Fathers & Sons 2/?

TITLE: Fathers & Sons pt. 2/?
AUTHOR: me (Alex) - snowbunny@ifrance.com
DISCLAIMER: as always. Michael’s my invention, though (can hardly say it’s my best yet); and the ideas are mine as well.
RATING: R (language)
SUMMARY: Just read it…
FEEDBACK: um-hmm:)
ARCHIVE: Yes, please.

AN: For me, there’s something unbelievably sexy in men (*grin*) when they’re *enraged* but trying to control themselves… And, well, Larry is all the more delicious. So there. I mean here. Whatever.

P.S. I *love* Sibelius. :o)

---PART 2---

Ally painfully opened her eyes, tearing through bushes of sleep, to find the other half of the bed empty, tangled sheets only adding to the lavender-grayish emptiness pouring into the room through the tall, thick windows. Still blurry-eyed from staying up late, she glanced over at the alarm clock readout – a scarlet six and two zeros glowed fiercely in the dark, burning her eyes. She let out a heavy sigh and sat up abruptly, struggling to gather her thoughts into one comprehensible heap, then tiptoed to the living room to find him buried in work. Gulping down a mouthful of Tuborg, he turned around to meet her depressed but clutching to sanity eyes with a similar glance of his own.

“You’ve turned… nocturnal?” she asked, sitting down across from him and reaching for the beer bottle herself.
“Just… working…” he answered.

She turned around to look at the unholy state of the kitchen area – Diet Pepsi cans strewn about, together with bits of paper towel (she had been tearing rolls of it to shreds the previous evening, working out her anger and planning out a way to tear Jamie to pieces of similar size), custody battle briefs, cigarettes she & Larry shared (though neither smoked regularly) due to torment and rage at The Bitch, and even more empty Tuborg bottles…

“Maid’ll be pleased today…” he sarcastically sighed, turning the page of a stapled document he was reading.
“You, um… okay?” Ally asked meekly, looking into his eyes.
“Dandy.” He rubbed his glasses on one fold of his undone tie.
“Larry,” she started, not satisfied with his response.
“What kind of answer did you expect?!” He cut her off sharply. “You want me to tell you I’m unearthly happy all of this happened? Do you want-“
“I want the truth. I want you to talk to me…” She replied carefully, her voice a bit slowed down by oncoming tears. She didn’t ever remember crying as much as she had in the last 36 hours.
“You don’t want to hear what I have to say…”
“I do!” she insisted.

He shook his head.

“No, you don’t. Trust me. And neither do I. You don’t deserve to be subjected to this.” His voice grew quieter with the last sentence as he stood up and turned around, about to walk away into the adjoining room.
“Larry…” she gulped down a knot forming in her throat as she caught up with him and gently grasped his arm. “I can’t do this if you’re going to close yourself off from me… Do you want me to go?”
He looked down at her as she slowly released his arm, reading uncertainty, fear and overdone alcoholic consumption in his slurred gaze. Trying to make him spill his soul now would only make matters much, much worse, but she didn’t want to leave him like this.

“I just need to figure things out… for myself…” he said, a glitch of untruth ringing through the phrase. He didn’t even know what he needed. He just didn’t want Ally to see him in this state. He didn’t want to pass off as weak, and he certainly didn’t want her nursing him back to sanity.

“Okay.” Ally nodded, biting her lower lip, pretending to seem understanding and completely okay with his decision. In a second she disappeared into a different room; within two minutes, she was gone, yet dressed too lightly for a chilly Detroit night. He returned to his papers, pulling another beer bottle out of a cardboard box on the floor.

* * * *

A soft breeze fluttered through her hair as she breathed in the cool air, her mind an unruly mess, her body shivering - part from the air temperature, part from thoughts circling around in her brain like vultures over a carcass. She knew the system, the procedure, its syntax, what to do and what to say in order to rush out into the lead - after all, she had been a star amongst Harvard Law Review’s CivPro column editors. And had it been a regular case with a regular Joe battling a regular Jane, she would’ve had absolutely no trouble with it, taking into consideration that she’d have Larry at hand for ‘case consultation’, so to speak (which inevitably ended in his sweaty body leaning over hers for a very fatigued goodnight kiss, which made such ‘consultations’ all the more pleasant, really,)… Now, however, that commodity was out of reach - at least, temporarily. She was alone. Even alone, had it not been so personal, she figured she would’ve managed it just fine. But it just hit too close to home. And all the well-absorbed material she prided herself on knowing fantastically well seemed to float away, leaving her with nothing. She was deathly afraid of failing, of letting him down, of going down the wrong path and not being able to find her way back home. So much depended on this, and she had so many things to think of at once. She wandered down cold streets past the day’s first cars speeding downtown, thinking, deciding, musing, mulling over choices and pondering whether it had been a good idea to take the case in the first place… But she couldn’t have said no, could she? How could she have refused? She scolded herself for being so selfish, for worrying how hard it was for *her* when the *real* subject of concern should have been *him*.

Orange rays crawled up onto the horizon, and she realized she’d been trotting around for a good hour or so, having left him alone, depressed and, well, quite honestly, drunk in a huge hotel room. She jogged back to the Hilton, through the foyer, up the stairs and down the luxuriously carpeted hall of the 15th floor, pausing slightly to catch her breath before sliding her card through the access slot. Once inside, she tried to dodge the feeling of guilt & shame for turning the lovely kitchen area of an inexpressibly expensive business suite into a pigsty by hurriedly walking past it, eyes barely open due to extensive lack of sleep. She hastily undressed and slid into bed beside Larry, who seemed deep in the embrace of sleep. Thank God, she thought. He needed at least a couple of hours of relaxation in order to feel okay. She smiled cautiously, lovingly observing the way his eyelashes flurried down onto his cheeks, and pressed a hand to his heart as his rib cage moved up and down with each deep breath. She thought he was fast asleep.

He wasn’t.

And then, she began to cry. She pressed her cheek against his shoulder and let the tears roll down her skin and onto his, crying at the unfairness of life, at the need to be held and to be allowed to be weak when life demanded she be strong, at Larry’s pain which became her own. She thought he didn’t hear her muffled sobs.

He did.

And long after she fell asleep, her breathing harsh after tears, he wrapped his arms tighter around her to provide her with at least a slight sense of comfort and to ensure she’d know she’s loved immeasurably. “I’m so sorry…” he wouldn’t allow himself to cry, not now, not when she needed him, so he let his voice simply fade away with the last syllable.

He just couldn’t understand the reason *why*…

- - -


After a *lot* of pleading, begging & reasoning ex-parte with the magistrate in charge of our newly-baked custody battle, I finally got the court order I was seeking – Larry & I could now freely communicate with Sam (“for evidence-collecting purposes”), which would give us enough time to figure out the best strategy and go to court in full armor.

I drove down the rain-soaked streets of Detroit with a map on the steering wheel, frantically trying to pinpoint my location. I knew the address where I was going by heart – after six letters from Larry from that very address and hours spent bawling over the envelopes, you could wake me up at two in the morning and I’d recite it by heart in a matter of seconds.

Bingo. Seventy-eight-fifteen Pearl Court.

Outside the Cruella DeVille mansion, a little boy was shooting hoops on a cemented basketball court with another, much older man some would take to be his father. It was obvious to me, however, even from the distance I was watching them, that he behaved much differently with this man than with his *real* - perhaps not biological, but nonetheless very real – father…

I pulled up by the curb and stepped out onto the freshly cut lawn. The rain had subsided, but the grass was still wet, and drops of water crawled onto my lacquered shoes.

For a second I thought he didn’t recognize me, or just didn’t want to see me, and that was the reason he was standing still, eyeing me attentively, ball caught in his hand. The older man looked up at me, too, his eyes conveying some sort of displeasure, though I knew he didn’t know me. All of a sudden Sam dropped the ball and dashed down the grass towards me, a gleeful smile appearing on his face. Thank God. I caught him in my open arms and felt him bury his face in my trench coat.

“Hi Ally!” he lifted up his eyes at me. They looked so much like those of his father. His *real* father.
“Hey Sammy…”
“Where’s Dad?” He immediately asked, his voice childishly innocent. “Is he in town… with you?”

What a bitch. She didn’t even tell her son his father – screw biology, he *is* his father – wanted to see him.

“Yup.” I replied, smiling. He didn’t need to know what I thought of his mother.
“Cool! When’s he gonna come over?”

I felt my heart smash to pieces. This kid loved and needed his father so much – and the only way they could now legally meet was through a scrap of paper that had to be signed & stamped at the courthouse.

“Soon… He’s got some work to do…” I squatted down, now at one level with Sam, and took his hand.
“But he *will* come over…” he repeated, as if confirming the statement.
“I hope so.”

Sam answered with a simple joyous smile. Perfect. As long as I could avoid…

“What are you doing here?” a strident, snappy voice boomed over us from behind me…

Damn. Too late.

“Good afternoon,” I started as calmly as possible, standing up and turning around.

She always exudes raging hostility, which doesn’t get any sweeter towards me with every time she tries to get her dirty paws on my Larry (and every time my Larry, with ever-lasting patience, explains that he loves ME more than he could ever love HER, or ANYONE, for that matter…). And at that moment, it seemed as if she were about to breathe out fire.

She pulled her lips up into a tight smile. The man I’d seen around Sam earlier – the one I’d presumed (and rightfully so) to be the “biological” father – expressed interest in the budding catfight and jogged over to where we were standing.

Though I was outnumbered, I wasn’t about to give up. Sam looked around with frightened eyes, trying to understand what was going on.

“You can’t legally be here…” she continued in her shattered-glass voice, in a tone which presumed she was fighting for the *truth*. Fortunately, she wasn’t.

“Yes, I can.” I replied coolly, extracting the slaved-over court order from my case folder.

Her eyes narrowed as she snatched the document out of my hands, her talons scraping against my skin, then studied it carefully.

“What the hell’s going on here?” the man standing behind Sam asked in the manner of a police officer whose duty was to guard order at any price.

“This is Ally…” she mimed kindness.

I had obviously been the central object of one too many household conversations, as the man’s face expressed some sort of change, making it clear my name was familiar to him.

“Ally’s really awesome!” Sam added at the most inconvenient moment. Jaimie shot him an angry glare.

“Go inside, Sam,” she ordered sternly. “Inside.” She repeated when he was about to protest.

He sighed and turned around, walking wearily back up the walkway and into the house.

“I’ll bet you’re pleased with yourself…” Jaimie started again, her reptilian features contracting into something that was supposed to be yet another sarcastic smile.

“Very.” I added brusquely, grabbing the paper and pulling it out of her clutched fingers. Just then, I heard the rustle of footsteps behind me, and Larry’s hand quickly made its way over to meet mine by my side.

“Larry…” Jaimie inhaled. I hadn’t even noticed how he’d driven up. Disdain certainly can dull your senses sometimes.

I looked up at Larry, a faint smile appearing briefly on my face. We really *would* survive this face-off, especially tackling it hand-in-hand.

Not only would we survive, a strong sense of something I took to be female intuition told me we’d win. Court, though, was still far away; for the time being, we had only this battlefield, and only here we could get a head start on our promisingly victorious race.

“What did I ever do to you, Jaimie?” Larry asked in a matter-of-fact tone, as though it were a question he’d come up with spontaneously.
“Hey--" Jaimie’s beau entered the conversation.
“Fuck off…” Larry growled, eyes turning almost navy.
“He’s my son--" he tried again, inevitably failing.
“Then where the *fuck* were you during these eight years?” Larry continued the interrogation, his voice low and heavily calm.

The other opened his mouth to attempt another lame explanation, but wasn’t given a chance to.

“And you,” Larry started up again, turning to Jaimie, “you’re just beyond brilliant – once you realized you wouldn’t be able to keep me chained to you, once the fact of my fatherhood became unnecessary to you, you just threw it away, wrote it off as a case of misunderstanding, though in reality you’d been using it all this time, not for your son’s sake, but for your own!”
“I didn’t know!” she protested, desperately trying to pass it off as the truth.
“Like hell you didn’t…” I entered a bright thought.
“*You* stay out of this…” the “real father” barked at me. Oooh, I’m *scared*.
“*I’ll* be the lawyer handling the case…” I replied.
“Lawyer?” Jamie was startled. Perfect.
“Mm-hmm,” I nodded.
“You’re going in to… trial? For what?” She sounded a little… well, not *scared*, but certainly less confident than she had been a moment before.
“Oh, I don’t know, probably to discuss the latest Dow quotes with Judge What’s-His-Name over a few bottles of Heineken!” Larry continued with the sarcasm. Jamie imitated amusement.
“Alright, let’s--“ started ‘The Father’, but yet again his words were ignored.
“If I may be so daring as to ask you a question…” Larry turned to Jamie.
“Be my guest…” she replied, the dragon-like smile drawn out on her face once again.
“Why this? Why now? Why couldn’t I even *see* the kid?”
“You can *now*…” she grimaced at the document in my hands.
“Yeah, after a *court order*!”
“Well, tough…” Jamie answered.

Larry stood silent for a moment, shaking his head.

“How many else were there?” he finally blurted out. That question struck me as rather surprising. Why would he care? Now?
“Hey--“ the ‘father’ interrupted.
“Well, you, me and the bottle--“ Larry answered him, pointing at Jamie “--makes three… And the actual number is…?” he looked at her questioningly.
“That’s all!” Jamie blew up.
“Any other children or lovers that may miraculously float up to the surface?” he asked.
“Listen,--“ the ‘father’ started again, desperate to put in at least a few words and with that consider his civil duty fulfilled.
“Michael--“ Jamie caught his hand, hinting him to stop.

Larry pressed his lips into a tight smile, extending his hand. Perhaps he was enjoying the sarcasm, or perhaps…

I understood perfectly well I had no right to be jealous or selfish right then. And yet a flicker of doubt on whether it was pure sarcasm and nothing more found a way to crawl into my mind.

“Ah, so nice to meet you, *Michael*… If this pace keeps up, soon we can open a ‘Fathers of Jamie’s Children Anonymous’ group… Federal funding, The Works, whaddaya say?”
“Mr. *Paul*…” Michael was spinning around like a dradle in a desperate attempt to shove his 2 cents into any empty spot in the conversation he could find.
“Ah, why the formality?” Larry drummed out. “It’s just *Larry*… please…” he continued in the tone of two business partners crossing the line between simple phone discussions of mutual e-commerce solutions and wine-tasting soirees for their families. “And your last name?” Larry leaned in, awaiting an answer. “After all, I have to know what my ex-son’s *real* last name is…”

“Alright--“ Michael started rolling up the sleeves of his jacket as though preparing to beat up Larry. The latter did the same in reply, which set back Michael’s confidence as he did not expect such a straight-on approach. It’s masculine nature, I guess, to answer a half-hearted spontaneous threat with a serious one just to protect one’s male ego and preserve superiority among the pack, and while yes, being the slobbering bag of estrogen that I am, I must admit that seeing Larry calculate the exact force of his punch needed to bloody the Dweeb’s (as we later so lovingly nicknamed him at home during on of our many Tuborg-induced tobacco-laden discussions on various topics of interest (and disinterest) of the generally gray American public) nose made me vividly recall what else he can do with his fingers and how incredibly well they… never mind, it smelled a bit of a scripted duel. I’m not big on blood, protruding bones, ambulances, insurance company calls and the whole nine yards following that, and I understood very well that, if given the chance to, Larry’s fist would smash every bone in the pathetic little Scumbag’s body, so I was about to grasp his wrist in order to keep him from doing things he’d regret when the Dork’s hospital bills would start piling up in our mailbox, when - through some random act of otherworldly kindness - appeared that which changed the entire scene…


There are feminists in our day who say men are incapable of emotion. For their views to be turned upside down, inside out, washed through, cloroxed, rinsed and hung neatly on a clothesline, I’d take them to that very moment when Sam appeared on the lawn…

Jamie’s face turned a fortunately very unattractive shade of olive green; Michael’s soon followed that brilliant example.

Sam’s smile lit up the scene. Having pushed past the thick glass door, he ran down the lawn, stomping joyously down Jamie’s meticulously well-trimmed alpine flowerbed. She gasped, and Larry only now caught up with what had been going on…

I’d never seen him that happy. It was as if some sort of geyser in him had been uncovered, with endless supplies of joy and mirth and love for the little boy that had become his life. His soul immediately began to spurt out serving after serving of that pure, crisp, refreshing, revitalizing happiness, and the corners of his mouth reached for his earlobes as two identical sparkles appeared in their eyes – one set in Larry’s, the other in Sam’s.

If that doesn’t qualify him for fatherhood, I don’t know what does.

“Daddy!” Sam eagerly jumped up into Larry’s arms, catching his neck in his little hands as he hung on to him. Larry pretended to be suffocating, sticking out his tongue to the side and rolling his eyes, sending Sam into waves of giggles. His smile widened as he attempted to kiss Sam’s head; Sam, of course, pulled away, wearing the sort of facial expression kids usually have when they’re trying to protest their parents’ public show of affection. Larry didn’t seem too disappointed, though; Sam looked around for a second, as if contemplating a potentially harmful question.

“Are we going somewhere, Dad?” he started reluctantly, met with a less-than-pleased glance on Jamie’s part. Michael stayed numb.

“Not right now, buddy. But… Ally & I will stop by… soon. I promise.” Larry looked at him, smile widening.

“You always promise. But you never stop by… What’s that?” Sam zeroed in on the papers I was holding, then looked around to catch everyone’s gazes. Processing what he came across, he waited for an answer.

“Just some stuff your mom and I have to…” Larry hesitated, looking up at me. I tried to subliminally convey my thoughts; he seemed to have caught on, and continued, turning back to Sam, “sign…”

He lowered Sam to the ground, holding on to his shoulder. Sam instinctively grabbed his hand, and Larry looked up once again, his glasses flying off and his woolen scarf, previously casually thrown around his neck, dutifully began serving its purpose.

“You’re cleaning your glasses. Again. It doesn’t look too good.” Sam pointed out, a slight smile replacing the worried look he had just a few seconds back.

Larry gazed at him, eyes breathing out adoration. I stayed silent, looking down. I felt I had no right to intrude with even a glance. This was *their* time.

Jamie, as it would figure, wasn’t equipped to think such thoughts.

“C’mon, Sam,” she drummed out, and Michael felt he was endowed with the right to attempt to pull Sam away. Larry immediately stood up, moving in front of his son and blocking him from Michael.

“It’s okay, Dad,” Sam smiled happily, “I’ll see you later, right?”
“Right.” Larry nodded, trying to smile, his jawbones protruding through his cheeks as he clenched his teeth together.
“Bye Ally!” Sam waved merrily at me, and I waved back. By the time the trio was gone, Larry was already by my car, prying open the passenger door. I looked in the direction of the house once again, then quickly walked back down the lawn, stepping onto the cold concrete a second later and hastily pulling open my door.

We sat in silence for a moment, gathering thoughts and playing back various moments of the conversation that we’d just been the unwitting participants of. Larry was staring out the window, dark brown waves of hair waterfalling down the back of his head. I extended my arm, straightening my fingers, wanting to stroke down his cheek, but as soon as the ever so slightest touch occurred between his skin and mine, he cautiously pushed my hand away, turning back to the window down which raindrops once again began to scuttle.

I turned back to mine, at once hurt and lost, feeling myself circling around in a deserted enclave with ‘dead end’ signs dotting its circumference, going from sign to sign and never being able to find my way out…

All of a sudden, Larry furiously slammed his fists against the dashboard, the sturdy plastic hitting hard against his knuckles. My heart jumped at the unexpected bam, and a low “fuck this…” emerged from under his breath. “Larry…” I heard myself whisper, tears stinging at my eyes for no apparent reason.

“This is bullshit!” his hands once again pound against the dark gray plastic, his eyes absolutely enraged, and my hand involuntarily lands on top of his, only to be thrown off a second later… My insides contract - please, Larry, please don’t do this to me now…

I press a hand over my mouth and nose, struggling to gather some composure. The door slams shut behind him as he walks over to his car, parked about 50 meters away from mine, the cold rain pouring ruthlessly down onto him.

Why, why did this ever have to happen? I ask everyone at once and no one in particular - Jamie who can’t hear me, God who doesn’t want to, myself who just doesn’t have the answer… I continue watching drops of water plop into puddles, rings forming around the spot where they met. If I start the car now, I don’t think I’ll drive very far without hitting something…

He swoops back in, very wet and very ashamed, and cups my left cheek in his right hand. I shiver, the chilled water sliding off his skin and onto mine. He smiles as I grasp his wrist, ensuring his hand stays where it is. He leans in, kissing the tip of my nose, and looks at me with those chocolate eyes of his.
“Let’s get outta here…” he smiles, and I can’t help smiling back. He gives me so much, and asks for so little in return. Always. Even now. He’s comforting *me*, when in all fairness the roles should be reversed.

Thank you, Tracy. Thank you, screwy mailman. Thank you, impotent Brian.

Thank you, my one, my only, Larry.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

God bless business suites.

Being without a desk for me is like being oxygen-deprived. I need my workspace. I need a horizontal surface. I need lots of drawers, places to put post-its, enough space for heaps of books AND my laptop, and of course several square inches for a wine glass. And our little haven right here, in the centre of possibly the most hostile city on this planet, has all of that… and more.

He promised me it would be a mid-season one-day off-we-go sort of vacation. And here I am, fourteen lattes and 34 hours later, my eyes unable to focus, going through random custody briefs. I can’t really dump everything into the wastebasket and head off to sleep – if I give up, they win. Yeah, this case isn’t exactly peaches. And Larry hasn’t slept since he got here, so whatever the measly amount of it he’s getting right now, it’s doing him good. I just don’t have the heart to wake him.

If I have to read another page of outlines I swear I’ll kill something.

I stand up, stretching my legs and letting the circulation flow freely for just a couple of minutes before work starts screaming at me once again. Leaning against the off-white doorframe separating the den and the bedroom, I watch Larry sleep, a gauze of sexiness spread over him like a barely visible blanket. He’s expanded his empire, arms flung patronizingly across the king-sized bed, and I barely hold myself back from sliding into them. He looks so delicious… but, alas, work is work, and I’m determined to finish it.

Sibelius makes for wonderful background music. High notes pouring into lower ones, cellos uniting in harmonious agreement – great stuff. Stimulates brainwork. I have… wow, a whole page and a half written. Incredible. Aren’t I something…

In a second my world topples over into sheer ecstasy… He’s up. Right behind me, leaning over me. His left hand on my left hand, his right hand tracing patterns over my ribs, his lips on my right cheek. The warmth of his body is certainly much appreciated around here…

“Hey…” he whispers huskily, melting me into the chair. He lengthens his next kiss, staying on my cheek, then leans in closer to brush away a loose strand of hair that keeps falling in my face. Starting up again at my temple, then continuing his expedition down to my jawline, he spreads kisses everywhere, his left hand still slowly massaging mine.

“Larry…” I’m breathless. What a surprise.
“You’re tired.” he states seriously. Well, darling,…
“…No shit. But the trial’s tomorrow…”
“Shhh…” he shushes, his lips brushing my shoulder. I loll my head slightly against his chest while his fingers continue their expedition up and down my arms. Already, various muscles throughout my body are contracting, causing my back to arch a little. The pen I was holding falls out my hand as my fingers release their grasp, his only tightening theirs.

“This could end dangerously…” I warn him.
“For who?” he peels away my now-unbuttoned shirt -- well, it’s actually *his* shirt, I just like wearing it… He never objects. In fact, he likes me in oversized things - I guess it holds the exciting prospect of uncovering what’s underneath, though he’s been there a thousand times, but I can’t even imagine how ridiculous I look in his tees and sweaters. They all smell like nutmeg, firewood and Turkish coffee – just like he himself does. It’s nice to wear something so delicious.
“Both of us…” I laugh. He’s very eager to continue, his fingers instinctively traveling down my body, sliding over my lines and curves, massaging pliant skin tenderly, carefully, knowing the exact amount of pressure needed, touching, caressing, kneading softly… Something tells me I won’t get much work done tonight.

“Ally, Ally, Ally…” he murmurs into my hair. I guess I’m not supposed to say anything in reply, so I stay silent. He pulls me up, around and closer to him, his caresses slowly turning from playful to pushy. I try to pull back, but his enticing tongue reaches for the outline of my lips, and I, understandably (he has a very talented tongue), succumb to his wishes. That doesn’t last long, though, as I’m tugged away into the dark of the bedroom, and a glimmer of doubt appears at the end of the dark tunnel that is my mind, asking me whether this is really a good idea right now.

“Larry…” I begin in an attempt to stop him, but he, apparently, has other plans.

“Just… let me take over here…”

“Larry.” This is taking a totally different road, one I’m not too fond of.

“Ssh. Quiet.”

“Larry--“ I succeed in breaking the embrace, but he only reaches further, his eyes displaying some sort of anger.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“I’m… bringing you to your senses…” I manage to reply.
“What is this, for Christ’s sake, therapy?!” he spurts out.

“I don’t like this…”

“Yeah, neither do I!”

I close my eyes, gulping down a knot in my throat.

“I want to be made *love* to, not be used as a distraction…” I try to explain.

“It *always* has to be about *you*, doesn’t it?”

“No, but I believe I’m entitled to respect…” I continue, pulling myself together for the argument that’ll inevitably arrive in a moment.

“Oh, is *that* it?” his gaze narrows at me. I don’t care, I’m standing up for myself, and I have a right to that.

“Yes! And, bringing your attention back to today’s lovely encounter with the living proof that sadism is alive and well - ‘how many else were there?’?!?! What the hell was that?!” No, no, you’re not getting out of this one so easily… As long as we’re on the topic of *me* being the faulty one, we might as well explore *your* exploits, pal.

“Yes, I want to know what my competition was!”

Smooth, Larry. Very smooth.

“Competition?! With *her* being what, the golden trophy for the victor?!”

“Yes, Ally, this is a very fitting time to act out your jealousy, since I obviously have no other concerns or problems in life at the moment!” He oozes sarcasm. Bad tactic, Larry.

“You’re admitting that there’s ground for it?!”

“This is unbelievable…” he mutters, turning around.

“No, Larry, it’s *very* believable! You want me to play the rag doll here, screw me to air out your anger, and when I *dare* to say no, I suddenly turn into a bitch!”

“Why are you doing this now?” he turns back to me, ignoring my previous statement.

“*I’m* not doing anything…” I storm out into the den, throw on decent clothes and grab my bag and my cell, shutting the door with a muffled thud several seconds later. I need air, otherwise it wouldn’t have ended well for either of us...

- - - - - - - -

Larry sat at the table, looking through Ally’s calligraphic outlines. ‘My God,’ he realized, ‘she’s brilliant. She knows much more about this than I do, and she certainly formulates it better.’ He didn’t even want to think of what had happened, he had already pieced together his undeniable fault and compiled a set of apologies, and he was sure he wouldn’t come to any fresh conclusions by banging his head on the table.

He heard the front door squeak open, and sighed heavily, closing his eyes to compose his overture and play it through before going in to talk to his girl. A slight note of worry rang through him as he heard no movement, no footsteps, no angry jolts like he’d expected, just a soft sob coming from the adjoining room. He quickly got to his feet and jogged out, practically zooming across the room when he saw the state Ally’d returned in - a convulsing, sobbing heap, hair lying flatly against her wet face. Lost as to what to do or say, he tried to grasp her arm as she slid down the wall and onto the floor, trying to clutching the wallpaper in her thin, now weakening fingers, but she violently pushed him away, covering her face with her hands, her shoulders shaking as tears consumed her, her world crumbling around her as the reality of it all hit her even harder. He somehow managed to kneel in front of her despite her vain attempts to keep her distance, and tried to figure out how to approach the question of what had happened. He felt it wasn’t what he had feared at first - that she’d been attacked - but nonetheless something so earth-shattering for her it was even scarier than that. However, he saw no one he could potentially blame, so he focused now on saving her instead of getting even with the presumed assailant.

“Ally… Ally… Ally…” he whispered to her, placing his hands on her shoulders and presenting his neck for her to wrap her arms around. She made use of the opportunity, letting herself sob even harder when she felt she had someone to hold and to receive comfort from. He gently stroked down her hair with one finger, moving down her neck and rubbing her back with his other hand. He knew he first had to let her cry, and only then try to talk to her, because if reversed, those activities would push her over the edge. He held her tightly, rocking her back and forth like a child to soothe her tear-smothered gasps. “My daddy… my daddy…” she finally managed, still clawing at his shoulder, trying to keep herself from being sucked into the black hole that was interminable, immovable grief. “It’s okay, it’s okay to cry… I’m here, Ally, it’s okay…” he murmured into her neck, and she felt for a second that he had breathed enough strength into her for her to continue her phrase… She paused - her heart felt immobilized for several seconds, barely pumping blood as the inevitability of realization hurled itself into her mind. Larry pressed her closer to him, kissing her forehead, hoping to ease her pain by encouraging her to let it out. Maybe, just maybe, he could make things better by just being there. And Ally realized that he did. But the truth was there, and she couldn’t turn back time, no matter how hard she tried.

“My dad… died… today…”

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There! I killed off my favourite guest star! :(

Would love your thoughts on this (snowbunny@ifrance.com). Merci :)