Friday night and the realization of what he's done hits Gerard.
Monica smiled, "Baby, I missed you, too." She put down her bag and lifted Elle into her arms. For her actions she was rewarded with kisses.
"Dinner's ready." Kelly said from the kitchen doorway.
The flat tone of her voice broke Monica's heart. She understood how difficult this situation with Gerard was on her daughter. "Thanks, Honey." She answered. She walked towards the kitchen with Elle still in her arms.
Once they were seated around the table enjoying spaghetti Monica asked what the girls had done today. Elle happily told her they had gone to the park and for a walk with Luke. She excitedly told her that they had seen a big white cat that Frank hadn’t liked. Her childish enthusiasm touched Monica's heart. Kelly sat staring down at her plate not entering the conversation. Monica tried to draw her out.
"You and Luke have a date tonight?"
Kelly continued to stare at her plate. "He wants to go to a movie." She said quietly.
"That sounds like fun." Monica said.
Kelly shrugged. She truly didn't feel like doing anything.
"Kelly, don't pull away from Luke because of this." Monica said to her softly.
"I'm not." Kelly finally looked up. "He is the one good thing I still have in my life."
"You have me and your sisters." Monica reminded her.
"Kara is living in Chicago and..." Tears sprung to her eyes, "Who knows how long we'll have Elle."
Monica breath caught. She saw Elle look up, spaghetti sauce smeared on her face. It was clear she was confused by Kelly's remark.
"Kelly." Monica warned gently. "Don't think like that."
"I can't help it.' Kelly stood and ran from the room.
Elle looked over at Monica. Her bottom lip began to tremble. "Kewwee’s cwying." It was obvious she was about to cry too.
Monica stood and moved over to her. She kneeled down by her chair. "It's okay, Honey. Kelly is just having a bad day. We'll make sure she and Luke go out tonight. That will cheer her up."
Elle nodded, "Otay." She didn't sound convinced things were okay.
"And you and I can watch whatever movie you want tonight. How does that sound?"
"Otay." Elle whispered.
Monica stood and tried to smile. "We'll be okay. All of us." She realized she was trying to convince herself as much as she was trying to convince Elle.
Gerard drove not knowing where he was headed. He only knew he was trying to forget the scene that kept playing in his head. Seeing Monica with another man had cut him deep. Was Monica seeing him? Were they together now? It had looked to him that they were more than just friends. It has taken every ounce of willpower not to jump out of the car and pound the man when he'd touched her hair. "Fuck' he whispered. He knew he had no right to think like this. Monica was no longer his. She wasn't his fiancée. His anger had seen to that. His anger had destroyed his life.
As he drove along he tried to get his emotions under control. He tried to get his thoughts straight but he couldn't. She's really gone, the voice in his head kept taunting. She's now another part of your past that you will never be able to forget.
He was shocked when, without thinking, he pulled into the driveway of his house and killed the engine. He had nowhere else to go. He didn't belong here but then again, he didn't belong anywhere. With a heavy heart he opened the car door and made his way to the front door. It killed him to be at this house alone but he welcomed the pain. He knew he deserved this pain and he chose to drown himself in it.
"Sunshine, we don't have to go in if you don't want to." Luke said as they stood outside the movie theatre. He had already purchased the tickets but it didn't matter. He could see how sad she had become since earlier today. He knew that with each passing day that they didn’t hear from Gerard she was withdrawing more and more.
"I want to see the movie." She lied.
"It's okay, really." He said softly. "I understand if you just want to go home."
"No." Her voice was angry.” I don't want to go there. That's not my home. I hate that apartment."
Luke understood her anger but he didn't know what to do to help her. He stood silently watching her.
Kelly saw the look on his face and regretted her words. "I'm sorry." She whispered. "I don't mean to take this out on you. It's not your fault Gerard's a dick. I hate him so much."
He knew she didn't mean what she was saying. "Let's go." he took her hand and led her away from the theatre. Kelly allowed herself to be pulled along not caring what they did.
Monica and Elle were snuggled up on the sofa watching “The Little Mermaid.” Several times Elle had nodded off but when Monica tried to get up to move her to the bedroom she would awaken. Monica was once again sure Elle had fallen asleep when the little girls eyes opened and she asked the question that tore at Monica’s heart. “Whens mommy gonna get mes?”
Monica hugged Elle to her tightly. “Baby, I love you.” Monica whispered. She just couldn’t make herself lie to Elle again.
Elle hugged her tightly in return. “Mes wuvs youse.” Instead of asking the same question again she asked another that was just as heartbreaking.
“Whens wes going ome?”
“Baby, we are home.” Monica knew she needed to make her understand that the apartment was now home.
Elle shook her head. “No mes means ome with Dadgee. Dadgee told mes hes gonna come ome and wes gonna take Fwank to the pawk.”
Monica realized Gerard must have told her this when he talked to her on the phone at Donna’s. She was searching her mind how to explain to Elle when her phone rang. She got off the sofa and answered while Elle seemed to go back to watching the movie.
“Hi Monica.” Christa said, “Uh, I hope you don’t mind me calling.”
“Not at all.” Monica answered. “How are you?”
“I’m good, actually I’m very good. How are you?”
Monica forced a fake happiness into her tone, “I’m just fine. Elle and I are watching “The Little Mermaid.”
Christa wanted so badly to ask if she’d heard from Gerard but she was afraid the question would cause Monica pain if he hadn’t called. “So how’s the job going?” Christa asked.
“I really like it.” Monica answered. “The people there have been very nice to me.”
“That’s good.” Christa searched her mind for something to say. She really wanted to share her news about tomorrow with Monica but it seemed so wrong to do so when her friend was hurting so bad.
“Christa, he hasn’t called.” Monica said softly. “I know that’s what you’re wondering and it’s okay.” She moved into the kitchen where she could talk more freely.
“I’m so sorry.” Christa looked over at Ray who was listening to the conversation. He shook his head sadly.
Monica sighed, “I just have to make myself accept that his silence is actually speaking volumes. It’s over, really over and I need to accept that.”
“I don’t know what to say.” Christa admitted.
“There is nothing to say.” She took a deep breath and drew on all her inner strength. “So how is Ray? Have you two told your mom about the baby yet?”
“We did.” Christa said softly. “Ray was right, she was okay with it especially when he told her we were getting married soon.”
“Soon? Really? That’s great. When?” Monica was truly happy for her friends.
“Tomorrow.” Christa said softly.
Monica was surprised. “You’re getting married tomorrow?”
Christa felt so guilty talking about this right now. “We’re flying our families to Vegas and getting married there.”
“Oh.” Monica said, “That’s wonderful.” She closed her eyes and prayed for strength. In her mind she was remembering how she and Gerard had almost made it to Vegas to marry before the dog attack on Kelly and Luke. Would it have changed anything if they’d married, she wondered.
Christa looked over at Ray sadly. He understood. He took the phone from her hand and spoke to Monica. “Hey, Monica.”
Monica was blinking back tears, “Ray, good to hear your voice.”
“Monica I’m going to be honest. I have no fucking idea what’s going on with Gee. The last time I talked to him he was planning on coming home and talking to you. He said he wanted to fix things between the two of you.”
“He must have changed his mind.” Monica whispered sadly. She took a deep breath then continued. “Anyway, congratulations. I have to go now. Tell Christa I love her.” She added softly, “I love you too, Ray. You saved my life and I will never forget you.” She hung up the phone, sat down on the kitchen chair and lowered her head to the table.
Gerard was seated out on the deck staring into the darkness. For the past few hours he had been in the same spot trying to sort through his emotions. With a heavy heart he realized that Monica’s happiness meant more to him than anything in the world. He wanted what was best for her and even if that meant being with someone else he would accept that. A tear escaped his eye and silently made it’s way down his cheek. If only he could have been the man she had believed he was, if only….”