All hell breaks loose.
“Hey. How’s it going?" He asked.
“I’m still at your new place.” Don answered. “I got all the boxes carried in and I’ve been unpacking your clothes. I like this place, it’s got a good feel.”
Gerard smiled. “Yeah, it’s weird but I think the same thing. The first time I walked into the house I got a good feel from it.”
Don laughed, “The downstairs is really something.”
It felt good to laugh Gerard realized as he answered, “Yeah, ain’t it? I’m not gonna change a thing. I love all that retro shit.”
“So how did the meetings go?”
Gerard started across the lot. “Good. My new comic is on track. I met with a new artist I’m gonna be working with and I’m very pleased.”
“That’s good.” Don answered as he opened another box.
“So have you heard from anyone today?"
“Talked to Bob about an hour ago. He called to tell me that Holly’s in a new room now and out of ICU.”
“Bob called you?”
“He knew you had meetings all day so he called me.” Don explained.
“So he’s seen her?”
“Yeah, he’s been at the hospital all day. He said she’s still pretty despondent but he’s hoping that when Mikey and Alicia bring Molly to see her it will help.”
“When are they taking her to see Holly?”
“Well he said in about an hour when I talked to him but that’s been an hour ago.”
“Shit." Gerard muttered. “I wish I’d known they were gonna take her to see Holly. Think they’re still there?”
“Hard to say." Don answered. He sat down on the bed to take a short break. “I know they won’t stay long. They’ve brought in a physical therapist to start working with Holly and Bob said she’s in a lot of pain. He said they are starting to exercise her legs and the pain is pretty intense.”
“So she still can’t move them herself at all?”
Don sighed, “No but again the therapist stressed that the fact she has feeling in her legs is a good sign.”
Gerard had reached his car. “I’m gonna head over to the hospital now.”
“Okay, son. I think I’ll work here for a couple more hours then meet you at home tonight.”
Gerard felt a wave of sadness come over him. “Not home anymore.”
“Gee, it’s Bandit’s home so in a way it will always be home for you too.” Don said softly.
“Yeah, I know.” He pulled out the keys and hit the fob to unlock the doors. “I just hope Linds comes back soon. I really miss Baby B.”
“I’m sure she will.” Don answered. He felt slightly bad about not telling his son he’d talked to Lindsey earlier but for now it was best not to mention that. “See you tonight.”
“There.” Christa said taking a step back. “Much better.” She’d just finished brushing Holly’s hair.
Holly who was sitting up in bed flinched as another pain shot through her body.
“You okay?” Christa asked with concern.
“My back and legs hurt.” Holly said softly. “I hate how much my legs hurt but I can’t move them.”
Christa nodded, “It’ll get better.”
While Holly didn’t believe that she remained silent about her feelings. “Thanks for trying to fix my hair.”
Taking a seat by the bed Christa smiled, “Well we had to pretty you up for your visitor.”
Suddenly Holly was afraid, “I’m not sure they should bring her here. I don’t want her to be scared.”
“Molly won’t be scared. She just wants to see her mommy.”
Holly sighed but didn’t answer.
“Holly, I’m so sorry this happened.” Christa was glad for this chance to speak to her alone. “I can’t help but feel this is my fault.”
“What?” Holly gave her a shocked look.
“If I’d just given him my wedding ring..”
Holly spoke up quickly. “I don’t really remember what happened but I’m sure that wouldn’t have made any difference.”
Christa looked into her eyes. “You still don’t remember the attack?”
“So much of it is just confused memories.” Holly said licking her dry lips. “I know why we had gone to the shelter.” She paused trying to remember. “Didn’t we stop to get something to eat before that?”
Christa nodded, “Yeah, we went through a drive-thru.” She wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do trying to jog Holly’s memories.
“And you talked to Ray." Holly said closing her eyes trying desperately to pull her memories together.
“He was going to pick me up from the shelter. That’s why he and Gerard were there.”
Holly’s eyes flew open. “Gee was there?”
Nervously Christa nodded wishing she hadn’t mentioned that fact.
“Why can’t I remember?’ Holly whispered.
“That’s normal. Holly you were brutally attacked. Your mind doesn’t want to remember.”
“But I need to.” Holly said frowning. Again she flinched in pain.
“Want me to call the nurse?"
“Not until after I see Molly.”
“Did someone just say Molly?”
Both Christa and Holly turned to the door to see Alicia standing there smiling.
“I came to make sure it’s okay for Mikey to bring M in.” Alicia explained.
For the first time since the attack a true smile covered Holly’s face. “Please.” She said slowly.
“Be right back.” Alicia headed down the hall towards the waiting room.
“You sure I look okay?” Holly said turning to Christa.
“You look fine.” Christa nodded.
Holly pasted a smile on her face but inside she was terrified. She prayed Molly wouldn’t be frightened seeing her in the hospital bed.
A minute later Mikey suddenly appeared holding Molly’s hand. Molly’s eyes were wide and confused. As they walked further into the room her face broke into a smile when she saw Holly.
“Mommy.” She cried out happily.
“Baby." Holly smiled.
Mikey kept a tight hold on Molly’s hand. “Remember M your mommy’s been hurt so we have to be careful.” They walked towards the bed.
\ “Come over to the other side.” Holly said nodding to the IV that was in her hand.
Mikey walked Molly around the bed.
Holly tried to sit up straighter trying to ignore the pain. “Lift her up on the bed.”
“You sure?” Mikey asked.
Mikey lifted Molly up. “Now M you gotta sit real still okay?”
“Otay." She answered but her eyes were on Holly.
As soon as she was seated at Holly’s side she spoke rapidly. “Mommy mes missed youse. Mes was worwed.”
Holly touched her cheek. “I’m okay, Baby. Don’t worry.”
“Whens youse commin home?” Molly asked, “Mes means to Uncle Mikey’s?”
“It will be a little while.” Holly said remembering to smile.
“Mes wants youse to comes now.” Molly said seriously. “Mes needs mommy.”
Alicia moved to stand beside Christa. “M don’t forget we told you that your mommy has to get better first.”
Molly nodded, “Mes knows dat.”
“Holly I’m gonna take off now.” Christa said realizing Holly was tired and shouldn’t have too many visitors at once.
Holly nodded, “Okay and thanks.”
Christa leaned over the bed to kiss her cheek. “No thanks needed. Ray and I will stop by tomorrow.”
Immediately Holly frowned, “You don’t need to.”
“We don’t need to we want to.” Christa answered then turned to leave.
“Mommy whats dat?” Molly was looking at the IV in Holly’s other hand.
“That puts medicine in my body." Holly explained.
“We’re gonna let you two visit for a few minutes.” Mikey said looking at Holly. He felt they needed a little time alone.
“Now remember M, sit really still, okay?”
Molly nodded, “Otay mes be still.” She gently took her mommy’s hand in hers.
“I love you, Baby." Holly lightly squeezed her hand.
“Mes wuvs youse.” Molly smiled.
“Have you been being a good girl?” Holly asked.
Molly nodded, “Mes been a dood drul. Gee tolds youse dat?"
Holly was confused. “Uh, yeah.”
It was clear Molly wanted to make sure her mom understood. “Mes alped him.”
“You helped Gerard?”
“Yep.” Molly nodded. “Mes alped dust.”
The pain was making it hard for Holly to concentrate but she tried, “Dust?”
“Gee’s new ouse." Molly said slowly. “Mes alped him.”
“You helped Gerard move into his new house?” Holly guessed remembering last night Gerard had mentioned he had a new place.
Molly nodded, “Yep. He says mes dood alp.”
“I’m sure you are.” Holly said softly. “What else have you been doing?"
Molly’s eyes landed on the picture she’d drawn for her mom that a nurse had propped up on the nightstand. “Mes dids dat for yous."
Holly smiled, “Yes, I love it.”
“Gee says it mades youse feels better.”
“It did.” Holly said slowly.
“Mes and Gee dreu pitchers for youse so youse will be better.”
“You and Gerard drew pictures for me?”
“Yep.” Molly nodded.
An uneasy feeling came over Holly that she couldn’t understand. Trying to push that feeling away she asked, “What else have you been doing?”
“Drampa Don and mes vists Hal.”
Holly actually stopped breathing for a minute. “Grandpa Don?”
Molly nodded, “Mes wikes to calls em’ dat. He says it’s otay.”
“Oh.” Holly nodded slowly. “Well if he doesn’t mind that’s fine.” She believed that Molly must want to call him that because of Bandit.“He’s Bandit’s grandpa.”
Molly smiled, “Mes knows dat.” Suddenly her smile faded, “Mes misses B and Wensy. Mes talked on da phone”
“You talked to Lindsey and Bandit on the phone?”
“Mes talked to B.” Molly explained.
Holly’s uneasy feeling grew.
Mikey and Alicia walked back in. “Sorry to break this up but the nurse said Holly needs to rest now.” Mikey said walking over to the bed.
“Mes donts wanna doe yet.” Molly’s eyes filled with tears. “Mes wants to stay.”
Alicia spoke softly. “M we have to let your mommy rest so she can get better.”
Molly’s bottom lip trembled, “Mes wants mommy better.”
Mikey nodded, “So we have to go for today but you can come back tomorrow.”
“Otay." Molly whispered.
Alicia was looked at Holly closely and was shocked to see she looked upset.
“Can mes gives youse a tiss?” Molly asked looking at her mom.
“Here let me lift you up.” Mikey said so that the little girl didn’t try to climb up. He held her over the bed so she could place a kiss on Holly’s cheek.
“Wuv youse.” Molly whispered.
“I love you, Baby.” Holly whispered back.
Mikey sat Molly down and took her hand. Looking at Holly he smiled. “We’ll be back in the morning.”
Alicia was still watching her friend closely wondering why she looked upset.
When Gerard walked into Holly’s room he was pleased to see her sitting up. “Hey." He smiled, “You look much better today.”
Holly turned to stare at him.
“Well you do.” He nodded, “It’s good to see you sitting up.”
“It hurts but then it hurts laying down too.”
A nurse walked in. “Here you go.” She said as she set down a small plastic container on the rolling tray then placed it in front of Holly. “You eat all of this, okay?”
Holly glanced down at the red Jello and nodded.
Once the nurse left Gerard laughed, “You are giving that Jello a disgusted look.”
“Never liked the stuff." Holly said slowly picking up the plastic spoon. “Reminds me of rubber.”
“Yeah, that’s true.” He sat down beside the bed. “So I heard you had a small visitor today.”
Holly still hadn’t looked up from the dish, “Yeah, Mikey and Alicia brought Molly to see me.”
He wondered why that fact seemed to make her unhappy. “Bet it was good to see her?”
Holly nodded then took a small of the Jello on her spoon. Slowly she put it in her mouth.
“Sorry I couldn’t be here earlier but I had meetings about my comic.” Gerard said.
“Told you there was no reason for you to come.” Holly said not looking over at him.
“And I told you that was a stupid thing to say.” Gerard shot back before thinking. The last thing he wanted was to fight with her.
Holly sighed, “Gee, I know you’re busy.”
“Yeah I have commitments I can’t ignore but that doesn’t change the fact I want to see you when I can.”
“Why?” Holly’s eyes bore into his.
He felt trapped. There was no way he could tell her the truth, not now anyway. “Because you are very important to me.” He finally said softly.
Holly shook her head, “I shouldn’t be.”
Again he found himself wanting to change the subject. “Well you are. Now tell me about your visit with Molly.” He hoped it was a happy memory that would lighten her mood.
For a moment she simply stared at him then said softly, “She told me she helped you move into your new place.”
This was dangerous territory. “Uh, yeah. She was a big help.”
“How often have you spent time with her?” Holly asked.
Gerard was growing more and more uneasy. There was something in Holly’s tone that worried him. “A few times.” He shrugged. “I took her to the park one day. That’s when she drew you the picture. Actually we both drew you pictures.”
Holly knew he’d left two pictures but for now the one he’d drawn was in her drawer still folded up. She couldn’t bring herself to look at it. “Gee I know you miss Bandit.” Holly said slowly.
Gerard frowned. “Well yeah, of course.”
Slowly Holly lifted another bit of Jello from the bowl. “But I don’t want Molly hurt." She said.
He was confused by her words. “What?”
“Alicia told me that Lindsey and Bandit will be returning to LA soon.”
Gerard nodded wondering how his sister in law knew that information but quickly ignoring that question to get back to the discussion at hand. “Yeah, so?”
“Molly seems very attached to you.” Holly said staring at her spoon.
Gerard stood then walked across the room trying to come to grips with the sudden emotions he was feeling. “And you think that’s a bad thing?”
“I think she knows you are paying a lot of attention to her right now. I understand you miss Bandit but Molly doesn’t.”
His anger was just below the surface. “You’re saying I’m spending time with Molly only because I miss Bandit?”
“I know how much you love Bandit.”
He swiveled to face her and before he could stop himself he spoke, “Yeah I love Bandit. But I love both of my daughters.”
The spoon Holly was holding fell with a clank onto the tray.
Immediately Gerard wished he could recall his words. The little color that Holly had in her face drained.
“What?” Her eyes were wide and unblinking.
There was no turning back. “I know Molly’s my daughter.” He said softly.
Holly’s hand flew up to her mouth. “How?”
He rushed across the room to sit beside the bed. “Holly you told me. Right before the ambulance arrived you told me.”
“Oh God, no.” She started to shake.
Gerard grabbed her had, “Sugar, it’s okay.”
Holly pulled her hand away. “No”
He tried to calm her. “Holly she’s my daughter. Why shouldn’t I know?”
“She’s mine.” Holly’s voice rose. “She’s mine, she’s all I have in the world.”
Now he understood her fear. “Holly please calm down.”
She couldn’t calm down. “Oh fuck.” She screamed. “Why the fuck did I tell you?”
He was shocked by her language and by the fact she suddenly looked terrible. Her face was twisted in pain. “Calm down.” He said again. “It’s okay.”
A nurse suddenly appeared. “What’s going on?” She asked moving towards the side of the bed while glancing up at Holly’s blood pressure reading.
Gerard stood nervously.
Holly leaned back and closed her eyes. “Please I just want to be alone.”
The nurse shot Gerard a look which clearly told him to leave.
He walked out of the room without a backwards glance, his head lowered.
On the way to Mikey’s he tried to call Don but as he pulled into the driveway he saw that his father was already there.
“Hey Gee.” Alicia said meeting him at the door.
“Where’s Molly?” Gerard asked lowering his voice.
“Watching TV. What’s wrong?”
He took a deep breath. “Could you and ma please take her somewhere, just for a bit?”
“Okay, Gee you’re scaring me.” Alicia said touching his arm. “What’s going on?”
“Please.” He said softly, “I need to talk to Mikey and Dad.”
Alicia nodded slowly. “Okay.” She walked into the living room and announced that she and Donna were going to take Molly for an ice cream sundae. Donna who had been watching her oldest son talk to Alicia knew something was wrong but nodded in agreement.
Molly smiled happily. On the way out she hugged Gerard tightly.
It was all he could do not to let her see his tears.
Don and Mikey who had been in the kitchen now moved into the living room.
“What the fuck is going on, Gee?” Mikey asked, “Has something happened to Holly?”
Before he could answer Bob walked into the room still clutching his cell phone. “What the fuck is going on?” He asked staring at Gerard.
Gerard sat down heavily on the sofa.
“Why the fuck did Holly just call me begging me to take Molly home to Chicago with me?” Bob yelled.
Gerard’s head snapped up. “You aren’t fuckin’ taking her anywhere.”
Don spoke loudly, “Both of you calm down. Gerard what happened?”
Gerard’s hands shook with anger and more as he pulled out a cigarette then lit it. “I told Holly I know.”
“Oh fuck.” Bob began to pace the room. “Why? I thought you weren’t gonna talk about that now. Shit, Gerard the woman is dealing with enough.”
Don was watching his oldest son, “She really didn’t remember telling you?”
Gerard turned to face him. “No, she didn’t.”
“Then why the fuck did you tell her?” Bob yelled.
“Bryar calm down.” Mikey said nervously. “Let Gee explain what happened.”
Gerard took a deep drag then spoke, “She was upset because she thought I was only spending time with Molly because I miss Bandit. I tried to tell her that while I miss Bandit that wasn’t why. Then she told me that I was going to hurt Molly because Alicia had told her Linds and B would be coming back to LA soon and I wouldn’t want to see Molly anymore.”
“Shit.” Mikey whispered.
Gerard took a deep breath. “Before I could stop myself I told her that I loved both of my daughters.”
“And how did she respond?” Don asked.
“She was fuckin’ shocked. She wanted to know how I knew.”
Don nodded, “And you told her the truth?”
Gerard nodded, “Yeah. But that just upset her more. She said something like why the fuck did I tell you.”
“She said it that way?”
“Yeah, and the next thing I knew the nurse was there because Holly’s blood pressure had shot up.”
Bob sat down shaking his head. “She wouldn’t explain anything to me. She just kept begging me to take Molly to Chicago.”
Gerard glared at him, “You ain’t fuckin’ taking my daughter anywhere.”
Don was still digesting all the information. “Gee did she say anything else?”
He replayed the conversation in his head. “It was like she fuckin’ went crazy. She started yelling that Molly was hers. That Molly was all she had.”
Don nodded sadly, “Son, you have to understand. Put yourself in her place. She’s already terrified she’ll never be able to walk again. Molly is all she has in this world. Now that she understands that you know the truth she’s afraid she’ll lose Molly.”
Gerard’s face fell, “You’re saying she thinks I’d try to take Molly from her?”
“You would have the right to care for Molly if she can’t." Don answered.
“That’s fuckin’ insane.” Gerard said shaking his head, “I’d never take Molly from her.”
“Did you hear your dad?” Bob yelled. “Put yourself in her place. You have money and Holly ain’t got shit. They live in a trailer barely making it from month to month. Why the fuck wouldn’t she be afraid you’d take Molly?”
Gerard glared at him. “Because she knows me.”
Bob snorted, “Yeah, she knows you. Just like she knew you really loved her, right? You remember you told her you loved her then married someone else a few months later.”
Gerard jumped to his feet. “Shut the fuck up about that.”
Don and Mikey both got to their feet.
“Both of you calm down.” Don said taking a step in between the two men. “What you’re both doing isn’t going to help Holly.”
Gerard continued to glare at Bob. Bob in turn glared back.
Don turned to him. “Did Holly say anything else to you?”
“Just that she wants me to take Molly to Chicago. I could tell how upset she was and I kept asking her what happened but she wouldn’t say. I told her I’d be there first thing in the morning to talk to her.”
“Yeah well so will I.” Gerard ground out. “She and I need to clear this shit up.”
Don turned to his son. “Gee, I think that would be a bad idea. Right now she’s very upset and not thinking straight. Let Bob talk to her.”
“And just what the fuck is he gonna tell her?” Gerard shouted. “Is he gonna agree that I’m the bastard who got her pregnant then left her?”
“You are the bastard who got her pregnant then left her.” Bob shouted back.
This time Don and Mikey had to physically separate the two.
Mikey held Bob back while shouting, “Stop it. You both care about her. How the fuck do you think she’d feel if she knew this was happening?”
Bob took a step back. “I gotta get the fuck out of her.” He pivoted and left the room. A moment later he slammed the front door after grabbing his car keys.
Don released Gerard’s arm. “Son, sit down." He said softly.
Gerard fell heavily back onto the sofa. “What the fuck am I gonna do? I need to talk to her. I need to make her understand I’m not gonna take Molly from her.”
“I know.” Don nodded. “She does need to understand that. But getting into a fight with Bryar isn’t going to help anything.”
“He ain’t taking Molly anywhere.” Gerard said again. “I mean it.”
“No, I’m sure that won’t happen.” Don said as he sat back down. “Molly needs to be here where she can see her mother. Holly’s recovery depends on that. Bob know that’s true.”
“Does he?” Gerard spat. “Or is this the perfect opportunity to once more be Holly’s knight in shining amour?”
Mikey who had sat back down sighed, “Gee, she just needs time to come to grips with all of this."
Gerard’s anger still simmered. “I had every right to know about Molly. She should have told me.”
“You know why she didn’t.” Don reminded him.
“Well yeah but everything has changed now and she still wasn’t gonna tell me. She was planning on leaving here without telling me. I would never have fuckin’ known the truth.”
“Maybe, or maybe not.” Don said with a sigh. “Who knows what would have happened down the road after you and Lindsey were divorced. She might have changed her mind and told you.”
“I don’t think so.” The hurt in Gerard’s voice was clear. “Holly thought I was just too fucked up.”
Don had to make him understand. “Gee for the past year you’ve been going down a bad path. You can try to deny that but you know it’s true. Your drinking had gotten out of hand and Holly saw that. Can you honestly say you don’t understand her not believing that the way you’ve been it would be best not to bring her daughter into your life?”
Gerard looked away. “But that’s changed. I’ve not had a drink since her attack.”
“But Holly doesn’t know that. One of the last things she probably remembers is the night of James’s party." Mikey said softly.
That memory caused Gerard’s anger to fade. “Yeah, I was really fucked up that night and Holly saw it.” His voice was full of regret. “So did Molly.”
Don hadn’t known this. “Molly saw you drunk?”
He forced himself to admit the truth. “She walked in while Holly was trying to get me cleaned up and into bed. I don’t remember a lot but I do remember that.”
“So you can understand her concern." Don said gently. “And understanding that concern should make you realize you need to give her time. Both of you have a long road to recovery.”
Gerard stood. “I’m gonna head back to the house.” He said feeling overwhelmed.
“I’ll be there shortly." Don told him. He planned on speaking to Bob when he returned. “Start packing some boxes.”
Gerard sighed, “Yeah, guess I better take some more stuff to the house tomorrow. I don’t have many more free days before we leave for the tour.”
Don stood. “And tomorrow you’ll take Molly with you again.”
Gerard was surprised, “Don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“I do." Don said firmly. “Holly doesn’t have to know.”
It was impossible for Gerard to concentrate. Too many emotions and thoughts were filling his head. He shrugged then slowly left.
Mikey spoke as soon as the front door closed. “You really think he should take Molly tomorrow?”
Don sighed, “Mikey your brother needs Molly just as much as her mother does. She is a reminder of why it is important not to give up”
“You afraid he’ll give up?" Mikey whispered.
“I have faith that he can make the right choices. He’s a strong man when he needs to be. Now is the time when he really needs to be.”