"I don't know. It feels like we should tell them." Gerard bit the right corner of his bottom lip. Frank shook his head.
"No, Gerard. What they don't know won't hurt them." Gerard took the key that hung around his neck in his hand. Outside cars were driving by and a teenage girl walked her black lab on the sidewalk across the street. Frank closed his eyes and put his free hand on his chest where he could feel through his shirt the padlock the hung around his own neck.
"Anyway. It would mess everything up. We can tell them later."
"But, Frankie, I want to be able to talk about it in public, and you were so excited earlier."
"Gerard, you know Lindsey and Jamie won't like it, we have babies at home."
Gerard pouted and threw his hands in the air. "Lindsey doesn't control me." He crossed his arms across his chest and watched the teenage girl walk her dog around a corner. "I want to be able to do that!" he said pointing at her.
Frank glanced outside and nodded. "I know, me too." A soft whimper came from the back door. Gerard stood up and went to open the sliding screen. He picked up a fist-sized ball of fur and slid the door shut again before he walked over to Frank. He set the puppy down on Frank's chest. It toddled up his shirt and licked his chin. Frank smiled and rubbed the puppy's head.
"She still needs a name," Frank said. "We should name her soon."
"Not if I can't tell anyone about her. If she has a name I won't be able to keep her a secret."
"What if her name was Secret?" Both men looked at her. She was sitting on Frank's chest wagging her entire body because she didn't have much of a tail yet.
"Secret. I like that. That could be nice. I still want to tell people."
"Just wait a week. Then we can tell." Frank put Secret on the floor and she ran to Gerard's black sneakers that were under the chair he had been sitting in earlier. She jumped inside of one and couldn't get herself back out. Gerard gently picked her from the shoe and carried her over to a cage with a padded dog bed covered with a blanket inside. He locked her inside and sat back in his chair.
"I guess I can keep Secret a secret." Gerard grinned at Frank just before his phone's most obnoxious ring tone went off: I Want Candy. "It must be Lindsey." Gerard flipped open his phone and walked toward the front door. "Hey babe...No, I just left Frank's. I'll be there soon." He turned to wave good-bye to frank and left with a wink.
Frank woke up hours later to Secret's chirping. He sat up and looked around. His old apartment was grungy and the walls weren't white anymore after all the years he spent blowing coarse smoke through the rooms, but it still felt like home. Jamia didn't exactly like that he still had it, but they used it as a practice space and he always crashed there after gigs that went a little too late so as not to wake up Lily and Cherry, his two baby daughters. Secret started whining louder. Frank pulled himself from under the blanket that he didn't remember getting and crept off the couch and over to Secret's cage. He unhooked the latch on the door and she pushed herself out before running to the door. She tripped over her small legs three times before sliding face-first into the back door. Frank giggled at her before letting her out. The yard was only a few feet wide, just enough room for two, or three if you needed, people to stand out and take a smoking break. A rusty chain-link fence kept Secret from running somewhere she shouldn't. Frank turned around and went to the kitchen to get her more food and water. He left the door open for her tom come back inside. He yawned and scratched a fresh tattoo on his stomach. Secret bumped into his foot and looked up at him. Frank reached down to pick her up and carried her to her full food and water bowls.
"Maybe I'll get a tattoo of you next. That would be manly. And Lily and Cherry wouldn't be jealous at all, yet. Plus Jamie would love it," Frank sarcastically said to Secret. He checked his phone for the time. "Better get home. Gerard will be here in the morning." After Secret went outside one last time, Frank put her back in the cage and locked the apartment door behind him to go home to his wife and daughters.
Everything was how it should have been. Frank was at his apartment on his old grayish-brown couch and Gerard sat across from him on the edge of a wooden chair. His legs were bouncing up and down as he stared at his palms. Frank had one arm behind his head so he could see Gerard. A few clean, but well worn, feet of carpet were between them.