|On the Road
They call the second bus the Sex Bus because Mikey has brought his girlfriend on tour and they're at it all day and night. It's a little embarrassing, Gerard thinks, knowing that your brother can have sex four times a day, and that thought makes him grateful that their manager Bryan had suggested the second bus in the first place. Gerard doesn't think that Bryan meant for the second bus to become the Sex Bus, but the idea was good nonetheless.
"It's like he just hit puberty," Ray says. He and Gerard are in the studio in the back of the non-Sex Bus, looking out the window at the Sex Bus passing them on the left. The windows of the bus are tinted, of course, but Mikey has opened one of them, pushing it back on its track, and is dangling a pair of red silk panties out the window like the flag of a conquering hero.
"No, it's not," Gerard says. Puberty for Mikey, just like puberty for Gerard, hadn't involved many actual girls. "It's worse."
"Do you think we could just ban girls from the tour?" Ray asks. He doesn't have a girlfriend at the moment.
Gerard, who also doesn't have a girlfriend, shakes his head. "Frank," he says.
Ray rolls his eyes. "Fuck," he says, and goes back to his guitar.
Bob and Frank find the Sex Bus a source of endless entertainment. They swap out the contents of Mikey's tube of AstroGlide with Preparation H. They hide in the unused bunks and jump out at embarrassing moments. They slip gay porn into the VCR. Mikey tolerates all of this with amusement and surprising grace.
"What the hell?" he says to Gerard one afternoon. He's on the non-Sex Bus, because Alicia's flown home for her sister's baby shower. She'll be back tomorrow. "It doesn't bother me."
"Why not?" Gerard says. Mikey's smile is genuine.
"I'm getting laid," Mikey says. As far as an answer goes, Gerard thinks, it's a pretty good one.
Two days later, Mikey's back on the Sex Bus, further expanding his tolerance and goodwill, and Gerard's lying on his back on the floor of the non-Sex Bus, half an eye on the cartoons playing on the wide-screen. Ray and Bob are in the back writing and Frank is on the couch chatting on his cell phone. He flips it shut, and leans over on the couch, his face hovering above Gerard's.
"What's up?" he asks.
Frank grins. He puckers up his lips, a glob of saliva forming.
"Oh, hell," Gerard says, scrambling to a sitting position and out of range. "That's fucking disgusting, man."
Frank's smile is wide and sunny. "Yeah," he says. He flops onto his back. "You okay?"
Frank shrugs. "You seem weird," he says.
"It's...I dunno," Gerard says. "There's a Sex Bus."
"You're not using it," Frank points out. "Or is that the problem?"
Gerard laughs. "Yeah, I'm not getting enough action," he says. Frank jumps off the couch and lands on Gerard's lap, his arms wrapping around Gerard's neck. He smooches Gerard on the cheek.
"I can fix that," he says.
Gerard rests his hands on Frank's hips and looks into his clear eyes. Frank is heavy on his thighs, and Frank's elbow banged his bicep when he landed. His stomach hurts a little, too, although for different reasons. "You suck," he says.
Frank laughs. "I know," he says. His eyes get serious for a moment and he leans in and kisses Gerard chastely on the mouth. Gerard holds his breath until the kiss passes. He wishes he could hold his heartbeat. "Really," Frank says. "You're cool?"
"The coolest," Gerard says.
Frank cups Gerard's cheek with one cool hand. "Cool." He pushes up and off Gerard's lap. Gerard let's his hands fall away, brushing his fingers against the cuff of Frank's jeans.
"You know," he says. "We could always make this a sex bus of our own."
Frank laughs and falls back on the couch, folding his hands behind his head. "You want some food?" he asks. "We could make Lenny stop?"
"Yeah," Gerard says. He leans back on his elbows and tips his head back, closing his eyes. "That sounds good."