Chapter 10: Family
Gia was glad she had had the opportunity to catch up with Hazel, who had been one of her two best friends before leaving. Lucas of course was the other one, but Gia was determined to ignore the tiny fact that he was living in the same town she herself was residing in at the moment.
When Gia returned home from her little coffee date with Hazel, she stopped walking the second she noticed the pile of cars scattered all over the yard of the Way residence. There was one car on the grass and one even sideways directly in front of the door. Gia wondered what was going on, and approached the house with caution.
However, as she was getting closer, the front door slammed open so hard that Gia thought it’d break down, and a short man with an insane glare in his eyes screamed in glee. He dashed towards the girl, jumping on her and hugging her so tight that every single bone in her body cracked painfully. Gia felt herself be lifted from the ground, and she was carried into the house.
The second they got in, she was thrown away and her uncle Frank, who had been the one to destroy her bones, threw himself in front of the door, barricading it.
“You won’t be able to escape now,” Frank shouted, laughing manically.
Gia watched him in horror as he cackled away. “What the hell?”
More people emerged from the living room, and she was instantly greeted by her whole family. She realized that her dad had probably told everyone that she was back in New Jersey, and they had come over to say hi. Or, in Frank’s case, barricade all the exits so she can’t leave again.
Mikey was the first one to get up, and he hugged her far more gently than Frank had. “Welcome back,” he said. “Good to see you.”
“And Gerard told us what happened. Don’t worry, I’ll go stab Thomas in the eyes with rusty knives.”
“That’s really not necessary,” Gia assured, knowing very well that Mikey would actually do what he threatened to.
Ray was the last one to hug Gia, and the way Frank was jumping around, he was ready for round two with the greetings.
"Glad you're back here to tame Frank,” Ray laughed. “He wouldn't shut up about you. Not that it was a bad thing but it did get annoying. And with the twins, he’s gotten even crazier."
“So far I see no change,” Gia answered, glancing at Frank who was doing his little happy-dance and shoving his butt towards Gerard while he was at it, wanting the other man to join his dance.
"GIA!" Bandit screamed. The little girl was clearly agitated that she wasn't getting attention. Lindsey picked her up and gave the plumb baby the attention she wanted.
Gerard shook his head as Frank attacked his daughter once again. Jamia groaned as she pulled him off.
“Frank, isn’t it about time to calm down?” Jamia suggested.
"Oh! That reminds me! Gia, Jamia and I want you to meet the awesomest people you’ll ever meet," Frank said.
“What, it’s a word! Now come on!” Frank smiled so wide that she swore she could see all of his teeth. He grabbed her by the hand and pulled her to the living room.
Gia gasped when she saw the two tiny babies. She had seen pictures and knew they were born of course, how could she have not when Frank sent her pictures and texts about them all the time, but she hadn’t seen them in person before.
"These are Cherry and Lily, my two perfect little mini-Franks," Frank introduced excitingly. He was clearly proud of the two little girls.
The twins were sleeping on car seats on the sofa, and Gia instantly fell in love. They were the cutest things she had seen since Bandit was that age. Sure, Bandit was still cute, but in a very different way.
“How old are they now?” she asked.
“Six months,” Jamia answered.
“Oh they’re so cute, I could just kidnap them and dress them up like little dolls,” Gia sighed. “But I won’t,” she added when she saw the look on Jamia’s face. “Ah, I still want one!”
The look on Gerard’s face was one of panic. “Take the babies away from her! Gia, I’m way too young and hot to be a grandfather!”
Frank nodded furiously with a very serious expression. “Yeah, that skin complexion does not fit a grandparent. Gia, you can’t do that to your poor father.”
“Guys relax, she’s not really going to have a baby,” Mikey laughed, but then glanced at his niece and asked: “Right?”
“You guys are idiots,” Gia mumbled, shaking her head. She once again concentrated on the tiny twin girls in front of her.
But of course, Frank couldn’t let her play with the babies for long. “Gia, I hope you realize that I still love you,” he suddenly announced, sounding genuinely concerned.
“Just because I have my own kids now, doesn’t mean I don’t think of you as my little girl anymore,” Frank continued, and clearly started tearing up. “Oh Gia, my poor little Gia! Don’t cry!”
“I’m not crying, you are,” Gia said.
“Don’t worry about anything. Uncle Frank is here.” Frank sighed, dragged Gia up from the couch and wrapped his arms around her head, petting her hair and trying hard not to cry a river.
There was a knock at the door. Gerard ran to answer it and his parents soon appeared in the living room. Without even saying hi to anyone, Donna stole Gia from Frank and engulfed her granddaughter in a tight hug.
“Oh honey, it’s so good to see you again!” Donna said. “You have no idea how much I’ve missed you.”
“Grandma, you’re killing me,” Gia laughed, and struggled to get away from the death grip.
“You’ve grown so much. You’re almost an adult already!”
“I know, I don’t like it,” Mikey said, scrunching up his nose in dislike.
“It’s like it was only yesterday that I was changing her diapers,” Gerard sighed.
“If you miss it, feel free to come over any time to change Lily and Cherry’s diapers,” Jamia suggested.
“Thanks, I’ll pass.”
No one seemed to be in a hurry to leave, and so two hours later all of them were still there in the living room, sitting around and chatting. They had all consumed more coffee than is humanly possible, and Gerard and Lindsey started to talk about getting another coffee maker. With this family one pot of coffee didn’t last long.
Gia was sitting on the very crowded armchair with Bandit on her lap and Lindsey right next to her. Everyone else was scattered around the room.
Gia hadn’t felt this comfortable or at home or happy in a long time. She started to think about how afraid she had been to meet all these people again, if they would see through her and be disappointed. They knew her, but Gia was very relieved to realize that they probably didn’t care about the negative sides of her. So she drinks a little bit, so she has the occasional cigarette, so she might be a bit freer in more than one sense than she used to be. They might get worried and talk to her about it, and some of them might even murder her for it, but it wasn’t a reason to not come back home.
It all seemed stupid now.
When Gia was asked about her life in Connecticut, about school, about boys (which Gerard protested to with a firm negative opinion) she wondered how she ever could’ve left them.
Back then Gia may have felt that they no longer needed her now that they had Bandit, and that getting to know her mother was more important than staying with the ones she loved. Now she knew different, and she wasn’t leaving again.
Well, at least not until college, or until they drive her completely insane with their constant inquiries about every single detail of her daily life in Connecticut.