Gerard didn’t exactly need a big birthday party, but he got one anyway. That’s what happens when you put your friends in charge of finding a place to have a party. And not only that, but Frank stole Gerard’s contact book and called basically everyone on it.
The party was in a nightclub/bar, and apparently a lot of people rented it to have parties there. The space was kind of big, and there was a set of stairs on opposite sides of the room, going up to a platform where they had some tables and also the DJ’s booth.
“Alright, here’s the rules”, Gerard said, turning to face his daughter. It worried him that she was there, but he couldn’t say no. And besides, she would only stay for a couple of hours and then someone will drive her back home. “No drinking, and I mean it. Don’t take any kind of drink from anyone. You want something, you come to me, okay?”
Gia nodded seriously. She was excited to be there, but also a little nervous. She was in a grown-up party for god’s sake, and she was about to meet her father’s first real ‘female-friend’ in years.
“Stay away from creeps”, Gerard continued.
“I thought all these people are your friends?”
“Yeah, well, I have freaky friends. Also don’t leave with anyone. If someone besides me, Mikey, Frank, Bob or Ray wants to take you outside, kick them on the balls and run.”
“Gotcha. Anything else?”
Gerard thought for a second. He glanced at the dance floor and the bar, which were both already filled with people. He didn’t recognize only a few of them. “I suppose that’s everything. I can’t think of anything else, at least. Oh! If you want to leave early, don’t hesitate to tell me, okay?”
“Okay, stay safe”, he said before giving her a hug and before Frank came to snatch her away.
“Gia, come dance with uncle Frankie!” Frank shouted gleefully and led her to the dance floor.
Gerard looked after her worriedly, but soon he got other things to think about when people came to tell him happy birthday.
Frank had obviously had a few drinks, but she didn’t care. For once Gia was having fun, not thinking about anything and just laughing. She wasn’t the best dancer, but neither was Frank. They just kind of jumped around.
Gia hung out with Frank for the first half an hour, but then he disappeared somewhere with a girl that Gia had never seen before. She didn’t mind. He was allowed to have his fun. But when she was left alone, she didn’t know what to do.
First thing that came to her mind though was to leave the dance floor. She soon found herself by the bar and sat down on one of the high stools.
“Can I get you something?” the bartender asked her.
“Do you have anything nonalcoholic?” Gia wasn’t about to break the promise she made to her dad, but she was still thirsty. And besides, her dad was nowhere to be seen so she couldn’t ask him to get her anything. The bartender probably would have given her alcohol if she asked, but Gia didn’t really have any interest in drinking something that only made her feel sick.
“Try this”, the bartender said with a friendly smile and placed a glass half full of something blue in front of her.
Gia took a sip and instantly smiled. “It tastes like chocolate!”
“No offense but, how old are you?”
“I’m fourteen”, Gia answered, her cheeks reddening. She knew that everyone else in the club was at least ten years older than her.
“Well, if you were older, I’d have to hit on you. Why don’t you come back in a few years and we can try again?”
If possible, Gia’s face got even redder and to hide it, she drank the rest of the blue liquid.
“If you’re only fourteen, then are you sure you should be here then?” he asked jokingly.
“It’s my dad’s birthday party, and I’m not even allowed to stay for longer than a few hours”, Gia complained. “Can you give me another one of these?”
“Sure, here”, the bartender said and after a few moments he placed a new, filled glass in front of her on the bar table. But before Gia could take the glass, someone snatched it from her.
And to her horror, the thief was the scariest man alive. Well not really, but to Gia he was even scarier than her dad. Mikey Way himself.
“You shouldn’t be drinking this”, Mikey said to her and then turned to the bartender. “Do you know how young she is? You can’t serve her alcohol.”
“It doesn’t even have alcohol in it”, Gia rolled her eyes when the bartender went away, obviously afraid that he would get in trouble.
“Yeah well, I’d kick your butt right now if Gerard wasn’t looking for you”, Mikey said, helped her down from the stool and led her away.
“Why is he looking for me? I don’t have to leave yet, do I?” Gia asked worriedly.
Before he could explain, Gia already got an answer. They had found her dad. And he wasn’t alone. There was a dark haired woman with him. The same woman Gia had seen when she was hiding with Lucas in her own closet.
“There you are”, Gerard said. Gia noticed that his arm was carelessly around the woman’s waist and that his hand was resting on her hip. They were looking very comfortable.
“Hi, you must be Gia. I’m Lindsey”, the woman introduced herself, and after hesitating for a moment, she offered Gia a hand to shake. Gia might have her doubts about this lady, but she was still polite and shook the offered hand.
“Hi”, Gia muttered, staring at the woman. She was pretty, Gia had to admit. And Lindsey didn’t look evil. No visible horns on her forehead, no fangs… Looked very promising. In fact, the smile on her dark red lips was friendly and relaxing, and when she smiled, the smile reached her eyes.
“I’ve heard so much about you, seriously. Gerard won’t shut up about you”, Lindsey laughed, making Gerard look away with a grin.
“I wish I could say the same”, Gia said, still staring at the two of them. As much as she wanted to doubt this woman, she couldn’t. Not when she saw the way her father looked at Lindsey. Gia had never seen anyone look at someone like that. Well, maybe it was the same kind of look when Mikey and Alicia looked at each other, but this still seemed different. Maybe because it was Gia’s dad that made it a completely different situation.
Maybe, just maybe, Gia could learn to tolerate this woman. And besides, it’s not like Gerard and Lindsey were getting married or anything. This wasn’t going to last, Gia was sure of it.
“So are you having fun? Feel like going home already?” Gerard asked Gia, looking rather hopeful.
“I bet she was having fun”, Mikey said. “I found her by the bar.”
“You were drinking?” Gerard gasped. “I told you not to drink!”
“I had one glass and it wasn’t even alcohol!” Gia defended herself. “And how many have you had, hm?”
“You have to go home now”, Gerard said. “Come on, I’ll drive you.”
Before he could take even one step, Lindsey stopped him. “You can’t drive!”
“You’ve been drinking. You can’t drive. And besides, it’s your party, you can’t leave.”
“But I have to –“
“Let me take her home”, Lindsey said, and Gerard gave in pretty soon. At least he trusted her. But to Gia, it was still a little weird. Lindsey seemed a bit too eager to drive Gia home. Suspicious. Gia was sure that the weird lady was going to kill her.
Gerard quickly agreed to this offer, and Gia and Lindsey left the club.
And much to Gia’s surprise, the horror images in her mind didn’t come true at all.
“I bet you’re wondering why I wanted to drive you home”, Lindsey started when they got to her car. She had parked it pretty close to the club.
“Yeah, sort of”, Gia admitted and made sure to wear the seatbelts. You know, just in case.
“I just wanted to talk to you. You know, in private.”
Gia nodded, encouraging her to continue. Lindsey seemed a bit nervous.
“I’m not sure how to put this without sounding weird but... I really like your dad. And I’d like to, you know, keep seeing him more in the future, and that means that you and I should get along too.”
“Well, I suppose it’s kind of a package deal”, Gia said, though she wasn’t sure what the appropriate response would be.
“So I’d really like to get to know you. And I want you to understand that I’m not trying to... uh, how should I put this...”
“Steal my dad away from me?” Gia helped.
“Yeah, something like that.”
“I’m not worried about that. He obviously likes you, and he wants me to like you too. He said so himself.”
“Yeah. But... I don’t need or want a new mom. Just so you know. So don’t even bother trying.”
Lindsey smiled. “That’s okay. We can be friends. Right?”
“We can try”, Gia nodded. She had promised her dad she’ll give a chance to Lindsey. That’s what she was giving her now. It didn’t mean that she liked her or that she wasn’t going to hate her later, but shooting her down so soon would be wrong.