Her cell phone rang and she answered while trying to find her car keys. "Monica, it's Liv"
Monica stopped searching for a moment. "Hi Liv"
"Monica can you watch Elle?"
Monica frowned, "When?"
"Now" was her quick reply.
"I was on my way out." She really did want to share with Liv that she was going to the airport to pick up Gee. "I'm sorry. Any other time I would be happy to."
There was silence on the phone. "Monica, please" Liv's voice was so quiet. It was a plea.
"Liv, is something wrong?" Monica sat down on the bed straining to hear.
"It's just.." she paused. "I need to do something and I have no one else to ask." Her voice was so desperate. "I ...." She trailed off then simply said "please"
Something was terribly wrong. "Liv, bring her over. I'll be gone for a bit but Jamia will be here."
Once more there was silence and Monica wondered if she had hung up. "I can't get there. We're at the Wildhills Mall by the main fountain. Could you please come and get Elle?"
Monica didn't hesitate, "I'll be there in about thirty minutes."
Liv signed, "Thank you Monica." She disconnected.
Monica stared at the phone in her hands. She punched in Mikey and Alicia's number. Mikey answered.
"Mikey can you go to the airport and pick up Gee?" she asked once again looking for her keys.
Mikey was shocked, "I thought you promised him you would pick him up? Monica, I've talked to the guy. He's expecting you."
"I know Mikey. I was planning on picking him and Frank up. I was going to tell Frank about Jamia when I did cause he'll be expecting her to be there."
"So, what's happened?" Mikey was clearly confused.
"Liv just called me and asked if I could come and pick up Elle." She heard Mikey start to sputter.
"But Monica, there is so much you and Gee need to talk about. I know you've been taking care of Elle and I know that Gee doesn't know. What the fuck do I tell him when I pick him up?"
"Mikey, don't tell him about Elle. I should be the one to tell him what I've been doing. Just pick him and Frank up and bring them here. I've got to go pick up Elle and then I'll come back here to Jamia's." She found the keys under a pillow on the sofa.
"Look, it's nice you are looking after Elle but today of all days?" He was clearly frustrated.
"Mikey when Liv called she sounded almost frantic. I told her I was on my way out and she practically pleaded with me. Something is wrong and I'm worried about Elle."
Mikey thought about the encounter he had just had with Liv. "I saw them yesterday."
Monica stopped by the door, "What? You saw Liv and Elle? Where?"
"On the street when Alicia and I were walking home from dinner. She was nice to me. I was shocked." He lowered his voice, "She tried to meet with me when Ray was in the hospital but she never showed. I asked her why and she said that I had looked like I had enough to deal with so she didn't want to add to it. That really freaked me cause the Liv I know wouldn't have given a flying fuck if I was upset."
Monica opened the door, "Mikey tell Gee I'm sorry I couldn't make it but that I'll be waiting for him." She disconnected and hurried to her car.
Alicia chickened out when Mikey asked her to go with him to the airport. At first she had agreed saying quite plainly that she wanted to giver her brother-in-law a piece of her mind. Mikey had then told her about the conversation he had had earlier with Frank. He told her how Eliza had betrayed Gee. Alicia was still angry with him but decided it was best she held off telling him off for now. He needed to get this whole mess straightened out with Monica.
Mikey was getting ready to head out the door when Alicia asked about Bob. "Is he planning on going to Chicago?
Mikey sighed, "I hope so I really don't want to see him. I know that sound brutal but you gotta know how torn up he is about Kara."
Alicia nodded, "Yeah, I know. These past two weeks have been a fucking nightmare. Jamia said that Frank was so sick of dealing with the mess that he wanted to come home."
Mikey gave her a quick kiss. "Let's just hope that everything works out."
"Mikey, how is Gee gonna take seeing Elle?"
He paused at the door, "I don't fucking know. I do know that Monica will be devastated if he can't accept Elle. She loves her."
"Mommyca" Elle, wearing the dress and coat Monica had bought her, ran up and leapt into Monica's arms. She had been sitting on the rim of the fountain with her mom. Liv stood slowly and walked towards them. As usual she was wearing large dark glasses and a hoodie.
"Thank you" she said. She tried not to show the jealously she felt seeing her daughter in Monica's arms. "I'll call you as soon as I'm done."
Monica sat Elle down and watched as she returned to the fountain to stick her tiny fingers into the water. "Liv, is there something I can do for you?"
Liv knew by her voice that she was being sincere. She took a deep breath before answering. "I hope so but I can't talk about it now. I've got to go." She called Elle over and gave her a kiss. "Be good for Monica, okay?"
"Me's allways good."
Both women laughed. Liv gave Elle a kiss and turned to walk away. Monica watcher her sadly. It was clear she need help, something was wrong. Monica reached down for Elle's hand.
"Mommyca's hand better?" Elle had noticed that Monica's hand was no longer bandaged.
"Yes, but it still hurts." she told her as they walked towards the car.
"Mommy's head hurts too," Elle said sadly.
"Your mommy's head hurts?'
Elle nodded "She cwies"
Monica made up her mind to somehow get to the bottom of what was going on with Liv. Of course she needed to deal with her problems with Gee first. Elle sang and skipped happily along side her as they made their way back to the car.
Once Elle was seated in the back with her seat belt firmly secured Monica started the car. Elle talked non-stop. Monica smiled to herself remembering how Kara and Kelly used to do the same thing. When they were almost back to Jamia's, Monica broke into Elle's chatter.
"Elle honey, I want to tell you something. Someone I love very much is coming home today and you're gonna meet him."
She could see Elle smiling at her in the rear view mirror. Monica had spent quite a bit of time driving over to get Elle thinking about how to handle this situation. For now it was best that Elle didn't find out Gerard was her father. That was Liv's place to tell her. In the back of her mind a little voice reminded her that she really didn't know how Gerard was going to handle meeting Elle. He had so much anger towards Liv. He had anger for being kept in the dark about having a child. Monica signed.
"Mommyca feel bad?" Elle's small voice asked.
Monica forced a smile," I'm fine, honey. Everything is going to be fine." She had to believe it would all be fine.
Mikey stood outside the gate waiting for the guys who were passing through customs. He always hated this part of the trip. You would finally get home and then get held up. He spotted Frank and Gee at the same time. They looked tired. He saw Gerard's eyes scanning the crowd for Monica. When he saw Mikey he smiled but it faded when he realized Monica wasn't there.
Gerard didn't need his brother to tell him Monica wasn't at the airport. He could feel it in his heart. She had promised to come but she hadn't. Fuck, he thought. This pain is what I deserve. He and Frank made their way towards Mikey.
Mikey watched his friend getting nearer. Frank looked confused that Jamia was nowhere to be seen. But it was the look in Gerard's eyes that worried Mikey. Gerard looked like a man who had just given up on life.