Monica goes shopping with Bert
"That's fine." Monica answered with a smile. Kelly was wearing a tee shirt with THE USED embossed across the front.
"I thought Bert might get a kick out of it." Kelly laughed. "He's a pretty insane guy."
"Bert is definitely different." Monica said dryly.
"But you like him. I know you do. I'm so glad I get to go with you guys." Kelly was rambling. After all that had been going on lately she was really looking forward to getting out of the house.
Monica's cell rang. She grabbed it out of her pocket. "Hello?"
"Monica can I bring Elle over?" Liv's voice sounded weak.
"Liv, what's wrong?"
"Nothing" she answered quickly. "I just need to keep an appointment. The truth was her side had begun hurting so much last night that she hadn't been able to sleep. She needed to find someone to watch Elle so she could keep her doctor's appointment.
Monica knew something was wrong but wasn't surprised that Liv wouldn't admit it. "I'm gonna be gone today." She didn't want to tell Liv she would be spending the day with Bert. Thinking quickly she added, "But Kara will be here and she would be happy to watch Elle."
Kelly gave her mother a disbelieving look.
"Are you sure?" Liv asked sounding desperate.
"Of course. Do you need me to come and get her? Liv, seriously I would be happy to come and get Elle if it would help you out"
Monica's kindness made Liv want to cry. She told herself it was because she was hurting. "No, I'll get her there." She started to hang up but added quietly, "Thank you, Monica."
The doorbell rang as soon as Monica disconnected. She waited for Kelly to announce she would get it. Kelly remained silent. "You volunteered Kara to baby-sit Elle? What were you thinking?" Kelly looked horrified.
"Answer the door." Monica said tiredly.
"But Mom, really."
"Kelly" Monica tone left no room for argument.
Frowning Kelly backed out of the room towards the front door. She shook her head in disbelief then opened the door.
"Hey, Kelly" Bert said as she pushed open the screen door for him. "Nice shirt. I got one just like that. Autographed and everything"
Kelly giggled, "I thought you might like it."
Bert followed her towards the family room. "So wearing my tee-shirt? Does this mean we're like going steady?" Bert teased.
Monica looked up from the sofa, "Bert, no flirting with my daughter."
Bert walked over and bent down to kiss her cheek, "Who, me?"
"So Mom, want me to call Kara down so you can give her the good news?" Kelly said smiling.
Monica glared at her. "I'll go tell her. Bert, behave until I get back." She started for the stairs.
"So does that mean when you get back I don't have to behave?"
"Bert" Monica hollered halfway up the steps.
Kelly was giggling. Bert smiled at her. "I really think your mom will like Cleo's place. I called her yesterday and she told me she's got lots of rad wedding dresses right now."
Kelly tried to picture her mom in a wedding dress. She was rewarded for her effort with a terrible feeling of sadness. Bert saw the look on her face change. "You okay?"
"Yeah" Kelly tried to smile, "I'm sure Mom will find just the right dress."
Frank was feeling down and he wasn't sure why. The interview he had just given had gone well and it was great to have Bob and Gerard back. So just what was his problem? He sighed and sat down on a bench.
"What's up dude?" Mikey asked, sitting down next to him.
"Not a damn thing." Frank answered.
"Look, as soon as everybody else is ready we’re supposed to all hang together. You know, explore Portland?
Frank nodded, “Yeah, we gotta spend some time with Christa.” He laughed, “I love her especially the way she messes with Ray’s mind. Does that make me a bad friend?”
Mikey shook his head, “Nope, I feel the same way. It’s good to see Torosaurus
messed up. He was always so organized. Now he’s just fucked up like the rest of us.”
Frank giggled, “Ain’t that the truth. So what are we all supposed to do? Shop?”
“Well, I wanna pick up a gift for Alicia."
Mikey smiled shyly. "Yeah, a just because gift."
"What's up with you two? Things okay?"
Mikey nodded, "I just miss her. This time it's been really hard to be away from her."
Frank nodded, "I know the feeling." He cleared his throat, "So, why haven't you been sleeping?"
"Who said I haven't been sleeping?'
"The guy who's been rooming with you. Come on Mikey, I hear you. Fuck, I'm not sure you got any sleep last night."
Mikey's first response was going t be denial. However when he saw Frank's concerned look he change his mind. "Bad dreams. They fucking suck."
"Are they about Alicia?"
"Yeah, kind of. Look I really don't want to think about them. It's too fucking hard to deal with."
Frank stood, "Understood. Come on let's go do some exploring. Portland is a rad town."
Mikey wished with all his heart he could tell Frank the truth but he couldn't. Bottom line was just the thought of losing Alicia was too much to bear.
“So, bet you never thought you’d be shopping for a wedding dress with me, did ya?’ Bert asked as he pulled out into traffic.
“I can honestly say the thought never crossed my mind.” Monica said looking over at him.
“How far is this place?” Kelly asked from the back seat.
“Not to far. We’ll find your mom a rad dress then have some lunch, how’s that sound?” He looked in the rear view mirror at Kelly.
“Sounds cool.” She smiled.
“So back at the house, what was that all about with Kara?” Bert asked glancing over at Monica.
“Uh, Kara is gonna babysit today.”
“Babysit? What? Bryar doesn’t give her any money, so she has to make her own?” he teased.
Kelly answered, “She’s gonna watch our sister, Elle.”
Bert looked shocked. “Elle?”
Monica had been hoping this wouldn’t come up. She knew how hurt Bert had been over Liv’s refusal to speak to him. Had he still be hoping to get in contact with her through them?
“She’s go great, Bert. Liv even let her spend the night on Wednesday. Dad got to spend time with her.”
Monica watched Bert’s face but it was as if he suddenly had developed a mask. His face looked blank. “I’ve been taking care of Elle a lot lately.” She said softly.
He nodded but continued to stare foreword. They drove in silence for several minutes before he said, “So did Gerard and Liv get things straightened out?”
Monica touched his arm, “Gee hasn’t seen Liv. I picked up Elle when Gee was in town,” she added softly, “She doesn’t want to see him either.”
Kelly wondered what was going on. She studied Bert’s reflection in the mirror and made up her mind to talk to him later when her Mom wasn’t around.