Chapter One: Cancer
I watch the rain dripping slowly down my window, each drop racing the next, leaving streaks from their slow run. I heard someone behind me, and I immediately knew who it was: Gerard. He tapped on my shoulder.
"Frank..." he muttered. I just blocked him out, staring still at the raindrops on the window. The raindrops are like Gerard. they're slow moving and beautiful to watch; radiant even. But they eventually run their course, fade out, and leave. Leaving behind nothing more than a mark to remember them by. But Gerard wasn't a raindrop. Raindrops could never hurt me the way Gerard did. Raindrops don't come back from hospitals with cancer diagnoses. Raindrops' parents don't make them move away from their best friend.
My thoughts were interrupted by Gerard laying his head softly on my shoulder, half afraid that I'd jerk away, but I didn't. I let his mop of greasy black hair brush against my neck, and nuzzle into me. His scent was familiar, but it overwhelmed me. He smelled like Gerard, like coffee, paint, and now hospitals. But, it didn't matter how used to it I was, I melted every time. I leaned my head against his and sighed. I closed my eyes tight, willing the tears to regress back into my sockets. My breath hitched as a sob threatened to escape my tightly pursed lips. Gerard let out a tiny whimper and wrapped his arms around my waist loosely, his hands wandering over my hips and stomach until they found each other and clasped together.
"What are we gonna do...?" he buried his face in my shoulder, breathing me in slowly and steadily.
I just shook my head. "I don't know..." I replied simply, afraid that if I dared to say more I wouldn't be able to hold back my tears any longer. Gerard was my best and only friend; I needed him. We were practically inseparable, and he helped me through everything: even my depression. Whenever I was down he'd come over with sci-fi movies and junk food just to cheer me up. He'd lay on the couch in my room with me, my smaller figure pressed against his as he whispered soothing things in my ear. We always had movies playing in the background, but being with Gerard drowned it out. His presence hit me like a wave every time. The rasp of his soft voice; his strong arms around me, tracing little circles on my hips; the smell that was so distinctly him. At the end of each movie I'd roll over and wrap my arms around his waist tightly. I pressed my face into his chest and he held me, stroking my back gently. He made everything okay, or at least better. But everything changed a few months ago when he started getting sick a lot. At first it was only some colds, but it got worse. Eventually, he had to stay at the hospital for weeks to find out what the problem was. By then end of those weeks we knew. I knew that my best friend and secret love of my life had cancer. I had to be strong for him now like he'd always been for me. I laid down on his sterile white hospital bed, looking into his now glassy hazel eyes. His black hair looked out of place against the pale white of his skin. He even looked sick, but he was still beautiful, even then.
I laid with him there until he had to go into chemo. The doctors made me go home until he was done and all the emotions I'd felt from the past weeks came flooding out. I ran all the way home, tears pouring out, staining my cheeks and t-shirt. I flung my door open and threw myself on my bed, sobbing into my pillow. The thought of Gerard being hurt in the slightest hurt me; I wished it was me who got the cancer, anyone but Gerard. It took days, but I was finally allowed to see Gerard. He was weak and tired, but I could lay with him again; my arms tight around his torso.
He smiled at me as best as he could. "Hey. Frankie." he mumbled.
"Hi.." I whispered back, my voice raspy and nearly inaudible. I was speaking to Gerard. He was okay. He was here with me and I'd never have to leave him again. It made me feel better at the time, but it wasn't the truth. His parents came in to tell us about their big move. Donna was frantic with the planning, trying to get Gerard out as soon as possible to the best hospitals in the nation. I couldn't hold back my tears. I just sobbed into Gerard's chest, warm tear drops falling onto my head. He was crying with me.
I shook from the memory. He's been discharged for now, and I can stay with him for the time being; that would have to be enough. I hiccuped a little, still trying hard not to cry. Gerard just held me.
"I'll be okay, Frank.. We'll be okay... I can't leave you.."
I crawled into his lap, my arms tight around him still. "Gerard..." I couldn't hold it back anymore. I sobbed into his shoulder, soaking his t-shirt. "I love you, Gerard..."
He broke down. "I l-love you, too.." he sobbed. "I don't wanna do this without you..."
I held him even tighter, wishing I could somehow become a part of Gerard so no one could ever separate us. So we could always be together.
"Frank..." he sobbed. It was strange seeing Gerard like this. I'd never thought of him as anything less than strong, unbreakable; Superman. He now looked vulnerable, sick and afraid, and it made my heart droop down into my stomach.
"I can't leave you.." I tried to sound decisive; sure of myself. but my voice cracked and shattered into a whimper.
"I-I have to go..." he sniffed and tried to stop the tears, but they just kept flowing out in torrents.
"I'm going wherever you're going.. Remember in fifth grade...? The pact..?" my voice broke again but I pushed through the sob rising in my throat. "Best friends forever, no matter what. I'm going with you."
He was still sobbing uncontrollably, but pulled back a bit in my arms to look at me. My heart skipped and pounded against my chest. I wanted to kiss him so badly; kiss away his cancer, his pain his tears... but I couldn't. I settled for brushing his shaggy hair, now damp with tears, away from his eyes. He stared into my eyes like he'd never seen me before, and nodded his head, murmuring a soft "Okay."
"Promise?" he asked in a small voice, sounding like a small child.
"Always." I held out my pinkie finger, and he interlocked it with his. "I can't live without air, or water, or you. We'll live through this together. I promise." I wrapped my arms around him slowly, squeezing him tightly. He sighed, a hint of relief poking through, and relaxed in my arms. I couldn't handle the pain, but I definitely couldn't deal without Gerard. This was a journey we'd have to take together, no matter what.