Gerard speaks to Holly alone. A zoo date is planned.
“Hey have you tried to call Gerard?” Alicia asked as she placed another glass in the dishwasher. “I really wanted him to be here tonight.”
“Yeah, I did too.” Mikey nodded, “I’ve tried calling but he’s not answering.
Alicia sighed, “Well at least everyone else made it. I think they were all really happy to see Holly.”
“They were.” Mikey smiled, “I’m so glad she came. It’s funny but it’s like she’s never been gone. I mean talking to her just seemed so right.” He was struggling to put into words how he felt.
“It’s like time hasn’t passed, that’s how it is with good friends.” Alicia said knowing how he felt.
“Yeah, except for the way she looks nothing was different. She’s still the funny, sweet Holly I remember.”
The both were startled when the back door opened and Gerard strolled in. “Hey.”
Mikey’s smile faded when he saw his brother’s face. He could immediately tell he’d been drinking. “Gee where have you been?”
Gerard laughed, “Good to see you too, bro.”
“You know what I mean.” Mikey said angrily. “Please tell me you didn’t drive here in that condition.”
“Actually I did drive here. My car is parked down the road but fear not little brother I got here hours ago before I had a few drinks.”
Alicia grew angry, “What? You’ve been here all this time? Why the fuck didn’t you come inside?”
Gerard decided he wasn’t gonna mention seeing Holly since obviously she hadn’t told them he’d been in the kitchen. “Just felt like chilling out in the back yard.” Since he didn’t want to discuss Holly he added quickly, “So is it okay if I crash here?”
Mikey, who had been feeling so good earlier, sighed, “Yeah of course, Gee.”
“But you have to use the other guest bedroom.” Alicia added, “They are already asleep in the one you usually use.”
Gerard played innocent, “They?”
“That’s why we wanted you to come here tonight.” Alicia snapped. “Holly Lintz is visiting.”
“Really?” Gerard said calling on his acting powers. “Oh so she and Sonja are in my guest room?” He was confused by the strange look that passed between Mikey and his wife.
“Uh Gee, Sonja is dead.” Mikey said softly.
Gerard stared at him trying to process his brother’s words.
“She and her husband were killed a few years ago. They died in a car crash.” Alicia explained then added, “By a drunk driver.”
Gerard flinched. “Oh fuck.” He muttered.
Mikey saw Gerard’s eyes fill with tears. “Hey, you didn’t know.” He said softly. “We should have told you Holly was coming and what had happened to Sonja.”
“We were gonna tell you before Holly arrived.” Alicia put in, “That’s why we invited you tonight. We told everyone else before she arrived.”
Gerard’s mind was still trying to come to grips with what he’d just been told. God, Holly had lost her daughter.
Mikey was watching his brother closely and was shocked by how shaken Gerard looked, “Hey, lets get you settled into the other guest bedroom.”
“Wait.” Gerard said taking a shaky stop back, “So who’s with Holly?” His mind was now racing. Had Holly married?
“Oh.” Alicia said realizing there was more he hadn’t been told. “Sonja and her husband had a daughter. Holly is raising her. She and Molly are both here.”
Gerard closed his eyes a moment to get his emotions under control, “Oh.” When he opened them again he said softly, “Shit I’m sorry to hear about Sonja. She was a good kid.”
“Yeah.” Mikey whispered, “She was.”
Alicia’s tone softened towards her brother in law. “That’s how I still think of her too, as a kid. Weird to realize she’d gotten married and had a child.”
“Shit, so much time has passed.” Gerard said more to himself than them.
“Come on.” Mikey said and much to his relief this time Gerard let him take his arm. “Get some sleep. You can talk to Holly in the morning.”
While Gerard let Mikey lead him through the house his mind began to fill with memories from earlier in the night. Fuck, he thought, I was cruel to her. She’s lost her child and I ….yeah, she’d been right he was a jackass and more.
Holly couldn’t sleep. She glanced over at Molly and smiled seeing the little girl curled up on her side sleeping soundly. The little girl was now the only true happiness she had in her life. Sighing she slipped silently from the bed and moved towards the door.
Gerard wanted with all his heart to be able to sleep but he couldn’t. In his mind he just kept replaying his encounter with Holly over and over.
“Fuck.” He muttered getting out of bed. Maybe some fresh air would help. He walked through the darkened house towards the patio door. He was shocked to see it had been left open. It wasn’t until he was almost to the door he saw her. She was outside laying on the still warm pavers staring up into the sky. For a moment he wanted to turn and go back to his room but a feeling he couldn’t explain propelled him forward.
Holly sighed, “Hello again, Gee.”
He slowly lowered himself to the pavement beside her. “How’d you know it was me?”
“Just did.” She said softly.
He tried to lighten the mood, “What could you smell me or something? You always did say I reek.”
“I never said you reek.” Holly answered, “Well okay maybe I did say that when you’d come off stage cause well…you did.” She added softly, “But now you smell of alcohol.”
His first response was anger but he quickly quelled that. “Just had a few drinks.” He muttered.
Holly rolled her head to the side to look at him. In the moonlight his face was so angelic. She stared a moment then looked back up into the sky.
Gerard was relieved she made no comment about his drinking. “So what are you doing out here?”
“Looking at the stars. What are you doing out here?”
“Looking at the stars." He answered not really knowing what else to say.
Holly smiled, “Well I didn’t give you permission to look at my stars, so stop it.”
Gerard laughed softly. “They aren’t your stars. You don’t own them.”
“Well since I’m five years older than you that means I saw them first. You didn’t know but I called dibs on them.” She laughed.
He realized immediately how much he’d missed her laugh. It was so light it was almost musical. “No way, Woman. You can’t call dibs on stars.”
“Sure I can, and I did. So close your damn eyes and stop looking at them.”
Gerard smiled, “Bossy.” It was the pet name he’d given her years ago.
Holly’s heart caught a moment hearing him call her that name. She forced herself to stay unaffected. “Bossy is right, that’s what I am.”
For several minutes they both stared up into the sky in silence. Finally Gerard spoke.
“Holly, I’m really fuckin’ sorry about Sonja. I didn’t know. Mikey told me when I came back.”
Holly remained silent.
He needed her to understand, “I’m sorry about what I said.”
“So let me get this straight.” Holly said fighting back anger, “You wouldn’t have said something you knew would hurt me if you’d known I’d lost my daughter?”
“I shouldn’t have fuckin’ said what I did regardless.” He answered hearing her anger and hurt.
“Thank you for saying that about Sonja.”
He knew she was purposely disregarding the part of the conversation about what he’d said. “I mean it. I was a jackass to say what I did.”
“Yeah, you were.” Holly said softly. “Let is go.”
“Let it go? I can’t. I’m sorry and I want you to know that.”
Holly looked over at him again, “Still haven’t mastered the art of letting shit go, have you?”
“And you still haven’t mastered the art of dealing with shit. What are you just gonna pretend I didn’t say what I did?” He challenged.
“No, I’m not gonna forget it.” Holly’s tone was sharp. “Don’t think I could if I tried but there is on point in dwelling on it. You said what you meant, Gerard.”
“Fuck, that’s not true.” His eyes met hers and he could see the unshed tears glistening in the moonlight. Immediately his tone softened, “You were always right about me, I am a jackass, an uncaring, self-absorbed jackass.”
Holly blinked several times determined not to cry. “I never said you were uncaring or self-absorbed.” She paused, “But I did call you a jackass often.”
He couldn’t stop himself from reaching his hand across the space between them and taking her hand.
Holly’s heart began to race as his flesh touched hers.
“I am sorry.” He whispered, “Sorry about a lot of things.”
She couldn’t deal with anymore tonight. Pulling her hand away she quickly stood. “I’ve got to check on Molly.”
Gerard looked up at her. There was so much he wanted to say but he didn’t know where to begin. “Goodnight Holly, I’m glad you’re here.”
“Goodnight, Gee.” She whispered before fleeing for the house.
Long after she was gone Gerard lay looking up at the stars wondering how his life had gotten so out of control.
Morning came and Holly’s internal clock made her rise early even though she’d not sleep much the night before. She helped Alicia make pancakes, gotten Molly settled at the table to eat then returned to her room to get dressed. Now as she reentered to the kitchen she stopped short seeing Gerard at the table sitting next to Molly.
He looked up, “Morning Holly.” He smiled.
“Morning Gee.” She answered automatically.
“Grab a cup of coffee and sit.” Alicia said from her place at the stove. She placed two large pancakes on a place and put them in front of Holly who was now seated. “I’m just gonna go wake up my lazy husband.”
Once she left the kitchen an uneasy silence descended between Gerard and Holly.
Molly took another bite of the syrup-drenched pancakes then laughed, “Yummy.”
Holly looked down at Molly’s plate, “That’s an awful lot of syrup.”
“He did it.” She answered looking over at Gerard as if she hoped saying that would help.
He smiled at the little girl, “Yeah, it was me. But hey, what good are pancakes if not dripping with syrup?”
Holly rolled her eyes, “Yeah, everyone knows there is nothing wrong with a sugar high.”
Molly took another big bite then said, “He gots a wittle gurl too.”
“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Holly automatically responded then added, “Yes I know he has a little girl too.”
Gerard sat back and took a sip of coffee.
“Hers name is Bandit.” Molly giggled.
Holly looked at Gerard hoping Molly’s response to his daughters name hadn’t hurt his feelings. “Uh our neighbor in Arizona has..”
Gerard held up his hand to stop her, “Yeah, Molly told me. Your neighbor’s dog’s name is Bandit.” He smiled, “It’s okay.”
“Mes wike that name.” Molly said happily.
Holly smiled, “Yes, I like it too.” She looked down and started to eat hoping Alicia and Mikey would arrive soon. Being with Gerard was a bit unsettling.
“Uh, so do you have any plans for today?” Gerard asked looking at Holly.
She tore her gaze away from the pancakes to look over at him. “I’m not sure what Alicia has planned.”
“Neither does Alicia.” Alicia laughed entering the kitchen. “But we can do whatever you want. Maybe I can show you around LA?” Holly had told her she’d never been to the city before. “I’m sure you’d like to see the Hughes Gallery.”
A very sleepy looking Mikey joined them at the table. Alicia placed a plate of pancakes in front of him.
“What’s going on today?” He asked reaching for the syrup.
“That’s what we’re deciding.” Alicia told him taking a seat.
“Uh, well.” Gerard began, “I’m gonna take Bandit to the zoo. Maybe you guys would like to come along?”
Immediately Molly began bouncing in her seat. “Zoo! Mes wanna go.”
Holly sighed, “You want to go.” Holly corrected.
Molly nodded, “That’s what mes said.”
“That’s what I said.” Holly corrected again.
Molly gave her a confused look, “No, mes said that.”
Throwing up her hands Holly laughed, “I give up, it’s too early.”
Around the table the adults were trying not to laugh.
“God, she’s cute.” Alicia said gazing at Molly.
“Zoo?.” Molly said looking over at Gerard hopefully.
He smiled at the little girl remembering sadly how her mother was often just as enthusiastic about things and how Sonja had always been trying to get him to side with her against her mom.
Holly took another sip of coffee nervously. She really wasn’t sure this was a good idea.
“I like the zoo.” Alicia said smiling over at Holly wondering why her friend seemed tense.
Holly felt trapped.
“Hey, sorry I brought it up.” Gerard said softy.
“No, it’s okay.” Holly said slowly. “I’m sure Molly would enjoy it.”
“Me too.” Mikey grinned. He looked across the table at Molly, “I like the tigers, gurrrr.”
Molly gave him a puzzled look. “Who’s you?"
Mikey realized they hadn’t been properly introduced, “I’m Mikey.”
Holly touched Molly’s arm to get her attention. “Remember I told you we would be staying with Mr. and Mrs. Way for a few weeks?”
“Mr. Way?” Mikey laughed. “That’s my dad.”
“Trying to teach her manner, here.” Holly said smiling at Mikey.
“Oh, yeah. But can’t she call me Mikey?”
“If that is what you want then it’s fine.”
Molly was watching them closely.
“You can call me Mikey or how about Uncle Mikey?” He wanted Holly and her daughter to feel like family.
“Uncle Mikey?” Molly looked at Holly “Like Uncle Bob?”
Holly nodded, “Yes, that’s fine.”
“Otay, Uncle Mikey.” Molly nodded happily.
Gerard frowned, “Who’s Uncle Bob?” He asked.
“A friend of mine.” Holly answered quickly then turned back to her breakfast.
Molly looked over at the man who’d made her pancakes so yummy. “But yous just Gee.”
Gerard smiled at her but saw Holly look up so he quickly explained, “I told her she could call me Gee. Unless she wants to call me Uncle Gee and that’s okay too.”
“Just Gee.” Molly said in a sing-song voice.
Gerard took his last sip of coffee then stood. “Great, how about it I pick you guys up in about an hour?”
“Otay.” Molly nodded.
Holly laughed, “Seems you’ve made yourself a date.” She turned her attention to Molly, “Now finish up your breakfast so we can get ready.”
“Otay, mommy.” Molly answered shoving another bite of pancakes in her mouth.
Gerard stilled hearing the child call Holly mommy. It was heartbreaking that she would never know her true mother.
Holly looked up and their eyes met. He realized she wanted to know if he understood why Molly called her mommy. Gerard nodded slightly then smiled.
Across the table Mikey was eating with gusto. “Gurrr.” He said again to Molly, which brought on another fit of giggles from the girl.
Alicia rolled her eyes, “Great, Mikey as found someone his own age level.”
He smiled over at his wife, “Yeah, I’m just a kid at heart.”