A call from Bert
"For my burfday?" Elle said clearly confused.
"Yes" Monica smiled.
"It's not my burfday."
"No, Gee knows that but he wants us to get you a gift cause he didn't know it was your birthday and now he does."
Kelly looked over at her Mom. "I told you there was a some special reason I wanted to see her on Thursday."
Monica nodded, "Yeah, I know."
Kelly smiled at her. It felt good that her Mom believed in her "feelings". She had told Kara who just rolled her eyes and dubbed it "Another Kelly Moment."
They walked into the store and spotted the plush bugs Gee had mentioned. Elle hopped up and down, "Buggies" Her eyes scanned the shelves.
"How about a grasshopper?" Kelly said lifting one off the shelf.
Elle shook her head no.
"Elle look at this one." Kelly pulled another plush bug off the shelf and held it up. "You like this one?"
Elle eyes the beetle. "No" she shook her head.
Monica smiled watching the two girls. This could take a while. While they were checking out all the bugs she decided to look around the store Her eyes fell on a copy of an unauthorized biography of My Chemical Romance. She picked up the oversized paperback and started to thumb through the pages. There were some great group photos.
"She likes the ladybug." Kelly said as she and Elle rounded the corner. "What's ya reading?"
Monica held up the book so that she could see the cover.
"Hey, Elle that's Gee." She said using the name she knew the little girl would recognize.
Elle looked at the book and shook her head, "No, not Gee."
"Sure it is." Kelly said. "That's him" She pointed him out in the group photo on the cover.
"No" Elle said.
Monica realized the problem. "Elle that's Gee when he had blond hair. It's not that color anymore."
Elle looked closely at the cover. "Mommy's hair"
"Yes, his blond hair was like your Mommy's hair."
"Why not now?"
Monica smiled, "Cause his hair is really the same color as yours."
Kelly gave her Mom a knowing look. Monica shrugged slightly.
"He didn't want his hair to look like Mommy's?" Elle asked innocently.
"He just wanted it to look like it did." Monica said wondering if Elle understood.
Elle took one more look at the cover then shrugged. "I love my bug."
"That's good, sweetie. Let’s pay for him and then we'll go to the movie."
Elle started hopping from one foot to the other. "Wanna see the movie, Mommyca."
Kelly grabbed her hand, "Come on, Squirt. Lets go pay."
Trailing behind them to the counter Monica wondered if Liv had given any thought to explaining to Elle about her father. Perhaps since Kelly called him dad it would make it easier for Elle. She really needed to talk to Liv.
The girls were just coming out of the theater when Monica's cell vibrated. "Kelly why don't you take Elle over to the fountain I'll be there in just a minute. She waited until they walked away before she answered, "Hello, Bert"
"Hey, Monica. Catch you at a bad time?"
"Nope, how are you?"
"Good. Hey, I was wondering if you've heard from Liv?"
Monica watched Kelly hand Elle some change to throw in the fountain. "Yeah, I told her you wanted to talk to her."
"She didn't say anything. She just nodded."
Bert was confused, "So is she gonna call me?"
"I don't know. It's kinda hard to talk to her. She's pretty distant. When she brings Elle to me she hardly talks at all then takes off."
"So when's she supposed to bring you Elle?" He was formulating a plan.
Monica knew what he has thinking, "Look Bert. I'm trying to form some kind of a relationship with her cause of Elle. I'm pretty sure it would piss her off if you showed up."
"Well, how the fuck am I supposed to talk to her?" He asked angrily.
Monica tried to be understanding, "Maybe she just doesn’t want to talk to you right now."
He sighed, "What do you think? You think she's okay?"
"Honestly I don't know. I understand her dislike of me. She was pretty upset when she saw our new house. Gee said that when they were together they had a crappy apartment."
"Yeah, it was bad." He thought a moment before asking softly, "Think she still loves him?"
"Yes" Monica answered without hesitation.
"Fuck" Bert said sadly. "That's what I think too."
Monica didn't want to discuss this anymore right now. She and the girls were having too nice of a day. "Look, I'll try again. I'll tell her how much you want to talk to her."
He sighed, "Never mind. Nothing’s changed. It was always Gee she loved. I was stupid to think she could ever give a shit about me." He disconnected without a goodbye.
Gerard and Frank wandered through Books Plus in awe. This was the kind of bookstore both men loved. It boasted over 20,000 books and in music over 12,000 vinyl records. The day was theirs to enjoy until the Meet and Greet and this was the ideal place. Bob and Mikey trailed behind them. They split up, Bob going in no particular direction, Frank heading towards the vinyl and Gerard and Mikey perusing the bookshelves. In the poetry section Gerard found an antique volume of poetry, which was beautifully illustrated. This would be the perfect gift for Monica.
Next he located the art section and selected several books. He had just finished glancing through one of the books when he received Monica’s text message. He read it and smiled. The wedding list he had e-mailed pleased her and the invitations had been ordered. Knowing that a step had been taken towards their wedding pleased him more than he could say in a simple text. He left the books he had chosen so far and went outside to give her a call.
“Hey” she said. “You aren’t supposed to call. We were communicating through text messages. I’m just getting the hang of it.”
He laughed, “I know but I just wanted to hear your voice.”
Monica asked Kelly to keep a close eye on Elle for a minute while she talked to Gerard. She and the girls had just finished lunch and were still wandering around the mall.
“Where are you?” Gerard asked. “I didn’t interrupt your movie did I?’ he knew Monica had been planning on taking Elle to see the new animated animal flick.
“Nope. So far we’ve been to Hop Topic where Elle picked out a ladybug. Oh and by the way she saw a picture of you on a book but didn’t recognize you cause of the blond hair.”
He laughed, “Yeah, I can see how she wouldn’t think it was me.”
“Then we went to the movie and now we’re just looking around the mall. I gave Elle a little bit of money and told her she could buy herself something. It was so sweet, she told me she wanted to buy her mommy something. She bought her a hat similar to the one Liv bought her for her birthday cause she said he mommy didn’t like her hair sometimes. I thought that was so sweet of her.”
Gerard pictured Liv in his mind: her flowing blond hair and beautiful eyes. He shook his head, “That was sweet. Did you get her to talk about us spending time with Elle?”
“I’ve not had a lot of luck talking to Liv but I’m gonna try again. I’m also gonna tell her again that Bert really wants to talk to her. He called me earlier and he’s so upset cause she hadn’t called him.”
“I don’t see why he’s getting so bent out of shape about that. Shit, that’s just Liv being Liv. She only does what she wants when she wants. He should fucking know that by now.”
Monica could hear the anger in his voice. “You don’t want her to call him do you?”
He stuttered a moment, “Uh, well, uh, I don’t care. Why would I?’
Monica could remind him she knew about the past that revolved around Liv driving a wedge between him and Bert but she chose not to. “Gee, I gotta go. Elle is getting tired and we still have to stop by Donna’s. Call me tonight, okay?’
“Sure I will. I’ll call after the concert. Love you.”
“Love you, Gee.” She sighed as she disconnected.
Kara was hiding in Jamia’s bathroom. She was pacing, clearly agitated waiting for Bob to answer his cell.
“Hi Hon! Are you on your way to Jamia’s?”
“Oh no. I’m here and you would not believe what happened.” Kara hissed.
“They didn’t invite me over for lunch. It was a ploy to get me over here to help paint the nursery for those brats. Can you imagine? Me? Painting? As if. You think they’d hire someone to do that crap. They have me wearing this hideous coverall. Oh my God, that’s another thing – the colors. You wouldn’t believe the colors they want to paint this room. They’re insane. No one could get any sleep in this thing. No self-respecting baby would be caught dead in there. But come to think of it, I think that’s the look they’re going for. And I just got my nails done this morning.
Kara went strangely quiet.
“Kara, are you okay?”
“Of course.” Her voice was quiet and strangled.
“No, you’re not. You’re crying. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“I did.” Kara was openly crying now. “They didn’t really invite me over for lunch.”
“Kara, I’m sure you just misunderstood. Alicia and Jamia can be pretty weird when they get together. They don’t always think about what they’re saying and how it sounds. Especially Alicia.”
A knock sounded at the bathroom door.
“Kara, Honey. Are you okay?” It was Jamia.
Kara quietly blew her nose.
“Yeah, I’ll be right out.”
“I hate to be a pest, but could you hurry? One of the twins is doing a cha-cha-cha on my bladder.”
“Be right out. Bob, I gotta hang up. Call me later, okay?”
“Okay, but Kara. Do me a favor.”
“Go out there and try to have fun. Forget that they hurt your feelings. Show them the Kara I fell in love with.”
Kara thought on it. “Okay. I believe. It’s silly, but I believe.” She was quoting a line from one of her favorite movies, Miracle on 34th Street. She hung up. She splashed some cold water on her face, took a deep breath and opened the door only to be run over by Jamia.
“Sorry” she said over her shoulder as she slammed the door.
Kara took another deep breath, plastered a weak smile on her face and returned to the nursery.
Alicia was sitting in the middle of the floor examining paint cans.
“Do we need to do the base coat for the mural on the whole wall or just should we sketch out the picture and do it to the outline?”
“I really have no idea.”
“Oh, I thought your mom said you’d painted a mural before.”
“No, that was Kelly.”
“Oh, crap.” Alicia was digging in a box of supplies and didn’t see Kara flinch. Alicia’s cell phone rang and she answered without looking.
“Hello… Hey Dude, Didn’t expect to hear from you…yeah…. Okay…Just a minute.” Alicia struggled to get up from the floor. “Hey, Kara. I’m going to take this outside. Tell Jamia to start without me.”
As Alicia entered the hall, she passed Jamia coming out of the bathroom Jamia mouthed “Mikey?” Alicia shook her head no and kept heading for the living room.
“Okay. I’m out of the nursery. What’s up?”
“What did you tell Kara to get her over there?”
“We invited her over for lunch.”
“What’s with the painting?”
“Well, I might have forgotten to mention that we wanted her help with that. Hey, you have to work to get fed.”
“Alicia, how do you think that looks to Kara? She’s never hung around you two. She doesn’t understand that that is your M.O. Remember the stunt you pulled to get the band to help you and Mikey move your furniture to the new apartment? She’s convinced that you two don’t like her and only wanted her for slave labor.”
“Oh crap. Jamia said the same thing. I forget that she hasn’t known us very long. Don’t worry, we’ll make it right.”
“Just don’t let her know that I talked to you. Your friendship means a lot to her even if she doesn’t let on. She really wants to be one of the gang.”
“Poor kid. Don’t worry; by the end of the night she’ll be a card-carrying member of the MCR First Wives Club. You’ll probably live to regret this.”
“Just patch it up.”