‹ Prequel: Frank Iero: P.A.

Gerard Way: Artist


The tablets prescribed to Mikey take a few hours to kick in. I end up spending the rest of the morning and a large portion of the afternoon carrying his bucket to and from the bathroom. The Starbucks hot chocolate lasted forty minutes before it made its escape.

As expected, the constant vomiting and inability to sleep because of it takes a lot of Mikey's already-depleted energy from him. Therefore, he relied on me heavily to assist him to and from the couch so he could use the bathroom. After his third visit, he asked me to walk him the shorter distance to the master bedroom so he could try napping there. The second his head hit the pillow he was out like a light. I placed his bucket on the floor beside him for good measure and left him to rest.

Alicia spent the majority of the day avoiding me. Our small fight this morning clearly left her rattled. After attending to Mikey for a while, she left him in my hands and took some time for herself. I could see she felt guilty about leaving him, but Mikey encouraged it; he hates seeing his wife run herself into the ground for his sake. Little did he know she was exhausted because of me, not his illness.

When I'm on my way back out to the living room from putting my brother to bed, I hear the soft sounds of a bass guitar coming from the study. The door is ajar, and I enter slowly. Alicia is plucking at the strings, playing a familiar tune.

“Smashing Pumpkins?” I ask her from the door.

She stops playing, but cradles the guitar protectively. “On days like today I prefer to play songs written by bands with names that reflect my current mood.”

“So you feel like smashing pumpkins?” She nods. A smile reaches my lips. “So should we play some Spinal Tap when you give birth?”

“Is that an option?” she asks, smirking.

I shrug. “I'm vastly wealthy – I'll make it an option.”

We both laugh as if nothing is wrong. It feels good, but it only takes a second for me to remember we're mad at each other. Her expression quickly mirrors mine.

“You know, Gerard, I really am sorry about not calling the doctor straight away,” she says softly. “With everything that's going on, do we have to fall apart now?”

“Mikey is more than just my brother, Alicia – he is the most important person in my life and always will be,” I tell her firmly. “I know you love him, and I love you for loving him, but if you're going to be his primary caregiver while he's sick, then you need to put his needs first, no matter what he says about his condition.”

"I promise I will do my best, but sometimes it's difficult for me, too," she says softly. Her eyes can't meet mine. "I'm scared he won't get through this, Gerard... and when he said he didn't need a doctor this morning, it gave me that glimmer of hope that everything would be okay. Sometimes I need it, because I don't always believe he is -"

"Mikey is going to make it," I interrupt with such conviction I shock even myself. "He is young and he is strong. He will survive this."

Alicia sighs. "Okay, Gerard. He will be fine. But can you do something for me?"

I soften. "Sure. What do you need me to do?"

Her slate blue eyes finally meet mine. They're firm, pleading. "Admit that, just like me, there is a small part of you that is thinking the worst?"

Of course that is how it is. At my very core I am panicking. If I push my imagination hard enough I can see his lifeless body on the sofa, or in bed - even in my car - succumbing to Leukaemia. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and I can't switch those horrible thoughts off. How could I not be afraid my brother is going to die in this situation? But I need to be as positive as I can. It's just not easy for someone as pessimistic as me.

I'm about to lie to Alicia's face. Since I was a child I've had to be the rock - for myself, for Mikey and eventually for Alicia as she became part of our disjointed, fucked up family. I'm just not sure I can lie to her right now like the rock would, when her eyes are begging me for the truth.

"You're right," I murmur. "However, I choose to ignore it."

I start to leave the room.

"You're going to run away, aren't you?" she calls after me knowingly. I ignore the remark. "Well, if that's how it's going to be, make sure you run to someone important."


My overwhelming stress has brought me back to Toby's apartment block. I take myself up to his floor without hesitation. My mind needs a break. Just an hour without thinking about what's happening with Mikey is all that I need.

Toby looks arrogant when he opens the door. “I knew you'd be back.”

The comment is enough encouragement to send me back to my car, but my overwhelming need to forget keeps my feet firmly planted. I walk with determination into the apartment, but Toby's hand suddenly plants itself on my chest and pushes against it.

“What are you doing?” I demand when his hand doesn't move.

He cocks an eyebrow. “You think you can upset me like you did this morning and then come back for sex? I don't think so.”

The attempt at sounding ghetto is really unattractive and poorly executed. “You'll get over it. Come on, bend over.”

Toby pushes against my chest again. “No way, loser – I have plans. I'm going clubbing with the boys.”

Toby is only a few months shy of turning twenty-three. A fraction younger than me, but he really shows his age. Clubbing lost its appeal shortly after I celebrated my twenty-first. Although, swearing off clubbing probably had something to do with another significant moment in my life. Toby, however, still goes clubbing at least twice a week.

“Skip it – we're having sex,” I order. I make an attempt to grab his hand and place it over my crotch, but he steps away. “You never refuse me – don't start now.”

“Whatever,” he replies like a teenager. “If you're that desperate, go get Alicia to blow you. She's obviously easy.”

I shove him against the nearest wall, pinning him there roughly. He yelps out in pain and struggles against my iron grip.

“Don't you ever speak about her like that!” I scream in his face.

“I'll sue you for this,” he threatens through clenched teeth.

I laugh. “Oh really? And who would pay your bills then? I know your family is losing money fast. My income is the only thing that will keep this particular roof over your head.”

“How did you even know that?” he asks, clearly shocked, but still fighting to be freed from the wall.

I release him and begin to exit his apartment; I know I'm not getting what I need tonight. “I'm Gerard Way – I know everything.”

Actually, while I rode in the elevator on the way out to my car from Mikey and Alicia's apartment, I found the time to do a quick internet search of Toby's name. It wasn't as comprehensive as what my private investigator would be able to retrieve, but it was enough to show me that Toby's parents were once wealthy and have lost a significant amount of money to his father's gambling debts in recent months.

I've had more than my fair share of self-inflicted problems, so I'm not really in a position to judge. However, if there is one thing that separates what I caused to what Toby's father has, it is that my issues didn't affect the lifestyles of others, particularly my family.

The fury I feel towards Toby follows me home. It's late, based on the time I usually get in, but that doesn't stop me from making my presence known. I slam the door shut behind me, throw my trench coat over the banister and storm upstairs.

My studio is dark and cold. I switch on the heating, followed by the stereo, before taking a fresh canvas from my stockpile. The stress and anger I'm feeling shows on the canvas as I drag my pencil roughly over the surface. However, the more I draw, the softer my approach becomes. Artistic passion will always overrule a rough day.

Midnight has long since passed by time I step back from my canvas. As I scan my work I become frustrated with myself.

I've done it again.

His eyes stare back at with such intensity. They beckon me when really they should push me away.

"I really wish I didn't want to kiss you," I murmur.

The drawing of Frank is so lifelike I feel like it should respond. Instead, it continues to silently hold my focus. Even I am impressed by the quality of my work. The way in which I have been able to capture Frank's unique features so exactly is mind blowing. Those eyes are big and shining, his nose perfectly rounded, and with hair just dusting across his eyebrows. The drawing could almost pass for a live human. Almost.

I hang my latest piece on the wall in my studio and head to my bedroom, turning off everything as I go. My phone buzzes in my pocket for what feels like the hundredth time tonight. I don't need to look at the sender ID to know it's Toby. He has been messaging me all night, each text getting progressively worse as his night of drinking wears on.

21:32 I'll speak 2 my fathers lawyer 2morrow. Ur so sood
21:57 2 pathetic to respond huh?
22:18 Go suk a dick asshole
22:20 Nvrmind alicia will do that 4 u. She luvs dick almost as mch as u
22:49 Maybe i'll suk a dick here 2nite
23:08 dj wants 2 fuck me
23:41 sux b u vocj
23:41 *cpcl
23:41 *cock
00:23 h8 u fukr
00:52 yf a fifm

I clear the ridiculous messages from my inbox before undressing and slipping into my pyjamas. Toby's idle threats don't scare me at all, and with the mood I'm in, he can sleep with any or as many men as he wants, as long as none of them are me. Or Frank Iero.


After only a few hours of disjointed sleep, broken frequently by nightmares about Mikey's condition, I awake, shower, and dress. My first stop of the morning is to the kitchen at 7:30am for my essential coffee. It is hot and bitter, forcing my entire body to break free of my tiredness after just one mouthful. I couple it with some dried fruit I've been meaning to eat and take my breakfast through to the lavish dining room. It's rare I use the room at all, but occasionally I like to sit somewhere inconspicuous and just browse other art.

The subscription I have to Art In America magazine arrived last week, but with everything that has been going on l haven't had a chance to read it. I collect it from the other room and settle into the chair at the head of the table to read it.

When 8 o'clock is almost upon me, I gather my things, refresh my mug with more coffee, and take myself through to my office. My attention is fixed on the photo spread of an upcoming New York artist, and I read the captions as a walk. Something catches in the corner of my eye when I'm only a few feet away from my office door. I turn around slowly, struggling to believe that my never-on-time-P.A. is sitting in his chair before I've even entered the office.

“Are you aware of what time it is?” I ask sarcastically.

“Eight a.m., sir,” he replies.

God, I hate that word. He knows I hate it.

I close my eyes and fight the urge to reprimand him over the ridiculous title. “Well, it’s good to see that you actually know how to arrive at your desk on time for work.”

Finally in my office, I place everything on the desk and log on to my computer. I feel myself crumble as I see my desktop background. The photo of Mikey and I as children causes the lump in my throat, the twisting pain in my stomach, and the tears that have formed in my eyes. I always see him like this, a child, and it kills me to know he is walking the path to death's door. My head falls into my hands to catch the tears.

I'm startled by the sound of Frank clearing his throat. My hands rush to the paperwork I'm supposed to be reading. The strange look on Frank's face suggests he doesn't believe I'm busy with work at all. To his credit, he doesn't say anything about it.

“You need to sign all these before I send them off,” he tells me. I notice he has placed a stack of papers on my desk. The one on top is for one of the art galleries down town, and I feel stressed knowing how many others like I there are to read and sign.

“Okay, yes,” I say hurriedly.

Frank turns to leave, but doesn't walk any further than a few inches before his voice sounds again.

“Are you alright, Gerard?” he asks gently, sincerely.

I have no intention of discussing my brother or my annoying boyfriend with him. I've already gotten far too close. Keep things business related.

“There’s a representative from the MOMA coming at twelve to discuss an auction for one of my pieces, I need you to inform Ellie that I’ll require hors d'oeuvres and fresh coffee for then.”

“Has something happened?” he presses.

I lock my eyes with his fiercely. “Frank, the weekend is over. I am your boss again and I’ve asked you to go do something. Get it done or be fired, your choice.”

Frank doesn't challenge me. He keeps his mouth tightly shut and backs out of the room. Part of me feels guilty for threatening him like that, but I find the best way to deal with him – and people in general – is to be firm. Harsh and firm also work well together.

The letters to all the galleries confirming or denying my participation in their upcoming events take a while to get through. While I trust Frank enough to write the letters for me, I prefer to read them all in case they include the wrong information or just make me sound ridiculous. Marty had a habit of doing both.

Just as I read the last paragraph on the final letter I notice Frank has returned. He places a cupcake directly onto the page and takes a step back. The gesture makes no sense, and neither does the candle that's protruding from it – sideways. Worried it is laced with either poison or laxatives, I keep my hands far from it and raise an eyebrow at Frank in expectation of an explanation.

“I thought a monkey cupcake might cheer you up,” he says, trying hopelessly not to smile or laugh.
I take in the cupcake once more before returning my eyes to him. “Why is there a lit candle lying sideways on it?”

“The monkey is smoking,” he replies.

God damn – he's right. I can't contain my laughter. It is one of the goofiest things I've ever seen.

“Thank you, Frank,” I finally manage to say. Composed now, I tell him the truth. “I really needed that.”

I'm still giggling to myself as Frank leaves the office. Once the flame is out, I pick up the cupcake and examine it. The cake itself is obviously Ellie's handiwork – I recall similar looking treats from my childhood when she'd invite myself and Mikey over for afternoon tea – but the candle? She would never do something like this. Frank.

I take a bite of the cupcake. It's delicious, but the presentation is what has me smiling still. Well, Frank, it looks like I owe you.

Ordinarily I am out of the office by 9am, but with the amount of work I have been putting off lately to go help Mikey I need to play catch up. The website hasn't been updated in over a week, meaning that several of the pieces on display have already been sold. A few descriptions of projects I've been working on have also been completed, so I need to remove the text and replace it with images of what I've created. It is tedious work, but I've never trusted an assistant to do it. I still don't.

The website is almost up to date when I get a message from Alicia asking me to give her a call if I'm available. The stack of work waiting for my attention goes to the back of my mind. Family comes first. That is the rule.

“I didn't think I'd hear from you so soon,” Alicia says when she answers. “Aren't you busy?”

I glance at the mountain of paperwork waiting for me, the unfinished website and the list of paintings I need to complete. “I'm not all that busy. What is the problem?”

“Mikey is really down today,” she tells me. “I think he just needs some cheering up, something that will make him forget everything. Maybe a movie night?”

“Could we do something later in the week?” I ask. There is so much on today that I can't keep putting off.

“But he's upset today, Gee!” Alicia hisses. “How else can I...”

Whatever she is saying goes over my head as Frank walks into my office. He looks good today, dressed in those tight black jeans and wearing a basic white T-shirt with sports coat over the top. I hold up a hand to him to stop him where he is and try to tune back into my conversation with Alicia.

“...so it has to be tonight,” she finishes.

“Yes, yes, I know...” I reply. “I’ll do my best to come by tonight. Look, I’ll have to ring you back later, my assistant is waiting to speak to me.”

“Bring a good DVD,” she instructs.

“Okay, sweetie, bye.”

I disconnect the call and try not to scream as I realise how much work I'll need to put in before I can justify leaving to watch a movie with my brother. Frank is still waiting for me.

“Yes?” I demand.

“Asshole journalist won’t give up trying to get a filmed interview and studio tour with you. He keeps calling and asking to speak to you, what do you want me to do?” Frank tells me.

I sigh. “Transfer him through.”

“Okay, I’ll – wait, what?” Frank stammers. It's rare I ever take over a call.

After a pointed look he scurries out of the room and put the journalist through to me. I don't wait for him to start talking. I want this over quickly.

“Hello, this is Gerard Fucking Way. As in, Gerard fucking doesn’t do anything other than phone interviews. Also as in, there is no fucking Way that you are going to get your Way. Ever.” I begin. “Are we on the same page now Mr...?” he tells me his surname. “Mr. Highland?”

“You're making a big mistake here, Gerard. The exposure we can give you is unparalleled by any other program or network. I know how to evoke interest,” he retorts arrogantly.

There is not enough time in the day to sit hear dealing with this. “If you persist with this harassment, Mr. Highland, I’ll have your program cancelled before your crew even has a chance to pick up a camera,” I say. “Thank you for calling the office of Gerard Way.”

As I put down the phone I am able to hear Frank breathing, followed by his footsteps retreating from my office. Does he really think I wouldn't notice? I scan my job list for today a remember there are a few pieces I completed last night that I haven't had him send off yet.

“Frank,” I call out to him, “if you’re done eavesdropping now, I’d like you to organise for the pieces upstairs outside my studio to be picked up this afternoon.”

There is no argument. Frank leaves the office immediately to do as I ask. When I hear he has reached the top of the stairs, I walk back to my own office and slump into the chair. Thoughts of Mikey and whether to visit him tonight or not hit me again. There is still a lot of work to complete on the website and artwork upstairs. I sigh. There is no point putting it all off.

I leave the office before Frank returns and refill my coffee cup in the kitchen. Ellie is already working on putting dinner together. With all that's going on right now with my brother, I'm really pleased to see her.

“Good morning, Mama,” I greet her warmly.

See gives me a friendly smile before scrutinising my face. “You look tired, Gerard.”

“Late night, coupled with an early morning and a mountain of work to finish,” I reply, going around to fill my mug for emphasis.

Ellie takes it from my hand, placing on the counter, and touches her fingers to my cheeks. There is a look of concern etched on her face, but it is sympathy that pours out of her blue eyes. Her fingers, slightly cold, stroke my skin gently.

“You work to hard, my boy, too, too hard,” she says softly.

For a brief moment I close my eyes and dip my cheeks lower into her hands. It has been so long since someone has tried to comfort me, so long since some has touched me like this because they love and care for me. But I need to be strong – for everyone.

I pull away from Ellie's touch and continue my quest for coffee. Out of the corner of my eye I spot the disappointment on her face. I feel guilty for upsetting her, but this is how I cope.

“I'm making vegetable lasagne for dinner. It will be ready by six o'clock,” she tells me. I love her for changing the topic and not questioning me. “Frank will be here – I hope you will join him.”

I shrug. “I'm going to get a few things done in the studio and then I'll be heading over to see Mikey. History suggests it won't be a short visit.”

She nods understandingly. “Would you like me to put something together for you to take over? A cake or some brownies, maybe a pizza?”

“You know we can't resist your brownies,” I answer with a smile.

“Give me two hours.”

Two hours was all it took for me to finish off my last couple of pieces. Before I leave the house I grab a DVD, my laptop, so I can finish updating the website, and collect the container of brownies Ellie left on the counter for me. I make the brisk walk to the train station and continue my journey to Mikey and Alicia's apartment. I'm not prepared for what I see when I arrive.
♠ ♠ ♠
Hi amazing people who stick with me despite the wait,

I know it has been a LONG time, but here is another chapter for you to enjoy. There is so much going on in my life that I can't give you regular updates, so I promise to just post when I have another chapter written.

Thanks for caring and begging for updates - it's overwhelming to know people are so invested in this. Don't forget to leave a comment <3

Coming up in Gerard Way: Artist...

"I didn't think he'd be able to handle something like that," I comment with a smile. "It was nice of you to perk him up."

Alicia laughs. "Well, a wife's got to do what a wife's got to do." She sobers. "You could do with a bit of the same."