The night before Thanksgiving Monica and Gerard learn they have much in common
The girls who were enrolled in the same school Gerard and Mikey had attended had already left. Donna and Monica sipped their coffee in silence. Donna spoke first, "So what do you think of Gerard? I know you two didn't exactly hit it off at first but please realize there are so many things about Gerard that you don't know."
Leave it to Donna just to come out and ask. This was a hard one to answer for Monica. Before she could reply the house phone rang.
"Monica its for you" Seeing her surprised look she added "It's Brian "
Ten minutes latter Monica had a job. She would be working in Brian's office as an assistant doing all sorts of tasks. The job sounded great and she was really looking forward to starting tomorrow. The most surprising thing however was when Brian mentioned that it had been Gerard who had suggested her for the job. He had told Brian he thought Monica would be perfect, that she had a natural ability for working with people. Nice praise coming from a guy who had been so suspicious of her.
The next two days flew by. Monica loved her job in Brian's office. She met so many great people. Because Thanksgiving was tomorrow Brian has told her to leave a bit early so she could help Donna with all her holiday preparations. When she arrived at the house she was surprised to see Gerard and Mikey watching T.V. They had gotten back earlier than expected. They both looked up and smiled when she came in.
"Hey Monica" Mikey called out turning his attention back to the cartoons the brothers were watching. Gerard also said hello but instead of looking back at the T.V he continued to look at her.
Monica said hello to them and walked towards the kitchen where she heard Donna humming while working on a pie for tomorrow. She greeted her and they discussed what still needed to be done for the dinner. The house would be full of people and Donna was excited. The first job she gave Monica was digging out the holiday tablecloth and napkins. There were actually two large tablecloths and two smaller ones because they would be setting four tables. The cedar chest was in Donna's bedroom so that was where Monica headed. She had just opened the chest when she felt Gerard's eyes on her. Once again he had snuck up on her.
"How do you do that?" she asked without turning towards him
He walked over to stand just behind her. "How do I do what?"
"You just appear without a sound," she answered looking up at him. She noticed he wore a black t-shirt and black jeans and looked well, he looked good. He was letting his blond hair grow a bit longer and it looked great. Monica tried to stop staring at him.
"Mom said she sent you on a mission to find the tablecloths and I'm here to help."
He kneeled down beside her and started rummaging through the contents of the chest. There were all sorts of treasures. Pictures drawn by the young artists Mikey and Gerard were lovingly stored. Baby clothes, jewelry and more. Monica reached out to touch a beautiful locket that was lying in a small box.
"That belonged to grandma" Gerard told her. "I remember she wore it a lot." His voice was very quiet. "She died in November so its always a hard month for me."
"You still miss her very much" Monica said knowing it was the truth.
"I miss her everyday" he answered "she believed in me even when I didn't. She never let me give up. Even when I was doing stupid shit like the pills and the drinking she told me I would be OK. I really wish she could have been around to see me clean and sober"
Monica reached out to touch his hand "She is still around Gerard. I don't believe the people we love ever really leave us. I'm sure she is very proud of you, how could she not be? You have made such a difference in so many peoples lives"
Gerard looked surprised by her words, "I'm just a singer in a band, I haven't solved world hunger" he whispered "or cured cancer"
"Gerard you may not have cured it but you have given a voice to those who have suffered because of it. You have touched people's souls with your words and your voice. Given hope to the disenchanted, a way to those who are lost"
He shook his head slowly "Monica I'm not that great of a person" he stood up. "Please don't make me into some sort of savior"
Monica was surprised by his change in attitude. He was closing off his feelings and pushing her away. "I never said you were a saint Gerard, actually you are an ass sometimes like the first time I met you" she laughed, "you are just a regular guy"
He narrowed his eyes as if he was trying to read her mind. It was really cute to watch. One of his eyes closed a bit more than the other. She had to remind herself not to have warm, fuzzy thoughts towards this man. She never again wanted to love or need any man.
Reaching back down into the chest she pulled out the tablecloths, "Here they are" she carefully shut the lid and moved past him. However she couldn't keep herself from adding "A very nice regular guy"
When she arrived in the kitchen Mikey was looking for her. "Hey would it be OK if Kara went home with me for a bit. She and Alicia want to watch some DVD together" Kara had just come in from school and still had her coat on. Her dark hair was windblown and her cheeks red from the cold.
"Yea we like a lot of the same movies" Kara nodded.
Monica smiled "Sure that's fine." It was nice that Alicia and Kara were becoming friends. There was just a few years difference in their ages.
Mikey told his mom he would see her in the morning and then he and Kara left. "I see you found the tablecloths" Donna was busy moving around the kitchen. "Gerard your dad will be here tomorrow too"
Monica looked over to the doorway where he was standing. He nodded. Donna laughed, "Monica you look surprised. Don is a great guy. We just couldn't be married anymore. But it wouldn't seem right for the family not to be together on Thanksgiving"
"That is a really nice attitude," Monica agreed. She put the tablecloths down and asked what else she could do.
"Everything is under control right now" was the answer, "where is Kelly? Shouldn't she be home by now?" Donna was always looking out for the girls.
"She is staying the night at her friends house. She will be home in the morning."
"That's right she told me this morning. I think your girls are adjusting to the new school nicely. Kelly told me she was thinking of joining the choir too"
This was news to Monica, "Really?"
"That's what she said" she poured herself a cup of coffee "your girls are really fitting in"
Gerard snorted "High school what a joke" That dark look was back on his face.
His mother shot him a look "Let it go Gerard. You hated high school but you made it through, just let it go"
He stared at her a minute then turned to go back into the other room to watch TV. Donna watched him leave then turned back to Monica "He had a bad time in high school, hated it. It was so hard for me to watch how unhappy he was. His drinking didn't help either" She sighed. "Sometimes I really think he believes he will never be truly happy, he is always waiting for some bad thing to happen"
Monica wasn't sure what to say. She knew how he felt. Her daughters were the only happiness she had or would have. Bad things were always on the horizon just waiting for their chance to take over.
Donna glanced over at her. "You are Gerard are a lot alike."
Her statement surprised Monica. She believed she hid her feelings quite well. "Gerard and I are not at all alike. I have a positive attitude." She couldn't look Donna in the eye.
Donna laughed, "Everyone else might fall for that line but not me. You have had a hard life and while I'm not sure just what happened it has caused you to hide your feelings and to be afraid of happiness"
Monica just stared at her. How could this woman see into her heart? She looked down at the floor and held back tears. "Donna, I can't talk about it," she whispered.
Donna crossed the kitchen and gave her a hug. "It's OK. Someday you will be able to" She smiled "now scoot out of my kitchen. I have special secret recipes to make and I need to be alone."
"I can't help?"
"Gerard, come get Monica out of the kitchen" she yelled into the other room. She turned Monica around and gently pushed her towards the door that Gerard has passed through.
He appeared and rolled his eyes "Mom and her secret recipes. She will be cooking all night and no one is allowed to help. I will order a pizza to be delivered and we can veg out in front of the TV."
That is just what they did. Both of them sat on the sofa watching "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" a great Thanksgiving movie. They talked about other movies and found that they liked many of the same films. They shared a lively discussion about the social and cultural importance of the Star Wars saga. Briefly it made Monica feel much older than Gerard to realize he was born the same year the movie was released. He just laughed when she pointed that out.
"Oh you think that is funny Mr. Way. Well I as six and I can still remember the first line of the movie. I bet you can't."
Gerard looked at her surprised. "You actually know the first line to Star Wars?"
"Yep, I do cause I'm a true Star Wars expert unlike yourself" she had thrown down the gauntlet.
Gerard actually giggled "A Star Wars expert? You can't possibly have seen the movie more time than I have".
"So trying to change the subject cause you don't know the first line. Oh young Skywalker you have much to learn".
C-3PO delivers the first line "Did you hear that? They shut down the main reactor..."
Monica's voice joined with Gerard's "We'll be destroyed for sure. This is madness" They both burst out laughing. "The force is with us" Monica smiled.
"Do you ever read comic books?" Gerard was almost giddy. He couldn't remember connecting with someone like this.
"When I was younger I read them all the time. I stared out with the horror ones like House of Mystery, Tomb of Dracula and Crypt of Shadows. My mom hated them but I loved them."
"Did you ever read X-Men?" he asked
"I liked reading them but I always thought the Doom Patrol was better. I secretly wanted to be Elasti-Girl. I cried when they all were killed off"
They continued talking about comics until Gerard noticed she was getting tired. He suggested putting in another movie. Around 10:00 Monica started to nod off. Gerard watched her and smiled. She looked so innocent and sweet when she slept.
Monica was deep in sleep when she felt herself move. A soft voice whispered "go back to sleep" so she did. Gerard carefully carried her to his old bedroom and placed her on the bed. He slipped off her shoes and covered her with a blanket. Monica's last thought was someone had gently kissed her forehead.