Holly comes to Gerard's rescue
“Hey Gee.” She answered taking a seat on the sofa by Molly who was watching a movie.
“Hey Holly.” He tried to find a quieter spot in the grocery store out of the other customer’s way. “Uh I’m not bothering you am I?”
“Nope, just been working pretty much all day so I’m glad for the distraction.” She heard a strange voice that sounded as if was being broadcast over a loudspeaker. “Gee, where are you?”
He hated to admit it but he knew he needed her help. “I’m at the grocery store.”
Holly glanced over at the clock and noted it was almost 9:00 pm. “Oh, did you forget something for tomorrow?”
He groaned inwardly, “Not exactly. See we we’re supposed to have today off but they are breathing down our necks about costs and studio time.”
Alicia had already mentioned to Holly how worried Mikey was about the band’s relationship with their record company so she wasn’t totally surprised. “So you had to be in the studio all day?”
“Yeah.” He leaned back against one of the frozen food cases. “Shit, I’m sorry to bother you with this I should have just called ma.”
“Gee, what’s wrong?” Holly said slowly. Then as it dawned on her, “Oh, you haven’t bought anything for tomorrow’s dinner, have you?”
“I really thought I’d have today off.” He said softly. “Fuck, I think this store does some sort of Thanksgiving catering thing. I’ll just do that. Sorry to have bothered you.”
It was impossible for her to ignore the disappointment in his voice. She sighed, “You’ll do no such thing. You promised me and Molly a homemade Thanksgiving dinner. Really a grocery store catered dinner? What kind of a way is that to start a tradition in your new home?”
“Shitty.” He said trying to ignore the pounding in his head. “But I don’t know what else to do. I’ve was just looking at the damn turkeys and the fuckers are frozen. I don’t have time to thaw one out according to the directions.”
Holly knew he felt bad but hearing him call the turkeys fuckers made her grin. “Okay mosey yourself to the meat department and ask about a fresh turkey I’m guessing they have them somewhere. I’ll warn you they cost more but if you want turkey tomorrow you gotta have one.”
Suddenly he felt a small glimmer of hope. He pushed off the freeze and started down the aisle, “Okay, we’re headed there now.”
Holly listened as he asked an employee about fresh turkeys. Again she smiled when she heard him tell the man he wanted the largest turkey they had. Finally he spoke to her again.
“Okay one huge fresh turkey is in my basket. What else do I need?”
“Oh Lord you don’t have a shopping list do you?” She rolled her eyes.
“Well I was just sorta figuring I’d know and besides I can follow around the other shoppers and see what they are getting.”
She asked Molly to grab her a glass of water then slowly lifted her feet up onto the sofa to relieve the pain in her back. Obviously this was going to be a long call. “Okay Gerard lets start at the produce section of the store.”
“Yeah okay.” He smiled as he wheeled his card towards the side of the store. “And we’re here.” He said a minute later.
“You have a very squeaky cart.” Holly laughed.
“For sure.” He looked around. “What do I need here?”
Holly was about to answer when she heard someone else speaking to him. It was hard to make out what was being said and she guessed he’d lowered the phone. Several minutes passed then he was back. “Sorry, that was a fan who recognized me.”
Holly laughed, “Yeah, well I’m sure that happens. Okay you need potatoes.”
It went on like this for twenty minutes while Holly went over in her mind what he needed then relayed it to him.
“Shit.” He said as he started towards the front of the store. “I forgot apple cider.”
Holly was having fun trying to imagine what he looked like going through the store. “You need apple cider?”
“Well yeah, that’s a Thanksgiving thing, isn’t it?”
“If you say so, Gee.” Holly laughed. Again she glanced at the clock realizing it was past Molly’s bedtime. “Uh, you really need to get home now.” She said trying to make him understand. “You’re gonna have to get up pretty early to put the turkey in if you want to have dinner at noon.”
“Don’t it take a couple of hours?” He asked warily eyeing the very long check out lines.
Holly was starting to really feel sorry for him. He still had a long drive home and a lot of prep work he obviously didn’t understand. “It’s gonna take a lot more then just a few hours.”
“Okay. Crap you should see these check out lines.” He sighed leaning heavily against his basket.
“I can imagine.” Holly could never understand people that waited until the last minute but maybe they were like Gerard and hadn’t had the time before now.
His head was really starting to pound. “Anyway thanks a lot for the help.” He said softly.
“You’re welcome.” Holly answered feeling a twinge of guilt. “See you tomorrow.”
After she disconnected she stared at the TV for several minutes lost in thought.
“What’s wrong mommy?” Molly asked.
Holly knew her daughter was really looking forward to tomorrow’s dinner. “Oh nothing.” She sighed then lifted her phone. When he answered she asked him if he was still in line.
“Hell yeah.” He muttered. “Don’t think I’ve moved at all.”
She glanced at Molly then asked, “Gee, would you like us to come out tonight and help?”
“Holly it’s awful late.” He said sadly because Lord knew he’d like her help.
“It is and it’s past Molly’s bedtime but if you want we’ll come. We’ll just spend the night if that’s okay.”
Immediately Molly was bouncing up and down pleased with the idea.
“Sure.” Gerard said feeling the fog around his brain starting to lift. “Yeah, that would be great. You can sleep in Bandit’s bed.”
That was exactly what she’d planned. “Okay, we’ll gather up our stuff and I’ll just make the pies there.”
“Great.” He said noticing the line he was in was actually moving a bit. “I’m not sure but you’ll probably get there before me.”
“Will that be a problem?” Holly asked remembering he lived in a gated community.
He understood, “Nope. Nick is working and he knows to let you in anytime.”
Gerard explained. “Uh and if you do get there before me the front door key is under the pink rock on the right side of the sideway, right before you get to the stairs.”
Holly laughed, “Lord I hope no one is listening to this call.”
Gerard laughed too. “Don’t think so. Really Holly, thanks so much for this.”
She tried to play it down. “No problem. See you soon.” She disconnected then told Molly to grab their PJ’s and her overnight bag.
It didn’t take them long and soon they were on their way. Because she was so excited Molly didn’t fall asleep. When they reached the guard hut Nick came out to the car.
“Well good evening Holly.” He leaned down “And Molly.”
“Hey Nick.” Holly smiled.
Molly leaned over, “We’re here to help daddy. He’s gonna make Thanksgiving dinner.”
Holly noticed that Nick didn’t seem at all surprised to hear Molly suddenly calling Gerard, daddy.”
“Well that’s nice of you girls.” Nick smiled. “Wish I had two lovely ladies to make me Thanksgiving dinner.”
Holly frowned, “You have to work tomorrow?”
He nodded, “Sure do. Gonna be lots of guests coming and going.”
“And you work all day?” This just didn’t seem fair at all to her.
He sighed, “Yep.”
“Well don’t worry.” Holly said smiling. “I’ll make sure to bring you a plate of food. We’re planning on eating at noon so it will be a bit after that.”
Nick was surprised, “Oh you don’t need to trouble yourself, Holly.”
“No trouble at all.” She said firmly.
Gerard nodded to Nick as he drove up to the gate expecting the man to simply let him in but was surprised when the guard walked up to his window.
“Mr Way, Holly and your little girl are already up at the house.”
Gerard nodded, “Oh, good. Have they been here long?”
“About twenty minutes.” Nick answered. “Mighty nice woman, that Holly.”
Gerard nodded but was slightly confused. “Yeah, she is. Uh, so did Molly tell you I’m her dad?”
Nick laughed while stroking his white beard, “Didn’t need anyone to tell me that. First time you brought that little girl here I knew just by looking at her. It was pretty easy for me to see the resemblance between her and your other little girl.”
Gerard smiled, “I’m a pretty lucky man.”
“That you are sir.” He took a step back from the car. “Have a nice night and Happy Thanksgiving.”
“Same to you.” Gerard answered before pushing the button to raise the window. He smiled as he drove towards his house. Just knowing that Holly and Molly were inside his home filled him with a ridiculous amount of happiness. He was actually humming the new song the band had been working on when he pulled in his driveway to park beside Holly’s car.
Holly had just sat down when Gerard walked in.
“Hey.” He smiled in greeting trying to contain the sheer happiness he was feeling. “Thanks for coming.”
“No prob.” Holly said as she stood up. “Molly wasn’t happy but I already made her go to bed. But I promised you’d come in and tell her goodnight as soon as you got here.”
“Sure.” He sat down the one bag he’d already brought in then headed down the hallway towards the bedroom. As Holly had predicted his daughter was already sleeping. Gently he leaned down and whispered. “Night Honey.” He placed a kiss on her cheek.
Molly barley opened her eyes and murmured “Nite Daddy.” Then she promptly fell back asleep.
When he returned to the living area he saw that Holly was just walking in with two more plastic grocery bags.
“Hey, I’ll get the groceries.” He said not wanting her to hurt her back.
Holly sighed, “Gee, I’m not an invalid. These aren’t that heavy but believe me I’m not picking up that turkey.”
He laughed, “Got us a big one, didn’t I?”
She nodded, “Yeah, you sure did. I’ve already cleared out a spot in the fridge for it.”
As she started to remove items from the bags he finished unloading the car. Soon everything was inside and the turkey was in the refrigerator.
“Okay.” Gerard said standing back. “Where do we begin?”
Holly frowned, “I just realized I forgot something. I was going to pick up whipped topping for the pumpkin pies in the morning.”
He wanted everything to be perfect and obviously Holly wanted the topping. “Uh, I could go in the morning and get some.” He offered.
Holly shook her head, “I know there is a store by Mikey’s that’s open tomorrow, at least it was last year. I’m sure they can pick it up.”
Suddenly his smile faded.
“What?” Holly was confused by this sudden mood swing.
He looked away. “I was just thinking about last Thanksgiving.” He admitted softly.
Holly didn’t quite understand. “Oh you mean because this will be your first Thanksgiving without Lindsey and Bandit?”
He wanted her to understand completely. “Well that but it’s more. Last Thanksgiving I was drinking and Linds and I were fighting so much. Shit, I hate that’s a memory I’ll always keep.”
“Gee, believe me holding on to bad memories isn’t good. Concentrate on making new, good memories.” Holly said with a small smile.
He nodded, “Yeah, you’re right. I just wish it hadn’t been that way though.” He paused then added softly, “And I’m sorry you and Molly had to see some of that.”
“Molly really didn’t.” Holly said as she sat down at the table. “So don’t worry about it.”
“But you did and I hate that.” He sat down across from her. “And Molly did see some of it.” He just couldn’t let the memory go of the night he’d returned to Mikey’s drunk and sick and Molly had seen him.
Holly sighed obviously not wanting to talk about this.
“Hey, I’m not gonna bring up shit you don’t want to talk about.” He said quickly “But I just want you to know that I understand why you wanted to get Molly away from me back then..”
Holly didn’t want to get into the past. “Okay.” She said picking up a piece of paper. “I see you’ve been printing out recipes.”
He got what she was doing so he nodded, “Yeah, that stuffing one looks okay unless you have a better one?”
Holly quickly scanned the paper. “This looks good and you have everything you need for it. Now, how first off lets get old Tom figured out. Just how many pounds it that turkey?”
He grinned, “Got the biggest one they had. He’s 24 pounds.”
Holly laughed, “You are definitely going to have leftover turkey. Okay now do you want to cook him stuffed or unstuffed?”
Gerard frowned, “Does it make a difference?”
“Well I’ve heard some people believe it’s better to cook them unstuffed because they think it’s safer but I always cooked my turkeys stuffed. You just have to make sure it reaches 180 degrees.” She paused, “Uh, you didn’t get the stove fixed did you?”
“Oh shit.” He groaned.
“No problem.” Holly smiled, “I brought a meat thermometer kinda figured you might have forgotten. We’ll just have to adjust. Now stuffed of unstuffed?”
“Stuffed.” He decided that if that was they way Holly had done it before that’s what he wanted.
“Fine.” She nodded, “Well get the stuffing made tonight so it will be ready in the morning.” She thought a minute. “Okay a bird that large will take about six to six and a half hours.”
His eyes grew wide, “That long?”
“I’m guessing you’ve never cooked a turkey yourself?”
“No, Linds handled it before, or mom.”
“Well now you will be able to add turkey cooking to your resume.” Holly ginned. “Okay you have stuffing and green bean casserole to make and I have pies to bake. The dinner rolls can wait until morning but remember the dough will have need an hour to raise.” She stood. “Think we could have some coffee while we work?”
“Sure.” He jumped up. “That sounds great.” Suddenly something dawned on him. “Oh crap that means the turkey has to go in at 6 am?”
“Actually I’m thinking more like 5:30. We want to make sure it’s done and has time to rest so it will slice better.”
“Rest, why the hell does that turkey need rest? We’re the ones who are gonna need rest.” He said knowing it was almost midnight.
Holly laughed, “Yeah, for sure.”
Soon they were working side by side in the small kitchen. Gerard realized his headache was completely gone and he felt better than he had in days. It was hard but he had to keep reminding himself that just because Holly was here didn’t mean anything had really changed between them. But oh how he hoped that someday they way they were right now, together in his home, would become a reality.
“So, you worked on your wind chimes all day?” He asked glancing over at her and seeing she was just about ready to place the pies in the oven.
“Most of the day.” She answered without looking at him. “I also was trying to get some idea’s for the murals Richard wants.”
“The man who’s commissioned me to make wind chimes and several murals for his restaurant in LA.” She opened the oven door then carefully placed both pies on the rack.
“Murals? I didn’t realize you’d be making those.” He said turning to lean on the counter. “Isn’t that a big job?”
“Huge.” Holly smiled as she closed the oven door. “But I really think it’s gonna be great. I’ve never done anything like this before. Each mural will be made of stained glass pieces, like a mosaic.”
“Cool.” He said softly in his mind thinking that a job this big would obviously keep her in LA for quite some time.
Holly smiled, “I’m really excited about it. I showed Richard some sketches when I met him yesterday and he really seemed to like them. But Lord, you’re right this is gonna be a huge job. The one at the entrance to the restaurant is going to take up most of a wall. I can’t even wrap by brain around how many pieces of glass it’s gonna take.”
“I wish you’d brought the sketches.” Gerard said, “I’d love to see them.”
She grinned, “Actually I have them out in the car if you really want to see them.”
He nodded, “Yeah, I’d love to.”
“Well okay.” Holly said slowly. “Guess we have a bit of time while the pies bake but you really should get to bed soon.” She glanced at the clock. “But if you want I can put the turkey in at 5:30 so you can sleep a little later.”
Gerard frowned, “Oh hell no. First off I don’t want you lifting that monster and secondly this is my dinner. You can sleep in and I’ll do it.”
She had no intension of sleeping in but for now remained silent on the subject. “Okay I’ll just go grab my sketches.”
Gerard nodded. While she was gone he started to clean the kitchen. She returned just as he was wiping his hands.
“This is just a primary sketch.” Holly said placing her book on the table. “But it kinda gives you an idea.”
Gerard walked over and was surprised by what he saw. “You drew this?” He was impressed by the sketch of a field filled with flowers, trees and a barn in the background.
“Yeah.” Holly laughed. “I’m no artist as you can see.”
He looked up at her. “You’re one hell of an artist and it shows.”
Their eyes locked for a moment then Holly quickly looked away.
“Okay so imagine this taking up a wall.” She said wanting to get back to the sketch. “This is going to take more glass then I can even imagine. And I’ve thought about it and I don’t want to use the same colors. I mean like on these flowers.” She pointed to the sketch. “I want to use different shades for each one so each flower is unique.”
He forced his attention back to the sketch. “But you’re gonna have to use new glass, right?”
“Oh no.” Holly shook her head, “For this to truly be one of my pieces the glass has to be old, salvaged.”
“How are you gonna manage that?” he asked.
“Well there are tons of architectural salvage places but also I like to find pieces in thrift store, auctions…well just about anywhere.”
He loved how excited she looked about the project. “That’s a lot of work.”
Holly nodded, “Yep, but I’m up for the challenge. On Saturday I’m going to spend the day finding pieces to use. Then on Sunday there is a huge auction that had a lot of pieces from an old church that was torn down. I’m hoping I can get several windows at least.”
“Are you taking Molly with you?” He asked.
“Oh sure.” Holly nodded, “I pretty much always take Molly with me.”
He nodded, “That’s good but anytime you decide not to I’ll be happy to watch her.”
Holly stood up a bit straighter because her back as starting to ache. “Thanks but I know you guys are busy in the studio.”
Gerard frowned, “Yeah, but still I’m sure we can work around that. It’s important to me to spend time with her, you know?”
“I know.” Holly said softly. Suddenly she turned, “Gotta check on my pies. Someone one, not to mention any names, has a messed up stove.”
Gerard laughed, “Gosh, who could you mean?”
“That would be you.” She called out over her shoulder with a grin.
Gerard’s eyes fell to the sketch again. He really had no idea she could draw this well and was impressed by the details. Sadly he realized he really shouldn’t be surprised. It was obvious just how artistic Holly could be she’d just never really had the time before.
“Uh so did this guy give you an advance?” He asked hoping she didn’t mind him asking but he knew it would take a lot of money for Holly to secure her supplies.
Holly peeked into the stove then walked back out of the kitchen. “Yep, he sure did. Believe me it seems really weird having so much money in my checking account.” She thought a minute then admitted something, “You know while I can’t say I’m not happy about the money, because Lord knows I am, it’s more than that. I’m so excited to do this.”
“Because you’re an artist.” He said softly. “And making art makes you happy.”
Holly smiled, “Yeah, it really does. Richard says my eyes light up when I discuss my plans.”
Suddenly Gerard’s good mood slipped. “So is this his first restaurant?”
“Oh, no. He’s got four spread out across California. This one in LA will be his fifth.”
“Really?” He was trying to act cool but he definitely wanted to know more about the man.
“He says each restaurant is unique. He’s even offered to show me the others.”
Gerard just bet he did. “So, how old is this guy?”
The question didn’t bother Holly. “I’d guess he’s in his forties, I’m not sure. His family has always been in the restaurant business. Richard is actually a chief. He says he still loves to cook and I guess that’s what he’ll be doing when the restaurant in LA first opens. I sorta got the idea from listening to him he does that when he opens a new place until he gets restless, then he starts to think about opening a new place.”
The more he listened the more he wanted to know about this guy, especially if Holly was going to be spending a lot of time with him. “So does his wife work in the restaurant business too?”
Holly shook her head, “He’s divorced.”
It was getting harder and harder for Gerard to fake a disinterest in the man. He decided to back off for the moment. Since he’d be seeing Lindsey on Sunday he’d just question her. She was the one who had brought Holly to the guy’s attention. “So.” He said slowly, “What else do we need to do tonight?”
Absently Holly reached behind her to rub her lower spine. “Well, nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow.”
Gerard was concerned, “Hey, your back hurting?”
“Not bad.” She smiled, “But can I please have another cup of coffee while I wait for my pies?”
“Of course.” He grabbed her cup off the table. “But stop being so damn polite. I want you to make yourself at home.” As soon as he said it he realized by the look on her face they were heading into past territory again.
When he returned she’d sat down and was placing her sketch back in the book.
“Here ya go.” He said placing the cup on the table.
“Thanks.” She said softly. “This really is a beautiful home.”
He pulled out a chair and sat. “Thanks, I love it. And I really do mean it Holly. I want you to feel at home here too. I’m pretty sure Molly already does.”
Holly took a sip of coffee then smiled, “Yeah, she does. Uh, so tonight when we first got here Nick didn’t seem surprised when Molly called you daddy.”
Gerard grinned, “Okay I have to admit something, I didn’t tell him. And tonight when I got here he came out to the car for a minute. He said you and my little girl were already up at the house. I just figured you or Molly had told him.”
Holly shook her head.
“I know.” Gerard explained, “I asked him how he knew and he said he knew the first time I brought her here. Said he could see the resemblance between her and Bandit.”
“Really?” Holly mused, “I guess there is a slight resemblance.”
“I’m just glad Molly looks more like you than me.” He said softly.
Holly laughed, “Oh no she doesn’t. That child looks a lot like you which is good.” She couldn’t stop herself from adding, “Cause you’re damn pretty.”
The fact that she was teasing him made him very happy. “I ain’t pretty.”
“Yeah, right.” She grinned.
A comfortable silence fell over them. Finally Gerard spoke.
“So, think tomorrow’s dinner will be good?”
Holly nodded, “Yep, it’s gonna be good, hell it’s gonna be great.” She glanced at the clock again. “But damn we aren’t gonna get much sleep. Oh and believe me Molly will be up at the crack of dawn.”
“Gee, tomorrow is parade day on TV. She’s gonna wanna watch all the parades.”
“Maybe someday we can take her to New York to see the real Thanksgiving Day Parade.” He said without thinking.
Holly suddenly stood. “Gotta check the pies.”
He knew what he’d just said had upset her.
When finally the pies were setting on the counter to cool Gerard and Holly decided to get some sleep.
They walked down the hallway together. At the first bedroom door Gerard paused, “Nite Holly.”
“See ya soon.” She smiled.
She started to open the door but his hand grabbed her arm. “Holly?”
She turned to look into his eyes.
“Thank you.” He whispered.
Holly stared a moment then smiled, “Get some sleep, Gee.” With that she entered the bedroom then closed the door.
Gerard continued on to his room. Once there he was smiling again. It was amazing how quickly things could change. This morning he would never have believed that tonight Holly and his daughter would be staying in his house.
When he finally slipped into bed the smile was still on his face. Tonight, more than ever, this place felt like home.