Author Topic: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)  (Read 1874 times)

Kara Aimsley

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Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« on: August 08, 2016, 12:46:35 PM »
What. A.  Weekend.  Kara stepped into her apartment, a dazzling, joyous smile on her face.  Had that REALLY just happened?  Had something she'd wanted for most of her life just become a reality?  That smile, that laugh, those eyes and...she had to admit...that body.  Most of all it was just...Gerry.  Everything that he was, everything that he wanted to be... she loved.  Was that weird to say?  It's not like it was too soon.  It had been 27 years!  Granted there was that whole...19 year gap.  But she'd carried that torch long enough.  This was her time now.  Things were finally going to start going right.

She was barely conscious of the fact that her cell's battery died somewhere around hour 3 of the trip.  Kara pulled her phone out, glancing down.  "Ah...crap.." she muttered, moving over to her purse and fishing out the charger.  

Bill and Rose seemed pretty happy about how everything was working out, too, she'd noticed.  All throughout breakfast and the car-ride home, Rose had this sly little grin on her face.  Kara was just convinced that Ginny...who had apparently ALSO gotten lucky that night, was just glad the focus wasn't on her.  That seemed like par for the course for the ginger girl.  Kara didn't understand what her hang ups were about sex.  It was a perfectly natural thing.  So, she had herself a good time.  Whatever, get over it, Red!

Her screen lit up, showing that the phone was, indeed, plugged in.

And good for her, too!  The little blonde she'd snagged was  a hottie!  Kara might not have swung that way, but she knew a knock-out when she saw one.  Ginny would probably never be one of those girls she could sit and gab and trade stories with.  They were too different, she mused.  Kara was too much of a free spirit and Ginny was...nervous.  Sort of fastidious and proper, despite her enjoyment of a certain series of novels that were basically poorly written S&M smut.  At least she was friendlier to her.  She seemed to genuinely root for her and Gerry as a couple.  That, she could appreciate.

The phone completed its boot-up sequence as Kara reached her fridge, looking for something...anything that hadn't expired.  She was not the best at keeping order in her home fridge.  At work, she was like a hawk, but home?  Not so much.  She grabbed a jug of orange juice and twisted the cap off, sipping right from the container because screw you, she was an adult and if she wanted to drink right from the carton in her own house at 9 PM, she damn well would!

That was when her phone lit up like the 4th of July, notifications sounding off.  She stepped over with a quirked eyebrow, glancing down at the screen.  There were several missed calls...Something must be wrong.  She checked the number...she didn't recognize it at first, but there were about 7 calls from it...from the police.

Immediately, her heart dropped.  The bar.  It had to be the bar.  Oh, God...her entire life was tied into that place...if she lost it, she didn't know what she'd do.  It had been the one thing that was truly her's most of her adult life!  The one thing she could point to and say with pride "This is mine."  Could it really just be gone.  That was when the phone rang.  She nearly jumped out of her skin when it went off.

For a long moment, she just stared, trying to will herself to pick up.  If she did, then it was real.  With a deep breath, she closed her eyes and brought it to her ear, pressing the green button.

"Hello?"

"Hello, is this Kara Aimsley?"  the voice asked.

Oh, God.  Oh, God...that tone.  Oh no....

"Y-yes."

"This Officer Hester with the Dallas Police dept."

Her hands trembled, tears began to form.

"Ma'am..."  the voice said.

Here it came.

"I'm sorry to tell you this..."

No, no no no...

"...but your father's dead."

Kara's eyes went wide.

And suddenly everything felt numb.
[img:9f4601263f]http://i.imgur.com/nPg4HIM.jpg[/img:9f4601263f]

Kara Aimsley

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2016, 12:47:12 PM »
“Hello? Ms. Aimsley?” The officer on the other end of the line. She was in shock. Of all the things to hear from him, this was not one she expected.

Her father...was gone.

Why?

Why did she feel so numb? So...afraid? She hated him. He’d been nothing but abusive and neglectful and cold...and now he was dead. Gone forever.

She should be glad.

“Ms. Aimsley? I’m sorry for your loss. But there is the matter of claiming the body. You were listed as his next of kin.”

That son of a bitch. After everything, he made sure she’d be in charge of his corpse. She wanted to tell the officer to toss his body in the dumpster and let the crows at the dump have him.

“Ms. Aimsley? Are you there?”

“Y-yes.” She managed to choke out, her body trembling.

“We would appreciate your input on how you’d like proceed with your father.”

She swallowed the lump in her throat hard. “H-how did he…”

“It might be better if you come in. Are you available?”

No. No, she was not. That filthy, mean spirited *** hole could rot in the sun for all she cared. He deserved it. The day he ran out on her was the best day of her life, God damn it. He wasn’t there for her *****y prom. He wasn’t there for her graduation. Didn’t teach her to drive, hell, he didn’t teach her to tie her shoes. Everything she was, she made and learned for herself! That piece of **** wasn’t there for her life, so why in the **** should she be there for him in death?

**** him.

She made her decision.

But when she opened her mouth, the words came out… “Yes. Yes, I can.”
[img:9f4601263f]http://i.imgur.com/nPg4HIM.jpg[/img:9f4601263f]

Bill Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2016, 06:26:07 PM »
Bill was finally settling down for the evening when the doorbell rang. Rose looked up from her book, the two sharing a confused glance.

“It’s 10:30, who’s coming over here at this hour?” she said

Bill sighed and got off the bed with a groan. “Maybe one of the kids forgot something. I’ll check it out.”

He made his way down the stairs, muttering to himself. “I’m comin’, I’m comin’.”

The porch light flipped on the door was pulled open to reveal Kara. His face lit up with a tired smile...and then he saw her face. Her make-up was running down her cheeks, her eyes red from crying.

His brow creased in concern. “Kara? Honey? What’s-”


She just stepped and wrapped her arms around him burying her face in his chest. Bill was taken aback a bit, but eventually wrapped the girl in a hug. Oh no. Did Gerry do something? Wow, kid worked fast.

He rubbed her back gently. “Shhh...tell me what happened. Is it Gerry?” He asked, really hoping he was wrong.

Her body quaked against his, rocked by hard sobs. “Okay,” He said trying comfort her.. “It’s okay.”

It took a few minutes before she was calm enough to speak. Even then, it came out horse shakey. “It-It wasn’t G-Gerry.” She stared up at him with those sad eyes, just breaking his heart. “It’s my d-” her fists clenched in handfuls of his shirt as she tried work through it, taking in a breath of air. “M-my d-dad. He-he….he’s…”

And then Bill understood, realization crossing his face. Jesus. He’d almost forgotten about Frank. The bastard had been blissfully out of all their lives for years now. His arms encircled the sobbing beauty again, holding her tight. “Oh, sweetie...I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry.”

Rose stood at the top of the stairs. “Bill? Who is-” She noticed a sobbing Kara. “Oh geez. Did Gerry screw up already? Kid works fast...”

Kara couldn’t help but laugh a little through the tears.

The three of them sat down and she managed to calm herself to tell them what was going on. “And they want me to come to Dallas to claim the body.”

Bill, looked across the table. “And you said?”

She cringed a bit. “I said yes.”

Bill did NOT say it out loud, but his expression shouted “Why?!”

Her eyes lowered a tick and she thought. “He’s my dad.” She said in a weak little voice. “I wanted to hate him. I wanted to tell them he could go **** his dead self.” She said.

Rose was not a fan of the language, but now was not the time for a reprimand.

“I don’t blame you.” Bill said.

She turned her eyes up to him. “I just...I thought about him laying there in that morgue. And...and nobody coming for him. Just...an object. A thing. Discarded and thrown away.” There was a distant look in her eyes. “And...and it made me...it made me feel sorry for him.”

Bill nodded. He could understand that. Frank Aimsley may have been a trash heap of a human being and a father. But that was a miserable way to go, even for a miserable person. “Well...I think you’re very...good to do that.”

“I am?” she said, needing to hear it.

“Yes. Of course. Kara, sweetie...after the way he treated you...you don’t owe him a damn thing.” Rose interjected. “The fact you are willing to send him off from this world with a bit of dignity says a lot about you.”

Bill nodded in agreement. He stood up then. “Alright. Dallas is about 4 hours away. We can be there by 3 if we leave now.”

Kara looked up at him wide-eyed. “Oh...oh, Da-er, Bill...no! No! I can’t ask you to do that.”

“You didn’t. You shouldn’t have to do this alone. So, I’m going to put some pants on that don’t have little dogs on them and we’ll hop in my truck and go. Okay?” He said calmly.

A little smile worked its way back to the brunette’s pretty face. “Thank you…”
[img:823c10f5c3]http://i.imgur.com/wLZOVmV.jpg[/img:823c10f5c3]

Kara Aimsley

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2016, 01:45:10 AM »
They said their goodbyes to Rose and she called Gerry to ask him to run the bar while she was away. He, of course, wanted to come with, but she needed him there. The bar had been closed too long as it was.

Kara climbed up into Bill’s truck, all nerves and jitters. She forced a smile over to him, and just looked like she was barely holding herself together. He reached across and put a hand on her shoulder.

“It’s okay. Breathe, kid. Breathe.” he said quietly, giving her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “I’ve got ya.” He smiled before turning the ignition, the old truck cranking to life.

She never appreciated him more than at this moment, she thought. Bill Finnegan was more than just a good father, he was a damn good man. The best parts of him had been passed down to his son. The kindness, the generosity, the sense of humor...that earnest desire to make people happy that so endeared the big goof to everyone he met.

Bill turned to her after backing out of the driveway, throwing the truck into gear. “Why don’t you try and get a little shut eye. Tomorrow’s going to be a big day. You’re gonna want that rest. Trust me.”

“Okay, I’ll try.” She agreed. The past 2 hours had been such a hectic mess, she didn’t realize how tired she actually was. She yawned and leaned against the door pillar. Bill reached into the backseat, pulling up a jacket and handed it over. “Here. It makes a good pillow.”

She smiled and curled it beneath her head, eyes sliding shut. “Thanks, Dad.” She muttered.

Bill glanced over at use of the name a frown crossing his face. Poor kid, he thought. She’d not had an easy go of it in life and things just seemed to keep popping up in the way of her happiness.

Kara tried to slip into a peaceful sleep. Images in her head from the first day she’d met the Finnegans. She’d seen a boy sitting out on his front lawn, playing by himself. Just a skinny little thing, he had blue eyes and brown hair. Her father was, of course, drunk again, passed out on the living room floor of their *****y little house.

Clad in a dirty, oversized Mickey Mouse t-shirt that hung off her tiny frame like a shroud, and pants that had once been jeans, but she’d cut off at the knee. Her brown hair in a messy ponytail, she smiled down at the boy, not daring to speak just yet.

He slowly looked up at this...girl, he supposed it was, though she was unlike any he’d ever seen. The two just stared at each other a moment before she gave him an awkward little wave. Gerry looked at her tiny, dirty hand. The girl had been playing around in a construction site, running around and climbing the dirt mound in a solo game of king of the hill.

He gave her a little wave. This brought a bright smile to her face. “Hi.” She said. “Whatcha doin’?”

Gerry looked down to his Star Wars figures, Chewbacca was currently flying around in an X-Wing fighter, trying to not get shot down by Cobra Commander in a TIE Fighter. (He didn’t have all the figures, alright?!) He held up the TIE Fighter. “Playin’ Star Wars.” He said in a quiet little voice.

“Wanna play?” He asked her holding the toy up to her. Anna looked at it like she had handed him the Holy Grail. There weren’t a lot of toys in her house. And those that WERE there were broken, and busted up. Barbies with irreparable haircuts and the like. Not that it mattered because she didn’t like them anyway. She saw other boys around with their toys, but most of them were older or just didn’t want to play with a girl.

She took the TIE in her hands carefully, and accidentally pressing one the buttons at the top that ejected the wing pylons . The wing fired off onto the ground. She jumped, shocked, her eyes going wide. OH NO. Oh, hell, she broke it! She stared waiting for Gerry to yell or throw a fit. Instead he got to his feet and lifted his X-wing.

“Oh no! You got hit! Now you gotta spin it like this!” He showed her with his toy and ran away from her making noises like a spaceship out of control. Her face lit up and in an ecstatic ear-to-ear smile. The pair of them played on his front lawn for the next 4 hours, taking turns being the good guy and the bad guy and chasing each other. Gerry eventually ran inside to bring out his Millennium falcon for them to TRY and heft up and fly with their tiny arms.

The little girl was ecstatic. She’d found her first friend. Someone who actually WANTED her around. It didn’t hurt that he had awesome toys that he let her use. For the first time in her young life she felt like she belonged. And Gerry would never know what that meant to her.
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Bill Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2016, 03:48:55 PM »
Bill had watched out the window that day. He knew who her father was. Frank had worked with him in the steelworks. A miserable alcoholic with a chip on his shoulder. Nobody particularly liked him, except his bartender. But since his wife died, people sort of just gave him a pass. Part of him was concerned about Gerry playing with this girl. But another just took pity on her. This kid was alone in the world. A father who didn’t care, no mother, and it seemed, no friends.

Rose stepped up behind him, peering out the window. “Is that Frank Aimsley’s kid?” She asked, holding a slumbering almost-two year-old Ginny in her arms.

Bill nodded slowly.

“When did this start?” She asked, glancing to her husband.

Bill glanced back and shrugged. “I think she just showed up about 4 hours ago. They’ve been playing ever since.”

Rose stared out at the dirty little ragamuffin playing with her boy. She glanced to her husband. “We should have her over for dinner.”

Bill smiled to his wife. Rose adjusted Ginny and looked back outside. “I don’t imagine she gets to eat very well over there.” she said.

Gerry and Kara were running around making spaceship noises. “I GOT YOU!” He yelled.

“NUH-UH! DEFLECTOR SHIELDS ARE AT MAX!” She called back.

“UGH! STUPID DEFLECTOR SHIELDS! COMIN’ AROUND FOR ANOTHER PASS!” He exclaimed, making spaceship noises and turning the TIE Fighter around to attack again.

Bill stepped outside. “Ger!” He called with that booming voice. Both kids froze in place. “Come on, Luke Skywalker. Dinner’s almost ready. Time to wash up.”

“Dad! I’m not Luke!” he insisted.

Bill smirked. “Oh, I’m sorry.”

“I’m Chewbacca right now!”

Bill laughed throwing up his hands defensively. “Oh-ho, so sorry! Well, get your furry butt in there and wash up, Chewie.”

Gerry deflated a bit, but Kara looked like she was desperately trying to keep herself together. To not show that she was devastated. Bill smiled to her. “Hello, there.” He said congenially. “And what’s your name?”

Kara lowered her eyes, her arms limp at her sides, still clutching the X-Wing in her hand like she would never let it go...even if he tried to take it from her. Bill waited and she eventually muttered “Kara, sir…”

Bill walked over and crouched down in front of her. “Kara, huh? That’s a pretty name. I’m Gerry’s dad.” He said offering the child his hand.

She peered up at him with those big, blue, fearful eyes, as if she was waiting for him to hit her or start yelling...but it never came. Her eyes flicked down to his big, coarse hand and, slowly, she reached out, taking it. Bill took her’s gently, giving a little shake.

This giant of a man was pleasant. He didn’t smell like beer and whiskey or cigarettes like her father. He didn’t have a mean face or a scratchy, angry voice. He just smiled at her. Something about him made the 4 year old girl feel okay, safe. The hint of a smile formed upon her lips

“Kara. Are you hungry? Would you like to come in and have dinner with us?” He asked her.

Those blue eyes snapped up at him. She had only eaten a candy bar she’d pocketed from a construction worker’s lunch pail today, so a meal sounded great. She nodded vehemently.

“Alright.” he grinned. “Well, get in there and wash up. Ger-er….Chewie. Show her where the bathroom is.”

The two kids ran inside, leaving Bill to bring the toys back for them. He looked up the street toward their house. What was a kid that young doing wandering around on her own? The drunk son of a bitch should put down the bottle and try being a parent for a change. For that piece of trash, he was fresh out of sympathy. And if HE wasn’t going to take care of his kid, Bill damn sure would.
[img:823c10f5c3]http://i.imgur.com/wLZOVmV.jpg[/img:823c10f5c3]

Kara Aimsley

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2016, 12:35:19 AM »
Kara’s eyes popped open and looked around. It was still dark out. The radio playing some old country ballad. The clock read 2:30 A.M. She glanced over to see Bill sitting there, yawning, but doing alright. He had a Snickers bar in one hand, the wheel in the other, chomping away at the candy as he drove.

Not much had changed about him since then. More lines had set into his face, and his hair had gone from that dirty blonde to grey, but other than that? Those same kind eyes, that same easy going smile. That same decent sense of self. After all the years this man had been in her life, he was still THAT guy. Always there for her, always looking to help. She could still remember the day the cops had come to take her home.

“We’re sorry, Bill. But we got orders.”

Bill gave them a worried look. “Look guys...you know what kind of man he is.”

The taller of the officers stepped forward. “Bill, it doesn’t matter. You can’t go and take a man’s daughter. There are official channels you have to take. Now, Frank has agreed not to press charges if you agree to hand her over.”

Bill stared at the officer a moment, and then glancing down the street. Aimsley stood on his front lawn in a stained undershirt and a ratty pair of sweatpants, watching from a distance. She clung to Gerry as they watched from inside the house. Bill was still considering it. It wouldn’t do to be carted off to jail today. Not in front of the kids.

“Fine. But you walk her in! I want your eyes on that son of bitch.” Bill had said pointing to the cop. “You hear me?”

The shorter officer held up his hands. “You got my word. And Bill...off the record. I get why you did this. Son of a bitch waited two weeks to even call us. I’m sorry it has to go down like this.”

The policemen came in and told her what was going on. Kara had figured this wouldn’t last forever. Reluctantly, she gave in. Gerry took it much harder. Bill had to hold him back and remove him from the room so they could escort her out.

In a life full of sadness that was her saddest day.

Her father had barely looked at her when she got back home. Just sat in the living room, cracked a beer and watched TV. He hadn’t wanted her back. He just didn’t want Mr. Finnegan to win that fight.

Late that night, she lay in her bed. At that point, she was just all cried out. There were no more tears to be shed. A knock at the front door brought her out of bed. She crept to her window and peered outside. Bill stood there. Her heart dropped as her father opened the door.

It was difficult, but she could just make out what they were saying.

“What the-”

“Shut up.” Bill said, cutting him off immediately. “Shut your mouth. You listen to me. You may not care about that girl, but a lot of other people do. I don’t know if I made myself clear before, but let me remind you. Another bruise. Scratch. I see anything you’ve done to hurt that girl...and I’m bringing it down your head ten fold.”

Her dad apparently forgot his stature. “****off, you can’t come here and threaten me! Listen-”

Bill grabbed the screen door and pulled it open, backing him into the house. “YOU listen. That girl is stronger and braver than any child her age should have to be! And if you’re going to refuse to be a father to her, then I’ll do it. I’ll defend her. The same as any of my kids. And I would KILL to protect them from people like you.”

Kara’s head lowered, a smile spreading across her face. A different kind of tears welling up inside of her.

“You think I’m blowing smoke? Try me. But I promise you, I will gladly go to prison if it means that you don’t get to hurt her again.” Bill stared him down. Her father just terrified. “You have a nice night.”

Bill stormed out, the screen door banging shut behind him. Tears streamed down her face as she watched him walk away, her hand going up to window where he had stood.
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Bill Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2016, 02:48:59 PM »
The pair of them stopped off at an all-night diner, to grab coffee and a bite to eat and break up the monotony of the road. The brunette woman yawned into her coffee, sitting in their booth as he returned from the bathroom. A pleasant smile up to him.

Bill slipped into the booth with a groan. “Oh...man. Love that truck, but it is killer on the ol’ back.” He said, shifting around to get comfortable. Bill was a simple sort of guy. Black coffee. Bacon and eggs on the way. He knew what he liked. He shook his head slowly. “I tell ya, kid. Don’t know when I got so old…”

She looked across the table at him, sipping her coffee. “You’re not old. You’re distinguished.”

“The grey hair would beg to differ.”

“You mean your ‘Wisdom’ shine?” she said with a grin.

Bill chuckled, setting his coffee down. “Kiss ass.”

The waitress set their food down in front of them. “There ya go. Anything else I can do for y’all?” she asked them.

“No, thank you, we’re all set.” Bill responded.

“Alright. Y’all need anything you just holler.” She said, moving back behind the counter.

Bill and Kara dined in silence for a moment before she spoke. “What was your father like?” She asked him.

Bill considered that a moment. It wasn’t easy to answer. “Well...you gotta clarify...before or after he became a grandpa?” Bill smirked to her. “See...when I was growing up, he was kind of a hard-ass. Hard working guy, trying to do right by his family. Busted his ass every day so we could eat. And we never went to bed hungry.”

There was a hint of pride in his voice. “I was proud of him. Though, I’d never have told him that. “

Bill took in a piece of bacon and chewed a moment. “He was always tired though, so Mom pretty much told us to leave him alone when he’d get home from work. He’d just come home, go in the basement and just get obliterated.”

“Your dad was a drinker, too, huh?” Kara asked, leaning on the table.

Bill nodded. “When he was sober, he was a great man. But when he was drunk...completely different story.”

“He ever hit you?” She asked.

Bill nodded. “But never...REALLY bad. But uh...one time, he gets rip-roaring downstairs. And I forgot the rule. I was about, um...11 I think? I came home from my baseball game. I’d hit 2 homeruns that day. So, I rush back home and go down stairs. Dad’s leaning against the little bar we had down there, passed out face down. I guess a guy got his arm caught in the press that day and it was...uh…. ripped off.”

Bill nodded slowly, thinking back.

“Dad had to yank him off the thing before it pulled him in and crushed the rest of him. So...he got... really hammered.” Bill sipped his coffee, letting out a sigh. “I walk up to him and shake him, ‘Dad! Guess what! Guess what!’ but he doesn’t wake up. And I look at the glass in his hand. Jim Beam. Man loved his bourbon.”

Kara listened, pulling her knees up under her hooded sweatshirt as she sipped her coffee.

“You know, I’d seen him drink it and I’m thinking...you know what? I’m a guy. I’m tough. I had a good day. Why shouldn’t I celebrate? Like the old man!” Bill glanced up at her with a wry grin. It faded as he shook his head. “Stupid. I pry the glass from his hand and I take one sip...and just immediately. I’m coughing up my lungs.”

The corners of Kara’s mouth twitched up, letting out a tiny laugh.

Bill’s smile faded then. “Well, that wakes the old man up. He looks over. Sees me holding his glass...and he gets this look in his eye. Like...like I never seen.” Bill nodded to her. “He balls up a fist, says ‘what do you think you’re doin’ you little ****?!’ Grabs the glass out of my hand...and then he hits me. Punches me right in the face. “ Bill seemed distant, his mind back in that moment.

“Now, I’m on the groud, I’m crying, my eye’s just hurtin...ended up swelling and turning black. And he starts yelling. Calls me good-for-nothing...tells me I’m no man...I’m a coward.” He stared off. “Took me decades to realize he wasn’t actually talking to me.”

The brunette frowned listening to his story.

“Dad had his share of demons. He was always thinking he failed us somehow.” Bill thought back. “He came to my room later that night and apologized, because my mom really let him have it. She was going to throw him out, but he managed to sweet-talk her down. But I never forgot that. It changed everything between us. We could be civil, but I never looked at him the same way again. That’s the thing about being a parent, you know? You can do SO much right, but if you hurt your kid...no matter how much you love them, neither of you ever forgets it. They don’t, and YOU sure as hell don’t.”

Kara nodded, thinking back. “At least he apologized.”

Bill nodded. “He did. But once you strike that kid, man…they look at you differently. And I don’t mean spanking them or giving them a little smack when they’re REALLY bad...I mean...hurt them. You’re not their parent anymore, in their eyes. You’re a violent threat. A time bomb.”

Kara stared at him. “This sounds very familiar.“ she said quietly.

“It took us years to have any kind of relationship after that. I thought he was some abusive alcoholic who hit people when got mad. Accused him of hitting my mom without even knowing if he actually did. I think he just eventually gave up. When I had to drop out in my Junior year of College, he and I had this huge fight. Thought we’d never talk again.” Bill shook his head, remembering. “And it all stemmed from that day. That was the day we lost each other.”

Kara tried to think back to any time when her father HADN’T been on that level for her. But as it was she reached that point early on when she looked back with fondness to when he just neglected her. “How’d you two patch things up?”

“His drinking was really getting out of hand later on after he’d retired. Mom was terrified something was going to happen. Rose and me were together and she was pregnant with Gerry. And I gave him an ultimatum. Cut back and sober up or he’d never meet his grandchild. Well...he did. He’d enjoy a beer every now and again, but for the most part...Dad got sober.”

The brought a smile to Bill’s face. “My dad was an amazing grandpa. I’ll give him that. After Gerry came, he was everything you’d want him to be. He stopped getting drunk, he talked more to people...he laughed more. It was like he became a completely different guy.”

“But there was always that moment. Eating away.” She added for him.

“Yeah.” He said simply.

“At least you two were able to make amends.” She said. “He never even tried to contact me.”

“No.” Bill said, agreeing with her. “But he trusted you to be there for him in the end. That’s got to count for something.”

“Oh. Great. He trusted me to spend a bunch of money to put his dead ass in the ground. How lovely.” She deadpanned.

Bill smiled to her. “You deserved better, Kara.” Bill said.

“I had better.” She said simply, staring across the table at him, a little smile crossing her lips. “You looked after me. You and Rose? I’d have nothing if not for you. I’d be in a gutter, strung out. Or worse. You want to talk about a day a kid never forgets? Try the day a family makes a little girl feel like she matters for the first time in her life.”

Bill returned the smile and lowered his head. “Thank you.”

“Thank YOU.” She said.

Before long, they were back on the road. The hint of sunrise ahead of them as Kara sat behind the wheel, Bill sat in the passenger seat. Quiet until they reached Dallas.
[img:823c10f5c3]http://i.imgur.com/wLZOVmV.jpg[/img:823c10f5c3]

Kara Aimsley

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2016, 03:54:53 PM »
Bill had walked her in and helped her get through the paperwork and bureaucracy. But then, the moment came. They asked if she wanted to view her father.

In truth, she didn’t. She had no interest in seeing what he looked like now. But something inside her told her she should. That it was important. She simply nodded.

“You want me to come with?” Bill asked her.

Those blue-grey eyes turned toward the doors where they would lead her to him. To say she was nervous was an understatement. But she turned back to him and shook her head. “No. No...I...I think I need to do this myself.” She said, those eyes a mixture of sadness and fear.

Bill nodded and took her shoulders in his hand. “Listen. You need me at all, you just call. I’ll be out here. Okay?”

She tried on a brave little smile, but it quickly faded as she wrapped her arms around him, pressing her face to his chest. “Thank you.” She whispered.

Bill placed a hand at the back of her head, returning the hug, a small kiss placed at the top of her head. “You go on now. Say goodbye.”

She pulled back and looked up at him as if trying to draw strength from him. Finally, she took a deep breath and started toward the door.

The doctor lead her down a long, winding corridor. That non-descript, antiseptic tile seeming to go forever. Every step feeling weighed down, as if her feet were fighting her. But why? Why the hell was she feeling this? What did she expect would happen? Why had she come here? What did this achieve. If she hadn’t the state would have disposed properly of him. She didn’t need to be here, so what the hell was happening?

The room was cold. Blues and whites. A line of refrigerated hatches along the walls. Suddenly the thought of that filled her with dread. This room full of death. Empty vessels waiting to be dealt with. She tried to think of more pleasant things. To push the thoughts out of her head. But they came surging back, not letting her off easily.

The doctor looked at her and then gripped the handle. As she yanked, Kara’s eyes slid shut, the creaking sound of the table extending out echoing in the otherwise quiet room. Slowly her eyes opened and looked down.

There he was. Her father. His skin pale. Lifelessly grey. His lips a cold blue. The last time she’d seen him, he had long shaggy brown hair. All that remained were a few silver tufts here and there. He looked thin. Too thin. His flesh clung to his ribs and she could see liver spots and scars throughout his chest. His long, gnarled fingers thin and in dire need of a manicure. A scraggly beard hung from his pointed chin. Age may have given him wrinkles, but there was no mistaking that face.

Kara swallowed hard. And then looked up to the doctor. “H….how?”

“Complications from an overdose of Oxycodone, cocaine and a mixture of alcohol. His heart just...couldn’t handle the stress.” The woman answered.

Kara shut her eyes. She wasn’t sure why the tears came. But there they were. Maybe it was the image of him...this sad, little, old man in a rathole apartment dying alone. Nobody to love him. Nobody to beg him, please, stop. Nobody and nothing in the world to live for. That was how the man who had given her life had left the world. And It broke it her heart.

The doctor watched her a moment, that clinical, fake expression of remorse upon her face.

“Can...can I have a minute alone with him?” Kara asked.

The doctor nodded. “Of course.” She stepped away and out of the room to give her privacy. The door creaking as it shut.

Kara’s eyes opened and now her grief was replaced with something else. Her voice shook. “You son of a bitch. You stupid...idiotic son of a bitch. What the **** were you thinking? Huh?”

She glared down at him with tearful eyes. “Now I’m supposed to take care of you? Give me one good reason why I should, you piece of ****!”

Her face screwed up then and she fairly growled. “Why.”

Her breathing escalated. “Why?!” Her voice echoed in the room.

Kara’s hands gripped his arm and squeezed, the rage in her eyes softening. “Why wasn’t I good enough?”

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she sniffled. “I know you missed her. I know you wanted her back, but why wasn’t I good enough for you? Why couldn’t you love me?” She asked him, her body shaking with silent sobs as she clenched her teeth.

“I’m sorry….I’m so, so sorry.” Kara managed. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to save you.”

She sniffed and wiped her eyes, taking in a deep breath and letting it out, shuddering. She took a moment to just stare down at him. Her breathing finally evening out. He was so tiny. So frail. He was so distraught, so lonely, so afraid. All her life she could see it, but couldn’t put the words to it for her own anger. What a miserable, horrible life he must have led. No friends, no loved ones. Everyone pushed away, hurt before they could get to know him. Even his own daughter.

No. It wasn’t anger now. It was pity.

This was why she had come.

This was why she had to be here.

Kara blinked a few times as the realization hit her. Silent with her father for the last time. Finally, she whispered. “I forgive you.”

The words almost burned in her throat, but they were out. “I forgive you.”
[img:9f4601263f]http://i.imgur.com/nPg4HIM.jpg[/img:9f4601263f]

Bill Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2016, 01:51:59 AM »
Kara stepped through the doors, her complexion pale and streaked with dried tears. She seemed barely there as she made a beeline straight to him. Her arms clamped around his waist as she latched onto him, her legs barely supporting her as the tears came anew. Bill held the petite beauty as she sobbed into his chest.

An hour later they were sitting outside of the hotel he’d booked for them. A cigarette between her fingers as she stared at the pavement. It wasn’t often that she smoked. Only when severely stressed out. Today, she felt she needed it, and Bill was not about to beat her up for it. She told him what had happened.

“I just wanted to scream at him. Hit him. I wanted him to know that he was gone and he couldn’t hurt me and that I had done just fine without him. In spite of him.” She said, those blue-grey eyes distant as she took a drag. The smoke was exhaled through her nostrils as she swallowed hard, staring at the burning cigarette.

Bill listened, his arm draped across the back of the bench, letting her get this out.

“But...God, Dad, he was just…” She looked to him. “He was so...small. So frail. So...sad. I-” She paused a moment, a small laugh left her. “I felt sorry for him.”

Bill nodded. He supposed he better get used to her calling him dad. “I suspect that he was a very lonely man.” he said. “You don’t act like a complete son of a bitch to everyone your entire life and die happy.”

Kara nodded and took another drag. “I guess.” She said exhaling the smoke slowly.

“Dad?” She asked him in a small voice. “I’m a good person...right?”

Bill turned to her, concern on his face.

“I mean...I…” She swallowed hard, considering her words. “I’m not him. I’m...I’m not going to turn out like him? Dying alone...not even getting a funeral because who would show up anyway?” She asked.

“Kara…”

“I-I need you to tell me I won’t...won’t be like that. Please…tell me I’m a good person...”

Bill put a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Kara. You are nothing like him. Why would you even think that?”

The brunette thought a moment. “I just...I know I can be selfish and...and I can be overly sensitive at times and I don’t...I don’t think of others before myself. I mean...I didn’t care that he had a wife. A baby on the way. I threw myself at Gerry the first time he came back. I knew all of that...and I still tried to steal him. What kind of person does that?”

Bill lowered his eyes a moment. “People make mistakes, kid. Even good people. You don’t have to erase the mistakes, but you do have to learn from them.”

Kara looked up at him with watery blue eyes and leaned against him.

Bill put an arm around her. “I’m proud of you.”

The brunette glanced up at him. “For what?”


“For all of this. For being here like you are. For being so devoted to my son. My granddaughter. Hell, for everything you do. Not many people can say they built their lives by the sweat of their own brow. But you did.” She squeezed her tight.

“And I’ll tell you this, kiddo…” he started, looking down to her. “You might have stumbled before. And, I’m sorry to say, you’ll stumble again. But it’s not about how many times you fall, it’s how you get back up that matters. That’s something he never learned. And you’ll never be him.”

Kara squeezed her eyes shut, and clung to the father she chose. “I love you, dad.”

Bill kissed the top of her head. “I love you, too, kid.”
[img:823c10f5c3]http://i.imgur.com/wLZOVmV.jpg[/img:823c10f5c3]

Ginny Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2016, 05:00:39 PM »
Nasya lay on her back upon Ginny’s bed, her little limbs squirming around.  Her aunt hovered over her, taking in a big gasp and then blowing a raspberry on her belly.  The little one squeeled with delight.

Ginny looked down at her, her big blue eyes wide as if shocked.  “Nasya!  How unlady-like!”  She exclaimed.  Another sharp intake and then another raspberry.  “Oh!  You tooter!”  She said as if scandalized.  Nasya’s high pitch squeal was damn near ear splitting, but it made Ginny laugh.

“Come on, tootie fruity.”  She picked the girl up, her young niece clinging to her as she walked out of the room, bouncing her in her arms, making a little “buhp!” noise with every bounce.  She felt her phone vibrate in the back pocket of her jeans before the ring tone went off.

“Dad” the screen read.  She accepted the call.  “Eeeeeeyello?”  the redhead answered.

“Gin?” Came the voice on the other end.

“Hey, pop.  What’s up?”

“Nothin’.”  He responded.  “Just wanted to call in, see how you’re doing.”

Something was up.  She could tell.

“I’m good...just watchin’ ol’ blue eyes here.”  Ginny smiled and smooched Nasya on a pudgy cheek.

“Yeah?  How is the munchkin.”

“Well, she took a beating in the stock market today, and her rent’s late, but other than that…”

“Wise ass.”  He said chuckling.

“I learned from the best.”  Ginny grinned.  “What’s up?”

“We’re just heading home.  Should be there in a few hours.”  He was quiet for a long moment.  “Can I ask you something?”

Here it was.  “Shoot.”

“When you were growing up...was I good to you?”  

Ginny went to speak, but the words caught in her throat.  “Wh..what?”

“Was I a good dad?”

Ginny blinked a few times.  “Dad...”

“I know with everything that happened with Gerry that...some things may have gone by the wayside.  I feel like I wasn’t always there like I should have been.”  He continued.  She could hear the doubt and pain in his voice as he spoke and it pulled at her heart.

“Dad…” She said.  “You were amazing.  You lost your son and you were still always there for me.  There was never a time where I felt like I was alone or unwanted.  You know...when I came out...there was no fear.  I didn’t have to worry about my parents looking at me or treating me different.  Didn’t have to worry about getting kicked out of the house or disowned.  I didn’t need to worry about any of that, because I knew my parents loved me, no matter who or what I was.”  Her voice wavered a bit.  “You don’t know what you and Mom being the parents you are meant to me.”

Bill was quiet on the other end before his voice came back in a low croak.  “Thanks, kiddo.”

“Thank YOU.”  A smile crossed her face for a moment before falling again.  “What brought this on?”

“Everything going on with Kara just got me thinking.  I wanted to be sure I didn’t let you down or-”

“Dad...You never let me down.  Not once.”

“I hope not.  I’m so proud of you kid.  You have no idea.”

Ginny bit her lip as tears of happiness formed.

“We’ll be home in a few hours.  Can’t wait to hug you guys again.  You take care of that little muchkin, y’hear?”

Ginny nodded and sniffled.  “I will.  Love you, dad.”

“Love you.  See you soon.”
[img:7e20880b4a]http://i.imgur.com/NAkCJP3.png[/img:7e20880b4a]

Gerard Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2016, 02:43:56 PM »
Ginny sat beside her brother on the sofa, a plate of reheated pizza on her lap.  Gerry cradled the wriggling Nasya in his arms. As they watched a Fast and Furious movie.  Ginny was pretty much scoffing her way through the whole movie.

?Ugh.  ?How did you know the car would be there to break our fall???  She said, imitating Michelle Rodriguez.   ?THAT?S NOT HOW CARS WORK, YOU DUMB s***?

Gerry snickered.  ?In these movies cars are downy soft.  How do you not know this??

?It?s dumb!  It?s stupid and it?s dumb.?  She said, shoving a square slice in her face.

?You?re just jealous you don?t live your life a quarter mile at a time.?

?WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!? she demanded, throwing up her hands.

They sat in silence for a moment before she glanced over.  ?How?s Kara??

?She?s good.  After the thing with her dad, she was a little...rough, but she?s better.?

?Good.?  Ginny nodded.  ?So...do you miss her??

?...Kara?  I...literally see her every day at work.?

?No, numblick.?

?Oh.   Ko.  Yeah.  Of course I do.? Gerry glanced down at the baby with the big blue eyes.  Eyes that always reminded him of her mother.  

Ginny frowned, eyeing her pizza quietly for a moment.  ?Are you happy??

Gerry smiled to his sister.  ?Yeah...It?s not what I planned, but...given the circumstances?  Things worked out pretty well.?

Ginny may not have been the biggest Ko fan, but she knew what the vulgar little rogue meant to her brother.  And Kara WAS great for him, she had to admit.  And if he was happy, so was she.

Speak of the hellion and she will appear, a black spot of pure shadow appeared on the far wall. It began to expand like a watered down ink stain that only seemed to get darker and darker as it expanded to a large hole able to fit a small person. There was static heavy in the air as it opened up to the blackened void, and out stumbled a familiar little rogue. She was wearing flat-bottomed boots and a pair of jeans with a button-up shirt. She probably looked healthier than Gerry or Ginny alike would've ever seen her. Her hair was brushed and her overall outfit looked nice without looking too unlike her.

Arms raised and flopped as the invasive Russian shook her head. "I'm never gonna get used to that.." she huffed. It took her a moment before she regained her bearings and shook off the dizziness. No, she wasn't drunk. Not even in the slightest, though a wave of nervous nausea did hit her all of a sudden. She'd blame it on the portal, because it was downright disorienting.

Ginny unleashed a horrified shriek and flailed, sending reheated pizza flying in the air as she practically flipped over the armrest of the couch in her panic.

Gerry clutched Nasya protectively at the sudden flurry of activity.  He watched that portal cautiously...and then his heart dropped into his stomach.  For a long moment he was silent, just staring in wide eyed shock.  Over the intervening months he imagined the moment when he saw her again...and here it was and he had nothing.  Not a word to say.



Though she really did want to laugh when Ginny went into a panic, she also felt bad for freaking the siblings out. "Sorry... Would've called, but the long distance charges would've been taken out of my ass..." Also she didn't know their phone number and by the grace of borrowed magic, she was here. Suddenly she was in her own panic mode. Her eyes settled on Gerry, and there was emotion, and then to the child in his arms.

He was much as he'd been when she'd last seen him.  Still the mountain of muscle with the kind eyes.  There were new scars on his face, including one at his temple.  Clad in a simple grey t-shirt and jeans, barefoot for the moment.   And then there was Nasya.  She'd gotten so big.  A shock of black hair upon her head and those impossibly blue eyes wide as saucers.  She had SO much of KO in her.

She stared at the girl and swallowed hard, eyes watering. She'd expected it wouldn't be easy, hell...there were a million things going on in her head. What if he hates me for not coming after her? What if he gave Nasya up? What if he won't let me see her? What if... There were so many possibilities swimming around her head, and there he was. A shivering breath was caught in her lungs as she visibly paled as if she was going to fall right over.

Gerry slowly got to his feet, towering over her as he always had.  Any concerns he might have had about her coming and stealing the baby were gone the second he saw her face.  Those blue eyes locked onto her as he slowly stepped forward.  His heart pounded beneath his chest with every step.  "H....hey."  was all he managed.  The expression on his face showing that he wished he had something better to say in that moment.

Keirra had no intention of stealing the baby, if only because she still cared for Gerry and wouldn't want her to feel exactly how she felt. She knew what he did for Nasya, Jameson told her everything before she turned him into a human pez-despenser. She took in another breath and he stood up and said that word, it wasn't the best, but it somehow managed to put her mind at ease. Her breath came out in a trembling manner, before she dragged those eyes up to him. Her voice cracked almost violently, "Can I hold her?" she squeaked out. She had totally planned to play this cooler in her head.

This didn't feel like reality.  This felt like a dream.  Like he would wake up any second and she'd be gone.  He blinked, shaking out of his delirium.  "Oh...duh..."  He laughed quietly.  "Of course."  He walked up to her and smiled, gently cradling the little life they'd made as he passed her over to Keirra. His eyes stayed on her, still unsure of what to say to the little rogue.  A million things popped into his head and died before reaching his lips.  

It felt like a dream to her too, and if she hadn't planned to come for a few days, she might've thought so, too. He was passing her over, and Keirra's arms reached to wrap around the child to pull her closer. It took a moment, and she honestly didn't know why she was as emotional as she was, but the tears fell from her eyes as they closed tightly and she barked out a whining, "She's so heavy..."
Ginny slowly rose and peered over the arm of the couch, those wide eyes taking in the scene before her.
Gerry grinned and stepped around to Ko's side, peering down at their daughter.  "I know, right?"  He chuckled.  "She's little, but she's like...dense."  A grin upon his lips.  "Just  a whole lot of awesome packed into a tiny frame."

There was a strange look in her eyes as she got completely overwhelmed. "I'm sorry..." she muttered softly as she moved away from him. "I think I need to sit down." Yeah, she was making herself at home right then and there as she sat down with the kid in her arms, just enjoying her for a moment. She stared down at her, "I never thought I'd see you again," she whispered.

Gerry's gaze shifted to Keirra and the smile faded.  The months that had passed between the two of them had been some of the hardest of his life.   He let her have her space.  Let her just BE with the little blue eyed munchkin, as he called her.   Ginny shared a glance with him, the fear and shock on her face giving way to sadness.  She never thought she'd see the rogue again...much less her being a mother like this.  Ginny had spent the past few months helping raise the girl with her brother.  In fact, Nasya was the light of her life.

There WAS a fair bit of protectiveness rising in the skinny redhead...but she reminded herself, this was Nasya's mom.  She deserved this moment.

Nasya stared up at Ko, cooing away...such a happy little girl.  Those eyes mirror images of her mother's.  Her little hands reached up and touched the Rogue's face

Fingers moved to gently touch her cheek, as the other two ceased to exist for a moment. A long one, actually... Keirra could've probably spent the entire night just holding the kid and staring at her. She wouldn't lie, there was the fear that Gerry wouldn't agree to let Keirra take her home on a regular basis, and that fear made her want to book it. Nasya needed her father just as much as she needed her. If there'd been no explanation as to why Gerry left, she might've done just that. Instead, she broke out into a little bit of a giggle as she leaned it and spoke a bit of Russian to the kid. "Hi, little Nasya." They'd probably just be able to recognize the child's name from the foreign language.

Neither of the siblings dared move until Keirra gave them leave to.  But hearing his...ex wife talking to their child brought a smile on the tall man's face.  Seeing them together again seemed right.  Natural.  Like something that had been missing for a long time now.  There WAS something different in Gerry now.  It wasn't something you would notice right away...but it was there.  A lot of doofy goofball that had so been a part of Gerry's personality was...not gone, but toned down.  Perhaps being a single father had mellowed him out quite a bit.  He was less boyish and more adult.  

Keirra wasn't all that different. She was healthier now, her organs were all in working order. She sniffled lightly and pulled up, and shook her head. A hand came up to swipe at the tears, "I'm gonna cry all over your face," she warned the kid while scrunching up her nose. She gave the reaching hand a kiss, and looked over at them. She couldn't help but mouth athank you, to Gerry for reasons he'd not yet understand.

His eyes were red and shining with tears when she saw him.  A storm of competing emotions swirling within him.  Joy, at the reunion.  Sorrow...and anger at what they'd lost.  And guilt.  So much guilt it was damn near crippling.

Say something.  Anything, you idiot, he chided himself mentally.  Say something and mean it.  But the words just did not come.

The rogue would've been lying if she said that she didn't feel the same way. It was easy to feel robbed when you're looking at what you once had right in the face. That's exactly what they were, robbed. What might've been didn't matter much now...did it? That didn't mean they couldn't cry for it. The last thing, the absolute last thing she wanted to do was give the child up, but they needed to talk. She needed Ginny to take her, because there was no way she'd hand her over. Her head fell forwards, "Ginny..." she whispered, staring at the child. "Can you take Nasya and give us a minute?" Was she kicking the redhead out of her own apartment? You bet your ass she was.

Ginny was a MESS.   A sniffling, weepy mess.  Little gasps as she went to speak, but the words came out as a tiny squeak.  She nodded slowly and stepped forward to accept the baby.  

The rogue pulled her closer still and then finally relinquished Nasya to Ginny. There was a secret prayer to some god that she didn't really believe in--how could she?--that it wouldn't be the last time she held that kid. Her lips thinned out into a harsh sniffle before she turned her eyes down at her empty hands. Stop crying..

The redhead, with the practiced motherly care, wrapped her niece in her arms and held her shoulder.  "c-come on, munchkin...l-let's take a walk."  She smiled through her tears down at Keirra, reaching out a moment and taking her hand, a squeeze given to her before she took her leave.

When Ginny took her once empty hand, she squeezed in return and released. She dragged her eyes up to watch the woman carry off the baby, and it seemed that they'd settled their differences with time and distance. Not that she minded even in the slightest.

And now it was just the two of them, and Gerry's smile faded.  His hand ran through his hair as he puffed out his cheeks in a cleansing, but worried breath.  What would be next?  Would she yell?  Would she hit him?  He didn't know.  His voice came out in a low, wavering whisper.  "Ko...I..."

He swallowed hard.  "I am so sorry."

Those eyes were begging forgiveness as he continued.  "I never...never meant to leave you...  I just..."

It dawned on her that Gerry didn't know that she knew. How could he? It's not like Jameson could've possibly paid him a visit after she came to see him. She bit into her lip and shook her head as he went on with his apology. A hand came up, and she didn't know what she was going to say to him. "Stop," that was the only word that came out.

He almost winced at that.  He perceived it as being far more combative then she had meant it.  A verbal beating was, of course going to come.  And you deserve it, he told himself.  You took that piece of s***'s word for it and didn't even TRY to tell her the truth.  In his heart, he knew it was a crock, and nothing he tried would have worked...but rational thought was not on the menu tonight.

That hand came back to rest on her lap as she herself tried to find suitable words for him. "I..." she started, sniffling, swiping at her nose. "I know what you did," she whispered. "I know...why you did it." Keirra's fingers came back to comb her hair back and out of her wet face. "...and thank you.. Thank you for making the right choice."

A wave of relief ran through him when she said that.  The weight he'd been carrying since February was finally gone.  All he wanted to do now was hug her, but he resisted, not sure if she was ready for that.  "I tried so hard.  To find another way..."

Fingers pressed against her knees as she sat there awkwardly. She wasn't sure if she was ready for it, either. "There wasn't," she shook her head at him, finally raising her eyes up to look at him. "I hated you, hated you for leaving me, and he got exactly what he wanted.." Keirra said with a weak smile. "But...I figured out the convenience of his escape date, and your disappearance, and... I got answers."

Something about the way she said that chilled him to the bone...and partly made him happy in equal measure.  "That son of a bitch..."   he said.  "He didn't...I mean...did he....hurt you?"

May as well bring it all out into the open. If this was going to work, she didn't want there to be secrets between them. Instead of answering, she leaned forward so that her chest was pressed against her knees, and lifted up her shirt, protecting the naughty bits, but showing him that shredded, scarred up back.

She heard his knuckles crack as he clenched his fists.  He wanted to cross over, find him, and beat his face until it was a mushy, red paste.  He wanted to carve him up and leave him to be devoured by dogs.  He wanted to wipe that piece of human trash from the face of history.

Those knuckles cracking made her wince, "Woah, dude.." she said, sitting up and putting her hand up. "Chill your muscle tits," she shook her head. "Seriously, you don't have to worry about him anymore," she swallowed hard. What was he going to say? Or do? She was on the verge of admitting to murder.

"What happened to him."  He asked, his voice low.  All he knew in that moment was that Jameson had maimed somebody he loved...and make no mistake, Gerry still loved her.  Always would.  And that meant he was protective of her.

Keirra sat back and stared up at the ceiling. Her voice was distant, her eyes seemed far off as if she were playing it over and over in her head. "...I... went over for answers... I just wanted to know if he had anything to do with your disappearance..." Keirra's fingers entwined awkwardly with one another as she tried to busy her hands. This is it...he's never going to let me see Nasya, but I can't lie to him... "He told me...everything..." she whispered, voice cracking. "So...I wanted to hurt him.."

Leaning her head further back, she took in a quivering breath. "I tried...to stab him...and he punched me right between the eyes... I was on the ground and he threw me into a table, and kicked me..." Eyes narrowed for a second to get the tears out, "I didn't..." she swallowed hard. "I didn't want to die--and--I could... I can." Maybe she should've started with that. "I picked up the chair and I hit him, and...I kicked him through the glass doors of the balcony..." Eyes continued to stare distantly as she swiped at her face once more. "...he had so many guns, and we just... we kept playing cat and mouse," eyes fell shut now. "I jumped on his back, but...he pulled me off and threw me through a glass table...."

He was already beginning to piece it together, but he didn't feel it appropriate to interrupt.  There might have been a small part of him that felt a hint of revulsion at the fact that she'd taken a life...but it was DEEP down.  What he felt...was glad.  That son of a bitch deserved whatever happened.

This was it, she was coming up on the end of the tale, and she was sure he was going to order her out of the house. "He lifted me up and had me against the wall.. he was choking me. I felt a piece of glass sticking out of my thigh and I shoved it right up through his jaw.." Keirra leaned forwards pressing her forearms on her knees. "I wanna say so bad that it was him or me... That I had to kill him...and in a way, I did....but..." Keirra turned those dead eyes to him and took in a deep breath. "I wanted to... I pulled the glass out of him and stabbed him over and over... I wanted to make sure he'd never come after you or Nasya, I wanted him to pay, and I wanted him dead." Then her hands opened to show the scars on her palms from where she stabbed him over, and over. "I'd do it again..."

Gerry moved over to her, crouching down in front her.  He reached out and took those hands in his, looking from them to her.  He nodded slowly, silent for a moment.  

"Good."

It was said simply and curtly.  "I hope it hurt like hell for him.  I hope in his last seconds he was scared as hell.  I hope that mother ****er felt as helpless and terrified as I did the night he sent me here.  I hope that feeling lasts him for the rest of eternity."

Those eyes softened then.  "But most of all...I'm sorry you had to go through that."

When he grabbed her hands, there was that familiar feeling of safety that came with it. She squeezed them back as he offered his words, and there was confusion on her face. He didn't seem to look at her any differently, not in the slightest. She pushed forward and wrapped her arms around his neck.

It was as if they'd had the same idea at the same time.  He wrapped his arms around her tiny frame and held her tight.  That loving embrace, though the romance between them had set sail, was still as warm and safe as it had always been.  A sad smile upturned the corners of his mouth as he held her.   "I missed you...so much."  He whispered.

The rogue tucked her face between his neck and shoulder and held tight. There was a whimper, and a sniffle that came from her as she burrowed in further. "I'm sorry..." she whispered. "I'm sorry I didn't have more faith in you, I'm sorry I believed that you'd ever leave me like that..." Keirra took in a deep breath and let out a weak, sad laugh, "I missed you too..."

One hand moved upward, comfortingly resting at the back of her head.    "It's okay."  He said, quietly.   "It's gonna be okay.  Alright?"  The pair of them just held each other there, clinging to one another for dear life.  In that moment, he was not willing to let her go for anything.  There was still a long road ahead and much left to be said...but for now, this was what they both needed.

Eventually, the two of them managed to get it together enough to actually start to have a more meaningful dialogue.  Gerry stood up and cleared his throat, still not believing that she was there in his place.  A hand running through his hair, he walked into the kitchen.  "You want a drink?  I need a drink."

It was easier for Keirra to believe she was there, but there was a shred of her that believed she might be dreaming. It didn't feel like it should be going this well. She didn't know what she expected, but it wasn't this. He's offering her up a drink, and of course she wants vodka...and a cigarette. "Some water would be great," she answered, because she was cutting back, and she didn't want to be drinking around Gerry or Nasya.

He initially balked at her request, shooting her a crooked eyebrow before grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge along with a beer for himself.  He looked at her as if she might disappear at any moment as he approached, offering the water bottle to the little rogue.  "So...other than exacting vengeance, what's been going on?"  He asked, plopping down beside her.

"Thanks.." This was the part that she was dreading. Her lips formed a thin line as she cracked open the bottle and pulled off the top. She took a sip to gather her thoughts. "I... Well, I guess I don't live at camp anymore," she started. "Now I live in a really big house, like... Four times the size of our old apartment.." There was a weak smile on her face for a moment, but it faded. "Gerry... You left. You and Ginny both left. I was so alone, without you without Nasya." Fingers clutched around the bottle. "I didn't get out of bed for two weeks... I swallowed enough pills to kill three elephants," she admitted. "I didn't know what had happened then... but I was angry and hurt.. I started doing drugs, drinking...anything to numb the pain." Was this her defense for moving on?

The mention of their own place brought a smile...but it was pretty quickly removed as she went on.  He knew she wasn't doing this to make him feel guilty-or at least hoped she wasn't, but it still brought up that nagging guilt that plagued him the past months.  He sat patiently, listening.

Looking at him, she sighed. "I met someone," she admitted, and Keirra hung her head. "I met him before I knew what had happened to you," the rogue whispered. "He knows I wanted to come see you, Nasya, too." There were tears in her eyes as she raised them back up to him. "It was all rough, for a while my heart was failing, and he... He took care of me." Those arms wrapped around her chest after she set the bottle on the table and looked up to him. "I love you, and I'll always hate Jameson for what he took from us, but..." Keirra chewed her lip. "I'm in love."

There was always going to be that jealousy.  That pain in his heart, no matter how they'd both moved on.  His eyes lowered and he was silent for a long moment.  It wasn't fair.  None of it was fair.  It wasn't supposed to be like this.  It was supposed to be THEM.  THEM forever.  And here they were with other people.  Those eyes turned up to her, then.  "He treats you well?"

Knees pressed together and she stared down at them watching the fabric wetten with fallen tears before she forced her eyes to his. Nothing about it was fair, she could kill Jameson a hundred more times and it wouldn't undo what he did. She swallowed hard and nodded her head. Zver was sarcastic and spent a lot of his time ****ing with her, but he'd never hurt her. She didn't think he'd ever allow himself to, either. "Yeah, he does.." Her voice a raspy whisper of what it once was.

Gerry nodded slowly, contemplating things.  He reached out and put a shaky hand on her shoulder.  "I should probably tell you...I've been...uh...seeing someone."  He began.  "We were just friends up until about...2 weeks ago.  Not that...you know...she was satisfied with that."  He took in a deep breath and blew it out nervously.  "I,um...I held out as long as I could.  She was a childhood friend of mine.  And we...well...she's kinda had a thing for me for a while.  I just sorta felt like...like I was betraying you or...or...**** I still kind of feel that way."

The guilt in his voice was evident.  He was in love with Kara.  That much he knew.  And she was good to him.  Appreciated him.  They were amazing together.  But part of him still felt the freshness of the wound that leaving Keirra had given him.  It wasn't easy to get over, and having her here wasn't helping much.

The rogue couldn't say she was surprised, hell... Maybe she was relieved. Made her own news easier, and... Well, Keirra didn't want him to be alone, not after the sacrifices he made. Her hand moved up to take his and she nodded, "I'm glad," she whispered. It was the truth, even though it felt like a kick in the chest.

"Are you?  Because...honestly, part of me wants to go beat the s*** out of him."  he laughed slightly.  "Though...it's overridden by the fact that I'm glad you're happy.  That he makes you that way."  Gerry smiled to her.  "That's all I ever wanted for you.  Even if I'm not the one doing it."

The rogue couldn't help but laugh sadly at his honesty, and she hung her head. "I won't pretend like it doesn't hurt," she shook her head. "I..." Trying to gather her thoughts, she pulled his hand from her shoulder and looked at him, cupping his big hand in between both of her smaller ones. "I love you," she told him. "I will always love you, not just because you're you, but because you made a big sacrifice.. One that I'm... I'm not sure I could've made." Keirra swallowed hard. "You deserve to be happy, I want you to love again." Those tears rolled down her cheeks as she gave him a weak smile.

He clasped her hand in return.  It was plain on his face.  It hurt. But he returned that smile.  "And I'll always love you.  And....and I honestly don't know if I'll ever be completely over you.  Over what we had and just...don't anymore.  It's not fair."  He shook his head.  There was a sorrow to him that was just never there when they were together.  The intervening time had done a number on the big goofball.  "I want to go back and change things, but even Rhydin I know I can't.  I want to go back and find a way to tell you.  Tell you I love you and why I had to leave.  It's all so unfair..."

He turned those pained blue eyes up to her.  "We deserved better."  
Gerry sat up, continuing on.  "The last few months have been...more difficult than any since I was 11 years old.  The only thing that kept me going was Nasya."  He said.  "That little girl...Keirra..."  A smile crossed his lips.  "That life we made...I look at her and know I made the right choice.  No matter how much it hurts."

Keirra listened, and sat, slowly losing her grip on his hand as she scooted away to perch on the edge of the couch. Gerry was strong for so long. He took care of Nasya even in his loss, he made the hard decision, and Keirra was left wallowing in the unknown. It was her turn to be strong. She got up on her knees and wrapped her arms around him, "I am so proud of you, Gerry... I know how hard it was on me not knowing, but... Having to leave? Having to live on knowing you were robbed... You're right. It's not fair, and I'm sorry... The only comfort I can offer is the fact that Jameson will never come after our little girl again." Giving him a squeeze, she pulled back and cupped either side of his face with her hands, smiling brightly through the tears. "And she's gonna grow up to be more kickass than we ever were."

He reached up and grasped one of her hands, placing a kiss at her knuckle.  "God damn right she is."  A grin crossed his lips.  "She's got quite the cheering section here.  My dad is absolutely over the moon for that kid."

The rogue's face fell as she settled back down, "Gerry...about that..." Keirra whispered, going back to chewing on her cheek. Of course there was the fear of rejection.

"I think I know what you're gonna say..."  He eyed her for a moment.  "And no.  You can't clone her."

The rogue barked a laugh at that and reclaimed her hand. "The world couldn't handle that much awesome."

He grinned.  "BUT...if you would like to split time with her..."  He nodded as if considering...

Those eyes raised up to him, and she chewed her lip nodding her head. "More than anything," she whispered. "I know it's probably not going to be easy having me visit to pick her up, and you probably don't want to see me, but.. I need to be with her."

Gerry offered her a little smirk before continuing on.  "Look...Kara loves that kid.  She's great with her.  And Ginny's been pulling mommy duty like a mother ****er.  But now that you can be with her...she needs her mother."

"And why would I ever NOT want to see you?  Don't you know who you ARE, Keirra?  You're my best friend.  The mother of my child."  He shook his head, staring.  "You gave me the best months of my life.  You're always welcome here."

Perking back up, her torso practically slammed into his as he said those words, she littered his cheek with kisses. She wasn't sure what she was expecting, but she wasn't expecting him to say yes right away. Hell, she half expected him to kick her out the second she told him about Jameson. Luckily she wasn't that strong, or she might have squished him with how tight she was holding him.

He was unprepared for that, a guttural grunt leaving him as she slammed into him.  He chuckled and hugged her back, kissing the top of her head.  "I love you, Ko."  he said, the ?but? apparent in his tone.  "You just...you need to promise me one thing."

"I love you, too, Gerry." Keirra whispered and slowly pulled off, keeping her arms around him but moving to look him in the eye when he made his request for her word. "Yeah, anything..."

Gerry looked her in the eye, suddenly deadly serious.  Those huge, strong hands clasped her shoulders tight.  The words didn't come immediately...he almost felt bad just for thinking them, but it had to be said.  "You're clean.  And...I'm glad.  But...it stays that way.  At least around her."  His head was given a little rueful shake.  "I don't mean this to come off insulting or as an accusation...but I know you sometimes get low...get scared or...upset.  And I've seen what can happen.  But never to her.  I need you to promise me...promise WITH me, we will never let that girl get any less than our best."

Gerry eyed her earnestly.  "She deserves no less."

Maybe she should've been offended, but she knew. Keirra knew how bad she could be, hell, she nearly killed her body. So instead of seeming insulted, she nodded. "I know," she whispered. Fingers fell away from the hug and she smiled lightly. "If I ever feel like I'm slipping, I'll bring her to you."

The smile returned to his face.  "She's so amazing, Ko.  You have no idea.  That is the happiest kid in the world."  And she was.  She was surrounded by people who were madly in love with her.  Grandparents who doted on her, an aunt who thought the sun rose and set on her ass, and of course Gerry who'd settled into the role of fatherhood incredibly well.  It was the thing he was best at.  The same love and care and patience that had gotten he and Ko together was put tenfold into the little blue eyed baby girl.

There was light in her eyes as he spoke of their daughter, and she settled back down on the couch. She kept her eyes on him now, because everything was out in the open and it was all okay. As okay as it could've been. There was pain, and guilt, sadness, but... It was better than expected.
[i:df9d511a7f]To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home[/i:df9d511a7f]

[img:df9d511a7f]http://i.imgur.com/ntv4pgF.jpg[/img:df9d511a7f]

Gerard Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2016, 04:08:04 PM »
Gerry laid out the whole story for Kara.  Keirra’s return, everything that they had discussed.  What was to happen now with shared custody.  All told, it was pretty rational between the two of them.

Not that this was a concern to Kara.  Honestly, when he’d told her his ex showed up, her heart nearly dropped out of her ass.  No amount of convincing would silence that voice in the back of her head that was terrified of losing him again.

“So…”Gerry said.  “That’s about the long and short of it.”  He watched her face for her reaction as the brunette took it all in.

“Okay.  So...you’re okay with this?”  she asked, her arms still crossed in front of her.

He sighed “Well...I mean...I’ll miss her when she’s not here...but we’re going to have equal time with her so...yeah.  It’ll be fine.”

Kara was not so convinced.  That not-so-thrilled look was a dear give-away.  

“What?”  He asked.

Kara’s eyes slid shut and she shook her head.  “Nothing.”

“No, something’s clearly bothering you.  What’s up?”

She looked him in the eye, a hint of impatience in her voice.  “Gerry.  Nothing.  It’s not my business.”

“Don’t do that.  Don’t do the passive aggressive thing.”  He said.  “Now tell me what-’

“How can you trust her?”  Kara finally blurted.  Those eyes locked on him. “I don’t get it.  Isn’t this the woman you were sure was screwing around on you with TWO guys?”

“She wasn’t.”  Gerry said curtly.

“And the woman with severe drinking and drug problem, not to mention INSANE behavioral disorders?”  Kara shook her head in frustration.  “I don’t get how you can subject your little girl to someone like that so flippantly.”

Gerry held up a hand.  “Now wait a minute.  I told you she’s clean.”

“Yeah, how do you know?” Kara scoffed.  “Because she TOLD you?  Do you know how addicts work?  I sure as **** do!  An addict will promise you over and over and over again that this time, THIS time everything is going to be different.  And then you know what happens?”

Kara slammed her fist on the table.  “BAM!  They’re right back into it!”

“She’s not going to, Kara.”  Gerry said, trying to calm her.

“You can’t know that!”  She countered.  “How can you take that gamble with that little girl?”

“Hey.  I’m not stupid.  I know Keirra’s had her share of problems.  But a lot has changed.  She isn’t the same person I left behind.  She’s getting her s*** together.  I trust her.  You need to respect that.”  Gerry did his best to keep his voice level and calm, despite the rising frustation.  He’d be lying if he said he didn’t have his doubts, but Keirra had a right to see her daughter.  And she did seem to have grown quite a bit.  Maybe it was a gamble.  But if it came down to it, he’d move heaven and hell to protect that kid if Keirra were a threat.  For now, she wasn’t.

Kara was less than convinced.  All she knew was that this woman ran and spiraled every time things went wrong.  She loved Gerry and she loved Nasya.  She wasn’t up for losing either of them.  “I just don’t want her hurt the way I was.” she said, her voice going small, quiet.

Gerry took the slender brunette by the shoulders and looked her in the eye.”She isn’t him.  And I will never let anything happen to her.  You know that, right?”

Kara nodded, moving close and resting her cheek against his chest, her arms wrapped around his waist.  “Promise?”

“Promise.”  He said, holding her close.
[i:df9d511a7f]To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home[/i:df9d511a7f]

[img:df9d511a7f]http://i.imgur.com/ntv4pgF.jpg[/img:df9d511a7f]

Gerard Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2017, 12:37:16 AM »
Months passed, the seasons changed.  Gerry and Kara had only become closer.  She had become the unofficial 4th roommate in his and Ginny’s apartment, spending most nights there.  Ginny was glad for the female company, helping to get her brother to straighten up after himself.  There had been an intense bit of arguing regarding toilet seats.  An argument he had assumed was a cliche that only happened in movies until the night he heard Ginny screaming **** word after **** word when she fell in.

Since Keirra’s visit and the arrangements for visitation were set up, things had settled into a nice, simple routine.  The extra income from Finnegan Cargo Handlers meant he’d probably never need to work again at the bar.  He chose to anyway, of course, most of the money going into a fund for Nasya’s schooling.  And, hey!   He got a dog out of the deal!  Apparently, Star, the dog Gerry and Kerirra had adopted had gotten busy and had herself some pups.  Now, Gerry was the proud owner of a German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix named Star Baby.  Kara tried to get him to change the name, but he stuck with it, Kara settling on calling the pup “Baby”.  

The dog took immediately to Nasya, appointing herself the baby’s minder.  And with the girl just beginning to walk, the help was very much welcome.  

Yes, even the damn dog was a girl.   Gerry stood in front of the crib, holding the raven haired child with those big, icy-blue eyes in his big arms.  “Y’know, kid?  I don’t know when this happened, but you guys have Daddy outnumbered.”  He said to her as if just realizing.  “When did THAT happen, huh?”   He asked her with a silly pouty face, the little girl laughing, her dark hair in little pig tails on either side.  “Did YOU have somethin’ to do with it?”

Nasya reached out and grabbed his face making a happy little squeal.  “You DID?”  He said with a theatrical gasp.  “How *DARE* you, madame!”  Gerry bellowed in a posh accent that just, apparently delighted Nasya.

He heard the door open as Kara came home.   “Ger?”  Kara’s voice called out.  “I’m home.”  Baby came bolting out from the room Gerry and Kara often shared, going absolutely ballistic with excitement.  Kara knelt down and rubbed the dog’s big, fluffy cheeks, gasping excitedly.  “There’s my baby!  Hi there, you!  How’s my good girl?  Who’s such a good girl, huh?”  She said, petting the dog until she bolted back into the room with Gerry and Nasya.

Home, Gerry thought.  She called it home.  Kara still owned her own place, but here, with him and Nasya and Ginny...this was her home.  If she asked him honestly, he’d be inclined to agree that with her there it DID feel like home.  

“We’re back here!”  He called to her.

The brunette made her way back to the room, leaning in the doorway and taking in the sight of Gerry, holding the giggling, wriggling little one in his arms.  It was a role he might never have seen himself in, but damned if fatherhood didn’t look good on him.  She may have only been about 14 months old, but the look of love in her eyes when her daddy talked to her, played with her, and made her laugh was something she knew Nasya would carry with her for the rest of her life.  A warm smile tugged at her lips, her head resting lightly to one side against the door jamb.  “What are YOU two talking about?”  She asked.

“Oh, you know.  That new screenplay we’re writing,” he said, bringing his hand up between his mouth and Nasya, speaking with mock confidentiality, “but between you and me, someone’s a bit of a primadonna.”  

Kara smirked and shook his head.  “Ass.”

“You LOVE my ass.” He said to her, moving over toward the dresser.

Kara glanced at his backside and clenched her teeth, shaking her head slowly.   “God help me, I do.  I really do.”

Gerry grinned back at her, giving a little shake of his butt for her benefit.  Kara laughed “Ooh-hoo-hoo, you better watch it mister, or we’re gonna have to put that little lady down in Aunt Ginny’s room tonight…”

“Promises, promises.”  He said,  grabbing Nasya’s orange and white BB-8 cup.  Getting her off the bottle was a struggle until she saw the cup with her favorite Star Wars character on it.  

“Bee!  Bee!” she shouted at it, her little hands reaching out for it greedily.  As soon as she got it, it was right in her mouth.

“Where IS Gin tonight?”  Kara asked, stepping up to him and exchanging a quick kiss with her boyfriend.  She smiled to Nasya, reaching out and giving her a little tickle.  Kara had become quite taken with the little bundle of energy and curiosity over the past year.  She reckoned those blue eyes could just melt anyone’s heart.

“Michelle and her are out at a concert.”  He responded.   What had started out a wild hook up at the 4th of July bash had blossomed into something more.  Ginny and the blonde stranger saw more and more of each other as the year wore on.  

Michelle, it turned out was a personal style consultant, working for a company that sent fashionable clothes to people, letting them pick which ones they wanted to keep.  Needless to say, everyone in the apartment got a bit of a wardrobe upgrade.

All of that aside, she treated Ginny like a queen and that made Gerry beyond happy.  His sister was an amazing woman and she deserved someone to make her happy.

Nasya’s first Christmas had been quite the event, Bill and Rose really going overboard on gifts.  At the end of Christmas day he had sat in the living room of his youth, his father, mother, sister, her girlfriend, his oldest friend-turned girlfriend, and his beautiful baby girl with him in a scrapyard of colorful wrapping paper.   This was what home felt like.  This was family.  

Yes, things were going well in Clute.
[i:df9d511a7f]To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home[/i:df9d511a7f]

[img:df9d511a7f]http://i.imgur.com/ntv4pgF.jpg[/img:df9d511a7f]

Bill Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2017, 07:10:07 PM »
Bill was hunkered down over the Challenger, replacing the last spark plug.  Their little father/son project had been going on for months, trying to find and restore the old muscle car.  It had become the highlight of both his and Gerry’s weekends and what weeknights his son could manage.
 
“Alright, kid.  Fire ‘er up.”  Bill said.

Gerry turned the key, the engine whirring a few time before it roared to life.  Gerry revved that engine, the car fairly growling with power.  Bill’s eyes went wide and his fists rose in the air.  “VICTORIOUS!”   He shouted.

Gerry’s face was alight within the car, hands drumming excitedly on the wheel as he let out a long woop.  The driver’s door opened and he stood up, leaning on the roof.  “Oh.  Hell.  YES!  Will you listen to THAT!”  He called to his father.

“Hit it again!”  Bill yelled to him.  It had been decades since this beauty had run.  Getting it back in this shape with his son made it all the more special.  That engine roared again, vibrating with the pure power of the V8 Hemi beneath that hood.

Gerry called out through the rolled-down passenger window.  “Hit the door.  We’re going for a ride.”

Bill did not need to be told twice.  “GIRLS!  WE’RE HEADING OUT FOR A RIDE!” He called out as he climbed into the passenger seat.  As soon as the door finished rising, Gerry threw the car into reverse and grabbed a tape deck adapter for his old iPod.  Bill grinned over to his son.  “Tune-age?”  He asked his son.

“Do it up, old man.”


Bill chuckled.  “Watch that ‘old’ ****, bucko.” he said, holding up a hand.  Gerry was all excited grins, grabbing his father’s hand.   Foghat’s “Slow Ride” started blaring from the radio.  “Oh, yeah.”  Gerry said, glancing to Bill as he propped his arm up on the window.  

Inside the house, Kara was moving toward the window at the sound of the rumbling muscle car in the setting sun.  “Weeeeelp.”  Kara said.  “Looks like the boys are goin’ cruisin’.”

“Oh yeah?”  Rose said, not looking up from her sudoku.  “Huh.”

Kara laughed, glancing back at the nonplussed Rose.  “Wuh-oh.  Sounds like they’ve busted out the Foghat, too.”

“Slow Ride?”  Rose asked.  

“Yup.”

Rose looked up a moment, a pleasant smile on her face.  “I like that song.”

As the opening chorus kicked in on the song, Gerry gunned the accelerator, the tires squealing on the pavement.  The car took off down the street leaving behind a little burned rubber.  Bill leaned an elbow out the window in the warm spring air, his music blaring out the window.  For a moment, he felt like he was a teenage kid again, cruising around looking for a good time with one of his friends.  The years between that 18 year old and the almost-64 year old dissipated, leaving only those good memories and feelings.  Then, he glanced over, not seeing just a friend.  

No, when Bill looked over, he saw a piece of him.  His own flesh and blood.  His son, looking completely at home behind the wheel of such a fine automobile.  Gerry was his boy, back from the dead, and his best friend.   This was a day he never thought he’d be able to see, one that never should have been.  This was a gift.

The pair drove around town, listening to classic rock in that old Dodge.  “God, I love this car.”  Gerry said patting the steering wheel with an ear-to-ear grin on his face.  

“I had one of these when I was 18 years old.”  He said, shaking his head.  “Cherry red with the black stripes…”  He thought back, his voice taking on a wistful hush.   “Man...you shoulda been around back then, Ger.  We used go cruisin’ around the strip ‘til the sun came up.  You’d have a guy roll up next to you, start revvin’ away...and you’d just drag and hope to God the cops weren’t around.”  Bill chuckled.

Gerry glanced over to him, that little grin on his face.  He could listen to the old man talk about his youth all day.

“Man, one time, I met this girl at a party.  Take her for a ride...and this dude pulls up in a ‘69 Maverick.  Got this blonde next to him...just smokin’ hot.”  Bill grinned.  “Well, he’s thinkin’ that car is hot ****, right?  So, he’s revvin’ and revvin’ away, ready to jump off the line….”

Gerry smirked over to his dad.  “And I just GAS it.  I mean, this kid is kissin’ vapor, I’m gone so fast.”  Bill said, chuckling.  “So I’m flyin’ high, now right?  I’ve got this cute little redhead with me, I just showed this punk what was what?  I’m doing good!”

Gerry laughed, hanging a left on the street.  “There’s a ‘but’ coming, ain’t there?”

Bill clenched his teeth, a wry look on his face.  “Ohhhh, yeah there is.”

Gerry couldn’t help but belly laugh at the tone.  

“Suddenly, there’s sirens flashing behind me.  Cop pulls me over, clocked me doing about 87 in a 35.  I’m ****ed.”

“Yeah, that’s pretty much gettin’ a slice of the ol’ dick pie.”  Gerry agreed.

“Oh.  Just wait.”  Bill said, holding up two fingers.  “So, cop comes up to my window, knocks with the flashlight.  I roll ‘er down and he peers in, pointing the flashlight at me and then my date.”  Bill paused, gesturing with his hands.  “Doesn’t say a word.  Just walks back to the squad car, leans in the door and says something to his partner.”

Gerry glanced over, trying anticipating what was next.  

“Partner throws open the door, comes storming up to my car, whips open the door and yanks this girl out!”

Gerry’s eyes widened.

“So, I hear them arguing...and she calls him ‘Daddy.’”  Bill said.

A look of realization hit Gerry, his mouth forming an “O” shape.  “Ohhhh!  Oh-hoho….****!”

“Yeah, my thoughts exactly.”  Bill nodded.  “I’m sitting there just about to piss my pants.  Her pops comes back to my window, leans in, starts doing the bad-cop thing.  ‘What am I doing out so late?’ ‘Where’s the fire?’ ‘What was I gonna do with his little girl?’”  

Bill chuckled and shook his head.  “Guy tells me, not only was I busted speeding to excess, but I just so happened to have a busted tail light and he thinks he smells booze.  Annnnd that’s when I hear his Partner whack my driver’s tail out with a club.”

Gerry laughed, looking to the old man with an amused pity.  “Oh no!”

“Oh yes!”  Bill nodded with raised brows.  “Takes me in, runs me through the whole bit, fingerprints, name, mugshot....and puts me in a cell until your Grandpa could come bail me out.”

“Oh, I bet that went well.”  Gerry said sarcastically.

“Oh yeah.   Nothing he liked more than being called off a job to come get my dumb-ass out of prison for cruisin’ with a sheriff’s daughter.”  Bill said with a laugh.  “So, I’m getting checked out and I’m about to walk out the door and get a whuppin’ from my dad, and this cop grabs me by the arm.  He leans in real close and says ‘Next time I see you with my daughter, boy...I might just find a gun on ya.’”

“You’re kidding me…”  Gerry said, wide eyed.  

“I look like I’m screwin’ with ya, kid?  Hand to God.”  Bill said sincerely.  “Needless to say, there was no second date.”

“Yeah.  No ****.”
[img:823c10f5c3]http://i.imgur.com/wLZOVmV.jpg[/img:823c10f5c3]

Gerard Finnegan

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Re: Chapter 2: Fathers. (18+)
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2017, 12:54:28 PM »
Gerry and Bill drove around into the night, catching a few looks with their newly restored ‘70 Challenger, Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” blasting over the speakers as they rolled up to an old-style drive in restaurant.  A renovated throwback place that specialized pretty specifically in Burgers, Hot Dogs, Fries, and Malts.

After they’d ordered, the pair leaned against the back of the car, their tray sitting on the trunk.  Gerry brought his chili dog to his mouth, taking a big bite.  Bill held his cheeseburger half-way in the wrapper, taking yet another huge bite.  

He looked around the area remembering when it was new.  “You know…”He said between bites.  “I remember when this was the Man On The Moo Diner.”  He said.  “They used to have this big cow statue out front with one of those glass space-helmets on.”  Bill grinned and took a sip of his chocolate malt.   “This was the place, kid.  You’d see all kinds of cars lined up here.  We'd all meet up, grab a bite and decide where we'd all go to race.”  A little laugh left him.  “ God, we all thought we were so cool.”

Gerry brought his straw to his lips, taking a long sip of his malt. “What happened?”  He asked.  “How does a place like that go tits up?”

Bill’s expression changed, the wistfulness leaving him as he chewed his burger.  “Vietnam happened.  I mean, at that point it had been going on for a good long while, but a lot of the kids who were part of it ended up getting drafted.  A lot of them didn't come home.”

Gerry watched his father a moment.  “Did you go?”

Bill shook his head. “No.  I was going to college on a scholarship.  I actually was going to after I got hurt, but the US Army decided I was ‘combat ineffective’.  But a lot of my friends weren't so lucky.  Tommy Bevers, Stan Green, Frank Ryan, Mike Nudzii.  Good bunch of guys.  You'd have liked them.” Bill chuckled.  

Gerry smiled over to him, swallowing a bite of his dog.  “You ever see ‘em anymore?”

Then Bill’s grin faded as the memories came rushing back.  “Tommy was killed in Laos in ‘71.  Guess one of the guys in his unit got high as hell on a night patrol.  Tommy’s coming back from KP, and this guy thought he was one of the enemy and shot him six times in the chest.”

Gerry’s expression soured a bit.  

“Stan was in a Huey that suffered engine failure and crashed somewhere over Khe Sanh.  A couple guys got out, but he wasn't one of them.”  Bill said distantly.  In his mind he saw him only as the kid he grew up with, raced with, played ball with.  Not a soldier who fought in a war.

“By ‘73, we were pretty much tapping out over there,” he said.  “But, Frank and Nudz were stationed together.  They caught in a firefight in some hellhole village in the middle of nowhere.  Never made it home.” Bill finished his burger and turned to Gerry, standing up straight.  “Bitch of it is, the war ended shortly after.  They missed it by about three months.”  He breathed in that night air, looking out over the dark horizon.  “My four best friends in the world, left home to fight a war they didn’t understand and they never came back.”

Bill shook his head and walked to the spot where the statue once stood.  Now it was a concrete patch with bolt holes where it had been held down.  “People had different priorities, then.  Kids stopped coming around. By ‘75 the Moo was an abandoned shell.”  He said.  “That was all she wrote.”

Gerry watched his father, lost in those memories.  “Do you regret not going?” He asked.

Bill was silent a moment, his voice choked back a bit.  “Sometimes.”  He said.  “You know, there are times when I’m glad you weren’t around for everything.  When your friends go overseas to fight and you either don’t or can’t...you want to be there for them, fight beside them.”  He said, walking back to the car.  “When they get killed, you tell yourself...if only YOU were there...maybe you could have done something.   Maybe you could have played the hero and that friend would still be alive.”

Bill turned his eyes to Gerry, gazing into the matching blue eyes that stared back.  “But, really?  That’s bull ****.  Your parents would be getting a folded flag with theirs, more like.  Like Stan’s or Mike’s or Frank’s or Tommy’s…”  He trailed off a moment before reaching out and putting a hand on Gerry’s shoulder.  “Or Jimmy Savage’s.”

Jimmy Savage had been part of the childhood group Gerry ran around with.  One of the toughest, craziest kids he’d ever known.  The guy had once been ready to beat another kid’s dad with a baseball bat to protect Gerry.  Jimmy had enlisted in the army during the Iraq War.  While taking part in operations in Kirkuk, Jimmy’s squad was hit by an IED, leaving him and three other men dead.  Gerry had, of course been in Rhy’din at that time...but he could understand what his father was saying.  

He couldn’t have done anything, of course he couldn’t.  Danny Dubek had been there that day and it still happened, leaving him badly injured.  If he couldn’t have done anything, what were the odds Gerry could have?

“You do what you can to honor them, kid.  I miss my friends, but I don’t regret the way my life turned out.”  Bill said.  “I got your Mom.  I got you.  I got your sister.  And now, I got Nasya.  Far as I’m concerned, kiddo, I am battin’ a thousand.”
[i:df9d511a7f]To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home[/i:df9d511a7f]

[img:df9d511a7f]http://i.imgur.com/ntv4pgF.jpg[/img:df9d511a7f]