Status: A work in progress.

Everything But Time is Running Out

Little dents don't always mean the car is totaled.

"Welcome to the world of Frank!" he exclaimed as he led me inside. His place wasn't anything special but I was enamored just because it was the living place of the guy I slowly felt myself falling for. "Make yourself at home while I get some blankets and shit."

I invited myself around his living room, admiring the lack of decorations; it just seemed so clean and crisp. Ivory walls with tan, worn down carpet. It wasn't fancy like a lot of the kids I went to school with; they just acted so pretentious because they were soon going to hold the title of alumni of a renowned university. I actually felt way more comfortable in a place that felt lived in and loved rather than a place that always required a ridiculous amount of upkeep.

"Alright," Frank said, returning with an armful of blankets and pillows, barely making it to the couch before collapsing on it, tripping on a trailing end of a blanket.

"Frank, I really don't need that much to sleep with; I don't think your couch could even handle the amount of shit you just carried out here."

"Nonsense," he said. "These are for me, silly. You get the bed."

"What??" I screeched, losing balance as my legs gave out a little bit. "Frank, I really can't take your bed from you." Because not only was I already intruding on him, but it was his bed. Where he slept. Every night.

"Well, you can't really expect me to have you sleep out here," he argued, plopping down on the couch, making himself comfy.

"Well, you really can't expect me to sleep in your bed without you."

"Oh?" he questioned, looking at me with a little slight.

"I- I didn't mean- Uh..." I was at a loss for words as I tried to backtrack what I had just said. "I... just dont feel comfortable sleeping in your own personal bed while you suffer out here on this tiny couch."

"Hey! Hasn't anyone told you size doesn't matter?" he retorted. My cheeks, I'm sure, were gaining reddish tints. "I tell you what. I'll sacrifice myself and sleep in my bed with you." he compromised.

I noticed my mouth was hanging open so I quickly closed my lips before I started drooling.

"It's settled then!" He pushed all of what he brought out to the living room on the floor, getting caught in the tangled mess and falling to the floor with it. I happened to be in close proximity and he knew it. Grabbing a hold of my ankle, he pulled and caused me to fall on the floor next to him. Thankfully, I had plenty of cushion to catch my fall, and I was referring to the blankets and pillows. "Hey there," he said in a low (and quite sexy) voice; our faces coming into close proximity yet again.

"Hi," I said shyly.

"How coincidental that I'm finding you here!" He pecked my cheek with a short and slobbery kiss.

"Eww, Frank!" I tried wiping the spit off of my cheek but my hands were stuck somewhere within the fluffiness of a blanket.

"That's not how I imagined you shouting my name," he said as he smiled. I rolled my eyes and stood up in a smooth and sly motion as best as I could without tumbling over again. As if on cue, I let out a big yawn, which made me light headed and I fell over to the same place I just was. "Alright, baby, let's get you to bed." He kissed my forehead before getting up himself and helping me to stand.

He led the way to his room and I bashfully trailed behind. His room was quite the opposite of the rest of his place, or at least his living room. Posters covering many parts of the walls, pages completely covered with writing scattered around the floor near his bed stand, and a couple of guitars were sitting near his closet. I forgot about my nervousness of sharing a bed with Frank. I picked up one of the papers on the floor. They were lyrics.

"Frank," I said in awe, "these are amazing." He looked sheepishly at me.

"Yeah, it's what I do pretty much every day, but honestly, Gerard is one of the main writers, so I can't take much credit. His head is always in some fairy land far away." I sat down on the bed, absorbed into the pages. I didn't notice how Frank had grabbed his guitar and sat down next to me until he started playing. It made me jump slightly.

The tune was so serene, it almost put me to sleep right then and there, but I wouldn't let myself give in; whatever Frank was playing was too good to miss out on.

"The song is called Cancer," he told me, suddenly stopping to find the lyrics. He shuffled through a few papers before taking hold of the one he was looking for. "Here, these are the lyrics if you wanna check it out. I won't sing the words, but that's really only because I haven't had time to memorise them yet. I've just been so absorbed in trying to work out the chords and whatnot. I will attempt to hum them for you, if you'd like." I nodded, continuing to listen to his peaceful playing. The lyrics were nothing like I had ever read before; I could totally feel for the person in the song, the one saying the heart-wrenching words that I hoped I would never have to hear or say myself.

I will not kiss you 'cause the hardest part of this is leaving you.

That line, I was certain, was the most profound lyric I have ever read in my whole line of existence. I could just feel my soul shrinking in a grey cloud of sadness. When Frank finished playing the song, I could still feel lingering emotions hovering in the air.

"Pretty amazing, isn't it? What Gerard can do with words." Frank commented, replacing his guitar on its stand.

"Yeah," I greatly agreed. "I never knew someone could be so... well, creative I guess, for lack of a better word."

"No, I know what you mean," he conformed, "when I first met him, I knew right away how critically acclaimed he was going to be." There wasn't an ounce of jealousy or resentment in his voice; I could hear how genuine his high opinions of Gerard were.

"How did you meet him?" I asked.

"Well, once upon a time, I was a member of Pencey Prep but we ended up splitting up due to petty shit between us band members. Luckily, Gerard and Mikey had signed with Eyeball Records, of which I was also signed with. We met and bing, bang, boom! He adopted me into his band!"

At this very moment, it quite abruptly hit me that I never even knew what Frank or the guys did for a living. I had just assumed they were college students like I was. "So wait, you guys are famous?" I blurted out, incredulously.

"Well, not quite famous, per se, but yeah, we have recorded and released an album or two." He shrugged and started getting the bed ready for sleep. Now I understood a little better why he was so squeamish on knowing whether my intentions on being a part of the gang were true or not. He was running a personal test to see if I had previously recognised any of them and if that affected my actions regarding the group. It made me wonder how many times Frank or someone else the group had gotten mistreated due to the fact that they were in a band holding successful records out in the world. It made me further want to prove to Frank that I was not one of those people; it made me want to show Frank that someone can admire him for who he truly is. I just hoped that each little dent he braved from the outside world hadn't yet impacted his overview of the it.

"Come to bed, babe," Frank said, already underneath the covers, prompted up by pillows. I realised I had been standing in the middle of the room, staring into the depths of nowhere like an idiot for who knows how long. I hurriedly skipped to the edge of the opposite side of the bed as Frank and was just about to strip down. I froze in mid-motion of taking my shirt off. I glanced over at Frank who was trying to not be too obvious about watching, but he was. "Uh..." he thought aloud. Suddenly, he hopped out of bed, dug into his dresser and pulled out a shirt. "Here, if you don't want to sleep in your day clothes, you could wear one of my shirts... Only if you want to..." I smiled and sheepishly grabbed the shirt he handed me.

"Turn around," I ordered. He didn't argue as he did what he was told, and I was very appreciative of it. I quickly switched shirts and then realised that I still had my bottom half to take care of. What could it hurt, I mentally asked myself, slipping my pants off, just as Frank turned back around.

"If you try anything," I warned, "anything, you will wake up to a penis-less, ball-less front side." He accepted that fact quite fast as he rapidly nodded his head, burrowing deeper in his cloud-like comforter. I climbed in bed and followed his lead. His bed was like heaven on Earth; I could already feel myself sinking comfortably into place as his down comforter engulfed me. "Okay, goodnight Frank!" I said right away, turning on my side away from him to face the wall. I readied myself as I started greeting unconsciousness. Just as I was almost out, I felt arms snake their way around my waist and welcomed the warmth of Frank's body as he moved closer to snuggle up against me. My last thoughts of the night were blissful.


My eyes opened as I took in my surroundings. I recognised the room as Frank's, but the space beside me was cold and empty. The sky outside shown bright outside his window with the moon lighting up the room. It would normally sound appealing, but instead, I found myself focusing on all of the misshapen shadows that were lingering behind every object in the room. They gave off an eerie impression and I tightened my grip on the blankets, suddenly overcome with fear and dread.

What could they possibly do? I tried reasoning with myself, forcing my hands to loosen. Shadows are shadows, nothing else. But the more I stared into the darkness, the more they seemed to twist and writhe around, seemingly crawling ever so slowly, gaining distance to the bed. I tried to retreat away from the forming shadow as it crept closer, but my legs were numb and my arms were weak. My mouth formed sounds that I could not release; my vocal cords were paralysed. The shadow inched closer, it was touching the bed now. I started to panic, but was held onto by an invisible force, forcing my body still as I could only helplessly watch until I was consumed by blackness. I could sense my demise as the shadow touched my feet, my legs, my stomach... My blood turned frigid with every part of my body that was absorbed by shadow. I could feel nothing as the thing made its way to my breasts, my neck... I was completely numb. Just before my face was overtaken in darkness, I suddenly felt vibrations in my throat as the scream came to life and my vision gave way to emptiness.

I sat straight up, my body soaked in sweat. My breaths were shallow and plentiful, and my chest was puffing with anxiety. The room was filled with sunlight, to my relief, as the clock blinked 10:30 to my hazy eyes. Frank must've already gotten up because I was by myself. I climbed out of bed and gave my best attempt to pull my pants on over my sticky, sweaty legs. I felt a wave of embarrassment as I realised I had formed a little later of sweat on his bed sheets. Maybe I could quickly throw them into the washer if he happened to be gone somewhere this morning.

I was still in a daze as I walked out into the hall and headed toward the kitchen. It had been quite a while since I had one of my little nightmare escapades. They didn't happen nearly as frequently as they had when I was younger; my parents would jolt awake in a panic from hearing me scream in my sleep. They blamed my episodes from night terrors, but instead of growing out them them with adolescence and maturity as everyone ever had reassured me, they grew worse and more vivid. I was taking prescribed medication in order to get a full, restful and uninterrupted sleep and it helped immensely as soon as I started taking it. I've been on it for years, but unfortunately now if I accidentally miss a dose, I can't seem to sleep at all. That is why I always carry around a few tabs with me at all times; you never knew where you're going to end up being stuck at (thus providing example A: me being locked out of my dorm and staying over at Frank's).

I entered the kitchen to see Frank nowhere in sight. "Frank?" I called out, retracing my steps back to the bedroom, checking the living and bathroom on my way. No answer. I let out a sigh of relief as I began removing the sheets from his bed. Perfect time to clean away the mess on his sheets. I was carrying them over to the washer across the hall when I bumped into someone. "Ow..." I mutter, losing grip on the bed sheets.

"Yeah, you got that right," Gerard said, rubbing his head. "Is there a reason why you're here?" he questioned me. "And... is there a reason why you're cleaning bed sheets?" My face flushed so hard as he smirked at me, making all sorts of assumptions, I was sure.

"No!" I shrieked, "it's not what you think! I was locked of my dorm so Frank said I could crash here-"

"And sleep with him in his bed," Gerard interrupted.

"Yes," I admitted, "but only because I refused to let him sleep on the couch!"

"How gentlemen-like of you." He crossed his arms, waiting for a better excuse than what I was spewing out. Of course, though, it was the truth.

"We really didn't do anything, Gerard. I just had a bad case of night sweats so I wanted to clean the sheets so Frank didn't have to worry about sleeping in a dirty bed later on."

"Uh-uh, night sweats. Whatever you say, K. I will admit, though, I haven't heard that excuse before, so A for creativity." I rolled my eyes and just continued to start the washer so I could at least get a move on before Frank returned.

"You know, Kara, just because I let you sleep over, doesn't mean you have to turn into my housemaid." I shrieked yet again and turned around with my hand over my chest.

"Why," I gasped, "do you guys insist on scaring me to death ever single time you enter the room?" I walked to the living room and sat down. Gerard and Frank followed me like trained dogs. "Frank, where were you?" I asked.

"I was taking the garbage out. It was super full and I didn't want you to notice," he admitted. "Why are you doing my laundry, anyway?"

"Wait, don't you already know, Frank?" Gerard asked. Frank raised an eyebrow at him. "Well, if you guys did the dirty deed, why wouldn't see want to wash them?" I smacked myself in the face.

"Gerard thinks we were a bit mischievous last night," I explained to Frank. His lips for a round O as a light bulb lit up in his head.

"You dickhead!" he punched Gerard in the arm. "What do you take me for, anyway?"

"Geesh, didn't mean to press a button, Frankie. I just figured, you know, you haven't invited a girl over since the last one and that was, what? Over half a year ago? I just thought-"

"Well you thought wrong," Frank's tone put a definite end to the conversation. I guess sex and Frank's past girlfriends were a touchy subject, so I pretended to not hear the mini argument that just took place in front of my face. There seemed to be no room for jokes between men here in the living room.

The silence in the room was deafening up until my stomach let out a monstrous roar. It broke both Gerard's and Frank's intense staring at each other and they both glanced at me. "Sorry!" I apologised. "But my body does require food every now and again. You guys eat yet?"

"No, I actually just woke up maybe an hour ago," Frank said.

"An hour? What've you been doing for an hour? You could've woken me up," I told him.

"He was cleaning his apartment." Gerard answered for him. "I only know this because his kitchen looks the cleanest I have ever seen it minus the day he moved in here." Frank looked a little embarrassed, but was pretty good at hiding his shame of being a perfectly normal guy with living-by-himself mannerisms. "Anyway, I heard of this new joint that just opened last week that I wanted to try! Come on, I'll drive us." Gerard made eye contact with Frank, giving him a smile as if offering a silent truce from their recent mishap. Frank smiled back and nodded. We made our way outside and piled into Gerard's car.


"Gerard, I'm officially in love with you," I gushed as I stuffed my face with deliciousness that was the skillet omelette covered in cheese, sausage gravy and bits of sausage and bacon.

"Aww, I love you too, sugar!" Gerard happily replied back, filling his own face with food.

"If you treat me to breakfast like this forever, you'll always have a special place in my heart." I danced a little bit with happy jitters.

"Hey! I'm supposed to fill your heart! Your whole entire heart! There isn't room for Gerard," Frank retorted. He scooted closer to me in the booth we were sitting at, squishing me between the wall and his body.

"Ow! Okay, okay! My heart is yours! Please release my hips from your bony grasp," I said as he eased up on the scooting. His hip bone finally left my side and I could feel my hips relax with relief.

"I'm not sure what to make of that comment," Gerard said. I also had no comment for him.

"So Gerard," I changed the subject, "what were you doing over at Frank's so early in the morning?"

"Oh, I was gonna get his opinion on a song I've been waiting for him to go over as well as check on the status of his other duties as a band memb- I mean, as a very special... creative person who just so happens to know how to play guitar." Gerard worriedly said. His eyes shifted to Frank's for an immediate response.

"Relax, Gerard, she knows about the band now." Frank said. Gerard visibly relaxed.

"Oh, good!" he exclaimed. "Well, yeah. So Frank is the mother of all procrastinators-"

"Father of all procrastinators," Frank corrected and then paused. "Hey, wait! I really don't procra-"

"SO," Gerard put a hand in front of Frank's face, even though that did nothing to quiet his protests, "I came to check up to see exactly how much progress Frank has managed to get done."

"Ah," I vaguely said, standing up to excuse myself. "I think I'll take a trip to the little girls' room." Today just didn't seem to be a good day for Gerard and Frank to be in close proximity to each other. I wonder if they had a specific deadline to meet. But then again if that were the case, why Gerard was working on his comic the other day? Frank seemed to be working hard on things, considering the state of his room with everything related to music splattered all over the floors and such. Maybe I should just keep my observations to myself this time. I wonder why Pencey Prep disbanded... Wait. What am I thinking? The guys seem like best friends; whatever they were going through right now, they would definitely work out. Why am I getting myself all worked up about this anyway? I've witnessed what happens in group projects at school and this situation isn't any different... accept that it's on the verge of being known everything, released around the world. Ugh. You know what? Just stop thinking. Stop it. Go pee and get back out there. God I'm such a stupid worry wart. Go pee.

By the time I returned, Gerard and Frank were having a very civilised, very professional conversation about where they stood regarding workload and workflow and what needed to be reviewed, what material was ready to give to the other guys, etc. I was so relieved that they seemed to be on the same foot about things. I went up to pay, grabbing my wallet, but Frank rested his hand on mine when I reached for my purse.

"I already got it, doll." he was pushing his chair in, ready to leave.

"Oh... Thank you, Frank..." I said timidly. "You didn't have to, you know."

"A man always pays for his girl," he said, walking behind Gerard who was leading the way out of this Popsicle stand. The butterflies in my stomach were awakened at the sound of being his girl. A small smile crept on my face. I reached for his hand as we walked across the parking lot. He looked back, a little startled that I had made the first move, but then tightened his grip on my hand, swinging our arms back and forth.

"So, Kara darling, what do you have going on for the rest of the day?" The weekend was almost over and I remembered I still had two deadlines to meet, myself. Damn it all to Hell.

"I actually need to finish writing a poem and work on a few thumbnails for my graphic design project," I sadly said. I really didn't want to say goodbye to Frank (or Gerard for that matter).

"No worries," he said, getting into his car. Gee, Gerard, thanks for the support. Frank seemed to see my hesitation with getting into the car.

"Something wrong?" he asked quietly, putting his hand on my shoulder.

"Nah," I said absentmindedly, waving him off. It was his turn to look hesitant.

"You know, you don't have to feel like you need to keep things bottled up. If you feel like the weight of the world is a little too heavy, I'm here for you to lessen the burden." His eyes were so bright compared to what I felt like mine were. I just suddenly felt so down. Like the skies should open up and swallow me whole, drowning me in gloomy, depressing, windy overcast. The tight clenching in my chest held on tighter with each passing second. I felt a certain kind of craving come to surface; my skin itched for sharp contact.

"Thanks..." I said, half conscious that I had even replied. "I think I just feel sleepy after eating, is all." I blamed the food. Food could always be blamed, I've learned. Indigestion, stomach ache, food poisoning.... Frank nodded solemnly. I'm not sure if he believed me, but maybe he was just skeptical due to my lack of response.

The car ride back to my dorm wasn't quiet; Gerard and Frank got into talking about their latest song, which I guess was about some group of obnoxious teenagers or something. I wasn't exactly listening because the sadness inside of me kept enlarging until all I could feel was emptiness and a cold, hollow chest.

"Kara," Frank said. I didn't realise that he had made his way to the side door. He had already opened it and was leaning over, waiting for me to exit the car.

"Oh, sorry..." I said, taking his hand.

"Are you sure you're okay? Do you want me to stay for a little while?" Oh, the clash inside of me between mind and body. Oh course I wanted him to stay; I loved every minute of being by his side, but what my body was longing for was a very different kind of connection. I felt myself shaking my head instead of nodding.

"That's alright, Frank. You go get what you need to get done with Gerard and the guys. Call me later, though, okay?" My sudden interest in keeping in contact make Frank perk up a little bit. He gave me a warm smile and a hug.

"Alright, doll. You get some rest. Let me know how you're feeling."

"I will," I said, waving as Frank got in the car and they drove off into the distance.