Bert returns for Elle
Bert didn't return for several hours. Monica had made lunch for Jamia and Elle and they had just put the DVD of 'Shrek' in when he knocked on the door. Elle who was once more on Monica's lap jumped off so Monica could answer the door. She noticed that Bert looked very upset but his expression changed when he saw Elle "Hey Pumpkin, did you have a good time?"
"Mommyca made tuna sanditches" she said happily.
"Tuna sanditches?" Bert giggled. "Damn she's cute."
Monica was impatient to hear what he had learned. "Sweetie you stay with Jamia while Bert and I go in the kitchen to talk OK?"
Elle nodded and sat back down on the sofa to watch the movie with Jamia. Monica led the way into the kitchen. "OK Bert what is going on with Liv?"
He took a seat at the table and rubbed his eyes, "It was fucking weird. When I got back to the mall she was sitting there waiting for me. She asked if I could drive her to a couple of places."
"She had you come all the way from California to driver her around?" Monica tried to keep the contempt out of her voice.
"No, there was more to it than that." He reached into the pocket of his hoodie and pulled out a bracelet. She gave this back to me. She said she knew that it had sentimental value to me and she wanted me to have it."
"I don't understand" Monica took a seat across from him. "You gave that to Liv?" She reached out and picked up the gold bracelet.
"Yeah, I gave it to her." He sighed, "I was sorta in love with Liv. I actually talked to her before Gerard did but of course he got the girl." His tone was angry. "That belonged to my grandma and I gave it to Liv. I was fucking stupid, but I really wanted her to like me."
Gerard had told Monica that he thought Bert had loved Liv. Now she knew it had been true. "So she gave this back to you. Why?"
"I dunno she just said I should keep it and someday when I find the right person I should give it to her." He took it from Monica and shoved it in his pocket.
"So what else did she say?"
"While I drove her to the first stop she asked a lot of questions about Gerard and you. She wanted to know how strong your relationship was that kind of shit."
"Why?" Monica didn't like that Liv was asking questions about her and Gee.
"I don't know. It wasn't like she was trying to find out how to break you up or anything, when I told you how much in love you guys are she seemed happy."
Monica thought a moment, "Where did you take her?"
"Some professional building full of doctors and lawyers. She had me wait in the car so I'm not sure what she was doing there."
"Do you think she might have been there to see a lawyer? Does she want child support from Gerard?"
He shook his head, "I really don't think so. I don't think it has anything to do with money. Fuck, I offered to giver her some so she and Elle could get another apartment of their own but she won't take it. I guess they are living with some friends now that she skipped out on her old place."
"Bert I'm confused. The first time I ever saw Liv she was all over Gerard trying to get him back. Is she still trying?" Monica watched his face to see if he would answer honestly.
"I really have no fucking idea what is going on. She's so weird it's like she's a different person."
His look told her he thought something was very wrong. "What else?"
He took out a cigarette and lit it before answering; "She asked a lot of questions about you. She wanted to know what I thought of you, she wanted to know about your girls, she wanted to know what kind of a person you are."
Monica tried to make sense of Liv's interest in her, "Why would she want to know about me?"
"Well remember she did want to meet you before." He said softly.
"Then she disappeared." Monica stood and looked in the living room to check on Elle. The little girl was lying on the floor in front of the T.V. and was giggling. "Why did she want me to watch Elle?" she asked quietly.
"I really don't think she has anyone else to watch her and I guess she figured she could trust you. When she suggested leaving Elle with you I told her what a great mom you are."
Monica smiled, "Thanks Bert but I don't know if I'd say 'great'."
He took another drag, "Look I've got to get Elle back to her. Maybe later tonight we could get some coffee and talk more. I could pick you up at Donna's."
Monica realized she would have to tell him she was staying here. "That sounds good but you'll have to pick me up here."
Bert was puzzled, "You're staying here?" He saw Monica's look and he started to figure out that something was wrong. "Shit, it's Jamia isn't it? Are the babies OK?"
"Bert she doesn't want anyone to know, especially Frank. She's had some contractions but it's too early so the doctor put her on bed rest and gave her some medicine. I've moved in to help her out while the guys are gone."
"Fuck, I hope nothing goes wrong." He paused, "Are you sure it's right to keep this from Frank?"
"Look the guys are on tour and missing two members. If Frank was here the only thing he would do would be to worry. If the contractions continue then I'm sure Jamia will tell him but for now she doesn't want to worry him. She hasn't had any more pains so we're keeping our fingers crossed that the contractions have stopped for now."
He nodded, "I understand, I'll call you later this evening." He got up from his seat, "Monica I'm really sorry about all of this, it's gotta be fucking hard to deal with shit like this with Gee gone."
"Actually, I'm glad you brought Elle here. Gee wants to get to know his daughter and when he gets back he can. I think it will be easier for him and Elle now that I know her. She's a wonderful little girl." The emotion in her voice worried him.
Unhappily he said, "Monica what if Liv is doing this for a bad reason? What if she just disappears again? Liv has always been big on mind games."
Monica prayed his wouldn't happen, "Tell her I said she has a lovely little girl and I would be happy to have her stay with me anytime."
Bert impulsively put his arms around her and gave her a hug. "You are one hell of a woman. There are a lot of women who wouldn't feel the way you do. They wouldn't welcome another woman's child. Especially a woman like Liv"
Monica was completely honest with him, "Even if Gee wasn't her father I still would care for Elle. Children need to be loved and cared for and she's a very special little girl."
Bert took a step back and looked her in the eye, "You're falling in love with that little girl aren't you?' He could just imagine how the situation could turn out badly. Liv had always like to cause people pain, what if that was her goal? Have Monica fall in love with Gerard's child then snatch her away.
Monica smiled, "Stop worrying Bert. Everything is going to be fine." She knew what he was thinking because she had already thought the same thing.
When Bert and Elle returned to the mall where he had left Liv she was sitting at a table in the food court with her head on the table. As soon as she heard Elle call to her she looked up and smiled. "Hey baby Elle, did you have a good time?"
Elle climbed up into her lap, "I watched cartoons," she said with a giggle.
"And were you a good girl?"
Elle nodded her head, "I'm good girl"
Bert looked at the mother and daughter together and felt a pang of regret. He wished more than anything that Elle could have been his child. Maybe it would have erased some of the pain of loosing his own child when Kate died. "Come on I'll drive you two home."
Liv smiled, "Bert, thank you so much for coming. You have always been better to me than I ever deserved. Elle and I just live a short distance from here and we like to walk." When she saw his reluctance she added, "We're gonna stop and see some friends on the way." Elle jumped down from her lap and Liv stood. Suddenly she had tears in her eyes, "Goodbye Bert and thank you." She whispered as she threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly. He felt her body tremble.
"Liv, please tell me what's wrong. Let me help." He knew she was keeping something from him. "You gotta know I'll do anything I can for you."
She smiled up at him, "Nothings wrong, Bert. Everything is gonna be fine."
He looked at her sadly, "Monica wanted me to tell you that you have a beautiful daughter and that she would be happy to watch her for you anytime." He watched to see her reaction.
Her face gave no clue to what she was thinking, she simply nodded.
"Give me your number so I can call you." He said taking out his phone.
She recited a number, which he logged into the phone. "Now go Bert."
He leaned down and kissed Elle on the head, "See ya squirt."
She giggled at him, "Bye bye Bertie"
He giggled back at her, "Bertie?"
"Bertie" Elle repeated with a smile.
As Liv and Elle walked out of the mall and down a narrow street holding hands Liv once more wanted to find out about Elle's day. "So did you like Monica?"
Elle nodded happily, "Mommyca is nice."
Liv stopped in her tracks. Hatred for Monica filled her, there was no way her daughter should call her mommy. Liv's head knew that Elle wasn't calling her mommy that it was just the way she pronounced her name but that didn't stop what her heart felt. All the anger and hatred she had lived with for so long threatened to bubble over. Monica had the life she wanted, she had the man she loved and now her daughter seemed to think she was wonderful. She took a deep breath and continued walking. "Come on Elle, we've got to get back. I have so much to plan."
Elle skipped happily beside her unaware of her mother's dark feelings.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Just a quick note to let you know that if FicWad continues to have such severe problems, you might want to check out the story on www.imnotokay.net under the title of Love Can Kill or Save. My name is the same on there. That site runs beautifully. The only downside is that the story is several chapters behind, but they are in order!!! You can leave comments and there is NO rating system. After my bad experiences with some ratings on here, that's a plus for me. If you wander over, please leave a comment. Thanks to all!