I usually look over the chapters pretty carefully for typos and weird stuff, but this time I didn't bother that much. I hope there aren't too many mistakes.
Chapter 27: And here's another line from the heart
Gia loved being in that house. In only few hours, she got to know Evelyn, Lucas’ mom, well. She preferred to be called Evie, and she really was a nice and friendly person. And the most amazing thing about Evie was the affect she had on Lucas.
Normally Lucas was hardheaded, playful and strange in every way, but when he was with his mom, Gia could see the change. Lucas was oddly willing to please and never objected his mom’s wishes. He was respectful, which was odd. Lucas always rebelled against his father. This made Gia realize just how much the divorce must have affected Lucas, and clearly he blamed it all on his father and Tina.
Evie was a dream. Lucas took after her, so she too liked to joke around and while his dad was strict, Evie let him do pretty much anything he wanted to. Gia wondered how Lucas ended up living with his dad, since obviously he preferred his mom.
Evie kept the secret that they were staying with her. She understood that they didn’t want to be found and respected their wish that they will go back when they’re ready to. She let them play by their own terms.
On their first night there, after a day of laughing and relaxing, Gia was sitting in the living room late, watching the TV. Jersey was lying on the floor next to her, snoring. She had tried to sleep too, but her mind was too full to fall asleep.
The past day she had watched Lucas and Evie, and they looked happy. They looked like one of those families you see on cereal commercials on TV. Gia wanted that. And for a few short months, she did have it. But then Gerard had to go and ruin everything.
Just thinking about it brought tears to her eyes. Gia quickly wiped the tears away when she heard someone enter the room.
“Couldn’t sleep either?” Lucas asked quietly, handing her a cup of hot chocolate milk.
Gia shook her head and gladly took the cup and took a sit from it. It was too hot, so she set it down on the couch table to let it cool.
“What are you watching?”
“Nothing really. It’s crazy. Did you know that there are amber alerts about us? And the picture they showed of me on the news makes my nose look huge.”
Lucas grinned. At first you wouldn’t think that Gia would be that shallow, but she was still worried about what people thought about her. It kind of made sense because Gia had spent the majority of her life helping others. She relied on other people’s opinions. Lucas took it as his personal assignment to make her think for herself.
“I guess I just didn’t understand things were like this”, Gia continued. “I thought...”
When she trailed off, he finished for her. “You thought no one was looking for us.”
Gia nodded, biting her bottom lip thoughtfully. “I’ve been thinking.”
“I think we should go back. It’s no use hiding here. Your mom said it herself, she’ll let us be here for a while but she won’t keep the secret forever. It wouldn’t be fair for her if we asked her to, anyway.”
“But what about your dad? Will you be okay living with him again?”
Gia had thought about it long and hard. Will she be okay? “I don’t know”, she finally sighed. “Lucas, you have no idea how lucky you are to have both parents. Three, actually. When you get in trouble with your dad, you have this whole other home to run off to.”
“So, I only have one home. My dad is all I have. I already lost my mom, and I don’t want to lose my dad too. Besides maybe he learned something from this. It’s a long shot, I know, but I’m going to give it another shot.”
Lucas hoped that the hope she had wouldn’t come crashing down. But still, he agreed with her. This wasn’t where they were supposed to be.
“I think we should go back too”, Lucas said. “I miss my snake.”
“And I miss my washing machine. I don’t have any clothes clean anymore.”
“Well why didn’t you do like I did and –“
“I’m not going to turn my underwear around”, Gia laughed.
“Suit yourself.” he shrugged. “So when do you want to go back?”
“Maybe in a few days? I mean, we were seen, they know we’re around here somewhere. They’re gonna put two and two together.” Gia would have suggested going back already the next day, since she was all ready to go back home. But she had the feeling that Lucas would like to spend a little more time with his mother.
“Yeah. In a few days”, he said and yawned. “Well, I’m going to bed. You coming?”
Gia got up and the second she moved, Jersey was awake. The dog followed the two of them to the only guest room in the house. By now, Gia and Lucas were so used to sleeping on the same bed that it didn’t even occur to them to sleep any other way. After they had climbed under the covers, Jersey hopped on the bed and went to lie across their legs, warming them up. It didn’t take long for all three of them to fall asleep.
Gerard and the rest of them were in luck. Like, seriously. It was almost a little too convenient. But of course none of them complained. The drive didn’t take long. Even though they speeded every once in a while, no cops came across them, and they never saw red lights.
Lucas’ dad and stepmom joined the trip soon, after Gerard finally thought to call them. And while Gerard and Mikey stopped to rest in a hotel, Tina and Patrick caught up.
In the end, they drove all the way to California in only about three days, when it would really take much longer. When they got to Sacramento, it was night, and Patrick led the way to his ex-wife’s house. At this point they were absolutely certain that that’s where they would find their kids.
They parked their cars on the driveway. It was no surprise that Tina and Gerard were the first ones to run to the door. They banged the door with their fists so hard that it looked like it would break.
When the door opened, a very sleepy looking woman glared at them angrily. “What has my door ever done to you?” she snapped, obviously not recognizing the two of them in the dark.
“Are they here?” Gerard asked, trying to see past the woman.
Patrick stepped into the light to greet the woman. “Hello Evie. Long time no see.”
If possible, the angry look on Evie’s face got even darker. “Patrick”, was all she said.
“Is my daughter here?” Gerard repeated, but no one listened to him. Evie and Patrick were already shouting, blaming each other of things that didn’t even matter.
When Gia woke up, the house seemed to be filled with people. The door was closed so the noise they made was muffled, but she could still clearly hear it. Strangely, she could only hear the voices of two people, even though it seemed unbelievable that two people could produce such a ruckus.
“Lucas?” Gia asked, smacking him with a pillow.
“Ten more minutes, mom”, the boy mumbled and rolled over. Gia wondered how he could sleep through noise like that. If there ever is a nuclear war where he lives, Lucas will sleep through it.
When Gia got up from the bed, Jersey rose too and happily came to tell her good morning by licking her face. After she managed to push the large dog off of her, she slowly opened the door. The voice level immediately went louder, but Lucas didn’t even flinch in his sleep. She rolled her eyes at this, but started to wonder exactly what the commotion was about. She was starting to get worried.
While she walked towards the front door, Gia listened to the fight. She stopped at the end of the hall, directly across from the door. What she saw brought tears to her eyes. There were five people, but only one of them really struck to her mind as someone who mattered. At that very moment, only one thing fit into her tired brain: Her father was standing only one corridor away.
“-- AND IT WAS YOUR RESPONSIBITY ALL ALONG TO PACK THE SUN CREAM BUT NO, YOU HAD TO WATCH TV!“
“SO NOW IT’S MY FAULT THAT LUCAS BURNED HIS SKIN?! YOU WERE THE ONE AT THE BEACH WITH HIM, NOT ME!”
“I CLEARLY TOLD YOU TO PACK THE CREAM!“
All of a sudden, the screaming and shouting and accusing came to an end when they heard an overjoyed, relieved, surprised yell.
“GIA!” Gerard shouted, forgetting the silly fight between the ex-couple, pushed back Evie who was still blocking the door and dashed towards the girl.
Before Gia knew what hit her, his arms were tightly around her in a bone-crushing hug. When she got over the shock that Gerard was actually there, and after realizing that he was crying, she hugged him back. Suddenly Gia noticed just how much she had missed home. This was all she needed right now. Gerard might be a screw-up, and yeah, he makes mistakes, but who doesn’t? No one’s perfect.
Gerard pulled away from the hug for a moment, kissed her forehead and said: “I’m never letting you go out again. You are so grounded for life.”
“I promise I won’t even try to run away again. I’ve learned my lesson”, she smiled. Gerard pulled her back into a hug, this time not as tight.
“And I learned mine. By the way, I’m reconsidering putting you in that plastic bubble.”
Gia laughed. She couldn’t wipe the smile off of her face if she tried, and Gerard had trouble stopping his eyes from watering all the time.
Gia looked up in surprise when she heard a scream from somewhere in the house. She glanced at the door and noticed that Tina had disappeared. Moments later she came back, dragging Lucas in what looked to be the most uncomfortable position. She was hugging his head and crying like a waterfall, and at the same time she walked so that Lucas had to crouch and try to keep up with her steps so she wouldn’t accidentally rip off his head or something.
That was all the attention Gia could give to Lucas and Tina at the moment. She had noticed Mikey who walked over to her and Gerard. It was understandable that Mikey wanted to give the two some time alone, but now he had a bone to pick with the girl.
First Mikey pulled her into a hug like Gerard had done, and while Gia was happy to see him, she was also scared. She didn’t expect any bigger punishment from her dad, because while he was usually the scarier one of the Way brother, for sure Gerard would be too afraid to punish her. He’d just think that Gia would run away again.
But Mikey wasn’t scared of a little girl. And he looked pissed off, to say the least.
“You are so dead. Do you have any idea how worried everyone was? You dare run away like that again, and I’ll kick your butt”, Mikey said calmly, and because of the warning tone and the smile tugging on the corner of his mouth Gia wasn’t quite sure if he was kidding or not.
“Yeah, I’m happy to see you too”, Gia said, rolling her eyes at him.
Soon Gia ended up sitting on her dad’s lap on the couch, because he just wouldn’t let go. It was like she could vanish to thin air any minute. Mikey was sitting next to them, probably thinking about the best way to murder his niece.
Finally getting a moment of peace, Gia glanced at Lucas. He seemed to be in trouble with Tina who was still bawling her eyes out (where on earth does she keep all those tears?) and at the same time was being lectured by his father.
“Gia, what did you do to your hair?” Gerard asked, looking at her formerly blonde hair that was now black.
“I had to dye it”, Gia frowned. “It was Lucas’ idea and it was stupid. It doesn’t fit me at all.”
“You know, you look so much like Gerard when your hair is black”, Mikey suddenly said thoughtfully.
Gia blushed. Lucas had said the same thing. It was weird, and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to look like her dad. She just wasn’t used to it. She swore that she would bleach her hair as soon as she gets home.
Gia scanned the room, trying to find Jersey. Eventually she found the dog sitting behind an arm chair. He was looking rather gloomy. Jersey was smarter than most dogs. He was staring at Gia with adorable puppy-dog eyes which didn’t really fit his big frame.
Gia smiled. “Dad? Can I ask you something?”
“If there was something I asked for, could I get it? If I promised that it’s kind of clean and neat and really fun and is no danger to anyone what so ever?”
Mikey stared at her in confusion, but it didn’t really matter to Gerard at the moment. “Sure, you can have anything you want.”
Gia smiled happily, kissed her dad’s cheek and said: “Thank you.” Now it was guaranteed that she could take Jersey home with her. “Jersey, come here boy”, she said to the dog, who sensed that things were better now and went to lick the girl’s hand happily.
Gerard and Mikey hadn’t even noticed the dog in the room. “What is wrong with that dog?” Mikey asked in shock. Jersey’s fur hadn’t grown back yet in the spots where it was injured and part of his ear was missing, so the shock was guaranteed.
At first Gerard looked hesitant. He was worried about denying anything from Gia, but on the other hand... the dog was big and looked diseased. It could be troublesome.
But all Gerard’s doubts disappeared when Tina noticed the dog. She screamed loudly in fear and then fainted. Patrick caught her before she hit the floor, but Gerard’s mood was even better now.
If there was any chance of keeping Tina out of his house, then he’d gladly take that chance. And besides, if the damn dog made his daughter happy, who was he to deny it from her?
Going back to Jersey was more of a relief than she thought it would be. The familiar landscapes and buildings made Gia feel like she was home.
But it wasn’t until the car pulled up on the drive way that she started to realize exactly how stupid running away was. After all, her life was alright. There were people in the world with much worse problems, and here she’s complaining about her father’s alcohol problems. Gia started to feel stupid.
Mikey had called Frank, Ray and Bob from the car and told them that they were coming home with Gia. She knew they would be at the house. And still she couldn’t prepare for it.
The second she got out of the car, she was nearly pushed back in by Frank who attacked her with a hug. When Frank let go, it was Ray and Bob’s turn, and then Frank’s again. All in all, it was just a huge mess of hugs, death threats and talk about plastic bubbles for safety. Add Jersey’s barking to it and you have a guarantee that every neighbor is staring at you.
“Alright Frank, you can let go now”, Gia said and tried to remove the fun-sized man off of her.
“No I can’t”, he protested and threw her across his shoulder. “I’m taking you home with me and locking you in the basement!”
“You don’t have a basement, Frank”, Gia grinned.
“I’ll build one! And you will help! And it will be awesome!”
Frank was carrying her into the house when Lucas’ dad’s car parked on their own yard. Gia watched Lucas get out of the car, and before Tina rushed him inside, he grinned widely to Gia. She smiled back. Even with all the fighting and trouble that they came across on their little trip, it was still kind of fun. Sometimes.
Once inside, Gia was set down on the floor when her stomach made a loud growl. They had only stopped to eat a few times on the drive home.
“Are you hungry?” Frank asked. “Someone get the girl food!”
Before Gia could react, Mikey was already ordering Chinese food and she had been ushered to the living room couch. The condition of the house really bothered Gia. Dirty laundry and dishes were everywhere, and it looked like the house had turned into one big ashtray, at least judging by the cigarette butts. Gia got up from the couch and was about to go to the kitchen to wash the dishes that were piling in the sink, but she was pulled right back down.
“Don’t you even think about cleaning up in a moment like this”, Gerard said.
“Hey what’s up with the dog and why is it staring at me like that?” Frank asked from the corner. Gia turned to look. He looked kind of scared and Jersey was staring at him intently.
“Jersey, leave Frank alone”, Gia said and the dog immediately went to sit on the floor next to her.
“I repeat, where did the dog come from?” Frank asked again.
“We found him and saved him. He’s a good dog.”
Jersey seemed to know that they were talking about him and looked very proud of himself, but still glanced at Frank every now and then. Obviously he didn’t like the man and kept an eye on him to make sure he wasn’t an enemy. It was probably because he smelled like other dogs.
After eating, Gia went to bed. She was dead tired from everything that had happened, and she was happy to be home so sleeping shouldn’t be a problem.
But no. She couldn’t fall asleep at all. There was still one thing that bothered her...
It was the mess downstairs.
Gerard went to bed right after the guys left. He would have a long day tomorrow. Not only were they going to start working on the new album again (they had to put it on hold because none of them could really concentrate because of Gia missing,), but Gerard had a lot of fixing to do. Now that Gia was back, he was determined to be the best damn dad ever to live.
Just as he was about to fall asleep, he heard Gia come downstairs and head to the kitchen. He realized what she was doing when he heard running water and plates and glasses clink against each other. He should have known that Gia couldn’t wait until morning to clean up the mess he had made.
In a way, the sounds were homely, and soon made him fall asleep.