Lindsey watched as her husband lazily held the rattle above their baby’s head. The little girl swung her arms and legs around wildly, fascinated by the sound the rattle made, and at the same time annoyed that she couldn’t reach it.
Lindsey could see that there was something wrong with Gerard. He had looked miserable all day, and the only thing he wanted to do was to play with Bandit.
“Gerard? Is something wrong?” she finally asked.
“No,” the man sighed. “Well, actually yeah.”
“Well what is it?”
Lindsey listened to him as he told her about the conversation that still bothered him. He couldn’t make a decision like that, because how could he allow his daughter to go live with some woman who biologically may be her mother but who he can’t trust at all? Then again, if he said no, he feared that she’d go without permission and he’d never see her again.
“I don’t really know what to do,” Gerard admitted, lowering the rattle so his younger daughter could reach it. Bandit immediately snatched the toy away from him and happily stuffed it into her mouth, her legs dancing wildly in the air.
“Oh, Gerard,” Lindsey sighed. “Gia lost her mother at a very young age. I bet she just wants to take the opportunity to get to know her.”
“But why do I have to be the one to suffer?!” Gerard whined.
“Gerard... How many parents have you lost?”
“Then you can’t know what she’s feeling.”
Gerard sighed. Lindsey was right. He cursed the day when he decided to marry a fortune cookie.
“Bandit, you’ll never leave me, will you?” Gerard said to the baby that had thrown the rattle away and was manhandling a teddy bear with her tiny fists. “That’s what I thought. You love me, all these other people just want me for my money.”
Bandit started chewing on the teddy bear’s ear and made a gurgling sound as a response.
When Gerard informed her of his decision, Gia felt a weight lift from her chest. Truth be told, she hadn’t expected him to say yes. But he had, and she couldn’t have been happier.
“Oh thank you!” Gia gasped, hugging him.
“Yeah, don’t thank me yet,” Gerard said. “This means that you have to be good. I hear about any problems and you’re on the first flight back home, got it?”
“I got it.”
“And you will come back here during summer and all the major holidays. That includes birthdays, got it?”
“Of course. It’s not like you have many birthdays left.”
Gerard frowned. “Oh, I’m gonna miss you calling me old.”
“Don’t worry. Bandit will have to learn to talk sooner or later.”
Without even ringing the doorbell, a man burst through the door, nearly making it fall off its hinges.
“Mikey? What are you doing here?” Gerard asked, a bit upset that the soppy moment with his daughter was so rudely interrupted.
Completely ignoring his brother, Mikey stared at his niece. “You’re PREGNANT?!”
“What? Who told you that?” Gia asked in shock.
“Frank did!” Mikey shouted, pointing at the fun-sized guitarist who came in through the door with a wide smile and a book in his hands.
“I am not pregnant,” Gia sighed. This was really getting old. Did everybody think that she would really get pregnant? As if.
“No. Trust me. Dad already forced me to take the test.”
“Then… I don’t have to dig a grave for Lucas?”
“No, that won’t be necessary.”
“Oh thank god,” Mikey sighed in relief. “My body is not made for physical work.”
“But she does have a boyfriend,” Gerard reminded, thinking that the burying actually sounded like a valid idea.
Frank approached Gia with a gleeful grin. “Gia, now that you have a boyfriend, but your prude of a father feels too embarrassed to talk to you about this stuff, I got you this book to kind of guide you in the right direction, okay?”
Gia took the book from Frank and read the text on the front cover out loud. “How far can we go? A Catholic guide to sex and dating,” she read, and hit her uncle Frank on his arm. “Frank!”
“What?! Someone needs to keep you in line! This thing has some very good ideas!”
“Let me see that,” Gerard said, taking the book.
Gia suddenly realized something. “By the way, now that you both are here, I have something I need to tell you.”
Frank and Mikey looked at her, waiting for her announcement. They weren’t going to take this well.
“Well, the thing is… And dad just agreed to let me do it so don’t worry. I am going to move. To go live with my mom. In Connecticut.”
The guitarist and bassist stared at her as if they hadn’t even heard what she said.
“Excuse me, what was that?” Mikey asked in disbelief.
“Mikey, it’s okay. I already gave her my permission.”
“What the FUCK is going on in here?!” Mikey shouted.
Frank’s brain, however, had just processed the information. He went down to his knees, put his fists up in the air, and let out a horrible, screeching, heart-breaking “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Gia had expected a reaction of some sort, but never this.
“Frank, will you please shut up? Bandit is asleep, you’ll wake her up!”
The man let out a sob, but calmed down after Gia promised him she’ll take him to Disney Land next summer to make it up for him. Mikey wouldn’t speak to her, but she was pretty sure that he’ll come around sooner or later. Ray and Bob wouldn’t be a problem.
So now all she needed to do was tell Hazel, and most importantly, the one she dreaded telling the most.
Lucas. He was not going to be very understanding.
Gia caught up to Hazel in the school hall on their way to art class.
“Hey, what’s up?” Gia asked the girl.
“Not much. I’m grounded again for failing a math test, but that’s nothing new. What about you?”
“Um, funny thing happened,” Gia started. “I’m going to move to Connecticut.”
Hazel stopped dead on her tracks, and looked at her friend like she’d gone mad. “What?! How did this happen?!”
“Well, you know my mom is back, right? I’m going to go live with her.”
“In two weeks. I would’ve gone sooner but it’s part of the deal I made with dad.”
“Wow,” Hazel said. “Why would you want to live with your mom though? Your dad is awesome.”
“Yeah, you try being controlled by a possessive freak, you’ll see how awesome it is. You know what he did when he heard about the pregnancy rumor.”
“I said I was sorry! But point taken.”
“Anyway, this weekend, you, me, pizza and movie marathon?”
“I’m there. Your house though, my mom would go crazy if she knew I was staying up all night.”
“Did you tell Lucas yet?”
Gia sighed. “No, not yet.”
“He’s going to be pissed.”
Oh, how right she was.
“This is from when Frank took me to see the fireworks,” Gia said, showing her dad the picture of herself and Frank from when she was six.
“Yeah I remember that,” Gerard frowned, looking at the photo. “He forgot to put the earplugs on you, and your ears rang for days.”
“I’m going to miss that crazy little man,” she sighed. “Even though he did tell on me.”
“You can still change your mind, you know.”
Gia looked down at the photo album in her lap. Yes, she’ll miss them, but… She felt that she had to do this. “Where’s this from again?” she asked to change the subject, as she pointed at another photo. In the photo Gia was being held by Mikey in a tight embrace.
“That was taken when you were about eight, I think. You had come to a concert venue with us and we lost you. When we found you, Mikey wouldn’t let you out of his sight. I was unfortunately a bit… Well, out of it at the time.”
Gerard and Gia had sat on the floor of her room for nearly an hour, going through photo albums while she waited for Lucas to arrive. She was going to tell him today, and she was so nervous. She had no idea how he was going to react. Gerard did his best to get her mind off of the task, but as soon as the boy appeared in the open doorway, Gia’s heart jumped into her throat.
“You wanted to see me?” Lucas asked, coming into the room.
Gia glanced at her father.
“I think I’ll give you two some privacy,” Gerard announced, got up from the floor and left.
This was Lucas’ first clue that something was up. “That was strange,” he said after Gerard had closed the door behind him. “He never lets us be alone in a room, especially not if the door is closed.”
“Yeah it’s weird,” Gia said.
“What are all these photos?”
“We were just going through some old photo albums, it’s nothing.”
Lucas shrugged, and plopped down on the couch in the corner of her room. “So, what did you want to talk about?”
Gia figured that it was now or never. She sat next to him on the couch and started: “Lucas, you know I like you, right?”
“Yeah, everybody likes me.”
“I mean… I really do like you. And I’m happy we’re together, but I’m afraid it can’t last very long.”
The grin on his face faded, and he looked simply dumbfounded. “What?” he asked. “You’re breaking up with me?”
“Well not exactly. Okay, you remember when you went to live with your mom for a while? And I understood, and didn’t try to stop you, because I wanted you to be happy.”
“Where is this going?”
“Lucas… I’m gonna go live with my mom. In Connecticut.”
She was a bit confused when he considered her words for a moment, and then shook his head. “No,” he said.
“No. No as in, you’re not going.”
“No you don’t understand, I’m going.”
“No you’re not. You know why? Because I’m not allowing you to. You can’t do that.”
“Lucas, you left me to live with your mom first! And I didn’t stop you even though I knew I was going to be lonely. I missed you like hell, but I knew that was where you wanted to be. Can you do the same for me?”
“Of course not!” Lucas said, raising his voice, and stood up. “You’re making a huge mistake! You think you’ll be happy there? No way, you will just end up miserable and wishing you never decided to go!”
“I have to do this!”
“No you don’t! You survived for over ten years without her, you don’t need her!”
“Yes I do! I’m going to do this and you can’t stop me!”
Lucas stared at her for a moment angrily, and then said with a lower voice: “Well then I guess this is over. Have a nice life in Connecticut.”
Gia watched him leave the room, slamming the door. She hadn’t meant for this to happen. No, he was supposed to be understanding and assure her that somehow they’d find a way to still be together.
Gia felt tears burning in her eyes, and eventually she felt a hot tear trickle down her cheek. Soon the tears started flowing when she couldn’t keep them back any longer.
Gerard came back to her room a few minutes after Lucas left, no doubt to make sure she was okay. As soon as he saw his daughter bawling her eyes out, he sat next to her. Gia immediately wrapped her arms around his torso, soaking the front of his shirt.
She felt bad about Lucas, but she could only blame herself. Gia wished he could understand, but at the same time knew that he couldn’t do that. But maybe it was easier this way. No long, heartfelt goodbyes, no disappointments from not keeping in touch despite all the promises… No, this was definitely better.
A/N: Next chapter will take a while, as I haven't even started writing it yet. But there are two more chapters left, so it's ending soon.