The 'new' Holly becomes more apparent.
They had just returned to Alicia’s and Holly insisted Molly take a nap. The little girl obviously had decided that at her age naps were no longer needed but her mother didn’t agree. Holly was concerned about what could possibly happen at Gerard’s tonight and the last thing she wanted was for Molly to be tired and cranky.
Alicia was watching Holly closely and wondered why suddenly she looked nervous. It wasn’t until Holly came back to the living room after making sure Molly was settled in bed before she could try to discover the reason. However she didn’t jump right in.
“The loft is really nice.”
Holly settled back against the sofa cushions. “It really is nice. I’m thankful Arthur is letting us live there for a while.”
“I was surprised to see some of your works for sale in the gallery. You didn’t tell me you’d been sending them from Chicago.”
Holly nodded, “Yeah, I actually sent six but four of them sold. Which is great because I needed the money."
“Arthur is really excited about the benefit auction, isn’t he?”
Holly smiled, “He is and so am I. After I left The Cedars I was on the net and saw some of the negative publicity the shelter received after my attack. It’s so wrong. I hate that what happened to me caused that. I’m just hoping that my show brings some positive awareness to both shelters and some money.”
"You know it will, Holly. You heard Arthur say he has lots of clients who will be there. And he’s making sure to stress how dear to your heart the shelters are.”
“They really are.” Holly said softly. “If I’d never met Arthur I often wonder what would have happened to me and Molly. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think we might have ended up in a shelter for a time. Back in Colorado, once the tourist season ended, I’m not sure my boss would have kept me on. If that had happened I wouldn’t have been able to keep my little apartment.”
“It’s weird for me to realize now that it wasn’t just you in Colorado during that time.” Alicia admitted.
Holly understood, “Yep, it was me and a baby.” She glanced into the distance lost in thought. “I’m sorry you feel hurt you didn’t know.”
“Not hurt, just sad.” Alicia said softly. “I’m sad you couldn’t tell me.”
“Well that’s not exactly true, I could have told you but I chose not to. That was my decision.”
“One I understand.”
Holly looked over at her. “Thanks.” She sighed, “While we are on the subject I want to say something. When you showed up in Arizona …well I just want you to understand how I felt. I was so damn happy to see you but at the same time I was freaking out inside.”
Alicia wanted to voice her true feelings. “After the attack I blamed myself. I was the one who brought you to LA.”
Holly held up her hand. “That’s why I want to talk about this, because I was afraid you felt like that. Alicia, please never think like that again. Yeah, you found me and brought me back into your life but I don’t regret that at all. Now I see that I was on a path to destruction. My eating disorder had spiraled out of control. At the time I was deliberately trying to distance myself even further from Bob because I knew he was the only one who had any idea what was happening.” She took a deep breath, “I see now I was punishing myself, trying to hurt myself and I really don’t think I could have stopped.”
Alicia got up and walked over to the sofa to sit beside her friend. “I was so shocked when I saw you.”
Holly smiled sadly, “Not as shocked as I was to see you. I truly believed I would never see any of you again. And then suddenly there you were standing at my door. I wanted to let you back in my life but because of Molly…”
“You had to lie.”
“I chose to lie.” Holly whispered. “When you started to tell me about Mikey and I saw your tears I knew I had to try to help. So I lied, I said Molly was my dead daughters child.” Tears began to roll down her cheeks. “How fucked up was that?”
Alicia grabbed her hand and held it tightly. “Fucked up but understandable. You wanted to help. But I know once I mentioned that Gerard’s marriage was in trouble you knew you couldn’t do anything to add to that. You couldn’t say you and he had a child.”
“That’s true.” Holly said wiping her eyes. “But it hurt. It felt like I was tarnishing Sonja’s memory by lying.” A sob escaped, “I loved her so much.”
“And she loved you.” Alicia said throwing her arms around Holly. “Bob told us what happened before she died.”
Holly knew this. “Yeah, I know he told all of you what happened. It’s so hard living with the fact that one of our last conversations was so painful so full of hurtful words.”
“You can’t let that memory haunt you.”
“I know.” Holly said gathering her strength. “I realize now that I need to remember all the good times, all the good memories. But at times that is still hard.”
“What was her husband like?” Alicia asked wanting to give Holly something positive to remember.
“I really loved him. He was so good for Sonja and he treasured her. She truly found love when they met.”
Alicia smiled, “I’m glad to hear that.”
“I won’t lie. I still feel so much anger their lives were cut short. It was so unfair, so wrong.”
“Yeah, it was.” Alicia said blinking back tears. “I still remember her from the last time I saw her in Jersey. She was so young, so full of life.”
“She was.” Holly whispered.
Both women sat silently for several minutes. Finally Holly spoke.
‘Thank you for this, it feels good to let my emotions out, to talk about Sonja.”
Alicia hugged her. “It feels good that as your friend you can talk to me. I know at times I drive you crazy with my blunt questions and shit."
Holly smiled, “I love that about you. I wouldn’t want you to change the way you are.” She sat back, “So what blunt questions are running around in your head?”
Alicia laughed, “Crap, I’ve got tons of them.”
“I’m sure you do. Let me guess one of them involves Gee?”
“Yeah, that’s true. I guess I just wonder how you still feel about him.”
Holly sighed, “That’s not an easy one to answer. I still care about him, he’s the father of my child. But things are so different now. I’m not the same woman he knew from before. And I’m guessing he’s changed too.”
“Yeah, but believe me it’s a good change.”
“I’m very happy about that. Especially for Molly’s sake.”
“Gee is a great father to Bandit.” Alicia said, “I’m sure he will be to Molly too.”
Holly sighed, “Not gonna lie I’m really nervous about telling her.”
“But she already likes Gee.”
“Oh yes, she really does.” Holly nodded. “She still remembers him taking care of her when she had the chicken pox. They seemed to really bond with each other. But my main concern is the questions she will ask.”
Alicia nodded, “Yeah, that’s true. You think you and Gee will tell her tonight?"
“I’d like to get it done.” Holly admitted. “I don’t want any more secrets. That’s why I’m going to tell her about Hal as soon as she wakes up. I know she was really looking foreword to seeing him.”
“She remembers him that well?"
“She talked a lot about how you two visited him when I was in the hospital.”
Alicia smiled sadly, “Yeah, we really did.” Her eyes teared up again, “I really loved that old fart.”
Holly laughed, “I’m sure he felt the same way about you.”
“I think he did.” Alicia smiled. “I have to show you something.” Getting off the sofa she crossed the room. When she returned she was holding a vase.
“From Hal?” Holly guessed.
“One day when I was over there I noticed this sitting on a shelf and told him I thought it was beautiful.” She carefully handed the crystal vase to Holly.
“It is beautiful.” Holly said as she turned it in her hands.
“When I was getting ready to leave Hal handed it to me. He acted all gruff saying it was just an old vase his wife used to put flowers in, but I knew it held special memories for him.”
“He acted gruff but he was a sweet old man.” Holly said softly. “I’m glad I got to know him.”
“Me too.” Alicia said. She took the vase from Holly then returned it to its previous location. Returning to the sofa she asked, “So does Molly really understand death?”
Holly nodded, “As much as a child really can. I’m hoping she and I have time to visit Hal’s grave before we go to Gee’s. I want her to feel that even though he’s gone we won’t forget him.”
“That’s a beautiful thought.” Alicia said softly.
“Daddy." Bandit shouted as she ran into Gerard’s arms.
“Hey, Bumble Bee.” He rained kisses over her cheeks. “How’s my girl?”
“Appy.” Bandit giggled.
“Well Happy, you ready to go?” He still needed to stop at the grocery store on the way home.
Lindsey joined them in the hallway. “Hey, Gee.”
“Hey, Linds. You look beautiful today.”
Lindsey laughed, “Well thank you, so do you.”
Gerard placed Bandit back down. “Got your stuff ready?”
Bandit nodded. “Yep.”
“Go get your bag.” Lindsey told her daughter. When Bandit ran down the hall she turned to Gerard. “So I hear Holly’s back.”
Gerard nodded, “Wow, news travels fast.”
“Christa told me this morning.” Lindsey explained. “So you’ve talked to her, how is she?”
“I really think she’s in a good place now and she looks much better. She’s gained so weight and looks healthy.”
“Man, has that kid grown. No more baby talk, and she’s a least a head taller than the last time I saw her.” He suddenly remembered, “Oh shit, hold on.” Before Lindsey could ask he sprinted back out to his car. A moment later he was back. Carefully he handed the box to Lindsey. “This is from Holly.”
“Holly sent something to me?” She asked taking the box then moving towards a nearby table. Opening the lid she smiled, “Oh.”
“Holly made one for Christa and Alicia too. She said she tried to duplicate them the best she could from memory. She also wanted me to say thank you for giving the one you had up for the auction.”
“This is beautiful.” Lindsey said gently lifting it by the top loop. “But she didn’t have to do this. I was happy to give the one I had up for her.”
Gerard lowered his voice, “She apologized to me, Mikey and Alicia for the way she acted after the attack.”
Lindsey set the wind chime back in the box. When she turned to Gerard she was frowning, “She really doesn’t get that everyone understood?”
“Oh I think she gets it, but she still wanted to apologize. She said she knows everyone was trying to support her but she pushed them away.”
“Well that was understandable given the circumstances." Lindsey said softly. “You know I’d really like to see her. Do you think that would be awkward?"
Gerard had given this some thought. “I don’t think so. Holly really likes you, that I know. It might be good for you two to talk. Get everything out in the open once and for all.”
“She needs to understand I never blamed her for our problems.” Lindsey said softly. “And I’d like to be her friend. How long is she going to be in LA?”
Gerard shrugged, “I’m not sure. She’s moving into the loft above the art gallery and I know she’ll be working on getting ready for her show. It’s sometime next month.”
“Good.” Lindsey nodded. She was about to say more but Bandit came running down the hallway carrying her bag. “All ready?"
Bandit nodded, “Yep” She ran to her mother to kiss her goodbye.
“Be good for daddy." Lindsey said.
“Otay.’ Bandit promised.
Gerard took his daughter’s hand. “I’ll bring her back Monday morning. Around nine?”
Lindsey nodded, “That will be fine.”
Gerard smiled down at Bandit, “Okay then let’s hit the road.”
Lindsey stayed at the door until the car disappeared from sight. Then she carefully lifted the wind chime out of the box.
Gerard glanced in the rear view mirror at this daughter while making sure to keep an eye on the traffic. “Hey B?” He waited until he knew he had her attention. “Tonight we’re gonna have some guests come over for dinner.”
Bandit stared at him.
“Do you remember Molly?” Gerard asked. For several months after they had left town Gerard had tried to keep their memory fresh in Bandit’s mind. He’d done so hoping that it wouldn’t be long before his daughters saw each other again. However the more months that had passed he’s stopped talking about them fearing they would not return.
Bandit smiled, “Me is B and she is M”
Gerard laughed, “Yeah, that’s right. You and Molly had fun together, remember?"
“Yep.” Bandit nodded. “I likes her. She’s gonna come play?”
“Yeah she and her mama are coming over and you can show her your room and all your toys.”
“Yeah, you two can play on the swing set.” Gerard smiled. “Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?”
Bandit nodded, “Yep.”
Gerard smiled to himself. At times Bandit could be a child of few words. But only at times, there were days she talked constantly.
He pulled the car into the grocery store parking lot. “We just gotta grab a few things for dinner.” As he took Bandit out of her toddler seat he smiled, “We’re having spaghetti.”
Bandit was immediately excited, “Yea, ghetti.”
“Thought you’d be happy.” Gerard laughed as he took her hand. He just hoped Molly would be happy with her dinner choice too.
Alicia looked over at her husband. “So talk to your brother today?” Her husband had just arrived home and she’d been waiting patiently to talk to him.
Mikey gave her a puzzled look, “Well I talk to him this morning. Don’t you remember?"
Rolling her eyes Alicia nodded, “Of course I remember that. I meant did you talk to him after that.”
“Oh, you mean after he asked Holly and M to dinner.” Mikey said slowly.
“Michael.” Her tone was annoyed.
He grinned, “Well that is what you meant. No, Gee had a meeting and I haven’t called him. I’m trying not to make him any more nervous about things then he already is.”
“You think he’s nervous?” Alicia asked.
“I know my brother and yeah, he’s nervous. I could tell that this morning. So tell me how was Holly today?”
Alicia leaned back against the sofa pillows. “Well she got mad at me."
She forced herself to admit the truth, “I was kinda pushing her about staying in LA.”
Mikey frowned, “She’s not already talking about leaving is she?”
“Christa asked her about her plans and she said for now she’s just planning on staying in the loft until after the show. She said that she’s not sure where she wants to live.”
Mikey gave this thought. “Well I can sorta understand that. She really doesn’t have a place to call her own.”
“Yeah I understand but I really want them to stay in LA. I said that it’s important to be near family.”
“Oh.” Mikey said slowly.
She defended her actions. “Well family is important and while Holly has always been like a sister to me, Molly really is my niece.”
“A fact she doesn’t know yet.” Mikey reminded her. “I can see why the subject might have bothered Holly. I’m guessing you stressed family, right?”
“A little bit.” Alicia frowned, “And I did tell her I was sorry.”
“So is she still mad?”
“Nope, after that we had a good day. We went to the gallery and saw the loft. After that we came back and had a nice talk while Molly was napping. Oh, and Holly told her about Hal.”
“How’d she take it?”
Alicia smiled sadly, “Pretty good. Holly explained to her that Hal was now reunited with his family and happy. Crap, I can’t believe how grown up Molly seems now.”
Mikey nodded, “Yeah, she really is. It broke my heart this morning when Gee mentioned how he sorta misses her baby talk. It just seems he’s missed so much. He never got to see Molly as a newborn and he’s missed the last nine months of her life. Gotta admit, I do hope Holly decides to stay out here. I’ve missed both of them.”
Alicia sighed, “Me too.” She looked down, “Can I tell you something?”
Immediately Mikey was concerned by her question and her voice. Alicia rarely asked if she could offer her opinion. “What is it?”
“I know its wrong but I have to admit I’m hoping Gee and Holly get together.”
Mikey sat back giving himself some time to think. “Well.” He began slowly. “I’ve thought about that too. I mean Gee was so fucked up after Holly was attacked. It was plain to see how much he cared about her. But a lot has changed. They are both different people now.”
Alicia nodded, “Yeah, but as different as Holly seems she’s still Holly. Know what I mean?”
“You mean deep down she’s still the same caring person.”
Mikey agreed, “Yeah, I get that. But her outlook on life is different now. She’s no longer a victim she’s a survivor.”
“And it’s about damn time.” Alicia said with emotion.
Holly sighed as she pulled up to the front gate. She and Molly had stopped at the cemetery on the way and because the directions Mikey had given her were based from his house, they had gotten temporarily lost. Now they were twenty minutes late.
A uniformed man stepped out of the small building with a clipboard in hand. Holly smiled as she lowered her window. “Hello, we’re here to see Gerard Way.”
The man nodded. “Mr Way is expecting you.”
“Thanks. I’m Holly by the way and this is my daughter Molly.”
Surprised by her friendly nature the man smiled. For the most part the people who came and left this gated community usually dismissed his presence. “Well hi, Holly. Nice to meet you.” He leaned down to look into the car. “And I remember that pretty little Miss. She helped Mr Way when he was moving in.”
Molly smiled, “I did.”
Holly was surprised this man remembered Molly which showed on her face.
“Mr Way doesn’t get many visitors.” He explained. “Oh and my name is Nick.”
“Well it’s nice to meet you Nick.” Holly said. “Can you direct me to Gerard’s house? I have directions but so far tonight I’ve already gotten lost once.”
Nick laughed, “Yeah, you are a bit late. Mr Way said you’d be here around six but no worries. Getting to his house from here is easy. Just take the first left you come to. It goes straight up hill. His house is the third one on the left. Sits way back from the road.”
“I remember.” Molly said seriously.
Holly laughed, “Well my co-pilot remembers." She put the car in drive, “Nice meeting you Nick.”
“Have a good night.” He said with a nod.
As the gates opened Holly navigated through them slowly. The closer she got to Gerard’s the more nervous she was becoming.
After taking the correct road she watched the houses until she spotted the right one.
“That’s it.” Molly said excitedly.
Holly eased up the driveway then stopped the car. Taking a deep breath she got out waiting for Molly to join her. They held hands as the walked towards the door.
“This is pretty.” Holly said softly looking around at the surrounding woods.
“Yep.” Molly nodded.
When they reached the door Molly quickly pushed the doorbell. A few minutes passed with on response.
“Try again." Holly said nodding towards the bell.
This time the door swung open a few moments later.
Holly’s eyes grew wide. Gerard stood looking disheveled his shirt stained.
“Is that blood?”