Getting ready to leave
Forty-five minutes later the enticing aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the air. She was surprised to turn and find Kelly standing in the doorway. “My, aren’t we up early?”
Kelly nodded sleepily and walked to the kitchen table. “I wanted to make sure I was up to tell Dad and Bob goodbye.”
“They should be down soon. Glass of orange juice?” Monica offered.
“Please” Kelly laid her had on the table while waiting. “I didn’t sleep very well last night.”
Monica poured the juice then sat it down in front of her daughter. “Why?”
Kelly took a sip before answering, “I dunno. Guess I just had too many thoughts running through my mind.”
Monica put the freshly made cinnamon rolls in the oven then took a seat at the table. “Anything you want to talk about?”
“Not really. I just have to figure some things out.” She took another sip then put her head back down.
“Kelly, are you still worried about Gerard leaving?” Monica asked softly.
Without lifting her head Kelly answered, “Kinda. It’s just been so nice having him home. I don’t want him to leave.”
“But he has to. It’s his job and he loves it.”
“I know but why can’t have some other job?” she whined.
Monica smiled, “Okay. Just what other job could he have? He could be a chef.” She teased.
This got Kelly smiling. “Don’t think so. Unless it was a barbeque place.”
“Okay. How about a builder?”
“Funny. Don’t rag on him. He’ll get the gazebo done.” Kelly said defending him while smiling.
“I know he will but can’t you just see him handling power tools everyday?’
“Are you implying that I’m a menace with a nail gun?” Gerard’s voice startled them both.
“I didn’t say that.” Monica said standing up from the table and going to him. “But let’s face it. Singing is your true calling.”
He pulled her into his arms. “I could always go back to being an artist.” He said still holding her tight.
Monica sighed, “You would miss the thrill of the stage, the roar of the crowds. You know it.”
Kelly sat quietly watching them. They looked so right together, so happy. So why did she feel so damn sad. She took another drink of orange juice and tried to think of something happy. “Hey, when are you gonna get back?”
Gerard looked over at her. “Well, instead of two weeks we’re gonna be gone three and a half weeks.”
Kelly smiled “Then you’ll be back for my birthday.”
“Yep, I will.” He and Monica parted and he walked over to the table.
“I still think we should have had a birthday party for you.” Kelly told him. “I mean it sucks that tomorrow’s your birthday and you won’t be here. I think you should have gotten to stay home for your birthday.”
Gerard laughed, “I really don’t think that my birthday was taken into consideration when they planned the tour.”
“I was gonna give you your present so you could take it with you and open it tomorrow. Hey, you wanna open it now?”
He smiled, “Sure.” He loved how excited she looked.
Kelly pushed back from the table and took off for the stairs. Monica got up and poured Gerard a cup of coffee. “I don’t even know what she got you.” She sat back down at the table. “She’s right. I wish you were going to be here for your birthday. I still don’t know why you wouldn’t let me have a party for you.”
He shook his head. “It’s no big deal, just another day.” Truth was he knew how she was about their age difference so he hadn’t wanted to make a big deal about the fact that he was turning 30.
“I put my gift in your bag but you gotta promise not to open it until tomorrow.” She took a sip of coffee. “Promise?”
“Yeah, I promise.”
Kara buried her head further under the covers, hiding from the light. She flipped the covers down when she heard the door open and close. Confirming that Bob had indeed left the room, she jumped out of bed. She ran to her dresser, pulling out a small packet from her top drawer. Biting her lip in concentration, she opened one of Bob's bags. She removed the top layer of clothing neatly folded within. Now, where to hide it? She wanted to make sure he found it even if he didn't unpack his bag. Well, hopefully, he'll change his underwear. The trick was to find out where he hid his droopy drawers. She dug deeper in the bag. Not in there. Check the other bag. Ah ha, there they are. She carefully hid her surprise. But wait a minute. What is this? She pulled out a set of socks and unfolded them. Tube socks? Oh good lord. What was he thinking? This called for drastic measures. The man definitely needed a keeper. Kara crawled back into bed, carrying the offending socks with her.
Bob quietly opened the door, trying not to wake Kara, only to find her sitting in bed; bright eyed and bushy tailed and with a dangerous glint in her eye. He crossed over to the bed, bending down to give Kara a kiss. That kiss lead to a few more. It ultimately lead to Bob losing his balance helped in no small part by Kara's grip on the front of his shirt. She burst out laughing. Bob looked up from his crash position.” Good morning, Sleepyhead. I didn't think you'd be up yet."
"Yeah right, I think you're just trying to sneak out of town before I found out you owned these." She pulled out the socks, holding them with the very tips of her fingers as if their very existence offended her.
To say Bob was confused was an understatement. "Why do you have my socks?"
"Ah-ha, you admit they're yours. That's the first step. Now we can concentrate on getting you help. Okay, repeat after me. Tube socks are for sock monkeys. I am not a sock monkey."
"What's wrong with my socks?"
"You can't be serious. This is worse than I thought. Why do you have these?"
"I wear them at the concerts."
Kara looked truly horrified. "Since when?"
"That stupid fire was burning my leg hairs off."
"Through your pants?"
"I started wearing shorts. It's way too hot back there."
"What's more important, leg hair or looking like a dork?"
Bob looked extremely hurt and Kara immediately felt bad.
"Okay, wear them this tour, but can we figure out a better solution? I have to maintain some standards, you know." She softened the harshness of her words by pulling him back to her and kissing him. They kissed for several minutes. Kara pulled back. "Now if you were wearing only the socks. Now that's a different thing all together." She arched her eyebrow at him laughing wickedly. Bob laughed and quickly reclaimed her lips soon forgetting all about leaving on the tour.
Kelly ran back into the room holding a brightly wrapped box. “Okay, it’s kinda cheesy but I thought you might like it.” She held out the present to him.
Gerard took it from her, “Thanks, Kell.” He pulled off the paper and opened the box. Inside was another book. A scrapbook. “I wanted you to have memories of us wherever you are.” She explained shyly.
He sat the book on the table and opened the cover. The first page contained a photo of their house. Flipping through he discovered the book was full of mementos as well as photos.
Kelly pointed to a ticket stub. “That’s from when we went to see “Black Christmas.”
Gerard smiled, “I remember. That was the day I tried to burn down Mom’s house.”
They all laughed.
The article she had cut out and pasted from the school paper especially touched him. It was from the talent show when he and Kelly had sung together. There was even a photo of them onstage. “Kell this is so great. Thank you. You don’t know how much it means to have memories from home with you when you’re on the road.
Kelly smiled happily, “I thought so.” She pointed to a picture of Frank the dog. “It was hard to get a picture of him. He moves so much.”
He turned the pages studying the photos,” You really take great pictures. Ever think of being a photographer?” Gerard asked. She had a great eye for capturing unique angles. “These are really, really good.” She had taken shots of his Mom and Dad that he truly loved. Many of the pictures he realized had been taken at Bob and Kara’s wedding shower. The one of Frank posing with Frank made him laugh, “Don’t they look alike?’
He turned another page and found himself looking at a photo of Elle.
Monica was looking over his shoulder, “When did you take that one?”
“That day at Jamia’s. I always have my digital camera with me.”
Gerard stared at the little girl with the dancing eyes gazing from the photo. No matter how many people said Elle looked like him all he could see was Liv. He turned the page. “You are so talented.”
Kelly basked in his praise. “I like taking pictures. It’s weird but sometimes I look at something and realize that what I’m seeing isn’t really how it truly looks. After the picture is developed then the true image is revealed.”
Gerard looked up at her. “Yeah, you’re an artist at heart.” He closed the book. “I will treasure this, honey. Could you go slip it in my messenger bag by the door?”
“Sure.” She took the book and headed for the front door where his things were already waiting for the airport shuttle.
As soon as she had left the room he looked at Monica. “She really is talented. I think for her birthday we should get her a professional camera and I want to make a darkroom for her in the basement.”
Monica was shocked, “In the basement?
He laughed, “Yeah in my space. She’s so good at capturing emotions on film. If she has her own darkroom she can take her own photos and develop them herself. She’s an artist.”
Monica reached over and kissed him.” I think it’s a great idea.”
“Shit, I wish I was gonna be here to help you with this. Look I’ll call Brian and he’ll find someone to help you get the darkroom done before her birthday. I really don’t think there is any way we can hide the plan from her but let’s not tell her until we have to.”
“Okay.” They moved apart when Kelly walked back in.
Monica got up and checked the cinnamon rolls. “Just about done. Kelly go to the foot of the stairs and call Bob and Kara.”
“Okay but I’m not going up there. I heard Kara giggling before I came down.”
Gerard waited until Kelly left the room. “Yeah, I heard them too. Shit in my mind all I could think of was feathers.”