Gerard had done as she asked him to.
He hired a private investigator who specialized in cases like this, and two weeks later the brown envelope was delivered to him.
The envelope, which withheld a current picture and location of the woman he was searching for.
Stella Grant, nee Hart, lived in a house with red brick walls and white picket fence in the suburbs of Connecticut. Gerard would have never pictured the Stella he once knew to be living in an idyllic, normal environment like this. Stella was always such an angry character, and far from normal.
Gia, of course, had million things running through her head. While Gerard sat in the driver’s seat, looking around the neighborhood, Gia’s eyes were fixated on the brick house. She didn’t have interest in anything else.
She wasn’t home yet. The house was empty, had been for the past hour that they sat there. They were parked on the street, a few houses from Stella’s. Gerard couldn’t help but think how stalker-ish they must’ve seemed.
During that time, neither of them had said a word, but they didn’t need to. Gia was too nervous to speak, and Gerard understood that. The coffee he had gotten from Starbucks before parking there on the street like a stalker was long gone, and Gerard found himself craving for a cigarette. However, he tried not to smoke around Gia and Lindsey anymore.
“Look,” Gia suddenly gasped, her hand grasping a tight hold of his, and her free hand was pointing at a beige-colored BMW that pulled up at the driveway of Stella’s house.
They watched as a woman in her early 30’s got out of the car, and Gia felt short of breath. She couldn’t see her that clearly, but Stella’s hair was still strawberry red, and Gia wanted to see her more closely so she could see her face.
Then, the passenger seat door opened, and a man with blonde hair stepped out. The smile on Gia’s face immediately vanished. She was married, Gia knew that, but she hadn’t expected to see the man.
Two kids, a boy with red hair and a girl with blonde hair jumped out from the backseat. When Gerard saw the girl, he was shocked. The girl looked just like Gia when she was that age.
“Drive,” Gia choked a command. She sounded like she was holding back tears.
“Drive. I don’t want to be here anymore,” she said, and without waiting for further explanations, he started the car and drove off. But not before giving one last glance to the family that was now making their way to the house. He was glad that Stella had found her peace and happiness, but he did not like that the price for that happiness was his daughter’s.
Gia couldn’t believe it.
It was hours after they had gotten home from Connecticut, and she still couldn’t believe it.
The woman had abandoned her own daughter because she didn’t feel like she was fit to be a good mother, and then she goes off and gets two more? Gia couldn’t help but ask herself why she was the one who had to suffer in this.
Gia even found herself hoping that her mother really had died that day, and that all of this had never happened. It was a dark thought, and Gia immediately felt ashamed by it.
She was locked up in her room once more, music blasting through the stereo. She didn’t even care what music she was listening to, she just couldn’t stand the silence.
Downstairs, Gerard was staring at the blank TV screen, his fingers playing with the lighter. He had never wanted a cigarette so bad, but he was too tired to go outside to smoke.
In fact, he was so tired that he just wanted to fall asleep right there, right now, and never wake up. This whole thing with Gia and Stella, it was just icing on a cake. Thick, horrible, sticky icing, but everything else that was going on was stressful enough as it is. He and the rest of My Chemical Romance were all a bit stressed about the endless meetings, discussions and constant new problems involving the new album. While they were all excited about it, it was still difficult.
Lindsey was nearly 9 months pregnant and her due date was coming up fast, in less than two weeks. She was so uncomfortable and Gerard didn’t even know how someone’s hormones could be so unbalanced, but she mostly took it out on Gerard. He loved the woman to death, but he might actually end up killing her and himself if she didn’t shut up.
Gerard didn’t even notice himself picking up the pack of cigarettes from the couch table and light one until he felt the comforting, relaxing feeling of smoke in his throat and lungs. Now all he needed was a beer, and his life would be complete and he could die a happy man.
“Where the HELL were you today?!” Lindsey demanded to know, storming into the living room, and she dropped the huge plastic bag from Toys R Us on the floor with a loud thud. She had that crazy ‘I-am-pregnant-and-it-is-making-me-insane’ look in her eyes, the one that Gerard was scared of.
“I was at a band meeting, I told you that,” Gerard answered with a calm, tired voice. He hadn’t told her about the whole Gia and Stella deal, knowing very well that it would just stress Lindsey more.
“I called Mikey, he said you didn’t have a meeting today,” Lindsey announced like she had solved a great big mystery. “So, spill it. Where were you?”
“Look, can you just let it go? It has nothing to do with you,” Gerard pleaded. Still, somehow he knew that Lindsey would not let go before she finds out exactly where he was.
“Oh really? So this is how it’s going to be then? I’m stuck here doing stupid laundry and being pregnant and you’re off having fun with your friends?”
“I wasn’t off having fun!”
“Is that so? And why the fuck are you smoking?! Don’t you KNOW that I am PREGNANT?”
“Yes I know you are pregnant, you keep reminding me every two seconds!” Gerard tried to keep his cool with her, but at the moment, he just couldn’t. He was so happy that Gia had music playing so loud that the whole house was shaking, because he didn’t want her to hear the two of them fighting. That was the last thing she needed to hear right now.
“Well I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it made you so annoyed because I was too busy carrying a freaking human being in my stomach!”
“You know, everything doesn’t always have something to do with you,” he shouted back at her, but immediately wished he hadn’t.
At the same time as she got tears of anger into her eyes, she felt a sharp pain in her stomach. When she doubled over, all the frustration vanished between them and Gerard rushed over to her, worried that she was hurt.
“What is it?” he asked. “Is it the baby?”
“I don’t know,” Lindsey answered, holding both of her hands on her stomach. The pain was over. “Whatever it was, it passed already.”
“Are you sure? Should I call the doctor?”
“No, just help me to the couch.”
He did as she asked him to, but as they walked across the room, she suddenly stopped and tightened her grip on his arm.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I think my water just broke.”
Gerard glanced down, and his eyes widened. “Okay, that is disgusting.”
“That’s all you have to say?! Gerard, we need to get to the hospital! I’m giving birth!”
“What?!” he shrieked. His voice was oddly high pitched. “But you’re not due for another two weeks!”
“Shut up! Get the bag, get Gia, and get to the car!”
“Shouldn’t we call an ambulance?”
He got his response when Lindsey got another contraction and couldn’t speak from the pain.
“Alright, got it. Bag, Gia, car,” Gerard repeated the list, and after making sure Lindsey was okay to wobble to the front door by herself, he ran to the downstairs closet to grab the duffel bag they had prepared for this. Next, he ran upstairs in a hurry, nearly knocking himself over in the process, and knocked on his daughter’s bedroom door loudly before entering.
“Gia, we gotta go!” he shouted, bursting into the room with the door flying open. “Gia?” he asked again when she didn’t seem to be there. He peeked through the open bathroom door, but she wasn’t there either.
“Gerard! What the HELL is taking so long?!” Lindsey yelled downstairs, and Gerard took that as his cue to go help his wife.
“She wasn’t there,” Gerard told her when he found her downstairs sitting on the chair in the hall. “Should I call her?”
“No, you can call her from the hospital and then have Mikey pick her up or something. Hun, we really need to go now.”
Gerard nodded, and Gia’s absence vanished from his mind for the time being. He helped Lindsey outside, to the car’s front seat, and drove to the hospital carefully but quickly, making sure not to get into a car accident and kill his wife and soon-to-be-born child.
About the time they got to the hospital, Gia had reached the familiar house. She wasn’t sure what she’d do if Lucas wasn’t home, probably go to Hazel’s, but she hadn’t bothered calling him beforehand. She just had to get out of the house, so she sneaked out while her dad and Lindsey were screaming at each other.
Let them take their frustration out at each other, they wouldn’t notice her gone. She’d be home in a couple of hours anyway.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” Lucas asked after opening the door. It was pretty uncommon for Gia to just show up like that without even calling first.
“I just… I wanted to talk, that’s all,” she said, suddenly not sure if she wanted to be there after all. “But if you’re busy, I can go.”
“No, come on in. I was just watching TV. Dad and Tina are both away for the week, so I’m alone,” he explained while she came in and took off her shoes and jacket. “How come I haven’t seen you at school? Your dad said you were sick but you don’t look like it.”
“It’s a long story,” she sighed.
“Well, we have time.”
Before she told him anything, they settled down on the living room couch. The TV was on, it was playing an episode of Friends, but when they sat down, he muted it.
“Did I come at a bad time?” she asked when she saw the various bags of chips, the sandwiches, the soda cans, the candy, the large playful of lasagna… She was assuming that he was expecting company.
“No, I was just having a small snack,” he said, grinning. “Lasagna?”
“No thank you.”
He shrugged. “Your loss.”
Lucas started gobbling down the food, but Gia didn’t feel like eating. She felt somehow numb, and if she had tried, she couldn’t have smiled. It was like she had all life drained out of her, and her whole body felt heavy. There was too much on her mind and shoulders, that’s the main reason she was here. She needed to talk to someone.
Lucas seemed to notice this.
“Are you okay?” he asked, slowing down the eating. This was a sure sign that he was worried. If there was food, he ate. It took a lot to hog his attention away from food.
“Yeah,” she replied. It was like a reflex to just assure everyone she was fine. She sighed, and continued: “Actually, no.”
Gia spoke, he listened intently, eyes wide from shock. She told him about her mother, about what happened, how she couldn’t stand seeing her so happy with a new family, and how the whole thing just made her feel like…
“Like?” he asked, encouraging her to continue.
“I don’t know,” she sighed, shaking her head. “I just want to take it all back. I wish she had died so none of this would have happened. I just want to forget about the whole thing. I want it to go away.”
“Is there anything I can do?”
Gia sighed. She leaned her head on his shoulder, and his arm instantly wrapped around her. “Unless you can turn back time, no.”
“Yeah, I don’t think I can do that… I could give it a shot, but…”
Normally a comment like that would’ve made her at least smile if not laugh, but now it didn’t cheer her up one bit.
“Honestly, you’re like a drained washcloth,” Lucas said. “What would make you feel better?”
Gia thought for a moment. She couldn’t think of anything that could do the trick. Nothing was fun. Well, there was one thing. It wasn’t necessarily fun, at least the aftermath wasn’t, but it would surely take her mind off of things. “I’d like to take up drinking.”
Lucas wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, but seeing as she seemed to really be depressed about this, he didn’t want to say no. “I could raid dad’s liquor cabinet.”
“Would you get in trouble?”
“Probably,” he shrugged. “But if it makes you feel better, it’s worth it.”
Gia did feel bad about getting him into trouble, but she couldn’t help it.
She just wanted to forget. At any cost.