Everything was starting to fall to place. Gia felt happy.
Mostly it was Lucas that made her feel better, but school was working out as well, and Gerard was in a very good mood all the time even though Lindsey kept complaining about being incredibly tired and uncomfortable all the time. Despite the fact that she had to keep her relationship with Lucas a secret from her dad and uncles, there was very little that could bring Gia down.
Well, there was this one thing…
Gia laid on her bed on her stomach, with a white box in her hands. She had been staring at it for the past five minutes, just thinking. Her thoughts circled around one single person. Her mother.
The girl sighed, and opened the box. It was a music box where Gia kept some little trinkets, jewelry and such. A melody started to play when she opened it, and she kept it open even after she had retrieved what she wanted from it.
It was a small, flat silver key with a three-digit number on it.
About a month or so ago, Gia and Gerard had had a chat. About her mother. And he revealed to her that before committing suicide, Gia’s mother had left her a key to a safe deposit box to a bank in Newark. Gia didn’t know why it was in Newark instead of Belleville, where they were living at the time of the suicide, but all she knew was that someday she’d have to go there.
Gerard had given her the key, and told her that he’ll take her there when she’s ready.
Well, Gia was ready now. It was the only thing pressing her mind at the moment. She couldn’t get peace of mind if she didn’t find out soon what was in that box. The box was bothering her even more than the fact that she had a boyfriend and her dad knew nothing about it.
When Gia heard the front door open and close and Jersey start barking downstairs, she knew that Gerard had just gotten home. She closed the music box, and left her room.
Gerard was just taking off his jacket by the door, with Jersey and Susan Michelle barking beside him, wagging their tales to greet him.
“Dad?” Gia said when she got to the foot of the stairs.
“Oh there you are,” Gerard said when he heard her.
“Listen, I have something I need to talk to you about.”
Gerard immediately looked suspicious. “Are you pregnant?”
“What? No, I–“
“Did you catch an std?”
“Did you break my computer again?”
“No I did not touch your computer!” Gia shrieked. “Why would you immediately assume it’s something bad?”
“I don’t know,” Gerard shrugged. “What did you want to talk about then?”
“Well… Do you remember when a few weeks ago we had that little talk about my mom?”
The mention of Gia’s mother made him freeze. He knew what this was about.
“I wanna go to that bank and see what’s in that box.”
Gerard sighed. True, he had told her about the box and given her the key, thinking that she was mature enough. But lately he had started to doubt this decision. Things were going so well between them, and Gia seemed a lot happier as well, and he didn’t want to ruin that.
“Gia, are you sure it’s what you want?” he asked. Ultimately, the decision would be hers. The second he gave her that key, the decision was passed down to her. It wasn’t his choice to make anymore.
“Yes. I have to know what’s in there. She left this key for me for a reason.”
Gerard nodded, figuring that if he told her he wouldn't take her there, she’d just hitchhike a ride there or something.
“Fine. We’ll go tomorrow. I’ll pick you up after school and we’ll go, okay?”
Gia agreed, and returned to her room where she stayed the rest of the evening. She couldn't wait for school to end the next day, and while she was a bit nervous about what she would find in that box, she was also very excited. It was from her mother, to Gia. She didn’t have a lot of things from her mother, so this was special.
So, by the time Gia got into her father’s car after school had ended for the day, she had butterflies in her stomach.
“You’re sure about this?” Gerard asked before driving off of the school parking lot.
“Yes, I’m sure,” Gia answered. It didn’t occur to her to wonder about how nervous he was acting, too. Gerard had no reason to be worried, that she knew of, but she couldn’t be bothered to even notice from how nauseous she was feeling.
So, about a half an hour later, the car was parked on the street in front of a bank in Newark. Gia stared at the building, and she couldn’t decide whether she wanted to run straight into the white building, or ask her father to drive her back home.
“Gia?” Gerard asked worriedly. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just… I miss her, you know? And this is the closest she’s been in years. There was that time with her parents, my grandparents, but… This is more personal. You know what I mean?”
Gerard nodded. “I think so.”
They were silent for a few more moments, but then Gerard happened to glance at the clock.
“Not to rush you or anything, but the bank closes in 45 minutes,” he said. “But if you want, we can come back tomorrow to try again.”
Gia shook her head and said: “No, let’s go now.”
They only had to wait at the bank for about fifteen minutes before they were called to the desk. When Gia seemed to be frozen to her seat at the waiting area, Gerard had to grab her hand and pull her up, and basically drag her to the man sitting behind one of the desks.
Gerard handled most of the talking, as Gia was very unfamiliar (not to mention uncomfortable) with these kind of situations. Before she knew it, she and Gerard were being led to a room with many metal boxes on the walls, all with three-digit numbers on it.
When they got to the box with the same digits as the key Gia was currently holding in her fisted palm.
“Here it is,” the bank worker said, leading them to the correct box. “Take your time, and knock on the door when you’re done. I’ll give you some privacy.”
“Do you want me to go, too?” Gerard asked his daughter after the man had closed the door.
“No, stay. Please?” Gia pleaded.
“Of course,” Gerard nodded and sat by the metal table that was in the middle of the room. He figured that Gia should open it by herself.
Her hands were slightly shaky when she inserted the key into the keyhole and opened the square metal door. Her heart started beating fast when she thought how the last person to look into this box was her mother.
Gia wasn’t quite sure what she had expected to be behind that small door, but when she only found a slightly yellow, but thick envelope, she felt a bit disappointed.
She locked up the door again, and took a deep breath, looking at the envelope. Gerard silently watched her rip open the sealed letter, and felt like ripping it from her hands.
“Gia,” Gerard interrupted her before she could remove the stack of papers from the envelope. “I’m not entirely sure what she’s written there, but… No matter what it is, I love you.”
“I know,” Gia said, and pulled the papers out. There was only one one-sided letter, plus one photo of Gia and her mother at what seemed to be the beauty parlor when Gia was about four years old. It must’ve been just months, weeks, or even days before her mother had committed suicide. The photo made her smile, but soon enough the letter stole all her attention.
As she read the letter, Gerard watched that small, sad smile that the photo produced slowly turn into confusion, to shock, and last, nothing. By the time she had finished the letter, she had lost all color from her face which also lacked an expression.
Her knees started to feel weak, her head dizzy, and before she lost her balance, Gerard had risen from his seat and caught her.
“Gia? Are you okay?” he asked, holding her up.
“No,” was all she could say.
Gerard didn’t know what was on that letter, but now he wished that he had given that key to his daughter. He should have known it couldn’t lead to anything good.