In case some of you have forgotten what has happened so far in the story (and I don’t want you to have to go back and read 19 chapters just because I’ve been lazy), here’s a short summary:
Gia returned back to Belleville by her father without consent from her mother. Gerard was brought to loop about his daughter’s new “adult” hobbies when she was hospitalized and it was revealed she had a miscarriage. In this already negative environment, Gia’s mother Stella came to town to get her back home, but in light of these shocking news of a miscarriage, it turned out the warm parental feelings towards Gia had cooled down a bit. Gia went to a bar, got shitfaced, and woke up in an apartment owned by Gerard’s old drug dealer Blake who was driving her home which is where we left off.
And yes, I realize how ridiculous all that sounds, too. But at least we’re all now clear on what’s happened.
Chapter 20: Many happy returns
The car pulled up in front of the house, which to Gia had never looked more intimidating. It was so off-putting that she didn’t want to go in at all. But she knew she had to. Gia knew she’d have to face Gerard sooner or later, and she figured that this would be as good a moment as any.
“You okay?” Blake asked.
Gia saw that he was concerned. Well, he knew Gerard once, so he probably had an idea of the hell she would have to go through. “Yeah. I don’t think he’s home, his car isn’t here.”
“That’s a good thing?”
Gia smiled. “Yeah, I would very much like to wash the alcohol and vomit off of myself before talking to my overprotective, possibly mentally unstable father.”
“I get what you mean,” he nodded.
“Well, thanks for everything. It was good to see you.”
Gia got out of the car, but the second she set her foot on the ground, and tried to stand up, she got an instant rush of dizziness. She nearly fell, and would have if she didn’t have the car to support herself on.
Blake hurried out of the car and to her. “You are definitely not okay,” he pointed out and helped her stand.
“I guess I’m still a little bit drunk,” she said, but she had never been more embarrassed in her life. Blake was nice about it though, and helped her to the door. He even dug up the key from her purse and opened the door for her. But that’s when everything went to hell.
Gerard’s car pulled up to the drive way, and Gia and Blake just froze. She had no idea how he’d react, but she knew it wouldn’t be good.
When he got out of his car and looked at them, Gia held her breath nervously. Blake clearly tensed, but didn’t even flinch as Gerard walked over to them.
“Gia, go inside,” Gerard commanded.
Gia glanced at Blake and hesitated. “Dad, can I –“ she started, but he interrupted her with a sharp look. She sighed and obediently went inside, even though she felt extremely bad about leaving Blake alone with her dad, especially after all he did to help her. She knew she was already in a lot of trouble, so she didn’t want to make her already enraged father any more irritated with her.
Gerard closed the door after her, so she didn’t hear what they talked about, but they were out there for a long time. She went to the window and saw her father speaking in a rather agitated manner while Blake only spoke a few words.
When Blake finally left, he looked very displeased, and Gerard was almost completely mimicking the look. He saw his daughter standing by the window of the living room once he came in. Gerard crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow, as if waiting for her to speak.
“I didn’t do drugs,” she finally said, feeling the need to defend herself.
“That’s what he said as well.”
She could tell he didn’t believe a word she said. “Dad, he’s not like that anymore.”
“How would you know? He did very bad things, people don’t just change!”
“You did drugs as well; how are you any better than he is?!”
“I didn’t sell drugs to minors,” he said with a harsh tone. Then he sighed, calming himself down. “Sit down.”
She didn’t dare to disobey him, so she sat on the nearest couch. Gerard remained standing.
“Where did you go?” he demanded to know.
Gia shrugged. “That’s none of your business.” She didn’t particularly feel like telling him she went to a bar, using a fake ID.
“Gia,” he said in a warning tone. “Okay fine, don’t tell me,” he scoffed. “But I know a hangover when I see one. And I know the bartender of the bar you went to. He recognized you and called me after you left. Now, hand it over.” He extended his hand and gave her such a sharp look that you could cut steel with it.
She knew what he was asking for. Hesitantly, the girl reached for her purse and took out her fake ID. She handed it to him, but really didn’t feel like letting it go. After all, she had had some good experiences because of that piece of plastic. Once Gerard got the ID, he looked at it and frowned.
“You’re not a 35-year-old Indian woman,” he pointed out after reading the information on the ID. “How does this ever work?”
Gia shrugged. “I’m cute. I get by.”
“That worries me,” he said. Then, he sighed and sat down next to his daughter on the black leather couch. “I talked to your mom.”
Gerard nodded. “I figured. I don’t know exactly how much you heard but…”
“I heard that neither of you wanted me.”
He was silent for a while. She could tell he regretted saying that, or maybe he just regretted the fact that she heard those words. Either way, this wasn’t easy for him. There was no way to deny that he had ever said that, after all, she had heard it. But he could try to explain. “I wish you were the way you were before. Back when I was messed up, you were good. Is this like some sort of revenge?”
“You’d rather have me stay home and clean up and cook? Be quiet and never do anything wrong? Dad, I may have been safe, but I was miserable.”
“You’re saying you’re happy now?”
She shook her head. “No. But I am making my own decisions, which I am happy about. The consequences of said decisions, they don’t make me that happy. But I like the freedom. For the first time in my life I didn’t have you to watch over my back and I was glad about that.”
“I know you want me to stay out of your business, but Gia, you have to understand that I’m your father. It’s my job to make you miserable by giving you restrictions! Don’t you think I hated my parents for it as well?”
“And look how well that turned out for you. You were a drug addict and an alcoholic, with a daughter who is apparently heading the same way as you keep telling me. Which, I’m not.”
“I don’t do drugs. So I have a few drinks every now and then, I’m just trying to live a little!”
“You can live without the alcohol, you know,” he said. It worried him how she didn’t realize that this is how it starts. It’s a few drinks now, but soon enough she’ll be drunk every night and day, throwing her life away for the sake of getting buzzed.
“Well it’s not like it’s none of your business anymore,” Gia scoffed. “You said it yourself, you don’t even want me here.”
“Actually your mom and I decided that you’ll stay here. It’s not up for discussion. And you and I are going to work this out.”
“We’ve ‘worked things out’ before. It never lasted long, did it?”
He frowned, knowing that she had a point. “I’m going to make this work.”
“Why? So Lindsey won’t be mad at you anymore and you can have her and Bandit back?”
“They’re my family, but so are you. And I’m not giving you an option. We’re doing this. I don’t want to see you hang out with ex-convicts or drug addicts or go to bars and come home drunk, so no more of that, okay?”
She nodded. But it’s not like he’d know if she did drink every now and then. Even if she did end up staying here in Belleville for a while, it didn’t mean that he’d have time to watch over her all the time. He had Lindsey and Bandit, and besides, he was busy with work.
“You’re seventeen. I think it’s time we figure this crap out. Now go take a shower. You smell like shit.”
Gia rolled her eyes and got up to leave. But before she left the room, she had one more question. “What about Lindsey?” Whatever problems Gerard and Lindsey were having, Gia was certain that they all linked back to her.
“I’ll call her. You don’t need to worry about it.”
“I think I should, though” she replied. “I should make a bit more effort with her, right?”
“She’d appreciate it.”
Gia nodded and promised herself she’d at least attempt to get along with her step-mom a little bit better, and left to go up to her room to take a shower. He was right. She did smell like crap. Vomit and alcohol weren’t the best choice in fragrance.
Once she was gone, Gerard sighed in relief. That went well. Well, better than he thought it would, at least. This time, he swore, he’d fix it for good. They had tried to fix things before but after only a short moment of rainbows and happiness, they always came crashing down. The determination and confidence he felt soon faded as he started to wonder exactly how he was going to succeed.
A/N2: It was short but there will be another update later today or tomorrow :) Thank you ReddyDevil for being my beta reader again :) And thank you everyone who reviewed and told me they'll miss this story (one of the reasons I ended up continuing).