A phone call upsets Gerard while another call breaks his heart.
“Hey Gee. How’s it going? I didn’t catch you at a bad time did I?”
Gerard hadn’t spoken to Chris in months. “Nope, not at all. How’ve you been?”
“Not bad. I’ve been meaning to call you for weeks but shit always seems to keep coming up. How’s the family?”
Gerard forced himself to lie. “Great. Getting ready for Christmas.”
“Yeah, I hear you.” Chris laughed. “This time of year is insane.”
“For sure.” Gerard agreed tapping his pencil on the deck. “So what’s new with you?”
“Been writing mostly and chilling with friends.” He paused. “I met up with someone today, someone who used to be a friend and I figured I should give you a heads up about it.”
Gerard frowned, “What?”
Chris sighed, “Dude I ran into Eliza today. She’s out here in LA.”
“Yeah, I know.” Gerard admitted. “Alicia ran into her last week but I’m not sure why you’d think I give a fuck.”
“Look I ain’t looking to start any shit.” Chris said quickly. “I know how you feel about her. It’s just she was saying some shit and I think she might be thinking about stirring up some trouble. You know how she is.”
“Fuckin’ insane.’ Gerard muttered.
“Well yeah, I agree.” Chris said. “And I know Lindsey understands she’s batshit crazy too.”
“So then what’s the deal?’ Gerard asked slowly while wondering what the woman had been saying to warrant this call.
“Remember that friend you had years ago? That woman with the teenage kid?”
Gerard felt his spirits sink even further. “Holly.”
“Yeah, Holly. Well I guess Eliza saw her.”
“She was with Alicia.” Gerard explained. “She’s out here visiting them for the holidays.”
“Didn’t know that. Anyway, Eliza was implying that Holly is out here to break up your marriage.”
“What the fuck?” Gerard exploded. “You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kidding?”
“Nope. That’s what she’s saying. She said that she knew the woman undermined your relationship with her and now that’s what’s she trying to do with your marriage.”
“That’s fuckin’ bullshit.” Gerard said hotly. “Holly never tried to undermine my relationship with that bitch. She never talked shit about her the only thing she did was to try to make me question my true feelings which is something at the time I was too stupid to do.”
Chris sighed, “According to Eliza, and remember how she thinks, that Holly chick has lost a bunch of weight, fixed herself up and is out on the prowl for you. I thought that sounded like bullshit too. I mean I remember Holly and she sure didn’t look like the kind of woman who was trying to snag you for herself.”
Gerard sat back in his chair. “What do you mean?”
“Well I mean she was really more Mikey and Alicia’s friend right? Besides she sorta struck me more like….” He tried to find words to explain, “I dunno like a den mother I guess. She was older, had a teenager, you know.”
It was hard for Gerard to hold his anger in check. “She was just a very good friend.” He said evenly. “And lets not make her sound too old, okay?” He said trying to laugh the whole thing off, "She’s only five years older than me.”
“Really? Guess the whole thing about her having a kid that old always made it seem like she was much older than the rest of us. Anyway I just thought I should give you a heads up. We both know how much Eliza likes to stir up shit especially on the Net.”
“She hasn’t already done that, has she?” Gerard asked slowly.
“Don’t think so but I do know that she’s already found out some things about Holly. She’s an artist, right? Makes wind chimes that are shown in a gallery out here?”
“Yeah, she’s a great artist.” Gerard couldn’t keep the pride out of his voice. “She makes some beautiful pieces.” He paused. “I really hope Eliza doesn’t start any shit. Holly has been through a lot these past couple of years. Her daughter was killed in a car accident.”
“Fuck, sorry to hear that.” Chris responded.
“Yeah, it’s fuckin’ sad. She’s raising her daughter’s kid now. She don’t need to put us with anymore shit from Eliza. She put up with enough of it before.”
“I agree. You know Eliza still thinks she and I are tight. Maybe I can convince her to let this go. I’ll tell her I know for a fact you and Lindsey are tight and nothing is gonna come between you guys. I’ll tell her I talked to you and that Holly is just visiting Mikey for the holidays.”
Gerard finished his drink in one long swallow. “Yeah, good luck with that. She’s always had a fuckin’ problem with letting shit go.”
Chris laughed, “Ain’t that the truth. Anyway how’s the tour shaping up?”
Gerard slid out of his chair then crossed the room to pour himself another drink. “You know how complicated that shit is." The truth was he didn’t want to talk about this subject either.
“Oh fuck, yeah I do. I heard MSI is getting something together too. You guys going on the road together again?”
Gerard took another long swallow. “Not sure yet.’ He lied. He knew there were no plans for the two groups to tour together. Suddenly he was tired. “Hey man it was great you called up I gotta take off. Lindsey is calling me to dinner.” He lied.
“Oh sure.” Chris answered. “Good talking to you.”
“You too.’ Gerard answered. “Catch you later.”
He disconnected then walked back over to his chair behind the desk. “Fuck" he muttered. The last thing he needed right now was Eliza causing trouble again. She’d been almost brutal in her actions towards Holly before.
Feb 13th 2007
As Holly pulled open the door her eyes grew wide. “Gee?” She could barely see him behind the huge bouquet of flowers he was holding.
“Hey, Holly.” He breezed past her into the welcoming warmth of her house. “These are for you.”
Holly stared at him. “For me? Why?”
Gerard laughed, “Can’t say I’ve ever had a woman ask me why I was giving her flowers.”
Slowly she took the bouquet from his outstretched hand. “Uh, thank you." She said gazing at the variety of fresh cut flowers. “They’re beautiful.”
Gerard shrugged out of his jacket. “Well tomorrow is Valentines Day and I was gonna get you some chocolates but I figured you wouldn’t eat them.” He knew she was dieting. “So I chose flowers.”
“I’ve never gotten flowers before.” Holly said softly still gazing at the beautiful variety of flowers in her hand.
Gerard frowned, “You’re kidding, right?”
Holly’s huge eyes met his, “Nope.”
He could see she felt uncomfortable admitting that. “Well then that just proves the men you’ve been around are idiots.”
She smiled. “Really, thanks Gee.”
“You’re very welcome. So tell me you’ve agreed to come to the first date for our tour.” He said following her as she moved towards the kitchen.
Holly sighed, “Well my boss wasn’t very happy I asked for the time off.”
“But he gave it to you?” Gerard asked.
“Yes but I’m still worried about leaving Sonja alone.” Holly said as she pulled a large vase out of the cabinet. She carefully unwrapped the flowers.
“She can’t miss a few days of school?”
“No.” Holly shook her head. “Her grades have been slipping so she can’t.”
Gerard shrugged, “She’ll be fine. She is seventeen.”
Holly knew he didn’t understand how she felt so she simply changed the subject. “Gee, I’ve never seen so many different kinds of flowers in one bouquet.”
He laughed, “Well that’s cause I picked them out one at a time. I think the florist thought I was nuts but every time I’d decide on a variety of flower I’d see another one that I liked too. Finally I just thought well why not get her one of each?”
It touched her heart that he’d chosen these flowers personally. “I love all of them.” Holly smiled.
He grinned, “Then I did good.”
“You did great.” Holly answered as she arranged them in the vase.
“So anyway I’ve talked to mom and she’s driving up for the show so you can catch a ride back with her.”
Holly glanced over at him. “Uh, I sorta need to get there too.”
“You’re gonna travel on the bus with us. We already decided that. Besides Mom won’t be there until later in the day. We’re leaving early in the morning.”
“We already decided that? Who’s we?”
Gerard smiled, “Me, Mikey, Alicia all of us.”
Holly sat down at the table. “Gee, I really don’t want to be in the way. I can just come with your mom.”
“Nope you’re coming on the bus.” He saw she was still frowning, “Why? Don’t you want to?”
“I’d love to.” Holly answered honestly. “The idea of getting to see what it’s like traveling on a tour bus really excites me but..” Her voice trailed off.
“You’re worried about Eliza, aren’t you?”
“Gee, she doesn’t like me. That’s pretty apparent.”
He knew that was the truth but it wasn’t a truth he liked. “She likes you.” He lied “Besides it’s not up to her who travels with us.”
Holly sighed, “I just don’t want to cause any trouble.”
The sound of the doorbell startled them.
“Wonder who that is?’ Holly said standing. “Be right back.”
She was surprised to see Eliza standing on her doorstep.
“Hey, Holly.” Eliza smiled slightly, “I was wondering if Gee is here?”
Holly opened the door winder. “Yep, come on in.”
Gerard looked very surprised to see Eliza. “You said you weren’t gonna arrive until six.”
Eliza smiled, “I couldn’t wait to see you.” She leaned over and hugged him tightly. “I’ve missed you, Baby.”
Gerard hugged her back then gave her a quick kiss. He pulled out the chair next to him for her to sit. “How’d you know where I was?”
“Mom guessed you might be visiting Holly.” She said shrugging out of her coat.
Inwardly he cringed; it bothered him that Eliza called his mother, mom. “Oh.”
Eliza smiled over at Holly who was leaning against the kitchen counter. “So how have you been?”
“Just fine, thanks.” Holly answered, “And you?”
“Wonderful.” Eliza said reaching over and talking Gerard’s hand it hers. “Making plans.”
Holly noticed Gerard looked very uncomfortable.
Eliza suddenly noticed the flowers. “Wow that’s some bouquet. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one with so many different flowers.” It was obvious by her tone she wasn’t a fan.
Holly smiled, “Aren’t the beautiful?”
Eliza cleared her throat. “Uh well it’s very colorful.”
Gerard realized that Holly was trying not to smile. “Uh, actually I gave them to Holly. Picked all the flowers out myself.”
It was hard for Holly not to laugh at the look on Eliza’s face when she heard that.
"Oh really?” She said sweetly. “Well that was nice of you. Anyway we need to get going. I’ve got a surprise for you.”
Gerard had wanted to talk to Holly and now he knew that would be impossible. “Oh okay.” He looked over at Holly. “We’ll get the details for the trip figured out later.”
Again Eliza tried to hide her true feelings about Holly. “Oh that’s right Gee told me you are going to be going with us for the first show.”
Eliza got up and pulled on her coat. “Well nice seeing you again, Holly.”
Reluctantly Gerard got up too.
Once they reached the front door Gerard said, “Talk to you later.”
Holly smiled, “Okay and thanks again for the flowers.”
Eliza practically dragged him out of the house. As they started walked towards his mom’s Eliza spoke. “So tell me again why she’s going?"
“Because we want her to.” Gerard answered. “Holly’s a good friend and it will be nice for her to get a little time off.”
“”Whatever.’ It was obvious she wasn’t happy about Holly going but she wasn’t going to chance making Gerard angry. However it was impossible for her not to add, “It’s sweet you’re being so nice to her. I just hope she doesn’t get the wrong impression.”
Gerard stopped walked. “What?”
“Well Gee think about it. Giving her flowers, taking her on the bus, the poor thing might get the wrong idea.”
His eyes narrowed, “She’s a very good friend. And she’s not a poor thing.”
Eliza realized she’d pushed him too far. “Sorry.’ She put her arm around his waist. “Let’s not fight, Baby.”
Gerard got up and fixed himself another drink. Lately he kept having these memories reappear and he didn’t want them. He just wanted to forget the past but it was impossible. He realized sadly that he was thinking about the past because it let him escape this life in the present.
“Hey, how’d it go?” Alicia asked as a very tired looking Holly walked in.
Holly sighed, “Fine but I’ve got to take a shower. Sorry I’m so late.”
“No, problem.” Alicia smiled, “Mikey and me put M to bed about a half hour ago.”
“Was she a good?”
Mikey laughed, “Yes, mom, she was good. She and I watched “Miracle on 34th Street" after dinner. Gotta say she loved it. Especially then ending when the little girl gets her house.”
Holly frowned, “She probably would like to live in a real house.”
Alicia saw the sadness in Holly’s eyes. “Hey the Twinkie trailer is a house.”
“Not a real house.” Holly said softly. She shook her head trying to dispel that thought. “Anyway, I’m gonna go shower.”
“Okay when you’re done will all have a glass of wine. You really look like you could use one.” Mikey said kindly.
Holly smiled and nodded. She honestly just wanted to go to bed but knew she should spend some time talking to her friends.
Ray called when Holly was in the shower. Alicia sat listening to her husband’s part of the conversation growing more and more concerned. When he finally ended the call she asked. “So what’s going on?”
Mikey sighed, “Christa told him what happened at the shelter and he wanted to know what I thought.”
“What happened at the shelter?”
“Yeah, Eliza was there.” Mikey said shaking his head disgustedly.
“Holy shit. Why didn’t Holly tell us?”
Holly heard the question as she walked in towel drying her hair. “I didn’t have a chance and honestly I was just trying to forget it.”
“She didn’t start any shit with you, did she?” Alicia asked.
“Nope.” Holly said sitting down on the sofa. “She was very pleasant.”
“Yeah, right.” Mikey said, “I find that hard to believe.”
“Me too.” Alicia agreed “Especially after what happened when we ran into her the other day.”
Holly shrugged, “She acted like that didn’t happen. She said she was just there to help out.”
“Eliza was there just to help out?” Alicia laughed, “Yeah, sure. She just happened to show up at the same shelter you and Christa were at. Sorry, not buying it. The woman is a stalker.”
“A stalker?’ Holly laughed. “Who’s she stalking?”
“Well, you.” Alicia said.
“And what for?” Holly asked. “I mean really why would she?”
“Because you’re still close to Gee.” Mikey answered.
Sadly Holly realized she really wasn’t still close to Gee but she remained silent about that. “All I care about was she was there helping out. I don’t give a rats ass about any other motives she might have.”
“Just watch out around her, Holly.” Mikey said softly. “If she can she’ll try to use you to get back in close with Gee. Remember she’s great at manipulating people and right now the last thing Gee needs is to have any contact with her.”
“You honesty don’t think he’d be stupid enough to have anything to do with her, do you?" Alicia asked.
Mikey frowned, “Look we all know something ain’t right between him and Lindsey. I’m just worried that if Eliza gets a chance she’ll try to use that fact.”
Holly sat lost in thought. Would Gerard be gullible enough to fall for Eliza’s lies again?
“Hey, how about that wine?” Alicia said trying to lighten the mood.
Mikey nodded then headed for the kitchen.
“Just forget about her.” Alicia said looking over at Holly.
Holly nodded, “That’s what I plan to do.” However it wasn’t easy. Eliza had been rude to her on so many occasions it was hard to forget.
Feb 22nd 2007
Holly sat backstage watching the chaos around her. Everyone seemed to be running in circles.
“It’s always like this.” Gerard said walking over to her. “Nuts ain’t it?”
“Yeah.” Holly smiled, “This is crazy.”
He sat down next to her on the sofa. “You get used to it. So are you having a good time?”
“Yep. I really am. This is fun. I’ve never been backstage before so it’s cool to see all of this even though I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a hurricane.”
Gerard looked around, “So where’s mom?” The last time he’d seen Donna she’d been sitting with Holly.
“She and Eliza went to get something to drink.”
“Oh.” He nodded. “Well our crew is setting everything up so we’ll be taking the stage in about fifteen minutes. You guys will sit on the side stage for the show.”
“Okay. Sounds great.”
Gerard heard his name called. “Gotta go.” He said standing. Suddenly he felt sad that Holly was sitting all alone. “You really okay?”
“I’m fine, Gee.” She smiled.
“Well I’m nervous as fuck.” He admitted.
Holly looked him over from head to toe. “You might be nervous but it doesn’t show. You look very handsome in your uniform.”
He laughed, “Yeah, the uniform is pretty rad. It’s just because this is the first show of the tour. I want everything to go smoothly.”
“It will.” Holly said encouragingly. “I’m sure of it. Your fans love you. Once you get out there you’ll feel that love.”
He smiled. Holly always seemed to know just what to say to make him feel better. Impulsively he leaned down and hugged her. “Thanks.” He whispered before turning to walk away.
A few minutes later Eliza walked over and took a seat next to Holly.
“So impressed by your first time backstage?” She asked.
Holly nodded, “This is so great.”
Eliza took a sip of her soda, “Yeah, well I’m sure this is exciting to you but then this will be the only show you’ll probably see so enjoy it while you can.”
“I plan to.” Holly said trying to ignore Eliza’s attitude. She knew Eliza didn’t want her here.
“So did you notice Gee is wearing his ring?”
Of course Holly had noticed but she’d remained silent on the subject. She nodded.
Eliza smiled holding up her hand to admire her matching gold band. “He told me he was waiting for tonight to wear it for the first time. You know, new tour, new life.”
Holly smiled but remained silent.
“I wonder how quickly the news will hit the Net." Eliza laughed. “I’m sure it will be all over the fan sites as soon as the pictures of the concert are posted. Everyone will see the ring and then the truth will be out there.”
“That’s important to you, isn’t it?”
Eliza’s eyes narrowed, “Of course it is. Gee and I are getting married. I want people to know.”
“That’s nice.” Holly said softly.
“Yes it is and we’re planning on living in LA.” When she saw the look on Holly’s face she laughed, “He didn’t tell you that, did he? Well we are. Guess you’ll just have to find yourself a new friend.”
Holly stood abruptly, “Excuse me.” She heard Eliza laughing as she walked away.
“Nite Holly.” Mikey said giving her a quick hug. “See you in the morning.”
“Nite, guys.” Holly smiled as her friends walked down the hallway towards their bedroom. She started to stand intending to go to bed also but the two glass of wine she’d consumed made her head suddenly swim. Quickly she sat back down. “Damn.” She muttered realizing she should have known this could happen. She’d eaten very little today and the alcohol had not been a good idea. She decided to sit a few minutes and relax. Unfortunately her phone suddenly rang. She slowly reached down into her purse she’d left by the side of the sofa and grabbed it.
“Shit.” She said recognizing the number of the in coming call. Briefly she thought about ignoring the call but changed her mind. “Yes?”
“Holly, we need to talk.”
Holly sighed, “Nope, we don’t."
Gerard gripped his phone tightly. It has been so hard for him to make this call. Since finding out Holly had come to PR to be with him, everything he’d thought he believed had changed. “Please, you know we do.”
“If this is about what I told you then nope, there is not a damn thing to say about that.” She closed her eyes wishing her head would clear.
He noticed her tone sounded off. “Is someone there with you right now?”
“Nope, just me, myself and I.”
“Then why do you sound so weird?” He asked.
Holly did not want to admit to him she felt slightly tipsy. “Dunno. Just tired.”
“Oh” He thought a minute. “It’s not late.”
“Didn’t say it was but I’m tired because I worked at the shelter.” As soon as she said that she realized that was something she didn’t want to talk about either.
“You and Christa?”
“Yep. We helped serve over four hundred people. So I’m tired.”
The drinks he’d had earlier was effected him too but he could just tell by her voice something was wrong. “Holly, I just need to talk to you about what happened. I’m so…”
Angrily she cut him off. “Gee, there is nothing to talk about. I came, I saw, I went away. End of story. Oh and by the way that is a story I wish I’d never fuckin’ told you.”
Her words surprised him. Holly rarely cursed unless she was very angry or drinking and he’d only seen that happen once. “Have you been drinking?” He asked slowly.
“Wait, isn’t that the question I usually ask you?” Holly tried to stand again but a wave of dizziness forced her to sit again.
“You have been.” He accused.
His tone made her angrier. “Well so have you. I can always tell by your voice. And believe me you and I talking when we’ve both been drinkin’ ain’t a good idea.”
"Because I might say something I’ll regret, that’s why.”
He asked softly, “Why are you drinking?”
“Cause I got back from the shelter and Mikey and Alicia gave me a couple glasses of wine to help me relax and unwind. Shit just jumped up on my head.”
He sighed, “Probably because you haven’t eaten very much today, right?”
Holly sighed dramatically, “Oh whatever. Yeah poor old pathetic Holly with the eating disorder.”
“I didn’t say that, I’d never say that.”
‘Well maybe you should.” She squeezed her eyes closed tightly. “Cause believe me it’s pretty much true. I try and try not to be that person but it goes to shit. Now I’m tried Gee. I’m gonna go to bed. Let the past go.”
“Holly.” He said quickly, “You’re not pathetic. You’re a beautiful, strong woman.”
Holly laughed without humor, “Oh yeah, sure. We both know that ain’t true. That’s just an illusion. I’m fucked up beyond belief. But hey, it’s okay. I’ll get up tomorrow and start all over again trying to make myself believe it ain’t the truth.”
He closed his eyes. “Holly, I’m so sorry you feel that way.”
Tears filled her eyes, “You know Eliza told me years ago I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. She knew the truth. She knew I could never really fit in with any of you.” She sighed, “Well especially you. She was right.”
"She was a bitch.” Gerard ground out.
Holly needed to end this call. “Oh whatever. You certainly didn’t think so back then.”
“I was a fool.” He answered. “Too blind to see the truth until it was almost too late.”
Holly stood slowly. “Going to bed now.”
He sighed, “I’m sorry for all the shit you had to deal with from her.”
“Oh whatever.” Holly took a step then stopped. “At least I don’t have to deal with it now. Back then I’d bite my tongue when she’d say shit to me because I was doing it for you. Now I don’t have to.”
Suddenly Chris’s phone call came back to him and he had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. “You haven’t seen her again, have you?"
“Yep, just today. She was helping out at the shelter too.”
“Fuck.” Gerard muttered. “She didn’t say anything to you, did she?”
Holly sighed, “Nope, she was very pleasant. Mikey and Alicia think that’s cause she’d gonna try to use me to get close to you again.”
Gerard shook his head, “Can’t that bitch see I want nothing to do with her ever again?"
“Dunno, don’t care.’ Holly said. “All I do know is in a few weeks I’ll be back in Arizona with all of this behind me.”
A wave of sadness washed over him. He didn’t want Holly to walk out of his life again. “Holly?’ He said softly.
"It will all be better in the morning.” He said using the words she’d told him so many times before.
For a moment Holly couldn’t speak. Finally she whispered. “I wish I could believe that.”
He heard her disconnect. Sitting back in his chair he leaned back and closed his eyes. It was tearing at his soul that she was hurting and there was nothing he could do to help her, nothing at all.
Little Note: Just want to say thanks for the reviews. You guys rock!