Originally Molly had thought that the idea of going to the carnival would be fun. She hadn't gone to the carnival since before her mother died and wouldn't have minded going again.
But once she got there with her father (who immediately ran off to the rides, leaving her alone) it was too much. There were too many smells, too many noises, and too many people. Too much of simply everything, and that made it hard for Molly to even think. Even with her own discomfort, however, she tried to enjoy herself, because she figured that even if she told her father she was having a bad case of sensory overload he still wouldn't leave until he was ready to go home. Unfortunately, this just made matters worse for Molly.
With tears streaming down her face, Molly put one of her Dumb bubbles around her, shutting out all the outside noises and smells of the carnival. She ran as fast as she could to the front gates of the carnival. Even though her bubble blocked out all of the noises and smells that were upsetting her, she wanted to be in a place with the fewest people possible. She felt stray popcorn crunch under her feet and wanted nothing more than to just go home. But with her father being how he was, Molly knew that she wouldn't be able to go home for a good many hours.
Then, through her clouded and stressed mind, an idea came to Molly. She wiped her eyes on her jacket sleeve as she reached into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone, which her father thankfully did not take from her, being too enamored in the carnival to do so. She unlocked it and went to her contacts page. Quickly finding Giovanni's name in her limited contact list, Molly tapped it.
When Giovanni had originally given Molly his number, he had told her that she could call him if there was anything she needed. She trusted him to stay good on his word because he had never before let her down when she needed him. Molly really didn't want to talk then, even if it was to ask Giovanni to pick her up though. Sometimes when she got so overwhelmed like she was then, it was very hard to talk at all until she calmed down. So instead of calling Giovanni, Molly tapped on the option to text him and sent him a text telling him what had happened, where she was, how she wasn't in a talking sort of mood, and how she would really appreciate a ride home.
Sniffling, Molly looked around for a place to sit and saw a stray cinder block. She made her way over to it and sat down before looking back at her phone. She was surprised when she looked back at her screen to see that Giovanni had already responded with a series of messages with many exclamation points. In the messages he detailed how he was coming to pick her up that very second and how he would gladly sic the rest of his minions on her father if she allowed it. Molly didn't text back. While she didn't have the best relationship with her dad, she didn't want Giovanni or his friends to get in trouble for beating him up. Plus if he was beat up it would just mean there would be more work for her to do around the house…
Taking in a deep breath, Molly clicked off her phone and put it back in her pocket. The quiet around her was starting to do her good, but she still felt a bit shaken up. She was really grateful to Giovanni for being able to pick her up, and even to offer to beat up her dad even though she would never let him do that. It felt like he cared more about her than her own dad and sister did sometimes… and while that did make Molly sad to think about, it also made her happy. It had been so long since there had been a person for her to depend on, a person who she could be a kid around.
Night creeped on around Molly. Soon the majority of the lights around her came from the bright blinking light bulbs detailing the rides and the dull lights around the food trucks and game booths. Molly didn't mind the dark much, in it there was less to see and less to think about. Not to mention that the lights from the carnival did look rather pretty at night. A buzz went off in Molly's pocket and she removed her phone to see a text from Giovanni reading: look up !
Molly looked up to see Giovanni walking over to her and waving. Feeling relieved to see him, Molly smiled softly and dropped her bubble. The noise of the carnival, though not as loud before and much more distant, surprised her and made her jump.
"Hey, Beartrap!" Giovanni said as he neared Molly. He reached out to touch her shoulder but then stopped. "Wait, how are you on touch right now?"
Shaking her head 'no', Molly indicated that she didn't want to be touched.
Nodding, Giovanni took his hand back and pointed over his shoulder. "Well, the car is over there if you're ready to go home." He shoved his hands in his pockets but then immediately took them out again. "When you texted, I was actually practicing ASL so I can talk to you when you're in your bubble or don't feel like talking." He turned and started walking toward where he parked his mom's car.
Following Giovanni, Molly smiled up at him. 'You learned sign language just to talk to me?' She signed. Again she felt so happy just to have Giovanni in her life. He was hardly an adult but she was more responsible than any of the grown adults in her life. In a way, Molly really loved Giovanni. He was exactly like a big brother, or what she thought a big brother would be like.
"Uh-" Giovanni hesitated. "I'm not that good yet, I only know like the basic stuff. But-" He thought for a second before signing, 'Feel better soon.' They then reached his car and Giovanni opened the passenger side door for Molly.
'Thank you.' Molly signed before getting in the car. Already she was feeling a lot better. She moved to buckle her seatbelt.
"Anything for you, Beartrap." Giovanni smiled. "I've got to learn how to take care of and talk to all my minions, no matter what the situation is." He then shut the car door once Molly was safely buckled in her seat and moved around to the driver's side of the car and got in. "Actually, when you're in more of a talking mood do you think you can tell me how to sign your minion name?" He asked, buckling his own seatbelt.
Still smiling softly, Molly nodded. 'Yes.'
While grabbing the car keys out of his pocket, Giovanni slapped his free hand on the rim of the steering wheel. "Great!" He started the car and looked over at Molly. "Even though my signing still isn't the best, I don't think it would be too smart of me to sign and drive. Or for me to see what you're signing to me. So- if you really need my attention just tug on my sleeve or something, okay?"
The drive back to Molly's house was nice, it was quiet and Giovanni's car was a familiar place for Molly. She stared out the window most of the drive, even though it was dark out and there wasn't much to be seen.
Once they finally pulled into the parking lot of the toy store that Molly and her family lived above, Giovanni turned to Molly. "Do you want me to stay with you until your dad gets home?" He asked. "My curfew is usually at midnight, but my mom lets it slide when she knows I'm with you."
Thinking for just a second, Molly nodded. 'Yes, please.' Despite how she had been overwhelmed earlier by all the smells and noises, she didn't want to be completely alone in her quiet house. Her sister was staying with her friends so she would be all by herself until whenever her dad decided to turn up.
"You got it." And with that, Giovanni cut the engine on the car and got out. "I wouldn't dream about leaving one of my boys alone if they needed me!"
Molly joined Giovanni on his side of the car and then together they started towards the front door of the toy store. She felt around in her pockets until she found the key to the store as they neared the door. Molly unlocked it and before she could move to pull it open, Giovanni beat her to it and opened it for her, holding it open so that she could go inside first.
'Thank you.' As Molly stepped inside she turned on one of the lights for her dad and headed for the door in the back of the store that led to where she and her family lived.
"So-" Giovanni followed behind Molly as she opened the door that led only to a tall flight of twisting stairs. "Do you want something to eat? I know you might be hungry after all that, but in case you are I've been working on my Italian wedding soup recipe if you want to try it."
Molly turned around once she reached the top of steps and nodded softly at Giovanni. 'Yes.' The steps opened into the kitchen and Molly moved inside, away from the steps so she wouldn't be in Giovanni's way. Then she dropped her house key on the counter.
"I'll hop on it then!" Giving a thumbs up, Giovanni looked around. "Meanwhile, Beartrap, you can uhh… I dunno, it's your house, do whatever. It won't take long."
'Thank you.' Molly then proceeded to take off her boots before quickly heading to her room. She deposited her boots and hung up her bear jacket inside the closet. She shut the closet door and went to her bed where she grabbed up a large, grey zip up hoodie that used to belong to her mother. Though it was far too big for her, she liked to wear it when she didn't feel well. It was warm and soft and always helped her feel better.
With the hoodie on, Molly sighed happily and rolled up the sleeves some so they wouldn't be too floppy and so she could actually use her hands. The sleeves were still a bit too long, but she didn't mind. It was easier for her to feel the soft fabric whenever she wanted to that way.
Comfortable in the hoodie, Molly headed into the little living room off the kitchen and sat down on the couch. Behind her she could hear Giovanni fumbling around in the kitchen. She grabbed the remote off the coffee table and turned on the TV. Usually she didn't get to watch much of the TV she wanted to when her dad and sister were home, they always hogged it so she had to watch whatever they were watching. But then… Molly could watch whatever she wanted. With that thought in mind she immediately turned to the channel that showed cartoons.
A few minutes later, Giovanni came into the living room with two steaming mugs of soup along with spoons in his hands. "Soup's done!" He sat on the couch next to Molly and handed her her own mug of soup and spoon. "I like your hoodie! The big ones are the best." He nodded approvingly, pointing at Molly's hoodie with his spoon. "I would be wearing one too, but when I got your text earlier I had just gotten home from a date with Crusher so I was still in my day clothes." He shrugged, putting his spoon into his soup to stir it.
Molly was happy to hear that Giovanni had gone on a date with Crusher and would have signed asking how it went, but given that Giovanni admitted that he didn't know too many words in ASL she didn't bother trying. She would wait until she felt like talking again to ask. Until then, she blew on her soup some before taking a small bite. It tasted way better than the canned soup she had in the cupboard. Molly moved to tug on Giovanni's sleeve, once she got his attention she pointed at the soup and gave a thumbs up with her free hand.
"You like it?" Giovanni asked excitedly. "Thank you! Ben fucking told me that Olive Garden's wedding soup tasted better than mine. Can you believe that? Olive Garden's!" He took an angry bite of his soup and shook his head. "At least some people have taste. Thank you, Beartrap."
Molly couldn't help but giggle into her soup. She was so glad that she asked Giovanni to stay with her. He was always fun to be around and he never forced her to do anything she didn't like or didn't want to like her family did. She was so happy to be friends with him.
The night continued on from there and the pair ate their mug soup and watched cartoons together. Molly couldn't deny that by then she felt much better. She put her empty soup mug down on the coffee table besides Giovanni's mug and looked up at him. "Thanks for picking me up, Boss." She spoke quietly, shoving her hands in the pockets of the giant hoodie she was wearing. "It really means a lot that I can depend on you."
Looking away from the TV, Giovanni smiled down at Molly. "It's nothin', Beartrap. I'm happy to help you, I know your family isn't the best at- well just being not…" He thought for a moment. "Okay I don't know what to say without cussing out your family, but everyone needs someone who they can depend on. I'm happy to be that someone for you!"
"Giovanni…" Molly smiled, "You act just like I think a big brother would to me. I love you." No sooner had Molly said these words she noticed Giovanni looking like he was about to cry. "G-... Boss? Are you crying?" She asked quickly, moving to put her hand on Giovanni's shoulder.
"No, I'm not crying!" Said Giovanni, as he was clearly crying. He hurriedly wiped his eyes on his sleeve and took in a big breath. "Oh my God, Beartrap, you're just-" He sniffled, "Can I hug you?"
As soon as Molly nodded, Giovanni had his arms around her in a tight hug that she quickly returned. "Beartrap, you are the best person in this world." Giovanni held Molly close but soon pulled away so he could look at her. "Seriously- I would kill for you!"
"Please don't do that-" Even though Molly felt flattered, that was a little too far for her tastes.
"Sorry-" Giovanni said hastily. "I would… assault someone for you! I don't know- you're just so nice and sweet and it really makes me mad that you have to go through so much shit at your age. You don't deserve all that." He shook his head before pulling Molly into another hug. "I love you too and… I'll be your big brother if that's what you want me to be…"
At that moment, Molly felt so full of love for Giovanni. She couldn't remember ever feeling so full of love like that for anyone else beside her mom… She didn't realize it until then but that was a feeling that she dearly missed. Burying her face in his jacket, Molly nodded. "I'd really like that." She whispered, feeling herself tear up for the second time that night.
"Then I'm your brother and nothing can change that."