With shaky hands, Gia carefully poured the hot tea into the cup.
The woman thanked her, proceeding to add the sugar into her tea as Gia poured tea to her own cup. After setting down the tea pot, Gia returned to the table and looked at her mother.
The red, slightly wavy long hair looked healthy and expensive. Her makeup was carefully done, and it gave Gia the feeling that she had prepared this visit very carefully. Gia only hoped that she was wearing something else than her dad’s old Iron Maiden t-shirt and the pink flannel pajama bottoms she got from Frank, and perhaps she could’ve ran a comb through her hair as well. Next to her mother, Gia looked like she had just gotten up from bed.
“So,” the woman began, adding three spoonfuls of sugar into her cup of tea. Gia noticed that, because that’s how she used to drink her tea, as well. That is, until Hazel introduced her to milk tea.
“Your father isn’t home?”
They stared at each other for a moment, and then a small, although sad smile appeared on Stella’s face.
“You look exactly like I imagined you would. You look a lot like your father. The pink hair is a surprise though.”
“What are you doing here?” Gia asked, not being able to control herself any longer. Out of all things, her mother appearing at her doorstep was the last thing she could’ve expected.
The woman sighed. Although she looked relatively young, as she was only in her early 30’s, Gia could see the clear worry lines on her forehead and small wrinkles around her eyes. Gia could smell a slight scent of cigarettes mixed into her perfume, so that would explain the wrinkles. The perfume and cigarette mixed scent reminded Gia of when she was a child. It was one of the things that was still vivid in her memory.
“I know that you went to the bank and saw my letter,” she confessed. “The bank called me to inform that the safe deposit box had been opened. I figured Gerard must’ve given you the key and you went to see what was in there… And I assume I was right, since you don’t seem very shocked to see me alive.”
“Dad told me everything,” Gia admitted.
“I’m sorry. I did a horrible thing. You have no idea how much I wanted to come back but… It was best that I didn’t.”
Gia couldn’t believe her ears. “Best?” she asked in disbelief. “How can it be best when every day I wonder why my own mother hates me so much that she’d rather fake her own death?”
“I never hated you, Gia,” she sighed. “I was angry, messed up; I would’ve ruined your life if I had been around. I needed help.”
“My life got ruined either way.”
“I’m sorry about what went on with you and your father. I never thought it would get so bad.”
“Yeah well, at least he stayed! You’re the one who left!” Gia raised her voice, getting agitated as soon as she heard her say a bad thing about her father. Gerard at least cared enough to stay.
“I know you think I’m a horrible person Gia, but I’m not the villain.”
“The villain is the one who leaves, and the hero is the one who stays,” Gia said. She looked at the woman before her with a hard expression.
“I understand,” she choked out, standing up. “I think I should go.”
“Yes, you should.”
“Well… In case you change your mind, I will be in town for a couple of days.” She dug out a small piece of paper out of her purse and set it on the table. “Here’s the hotel name and room number, and my phone number too if you want to talk.”
When Gia didn’t answer her, only stared at the piece of paper, she sighed.
“I know it doesn’t help, but… I really am sorry,” she said as the last thing before leaving.
Gia’s eyes followed her out of the room, and she held her breath until she heard the door close. She sighed in relief, and sat there on the couch for hours after her mother was gone. Gia’s eyes were fixated on the half empty cup of tea, which was completely cold by the time it got dark and Gerard, Lindsey and Bandit all came home.
Bandit had fallen asleep in the car, so Lindsey took her straight upstairs to the nursery to sleep. As he was passing the living room to get to the kitchen, Gerard noticed Gia sitting on the couch, completely still.
“Gia? You okay?” he asked worriedly. He glanced at the sofa table, and saw that there were two cups of tea. When he realized that someone else had been there, he panicked. “Gia? Who was here?”
“My mom,” Gia said, her voice cracking.
“What?! She was here?!”
The girl nodded. “I’m gonna go to bed.”
“Wait, what did she say?”
Without giving him an answer, she left the room and went upstairs. Gerard thought about following her, wanting to get some answers, but when he saw the piece of paper on the table, he changed his mind.
With anger pumping through his veins, Gerard knocked on the dark wooden door with the golden ‘204’ on it. On the way to the hotel, he had gone through all the things that he wanted to yell at the woman, thought of millions of different ways to murder her, and here he was, at his destination, still not quite sure what he was going to say, but certain that whatever it was, it would be said in a very loud tone.
Despite having seen her a few weeks ago from a distance, he was still very shocked when she opened the door.
For a moment, they just stared at each other, with equally shocked expressions. He hadn’t spoken to Stella in years when they made the decision that it would be best if she stayed away from their daughter. The conversation was suddenly very vivid in his memory.
“Gerard?” she asked in disbelief.
Hearing her voice made him break out of the shock, and the anger came pulsing back. Noticing this made Stella flinch.
“What the FUCK were you thinking?!” he demanded to know.
“Gerard, please don’t shout,” she pleaded, shushing him. “There are other people at this hotel.”
“I don’t fucking care about that!” he shouted.
Stella rolled her eyes and pulled him into the room, shutting the door behind him. “Can you please be a bit more quiet? I promise I’ll explain everything to you, if you just let me.”
Gerard didn’t want to hear her explanations. He wanted to rage, yell and shout, throw gasoline all over her and throw a match at her general direction. But he didn’t.
With an audible groan, he crossed his arms and looked at her. “Fine, what? What excuse could you possibly have to try to ruin my daughter’s life AGAIN?”
“Our daughter’s,” Stella corrected, emphasizing the word ‘our’.
“You’re not her mother.”
“Gerard, don’t try to roll this on me. You were the one who thought it best for me to leave and never come back.”
“We wouldn’t be in this mess if you hadn’t tried to kill yourself in the first place!”
“Oh, like you weren’t killing yourself by doing drugs and being all alcoholic for half of Gia’s life!”
“That has nothing to do with this!”
“It does have to do with Gia’s wellbeing,” Stella said firmly, her cheeks slightly red from anger and her lips a tight white line.
“What are you doing here, Stella?” he asked, now considerably calmer.
“You don’t know what it’s like,” she said, shaking her head. “Every second of every day I think about her and all those things I’ve missed. I have two little kids, you know. They remind me of her so much. But I never did anything because I thought she thought I was dead. Then… I got the message from the bank that the safe deposit box had been opened. I knew it must’ve been her. She read my letter. I was so scared, but it also made me so happy to know that she knew that I was out there.”
Gerard nodded. He was mad at her for being here, but at the same time, at some level he understood why she needed to do this.
“She’s gotten so beautiful,” Stella smiled. “I mean, I’ve seen you on TV and magazines and the internet, and every time I did I hoped for a picture, even a mention of her so I could have a hint of how she was doing.”
“I tried to keep her out of the spotlight as much as I could,” he said. It killed him to be this civil with her, but at the same time he was dying to hear why exactly she had came here.
“I understand,” she nodded. “I wish I could’ve been there to watch her grow. She’s now 15, isn’t she? It’s been over ten years…”
“And what now?”
“Gerard, I know you don’t want me anywhere near her. And I am very aware she hates me, too.”
He was dreading for the ‘but’ that he was sure would follow.
“But…” There it was. “I want to get to know her. I can’t help it. She’s still my daughter and I regret every mistake I did.”
“No,” he argued. “You’re not going to mess her up any more than–”
“Thank you did?” she finished for him.
“That’s not what I was going to say.”
“But it’s true. Gerard, give me this chance, please. Imagine if someone tried to keep you away from your kids, how would you feel? What if you hadn’t gotten a second chance after going to rehab? It’s tormenting me.”
Gerard thought about it long and hard. She had a point, but his initial reaction was still to guard his daughter from this woman. But when he looked at her, he didn’t see the woman he hated. He saw a mother who missed her child.
“I’ll talk to her. But everything depends on what Gia wants. If she says no to meeting you, you leave her alone.”
“I will, I promise.”
Although he promised to talk about it with Gia, he had no intentions of keeping that promise. And once again, Gerard’s will to keep his daughter protected from harm, which in this case was her mother, kept him from realizing that the choice wasn’t his. Gia had done well without her mother for the past ten years, and she’ll be better off without her in the future, as well.
A/N: Just wanted to say that I've recently become addicted to Tumblr, but I'm still quite new there. So if you have a Tumblr and you want to, like, I don't know, maybe contact me or something... Then here: http://plasticcu.tumblr.com/
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