Gerard's problems become more apparent.
It was the day before Thanksgiving and rain was threatening. As Holly got herself and Molly dressed she realized the weather matched her mood.
“Hey.” Alicia greeted them as they walked into the kitchen. “I just figured we’d have cereal this morning.”
“Dood.” Molly smiled. She loved cereal, especially the kind that was placed on the table.
Holly sighed looking at the overly sweet breakfast food.
“Not good?” Alicia said following her gaze.
“No, it’s fine but let me guess, Mikey Boy chose this kind.” She remembered he’d always had a love of frosted anything in a box.
Alicia laughed as they all sat down at the table. “Yeah, it’s his favorite.”
Holly poured some in Molly’s bowl then added milk, "So were is the frosting loving man this morning?”
“He and the rest of the band have an interview this morning.” Alicia answered. She frowned when she noticed Holly made no move to add cereal to her bowl. “Would you like some toast?”
“Just coffee for me.” Holly answered taking a sip from the cup Alicia had poured. “Thanks.”
Alicia held her tongue for the moment but for the last few days she was noticing more and more that Holly ate little. Instead she smiled, “So tomorrow’s the big pig out day.”
Holly had honestly forgotten. “Oh yeah, Thanksgiving.”
Molly’s ears perked up, ‘Mes wuvs pade.”
“Last year we got up and watched The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.” Holly explained, “It left a lasting impression on her.” She thought back fondly to that day, “She was so excited when Santa finally made his appearance.”
“Yep.” Molly nodded happily beginning to bounce in her chair.
“Sit still while you eat.” Holly said softly.
“We’re supposed to be there tomorrow early but I’m sure the TV will be on so she can watch the parade.” Alicia said before taking a bite of her cereal.
Holly gave her a puzzled look, “Be where?” She had heard nothing about plans for the day.
“Oh, at Gerard’s.” Alicia answered. “He and Lindsey are having Thanksgiving at their house.”
Holly immediately looked uncomfortable with that thought.
“Hey, we invited you here for the holidays.” Alicia reminded her.
Glancing over to make sure Molly wasn’t making a mess Holly took a moment to choose her words, “It would be best if we just stayed here, okay?”
Alicia had been afraid of this, “No, way.”
“I’ve never even met his wife. I’m sure she doesn’t want strangers barging in on a family meal.”
“Barging in?" Alicia repeated shaking her head, “Holly you are family.” When she saw Holly frown she added quickly, “Look, Gerard is assuming you and Molly are gonna be there, he told me that. And don’t forget Donna is gonna be there and she’s really looking foreword to seeing you and Molly.” She smiled at the little girl. “She really wants to meet her.”
Holly looked down and sighed. “We aren’t family.”
“You are to me.” Alicia said softly, “You are to Donna, and Mikey and Gee.”
“Not really.” Holly whispered, “I’m just an old friend who’s visiting.”
“There you go again.” Alicia said, “Always downplaying how much people care about you. It sorta makes me mad. Holly, you were the closest thing I ever had to a sister. When I first met you there was like an instant bond between us. You’ll never know how sorry I am I didn’t try to find you sooner. Things back at the time you left were happening so fast but that shouldn’t have mattered. I failed you as a friend.”
Holly’s eyes were full of sadness.
“I mean it.” Alicia said nodding, “And the more I think about it, as much bad blood as there is between Bob and the guys I’m happy he did find you. He did what the rest of us should have done.”
Molly looked up, “Unkle Bob?”
Alicia nodded to the little girl, “Yeah, Uncle Bob. He’s a good guy, isn’t he?”
“Yep.” Molly nodded, “Hes nice.”
That afternoon when Molly was napping and Alicia had left to run errands Holly decided to work on a wind chime. She was selecting a piece of glass when her phone rang.
“Holly, how are you dear?”
“I’m fine Arthur. How are you?” She asked hoping the gallery owner hadn’t called to push her about the wind chimes she’d promised would be sending soon. Unfortunately that was why he’d called.
“So, should I be expecting a delivery soon? I’ve had three more clients inquiring about your work. One has offered me a substantial amount more than the normal asking price for your work if I will let him see your work before anyone else.”
Holly sighed, “Actually I’m working on one right now.”
“Wonderful but we need more than one, darling.”
“Yes, I know but these do take time.” She reminded him.
“Of course they do anyone who sees your work understands the amount of effort that is put into each piece. So will you call me to let me know when to expect a shipment?”
“Uh, right now I’m in LA visiting friends for the holidays so I will be able just to bring it to the gallery.”
“You’re here? In LA? Oh that’s fabulous. If you get several pieces done I’d love to host a showing of your work.”
Again Holly sighed, “I can’t possible get more than two or three done that quickly.”
Arthur wasn’t discouraged, “I have your original piece, of course I won’t part with it but it can be part of the show. If you get three or four more completed that’s all we would need. That would be enough to show the world your talent.”
Holly looked down at the broken pieces of glass on the table. “I will do my best but…”
He laughed, “I know I’m pushing. Call me early next week and tell me how it’s going.”
“I will,” She promised.
“Have a happy Thanksgiving, love.” He said warmly.
“You too.” She placed her phone back in her pocket then looked down at the glass again. She knew she needed to work on the piece but her heart wasn’t in it. Sadly she realized that when Arthur had mentioned Thanksgiving her spirits had plummeted. She was not looking forward to dinner at Gerard’s home.
Later that night after Molly was asleep Mikey arrived home. Alicia could immediately tell by the look in his face something was wrong.
“What happened today?” She asked lowering the volume on the TV show she and Holly were watching.
Mikey sat down tiredly beside her on the sofa. “The first interview we did went okay. I mean no problems.”
Before she could continue Alicia said softly, “You mean no problems with Gee.”
“Yeah, he was doing really good answering the questions and having fun with it but then after that interview the radio station manager took us all out to lunch.” Mikey paused, “Gee had several drinks.”
“Shit.” Alicia whispered.
Mikey looked over at Holly, “I mean it’s not like it’s a secret he’s drinking again. He came right out in an interview and said he was.”
Holly hadn’t heard this bit of information. “He actually admitted it?”
Mikey nodded, “Yeah he played down being an alcoholic, like he’d never really been one. He made it sound like he’d just partied too much when he was younger but that now it wasn’t a big deal to him.”
Holly was shocked, “He said his drinking isn’t a big deal? Seriously he admitted years ago he was an alcoholic now he’s taking that back?”
“Yeah.” Mickey whispered.
“Good God Almighty, what a jackass.” Holly shook her head angrily. “You can’t just decide you’re not an alcoholic anymore. Does he really believe that shit? Doesn’t he understand what kind of message that sends out to his young fans?” She stopped when she saw Mikey’s face. “I’m sorry.” She said softly. “I know how hard this is on you.”
Alicia spoke up. “It is hard on Mikey and the rest of the guys. For a long time now everyone has been trying to cover for Gerard.”
“Well he did tell the world, hell he let the world see he was an alcoholic. How can he think it’s okay now to drink and act like there’s nothing wrong with it?” Holly asked shaking her head.
“I don’t know Holly.” Mikey sighed, “At first he hid that he was drinking. Now it’s like he doesn’t care who knows.”
“Cause I don’t care who knows.” Gerard said angrily.
“Gee how the hell did you get here?” Mikey stood quickly crossing towards the kitchen door where his brother was standing.
“After Ray dropped you off we were heading towards my house when I decided I wanted to come here. Didn’t think I’d get to walk in on a conversation about how fucked up you all think I am.”
“That’s not what’s going on.” Mikey said quickly.
Gerard crossed his arms, “Oh really? Sounded like it to me. Holly over there called me a jackass.”
Holly wasn’t about to back down, “Yeah, I did and I meant it. What the fuck is going on with you Gee? Drinking on the sly is bad enough but openly drinking and acting like it’s no big deal?”
“It isn’t a big deal.” Gerard said fighting to remain calm. “I don’t drink all the time I only drink occasionally.”
“Alcoholics can’t just drink occasionally, Gee.” Holly said narrowing her eyes and glaring at him. “You know that.”
“Well maybe then I was never really an alcoholic.” Gerard countered. “Ever think of that?”
“Oh good one, Gee. Way to rewrite history but then you’re good at that.” Holly answered angrily.
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” He pushed off the door jam and walked towards her.
Mikey moved to stop him. “Gee just calm down.”
“Stay out of this Mikey.” Gerard growled.
Holly stood. “Yeah stay out of this Mikey. You know how your brother hates anyone to say what he doesn’t want to hear.”
“Oh shit.” Alicia whispered when she heard Molly open the bedroom door. The loud voices had awakened her.
“Mommy?” She rubbed her eyes as she walked into the living room.
“It’s okay, Baby.” Holly moved quickly to pick her up. “Come on lets get you back to bed.”
As they started out of the room Molly spotted Gerard, “Nite Mikey, nite Awesha, nite Gee.”
The adults said goodnight but suddenly Gerard took several steps towards them, “See you tomorrow M.”
Holly glared at him. Molly hadn’t known about Thanksgiving dinner at Gerard’s tomorrow and the way she felt right now they wouldn’t be going.
“Hows come?” The sleepy child asked.
“You are coming over to my house for Thanksgiving dinner. Doesn’t that sound like fun?”
Molly nodded happily while Holly continued to glare at him. Quickly she turned and carried the child back down the hall to bed.
Gerard sat down heavily suddenly feeling all his earlier anger fading.
“Boy is she pissed at you now.” Alicia whispered.
Gerard understood that but still fringed innocence. “What? I just told Molly I’d see her tomorrow.”
“Not sure if that’s true.” Mikey said looking pointedly at his brother.
“Why, because Holly and I were arguing? We used to argue all the time, what’s the big deal? Of course they’re gonna come over for Thanksgiving.” But even as he said that he was starting to be worried. Would Holly decide not to come to dinner? Just as suddenly as that worry had come over him, his anger returned. If she didn’t want to come who cared?
Alicia stood, “Think I’ll go make sure everything’s okay.”
Mikey waited until she was gone to turn to his brother. “What are you gonna do?”
“Do about what?” Gerard asked.
“Holly. She’s pretty pissed at you.”
Gerard shrugged, “So?”
Mikey was clearly upset. “Gee she’s an old friend who’s gone through some terrible shit. Did you ever stop to think how hard the holidays have to be for her since losing Sonja? Don’t you care?”
“Hey, she’s the one who was yelling at me, telling me how fucked up I am.” Gerard answered trying to ignore a twinge of guilt.
Now Mikey found it impossible to control his anger. “Gee, she was doing it because she cares about you. What the fuck is wrong with you, anymore?”
“There ain’t nothing wrong with me.” Gerard answered, “My life is great and I don’t understand why people can’t get that. Look I’ve got everything I ever wanted. Great wife, beautiful daughter, I’ve got the band and my comics.” The lies just rolled off his tongue.
“And you drink because you’re so happy.” Holly said walking back into the room. Alicia followed a few steps behind.
Gerard looked up at her, “My drinking ain’t a problem because I am happy.”
Holly shook her head sadly. “Now you’re rewriting history from just a few days ago.”
The alcohol he’d consumed earlier in the day made it difficult to understand her comment for a few moments. Then he realized she was talking about how he’d admitted to her his life was messed up. “Hey you said yourself I was just trying to get sympathy from you.”
“Yeah” Holly said softly, “And you didn’t get it. You’re not gonna get it now either, Gee. You are the only one who can fix this. You are the only one who can chose to let alcohol ruin your life. No one makes you drink, you lift that glass alone.” With that she turned, smiled sadly to Alicia and whispered that she was going to bed.
A few minutes after Holly had turned in for the night Gerard asked Mikey to drive him home. There was a strained silence in the car.
Finally Gerard spoke, “So I guess I’ll see you all tomorrow about ten. Mom’s gonna be getting in around eight and I know she’ll want you to come early.”
Mikey continued to watch the road not answering his brother.
“She’s really anxious to see Holly.”
This time Mikey glanced over at him. “If she comes.”
“She’ll come.” Gerard said trying to sound confident.
“If she doesn’t Alicia and I will come over for dinner than leave early.” Mikey said already having made that decision. “We invited her for the holidays so we’re not just gonna leave her and M alone all day.”
Gerard grew anger again, “Look it’s Thanksgiving. A time for family.”
“Holly is family to me and Alicia.” Mikey said softly, “She used to be like family to you too.”
Memories from the past began to fill Gerard’s mind. He quickly pushed them away. “Don’t forget Holly chose to walk out of our lives.”
“Whatever.” Mikey was tired of arguing with his brother.
As they pulled into Gerard’s driveway a gentle rain began to fall. “Fuck.” Gerard muttered. “Hope it ain’t doing this shit tomorrow. We’re planning on setting up tables in the backyard.”
Mikey wondered how many people Gerard and Lindsey had invited but he just couldn’t make himself care right now.
Gerard started to open his door but stopped, “Uh, give me Holly’s cell number.”
“I want her cell number.” Gerard answered.
“Why? It’s late Gee, don’t call her. She and M are sleeping.”
“Just give me the fuckin number.” Gerard spat.
Mikey glared at him.
“I won’t call her tonight.” Gerard relented seeing the anger on his brother’s face.
For a moment Mikey continued to stare at him but finally he took out his phone and gave Gerard the number.
Gerard stood beneath the covered walkway leading to the front door watching as Mikey’s headlights disappeared down the road. Pulling out a cigarette he lit it then took out his phone. He’d promised he wouldn’t call her but he’d said nothing about a text.
Holly’s eyes popped open when her cell phone, sitting on the nightstand, chirped. She reached for it blinking several times trying to read the text.
I’M SORRY. WAS HAVING ANOTHER JACKASS MOMENT
Holly sighed. It took her a few moments to compose a return text in the dark…
WHATEVER I SAID WHAT I MEANT YOU JUST DIDN’T WANNA HEAR IT
Gerard frowned down at the phone.
YOU ALWAYS HAVE GIVEN IT TO ME STRAIGHT
Holly sighed then text.
BECAUSE I CARE
Gerard smiled sadly
I KNOW THAT THANK YOU
Holly waited a moment and when he didn’t text again she put her phone back down. A minute later it chirped again.
SEE YOU AND M TOMORROW? PLEASE?
Gerard puffed on his cigarette waiting, hoping she’d respond. When she finally did he smiled. That was the feisty Holly he remembered.
UNTIL TOMORROW JACKASS
He quickly sent at text then turned to walk inside
SEE YA THEN BOSSY