He Never Told Me What He Did For A Living
“Josie, you’re definitely coming tomorrow night, right?” Angel asked excitedly.
It was the day before Angel’s Halloween party, and though it had started out to be a small gathering, the whole school was now buzzing about it and the location had been moved from Angel’s home to the high school gymnasium.
“I guess I have to…the hostess is kind of my best friend,” I said teasingly.
“Yes!” she cried, jumping up and down happily. “I have a favor to ask,” she said lowering her voice.
I made a face at her. “What?”
“The band that was supposed to play just canceled ‘cause they got a better offer. And I know it’s last minute, but-“
“But do I think MCR could play in their place?” I asked, abbreviating the band’s name in case anyone was listening.
“Oh, Josie would you?” she pleaded. “I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t an emergency!”
I nodded. “I’ll ask him and let you know something,” I promised.
Angel slapped a kiss to my cheek. “Oh, thank you, Josie! You’re the best!”
I laughed. “I know, I know,” I said as we parted ways. “See you tomorrow!” I called after her. She turned around and waved, then showed me her crossed fingers.
As usual, Gerard was waiting for me, parked in the back of the school parking lot, wearing his anonymous sunglasses. I heard the doors unlock as I neared the car.
“How was school?” he asked, just as he asked every day.
“Fine,” I replied. “I have a question to ask you, though.”
“The band playing for Angel’s party tomorrow night canceled on her. She requested that I ask you if-“
“If we would play?” he finished.
“Right. So whaddaya say?”
“I say I’ll have to talk to the boys, but since Angel’s best friend has a little pull with the front man of said band, most likely, it’ll be a yes,” he said with a grin.
I smiled back at him. “Thank you so much!”
“How’s your Gran doing?” he asked.
“She’s doing great…I can’t even tell she’s sick,” I told him.
“That’s good, makes it easier for you both to enjoy whatever time you have left together,” he said, then stopped talking. “I’m sorry, Josie. I didn’t mean to remind you…”
I smiled weakly. “It’s okay. You’re right, though. It does make it easier; sometimes I forget she has the c-word.”
“Still…I don’t want to make you sad- I know you’re looking forward to this party. Oh! That reminds me- I got you something,” he said with a huge grin plastered across his face.
“You got me something?” I asked.
“Yeah, check the glove compartment,” he said.
Curious, I opened the glove compartment and found a plain black box with a red bow on top. “This?” I asked.
“Yup, that’s it,” he said, sounding excited. “Go on, open it.”
I glanced at him in wonder, then opened the box. Inside it was a brand new cell phone. “A phone?”
“Yes. Don’t worry, I talked to your Gran, she said it was fine. Actually, I bought her one too,” he said. “I remembered what you said about needing a GPS for her. So instead of mounting a tracking device on her, I thought these would work better,” he said with a smile.
“Gerard…thank you so much!” I squealed and gave him a half-hug.
“You’re welcome, Josie. It’s paid up for three months, so you don’t have to worry. I’ll keep up with the bill. Oh, and I already programmed several numbers in it for you. It’s fully charged as well.”
I flipped the phone open, admiring its shiny black surface and the sleek build. “I swear, Gerard, when we get to my house I’m going to kiss you all over your face! This is so nice of you!”
He laughed. “You’ll have to catch me first.”
“Oh, no, I don’t chase little boys,” I said teasingly.
“Oh, you’re gonna pay for that remark!” he said with a silly grin.
I rolled my eyes at him. “Whatever,” I said jokingly.
A long finger poked me in the ribs and I flinched away. “Ouch!” I squealed. “That hurt!” I glared at Gerard and rubbed the spot where he’d poked me.
“Sorry, I wondered if you were ticklish,” he explained. Changing the subject, he asked, “What are you wearing to Angel’s party?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” I teased. Angel had decided the party just had to be a costume party, seeing as how it was Halloween. While it seemed to hover on the edge of being juvenile and cliché, most of the class was excited about it. Angel and I had picked out our costumes a week ago; she’d decided on being Wednesday Addams, and I’d gone with being a pirate. Neither of us had told anyone what we were going to be, ensuring that there would only be one Wednesday Addams and one pirate at the whole party.
“You’re probably going as a princess,” he said with a devilish grin, and I slapped his arm.
“Nope,” I said. “And I’m not going to tell you, so don’t waste your time.”
I watched him shake his head and smile as he pulled into the driveway. He shifted the car into park and looked at me. “So you’re really not gonna tell me what you’re going as?”
I mimicked zipping a zipper across my lips, locking it and throwing away the key. He burst into laughter as he opened his door to get out. “That was cute,” he said.
I smiled softly. Cute was the last thing I wanted to be to Gerard Way. “So were you and the guys still planning to watch horror movies for Halloween?” I asked, remembering his previous plans.
He shrugged as he walked to the front door. “I’m not sure. I assume we’ll watch them after we play at Angel’s party.”
“Oh,” I said, and opened the front door. “Gran, I’m home!” I called out.
She was at the bottom of the stairs, holding my costume in her hand. “No need to yell, honey. I just washed your pirate costume for you,” she said.
Behind me, Gerard laughed. “A pirate?”
I elbowed him in the gut. “Thanks, Gran,” I said, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. “How are you feeling today?”
“Oh, I’m just fine, Josie. Don’t you worry so much- you’ll get early wrinkles,” she replied, giving my cheek a slight pinch. “Gerard, sweetie, how are you?”
“Fine and dandy, Lorraine. Mom’s still trying to recreate those fantastic cookies of yours, but I think I’ll always like yours best,” he told her with a wink.
Gran swatted at Gerard playfully. “Oh, go on, now,” she said with a laugh.
I smiled; it felt good to hear Gran laughing. It seemed she felt fine, and while that was something to be happy about, I was worried.
A hand on my shoulder shook me from my thoughts. “Josie, I’m fine,” Gran said.
Nodding weakly, I led the way into the kitchen and flopped down into a chair.
Gerard pulled out a chair and sat across from me. “She’s right, you know. You shouldn’t worry so much.”
I looked up at him through tear-filled eyes. “But then who would worry about her, if not me? She’s all I’ve got,” I said.
“That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that she’s not worried, which means she has accepted what is going to happen, and is confident that you will be fine without her.”
The tears fell. “I can’t.”
“You can. You have to,” he said softly.
“I don’t know how,” I sniffled.
He smiled softly and took my hand. “And that’s when having good friends will matter most.”
Everything Gerard was saying made sense. When Gran passed, he and Angel would be there for me to lean on.
I sat up and wiped my tears away. “You’re right,” I said, and smiled.
He grinned, crooked and boyish. “Of course I am,” he said. “Now, about this pirate costume of yours…”