Tissa and Bob straighten things out.
“You my sweet, are going to see Gerard.”
“Geward?” She repeated.
“Yes.” I replied and her hands clapped together a couple times. The night had come sooner than I thought it would, and I asked Gerard to watch her since, well…cause he really doesn’t have a life. I had also questioned him of anyone being there, I haven’t quite gotten to the part of telling the rest of the guys about Bob and I , and I know for a fact Bob wasn’t going to. I also knew that Gerard wouldn’t exactly keep this from Mikey, his own brother, so I half expected Mikey to be there waiting to pounce on me and ask questions.
Since autumn made its way in and the breeze began to pick up, and the sun began to set earlier, much to my dismay, I zipped up both our jackets, praying Bob had something in mind that had heat. As for the talk, I had bits and pieces of what we would actually say. The obvious of course, but I knew the more bolder questions would be asked, and I still wasn’t sure if I could say yes. For now, I just tried to take things slow and let it sail.
The knock on the door slightly startled me, and I anxiously opened with a smile. Bob stepped through the door and hands rubbed together to create some kind of heat as the breeze flowed through the apartment complex.
“Hey.” He said softly as I welcomed him in and he stuck his hands in his pockets. His black attire clashing with the light from the room and his blue eyes seemed to glow.
“You look nice.” He said softly, and I looked down at my black skinny jeans, and at white dress top.
“Thank you.” I muttered.
“So where to?” He asked and I grabbed Asia’s things before calling her to the room, where her light up shoes stomped as she appeared.
“We’re taking her to Gerard’s.”
“Gerard’s?” He asked shocked. I nodded.
“Does Gerard know? And are you sure its safe to put him with a child, I mean he can’t even remember to wash his underwear sometimes…” I scoffed and laughed.
“He’s the only one that’s available, and he actually does have some babysitting under his belt. And yes, he does know.” I guiltily admitted. I had no other choice, and this couldn’t go on forever could it? Look what happened the first I tried to think that way. I could see Bob’s face drop, I held out my hands to prevent his stare.
“I’ll explain when we go okay?” He nodded and I nodded back assuring myself and looked down at Asia who had been staring at both of us confused.
“Are you ready?” I asked and she nodded. Bob subconsciously grabbed her things for me, including her car seat, and I gave a smile giving him the satisfaction as we walked out the door and into the cold, I put Asia’s hood over her head and she nuzzled into my side. I opened the door to the familiar black car, buckled the car seat in, Bob’s expression priceless, as he never really had one of these in his car. When I strapped Asia in and I hopped into the passenger’s side, the engine started and we drove off to the parking lot and onto the streets of Newark heading in Gerard’s direction. The hums of the radio filled the air, and ‘Stand in the rain’ came on, just as we had turned on to Desolation St. Gerard’s house was a lot clean looking that I though it would, the paint was nicely coated and the size of the house looked comfy and roomy. We pulled into the driveway, where Bob had that look on his face, basically saying he would wait in the car. It either he felt embarrassed of the situation, or he was afraid of what Gerard would say or think. I hope he knows that isn’t the case. I grabbed Asia’s hand and led her to the white door where I gave a couple small knocks. The door opened and Gerard’s smile appeared.
“Hey!” He cried happily and gave Asia a small wave.
“Hi, are you sure you can watch her?” I asked, Bob’s concern now rubbing of on me.
“Like a child loves candy! Of course I can watch her.” I smiled and Asia gave me a hug before running inside the house. When she was out of hearing sight, Gerard turned back to me and I shrugged reading his thoughts.
“So I’m guessing this is the night you work it out?”
“I guess.” I replied.
“Well I hope you do.”
“I’ll try. Just please make sure my child stays in one healthy piece. No sugar Gerard.” I warned.
“Relax it’s all good. What time will you be picking her up?”
“9 at the latest.” I replied and he nodded and I gave him the rest of her things.
“And please no horror movies.” I added and he laughed.
“Me? Never.” He said sarcastically and I shook my head and waved, before walking back to the car where Bob was thinking to his usual self.
“Where to now?” I asked and he looked at me.
“I think I know where…” He smiled and began to drive off, with me having no clue where we’re going since we went a completely different direction….
“Tony’s?” I asked as we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant. His smile appearing as I suddenly remembered the familiar place. Tephira.
“We always went for someone’s birthday.” I said softly and he nodded.
“The best birthday ice cream ever. There’s was never a time when the waiters held out on us on a song.” I giggled as it was true. Too many good memories had gone down at this place.
We walked into the restaurant, it was a small diner, but the nonetheless it brought you comfort. We got our table and waited for the waitress to come. Both of us thinking of where to even begin. I let him break the ice first.
“Thank you for the photo album, I really loved it.”
I smiled. “Took me a whole year to make it.” I replied.
“Well it looks very nice.” He said sweetly.
Silence, oh the silence.
“How long did Gerard know?” He suddenly mumbled and I bit my lip before responding.
“4 days before the party.” He nodded.
“So was he just going to hide this from me if I hadn’t come that night?” He asked somewhat bitterly and again it was taking a turn.
“Don’t bring to Gerard into this like that. Yes, I told him not to say anything, and I don’t know what would’ve happened if you hadn’t come to the party.”
“Obviously you wouldn’t have told me about Asia.” He retorted. I scoffed.
“Well I did tell you, and I sure as hell wasn’t planning on tell you so soon, but I did.”
“3 years later?” I glared.
“I’m not doing this here.” I warned him and I sat back in my seat when the waitress came. I ordered food, but I had already lost my appetite.
“I’m sorry.” He lamented and I looked up at him.
“I know you must think that I’m some kind of horrible person.”
“I could never think that.”
“Are you mad at me for this?” I whispered. He looked down.
“I was…but I’m in no position to be.”
“I did try, I hope you know that.” I replied.
“I do.” He nodded and things felt okay again…
“So what happened after high school with you? Besides the band, of course.” I asked him and he shrugged.
“Became a sound tech for certain bands, broke up with my parents, and the rest goes on.”
“Broke up with your parents?” I asked slightly confused. He smiled.
“That sounds wrong doesn’t it? I meant to say we don’t speak.”
“How come?” I sat straight up, fixing my posture.
“Disagreements on which direction I should take in life. They said college, I said music. They didn’t accept and basically told me I would fail, so I left.”
“I’m sorry, but you certainly proved them wrong.” I consoled.
“You think so?” He asked. I nodded.
“Yes.” I replied and he smiled. The food had come and I forced myself to eat some of it. The questions were asked, and we both answered truthfully. That’s when I began to realize that I had missed out on a great friend like Bob. I still don’t regret what happened, but I do regret us not being able to get a chance to be friends before that happened…
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure.” I replied as our feet made imprints on the mushy sand along the beach. We had left the diner with a smile, and I couldn’t help but notice it was staying on.
“Don’t take this wrong way, I’m just curious, why did you name her Asia?” He asked as we stopped and I laughed a little.
“I get that a lot. When I was 13 my parents took me on to vacation to Asia for two weeks. I remember being there and having the best time of my life, it just seemed so simple. Like nothing else mattered, ya know? I guess I picked it because it reminded me that good things can happen no matter how bad the situation is. Its my way of having peace. Asia is my peace.” I said softly and watched as his smile turned into an amazed one.
“Wow.” He replied and I nodded.
“I didn’t name her after a continent for no reason ya know.” I joked and He chuckled.
“I would hope not.” I giggled and he suddenly stood in front of me. My eyes met his icy blue eyes as he spoke.
“Look. I want to be there for you and her. I never thought I would reach this day, but life has so many surprises trust me, but I want to be in her life, and possibly your’s too. She’s my daughter and as a father, I need to be there. I always felt like a part of me was missing. Now I know why.” He spoke softly and I tried to find my breathing. This was real right?
“If you want to be.” I whispered and he nodded.
“More than anything.” He replied and I choked back tears and involuntarily I hugged him, thankful he didn’t pull away and it was then that I shed some tears and watch them disappear into his black jacket.
It was also then, that I realized that maybe all along I was foolish to have let this go on for so long. That maybe I was wrong for hiding it from him and that it completely changed me in both positive and negative ways. But I also knew that regardless of my insecurities, I couldn’t let that come between my daughter and the relationship they should’ve had a long time ago. Its just a shame it took me three years to finally realize it.
I pulled back and his thumb wiped down my cheek. I gave a soft smile and he did the same.
“Do you still hate me from that night?” He whispered.
“No.” I admitted.
“Good, cause I want to you know how that night changed me. I’ve never had a drink since.”
I smiled through my tears and hugged him once again, realizing just how much I missed having someone’s warm embrace. We walked back to the car and drove home in silence, but this was the good silence, the kind where no words were necessary. We talked with our thoughts. I couldn’t help but wonder that maybe, just maybe things would be just like I had pictured. I prayed that it would.
We turned on to Gerard’s street where we both climbed out of the car and walked to his door, Bob’s uneasiness had returned, but he ignored it. I knocked twice before I heard a voice and the door opened to reveal Gerard who looked nervous.
“Hey, you’re back.” His voice could not hide the fact that something was going on. I was about to question when Asia ran into my arms, her voice ringing in my ears, and it was only then I noticed what was wrong. I raised an eyebrow.
“Gerard, why is my child blue?” I pointed to my child who looked like a smurf.
“Yeeeah, about that…” He rubbed his neck and I looked behind him to see several containers of paint. I turned back to Bob who was shaking his head and I knew he was secretly telling me ‘I told you so.’
This was definitely the highlight of a confusing and loving night…