“H-Hi Daddy.” Samantha whispered.
“Monkey, what are you doing all the way over there by that door?” Gerard asked Samantha as Jared snuggled into Gerard‘s embrace.
“I don’t want to hurt you.” Samantha replied. Gerard laughed.
“You can’t hurt me. Come give me a hug.”
“Mommy say you sick.” Jared said, looking as concerned as a three-year-old can. Gerard smiled and shook his head.
“No, no. I was. I think I’m all better now.” Gerard explained as Samantha climbed onto the bed on the opposite side and hugged Gerard.
“Do you remember?” Bennie quietly asked as she stepped inside the door. Gerard looked up at her and found it hard to mask the shock he faced as he looked at her. Her long midnight black hair was now short and copper, and held out of her face with a headband. Her always impeccably done makeup was absent from her face. Most shockingly, her always sophisticated and very expensive wardrobe had seemingly been replaced by sweatpants and an old t-shirt.
“When- Your hair- You…” He stuttered. Bennie shook her head.
“I guess not.” She whispered, moving further into the room, staring at Gerard and their two children. “Don’t tell them. They don’t know.” Gerard nodded as Jared planted a kiss on his cheek. Gerard smiled and kissed him on his forehead.
“Why don’t you guys go ask Uncle Mikey to buy you some ice cream?” Gerard asked as he put Jared down.
“Yay!” Jared shouted as he ran over to the door. “Sissy! Lets go!” He begged Samantha who begrudgingly jumped down off the bed.
“Feel batter, Daddy.” she said before taking Jared’s hand and walking into the hallway with him. Gerard smiled after them for a moment before breaking into tears. He couldn’t remember his own son, who obviously adored him, and at that moment, very briefly, he wished that he had died.
“You really don’t remember anything?” Bennie asked, taking a seat in the chair across the room from Gerard. Gerard shook his head.
“No. I… I guess I dreamed up a life for myself while I was in the coma because when I woke up I thought we were still married.” He replied. Bennie stared blankly at Gerard for a moment, before her eyes filled with hate.
“What about Emma… Do you remember Emma?” She asked defensively. Gerard shook his head.
“Should I?” He asked. Bennie nodded emphatically.
“How about… Eliza?” She asked, anger becoming apparent in her posture and voice.
“The girl who cuts your hair?” He asked. Bennie nodded, cracking her knuckles. She rested her head in her hands and stared at the floor, composing herself.
“Do you remember anything about her besides that she used to cut my hair?” Bennie asked after five minutes of complete silence. Gerard shook his head. Bennie sighed deeply. “Do the names Emma and Eliza mean anything to you when you say them together?”
“Emma and Eliza… Emma… Eliza… Eliza and Emma… Should they mean something?” Gerard asked. Bennie nodded. “Well, what should they mean, Bennie?”
“Eliza is… She did cut my hair a while ago, you’re right… But Eliza is the reason we got a divorce, or rather I should say your feelings for Eliza are. You-” Bennie began, getting angrier with each word she said.
“No! I didn’t!” Gerard interrupted, suddenly even more horrified with himself.
“You did. You cheated on me with her and you got her pregnant. Emma is your daughter.” Bennie said, her voice dripping with hate. Gerard stared at her, eyes wide.
“I’m… I… Bennie…” Gerard stuttered. Bennie stared at him.
“I don’t know anything about either of them so don’t ask me. I don‘t know where they live, if you see them, anything.” Bennie spat. Gerard shook his head.
“Please stop, Bennie.”
“This is a lot to swallow-”
“A lot to swallow?! It’s a lot to swallow to hear about how you did it?! How do you think I felt five months pregnant, coming home from Christmas shopping and opening up a letter from her saying that she knows she had promised to stay away from you but just so you know she’s pregnant?! You think that was easy to swallow, Gerard?! Or maybe me screaming at you about it in front of our friends, and you assuring me that you had never even talked to her, and embarrassing me in front of everyone who means something to me is the part that was easy to swallow. Or maybe it’s about you telling me and telling me that she was obsessed with you and you had never even spent time with her alone, for two months. And another letter coming from her with a picture of the sonogram and then when I suggested a paternity test, then you told me the truth?! Do you think that was easy to swallow, Gerard? Because it wasn’t. None of it was.”
“Bennie, I am sorry! Okay? I don’t remember doing any of that! I can’t explain myself, I can’t defend myself! Just. Stop!” Gerard screamed. Bennie stared at him, hatred apparent for a moment before breaking down in tears. “Come here.” Gerard motioned for her to come over to him and Bennie shook her head.
“I haven’t spent the last three years sending my husband to drop the kids off and pick them up from your house because I want your pity. Before today the last time I saw you face to face was when Jared was born.” Bennie explained between sobs.
“I haven’t seen you in almost four years?” Gerard asked. Bennie nodded.
“I never wanted to see you again.” Bennie whispered.
“I… I know it doesn’t fix anything, Bennie… But I’m sorry.” Gerard quietly said. Bennie shook her head.
“Thank you for your apology.” She whispered apathetically.
“I know it doesn’t mean anything…” Gerard whispered. Bennie shrugged.
“It does mean something.” She curtly said.
“If nothing else I say means anything, I’m sorry I made you feel like this, Bennie. Nobody deserves that.” Gerard offered. Bennie nodded.