What could happen on a trip to the zoo, read and find out!!
I look in the mirror still not sure if this is the one, it’s the third outfit I tried on. I’m not even sure where we’re going only that Bob just said to keep it casual. I can’t help but feeling like such a nervous wreck. Today will be the second most important day of my life. Two weeks ago when Bob told me that I was going to be spending time with my daughter was one of the best days of my life. Finally everything is going my way. I’m engaged to the most wonderful man in the world, I’m finally going to get to spend some one on one time with my daughter who’ve I had to give up not once but twice. Once when she was just a newborn and then last year when Joanna made me quit my job. I missed seeing her every day of school. I missed how my heart soared every time she walked into that office. I missed our little talks after a session of kids teasing her. I tried my best to relate but I can’t. I was never teased, no I was the one doing the teasing, and I guess I still am.
Bob hasn’t really spoken to me since I told him about my engagement. I can understand why, telling him about my engagement to Gee wasn’t really one of my brightest ideas. I felt like shit after seeing how I hurt him once again. And once again despite everything he showed me how amazingly sweet he is. It’s been hard for Gee and I not seeing each other and keeping our relationship a secret from everyone. One day he found me in tears after reading a txt from Gerard, my heart ached so much from not seeing him, and having to keep it all a secret. The txt said how much he loved me and was thinking about how soon the three of us would be a family. He also wrote that he just stares for hours of the picture he drew of me my first day back. It really got to me, then suddenly I hear Bob’s voice all it says was ‘Let’s go.’ I was suspicious at first but then knew the route all too well that he was driving. He brought me over to Gee and Ray’s, when I asked him why he said ‘he just wanted to see me happy.’
I hope more than anything when this is all over he’ll find himself a really nice girl to settle down with and have some kids of his own.
I heard a knock on the door, “Are you almost ready?”
“Yeah.” I looked in the mirror one last time. I’m not really satisfied with my khaki shorts, white tank top and an open white dress shirt over it. But what can I do Bob’s waiting. I had my hair in a ponytail but decided to rip out the holder and let my down showing off my curls. One last primp than I got my pocketbook and headed to the door.
I watched how Bob’s face lit up as I made my way down the stairs. I reached the bottom and he smiled at me and kissed me on the cheek, “You look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I don’t know why it was important to me that he thought I looked beautiful. “You look beautiful too?”
He batted his eyelashes playfully, “Really, it must be my new mascara.”
I couldn’t help but break out laughing. He knew how to break the tension I was feeling.
“So what’s your fiancée doing today?” he asked with no maliciousness at all. I think he’s finally accepted that Gee and I were meant to be together.
He smiled as he opened the kitchen door leading to the garage. We got into his jeep and started to head north into the city.
“Do you really think I look alright?”
“Of course you do, you don’t need to be nervous, she loves you. It’s me she hates.”
“She just needs to realize you’re not here to destroy her family, just give her a better life.”
“But aren’t I here to destroy her family?”
“Bob what she has right now isn’t a family, and today we’ll show her that.”
Bob looked at me a little more optimistic and smiled, “That we will.”
“So where are we going?”
“It’s a surprise.”
We headed towards Long Island to the court house where Bob and I were to pick up Emily along with being followed in a car that will have the judge, their lawyer, Joanna and someone from protective services. I feel like we’re under a bubble. But if the supervised visits go well maybe soon we can have unsupervised visits. Our goal today is for Emily to see Bob for who he truly is; a really nice guy.
As we pulled into the courthouse I saw a group standing by two cars. There I saw my daughter she looked so beautiful. Bob parked next to the two cars and we got out. I was shaking so badly. When we approached everyone Emily had her head down not, she seemed so unhappy.
“Hi there Emily,” I said as I tried to fight the tears.
She looked up at me and smiled then flew into my arms and gave me a huge hug. I held on to her as tight as I could for as long as I could.
“I missed you Miss Johnson.”
“I’ve missed you too.”
“You have curly hair like me, but yours is prettier.”
I couldn’t help but smile at her, “I think yours is very beautiful, don’t you think so Bob?”
“Very. How are you doing Emily?”
“Miss Johnson your hair got really long since last year,” she said totally ignoring Bob’s question.
“Yeah it’s been awhile. You can call me Alyssa we’re not in school anymore.” I looked up at the defeated look on Bob’s face. He told me it was bad but I never realized he wasn’t exaggerating. “Emily, your uncle asked you a question, it would be very rude if you didn’t answer back.”
“I’m sorry,” she looked straight at me with those blue eyes apologizing. It seemed the last thing she wanted to do was disappoint me. However I wanted the apologizing eyes to go to Bob.
“Not to me, Emily.”
I watched as she walked up to Bob with her head bent down. “I’m sorry for being so rude, Uncle Bob. I’ve been fine.”
I watched as Bob lifted her chin with his forefinger and their blue eyes met. “It’s okay you were excited about seeing Alyssa.”
He made my heart melt just watching the scene unfold. He’ll be a good father someday.
“We ready to go?” Bob asked the two of us.
“Where are we going?” asked Emily.
“It’s a surprise,” smiled Bob.
“Alyssa?” Emily asked me.
“I have no idea, he won’t even tell me.”
Before we got in Bob got a booster seat from the back, I don’t think I would have even thought of that. Sometimes the man amazes me. We climbed in and he smiled at me then started the engine.
Emily started talking about this year at school. How the other kids teased her, especially this one girl. I watched the expression on Bob’s face was it bringing back memories, memories how we treated him back then. I felt heartbroken for the little girl behind me and also for the man next to me. It was tough since Gerard and our gang was behind most of his hurt.
“Remember Emily, no one’s better than you. Even if it hurts so bad, don’t let them know it.” I knew he was talking about us, “They’re just doing it for attention and if you act like you don’t care they’ll stop.”
“What if they don’t stop?” asked our daughter.
“Then fight back, I wish I did.”
I leaned against the window and watched the blur of signs go by, not from the speed of the car, but from my tears. I could still hear the pain in his voice. Suddenly I felt the warmth of his hand on mine and he squeezed it.
“Besides you never know in years to come you might be friends.”
I looked at him and gave a slight smile. I started to notice the signs as Bob made his way through traffic. If I was right about where we were going he was going to make one of my childhood dreams come true. I read Bronx Zoo next right and couldn’t help but peak over and see that his right directional was on. I looked in back and there was Emily all smiles she understood too that our destination was the zoo.
When I looked and through the rearview window, I couldn’t help but notice the car behind us with what would be spectators criticizing everything we did.
Bob parked the car and we got out and headed toward the gate. I was holding Emily’s hand and we both were all smiles. We got to the ticket office and Bob ordered six adults and one child.
“I can pay for mine and Emily’s,” I said to ease the cost.
He looked at me and motioned to the people behind us. I understood perfectly what serious couple goes dutch on an outing.
“Thanks honey,” I said loud enough for our entourage to hear.
“No problem. Emily don’t you have something to say to Bob?” She looked at me weird. “Like thank you.”
“Thanks,” she said barely looking at him.
I mouthed ‘sorry’ to him.
The first place we were going to stop at was the Congo Gorilla Forest. Before we even got in we watched some dancers doing a native African dance, it was amazing. After a little bit we headed to where we could watch the gorillas. I held Emily’s hand while we stepped up to the piece of glass that separated us from the wild beasts. You never knew that they were wild they seemed so peaceful as we watched them. Bob noticed a mother holding her baby, and we both went ‘Awww.’ It was then I noticed the camera that Bob brought, he was snapping away at the apes. As we walked through the exhibit Bob was trying to make Emily smile by beating his chest and acting like a gorilla, but she just rolled her eyes, shook her head and walked in another direction.
Next was the African Plains, we saw wild dogs and then the giraffes. We saw a baby giraffe staying near it’s mother. She had beautiful long eyelashes. Next area we went to was the zebras. I never saw anyone so excited in my life, Bob just started spewing facts that no one in their right mind should know. He must have taken about thirty pictures of them I think he may be a tad obsessed with the striped animal. It really was cute though. After that we made our way to the gazelles.
“Can I take a couple of pictures of them?” I asked. I knew this was Gee’s favorite animal and I wanted him to know I was thinking of him. We carried on until we made our way to the lions. They were so beautiful, and like so many animals already on this tour they had a lion cub.
“Look, she’s just like a kitten,” said Bob, “a very big kitten. How would you like to have that as a pet?”
“I don’t like cats,” said Emily. I knew this was a lie she told me often how she wished she had a cat, but they didn’t want to scare her mother’s prized Chihuahua.
We made our way through other parts of the zoo and though Emily seemed to be having a good time every time Bob tried to engage her into a conversation she would cut him off.
We came back to the main entrance of the park where there was a place to eat, while Bob went to order I decided to have a talk with Emily about her behavior towards Bob.
“Are you having a good time?” I asked.
“I think it was really nice of Bob to bring us here. You know when I was little I always wanted to come here. I told Bob once and he remembered.”
“How long ago was that?”
“We were teenagers.”
“And he remembered that long ago?”
“It wasn’t that long ago,” I said while I tickled her.
She just giggled.
“Why don’t you like Bob? He’s really a nice person.”
“You don’t seem to like him too much.”
“Well you’re supposed to love each other, but you don’t show it.”
“Honey we show it in different ways.”
“Mommy and Daddy kiss and hold hands.”
“You don’t think I love Bob because we don’t kiss or hold hands?”
“You guys are more like friends.”
“Well friendship is very important in a relationship. The best relationships start out as friends. Now back to my original question, why don’t you like Bob?”
“Mommy is sad all the time and Daddy gets mad when he hears his name.
I’m afraid if I like him they won’t love me anymore.”
My poor baby, “How about when you’re with us you can like Bob, and you just don’t tell them you like him.”
“But isn’t that lying? Shouldn’t we always tell the truth?”
I thought about the secret that Bob, Ray and I were keeping from Gee, “Sometimes we tell little lies and keep secrets to protect the ones we love. If they don’t ask, don’t say anything, but if they do, say ‘he’s okay’.” I can’t believe I was telling an eight year old girl to lie to her parents, but I need her to like Bob. The courts will never turn her over if she didn’t like him, at least not until we get the proof that there was abuse.
I see Bob come strolling back with our food, and I look at him and smile. He sits down between me and Emily, and I stand up, “Will you excuse me, I need to go to the ladies room. Do you have to go too Emily?”
“No, I’ll stay here with Bob.”
Bob looked surprised that the little girl that hated him so much was willing to stay with him instead of going with Alyssa, even if she didn’t have to use the restroom.
Bob looked at Emily and smiled weakly, “Are you having a good time?” he asked as he passed a hot dog to her.
“Yeah, I loved the lion cub the best.”
“I thought you hated cats?”
“My mom just won’t allow me to have one. I’m sorry I lied to you.”
“If it’s alright with Lys maybe we can go get one that we keep at her house when you come and visit.”
“You guys don’t live together?”
“I meant our house.”
“Do you love her?”
“Yeah, a whole bunch,” Bob said as he ate a fry.
Emily looked at Bob with a smirk and took a bite of her hot dog.
“I’m back,” I smiled at the both of them. They definitely seemed to be getting along better.
“I hope you washed your hands, like you always told me.”
I smiled at my daughter and then tickled her, “Of course I did.”
I finally drew my attention to the clear container in front of me, “Chicken Caesar, my favorite.” I turned toward Bob’s direction, “You’re so good to me.”
Suddenly Emily was tapping her fork against her water bottle.
“What are you doing?” I asked, somehow knowing what the answer was going to be.
“I saw this at a wedding I went to, whenever they wanted the bride and groom to kiss, they would tap their glass with the silverware.”
“We’re not a bride and groom,” I said matter of factly.
She shot right back at me, “This isn’t a wine glass and silverware.”
“You’re not going to stop are you?” I asked in exasperation.
I looked in Bob’s eyes and read two things, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but I also knew that he wanted to more than anything. I looked around and saw the vultures casually looking over here. It wouldn’t kill to show a little affection, besides it’s not like Gerard would ever find out. Besides it was all for the greater good. I leaned in and could smell his sweat it didn’t smell horrible or anything it smelled of him. I looked in his eyes as I slowly closed in. Before my lips got to his I could feel his on mine, soon I could feel his tongue against my bottom lip and my mouth gave in letting it enter. I hate that he was such a fucking good kisser. My heart began racing and all too soon it was over. As we broke apart I could hear loud cheering. I bent my head down in embarrassment.
I was truly embarrassed when someone walked up to a couple at the table in front of us saying, “Congratulations.”
“Why here?” For the first time I noticed that the man had a microphone.
“We first met at this table, the zoo was packed and I asked her and her niece if me and my niece could share a table. We’ve been together ever since.”
I turned to Bob, and gave a weak smile. “I wish Gerard and I could be so open about our engagement. I just need to get Emily back and far away from Bob as possible and it will all be okay. I have to get my feelings for him in check, because in the end I don’t love him and don’t want to hurt him anymore. In the end it will always be Gerard that I love and want to spend the rest of my life, however short, with.
“Give me a fucking break Toro, you Tivoed the news?” The guy is such a fucking nerd.
“I like to keep up with current events.”
“He can’t be serious Gee?” I asked.
“Oh yeah it’s a ritual after band practice and you guys have gone home.”
“Glad I’m missing out on this fun.”
I watched and almost fell asleep when the anchor came on, “News reporter Dave Fletcher was sent to the zoo to report on the explosion of baby animals however found an additional story.”
“Your right Tanya. It seems we were set-up to interview some people about their thoughts on all the baby animals this year and our film caught this.”
I watched as a man got down on his knees, but it was what was going on in the background that caught my attention. I wasn’t the only one that noticed either. I could see that Gee was holding a pillow tighter and tighter. I guess he’s not as okay with Bob and Alyssa being together as he made out to be.
Once it got hot and heavy Gee threw the pillow at the tv and ran to the kitchen with Toro in tow. I quietly followed, and listened.
“We’re engaged for two fucking weeks and already she’s making out with Bryar.”
“Gee I’m sure there’s more to the story.”
I stood there in shock, engaged? We all thought they were broken up and she was seeing Bob. What the fuck?
“She loves you man. She can’t wait until this is all over so you two can start making proper plans.”
“Then why’d she kiss Bryar like that?”
“Think about it Gee, I mean those people are watching their every move. Maybe they needed to prove that they were a couple.”
“You’re right it makes sense. I’m acting stupid and jealous again, I promised myself I wouldn’t do that anymore. I guess I fucked up again, it’s just I don’t want to lose her again.”
“Especially to Bob?”
“Especially to anyone, you remember what a mess I was when I lost her last time. I love her so much more than I did then.”
I couldn’t fucking take anymore of this bullshit, so I let myself be known.
“You and Lys are still fucking together. You fucking lied to us?”
“It had to be this way,” Gee said calmly. “We didn’t want anyone to have to lie.”
“So who the fuck knows?”
“Only Bob and Ray, even Mikey doesn’t know and I’d like it to be kept that way for now.”
“It figures another secret between Bob, Ray and Alyssa.”
Gee looked bewildered as did Ray. “What the fuck are you talking about?” asked Gee. Good I hit a sore spot.
“You want to tell him your secret or shall I Ray?”
“It doesn’t matter Matt!” shouted the usually calm Ray Toro.
Gee looked at me, “Fucking tell me.”
I just smiled and started to open my mouth when I heard the door open. I turned around and smiled. This day could not get any better.
Gee eyed the newly arrived guests along with his roommate. “Now that you’re all here, I want to know what’s the secret you’re all are keeping?”