Molly is upset when she learns her mother was attacked. The doctor has bad news.
“Mikey and Alicia got a call from your mom.” Ray explained as soon as Gerard took a seat. “Uh, something happened.”
Immediately Gerard was alarmed. “What?”
Christa took over. “Your dad and Molly had just sat down to watch a movie. Unfortunately the local news was on and Molly saw a picture of Holly. Before Don could switch it off she heard about the attack.”
“Oh fuck.” Gerard dragged his hand through his hair nervously. “Shit what happened? Is Molly okay?”
“She’s pretty upset. She really doesn’t understand it all so Don tried to explain it to her. He told her some bad men had hurt her mommy and that was why she’s in the hospital. But I guess she was crying pretty hard. That’s why Donna called Alicia. She knows how close Molly is to her and Mikey.”
“Yeah, my kid is closer to my brother than me.” Gerard responded automatically.
Bob gave him an incredulous look. “Do you ever give that self-pity shit a break?”
Gerard glared at him. “What the fuck does that mean?"
Ray put his hand on Bob’s arm trying to calm him but Bob shook is off. “Way, you are a real piece of work. Instead of being glad that your daughter has people she feels close to, people that love her, you sit there and bitch and moan about how she is closer to Mikey then you. Stop being such an idiot. You’ve got to know who terrifying this is for Molly. Her mom is the only person she really had in this world until they came here. Yeah, I went to visit them from time to time but that was it. They lived alone in that damn trailer since Molly was a baby. Shit that’s the only home she’s ever known. Now here she is in a new place with a lot of people and her mom has been torn away from her. Yeah, she’s been living with Mikey and Alicia. She feels comfortable around them. Be fuckin’ happy about that. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
The tension in the room as thick. No one spoke for several minutes.
Finally Gerard broke that silence. He looked directly into Bob’s eyes. “Yeah, you’re right. That was a stupid thing for me to say. I just hope they can calm Molly down.”
Bob felt his anger fading. “I know you’re under a lot of stress, Gee. I’m sorry.”
Gerard shook his head sadly. “We’re all under a lot of stress.” Looking over at Christa he asked. “When’s the last time someone sat with Holly?”
She explained to him what the doctor had said in his absence.
“God I just hate all this waiting for news.” Gerard said sitting back in his seat.
“You should go home and try to catch a few hours of sleep.” Ray suggested looking closely at his friend.
Gerard shook his head. “If I did I wouldn’t sleep. I’m too keyed up. Shit, it’s like I can’t get a fuckin’ clear thought right now.”
“What did the lawyer say?” Mikey asked.
“He’s gonna call me back as soon as he finds out anything. But the fact that Bob knew Molly is mine before the accident helps matters. He doesn’t believe we need to worry about anyone questioning the fact we are caring for Molly.” Just then he received a text. Pulling out his phone he read it then sighed.
“What’s up?” Ray questioned softly.
“Linds sending me a text about their flight info.” He said repocketing his phone.
“How long is she gonna be gone?” Bob asked.
At first Gerard didn’t want to discuss anything that had to do with Lindsey but when he looked up at Bob he could see there was concern in his eyes. “I’m not sure.” He said softly. “Guess right now she just needs to distance herself from everything and get her head straight.” He paused “I need to do the same.”
Bob gave him a confused look. “Distance yourself?”
“No, get my head straight. I have to come to terms with the fact that a lot in my life is changing. Figure out shit.” He turned to Christa. “That friend of yours still selling real estate?”
“Connie? Yeah, she is.”
He smiled sadly, “Maybe you could give her a call for me. Tell her I’m looking for something further outside of LA.”
“Oh” Christa said slowly, “Uh, your selling your house?”
“No, Lindsey is gonna keep it. It’s Bandit’s home.” He said feeling a wave of sadness. “I need to be out of it before Lindsey comes back.”
Bob spoke up. “Hey I’m taking up one of Mikey’s guest rooms but I could always check into a hotel.”
“Or you could stay with us.” Ray said understanding Bob was trying to make room for Gerard at his brothers house. Christa and I would love for you to stay with us.” He told their former drummer.
Gerard interrupted them. “No one has to move right now. I’m just trying to think ahead. I’m gonna have to get my own place.” He looked over at Christa again, “I don’t need much. Just a small house probably with two bedrooms. One for me and one for my girls when the stay with me.”
Bob blinked but forced himself to remain silent. Now wasn’t the time to point out that there was a good possibility that if Holly recovered she would never return to LA. That she might never let Molly visit her father.
Christa nodded. “I’ll give Connie a call in a bit. I’m sure after the New Year she’ll be able to help you.”
Gerard sat back. “Yeah, thanks. I’m thinking further out of the city will be more reasonably priced.” He shook his head, “Can’t afford two huge house payments.”
“But are you sure you want to already think about buying something?” Ray asked.
Gerard knew what they were all thinking. He sighed, “Look I just feel like right now I have to get some sort of plan. I need to focus on something other than sitting here waiting to hear about Holly. Fuck, I hate this waiting.”
Christa spoke softly, “Gee, are you sure about you and Lindsey breaking up?”
He nodded, “Yeah, that is one thing I am sure of. I love her too much not to understand this has to happen. We’ve been making each other miserable for too long.”
The door opened and the doctor walked in. It was obvious by the look in his eyes the news he was about to share wasn’t good.
Once behind the wheel Gerard blinked back tears as he started the car. He’d left the others behind knowing they’d call him if anything changed.
“Oh shit, Holly.” He whispered as she pulled out of the parking lot. “You just gotta be strong, you gotta make it through this.”
By the time he reached Mikey’s he had gotten his emotions under control. He couldn’t let Molly see him upset.
“Gee.” Mikey said as he walked in. “I didn’t know you were coming by now.”
Gerard sat down in the living room. “So where’s Molly?”
“Out back with Dad and Alicia.” Mikey knew immediately something was wrong. “Oh shit, it’s not Holly.”
Taking out a cigarette with shaky fingers he lit it before answering. “The doctor came back to talk to us after they did the MRI. They are gonna keep her in the coma for a few more days.”
“What aren’t you telling me?” Mikey asked nervously.
Gerard took a deep drag off the cigarette. “The doctors are worried. She’s running a fever and they are afraid infection might have set in…”
“What else?” Mikey braced himself.
Gerard’s voice shook, “The spinal injury is worse than they first thought. Right now they can’t say if she’ll ever walk again.”
“Oh fuck.” Mikey lowered his head.
Gerard felt himself tearing up again. “Mikey why the fuck did this happen to her? She’s such a good person. I don’t understand.”
Mikey slowly looked up at his brother. “She is a good person. A kind and gentle soul. But bad things happen to good people, we both know that.”
Gerard closed his eyes. “I’m gonna make sure she gets the best medical help available. I don’t care what it costs. There just has to be specialists for this shit. Holly has to make a full recovery.”
Mikey had to know where his brothers head was about this. “And what then?”
Gerard gave him a confused look, “What?”
“Gee, you have to realize there is a good chance that if Holly recovers she might leave and never come back.” It was painful to say but he wanted his brother to understand.
“You really think she might do that?”
“Who knows? I mean she was getting ready to leave before this all happened. That’s why Bryar is here. She was leaving and he was going to go with her.” He looked closely at Gerard. “Do you know why she was leaving?”
Gerard sighed, “She was leaving because of me.”
“Because my marriage was ending and….” Fresh pain tore through him remembering the last time they’d spoken. He’s been so drunk but he remembered enough. “Because she didn’t want to be hurt by me anymore.” Gerard whispered. “I can’t blame her.”
“Yet she told you about Molly.” Mikey said glancing towards the sliding glass patio doors where beyond he could see the little girl.
“Because she believed she was dying.” Gerard forced the words out. “That’s the only reason.”
“Gee, Holly isn’t only gonna need to get better physically she’s gonna need to get better mentally. We both know that. Her eating disorder was caused by her mental problems.”
“I know that.” Gerard nodded. “And no matter what, no matter if she never wants me in her life, I’m gonna make sure she gets better. That I promise.”
For several minutes the brothers sat in silence. Finally Mikey spoke. “You know I didn’t even realize it’s New Years Eve until Molly said something about it.”
Gerard hadn’t realized the date either until now. “What did she say?”
Mikey smiled sadly. “I was telling her that later on Alicia and I were going back to the hospital to see Holly. She wanted to know how long we’d be gone. At first I didn’t understand why but she told me that her mommy had promised that tonight they were going to make sure they had a TV to watch the New Years performance we taped.” He smiled sadly, “Molly likes to watch us perform, I guess.”
“And if none of this fuckin’ shit had happened they would have been together tonight to watch it.” Gerard whispered. “Somewhere far away from here.”
Mikey nodded, "Yeah, that’s true.”
“I just wish…” Gerard’s voice trailed off. “Anyway” He said shaking his head to dispel those thoughts. “I guess I’ll try to get some sleep.”
“You wanna sack out here?”
“No, I’m gonna go home.” Another wave of sadness filled him as he said this. It really wasn’t his home anymore, it was Lindsey’s and Bandit’s. “I might as well take dad with me unless he wants to stay here.”
At that moment Don walked in holding Molly’s hand. As soon as Molly saw Gerard her face lit up.
“Gee.” She ran to him quickly climbing up on his lap. “Mes missed youse.”
“How you doin’ Honey?" Gerard asked ruffling her hair.
“Bad mens hurt mommy.” Molly said her smile fading.
Don looked into his oldest son’s eyes. “Molly saw that on the news.”
Gerard nodded to him. “Yeah, I know.” He turned his attention to the child. “But it’s gonna be okay. You mommy’s gonna be all better.”
“Mes wants to see her.” Molly said.
“I know.” He hugged her. “But you can’t right now. We gotta let those doctors fix her.”
Gerard felt his heart breaking. Holly was broken, more than anyone had ever guessed and that fact hurt him more than he could ever say. “Kinda but don’t worry, okay?” He just didn’t know what else to say.
“Can mes draw her a pitcher?”
Gerard smiled, “Sure, that’s a good idea. You do that and Mikey can bring it to the hospital later.”
“What are you up to right now, son?” Don asked. He was concerned about his son. It was obvious just looking at him he was exhausted.
“Well if you want I’m heading towards my house right now. Gonna try to get a few hours of sleep. I can take you there and get you settled in.”
Don nodded. He wanted to speak to Gerard alone and this would be the perfect opportunity. “Sure, I’ll get my things.”
Molly was immediately upset. “Youse eaving?” She said looking at Don.
“I’m gonna be staying at Gee’s house.” He said smiling at her. “But don’t worry you’re gonna be seeing a lot of me. Hey, tomorrow how about you and me and Donna go out for lunch?” He grinned, “You like pizza, don’t you?”
Molly nodded slowly.
“Then it’s a date.”
“Otay Drampa Don.”
Gerard automatically stiffened when he heard Molly call his father grandpa. An action that did not go unnoticed by Don.
“Now go grab your crayons cause Alicia and Donna are still waiting for you outside.”
Molly slipped off Gerard’s lap but not before placing a quick kiss on his cheek. As soon as she was out of the room Don spoke.
“Son, no one has said anything to Molly. But earlier when she asked if she could call me grandpa I said yes. The child needs to feel she has family right now.”
Gerard sighed, “Yeah, I get that. I’m just worried Holly won’t want her to know the truth.”
Don shook his head sadly, “I hope that’s not true. The truth always comes out in the end.”
“Does it?” Gerard asked sadly.
Instead of answering Don left the room to gather up his things quickly. He needed to talk to Gerard.
Don waited several minutes as Gerard made his way through traffic before he started to talk.
“Son, how’s Holly?” He knew as seen as he’d seen Gerard’s face there was bad news.
“She’s running a pretty high fever”
“Infection.” Don said softly.
Gerard nodded. He signaled to change lanes then forced himself to tell his father the rest – that Holly might never walk again if she recovered from her injuries.
Don was silent a moment then said with conviction. “Holly is a strong willed woman. She’ll make it.”
As much as Gerard wanted to believe his father’s words fear and doubts still plagued him. “You really believe that?”
“Yeah, I do, son. I know what you’re thinking. What all of you are thinking, that Holly is mentally fragile. In some ways that’s true but in others that is far from the truth. She’s had a hard life and yet she’s never given up. She took care of Sonja the best she could. She always put her welfare first. Even when that meant she couldn’t tell you the truth about her daughter’s illness. I’m sure she longed to tell you, to share her worries but she was strong. She held it all in because she knew how much Sonja wanted to appear to be a normal teen.”
“Dad you don’t understand.” Gerard said sadly. “Bob says she’s been carrying guilt about Sonja’s death. Holly and Sonja had an argument. Sonja wanted Holly to tell me…”
Don cut him off, “She wanted her mom to tell you about Molly, right?”
“And Holly wouldn’t. But not just because you were married, son. That’s the thing I think you’re missing here. Yeah, I’m sure that was a lot of it. But it was also because Holly strives to be strong. She pushes herself to be that way probably because of what happened in the past.”
“You mean her marriage?”
“Yeah, exactly. Alicia told me what Bob said about Holly’s ex. The bastard disowned his own daughter. I’m sure in Holly’s mind she had decided never to let a man have that kind of control over her again. He hurt her bad when he hurt Sonja.”
Gerard was shocked by these thoughts. “You think she didn’t tell me about Molly because she was afraid I’d hurt her?”
“You would have devastated her if you’d refused to acknowledge Molly.”
“I would never have done that.” Gerard said angrily.
“No, I know you wouldn’t have but did Holly know that? You two parted roughly from what I gather. In her mind you broke it off with her and married within a few months. That had to make her think you’d never really loved her. So why would she have believed you’d love a child she suddenly told you was yours?”
Gerard was stunned. He’s never considered this line of thought before.
“Look, I know that if Holly had gone to you when she’d first found out she was pregnant you would have helped her. I know that in my heart. But I can understand how she wouldn’t have known that.” Don said softly. “By not telling you she was being strong. Standing on her own and handling the situation. Sonja didn’t understand that and I’m sure that broke Holly’s heart.”
“What a fuckin’ mess.” Gerard whispered.
Don sighed, “Son, I’m telling you this for a reason. I really believe in my heart that Holly will make it. Her love for Molly will give her the strength she needs. But she’s gonna need more that that. She needs to let go of the guilt she carries because of the decisions she’s made. She has a long road ahead of her.” He looked over at his son. “And you can’t stand in her way.”
“What?” Gerard’s head snapped around to glance at his father.
“Gee, I know you still love her. You’ve admitted to me that you never stopped loving her.”
Gerard’s head was starting to pound. “I can’t talk about this right now.” He didn’t even want to begin to try to figure out what his dad was trying to say.
Don had been afraid of this. Gerard always wanted to ignore things he didn’t want to face.
Looking out at the passing scenery Don decided to let the matter drop for the moment.
After several minutes Gerard changed the subject. “I guess mom is pretty upset about the divorce?”
“We both love Lindsey like a daughter.” Don answered sadly, “But your mom has always been closer to her. I’m sure it is because she was with you when you and Lindsey first got together.”
“That was such a crazy time.” Gerard whispered. “I fell for her so fast ad so hard.”
“Like a drowning man clinging to a buoy.” Don said softly.
Anger filled Gerard. “Are you implying I never really loved Lindsey?” he challenged.
Don shook his head. “Nope not at all.”
“But you think that because of Holly I rushed into things with Lindsey, don’t you?”
“Well, did you?” Don stared at him.
Gerard refused to glance over at his father. While what is father was saying was truth he would not admit it. “I fell in love with Linds. I still love her.”
“I know that, son.” Don answered. “Believe me like I told you before I know what it’s like to love a woman but not be in love with her. Not enough to stay with her.”
“You and mom.” Gerard whispered.
“But we always made sure that you boys understood that the reason we didn’t stay together had nothing to do with you. It was all us, not you and Mikey.”
“I’m gonna make sure that Linds and I always stay close.” Gerard said with conviction, “For Bandit.”
“That’s good.” Don said with a nod. “That’s important.”
Gerard gripped the steering wheel tightly. “I’m gonna get my life in order, make good decisions. I’ve got two beautiful daughters to think about.”
There was so much more Don wanted to say but for now he thought it best to remain silent. He hoped this new resolve his son seemed to have was strong and true. He hoped that he would stand on his own two feet realizing that he could do so on his own. Because in the past that was something his son hadn’t done.