Gee has a special dinner for Monica. In Chicago Bob and Kara talk about his family and their future.
"She didn't sleep well last night," he said softly. "Alicia, baby time to go home."
She opened her eyes and smiled, "I didn't mean to fall asleep. Guess I wasn't very good company for Monica." As she sat up Mikey pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly.
Gerard watched them and thought about Mikey's decision to stay instead of leaving for Europe. His brother was doing the right thing he just needed to help him make the others understand.
After Mikey and Alicia had gone he looked at Monica, "So are you ready to go?"
"I'm not very dressed up." She said looking down at her jeans and hoodie, "Shouldn't I change?"
"Gerard smiled, "You look beautiful and where we're going for dinner isn't fancy." He took her hand and they walked to the car. "How was Alicia while we were gone?"
"She pretty upset but trying to hide it." Monica admitted. "How is Mikey?"
Gerard thought a moment, "Actually he knows how messed up she is about it and so he is holding it together really well, for her."
They rode in silence until Monica noticed they were almost to their new home. "Is the restaurant near our house?"
"Yeah, I just thought you might want to stop and take a look at it before we eat. I meant since it's officially ours and all."
"That's a wonderful idea." She reached over and squeezed his arm, "I can't wait until we move in."
Geared pulled into the driveway and cut the engine, "Just a quick look then we gotta go." He jumped out and ran around to open her door.
He proudly held up the keys when they reached the front door. Monica smiled at his enthusiasm. He pushed open the front door and without warning scooped her into his arms. "I have to carry you over the threshold." He explained.
Monica giggled, "Gee, I think that is for newlyweds."
"Humor me woman," he said. Once inside he slowly sat her down then captured her lips. "Welcome home, honey." Monica followed him through the house to the kitchen. She wondered what he had in mind when he opened the door leading to the deck, and took her hand to lead her outside. She smiled happily as she saw the surprise. The once bare deck now sported a beautiful patio set complete with market umbrella.
"I love it she said taking it all in." Then she spotted 'IT'. A huge Jenn Aire Grill which Gerard was gazing at with love in his eyes. She was pretty sure it was big enough to BBQ an entire cow.
"OK I went a little crazy on the grill but I saw it and thought of all the entertaining we'll do." His hand ran lovingly over the stainless still surface. "Look it has four side burners too."
Monica laughed, "A boy and his grill."
"Don't' make fun, Mikey already teased the shit out of me. Remind me not to take my brother shopping with me again."
She put her arms around is waist, "So what's for dinner?"
"Beef, it's what's for dinner." He said happily quoting a commercial. "I'm gonna grill you the best fucking steak you've ever eaten. I wanted our first meal in our new house to be special and I wanted to make it myself."
"And you wanted to break in your new grill" she added happily.
"You may just call me Grill Master Way." He hugged her tightly. "I never thought I could be this happy, a home, a grill and you and the girls. What more could I ever want." He stepped out of the embrace, "Now take a seat unless it's too cold." The temperature had dropped bit was still unseasonably warm.
Monica walked over the glass top table and took a seat. "The weather is perfect. What can I do to help?"
"Sit there and look beautiful." He wandered back into the house and grabbed the bottle of non-alcoholic champagne he had stashed earlier and poured two glasses. "To our new home." He said.
"To our new home" Monica smiled. He went back inside after turning on the grill and came out wearing the most ridiculous grilling apron she had ever seen. On the front was printed. "I'm Hot You're Not".
Monica burst out laughing, " What did Mikey say about your apron?"
He grinned, "I hid it in the basket." He placed the wrapped baked potatoes on the grill. "These are twice baked potatoes I picked up at the deli, just gotta warm them up a bit."
"Yummy, I'm starving."
He moved between the house and table bringing out plates, silverware, and all the condiments they would need. It wasn't long before the steaks were sizzling nicely. "So do you really like this?" he pointed to the furniture.
"Of course, I can see now why you were gone so long today."
He nodded, " It was so fucking weird buying stuff for a house. Mikey laughed cause it took me so long to pick things out. He said I was being such a girl"
"Well you made excellent choices and I love your grill." She added knowing it would make him smile. Of course she was right on target.
He cooked the steaks to perfection. They sat eating and talking about their future plans. He offered to cut her steak for her but she had gotten pretty good at working round her broken hand. "I've got four songs already in my mind for our next album." He admitted. "But with all the changes taking place in all our lives I don't know when we'll record." It was the first time she had seen this frown since arriving at the house.
"Gee, you and the guys will record another album, you gotta know that. All of you have women who understand that's just part of the deal."
He made Monica continue to sit at the table until he had everything cleaned up. She watched him and realized that this must be what people meant when they talked out being truly content with their life. There wasn't anything she would change she was truly happy, truly content. When she heard Gerard's cell phone ring and him answer she never gave it a second thought. Ignorance is bliss.
Laughter and light spilled out on the front lawn of the Bryar home as Bob and Kara left, followed by various members of the family. Goodbyes and hugs were exchanged as they walked down the walk toward the car. Bob, ever the gentleman, opened the car door for Kara before turning for one more goodbye and slipping into the driver's side.
They both savored the sudden silence. "Well, what do you think?" Bob asked. "Have they scared you off yet?"
"No, they were great. I can't believe that they just took me in. It was like they had always known me. I've never had a dinner like that. It was loud and ...fun...and...wonderful and ...loud.
Bob, your family is great. How can you stand to leave them for so long?"
Bob couldn't answer that, "I'm glad you liked them. They really liked you. Stephanie and Lindsay are already planning shopping trips for you to re-do the house. And I'm pretty sure Mom is already planning the nursery." Kara immediately choked and started coughing. "Don't worry, we'll have kids when we're ready. We've learned our lesson. It's just the two of us for a while. And Mom and Dad and Stephanie and Lindsay and Mark and Alan and Granny and...." Kara started to chuckle. Bob grabbed Kara's hand and laughed.
They pulled up in the driveway. Both quickly exited the car still laughing and raced for the front door. They tumbled through the doorway and into each other's arms. Bob brushed a stray hair from Kara's forehead. "So, are you all right with living in Chicago after we're married?"
Kara was surprised by the question. "Of course." she assured him, "I go where you go."
Bob savored the statement. "I was hoping you would say that." He then arched his eyebrow at her. "Wife-to-be, I'm going in here. Follow me" and turned toward the bedroom.
"Wait for me" she started to follow but quickly slid her hand into her pocket and pulled out her roll of breath mints. Popping one in her mouth she ran into the bedroom.
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