Holly and Alicia's shopping trip doesn't go well.
As soon as they left to go shopping this morning Alicia had understood why Holly had been so fired up to shop. She wanted to find this doll for Molly but the chances of that happening were slim. They had even scoured the Internet this morning before leaving and the only place they’d found several were on an auction site and the prices were insane.
“Hey, don’t give up.” Alicia said encouragingly, “Well find her one.”
Holly sighed, “I’ll probably just have to get her something else for Christmas. I’m sure by her birthday the doll won’t be such a hot item.”
While they walked Alicia tried to get Holly’s mind on something else. “Okay, so there’s a party Saturday night and we both need to find something totally hot to wear."
Holly stopped walking, “What party?”
Alicia really wanted Holly to go but she realized her friend was probably going to resist the idea. “It’s at the House of Blues. Lots of people we know are gonna be there.”
“Have fun.” Holly muttered.
“Oh Holly.” Alicia sighed, “I knew you were gonna be like this. Come on, it will be fun. When’s the last time you went to a party?”
“You mean one that didn’t involve a birthday cake and a clown?”
“Yeah” Alicia laughed, “A big person party.”
“Forever.” Holly sighed, “But really, I’m just not in the mood but thanks for asking me.”
Alicia crossed her arms and glared at her friend, “Not taking no for an answer. You need to get out more. I talked to Lindsey about it last night and she said they have a sitter lined up for B that will be happy to watch Molly too.”
“That was nice of her but I really don’t want to go.” Holly started to walk again hoping Alicia would drop the subject.
Alicia caught up to her and grabbed her hand, “Holly, please just think about it.” She was shocked then Holly’s face twisted and tears appeared in her eyes. “Holly?” It was then she looked down and realized she’d grabbed Holly’s bandaged hand. “Oh shit.”
“It’s okay.” Holly said gently cradling her injured hand.
“Fuck no, it’s not.” Alicia said shaking her head. “We’re gonna get that hand looked at.”
“Alicia, it’s okay.”
Alicia realized she had to insist, “Holly, that hand ain’t right. It shouldn’t hurt that bad. Come on.” She grabbed Holly’s arm and started down the mall.
“There is an Emergency Quick Care right here in the mall. We’re gonna get it looked at now.”
Holly allowed her friend to lead her along because her hand really was terribly painful.
Gerard was sitting at his deck answering e-mails and drinking coffee. The house was quiet since Lindsey had gotten up early to run some errands and she’d taken Bandit with her. Hitting the send button he sat back a moment then pulled out his phone.
Alicia was sitting in the waiting area when her phone rang.
“Hey, I was wondering how Holly’s feeling this morning.” He’d wanted to call Holly but had decided that perhaps it was best just to check with Alicia.
“Not so good.” Alicia sighed. She got up and walked back out into the mall to talk. “We’re out shopping but I talked her into having her hand looked at. We’re at the Emergency Quick Care.”
“Shit.” Gerard muttered feeling guilty. “How bad is it?”
“I went back with her when the doctor examined it. Fuck, it looks gross, it’s all infected. The doctor is reopening the wound right now. He said he’s pretty sure there’s still a piece of glass in it and that’s why it’s infected.”
“Fuck.” Gerard sighed.
“Yeah, but it’s good she was up to date on her tetanus shots. That old glass she uses and all.”
He closed his eyes as another wave of guilt washed over him. Only he, Holly and Lindsey knew the truth about the injury.
“Anyway.” Alicia continued, “The doc said he’s gonna stitch it up too. He said it needs them.”
“The woman doesn’t take care of herself.” He said softly.
“That’s true.” Alicia said “But we’re gonna make sure she starts. Depending on how she feels after this we might do some more shopping and I’m gonna make her buy something nice for the party Saturday night.”
“Oh, the House of Blues thing?”
“Yeah, she’s resisting but I’m gonna make her go and as soon as her hands fixed I’m gonna make her eat lunch. She’s pretty much gonna have to because the doc said he’s gonna give her some pain pills that can’t be taken on an empty stomach.”
Gerard sat back and ran his hand over his face. He’d been thinking all morning about talking to Holly about her eating disorder and still wasn’t sure how to approach the subject.
“Oh, I can see her she must be done.” Alicia said peering through the glass window. “Talk to ya later, Gee.”
He sat his phone on the deck and sighed. He knew helping Holly was important but he feared he’d somehow mess it up.
As they started down the mall Holly turned to Alicia. “I’m serious I’m gonna pay you back.”
Alicia rolled her eyes, “Stop it. Getting your hand looked at was my idea. It had to be done. That glass had to be taken out of your hand and now it’s gonna get better.”
Holly sighed, “Okay you’re right but as soon as I get a check from Mr. Ravenell I’m gonna pay you back.”
Alicia decided to let the subject drop for the minute. She had seen the look on Holly’s face when she’d been handed the bill. Holly had told them she had no health insurance and Alicia was sure the amount was going to be difficult for Holly to handle especially during the Holiday season. She’d quickly insisted on paying much to Holly’s displeasure.
“Okay, now to the food court.” Alicia said leading the way.
“We’re gonna eat now?”
“Yes, so you can take a pain pill. You heard him you can’t take them on an empty stomach.”
“It doesn’t hurt.” Holly lied.
Alicia had been prepared for this. “Well I’m sure it will soon as the local wears off. So we’re gonna eat, your gonna take a pill and then we’ll get back to shopping.”
“Man, your bossy today.” Holly said softly.
“Sometimes a friends gotta be bossy.” Alicia smiled.
They both stopped when they heard the voice.
“Oh shit.” Alicia muttered seeing the woman who’d called out hurrying through the crowds towards them.
Holly didn’t recognize her until she got closer.
“Alicia, good to see you.” The woman gave her a quick hug.
“Hey, Eliza what are you doing in LA?”
Eliza stepped back and smiled, “Oh just visiting friends, you know how much I love LA.” She glanced over at Holly.
“Eliza you remember Holly don’t you?” Alicia asked.
Eliza looked Holly over from head to toe then forced a smile, “Oh Holly, Donna’s OLD neighbor.” Her dislike of Holly was hard for her to hide, “You remember me?”
Holly’s hand was throbbing and her mood worsening, “Oh course, your Gerard’s OLD girlfriend.”
Eliza’s smiled slipped, “Fiancée.” She ground out.
Holly smiled, “Oh right.”
Beside her Alicia was trying not to laugh. She knew Holly had never liked Eliza but had never actually come out and said it.
“You look so different.” Eliza said glaring at Holly but trying to smile.
“You do too.” Holly answered. The last time she’d seen the woman her hair had been dyed to match Gerard’s black hair. Now it was a soft blond.
Eliza laughed, “Well I guess going through what both of us did was bound to change us.”
Holly’s eyes narrowed, “We both went through something?”
“Well yeah. Gerard.” Eliza said losing her smile.
Alicia started to speak but Holly was quicker. “No, that’s what you went through. Not me.”
Eliza’s hatred flared, “Oh come on Holly. I know how close you two were until he ran off and got married.”
Alicia grabbed Holly’s arm, “Let’s go.”
Much to her surprise Holly shook it off. “We were close.” She said evenly “But I had moved away from Jersey before he got married.”
Eliza grinned, “Oh, of course. But I’m sure by then you knew it was pointless for you to stick around. I mean it was kinda pathetic really. I could always tell how you pinned after him.”
Holly’s temper snapped. “Really? Is that what you thought?”
“Of course, you were always trying to break us up.” Eliza’s eyes narrowed, “I knew it but it was really sorta funny watching the poor old pathetic fat woman trying to get him for herself.”
“Man lady are you delusional.” Holly shot back, “Not once did I ever try to push him in that direction. I never once trash talked you even though Lord knows I wanted to.” She took a deep breath, “I just always knew that eventually he’d wake up and smell the coffee and see you for what you really are.”
Alicia grabbed her arm again, “Okay, we gotta go.”
“What I am?” Eliza’s voice rose.
Holly smiled, “Yep, what you were and what you still are.”
Before Eliza could respond Alicia dragged Holly away keeping her hand tightly on her arm. She glanced back and saw Eliza was glaring at them but thankfully not following.
After a few minutes Alicia let go of Holly’s arm. “Holy fuck what was that all about?”
“She’s always hated me.” Holly said taking a deep breath to get her emotions back in control.
“Cause she thought you were trying to break her and Gee up. Yeah I get that but damn. She thought you wanted him for yourself?”
Holly forced herself to take a deep breath, “Funny ain’t it?”
Alicia nodded, “Well yeah, you and Gee were just friends.”
“Just friends.” Holly repeated blinking rapidly. “Sorry if I made a scene.” She said a few moments later.
Alicia laughed, “Hey I’m glad you didn’t let her get by with that shit she was saying. But uh…”
Holly stopped so suddenly that a woman almost collided with them. “Sorry.” She said to the angry shopper. She turned to Alicia, “What?”
“I saw several people with cell phones.”
It took Holly a minute to process the information, “Oh shit, you think someone cared enough to video that encounter?”
Alicia sighed, “Holly people video everything now and let’s face it Eliza still gets attention because she was Gee’s fiancée. Shit, she thrives on attention.”
“Well fuck.” Holly muttered.
Alicia laughed, “Man, you don’t say that very often.”
Holly frowned, “I save it for times like this.” She tried to downplay the incident, “Oh well I’m sure it’s no big deal.”
Alicia wasn’t so sure but she decided for the moment to keep that opinion to herself.
By the time they got home Holly was exhausted and the pain pill she’d taken after lunch had worn off so her hand was throbbing.
When they walked in they saw Mikey and Gerard obviously working on a song.
Mikey smiled. “Got everything under control and both girls are napping.” He sounded quite proud.
Gerard got up and went to Holly. “How’s your hand?”
Holly gave him a surprised look.
Alicia explained, “Gee called me while the doc was stitching up your hand.”
“Yeah.” Mikey said joining them by the door, “Gee told me you had to get stitches. Did it hurt?”
Holly rolled her eyes, “Mikey Boy, ever had anything stitched up?”
He laughed, “Okay it was a stupid question but how’s it feeling now?”
“It’s okay.” Holly sighed. She just wanted to kick off her shoes and rest. Alicia had made her try on so many dresses she was exhausted. “But it’s time for another pain pill.”
“I’ll warm you up some of Lindsey’s lasagna.” Alicia offered.
“I ate lunch.” Holly reminded her.
Alicia didn’t back down, “That was hours ago. You can’t take the pain pill on an empty stomach it will make you sick.”
“She’s right.” Gerard added quickly, “Besides Linds and I both made it and it’s good.”
Holly sighed, “I’m kinda getting tired of people telling me what I have to do.”
Gerard placed his arm around her shoulder then led her to the sofa. “Come on you look tired.”
“Gosh, thanks.” Holly said rolling her eyes again.
He laughed, “Didn’t mean it in a bad way. I meant that in a concerned way.” He looked up and saw the Mikey and Alicia had headed into the kitchen. Lowering his voice he whispered, “I’m really fuckin’ sorry about your hand.”
“It’s fine.” She answered kicking off her shoes then pulling her feet up under her. “I’m fine, everything’s fine.”
Gerard was shocked by her voice and attitude. “What’s wrong?”
“I just said everything is fine and you ask me what’s wrong? What am I speaking a foreign language?” She was trying to tease but he wasn’t buying it.
“I mean it, Holly. What’s wrong?”
She leaned back and closed her eyes. “Nothings really wrong. I’m just tired and depressed I know I’m not gonna be able to find the doll Molly wants for Christmas.”
“Have you tried e-bay?”
Holly opened her eyes and laughed, “Yeah, but the prices they are getting is insane. I refuse to pay that.”
“Well, I’ll help out.” He offered.
“Nope.” Holly shook her head, “And don’t think I know Alicia hasn’t already thought of that too. But the truth is it’s important to me that Molly grows up understanding that sometimes in life you can’t always have what you want. It would be stupid to pay ten times the retail value for a doll. I’m just gonna have to sorta push her in another direction. I’m sure there is something else she can ask Santa for. Something Santa can find.”
Gerard sat down on the sofa beside her then gently pulled her feet out from under her to place them on his lap. Gently he began rubbing them.
Holly sighed, “God, that feels good.”
“Remember when I’d do this for you after you’d worked a shift at the diner?” he asked smiling.
“Yes.” Holly answered hating that she couldn’t forget.
“Okay here you go.” Alicia said as she sat down a plate on the coffee table in front of Holly. “Eat up and then you get a pill.”
Gerard reached for the plate and handed it to her so she wouldn’t have to move.
“Thanks.” She said softly.
Mikey sat down then asked, “So how was shopping?”
Holly explained the doll situation then added, “And you wife made me try on dresses that I’d never wear.”
Alicia spoke up quickly, “I made her try on dresses that looked great on her.”
“Don’t do dresses.” Holly said then took a small bite of food.
Gerard laughed, “You always say that.”
“Cause it’s true.” Holly responded. “I don’t like them. Occasionally maybe a long skirt but no dresses especially the kind she was picking out.”
Alicia rolled her eyes, “Holly they looked good on you.”
Holly shook her head looking down at her plate.
“So did you get anything for Saturday night?” Gerard asked looking at Holly.
Again Alicia rolled her eyes. “Yes, you are and you’re gonna have fun.”
Holly looked up to glare at her.
“And she did get a dress.” Alicia smiled. “Not what I would have picked out for her but it’s okay.” She was sure Holly had finally chosen the dress because the hem fell below the knee and had ¾ sleeves. It was also on sale.
For a minute the room grew quiet then Alicia said, “Uh, we ran into someone at the mall.”
Holly’s fork clanked against the plate, “I don’t think we need to mention that.” She said shooting a warning look at her friend.
Alicia smiled, “Why not? It was sorta funny.”
“It wasn’t funny.” Holly frowned. “Not at all.”
Gerard and Mikey both looked confused.
“We ran into Eliza.” Alicia explained.
“What the fuck is she doing in LA?” Gerard asked.
“Visiting friends, she said.” Alicia answered.
Gerard saw Holly’s face and asked softly, “Did she say something that upset you?”
Holly looked up then blurted out, “She made me loose my fuckin’ temper.”
Gerard was shocked a moment then started laughing. When he saw Holly glare at him he stopped, “I’m sorry it’s just weird hearing you talk like that. So what did she say?”
“Nothing intelligent.” Holly answered hotly. “I mean I always knew she hated me but damn.”
Alicia tried to explain, “She was being bitchy. She said something like she and Holly had both been through a lot because of you.”
Gerard’s eyes flashed, “Because of me?”
“Yeah.” Alicia nodded, “She was being a bitch. When she first realize who Holly was she called her Donna’s old neighbor then asked Holly is she remembered her?” She paused trying not to laugh, “Holly said, oh yeah you’re Gerard’s old girlfriend. Fuck that set Eliza off. She said she was your ex-fiancée.”
Mikey laughed, “Wow Holly, good job.”
Holly sighed, “It was a stupid conversation. She still thinks I tried to get Gee to break up with her.”
“You didn’t.” he said softly. “You never talked bad about her.”
“No, I didn’t.” Holly nodded, “But I told her Lord knew I wanted to.”
Gerard laughed again. “You said that?”
“Yep.” Holly smiled, “I told her I didn’t try to push you into breaking up with her, I figured one day you’d wake up and smell the coffee.”
“Oh fuck.” Gerard laughed, “That must have pissed her off.”
“Yeah, she was pissed.” Holly said taking another small bite of the lasagna.
“So then Eliza tried to make it sound like Holly had tired to break you up because she wanted you.”
Gerard’s hands that were still rubbing Holly’s feet stilled. “She said that?”
Holly sighed, “Might as well give you the play by play. She said she thought I tried to break you two up because I wanted you. She said it was really pretty funny watching the old, fat, pathetic woman tying to get you.”
“Fuckin’ bitch.” Gerard ground out.
Holly pulled her feet off his lap. “Yeah, well whatever.” She sat up, “Okay I’ve eaten some, now I get a pill.” Her plate was still half full. Before anyone could object she carried it into the kitchen.
“I’m sorry.” Gerard said softly. He’d followed her and spoke as she placed her plate on the counter.
“It’s okay, Gee. Alicia just laughed because as she said she knew you and I were just good friends.”
When she started to leave the kitchen he blocked her path, “But we both know that ain’t true. We were more than that.”
Holly looked down, “Yes, but that was wrong. We never should have been more.”
When Gerard got home he was surprised to see that Lindsey’s car wasn’t in the driveway. Before she’d left this morning she’d made it sound like she’d be back soon.
Inside the house he settled Bandit down in the living room with her toys then called his wife.
“Hey, Sugar. What are we doing for dinner tonight?”
Lindsey sighed, “I dunno.”
He frowned, “Okay well what time will you be home?”
“I don’t know, Gee. I’ll give you a call later.” She disconnected.
Gerard sat down heavily. While his eyes were on Bandit his thoughts were on Lindsey. She sounded upset again. Had he done something?
He reached over for his laptop. It only took a few minutes to find the newly downloaded video of Eliza and Holly arguing. Luckily the sound quality was poor so it was pretty much impossible to hear their words but it was obvious by their body language they were angry.
“Shit.” He whispered clicking the video off. Seeing Eliza had made his mood even worse. He hated that she’d upset Holly but something else was bothering him. Once and for all he had to know. Taking out his cell he made up his mind to simply come out and asked her.
“Hello?” Holly answered.
He knew by her voice she’d been sleeping. “Shit I’m sorry I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“It’s okay.” Holly said, “I shouldn’t be sleeping anyway but Alicia made me lay down while she and Molly make dinner.”
Gerard smiled, “Oh so Molly’s cooking?”
“Yeah. So what’s up?” Holly asked coming more awake.
Gerard took a deep breath, “Holly I wanna ask you something. I guess its something I always wondered about.”
“Okay.” Holly said slowly.
He tried to ease into the question; “Look I know you never tried to talk me into breaking up with Eliza. I’m sure sometimes it was hard for you not to just come straight out and say what you thought.”
“Yeah, but that’s what’s sorta puzzling me. I mean you’re usually so honest about things.”
“Gee, something like that had to be your decision.” Holly said softly. “Yeah, I thought she was wrong for you for a lot of reasons but if she was what you wanted it wasn’t right for me to push you the other way.”
He leaned back and sighed, “Even though you knew how wrong she was for me?”
Gerard sat lost in thought.
Finally Holly said, “Gee, just ask.”
His voice was low, “Holly the way I found out she was lying about the baby. I was ready to marry her even though I didn’t love her. But I got that note…”
“The note that told you she was lying, that she wasn’t pregnant.” Holly’s voice was flat. She closed her eyes, “Kind of a chicken shit way for someone to tell you the truth wasn’t it?”
He shook his head, “I needed to know the truth.” He paused, “Why didn’t you just tell me?”
Tears filled her eyes. “I’d gone for months knowing things about her. Shit she did on the Internet. Shit I saw her do with my own eyes but still I didn’t think it was right for me to tell you.”
A tear rolled down her cheek and her laugh was hollow, “Conflict of interest? I guess in my head I thought that if I came right out and told you something to break you two up then I was letting my own feelings get in the way. She was right, Gee. The fat old woman did want you. She had fallen in love with you.”
Holly disconnected then turned off her phone. She slept through dinner claiming she had a terrible headache.