Alicia arrives home. Gerard gets an upsetting phone call from Bob.
“Alicia.” Holly rushed over to give her a hug. “I didn’t hear you come in. How was the trip?”
“It was fun.” Alicia said with a sigh. “But I wish we hadn’t gotten the news about the taping.”
Holly nodded sympathetically. “Yeah, that’s true. Was Mikey very upset?”
Walking over to the faucet Alicia poured herself a glass of water. “Yeah but he was more worried about how Gee was taking the news.” She turned back to face Holly, “I guess he’s not here?”
Holly’s heart fell, “No.”
“So how’s Molly?” Alicia asked.
“I was just getting ready to make her lunch but I’ll hold off a bit if you want to visit with her.”
“Of course I do. I’ve missed that kid. Oh and Mikey and I got her a prezzie.”
“Well that will cheer her up.” Holly said as they both walked into the living room. Alicia quickly stopped in the hallway where she’d left her bag. Once she’d pulled out Molly’s gift they walked towards the bedroom.
“Awisha.” Molly cried out as soon as they walked in. “Mes missed youse.”
“I missed you too.” Alicia said crossing to the bed to give her a hug. “How are you feeling?”
“Yeah those buggers itch, don’t they? Here.” She held out a small bag. “This is from Mikey and me.”
Molly took the bag but looked confused. “Wheres Uncle Mikey?"
Alicia took a seat on the bed. “He had to fly to New York to record a few songs. They are gonna show them on TV New Years Eve.”
“Oh.” Molly nodded then quickly worked on opening the bag. A moment later when she’d opened the small box she’d found her eyes lit up. “Pwetty.” She held up the small charm bracelet for Holly to see.
“That is pretty.” Holly said as she sat down on the other side of Molly.
Alicia pointed. “See M there are little charms to remind you of special things.” She looked over at Holly. “She’s not too young for this is she?”
Holly shook her head. “No, it’s okay. She has a little jewelry box back home she can keep this until she wants to wear if for a special occasion.” She said this to make Molly understand that she couldn’t wear the bracelet all the time. It was a lovely piece and sure to get broken while she played.
“No.” Molly frowned. “Mes donts wanna keeps it there. Donts wanna ever go ome.”
Holly was afraid this would happen. “Honey you know we are just here visiting. Our home is back in Arizona.”
Alicia could see Holly was upset by Molly’s attitude. “Hey kid. Don’t forget you’ve got a great home. That Twinkie trailer is cool. Beside you guys can visit us anytime you want. This will always be your room.”
Molly was still frowning.
Trying to get her attention away from thoughts of leaving Holly said, “Think how nice it will look in your little jewelry box.”
“Mes cans just wears it.”
“Only for special occasions.” Holly said kindly. “You wouldn’t want it to get broken while you’re playing, would you?”
Molly shook her head. “But mes a big gurl.”
Alicia laughed, “That’s true you are very mature for your age. Anyway see there is a little palm tree like the one in the back yard so you’ll remember your visit here. And look there is a little trailer..”
“Twinkie twaler.” Molly nodded with a sigh.
“Yep.” Alicia grinned. “That’s your Twinkie trailer and the little Christmas Tree so you’ll remember your Christmas here. And..” She paused, “There is lots of space to add more charms.”
“That was very nice of you and Mikey.” Holly said softly.
Alicia looked over at her and saw the smile had left her friends face. She was about to question her when Molly spoke.
“Mes wikes the art.”
“The heart is to remind you that we love you.” Alicia answered.
“Mes wuvs yous too.” Molly smiled crawling over to give her a hug.
“I’m gonna go make her lunch now.” Holly said standing. “You’ll keep Molly company?”
“Sure.” Alicia nodded.
Holly had just reached the door when Molly spoke again. “Gee wuves mes too.”
Alicia nodded, “Well sure he does.”
Molly went on happily. “He tolds me. He said bunches and bunches for he weft dis morning.”
Holly turned, “You talked to Gee this morning?”
Molly nodded, “Gee cames in to checks on mes. He gaves me a tiss.”
“Oh.” Holly hadn’t known.
“Yep.” Molly nodded smiling.
“That’s nice." Holly turned and left the room feeling overwhelmed by emotion. When she’s awoken this morning she’d assumed he’d just left. Now she had found out he’d come in to check on Molly. Tears pricked the back of her eyes. He’d been in the room and she hadn’t been awake to tell him goodbye.
Gerard spotted Ray rushing towards him.
“Shit I didn’t think I was gonna make it.” The guitarist said trying to catch his breath.
“Fuck we don’t even board for an hour.” Gerard said tiredly.
“Yeah but you know we have to get here so fuckin’ early.” Ray sighed. “Mikey’s meeting us in New York?”
“Yeah.” Gerard. “He’ll be there before us. Frank is picking him up at the airport. I thought Christa was coming?”
“She decided to stay. Think she’s gonna go over and visit Molly later. She said she remembered how crappy having chicken pox is.”
They sat down in the waiting area. “Yeah poor kid has been pretty sick.”
Ray glanced over at him. “It was nice you were there to help Holly look after her.”
“Wasn’t much help.” Gerard said leaning back and closing his eyes.
“I’m sure it made Holly feel better. Little Molly is her whole life.”
“Yeah, I know.” Gerard answered softly. “Just like Sonja was her whole life before.”
Ray considered his words. “I don’t think that’s exactly true. I mean of course her child was the most important thing in her life, like Molly is now but Holly had so much going on before. Hell since she’s been here she’s the same way. Helping out at the shelter, hanging with her friends..just because she doesn’t have a man in her life don’t mean she doesn’t have a rich life.”
Gerard opened his eyes. “I didn’t say she didn’t have a rich life.”
“I know.” Ray nodded, “But you made it sound like she wrapped her whole life around Sonja. Yeah, she worried about her but I don’t think she went overboard or anything.”
“Why are we discussing Holly?” Gerard suddenly asked narrowing his eyes.
Ray knew that look and inwardly cringed “I dunno. Something wrong with talking about her?"
“No.” Gerard answered shortly. “I was just thinking you were probably trying to fish for information. You know like, why was I with Holly instead of my wife and kid?”
Ray held up his hand, “Dude, that’s not what I was thinking.”
Gerard snorted, “Yeah, sure.”
Ray was confused, “Really it wasn’t. Shit I hope you don’t think I was questioning your being with Holly. Fuck, we all get that you guys are good friends. I think it’s great you were there for her.”
Anger filled Gerard, “Yeah, you mean for a change? Cause everyone knows Holly was always there for me, right? She fuckin held my hand during the Eliza shit.”
“Holly’s your friend.” Ray said softly. “She’s a good friend to all of us.”
“Some better than others." Gerard muttered then stood. “I’m gonna go grab a coffee.”
Ray watched him walk away wondering what the hell all of that had been about.
“Okay spill.” Alicia said as soon as Holly took a seat. She had just put Molly down for a nap. ‘What’s wrong?”
Holly gave her a surprised look. “What?”
“I could tell something wasn’t right as soon as I got home. It’s not Molly, is it? I mean she seems like she’d doing okay.”
“She is.” Holly smiled slightly. “And nothing is wrong.”
“Is it Gee?”
Holly blinked, “Gee?”
“Well I told you Mikey was really worried about him because of this whole being pulled from New Years Eve thing. Did you have trouble with him? Was he being a pain because he’s upset?”
“No.” Holly answered shaking her head, “I was grateful to have him stay here. He was really sweet to Molly. That first night when she was so sick he held her for hours.” She knew she had to change the course of the subject. "But yeah, he’s very upset about what happened. He’s blaming himself.”
“Figured he would.” Alicia said frowning, “That’s what Mikey thought would happen too.”
“He’s so upset the album isn’t doing as well as expected.” Holly admitted. “And I didn’t help matters any by admitting I haven’t even heard it.”
“Oh.” Alicia said slowly. “Bet that did hurt him.”
Holly sighed, “He came out and asked me. I couldn’t lie to him.”
“So why haven’t you listened to it?” Alicia asked.
“Just haven’t had a chance, I guess.” Holly lied. The truth of course was that until the day Alicia had found her in Arizona she’d deliberately avoided thinking about Gerard. Listening to his voice on a new album, an album made after their lives had changed so dramatically was something she couldn’t face.
“So.” Alicia said sitting back to get comfortable. “If it’s not Gee or Molly, what is it?”
Holly forced herself to smile, “Really nothing is wrong. I’m kinda tried but that’s it.”
Alicia didn’t believe her. “You know you can tell me anything, right?”
“I know.” Holly nodded, “But please don’t worry. I’m fine.” It hurt to lie to her friend.
“The guys are flying back tomorrow.” Alicia said changing the subject for now. “So it’s just us girls. What should we have for dinner?”
“Whatever sounds good to you. Molly’s appetite still isn’t all that great.” Holly answered tiredly.
Alicia looked at her closely, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine.” Holly smiled trying to convince herself the words were true. “Just fine.”
Gerard had just walked into his hotel room when Lindsey called.
“So I see you’re not here to pick us up?”
He sat down on the bed tiredly. “What?”
Lindsey’s anger was apparent. “Well Bandit and I are here at the airport and have been for forty minutes. Would have been nice if you’d told me you weren’t gonna pick us up.”
“I’m in New York. We’re taping our songs for New Years Eve.” He started to explain more but she cut him off.
He sighed, “They don’t want us to perform live. We got replaced by a more popular act. So we had to fly out here to tape the songs. I would have told you all of this if you’d called me.” His voice was taking on an angry tone. “But you didn’t.”
Lindsey shifted Bandit in her arms while juggling the phone. “We were busy. I’m gonna take a cab home. I’ll call you later.”
The fact that she didn’t seem to care at all about what he was saying cut him deep. “Yeah, fine. I’ll be back tomorrow.”
“You’re not flying back until tomorrow? What time?"
“I’ll be home around four.”
“Don’t forget about the party.”
He had forgotten about that. “Oh yeah.”
“It’s important to James that we be there. Don’t tell me you forgot about it.”
“Linds I’ve had more important things on my mind.” He ground out.
She moved towards the luggage carousel. “Whatever. I’ll call you later.” With that she disconnected.
Gerard threw his phone down beside him on the bed then fell back closing his eyes. She didn’t give a shit about his band and what was going on. He’d been a fool to think she would. Still he knew he should have called her and told her he’d be gone when she returned home. Deep down however he knew why he hadn’t…he’d been afraid she would tell him she wasn’t coming back.
He was about to get up and unpack when his phone rang again. Glancing at the screen he was shocked to see the caller’s name. For a moment he debated if he should answer but curiosity and something more made him connect.
“Catch you at a bad time?” Bob asked.
“No, not really.” Gerard answered slowly.
“You’re not with Holly are you?”
Gerard sat up frowning. “With Holly?” He wracked his brain trying to figure out that question. Why would Bryar think he was with Holly unless maybe he’d heard Molly was sick and that Gerard had been helping her take care of the child. “No.”
“Good." Bob said. “Cause I want to talk to you about her.”
Gerard stopped him before he could go on. “Why did you think I’d be with Holly?”
“I just wanted to make sure you weren’t so you could talk freely. I know you’ve been spending time with her.”
“Well yeah, to help her with Molly.”
“What?” Now Bob was confused. “Help her with Molly?”
Gerard realized Bob didn’t know about Molly’s illness. “Yeah, poor kid came down with the chicken pox.”
“Shit. When did that happen?”
“Sunday morning. She and Holly were supposed to go with Mikey and Alicia to her mom’s but they couldn’t because Molly got sick.”
Bob digested that information. “I didn’t know that. So you helped her with Molly?”
“Yeah well Linds and Bandit were out of town so I had some free time.” Gerard explained guardedly. “Made Mikey and Alicia feel better about leaving.”
“Really.” Bob answered slowly not quite believing that was the only reason Gerard and been with Holly.
“Yeah, really. Now what do you want to talk about?” Gerard was beginning to regret answering his phone.
Bob recognized Gerard’s tone and knew he was getting angry. He tried to get the conversation back on tract. “I want to know how Holly is really doing out there.”
Gerard realized Bob thought he was in LA and he wasn’t about to admit he was in New York and why to their former drummer. “What do you mean?”
Bob sighed, “Gee, I’m worried about her. When I saw her it’s obvious she’s lost more weight and she looked so tired.”
“Why don’t you just call her?”
“Because she’ll tell me she’s fine and to stop worrying.” Bob admitted. “And I don’t think that’s true. I just figured you of all people might know the truth and tell me how she’s really doing.”
“Me of all people?” Gerard said in a chipped tone. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Bobs’ own anger was boiling just below the surface. “Do we have to play games? Am I supposed to pretend I don’t know you and Holly have a history?”
Gerard hated that Bob knew about him and Holly. “That was a long time ago.” He ground out.
“Whatever, forget I called. I just thought maybe you still gave a shit about her.”
“Wait.” Gerard said quickly afraid Bob was going to disconnect. “Of course I care about her. But I don’t understand why you’re calling.”
“I told you.” Bob said. “I’m worried about her. I’ll admit I thought it was a fuckin bad idea her going to LA but I didn’t tell her that. I know how important it is to her to make her own decisions. Still I can’t help but be fuckin’ worried. Especially when I found out she’d told you about PR.”
Gerard ran his hand over his face. “Oh yeah, that.”
“Oh yeah, that?” Bob growled. “Yeah that was a pretty big deal, Gerard. She made me swear never to tell anyone and then she tells you? I’m pretty fuckin concerned about that.” Bob couldn’t hold back his anger any longer. “You fuckin devastated her that day.”
“Devastated?” Gerard repeated. In his heart he knew it was true but he was trying to ignore the guilt he was feeling.
“Yeah, devastated. She came to PR because she believed you wanted her there, she believed you loved her and what did she see? She walked on to that bus to see you fucking in the back with Lindsey.”
“Shut up.” Gerard exploded. “That’s my wife you’re talking about.”
“She wasn’t then.” Bob taunted.
“Bryar I’m done with this conversation.” Gerard stood. “If you’re concerned about Holly then call her.”
“I knew it was stupid to call you. I guess I just thought that somewhere deep down in that heart of yours you still cared about her. She’s so fragile.”
Suddenly Gerard knew there was something Bob wasn’t telling him. “Wait. What exactly is going on?”
“Never mind.” Bob sighed.
“No I mean it. What aren’t you telling me?”
For a moment Bob was silent. Finally he tried to explain. “Gee, I worry so much about her. She pretends so hard that things are just fine but I can tell by the look in her eyes when they aren’t.”
Gerard’s heart fell when he heard Bob say that she pretended because he knew that was true. How often had Holly said she was tried of pretending? “You think going to LA was bad because she’ll get hurt again?”
Bob tried to explain. “Look I know she’s loved being close to Mikey and Alicia again. She’s missed them so much.” He paused hoping what he would say next wouldn’t ignite Gerard’s anger again. “I’m pretty sure she really believed that in going there she could help you.”
Instead of anger Gerard’s held dropped. “Because of my drinking?”
“Yeah. She admitted to me that she’d heard it was becoming a problem and she wanted to help you.”
“And you think that was bad?” Gerard whispered.
“I think that the potential for Holly to be hurt again is pretty fuckin real. I saw the way you looked the day I left. Gee your eyes look haunted. As much as I know Holly wants to help you she’s not in a good place herself.”
“Why do you say that? Because of her eating disorder?”
Bob tired to choose his words carefully. “Yeah that for sure but there’s more. Holly has repressed so many emotions. Look what I’m going to say need to stay between us, okay?"
“When Sonja died Holly called me. I knew as soon as I answered the phone and heard her voice something was very wrong. She sounded almost like a robot, no emotion at all. She asked if I could help her because she didn’t have the money to bury Sonja and Jimmy. I knew how much she hated to ask but there was no other way. Her fuckin ex-husband refused to help. The fucker didn’t even go to the funeral.”
“Fuck.” Gerard sat back down on the bed. “That’s so fucked up.”
“Yeah, well so Holly was left to deal with everything alone. I flew out to Colorado then she and I flew to Georgia. I helped her make all the arrangements.” He closed his eyes remembering that terrible time. “I held her hand at the funeral, it was just her and me and a few others who were Sonja and Jimmy’s friends. Gee, it was so fuckin sad but through it all Holly never cried and that scared me. She just stood there at the graveside and never once shed a fuckin’ tear.”
“Oh God.” Gerard said softly.
Bob’s voice was full of sadness, “I’ve never seen Holly cry. I’ve seen her tear up but it’s like she just can’t let those emotion out.”
“I’ve seen her sobbing.” Gerard admitted. “Linds and Alicia confronted her about her eating problem. She broke down in front of them and I walked in.”
“Shit.” Bob thought a moment. “Maybe that’s good. Maybe it helped her to finally let go of her emotions and to cry.”
“God, I hope so.” Gerard whispered. “But I can’t believe she didn’t cry about Sonja’s death. That’s fucked up to keep those emotions inside.”
“I’ve thought a lot about it. I think she believed she had to or she’d completely lose it. I know in my heart if it hadn’t been for Molly I don’t think she could have gone on. I think she could have just completely given up on life. Sonja was the only one she still had in the world.”
Gerard didn’t want to break Holly’s confidence yet he felt Bob should know. “There are things I don’t think Holly ever told you about Sonja and I don’t think I should either but let me just say that there were health issues from the time Sonja was born that Holly had to deal with herself.”
“You’re right she never told me.” Bob said sadly. “I guess she opened up to you.”
Gerard could hear the hurt in his voice. “Holly and I have a close relationship. I’m not gonna lie the woman touched my heart when I first met her and that sorta thing never really goes away. To be honest I’m not sure how she’s really doing.” Guilt washed over him again when he thought about last night. How he’d kissed her and she’d cried. About how she believed she knew why he’d done it. But she hadn’t know the truth and it was a truth even he wasn’t ready to admit to himself.
“How much longer is she staying out in LA?” Bob asked.
“I don’t know. Mikey hates to think about her and Molly leaving so he won’t talk about it.”
“At this point I don’t know what’s best for her.” Bob admitted. “From what you’ve said maybe being around the women has been good.”
“Yeah but being around me hasn’t helped her.” Gerard said softly.
“Why?” Bob said immediately.
Gerard sighed, “Because I’m so fucked up right now.”
Bob had been afraid of this. “Your marriage or the band?”
It was hard for Gerard not to bristle at the question. “Both.” He answered.
“Look maybe I shouldn’t have called. Maybe you’re right I should have just called her.”
“No, it’s okay.” Gerard said quickly. “You’re right I’m sure she would have just told you everything is fine. I’m glad you called. Actually I’m in New York but I’m flying home tomorrow. When I get back to LA I’ll give you a call and let you know how long she’s planning on staying.”
“I’d appreciate that.” Bob said wondering why Gerard was in New York but deciding not to ask. “I hope things get better for you.”
Gerard was surprised by his words. “Thanks man. I mean it.”
Bob smiled, “Yeah, well whatever. Take care, dude.”