Gerard and Holly tell their daughter the truth.
“Mommy it’s not dark yet.” Molly said slightly out of breath. “We don’t wanna go in.”
“Not dark.” Bandit echoed.
Holly smiled, “Didn’t say you had to go in yet. But Gee and I want to talk to you for a minute.”
Molly nodded then crawled up on to her mom’s lap. Gerard reached for Bandit and settled her on his lap.
“What?” Molly asked seeing the look on her mother’s face. “What’s wrong?”
Holly looked into Gerard’s eyes then gathered all her strength. “Remember a few months ago when you asked me about your daddy?”
Molly nodded, “Yep, you said you’d tell me when I was older.”
“Well you’re older.” Holly muttered nervously. She took another deep breath then simply said, “Molly, Gerard is your daddy.”
Gerard held his breath.
Molly turned her head to stare at him. Finally she spoke. “My real daddy?”
While Gerard nodded Holly said softly. “Yes, he’s your real daddy.”
Molly turned back around to look into her mother’s face. Then she looked over at Gerard. The silence was deafening.
Gerard racked his brain for something to say. Molly was so quiet he was afraid she was upset.
Slowly Molly crawled off her mother’s lap. She took a few steps towards Gerard and Bandit. “Can I call you daddy?” She asked.
Gerard swallowed the lump of emotion in his throat. “I’d like that, Molly.”
Bandit was looking very confused.
Suddenly Molly moved to hug the younger girl. “B this means we are real sisters.” She cried happily.
Bandit returned the hug. “My sis?.”
“Yeah.” Molly laughed. “I’m your big sis. Come on, lets swing.” She helped Bandit slid off Gerard’s lap. “Okay?” She asked Holly.
Holly nodded unable to speak.
Molly took Bandit’s hand and the two of them ran back out towards the swing set.
“Shit.” Gerard muttered shaking his head. “Uh, that just went well.”
Holly’s voice was low and full of emotion. “We just got a reprieve. Believe me I know Molly. She’ll be mulling this around in her head. She’ll have lots of questions later on.”
Gerard looked into her eyes. “That’s okay. We’ll handle those questions together.”
Holly sighed, “Not really. I’m guessing she’ll give this some thought. Probably by tomorrow morning she’ll start asking.”
Gerard thought a moment. “Uh, what are you doing tomorrow?”
“Going to the gallery. Arthur has set up an interview for the art show and I really need to be there.”
“Oh.” He’d hoped they could spend the day together with the girls. “Are you talking Molly with you?”
“Yes.” Holly nodded her eyes once more watching the girls. “Alicia and Mikey are going to a wedding.”
“Oh yeah.” He remembered Alicia’s friend was getting married tomorrow. “Well how about this…let Molly spend the day with me and Bandit. I can pick her up in the morning.”
Holly forced her eyes away from the girls to look at him. “It’s really no problem for me to take her with me.”
He understood she was still nervous about him spending time with Molly. “Hey, it would be much more fun for her to spend the day with us. Besides.” He smiled, “It’s only fair I handle some of the questions she might have.”
“Gee, are you sure?”
He nodded, “Yeah, I’m sure. I’ll take the girls to the zoo then we’ll have a picnic.” He saw she still looked unconvinced. “Holly, you can trust me with her.” He said softly.
“It’s not that I don’t trust you.” She said slowly.
He smiled sadly, “Yeah, it kinda is and I understand. But I want you to see I’m a good dad. I love my daughters.”
Nervously she nodded, “Okay, I’m sure Molly will be happy to spend the day with you and Bandit.”
When it began to grow darker and the air turned colder the adults forced the girls inside. Gerard put a movie in the player for them to watch while he and Holly stayed on the patio. From where they sat they could see the girls laying on the rug enjoying the movie.
Before returning back to the patio Gerard had made coffee bringing out two mugs for himself and Holly.
“I like this blend.” Holly said after taking a sip of the brew.
“It’s my favorite.” He nodded.
Holly forced her eyes away from the patio doors. “We really can’t stay much longer or Molly will fall asleep during the drive back.”
He nodded, “Yeah, I understand. But it’s been a good evening.”
She smiled, “Yes, a very nice evening. Thanks for inviting us.”
“Thank you for coming. I know this isn’t easy for you.” He said softly.
Holly took another sip of coffee. “Actually it’s okay. Like I said before I’m tried of secrets. I’m glad Molly knows the truth. I feel like I’ve made peace with the past and can move on.”
Her words bothered Gerard but he tried to hide the feeling. “So, you’re moving into the loft soon?”
“Yes, on Sunday it should be ready. The painters we’re supposed to finish up today.”
“Well I’m sure if it’s not ready you could just stay and Mikey’s a few more days.”
Holly sighed, “As much as I love Mikey and Alicia it doesn’t feel right staying with them.” She struggled to explain. “Maybe it just brings back some bad memories from before.”
“If it does, that’s my fault.” Gerard said sadly.
Holly shook her head, “Don’t blame yourself. Believe me taking blame isn’t good. What happened, happened. No one can change the past. You just have to move on.”
Again her words bothered him but he struggled to hide his feelings. “Yeah, I know what you mean but at the same time it’s good to remember the good things from the past.”
Holly nodded, “That’s true and I am. I just wish…”
When she didn’t finish the sentence Gerard asked softly, “What?”
“Well today I know I upset Alicia and I feel bad about that.”
“Why was she upset?”
“I think she just believed that when Molly and I came back everything would be like it was before. That we would stay with them longer.”
“Oh.” Gerard said softly giving this some thought.
“It’s not that I don’t feel comfortable in their home, because I do. But at the same time nothing is the same as before. I’m not the same person now. I need my own space.” She sighed, “That sounds sorta bad.”
He shook his head, “No, I get it. I get that you are different now, you have confidence in yourself and that shows. And I understand you wanting your own place.”
Holly smiled, “Yeah, I really do. The loft is just temporary. It was kind of Arthur to let us stay there but eventually I want a home for me and Molly. A place to call our own that really is ours. Once the trailer was our home. It was small but it was home.”
Gerard nervously asked, “Uh, you sorry you sold it?”
“At the time it had to be done. The money really came in handy. But you know what I mean, it was ours and I miss that.”
It was hard for him not to glance across the yard towards the garage where the trailer in question was stored. Eventually he’d have to tell Holly but not now. “So are you planning on finding a place in LA?”
Holly lifted her mug but didn’t take a drink while she considered the question. “I’m really not sure. I do like California but the cost of living here is pretty damn high.”
“But since you’re an artist being out here is a good idea.” He reminded her.
“Well for now, it’s where we’ve landed.” Holly smiled, “My plan is to concentrate on the art show for the shelters then hopefully sell several more pieces after that. Arthur thinks that won’t be a problem with the holidays coming up. Oh and tomorrow he’s putting me in touch with a man who’s interested in me designing pieces for a restaurant he’s opening.” She smiled, “Actually I do have Lindsey to thank for that. From what Arthur’s told me this man was interested in my doing pieces for him before my attack. Lindsey introduced him to Arthur.”
“Yeah, I remember.” Gerard nodded.
Holly smiled, “Anyway, he hit some snags so his restaurant didn’t open as planned. So now, I have another chance to work for him. I’m really excited about this opportunity. It wouldn’t be just wind chimes but also mosaics for the walls. And the money would be great.”
“So it sounds like you’ll be in LA for a while.” Gerard said trying to keep the happiness he felt to an acceptable level.
“At least until after the new year, maybe longer. After that, who knows? The future looks bright and I’m ready to tackle it.”
Gerard smiled, “Yeah, you really are. I’m proud of you Holly.”
She looked down at her mug. “Thanks, Gee. I knew you’d understand. I just don’t want you to ever think that I won’t keep in mind you’ll want to spend time with Molly. I know it’s important for both of you to stay close.”
In his mind he was thinking it wasn’t just Molly he wanted to stay close to but for now that was something he had to keep quiet. “So, you ready to go in? I noticed you look a little cold.”
Holly laughed, “As nice as the chiminea is and the warm coffee, yeah I think my teeth are gonna start chattering any minute. It does get cold up here.”
He nodded, “Yeah, I’ve been told we even get light snow occasionally.”
“Gotta say I’m kinda looking foreword to that. I know Bandit is.”
“Kids love snow.” Holly said as she pushed back from the table.
A memory suddenly pushed it’s way into his brain. For now he stored it away but hopefully soon he could act on it. “Come on.” He said standing then gently taking her arm. “Is it okay to let them finish the movie before you take off?”
“Sure.” Holly nodded moving towards the sliding doors quickly so that he had to drop his hand from her arm.
An hour later it was time to leave. At the door Gerard helped Holly into her coat.
“Thanks for dinner.” She smiled then looked down at her daughter with a coaxing look.
“Yes, thank you for dinner. It was very good.” Molly smiled.
“Well I’m glad you two could make it.” Gerard said opening the door. He glanced at Bandit. “It’s cold. I’m gonna walk them to their car. You can wave goodbye from here.”
Bandit nodded. But before she could say anything Molly hugged her. “See ya later, sis.”
Holly and Gerard exchanged a happy look. The fact that the girls seemed so pleased with the truth pleased them.
Gerard held the door open for his guests. When they reached the car Holly opened her door and saw that Gerard had gone around to Molly’s side. Once she was seated her leaned in and made sure her seat belt was secure. “Hey, do me a favor.” He said softly. “It’s a long drive back to Mikey’s. Could you make sure your mom sends me a text when you get there?”
“Gee, we’ll be fine.” Holly said shaking her head.
Gerard ignored her still looking at Molly.
“I’ll make sure.” Molly answered. She leaned forward and placed a kiss on his cheek. “Goodnight daddy.”
“Goodnight Honey.” Gerard chocked out his voice full of emotion. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He and Holly had already explained she’d be spending the day with them.
Gerard looked over at Holly. “Be careful.”
“We will.” Holly smiled, “Thanks again.”
“Thank you.” Gerard said from the bottom of his heart. “For everything.”
When he closed the door Molly waved towards the house seeing Bandit standing at the door. Gerard stood watching until the car disappeared out of sight. Right now he was feeling overwhelmed with emotions, emotions he needed to get under control.
After giving Bandit a bath Gerard read her a story. Once she fell asleep he tip toed from the room. Walking into his room and sat down tiredly on the bed. For a moment he sat lost in thought then pulled out his cell.
“Hey.” Sally answered on the third ring.
“Hey. Hope it’s not too late to be calling.”
Sally laughed, “It’s not late. So how did dinner go?”
Gerard fell back on to the bed to stare at the ceiling. “Good. But I burned the damn garlic bread.”
While Sally understood he hadn’t called to talk about the actually dinner she knew Gerard well enough to let him ease into the true reason for the call. “Oh, what happened?”
“Stupid stove was too hot. But Holly fixed it. She scraped off the burnt top and added cheese.”
“Sounds like something I would do.” Sally laughed. “I think Holly and I would get along pretty well.”
Gerard gave that some thought. “Yeah, I think you two would. In a lot of ways you guys are alike.”
“So..” Sally said slowly. “What else happened?”
Gerard sighed, “We told Molly the truth.”
“And how did that go?” Sally asked.
“Well not bad, really. Holly just came right out and told Molly that I was her dad.”
“And what did Molly say?”
Again a lump of emotion came to his throat. “She asked if I was her real daddy. Shit, then she asked if she could call me daddy.”
“That had to make you pretty happy.”
“Yeah, fuckin’ happy.” Gerard admitted.
“So did she ask why you guys were just telling her now?”
Gerard sighed, “Holly said that she’s pretty sure Molly will mull this around in her head for a while. But after we told her she hugged Bandit and told her that it meant they were real sisters.”
“Sounds like it’s pretty important to Molly to have family.” Sally said softly.
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Okay, Way.” Sally said trying to sound stern. “What’s bothering you?”
“Who said anything was bothering me?”
Sally laughed, “I can hear it in your voice. And you called me, so what’s really going on?”
Gerard was silent a moment trying to put his feelings into words. “Nothing is really wrong. I mean me and Holly talked alone and that was good.” He paused, “I found out tonight her dad was an alcoholic who took his own life.”
“Shit. You didn’t know?”
“Nope, she’d never told me.”
Sally sighed, “Well that does put a different light on things. I’m sure that made your drinking problem much harder for Holly do deal with.”
“Yeah, she admitted that. I really understand now why she’d been planning on leaving before the attack.”
“She was trying to protect Molly.”
“Yeah, she was and after that night…”
Sally had heard what happened. “Gee, don’t beat yourself up over that. It happened but that part of your life is over.”
“It is but I just hope Holly believes that.” He said with a long sigh.
“Make her believe.” Sally urged. “Give her time to see how much you’ve changed.”
“I hope I have time.” Gerard said finally getting to one of the things that was really bothering him. “She’s not sure they will stay in LA.”
“Oh.” Sally said slowly.
“Well it sounds like to me you are upset about that.”
He tried to deny the whole truth. “Well sure, I don’t want to lose Molly. I like her being near.”
“And you like Holly being near.” Sally said.
“I didn’t say that.” Gerard answered quickly.
Again Sally laughed, “Way, don’t forget who you’re talking to. I know you’ve been waiting for both of them to come back.”
“Well yeah.” He admitted. “I mean Molly’s my daughter.”
“And Holly is someone you still have deep feelings for.” Sally added. “But I’ll just give you the same advice I did before…don’t rush things. You both need to get to know each other again. Give it time. If you two still have feelings for each other it will work out.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” His phone alerted him to a text. “Hey I gotta go, but thanks.”
“Glad you called.” Sally admitted.
They said their goodbyes then Gerard checked his message. It was from Holly simply saying thanks again for dinner and that they were back at Mickey’s. Gerard stared at the text then responded saying again how he felt the night had been very good.
Sitting in the car Holly stared at the text. Tonight had been good, must better than she’d hoped. But still something she’d wanted to say had gone unmentioned. Glancing over at her sleeping daughter she decided to send one more text before going in.
FORGOT BUT WANTED TO THANK YOU FOR THE LETTER YOU HAD A GIVE ME BEFORE YOU LEFT ON TOUR
Gerard, who believing there would be no further texts, set his phone down. However when it beeped he picked it up again quickly. He was surprised by the text and reading it brought back some very deep emotions. His fingers fumbled as he quickly answered.
MEANT EVERY WORD IN THAT ONE
He sent it before he realized what he’d done.
Holly jumped as Mikey pulled open Molly’s door. “Hey.” He whispered. “Figured M might be asleep. I’ll carry her in for you.”
“Thanks.” Holly smiled. Her phone beeped but for now she pocketed it.
“Come on sleepyhead.” Mikey said gently as he lifted Molly into his arms. She stirred but then snuggled against him.
Holly walked ahead as quickly as possible to open the front door but it wasn’t easy. Tonight after sitting so long in the cold at Gerard’s her back was aching and her limp pronounced.
“You okay?” Mikey whispered seeing that limp.
“Sure.” Holly smiled as she opened the door to let Mikey pass. “Just a little stiff.”
Alicia joined them. It was then Molly opened her eyes. “Hey Uncle Mikey.” She smiled.
“Hey, M.” He moved down the hallway to the bedroom with Alicia and Holly following. Carefully he placed Molly on the bed. Her eyes opened again.
“You’re my real uncle Mikey.” She said giving him a sleepy smile.
Mikey gave Holly a surprised look.
“We told her.” She said softly.
Molly’s voice was sweet. “I love you uncle Mikey.” She glanced over at Alicia who was standing in the doorway. “Love you aunt Alicia.”
Tears came to Alicia’s eyes. “I love you too, Molly.”
“Get some sleep, M.” Mikey said before leaning down to kiss her cheek. “See you in the morning.”
Molly nodded then closed her eyes. She was asleep before Mikey and Alicia left the room.
Holly gently took off Molly’s shoes and jeans but decided it would be best just to let her sleep in her tee. She pulled a light blanket over the child then stood back remembering she had an unread text. Moving across the room she sat down then pulled out her phone. A puzzled look covered her face. Something about the text seemed strange.
Gerard set his phone down again. Enough time had passed he assumed that Holly hadn’t noticed anything strange about the text. He had just pulled off his shirt when the phone beeped. He grab it and quickly read the text.
“Shit.’ He muttered, she had noticed. He sat back down on the bed trying to decide how to handle this. Finally he decided honestly was best.
THAT NIGHT I WROTE 2 LETTERS FOR YOU
Holly had removed her shoes and taken a pain pill when the text arrived, She read it then read it again. She was confused.
I ONLY GOT ONE LETTER
Gerard had expected this response. When it came he was ready.
WROTE 2 ONLY WANTED YOU TO SEE 1
Holly looked up as a light knock on the door started her. Alicia opened the door and peered in. “Uh, Mikey and I were wondering if you’re going to bed now? If you’re not tired I’m making hot cocoa.”
Holly grinned, "Cocoa sounds good.” She painfully rose from the chair and followed Alicia out of the room. Once seated on the sofa she took her phone from her pocket and sent a simple one word text.
She had just been handed her mug of coco when his answer came.
AT THE TIME IT WASN’T SOMETHING YOU NEEDED TO HEAR BUT I MEANT EVER WORD IN IT
Alicia was confused by the look on Holly’s face. “Something wrong?”
Holly smiled, “Oh no.” She said slowly. She quickly replied.
ARE THE WORDS STILL TRUE?
Gerard was undressed and in bed when he read her response. Leave it to Holly to ask that he sighed. “Oh shit.” He thought a minute then answered.
“So you saved dinner.” Alicia laughed after Holly had just told them about the garlic bread.
“Dinner didn’t need saving.” Holly laughed. “It was great. Gee was just stressing too much.”
“He wanted it to be perfect.” Mikey said softly.
Holly was about to answer him when her phone beeped. She read his one word answer. Quickly she responded.
WILL I EVER GET TO READ IT?
Gerard was laying on the bed staring up at the ceiling when he got the text. He read it then sighed, would she ever read it? Should she? He thought several minutes before answering.
“Sorry.” Holly said holding up the phone. She felt it was rude to be text while talking to her friends. “Uh, it’s Gee.”
“Oh.” Alicia said hoping Holly would elaborate.
Unfortunately Holly didn’t. “So anyway after dinner the girls went out to the swing set and Gee and I sat on the patio. It gets cold up there.”
Mikey laughed, “Gee tell you he’s hoping for snow?'
“He mentioned that.” Holly laughed. “He said he hopes it snows for Bandit but I’m not so sure he’s not the one who wants the snow.”
“So how did it go when you told Molly.” Alicia asked then quickly added, “I mean if you want to tell us.”
Holly smiled at her friend. “I understand you guys want to know. Actually it went well.” She paused, “At least for now. Molly was very excited that it mean she and Bandit are sisters.”
“What did B think?’ Mikey asked.
“Not sure B really understood other than she liked the idea they are sisters too.” Her phone beeped. “Excuse me.” She laughed then read the text.
YEAH SOMEDAY IF YOU WANT TO.
Holly sighed. Right now her emotions were a bit torn. She needed time to think.
OKAY. NIGHT GEE
Gerard read her final text then began to respond. He erased the last word he typed then unable to stop himself he retyped it and sent SEND
SWEET DREAMS SUGAR
Holly had just told Mikey and Alicia about the stop she and Molly had made at the cemetery on the way to Gerard’s when his final text came.
“Holly?” Alicia said softly when she saw a look on her friends’ face that worried her. “Is everything okay?”
Holly set the phone down. “Yeah, sure.” She forced a smile. “Everything is fine.”