Summary of Chapter: Holly anxiously awaits Billie's return home from tour. They have been married for many years, but very recently they have not been getting along too well, and Holly does not know what to expect from Billie when he returns home.
Diclaimer: Although it is one of my life-long dreams, I do NOT own Green Day, and probably never will.
The soft bay breeze blew in quietly off the slightly tepid waters of the Pacific Ocean, causing Holly's chestnut brown hair to blow out elegantly behind her. The wind carried a faint smell of salt, and it threatened to extinguish the partially smoked cigarette that was dangling loosely between Holly's lips. "Damn," she muttered to herself, as the spark at the end of the cigarette sputtered and then died.
Pulling a cheap, green lighter from the pocket of her sweater, Holly quickly re-lit the cigarette, and took a long drag from the end of it, allowing the thick, grey smoke to fill her lungs.
Believe it or not, Holly really wasn't much of a smoker. She rarely ever lit up, and when she did, it was only because she was feeling particularly nervous or stressed about something. The nicotine from the cigarettes helped to take some of the edge off of certain nerve-racking situations.
On average, Holly probably lit up about one or two days a month, and today just so happened to be one of those days. The only difference about today, however, was that the cigarettes were failing to do their job, most likely because Holly was much more nervous today than on most other days.
Some fifteen minutes earlier, after just having gotten home from an unusually long day at work, Holly had received a potentially upsetting phone call from her husband. It seemed that, after three months of touring across the country with his ever-popular punk rock band, Green Day, which was indeed one of the most celebrated musical acts of the past decade, Holly's husband was finally returning home.
For most people in similar situations, there would be a sudden uprising of joy and happiness accompanied with this news, but not for Holly. Upon hearing that her husband would in fact be arriving at the house within the hour, Holly had wasted no time in informing her four children that their father would be home shortly, before she had rushed upstairs to her bedroom to dig a pack of cigarettes out of her dresser drawer. She had then retreated to the small balcony that accompanied her second story bedroom, as she attempted in vain to calm her quickly-increasing nerves about her husband's unexpected homecoming.
Holly had encouraged her husband to buy their beautiful ocean front property in hopes that it would provide constant serenity and relaxation for the family, but it was failing its purpose pretty miserably just then. Even the gentle, frothing waves that were rolling in on the beach could not comfort Holly. The painful memories of the last argument she and her husband had on the night before he left kept creeping up in the back of her mind, and though she was doing her best to block the memory out, it kept playing itself over in her mind like a broken record. The argument had started when her husband had tried to punish their oldest son, Peter, for talking back, only to have it thrown back in his face by Peter himself. From there, things had only escaladed.
"From now on, you just let me deal with the punishments, okay? Peter's not going to listen to you, anyway," she said, sitting down on the edge of their bed.me, so he's going to take punishment from me, too!" he shouted, his small body radiating some passionate fury that was unknown to her.The next morning when Holly had woken up, it was only to find that he had already gone. They hadn't talked much since then. He did call the house almost every night, but not to talk to her. It was the children that he was interested in talking to, the younger ones in particular. He would exchange about three or four sentences a night with Holly, and then he would ask to talk to one of the kids. Neither one of them had ever said anything about the argument, or much else for that matter.
"No! He mouthed off to
"Do you honestly expect him to listen to you when the only time you ever act like a father to him is to deal out punishments?" she asked.
"Oh, so now I'm a lousy father, is that it?"
"Well, excuse me for saying so, but you haven't exactly been the best father to Peter and Lucy over the years!" she screamed, getting to her feet all of a sudden. "You treat them like they're...I don't know, the neighbor kids that you'd rather not get involved with, and then you try and punish them for doing wrong! It just doesn't work that way! You have to be the father figure 24/7, dear!"
"Holly, I told you that I screwed up on Peter and Lucy, I admitted that! I wasn't around enough when they were little, and now that they're older they want nothing to do with me, I get it!" he yelled, his green eyes flashing anger. "Why do you think I've always been so devoted to Lawry and Ryan? Because I didn't want to mess up with them the way I did with Peter and Lucy!"
"And you're a great father--to Lawry and Ryan! And I know that if you could be the same father to Peter and Lucy that you are to Lawry and Ryan, well...they would come around eventually. It might take a while, but they would warm up to you, I know they would!" she shouted, as her blue eyes filled with tears. "But instead it's like you just gave up on Peter and Lucy, like you don't care about them anymore!"
He suddenly went rigid as she said this. He set his jaw angrily, and turned to face her like one who was about to explode. He was trembling from head to toe, as he slowly clenched and unclenched his his fists at his sides. He looked like he was trying to refrain from hitting her. For several long seconds, they simply stood and stared at each other, his fierce green eyes piercing into her tearful blue ones. Finally, he spoke. "I don't want to talk about this anymore. I don't have time for it," he said, slowly and deliberately. "I've got to leave in the morning, and I've only got half of my packing done."
With that said, he turned on his heel and stormed out of the bedroom, leaving Holly all by herself. "Well fine then, you know what?" she shouted down the hallway. "You are a lousy father!"
And that was why Holly was a nervous wreck.
What would it be like between them when he got home? Would there be the same painful silences between them that there were on the telephone? Would everything go back to the way it had been before, or would he want to pick up the argument where they had left off? Would she have to witness that same hostile anger in his eyes that she had on the night of the argument? Just thinking about that fight and the fact that it was still unsettled often gave Holly a sinking feeling in her heart and a pit of dread in her stomach, though she tried her hardest to ignore it.
Cursing herself for being so nervous about seeing her husband, of all people, Holly threw the butt-end of her cigarette into the small ashtray that was placed on the balcony railing. He would be home soon, and she still hadn't bothered to clean up the house a bit, or start making dinner, or do anything useful, really.
Holly was roused suddenly from her thoughts by the sound of the balcony door sliding open, and a small, childish voice saying, "Mama?"
Holly turned around abruptly to see a small boy with brown hair and a bright face come bounding across the balcony towards her. The boy stopped in front of her, and Holly looked lovingly down into a pair of bright blue eyes that were identical to her own. "What is it, baby?" she asked him, bending down so that she could see at his level.
"Lawry took my remote control car, and he won't give it back," replied the boy.
Small and soft-spoken, Holly's five year-old son Ryan was the baby of the family, meaning that he was usually the butt of the joke to his seven year-old brother, Lawry. Holly frowned upon hearing the news that Ryan had just presented her with, and said, "Well, we'll just have to go find him and make him give it back, huh?"
Ryan nodded his agreement, so Holly smiled cheerily at him and together, the two of them turned and headed back into the house to find Lawry.
Holly and Ryan found Lawry sitting on the floor in his bedroom, attempting to break a red toy Ferrari into several different pieces with a plastic mallet, by the looks of it. "Excuse me," Holly said to her middle son, upon entering the bedroom with Ryan. "What have I told you about taking your brother's toys?"
Lawry looked up at Holly, his green eyes flashing evilly. "But Mom," he pleaded. "I didn't even really take it from him. He brought it in here!"
"You took it, Lawry, you're not fooling me. Now give your brother back his car, and tell him you're sorry," Holly demanded.
Lawry threw the red Ferrari across the room to land at Ryan's feet, before heavily rolling his eyes and mumbling, "Sorry, Ryan."
"That's better," Holly said sternly. "And don't let me catch you at it again."
As Holly watched Lawry go back to playing with his toys on the floor, she couldn't help but smile. Her love for her little boy always managed to block out the anger that she sometimes felt for him. Named Lawrence at birth, but nicknamed 'Lawry' at a young age, Holly's middle child was truly a seven year-old holy terror. Picking on his younger brother, trying to hit baseballs through the kitchen window, and hurling the family cat from the top of the second story balcony were some of Lawry's favorite antics. Sometimes Holly felt like all she ever did was yell at him.
Lawry frustrated Holly to death sometimes, but she loved him with all of her heart anyway. He looked and acted so much like his father. With a pair of short, skinny legs, a protruding bottom lip, a head full of curly, reddish-brown hair, and a pair of slanted green eyes, Lawry was a spitting image of his father when he was that age. He acted just like his dad, too. Everyone always said that Lawry was his father's son, and that was definitely true. Like father, like son, Holly had always said.
"I thought you said that Dad was coming home," Lawry said all of a sudden, just as Holly was about to turn and leave.
"He is coming home," Holly responded.
"Why isn't he here yet, then?" Lawry asked impatiently.
"He'll be here soon, honey, just relax," Holly said, with a laugh. "Now you boys behave while I go and fix dinner."
"Okay, Mama," replied Ryan, as he sat down on the floor next to his older brother.
Holly smiled at the two boys, before turning and heading down into the kitchen to start making supper. Deciding to make an attempt at pleasing her husband by fixing his favorite kind of spaghetti, Holly set about trying to find a large pot in the maze of cabinets that made up her huge kitchen.
Seeing as how Holly was someone that enjoyed baking and cooking very immensely, it had always been very important to her to have a large kitchen. In fact, Holly loved to cook so much that she actually owned a restauraunt in downtown Berkeley, California called Parmesan Bay. The restauraunt specialized in different types of pasta, but it was also known for its wonderful seafood and steak platters. Holly usually helped out at the restauraunt during the day while the kids were at school.
Upon locating a big enough pot for her spaghetti, Holly quickly filled it with water, and set it on the stove to boil. She was just getting out a pan to make the spaghetti sauce in, when the back door opened, and in marched Holly's two oldest children, a thirteen year-old set of fraternal twins named Peter and Lucy. At the moment, both of them were clad in only their bathing suits and dripping water from head to toe. "It's a little chilly out to be swimming, isn't it?" Holly asked them.
"Oh, we weren't on the beach, the water's still way to cold for that. We were in the hot tub," Lucy replied, grabbing a large beach towel from the rack that sat next to the back door.
Lucy handed a towel to Peter as well, and the two of them both wrapped themselves in the towels and took seats on the barstools that lined the island in the center of the kitchen, as Holly turned to them and said, "I trust that both of you got your homework done if you had time to goof off in the hot tub, then?"
"Yeah, we got it all done," Peter answered. "It was pretty light today."
Lucy nodded in agreement, as Holly went back to stirring onions into her spaghetti sauce. "Whatcha making tonight, Mom?" Lucy asked, running a hand through her soaking wet, strawberry-blonde hair.
"Spaghetti," Holly replied.
"Daddy's favorite," Lucy commented, and Holly nodded in agreement, smiling over at her only daughter.
Peter rolled his eyes at this and said, "Are we really supposed to be excited about the fact that he's coming home?"
Lucy suddenly let out a type of snort that said all too plainly that she was trying not to laugh. Holly turned to the children to find that both sets of their identical hazel eyes were staring at her, as if waiting to see how she would reply. Holly sighed deeply. "I know you two had to miss him a little bit," she said. "You might not get along with him all that well at times, but he's still your dad."
Peter rolled his eyes again and said, "I didn't miss him at all. I wish the tour was longer, actually. How about you, Luc?"
Lucy shrugged. "He's not that bad, Peter," she replied quietly. "And he is our dad."
"To me, he's more like the boring math teacher type of person, you know? The annoying teacher that tells all the lame jokes and doesn't really understand any of the students. That's more like it," Peter said.
"Peter...your dad loves you, and he's trying to do better with you two. He really is. If you guys would just let him in, you might be surprised," Holly said.
"He doesn't want to be let in, though, Mom, and that's the problem. He'd rather just be the outsider. He doesn't care about me and Lucy like he cares about Lawry and Ryan," Peter said, jumping to his feet.
"Peter, that's not t--" Holly began, but Peter cut her off.
"No, Mom, I don't want to hear it! I'm sick of your lame excuses as to why he's such a crummy father! They're just a bunch of lies! You know it, and so do I, so let's stop pretending, shall we?" Peter said harshly, as he turned away and stormed out of the room.
Holly could hear him stomping angrily up the stairs and into his room. She cringed at the sound of his bedroom door slamming shut, before she turned back to Lucy, who was now in tears. "He's got a point, you know, Peter does. It might be nice if Dad actually gave a damn sometimes," Lucy said softly, and then she was gone, too.
Holly listened to Lucy's dying footsteps as they echoed away up the stairs. Then she sat down at the counter and put her head in her hands, allowing a long sigh of frustration to escape from her lips; she wondered if the day could get any worse. Holly didn't blame her children for their negative emotions toward their father, but she still wished that it didn't have to be that way. She wished that he and the twins could have a normal relationship; she wished that they could all be one big, happy family, but it didn't look like that was going to happen anytime soon.
Holly's thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the sound of a vehicle pulling into the driveway. "Oh, my god," she thought to herself, as Lawry and Ryan came racing down the stairs in excitement. "He's here!"For a moment, her mind fleeted back to the pot of water that was now boiling on the stove, and to the two angry teenagers upstairs, but as Holly listened to Lawry and Ryan screaming happily in the living room, she quickly pushed these thoughts from her mind. None of that mattered just then. Holly stood up and smoothed her sweater down a bit, before checking her reflection in the kitchen window. Although she was nervous, Holly couldn't help but smile at the sound of her two younger children shouting excitedly in the other room. Giving the end of her bangs a final little fluff, Holly turned from the window and headed into the living room to join her children, with only one thing running through her mind.
Billie Joe was home.