Mikey and Alicia are worried about Holly. Gerard returns home.
Alicia tried to smile. She hadn’t meant to upset him as soon as he got home. Throwing her arms around him she kissed him soundly.
When they parted Mikey laughed. “Okay that’s a nice welcome. I’ve missed you too but what’s wrong. I can tell by looking at you something’s up.”
Alicia sighed. “I’m just glad you’re home.”
“Well I’m glad I’m home too. So where’s our guests?”
As they walked towards the living room Alicia explained. “Well Molly’s taking a nap.”
“She’s across the street visiting with Hal.”
Mikey nodded, “Okay so what’s wrong?”
They both sat on the sofa. “I’m really worried about Holly. I don’t know what’s going on with her but something is definitely wrong.”
“Is she sick?”
“I don’t know.” Alicia said shaking her head. “I mean I can just tell by looking at her something’s wrong but she won’t talk to me about it.”
“Maybe it’s just the stress from Molly being sick.” Mikey guessed.
“I thought that at first but now I’m not sure. Yesterday when I got home she slept all afternoon and hardly ate anything at dinner. Today she’s been very quiet. I was sorta surprised when she said she was going over to visit Hal.”
Mikey frowned. “She seemed fine when we left to go to your mom’s.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought so I think something must have happened when we were gone.”
“What could have happened?”
“Well as far as I know the only person she had contact with was Gerard.” Alicia said slowly.
“You think Gee did something to upset her?” He shook his head, “No, I don’t think so.”
“How is he?” Alicia asked.
Mikey sighed, “Really upset about this whole taping shit, for sure. I tried talking to him but he’s closed down again.”
“You think it’s only the taping he’s upset about?” Alicia asked searching her husband’s face.
“Tell me what you’re thinking.” He wasn’t sure where his wife’s mind was at the moment.
“I don’t know what I’m thinking but I do know something is very wrong with Holly.”
“Well that doesn’t mean Gee has anything to do with it.” Mikey said automatically defending his brother. “Did Holly say anything to make you think that?”
Alicia shook her head. “No, she said that Gee was really helpful with Molly. I think he stayed here every night we were gone.”
Mikey nodded, “Yeah, I thought so. You think that’s bad? I mean come on, Lindsey is the one who suggested he come over here.” He didn’t like what he thought she might be implying.
“I know that. Maybe I’m just still freaked by that photo.”
“The one of them ice skating together?” Mikey asked. When she nodded he continued, “You know that was innocent. They’re friends.”
Alicia knew she had to choose her words carefully or she’d upset her husband. “Yeah, I know. It’s just that Gee is in a bad place right now. His marriage is really rocky, we both know that.”
Mikey’s eyes widened. “You’re not saying you think he’d try something with Holly, are you? That’s just crazy.”
“Sometimes when people are hurting they do things they wouldn’t normally do.’ Alicia said softly.
“No.” Mikey said shaking his head. “I don’t believe that. Gee wouldn’t do that. And besides you and I both know Holly. She’d never let something like that happen.”
“All I’m saying is that sometimes people are drawn to each other out of pain.”
Mikey was shocked by this whole conversation. “I don’t believe it.”
Alicia knew she’s upset him. “I’m sure you’re right. I’m just grasping at straws trying to figure out what wrong.”
Gerard arrived home and was surprised to see Lindsey’s car in the driveway. The way things were between them he’d almost been positive she wouldn’t be home when he arrived.
He grabbed his duffel bag, paid the driver then made his way slowly towards the front door.
Lindsey was sitting with Bandit on her lap in the living room. She’d been reading the little girl a story but had stopped when she heard a key in the lock.
“Hey.” Gerard said walking in and throwing his bag down.
Bandit immediately wiggled off her mother’s lap then ran to him. Gerard scooped her up in his arms.
“Baby B I’ve missed you.” He said covering his daughter’s face with kisses.
“How was your flight?’ Lindsey asked making no move to get up to welcome him.
“Long, tiring.” Gerard answered walking into the living room. He sat down on the sofa with Bandit still in his arms.
“Maybe you should take a nap before the party.” Lindsey suggested.
Gerard understood this meant she didn’t want to talk to him. He sighed, “What time are we leaving?”
“I told Holly we’d drop off Bandit around six.”
He glanced at his watch. That would give him about an hour to nap. “Yeah, okay.” He got up slowly after lowering Bandit to the floor. “Guess I will catch a short nap.”
However once he’d laid down he found his mind was too busy for sleep. As he lay in the bed he and Lindsey had once happily shared he found his spirits sinking into depression. If only she’s seemed a little happy to see him…
Gerard sighed growing angry. She didn’t care if he was home or not. She didn’t care about him at all. Then suddenly he remembered the look on Holly’s face Tuesday night when he’d first gotten to Mikey’s. She’s been happy to see him.
Rolling over he tried to convince himself he shouldn’t think this way. Lindsey was his wife, Holly was just a part of his past. They’d only been together such a short time and yet those memories were still so vivid in his mind. He had to stop thinking about them. It was impossible…
July 20th 2007
Gerard found it so incredible that simply snuggling on the sofa with Holly could make him this happy. He’d never felt like this with a woman before. All he needed was to have her near to feel so right. Then his smile faded. Soon he’s been on tour away from her and that thought scared him. Holly had become such an important part of his life he didn’t want to be without her. He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “I love you." He whispered.
Holly titled her head to look into his eyes. Her smile was beautiful. “I love you too.” She answered wondering why he’s suddenly told her his feelings.
He needed her to understand. First putting the movie on pause he then hugged her tightly. “Holly for the first time in my life everything just feels so right. I know we haven’t been together that long but it doesn’t seem like it. It seems like we’ve known each other forever.”
“My mama used to say that when you found the right person it was like finding the part of yourself that you’d been missing.” Holly whispered.
Gerard nodded, “Yeah, exactly. It’s like I found myself when I found you.”
Holly giggled, “Well not at first. The first time we met I’m pretty sure you must have thought who on earth is this woman?”
He laughed remembering the moment he first saw her in the airport. “Yeah, okay maybe I thought that a little. I had no idea who you were when you walked up to me.”
“And the drive home?” Holly smiled, “You were pretty cranky at first.”
“I was.” He nodded, “But by the time you dropped me off you’d won me over. I’d never met anyone before who I clicked with so quickly. Even then it seemed like I’d known you a long time.”
Holly looked deeply into his eyes. “What’s troubling you?”
“I’m afraid.” He whispered letting his true emotions surface. “I don’t want this feeling to ever end.”
“Why would it?” She asked slowly.
He shifted slightly so he could brush his lips against hers. “I don’t want to be away from you for even a second.”
Holly kissed him again before saying. “Gee, we promised each other we wouldn’t rush this.”
While he understood what she meant his fear was taking over. “We’re not rushing anything. We love each other.”
“Yes but we aren’t the only people in the world. We both have lives that are full of people who depend on us.”
Gerard frowned, “I don’t understand.”
Holly had hoped they could just spend a nice quiet night together but sadly she’d known that once he got a thought in his head there was no stopping it. “Gee, I have a daughter who has to be my first priority.”
He sat up straighter loosening his hold on her. “Well yeah. I know that.”
“And you have a career, people who depend on you.”
“What’s that got to do with anything?” He asked.
Holly sat up trying to choose her words carefully. “We can’t let our private lives be the only thing we think about.”
Angrily he reached over for his cigarettes. Once he lit one he spoke. “I don’t see why us being together would hurt anyone else.”
“I didn’t say it would. All I’m saying is that we shouldn’t rush things. You just got out of a bad relationship.”
He took a deep drag while nodding, “Yeah, so?”
“So you need to give yourself time to make sure the choices you make are right. I have to make sure the choices I make are what’s best too. I have to remember that Sonja, even though she’s growing up, still needs me.”
“But I need you too.” He said in a rush. “And I hope you think you need me.”
Holly sat up straighter wrapping her arms around herself. “Gee, I love you. I want to be with you because I love you, not because I need you.”
He frowned taking in her words. “You make it sound like I’m with you for some other reason then just because I love you.”
“I didn’t say that.” Holly whispered.
“But you think it.” Gerard said angrily. “You think I’m so afraid of being alone I have to have someone in my life.”
Holly looked away. “Can you blame me for thinking that way?”
He snuffed out his cigarette. “No, I guess I can’t. But I don’t know how I can convince you that’s not true. I’m with you because I love you. Why can’t you just believe that?”
Holly bit her bottom lip to keep the tears from falling. “Maybe because I’ve never had a man love me before.” She whispered.
Suddenly Gerard just wanted to put his out of his mind for now. The days were dwindling down until he’d leave on tour and he didn’t want to waste one of them in anger. “I’m sorry I brought this up tonight. Let’s just go back to snuggling.”
Holly blinked at his sudden change in attitude. “Okay.” She nodded slowly. “If that’s what you want.”
“What do you want?” He asked reaching out to stroke her face with his fingertip.
“I want you to make love to me.” Holly spoke from her heart.
He knew it would be several hours before Sonja was to return home. “Can we go upstairs?”
Holly nodded, “Sonja never gets home early. She’ll be here right at midnight.”
He stood then extended his hand to her. “Then your wish is my command.” His smile spoke volumes.
Mikey sneaked a glace over at Holly whose eyes were trained on the TV. Since she’d returned from across the street he hadn’t had a chance to talk to her alone. Unfortunately now it wasn’t possible either. Molly, who was sitting on his lap, made that impossible.
Alicia sat nearby knowing her husband wanted to talk to Holly. When she saw Molly start to rub her arm she had an idea.
“Hey M, are you itchy?”
Molly nodded unhappily. Her blisters were scabbing over and were itching more each day.
Alicia looked at Holly. “Why don’t I give her a bath? I’ll read to her while she soaks in that oatmeal stuff.”
Holly smiled slightly. “Oatmeal stuff?”
“Yeah, oatmeal stuff.” Alicia smiled knowing Holly was teasing. She turned to Molly. “What do you say? A nice soak while I read you a story?”
Molly reluctantly agreed.
Mikey waited until they had left the room to speak. He needed a few minutes to gather his thoughts.
“So what’s up?” Holly asked turning to him.
Mikey blinked in surprise. “What?”
“I know you want to talk to me.” Holly smiled, “So why?”
“You know the way you always seem to know what I’m thinking is kinda unnerving.” Mikey laughed.
Holly sighed, “I suppose so. Is something wrong? Is it Gee?”
Her innocent question unsettled him. “Uh, no. Why would you think that?”
“Well you did just spend yesterday and most of today with him. Was he terribly upset about the taping?”
“He was upset about that.” Mikey admitted.
Holly’s eyes narrowed. “Is he upset about something else?”
Mikey sighed, “To be honest Holly I’m not worried about my brother. I’m worried about you.”
Now it was Holly’s turn to be surprised. “Me? Why?”
“Well.” He began slowly. “It seems like something is bothering you. You’re not yourself.”
“I’m not myself.” Holly repeated. “I don’t understand.”
“You’re awful quiet and you look sorta sad. Are you still worried about Molly? I mean she seems to be a lot better today.”
“She is better.” Holly nodded.
“So then what’s wrong?”
Holly hated to lie to her friend but there was nothing else she could do. “Nothing is wrong. I’m just sorta tired is all.”
Her words make Mikey feel a bit better. “Oh, shit well maybe you shouldn’t watch both girls tonight. I’m sure Gee and Lindsey can find a sitter.”
“Don’t be silly.” Holly smiled. “I want to watch Bandit. Besides Molly already knows she coming and she’d be awful upset if that changed.”
“Are you sure?”
“Very sure. Now stop worrying needlessly. I’m fine.”
Mikey frowned, “I wish I could say the same for my brother.”
“Only he can deal with what’s wrong in his life.” Holly said softly. “It’s his life, Mikey Boy not yours.”
He smiled sadly, “You think I’m gonna fall into the same old pattern of worrying too much about him, don’t you?”
“Sometimes.” Holly admitted. “I know how hard it is to watch someone you love struggle.”
“And he is struggling.” Mikey said sadly. “He’s just so unhappy. I hate it.” He paused a moment then asked, “When he was here did he talk to you about anything personal?”
Holly knew they were crossing into dangerous territory. “We really didn’t have much of a chance to talk.” She lied. “I mean Molly was pretty sick.”
“I’m glad he was here to help you out.” Mikey said.
“I was too.” Holly answered honestly. “He was so good with Molly. She adores him.”
Mikey wondered if he was imagining it but it suddenly looked like Holly had tears in her eyes. Suddenly she got up.
“Bet Alicia forgot to grab a clean pair of PJ’s for Molly.” She left the room without another word leaving Mikey feeling confused.
Gerard rolled over, glanced at the clock, and then groaned. It was almost five and he hadn’t slept a wink. If only he could shut down his brain. In a flash a voice in his head reminded him that if he’d had a drink before he had laid down that would have worked. Closing his eyes he shook his head. No, he wouldn’t fall into that trap. Still as his mind once more returned to the past the sweet release alcohol promised called to him.
July 22nd 2007
“Where the hell is she?”
Donna turned around from the counter to face her son. “What?”
“Holly. She was supposed to be here twenty minutes ago.” When he saw the confused look on his mom’s face he added, “I mean she knows we’re waiting dinner on her.”
Donna laughed, “Son, are you that hungry?”
Gerard drummed his fingers on the kitchen table nervously. “No, it’s not that. Guess I’m just sorta worried. She shouldn’t be driving this late at night from that area in that piece of shit car.”
“St Tim’s isn’t in that bad of a neighborhood.” Donna frowned.
“Well it ain’t good.” Gerard pulled out his cell phone and tried Holly’s number again. When it went immediately to voice mail he tossed the phone down on the table in disgust.
“Honey, I’m sure she’s fine.” Donna said. “I’m sure she’ll be here any minute.”
“What’s up?” Sonja asked walking into the kitchen. She’s been watching TV but had heard Gerard’s angry voice and knew it had something to do with her mother.
“Gee’s just worried because you’re mom’s a few minutes late.” Donna explained.
“Oh.” Sonja smiled knowingly at Gerard. “I’m sure she’ll be here soon.”
Gerard tried to ignore the look Sonja was giving him. While Holly hadn’t come right out and admitted it to him he was sure her daughter knew about their relationship.
The sliding glass door from the patio opened and Holly walked in. “Hey.” She greeted them “Sorry I’m late. One of the volunteers had to leave early so I helped with the clean up.”
“No problem.” Donna smiled. She turned to pull the meatloaf out of the oven where it was warming.
“Why didn’t you answer you phone?” Gerard ground out trying to control his emotions. He was relieved to see her yet still angry she’s worried him.
Holly heard the anger in his voice. “Sorry. My battery went dead.”
“Well the phone isn’t gonna do you a lot of good if it’s dead.” Gerard answered angrily. “Why the fuck did I get you a phone if you’re not going to use it properly?”
Holly blinked in surprise. He’d never acted his angry towards her before. “I don’t know.’ She said feeling angry herself. “Want it back?”
Donna turned to look at both of them in shock. They never spoke to each other like this. In the doorway Sonja was smirking at what she considered a lovers quarrel.
Gerard looked around realizing he needed to get control of his anger. “No, I don’t want it back.” He said firmly, “I just it to be working if you need it.”
Holly glared at him a minute then walked over to Donna. “Need any help?”
Sonja pushed away from the doorjamb and took a seat at the table. She was still smirking when Gerard glanced at her.
Gerard took a deep, calming breath.
It wasn’t until dinner was over and the dishes washed that Sonja sprang her question on Holly.
“Mom, can I spend the night at Tia’s?”
Holly wiped her hands on the dishtowel. “It’s a school night.”
“Yeah, I know. Tia’s mom said she’d take us to school in the morning. We have a test tomorrow and we want to study.”
“Sounds like a good plan.” Gerard said from his seat at the table.
Holly turned to glare at him. However Sonja gave him a huge smile.
“Honey you haven’t been home all weekend.” Holly said to her daughter.
Sonja rolled her eyes. “Mom, it’s summer. It’s bad enough I have to go to summer school can’t I at least pretend I have some sort of vacation?"
“Who’s fault is it you’re in summer school?” Holly asked raising her eyebrow.
“Here we go again.” Sonja muttered. “It’s my fault, Mom. Didn’t say it wasn’t.”
“Cut the kid a break.” Gerard said standing. “She’s getting good grades.”
Holly turned to him. “Could you please let me handle this?”
Gerard frowned. He hated that Holly acted like her daughter was none of his concern.
Sonja saw an opportunity to feed off the tension between them. “Besides.” She said lowering her voice so Donna who was in the next room couldn’t hear. “It will give you and Gee a little time alone.”
“That’s enough.” Holly said angrily knowing full well what her daughter was doing.
“What?” Sonja smiled. “I just said that because I know he’s gonna be leaving in a few days.”
Holly was about to respond when Donna walked back into the kitchen.
“So?" Sonja asked. “Can I go, please?"
Feeling defeated Holly nodded. “You go no where tomorrow night, got it?”
“Sure thing.” Sonja nodded. She gave her mom a quick hug. Turning to Donna she smiled “Thanks for dinner it was yummy.”
“You’re welcome.” Donna gave her a quick hug.
Before leaving Sonja faced Gerard, gave him a wink then left the kitchen.
“Well I’ve got to get going myself.” Donna explained. “Dotty and I are going to catch a movie. We’ll probably get coffee afterward so I’ll be home late.” She told her son.
“Okay, ma.” He nodded watching as she grabbed her purse then headed towards the door.
Once they were alone Gerard started to move towards Holly but she took several steps back.
“What?” He asked clearly confused by the anger he saw on her face.
“You helped Sonja railroad me into letting her go.”
He gave her a surprised look. “You’re mad at me about that? Come on, Holly. She’s a good kid and wanted to go to her friend’s house. What’s wrong with that?"
Holly knew what was wrong with that. Sonja had been spending way too many nights staying up late. Her body needed rest and that wasn’t happening. She wished she could tell him the truth but her promise to Sonja prevented that.
Gerard took her silence to mean she agreed with him. Closing the distance between them he pulled her into his arms. “Besides she was right. This does give us some alone time.”
“I just worry about her.” Holly whispered.
Gerard tried to understand. “I know, Sugar but your little girl is growing up. She’s a typical teen who just wants to have fun. There ain’t nothing wrong with that.”
Holly wished with all her heart she could tell him the truth that Sonja wasn’t a typical teen but she couldn’t. She hugged him tightly just wanting to let herself get lost in his embrace.
Gerard stepped back smiling. “Come on. We don’t want to waste a minute of our alone time.” He took her hand and started for the stairs.
While she understood his words they only served to make her feel worse. He would be leaving soon and in her heart Holly felt that this time they had together now was all they had. She couldn’t go with him and she just knew he still believed there was someway he could convince her to go. She knew how his mind worked and once he had an idea in his head he kept pushing. She also knew that when he didn’t get his way he’d grow angry.
Gerard was grinning when they reached his bedroom. He and Holly had hours to be together and he planned on using those hours to love her and get her to change her mind about going on tour with him. There was no way he was going to let her stay behind. He loved her and needed her at his side.