Chapter 76: 6 Pounds of Beauty
Her eyes fluttered open slowly, and for a while she couldn’t see anything. Gia’s eyes couldn’t zoom into anything, and she had no understanding of her surroundings.
When she was able to see, she realized that she was still in Lucas’ living room. She didn’t take that as a good sign.
Lucas was breathing peacefully next to her, his hair a mess, and when Gia rose to sit, she realized that she had been sleeping half on top of him, her head lying on his chest.
Chest, which by the way wasn’t covered with any kind of clothing.
Gia felt panic take over when she noticed that neither he nor herself were clothed at all. The only thing covering the both of them was the thick blanket which was barely enough to cover the both of them. Gia’s mind still wasn’t working in full power, as the alcohol hadn’t left her body fully. But the full understanding of what had happened last night hit her like a ton of bricks, making her want to cry.
And the worst part of it was that she knew it was her own fault. This time she wouldn’t be able to blame everything on him.
Gia glanced at the clock on the wall, her eyes now somewhat adapted to the darkness, and she saw that it was nearly 4 AM. Why she had woken up at such an hour, she had no idea, but she was glad she was up before him.
She wasn’t ready to face Lucas and talk about this. Actually, she was fairly certain that she would never be able to be even near him ever again.
Quietly, making sure not to wake him up, Gia rose from the couch, found her clothes from the floor, and quickly got dressed. Then, as silent as a mouse, she sneaked out of the room, and didn’t let out the breath she had been holding in until she had closed the front door behind her.
She had never disliked herself more. And the fact that she was running from it like a coward made it even worse.
While walking slowly home, she suddenly felt the pocket of her jacket slightly vibrate. Gia pulled out her cell phone and saw that she had a new text message. Actually, 37 new text messages…
At first Gia was afraid that the messages were all from her dad who had somehow figured out what she did last night and he was just listing 37 different ways to slaughter his daughter.
Then she had to stop herself from being so paranoid, and figured that there was possibly no way that he knew what she had done. Unless he had some sort of sixth sense about stuff like this…
But before she could read any of the messages, she got a phone call from Mikey. After nearly dropping the phone in surprise, she answered.
“Gia? WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?!”
Shocked by the yelling and the panicked voice of her uncle, Gia stuttered an answer. “What?”
“We’ve been trying to call you for hours! Why didn’t you pick up?”
“I was… engaged elsewhere,” she said, figuring that it wasn’t really lying. “What’s up?”
“What’s up…? Gia, you have no idea.”
“What happened?” she asked, getting concerned. “Is my dad okay?”
“Yeah he’s fine. It’s Lindsey who has babies falling out of her.”
Gia’s heart skipped a beat, and she stopped walking. “What? The baby…?”
“Yep. She was born a few hours ago.”
“It’s a girl? I have a sister?” Gia felt a lump in her throat, and she choked back tears. She was a big sister.
“Where are you? I’ll come pick you up. Gerard’s going crazy here.”
Gia told him where she was, and he told her he’d be right there. He was probably speeding, because he was there to pick her up in ten minutes.
Gerard practically had his face glued to the window, his eyes fixated on the tiny little girl wrapped in a light pink duvet. She had just fallen asleep and brought here to rest by a nurse, and Gerard couldn’t take his eyes off of her. He hardly noticed all the other babies around his own little girl.
“I want one of those,” Jamia sighed next to him. Frank was standing right behind her and had his arms around her stomach.
“Me too,” Frank announced.
“Wanna make one?”
“Sure, I’m up to it if you are. You wanna just do it right here?”
Gerard’s head snapped to glare at them so fast that his neck made a cracking sound. “It’s a free country and all, but if you do that in front of my daughter, I will kill you both.”
“Is that any way to speak in front of your daughter?” Frank laughed. “Honestly, you kiss your kids with that mouth?”
Gerard proceeded to snap back at him with a very carefully worded insult about his mother, and this verbal comeback resulted to a full blown war of ‘your momma so fat’-insults. They were so wrapped up in it that they didn’t hear Ray trying to get their attention.
“Guys! Shut up and listen!” Ray shouted, finally managing to get their attention. Unfortunately the raised voice resulted to a nurse running over to them and ushering the three men (plus the totally innocent Jamia, who had been quietly staring at the newborns) out of the maternity ward.
“Yeah, what is it Ray?” Gerard asked when the nurse left them alone.
“Gia is here.”
“What?!” he shouted, and the nurse came through the doors again, looking at him with such a homicidal look that Gerard actually flinched.
“Yeah, Mikey just told me. She’s with Lindsey now.”
Gerard didn’t care about the nurse who was nagging at him in a very agitated manner to be quiet, and dashed back into the maternity ward to get to the room his wife had been placed into.
During the ride to the hospital Gia felt her heart beating loud from excitement, but at the same time, she was extremely nervous. And no, she wasn’t only nervous because she was scared that someone might figure out what she had been doing while everyone else was at the hospital, but also because she was just about to see her little sister for the first time.
In a way, Gia wasn’t sure if she even would be able to see the baby. She felt as if she shouldn’t. If she had to express her feelings in one word, then she would’ve said that she felt dirty. And somehow she was scared to be around someone so innocent when she herself was anything but.
It was obvious that Mikey wanted to nag at her about why she hadn’t answered any of their calls, but she was glad that he didn’t. It was totally abnormal; usually Mikey couldn’t stand being left in the dark, especially when it came to Gia’s business.
He guided her straight to the maternity ward, and to a private room that was covered with flower vases, stuffed animals and toys, and – Gia stopped dead on her tracks when she saw her stepmother half sitting, half lying on the bed, reading a book of baby names.
However, when Gia and Mikey stepped into the room, Lindsey looked up from her book and a warm smile spread across her tired face.
Gia had never thought of Lindsey as a mother figure. She had always just been the woman that Gia’s father is married to. But now, because of the baby, there was a new bond between them. She had never felt more connected to Lindsey before.
“Where were you?” Lindsey asked, looking worried.
“I’m sorry,” Gia choked out and went to hug her. Lindsey gladly returned the hug. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here.”
“That’s okay. You’re here now.”
“How are you?”
“A little bit tired. I tried sleeping, but I just can’t.”
“And… The baby?”
“Looks just like Gerard. Screams like him, too.”
Gia couldn’t wipe the smile off of her face. It was like as the baby arrived to the world, everything else stopped being of any importance. That thing with her mom? Didn’t matter. The fact that her dad lied about her mom being alive? Who cares. Lucas? Well… She didn’t have that part quite figured out yet, but right at that moment, she couldn’t care less.
Gia eventually settled on the bed next to Lindsey, and they started going through the name book together. Gia was anxious to see her little sister, but Lindsey said that the baby will be brought there soon to eat anyway. So she settled for waiting.
When Gerard burst into the room, he looked, to put it simply, mad.
“Gia! Where the HELL were you?!” he demanded to know the second he saw her.
Before the girl had a chance to explain herself (or actually, mumble a quick lie about her whereabouts), Gerard groaned.
“Oh forget it,” he sighed and slumped down on the chair. “I’m too tired to yell right now.”
Gia glanced at Lindsey in confusion.
“He’s had a long day,” she explained to the girl and then spoke to her husband. “I think we really need to come up with a name. And we will not name her Francine, no matter what Frank tries to bribe you with.”
They discussed the different name options for a while, but Gia wasn’t really thinking about that. She was too occupied staring anxiously at the door, waiting for the baby to waltz into the room.
Soon enough, just as Lindsey had promised, her wait was rewarded when the door opened and a nurse peeked into the room with a happy smile. And in her arms, she was carrying a baby covered with a pink blanket.
Gia hardly heard what they were talking about, as her eyes were fixated on the little girl as she was passed by the nurse to Lindsey. Gia got off the bed, but stayed by their side.
Somehow she hadn’t really registered the information about being a big sister yet. Gia’s brain somehow couldn’t handle the new knowledge, so it just seemed unreal. Yet, she couldn’t take her eyes off of the newborn.
“Do you want to hold her?” Lindsey asked when it was apparent that the baby wasn’t interested in eating right now.
Gia could only nod, and carefully the baby was passed to her and after instructions on how to hold her properly, Gia finally got to hold her newborn sister.
She was surprisingly heavy, and Gia was scared that she might drop her. The face with chubby cheeks and big, dark eyes peeked from the midst of the pink duvet, and Gia could see that there was already some thin, dark hair on the top of her head.
Gia hardly even remembered that her dad and stepmom were in the room as well. All she could see was the tiny person in her arms.
And all too soon, the baby got restless. Her face scrunched up, her mouth opened, and she started to cry.
“Oh no,” Gia gasped, the look of admiration turning into one of pure horror as the baby cried. “What do I do?”
“Give her here. She might be hungry,” Lindsey said, and Gia carefully returned the baby back to her mother.
When Lindsey noticed the sour look on Gia’s face, she laughed. “You can hold her soon again, don’t worry.”
“Yeah,” Gia said. Just a few hours ago she didn’t even really care that much that she was getting a little sibling, and now she couldn’t get enough of her.
Lindsey and Gerard exchanged a glance, and then she asked: “Are you okay?”
Gia shrugged. “I guess. Just… It feels so unreal. Promise me something?”
“What?” Lindsey asked.
“Never ever leave her,” she said. “Because that’s the worst thing you could do to your child.”
Lindsey, who hadn’t been quite filled in on the events of the few past days, nodded. “I promise.”
However, Gerard knew all too well what the requested promise was all about. Gia knew firsthand what it was like to be abandoned by a parent, and knowing that your own mother didn’t care enough to even send a card on your birthday.
Gerard wasn’t too keen on leaving the side of his wife and newborn baby, and apparently Gia wasn’t too happy about it either when he took her hand and led her out of the room.
“I think we need to talk,” Gerard said when they got into the hall. “You want anything? Tea? Coffee?”
Gia shook her head, so they sat down on the first chairs they found.
“So, your mom… Is she the reason you were drinking?” Gerard started, completely throwing Gia off guard.
How the hell did he know? She didn’t feel drunk anymore, but she wasn’t completely sober yet either. The only hint of some sort of hangover was the headache, which she had forgotten about when she received the call from Mikey.
Gia sighed. Busted. “How did you know?”
Gerard rolled his eyes. “Please, I was drunk for three years straight; I think I know when someone’s been drinking.”
“You’re not mad?”
“Of course I am!” he answered. “But I’m not going to yell. Instead, I think I owe you an apology.”
Out of all the things that he could’ve said, that was the last one on her list. “What?”
“Look, I know how you feel. You want to forget so you’re looking for some sort of an escape, and I guess it was me that made you choose alcohol. I mean, I did kind of give you the example. But Gia, it will ruin your life. Alcohol is not the answer. Trust me, I know.”
“I know it was a stupid thing to do… I just didn’t know what else to do.”
“But no more, okay? Next time you feel that way, come to me. We’ll figure it out.”
Gia nodded. “Yeah, okay.”
“Promise me you won’t drink anymore.”
“I promise. Now, go back to Lindsey.”
Gerard was about to rise to go back to the room, when he saw something that made his blood boil. He kept his cool, but when he spoke, his voice had that certain ‘calm before storm’-tone.
“Is that a hickey on your neck?”
Gia’s face fell, and she instantly slapped a hand to her neck to cover the spot where she assumed the purple splotch was.
“Lucas?” he asked, and she nodded.
More frightened than ever, Gia looked up at her father, waiting for him to explode.
But he didn’t. Instead, he stared at her for a moment, looking like he wanted nothing more than to snap her neck in half, and then he just walked away.
Gia stared after him, shocked. She didn’t understand what had gotten into him, but she was still too scared to follow him. She briefly considered finding some more alcohol, and then ended up going to the canteen for a cup of tea to calm her shattered nerves.