Finding the perfect Christmas Tree
Holly turned slightly in her seat to look at the two little girls. “So are we gonna get the perfect Christmas Tree?”
The ‘yes’ screams from the back seat caused Gerard to flinch. “Oh way to go, Holly. Get them even more wound up.”
Holly laughed, “Well this is supposed to be exciting.”
He nodded, “Yep and it is. We just have to make sure they don’t choose a tree that’s too big for the house.”
“Oh Gee.” Holly giggled. “Come on you have soaring ceilings.” She paused as a thought came to her. “I mean you are gonna put it in the living room, right?”
He nodded as he signaled then changed lanes. “Yeah, I thought in front of the windows would be best.”
“Yep, that’s where I’d put it.” Holly agreed. “So how much farther?”
Gerard laughed, “Now you sound like a kid. Next thing you know you’ll be saying….”
Before he could utter the words Holly broke in. “Are we there yet?”
Gerard wanted to so badly to reach across the seat to grab her hand but he kept himself from doing it. Right now he didn’t want to do anything that would spook Holly. But damn, he wanted to touch her so badly. He glanced over and smiled. “Calm yourself down, woman. We’re almost there.”
In the back seat both little girls clapped their hands in anticipation.
As soon as the girls were released from the car they took off running towards the cut trees.
“Be careful.” Holly yelled. “And keep your jackets zipped up.” The day was sunny but the air was crisp. Holly still marveled how cooler the weather was here than back in LA.
Gerard came around the car to stand by her. “Hey look around. I think we’re pretty much the only ones here. Everyone else already has a tree.”
Holly’s eyes were still on the girls. “I just don’t want them falling and doing a pavement check.”
“Morning, folks. I’m John” An older man wearing a long sleeve plaid shirt said as he joined them. “What kind of tree are you looking for?”
Gerard glanced over at Holly hoping she’d field this one. To him a Christmas tree was a Christmas tree. He hadn’t realized until they’d driven up to the lot that there were obviously different types.
Holly knew he was staring at her. “Uh, you’ve never had a real tree?”
“You remember the tree ma had us put up for her. That’s the only kind of Christmas tree I know. Mikey has a real one but I don’t know what kind it is.”
Holly also remembered the tree she and Molly had helped him decorate last Christmas had been artificial also. “Oh well.” She said brightly. “I’m sure John will show you the different kinds.”
“Sure will.” He nodded as he turned towards the trees. “I see your girls are checking out the Scotch Pines.”
Holly had to stop herself from correcting him. The girls weren’t “theirs” but she saw no reason to point that out.
Gerard laughed, “Yeah, they seem to like those.”
The adults walked over to where the girls were laughing and running around the trees.
“Look Daddy.” Molly said pointing to one. “Look how pretty.”
John was immediately pleased by their choice of tree. “That beauty is an 8 foot Scotch Pine. Got a beautiful shape.”
Spotting the pink plastic tag attached to the tree Holly walked over and read the price. “Oh my.” She gasped.
Gerard was watching her. “Holly, the price don’t matter.” He said moving over to stand by her. “We want the perfect tree.”
“Gerard this tree is $200 dollars.” She said softly.
He realized immediately by her tone she believed paying that much for a tree was ridiculous wither the money was hers or not. “Yeah, that is a bit much.” He looked around and saw the girls had already moved on.
“Did you have a price range in mind?” John asked not wanting to miss a sale.
Gerard shook his stocking capped head, “Not really, just want a good tree.”
“I have some nice Douglas Fir trees.” The man said leading them in another direction.
Holly called out for the girls to follow them.
“These are nice trees.” John said pointing to a different section of the lot. “Not as pricy but they have a nice shape.”
Gerard wasn’t sure why but it bothered him that price had become an issue. “I think we should let the girls pick out what they like.” He said to Holly.
While Holly didn’t agree that they should just let the girls choose any tree without considering the price she held her tongue. This would be Gerard’s tree for his house so it was up to him.
Bandit pointed to one of the larger Douglas Firs. “Bandit likes this one.”
Gerard laughed, “Oh Bandit does, does she?” He looked over and saw that something else had caught Molly’s attention. “What you looking at Squirt?”
Molly turned to the adults. “How come that tree is laying down?” She’d spotted a tree on the ground near the fence that surrounded the lot.
“Tree tired?” Bandit guessed.
Gerard and Holly both tried not to laugh.
John spoke up. “That tree is going to the wood chipper. It’s got a crooked base and a huge bald spot. Nobody wants it for a Christmas tree. We were going to make wreaths out of it but they aren’t selling that well this year.”
Molly looked up at her mother. “Poor tree.”
Holly knew her daughter well enough to understand. She was about to answer Molly when Gerard spoke up.
“How bad it is it really?”
John laughed, “It’s not a pretty tree. Now these Douglas Firs, they are what you want, they make beautiful Christmas Trees.”
Molly wandered over to the fallen tree looking down at it woefully.
Gerard was watching her realizing just how much Molly was like her mother. “Uh, could we maybe stand that one up and take a look?”
John nodded, “Sure, sure.” The thought of unloading the useless tree to him was an appealing idea. He reached his gloved hand into the tree and stood it up. Giving it a shake he turned it around so they could see the tree from each angle. The bald spot he’d mentioned was noticeable.
Molly and Bandit stood looking at the tree. “B, this tree needs a home.” Molly said to her sister.
Bandit looked at the tree a moment then turned to her dad. “Bandit likes it.”
Holly was watching Gerard’s face but couldn’t tell how he really felt about this. She knew he had wanted a perfect tree and this one was far from perfect. “Girls, why don’t we look at some others?”
“But mommy if we don’t take this one it’s not gonna get to be a Christmas Tree.” Molly said sadly.
“She’s right.” Gerard said suddenly joining the conversation. “And I’m sure the girls can make some decorations to fill in that bad spot.”
Holly gave him a beautiful smile. “It will take a lot of big decorations.”
“So how much you gonna charge me to take this one?” Gerard asked.
John laughed, “Hey for a nice family like yours I’ll give you this for twenty bucks.”
Hearing the man say ‘his family’ made his heart swell with pride but he didn’t chance looking over at Holly for fear she’d been frowning. He looked at his daughters. “So this one is our Christmas Tree?"
Both girls jumped up and down happily, chapping their hands and assuring their father that this was their tree.
“We’ll take it.” Gerard said. It was then he turned to look at Holly. Her smile made even that sad tree look beautiful.
“Guess we have a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.” Gerard said as they pulled out of the lot with their tree secured to the top of the vehicle.
Holly giggled, “Yeah, uh, did I mention that’s one of Molly’s favorite Christmas shows?”
“Not surprised.” Gerard said making the turn out onto the road. “But hey, it will be fine.”
“Not exactly what you had in mind though, is it?” Holly said softly.
He almost didn’t hear her over the girl’s happy chatter in the back. “Actually it’s exactly what I had in mind. A tree we all can love.”
Holly forced herself to look out the side window at the passing scenery. Once again the man sitting beside her was reminding her of the man she’d once fallen in love with and that wasn’t something she wanted to remember. Right now she had to concentrate on creating a new life for her and Molly.
“So.” Gerard said, “I was thinking grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. How’s that sound?”
“I call making them while you and the girls figure a way to get that crooked tree base into the stand.”
Gerard laughed, “Oh sure you get the easy job. But we do have a slight problem. I’m gonna have to stop and buy a tree stand.”
Holly nodded, “Oh yeah, that’s true.”
“No problem.” He said, “Got this one covered. There is a strip mall not far from here. There’s a small grocery store cause we need a loaf of bread and a hardware store. I’ll get the stand and you can get the bread.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Gerard found a spot in front of the hardware store. “Okay, girls. I’m gonna get a tree stand and Holly’s heading to the grocery store. Who wants to go with me?”
Both girls thought getting a tree stand sounded like more fun.
Holly bought a loaf of bread and was back at the car leaning against the hood when Gerard and the girls came thought the sliding glass doors of the hardware store. She reached into her pocket planning on giving the girls some change to put into the Salvation Army kettle that was just outside the door being manned by an energetic bell ringer. She knew Molly always enjoyed putting change into the bright red kettle but as she watched she saw Gerard had obviously already given the girls something to donate.
“Merry Christmas.” The bell ringer said happily as the girls carefully placed their donations into the kettle.
“Merry Christmas to you too.” Gerard told the older woman.
The girls skipped up to Holly. “Daddy gave us money to put in the kettle.”
“That’s nice.” Holly smiled as she moved to the back door of the vehicle.
Gerard had taken Bandit’s hand and was now getting her secured in her seat.
“Yep.” Molly said happily. “We got to give paper not coins.”
“That’s very nice.” Holly smiled as she secured Molly’s seat belt.
“Yep, it had a one and a zero and a zero.”
It took a moment for Holly to understand what her daughter had just said and when she did she glanced over to Gerard but he didn’t look up.
She closed Molly’s door then took her own seat. “Gee, that was a very nice thing to do.” She said softly as he fastened his seat belt.
He tried to shrug it off.
Holly reached over and touched his arm. “I mean it.”
He hadn’t wanted her to know and had hoped when he’d folded the hundred dollar bills the girls wouldn’t have known what they were donating but unfortunately Molly had seen. “Hey, I figured that money we didn’t spend on a tree would do some good.”
Their eyes locked, “You’re a very sweet and generous man.” Holly whispered then turned back in her seat.
Gerard wanted to tell her that it was her that brought out whatever good qualities she thought he had but he remained silent.
“Lets get going.” Molly yelled from the backseat. “We’ve got to get our tree home.”
Gerard cast a sideways glance at Holly as he jammed the keys into the ignition. As she suspected her smile had faded when she heard Molly call his house home.
The two little girls with their jackets zipped all the way up and wearing stocking caps followed their father across the yard to the large garage. He didn’t realize they were dogging his steps until he unlocked the door and went inside to find a saw.
“Uh, girls why don’t you guys wait by the tree.” He said quickly but he knew it was too late when he saw Molly staring at the Air Stream trailer.
“Twinkie Trailer.” Molly cried out happily.
Gerard really didn’t want to deal with this issue today. “Yep.” He quickly grabbed the hand saw. “Okay, lets get that tree in the stand.” He said as he herded them back outside.
Back at the tree he looked at the base again. This wasn’t going to be easy and he was definitely going to have to remove some of the lower branches. This was met with opposition by Molly who hated to think the tree would have to lose any of its limbs.
“Hey, we’ll use the ones we cut off to make a wreath for the front door.” He said thinking quickly. “Won’t that be nice?”
Molly smiled, “Okay.”
After sawing off several lower branches he was finally able to cut the base straight enough to fit into the stand. He sent the girls ahead to open the front door.
Molly ran in, shed her coat then ran into the kitchen where her mom as heating soup to go with their sandwiches. “Mommy, daddy has a Twinkie Trailer.”
Holly peered out of the kitchen and saw that Gerard was struggling to get the tree through the door so he hadn’t heard Molly. She squatted down in front of her daughter. “I know but I think it’s supposed to be a secret so don’t say anything about it, okay?” Truth was she still wasn’t sure how she felt about Gerard having her trailer and she didn’t want to deal with it right now.
Molly gave her a confused look, “How come?”
“Because I think it’s best, okay?”
“Hey a little help here.” Gerard yelled out. Bandit had been holding the door but had let go in search of her sister.
“Sorry daddy.” Molly said running back to the door which she pushed open as far as possible. Holly followed and she too helped hold the door while he pulled the tree inside.
He pulled it in far enough so that the door would close then sat down to catch his breath. “Okay did the tree get bigger on the way here?”
Holly laughed, “Want to take a break and eat lunch?”
Gerard stood to shed his coat. “Nope not until I get this in the stand and put the lights on it.” He’d not only bought a Christmas Tree stand but several strands of lights.
It took several tries but finally the tree was in the stand reigning majestically in front of the windows. The bald spot was turned to the side facing the wall.
“It’s so pretty.” Molly said standing back while clapping her hands in joy.
“Pretty, pretty.” Bandit jumped up and down. “Bandit decorate now.”
Gerard shook his head, “Bandit eat lunch now. We’ll decorate after.”
Bandit didn’t look happy but she didn’t disagree.
After lunch the girls were rearing to go. Gerard and Holly sat on the sofa watching as the girls searched through the box of ornaments he’d set on the floor looking for just the right ones.
Gerard laughed softly, “They don’t get it’s gonna take all of those ornaments to decorate the tree.”
Holly nodded, “Think you’re right but for now they are choosing the ones they like best.”
“Mommy look.” Molly said holding up an ornament she’d just unwrapped.
Gerard was immediately on his feet seeing she was holding the Yoda ornament Holly had made him. “Let me put that one on, okay?” He wanted it near the top of the tree where there was less chance of it getting broken.
“Okay daddy.” Molly said as she handed it to him.
Carefully Gerard hung the figure from one of the top branched the stepped back to survey his work. “Perfect.”
Holly shook her head, “Still believing in The Force?” She teased.
Gerard sat back down beside her. “Yep, for sure.” He wanted to tell her how much that ornament meant to him but decided now was not the time. “Mikey’s got his Luke Skywalker on his tree too.”
Holly just smiled.
“Of course Yoda is much cooler than Luke.” Gerard said as he sat back to watch the tree progress.
This caused Holly to laugh. “If you say so.”
“I know so.” Gerard answered grinning ear to ear.
“Bandit wants dis one dare.” She didn’t care which adult hung it but she was staring at them waiting for someone to do her bidding.
Gerard jumped to his feet again. “Okay, B.” He hung the ornament in the area where she was pointing. “How’s that?”
Bandit titled her head. “No. Over dare.” Her little finger pointed to another spot slightly to the right of where he’d hung the colorful ornament.
Gerard laughed. “Sorry, kid.” He made the adjustment. “Okay, how’s that?”
This time Bandit was pleased. The girls continued to hang ornaments until the box was empty. They both stood back surveying the tree.
“We need more.” Molly said woefully. “Daddy don’t you have any more?”
Gerard sighed, “No but you girls could make some, right?”
Holly had been watching the girls and realized they were both tired. The thought of getting out all the art supplies so they could make ornaments right now didn’t seem ideal. She paused only a moment then said. “You could always just go out to the trailer and get the Christmas ornaments Molly and I have packed away in the storage area under the bed.”
Gerard’s head snapped around to stare at her.
Holly smiled sweetly. “Molly why don’t you go with your dad and show him where they are.”
Molly too was staring at her mother. “That’s our Twinkie Trailer?”
“But I thought you said it was a secret.” Molly said slowly.
“Not now.” Holly answered. “Get going, bring in the box and you and Bandit can finish decorating the tree.”
Gerard finally got over his initial shock. “Who told you?”
“We’ll discuss it later.” Holly said. “I’m going to put the tea kettle on. Pretty sure the girls would like some hot cocoa after their done.”
Bandit grabbed her dad’s hand. “Get more.” All she understood was there were more ornaments and she wanted them.
As they headed out to the garage Holly went into the kitchen to put the kettle on the stove.
She was already waiting on the sofa when Gerard carried in the box of ornaments. He placed it on the floor then took a seat by Holly.
“Just tell me, are you mad?” He asked softly without looking over at her.
“Nope.” Holly answered while she watched the girls.
Gerard gave a sigh of relief.
“Mommy, remember this one?” Molly said holding up a colorful glass ball with a painted on snowman.
Holly smiled, “Sure do.”
For several minutes they watched as the girls continued to decorate the tree.
“Guess I better help.” Gerard said standing up. “If not there aren’t going to be very many towards the top.”
“I’ll get the cocoa.” Holly said with a nod.
She was in the kitchen getting out the mugs when Gerard suddenly appeared in the doorway.
“Holly, this was in the box.” As he held out the ornament Holly’s eyes grew wide.
Gerard looked down at the glass ball with Sonja’s name written in glitter. “Uh, this tree belongs to you and Molly too. I’d like to hang it but if you don’t want me to I’ll understand.”
Holly stood frozen in place trying to come to grips with her emotions. How could she have forgotten that ornament was in the box? She’d made it for Sonja’s first Christmas and had always displayed it on the Christmas tree except for last year when she and Molly had been in LA.
Gerard was watching her closely and could see the tears filling her eyes. “Holly, I’m so sorry.” He whispered.
Holly reached out to touch the glass ball but didn’t attempt to take it from his hand. A tear rolled down her cheek. “Gee, I…” Her voice broke, “Molly doesn’t even know she had an older sister.”
He had wondered about that several times. “Hey, she’s kinda young. That’s understandable.”
Her tears came faster. “But it’s like I’ve forgotten Sonja.” She whispered.
Not caring if she’d object or not he set the ornament down on the counter then pulled her into his arms. “It’s okay, Sugar.” He crooned as she cried. “You’ll never forget her. I won’t either. She was a beautiful girl.”
Holly allowed herself to relax against him as he caressed her back gently.
“Mommy what’s wrong?” Molly’s voice sounded scared as she walked into the kitchen and saw her mom was crying.
Holly stepped back looking into Gerard’s eyes for help.
“Oh your mama just burned her finger on the tea kettle and it hurts.” Gerard said quickly. “But she’s okay now. You know how hugs make things better.”
Molly nodded, “Mommy are you better now?”
Holly wiped her eyes and forced herself to smile. “I’m fine now. Are you and B done decorating?”
“Almost but we need daddy to put the angel on top.”
Bandit had joined her and was nodding furiously.
“You girls go back in and put all the wrapping paper back in the box and I’ll be there in a minute to put the angel on. He needed a moment to talk to Holly.
As soon as they ran back into the living room he turned to her but saw she was shaking her head. “I can’t talk about this now.”
He nodded sadly. It was obvious that while Holly believed she’d dealt with all her demons from the past that wasn’t true. “It’s okay, I understand. But can I put Sonja’s ornament on the tree?”
The fact that he wanted to hang her daughter’s ornament on his tree touched her deeply. “Yes, thank you.” She said blinking back a fresh onslaught of tears.
After the cocoa Holly spread a blanket on the floor suggesting the girls lay and look up at the tree. Her plan had worked and now both of them were napping. She and Gerard had retreated to the dining table to have a cup of coffee.
“You know it really turned out to be a pretty tree.” She said staring at the twinkling lights.
He smiled, “Yep it did. We got a hell of a deal for twenty bucks.”
Holly took a sip of her coffee then turned her attention to the view beyond the large windows. “You know it actually looks like it might snow.”
He followed her gaze to see the clouds. “Yeah, kinda does, doesn’t it? Last I saw the weather they said we had a chance of snow flurries here for Christmas Eve but no accumulation.”
“I heard it’s supposed to rain.” Holly sighed.
“Well if there is rain in LA that’s where I’m getting my chance of snow flurries here.” Gerard said. He started to take a sip of coffee but changed his mind and set the cup back down. “Uh, you and Molly are gonna come here for Christmas dinner, right?”
Holly smiled slowly, “That’s one of the worse invites I’ve ever heard.”
“Yeah pretty sure if Alicia was here she’d smack me in the head.” He muttered.
He decided to tell her the truth. “Yeah she pretty much yelled at me because I hadn’t asked you yet.”
“Gee you shouldn’t feel like you have to ask us.” Holly said looking down at her coffee cup.
His eyes grew wide, “Are you kidding me? Of course I want you and Molly here. I’ve just been putting off asking you because I was afraid you’d say no.”
Without looking up she said, “I know you want Molly here and I’m sure Don will want to see her.”
He cut her off, “Okay don’t even suggest Molly being here without you.”
“I’m just saying…”
Again he cut her off. “No way, woman. I want you here.” Suddenly he was feeling nervous but pushed himself to go on. “I’m not even gonna say why because well, yeah, anyway I might as well go for broke.”
By this time Holly had looked up but had a very confused look on her face.
He knew he was babbling but he couldn’t stop. “I was thinking about Molly and waiting for Santa , you know listening for the sleigh bells and well hell, that loft doesn’t have a good place. “ He couldn’t slow down, “And if it rains? Well that’s no good at all. So you know I was thinking I could pick you guys up, we could go to Mikey’s and then come back here and wait for Santa together.” There he’d got it out there. Now he held his breath waiting for her to answer
Holly took a sip of coffee trying to think. His idea had surprised her but yet in some ways it hadn’t. She knew he wanted to be a part of Molly’s life and keeping him from their Christmas Eve tradition seemed wrong. “Okay.” She said softly.
He exhaled, “Really? You guys will stay here Christmas Eve?”
“I know Bandit won’t be here and well, it would be sorta sad for you to come home and be alone.”
“It would be when I could be spending it with you and Molly waiting for Santa’s sleigh bells.” His face lit up with a smile, “I’ll set it all up.” He whispered. “You know the bells?”
Holly tried not to laugh at his enthusiasm. “Okay.”
He glanced over to make sure the girls were still sleeping. “Any idea what Molly wants Santa to bring her?”
“I haven’t taken her to see Santa yet.” Holly said sadly. “There hasn’t been time.”
“Linds took B to see him right after Thanksgiving.” Gerard said trying not to let the disappointment he’d felt about not being a part of it to show.
He may have tried to keep it out of his voice but Holly heard it. “Well I’m sure she wouldn’t mind seeing him again. She’s probably thought of a few more things to ask for.”
Gerard laughed, “Yeah, probably but that’s a great idea. We could take both of them to see Santa.” Suddenly an idea he’d been keeping tucked away in his brain came forward. “You know we’re only gonna be working in the studio this week for three days. How about on Thursday we take the girls to Bear Lake?”
Holly was surprised by the suggestion. “That’s a long way to go to see Santa.”
He was really getting caught up in his idea. “Remember how great it was last year? I thought at the time how much I wished B was there too.” Suddenly he noticed Holly wasn’t smiling.
“You wished your daughter was there with you.” She said softly.
“Yeah I didn’t know I was there with one of my daughters.” He said not sure if she was angry or upset.
“But you were.” She looked away. “I really am sorry you didn’t know.”
“Holly that’s all in the past. Just remember how much fun we had.” He reached out to brush a stand of hair from her eyes. “Remember how you held on to me while we skated?” His voice was low and soft, “You promised you’d never let me fall.”
Her eyes grew wide as a memory took hold. “I saw the picture of us skating that was posted on the Net.”
He sighed, “I didn’t know you saw that.”
“Lindsey showed it to me the morning of my attack.” Holly admitted.
Gerard shook his head sadly, “When she warned you about me.”
Holly gave him a shocked look. “She told you?”
“Yeah she told me she was sorry for what she’d said to you that morning. She was sorry because she hadn’t known about our past.”
This conversation was heading in a direction Holly didn’t want to go. “She did what she thought was best and I understood that.” A moment later she moved back in her chair. “I don’t know if Bear Lake is a good idea.” She said refusing to meet his gaze.
He knew she was dismissing the conversation and it would do no good to push her. “Just give it some thought. Like I said I’ll be busy in the studio until Thursday but I think it would be fun.”
She tired to think of a reason to say no. “But if Molly doesn’t see Santa until then I won’t know what she’s gonna ask him for and it won’t give me time to get it.”
“We’ll have time to figure that out.” He said.
“Gee that doesn’t leave a lot of time. And I don’t want to deal with trying to find what she wants that late.”
“I promise whatever she asks Santa for we’ll find.” He said smiling. “Trust me.”
Holly rolled her eyes.
Gerard laughed, “Stop that.”
“Can’t.” Holly sighed. “You make me roll my eyes.”
“Suppose that’s true.” He took a sip of coffee. “Now I suppose we should discuss the trailer.”
Holly sighed, “I told you I’m not mad about it. I know you did it with good intentions. Thank you.”
“So who told you? Was it Bryar?”
“I talked to him about it after I saw the trailer.” Holly admitted. “Obviously you never looked closely at the pictures the girls drew for you when you were sick.”
He gave her a shocked look. “They drew me pictures?”
Holly laughed, “Yeah, I put them on your dresser.”
He got to his feet then hurried down the hallway. When he returned a moment later he was holding the two pieces of paper. “Oh.” He said studying the drawing Bandit had done. “They had fallen off and were wedged on the side of the dresser.” He said softly.
“So you see.” Holly said with a small smile. “When I saw B’s drawing I was surprised especially when Molly said it was a Twinkie Trailer and B told her that daddy had one.”
Gerard groaned, “The kid outed me.”
“She did. I went out to the garage. It was locked at the time but I saw the trailer through the window on the door.”
“And you knew it was yours.” He said placing the pictures on the table.
Holly laughed, “Well yeah. I mean I could see the dent by the door. I was pretty sure you hadn’t bought a trailer that just happened to be damaged in the exact same spot.”
“I just couldn’t stand the thought of Molly losing the only home she’d ever known.” He said looking into Holly’s eyes. “And I knew how much you loved the trailer too.”
“At the time it seemed like it was the only responsible thing to do. I needed money and to be honest I wasn’t sure I’d recover.” She looked down at her half empty cup.
“Yeah I know.” He got up to refill their coffee cups. Once he was back at the table sitting down he said. “But I knew you would recover. I couldn’t let myself think any other way. And I just figured when you did you’d want your trailer again.”
“And you were right, I do want it. But I will pay you back for it as soon as I can.” When she saw him shake his head her voice became stern. “I mean it, Gee. I’ll pay you back for the trailer. I’m not sure yet but I still think that once I get the commission done for Richard that Molly and I will move out of LA. I don’t want her growing up in the city.” She saw he looked upset so she added, “Maybe a nice smaller town here in California.”
While that last part did make him feel better the idea of her and Molly going anywhere still bothered him. “Well for now your trailer will just stay where it is.”
Holly nodded, “Yes, and thank you. I do know it takes up a lot of room. You could move it outside.”
He shrugged, “It’s fine where it is. I don’t need the room.” He felt himself relaxing. “I’m just glad you’re not mad at me about the whole thing.”
For a moment Holly stared out the window when she spoke her voice was soft and thoughtful. “I’m sorry you thought I might be and to be honest I understand why. I’ve been a pain about letting people help me and that’s not right.”
“Hey I understand why you’ve been like that.” He said. “It’s important to you to be in strong and in control.”
He was surprised when she laughed.
“Yeah, I’ve tried that for most of my life but it hasn’t always worked out that well. I tried to handle Sonja’s illness, I tried to handle my divorce by starting over in another place. I tired to handle what happened between us.” She paused closing her eyes a moment, “I’ve tried to handle everything that happened after I was attacked on my own.” Her eyes were full of tears when she opened them. “But lucky for me I had some great friends that helped me even though I didn’t know it at the time like you and Bob.” A single tear rolled down her cheek, “Thank you.”
He reached over and with his fingertip wiped the tear away. “Holly, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”
For a moment their eyes locked but the sound of the doorbell broke the spell.
Gerard glanced at his watch. “Wonder who that is. Can’t be Linds because their plane hasn’t even landed yet.” He got up as Holly watched and made his way to the door.
Whoever it was Gerard cursed their timing. He and Holly had finally been really connecting and he hoped that wouldn’t be lost.