Death-Wish Kids


I drove my own car to Ways, with Micah in his carseat in the back. When I pulled out of the driveway, my dad was standing in the doorway with Noah. He was much calmer and his acceptance made it easier and harder. I wanted him to understand that I was capable of taking care of Micah, the way I had in Florida before my father ever swooped in to save the day, and I couldn’t do that if I was living under his thumb.

I pulled up to the curb next their yard and parked. Gerard’s car was in the driveway next to his parents’ and he was out in seconds, crossing the grass to come over to me. I got out slowly, watching Don and Donna and feeling terrible. Gerard barreled into me, wrapping his arms around my shoulders as he pressed me back against the door of the car, face turned down to my hair.

“I’m so sorry, Cy, I’m so sorry,” he breathed, tightening his arms around me.

I rested my palms on his lower back and grabbed onto chunks of his shirt. I didn’t know what he was apologizing for, but it helped that he recognized how hard all of this was for me. “I’m sorry,” I repeated, lifting my head from his shoulder so that I could look at him.

His eyes scanned my face and he shook his head. “You don’t have anything to be sorry for, Cyren,” he said seriously, sliding his hands up to cup my jaw, “I love you and if this means we can be together, then I’m glad you decided to come with me. I’m just sorry that you had to leave your dad and your brother.”

I nodded and slipped away from him, pulling out of his arms and away from his body so that I could get Micah out of the car. He was awake still, quiet and curious. I opened the back door and leaned in, unbuckling him from his harness. Gerard grabbed our bags from the other side.

“I can’t stay here for long, Gerard,” I said as I closed Micah’s door and walked around to him, “I can’t make your parents and your brother live with me and Micah. They’re not used to having a baby around and it changes everything.”

Gerard shifted so that he was holding the bags with one hand, and with the other he grabbed mine. I held Micah and held onto Gerard. “Just don’t stress about it for a couple of days,” he suggested, leading me across the grass, “Figure out what you want to do, whether you want to go back to your dad’s or not, and we can come up with a game plan from there.”

“I’m going back to my dad’s eventually,” I said, confused, “I can’t just live with your parents forever, Gee. Plus, I just need time to get through to my dad. Once we figure everything out, I’m going home.”

Gerard squeezed my hand before he let it go to opened the front door. I walked in, pushing through the glass door into the living room again. I hadn’t been back here in a long time and walking in now, it felt less like home than it had before. Mikey wasn’t in the living room, and of course Frank wasn’t here either. Gerard’s parents had somehow slipped away already, and the ceiling lights were dimmed to a cozy glow.

I looked to my right as Donna came down the stairs, smiling. “We’re getting Mikey’s old room set up for you and Micah,” she said, coming to a stop in front of us, “We figure you might want your own space.”

Gerard frowned, fingers lacing through mine once again. I gave his hand a squeeze as I answered his mom. “Thank you, Donna, that sounds great. I’m really sorry that I’m here and that I lied to you. I wanted to tell you, but I was scared that you would think I was a bad influence and not let me hangout with Mikey anymore.”

“Oh, sweetheart,” Donna chimed as she minimized the space between us. She wrapped her arms around me, and Micah, and spoke as she hugged us. “We would’ve never turned you away, Cyren. We know that you’re a good girl and that accidents happen. We’re just disappointed that you didn’t think you could tell us about him.”

She pulled back and turned her attention to Micah, smiling as she reached out to touch his face and hair and little fingers. “He’s gorgeous,” she said, brushing gentle fingers through his curly blonde hair, “I’m just so surprised that he’s all yours.”

The ‘all mine’ connotation made me think of Mitchell, and I tilted the conversation away from there in hopes that I would never have to tell Gerard’s parents who else Micah came from. Explaining Mitchell, and my relationship with him, was both mortifying and disgusting. I wasn’t the same person I was when we made Micah and I never wanted to be again.

I felt Gerard’s eyes on me and I met his gaze, trying to read his expression to gauge where his thoughts had gone. Before I could speak, Donna did, moving around us towards the kitchen. “Don is probably done putting sheets on the bed, Gerard, if you want to show Cyren to their room. I’m going to get started on dinner.”

She headed into the kitchen and Gerard sighed, leading me up the stairs. At the top was a short hallway with four doors off of it. One, I could see, was a bathroom, and another one looked to be Gerard’s parents’ room. The last door was closed and Don was in another room, floating around doing something.

In the room was a medium sized bed with a wooden bed frame. Next to that was a shelf that was filled with books and random things from when either Gerard or Mikey were young. There was a desk pushed against the wall opposite the bed, and windows spanned the wall opposite the door. Beneath it was a decent sized Pack and Play, and I wondered how they had managed to keep it in such nice condition. Next to the door was a shallow closet that looked to be full of stuff, but it was obvious that the Ways had cleared out a space for my clothes.

Don spoke when he saw us come in, “This was Mikey’s room,” he said, motioning to the left over toys and such, “But when Gee moved to the basement, Mikey moved into his room, so no one has been in here for awhile. And the playpen is from when the boys were little, but it’s sturdy and we cleaned it out, so it should work for Micah if you want to use it.”

“It’s great,” I answered, setting Micah so that he was standing up on the bed, holding onto my hands. “Really, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I promise I’ll get out of your hair in a couple of days.”

Don waved me off. “Don’t even worry about it, Cyren. We’re just glad that you’re okay. That was a pretty big spat with your dad.”

I shrugged, nodding slightly. My eyes moved from Micah to him as I spoke, “I feel terrible leaving like that, and putting this burden on you guys, but I know if I don’t ever stand up for myself, he’ll always think I’m incapable of being a good mom.”

“Don’t worry about us,” Don replied, “We’ve taken in a misfit of our own here or there, so we know. If this is something that you need to do, then we’re glad we can help. Don’t worry about how long you need to stay here or that you’re going to bother us. We want you here, you and Micah both.”

“I’ll try to keep him quiet,” I answered immediately, lifting the little boy back into my arms as Don headed around Gerard to the door. “He doesn’t cry that much, so you probably won’t hear him too often.

Don wavered in the doorway, grinning back at me. “Don’t worry about it, Cyren,” he said, hanging onto the door jamb, “We have two boys of our own, we know how they can be.” He lightly bopped Gerard in the back of the head and then he was out of the door, heading back downstairs to his wife.

Gerard kicked the door shut once he was gone. “Are you sure you don’t jus want to stay downstairs with me?” he asked, pouting as he threw himself down onto the bed.

“I’m not sleeping in your room when your parents are here,” I said, letting Micah down beside him. Micah turned to him immediately and climbed across his stomach, lying there, looking at Gerard.

Gerard held onto Micah’s arm so the little boy couldn’t roll away or get to close to the edge. “They wouldn’t care, Cy. You and Micah can come downstairs with me. It’s not a big deal.”

I sat down next to them and Gerard let go of Micah’s arm since he was boxed in by our bodies. The little boy slid back onto his butt and giggled, reaching for Gerard’s shirt. “I want to stay up here,” I said, playing with Gerard’s fingers but not meeting his eyes, “Then I don’t feel like some dumb little girl who ran away from home to be with her boyfriend.”

Gerard sat up immediately, grabbing Micah so that he could shift. He sat cross-legged, like me, and moved forward so that our knees were pressed together. He set Micah down in the space between us and grabbed my hands, pressing our palms together as he laced his fingers through mine.

“You’re not dumb,” he said, leaning forward to catch my eyes, “And even if you did leave to be with me, there’s nothing wrong with that, Cyren. I love you and I want to be with you, and the fact that you’re here right now makes me super fucking happy. And I know you didn’t only come here for me, and that it was also about making your own choices and being Micah’s mom, and proving you’re responsible enough to do all of this on your own, but part of you is here for me, and I literally can’t ask anything more of you. I’m just so relieved you decided that I’m worth all of this.”

“Of course you’re worth it,” I repeated immediately, “I love you and I’m here because I want to be with you, Gee, but I can’t sleep in your room every night when Micah’s there too. I can’t let this be all about us. I have to start thinking about what I’m going to do after this.”

“I wish you could stay with me,” Gerard said, “Both of you.”

I smiled but shook my head. “I told you, I can’t live with your parents, Gee. That’s not fair to anyone.”

“I know,” he answered, releasing my hands so he could hold onto Micah’s, “But that doesn’t mean I don’t want you to. Just promise me you won’t go back to your dad’s until he’ll let you keep seeing me. I don’t want to sneak around with you, I want to be able to see you all the time.”

“I’ll try,” I offered, not ready to promise anything yet, “But even if he doesn’t like it, I’ll still find a way to see you, Gee. You don’t have to worry about that.”

He nodded and moved to his knees so that he could lean over Micah. He pressed his mouth to mine, sliding his fingers free of mine to touch my face and find my hair. He kissed me, with Micah between us, both of us holding onto the little boy as Gerard’s mouth parted, and then my own, and his mouth pressed harder into mine.

When he pulled back, wiping his hand across his lips, he grinned. “Are you sure you don’t want to stay in my room tonight?”