Author Topic: The Promised Visit  (Read 273 times)

Olivia Storm

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The Promised Visit
« on: April 13, 2013, 03:44:40 PM »
Spring was still struggling to make itself known in England when the Storms finally managed to pull themselves together and arrange a visit. Lucy had been poking at Liv for weeks to get her act together and go to see their great-aunt, Peggy Carter, and unfortunately for Liv, she'd roped Johnny into the round of careful coaxing, too. The younger, shyer twin didn't know how to say no to both of them at once, and thus she'd allowed herself to be talked into visiting Manchester, England, via portal. Unlike Steve and Lucy's visit, the newly-married Storms were pretty much on their own when it came to finding their way around, eventually deciding on just grabbing a taxi to get themselves to the nursing home.

Sat in the back seat, Liv couldn't stop herself from fidgeting, nervous energy radiating from her non-stop. She'd agonised over every last detail up to this point, from the time of day to visit to what she was wearing, proving that Johnny, for all his enthusiastic faults, had the patience of a saint sometimes. "What if she doesn't like me?"

It was usually Johnny who was the hyperactive nervous wreck and Olivia who was calming him down and doing the reassuring, but it seemed the tables had somehow become turned. Johnny reached for Liv's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, trying his best to be supportive. He had no real reason to be nervous. It wasn't his aunt they were going to see. Whatever Peggy Carter thought of him was irrelevant. It was Liv who was nervous. "Don't worry so much, Liv. She's going to love you!" What wasn't to like? As far as Johnny was concerned, Liv was the sweeter of the two twins, but of course, he was biased.

Her hand ensconced in the reassuring warmth of his, Liv inched closer over the seat, hugging herself to Johnny's arm. "But what if she's expecting me to be like Lucy?" she worried aloud, unafraid to share these insecurities with her husband, despite the promise she'd made not to be so uncertain any more. "From what Lucy said, Peggy's more like her than me, and I ... oh, Johnny, I couldn't bear it if I disappointed her. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe we should go back."

Johnny brushed his fingers against her cheek, a soft reassuring smile on his face, his eyes warm with adoration. "You know why I love you so much?" He didn't wait for an answer, since it was mostly a rhetorical question. "Because you're nothing like Lucy." Not that there was anything wrong with Lucy, but Lucy and Johnny were like fire and water - or maybe fire and fire. "If she doesn't see how special you are, then it's her loss, Liv. We've come too far to go back now."

She blinked, her circular thoughts momentarily derailed by what might have been an insult to her sister on anyone else's lips. "But I ..." She trailed off, reluctantly acknowledging that he was right, and nodded. "She's expecting us. It would be rude not to at least show up." She subsided into fidgety silence, the hand not clasped in Johnny's grip twitching at her shirt, her cardigan, her skirt, her hair, trying to make herself somehow better for the great-aunt she'd never met.

"Trust me, Liv." He touched his lips affectionately to the back of her hand. He had no way of knowing how Peggy would receive her great niece, but he knew if Liv turned back now, there was a good chance she'd regret it for the rest of her life. "Your aunt isn't getting any younger, Liv. This might be your only chance," he reminded her gently. He had his own regrets, but what was past was past. This was about Liv now.

"I know." The answer was barely more than a whisper, a shuddering sound that betrayed how much Liv had thought about that very possibility. She hugged closer into Johnny's side, barely glancing up as the scenery changed from grey street to green gardens, the taxi pulling carefully up the long driveway to the big nursing home. "I'm sorry, I know I'm being annoying. I'm just ... I'm scared, Johnny."

Johnny wrapped an arm around Liv's shoulder to pull her close against him, radiating warmth, as always. "You're not being annoying." He turned his head to brush a kiss against her forehead, protective and loving. She wouldn't be his Liv if she didn't have her doubts and fears, just like him. They were alike in that way - maybe that was why they worked so well. "What's the worst that can happen?" He tried to put things into perspective for her.

She cuddled into him, needing to feel protected and loved in the way only Johnny could give her for a little while longer, before she would have to relinquish that feeling and face whatever was waiting for her. "The worst?" She snorted softly - he should know better than to ask her something like that. He knew how her mind worked, after all. "She could keel over and die right in front of me. Or hate me on sight. Or throw me out because I'm not like her and Lucy."

The fact that he knew how her mind worked was exactly why he'd asked her that question - so she could face the worst case scenario that they both knew more than likely wasn't going to happen. "If she didn't keel over after seeing Steve and Lucy, she's not going to keel over seeing you." He knew it must have been something of a shock for Peggy to see Steve again after all these years and in the companionship of a wife who just happened to be her great niece. "She's not going to hate you. Have you considered that maybe she's going to love you just because of who you are?"

It was just a little heartbreaking how surprised Liv looked when he made that suggestion. It had honestly not occurred to her that Peggy might actually like her, much less love her. She had assumed that, because Lucy felt a little coldness from the old woman, she would be even less welcome, forever painting herself in her own mind as something less than her elder twin in everyone's eyes. "No," she admitted, embarrassed to confess it but not really able to lie to Johnny. "No, I ... I hadn't thought about it that way." There was a crunch as the car came to a halt on the gravel path, the driver waiting patiently to be paid before he left them on the doorstep.

"Liv, you and Lucy are her brother's granddaughters. Whether she likes you or not, you're family, and I have a feeling she's going to like you a lot more than you think." He wasn't sure why he thought that, but why wouldn't she? Liv was easy to love. She just needed to believe in herself a little more. Of course, Johnny could probably take a little of his own advice now and then. He smiled, a thought occuring to him. "Maybe we should take her out for ice cream."

His smiling whim brought a quiet giggle to his wife's lips as she gently untangled herself from him, rummaging in her bottomless pit of a bag to find her purse and pay the taxi driver. "Or we could bring her some, the next time we ... if she wants us to come again." Even in her uncertainty, Johnny was included. There was no way in hell Liv would be doing this if he hadn't made sure she knew he wasn't letting her do it on her own.

"Not if, when." His smile widened. He couldn't imagine Peggy Carter - or anyone else, for that matter - not liking ice cream. He let Olivia pay the cab driver, since her money was his money and vice versa. It didn't much matter which of them paid, and she had beaten him to it. He had a feeling meeting Tony Stark was going to be a lot harder for her than this, and if Stark was even a little bit rude, he was going to have to answer to Johnny, Ironman or not. He pushed the door open, climbed out, and waited for Liv to join him.

It took a moment or two for Liv to talk herself into actually getting out of the car, a moment longer to shut the door behind her. The nursing home, for all that it was clean and well-kept, seemed awfully intimidating, looming over her as she looked up at it. "What if it's horrible in there?" she asked in a hushed tone. "What if she's dreadfully unhappy?"

"Steve and Lucy would have said so, and they didn't. At least, you're not the one who married Steve Rogers! She can't hold that against you." He grinned, teasing her a little, but then a thought occured to him and the grin faded. "What do you think she's going to say when she sees me?" he asked, remembering that he was a dead ringer for Steve, which could be a bad or a good thing. It seemed it was his turn to look worried, at least for a moment.
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: The Promised Visit
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2013, 03:45:49 PM »
Liv's smile reappeared, the tease giving her confidence enough to at least begin moving toward the imposing building, her hand wrapped securely in Johnny's. "I think Steve told her about you," she offered hopefully. "Not too much, though, I hope. I'd like to see her face when you start showing off." She rose up onto her toes to touch a kiss to his cheek, as proud of his delight in being what he was as she was proud of the direction he'd chosen to take those unique talents of his.

"What do you think I'm going to do, a striptease for the ladies in the nursing home?" He chuckled at the thought, but had no intentions of doing such a thing. Old or no, they'd probably try to pinch his rear. "Anyway, this is about you and your aunt. Not me." He smiled at the kiss, though his own stomach was starting to twist into nervous knots the closer they got to the building.

Panic flared briefly in the soft brown eyes he knew so well as he laid down the law for the visit, realizing a little belatedly that he was probably intending to leave her to it if it looked as though the two women weren't going to come to blows. "You are going to come and say hello, at least, aren't you?" she asked nervously, stretching out a shaking finger to ring the doorbell.

"Yeah, of course I'll say hello. We're married now. Your family is my family." He frowned a little, wanting her to know that no matter what happened, he'd always be there for her. "Liv, I'm here for you, no matter what, but I have a feeling you're the one she really wants to see, not me. You're as much a piece of her life, as she is of yours. All these years you've wondered about your family, and now you're about to find out."

"So why do I feel like I'm standing outside the Headmaster's office, waiting to be suspended for something Lucy's done?" Yet another little insight into the mischief of the twins' childhood and adolescence for him to ponder, thrown away as an illustration of a point and nothing more. Liv took in a deep breath, and abruptly jumped as the door was opened, a tired but smiling care assistant beckoning them inside out of the wind.

"Stop worrying so much," he whispered in her ear as he followed her inside. "Or I'll tickle you," he warned with a smirk. He'd do it, too. He wondered what the inhabitants and caregivers of the nursing home would think of that. The place probably needed a little laughter anyway.

"Don't you dare," she whispered back to him, blushing at just the thought of embarrassing herself with a loud guffaw of laughter that would, no doubt, resonate throughout this edifice of a building. But she was beginning to relax a little, reassured by the warmth and cleanliness of the place, by the sight of a family sharing some private time in the little tea room to the left as they walked in. Her hand squeezed Johnny's tightly as the carer spoke.

"Peggy's been asking about you since before lunch," the woman shared with a warm smile. "She even had the time written down for her, and she's still asking!"

"See?" Johnny beamed a grin, encouraged by the information shared by the care-giver. "She's excited to see you, and she's probably just as nervous as you are." He wasn't sure why, but he had a good feeling about it. He was a little worried what Steve's old flame would think of him, but that really didn't matter. He didn't need her approval, but Olivia did. "It's going to be fine, Liv. You'll see."

It didn't seem nearly long enough between stepping in through the front door and being ushered to the door of Ms Margaret Carter's private room - not long enough for Liv, anyway. With an encouraging smile, the carer left them to it, not even glancing back. If she had done, she would have seen the nervous young woman suddenly frozen stiff, brown eyes wide, genuinely unable to even raise her hand and knock on the door. Liv's eyes pleaded with Johnny - he was supposed to be her hero, shouldn't he be protecting her from the heart attack she was absolutely certain was coming?

Johnny returned the carer's smile with a friendly smile of his own. He was, after all, mostly outgoing and friendly, even if he was a little unsure of himself. He could have stepped in and knocked for her. He could have taken charge of the situation, but he thought it would do Liv more good if she did this herself, if she proved to herself that she could[/] do it. Even if she didn't believe in herself, he believed in her, and he knew others did, too. "Go ahead, Liv," he leaned in to whisper, encouraging her onward. "She's not going to bite."

His petrified wife looked almost hurt by his encouraging insistence upon making her knock, drawing in a quietly shaking breath to try and at least calm herself down. She hadn't been this nervous in months. Swallowing, she gripped Johnny's hand tighter than ever, and forced herself to knock on the door. A strong feminine voice answered almost immediately with, "Come in!" And those panicky eyes turned back to Johnny, needing another push to get her feet moving.

He heard the voice from inside the room and felt a little nervous tension in the pit of his stomach, but it was too late to turn back now, and he knew how important this is to Liv. He nodded his head in encouragement to her, wanting her to open the door for herself. "Go on. You can do this." Because I believe in you and I love you.

Another brief flash of panic made itself known before Liv put forth a monumental effort to pull herself together, reluctantly withdrawing her hand from her husband's to gently push the door open.

Peggy Carter looked up from her journal, lowering her glasses from her eyes, and felt herself beam with excited delight. She had been anticipating this visit ever since Lucy had promised to bully her little sister into making it, and four weeks was a long time for someone her age to wait. But finally the youngest of Beth's girls was here. "Well, come in, Olivia, don't just stand there with your mouth hanging open," she declared almost cheerfully, assuming that Liv was more like Lucy than she had been told. What she got in answer was a gulp, and one faltering step.

"I, um ..." Liv flailed behind herself to catch hold of Johnny's sleeve and drag him into the room with her. "This is Johnny."

Johnny stepped into the room behind Liv, unable to hover in the hallway even if he wanted to as Liv tugged him in behind her. He smiled warmly, albeit a little shyly, which was unlike Johnny, but he knew how closely he resembled Steve and that made him a little nervous. "Hello," he said, as he looked the woman over.

"Dear God ..." Peggy stared at the young man who had been pulled bodily into her room, a little nonplussed by the nervousness and more than a little thrown by the startling similarity of appearance between Steve Rogers and the man she assumed to be Johnny Storm. It took a moment, but she managed to clear her mind. "I do hope you are feeling hot and bothered, Johnathan, I believe there are a few of the girls who wouldn't mind a demonstration of your more family-friendly gifts. And, I daresay, the doddering ninnys would enjoy it, too." She fixed him with a look that might have been intimidating if she hadn't been almost smiling in the same instant. "I hope you're teaching my niece all the very best parts of being a wife, young man."

He wasn't generally given to blushing, but a pink flush did rise to his cheeks at her initial reaction to seeing him. He assumed she'd been warned about his resemblance to Steve, but being told and seeing for herself were two entirely different things. He made no comment on the similarity, relaxing a little as she quickly seemed to move past it. "Family friendly?" he echoed. "I'm not so sure they'd appreciate me playing with fire. I might set off a fire alarm." And just as he was starting to relax, she commented on what he assumed was his love life and he flushed a shade darker. "I'm doing my best, ma'am."
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: The Promised Visit
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2013, 03:46:29 PM »
"And I'm sure your best is more than adequate to the task." For all her faults, Peggy was enjoying having been able to make a man whom Lucy and Steve had insisted couldn't be embarrassed blush with the first words out of her mouth. Her sharp eyes flickered back to Olivia, wondering why the girl hadn't spoken up, and belatedly saw the tight hold Liv had on her husband's hand. Not so brave and bold as her sister, it seemed. In fact, on first impressions, this young couple seemed a mirror image of the other young couple she had met just over a month before. Johnny was evidently more boisterous than his currently polite reserve declared, echoing Lucy's barely suppressed effusion, and Olivia ... well, she might just turn out to be an echo of Steve. Interesting. "Do come in, children," she said, in a gentler tone, indicating the two armchairs that sat empty, waiting for them.

Liv swallowed, her hand white-knuckled in Johnny's, and finally managed to will herself to step forward, albeit uncertainly. "I, um ..." She faltered again, forcing herself to finish a sentence in something approaching polite courtesy. "We were going to bring you something, but ... well, we didn't know what you like, exactly, and just turning up with something useless and ornamental is more of an insult than a compliment, especially when you must have almost everything you need already, but if you like, I could nip out and get something now, or ..." Her babbling trailed off, those big eyes turning to Johnny with an unspoken plea to help her before she talked herself into a hole she couldn't get out of.

"Ice cream," Johnny jumped in to rescue Liv with a smile on his face. "We were going to take you out for ice cream." He gave Liv's hand a little reassuring squeeze again. Thankfully, she hadn't cut off his circulation just yet, nor did he take offense to her invitation. He thought they must seem like children to her, but he wondered a little about Steve. "I, uh... I read about you... in the, uh... comics." He wasn't sure if she knew she was a comic book heroine or how much Steve had told her about that. It had probably been a little strange for Steve to know he'd become a legend in his own time.

Peggy chuckled, amused as much by Johnny's offering to the burgeoning conversation as she was impressed with how easily he came to the rescue of his stumbling shy wife. "All I need is standing in my doorway right now," she assured Olivia quietly, gesturing once more to the armchairs. "Please sit down." Her gaze flickered to Johnny with a hint of a smirk. "Ah, yes, Lucy did say something about you being something of a fanatic," she added, careful not to watch as Liv pulled the shreds of her courage together to do as she was told. The younger woman barely glanced up as she reluctantly released Johnny's hand, folding herself into the nearest chair and looking as though she sincerely wished the ground would swallow her up.

"A fan," Johnny corrected, though he was a bit of a fanatic when it came to all things Steve Rogers. Or had been before he'd met the man in person and become his friend. The truth was he still thought Steve was the greatest hero who ever lived and would give his right arm to be even half the man he was, but he wasn't about to tell that to Peggy Carter. "Do you two want me to leave you alone for a while?" He was confident Liv would be just fine in Peggy's company, whether Liv thought so or not. The question, in fact, was directed more to Peggy than to Liv. He knew Liv would more than likely want him to stay, but he wasn't sure they'd really discuss what needed to be discussed with him there.

Liv opened her mouth to protest at this offer, remembering herself just in time before she managed to do even more damage than she thought she had already done. She wasn't at all comfortable with the idea of being left alone with her aunt, but Peggy, it seemed, had other ideas.

She smiled to Johnny, grateful that the young man seemed to understand what was going on here better than it might first appear, and nodded. "Thank you, Johnathan, I think that is an excellent idea," she approved graciously. "Perhaps ... an hour? You should have over-excited the elderly contingent by then."

He chuckled, deciding already that he liked Peggy Carter and hoping to get to know her better - before it was too late, but he didn't want to think about that now. "Should I entertain them with shadow puppets or do you think they'd prefer skywriting?" he asked, with a smirk, figuring he should be able to entertain a few elderly, lonely people for at least a little while without getting into too much trouble.

"I think you should get Norris to show you his party trick, personally," was the answer he got from the old woman. "I think it is something you will certainly enjoy not knowing how to do until he shows you." Because, after all, making Amaretto papers fly by setting fire to them was a dying art these days. Not least of which because Amaretto biscuits were revolting.

"Norris?" Johnny echoed, with the curious arch of a brow. The only Norris he had ever heard of was a bad actor named Chuck. It seemed he was about to find out, whether he wanted to or not. He went over to Liv and bent over to brush a kiss against her cheek. "I'll be back in a while." Which was his way of saying, "Try to relax and enjoy your visit. I'm here if you need me." He offered another smile to Peggy before heading toward the door, turning back to toss a cheeky grin at the elderly woman. "We're going to get you to go out for ice cream yet."  

"I shall look forward to it with great relish," Peggy chuckled in response, mindful of the panic that was rising in her great-niece as Liv watched her husband move away. She was going to have to take steps to counter that unease, she could tell. "Do try not to set fire to anyone who looks important, there's a good boy."

"Don't worry! I've got it under control!" At least, hopefully he did. He seemed to think so anyway. He smiled as he made his way toward the door, trusting Peggy and leaving Liv in her more than capable hands. "Oh, ladies!" He was heard calling into the hallway just before he closed the door.

Peggy watched Johnny leave the room with disquieting confidence. She was grateful that Steve had thought to warn her of the similarities between himself and his new brother-in-law, though they had still come as a shock. But now she had taken the time, she could see the differences as well. Where Steve carried himself humbly, always seeming to wish he were smaller than he had become, Johnny Storm was full of life and confidence, brimming over with enthusiasm, even when he was trying to reign it in for the sake of his quieter, shyer wife.

Her eyes now turned to that wife properly, to the second of the long-lost twin girls who had been found and restored to her in such wonderful circumstances. Because Peggy had decided that, yes, they were wonderful circumstances. She refused to dwell on the heartache of losing Steve's love, or the bitterness that had marred their reunion. He was alive, and what was more, he had married a wonderful young woman who just happened to be one of only two family members Peggy herself had left. Thanks to Steve, Lucy wasn't alone in the world, and thanks to the brimful boy of a man trying so hard not to get over-excited this afternoon, Olivia didn't feel the keen edge of loneliness, either.

Liv sat quietly, shy of talking, of breaking the silence that had fallen after the introductions were over and done with. Her fingers played with each other in her lap, twisting the smooth white gold of her wedding band around and around as her soft eyes darted nervously from one thing to another, uncertain of where she could look in safety, almost afraid of meeting her great-aunt's gaze. Lucy had warned her that Peggy did not suffer fools gladly, that the old woman was not afraid to make her opinions known and felt, and though the words had been meant to comfort, here and now they did little to curb Liv's wilder imaginings that she was going to be a disappointment to the elderly beauty sitting across from her. She was small and quiet, it seemed, in a family that had grown to be bold and forthright, and was terribly worried that she was going to feel even more out of place now than she had before.

Peggy saw all this as it flashed across the young woman's eyes, and felt a little of her exuberance at the meeting soften, seeing now perhaps some of why Lucy and Steve, and Johnny, were so protective of the younger of the twins. She reached across the intervening space, gently wrapping soft, gnarled fingers about the restless twitch of Olivia's hands. "I won't bite," she told the girl in a warm tone, and was rewarded with the sudden lock of soft brown eyes to her own, only a little saddened by the relief that flared for a moment before hope took its place. "I've been so looking forward to meeting you, Olivia."
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: The Promised Visit
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2013, 03:47:09 PM »
Reassured by the older woman's touch, by the carefully chosen words that bolstered her flagging confidence, Liv felt a tiny smile work its way onto her face as she held her aunt's gaze. "I ... I really don't know what to say," she confessed uncertainly, glancing in the direction Johnny had taken himself. "It's one thing to know you have family, after thinking for long you didn't, but ... actually being here, seeing you ..." She shook her head, a self-conscious little huff of laughter escaping her lips. "Please ... call me Liv. Or Livvie. Or anything you like, really. We ... we're family."

Peggy felt the full force of the girl's nerves hit her head on as the rambling speech came to a close, unable to keep herself from smiling, amused by how very shy of her Liv seemed. She was an elderly woman, barely able to stand upright for more than ten minutes without support, and this little slip of a woman was frightened of putting a foot wrong, when she had a superhero for a husband who would, Peggy had no doubt, have little trouble leaping to his wife's defense if the need called for it. Her grip tightened on her great-niece's hands warmly. "You are right, Liv," she agreed, softening herself further, seeing how delicate this one's feelings were, how poorly protected, in comparison with the decidedly more robust elder twin. "We are family. And I see so much of your mother in you. I saw her in Lucy, too, but it is you, I think, who inherited Beth's gentler nature."

"Really?" It was a wonder to behold the way Liv's entire being seemed to light up with this simple offering. The weight seemed to lift from the younger woman's shoulders, her chin rose, and for a moment, she mirrored her twin's confidence and clarity of motion. But even then, you couldn't mistake the differences. Lucy had been elated when she had been told of her similarities to father and mother, but it was touched with a sense of superiority, a sense that she had known already. Liv, on the other hand, lit up from inside, the frail hope transformed into sweet delight at the sudden realization that she had something inside herself that connected her with the mother she had never known on a level no one could ever take away from her. She glowed, and her hands twisted in Peggy's grasp, folding about the older woman's hand with warm tenderness.

"Really." Peggy nodded, enchanted by the sudden transformation in the quiet woman, feeling the protective tug that no doubt Lucy had always felt toward her younger twin. But unlike Lucy, she knew where that sense of innocence came from, where Liv had gleaned the sweeter nature of the pair, and though she would never admit it to either girl, it endeared Liv to her more quickly than she had come to feel something for Lucy. It was a joy to see and know that something of Beth, something so intangible and impossible to describe, still survived in a world that had outgrown her and tossed her aside. "She was shy and nervous of people, especially in crowds, but there was no one better at the profession she chose for herself. And when she was with Howard ..." She trailed off for a moment, willing herself to swallow the lingering anger with the man for the sake of his little girl who sat with her, her expression forming into a fond smile for her memories of Elizabeth. "He was her world for too short a time. I can see that in you, when you look at your husband. And in Lucy, when she looks at hers."

For a moment, Liv faltered, wavering between pleasure at the comparisons being handed out, wanting to hear more, and sympathetic pain at the understanding of what Peggy had lost in coming to terms with Lucy and Steve's marriage. As always, her own feelings lost the tug of war, and she leaned in closer, stroking her fingers against her great-aunt's delicate skin. "It's all right to be angry, you know," she said softly, hoping to give Peggy the permission she seemed to need to feel her own feelings and work through them in her own time. "They don't expect you to be fine with it. No one could. You ... you don't have to pretend everything is exactly as you want it to be. Not with me."

Not with me. The message was clear enough. Liv was a safe pair of ears, a safe confidante. She would never divulge, even to her beloved twin sister, anything Peggy told her in confidence. Peggy understood the purpose behind the offer. If she could vent a little to the younger, talk out some of the frustration, the hurt and heartache, then she would be more warmly disposed toward the elder. And though she was delighted to have both Beth's girls back in her life, Peggy had to admit that Lucy's association with Steve made it harder to warm to the elder twin. Some part of her old heart still saw the girl as a love rival, one to whom she had lost the war, and associated that sense of towering resentment with Lucy, unfairly. Perhaps if she could do as Liv seemed to wish, she would not love one better than the other.

"It is very difficult to put into words," she tried to explain to Liv, acceding to unspoken plea that she get at least some of her pain and resentment off her chest. "I love Steve. I always have, and I think I will go to my grave loving him. But our chance was taken away from us; there was no other choice he could have made. He would not have remained the man I loved if he had let all those people die, just for the chance to dance with me. I never thought I would ever see him again, and yet suddenly here he is, the same man I knew. The same age as when I knew him, when I'm a crabby old woman who'll be lucky to see next winter in good health. It is too late for me, but somehow I cannot help thinking that if he had been free, he would have kept up the pretense of loving me until I died. And a part of me - the selfish, bitter part - resents that I won't be able to enjoy the illusion."

"He does love you, Peggy," Liv offered, her voice quiet but earnest. She hadn't truly expected her aunt to open up to her so soon, so honestly, but if these words had to be spoken, she was glad they were being spoken to her. Steve would only feel guilt and pain, and Lucy would get angry to cover her own guilt. No, Liv was the only possible choice to hear these words, and she was glad to do it. Anything to bring them closer, rather than let old memories drive a wedge between them. "Not the way he did before, but that doesn't make his love any less powerful or moving. You're his only link with a past that no one can help him reconcile. You are his best friend, Peggy, and friendship runs deeper than romantic love or attraction. Friendship can overcome anything, and be stronger for the struggle."

"Oh, I know," the old woman chuckled, and to her surprise and delight, it was a genuine laugh, something she had not quite been able to give either Lucy or Steve during their visits. "His friendship is the most precious thing I could possibly hope for, from him, at least. But there will always be some part of me that is disappointed that I will never have the romance I hoped and grieved for."

"Is ... is it better or worse that he married Lucy?" Liv dared to ask. She had to know the answer, and both women knew that if Lucy asked her sister about this specific question, she would be given the answer. It would be unfair, unthinkable, to leave such a lingering ignorance in place.

Peggy paused, considering her reply, understanding why she had been asked and knowing she could not lie to this sweet girl who only wanted to bring her family as close together as she could before time inevitably tore it apart again. "In some ways, it is better," she said finally. "In others, worse. It is difficult to describe in full. I feel angry at him that he could forget me so soon - it has only been a year for him, after all - and yet, I am happy for him that he has found a love that fills up the emptiness inside him. I feel resentful on her behalf that he was drawn to her for her likeness to me, but again, I am happy for them both in the same moment. I can see how happy they make each other. If I had been in a position to make the choice for him, for her ... I would have chosen to push them together myself. With him, she is not so alone as she might have been. And with Lucy, Steve can be the man he was born to be, with a woman who adores him just as he is. It is ... complex to work through."

"I can understand that," her great-niece agreed with a faint nod. She was frowning just a little, sympathetic to the ache and upset, but also to the joy and relief. "And I think they do, too. Steve doesn't really talk to me, but ... well, Lucy does. She wants so much to know you, Peggy, for you to love her. I know it seems sometimes as though she couldn't give a toss about what anyone thinks, but your opinion really does matter a great deal to her. It's been just us for so long, and ..." It was her turn to trail off, trying to find the right words to make sense of the longing in her own heart. "We don't want you to be alone any more."

"But I am not alone, not any more," Peggy reassured her, the smile rising on her beautiful, aged face as warm as any Liv could have hoped for. "I have Beth's girls driving their husbands to distraction with pleas to come and visit me, and I have a friend who lived a little of what I lived so very long ago returned to me. And I am sure your Johnny will deliver more than enough diversion the better we get to know one another." She studied the face before hers, seeing Elizabeth in the soft eyes and hopeful smile, seeing Howard in the strong jaw and intelligent gaze. Seeing, for the first time, how beautiful the love that had created the twins truly had been, and feeling sadness for how cruelly it had been taken from them all. Her free hand rose, gentle as she stroked her arthritic fingers against Liv's cheek. "Why do you feel so alone, Olivia?"
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: The Promised Visit
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2013, 03:48:08 PM »
Liv started, physically jumping at the shock that had been handed out to her. She hadn't realized that Peggy would be able to see through her, to the lingering isolation that she was trying so hard to hide from everyone around her. "I ..." The lie died on her lips almost before it began, withering under the shrewdness of the gentle gaze that had been leveled on her. Her shoulders sagged, her chin lowering as her own gaze fell to the aged hand she held loosely between her own. "I'm nothing special," she whispered, glad that Johnny wasn't here to witness the crumbling of the promise she'd made him never to feel this way again. "I'm really not. I've never been as pretty as Lucy, or as clever, or as lucky. She's wonderful, everything falls into place for her and she doesn't even have to try. And I don't mind it, really I don't," she rushed to assure Peggy, not wanting her aunt to think she resented her twin in any way. "I just ... I've never been all that remarkable. It was easier to cope with, when it was just me and Lucy. It's worse now, knowing everything."

"How is it worse, dear one?" The endearment went unnoticed as Peggy watched the younger girl pour out her innermost fears, feeling the upset with her, and understanding a little of the motivation Liv felt to apologize for her feelings, to make reparation and excuses to ease the justification of her own disquiet. "Tell me."

For a long moment, Liv said nothing, trying to pull herself together so she didn't mar this visit with her ridiculous insecurities. But if she could tell anyone, it was Peggy, and Peggy wanted to know. "My father was Howard Stark," she said simply. "He was a genius. He was so good, so talented. He changed the world. My brother-in-law is Captain America. My husband is the Human Torch. My brother is Iron Man. Even Lucy was deliberately head-hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D., and she deserved to be, she's as talented in medicine as our father was in his own field. And then there's me. S.H.I.E.L.D. don't want me and no one can tell me why. I don't have some all-encompassing talent or genius. I'm never going to change the world, or even save it. I'm just ... small and insignificant, and I'm so scared that one day everyone around me is going to see how trivial I am, especially in comparison with them, and walk away from me, just like -" She stopped herself there, not wanting to pour salt in an old wound.

But Peggy was already there, her smile sad, wise, and deeply understanding. "Just like your parents did," she finished for the unhappy young woman with her. "Shall I tell you what your mother did for a living, Olivia?" She didn't wait for an answer, moving on without giving Liv a chance to say yea or nay. "She was a secretary. She was Howard's secretary, very much as you are a personal assistant. She organized his life for him as though she had been born to it. But she, too, felt out of place. She felt small and insignificant and unremarkable. She looked at her life - at her lover, at me, at the organization that had only taken her on because of me - and she couldn't see why anyone would make such an effort for her. But we could." She cleared her throat, needing Liv to listen and understand what she was about to say. "There are a great many heroes in the world, Liv. A great many talented men and women who will change the world one way or another. But without people like Beth, people like you, there would be no world. You, and people like you, are the reason superheroes fight to protect us, the reason a genius puts his mind to work, the reason the talented want to change the world for the better."

"But why?" Liv asked, feeling the desperation of not knowing welling up inside her, threatening to burst out in a flood of uncertain, insecure tears.

Peggy's smile had become impossibly soft, both her hands now wrapped tender and secure around those of her niece. "Because we love you," she said quietly, and each word sank into Liv with devastating purpose. "The world is a place worth protecting, worth improving, because you are in it. You are so easy to love, Liv. You wear your heart openly; you let us in, even when we don't deserve it. You spend time and worry and care on us, and I will tell you a secret ... we often believe that we are the ones who don't deserve you. When your husband saves a life, he is doing it because he knows that life is as important to someone else as you are to him. When Steve saves the world, he does it because he knows it is populated by millions of people just like you, just like the sweet girl who just happens to be his wife's sister. When Lucy creates a cure, or learns a new way to relieve suffering, she feels elation because she knows that if you should ever come to harm, she will be in a better position to save you. Every hero, every genius, every ingenue who changes the way the world works ... they are all linked in some way by you, and the millions of others just like you all over the world."

She looked into Liv's tear-filled eyes, and felt her heart lurch for how truly trivial this wonderful young woman had believed herself to be for most of her lifetime. "You are not small," she said firmly. "You are one voice, yes, but one of many saying the same thing over and over again. One heart that loves just as hard and as hopefully as so many millions of others. In this little family that you've convinced yourself is so much more important than you could ever be, you have completely forgotten what it is that holds us all together. That something is you, Olivia. Your sister loves you; her husband loves you for her sake, and in a little while, he will love you for your own as well. Your husband adores you. When Tony finally pulls his head out of his backside, he will love you as well, I am certain of it, just as I am sure that in a little while, I will love you, too. You hold us all together, you remind us what it is that makes humanity worth it. Just like your mother, you are the most important part of this family. And the only reason S.H.I.E.L.D. don't want you is because they can't use you the way they can use your sister's talents. But I would be willing to bet vast amounts of money I will never have that S.H.I.E.L.D. are as invested in keeping you safe, alive, and well, as any of the rest of us. Because we love you, and Fury knows that if you were ever lost, he would lose not only Lucy, but Steve, too, and in time, your loss would mean Tony's loss. You are far more remarkable than you can possibly imagine, dear one, and far more precious because you don't see it."

Liv didn't know what to say. No one had ever spoken to her like this, never laid out for her that she didn't need to be just like Lucy or Johnny or Steve. That all she had to be was herself. That being herself made it easier for them to be who they were. Hearing it from a woman who was family, a woman who had been alone for so long and yet had not needed more than a couple of hours to see all that ... it was astonishing. And yet, she could feel herself believing it. Incidents throughout her life came back to her; times when Lucy had been brave, because Liv needed her to be; when Johnny had been fierce, because Liv had needed him to be; when Steve, already so gentle, had been gentler still, because Liv had needed him to be. There were other people, other times, too - Jon and Vicki, stern and comical, who had become friends because she'd needed friends; Rhiannon and Eregor, Johnny's friends, who had embraced her not simply for his sake; even the terrifying being that was Ben Grimm, curbing his rough and ready enthusiasm to beat Johnny at his own game, just to ensure that she didn't get caught in the crossfire. How had she never seen that before? And though it would take time for her to truly understand it, to know deep in her heart that she was just as significant and remarkable as the amazing people who were a part of her life, Liv finally had a reason for why these amazing people stuck with her.

She rose from her seat suddenly and threw her arms around Peggy, hugging the old woman as tightly as she dared, holding on far longer than most would have been comfortable with, pouring out the love that her aunt said made her so special into the first embrace of many she intended to share with the woman who had made the world so much clearer for her. And all she could say, as she drew herself back, folding down onto the floor with her hands grasped firmly in those of her mother's aunt, was, "Thank you."

When she looked up finally, Peggy was smiling through her own tears, glad she had something to offer still to the young women who had grown up without her. She held onto Liv's hands with eager tenderness, surprised to find that the lurch in her old heart didn't hurt, that the ache was not so pronounced as it had been before. Family had been just a word for so long; now it was a reality, and she felt certain that with this loving, sweet child of a woman at the heart of this family, it would not be long before she, and Lucy, and Liv were a true family once again. The youngest of them had helped the oldest to cool a little of the anger in her soul, and she in turn had eased the distress of that littlest one. Between them, they would find a place for their spokesperson, the confident elder twin who needed them both more than she would ever admit aloud.

"Well, at least neither of us has thoroughly embarrassed herself," she said suddenly, and was rewarded with Liv's rich, genuine laughter, a sound only the closest of her little circle had ever heard before. Squeezing the younger woman's hands, Peggy drew her up and into the chair beside her. "Now then ... I want to know about you, and your sister," she said firmly. "Tell me everything."
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: The Promised Visit
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2013, 03:53:29 PM »
And Liv did, holding nothing back despite knowing that Lucy had already shared so much of this tale herself. She told Peggy about their childhood, their adolescence, the good and the bad; the friends and enemies that had shaped them, the mistakes they had both made that had brought them to where they were now. The young woman was unsurprised to find that her great-aunt already knew about Rhy'Din, though she had never visited the place, but what did surprise her was the declaration made when their talk began to wind down that Peggy had already made up her mind to get herself transferred - "bag and baggage" - to America, to New York. To be as close to her girls as she could be in the last months and years of her life.

"I won't hear any argument," she insisted, holding up a hand to prevent Liv's protests. "I'm a crabby old woman and I'm putting my foot down. I'm not hurting for money - the S.S.R. gave me a sizable pension, which S.H.I.E.L.D. maintains. Fury isn't stupid enough to cut me off without a penny. As you've said, Lucy is in New York. So is Steve. It is a matter of days and expense for them to visit me here, though I'm sure they could cut through your Rhy'Din if they truly wanted to. But I don't want to expose the baby to that sort of dimensional hopping, and I don't want you feeling guilty for visiting them and not being able to visit me in the same trip. So ... I will come to New York, and we can make Nick Fury and Tony Stark's lives hell, all three of us."

Liv felt herself snicker softly at this announcement, blushing as she did so only to grin wider at the answering cackle that came from her aunt. Peggy, it seemed, had a sense of mischief to match Lucy's. She was going to have to make sure both women knew it, though Steve was likely to be the one most teased by them. Still, he was going to have to learn eventually, just as Liv was doing, that loosening up a little was the only way forward.

There came a rap at the door to announce Johnny's arrival back at Peggy's room precisely one hour and ten minutes later. You didn't really think he'd be on time, did you? He didn't wait for permission, but pushed open the door and peeked his head inside as if to see if the coast was clear. "Everything okay in here?' he asked, glancing from one to the other.

The scene he looked in on couldn't have been more different from the one he had left. Lucy and Peggy were sat side by side, their hands folded around one another's, and the smiles he got in welcome were as close to identical as any family could produce. "Oh, I don't know, Johnny," Peggy said, dropping her formal use of his full name as Liv giggled again. "Perhaps you should go out and come in again, so we don't drown you in sentimentality."

Johnny arched a brow at Peggy's reply, though he was pleasantly surprised and relieved to find the two women seemed to be getting along fine. Better than fine, even. "You say that like it's a bad thing." He wasn't overly fond of the thought of drowning, but there wasn't any water involved - it was only a figure of speech.

"I think we could give Peggy a run for her money with sentimentality if we really tried, couldn't we, sweetheart?" Liv suggested, the gently playful aspect of her tone proving more than anything that something had passed from woman to woman that had negated all her fears as they were arriving. She held her hand out to her husband, wanting him close by to share in the comfortable wrap of emotion that still enveloped the familial pair.

Peggy chuckled again, relinquishing her niece's hands warmly as she settled in her chair. "I take it your pyrotechnics have been a showstopper with the old fogies?"

"I didn't set anything on fire and no one had a heart attack, so yeah, I'd say it was a success," he replied cheerfully as he reached for Liv's hand and pulled a chair close to sit with the two women for a while. He hadn't had much of a chance to get acquainted with Peggy and was trying hard not to overwhelm her with questions about what it was like to be an agent for the S.S.R. He was curious what Steve had been like and whether everything he'd read in the comics was true, but much to his credit, he thought those memories might be a little too painful, all things considered, for him to delve into. "We just got back from our honeymoon," he explained, with a smile to Liv. It was no secret how much he'd enjoyed himself there. He'd felt like a kid again. "We should have brought you some Mickey Mouse ears!"

"I wish I could have seen the two of you married," Peggy smiled, pleased by the way she still felt included, even as Johnny and Liv resumed their united front. But then ... that was a part of what she had been telling her niece so fervently an half hour or so before. "It sounds as though you had a lovely time, though ..." She paused, eying Johnny with intelligently teasing eyes. "Was it really necessary to set that poor man's wig on fire?"

There was a pause as Liv called up that memory, and Johnny's wife burst out laughing. She wasn't going to forget the sight of Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast, ripping off his fake chest hair and throwing it into the log flume water nearby after making a little too free with his license to be a lech.

Johnny's jaw dropped open, eyes wide when it became obvious that Liv had blabbed that little incident to her great aunt. "It was an accident!" he exclaimed, defensively. That wasn't entirely true, but he was sticking with that explanation for now, just as he had at Disney World. He was innocent! "Besides I've got real hair on my chest and..." he blurted, breaking off as he realized he'd said too much once again. He cleared his throat and tried to change the subject, going back to Peggy's initial statement. "Did she tell you how she tried to surprise me?"

On cue, Liv blushed, her natural habit of downplaying her own role in anything - even her own wedding - having conveniently excluded that particular detail during her storytelling. Peggy glanced at the young woman, one brow rising as she felt herself smirk a little at the sweet-natured embarrassment. "If this were Lucy, I'd be concerned you were about to tell me about some kind of fiendishly deviant sexual practice, Johnny," she said, compounding the embarrassment quite deliberately just to hear Liv giggle again, even if the sound was muffled behind the girl's hand. "What surprise would this be?"

"She tried to throw me a surprise wedding!" he explained, with an amused smile as he looked fondly at Liv and gave a too-warm squeeze of his hand to hers. "I didn't suspect anything until she insisted I wear a suit." He remembered her New Year's surprise and his smile softened. "She's full of surprises." The love he felt for this sweet-natured woman was all too obvious from the look in his eyes.

"So I am beginning to see," Peggy murmured, old eyes looking between the young couple with envy for the obvious joy and affection they had in each other. But it was envy touched with happiness for them, and with the increasing comfort of knowing that just a little of that affection belonged to her, too. "You certainly make a fine match. And thank you, Johnny. Thank you for loving my girl." It was said with such quiet fervor that Liv felt her throat constrict, her eyes turning to her husband almost uncertainly once again, deeply touched that the old woman even considered saying such a thing, much less felt it so keenly.

Johnny's smile widened further, and he felt a rush of sudden affection for this woman who'd taken to his Livvie so quickly and thoroughly, seeing the same qualities in her that had attracted him to his wife and made him fall in love with her. "You don't have to thank me. Livvie's the best thing that ever happened to me... besides becoming the Torch," he added with a playful grin.

Beside him, Liv's smile reappeared, soft and touched and not quite so disbelieving as he was used to seeing in moments like this. She squeezed his hand, leaning close to kiss his cheek. "I'm very glad you didn't turn out to be a frog," she told him fondly, knowing this was likely to go straight over Peggy's head.

And almost as if on cue, Johnny did his best frog imitation, which admittedly wasn't very good. "Ribbet!" he said in a voice as deep as he could go. Even his voice held a similar timbre to Steve's, but the two men were as opposites in personality and demeanor as Liv was to Lucy. "If I was, would you kiss me and turn me into a prince?" he asked with a smile, leaning in for said kiss, not really aware how ridiculously silly and sentimental he was being in front of Peggy.

"I thought I already did that," Liv giggled as she leaned toward him, brushing her lips fondly to his. Like Johnny, she'd temporarily forgotten that they were not alone, but if it hadn't been for the hour spent alone with the elderly woman now tactfully examining her own fingertips, she wouldn't have been able to forget so easily. Something very important had changed in that hour, something that might well set them all on a newer, steadier course.
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: The Promised Visit
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2013, 03:58:53 PM »
He smiled into that kiss, his lips as warm as ever against hers. Whatever had happened between him and Lucy before he'd met Liv was mostly forgiven and forgotten. He might not ever live up to the ideal that was Steve Rogers in some people's eyes, but it seemed he was a hero to Liv and that was all that mattered.

The kiss lasted a while longer than was entirely decent in company, brought to a halt by Peggy gently clearing her throat when it seemed the pair weren't coming up for air anytime soon. She smiled at the blush that rose on Liv's cheeks, the giggling duck of the young woman's head. "Would you two like to escape for the rest of the day?" she offered tactfully, recognising that there was a little tension still here that Johnny and Liv could probably work off more easily alone. "On the proviso that you come back tomorrow and have lunch with me, that is."

Johnny was no longer blushing, so long as Peggy made no more comparisons between him and Steve. It would take more than a shared kiss with his wife to make him blush, though his face had flushed at least once when a rather lively elderly lady had pinched his rear to "see if he was fresh", or so she had said. He remained leaning close to Liv, even as their lips parted, a smile for Peggy. "Only if we can have ice cream for dessert," he teased.

The old woman laughed, shaking her head. "You give away your weaknesses very readily," she informed him with a smile, her eyes turning to Liv to reassure the young woman that she wasn't being sent away. "I think we've said and done all we can for a first meeting," she told her niece gently. "I need a little time, and I think you do, too. Just don't forget what I told you, dear one. That will never change." Liv's cheeks flushed again, a deeper shade to coincide with her deeper flush of emotion, loosing her hands from Johnny to reach over and embrace Peggy, murmuring her thank yous all over again.

Johnny arched a blond brow again, curious what had been said between the two women, but confident Liv would tell him when she was ready. There was just a hint of a frown on his face, hoping Peggy would be as accepting of him as she was of Liv, but so far, she seemed to be, his own self-doubts niggling at his brain. Family was as important to him as it was to Olivia, and he was pretty sure he didn't have any long lost relatives hiding anywhere waiting to meet him. Her family was his now, or so he hoped. For now, he was happy for Liv and relieved things had seemed to have gone as well as they had. He got the feeling they were being unofficially kicked out and he moved to his feet to wait for Liv and Peggy to say their goodbyes, feeling just a little awkward. Like the third wheel again.

As Liv straightened, stepping out of the way, Peggy fixed Johnny with a no-nonsense look. "And just what do you think you're doing sneaking away without giving your aunt at least a kiss?" she asked him with comical sternness. One aged hand rose, gesturing imperiously for him to move closer. "Come here and pucker up, soldier."

"You're not going to pinch my *ss, too, are you?" he asked with a mixture of sarcasm and worry. That *ss belonged to Liv now, even if he did flaunt it from time to time. Now it was Johnny's turn to look nervous as he stepped closer to brush a kiss against Peggy's cheek.

"I have absolutely no intention of stealing your donkey, wherever you've hidden it," Peggy told him with a chuckle, reaching up to pull the suddenly nervous man into a warm hug as she brushed parchment-soft lips to his cheek under his wife's watchful gaze.

Once she pulled him close, his lips drifted close to her ear and he whispered softly, "Thank you." So softly, the two words were meant for her ears alone. Hopefully, she'd understand what he meant by that and that he was thanking her for Liv's sake, not his own.

Old hands patted his back and shoulder as he whispered to her, Peggy's smile back in place as she let him go. "Just you look after each other," she told them. "And you, young lady," was added with a shrewd look aimed in Liv's direction, "stop worrying so much. I'll see you both tomorrow."

Liv smiled, her expression so much smoother, easier, than it had been when they had first arrived. Even the mild scolding handed to her wasn't enough to dampen that expression as she slid her fingers between her husband's. "Have a good evening, Peggy," she nodded to her great-aunt warmly. "We'll be back soon."

"It was nice to meet you," Johnny returned politely as he eased himself away from Peggy's hug and back to Liv, his fingers tangling with hers. "Maybe you can tell us about some of your adventures," he suggested, hoping to hear some stories about Peggy's life. Maybe if he was lucky, he could even get her to autograph one of his comic books. He'd have to pinch himself later for his luck in meeting yet another living legend. He secretly promised himself that he'd make sure she was never forgotten or lonely and wondered what she might think of the possibility of moving to New York. But he kept that thought to himself for now. "We'll see you tomorrow!"

"You had better," was the parting shot from the room as Liv and Johnny stepped into the hallway, accompanied by a warm chuckle that faded easily. The visit had gone better than Peggy could have hoped for, pleased with the similarities and differences between Beth's girls and looking forward to the next day's visit. The sooner she got herself transferred to New York, the better. And the more often she'd be able to see all four of them.

[size=9]((I'm BACK! And muchos thankos to Johnny's player for indulging me with a beginning and an end to the middle I wrote while I was away!))[/size]
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]