Mikey reminds Holly how much her friendship means to him.
“What are you doing up so early?” She asked believing that since the first light of the day had just broken through the darkness she would be alone in the kitchen.
He turned and forced a smile. “I didn’t sleep well last night, kept tossing and turning. So I figured I might as well get up.” He studied Holly closely noticing her eyes looked bloodshot. He was worried about his friend. Were Alicia and the rest of them right about Holly? Did she have an eating disorder? And if so, how were they going to help her but more importantly would she let them? “Cup of coffee?” He asked hoping for a chance to talk to her alone.
“Sure, thanks.” Holly sat down at the table.
Mikey poured a cup for her then carried it to the table in one hand, his cup in the other. He sat down next to her. “How are you feeling?” He asked softly.
“Hey, I’m sorry about last night." She answered quickly. “I really appreciate you guys taking care of Molly for me. I was just so tried.”
“You slept an awful long time.” Mikey said.
Holly nodded, “Yeah, I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that. I think part of it was the pain pills they sorta wiped me out.”
“Hand still hurt?” He asked looking down at the bandage.
“A little stiff but not nearly as much pain.” She laughed softly, “Getting that piece of glass out seemed to help.”
Mikey took a sip of coffee. “Holly, we really haven’t had a chance to talk alone since you got here but I want you to know that having you and M with us really means the world to me.”
Holly was surprised by the sudden seriousness of his voice. “Mikey Boy, thank you for inviting us. I know Molly has loved every minute. But I think..”
Mikey was suddenly afraid of what she was going to say. He spoke up quickly so she was unable to finish her sentence, “I know why Alicia wanted you to come and maybe she was right, I was losing it.” He smiled sadly, “For too long I let things just build up inside. I was letting all of Gee’s problems become mine. I’d forgotten one of the most important things you taught me.”
Holly was shocked, “I taught you something?”
He reached out and placed his hand on her arm. “Yeah, Holly. You taught me to stand back, take a deep breath and open my eyes. You taught me to see what was in front of me. Not what was in front of Gerard’s life, but what was in front of my life.” He frowned , “I’m not saying this right.”
Holly smiled sadly, “That’s what I told you that night at Kelly’s.”
He nodded, “Yeah, when I was so upset. I was freaking out about Gerard drinking again so I drank too much. What a stupid thing to do.” He shook his head. “I was just so afraid he was going down that same path again.”
“And your first response was to go down it with him.” Holly said sadly.
“Yeah.” Mikey whispered, “It was.”
Dec 21st 2006
“Hi.” Holly said happily as she climbed into the backseat of Mikey’s car.
“Hey, Holly.” Alicia was the only one who answered.
Holly realized immediately that there was a lot of tension in the car. She looked over at Gerard seated next to her and saw the scowl on his face. He turned to her knowing she was looking at him. “Nice coat.” He muttered trying to be pleasant.
“Oh thanks.” Holly smiled looking down at the leather jacket she’d found at a thrift store that morning. “I was gonna wear my other one but I was afraid we all wouldn’t fit in the car if I did.” She teased.
Gerard smiled briefly then turned to look out his window.
The party was in full swing when they arrived. Holly took a deep breath as they walked in. She rarely went to parties and was nervous but when Alicia had called and asked her if she wanted to go she’s agreed. Now however she was rethinking that decision. The room was full of smoke, booze and people she didn’t know.
Alicia put her arm around Holly and led her through the crowd. “What do you want to drink?” She asked loudly to be heard over the music.
“Just a coke.” Holly answered.
After they had their drinks they walked over to an area that had sofas and sat down. Holly was glad Alicia was sticking by her but wondered why she wasn’t with Mikey.
‘Uh, you really don’t have to baby-sit me.” Holly smiled. “I’m okay.”
Alicia took a drink then frowned, “Thanks for coming Holly. Mikey and Gee are both in terrible moods and it’s nice to have you here.”
“Yeah, I sorta noticed the moods. What’s up with that?”
Spotting Mikey across the room Alicia sighed, “I’m not really sure. I’m pretty sure Gee and Eliza had a fight over the phone earlier. He was talking about it with Mikey before we left.”
Holly followed her gaze and saw that Mikey was standing with a bunch of guys drinking and laughing. She was shocked to see Gerard had a beer in his hand. “I thought he didn’t drink anymore.”
“Yeah, well he hasn’t for a long time but as you can see that’s changed.” She looked away. “And if he drinks Mikey’s gonna too.”
Holly wasn’t sure what to say. Suddenly a young guy sat down across from them, “Hey Alicia.” He grinned, “How’s it going?”
“Good.” She answered, “How are you Trey?”
He laughed, “Can’t complain, right?”
“You could but probably no one would listen.” Holly said wanting to join the conversation.
Trey laughed, “Fuck yeah, that’s right.” He looked at Holly. “Uh do I know you? You look really familiar.”
‘This is my friend, Holly.” Alicia said realizing she hadn’t introduced her.
“Hey Holly.” Trey smiled, “Fuck, you really do look familiar? You live around here?”
Holly smiled and nodded.
“Maybe I’ve seen you at a party.” Trey said tilting his head.
“Nope, pretty sure that’s not it.” Holly answered. “I do work at the Timeless Diner.”
He shook his head, “Never eaten there.”
Gerard and Mikey both walked over to join them. They greeted Trey obviously knowing him well.
Again Trey was looking at Holly.
“He thinks I look familiar.” Holly laughed.
Trey got up from his seat to sit next to Holly. “This is gonna bug the shit out of me until I figure it out.”
Gerard, who was already on this third beer, laughed, “Why?”
Trey shrugged, “Dunno, just will.” He moved a bit closer to Holly and she could smell the alcohol on his breath. “Sure I haven’t seen you at a party?”
She nodded, “Yeah, I’m sure.”
Gerard downed the rest of his beer. “I’m gonna get a real drink.” He said, “Mikey want one too?”
Mikey nodded, “Sure, Gee. Why not.” He ignored the look of disapproval on Alicia’s face.
“Hey wait up.” Trey said. He got up then turned to Holly, “Wanna drink?” When she shook her head he added, “Okay, I’ll be right back.”
Alicia sighed as the three men walked away. “Uh, you do realize Trey is hitting on you, right?”
Holly gave her a shocked look, “What? Holy crap he’s probably my daughter’s age.”
“Couple of years older but you look a hell of a lot younger than you are.” Alicia smiled.
About twenty minutes later she and Alicia were talking when Trey wandered over again. “See I didn’t forget you.” He said plopping back down on the sofa by Holly.
“How nice.” Holly answered moving a bit closer to Alicia.
Trey put his arm on the back of the sofa behind Holly. “So Holly Gerard told me you’re divorced.”
Holly nodded, “Yep.” She didn’t want to be unfriendly but she certainly didn’t want him to think she was interested.
“I’ll be back in a minute.” Alicia said leaning over to Holly.
Holly nodded and watched as Alicia crossed the room to where Mikey was standing. It was obvious he’d drank a lot and whatever Alicia said to him cause him to turn his back on her.
“So Holly.” Trey said leaning closer to her. “Sure you don’t wanna drink?”
“I’m sure.” Holly answered still watching Alicia and Mikey. She saw that Alicia looked very upset.
“Wanna go outside and get some fresh air?” Trey asked not giving up.
Holly turned her attention to him. “Thanks but I’m pretty happy right here.” She said.
Suddenly Gerard walked over and sat down across from them. Holly was saddened to see the look in his eyes. He’d obviously consumed quite a few drinks.
"So you still trying to hit on Holly?” He asked Trey.
Trey laughed, “Yeah but I’m striking out.”
Holly glared at Gerard wondering if he’d encouraged Trey in anyway.
“So how’s school?” Gerard asked Trey.
“Not bad. Just a couple of months till I graduate. Then I gotta go out n the world and get a fuckin’ job I suppose.”
Gerard smirked looking at Holly, “Trey’s in college.”
“I didn’t think he was in high school.” Holly shot back knowing Gerard was just itching to tell Trey how old she was. She turned to Trey, “So what school?”
“What?” He asked having trouble following the conversation. When he realized what she was asking he told her the name of the college he was attending.
“Maybe you saw me there.” Holly said. “I’ve been there with my daughter several times, She’s planning on attending there and has met with advisers.”
“You gotta kid that old?” Trey sputtered.
It was hard for Holly not to laugh. “Yeah, I do.” She stood narrowing her eyes as she looked down at Gerard. “Jackass.” She said then walked over to where she’d last seen Alicia.
When she found her friend there were tears in her eyes. “Come on lets get some air.” She said taking her arm and leading her outside.
“Thanks.” Alicia said as the found a quiet place out back.
“What happened?” Holly asked.
“Mikey’s being a douche.” Alicia said. “He’s drinking way too much, too quickly. I tried to tell him to slow down but he told me to mind my own business. I just hate how he’s always letting what Gerard does rule his life. If Gee drinks to much then so does Mikey. If Gee’s fuckin’ fighting with this girlfriend then Mikey will start shit with me.”
Holly sighed, “Has it always been like that?”
Alicia nodded, “Fuck, yeah. I’m so tried of this shit. I don’t feel good and I just wanna go home.”
“Tell Mikey that.” Holly urged.
“Oh fuck he’ll say we just got here. Then he’ll look over at Gerard who will nod that he agrees. Besides he won’t leave without Gerard.”
“I could drive you home then bring the car back.” Holly offered.
A tear ran down Alicia’s cheek, “I don’t wanna leave Mikey here fucked up. Shit I knew this was a bad idea because of Gee’s mood. I’m sorry I dragged you into this.”
Holly gave her a quick hug, “It’s okay. Come on, it’s cold out here. Let’s go back in and I’ll talk to Mikey.”
“He won’t listen to you, Holly.” Alicia said touching her fingertip under her eyes trying not to smear her eyeliner.
“Well I can try.” Holly said as she linked arms with Alicia and the walked back inside.
Once Alicia had found a place to sit Holly looked around the crowded room. She spotted Gerard first. He was leaning against the wall talking with a group of guys. Mikey was at his side.
Holly walked over and moved beside Mikey. “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?" She said softly into his ear.
He gave her a surprised look then shrugged. “What’s up?” His speech was slightly slurred.
Gerard looked over at them. “What?”
Holly smiled, “Don’t wanna talk to you, I wanna talk to Mikey.” She took his arm and slowly led him away. Deciding it was too loud she led him outside.
“What’s going on?” Mikey asked swaying slightly.
“That’s sorta what I’m wondering.” Holly answered. “Why so much to drink?”
He frowned, “Alicia put you up to this?”
“I’m capable of coming up with my own questions. To be honest I’m concerned. I’ve seen you drink before but not like this.”
“Hey it’s a party. You’re supposed to drink. What’s the big deal? I’m just having a good time.”
Holly looked him directly in the eyes, “Really?”
It was hard for him to follow the conversation. “Fuck yeah it’s a party.”
“Mikey Boy, I know it’s a party. I’m wondering if you’re really having a good time.”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” He asked.
“Maybe because your brother is upset? Maybe because he’s drinking way too much and that worries you? Maybe because the woman you love is worried about you and you know it?” She braced herself for his reaction but his head dropped.
Holly took his arm and led him over to two folding chairs. “Mikey, you can’t let what’s wrong with Gerard be your cross to bear. He has his life to lead and you have yours.”
Mikey looked up. “I always try to be there for him.”
Holly took his hand in hers. “Because you’re a good brother. You love him, I know that. But Mikey we’re not talking about Gee. We’re talking about you and what you’re letting this do to you. You have to live your own life, you can’t live his.”
“I don’t know what to do.” Mikey said sadly. “I’m so fuckin’ confused.”
“Well part of that confusion is the booze.” She teased gently. “But you need to take a deep breath, step back and look at your life. You are in a fabulous group playing music you love. You’re young and your whole life is there waiting to be lived. And my friend, you have a beautiful woman who loves you. When you think about that it’s a pretty fuckin’ good life.”
“Yeah.” He nodded.
“Don’t let one minute of that life pass you by. You can’t change the course of your brother’s life. His life belongs to him and only he can live it, not you.”
"She’s pretty upset, isn’t she?” Mikey asked softly.
“Yes, because she’s worried about you. She love you Mikey Boy and she sees what you’re doing.”
Mikey was suddenly feeling sick to his stomach. “We should go home.” He said, “But I don’t wanna leave Gee here.”
“Well let’s go talk to him.” Holly suggested. “See if he’ll agree to leave.”
“He won’t.” Mikey said, “I know Gee. He’s pissed at her and when that happens …that’s why he’s drinkin’ go much.”
“Come on.” Holly helped him stand.
When they got back inside Holly led Mikey over to where Alicia was sitting. Once he sat down he turned to Alicia and pulled her into his arms.
Holly smiled then turned to find Gerard. He wasn’t where he’d been so she started walking around the room looking for him. She found him talking to a couple of young girls. He’s exchanged his glass for a bottle.
He took a long swallow of the whiskey then tried to focus his eyes, “Yeah?”
Holly took his arm, “Excuse us.” She said to the girls. They looked unhappy but parted so Holly could pull Gerard away.
“What do you want?” He asked.
Holly was having a hard time holding him up. He kept swaying. “It’s time to go.” She said sweetly.
“Fuck, no.” He pulled her his arm away. “Party’s just getting started.”
Holly had expected this reaction. “Look Gee, the rest of us are ready to leave.”
“Well fuck, then go. I ain’t keeping anyone here.” He growled.
“Gee, Mikey won’t leave without you.”
“He ain’t my keeper.” Gerard answered angrily.
"Yeah, he is but he shouldn’t be.” Holly answered.
Gerard’s glared at her. “What the fuck does that mean?”
“It means you’re fuckin’ drunk and he’s worried about you.” Holly shot back. “And if you care about your brother you’d see that how you behave has a direct impact on him.”
“That’s stupid.” Gerard swayed again.
“Yeah stupid but that’s how it is.” She saw him start to sway again and grabbed his arm. “Now please, will you come with us?”
He started to shake his head but suddenly his eyes focused on her eyes. He could see the concern in them. “Fine." He muttered. “Lets get the fuck out of here.”
Alicia drove home with Mikey silently sleeping in the passenger seat. Unfortunately for Holly who was in the back with Gerard he didn’t pass out. He complained about leaving the whole ride home.
It wasn’t until they were almost to Donna’s that Gerard finally quieted down.
“Shit. Did he pass out?” Alicia asked putting the car into park in front of the house.
Gerard growled, “No.”
He stared to get out but it took him three times to actually grab the door handle. Holly sighed and opened her own door. “I’ll make sure he gets inside then just walk home.”
“You sure?” Alicia asked.
“Yeah, no problem.” She watched as Gerard unsteadily rounded the car.
Mikey sat up. “We’re home?”
“Just dropping off Gee and Holly.” Alicia answered. “Go back to sleep.”
He smiled at her then turned to push the button to lower his window. “Holly?”
She had started to go around the car to help Gerard who was sliding on the ice. “Yeah?” She walked over to his window.
“Thanks.” Mikey smiled. “You know…”
Holly reached in and squeezed his shoulder. “Anytime Mikey Boy. Now I’ve gotta get your brother inside.”
Gerard tried to shake her arm off when Holly grabbed him but she held on tight. “Nope not letting your sorry ass fall out here.”
He glared, “I ain’t gonna fall.”
“That’s right you’re not." Slowly they made their way to the front door. “Where’s your key?”
After several failed attempts he fished it out of his pocket. Holly took it from him not wanted to stand out in the cold while he tried to fit it into the lock.
She pushed open the door to the welcoming heat inside.
“I got this. Go home.” Gerard said struggling to get out of his leather jacket.
Holly rolled her eyes, “Yeah you’re doing such a good job.” She pulled the jacket off him. “Okay move.”
“I can get downstairs by myself.” He said swaying.
“You could probably fall down the stairs yourself but I’m not having your broken neck on my conscience. And for God’s sake be quiet. You’ll wake up your mom.”
“You’re fuckin’ bossy.” Gerard muttered.
It took several minutes but Holly finally got him down the stairs and into his room.
“Gonna undress me now?” He taunted.
“Gosh just that thought makes my heart all aflutter.” Holly said sarcastically.
He fell down onto the bed. “Go ahead. You know you want to.”
Holly shook her head. “Note to self, Gerard is a huge jackass when he’s drunk.”
He opened one eye trying to focus on her because the room was suddenly spinning. “Am not.”
“Am so.” Holly sighed. She stood back a moment and as she expected he started to snore. She shook her head then leaned over to pull off his boots. Deciding that was all she was gonna remove she pulled a light blanket over his body, turned off the light then made her way back up stairs. Sadness filled her soul as she walked home. The man she’d just left in no way resembled the man who’d thrown popcorn at her while they’d watched a movie together.
As she let herself into her house she sighed looking back at the empty street. She wished with all her heart the Gerard she’d come to care about was standing there making sure she got home.
Mikey squeezed Holly’s arm. “Please don’t leave yet, Holly.”
“Mikey Boy my being here isn’t helping anyone.” Holly whispered.
He knew in his heart that he wanted her to stay so that he could be the one helping this time. He wanted to help Holly. “Please.”
She couldn’t make herself refuse his plea even though she knew that by the end of her visit she’d once again have a broken heart.