Frank's pacing back and forth in the makeshift backstage. He's already taken a piss, and almost puked in the alley outside. It would probably have made him feel better, but he also hadn't eaten all day, and vomiting up bile is not what he'd call a good time.
"Chill the fuck out or I'll punch you in the face," Bob drops casually as he walks by carrying Ray's amp. "Or give me a hand with this shit, I'm not your fucking roadie."
"Sorry, sorry," Frank breathes and runs up to grab the amp from Bob. It's good to have something physical to do that will distract him.
The moon's effects have been a lot more bearable the past few years, the changes whittled down to nearly routine. Frank has tried his level best not to dwell on the whys and the therefores, but he doesn't really need to. He knows all the whys; he can feel the therefore somewhere nearby even now, like they're tied together by an invisible string. Frank knows that the day after tomorrow, he'll wake up in a storage container on his uncle's farm sore and starving, but whole enough to play the gig they've got booked in Pittsburgh that same night.
But that doesn't mean he can't feel her pull even now. Day away, and his skin tingles, his breath coming in short. This part never really goes away.
Maybe he'll have a quick smoke before they're up.
He's already sweating like a pig by the time they set up, and he escapes Ray's concerned looks and Mikey's bony-assed fingers all up in his business where he's been randomly poking Frank all fucking night long, and the first drag feels amazing.
He scrolls through the new messages in his inbox.
Hope you're having a good time Frankie, don't forget to call when you all head back home, I'll make your favorite. Love, Mom
Knock ‘em dead, son & Uncle George said the place is ready 4 u tonite, whenever you boys finish up. Love u, keep safe.
Dear Frank, please tell my boys that I'm not going to be their personal launderer next week & to find a laundromat en route. They don't believe me & they should. Luv, Donna
PS, Gerard's gotten his fin aid package for senior year. M says he won't care but I thought I'd ask you to tell him. G's forgotten cell phones exist in the world.
Frank cracks up and thumbs quick replies to everyone, in case he forgets to later.
He sucks the cigarette down in five minutes, coughs up the last of it, spits a pretty satisfying glob onto the pavement, pops a mint, then heads back in. The sun's set completely in the grey sky and the feel of that white pie in the sky heightens his awareness of the tiny club. Pumping sweaty bodies pressed closed together, stale beer mixed in with fresh pints with too much head; somebody's drinking whiskey sours. Somebody's getting sucked off in a bathroom stall, and he really wishes he couldn't smell that shit.
He almost vomits again from that, when a familiar scent enters the premises. Frank breathes out in relief and his skin settles.
"Hey," Gee whispers in his ear, a light hand over the small of Frank's back. "Five minutes."
"I know," Frank nods and leans back a touch. "You gotta call your mom, dude, she sounds real cranky."
"Ugh, I know, I just keep forgetting, you know?" Gerard huffs. "I'm writing a bunch of new lyrics, and I just get carried away sometimes. Like, lost in it or something." His breath is hot against Frank's ear. Gerard hasn't showered in over a week, and his smell saturates the air around them. Frank doesn't mind, breathing in his familiar stink. He tries to ignore the hard-on that develops in his jeans, but he knows it's futile. Pretty soon, no one will see it behind his guitar, anyway.
"Will you share with the rest of class?" he asks, instead, to distract himself.
"Not yet," Gerard whispers.
Frank shrugs, then pushes away. "All right, let's go," he says just as Mikey and Bob and Ray come up to flank them. He lets the four of them to go on ahead, slapping each one with a high-five, then grabs his guitar from the stand, pulls it over his neck and strides out, hands clasped behind his back.
His skin vibrates, his entire body pulsating to the beat that Bob and Mikey set right off the bat, and then he's gone in the hot lights and thrumming crowd and Gerard's voice screaming out for Columbus, Ohio to fucking welcome them with screams of their own.
Frank closes his eyes, grins, and drops to his knees. If he concentrates hard enough, he'll ride this one out on all their joy combined.