Donna spends time with Elle and Bob returns home to Chicago.
Donna sat down with Elle at a table by the window while Kelly placed their order. She studied the little girl seated across from her closely. Monica was right, from all she had seen Liv was raising her daughter right. Elle twirled on her chair and smiled. “Me’s happy I get a Happy Meal.”
“But you have to eat before you play with the toy” Donna said automatically dropping into grandma mode. She froze when she realized what she had just thought. She was a grandma and this adorable child was her granddaughter. She was still smiling when Kelly arrived at their table with their food on a tray.
“Okay Big Mac for you” she sat Donna’s burger in front of her. “Double Cheese Burger for me and a Happy Meal for Miss Happy.” She sat the box in front of Elle.
“Me’s Elle, not Miss Happy.” Elle was clearly confused.
Kelly laughed, “We really gotta work on kidding. You just don’t get it.”
Elle saw that she was smiling so she smiled in return. Donna couldn’t get over how much Elle looked like her boys when they were little. She watched as Elle unwrapped her burger, opened the bun and removed the pickle.
“Don’t you like pickles?” Kelly asked watching her.
Elle giggled, “Me luvs pickies.”
Kelly remembered how Elle ate pizza and explained to Donna, “If it’s like she does with pizza, she takes off what she likes best and saves it for last. I’m guessing she is gonna eat the pickles last.”
Elle nodded happily. Kelly understood. Donna grinned. “That is exactly what Mikey did when he was her age. He always saved the pickles for last. I don’t know how many fights he and Gerard had over pickles. Mikey would save them and Gerard would reach over and steal them from him. She smiled sadly and wondered how her little boys had grown up so fast.
Gerard was only half listening to Ray talk about a new riff he’s been perfecting. It was so good to see Ray again and to hear him talk about the band. Mikey too was excited about getting back on the road. It was obvious he and Alicia had spent a wonderful two weeks together and that their relationship was solid. Unfortunately Gerard knew he couldn’t say the same about his own. He just needed to get Monica alone so they could talk. He needed to make her understand how sorry he was for hurting her. He needed to make her understand how much he loved her.
“So Bro what do you think of Elle?” Mikey asked softly breaking into his thoughts.
“He knows about her?” Ray asked Mikey.
“She was here when I dropped Frank and Gee off” Mikey told him
Gerard laughed, “I’m in the room. You could just address the question to me.” He said to Ray.
Ray laughed, “Sorry, guess I’m just surprised is all. So I hear she’s a cute kid.”
Gerard nodded, “Yeah, she’s cute.’ He grew quiet, “She look’s like Liv.”
Ray looked down at the ground. This was a hard subject to discuss. “I was shocked as fuck when I found out Monica was watching her for Liv.”
“I’m still so fucking confused about what’s going on. Why would Liv want Monica to watch Elle? If Liv is up to something…” He trailed off Monica had walked into the room.
“Gee, your mom and Kelly are back with Elle.”
“Back? They just left. What happened?”
“You guys have been in here for over an hour now. Come join us in the real world.” Monica continued, “Liv called as they were walking in. I’m taking Elle back to her now.”
Gerard looked up at her thinking how fragile she looked. He just wanted to take her in his arms.
“I’ll go with you” Gerard stood.
“I think it would be best if I took her back alone. Liv seemed pretty upset today and I’m not sure seeing you right now would be the best thing.”
He didn’t want to let Monica out of his sight. “But I need to talk to her about Elle.”
Monica shook her head, “I understand that but you don’t want to do anything that will make her disappear again. She’s skittish. When I talk to her I’ll tell you that you are back in town and will want to spend time with Elle.”
“Monica, I want to go.”
“Gerard, would you please just listen to me? I don’t think it would he a good idea.”
This whole day was not turning out at all like he had hoped. “Okay” he said sitting back down.
Elle skipped into the room. “I like your hair” she said spotting Ray.
Everyone in the room laughed. Ray smiled at her. “Well, thank you.”
“Elle honey, get your coat. You’re mama is waiting for you.” Monica said resting her hand of top of Elle’s head. The little girl scampered off to do as she was told.
They all walked back into the living room. Donna and Kelly were talking to Christa and Alicia. Gerard noticed that whatever they had been discussing they stopped talking when he walked into the room. Elle had her coat on and was waiting by the door for Monica.
Frank walked out of the bedroom and looked at everyone. He was surprised to be hosting a party that he wasn’t invited to. Where had they all come from? He sighed, “Look, I love all of you but get OUT.” Behind him Jamia giggled.
Monica looked over at Gerard. He looked so sad and confused. She walked over to him. “Have your mom drop you off at the house. I’ll go there after I drop off Elle.”
He looked into her eyes and nodded. He knew it was stupid but he couldn’t help the way he felt. She had said ‘the’ house not ‘our’ house. Fuck, he had to talk to her; he had to make everything right.
Bob was ready to call it quits; the relationship, the band, his family – all of it. The day had gone steadily form bad to worse. First he’s been held up in customs. Someone somewhere had decided he fit the profile of an international drug smuggler. They were really interested in the remains of his cold medicine from England. Damn Frank and his crappy herbal remedies. Who knew what the fuck it really was. When he finally emerged from the dungeon – minus the cold medicine – the guys were long gone and there was no sign of Kara. He had hoped that she would have changed her mind, especially since her mom was picking up Gerard. He had tried phoning her but it went straight to voice mail.
Then there was the mix up with his reservation. Turned out that it had disappeared into a black hole. Even though it showed that he was supposed to be on the flight, in reality his name wasn’t on the manifest. It took 20 minutes and 3 different agents to get him on a later flight.
When he called his dad to update him about the flight information, he was informed that no one would be able to pick him up. He’d have to find his own way home.
His flight was then delayed due to weather. Apparently they were waiting for the bad weather to get in range as they hit not one, but two storms during the flight. That didn’t do much for his stomach.
Now, here he was waiting for his checked bag to appear on the carousel. Several minutes later and last of the other passengers had drifted off, bags in hand and his had still not appeared. As he watched the lime green back pack and dented box make yet another circuit on the carousel, he looked hopefully into the dark abyss that had previously been spitting out bags. No luck. The carousel stopped. His bag was AWOL.
Bob growled, then shrugged and made his way to Customer Service. It took 20 minutes for Kiki, the overly bright agent to find the whereabouts of his bag. It had jumped a flight to Portland. Even the damn bag didn’t want to be around him. He couldn’t blame. Today nobody should be around him unless they wanted to get soaking wet. That little black cloud hanging over his head was raining up a storm. Hell, it was pissing on his parade. After Kiki assured him that the wayward bag would be delivered to his house sometime tomorrow, he slowly made his way to the car rental counter.
What a day. Back East, everyone was probably having a great time. Even that idiot, Gerard had probably smoothed everything over with Monica. He always did have a horseshoe shoved up his ass.
Fifteen minutes later and things were looking up. He got the car he wanted and the color didn’t suck. Bonus! Traffic wasn’t even as bad as it usually was.
He decided to go straight home before heading over to the folks’. He was humming a catchy little ditty as he turned onto his street. Maybe he’d just stay home and catch some much needed z-z-z-z’s and deal with the family tomorrow.
Or maybe he wouldn’t. There, blocking the road, was a fire engine, lights flashing, hoses unfurled and firemen swarming….and it was directly in front of his house.