Bob calls out of concern for Holly. Gerard turns to his family and memories for help.
He quickly redressed then moved towards the kitchen. Molly who was seated in the living room, was the first to spot him. “Gee.” She called out happily.
“Hey, Squirt.” He smiled, “What you up too?”
She held up a picture she was drawing. “Mese dwaing a pitsure.”
Gerard leaned down to give it a closer look. “That’s very pretty.”
“Hey, Gee." Alicia handed him a cup of coffee when he entered the kitchen. “Mikey and Holly took off a few minutes ago. She needed some more supplies.”
Gerard took a sip of the strong brew. “How come Mikey went along?”
Alicia smiled, “Well, cause he wanted to do some Christmas shopping and said he needed Holly’s help. So me and M are hanging out. Did you see the picture she’s drawing for me?”
“Yep saw it as I passed through the living room. It’s very pretty.”
Alicia smiled, “I’ve already got a spot reserved for it on the fridge.”
Gerard took another sip then sighed, “Well I better get going too.”
“Gee?" Alicia said softly, “Are you okay?” She hated that he and Lindsey were having problems.
“Sure.” He lied, “Just fine. Me and Linds had a fight last night but nothing serious.” He lied.
“Maybe you should take her some flowers?”
He forced himself to smile, “Yeah, probably a good idea.” He was so tired of pretending but he didn’t know what else to do.
“So you guys are gonna come to Holly’s show Friday night, aren’t you?”
“Of course. Wouldn’t miss it.” The room seemed to be closing in on him, “See ya later.”
When Gerard got home the house was silent. Lindsey had taken Bandit and left a note saying she’d call him later.
He sank into his easy chair and sighed. Deep down he knew his life was going to change drastically and soon but he just couldn’t make himself accept that fact. He just kept hoping there was some way he could change things. He tried to pinpoint the exact moment in time when things between him and Lindsey had changed. They’d been so happy together in the beginning, so in love. What had happened? Why had it changed? And why didn’t she love him anymore?
Mikey looked across the table and Holly and smiled happily. They had just finished shopping and now as they sat eating lunch he saw that Holly was making a conscious effort to eat her pasta.
“What are you smiling about Mikey Boy?” She asked looking up at him.
He didn’t want to draw attention to the fact she was eating so he answered, “I was just thinking how nice this is to hang with you. I’ve really missed this.”
Holly smiled, “Yeah, me too. So are you happy with the gifts you bought?”
Mikey nodded, “Oh yeah. I think Mom’s really gonna love that blouse.” He took a sip of cola then spoke again. “Christmas Eve is gonna be great. Having Mom and Dad both there.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing Don.” Holly admitted.
“Hey, he’s looking forward to seeing you too. I talked to him yesterday and he was saying how he’s gonna come a couple of days early so he can do his Christmas shopping.” Mikey laughed, “He sorta asked if I thought you’d go with him.”
Holly nodded, “Oh so he’ll be here for your Christmas party?”
"Sure, I’d love to go shopping with him.” Holly smiled.
“He’s really anxious to meet M too.” Mikey said happily. “Especially since I told him that she made me realize how much I want Alicia and me to have a kid.”
Holly smiled at him warmly. “You’re gonna be a great dad, Mikey Boy.”
“Sometimes the idea still scares me.” He admitted softly.
“Oh Mikey.” Holly laughed, “Believe me you’ll never get over that feeling completely. Having kids is scary. The love you feel for them fills your heart but you always know in the back of your mind that that love can break your heart.”
Mikey reached across the table to touch her arm. “But it’s worth it.”
Holly nodded then whispered, “Oh yes. I thank God everyday for the time I had with Sonja.”
He didn’t want her to fall into depression so he quickly changed the subject. “So I heard you got that doll M wants.”
“Yep, thanks to Lindsey.”
“Holly, what do you think is wrong between them?”
She knew exactly what he was asking, “I don’t know. It’s sad to see them so unhappy, they both are.”
He had to know. “That night Gee called, was it because of that?”
Holly nodded, “Yes, he’s afraid she’s going to leave him.”
“Shit.” Mikey shook his head, “I was sure of that but he won’t talk to me about it. He still is trying to pretend that everything is fine but fuck he has to know that I know it ain’t.”
“Gee, has always been like that.” Holly said softly, “It’s almost like he thinks if he wants something bad enough all he has to do is convince himself and those around him what he wants is true and then it will be.”
“He’ll fall apart if they break up.” Mikey said sadly, “I just know he will.”
Holly sighed, “I hope not. For the first time in his life there is someone who will be directly affected if he does. I hope his love for Bandit will keep that from happening.”
Suddenly her phone went off. She frowned looking down at the screen. It was a text from Bob asking her to please answer her phone. He had called twice already but since she’d been with Mikey she’d ignored the calls.
“Trouble?” Mikey asked.
“It’s from Bob.” She said. A moment later when her phone rang she looked up at Mikey. “I really need to answer.”
He smiled, “Go ahead, it’s okay.”
“Hello?” Holly answered.
“Hey, Holly.” Bob was relived to hear her voice. “I was beginning to think you were ignoring me.”
Holly laughed, “Nope, sorry. So what’s up?"
“Well I’ve been sorta worried since Lazzara called me.”
“Adam called you?” She saw Mikey look up.
“Yeah, he told me about running into you out in LA. Gotta say Holly he was pretty freaked seeing you with them.”
Holly realized this was going to be a difficult phone call to take in front of Mikey. “Well I’m sure it seemed strange." She said “Uh, matter of fact I’m having lunch with Mikey right now.”
Bob understood she was warning him she couldn’t talk freely. “Oh.”
“Tell him I said hello.” Mikey told her. He didn’t want her feeling awkward talking to Bob.
Holly smiled, “Mikey says hello.”
Bob grinned, “Hell him I said hello too. Gotta say I miss that fucker.”
Holly repeated the hello.
“So anyway” Bob said, “Adam was also sorta worried about how you looked. He said you’re awful thin. Holly you’re not losing weight again are you?” He hadn’t seen Holly for a couple of months.
“I’m fine.” Holly sighed, “Told you I’m eating lunch.”
Mikey realized that Bob must have asked her about her weight. Obviously Bryar knew she had a problem.
“Yeah, okay.” Bob said softly. “But you know I can’t help but worry about you and Molly.”
Holly smiled, “We’re both fine.”
“I’d like to see that for myself.” He said suddenly. “I want to come to your art show.”
“How do you know about that?” She realized as soon as she asked she knew the answer. “Oh, Adam must have told you.”
“Yeah, he did. He’s bummed he’s gonna be in New York that night or he’d be there.”
Holly tried to gather her thoughts. As much as she would like to have Bob there she knew it could present problems. “Oh well.” She hedged.
“Please, Holly. I really want to see you and I really want to see your work.”
“I’d like that.’ She said softly.
“Great. I’ll call you when I get to LA, okay?”
“Okay. I’ll talk to you then.”
Bob smiled, “You know I love you kid. I’ll see ya soon.”
“Love ya too, Bobby.” Holly answered. “Bye.”
Mikey was trying to act as if he hadn’t been listening.
Holly laughed, “Okay so just ask.”
He grinned, “Well okay. So what was that all about?”
“He’s coming to LA to see the art exhibit.” She waited to see his response.
“Oh.” Mikey thought a minute. “Well I can understand that.”
“Yeah, you can but how’s your brother gonna take it?”
Mikey shrugged, “He’s just gonna have to deal. Bob’s your friend and he has every right to be there.” He paused, “I mean he is your friend right?”
Holly gave him a confused look, “Yes.”
“Well, uh, I mean you did say love you to him.”
She laughed, “Oh Lord. There is nothing romantic between me and Bob. He’s just a very dear friend.”
Mikey nodded, “That’s what I thought.”
That night after dinner Alicia decided that she wanted to make Christmas cookies. The idea was of course a hit with Molly.
They were in the kitchen mixing up dough when Gerard walked in.
“Wow looks like I got here at the right time.” He grinned.
Molly smiled happy to see him. “Yep.”
“You know your mama makes great cookies.” He said standing by the little girl “But just watch out. She might start throwing flour at you.”
“Gerard.” Holly laughed, “I’m not gonna do that.” She smiled at the memory she knew he was recalling. “Besides those weren’t Christmas cookies.”
“Yeah but they were cookies.” He grinned.
Jan 8th 2007
“What the hell are you doing?” Gerard asked walking into Holly’s small kitchen and seeing every counter filled with clutter.
Holly smiled, “Hey, Gee. Guess I forgot to lock the door again?”
He frowned, “Yeah so I just walked in.”
“Told you to feel free to do that anytime.” She reminded him.
“Yeah and I told you that you should keep your damn door locked.” He responded. “But you never listen.”
“Hey, Gee.” Sonja said breezing past him.
He nodded to her. “How’s it going?”
Sonja shrugged, “Oh you know, same old, same old.” She turned to her mom, “Hey, Bree is picking me up and we’re going to the library.”
Holly stopped mixing ingredients to stare at her daughter. “You’re going to the library?”
Sonja rolled her eyes, “Yes, mother.”
“And you’ll be home by ten because it’s a school night.”
“Yes, mother.” Sonja said grinning over at Gerard who she saw was smiling. “It’s tough living with your mom, ain’t it?”
Gerard laughed, “Yeah well try it at my age.”
The sound of a horn out front caught the attention of Gerard and Holly but not Sonja.
“Honey, I think she’s here.” Holly said to her daughter.
Sonja looked surprised, she hadn’t heard the horn. “Oh, okay. See ya later mom.”
When she left the room Gerard was surprised to see Holly frowning. “Hey, she’s a good kid.” He said not understanding why Holly was upset. He didn’t realize that Holly was concerned about Sonja’s hearing loss.
Holly nodded, “Yep, she is. So back to your original question.”
He gave her a puzzled look.
“You know, what the hell are you doing?”
“Oh yeah.” He grinned, “What are you doing?”
“Making 20 dozen chocolate chip cookies for St Tim’s.” She sighed. “Oh and ten dozen oatmeal.”
“Holy shit. That’s a lot of cookies.” He noticed the tray of oatmeal cookies that were cooling on the counter.
“Don’t you dare.” Holly warned seeing him heading for them.
He pretended to be hurt. “What? You don’t want me to sample them for you? I mean come on, what if they aren’t good?”
Holly laughed, “Yeah, you’re just doing your part. One cookie, Gee.”
He nodded and picked up the largest cookie. After talking a bite he smiled, “These meet with my approval.”
“Glad to hear that.” Holly was back at work mixing ingredients. “So what bring you here?”
“Just stopped by to see what you were doing.”
“Donna told me you’re heading to Australia soon.” Holly said as she began to spoon the dough on to a cookie sheet.
Gerard pulled up a stool. “Yeah, we got a show on the 29th.”
“That must be exciting.” Holly smiled.
He shrugged, “Yeah, it’s okay.”
She looked over at him, “Alright Way, out with it. What’s wrong?”
“Holly you know I don’t just come to see you when something’s wrong. I just came to visit.”
Her eyes narrowed. “My that sounded nice. Of course it was a total lie.”
“Shit, you always know, don’t you?”
“Yep.” She said spooning more dough on to the sheet. “So tell me.”
He thought a minute. “What do you think about guys wearing engagement rings?”
Holly was so shocked she dropped the spoon. “What?”
“Eliza wants us to get matching engagement rings.” He said softly.
For several minutes the room was silent except for the sound of the spoon scraping the bowl.
“Well?” Gerard finally asked.
“Gee, I didn’t even realize you’d asked her to marry you.” Holly picked up the cookie sheet and moved towards the oven.
He waited until she placed the sheet in the oven and closed the door. “Well I didn’t exactly ask her it’s just sorta where we’re headed.”
Holly’s eyebrow rose, “Just where you’re headed?”
“Sure” He nodded, “I mean I’m almost 30. It’s time.”
“I didn’t realize there was a time limit on getting married.” Holly said dryly. “Silly me thought you got married when you fell in love and wanted to spend the rest of your life with that person.”
He frowned, “Well yeah.”
“So you want to spend the rest of your life with her so that’s why you’re getting married.”
Her attitude bothered him. “Well everyone else thinks it’s a good idea.”
Holly knew that wasn’t true. She knew there were several of Gee’s close friends who didn’t think Eliza was right for him. “Really?” Holly asked leaning against the counter. “Did you take a poll?”
“God, you are a pain in the ass.” He growled. “All I did was ask you a simple question.”
“That’s true.” Holly sighed, “Sorry.”
He was shocked. Holly never just backed down like that. “Ain’t no reason for you to be sorry."
“But I am a pain in the ass.” Holly said pushing away from the counter. “And I know it.”
He just wanted to see her smile again. “Hey speaking of asses yours is covered in flour.”
“What?” She tried to swivel her body around to look at her bottom. “Well shit. I forgot I spilled flour on that chair.”
“Here.” Gerard said sliding off the stool, “Let me help." He began brushing her bottom but soon he was laughing as the brushing turned to swatting.
“Gee.” Holly laughed, “Stop it.”
“Hey, I’m just helping.” Another swap landed on her rump.
“I’m warning you." Holly said trying to move away but he followed.
“Oh I’m so scared.” He laughed. It was at that moment she turned and hurled a handful of flour at him. It landed in his hair and dusted his nose.
“Oh this means war.” He growled chasing her around the table.
Holly grabbed a chair and pulled it out so that it was separating them. “Okay, stop.” She giggled. “I’m never gonna get these cookies done.”
Gerard was still laughing. “Sure you will. I’m gonna help.”
And he did. He stayed hours helping her make the cookies. The matching engagement rings were forgotten.
“Hey Bro.” Mikey said looking away from the TV when Gerard walked into the living room.
“Hey.” Gerard sat down, “What’s on?”
“Christmas Story.” Mikey smiled, “Shit, I’ve seen it a hundred times and I still love it.”
“Yeah, it’s a classic.” Gerard nodded.
They both watched for a few minutes then Gerard suddenly called out for Holly.
“Yes?” She asked walking in.
“Uh, I just thought you might want to watch this part.” He smiled nodding to the TV.
“Oh ha ha.”
Mikey gave them a confused look. “Why does she want to watch this part?”
“Your brother is making fun of my old coat.” Holly laughed.
On the screen Randy had just fallen in his huge snowsuit and was flailing around unable to stand.
“What?” Mikey was even more confused.
Gerard laughed, “Don’t you remember that huge coat Holly used to have?”
Mikey thought a minute, “Oh yeah you called it your Stay Puff Marshmallow Man coat.”
Holly nodded. “Yeah well your brother was just sure if I fell down in it I’d never be able to get back up.”
“So true.” Gerard smiled realizing for the first time today he actually felt happy.
Holly ruffled his hair. “Very funny. Now stop bothering me I’ve got cookies to make.”
He smiled up into her eyes. “Gonna make a special one for me?”
“Nope.” Holly shook her head, “Molly is already doing that.”
“Hey what about me?” Mikey asked.
Holly looked over at him, “She’s making one for you too.”
It was about ten minutes later that Molly walked in carefully holding a plate. She went to Gerard first. “Santa is for youse.”
Gerard looked down at the plate. “Oh thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pink Santa before.”
Holly who had walked in behind her laughed, “Okay so we sorta ran out of red food dye.”
“Well I like him pink.” Gerard said smiling at Molly. “Thank you.”
The little girl smiled then moved to take Mikey his pink snowman.
Gerard took a bite. “Yum.”
Holly laughed. “I see you still bite the head off first.”
He shrugged, “Don’t want Santa to suffer.”
She rolled her eyes, “You’re all heart, Gee.”
Suddenly he grew serious. “Nope I’m not but you are.”
Holly stared into his eyes a moment then forced herself not to get drawn in. “Okay Molly time for your bath. You’ve got cookie dough all over you.”
“Then mese gets to watch TV?”
“Getting kinda late.’ Holly answered glancing at the clock.
“Oh but look in ten minutes Frosty is coming on. Kid can’t miss that.” Mikey said reading the TV schedule.
Holly laughed, “Uh right. It says that right there.”
Molly nodded happily, “Yep says dat.”
After a quick bath they all sat down to watch the show. Holly, Alicia and Mikey on the sofa, Molly climbed up in Gerard’s lap.
He smiled at the little girl. “I like this show.” He told her. Having the little girl in his arms made him feel less sad.
Towards the end of the show Holly noticed that her daughter had fallen asleep. She rose to take her from Gerard but he shook his head. Slowly he got up followed Holly down the hall. Carefully he laid Molly on the bed.
“Thanks.” Holly whispered.
“She’s a sweet kid.” Gerard said softly.
Holly looked down at the sleeping child. “Yeah, she is.” She paused then added, “And she really likes you.”
Gerard grinned, “Hey, I’m likeable.” He teased.
They started from the room when his arm suddenly shot out to stop Holly from continuing down the hall.
“I’m glad I came over here tonight.”
Holly looked into is eyes, “It’s better to be here surrounded by family and friends then to be alone drinking?”
He knew she’d understand. “Yeah.”
She couldn’t stop herself from hugging him. “I’m glad you came here too.” She whispered. “Very glad.”