Gia sat up on the bed, holding the thick duvet against her chest, which left her back bare. Gia glanced over her shoulder at the boy, who was fast asleep. She smiled at his messy hair and the growling snore he produced.
The room was dark, as the curtains had been let down to cover the windows, but the small rays of light still managed to battle their way through, and lit the room just enough for Gia to find her clothes from the floor. When she found her jeans, she dug out her cell phone from the pocket. The bright green digits on the screen told her that it was 7 AM. She also had 5 missed calls from her father.
Upon remembering the fight between her mother and father the previous night, Gia wondered how exactly she had gotten here. She had no memory of the journey from the hotel to Lucas’ house. But what happened after her arrival was clear on her mind. And for some reason, it didn’t bother her as much as it had last time.
Gia zipped up her jeans and turned to look for her shirt, and she noticed that Lucas wasn’t drooling on the pillow anymore. Instead he was staring at her. By the look on his face Gia knew that he wasn’t sure if she regretted last night and if she was going to scream at him.
“Morning,” Gia smiled.
Being assured that she wasn’t going to snap at him, Lucas grinned. “Morning,” he answered, sitting up on the edge of the bed and pulling her closer by her hand. “One question.”
“Yes?” Gia asked, as his cold hands touched her bare back, making her shiver.
“What are these things you are wearing and when are they coming off again?” Lucas grinned.
“They are called clothes. You should consider them too, you know,” she laughed. Gia was surprised how great her mood was.
“I look better without them and you know it.”
“Oh, sure,” Gia said sarcastically, breaking free from his grip. “Help me find my shirt.”
“I need to go back home.”
Lucas didn’t reply for a while. He watched her go through the piles of clothes on the floor, finally finding her shirt which had been tossed to a corner.
“Gia?” he finally spoke. “I know I’m not supposed to ask, but… Why’d you come here? I mean I thought you didn’t want this?”
“Honestly? I don’t even know,” she said.
“Do you regret it?”
Gia shook her head. “I don’t. Do you?”
“Well…” Lucas started, pretending to think about it.
“You’re a jerk,” Gia stated. “Why didn’t you stop, then?”
“Eh, you know me. I let my dick make most of my decisions,” Lucas grinned, and then continued: “No but really, I’m glad you came. And not just because I got to see you naked.”
“Don’t remind me. But I really should get going now. I don’t want your dad to figure out I spent the night.”
“I don’t think you need to worry, he’s been away for a few days now.”
“And left you alone?” Gia asked, getting worried. Lucas could hardly use the microwave, let alone the stove.
“Yeah but it’s okay, he left the Pizza Hut number.”
“Is something wrong?” she asked, noticing the grin on his face shrink slightly.
“No, actually everything’s great. I’m just a bit worried about dad, that’s all. I didn’t tell you this before, but he found out Tina had been cheating and the baby isn’t his… So they’re getting a divorce. He’s been kind of absent lately because of that.”
Gia wasn’t sure what to say. Lucas was clearly happy about getting rid of Tina, he had always hated his stepmother, but he also knew that she had meant a lot to his father. Gia sat next to him on the bed, gave him a kiss on the cheek, and hugged him.
While she had been too wrapped up in her own world and her own petty problems, he was going through this. Gia felt selfish, but it did give her some clarity. The decision she had made just proved that she was as selfish as a person could be, but she had to do it.
Now, the only thing she had to do was run her decision by her father and mother, but hopefully they’ll agree.
In Gerard’s case, however, that didn’t seem very likely.
Gerard had been up all night, feeling more remorseful every passing second. He had tried calling her, but there was no answer.
At first he had been furious, now he just felt desperate. He tried very hard to keep his daughter safe, but always just ended up making things worse. He loved her, but he had to admit that he had no idea what he was doing. He couldn’t communicate with her normally.
He didn’t mean to yell at her over a simple rumor he heard from Frank, of all people. No, he was supposed to sit her down and have a calm discussion.
But something just snapped in his head the second he saw her.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Gerard admitted.
“Being a parent is difficult,” Stella said to be comforting. She and Gerard had gone to his house when Gia left, figuring that when Gia has cooled down, she’ll go home. They didn’t expect it to take this long. It was already past 8 AM, and they had drunk three pots of coffee. Lindsey had waited with them at first, but then went to bed when she got too tired.
“You don’t have to deal with a teenager. You don’t know what it’s like. It’s like I’m walking on a mine field.”
“To be fair, it was you who blew up, not her. You’re not as much protective as you are possessive, you know.”
Gerard sighed. Everyone always took Gia’s side. Then again, so did he. “I just don’t know what came over me. I don’t know how to be around her. With Bandit it’s easy, all you need to do is make sure she doesn’t eat something from the floor and choke. You know? There’s very little that can hurt her at this point. But Gia, I can hardly put her in a crib and expect her to be safe, can I?”
“She is almost sixteen,” Stella said. “She hates the gates you’re building around her. You know she’s just gonna fight to get rid of the limitations.”
Stella saw how down he was. “Gerard, if I didn’t know she was going to be in good hands, I wouldn’t have left her. I knew you’d take good care of her. Granted, it took a while for you to come around, but I think you’re a great father. And she thinks so too, she just wishes you’d loosen up a bit. She told me so, herself.”
She felt so bad for him. Everything she said was true, but she also saw that both Gerard and Gia didn’t get along all that well even though they tried.
Gia wasn’t sure what to excpect when she got home. She was pretty sure that her dad would scream at her for being gone the whole night and ground her until she’s 40, but he might also cry and get all weird and hug her to death.
But she had not expected to see her mother and father sitting in the same room. What was shocking was that they weren’t screaming at each other. That seemed to be what usually happened when they met.
“Hey,” Gia said, breaking the silence in the room.
“Hey. Where have you been?” Gerard asked. He wasn’t yelling again, but he looked worried.
“Just out,” Gia shrugged, then asked her mother: “What are you doing here?”
“I had to make sure you were okay. I’m really sorry.”
“Not as sorry as I am,” Gerard announced, instinctively wanting to prove that he was the better parent.
“I did some thinking,” Gia started, her voice shaking from being so nervous. “And, I figured that it would be best if I went to live with mom, if that’s okay with you.”
A silence followed. Gerard and Stella glanced at each other. Stella went through a whole spectrum of feelings: shock, surprise, hope, happiness, doubt, whereas Gerard only thought of one thing. He sat completely still, but in his head he repeated the word ‘no’ over and over again.
He had failed. His daughter would rather be with her mother who she hadn’t seen since she tried to kill herself. Granted, he hadn’t been the best father, so he could only blame himself, but in order to keep himself sane, he directed his hate and anger towards Stella.
“Honey, you have no idea how much I’d like for you to come live with me, but it’s just not possible. I mean, your father –“
“But he’ll be okay with it! Dad, please?”
“Absolutely no!” Gerard shouted. He may not exactly be the father of the year, but he tried, and he wasn’t about to let his daughter go with someone he didn’t trust at all.
“I know you’re upset,” Gia started. “But think about it! We tried. I can’t live like this. And you have Bandit and Lindsey now, and I want to get to know my mom. Please?”
“If you let her, I’m willing to take her,” Stella said.
Gerard felt cornered, like these two were ganging up on him. “If this is because I got married and got another kid…”
“It’s not,” Gia assured. “But if I went, you wouldn’t be alone.”
“But that has nothing to do with this! I don’t want you to go and that’s that! I know you want to rebel, but can’t you just do what all the other kids do and get a tattoo or pierce something that’s covered by underwear?”
“I’m not trying to rebel,” Gia sighed. “I’m trying to tell you that I grew up wishing that I had a mother. Now I have a chance to get to know her.”
“It doesn’t have to be forever,” Stella added. “We can work out some kind of a deal. She could spend summers and holidays here and the rest of the time she’d be with me in Connecticut.”
Gerard looked helpless. He clearly had no idea what to do. On one hand, he understood her point. Gia was just a girl who wanted a mom. But on the other hand Gerard felt like throwing her into the basement, locking the door and throwing away the key so she could never leave.
Stella was right. He was being possessive.
“I need to think about this,” he finally said. “We’ll talk tomorrow. Sleep on it, okay, just to be sure it’s really what you want.”
“That sounds fair.”
Gia almost felt bad for her father. But the thought of going to live with her mother made her happy. She was finally going to have a mom. That is, if her dad allows her to, and knowing Gerard, he’ll act on instinct and rather kill her than allow her to leave.