An hour later, she's dressed in a stupid white hospital gown that doesn't cover her knees or her ass and sitting on the edge of a bed, waiting for someone to get back to her.
She's been poked and prodded and frowned at but no one's freaking out so Bry's doing her best not to either, but shit she feels stupid. She's been working so hard to act like nothing's different, like she can have a baby and not change one other thing she's doing and now. Shit. If she's hurt her baby by being stubborn, she's never going to forgive herself.
Bry doesn't cry, not ever, but she thinks this might be a good time to start. Her eyes are burning like they want to anyway. She pulls her knees up and wraps her arms around them, wiping her nose on her forearm like that's going to help.
Bry looks up, adrenaline spiking when she sees the doctor. He's short and balding and carrying a stack of clipboards; he looks like her ninth grade history teacher and that doesn't make her feel any better.
He smiles at her. "Good news," he says, "Your baby's fine." Bry makes a totally involuntary sound, which he kindly ignores. "Think of this as a warning to take things a little easier, all right?"
Bry can't find her voice so all she can do is nod.
"If I discharge you, do you promise me you'll rest?"
She nods. "Yeah," she says, "Yes." She wants to say thank you but it sticks in her throat with all the other words she's ever known.
The doctor nods and leaves her alone, just in time for her to give into a batch of really embarrassing sobs.
She's just catching her breath and starting to feel ridiculous when the curtain drags back again and Bob comes stumbling inside. He's pale and one look at her face makes him paler. "Oh fuck," he starts to say but she's off the bed before he can finish the thought.
"It's fine," she says, wrapping her hands around Bob's wrists. "Bob, everything's fine." Her voice comes out wobbly at the end and she swallows hard.
All the tension goes out of Bob and he stumbles a little. "Fuck," he says, "You're sure?"
She laughs. "Well unless the doctor was lying," she starts then chokes when he wraps his arms around her and the rest of her sentence gets lost against his chest. "Bob, fuck," she says, squirming but Bob only loosens his hold a little before pressing his face into her hair and holding on tight.
She knows exactly how he's feeling so she doesn't try to break away, just pats his back and mutters soothing nonsense into his collarbone. He is far too tall for her to hug comfortably in just her socks.
"Okay?" she asks eventually and he lets go, standing back and clearing his throat.
"Yeah," he says, shaking his head. "Fuck, when they told me you were-." He stops, getting that look on his face like he's going to nag her so she cuts him off.
"Don't, okay. I know."
But Bob ignores her. "What the hell were you thinking?" he asks, "Jesus, Bry."
She was feeling pretty affectionate towards him a minute ago. She's not now. "I was doing my job, asshole."
Bob turns quickly, slapping his hand against the wall before turning back to glare at her. "That is not your job. Your job is to manage us not schlep boxes like a roadie."
She puts her hands on her hips, feeling ridiculously exposed in just her hospital slip. "I'm not some fucking Victorian woman going into my confinement," she snaps.
"That's not what I'm saying; I-." Bob cuts himself off, takes a breath and rolls his eyes. "How about we fight later, yeah?" he asks. "You've got make-up dripping off your nose, it's just gonna make me laugh at you if we fight now."
"Fuck off," she snaps, too tired to put much heat behind it.
"Come here," Bob says and pulls his sleeve over his thumb, wiping the bridge of her nose and then the skin under each eye.
She sniffs and tries to pull away but Bob's got a very determined arm around her. He lowers his other hand and hovers it over her belly. "Can I?" he asks.
Bry nods and squeezes her eyes shut when his hand splays flat and warm over their baby. "I could maybe slow down a little," she says quietly.
Bob squeezes her hip with his other hand. "S'all I'm asking," he says.
Bry spends the next day resting on her bunk and exchanging increasingly rude IMs with Jeff while they try to beat out a schedule they're both happy with.
He's pretty set on her not being on the road during her third trimester and she's torn between calling him an asshole and privately agreeing. It's tough being Bry; she hates giving in.
Taking things easier doesn't mean stopping altogether and Bry can still talk even if people seem to want to stop her doing anything else. She's on the phone talking numbers with Warner. The new single is doing great and everyone’s stoked but that doesn’t mean that they’re any more inclined to be as generous to their artists as Bry would like.
Her feet are sore and her ankles ache. She kicks off her shoes and dumps them on Bob’s lap.
He lifts his eyebrows at her and she gives him the I’m carrying your spawn look that she’s been perfecting. Bob gives her the finger but puts his hands around her right foot and starts to massage it, just below her toes.
It’s all she can do not to purr. She’s not sure how great an impression she’d make on Warner if she started purring at them. By the time she’s finished her call, Bob’s finished with her feet and is sliding his hands up to her knees and down again.
She won this round with Warner and she’s feeling good and relaxed. She hooks her ankle around Bob’s back and tugs him in closer. He lies to one side of her, hand on her hip.
“Hi,” he says, smiling at her crookedly. She blames her fucked up hormones for the fact that his smile makes her all warm and cosy inside.
She leans forward and kisses the corner of his mouth. His eyes close and he twists his hand in her hair. “Thanks for the footrub,” she says, finding herself moving back in to kiss him again even though she really, really wasn’t going to do this. They’d agreed on the just friends thing.
Bob licks her bottom lip then bites it gently. "We're not doing this," he says, breaking contact.
"What?" Bry asks before his words sink in then, "No," she says, sitting back abruptly. "Right. We're not."
She goes to stand up, to put some physical space between them to match the mental space that Bob's just reminded her they're supposed to have but he catches hold of her wrist. "Stay," he says and, when she hesitates, "We can hang out without fucking, Schechter." He lifts his eyebrows meaningfully. "Unless you think you can't."
She snorts. "Right. I just can't keep my hands off your sexy bod, Bryar."
Bob grins at her. "Come the fuck here," he says, opening his arms.
"Such a fucking girl," she mumbles, scooting back across the sofa to lay her head on his shoulder. Bob's arms come up around her, safe and (almost) entirely platonic. She breathes out slowly and relaxes against his chest.
Bry doesn't remember falling asleep, but when she wakes, it's dark and the bus is moving.
She's too hot, the kind of claustrophobic she only gets when she's sleeping beside someone else, and she shifts, realising as she does so that her head is on Bob's chest and his arms are still snug around her. Someone's spread a fleecy blanket over them both. She presses her nose into it, sniffing curiously. It smells like Gerard.
Not wanting to wake Bob, Bry twists carefully, shifting her arm until the blanket falls down to her waist and she can breathe cool, bus-scented air again.
Bob's chest is moving steadily under Bry's cheek, regular and calming. Sometimes when she's stressed, he'll take her hand and count time against her wrist; this is soothing in the same way.
If Bob were awake or Bry were less exhausted and comfortable, she wouldn't be doing this. She's not good at needing, at relying on other people for comfort. Curled against Bob's chest, Bry can't help but think about the week after she came out of rehab when she and Bob spent hours in Bob's double bed, hiding from the world and not doing anything remotely less than platonic.
Bry is on the cusp of falling back to sleep when she feels something in her belly, a strange, fluttery tightness, like a wave of warm air or a marching beat behind her belly button.
It takes her a minute to realise what it was then fuck, she mouths silently, wonderingly, feeling her face split into a grin she can't control. She curls her hand over her stomach, where her bump is starting to grow, amazed by this evidence of life.
She should wake Bob, she knows that, but right now this is hers. She curls a little tighter around her baby and taps back to it, saying hi.
Bry didn't realise she was self-destructing until she woke up slumped across the backseat of a bus, being shaken awake by a woman with a shopping bag.
"Miss? Are you all right?" the woman asked. "This is the last stop."
Bry dragged her eyes wider open and rubbed the heel of her hand over her mouth. Her head fucking pounded. "What?" she asked, slowly waking up, "I mean, where are we?" She didn't remember getting on a bus, couldn't think where she could have been going.
"We're at the depot." The woman was backing away from her now and Bry wasn't surprised; Bry stank bad enough that she could smell herself: cheap booze and puke and cigarettes.
She cleared her throat. "Thanks," she said, focusing on that, on being polite and calm and a proper fucking citizen rather than freaking out because she did not remember what she was doing here, where here even was.
She made it out of the bus depot and around the block before she threw up. On her hands and knees on the corner of a god knew where, wearing one shoe and pants that pressed against bruises she couldn't remember getting, rips in her favourite jacket, she closed her eyes and fought down tears.
"Fuck," she whispered to herself and wrapped her arms around her belly, falling back against the nearest wall and pressing her face against her knees. Fuck.
She'd had a day of meetings Friday and she remembered wanting to unwind after, remembered finding her stash empty and charming a couple of pills out of girl in a club but after that all she could remember was how bad she hadn't wanted to go home, how much she'd just wanted to get out of her head and then… nothing.
By some miracle, her cell phone was still in her jacket pocket and she fumbled through to the first number she found.
"Bry?" Bob answered on the first ring; he sounded strained and scared. "Bry?"
"Yeah, I-," Bry managed. Her throat hurt from all the crying she wasn't letting herself do.
Bob didn't bother to wait for her to be able to talk. "Where are you?" he asked. Yeah, definitely scared.
"What's happened?" she asked. She didn't feel much lately, but she knew she was supposed to be worried if Bob was scared; she could fake it.
Bob's laugh was brittle and horrible. "What happened? You disappeared for three fucking days," he choked.
Bry frowned and rubbed the ache between her eyebrows. "It's Saturday," she said, confused.
Bob was definitely a little bit hysterical. "It really fucking isn't," he told her.
It turned out she wasn’t that far away from Gerard’s so he was the one to pick her up. Bob was there by the time she stumbled out of the shower.
Her head hurt, her throat her and she wanted to be sick but there was nothing left to throw up. “I don’t want to hear it,” she said, pushing past Bob to get to her clothes. Bob didn’t want to be moved, staying solid against her shove and she was so weak and so tired that she almost fell, only staying on her feet because Bob caught her arms.
He looked down at her for a long minute and Bry, who could always meet anyone’s eye, couldn’t meet his.
“Let go of me?” she asked, hating how pathetic she sounded.
“No,” Bob said but he released her arms. She was confused until she realised that he’d taken her request in the metaphorical sense. She wasn’t sure now that that hadn’t been how she’d meant it.
Martha Grant was a giant, mountain woman kind of person. She put her hands on her hips, took away Bry's cell phone, make-up and drug addiction. In that order. The last one took a lot longer than the first two.
Bry was allowed to make one call every evening; she almost always called Bob.
She called her mom the first night but couldn't find anything to say, so they talked about the weather for Bry's allotted time and Bry never found the right time to add so hey, mom, I'm in rehab in Utah, fun huh? Martha gave Bry a look and shook her head after that call.
The next time, she called Gerard. He cried and she ended up crying and it was all a really snotty mess by the time they were finished. Weirdly, Martha seemed to approve of that one, but Bry still didn't call Gerard again.
Bob was fine. He was solid and calm and he talked about whatever she asked him to talk about or he sat in silence and breathed in her ear. In her therapy sessions, they asked if she was seeing someone and she always said no, but for the first time ever she found herself wishing she were. Not Bob specifically, but someone Bob-like. Someone she could be quiet and calm with, someone who could make her feel like maybe the whole world didn't sit on her shoulders.
When she came home, her first instinct was to fly to the band and let them know how sorry she was for nearly fucking everything up.
But they knew that. She knew they knew that. The real reason she wanted to fly to them was because she needed them and she didn’t think that was very healthy.
She sat in her own apartment for three days, taking calls from the boys where they told her how recording was going and from Mikey where he didn’t say much at all.
She’d gotten so used to speaking to Bob every night during rehab that it felt strange not to keep doing it, but after the third night running that she called him and he didn’t answer, it didn’t take long for her to realise that he was avoiding her.
“He, uh, he went home for a couple of days,” Gerard told her, the first day she went into the studio and found only three fifths of her band present. “It’s fine, we’re still laying down guitars and-,” He waved a hand around, “Things.”
“You can’t be without your entire rhythm section,” she said, because it was easier and more grown up than why doesn’t he want to see me? but she felt like a heel as soon as she said it because Gerard’s face closed down, washing over with misery and worry for Mikey.
“Shit, I’m sorry,” Bry said. She curled her hand under Gerard’s elbow and tugged him out of the sound booth. “Is something going on I should know about?”
They’d tried to keep the Mikey thing from her while she was in rehab; the last thing she needed was for them to keep something Bob-related from her too.
Gerard shuffled, looking supremely awkward. “No?” he tried.
Bry gave him a look.
“Bob’s. Bob’s just.” Gerard floundered for another minute then said all in a rush, “He was really worried about you.”
Bry winced. “Yeah.”
“No, like, really worried.” Gerard bit his lip. “You know how Bob’s all stoic and shit, right? Well he was really stoic while you were gone and I think he just needs some time to go and be, like, unstoic for a while.”
“Unstoic?” Bry repeated, lost.
Gerard squeezed her arm. “You scared him. He’s gone home to freak out.”
Bry’s stomach turned with something that was half guilt and half annoyance. “Oh goddamn it,” she muttered, already mentally booking herself onto another flight.
The flight from LA to Chicago was hell. Bry was angsty and weirdly nervous, annoyed with Bob for not having his freak out in LA, where she could have smacked some sense into him, for not talking to her about it at all.
It was an evening flight and the people on both sides of Bry were knocking back wine. She curled her hands around the armrests and hummed to herself the whole way. Possibly they thought she was crazy, but that was okay. As long as she was sober and crazy.
“You really didn’t need to chase me across the country,” was the first thing Bob said to her after “Bry?” and “What?” and “Are you okay?”
Bry rolled her eyes and paced around his living room. She was convulsively picking stuff up and putting it down, looking to see if Bob’s home had changed any. She felt like everyone’s lives had moved on years rather than just the twenty-eight days she was away.
“If you didn’t want to see me, Bryar, you could have just called me up and told me. You didn’t need to run out on the band.” Shit, that didn’t come out how she’d meant it to.
Bob straightened up. “I didn’t run out on anyone,” he said. “Fuck’s sake, I’m taking a couple of days, why is that so hard for you?”
“I-. Because-.” Bry hated being lost for words. Except this time, she had the words. She just wasn’t sure she could say them.
“What?” Bob asked, stepping closer. “Are you okay?”
Bry shook her head. “I’m sorry. I do get why you don’t want to see me.” She felt stupid all of a sudden. She shouldn’t be here, but Bob made a jerky movement when she went to move away, like he wanted to reach for her but couldn’t make himself.
Bry stopped, waiting for him to say something. When he didn't, she pursed her lips and looked out towards the window. “I got used to you being there,” she said, feeling stupid. “I guess I sort of expected you would be, when I got home.”
“Shit,” Bob said, “I’m sorry.”
Bry shook her head. It was pounding all of a sudden. She sat down heavily on the sofa and after a few minutes, Bob sat down beside her. His thigh pressed warmly against hers and it had been years since he’d joined the band and they’d stopped having sex, but apparently her body still knew it was okay to relax against his.
Bob put his arm around Bry’s shoulders and Bry wanted to make some kind of quip, but she couldn’t. She put her head on Bob’s shoulder and closed her eyes.
It was nice just hanging out in Bob’s apartment. Bry knew she couldn’t do it for long; they both had to get back to LA, but for a few days, she was okay with hanging out in Bob’s bed all day, watching daytime TV on his giant plasma screen, kicking his ass at Donkey Kong and eating takeout pizza.
Bry didn’t have to think about anything else, and that felt good.
It was pretty much no surprise when Bob kissed her, the night before they’d agreed to go back to LA.
It took them a long time to get naked. Bob wouldn't stop touching her but that was fine; Bry didn't want him to stop. She hadn’t been touched in so long and there had been nights recently where she'd laid awake, tracing the tattoos on her own forearms and feeling really fucking lonely. She didn’t know whether if it was the drugs she missed or if it was the drugs that had stopped her noticing that she was lonely all along.
When they were both all the way naked, Bob blanketed her and kissed her neck and throat and collarbones, the upper curve of her breasts and she wrapped both arms around his neck, so the back of his skull was cradled in the crook of her elbows and just breathed.
Bob was kissing her carefully, keeping it chaste and tongue-free, just kissing and kissing and kissing her. Confused, not really knowing what else to do when she was naked in bed with someone, Bry reached down to palm his cock. He was half-hard but he took hold of her wrist and pulled her hand away and when he pulled her closer, Bry could feel his cock softening against her thigh.
"Bob?" she asked, turning her head just far enough out of the kiss to speak. She could still feel his lips against the corner of her mouth and she pressed closer, needing the contact.
"Shh," Bob said. His voice was shaking. Bry dragged her eyes open and almost thought she must be imagining it when she saw the tears making his eyes shine. She felt like shit, a total bitch, she had no fucking right to be upsetting Bob. Bob was all things good; she shouldn't be dragging him down with her.
"No, hey," Bob said, grabbing her when she tried to move. "Don't go anywhere."
She twisted her arm in his grip but not hard enough to get free. "You didn't even want me here," she said and, "I'm sorry, I shouldn’t be-."
"Come here," Bob said and pulled her close to kiss again.
Bry turned her face away.
It was just, it was too much. Far too much. To be here and to be able to think clearly, to remember the things she'd said and done to Bob over the last few months, the shit she'd put him and the others through. It was ridiculous, impossible, to believe that he was just here waiting for her, letting her back into his life when if she were him she would have shut her so far out.
"Hey, Schechter," Bob whispered softly again her cheek, "Big girls don't cry."
Bry choked on a shaky laugh. "Fuck you," she said and wiped at her face, trying to dry her eyes with her palms. After a minute, she had herself under control enough to ask, "So did you just get me naked for the thrill of it, or something?"
"Sure," Bob said. He started to stroke the shoulders, down over her arms. It was all she could do not to start fucking purring at the touch. "It wasn't at all because I've been worrying about you or anything like that."
"No," she agreed. She thought about it then decided to be honest. "I've missed this," she confessed. "Dumb, huh?" She'd had to distance herself from Bob after he'd joined the band, had to for her own sanity. But it had started getting harder not to get lost in her own head when she no longer had Bob to go to for distraction.
"Not dumb," Bob told her. He wrinkled his nose. "Missed you and shit too."
Bry tipped her head back on the pillow and laughed. They were so fucking eloquent, the two of them.
After that first time, Bry doesn't feel the baby kick again for nearly a week. She's not worried, but she does feel guilty. She should have woken Bob; she still hasn't told him it happened.
Obviously, because the universe likes to be entertained, the next time it happens, she's in the middle of arguing with Frank about appropriate times to wear pants. TV, she thinks, is uniformly an appropriate place, and she's in the middle of explaining that very calmly and concisely, with only a handful of expletives thrown in when the baby decides to shift.
She breaks off mid-word, automatically bringing her hand up to feel it. It doesn't hurt, but it is weirdly startling.
"What?" Frank asks immediately. "Are you okay? Fuck, I'm sorry. I'll wear my pants. I'll wear your pants." He looks stricken.
"Dude," Bry laughs. "Chill. It was only kicking."
Frank's eyes go wide. "Oh, for real?" he asks, "Can I?" His hand hovers over her belly. Bry doesn't think it'll happen again but he looks so hopeful that she agrees anyway. A minute or so later, there's another flutter and Frank frowns, leaning in. "Was that it? That was it, right?"
"Yeah," Bry says. She's smiling stupidly again, like her kid has done something to be proud of. "That was it."
Frank rocks back on his heels, beaming at her. "Should I get Bob?"
Bry hesitates for a second then tells herself off for it. "Yeah. Yeah, Frankie, that'd be good."
Bob arrives a couple of minutes later, being dragged along by Frank and calmly protesting all the way. "You know what's going on with this asshole?" he asks Bry, finally shaking free of Frank's hands.
"The baby kicked," Bry tells him and feels three times as guilty when Bob's face breaks into a wide, delighted smile.
"Yeah?" he asks, "Can I feel?"
"It stopped," Bry says regretfully, but she takes Bob's hand anyway, presses it to her belly. Frank leaves them alone and they sit there for the rest of the afternoon, chasing after any twitch their baby makes.
They hit Chicago during Bry's seventeenth week. She's definitely showing but if she wears big hoodies and stands up straight it's not glaringly obvious.
Bob's mom, who Bry has always though was omniscient, notices within minutes of them all meeting up with her after the show.
"Oh my God, Bry," Linda says, passing Bandit back to Lindsey and grabbing up Bry's hands instead. "I knew when Bob started asking me about babies that it wasn't hypothetical. But he didn't tell me it was you."
This last is directed over her shoulder at Bob. Bob clears his throat awkwardly.
"I asked him not to," Bry tells her. Her hands are twitching in Linda's grip, not trusting herself or someone else not to let slip that she's not just pregnant, she's pregnant with Linda's grandkid. "I haven't told my mom, yet."
And oh, she feels bad about playing the emotional blackmail card, but Linda knows the shit Bry goes through with her mom; it should distract her. Linda squeezes her hands, looking stern and sympathetic in that way that she pretty much always looks at Bry. "Come on, hon," she says, ushering Bry along, "We'll talk over dinner, okay?"
"Sure," Bry agrees because what else can she say? Bob's mom has always been awesome to her. She can't help looking back over her shoulder, mouthing help! at Bob because if she's going to lie, she's not going to do it alone.
The whole giant group of them plus Bob's mom end up getting dinner in Chinatown. The waiter gets colouring mats for Bandit and ice water for Bry and Bry has a strange moment where she realises that she automatically ordered a soft drink because she wanted one rather than because she told herself she had to.
She grins at Gerard and squeezes his knee under the table. He beams back at her, without any idea why.
By the end of the night, Bry is feeling relaxed and sleepy. She also has a shopping date with Linda tomorrow.
"Hey," Bob says, catching her elbow before she can follow Ray into the taxi they're taking back to the hotel. "Schechter, how'd you feel about a night in a real bed?"
She must look pretty fucking keen because he laughs at her.
"C'mon. I'm staying at Mom's and there's a spare bed and real water pressure and enough sockets that you can plug your hairdryer and your straighteners in at the same time."
Bry laughs. "Dude, are you sure you're not trying to lure Mikey home with you?"
From the taxi, Mikey gives them a three fingered wave followed by a thumbs up. Bob snorts. "C'mon," he says, and Bry lets herself be led to Linda's car instead.
Linda lives in the same house she brought Bob up in. Bry knows Bob's offered to buy her a new place, but the most Linda has agreed to is a new bathroom.
Bry is currently very happy with this decision. The house is warm and homey, and the shower is fanfuckingtastic. She stands in the shower, letting the water wash down over her from three different jets at three different pressures and sighs. Touring these days is no where near as grimy and disgusting as it was when she started out, but this, still, is heaven.
Soaping herself up, it's hard to miss the things that are changing about her body. She's always been wiry, but now she feels curvy for the first time ever. Her stomach is getting round, and she's definitely carrying new weight on her ass and hips and chest.
She feels sexy, which is rare for her, and she's been horny for the last fortnight, about since the morning sickness tapered off. It would be really, really bad to get herself off in Bob's mom's bathroom, she tells herself. Except by then she's already got two fingers between her legs.
She palms her breasts with the other hand, rubs her hand over her hips and feels like she's with, like she is, someone else.
Getting herself off in the shower helps to ease the itch in Bry's body for a while, but by the next day, she's horny and uncomfortable again.
They always try to schedule some downtime in Chicago and this tour they've got two days here for Bob to hang out with his mom and everyone else to do their own things. Today, Linda's working in the morning so it's just Bob and Bry alone in the house and Bob seems to be everywhere.
He's wearing loose sweats and a too small t-shirt and Bry wants.
Bry likes a guy who can lift her up and fuck her against a wall. She also likes a guy who'll let her tie him to the headboard and ride him for hours. Bob Bryar is that guy. He's also the reason why she's so fucking horny right now which makes it suck twice as hard that he's the only guy she really must not sleep with right now.
Mid-morning, she gives up and escapes upstairs to the guestroom. She flops down on the bed and slides her hand under his shirt. She runs her fingers over her belly, hoping that just touch will be enough.
"Fuck," she mutters, just as there's a knock on the door. "Fuck. What? Bryar, I'm sleeping."
Bob pushes the door open, which wasn't at all what she said to do. He opens his mouth to say something, focuses on her lying there with her t-shirt pushed up and her legs parted and restless, and goes very pink.
"Sorry," he says, clearing his throat, "You okay?"
"Do I look okay?" she snaps then regrets it. She didn't mean to give him anything that sounds like an invitation.
Bob's mouth twitches like he's amused. "You need a hand?"
"Fuck you," she spits, then "Hey, where are you going?" when he turns to leave.
Bob shakes his head but comes back to sit beside her on the bed. "Why do you have to be so difficult?" Bob says quietly. He's trailing his fingers up her ribs and she shudders, involuntarily leaning into his hand.
"I'm trying to be sensible," she tells him but then he pushes aside the neck of her t-shirt to mouth at her collarbone. Fuck.
"Let me," Bob says and he isn't exactly pleading. If he'd been pleading, she'd have been able to say no. It still makes her stomach swoop when he adds "Please," though. He's pushed her t-shirt down off her shoulder and now he's licking her star tattoo, tongue tracing the lines that meet in a point at the top of her left breast.
Bry can't hold back a startled moan and fuck, fuck, fuck it, she doesn’t want to stop. She grabs two handfuls of Bob's hair and holds his head against her chest. Bob pulls at her t-shirt some more, only stopping when there's a ripping sound from the seam, but he's gotten her tits exposed by then so she's too distracted to bitch him out for being careless.
He slips both hands into her bra, squeezing one tit and rolling the other nipple between two fingers, fingertips worn smooth from drumming. Her breasts aren't huge and they disappear under Bob's palms and the splay of his fingers.
Bry sinks back further into the bed and presses her hand down over Bob's making him squeeze her harder, hold her firmer. It feels fucking fantastic after not being touched so long – and because it's Bob, who knows what gets her hot already.
"This is bad idea," Bry tells him, pushing her hips up against his. He's hard through the layers of their sweats, but he starts to pull away at her words. She grabs his shoulder hard. "Fuck you, if you stop-."
"Sure," Bob says leaning back in, words against her jaw, "Whatever you say."
She rolls her eyes but then he's unhooking her bra and pulling it and her t-shirt off so her eyes aren't so much rolling as rolling back.
Bry sits up to throw her shirt away then tries to tug Bob down on top of her but he hesitates, settling to one side instead. "I'm too heavy," he says, laying one large hand over the rise of her belly.
Bry wants to tell him that they – she and the baby – are not as delicate as they look but Bob's kissed his way between her breasts, down to her bump and clearly gotten distracted, touching and kissing her stomach and Bry closes her eyes, feeling almost like she's an intruder. Other fathers probably get to watch the bump grow, she realises, not like Bob, who only gets snatched glances in the mornings before she hides it away under her hoodies.
Bob's mouth on her stomach isn't exactly erotic but it is very, very nice. She feels almost completely calm right in this moment and the frantic itch under her skin is – not gone but – bearable. It doesn't mean she's going to complain when Bob finally spends enough time doting on their kid and remembers Bry has needs too.
"Lift up," Bob tells her and she does, lifting her ass off the bed so Bob can pull her sweatpants down and off.
"Any requests?" Bob asks when he's settled between her thighs. His mouth is close enough that she can feel the warmth of his breath on his clit.
"Yeah, for you to be less of a tease," she snaps. She's wet and can feel herself getting wetter and if Bob's not going to take advantage of that then she will.
She slides the pads of two fingers down over her clit, hissing through her teeth at the touch. Bob makes a harsh sound and lowers his head, sealing his mouth over her fingers, licking between and over them.
"Fuck," she says appreciatively, tipping her hips up to keep his mouth on her while she carries on touching herself.
Bry gets close quickly but even after Bob's pushed two thick fingers into her, it's still not quite close enough.
"Bryar. Bryar. Bob," she complains breathlessly, twisting her hips in tight, impatient circles. "Fuck me, c'mon."
Bob pulls his fingers out and replaces them with three, fucking them in and out of her with wet, dirty sounds.
"I'm not going to fuck you until after you've come," he tells her. Because he's an asshole.
Bry pulls her hands out of his hair and digs them into her shoulders instead. "So make me fucking come."
Bob turns his head and lightly bites her forearm. "Working on it," he tells her, crooking his fingers inside her and rolling his thumb nail over the head of her clit.
"Jesus, fuck," she groans and arches up for more.
Her orgasm, when it hits, is hard and fast like being smacked in the face by a heatwave and she curls up toward Bob, making noises that make her grateful Bob's mom's not anywhere in a two block radius.
"Hey," Bob says when she's catching her breath. He's lost his shirt somewhere, which Bry is very appreciative of. She has a thing for Bob's crazy-pale, freckled skin, especially when it's slick with sweat and within arms reach.
Bry slides her hands up Bob's chest and over the smooth slopes of his shoulders. She kisses him, tasting herself on his lips then pushing him down onto his back with a hand against his sternum. His jeans scrape the insides of her thighs when she straddles him and she rolls her hips once against his zipper, sharp and shocking, before climbing off.
"Get naked," she tells him and for all his love of teasing her, he's quick to obey this time.
"This is okay, right?" Bob asks, when he's naked and she's straddling him again. "I mean for the baby."
Bry reaches forward to squeeze his cock. "It's fine," she promises, patting his thigh until he scoots down the bed further, probably loosing his feet off the end of the bed. It puts his cock directly below her ass and oh, she sits back, fumbling his cock into her pussy when the movement lines them up.
She rolls her hips, testing out the angle before beginning to fuck herself slowly, thoughtfully on Bob's cock. Two can play the teasing game.
"Shit," Bob says throatily, grabbing onto her hips, thumbs soft against the rise of her belly but fingers digging hard enough to bruise into her back.
His hair's a mess across his forehead and there's colour rising in his cheeks, across his mouth which is swollen from eating her out.
She wants to kiss him and she shifts forward to do so even though it means that only the first couple of inches of his cock are still inside her. Bob pushes his tongue into her mouth and she rises further on her knees, grabbing his cock when it slips out of her and rubbing the damp, sticky head against her hole and clit. It's harder to achieve than normal, now she's negotiating four months worth of pregnant belly, but she has incentive.
They both groan.
Bob bats her hand off his cock and pushes back into her. "Now who's fucking teasing?" he asks, pushing his hips up hard. She leans back into the thrust, getting him deeper and incidentally restricting the movement of his hips pretty much completely.
Bob groans, hands falling to her thighs and his head tipping back, while she fucks herself on his cock. She's good at getting herself off, great at knowing what she likes, but it's nice to do this with Bob because he knows what she likes too; she can make him help her. Bry picks up one of Bob's hands and sucks his fingers into her mouth, pushing her tongue between his index and middle fingers then down over his palm.
"Shit," Bob says, pushing himself up with his other hand so he can get closer to her, slide his fingers out of her mouth and mover them to her nipples while he pulls her down and kisses her. Her belly presses against his, keeping her tits frustratingly far from his chest while their kiss turns nasty, all teeth and tongue.
She pulls his hair and he pinches her nipples and she's so fucking ready to come again but he beats her to it, making soft uh-uh sounds into her mouth and coming inside her. There's something about watching him come that makes her shudder and Bob's barely got a hand to her clit before she's coming again.
She feels weak after, arms shaking, thighs burning. She wants to fold herself down on Bob's chest and fucking cuddle and that's not something she's ever really wanted to do after sex. Sex gives her energy normally, but now she wants to sleep.
His hands are on her forearms, bracing her. "Hey," he says, thumbs stroking her arms, "Okay?"
She forces herself to roll her eyes. "Yeah, yeah, you're a sex god," she says.
Bob doesn't flip her off or anything like she's expecting. Instead, he surprises her by collapsing back against the pillow and pulling her down with him.
Bry shifts so her head is on the pillow and laughs softly; guys are so fucking floppy after sex. "Dude, are you okay?"
"Mm," he mumbles. He's touches her arms again, her shoulder and the side of her throat. His eyes are cracked open and there's something lost and tender in his expression. The look makes her uncomfortable but the touch is nice, so she closes her eyes, reaching up to touch him back.
Bry isn't the type to get embarrassed easily, but she does feel kind of flustered going to meet Linda at Marshall Fields that afternoon when she can still feel the bruises on her hips from Bob fucking her – and the bruises on her thighs from him fucking her again.
Linda apparently has a lot of shopping planned – things for the baby, things for Bry, maternity clothes, special bras and panties and support stockings that Bry would have been happier not knowing existed let alone owning.
Bry tries to explain that they're touring, travelling light, but Linda is basically the hardest person in the world to say no to, so Bry eventually caves. Plus, there's the guilt of all the lying about the baby’s father. But still, support stockings. Bry isn't sure that any part of her is ever going to need that much support.
"Look at this," Linda calls, holding up a little pink onesie with a Jolly Rodger on the front. Frank would really like it.
"No pink," Bry says automatically. "Or blue."
Linda smiles, turning the onesie over in her hands. It's so fucking tiny. "Maybe I'll buy it anyway, scare Bob a little. He has to give me grandchildren eventually, right?"
Bry swallows convulsively. "Right," she says unsteadily. She's suddenly exhausted; this is stupid, she can't even remember why she's keeping this a secret anymore.
"Linda?" she says, stepping closer.
"Mm?" Linda asks, just as her cell starts to ring. "Oh hey, honey, sorry. Can it keep?"
"Yeah," Bry says nodding and (mostly) relieved. "Yeah, it was nothing."
While Linda's on the phone, Bry pulls out her iPhone and calls Bob. "Bryar," she says to his voicemail, "I give up. We need to tell your mom."
They take Linda out to dinner and wait until they're walking home to tell her. When they were planning it, that had seemed safest.
She stops dead in the middle of the street and Bob has to tug her over to the sidewalk. "Oh my god," she says, her eyes shining. "You two."
Bry shuffles her feet awkwardly. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you yesterday."
Linda cuts her off with a wave of her hand. "Don't worry about it. You though-," she turns and smacks Bob in the stomach. He oofs. "Did I teach you nothing about contraception."
Bob winces. "You did," he assures her, rubbing his belly. "It was scarring."
Linda looks between them. "Why didn't I know you were dating?"
Bob spends a lot of time around his mom blushing. Normally, Bry finds this hilarious. "Because we're not?" he says.
Linda smacks him again. He makes an exaggerated ow face. "Why on Earth not? Girls like Bry don't come around often, you know?"
It's Bry's turn to blush.
"Yeah," Bob says, awkward and uncomfortable. He rubs the back of his neck and looks away. "I know, Mom."
Bry knew My Chemical Romance were going places from the first time she heard their demo. As a tour manager, demos regularly came her way but My Chem's was one of the few that really made her sit up and listen. It was just a shame that they weren't right for her.
When Bry thought about her post-touring future, she always imagined herself crusading for truth, justice, and girls in the music scene. She'd picture herself managing female artists and female bands because that was where her passion lay, showing that girls had a place in the scene and a right to take it up. If My Chem had had just one girl in their line-up, she would have given serious thought to getting off the road for them.
Still, she liked them and, when she played their demo to The Used, so did they, so it made sense to invite them on tour; even if she couldn't take them on, she knew people who would and she wanted to play some part in their future.
They had a good sound: they were old school like she hadn't heard in a while, their tunes were catchy and they had a lot of energy.
Then, three shows into the tour, Gerard, their lead singer who oozed a sort of clumsy, disjointed stage presence, pointed to a girl down by the barrier and told her to put her shirt back on.
"Your breasts are lovely," he said and somehow managed not to sound like a creep, "But none of us up here need to see them." He raised his voice. "Ladies, if a band wants to see your tits before they'll play you a song, are you sure it's really a song you want to hear?"
Bry blinked. Huh. Interesting.
They weren't hard to find after. They were sprawled over a couple of picnic benches, smoking and drinking beer, all except the singer who was smoking and downing coffee like one was oxygen and the other was elixir.
"Hey," Bry said, leaning her hip against a slice of free bench. "Good set."
Ray, the guitarist with all the hair, looked up and smiled. "Thanks," he said, nodding.
She didn't get any more from them than that so she rolled her eyes internally and tried again. "So we haven't really had a chance to talk yet. You guys been playing long?"
"Not that long." Ray again. Maybe the others were mute.
"Okay," she said, walking around the table until she was face-to-face with Gerard. "I know you can talk."
He blinked at her, lowering his mug. His eyes were bloodshot but sparked with adrenaline from their set. "Sorry?" he said.
Bry smiled – the smile with all her teeth, the one she'd learned from Bert. "I like your sound; you're good."
He smiled at her, looking pleased. "Can I ask you something?" he said, beckoning her closer.
She didn't come closer but she nodded. "Sure?"
"How do you deal with the sexism inherent in the music business?" Down the table, someone groaned.
"Um," Bry said, "I just get on with it?"
Overall, her first conversation with Gerard Way was pretty similar to the same kind of conversations she was still having with Gerard Way, nearly a decade later. He was interesting, painfully idealistic, but interesting. He'd clearly read a lot of gender theory and taken it to heart.
"I went into school in drag once," he told her, "It really opened my eyes to the way women are treated by society, you know?"
Bry looked him up and down, taking in his big, serious eyes, and pale, delicate features. Yeah, she could imagine how society had treated him if he'd managed to make a convincing girl.
"And that's awesome," she told him, "But I live that every day, dude. I cannot be making big, gender-defining statements every day. I'd burn out."
Gerard didn't look even slightly put-off. "You are a gender-defining statement, just doing what you do." He was beaming at her like she'd done something to make him personally proud of her. "And, like, that's what we want to do. With the band? Be a voice for people who don't get to have their voices heard yet."
Bry couldn't help it; she could feel herself being won over.
"Fuck," Bry sighed to Bob later that day. "Fuuuuck."
Bob laughed at her. Because he was an asshole. "They're good, huh?"
She rolled over and threw a handful of grass at him. "They're really good. And they're fighting for the same shit that I want to fight for. It's like-." She narrowed her eyes. "It's like someone took them to one side and told them all the things to say that would win me over. You didn't, right?"
Bob just looked at her. "Oh yeah, sure, because I have that kind of spare time." He cracked open another beer and passed it to her. "You want to manage them, Schechter; I can see it in your eyes."
She ignored the beer in favour of putting her hands over her eyes. "Fuck me, but I do."
It was totally screwing with her life plan, but it was true.
Bry went looking for Gerard around their van later, but the only person there, tucked into the backseat, was Mikey Way.
"Hey," she said, "I was looking for your brother?"
Mikey shook his head. "They've all gone out."
She hadn't really spoken to Mikey much yet but it seemed wrong to leave someone sitting alone in a van in the mostly dark. "You okay?"
He shrugged but nodded.
"Want some company?"
This time he just shrugged. That was pretty much all the encouragement Bry needed, so she sat down on the opposite end of his bench.
"Do you want to manage us?" Mikey asked after a couple of minutes of silence.
Bry opened her mouth to automatically deny but said, "I'm thinking about it," instead.
Mikey smiled slightly. "Gee started the band," he told her, "It's his baby." He swivelled around to face her. "If you convince me, I can probably convince him."
For a second, she thought he meant convince him, in the euphemistic sense involving her mouth and his cock, and she was about to walk the fuck out, but then she noticed how his eyes slid over her, like he hadn't noticed she had a rack at all.
"Okay," she said and started to tell him about her plans.
Bry had no idea it was nearly morning until Frank and Gerard came banging back into the van, letting in milky, dawn light. Their eyes tracked over Bry and Mikey, now shifted together in the middle of the back bench. Gerard's eyes widened but Frank smirked.
"Bry and I were talking about music," Mikey said. He'd brightened up as the hours wore on, the trace of melancholy from earlier gone, as he told her about his job at Eyeball and their reluctance to sign to a label and their lack of a manager – Bry tried to stay poker-faced when she heard that. She hadn't meant to want this band, but she really kind of did.
"Talking," Frank said, nodding slowly, meaningfully, and Bry could see what he was thinking.
"Yeah, fuck you, no," she said, standing up and stretching, shuffling forwards until they were toe to toe. Frank was about her height, she could totally take him.
"Frankie," Gerard said warningly, looking between them with a foggy, morning-after expression. To Bry he added, "We don't need a manager. But thank you."
"You don't want a manager," Bry told him, tearing her eyes away from Frank and stepping back. She picked up her jacket and shrugged it on. "But you do need one." She pulled out her card, grimacing a little when she saw it was one of the ones Bert had stolen and drawn on when she first got them printed. She didn't trust any of the band not to lose it, so she stuck it to the window instead.
Master Post | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four