• My Chemical Love

    It was April 9th, 2011. Gerard Way woke up in the 5-star hotel bed he and his wife Lyn-Z were sleeping in, and listened for Bandit. She wasn't crying. Lucky me, he thought, she's still asleep. Gerard rolled out of bed and walked into the hotel room's luxurious kitchen to check the time. It was 8 o'clock, late enough that Mikey, his brother, would be awake. The lights in the room next door were already on as he walked down the hallway so he stopped and knocked on the door. Ray Toro answered the door in a red shirt and jeans, his curly hair in his face.
    "Hey, good morning. And happy birthday!" Ray smiled and hugged Gerard.
    "Thanks. You wouldn't believe all the letters. Some girl gave me this cool collage, actually. It's a bunch of drawings about our songs." The two started walking down to Mikey's room.
    "Huh. You actually read that stuff?" Ray ran a hand through his hair.
    "Of course. Not all of it, but I'd like to think the MCRmy knows we care."
    "That's true. So we play Minneapolis in 3 days. Your first show as a 34-year old. How does that feel?"
    "Pretty scary, to be honest. I feel old. And I know I told you this after Bandit was born, but it makes it official. I'm old. The band is the only thing that makes me feel young anymore. MSI and us can't even tour at the same time, because we've all got kids now. Bandit, Cherry, Lily. Frank's a dad. You know I hate groupies, but some of the fan girls have even lost interest in me. In all of us. Bob was the youngest, and now that he's gone, we're all over 30. None of us thought we'd still be a band this long. I guess it's just hard for me to accept that we're not young anymore."
    "We're not that old. C'mon. 34? No big deal. Look at KISS. Gene Simmons is like, a hundred. Don't worry about it. I didn't mean to get you all worked up about your birthday. Hey, you're Peter Pan! Right?" Ray laughed.
    "I don't wanna grow up!" Gerard sang, remembering his 4th grade play. They stopped at Mikey's door and he greeted Gerard with a birthday present. It was a hamster water bottle.
    "Again? Seriously? I am not gonna buy a hamster if I haven't already."
    "Just kidding. You get your real present later. But it's a surprise from the band." Gerard looked at Ray.
    "What is it?" he whispered.
    "Not a chance!" Ray zipped his lips.
    "Dork," Gerard said.
    "Look who's talking!" They laughed and went to Frank's room to wake him up. Ray plugged in Frank's guitar and blasted Famous Last Words next to Frank's sleeping head. He cursed and jumped up.
    "God, guys. You woke up Jamia, too." Frank's wife groaned and pulled a pillow over her head. "How'd you get in anyway?"
    "I have a copy of your room key," Mikey said casually.
    "Oh, geez. Alright, I'm up." Frank crawled out of bed and grabbed his white guitar from Ray. "Let's go get Michael." The four proceeded to the tour drummer's room and then went back to each of their rooms to get ready for rehearsal. Once they all had their instruments and equipment, they loaded it into Gerard and Mikey's van to head down to the studio they had booked for the day.
    "So the set list for First Ave is gonna be the same as the one in Hamburg. Na Na Na, Thank You For The Venom, Planetary (Go!), I'm Not Okay, Desolation Row, Our Lady Of Sorrows, I Don't Love You, and so on. You guys remember?" Gerard passed the paper around.
    "Yeah. Can we add a song though? I think SING would really go great." Frank suggested.
    "Yeah, sure. Where should we put that?" Gerard asked. Ray looked at the list.
    "How bout after The Ghost Of You? Since that's such a sad song, it'd be good to have something to really get people going before Famous Last Words."
    "Good idea, Ray. Frank, do we need to remind you not to fall on the drums?" They all laughed except Frank, who rolled his eyes.
    "Once. That happened once. Maybe twice."
    "More than that!" Mikey smirked. "Poor Bob." An awkward silence swept over, and eyes seemed to drift to Michael.
    "So," Michael tapped on his bass drum, "Let's get started! From the top. Na Na Na."
    After rehearsing for four hours, everyone stopped back at the hotel to drop their gear, grab their wives, and drive down to a restaurant for lunch. Bandit, Cherry and Lily came with and sat in highchairs at the large table where the band was seated. A few fans came up to them while they ate, wished Gerard a happy birthday and asked for autographs. One of them was about twenty-five and had a homemade shirt that said, "Gerard is my God" on it.
    "And you think the girls aren't interested in you," Ray muttered.
    "Shut up," Gerard joked, "I meant the younger ones. Not that I want them to be, but you know. My popularity is sliding."
    "What are you talking about?" Lyn-Z asked.
    "Gerard thinks he's not popular among the teen girls anymore." Ray told her. Gerard glared at him.
    "Why does it even matter? You've got me," Lyn-Z said, smiling at him. Her eyes crinkled up around the corners, and Gerard smiled back.
    "It doesn't, really. Just an observation."
    "Well anyway, Donna and Donald sent you something in the mail. It came after you left for rehearsal. I brought it with if you want to open it here." she pulled a blue gift bag out from under the table and handed it to Gerard.
    "Sure," He pulled out an envelope ensconced in tissue paper. He tore it open, and inside were two tickets to a Descendents show in Belgium that was coming up that month. "Wow, this is great! I'll give them a call right now." Gerard dialed his parents' number on his cell phone and thanked them for the gift. "That was really cool of you. Thanks so much. I love you! Bye!" He hung up and called for the check. When the waiter came back with his VISA, he stared at Gerard intently.
    "Gerard Way?"
    "Uh, yes, that's me."
    "Wow, my wife is a really big fan. Do you think I could get an autograph for her?" the waiter asked politely.
    "Of course!" Gerard signed a scrap of paper for the man, and then they left. Once back in their hotel room, Gerard and Lyn-Z spent some time playing with Bandit, then put her to bed for a nap.
    "I'm going to call Jimmy and see how he's doing." Lyn-Z said, and went into the bedroom and closed the door.
    "Hmmm," Gerard tiptoed to the door and pressed his ear against it.
    "Hey Jimmy," he heard his wife say. Then, "You are? Already? We won't be there for three days, though." Gerard scratched his forehead. That was odd. "Oh, alright. I can't wait to see you, babe. . . No, he's in the other room. . .Has Chantal noticed anything?" Gerard's heart raced. Why was she talking to Jimmy about his wife? Or calling him "babe"? Lyn-Z whispered something that he couldn't make out, then he heard her shut her phone. He hurried into the sitting area and opened a book as she walked out of the bedroom.
    "How's Jimmy?" he asked quite casually.
    "Oh, uh, he's good. Just wanted to confirm when we'll be meeting up in Jersey."
    "Okay," Gerard said, and then had to calm himself down because he knew Lyn-Z was lying to him. He couldn't quite figure out why, though. "Did you say hello to him for me?"
    "Yes, I did. He wished you a happy birthday. By the way, I've got a present for you in the bedroom." Lyn-Z smiled.
    "No, thanks. Not really in the mood." Gerard pretended to read.
    "Why? What's wrong, honey?" she sat down next to him and tried to get him to look at her, but he wouldn't.
    "I'm just tired, I guess. Maybe tomorrow."
    "Tomorrow we're flying to Chicago," Lyn-Z reminded him. He shrugged.
    "Okay, so the next day."
    "We're flying to St. Paul."
    "Oh. Sorry, Lindsey, I just don't feel up to it. I'm going to go check on Bandit." Gerard stood up and walked into his and his wife's room, where Bandit was sleeping in her crib. He poked her belly, which woke her up, and she began to cry. Pretending to comfort her, he took Lyn-Z's cell phone out of her purse. In her inbox, she had many messages from Jimmy, her band mate. The first one said "Can't wait to see you. Chantal is driving me crazy, so u will be a breath of fresh air. Talk to you soon! XOXO" Gerard read four more, all very sappy, then put the phone away when Bandit stopped crying. When he stepped back into the living room, Lyn-Z was drinking a glass of wine. He was taken aback. She never drank.
    "What are you doing?" he asked.
    "I don't know. It's just one glass."
    "Where'd you get it?" Gerard sat down and put his head in his hands. "I know you're cheating." Lyn-Z downed the rest of the wine and sat down next to him.
    "What are you talking about."
    "Jimmy. I heard you talking to him. I saw your texts. Don't lie to me. Just tell me why you would do this. To me, to Bandit, to our bands. Tell me why!" Gerard was yelling and crying, and Lyn-Z just sat there.
    "I don't know what you're talking about." she insisted, "I would never cheat on you." her face was blank, emotionless.
    "That's bullshit!" he ran down the hallway, and came back with her phone. He opened it, and showed her a message. "From you. To Jimmy. You wanna read it? Or should I read it to you? Here. It says, you are amazing. Gerard is too, but I just can't...Hell, I don't need to explain myself. You are my everything."
    "I didn't know how to tell you."
    "Any way would have been better than this! You're destroying me here! What can he do for you that I can't? I've raised our kid, I've loved you the best I can, and this is what I get! Thanks a lot. Thank you for cheating on me, thank you for betraying me, and thanks for blowing off everything I've done to make sure we'll stay together as a family!" Gerard stormed out of the hotel room and slammed the door. He stomped down the hallway and knocked on Ray's door. He answered right away.
    "What's wrong, man?"
    "Lindsey. Can I come in? We're screwed. We're freaking screwed."
    "Gerard, what happened? You're freaking me out. What'd she do?" Gerard sat down on Ray's couch and put his head down.
    "She cheated with Jimmy, and I know she did, but I don't know why, and this is the end."
    "What? She cheated? Oh god. That's horrible! Did she say why? The end? You're over?" Ray hugged Gerard.
    "She didn't say anything. She just sat there and looked at me. I don't think she loves me anymore. Yes, we're over. I'm not staying with her. I just don't know what'll happen to Bandit...I'm not letting her take her."
    "Of course not. You deserve her. But do you really think you can take care of her while you're on tour?" There was a minute of silence as Gerard worked that out in his head.
    "No, I can't. I need to go. I just gotta think." he found his way outside and hailed a taxi. He handed the driver two hundred dollars. "Can you just get me far away from here? Keep driving till the money runs out." He watched the lights outside and thought the whole way about what to do, and how to make it through everything. They passed a bar, and he spontaneously made a decision. "Can you stop here? Thanks." It was dark inside, and there were three men passed out on the counter. He ordered a beer and drank it all. He regretted it right away, because he'd been sober for over six years, but ordered another anyway. After his fourth, he stumbled into the street and ran right into a woman. She looked about twenty, and had short brown hair.
    "Gerard Way? What in the world are you doing in front of a bar?" she looked him up and down in awe.
    "Uh, I don't know. Are you a fan girl or something?"
    "Something like that. Do you need a ride somewhere?"
    "I could actually use a place to stay, somewhere to chill. I wouldn't normally ask this...But I've got a situation. Not being creepy though." the girl laughed.
    "I've got an apartment, if you want to spend the night. I'm Irene, by the way. My car's this way." They headed down the wet sidewalk and Irene stopped at a red sedan. "Here. Do you need to call somebody?" she offered, unlocking the doors.
    "Nobody would care."
    "Mikey would, I'll bet. You seem pretty upset. Did something happen? Why are you drinking? Sorry to be so nosey, I'm just so happy to meet you. I've wanted to forever."
    "Mikey can wait. And I'm drinking because I choose to. A lot happens, but what does it matter?" Gerard babbled. He climbed into the passenger seat and took a second look at Irene. She seemed nice enough, and eager to please. "You've wanted to meet me?"
    "Yes, I have. Honestly, I've had a huge crush on you since I was fourteen." she blushed and started the car.
    "Ha ha. It might be your lucky day then."
    "Why do you say that?" Irene looked genuinely concerned. That was sweet, he thought.
    "Off the record, okay? Lyn-Z and I are splitting up."
    "What? When did this happen?"
    "Just now. She cheated. It would be wrong to stay with her, wouldn't it?" Gerard sighed. He was trying to convince himself, more than Irene.
    "Anyone stupid enough to cheat on you doesn't deserve you. But it's your choice. Are you alright?"
    "No. Are you?" he asked. He stared out the window. Irene didn't answer. "I'm sorry. You seem very nice, and helpful. Thanks for letting me stay with you, just don't go all obsessive stalker fan on me."
    "Don't worry. It's perfectly fine, and you're welcome. Here we are." They were parked outside a large stone apartment complex that was covered in vines. There were many trees in front of it, and a fountain that was completely dry. For some reason, the building reminded Gerard of Belleville.
    "Interesting," Inside, it was warm and the floors were covered in torn red carpet. They took the elevator to the fourth floor. Irene's room was small, but nice, and she offered Gerard the sofa sleeper.
    "Or you can have the bed, if you'd like."
    "We could share," Gerard laughed. The sun was just setting, but he was exhausted. He collapsed on the couch and slept till eight. When he woke up, Irene was in the kitchen, cooking something.
    "That smells good," he told her.
    "Thanks. It's chicken. Why don't you sit down? Are you hungry?"
    "Absolutely." he felt refreshed, and the alcohol had faded from his system. But after a moment, the pain from earlier hit him hard. "Lindsey..." He remembered.
    "Oh, yes. You got a call from Mikey while you were asleep. I didn't answer it, don't worry, but he left you a voicemail. And Lyn-Z called too." Irene placed a dish of chicken in front of him and grabbed her own. She looked worried.
    "I'll call Mikey later."
    "Not your wife?"
    "She's not my wife anymore. I don't want anything to do with a woman who betrayed me. I'm not hurt," he lied, "I'm just angry. I'm wasting no more time on her. In fact, I can find a new woman right now. I can drink. I can do whatever I want. Do you have some wine?"
    "Yes, but I don't think that's a good idea. You're upset, wait a while. Please." Irene begged him, although Gerard could tell she was very interested in him.
    "I don't want to wait. I need to act now, get my old life back. My cool life."
    "Your life before Matt got fired? Is that that what you want?" Irene countered.
    "No, well, maybe. It would be different I guess. But yes, like that." Gerard said.
    "You were at rock-bottom, Gerard! You nearly died! Don't put your fans through that again! What do you really want?"
    "I want some certainty. When I was an alcoholic, I knew what I was going to do. I woke up, I drank. I drank, I popped pills. I knew nothing would change until it had to. This new life I had was amazing. I had Bandit and Lindsey and the band. I knew there were people there to love me. Now I don't have anything. I don't know what I want back. I feel so old! Too old to change anything. Look at yourself! You're so young!" Gerard broke down crying. Irene wrapped her arms around him, and after a few minutes, whispered,
    "You're not too old for me," he looked up at her sadly.

    Gerard woke up as the sun began to peek through the window of Irene's bedroom. The light shone on his face and into his eyes, which gazed upon the sleeping form next to him. He was a little shocked, but also proud. He had spent the night with someone other than his wife. Irene had been right--Lindsey didn't deserve him. She could have Jimmy. What would happen to their "no in-band relationships" rule now? Gerard chuckled. But somewhere, deep in his confused soul, guilt was tearing away at him. Pain was trying to creep its way in. Gerard knew he had to fight that, so he got out of Irene's bed and went into the kitchen. He poured himself a cup of coffee and rummaged around in her cupboards. He found a bottle of rum and added some to his coffee, sending all the bad thoughts away. He sat down and doodled the Séance on a scrap of newspaper as he sipped. A little later, as he rinsed out his cup, Irene walked into the kitchen.
    "Listen..." she said, "last night was--"
    "I was going to say wrong."
    "It was wrong but I don't care anymore. This is what I want," he lied.
    "What, a crappy studio apartment in Brooklyn?" Irene joked.
    "No, spontaneity. Don't what I want when I want, but on the road. Please stay with me.
    "Gerard, you barely know me. You know you love Lyn-Z. Go back to her. Try to fix it. Take care of Bandit. You have a family."
    “No, I can’t. It won’t be the same. There is no way I can go back and be that same person. I have Bandit, and that’s it. Lindsey does not deserve me. You were right.”
    “You’re hurt, and that’s why you’re talking like this. Give it time.”
    “And do what? Drink? Blow my brains out?”
    “No, of course not. You have a show to play, and music to rehearse, and a baby to take care of. Honestly, you’re being selfish.”
    “I’m not being selfish. I don’t have to be with Lindsey. She doesn’t need me and I don’t need her.” He didn’t know why he continued to lie to himself. Maybe if he spoke the lies out loud, they would come true, and he wouldn’t be stuck on Lyn-Z. Maybe, he thought, he’d be able to move on and live the good life for a little longer. Only a little longer, because he knew it was going to kill him, sooner or later, and preferably sooner. Gerard smacked himself in the forehead, and shook his head.
    “Don’t think like that!” he yelled at himself.
    “What?” Irene asked, confused.
    “I don’t know. Nothing. I was just thinking something bad. That I want to die.”
    “No! Don’t ever say that! Please don’t. I love you.”
    “I know. I can’t think like this. Something has to change, either for better or worse. And I don’t know which it’s going to be at this point. If no one helps me…”
    “I will help you. But don’t do anything rash. Stay here for a while. Call Mikey and tell him what’s going on. Have you been drinking?” Irene sniffed Gerard and wrinkled her nose. “Rum?”
    “Yes, it helps the pain and I’m not ashamed.” Gerard internally cursed himself for lying again. “Are you sure you want me to stay here? I probably seem like a maniac. But I can’t go back there. There’s no way.”
    “You’re not a bother at all. If you need anything, let me know.”
    “I have to catch a flight!” Gerard suddenly remembered, “Crap! What time is it?”
    “Ten-thirty. What time does it leave?”
    “Three. But it doesn’t matter. I’m not going.”
    “You have to!” Irene protested, “You’ve got to meet up with the guys and work everything out. Maybe Lyn-Z should stay behind.”
    “I’ll play Minneapolis, but I’m not going to see that woman again. I’m calling Mikey now.” He searched his pockets for his cell phone, and, upon not finding it, looked to Irene.
    “Do you have my phone?”
    “No, can’t you find it?”
    “No…Can I call it on your landline?”
    “Sure,” she handed him the phone. He heard his ringtone from the bedroom and searched the bed sheets. He finally found it under the bed, then called Mikey.
    “Hey Mikey,”
    “Gerard, where the hell are you? Ray told me what happened, and I’m so sorry, but we were so worried about you! You just disappeared! Please just come back here. We need you to pull yourself together.”
    “You don’t understand how this feels! How can I go back there? I love you, and I know you’re trying to help, but there’s just nothing to be done at this point. I’ll get on the plane, and I’ll fly with you guys, but Lyn-Z is not coming. You can tell her to take Bandit back to New Jersey and wait for our lawyer to call her."
    "Gerard, I'm not gonna tell her that. You two need to talk. Do you really intend to part ways without even talking about what happened? Don't you want to know any of her reasons?"
    "Her reasons aren't worth--"
    "Hey! You love her. Don't pretend you don't. If a divorce is the best thing, at least wait till you're done touring. Please? The band won't survive this if you can't keep it together." Mikey was very upset, and Gerard could tell, but he kept persisting.
    "I love her, but I hate her, you know? A divorce is the only thing. I can't stay with her. You know that. If Alicia cheated, you wouldn't just put up with it."
    "I'm not asking you to put up with it. I'm asking you to please try to get through this without doing something crazy."
    "Crazy? I'm crazy now? Okay, if you think I'm crazy, then it won't matter if I don't get on the plane today. You don't need me. I'm just the frontman. You can replace me like we replaced Bob."
    "This isn't about Bob. This is about the choices you're making."
    "I didn't choose to have Lindsey cheat on me! I chose to live a simple but great life, but it can't last. Things have been going too well lately, and now they've changed, so I have to change myself."
    "Don't change anything. You're perfect. The best Gerard you can be is the one who cares for others and is responsible. You're not the kind of person who runs off like this."
    "I used to be, Mikey. But now I'm the most boring rock-star in the world. I guess Lindsey figured that out before I did."
    "Don't say that...Please, just come to the hotel. Grab your stuff and stay in my room till we leave. Where are you, anyway?"
    "Fine. I'll come back. But I'm not going to see Lindsey. Someone can go in there and pack everything up for me. I'm in an apartment."
    "Alright. If that's what it takes. Whose apartment?"
    "This girl Irene's. I spent the night here."
    "Do you know her?" Gerard was silent. "Oh, come on. A groupie? Really?"
    "She's not a groupie! She's just a fan. And nothing happened. She offered to let me stay, and I accepted. Out of politeness. I'm heading over there now. I'll meet you out front." he hung up and when he opened the bedroom door, Irene was waiting outside, looking concerned.
    "You need a ride?" she asked him.
    "Yeah. Thanks. I’m staying at the Hotel Le Bleu. It’s not far.”
    “Alright. Do you have all your things?”
    “Yes.” The two walked out to Irene’s car. They were both silent for the whole trip. “I really would like to see you again.” Gerard told her once they arrived in front of his hotel.
    “I would like to see you too, but I understand if you can’t.” She handed him a piece of paper with her phone number on it.
    “I’ll try to call, but not for a while. I’ve got to figure some things out. I’m leaving Lindsey, and I don’t know when, but when I do, I’ll call you. It was nice to meet you.
    “Thank you. I really appreciate that. It was nice to meet you, too.” And with that, they parted. Gerard walked into his hotel alone.

    Later that day, the whole band got on a plane to Chicago. Lyn-Z went back to New Jersey with Bandit, and visited Donna and Donald Way to tell them the bad news. They all cried. The next day, My Chemical Romance flew to St. Paul and had a signing at the Mall Of America. Gerard got through the whole day without drinking or crying. While performing on the 12th, he got a surprise when he saw Irene standing in the crowd at First Avenue.
    Five years later, on October 26th, Gerard proposed to Irene as her birthday present. She accepted, and they were married four months later in Belleville. Mikey was Gerard’s best man, and Alicia Simmons, who Irene had struck up a friendship with, served as the maid of honor. The couple was given only partial custody of Bandit, due to Gerard’s history of substance abuse. But, nonetheless, everyone was happy. Lyn-Z broke it off with Jimmy, whose wife Chantal never found out a thing. The MCRmy had mixed feelings about the divorce and marriage, but the majority stayed supportive.