ain’t yours to take care of! She can manage herself pretty well, so stop it! You just don’t want her to leave, I can understand that! but just stop giving her reasons to do it!"- Ray didn’t know if Mikey was aware of how fuck up his brother was. And Mikey didn’t know if Ray knew Gerard had given her plenty of reasons to leave already.
- "She is not even here yet!"- Gerard was thinking to himself, but his friends could listen to him clearly- "I bet she already forgave him."
- "Still not your problem!"- Ray added, frustrated.
- "I love her! How can’t it be my problem!"- it felt so good to take it out of his chest, but Ray’s shocked face made Gerard realize he had said too much- "I mean, she is my friend, and…"
- "Oh come on!"- Mikey argued, sick of listening to his brother talking about his feelings- "You are in love with her, and it’s sick! Deal with it!"
- "And it’s not like you are making it hard to guess anyway"- Toro added- "Frank has been arguing you have feelings for her for months now."
- "And you told her your “feelings,” and she rejected you!"- Mikey said, making Ray insanely curious. He needed to know the details of that story.
- "What I feel is not your fucking business"- Gerard said defensibly.
- "It is if you are making this kind of show! Your wife will be here in a few days, so get your shit together and be professional for once!"- Ray argued and sighed- "I’m going to bed now, please try to leave that woman make her own desitions and her own life, and just focus on being good friends"- he said and waved- "And don’t fuck it up!"
The night was cold. The wind played with Joey’s hair as she stood outside her hotel, biting her lips, holding her backpack tight, and making her best not to look Matthew in the eyes as he stood in front of her, smiling. It all gave her the first date vibes. Like they hadn’t been down that path already.
- "Well… I better go. I’ve got another flight tomorrow"- she whispered, and he nodded.
- "Yes, you have to rest, you just played a kickass show"- he answered and smiled- "And our little bean must be exhausted with all the walking we just did."
- "Little bean is floating carelessly inside my tummy, making me crave for a brownie"- Matthew chuckled and opened his backpack.
- "I just have cashews"- and he handed her a paper bag. She couldn’t help but smile at him as she grabbed it and opened it in a second.
- "Your addiction coming in handy"- he chuckled and nodded.
- "I’ve got more if you want"- Matthew started looking in his backpack, but Joey stopped him.
- " Thanks, but these are enough for today"- they stayed in silence for a second, Joey staring at the bag, Matthew staring at her, caressing her skin with his eyes, looking at her eyes, her lips, her hair- "Are you going back home tomorrow?"- she asked and still didn’t dare to look at him in the eyes.
- "Not yet"- he whispered and bit his lips, wishing she wouldn’t ask him if he was going to keep on following her. A part of him wanted to keep it a secret surprise for one more show, at least. And a huge part of her was too scared to ask if she was going to see him at another show.
- "Well… take care"- she said and finally managed to stare into his eyes. It was a mistake, considering how badly she wanted to kiss him and how much she had to argue to herself to avoid doing it. And he was looking at her in adoration, with such love she felt she could melt like an ice cube under the July sun.
- "Remember to play the bean my tracks"- he said, and she nodded.
- "I surely will"
- "I don’t want the bean to forget about me."
- "That won’t happen, I promise"- they just stared in silence for a moment, Matthew almost leaning over to kiss her- "Ok, bye"- Joey waved and turned around.
- "Wait!"- Gubler held her hand and stopped her. He walked to her and wrapped his arms around her. She stood still, not moving an inch, as his warmth filled her skin under her clothes, and his lips pressed a kiss on the top of her head- "Take care"
- "You too"- she mumbled, words having trouble to leave her lips ‘cos his closeness was killing her- "Wait, I still I’ve got your hoodie"- she tried to move away from him to take it out, but Matthew looked at her and shook his head.
- "Keep it… please"- Joey had left all of Matthew’s clothing back in her apartment, ‘cos she didn’t want to carry anything that reminded her of him for the next month. Having his hoodie was against her own rules. Then why did it make her feel so happy?
- "Thanks"- she moved apart from him and watched his smile for one last time- "Good night Matthew Gray"- her words were a whisper that made him shiver. He loved the way his name sounded like coming from her lips.
- "Good night María Josefina."
The actor waited until Joey was out of her sight to walk away from the hotel. He headed it to his hotel, a few blocks away. Ignoring the whole problem with Gerard, he thought things had been pretty good after all. He really didn’t care about Way at all. He knew he would give him a hard time. He just didn’t want him to make Joey feel bad. Joey was all that mattered to him. Mikey and Frank could threaten to hit him, even fulfill their threats. He didn’t care. He even agreed with them. He deserved to pay. But Gerard? No, he didn’t have any right to get into that fight. Gerard was an asshole who needed to stay away from Joey. He was the one Matthew hated.
- “I don’t think I had ever hated someone as bad as I hate that son of a bitch”- but that didn’t matter at the moment, now Matthew had a bigger issue to tackle: Which was going to be the phrase in the banner he had to make for tomorrow’s show?.
There was a knock on Mikey’s door, minutes after Gerard had left. He groaned and walked to answer, to find Joey standing at the other side, with a shy smile on her lips, almost a sheepish look.
- "Are you mad at me?"- she whispered right away, and he opened his arms to hug her.
- "You swear? ‘cos I yelled at your brother I hate him in front of the whole band and tried to spit on his face"
- "He was out of place, and he deserved it"- Mikey whispered and kissed the top of her head. His touch felt so different from Matthew’s a few minutes ago. It almost made Joey feel guilty that her friend had kissed her head after the man she loved had done the same. Almost like she was cheating.
- "And are you mad Matthew was there?"- Mikey let her go and invited her in.
- "Are you ok with him being there?"
Joey stayed in silence, walking into the room, standing next to the bed instead of sitting down. She looked down at her hands and didn’t say anything. Ray’s words were starting to make sense to Mikey as he looked at her and thought she was going to start drifting away from him if he continued being an ass.
- "Bug, it’s ok. I am not gonna get mad at you… if you love him, if you want to be with him, I’m still gonna be your friend."
- "I just don’t know what I want"- she whispered and scratched her eyes, feeling tired and sleepy
- "Anything you want to talk about, I am here, and I swear I’m gonna be the best friend in the world, and I am not gonna judge you, I am not gonna freak out, and more than anything, I am just going to worry about your happiness, ok?"- Joey pouted at her friend and wrapped her arms around him.
- "I just don’t want you to be mad at me ‘cos you are my best friend."
- "I will never get mad at you Bug, you are my little sister, and I love you. I just want to take care of you."
- "I don’t like it when people try to take care of me. I know what I’m doing."
- "I know…"
- "But I’m gonna let it slide with you ‘cos you are my brother"- she said and chuckled against his shirt. Mikey kissed the top of her head again, and she chuckled- "Just don’t push me."
- "I won’t…"- Mikey chuckled and moved to look at her- "We are cheesy, though"
- "So fucking cheesy!!"- Joey chuckled and sighed, relieved- "Ok, now that I took that from my chest, I need to go to bed. I am so fucking tired."
- "Did you eat?"
- "Yeah, Gubler bought dinner"
- "And he also gave you his clothes apparently"- Mikey pointed her hoodie and noticed she blushed.
- "Yeah… I’ll still steal yours, you know"- he smiled and messed with her hair.
- "I’m counting on it. I actually had them washed"
- "Thank you so fucking much!!"
Mikey felt a little better after Joey left. She was worried he was mad at her when he was concerned about the same. She didn’t say a word about leaving the band. That was even better. And she didn’t look sad after being with Matthew. That was enough to let him sleep calmly that night.
Joey was weary. She kicked off her shoes and laid on the bed, closing her eyes. Matthew’s smell surrounding her made her smile and sigh. Yes, he had been romantic. Yes, she had butterflies in her stomach. Yes, she loved him. None of that took away the fact he was a cheater, but he was trying to make amends. That was undeniable. How much was he willing to try? And how much was enough for her to forgive her? Neither of that she knew, but it didn’t matter at the moment. For a few seconds, Joey allowed herself to be in love.
Before she drifted off in her sleep, she remembered Matthew asked her to play the songs he had put on the iPod for their baby. She didn’t want to move from that bed, but she was way too curious to know what was in it.
- "Hey Bean, we are gonna tell your dad you are the only one who listened to it, but mom is gonna sneak a little bit, ok?"- the young woman whispered to her tummy, feeling like a dork.
- "I’m gonna take that silence as a yes"- she put on a headphone and placed another on her belly.
- "Hey Bean!"- Matthew’s voice caught her breath as soon as the first track started- "It’s me! Your dad! I wanted to record these for you so you can remember my voice while you are away with your mommy, ok? Sorry, it’s not the most soothing voice you’ll ever hear, but I love you, so I guess it’ll have to do the trick"- Joey chuckled and closed her eyes, refusing to take out that hoodie, listening to Matthew’s voice, and drowning in his scent.
- "So let’s start with a bedtime story, I’ve got the feeling you are doing a lot of sleeping in there, so I’ll read you one of my favorites growing up"- Joey’s heart melt with each word recorded on that iPod
- "I promise when you are out of your mommy, I’m gonna reread it, and you’ll tell me if you like it, ok? Now, let’s get to business:"
“I am Sam. I am Sam. Sam-I-Am.
That Sam-I-Am! That Sam-I-Am! I do not like that Sam-I-Am!
Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
Would you like them here or there?
I would not like them here or there.
I would not like them anywhere.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”
Slowly and softly, Matthew’s voice relaxed Joey like a sweet lullaby, and she fluttered her eyes until she fell asleep safe and sound as his reading continued reading Dr. Seuss's stories to their baby.
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