Sequel: Hold On

Life As It Is

Life As It Is

Ella was not the average wife. She didn’t cook, clean, and take care of her children while she felt unappreciated by her husband. She had turned into someone who had responsibilities as a mother and wife but never let it succumb to anything as bad as feeling trapped.

Now at fifty-two years old, she knew her life had drastically changed. One minute she was sitting in her English class, fantasizing a world where she could find some sort of normality in her life. The next minute she finds herself head over heels over a boy she’d never though she’d fall for.

Oh, how the years have gone by.

“Billie, you have two minutes to get the hell out of there and start the car,” Ella said as she stood next to the bathroom door.

“I’m coming, relax,” Billie Joe said as he opened the door, facing his wife. Even at fifty-one years old, he still managed to grin at her with much enthusiasm.

She took one last look at him before calling out, “Phoebe, Mandy! Your father finally got his ass out of the bathroom, so we can finally leave.”

“That’s great, sweetie. Call me out.”

Ella mocked his grin and turned around, grabbing her belongings before heading downstairs.

When she got downstairs, her eyes were watering. She had taken one look at Phoebe in her cap and gown and there were tears in her eyes. Her first child was finally graduating high school today.

She reached over and hugged her first daughter, remembering how just yesterday she had started kindergarten.

* * *
“Are you ready for your first day of school, sweetie?” Ella asked her four year old daughter who was sitting at the kitchen table, happily eating her cereal as her mother crouched down to talk to her.

Phoebe nodded her head with a grin as Billie Joe came into the kitchen. He looked over and smiled, giving Phoebe a quick kiss on her forehead as she grinned back at him. Grins just ran in the family.

“I don’t want her to go to school,” Billie Joe said quietly. Not wanting Phoebe to hear him.

Ella chuckled a little bit as she picked after two-year old Amanda. “What? Why not?”

“Because after today, our little girl will never be the same.”

“You mean, highly educated in the years to come?”

“No, in more danger.”

“Oh, come on Billie. We can’t keep her here forever. She’ll have to go into the real world.”

“Yeaahh, but…”

“But nothing,” Ella said as she gave him a warm smile. “If God forbid something horrible happens to her, we can handle it. Joey and Jakob are turning out just fine, aren’t they?”

Billie Joe nodded and turned to look at his five-year old daughter playing with her Cheerios. She had a long way to go.

* * *
“You look beautiful,” she breathed, looking at her daughter’s blue cap and gown.

“You can stop crying, Mom,” Phoebe said, beaming. “There are plenty of times for tears today.”

“It’s not everyday your daughter graduates high school.”

“Don’t forget about mee,” Amanda chimed in. “Two more years to go!”

Billie Joe looked at Phoebe and smiled, and then saying, “I can’t believe you’re leaving us with Mandy.”

His second daughter’s face fell. “You really know how to crush a girl’s spirit, don’t you, Daddykins?”

Ella and Phoebe shared a similar look at Amanda before Billie Joe spoke again.

“Okay, okay, let’s go before Tre starts calling dramatically thinking something bad happened.”

* * *
It was fortunate enough that the same day Phoebe Michelle Armstrong graduated that the same would go for Carlen Chappell Pritchard and Alice Pritchard seeing as to how they all went to the same high school, coincidentally enough.

The big Green Day family had taken up about a row as they watched the three children that once used to run around each of their homes chasing each other with water guns receive their high school diplomas.

Afterwards, it was planned that everyone would go to Rudy’s Café and celebrate with everyone on the success of Phoebe, Carlen, and Alice graduating.

The adults took up one booth together as their children sat somewhere else together. Even the older Green Day children had come down from each of the places they now had lived in. Including Joey, who at the age of twenty-eight now was already married with a child on the way. Even Tre’s daughter Ramona was already married.

Billie Joe threw his head back. “Are you kidding me? I’m gonna be a grandpa soon. My third kid just graduated high school…what the hell is next?”

Ella smirked at him. “Face it, hun. You’re getting old.”

From across the table, Adrienne smirked at her ex-husband’s wife, nodding along. “Old man,” she said as she positioned herself more comfortably next to her now husband, Matthew.

Mike found himself now getting into a conversation as he turned over to his best friend. “It’s a shame our kids were just going through puberty and now they’re going around having sex and whatnot.”

His best friend grumbled. “Thanks for the nice image.”

* * *
“Mom?” A twelve-year old Phoebe called out as she slightly opened the bathroom door.

“Mom’s not here, kiddo,” Billie Joe called out as he made his way down the hallway. “She went out.”

“Oh, okay,” she said rather quickly.

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. Uh-uh. Sure.”

The forty-five year old man frowned a little. “You don’t sound okay.”

“It’s nothing, Dad. Really. I just needed Mom for this.”

“For what? What’s going on? I can help y’know.”

“You seriously don’t.”

“I can if you tell me.”

“I think I just got my period,” Phoebe whispered embarrassedly.

Billie Joe stopped functioning for a minute. The hallway stayed completely silent for what seemed like forever until Phoebe spoke again.

“See what I mean!”

“I-I-There are pads in the cabinet under the sink,” he blurted out. Not knowing what else to say. He was only used to dealing with his sons being in the bathroom too long before rapidly knocking on the door to scold them. Not with pre-teen girls starting their menstruation cycles.

“Okay. Thanks.”

“Do you need anything—”

“No, no. I’m fine. Thanks, Dad.”

“No problem, kid.”

When Ella came home, Billie Joe told her the whole story of the awkward moment.

Ella grinned and chuckled a bit. “Well, you did the right thing.”

“But it was horrifying and I didn’t need to find out about it like that!”

“Something like that was bound to happen sooner or later. Just imagine when the sex talk comes up.”

Billie Joe grumbled as Ella quickly kissed him before heading upstairs to check up on her now menstruating daughter.

* * *
“Bow chicka wow wow,” Tre added in for a light measure.

“Not helping,” Mike said, shaking his head as his other best friend shrugged.

As the whole group of adults stopped talking for a second, they took a good look at their kids. They were all pretty much grown up at this point. It was shocking to them, even at the age where they were now pretty wise about everything, to have raised these children.

They each were no longer teenagers and young adults. They were parents, even soon to be grandparents in two cases, they established and accomplished so much with their kids over the years it was still kind of hard to believe.

Ella, Laura, and Holly stood up as they headed towards the café’s bathroom a while later. Being the last to head in there, Ella bumped into Tre as he was heading out of the rest rooms.

“Hey, El,” Tre called out as she had her back to him.

She turned around to face her husband’s best friend. “Yeah?”

“Y’know, I’m really glad everything that happened between you and Billie after Phoebe worked out. I know we’re all glad, obviously, but today really made me realize how more thankful we should be that all of the things that happened during the whole American Idiot era. Who knows if I could’ve met Laura or not?”

The fifty-two year old woman smiled at him. “Well, we can’t dwell on the what-if’s. But yeah, Tre. I’m really glad everything worked out for the best after all these years.”

She walked toward him, putting her arms around him, and hugging him for a few seconds before he smiled at her and headed back to their table to where it was now only him, Billie Joe, and Mike. Just like it always was and always would be.

When she headed into the bathroom, she caught Holly looking into the mirror as the other girls of the Green Day family headed out. Holly looked at her best friend.

“Well, Ella. We’re officially old. Never thought I’d say that until my son graduated from high school.”

“Oh stop, Hol.”

“I’m serious,” she said, slightly chuckling. “One minute it’s you and I against all of New York , and the next I’m a bestselling author with a rock star husband and a son to look after. Man, the years do fly by.”

She nodded. “They do. They really do.”

“And pretty soon we’ll be old hags,” Laura chimed in jokingly as she got out of the bathroom stall and washed her hands, looking at her friends’ reflections in the mirror. “But in a very elegant and tasteful way.”

* * *
Today basically felt like a day of reminiscing back on how the years seemed to have rolled by faster than a pair of dice in the middle of a Monopoly game.

“Remember where you took me for our one-year anniversary?” Ella asked Billie Joe as they sat next to each other at the counter.

“What brings this up?” He asked her.

She shrugged. “Nothing. It’s just a sweet memory.”

“Of course. I’m the sweetest guy ever,” he said rather cockily as his wife playfully hit his chest.”

* * *
“Ugh. Billie you’ve got to stop with this blindfolding crap. Where are you taking me?” she demanded as her husband of officially one year drove through the streets of California.

“Somewhere familiar,” he said sweetly in comparison to his wife’s tone.

“Strip clubs are a no-no, sweetie.”

“Ha-ha. Do you really think I’d take you to a strip club?”

“Knowing you, sweatheart. Anything is possible.”

He smirked at her even though she couldn’t see him through the blindfold and continued driving.

A few minutes later, Billie Joe stopped the vehicle, hopped out of the car, and opened the passenger seat for the blindfolded Ella. He helped her down, still refusing not to take off her blindfold.

“Okay,” he whispered. “You have to be extremely quiet. We’re not supposed to be here.”

Ella was about to let out another sarcastic remark before Billie Joe put his hand over her mouth. He guided her in her red dress as quickly as possible before finally unveiling the blindfold to somewhere completely familiar.

Her eyes immediately scanned the room as they widened. She couldn’t believe he directed her back to the place where they first met. English class at Pinhole Valley High back in January of 1989.

She looked over at him as he grinned with his teeth and his eyes sparkling at her.


“I know this guy who works in the custodial staff. I know, pretty lame job for someone almost our age, but—perfect for where I wanted to take you.”

He directed her to sit at the desk that she had sat in across from him eighteen years ago.

“The first time I met you, El, I was completely oblivious about what I was about to get myself into. I didn’t know that I’d spend a year falling in love with you completely, lose you, and then find you again. I didn’t know I’d be sitting right here with you again, telling you how much I love you. Neither did I know I’d be so fortunate to have married you and had children with you.”

Her eyes filled with happy tears as she grabbed him from his seat, kissing him for the longest time possible, both of them even forgetting what time it was before they were done.

* * *
It wasn’t until then that the gang realized the main reason all of the things that were going on at this instant were because of Billie Joe and Ella. Their love and their whole relationship was what caused everything from Mike and Holly marrying to the births of five (including Tre and Laura’s addition to the family) kids who were getting closer to getting older and older each day.

This for everyone was a reason to truly believe that everything happened for a reason. That one event, like meeting in a classroom, could change everyone forever. It was able to change so much it felt unbelievable.

When the seven adults looked around and saw their children, they realized their journey was pretty much over. All the hardships they had faced in the past were finally gone and they had been able to live a more relaxing and stress-free life than they once did. The next journey now was to be taken by their children, who were growing up by the second.

Ella looked up at her husband, smiling at him. He smiled back at her with the same enthusiasm he always had whenever they shared a smile together.

“Oh boy,” she whispered to him. “I feel bad for what the kids might have to go through.”

Billie Joe’s green eyes looked down upon her face and squeezed her hand as she leaned up against him where he looked at his friends and their spouses who seemed to have been engrossed with each other at the moment.

He kissed the top of her head as he saw her smile again. This time, a more familiar smile from back when they were younger. A more complicated time, but a damn good time.

“That’s just life as it is.”