The truth is painful
Instead of answering Lindsey shifted Molly gently in her arms. “Try to lay her back down so we can talk.”
Moving in slow motion Gerard carefully lifted Molly. As he walked down the dimly lit hallway he looked at the sleeping child in his arms. When he laid her down he couldn’t stop himself from brushing his lips against her forehead.
Lindsey was still sitting in the chair with her feet pulled up under her when he returned to the living room.
Gerard sat down heavily across from her. “I don’t understand?” He said softly. “She told you?”
Lindsey shook her head. “No, she didn’t. I don’t believe she ever would have told anyone if this hadn’t happened.”
“Lindsey, I….” His voice trailed off unable to find words.
“Molly woke up about an hour ago crying for her mama. I brought her out here hoping I could get her to fall back asleep. As I held her in my arms I looked down at her face.” Lindsey paused. “It was like suddenly everything came into focus. For so long something just didn’t seem right about you and Holly.”
“Lindsey I’ve never cheated on you.” He said quickly wanting her to know the truth.
She smiled sadly, “I believe that. But what I can’t understand is why no one else knew about you and Holly. I’m right aren’t I? They don’t know?”
He shook his head unable to speak.
Lindsey sighed, “How long were you two together?”
“We were only friends until I broke it off with Eliza.” He lowered his head, “But when that happened I went to the only place I wanted to be…I went to Holly.”
“Even Mikey and Alicia didn’t know?”
Gerard sighed, “Mikey and Alicia were gone most of the time dealing with his problems.” When he looked up sadness covered his face. “She and I were together such a short time. She didn’t want anyone to know.”
Lindsey thought a minute. “I can understand why. You had just broken up with your fiancée.”
“There was more to it than that.” He whispered.
“Knowing Holly I’m sure there was. I’m sure she believed it was in your best interest no one knew about you two.” She sighed, “You know thinking back I should have realized something was wrong when we first hooked up. You were so angry but more than that you were hurting. You never really loved Eliza. I knew that. I wonder now why I didn’t question that hurt. The anger made sense if it was over Eliza but not the hurt. You were hurting because of Holly.”
“That was so long ago.” Gerard said softly.
Lindsey nodded, “Yes, but the truth is you never stopped loving her.”
Gerard looked up to meet his wife’s eyes. “Lindsey I love you.”
She smiled sadly. “When we first met there was such an urgency in our love. It was like a wildfire but Gee we both know that flame has died.”
He couldn’t deal with this, not now. “No, that’s not true.”
For several moments neither spoke. It was Lindsey who broke the silence.
“Gee, I love you. I always will love you. Together we made a beautiful child. But we aren’t in love anymore. Nothing can change that.” She paused. “I’ll stay and take care of Molly for as long as needed but after that I’m going to take B to my mom's. We’ll stay there until the divorce is final.”
Gerard looked up in shock, “Please, Linds. Not now. I can’t take it.”
“How bad is she really?” Lindsey asked.
“Bad." He whispered. He explained what the doctor had told them.
Lindsey was visibly upset. “Gee you have to understand that this isn’t the first time Holly was a victim. She’s been a victim most of her life.”
He nodded, “Yeah I know that.”
“I truly hope she makes it.” Lindsey said softly. “I’ll admit a part of me wants to hate her but I know deep down that’s wrong. But I hate myself for the things I said to her this morning. I just didn’t know.”
Gerard looked up. “What you said to her?”
Lindsey sighed, “I didn’t understand. I told her that I was going to ask you for a divorce.” She paused. “God she was upset about it. She even suggested counseling. I mean here was a woman who I know is in love with you and yet she was trying to find a way for us to fix our marriage.”
“She don’t love me.” Gerard whispered.
Lindsey shook her head. “Oh Gee, don’t be stupid of course she does. Everything she’s done since meeting you is because she loves you. Fuck, she didn’t tell you about Molly because she loves you.”
“That’s fucked up.” Gerard said sadly.
“Yeah in a way it is. But I’m guessing she didn’t even know she was pregnant until after we hooked up. And I can just imagine how much it hurt her to lie to everyone about Molly.” Lindsey sighed, “But in order to come here and try to help you she had to.”
“All I’ve ever done is hurt her.” Gerard whispered sadly.
“Gee, what happened between you two?” Lindsey had to know.
He pulled out a cigarette and lit it with trembling fingers. “I didn’t understand so much. When she refused to go on PR with me I got pissed. In my mind it was because she didn’t love me enough. But I didn’t know about Sonja’s illness. I didn’t understand.”
Lindsey did. “She said Sonja didn’t want anyone to know, right?”
“So she couldn’t tell you. Until you came into her life Sonja was the only love she’d ever known. I still remember the day she told me about her. God, I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child.”
“She’s known too much pain in her life." Gerard said sadly shaking his head, “Too much pain.”
Lindsey was still trying to fill in some of the blanks. “So when did she tell you about Molly?”
His stomach churned at the memory. “Right before the paramedics got there. It was so hard to hear what she was saying. Her voice was fading.” He paused a minute. “At first I didn’t understand. She just kept saying she was sorry. I told her she didn’t have anything to be sorry for.” He paused again in pain. “She said she was sorry she’d lied. She wanted me to forgive her.” His voice trembled, “She asked me to take care of Molly. That she was the best gift I’d ever given her.” Tears filled his eyes as he said the words.
“That is the truth." Lindsey said softly. “I’m not sure Holly could have gone on after losing Sonja if it hadn’t been for Molly. That little girl gave Holly a reason to go on.”
When Gerard snuffed out his cigarette his hands were visibly shaking.
“Gee.” Lindsey’s voice was full of compassion. “I know how much you want a drink right now.”
When their eyes met the truth was easily seen.
“You have to make a choice. If she makes it she’ll need you more than you can imagine. Holly is so fragile mentally. You will need to make her understand that you love her not that you need her. She can’t fix your problems. She has too many demons of her own to deal with. You will have to be strong for her. You will have to help her face those demons. You need to decide if you can do that.” She sighed, “If you can’t be that man then stay away from her, Gee. Don’t hurt her anymore.”
His mind was still having trouble comprehending this whole conversation. He’d never imagined when he’d returned home that this is how things would play out. “Linds I do love you.”
"And I love you.” She answered softly. “None of this changes what we had. Our love was true and it was pure but it wasn’t lasting. You’ll always be in my heart.”
“And you’ll always be in mine.” He whispered.
Lindsey blinked back tears. “Go back to the hospital, Gee. Think on what we’ve talked about.”
He nodded. “I will.”
Lindsey got up and walked over to him. She leaned down, kissed his cheek then left the room.
For several minutes Gerard sat staring into the distance. The ache in his gut that wanted a drink was strong but he ignored it. Too many people were depending on him, he had to be strong.
When he finally rose for the sofa he slowly made his way down the hallway. First he stopped in the room to gaze at the two sleeping girls. “My daughters.” He whispered. “I love you both."
Next he continued on to his bedroom. In the moonlight he could see Lindsey’s form. Unlike before she wasn’t cured up on her side near the edge. She was sleeping peacefully in the middle of the bed. Silently he walked over, leaned down and gently brushed his lips against her forehead. Tears fell from his eyes as he crept from the room. He cried for the love they’d lost. He cried for all the mistakes he’d made.
When he returned to the hospital he found his friends in the same waiting room. Mikey looked up as soon as he entered.
“They just came in and said they’re moving her to ICU now.”
Gerard nodded then turned his attention to Bob who had arrived while he was gone.
As much as he tried to contain it his anger was strong. “You knew the whole time and you never told me.”
Bob looked up in shock.
“Why?” Gerard asked clinching his fists at his side. “Why?”
The others in the room watched the exchange in confusion.
“Because she made me promise not to tell you.” Bob said softly.
Mikey nervously stood by his brother. “Tell you what?”
Gerard ignored him still glaring at Bob. “I would have gone to her.”
Bob stood. “Really? And done what? You married someone else.”
“Gee, that’s this all about?’ Mikey asked.
“I would have helped her.” Gerard said angrily.
“She didn’t want that.” Bob answered. “She was afraid it would hurt your marriage. All she’s ever done is worry about you, Way. Worry about what’s best for you.”
Now Ray stood. He wasn’t sure what was going on but the tension in the room was thick.
“You were my friend, you should have told me.” Gerard ground out.
“In my place you would have done the same thing.” Bob spat. “That is if you really cared about her you would. She didn’t want you to know, she begged me not to tell you so I didn’t.”
Alicia got up to stand next to her husband. “What are you talking about? She didn’t want him to know what?” She asked Bob.
Gerard’s voice shook. “That Molly is my daughter.”
For a minute the silence was deafening. Then all hell broke lose.
“What?" Alicia cried out.
Mikey grabbed his brother’s arm roughly. “Gee what the fuck is going on?”
Gerard turned to him. “Molly is my daughter.”
Not understanding Mikey’s eyes grew wide. “You and Sonja?”
“No.” Gerard spoke quickly. “Holly lied. She didn’t want us to know the truth so she said Sonja was Molly’s mother.”
Alicia’s mind was reeling, “You and Holly?”
Gerard’s anger erupted. “Yeah, me and Holly. Why is that so fuckin’ hard to believe?”
Christa who had sat quietly watching the scene unfold finally spoke. “It’s not hard for me to believe it.”
Everyone ignored her.
Mikey was livid. “You got Holly pregnant then left her? That’s fucked up.”
“I didn’t know.” Gerard said softly feeling his anger fade. “I didn’t know she was pregnant.”
Hearing his brother’s words did nothing to quell the rage Mikey felt. “You fuckin’ slept with Holly? You fuckin’ used her?”
Gerard practically fell into one of the plastic chairs. “No, it wasn’t like that. Holly and I were together.”
“Together when?” Alicia asked still trying to make sense of everything.
“After I broke up with Eliza. When I went back to Jersey and disappeared?” He saw Mikey nod his head slightly before going on. “I was with Holly. That’s when we got together. We were together until I left for PR.”
Bob has having trouble controlling his anger. “Yeah, except you forgot to tell Holly that before you hooked up with Lindsey.”
Gerard tried to defend part of his actions. “When I left I truly believed it was over between us. We fought and I thought she was done with me.” He ran his hand over his face. “I really believed that.”
“She couldn’t go with you. Sonja’s condition was getting worse. I found out later that right after we left for PR she took her to a specialist in New York.”
Gerard shook his head sadly, “I didn’t know about that.”
“But you still called her and begged her to meet up with you on the tour.” Bob said unable to let it go.
Gerard turned to face him. “She told me no.”
“Yeah but about a week later after they’d adjusted Sonja’s med she was better. So much better that Holly decided to figure out a way to meet up with the tour. Sonja had finally told her it was okay to tell you the truth.”
Gerard looked stricken.
“She met up with the tour? I didn’t know that.” Alicia said.
Bob shook his head, “No, neither did Gerard. When Holly got there she found out he’d hooked up with Lindsey.” He saw no reason to go into the details.
Christa spoke up. “So that’s why she disappeared like she did. Because she was pregnant with Gerard’s baby.”
“Oh fuck.” Alicia said walking back over to her chair. “And I went and found her. I brought her back into all of this.”
Seeing how upset she was defused some of Bob’s anger. “She came back because of Gerard. She’d do anything for him. Even lie about Molly.” He looked back at Gerard. “Look you need to understand all of this. You need to understand why I’ve been so worried about her. It’s not that she was just lying about Molly.”
Gerard’s eyes were full of pain. “What else?”
“When she first told me she was going to LA and that she had lied to Alicia about Molly being Sonja’s child there was something in her voice that shared the shit out of me.”
“I don’t understand.” Gerard whispered.
“Gee, remember what I told you about Sonja’s funeral? That she never once cried?”
“I knew then she was holding something inside she couldn’t face.” He paused trying to gather his thoughts. “Gee, when they first left Jersey she and Sonja did go to Wyoming. But they could barley make ends meet. Holly was pregnant and working two crappy jobs. Sonja grew more and more angry with her. She knew you were the father and she thought Holly should go to you for help. Holly tried to explain to her why she wouldn’t. One night after they had fought about it Sonja took off. She took Holly’s car and left. The next day she called her mom and told her she was going to her dad in Missouri. Holly was heartbroken. She felt that her actions had pushed Sonja away.” He paused taking a deep breath before beginning again. “I think in Holly’s mind the fact that she had Molly caused her to lost Sonja. If they hadn’t fought over Holly’s pregnancy Sonja would never have left her, she never would have gone to her dads where she met Jimmy.”
“She never would have been in that car with him when the drunk driver crossed the line hitting them head on.” Christa said softly.
Bob nodded. “Yeah. I think Holly believes the choice she made caused Sonja’s death. And I think that’s been tearing her up inside for a long time. As much as she loves Molly she can’t stop trying to hurt herself. She doesn’t take care of herself.”
“Her eating disorder.” Alicia whispered.
Again Bob nodded, “Yeah. It was hard for me to get this information out of her. When she told me about her and Sonja fighting over the pregnancy there was no emotion in her voice at all. But I know how much she loved her daughter. Holly has been repressing so much pain and anger..” He shook his head. “I’ve tried to help her as much as I can. Shit, I even tried to get her and Molly to move in with me.”
“You love her.” Christa said softly.
Bob nodded, “Yeah, but I know Gerard is the only man she has ever truly loved.”
The door opened and a nurse walked in. “We’ve got her settled in ICU now. If you want to come with me I’ll show you to that waiting room.”
As the others silently filed out of the room Gerard stood. He touched Bob on the shoulder. “I’m glad you’re here.” He said when Bob turned to him.
Bob nodded then waked out of the room.
When they reached the waiting room the nurse explained that she could take only one person back to see Holly and that they would be allowed to sit with her for fifteen minutes.
“Go Gee.” Bob said sitting down in one of the chairs tiredly.
Gerard looked at all of his friends then followed the nurse.
Mikey sat down next to Bob. “Where are you staying?” He asked.
Bob sighed, “I came here straight from the airport.” He answered looking down at the small duffel bag he’d brought with him.
Mikey smiled, “Good then you’ll stay with us.”
Across the room Ray but his arm around Christa as soon as they sat down. “It’s gonna be okay.” He whispered.
Christa shook her head sadly. “I can’t stop thinking this was my fault. If I’d just given them the ring..”
Ray cut her off. “You gotta stop thinking like that.”
Alicia walked over and sat down on the other side of Christa. “Holly wouldn’t want you thinking like that.” She said softly having overheard their conversation. She glanced over and saw that Mikey and Bob were talking so she lowered her voice. “I still can’t believe it about Holly and Gee. What kind of a fucked up friend am I that I didn’t know it? If anyone should feel guilty it’s me. I talked Holly into coming here. I’m the one who told her how bad Gee had gotten.”
“Because you didn’t know about their past.” Christa said sadly.
“But I should have. They were always so damn close. Why didn’t I see it?”
Christa sighed, “What do you think Gee’s gonna do now that he knows the truth about Molly?”
Alicia had wondered the same thing. “I don’t know. And how did he find out?”
Christa was sure she knew the answer. “Before the ambulance arrived Gee was kneeling by Holly talking to her. I saw him lean down to listen to something she was saying.”
Ray nodded, “Yeah.” He said suddenly remembering the scene. “They moved him out of the way and he stumbled back. The look on his face was shock.”
Tears appeared in Alicia’s eyes. “You think that means she thought she was dying so she told him the truth?”
Christa leaned over to hug her unable to admit that was what she believed.
“I’m sure they already explained.” The nurse said kindly. “But she’s in a medically induced coma so she won’t wake.”
“But you can sit with her and hold her hand if you like. I’ll be back in fifteen minutes.”
“Thanks.” Gerard said. He took a deep breath then walked through the sheer curtain. When he first saw her his breath caught painfully in his chest. There were so many machines and wires and she looked so incredibly small in the bed.
He walked over slowly then took a set. Reaching out he gently lifted her hand mindful of the IV’s. “Holly.” He whispered. “I’m here.” A single tear rolled down his cheek. “You gotta make it, Sugar. So many people love you.”
As the minutes passed he continued to hold her hand. Before the nurse came back he made one final promise. “Somehow I will be the man you deserve. I’ll be that man for you and for both of my daughters.”