Monica begins to open up to Alicia. A phone call upset Gerard.
Ray laughed, “Nope, we didn’t.”
“Plan what?” Monica asked. Neither of the men had seen her walking towards them.
Ray truly wished she hadn’t overheard their conversation. He was sure Christa wanted to tell Monica herself but he could see no way out of it now. “Christa and I are gonna have another baby.”
Monica was shocked. “Christa didn’t tell me.”
“Actually we just found out for sure before we left the house.” Ray admitted. “I’m sure she was going to tell you soon.”
“Yeah.” Monica nodded. “I’m sure she was.” She forced a smile, “Anyway, that’s great news.”
Ray laughed, “Yeah, it is. She was worried I’d be upset because of the timing but I told her it didn’t matter. I think its just Fates way to telling us it’s time.”
“I think you’re right.” Monica felt a headache beginning. “So I just came to tell you Gee is gonna start grilling soon.”
Frank watched Monica as she talked. He had to agree with what Gee had said earlier. She wasn’t herself. Her smile was forced, her eyes sad. “So where’s my wife?” He asked.
“In the kitchen.” Monica answered. She turned and walked across the yard to greet Don and Donna.
“Shit, I thought Christa would have told her as soon as we got here.” Ray said softly.
Jamia, Christa and Alicia left the kitchen and walked out onto the deck.
“Mommy.” Chloe yelled. “Lookie.” She was being pushed on the swing by Luke.
“Hold on tight.” Christa yelled across the yard.
“Otay.” Chloe answered before telling Luke to push her higher.
Christa turned to her friends, “So I was gonna tell you all earlier…I’m pregnant.”
“Holy shit.” Alicia said moving to give her a hug. “That’s great.”
Jamia nodded. “How far along?” She asked.
They moved to sit down in the wrought iron chairs. “I’m not sure. I just did a home pregnancy test right before we came here.” Christa answered. “Ray insisted on running to the store and getting one.”
“I didn’t realize you guys were trying for another baby right now.” Alicia said.
Christa laughed, “Neither did we. Actually this baby is another surprise.”
“Timing will be kinda rough.” Jamia said “But you know you’ve got all of us to help.”
Mikey wandered up the deck steps with Ryan on his shoulders. “He wants his mama.” He said helping his son down. Once Ryan’s feet were on the ground he quickly crawled up on his mom’s lap.
Alicia kissed her son’s cheek. “How come you’re not playing with Rush?” She asked.
Ryan laid his head on her shoulder. It was obvious the little boy was tired.
“I’m guessing he didn’t take a nap.” She said looking at Mikey.
He shook his head, “Mom said she tried to get him to lay down but he didn’t sleep.”
Alicia rolled her eyes. “That’s not good.”
“So did Ray tell you our news?” Christa asked Mikey.
“I haven’t talked to him I’ve been talking to mom and dad. What news?”
“We gonna have another baby.” Christa said with a smile.
Mikey laughed, “Cool. Did Alicia tell you our news?”
Jamia and Christa gave Alicia a shocked look.
“What news?” Jamia asked.
Alicia smiled, “Mikey and I are gonna try for another baby.”
“You guys told us that you were happy with one.” Jamia reminded her.
“Yeah, but you could always tell she wasn’t being honest.” Christa put in.
Mikey shook his head, “How come I couldn’t tell that?”
The three women laughed, “Cause you’re a guy.” Christa said giggling.
Monica talked to Donna for a bit after Don went in search of his oldest son but her headache was getting worse. She told Donna she was going to go help Gee but really planned on taking two aspirins. Everything was annoying her today and she decided to blame it on the headache. That had to be the reason she'd just snapped at Kelly when she said that she and Luke were going to Luke's to get a Frisbee. Kelly and Luke were just trying to be helpful and keep the kids happy. So why had she gotten angry? Monica sighed. ‘It was just the headache, nothing else,’ she tried to convince herself. She was in the kitchen when Alicia walked in holding Ryan.
“Hey, can I lay him down for a nap?” Alicia whispered. Ryan’s eyes were already getting heavy.
Monica nodded. “Sure. Just let me put Rush's playpen in the living room. That way if he wakes up he won’t be scared. I’m afraid if you put him down upstairs he might wake up and not know where he is.”
Alicia agreed. She carried Ryan into the living room and sat with him on the sofa and waited for Monica to return. Monica appeared and quickly assembled the playpen, placing it out of the flow of traffic but still easily seen from the kitchen. Alicia put the now sleeping Ryan inside. But true to contrary babies everywhere, instead of settling down he awoke and started to fuss. Alicia sighed, sitting on the ground and quietly cooing to him until his eyes closed again. Monica stood back watching the touching scene.
When she was sure he was asleep Alicia stood, and walked with Monica back into the now deserted kitchen. “Monica, Gee says you’ve not been eating.” Alicia didn’t beat around the bush.
At first Monica didn’t answer. She walked over to the counter and looked out the window. Outside in the sunlight her friends and family were enjoying the day. She wished with all her heart she was too. “Did you know Christa is pregnant?” She asked without turning around.
Alicia knew she hadn’t answered her question but there was something in the way Monica had just asked her own question that troubled her. “Yeah, she told us.”
“How come she didn’t tell me?” Monica asked softly. “I thought I was part of the group.”
Alicia was shocked, “Of course you are. Shit, she just told Jamia and I a few minutes ago.” She walked over and touched Monica’s arm. “What the hell is going on with you? You know you’re a part of our group.”
Monica continued to stare out the window.
“Hey” Alicia said, “Please talk to me.”
“I’m not eating cause I’ve gained weight.” Monica blurted out. “I mean it’s bad enough I’m older than Gee but I don’t want the fans to call me his old, fat wife.”
“Oh holy shit, Monica. You’re worried about gaining a few pounds? Look at you. You’re beautiful.”
Turning to face her Monica shook her head, “I’m not but so many women who want my husband are.”
Alicia was glad Monica was finally opening up but her words were shocking. “Monica, Gee loves you. He doesn’t want anyone else.”
Monica sighed, “Maybe not now but in a few years he might. I’m pushing fucking 40” she whispered.
Alicia was about to speak when the door slid open and Gee entered the kitchen.
“I forgot to take out the fruit salad.” He said not knowing he was interrupting their conversation.
Monica stood taller and pushed the unhappy thoughts from her mind. “I’m guessing Elle reminded you?”
Gerard laughed, “Yeah, she loves watermelon.”
Monica crossed to the refrigerator and pulled out the bowl. “I’ll take it outside.”
She had just walked out when the phone rang.
“Hey can you get that?” Gerard asked Alicia. “I’ve got to get back to the grill.”
“Sure.” Alicia picked up the receiver. “Hello”
“Hello, Monica.” A male voice greeted her.
“Uh, this is Alicia. Let me get her.”
“Oh, she’s probably in the middle of the party. I forgot it’s today. Just tell her Paul called, okay?”
Gerard, who needed another plate of hamburger patties walked back in as Alicia was hanging up the phone. “Who was it?” He asked as he pulled open the refrigerator door.
“It was for Monica.” Alicia answered hoping he wouldn’t press for more information. She hadn’t known Monica had kept in touch with Paul.
“Okay, and it was?” Gerard asked noticing a strange look on her face.
Alicia tried to sound nonchalant, “Paul.”
“Paul?” It was clear Gerard was surprised.
“Yeah.” Alicia moved towards the deck. She was relieved when she made it outside. It had been obvious to her that Gerard wasn’t happy about the call. “Shit” she muttered to herself. She spotted Monica sitting with the kids at the picnic table watching over them as they ate. Moving in that direction she suddenly stopped. Quickly she scanned the yard for Jamia and Christa. She needed to talk to them.
“Mom wants another burger.” Mikey told his brother while holding out a plate.
“Yeah, okay.” Gerard answered. “It will be just a minute.”
Mikey looked at him closely, “Something wrong?”
Gerard glanced around to make sure no one was listening. “A few minutes ago Monica got a call from that doctor she used to work for.”
“Yeah, him.” Gerard nodded.
“So?” Mikey wasn’t sure what his brother was getting at.
“So, why did he call?” Gerard asked as he opened the lid of the grill and began flipping the burgers.
Mikey could see his brother was upset. “I’m not following. What did he want?”
“I don’t know.” Gerard answered. He closed the lid of the grill and reached for his cigarettes.
“Did you ask Monica?”
Gerard shook his head, “She didn’t talk to him. He called and your wife answered.”
“Okay Gee, you’ve lost me.”
Taking a deep drag off his cigarette Gerard thought a moment. “What if I’ve been wrong? What if the problem isn’t that I’ve been gone?”
Mikey slowly began to understand, “Fuck, you don’t think Monica has been seeing Paul. Come on. That’s just stupid.”
Gerard’s eyes searched the yard until they found Monica. “I don’t know what to think anymore.”
AURTHORS NOTE: First off I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to review this story. It touches my heart to read your words. Thank you for staying with this story for so long. There are only 2 more chapters to go. Next chapter on Monday.