‹ Prequel: Family Reunion
Sequel: Communion


The Best Birthday Gift Was Getting A Daddy

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Michelle!
Happy Birthday to you!

"Blow the candles out sweetie," Rose instructed, as she placed the cake down in front of her three year old daughter, whom was comfortably sat in her highchair.

"Maa!" Michelle laughed, as she looked at her mother.

"You want Mommy's help sweetie?" Rose smiled at her daughter as she leant down to blow Michelle's birthday candles out. Right then along came a teenage Joey Armstrong who blew the candles out and jolted away laughing his head off. Rose stood up quickly. "Joey!" she snapped, seemingly angry. She tapped the boy good on his behind like she were his Mother. "Billie, control your children!" Rose laughed.

"He's out of my control now," Billie Joe said with wide eyes as he held his hands up defensively.

"Hmm... Okay, let's cut this cake," Rose said as she picked a nice sharp knife up off the center of the table. She began to cut a nice portion for the birthday girl. "Michelle gets to have the big icing flower," Rose smiled, and she placed the cake down on her daughter's plastic child's cutlery and dishware set.

Michelle dug in right away.

"Give Ryan the next slice?" Mike asked, even though he was already sure Rose would.

"Of course," Rose grinned, as she made awkward eye contact with the blue-eyed bassist. Looking down, Rose's eyes met that of the son she could not claim as her own.

Within moments the entire family was enjoying the delightful vanilla heaven Rose had made that morning. They all found seats at the large oak table in the mansion's keen dining room and began to chat amongst each other.

"Mmm this is awesome Rose," Adrienne complimented.

Rose laughed subtly, "Thanks. I always was good at making those Betty Crocker cake-in-a-box things."

Adrienne laughed with a mouthful of cake, "Who cares? It's awesome."

"Oh well, I'm glad you all like it," Rose said, feeling somewhat content. "Oh! Can I get you guys something to drink?!" Rose shrieked with excitement as she jumped up from the table.

"No! Sit down!" Billie Joe urged his twenty-four year old cousin, whom had been running around on her feet all morning and afternoon.

"Hell no! Anyone?" Rose asked again. When there was no reply, Rose shrugged her shoulders carelessly. "Fine then! I'm getting myself a root beer," she announced. She picked her cake up off the table and made haste for the kitchen.

She began humming the notes to Holiday, as she searched her industrial sized fridge for a can of rootbeer that Billie Joe hadn't found and stolen already. There it was, one last can stored in the back of the bottom shelf. "Ahuh!" she smiled as she grabbed the can up and swung up and around quickly, closing the refrigerator door with her foot. Popping the cool beverage open, Rose tilted her head back and began to consume the contents of the can. Placing the can down hard on the counter after a long chug, Rose let out a loud belch.

Just then Billie Joe walked into the kitchen with a plate that carried only a few crumbs of cake upon it. He forced a burp, and Rose turned to look at him quickly. "Ah! You're such a punk!" Billie Joe laughed.

Rose forced another belch, before she began to laugh. "I'm not a punk. I'm a punk rip off! Hey, just like you Billie!"

"Whoa ohh hoa...don't even go there," Billie Joe warned jokingly.

"Haha, you know I don't think that," Rose laughed.

"Liar," Billie Joe grinned.

"Loyal fan for eighteen years bitch!" Rose mocked in a gansta type voice.

"Yeah, well I wrote that song bitch!" Billie replied, before breaking into laughter.

"Dirnt-dirnt-dirnt-dirnt-dirnt..." Rose continued humming Holiday, obviously trying to imitate Mike's bass riff.

"Having fun?" Billie asked her, with a grin upon his voice.

"No! I'm going to shoot you for writing that song. Err... It's so embedded in my head," Rose growled with frustration.

"Try playing it almost every night on tour. Then tell me if it's stuck in your head," Billie laughed.

"Billie Joe, I can almost guarantee you, I've listened to that song way more times than you have," Rose grinned.

"Oh I doubt that," Billie Joe replied.

"Meh... You always think you're right. So I'm just going to let you believe that, even though it's not true," Rose said, and she picked up her can of root beer and took another swig.

"You have a way of putting things to please people and piss them fucking off at the same time," Billie Joe said, and he scratched his head.

"Yup, I'm cool like that," Rose replied.

"We should go back out to be with Michelle," Billie Joe reminded her.

"I agree. I was just thinking the same thing," Rose said, she turned around and placed down her empty can of root beer on the counter, and picked up her unfinished cake.

Billie Joe had already taken off for the dining room by the time Rose turned back around. "Wait for me!" she gasped immaturely. Just then the daunting sound of that church bell chime filled the house with its delight. Rose froze in her tracks. Slowly she turned around and went to exit the kitchen, via the under-the-stairs route.

Half skipping out into the foyer with her cake, Rose looked out the window, slowly drawing back the curtain with her hand. Gently she released the curtain from her grasp and turned around to place her back flat up against the front door. She placed her hand over her mouth in shock.

"Who's here!?" someone shouted from the dining room.

Rose was too choked up to be able to answer. She was beginning to weep. The doorbell rang off once again. Rose squinted her eyes shut and tried to wipe her tears away. She took a deep refreshing breath, before turning around slowly and placing her hand on the doorknob. She unlocked it slowly, and let the door glide gracefully back into the foyer, allowing the outside light to pour into the chandelier dimmed room. She hid half of her face behind the door, as her emerald eyes made contact with this familiar stranger's shocking pupils of sapphire.

"Frank..." Rose gasped. She stood frozen for many a moment, as he remained outside, and the two stared at each other in awe.

"My God you look beautiful..." he choked.

"Oh my God," Rose began to tear heavily. A smile came on her face, before she dropped her expensive porceline plate from her hand, and it crashed to the floor in a thousand pieces. She lunged forward to embrace her man, her husband. "Oh God, I missed you."

"I know, I know. I missed you too!" Tre breathed, as he began to cry. He kissed her cheek and took in the scent of her soft raven hair. They stood there on the walkway for countless moments, holding each other like they could never ever let go.

This moment was quite like what you'd imagine if a wife had been eagerly waiting for her husband to return from war. The same emotions were felt.

"Hey Rose, who's her..." Bille Joe said, as he came outside on the front walkway, but stopped himself in his tracks. "Holy shit," he gasped.

Tre reluctantly pulled himself out of his embrace with his wife, and looked at Billie Joe. "Hey Bill," he said in a somber voice.

"Whoa.... Hey Tre," Billie Joe said, as he hung onto the inside door frame.

Rose stood back from her husband and placed her hands on his chest like she couldn't believe he was there and real. "Oh God...you're really here."

"I'm here," Tre replied, he placed his arm up to rest on her shoulder.

"Come on in man," Billie said, and was beginning to feel excitement.

Tre laughed, "'kay." He turned back to look at his wife. She was on an emotional high, and was balling her eyes out. "It's okay," Tre smiled, as he kissed her again on the cheek.

"I'm just so happy," Rose smiled, as she looked at him and he wiped her tears from under her glistening eyes.

"Come on," Tre said, as he took his wife by the hand and lead her back into their home.

"The entire family's here," Billie Joe smiled.

"That's friggin' awesome," Tre smiled in return. He planted a kiss upon his wife's lips and stared into her eyes once again, captivated by their shape and rich colour.

"I want you to come be with your daughter," Rose said, as their lips parted and she began to lead him out to the dining room by the hand. Stepping out into the grandest of dining rooms, the first thing to excape Rose's lips was, "Michelle, I want you to meet someone."

The entire family sat with their jaws near dropped to the floor.

"Here," Rose sniffled, as she walked over and picked her daughter up out of her highchair. She returned back over to her husband slowly, as Michelle turned her head to look at this strange man she had few memories of. "Michelle say hi to your father."

"Naa!" Michelle shrieked shyly, as she struggled to get out of her mother's grasp.

"Why's it so quiet out here no..." Mike said as he came back out to the dining room from the kitchen. He froze in his tracks. Mike felt his heart begin to race with killer anxiety.

He hadn't really known how he'd react when Tre was around him and his son. Now he knew, and he was on the verge of having a panic attack.

"Mike!" Michelle laughed as she squirmed her way out of her mother's grasp, and ran over and grabbed the bassist's leg.

Rose placed her hand over her face feeling embarrassment. Meanwhile, the entire family looked at Mike wondering why Tre's daughter was so attached to him. Michelle didn't even act that excited when Billie Joe was around her.

You could say no one in the family knew Mike was around Rose and Michelle quite as much as he had been in the last three years.

"Oh my God! Hey man!" Mike shrieked, acting as though everything was seemingly normal. "Come on Michelle, go say hi to your dad."

"Noo! I wuv you Mike," Michelle smiled.

"It's okay, it'll take some time," Rose whispered to her husband, as she turned her head to be directly in front of his face.

Tre nodded, "I know. It's okay."

Mike picked Michelle up and placed her back in her highchair. "There, try and get out of that one," Mike laughed at the three year old girl.

Michelle looked frustrated and crossed her arms.

"Who's the kid?" Tre asked, looking past Rose as he looked at a quiet little boy whom was nibbling on a piece of cake, in his own separate highchair. He was content with his cake and really took no notice to the reactions and behaviors of everyone else in the room.

"That's my little Ryan Dirnt," Mike replied nervously, but like a proud father.

"You have a son? And you didn't tell me? What? Huh?" Tre asked with confusion, as he scratched his head before placing his hand on his wife's side.

"Yeah I do. I adopted Ryan a couple of years ago. You know, I'm not getting any younger, I thought it would be cool to have a son," Mike replied, as he looked at Tre's hand on Rose's waist and felt a subtle hint of jealousy.

"Oh... Cool..." Tre said, with constant confused look upon his face.

"Yeah," Mike gasped anxiously.

"He looks like Billie," Tre remarked jokingly as his bewildered face turned to a smile.

Rose and Mike made eye contact with each other, and both started giggling nervously like two stoned teenagers.

"Well--hmm--welcome home Tre," Mike laughed awkwardly.

"Thanks man," Tre replied, as he began looking about the house for familiarities.

Suddenly he was swamped with memories of a forgotten life he once shared with his wife, six long years ago. Before drug addictions, before rape, before near-death experiences and before imprisonment. Memories of a time when their union was about sharing and trusting in each other.

A time when their marriage didn't thirst for communion, quite like fate had destined it to now.

To be continued...