Twenty Three: Unrecognisable

“Callum –”

“What’s...Oh.” Callum grins at Gerard and me drunkenly, and begins to sing: “Gerard and Layla sitting in a tree; K-I-S-S-” He shuts up as I throw a well-aimed cushion at his head. I turn away, but the ‘umph’ noise he makes lets me know it found his mark.

Meanwhile, his friends all look either flustered or awed.

“Callum, what’s that hot chick that was in that magazine doing in your living room...?” one of them murmurs as if I can’t hear.

“With Gerard Way,” another adds.

“I’m his sister,” I tell them, rolling my eyes and extending a hand for the nearest friend to shake. I haven’t met any of them, so I assume they’re friends from his college.

“His – oh.”

“I’m Layla,” I add, “and I’m guessing you know who Gerard is.”

“I didn’t know your sister was a model,” one of the friends slurs, turning to my brother. “I mean, the pictures,” he gestures to a family photo hanging on the wall next to a long line. On one side is one from when I was 16, and on the other is one of just Giselle, Francesca, Callum and Mum. The one in between them shows me as being sat at the front, my dark hair in a messy side-ponytail with a lot of it hanging over my face, looking sullenly at the camera. I’m wearing a bright red top that clashes with my pale skin, and I have hardly any make up on my face.

I don’t look very attractive, at all. I’m also very unrecognisable.

I look at Gerard; he’s rolling his eyes and wraps an arm around my waist.

“Why are you drunk?” I ask Callum.

He shrugs. “I’m not sure.” I sigh heavily and Gerard holds back laughter, and says to me, “I think you’ve been there too, Layla.”

“Hey, I was a model-perfect daughter...” I begin to argue but one of Callum’s friends interrupts.

“Are you two going out?”

“No, we’re just good friends,” Gerard answers as if he’s been in this position before.

“And we need to go and get ready,” I add onto this. “We’re going out.”

Gerard moves his arm from around my waist and puts his hand on the small of my back we walk through the group of my brother’s friends into the hall and up the stairs.

In my room, I sit on the bed and look at Gerard.

“ ‘Just good friends’, are we?” I ask him.

He’s facing away from me, looking through his suitcase, and he straightens up and frowns at me over his shoulder.

“No,” Gerard answers honestly. “If they’re fans, they’ll take the slightest piece of information and turn it into something” He pulls a shirt out of his suitcase and holds it up. “Do you like this one?”

“Don’t change the subject!”

“I’m not changing the subject. Look, we’re going out soon. We can talk then, okay?”

I shrug. “Fine.”

“We will talk about it.”

“I hate my brother.”


“He walked in at the most inappropriate moment...”

“Oh yeah. Well, I guess I hate him too; more than you, in fact.”

I sigh quietly.

“I’m going for a shower,” Gerard announces, hanging his clothes over one arm.


He leaves me alone then, alone with my thoughts and everything like that, mulling over just what we’re going to talk about.