"If I could hold on, through the tears and the laughter, would it be beautiful? Or just a beautiful disaster?"
-Kelly Clarkson, Beautiful Disaster
Thursday, July 25th, 2005. Midnight.
Rebecca Katsopolis shut the door hard and leaned her back on the wall, sliding down until she was sitting in an upwards fetal position. She had no idea what to do. Times like these were when she needed Jesse the most.
Well, alcohol was a good enough substitute.
Becky took off her heels and placed them at the foot of the Tanner household staircase. Ten years and she was still not used to the fact that this house wasn't full anymore.
Ten years ago her eldest niece, DJ Tanner, turned eighteen, moved out, and went to college. She hadn't been back since, save for family dinners once every few months. She was married now and was professionally Donna-Jo Tanner Hale (although the family still called her Deej, much to her annoyance).
Friday, December 24th, 2003. 6:09 PM.
"Aunt Becky, not you too!" Donna Jo groaned.
"DJ, I just think that Danny'd enjoy seeing the grandchild you neglected to mention to us for your entire pregnancy and his first two months of life. Please, just Christmas day dinner. It'd make us all happy," Becky pleaded into the phone.
"Steve and I just want to be alone with Noah for his first Christmas. It's bad enough that Steph's been driving down here once a week because she misses me. I don't want you guys to be all up on us all the time. For God's sake, I'm twenty-six."
"Sweetie, just one dinner isn't too much to ask when you live half an hour away and yet you never come by. You haven't seen us in forever."
Donna Jo was silent for a few moments. Becky checked the phone screen to see if she hung up. Finally, she heard a shaky breath on the other line. "Yes, I have, actually. I see you every day on national television. I see Dad and Vicky on "Wake Up, San Francisco". I see Uncle Jesse on his PayPerView concerts and on MTV. I hear Joey on the radio all the time."
Although Rebecca was touched that her niece watched and listened to all of them for the sake of seeing and hearing their voices, she had to take the adult role. "Deej, it's not the same."
"You know what?"
"It's good enough for me."
And Becky heard the dial tone.
Rebecca shook her head, not wanting to think about how much things had changed. She made her way to the kitchen, still seeing spots from the flashing cameras that bombarded the outside of her taxi, her ears still ringing from the yelling and shouting and TMI questions and the clicks of tape recorders. If there were no such thing as the right of private property, they'd probably have their noses smudged up against the glass of the living room window.
Becky flipped the kitchen lights on in search of some Cabernet; she was sick of it all at this point. She knew she had work tomorrow and couldn't afford to show up on a hangover, but she just did not care. Regis could find a willing substitute for her for the day in five seconds.
The Katsopolis woman snatched the dark bottle from the wineglass holder and leaned against the wall. It had been opened before and was half empty, so she easily yanked out the cork. She knew that if Danny came down right now he'd kill her for not using a glass, but like before, she just did not care. She brought the bottle to her lips and sipped a little bit, trying to chase away memories of when she found her second eldest niece at fourteen years old in this position with a bottle of vodka.
Ten years ago, Stephanie Tanner was still a troubled twelve year-old girl. Becky winced when she remembered how close they'd gotten after DJ moved out; Becky was then not only her mother figure, but her older-sister figure as well. But about a year later, during Becky's second pregnancy, Stephanie got into some bad things while the family was focused on the upcoming baby girl. One thing happened after another and before she knew it, she was in a hole too deep to dig herself out and went to juvie on her fifteenth birthday for truancy, shoplifting, and underage drinking. She got out a month later and was immediately transferred to a residential treatment center for addiction to alcohol and bulimia. Now, at twenty-two years old, the middle Tanner was at college, still struggling.
Wednesday, February 11th, 1997. 1:22 AM.
"Stephanie?" Rebecca gasped, recognizing the blonde from the stairs. "Stephanie Judith Tanner…"
The fourteen year old looked as if she'd heard her name being called from a distance. "Huh?"
Becky ran over and crouched down, snatching the large empty bottle from the girl's trembling hand and reading the label.
"Oh my God," Becky whispered, putting a hand to her forehead. It was the Grey Goose that Joey and Jesse kept hidden behind the ten boxes of spaghetti "in case of emergency". Emergency being that Danny was on a business trip and he wouldn't bitch to them for having a small glass at dinner.
And the last she checked, it was a new bottle.
"Steph, can you hear me?" Becky pleaded, shaking her niece's arms.
Stephanie, whose head was leaning against the wineglass holder, lifted her head. "Gia?"
Becky was confused for a moment but then her whole body shook with anger. So Gia Mahan was the one up to this?
"Steph, it's Aunt Becky."
"Is Gia here?" Stephanie mumbled, looking around. Rebecca tried to remain calm when she saw the girl's bright blue innocent eyes were bloodshot.
"No," the twenty-nine year-old snapped. "Was she here?"
Stephanie nodded. "Don't tell Dad, Aunt Becky. She snuck in and told me that we should get wasted. She said it was fun. And so I told her where the vodka was and she said that if I drank the whole bottle nothing bad would happen. She said it proved I was cool. I think she left after I started, though."
"And you believed her," Becky whispered, knowing that she had to either get the girl to throw it all up or she might get alcohol poisoning. Getting her to the hospital was not an option, as the closest hospital was twenty minutes away. They wouldn't make it in time.
"Where's that syrup of ipecac…" Becky muttered to herself, not wanting to leave Stephanie's side.
Stephanie looked into her aunt's eyes, and for the first time in a long time Becky could see the innocent, dependant, frightened little girl she'd seen many times in the past. Rebecca grasped the teenager's hand. "Aunt Becky, I…Gia taught me how to…I can get it out myself."
And then the young teenager did exactly that, and along with it she made Becky cry more than she had ever before.
Before she knew it, Rebecca was chugging away her painful memories. She finally forced herself to set the bottle down before it was halfway gone. She jammed the cork back in and trudged up the kitchen stairs to the second story.