Mikey and Frank talk, Elle tries to cheer Kara.
Mikey looked up from his coffee and frowned, “Who said anything is eating at me?”
Frank narrowed his eyes, “Dude, how long have I known you? Come on, I can tell something’s just not right.”
Mikey sighed, “I’m just tired. I didn’t get much fucking sleep, okay?’
“Yeah, I know. You were still up when I finally crashed after 2:00.”
“Right, that’s it. That’s all that’s wrong with me.”
Frank looked at him sadly, ‘Keep telling yourself that and maybe, just maybe you’ll start to believe it.”
Mikey stared at him a moment then looked down. “If I tell you, you gotta promise not to say anything to anyone. Especially Gerard.”
“I’m not sure if this is what I want to be doing anymore.” The words were rushed. Almost as if saying them out loud was wrong.
Frank looked shocked, “This? You mean the band?”
Mikey simply nodded.
“That’s the fucking question I can’t answer. I don’t know, Frank. Before the band was what I lived for. It was my dream, ya know? Now I get out on the stage and I don’t know.”
“Anxiety again?” Frank asked trying to understand.
Mikey shook his head, “No, not like before. I’m just not fucking happy. I want to be. I know I should be.”
“Is it cause you miss Alicia?” Frank asked softly.
“I do miss the fuck out of her. But that’s not it. At least I don’t think so. Fuck, I’m just messed up.” He looked down into his coffee cup.
“Man, how much of why you’re here is to please your brother?”
Mikey looked up with a shocked expression. “Gerard didn’t make me rejoin the tour.”
“I didn’t say he did. But if your brother wasn’t in the band would you have rejoined the tour?”
“I don’t know. I mean I can’t imagine the band without Gee.”
Frank responded sadly “And I’m sure it’s on your mind that Gee wouldn’t be able to imagine this band without you being in it.”
Slowly Mikey nodded, “Yeah,”
Monica and Elle were in the kitchen making lunch when Kara pulled in the driveway. She came through the sliding glass door. “I’m going to my room.” She threw her car keys down on the kitchen table and walked towards the stairs.
‘Kara, we need to talk.”
Kara didn’t stop walking. “Yeah, but not with Bug ears around. I’m gonna go to my room. I’ll talk to you later.”
Monica didn’t try to stop her. She looked over at Elle and saw that she was watching the encounter.
“Me’s will make her a sandwich with a happy face.” She smiled and nodded her head.
Monica watched as Elle carefully removed two slices of bread from the bag and laid them on a plate. She then got out a piece of luncheon meat and a slice of cheese. Once they were in place she took the squeeze mustard and oh so carefully drew a smiley face on the bread. Monica tried not to laugh as she watched Elle work. She was trying so hard to get everything just right. She took the bread with the smiley face and placed it mustard side down on the sandwich.
‘See” she told Monica “Now when you open it up you have two faces.”
Monica kissed her on the cheek. “That’s very sweet of you, baby.”
Elle’s smile faded, “Mommy calls Elle baby.”
Monica was surprised. “Oh I’m sorry. If that’s your mommy’s name for you then I won’t call you that.”
Elle cocked her head to the side, “Me’s likes when Mommyca call’s Elle baby.”
Monica felt her heart melt. “Well that’s good cause I like to call you baby.”
“But me’s not a baby.” Elle wanted to make that quite clear.
“Of course you’re not.” She helped Elle get a good hold on the plate bearing the Smiley Face sandwich for Kara. “Why don’t you take this up to her room and give it to her?”
Elle nodded, “Okay, mommyca.”
Monica watched her go. She sighed realizing just how much the little girl had a firm hold on her heart.
Elle made a big production of delivering her special sandwich. Kara played along, although a sandwich from an overly cheerful child was the last thing she really wanted. As Elle carefully placed the plate on Kara’s desk, Kara’s cell rang. It was Bob. Crap. She really shouldn’t have sent that text when she left the school but she had been so overwhelmed by all that had happened. She’d really wanted to talk to him but it had been so early where he was that she’d just sent the text asking him to call her as soon as he could. Now, after reflecting on everything she didn’t really want to have this conversation right now.
“Hi, Pookie.” Kara tried to sound cheerful.
“Hi, Honey. Why the text? What’s wrong?”
Kara waved goodbye to Elle and then broke down after she left the room. “Everything is wrong. I was keeping an eye on Kelly this morning and Mike waylaid her. He was trying to get her to leave with him. He was being such a jerk. I don’t know. I just snapped and punched him.”
“I punched him.”
“That wasn’t even the worst part. She went right back to him. He almost broke her wrist this morning and there she was crying over his sorry ass. And after she promised me that she was going to have nothing to do with him. That sure didn’t last. Now everyone thinks I’m a complete psycho because Kelly still has me sworn to secrecy.”
“What did Monica say?”
“Nothing so far. She said we’d talk later. I think she’s distracted by Elle. Sure, her eldest daughter gets kicked out of school and she doesn’t say a damn thing.”
“You got expelled?”
“Yeah, for a week. Bob I’ve been thinking about it. I’m just going to quit school. This is stupid. I missed those midterms and now this. I don’t have any friends. How can I go back?”
“Kara, you have to go back.”
“I thought you’d be on my side.”
“I am on your side. If you quit now, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”
“Bit of an exaggeration. No, I wouldn’t.”
“Oh, yes you would. I know. I regret it.”
“I didn’t tell you but I quit school my senior year. I got a GED.”
“You’re kidding. When were you going to tell me this?”
“It’s not something I’m proud of. Kara, please don’t quit. I know I’m asking a lot, but just hang in there. It’s only a couple more months. Do it for me. Do it for yourself.”
“You really regret it?” Kara asked.
“More than anything.”
Kara thought for a while. “Okay, I’ll stick it out.”
“It’ll be okay, Kara. We’ll make it thru this together.”
“Hey, Kara. Did you at least get a good punch in?”
“I think I broke his nose.”
“Christ, you can shoot and punch? You’re starting to scare me.”
Back downstairs in the kitchen Monica and Elle were sitting at the table having their lunch. “I bet Kara loved the sandwich you made her.” Monica said pouring more juice into Elle cup.
Elle nodded happily, “Yep.”
Monica watched her eat her sandwich for a minute while her mind was going over the events that had taken place at the school. What had happened?
“Who’s pookie?” Elle asked wiping her mouth on the back of her hand.
Monica automatically handed her a napkin. Before she could answer Elle continued.
“Pookie called Kawa.”
“When you were upstairs?”
Monica wasn’t surprised Kara was talking to Bob. “Pookie is what Kara calls her husband sometimes.”
Elle seemed to give this some thought. “That’s a swilly name.”
Monica laughed, “His real name is Bob.”
Taking another bite of her sandwich Elle sat thinking. “I hopes he makes Kawa feel better.”