It Wasn't

Chapter 16

Alice paced around the room for the umpteenth time and looked at her watch as though it had been more than five seconds since she last checked the time. He would be here. Frank would be here and she would be dead to him. Robyn and Tre stared at her as she continued to walk back and forth, all but wringing her hands.

The phone rang, but the doorbell remained silent. Alice ignored it. Robyn hesitantly answered it.


"Yeah. Hi, Robyn. Is Tre at your place? Claudia told me he isn't at home."

"He's here; he just went into the kitchen to get something," she paused for a moment, "Listen, Mike... thanks. For everything."

He chuckled, "You're welcome. How's everything with you guys?"


"Oh, really? That's great."

"It is, but there's something that, uh, isn't so great," she paused again, "Alice."

"Oh, really?" Mike asked in quite a different tone. He lowered his voice, "Did she—did she tell you?"

"She did. And she told Frank. She's a wreck, Mike. I can't believe I didn't see it before." Robyn lowered her voice as well, "It's like seeing what I was just a few weeks ago. And she knows she won't have a happy ending."

"Robyn, she's a big girl. You're her sister and you know her better than I do. So isn't it obvious that she's strong enough to make it through?"

"I can't say for sure... " Robyn raised her voice again, "Oh here's Tre," She handed the phone to her new fiancé and glanced at Alice once more. She had stopped pacing and was staring at the door with an intense concentration, as though willing it to open and bring Frank inside.

It rang and she froze. Suddenly, Alice wasn't so sure whether she wanted to see Frank in person. A dream came floating to the top of her thoughts. Yes, Frank was the other one, the one with the stone-set face and eyes darting with arrows.

There was a knock and slowly, very slowly, she opened it. He was there with fire in his eyes. Alice cast hers towards the floor, unsure of whether she was ashamed, or just afraid.

"Frank," she whispered, opening the door another inch to let him inside.


"I can explain," she started

"Explain? Please Alice, explain. Explain to me why you went out with me, why you asked me out when you are obviously not interested!" Frank all but yelled.

"I was...I am..." her voice became small again.

Frank simply grunted to acknowledge that she even spoke. She held back a tear; she knew that in his eyes, she was nothing.

"I love you!" he snapped out of the blue, "That's right. I. Loved. You. And you know what? I was going to tell you. Today. This evening. This goddamned evening after I came back from goddamned Taco Bell and took you to the goddamned French restaurant I got us a goddamned reservation at!" Frank threw his jacket on the floor and drew another breath, "I saw you looking at him, Alice! I see it every time you're around him! But me, I'm stupid, I'm just fucking naïve! I didn't think you would kiss him. But you did. I thought that was it, but no, I was wrong again! You slept with him! And it wasn't just once, you're his fucking mistress!"

"Shut up!" Alice spoke loudly for the first time in weeks. "Frank Longbottom, you have no idea what I have been through! Well, you know what? I thought I loved you too. Now I know I didn't! I never did! I thought I loved you because I thought you would be my Billie Joe! Yeah, just try and guilt me out of it, but I love him. You can say you were never jealous, but you're not him! You're nothing compared to him! Nothing! I wanted to apologize to you, but you're not worth it!"

"You miserable little slut!"

"Do you have any idea what it's like meeting someone you've loved all along? It wasn't a little stroll through the park! It wasn't easy to make myself forget him or tell myself that I loved you instead!" she took a deep breath, letting her thoughts wash over her and everyone else. "It wasn't easy to watch him talk to his wife and it wasn't easy reminding myself that he was married! But I don't care! I love him and I made love to him and I'll do it again because he loves me too!"

"Alice!" Robyn stood up, unable to control herself

"Fuck you." Frank's last words sounded final and absolute, but Alice retaliated anyway.

"Y'know," she said with an uncharacteristic smirk, "I would have, but I think I prefer him." At this, Tre stood up as well but remained silent.

"Then why don't you go to him?" With that, Frank slammed the door shut behind him.


Alice rang the doorbell of the Armstrong residence and waited. A woman with curly, dark brown hair opened the door. The same woman from the party.

"Hey, Adrienne," Alice greeted, trying to keep the venom out of her voice. Everything she'd said to Frank was all wrong. She had no reason to hate Adrienne for being married to Billie Joe.

"Hi, Alice. Come on in. If you're looking for Billie, he should be here back in a few minutes." She led Alice to the sofa, "I have some stuff to do upstairs, but make yourself at home."

Alice waited some more. The sofa, it was the same sofa she'd sat on before It was over. This was ridiculous. She was being ridiculous. Alice was breaking herself apart for no reason at all. She was being rude and hateful and lost a man she could have loved. She'd lost her temper and spouted the most hurtful things she could think of.

The door creaked open. "Hi," Alice said quietly to Billie. She wouldn't stay long. She would apologize, get through this mess and get on with her life. And Billie would get on with his.

"Alice?" he asked, a little surprised, "What's up? Is something up with Tre?"

"No, no, it's...something's up with me. And you." She stood up to deliver her apology but all thoughts of it flew out the window. Alice moved as quickly as possible into his arms and kissed him.

Without thinking, he kissed back; unaware of what this did to her, what this did to him, his marriage and his wife. His wife who had just come down the stairs.

"B-Billie?" her lip quivered and he took no notice of her. "Billie?" she repeated louder, more fearfully. He broke away from Alice and looked up at her.

"Adrienne..." he looked back at Alice and then once more at his wife. Adrienne is the only woman I will ever love. Alice blanched and stole a glance at the woman she'd just hurt. Why did she have to be so stupid? Why did she hurt everyone?

Alice wiped away the tears forming in her eyes and ran out of the house. Billie followed.

"Alice!" he called after her. She tried not to turn back, but she had to.

"I'm sorry," she choked.

"Don't be. Because...because I liked it."

"Why are you here? I'm just some kid. And you have a life. You have a family."

Billie Joe sighed, "I know. But Adrienne made me." He smiled, "Déjà vu."

Alice couldn't return the smile. Her mouth was too sore from lying, kissing, crying, shouting...her life was too sore. She began to walk away, with Billie Joe right behind her but stopped suddenly. She knew what she had to do.

She turned around and held Billie Joe by the shoulders. "I have to say it now, or I'll never be able to." Billie continued to look at the ground, but Alice spoke anyway, her voice becoming louder with every syllable, "Billie Joe Armstrong, I love you. I love you Billie Joe, and I know you know it! You don't give a shit about me, but I love you!"

Suddenly Billie looked up and pushed Alice away. She tried to put her hand on his cheek and her lips to his, but Billie swatted her away. His eyes followed her angrily and his body spoke in fury. For the first time, he was angry.


He spoke through gritted teeth, "Don't even try." And he left. He left to make things right in his world, with his family. He left before he could hurt Alice or Adrienne or anyone else again.

Alice collapsed to the floor, a fire coursing through her. Burning tears ran down her face as she stared at the empty space where her one true love had stood. White-hot pain enveloped her until she screamed.

And she screamed, and screamed, and screamed. She screamed and sobbed and screamed with sorrow and hurt and love. What she'd felt, what she'd done, what she'd wanted--all of it was real. But it wasn't. And she screamed and screamed and screamed.

There's no return from 86. Don't even try.