Frank remembers the first time he met Holly. Gerard and Lindsey discuss a serious problem.
“So what do you think?” Lindsay asked looking up from the figure she was working on.
“I like.” Holly nodded. She glanced over at the girls who were happily playing in their cordoned off area. “The attention to detail is really nice.”
Lindsey sat back on her stool to survey her work with a critical eye. “I’m not quite happy with the color of the shirt.”
“Maybe something a bit darker?” Holly suggested.
Lindsey nodded, “Yeah, I think you’re right.” She reached over and grabbed a dark purple velum sheet.
Holly looked back down at the picture she’d been sketching then sighed. She rarely drew but Lindsey had suggested she try even though her bandaged hand made it difficult. Her sigh got Lindsey’s attention.
Lindsey moved slightly so she could see what Holly was working on. “That’s actually quite good. Why the sigh?”
Holly met her eyes, “Her eyes aren’t right. They look dull not full of life.”
“That’s Sonja isn’t it?” She asked softly.
“Yeah” Holly nodded still looking down at the sketch. “But it doesn’t do her justice.”
“Donna told me about her.” Lindsey admitted, “She said she was a beautiful girl like her mother.”
Holly shook her head, “No, not like me. She actually looked a lot like her dad.”
“You have any contact with him?” Lindsey asked.
“Nope, not at all now.”
“I’d think he’d want to see his granddaughter.” Lindsey said slowly hoping she wasn’t prying.
Holly looked up, “Oh, no. Besides his young wife would hate for anyone to know she has a step-granddaughter.”
“Really?” Lindsey shook her head, “That’s messed up.”
While she rarely spoke of her ex-husband she suddenly found Lindsey’s interest in her life slightly touching. “His wife is a lot younger and very beautiful.”
“But you’re beautiful.” Lindsey said honestly. “Man, I’d love to have eyes the color of yours.”
Holly laughed, “My eyes, I suppose, are my best feature but I’m far from beautiful.”
Lindsey titled her head studying Holly. “You’re wrong. I’m just wondering why you don’t realize it.”
Holly sighed. “Maybe too many years of being told I was fat and ugly.” As soon as she said those words she wished she could take them back. The last thing she wanted was to sound like a pathetic woman.
“Your husband did that?” Lindsey asked softly.
“Yeah but it doesn’t matter. That’s the past.” She shrugged. “And he was right. I was a mess back then.” She picked up the pencil and began to sketch again. Suddenly she wanted Lindsey to understand. “I concentrated all my time and energy on Sonja. She was very ill for a lot of years. I suppose in a way letting myself go was wrong but I was just so determined to take care of Sonja I couldn’t think about anything else.”
“I didn’t know she was ill a long time.” Lindsey said setting back, “Can you talk about it?”
The fact Lindsey understood that it was hard for her to talk about it made tears appear in her eyes. Slowly she told Lindsey about Sonja’s health problems, about her husband’s attitude, about the divorce. By the time she was done tears had ruined her eyes liner.
“Damn’ Holly laughed looking down at her fingertip she’d rubbed under her eye. “I keep forgetting.”
Lindsey slipped from her stool, walked over to Holly and surprised her with a hug. “Thanks for sharing that with me.”
“Thanks for asking.” Holly said her voice full of emotion. “You and Gerard are the only ones who know about Sonja’s health problems.”
Lindsey gave her a shocked look. “Really?”
Holly nodded, “Yeah and I only told him a few days ago. I just guess I never could make myself talk about it before.” She got up, “I’m gonna go repair this mess.” She smiled pointing to her eyes.
Lindsey sat back down lost in thought. She was shocked that Alicia didn’t know. She and Holly seemed so close. Then it hit her, all the conversations she’d ever heard about Holly had centered on how she’d helped others with their problems. Lindsey realized now that Holly had plenty of problems of her own so why hadn’t anyone noticed? The more she thought it over she believe she knew why – Holly tried to solve other people’s problems because she felt helpless to solve her own. In helping others she avoided dealing with what was wrong in her life.
A few minutes later Holly returned from the bathroom. “Better?” She’d wiped away the smeared eyeliner.
Lindsey smiled, “You look great. So wanna take our little budding artists out to lunch?”
“Sure.” She nodded, “Sounds like a plan.”
“What?” He glanced over at his brother.
Mikey lowered his voice, “Uh, she asked you a question.”
“Oh” Gerard smiled over at the woman conducting the interview. “Sorry I zoned out there a minute.” He listened to her question then answered.
After the interview the guys decided to grab lunch together before heading across town for another interview.
“So what the hell was with the zoning out?” Frank laughed as they sat down to study the menus. He had just arrived back in LA last night and while he didn’t want to admit it to the others he was already looking foreword to getting back home to Jamia and the babies.
Gerard shrugged, “I dunno. I’m kinda tired I guess.”
Mikey smiled, “He had a big date with his wife last night.”
“Yeah, that’s true.” He said smiling at the memory. Last night things between him and Lindsey had been better than they had been in months.
Frank grinned, “So how Holly adjusting to LA life?”
“Good.” Mikey answered. “Alicia and I love having her with us. Oh and before I forget mark your calendars. We’re gonna have a Christmas party.” He told them the date and details.
“Think we can swing that.” Frank said. “Since it’ll be several days before Christmas. We can fly out here for it.”
Ray nodded, “Yeah, sounds good.”
Mikey took a sip of her water then said, “So me and Alicia were trying to come up with someone for Holly. You guys got any ideas?”
Gerard gave him a shocked look, “Come up with someone?”
“Well yeah. I mean ours ain’t the only party coming up for Christmas and it would be nice if Holly had someone to escort her.”
“You sure she’d want that?” Gerard asked softly.
Mikey sighed, “I dunno but Holly’s a great woman. I don’t think it’s right she’s alone.”
“She’s not exactly alone.” Gerard sighed, “She’s busy raising Molly.”
“Gee, she a woman. She needs companionship.” Mikey said. “And it would totally be a bonus if she met a guy out here who she liked. Then maybe she’d just move out here.”
Gerard’s good mood suddenly evaporated, ‘Maybe you should just call Bryar and invite him out for her.”
There was a stunned silence around the table.
“What do you mean?” Ray asked.
Mikey spoke up quickly explained that Holly was friends with Bob and how their former drummer had been there for her.
Frank was the first to voice his opinion, “You know as much as I don’t like Bryar I’m glad he was with her, you know, when Sonja died?”
Ray nodded, “Yeah I have to agree with that. It does make me feel pretty shitty though that Bob went to the trouble to find her and we didn’t.”
Gerard sighed, ‘Yeah, you’re right. It was pretty shitty of all of us. We simply let a good friend walk out of our lives.”
Frank nodded then smiled, “God, I remember the first time I met Holly. I wasn’t sure what to think at first. She was so….” He searched his mind trying to find the right word.
“Strange?” Gerard laughed. He remembered that night clearly.
Dec 14th 2006
“Who the hell did you say you called to pick us up?” Frank asked Gerard as they stood outside in the frigid night air. He and Gerard had just left a party and he was more than just a bit buzzed. He’d planned on Jamia picking him up but when he’d called her she’d been unable. So now he and Gerard were waiting for someone to drive them home.
“Holly.’ Gerard answered, his eyes searching the deserted street for her car. “She’s uh a neighbor of Mom’s.”
Frank was confused, “You called your mom’s neighbor?”
Gerard laughed, “Yeah, she’s a friend of mine. I met her the night before Thanksgiving when she picked me up at the airport.” He heard the sound of a car coming down the road then spotted now familiar yellow Bug. “Here she comes.”
“Good.” Frank said hopping from foot to foot, “Cause I’m fuckin’ freezing.”
The car stopped and Gerard pulled open the passenger door. “Thanks Holly.” He said as he pushed the seat forward for Frank. “In the back, gnome.” He said to his friend.
Frank glared at the very small backseat. “Damn.”
“Sorry, it’s kinda small.” Holly laughed.
Frank climbed in then Gerard put the seat back and got in the warm car. “Uh, Holly that’s Frank.” He said pointing to the back.
“Well duh.” Holly laughed. “I know that’s Frank.” She turned in her seat. “Hey, Frank.”
“Hi.” He said glancing up at her. “Thanks for the lift.”
“No, problem.” She said as she pulled away from the curb. “I was just hanging out with two hundred guys.”
“Two hundred guys?” Gerard repeated.
Holly smiled, “Yep, two hundred Santa shaped sugar cookies. They’re for St Tim’s Christmas party. I think I got a contact sugar high.” She giggled.
Suddenly the radio, that had been turned down began to play a familiar song. Holly automatically turned it up.
“Of fuck.” Frank rolled his eyes. “The are playing that song to death.” He smacked Gerard on the shoulder, “Turn it.”
Much to his surprise Gerard laughed, “Oh hell no. She’ll hit me if I try it.”
Frank’s mind was getting fuzzier. “What?”
Gerard smiled over at Holly, “Her car, her radio, her rules.” When Holly smiled at him he added to Frank. “She likes this song.”
As Gerard had expected Holly started singing along. He noticed she kept glancing in the rear view mirror at Frank.
“He ain’t gonna sing along.” Gerard said with laughter in his voice.
Holly grinned at him. “Well I had to make sure.” She turned her attention back to the road.
“Man, I drank too much.” Frank moaned as his stomach lurched.
Holly glanced back at him, “No spewing in my car.” She reached across Gerard and opened the glove compartment where she pulled out a small Styrofoam cup. Slamming the door closed she kept one hand on the wheel while handing the cup back to Frank. “If you have to spew, spew in here.”
Frank took the cup but looked at her as if she’d lost her mind.
Gerard laughed knowing what movie she was referencing. “Wayne’s World.”
Holly laughed. “Yep, now if they would just play Bohemian Rhapsody it would be perfect.”
“Oh I don’t think so.” Gerard grinned. “If they did when we got to the head bobbing portion I’m sure Frank would spew.”
Frank groaned, “You two are evil.”
“Shouldn’t have drank so much.” Holly laughed.
Frank had to agree. “Yeah, true.”
Gerard sat back getting comfortable in the warm car. “I’m glad I don’t do that shit anymore.”
Holly looked over at him. “Yeah, me too.”
He smiled at her.
“How much further?” Frank moaned from the backseat.
“Well since no one has told me exactly where we’re going I can’t really answer that one, can I?” Holly said.
Frank studied her as Gerard gave directions. The dashboard lights illuminated her face just enough for him to see she was rather plain but had huge eyes. He wondered briefly what color they were.
“Okay if I turn down the heat a bit?” She called back to him.
“Yeah, sure.” Frank answered.
“Good cause I’m roasting.” She laughed.
Gerard grinned, “That’s funny.”
Holly gave him a confused look.
He was secretly pleased she didn’t get it. But a moment later she started laughing, “Oh, I get it. Roasted marshmallow.”
Frank wondered what the hell they were laughing about.
Holly realized her backseat passenger was confused. “Gee knows this is my marshmallow coat.”
Frank leaned forward and with his fingertip poked Holly’s sleeve. “Yeah, I can see why you’d call it that.”
Holly laughed, “Yep, I look like the Staypuff Marshmallow Man in this. But damn it’s warm.”
Gerard realized he was feeling happier than he had all night. He hadn’t wanted to admit it to his friends but being around alcohol was at times difficult. However, being around Holly and her infectious laughter was great. “Uh so you’re not wearing your sweatshirt are you?”
Frank wondered what they hell they were talking about now.
“Nope, not tonight.” Holly answered, “Which is probably just as well. The flashing lights would for sure make Frank spew.”
They both broke into laughter, which really confused Frank.
“Okay, turn here.” Gerard said. Once she did he pointed out the house.
Holly pulled up at the curb. “You’ve arrived, Frankie.”
He grinned at her, “Thanks for the ride Holly. It was nice to meet you.” He said as Gerard opened his door letting in a blast of cold air.
“It was nice to meet you too, Frankie.” Holly smiled, “And thanks for not spewing in my Bug.”
Frank grinned, “My pleasure.” He started to get out as Holly spoke.
“Always happy to give a lift to a friend.”
Frank got out on the car. “Good to know.” He smiled warmly. “Uh not the ride part but the friend part.” He wasn’t sure why he added that friend part but it had seemed right. Holly was one of those people you meet who suddenly just seems like a long lost friend.
Frank grinned, “God she was sorta strange but by the time I got home I felt like I’d just been given a ride by an old friend.”
Gerard nodded, “Yep, that’s Holly.”
Frank titled his head, “So after you guys dropped me off she took you home?”
“Yeah, dropped me off.” He paused then smiled, “But I followed her car home.”
Gerard laughed, “Yeah, raced right up the road after it. I mean come on, I knew the woman had two hundred sugar cookies in her kitchen.”
Frank laughed, “And I suppose she shared?”
Gerard smiled remembering that night in his mind. “Yep, she gave me a glass of milk and two cookies.” He paused, “It was a great night.”
That night as Lindsey crawled into bed she moved to snuggle up next to her husband. “I had a good day." She said softly. This was the first time they’d really gotten to talk all evening.
“You mean at the studio?” He asked stroking her arm.
“Yeah, with Holly. I really like her.” She paused. “But I feel sorry for her.”
Gerard frowned, “Sorry? Why?”
“She’s had such a rough life. She told me about her daughters illness and her ex-husband.”
He wasn’t sure why but that bothered him. It was like Holly had shared something that he’d thought was just between them. “Yeah, I know.”
Lindsey nodded, “She said she’d told you recently. I think that made me even sadder.”
“Why?” He asked confused by her comment.
“Because it made me realize how much she’s kept bottled up inside. I mean I was shocked she hadn’t ever told anyone before now. When you all used to talk about Holly I just thought she was a really close friend.”
“Well she was.” Gerard said then added, “She still is.”
“Yeah, but think about it Gee. None of you knew much about her. The more I think about it I understand. Holly spends all her time trying to fix other people’s problems, doing stuff for others like the food kitchens and shit. Back when you guys knew her in Jersey she had to be struggling. Her daughter’s health, I’m sure money was tight; she told me she was a waitress. But I’m guessing none of you even thought of that.”
Gerard sighed suddenly filled with guilt. “Yeah, that’s true.”
Lindsey heard the sadness in his voice, “Hey it really wasn’t your fault, Holly kept it all inside.”
“Yeah but a really good friend would have realized it.” He said softly.
Lindsey gently kissed his cheek, “Hey, maybe now all of you have a chance to make it up to her. I know she’s doing well selling her wind chimes but it’s still gotta be hard raising Molly all alone”
“What do you think we can do to help her?” He asked.
Lindsey lifted herself to lean on her elbow. “Gee, I think Holly has an eating disorder. I watched her today and I saw what she ate when she was here for Thanksgiving. She’s so thin.”
Gerard briefly closed his eyes, “Yeah, Alicia thinks the same thing.” He admitted.
“Then it’s up to her friends to help her.” Lindsey said nodding. “If it continues she’ll ruin her health. If I was to wager a guess I’d say it started after Sonja died. I know before that she’d lost some weight because if you listen to her talk she hated the way she looked but what she’d doing now is too extreme.”
“I’m just afraid if we say something to her she’ll get mad." He sighed.
Lindsey titled her head to study his face in the darkness, “Gee, a friend doesn’t worry about that. I’m sure back during that whole fuckin’ mess with Eliza when you started drinking again Holly said some stuff to you that made you mad.”
He groaned, “Yeah often.”
“But she knew it needed to be said so she didn’t let your anger stop her.” She leaned back down on her pillow. “I’m guessing she wasn’t too happy when she was here the other night.”
Gerard remained silent.
“And she hurt her hand in the deal.”
He realized it was all out in the open now. “Linds I called her because I was so upset. When you said you weren’t coming home…”
She placed her finger over his lips to silence him. “It’s okay. I’m not mad you called her or that she came.”
“I’m cutting that shit out.” He said wanting her to know, hoping it would make a difference to her.
“I’m glad.” Lindsey said softly. “That will help.”
“It’s getting better.” Gerard said wanting to believe his words.
Lindsey smiled softly then moved her body to cover his. He didn’t realize this was her way of not talking about things.