The aftermath of the announcement
Christa was the first to bravely speak, “Congratulations” she said. Somehow it came out sounding more like a question.
Ray looked over at her and frowned. She shrugged her shoulders.
“Kara Elizabeth Knight…” Monica ground out before being stopped by Kara.
“That’s Kara Elizabeth Bryar.”
Monica closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She was about to speak again but this time was interrupted by Gerard pushing away from the table and rising.
“Bob, can I see you outside for a minute?” he asked. Without waiting for an answer, Gerard left the table and headed for the deck.
Bob reluctantly followed him. Kara started to follow but was stopped by Monica.
“Kara, can I see you in the kitchen, please?”
Kara made a face but followed Monica out of the room. Those left at the table looked around uncomfortably. The silence was broken by Mikey. “Hey, someone pass the garlic bread.” He only looked up from his spaghetti when Alicia elbowed him. “What?” He didn’t seem to realize that anything had happened.
Out on the deck, Bob was enduring a very uncomfortable interrogation.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? What happened to waiting until Kara finished school? I can’t leave you alone for a minute. You just totally ignore what you promised Monica and you two idiots went merrily on your way and did whatever the hell you wanted.” He paused for breath and Bob started to say something in his defense but Gerard started up again. “Did you ever think that maybe Monica would have wanted to be at her eldest daughter’s wedding? Did that ever occur to you two? Maybe she had something really special planned for you but now it’s all ruined.” Gerard started to pace the deck.
“What the hell was your rush?” Bob again started to answer when Gerard cut him off. “She’s pregnant, isn’t she? Oh, what the hell am I going to tell her mother? Didn’t you idiots learn anything from December? Fuck, what is wrong with you two morons? Monica goes to all of the trouble to make a special place for her in the house and it’s all ruined. And where the hell do you think you two think you are going to live? Not here. Let me tell you. Monica won’t have it. She was looking forward to having everyone in the house and being one big happy family and that doesn’t include you, you ape. Now, how’s the gazebo ever going to get finished?”
Bob, who had up to this point been following Gerard’s arguments, was now totally lost, but not surprised. Life with his father-in-law was going to be interesting to say the least. Bob let Gerard rant awhile longer. The tirade seemed to be slowing down. Bob seized his chance as Gerard flicked his cigarette into the backyard and stopped to light another.
“All right, first off, Dad, she’s not pregnant. Secondly, she’s very much going to finish school. Thirdly, I wouldn’t live in your house if you were the last father-in-law on the fucking planet. Any other questions?”
“And just what’s wrong with my house?”
“At the moment, you’re in it.”
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Kara was enduring her own interrogation.
“Kara, why? I just don’t understand. I thought we had all agreed that you wouldn’t even think about getting married until after you finished high school.”
Kara walked across the kitchen and pulled open the refrigerator. She was looking for something to drink and ignoring her mother. Well, trying to ignore her mother. She really had thought that she and Bob would be dealing with this together but no, Gerard had divided them. Crap.
“Kara look at me when I’m talking to you.” Monica said walking over and giving the fridge door push so that it closed narrowly missing Kara’s head.
“Mom, look I love Bob…”
“I know that” Monica said cutting her off, “You love Bob and Bob loves you. But you are in high school.” She stopped suddenly her face taking on a strange look.
“Tell me you’re not pregnant.” She said slowly.
Kara flashed, “What? Mom, how could you even think that? No, there are no little Bryers on the way. At least not yet.”
The headache that Monica had before entering the kitchen kicked up a notch. “Thank God.”
“So what if I was? Do you think that would have been the only reason Bob would want to marry me?” Her eyes narrowed with anger.
Monica knew this ploy. It was one of her daughter’s favorites. Turn the conversation around so it looked like she was the victim being picked on. “I didn’t say that and you know it.” She took a seat at the kitchen table and rubbed her forehead. “Shit, Gerard isn’t gonna take this well.” Not only did she have to deal with her daughter she had to deal with Gerard and his feelings.
Kara took a seat across from her at the table. “Why does this affect Gerard? It’s not like he’s my real father or anything.”
Anger flashed in Monica’s eyes. “Kara, he has been trying to be. Didn’t you get that memo or where you too busy all caught up in your own world to see?”
“Mom, I’m an adult. I don’t need another father. I had one remember? Wasn’t he a great guy?” As soon as the words left her mouth and she saw her mothers face she wished she could take them back. “Mom, I’m sorry.”
Monica took a deep breath, “Kara, don’t you realize Gerard knows just what kind of man your father was? He has been trying his best to help you forget. He’s not trying to replace him but to give you the feeling of stability that having a father brings. But look honey, its totally uncharted territory for him.” She looked down, “But he’s trying.”
Kara thought back to incident when she had thought she was pregnant. Gerard had been the one she had turned to. He had done his best to help her with the situation. “I just never stopped to think how he might feel. This whole family thing is important to him, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it’s important to him. This house is our home. Your sister and I are his family. He just wants things to be perfect.”
Kara gave a small laugh, “Mom, doesn’t he realize that no family is prefect?”
“Nope, Gee goes into thing head first. I’m sure in his mind the day you got married he was gonna walk you down that aisle.”
“Well, crap. I’m sorry about that. Bob and I talked and well, we just couldn’t wait any longer; especially after everything that happened in the past two weeks. He’s my soul mate. I belong to him and he belongs to me. Waiting for a few months just seemed silly to us. We are meant to be together.”
Monica looked into her daughter’s eyes and knew what Kara said was true. In her heart she had know they would marry soon. She just hadn’t realized how soon. “You are gonna finish school aren’t you?’
“My husband says he’s gonna drive me there in the morning.” Kara said with a slight frown.
“That’s good.” Monica said feeling just a bit better.
“So what do we do about Gerard?” Kara asked quietly.
“I’m not sure,” Monica admitted. “I just hope we don’t have to bail him out of jail for killing Bob.”
On the deck, Gerard collapsed into a chair.
“Bob, man. Why?” He leaned his head against the back of the chair, closing his eyes. “Jesus, you’re fuckin’ ruining everything.”
“I’m sorry we didn’t do things your way, but it’s done now. Can’t you deal with it?”
“Guess I’m gonna have to. But I wouldn’t give you a plugged nickel for your chances with Monica. If you’re lucky, she’ll only tear you a new one.”
Gerard seemed to get lost in thought.
“Bob, she’s so young. She’s not ready for any of this. All she knows is shopping and school and having a black belt in shopping isn’t going to help her in the real world. How’s she going to deal with home life while you’re on tour? Or are you planning on parking her at your mother-in-law’s house every time?”
“Look, man. Can’t you understand? I almost lost her twice in one week. First there was all that crap in Europe and then the fire. What if she’d been hurt…or worse? I just realized that I couldn’t live without her and she feels the same about me.” Bob paused.
“I now Kara acts as if she doesn’t care about anything but shopping and silly things, but it just isn’t true. She’s worked really hard putting up a barrier between herself and the outside world and it’s all because of that jackass father of hers. She grew up watching what he did to her mom and she’s determined never to let anyone see her hurt or vulnerable. Believe me, it’s a huge act. Really, she’s much more mature than she acts. She’s also more vulnerable and if you and Monica disown her or shun her because of this marriage, you’re going to crush her. Why do you think she told you like she did? It was because she doesn’t want you to know how much your approval means to her. She wanted you and Monica there, but” Bob shrugged. “It just seemed like the right time to do it. Look, you and Monica and my parents not being at the ceremony was the only downside to the whole thing. Now if you’re through acting like the wronged parent, why don’t you go inside and tell your daughter that you still love her.”
AUTHORS NOTE - Really would like to hear from anyone out there. If no one's reading this here anymore I'll just stop posting.