Gerard works on moving forward with his life.
Alicia looked over at her husband. “Uh, was your mom acting strange?”
Mikey slumped back in his chair. “Fuck I was hoping I was just imagining that. Shit, if she upset Holly Gerard is gonna be pissed.”
“I’m gonna be pissed.” Alicia said angrily.
He nodded, “Yeah, me too. I wish one of us could go in to see Holly now instead of waiting another hour.”
“Maybe I could ask the nurse.” She started for the door but was surprised to see Holly’s nurse walk in.
“I just wanted to tell you that Holly is in considerable pain so we’ve given her a stronger dose of pain medicine. She will more than likely sleep the rest of the day.”
“Can one of us still sit with her?” Alicia asked.
It was obvious by the look on the nurse’s face she was trying to gently break the news. “Actually Holly has requested no more visitors for today.”
Mikey got to his feet, “Oh shit. Is she upset?”
The nurse looked surprised by the question. “All I know is she told me her pain level had increased and she wants to sleep.”
Alicia put her arm on Mikey’s shoulder trying to calm him. “I can understand not wanting people to be around if you’re in a lot of pain.”
Mikey nodded. “Yeah, sure.”
The nurse smiled slightly then left.
“Shit, Ma upset her. I just know it.”
Alicia sighed, “We don’t know that for sure. Maybe it’s just because of the pain.”
“Come on.” Mikey said taking her hand. “I gotta get out of here.” In his mind he was dreading the call he knew he should make to his brother. Gerard would be very upset he wouldn’t be able to see Holly when he returned to the hospital. And he was sure Gerard would believe his mother’s visit has upset her. That was just more stress Mikey didn’t need. Being caught between his mother and Gerard wasn’t something he wanted.
“Sorry I’m late.” Gerard said as soon as he got out of his car.
Connie Evans smiled, “No problem. I’m just glad you called and said you’d been delayed.” She pulled out a set of keys. “Let’s get his front gate open so we can tour the house.”
As she worked the lock Gerard took a moment to look around. “Wow it’s pretty isolated out here.”
“Yes, but as you saw as you drove in this is a gated community. Your nearest neighbor is more than a mile away.”
“I like it here.” Gerard said taking a deep breath. “The air smells so clean.”
Connie laughed. “Very different from LA, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it really is.” Gerard noticed she’d opened the gate. As they made their way down a long stone pathway Connie got out her specks. “Okay, this home has two bedrooms, two baths.”
As they neared the stone home Gerard viewed it with a critical eye. “How old is it?”
“Let’s see.” She shifted her papers. “This was built in 1965. The original owner lived here until ten years ago. The house has been rented since that time.” She found the right key to the front door.
As it creaked open she stood back to let Gerard enter first.
‘Wow.” He said taking a step inside. “I didn’t expect this. The house looks kinda small from the outside but…”
Connie nodded. “Yes, the fact that the living room is open to the kitchen makes it look much larger. And of course the fact that the whole back wall is windows…”
Gerard nodded as his eyes took in the beautiful scenery just beyond the floor to ceiling windows. “How much property goes with this?”
Again Connie consulted her papers. “The house sits on just under five acres, the majority of the land it the woods behind the house. There is also a small stream.”
“I love it.” Gerard said feeling a happiness he hadn’t in days. This house gave him hope that once more he would have a home. He’s eyes finally left the beautiful view out the windows to look around the large living room. “Nice.” He said as his gaze fell on the large stone fireplace.
“It gets cold here at night up in the hills.”
Gerard walked over to the fireplace. He reached out to touch the stone. “I really like this. Oh and look at these great built in bookshelves.”
“Yes, they were custom made.” Connie said reading over the specs. “Says here the stone from the fireplace was brought in special from a mine out in Colorado."
“Does it say what stone this is?” Gerard asked looking at it closer.
Connie read on. “Yes, the fireplace is made from limestone.”
“Beautiful.” Gerard said softly.
“And look up.” Connie urged.
When he did he smiled, “Wow.” The twelve foot high ceiling was crisscrossed with large natural pine wooden beams.
“Ready to see the rest?”
Gerard followed her down a long hallway.
“These are real rough cut pine floors.” She said. “And as you can see.” She said pointing up. “More exposed beams.”
“Love them.” Gerard grinned.
“Okay here is the first bedroom.” She stood back to let him enter first.
Gerard walked in to the room. “Not a bad size. And wow, twin beds.”
Connie was confused. “A full or queen-size bed would fit fine in here.”
“No.” Gerard realized she thought he was unhappy about the twin beds. “Actually twin beds are perfect. I have two small daughters.”
Connie hid her surprise. While she knew Gerard had a daughter she hadn’t known he had two. “Oh well then maybe that’s a sign.”
Gerard laughed, “Yeah, a good sign.”
He pulled open the closet and peered inside. “Not bad.”
They then moved down the hall stopping to briefly look into the bathroom which was small yet clean and functional.
“Okay this is the master bedroom.” Connie said once more standing back so he could enter first.
Gerard let out a low whistle as his eyes fell on the sliding glass doors that led to a high deck. “Man, look at that view.”
“Pretty nice to wake up to every morning.”
“Sure would be.” Gerard answered. He walked around slowly. “Furniture is nice. So if I decide I want to buy do all the furnishings go with the house?”
Connie nodded. “Yes, they do.”
“That would save me a lot of time.” Gerard said. He glanced into the attached bathroom noting it, like the other he’d seen, was small.
“Okay.” Connie said. “Now on the other end of the house there is a small study we need to check out.”
And they did. Once again Gerard was drawn to the large floor to ceiling bookshelves that covered two walls.
“I really like this place.” He said as they left the study. “It’s a good size for me.”
“But wait.” Connie laughed. “You haven’t seen everything yet. There is a finished lower floor and an unattached garage with workshop.”
Gerard was surprised, “I didn’t see it when we walked up.”
“That’s because you actually enter the home on the second floor.” She led him back towards the living room. Just off to the right was a small door leading to stairs. “I believe this lower area was used as a family room.” She called back over her shoulder to Gerard who was following. At the bottom of the steps she stopped short. “Oh my.”
When Gerard reached the bottom stair her words made since. “Oh hell.” He laughed looking around. “This obviously hasn’t been remodeled ever.”
Connie shook her head causing her brown curls to shake. “Guess not.” She said talking in the large area. “From what I understand the previous renters were an older couple. They must not have used this space.”
Gerard brushed past her. “Uh, you know.” He said slowly taking in the 1960’s decor. “Retro is sorta back in. I’m digging these lights.” He pointed to the rather bazaar rocket shaped lighting.
“Well they are unique.” Connie laughed. “And look at the sofa.”
Gerard glanced over at the retro couch. “Oh man, I love it.” He said taking in the design and turquoise color. “And oh shit, an egg chair.”
Connie laughed, “Well I’m glad you like this style.”
Gerard took out his phone. “I’m gonna snap some pictures of the place if that’s okay?”
“Of course. I did want to mention since the last time we spoke another place that I think might fill your needs has come available. I could show it to you today.”
Gerard shook his head, “Not necessary. This place is perfect.” While he couldn’t really explain it, even to himself, this house called to him. Once he had stepped foot inside it he had felt it offered him new hope. He would make this place his home.
“So you’d like to make an offer?”
“Yeah.” Gerard said snapping another photo this time of the couch. “Uh, but I need to move in immediately.”
“Since it is a rental that should be no problem. You can move in as if you were going to pay rent while the details of the sale go through.”
“Great.” Gerard turned to her. “I’m gonna take some pictures upstairs before we leave.”
“That’s fine.” Connie nodded. “I’ll start writing up your offer. Do you want to try putting in a lower bid?”
Gerard frowned, “I just want this place. I don’t want someone else to make an offer that gets it.”
Connie liked what she was hearing. “Okay then we’ll accept the asking price.”
They walked back up the steps. “Oh the garage and work shed has to be accessed from downstairs.” She’d been so caught up in the thought of making this sale that she’d forgotten.
“You work on the papers.” Gerard said turning to go back down. “I’ll go take a look.”
He went back down the steps then crossed to the sliding glass door he’d seen earlier. Stepping outside he stopped a moment to take a deep breath. The air was so clean and sweet it made him smile. Spotting the structure in question he walked across the stone pathway to the building. When he walked inside his heart caught. This was perfect, it was more then perfect. In his mind he was already visualizing what he would do. That thought caused him to pause. He knew logically he was making plans for something that might never happen but right now he needed to do that. He needed to do something that gave him hope. He had to cling to hope.
An hour later he was on the road back to LA. In his mind he was going over the details of what he’d need to move from the house in LA. When his phone rang he answered while keeping his attention on the traffic.
Immediately he knew something was wrong. “You still at the hospital?” He asked his brother.
“Uh no, Alicia and I are home.”
“So Bob’s already there?” He’d expected Bob, who had taken Molly to the zoo, would not have arrived at the hospital so early.
“No actually he’s still not back.”
“So who’s with Holly?” Gerard asked slowly.
“She was in a lot of pain so they upped her meds.” Mikey answered. “Uh, so..”
“What aren’t you telling me?” Gerard asked.
“Holly requested no more visitors.”
Gerard swore. “Why?” Suddenly something dawned on him. “Did Ma see her? Did she request no more visitors after that?” When Mikey didn’t answer quickly Gerard demanded, “Let me talk to Ma.” He slowed down to take the nearest exit. He intended on finding a place to park. He had a bad feeling this conversation was going to upset him and the last thing he needed was to be in an accident.
“She’s not here.” Mikey answered. “Uh, don’t know where she is.”
“Fine, I’ll call her cell.” Gerard pulled into a small lot then put the car in park.
“Gee, don’t fly off the handle with Ma. The nurse said Holly was in a lot of pain. That could be why she doesn’t want any more visitors today.”
Gerard thought a minute. “Yeah, that’s true. Still I want to hear from her exactly what she and Holly talked about.”
Mikey tried to calm his brother down by changing the subject. “So what did you think of the house?”
As he’d hoped that subject did slightly derail Gerard’s thoughts. “It’s great. I’m gonna buy it.”
Mikey gave Alicia a shocked look. “Uh, Gee. You’ve only looked at one place.”
“Don’t need to look any further.” Gerard answered. “When I walked into the place I knew it was for me.” He took a deep calming breath. “I can’t explain in but somehow the house just seemed to make me feel I was home. It’s not big but it’s set on some acreage in the hills. And.” Gerard said smiling. “One bedroom even has twin beds.”
Mikey tried to sound upbeat. “Oh, that’s good.”
"Yeah.” Gerard said not hearing the concern in his brother’s voice. “It will be perfect for Bandit and Molly when they stay with me.” He sat back trying to ease the tightness in his back caused by stress. “I took some pics of the place so I can show you. The bottom floor is totally rad. It’s retro 60’s.”
“Can’t wait to see it.” Mikey said again trying to sound as if he was caught up in Gerard’s happiness. Alicia who was sitting beside him placed her hand on his arm for support. “So where you headed now?”
“Got to go by the lawyer’s office. Then I have some more errands I gotta take care of.”
“Given anymore thought to coming by for dinner tonight?” Mikey asked hoping his brother would accept the offer.
Gerard sighed, “I’d love to see Molly but I’m planning on going to the hospital.”
“Gee, you can’t see Holly.” Mikey reminded him softly.
“Well I hope that changes.” Gerard said thoughtfully, “But even if it doesn’t I told Holly this morning I’d be back. I’m not going to break my promise. But I’m not gonna stay late. I’ve got to start packing my shit to move.”
“I think Dad’s coming over here tonight.” Mikey told him.
“That’s good.” Gerard answered. “Tell him I’ll see him later tonight. If he’s not too tired he can help me pack.”
“Take to you later.” Gerard said before disconnecting. He immediately tried his mother’s cell number but it went to voicemail. “Fuck.” Gerard muttered. He couldn’t help but think his mother was avoiding him. And that meant one thing. She’d said something to upset Holly.
“What’s wrong?” Alicia asked softly.
“He’s buying the house out near Yucaipa.”
Alicia nodded, “Yeah, I got that part from listening but what else?”
“He’s sure ma upset Holly.” Mikey said sadly.
“You know, hate to say it, but I’m sorta thinking the same thing. Especially since I tried to call her and she’s not answering.”
Mikey gave her a surprised look, “You did?”
“Well shit.” Mikey leaned back against the sofa cushions and closed his eyes.
“What else did Gee say?” Alicia asked.
“He was telling me about the house. One of the bedrooms already is set up with twin beds.”
Alicia understood immediately, “Oh, for the girls.”
“Yeah except he don’t really know what’s gonna happen. What if Holly doesn’t want him to be a part of M’s life?”
Alicia had thought the same thing. “But he does have a right.” She said playing devil’s advocate.
“Sure he does but the way things are now I know Gee wouldn’t push the issue with her.”
“And he shouldn’t.” Alicia leaned back and molded her body to his. “You think she remembers telling him?”
“I don’t know what to think.” Mikey sighed, “I just can’t believe what a mess everything is.”
Alicia sat up. “Do you wish I’d never found Holly?” There was a distinct challenge in her voice.
Mikey answered slowly. “No, I don’t. I know you went to find Holly because you thought her friendship would help Gerard and me. I get that. But if you really think about it, from everything we’re learning about Holly I think she was heading down a very bad path. And if we’d never known about M…what would have happened?”
“Well” Alicia relaxed a bit. “Bob knew Gee is Molly’s dad.”
“Yeah but would he have told us? I’ve been thinking a lot about this. If Holly had gotten sick because of her eating disorder and needed help would Bob have come to us?”
Alicia sighed, “I can’t honestly answer that. The way Gee has been this last year…” Her voice trailed off afraid to say too much about Gerard because she knew Mikey would automatically defend his brother.
“You mean his out of control drinking.” Mikey said softly.
“You know I don’t believe he’s had a drink since the attack.” Mikey said feeling a small amount of hope.
“I don’t think he has either.” Alicia said. “Now if he can keep going…”
Again Mikey cut her off. “I think he can. Gee seems to understand he has to get his life in order because of the divorce and the tour.”
“And his daughters.” Alicia added.
Mikey nodded, “Yeah, definitely his daughters.”
Gerard was about to start out of the lot when another thought occurred to him. Quickly he called his dad.
"Hey, son.” Don answered. “How was the house?”
Gerard quickly told him the same thing he’d told Mikey.
Don’s voice was gentle. “It’s good you’re moving ahead. Just don’t forget to give yourself time to grieve.”
His words caught Gerard off guard. “Grieve?”
“Son your marriage is over. The relationship died. I know it might sound sorta funny to think of it in those terms..”
Gerard spoke up quickly, “No, I get it dad and you’re right. I also understand what you’re saying but right now….well I just have to make myself move foreword, you understand?”
“Yes, I do.” Don said. “And I’m proud of you.”
Gerard smiled, “Thanks.”
“So you’re coming home now?” Don asked.
Gerard explained to him he couldn’t.
“Well I’m going to Mikey’s for dinner.” Don explained “But I’ll be home later tonight to help you start packing.”
“Thanks.” Gerard said “Uh, but there is something else. I don’t know if you’ve heard but Ma showed up at the hospital this morning.” He quickly explained his concerns because of the talk they’d had with the psychiatrist about Holly’s depression.
“And you’re afraid your mother said something to Holly?” Don asked already knowing the answer.
“Yeah, I am.” Gerard admitted. “I’ve tried calling her but she isn’t answering.”
“When I go over there tonight I’ll talk to her and see what I can find out.” Don promised.
“Shit I really hope she didn’t say anything to Holly that upset her.” Gerard said softly. Suddenly he had to talk to someone about his visit with her. “Dad, it was heartbreaking. It’s like she just doesn’t care what happens to her. She called herself stupid and pathetic.”
Don sighed, “Son, I was afraid this would happen. Holly’s been heading down a bad path for years. But it’s good she spoke to a psychiatrist. She needs to come to terms with all the emotions she’s been hiding for so long.”
“I know, Dad.” Gerard said softly, “But fuck, when I told her I’d be back tonight she just looked at me with no emotion and asked why?”
“And what did you tell her?”
“I told her because I've been there every night since the attack. I told her I was there for her.” He paused, “Dad she said that everything she tires to do turns bad.”
“I’m sure in a lot of ways it seems like that to her.”
“But it’s not true. Holly has made a difference in a lot of lives.”
Don agreed, “Yes, that’s true. And it’s my hope that one day she will understand that. But Gee, you have to give her time. She has to get help dealing with her feelings.”
“I know, Dad. I know.”