Lindsey, Alicia and Holly take the girls to see Santa.
Lindsey shrugged, “We could take mine so I don’t have to move B’s car seat.” She offered.
Holly joined them. Beside her Molly was jumping up and down seeing Bandit. “I’ll just go grab Molly seat.” She turned to the little girl. “Stay here until I get back.”
Lindsey smiled, “She can help me get B back in her seat.”
Soon they were all loaded up in Lindsey’s vehicle. Holly had chosen to sit in between the two girls. She realized soon enough this wasn’t a great spot. The two were chattering back and forth to each other while Holly was trying to be part of the conversation going on up front.
Alicia turned and laughed, “Having fun?”
Holly rolled her eyes. “Oh yeah, you know it.”
Lindsey looked at her in the rear view mirror. “I was just telling Alicia here I really appreciate you guys asking us to go today.”
“It’ll be fun.” Holly laughed, “As soon as we’re out of the car.”
Lindsey nodded, “So do you have all your Christmas shopping done?”
Holly leaned foreword slightly so she could hear better. “I haven’t even started it. Uh there is one item I’m looking for but so far no luck.”
“Alicia told me about it on the phone.” Lindsey said. “I think maybe I know a store that might have it. I’m good friends with the owner and if she doesn’t have it in stock she’ll probably know where we can find one.”
Holly smiled, “That would be nice. Thanks.”
Lindsey went back to concentrating on driving in the traffic. She smiled to herself knowing that Holly would find that doll today, she’d made sure of it. She had already called her friend and told her what they needed. The woman had explained it was a hot selling item this year but assured Lindsey she had one but that the price was a bit higher than normal because of the demand. Since Alicia had explained to Lindsey that Holly had said she couldn’t pay the higher price Lindsey had figured out a way to handle that. Her friend would sell the doll to Holly for the regular price and Lindsey would pay her the difference later. It was important to her to do this for Holly and she couldn’t even say why really. Maybe it was just that lately she’d been feeling so depressed thinking about the holiday season she thought doing this would bring some holiday cheer into her heart. Suddenly she thought about how she and Gee had parted with morning and her spirits began to plummet again.
Holly could see Lindsey in the mirror and wondered why she suddenly looked so sad. Wanting to see her smile again she said in a whiny voice.
“Are we there yet?”
Lindsey and Alicia both laughed.
“Be quiet back there.” Alicia said smiling. She was feeling wonderful today. Mikey’s ‘present’ to her last night had given her such hope. Maybe by this time next year they’d have a baby.
“How much further?" Holly whined.
Molly suddenly stopped chatting with B. “Mommy?”
“Just teasing, Baby.” Holly said leaning over and kissing her cheek.
“B tiss.” Bandit said loudly.
Holly leaned the other way. “B kiss? B wants a kiss too?”
Bandit giggled happily.
“Okay.” Holly kissed her cheek. “There.”
Both girls started giggling like Holly was the funniest thing they’d ever seen.
Gerard couldn’t seem to pull himself out of the past. He poured himself a cup of coffee then sat down on the sofa again. If he tried it was almost like he could remember exactly how it had felt that night sitting in the shadow of the Christmas tree holding Holly’s hand. It had been so peaceful, it had seemed so right. He’d even ended up staying at Holly’s that night. Eventually sleep, fueled by the alcohol he’d drank claimed him. When he awoke the next morning he was laying on the sofa covered by a blanket. It was early and the house quiet so he thought Holly was upstairs sleeping. He’d gotten up, folded the blanket then started for his moms but not before leaving her a note.
Yoda and I thank you for letting us stay last night. See you soon
Gerard laughed now thinking about that note. Holly had laughed about it too later on that day when she and Sonja had arrived for Christmas dinner.
Dec 25, 2006
The whole family filled the house but watching Holly move among them you would have thought she was one of the relatives. Gerard watched from his seat in the living room as she walked around talking to everyone like she’d known them for years. Holly was one of those rare people who obviously never met a stranger. She was walking by him when he reached out and grabbed her arm. Before she knew what was happening he had let her downstairs to his room.
“What’s up?” Holly asked confused as to why he’d brought her down here.
“It was getting to noisy up there.” Gerard shrugged. “Thought we’d hang here for a while.”
Holly smiled, “Okay.” She sat down on his bed and he joined her.
“Uh, thanks for letting me stay last night.”
“Well when you suddenly fell over on me I had to.”
He frowned, “I fell over on you?”
“Yeah, and started snoring. So I pushed you back, lifted your legs and covered you up.”
“Shit, sorry.” He said embarrassed by his actions.
Holly smiled, “No worries. It was nice knowing someone else was in the house.” Her smiled faded slightly, “Actually I woke up just before you did.”
“Really? It was so early and I didn’t hear you so I figured you were upstairs sleeping.”
Holly looked away, “Okay I gotta come clean. I slept on the sofa too. Once I got you settled it looked so warm and comfortable that I stretched out on the other end.”
Gerard started laughing, “Holy crap Holly. You’re telling me we slept together, was it good for you?”
“Oh funny, Gee.” She suddenly became serious. “But yeah, it was good. It was good not to be alone.”
He looked into her eyes, “Yeah, that was good, very good.”
“Hey, what are you two doing down here?” Mikey asked breaking the mood.
“Just talking” Gerard answered looking at his brother. “Where’s Alicia?”
“Playing some dumb game with Carl.”
“I should go see if your mom needs any help.” Holly said getting off the bed.
As Gerard watched her go he tried to understand the emotions he was feeling. He’s never had a friend like Holly. Simply being with her made him feel ridiculously happy.
Lindsey pulled into the parking lot then turned to Alicia. “Why don’t you stay with the girls while Holly and I run in.” They were in front of the large toy store owned by Lindsey’s friend.
Alicia understood. “Sure.”
“Ready?” Lindsey asked turning to Holly.
Holly laughed, “As soon as I crawl out of here.” It took several minutes but she finally got out of the car. The first thing she did was stretch.
Lindsey spoke as they crossed the lot. “If anyone has one of those dolls it will be Julie.”
“Great.” Holly nodded. “I really hope she has one. That doll is the only thing Molly wants to ask Santa for.”
Lindsey smiled, “So she hasn’t talked to him yet?”
“Not yet.’ Holly sighed. “But she really is really getting impatient."
“Maybe when we get to the mall she and Bandit can visit Santa. I know they have a huge North Pole set up.”
Holly have her a surprised look, “Oh, okay."
Lindsey looked over at her. “You don’t want to do it today?”
“No that’s fine." Holly answered slowly, “I just thought that Gee would want to be there when Bandit sees Santa.”
“It doesn’t matter." Lindsey said as they reached the door. She pulled it open and the two women went inside.
Holly was still wondering about Lindsey’s comment. Did she really believe Gerard wouldn’t want to be part of such a wonderful memory?
“There she is." Lindsey waved to an older woman as they made their way through the store. She quickly introduced Holly then explained what they were looking for. The woman nodded, smiled, then told them to follow her.
“This place is huge.” Holly marveled as they walked towards the back of the store.
Julie smiled, “I’ve owned it for seven years. It was always a dream of mine to own a toy store.” She led them around a counter then into the back room. “You are in luck I have one left. A woman was supposed to pick it up several days ago but she never showed.” She reached up onto a shelf and pulled down the doll.
“This is it.’ Holly smiled. “Believe me I’ve seen the commercial for this doll so many times.”
Julie laughed, “Yeah, I bet you have.”
Holly was examining the doll, “So how much is it?"
Julie quoted her the normal retail price.
It was at that moment Holly looked up and saw a look pass between the woman and Lindsey. Her first thought was to question but seeing the smile on Lindsey’s face silenced her. “Great.” Holly said. “I’ll take it.”
Once the doll was paid for and bagged Holly and Lindsey walked back out towards the car.
“I really can’t thank you enough for this.” Holly said softly. “This will make Molly so happy.”
Lindsey smiled, “Christmas is for kids. I’ve always believed that. Glad I could help out.”
As she opened the back of the vehicle and stowed away the doll Holly was still wasn’t sure what she should do. It was obvious to her that Lindsey had either called in a favor with her friend or had arranged a deal to pay the difference in the price Holly paid. However, as she thought it over she remembered something her mother had once told her. When someone shows you a kindness the best kindness you can do in return is to thank them. Doing anything else mars that they’ve done.
Holly was about to crawl back in the car when she turned suddenly and gave Lindsey a quick hug. “Thanks again.” She whispered.
Lindsey gave her a beautiful smile. “You’re welcome.”
Gerard was finally pulled out of the past by a phone call. For a moment he considered letting it go to voice mail but he decided that would be wrong.
“Hey Mikey.” He answered.
“Gee.” Mikey laughed, “What’s up?”
“Nothing. Just getting some work down around the house.” He lied. “What’s up with you?”
“Just heading home.” He explained how he’d had lunch with is friend. “Anyway, I was wondering about tonight. What time are we gonna meet up?”
Gerard frowned; he’d totally put the party out of his mind. He wasn’t even sure if Lindsey was planning on going with him. “Uh, I dunno. I need to talk to Linds. She’s out shopping right now.”
“Yeah, I know. I just talked to Alicia. They are actually standing in line waiting to see Santa.”
“What?” Gerard was shocked. He’d believe he and Lindsey were gonna take Bandit to see Santa together.
Mikey laughed, “Yeah, I guess it’s a madhouse there but both girls were so excited when they spotted Santa now they are stuck waiting.”
“I’ll call you back in a minute, Bro." He disconnected then punched in Lindsey’s number.
“Holy crap, this is crazy.” Alicia whined.
All around them impatient children were waiting their turn to see the man in red.
“Yeah, you could say that.” Holly laughed. “This is gonna take a while. If you guys want to go do some shopping I’ll stay in line with the girls.”
Lindsey spoke up, “Why don’t you two go do some shopping and I’ll stay here. I’m pretty much done with my shopping anyway.”
Alicia looked over at Holly waiting for her answer.
“Are you sure?” Holly asked Lindsey.
“Sure.” Lindsey smiled. “I’d say you guys have at least an hour before we get even close to the head of the line.”
Holly bent down to speak to Molly. “I’m gonna go do some shopping. Will you stay with B and Lindsey and be good?”
Molly nodded looking up at her little friend who was in her stroller. “Messe be dood.”
“Okay.” Holly gave her a quick kiss. “Ill be back soon.”
Bandit was struggling to get out of her stroller so Holly reached over and tickled under her chin, “You be good too, B.”
Bandit giggled. “Tiss.”
Holly laughed, “Oh my, you are a kisser.” She placed a kiss on Bandit’s rosy cheek.
They had just walked away when Lindsey’s cell rang.
“Linds how come you took B to see Santa without me?”
Lindsey sighed, “Gee we haven’t even seen Santa yet. The line is insane.”
Gerard tried to hold his temper, “That’s not what I asked. Why are you doing it without me?”
“How do you know we are?”
“Mikey called.” He answered shortly. “He wanted to know about tonight.”
Lindsey sighed, “What about it?”
“The party.” He said angrily, “You know the one at the House of Blues?”
“I know that, Gerard.” She answered tired while keeping an eye on the girls. “What about it?”
“Well are we going?”
“The sitter will be there at five. So they can drop off M anytime after that.”
Gerard sighed, “So we’re going? You and I are going together?”
The hurt in his voice was hard for Lindsey to take, “Yeah, Gee, of course. Oh gotta go the line is moving.” She lied. “See you later.”
Gerard disconnected feeling worse then he had earlier. Lindsey was slowly closing him out of her life and Bandits and he couldn’t seem to find a way to stop her.
As they moved through the crowds Holly spotted a store. “Oh, can we stop in here?”
Alicia glanced up at the store. “A hobby store?”
Holly nodded, “Yeah I had an idea earlier for a gift.”
Alicia followed her in. “What gift and for who?”
“I was thinking I would like to make a necklace of Lindsey.” Holly said as they moved towards the correction section of the store. “A pendant made with stained glass. I can use one of those beautiful pieces she gave me.”
“Oh, that sounds cool.” Alicia nodded. “She’d like that.”
Holly found what she was looking for. She picked out a sterling silver pendant shell. “Now I’ll I will need to buy is a sterling silver chain.”
As they paid for their purchases Alicia asked, “You really like Lindsey, don’t you?”
Holly nodded, “Yeah. I was really sorta surprised but I think we just sorta connected.”
“Well maybe because you have Gee in common.”
Alicia’s innocent comment caused Holly’s breath to catch. She tried to laugh off the comment, “In common? Not exactly.”
“Well yeah, it’s kinda true.” Alicia smiled.
Holly decided the best thing to do was change the subject. “You know I’m not sure what to get Mikey for Christmas.”
Alicia had been hoping she’d ask. “I do. If you have time you could make him another Luke Skywalker. His gotten broken a few years ago and he was so upset about it.”
Holly laughed, “You’re serious?”
“Oh hell yeah. He really was. I’m just glad I wasn’t the one who broke it. He dropped it himself. You should have seen his face.”
“Okay.” They were about to leave the store but Holly turned quickly, “Hold on this means I have to buy some clay.”
“No you don’t.” Alicia laughed. “I’ve got clay at home. I like to make figures myself.”
“Really?” Holly was surprised, “I didn’t know that.”
Alicia grinned, “I’m not as artistic as everyone else but I try.”
“So why haven’t you shown me any of them?”
“Dunno.” Alicia shrugged. “But I will when we get home.”
As they started walking down the mall again Alicia decided she wanted to share her happiness with Holly. She smiled as she told her how Mikey had decided he was ready for them to start a family.
Holly stopped and hugged her tightly. “I’m so happy for you.”
“Thanks." Alicia answered, “But I know I owe part of this to you and Molly. Having you guys here has made such a difference in Mikey. I know having M around has made him want to have one of our own.”
“You guys will be great parents.” Holly said softly. It gave her a wonderful feeling knowing that just maybe this trip would prove to have done something good.
When Alicia and Holly returned to the North Pole there were still ten children in line in front of Bandit and Molly.
“I’m sorry we didn’t get back sooner.” Holly said seeing how frazzled Lindsey looked.
“It’s okay.” Lindsey shrugged. “M has been helping me keep Bandit occupied and that’s a good thing because she’s getting tired.”
Slowly the line moved.
“Did you guys find some good stuff?” Lindsey asked looking down at the bags they were carrying.”
“A few things.” Holly smiled.
Alicia, who had quite a few bags, laughed. “I always find too much. I was thinking if it’s okay I could take the bags to the car.”
“Sure.” Lindsey said as she began to fish through her purse for the car keys.
“If you’d like to get out of here for a few minutes I’ll stay with the girls.” Holly offered.
Lindsey smiled, “Yeah, that sounds nice. Some fresh air and a little less noise.”
The women grabbed up the bags but decided to leave their purses.
As soon as they disappeared in the crowed Lindsey’s phone went off. Holly heard the sound but ignored it. She’d tell Lindsey she’s missed a call as soon as she got back. Moments later as soon as Lindsey’s phone fell silent Alicia’s phone went off. As soon as it stopped ringing Holly’s phone rang.
She pulled it out of her pocket and once she saw who was calling she realized he had probably been the one who’d called the other phones.
"Hey, Gee.” Holly answered but was distracted because Bandit was wiggling again trying to get out of the stroller. She realized Bandit had dropped her toy. “Molly can you get that for her?”
“Holly what’s going on?” Gerard asked. He’d still be anger with her but just hearing her voice made that anger disappear.
“Oh, we’re in line to see Santa.”
“Is Lindsey with you?”
Holly explained how Lindsey and Alicia had just gone back out to the car of a few minutes.
"Oh, well I tried calling both of them.” He said.
“Yeah.” Holly smiled, “I heard their phones. So at least I answered. Is something wrong?”
“Yeah our regular sitter called and said she can’t make it tonight. We have another girl who sits for us sometimes but I can’t find her damn number.”
“Well I’ll have Lindsey call you as soon as they get back.” Holly offered. “But if she can’t make it I’ll just watch the girls tonight.”
Gerard frowned, “Trying to get out of the party?”
While it was true she didn’t want to admit it. “No, I’m just saying if necessary I’d be happy to watch them,” The line moved again, “Look B" she said trying to keep Bandit from crying. “We’re getting closer to Santa.”
“Wish I was there.” Gerard said softly.
Holly heard the hurt in his voice. She tried to lighten the mood, “Oh no you really don’t. This is a madhouse.”
“We took B together to see Santa last year.” Gerard said with a sigh.
Holly tried to smooth over his hurt. “You know I’m sure Lindsey’s just going along with this so Molly can see Santa today. You guys can always take Bandit again there’s plenty of time before Christmas.”
“You’re always trying to do that, aren’t you?”
His words confused her, “Do what?”
“Trying to make things right. You know it ain’t right B is seeing Santa without me being there. You know Lindsey don’t give a shit how I feel about it but you’re trying to make it all better. Well this is one time you can’t, Holly. Lindsey doesn’t want me in her life anymore. She don’t want me in Bandits.”
“Gee, I don’t think that’s true.” Holly said sadly.
“It’s true and you know it.”
Holly remained silent knowing no matter what she said he wouldn’t believe her.
“Can you at least take a picture for me?” Gerard asked finally.
“Gee, I’m sure Lindsey will take a picture.” Holly sighed.
“Please.” He whispered.
“Gee, I’ll make sure you get a picture.” She saw Lindsey and Alicia walking back. “Oh Lindsey’s almost here. I’ll have her call you.”
“Just give her your phone.” He said tiredly.
Holly held out her phone. “It’s Gee. He called your phone and Alicia’s but when you guys didn’t answer he called mine.” Holly explained.
Lindsey tried to smile as she took the phone. She explained to him where he could find the number of the other sitter. Said goodbye quickly then handed the phone back to Holly.
By this time the line was down to only one little boy in front of them.
Gerard called the other sitter but she was reluctant to take the job. However after Gerard offered her a substantially higher pay she agreed. There was no way he was going to let Holly stay with the girls tonight. She needed to get out and deep down he wanted her to be at the party.
He sat down again subconsciously staying away from the liquor cabinet. It was at times like this, when his marriage seemed to be slipping away, that he wanted a drink. He was again lost in thought when his phone alerted him to a text.
A smile covered his face when he looked down at the picture Holly had sent. Bandit and Molly were both sitting on Santa’s lap. Molly’s smile was bright while Baby B was tugging on Santa’s whiskers. It was one of the most beautiful pictures he’d ever seen.