He's back and needless to say Gerard isn't happy
She took a deep breath and tried to slow her heart rate. "Bert?"
He lowered his arms and looked at her questioningly "Are you gonna hit me anymore?
People around them had stopped and were staring.
"I'm so sorry Bert. It was just a natural reflex for me. When you grabbed my arm I just reacted." She felt terrible. "Are you Ok, did I hurt your head?"
"If I tell you how badly you hurt my head will you kiss it and make it all better?" He gave her that goofy grin of his. "Cause I think I just might pass out from the pain and then you would have to give me mouth to mouth."
She laughed, "I think you are going to be fine. What are you doing here? I would have thought you would be home in Utah."
His smile faded. "Nope, that's not really home anymore. I took a chance I would run into you cause Donna said this is where you would be. You and Gerard that is. So what's the deal? You and Gerard an item yet?"
She really wasn't going to discuss this with him. "Why are you looking for me?"
He looked away a moment then said "You said if I ever needed to talk I could call you but I didn't want to talk on the phone so I came looking for you. I went to Donna's and talked to her a bit. God, I love that woman. Gerard has no idea what a great mom he has. Anyway, she invited me to dinner tonight but I'm not sure if I should go. Gerard doesn't seem to like me around."
Monica thought a moment then said, "Look if Donna invited you then you should come to dinner. Afterwards you and I can go out for coffee and talk. I can't now cause Gerard and Ray are waiting for me to get the car and pick them up."
He looked unhappy but said "Yea that sounds good. I will walk you to the car." They started across the mall dodging the crowds. Bert touched her arm lightly 'Hey Monica why did you strike out at me like that. I mean I know you didn't realize it was me but your reaction was pretty extreme."
Monica continued walking "It's a long story Bert and one I don't want to tell"
He nodded "OK but just know that if I'm around I would never let anyone hurt you. Even if you are Gerard's girl." He started singing a version of "Jessie's Girl" using Gerard's name, "I wish that I had Gerard's girl."
Monica pocked him in the ribs "Stop that, you idiot" she tried to sound mad but it was hard. They got to the exit and went into the parking lot. Because of the crowd the car was parked quite a distance away. Monica pulled her coat tightly around her and they ran. It was so cold and windy soon she was shivering. Bert took his coat off and put it over hers.
"Bert you will freeze" she tried to give it back to him but he refused, "I am a gentleman, don't you know"
When they reached the car they both got in "Where are you parked?"
"Way on the other fucking side of the mall." He took his coat back and slipped it on.
"Man I hate this cold weather"
"We will pick up Gerard and Ray then I'll drive you over there." They slowly made their way thru the traffic and finally arrived at the door where Ray and Gerard were waiting. She popped the trunk and they put the packages in. Monica slid out of the driver's seat and go in the back.
Gerard looked confused a moment then spotted Bert in the passenger seat. "Where the hell did you come from?"
Bert gave him his best crazed giggle "Well, Gerard when a mommy and a daddy love each other."
"Bert stop that," Monica laughed leaning over the seat as Gerard got behind the wheel.
"I ran into Bert and we need to take him to his car around the other side of the mall."
"Bert man, how you been?" Ray asked slapping him on the back of the head.
"Shit don't hit my head. Monica already tried to give me a concussion today." He rubbed his head "it still hurts"
Gerard looked in the rear view mirror at Monica. She knew he was wanting for an explanation "He surprised me in the mall and I reacted without thinking. Kind of hit him"
"Without thinking? You should have given it some thought then hit him," Gerard said
Bert looked over at him "Don't be so bitchy Gerard." He was going to say more but Monica tried to divert him.
"Where is your car Bert?"
He was still staring at Gerard "Shit can't you just let it go? We were all so fucked up, you too and you know it. When you think about it I did you a favor. "
Gerard looked at him "Shut the fuck up Bert. I don't want to talk about it. Now where is your fucking car?'
Bert glared at him "It right over there. You can just let me out here." He opened the door and looked back at Monica "Forget what I said before. I'll see you around" He slammed the door and started walking away.
Monica knew he meant he wasn't coming to dinner. She opened her door and told Gerard she would be right back. He stared to saw something but she slammed her door.
The cold wind took her breath away. Quickly she caught up with him, "Bert, wait. Please come to dinner tonight. I really want you to"
He looked at her "Why are you so nice to me? Why does it make a fucking difference to you? If I come your boyfriend will have a shit fit."
She shivered "Look Bert I like you. I don't know that the problem is between you and Gerard. All I know is I want to be your friend. Will you please come? Dinner is at 6:00."
"Go get back in that car before you freeze. I will see you at 6:00." He turned her around and gave her a push back towards the car. She smiled at him and gave him a quick hug. When she got in the car Gerard was glaring at her.
"What was that all about?" he asked. She knew he was angry and it wasn't going to get any better.
"I was just reminding him that dinner was a six."