Thursday, March 16, 2017

Happy Birthday Chief Greene

She walked into the Alexandra Police station with a small black wheeled suitcase.  Brown pigtails and pink overalls.  No coat, even though it was hardly the height of spring.  It was technically still wintertime.  No more than 6 or 7 years old, she goes up to the front desk, clutching the suitcase handle in one hand and a white envelope tightly in the other.

  Darcy was working the front while Mert was out for a lunch break. She looked down at the sweet looking little girl and smiled a bit "Hey there..." She looked out the door, expecting parents or caregivers to be nearby or chasing after the child any moment "Are you looking for a place to mail your letter?"

She looked up at the lady police officer and swallowed, shaking her head.  Opening her mouth, her soft young voice spoke.  "I'm supposed to give this to Officer Joshua Greene."  she held out the envelope.

Darcy took the envelope and her eyes darted out the door again. She'd worked with kids who's whole lives had been blown to smithereens and the last question she'd ask a scared child was where are your parents. In her past experience, in Afghanistan, the parents were usually dead. She tried to keep her voice casual and said "He's our chief now but it's his day off. Do you think maybe I could help you? My name is Darcy and I used to wear my hair in two braids, just like you. Sometimes the other kids would pull them, especially the rotten boys."

She smiles.  "No.  I am supposed to be with Joshua Greene.  Everything is in there."  she seems nervous but not crying or panicked.  "That's what my Mommy told me before she put me on the Ferry.  Get off at Alexandra, walk all the way down the long street and turn and go to the police station and make sure Officer Greene got that."  she motions to the envelope again.

Darcy frowns a little but not sternly and offers "I can call him.....but I need to check this letter first." Darcy has a sinking feeling she can't explain. She opens the letter and scans the paper and forces herself not to visibly react. the letter says:

Dear Dad,

This is Madeline.  She is my daughter.  I named her after those books you used to read me when I was little.  Remember?  Anyway.  Things aren’t going real well for me again, and if I don’t do something then she’ll get taken away from me, too.  So I am sending her to live with you.

Please forgive me


Also enclosed is a birth certificate card which lists her mother as Rachel Greene and no name on the father's line as well as a notation of Madeline's BC Health card number for any medical needs.

"OK...let me see if he's at home. Hang tight OK?" she picks up the phone and calls. It starts ringing.

She sees the frown, but doesn't look too concerned.  When the lady mentions making a phone call, she nods and stands where she is, waiting.

Josh Greene was finishing his morning coffee when his phone began to ring.  It's his day off ... taken to give himself a long birthday weekend.  But it's the station.  Of course.  But he's the Chief now so there really was no such thing ass a day off, technically.  He reaches for the phone and taps the icon to accept the call "Greene."  he doesn't bark, he simply speaks.

Darcy thinks on how to word it as she hears him answer "Good morning Chief. Sorry to bother you at home on your day off but I need to come by with...something....Are you home for a bit?" There was literally no way she could explain it over the phone. She looks at Madeline and then back to the other officers working and waves one of them over to take her place.

Josh hears Darcy's voice and arches his brows.  Something for him?  Maybe a misplaced present?  Not likely.  Few people, even after all these years, even knew his birthday, never mind dropped presents off at his work for him.  "Sure.  I don't have any plans today, so come on over."   he's ready to end it there, curious as to what could be going on.

Frank sees the wave and comes on over, looking at the kid.  She's overheard Darcy's side of the conversation and looks at the child curiously, as if there is something not quite right.  But she says nothing about that.  Before she can say anything, she answers the phone, taking business as usual.

Darcy gives Frank a grateful look and walks around the counter to the child. Looking down at her she says "Let's deliver this to Chief Greene OK? He lives close by....." She's hoping this kid will trust her and walk with her. She offers the letter back to Madeline as insurance that she's really offering to help.

Another lady cop joins the first, even though it takes the little girl a while to figure out it IS a lady.  But then she nods, her face still not smiling and takes the letter with n "OK."  One thing she DID know was that she should trust the police.

Darcy looks mildly relieved and gives Frank a look back that says she'll explain later before opening the door and holding it for Madeline. It's a short distance to Josh Greene's houseboat and Darcy tries to keep the walk cheerful by pointing things out that might interest her "There's a playground through there.....and we have a great ice cream shop here on the island. What's your favourite flavour of ice cream Madeline?"

Madeline walks and looks at the playground with a small smile.  She thinks about it.  "I ... don't know."  she nearly whispers.  "Ice cream is expensive."  she shrugs.  "I've never had any, so ..."  but then she stops as they pass one of the buildings with no sidewalks in sight but her eyes grow wide as she looks at the helicopter.  "Wow!"

Darcy again has to work not to react to the child's admission that ice cream was something she'd never had but then beams at her reaction to the helicopter "You like those? I like them too. Chief Greene and I both fly them. Maybe you'll get a ride someday. Best way to see the world." She doesn't call Josh her grandpa until there's confirmation from his end but she has a feeling this kid is in fact connected to him. In no time they're at his door and Darcy poises to knock, with a smile at Madeline and then does knock lightly.

Madeline's eyes grow even wider at the suggestion that she might get to go in one of these someday.  She doesn't say anything, but nods as if awed.  Arriving at a boat on the water, she looks around, clutching her little suitcase tight in her hand as Darcy knocks.  This is it.

Josh hears the knock and opens the door almost immediately.  He looks at Darcy and then looks further down.  Outright shock appears in his eyes, but is gone a second later.  His eyes move past them both, as if looking for someone else.  "This is .... what you called about?"  he asks, finishing his scan and now hiding disappointment.  "Please ... come in .. come in ..."  he backs through and gives them room to enter, taking in the girl.  "Would you like some hot chocolate?"  he addresses the child.  "It's cold outside.  Did you lose your coat?"  he looks at Darcy, a hundred unasked questions clearly written on his face.

Darcy exhales and then says gently " you want to give him..the letter?" Darcy would make a point of asking around to the other staff, particularly the ones with kids at home and try to come up with some winter clothes for Madeline, but the letter had to come first.

Madeline nods and steps in, because it IS cold to her.  "Please, sir."  her little voice is hard to hear now.  Darcy's voice makes her start a little, as she was staring up at this big man and again she nods, holding out the envelope like an offering.

Josh closes the door behind them and nods to his couch.  "Please.  Sit."  he watches the girl and reaches out, taking the envelope gently.  Looking inside he takes out the letter and other documents and pales visibly, nearly stumbling into a chair bear the couch and absently putting the documents on an ottoman while he looks at the letter, clearly reading it more than once.

Darcy looks truly compassionate. She can't even imagine how hard this all is for Josh but his reaction is the confirmation she was looking for. She steps out of her shoes and goes to the couch to sit, patting the spot beside her for Madeline in case she's unsure "Let's give him a  minute to read. Madeline, do you like to read?" She could be too young, but part of her wonders if she's read the letter herself, if she can and if she fully knows what's going on here.

Madeline ties off her little shoes, revealing worn socks, one of which has a huge hole in the toe.  Following Darcy to the couch, she hops on top of it.  When she answers Darcy, she is still staring at Josh.  "I'm still learning how."  she admits, her feet dangling.

Josh reads the letter several times and all the documents twice.  He is not known to deal with children; leaving it to other officers and now, subordinates.  Most assume he doesn't like children.  Some know his story and why he often hides behind stoicism.  Finally, he looks over at the couch.  "Well, it is nice to meet you, Madeline."  his voice rumbles, but its a kind rumble.  He pauses.  "Do you have an older brother or sister?  And where are THEY?"  he looks confused and then blinks as if he forgot something.  "Hot chocolate.  Right.  Let me make some real quick.  but while I do that, let me know, eh?"

Madeline almost smiles when the man says it is nice to meet her.  She looks a little confused by the question of a sister or brother and replies as the man also mentions hot chocolate.  "I don't have any sisters or brothers."  she tells him.  "There's only Mommy and Neo.  He moved in after Caesar moved out after ..."  she seems to consider.  "Hack."

Josh listens as he goes into the kitchen and begins to make instant hot chocolate in a soup mug.  His back is turned but he almost slams the door tot he microwave closed before hitting a button.  As the microwave does its magic, he turns back to Madeline.  "Is Hack your Daddy?"  he asks, as there is no name in the Father's Name space of the child's birth certificate.

Madeline shakes her head firmly.  "No, sir!"  she replies.  "They were always saying 'that's not my kid, you deal with her.' to Mommy."

Josh nods, slowly and is silent until the microwave beeps.  he takes out the cup and stirs.  Then he brings it to her.  "Well, THIS is DOUBLE hot chocolate."  he tells her like its a treat.  "I used to make it for your mother on Saturday mornings."  he moves to a television stand and kneels, taking out a thick DVD movie collection.  "I want to show you something else I used to show your mother.  She liked it when she was little, but they made new ones since she grew up.  "It's a show called Madeline.  You watch it and I'm going to go outside with Darcy and talk for a minute."  he puts a DVD in the player and selects Play.  "If you need me you just tap on this window and I'll come RIGHT back in, okay?"  he nod to Darcy to follow him out.

Madeline smiles and wraps her hands around the warm cup, then giggles.  "A show named after me?  Wow!"  and when he says he is going out, she looks at the window and nods.  "Ok ...."  it looks like she is considering more and at last she whispers.  "Grandpa."

Josh freezes just a second before he goes out on the bow with Darcy.  "Jesus."  he breathes.

Darcy gives Madeline a sweet look before walking out. She had really worked to fight a wince at what Madeline had said about her mother' and it probably reflected in her eyes a little. She looks worriedly at Josh as they're out "I couldn't explain over the phone. I'm sorry. How can I help you? I mean I could find her some proper clothes to start....."

Inside Madeline watches the show and drinks warm chocolate in a warm apartment on a boat.  Nothing like this had EVER happened to her before.  If this was life with her grandfather as opposed to her mother, she liked it better.  A happy/sad feeling.

Josh sighs deeply.  "Well, I guess this means my daughter is still alive."  he blows out a breath.  "Alright ..... Proper clothes are a start.  Thank you."  he considers.  "The name on the birth certificate is my daughters but the identification number is a phony .. which is probably why i couldn't ever find her."  he bites his lip.  "It's a long shot, but get Wright on finding These Hack and Neo and Caesar people.  Especially this Neo.  Those sound like Hacker names to me.  My daughter always loved computer guys.  Probably a dead end, but."  he blows out a breath.  "I'll ... get to know her, but also take her to meet Susan.  She looks thin to me.  I hope she isn't malnourished.  And .... a genetics test, if that's even possible from grandparent to grandchild.  Just to make sure."  he bites his lip.  "And I guess I'd better consider bedroom furniture for her.  My guest room isn't really set up for a seven year old."  he scoffs.  "She and I have the same birthday you know....."  he rubs at his forehead.  "And I'd love to now what happened to the baby she left here pregnant with fourteen years ago.  That letter makes it sound like it was taken by Social Services, doesn't it?"  he sounds like he almost wants her to contradict him.

Darcy listens intently "We may need more than just their code names unless Wright's some kind of hactivist nark. Do you want me to take Madeline to Susan TODAY? How about I go check in with  Sam, ask a few people about girl's clothes, and then come back to you two. I'd love to let the kid just feel safe with you while I sort details. And I think as long as you have something for her to sleep on, the rest can wait." Darcy thinks for a minute "That birth certificate Is it YOUR birthday TODAY Sir?"

Josh shrugs.  "He's pretty good with a computer."  he looks at the back of the clinic building.  "No ... Susan can wait.  No kid wants to see the doctor on their birthday."  He smiles.  "I hope she feels safe.  Man ... a grandchild." then he grins.  "Yes.  Today is my birthday.  And hers, which is more important."  he argues and reaches for his jeans pocket and his wallet.  He pulls out about 200 in cash.  "Take this and, if you have to pay for another with your own card, let me know and I will pay you back."  he is still absorbing, but cops has to take things in quickly.

Darcy takes the cash "Understood Sir. I have one frivolous request on Madeline's behalf, especially knowing it IS her birthday, and yours. She told me she's never had iced cream. I'd like to bring a tub back with me as well as the clothing. Do you have any favourites?" She smiles a bit "and Happy Birthday Chief."

Josh grins a little.  "Never had ice cream?"  he sounds amazed.  "Yes, bring back a tub.  I am partial to chocolate chip cookie dough because it was like two treats in one."  he admits.  "And thanks.  Oh, and let it be known you're now part of an investigation into a child abandonment."  he sighs and looks at the door.  "You do your thing.  I'll ... get to know my granddaughter...."  he looks a little frightened.

Darcy leaves her chief to his new family challenge and sets upon her tasks. She checks in with Sam and gives him the three names, what sound like code names really, of the men who may have lived with Rachel Greene and her daughter. She also asks him to run the other checks relating to what may have happened to the older child. She does let both Frank and Sam know what's going on and begins to ask around to the other staff with younger children about extra winter clothes or good places in town to get them. Vincent is a man sized child so anything she's bought for him just comes from places she'd shop for herself.

Denise, one of the constables, has a daughter just a little older than Madeline though and offers to let Darcy come get a box she was about to donate to Goodwill. It's chocked full of great outer wear in decent shape. There's assorted clothes for day to day wear, a winter coat, a rain jacket and a decent pair of rubber boots as well as a pair of extra sneakers. Jackpot! She does go and purchase some new socks and underwear from a place in town Denise recommends. She also grabs a hairbrush, some elastics and barrettes and a toothbrush as well as some tear free kid's shampoo.

Despite being close to Josh's place again she makes another circuit because the last two items are perishable. She picks up a small cake from Earthcakes, not using Josh's cash. This is her gift to the two of them and then get s a tub of the ice cream he requested last, and then heads back over. Darcy knocks again, this time hours later than the first time.

Josh goes inside when Darcy leaves and sits with Madeline as they watch Madeline.  They watch the show and talk.  He’s amazed they are getting along so well in a way.  But he also asks questions, but it is soon clear that the child knows very little.  She is, after all, only six.

What made Josh the saddest after having his granddaughter abandoned into his care by his daughter was that is seemed that Rachel had lost her other child.  If he believed the note, she had abandoned Madeline because she was near to losing her as well.  But at least this time … she had decided to reach out to contact her estranged father.

He’d collected Madeline shows, which he watched for nostalgia’s sake.  Usually when he was in his deepest and darkest depressions.  Now, there was light .. and watching the show with Madeline .. he found himself happy.

The show was ending and Josh was about to suggest he make lunch when the knock comes, announcing Darcy’s return.  He opens the door, a more relaxed smile on his face.  “God, what’s all THIS?”  he is surprised at how laden down she is.  He reaches for a large box that seems to be full of clothes.  “Come on in … ugh ...lets see … um … put stuff … wow what is all this?”  he’s touched.

Darcy exhales, setting more down "Denise had a lot to share. She was about to donate this box but it's all in really good shape." She hands him back probably more change than he's expecting "Here, I didn't need it all because of her. She says she still has summer stuff to go through later too." She sets a box that's very obviously a cake on the counter so it doesn't get bumped and smiles at Madeline "How was your show named after you? All those little French girls..." She jokes, remembering it a bit.

Madeline sees a lot of packages when Darcy comes back and she smiles, although not because of any of the packages.  "I love it!"  she proclaims.  "And Josh says I can call him Grandpa and I can live here.  On a BOAT!  It's better than the FERRY was.  I'd never been on a ferry before and this is so much better and I'm going to have my own room and the bed is HUGE!  Not like a couch at ALL!"  she bounces up and down on the couch, clearly more relaxed than she had been a few hours before.

Josh helps move some of the stuff around after an odd look at how much money she gives him back.  "I was about to suggest lunch.  Want something?  Hot dogs?  Hamburgers?  Peanut butter AND Jelly?  That's about where my talent in the kitchen ends."  he says to both of them.  "Madeline, you can change clothes.  Take the box into your new room and wear whatever you like."  he tells her.

Madeline's eyes grow big.  "Hamburgers?!"  clearly it's a favorite.  But then her eyes grow huge at the box of clothes.  She hops down and looks into it, as if its a bottomless put full of toys.  Picking up the sealed packages of socks and underwear, she sniffs.  "Yea ....  Thanks Darcy ....  "  she launches herself at Darcy and hugs both of her legs hard.  Then she grabs the box and drags it into her room, closing the door behind her.

Josh looks at Darcy when the door closes.  "Yea.  Thanks Darcy .. and Denise.  I think I will stop giving her a hard time."  he puts the ice cream in the freezer.  "Burger?  I only cook like three or four things, but I do them well?  I pout my burgers on Kaiser rolls...."

Darcy looks taken aback at the leg hug and then looks down at Madeline sweetly and pats her on the head before she runs off with her new box of treasures "You're welcome Sweetie."

She turns to Josh "I'd love one thanks. She's so grateful.....that's how you know she really needs this......and you Josh." She drops the formalities and addresses him person to person.

Madeline spends some time her new room looking at the clothes and setting them out on a bed that may not seem like much to an adult but is huge to her.  Tears come out of her eyes, but they are totally silent.  She tries to find something to wear, but there are quite a few options.

Josh watches her go and has a small grin on his own face as he pulls out some preformed hamburger patties and a frying pan.  He gets those started and nods.  "Yes.  Sounds like things were rough for Rachel."  he keeps his voice down.  "This is ... quite the surprise but ... It's a nice surprise.  Hopefully she is healthy .. I can also get her in the school, now that I think about it.  VanBuren is all settled in as the new principal, so ... it shouldn't be too hard on her."  he considers.  "My problem might be in child care.  A babysitter until seven at night ...  I think I can take a lot of work home with me ... give the night shift a break.  Maybe Addison O'Brian or Fiona Reinhardt."

Darcy watches Josh work and listens "Maybe Fiona and Addison could share that. I know Vincent says Fiona has some after school stuff like choir but not every night. I'm sure Addy's the same. I think the school would be a good place for her....especially without Spanner."

Josh considers.  "Does Vincent babysit?"  he wonders.  "The problem with my job ... well you know the schedule is hardly 9-5.  I'll think of something.  There's talk of a summer day camp also.  At least I know she'll make friends."  he nods to himself.

Darcy grins "I don't think Vincent want to babysit. Fiona applied at that day camp and tried to talk him into applying too....and he was a little hesitant. He likes kids, but he's not drawn to that. I'd ask the girls. I'm sure we can work it out for you and Madeline."

Josh chuckles.  "Makes sense.  I'll do that.  I'ready booked this time off ... turns out I'm going to need it getting to know her."  he sighs.  "I'm a bit out of practice entertaining a 6 year old."

Darcy laughs "Well no time like the present. Every kid is different too but she seems very easy to hang out with."

Josh nods.  "Believe it or not, her mother was a pretty easygoing kid ... until she hit puberty .. but even then she was more .. curious than anything."  he flips the burgers.  "I think her experimentation's led to a lot of her troubles.  And her mother ... wasn't the ...  best influence." he shrugs.  "Not happy as a cops wife ... or maybe just not happy with me .. or my hours."  he blows out a breath and goes into the fridge for tomatoes and lettuce.  "Water under the bridge.  God ... I finally stop looking for Rachel and ... now I have Madeline."  but he has a small smile on his face.

Darcy just nods quietly for awhile and then offers kindly "Fresh start for both of you maybe. And maybe it will bring Rachel back this way...someday. But what do we do if we...find her? Do you want to press that, given what's just happened? I mean if you back her into a  corner...."

Josh sighs as he takes out three plates.  "Maybe.  If she were to knock on that door NOW ... she'd be under arrest.  But we'll see.  Maybe is Madeline is older ... I'll let HER decide.."  he takes in a huge breath and raises his voice.  "Madeline.  Burgers are ready!"

Madeline is looking herself over.  She has changed into fresh underwear and socks as well as a pretty blue dress that is just a little too big for her.  It still looks nice .. and to Madeline's eyes ... new.  She opens the door and comes out.  "Where do we sit?"  she wonders.

Josh looks at her and nods.  "Well first, you have to tell me what you want on your burger."  he tells her nodding to a plate as he opens a Kaiser roll.  "Lettuce, tomato, pickle...."  he hums.  "Avocado?  Onions?"  well I don't have avocado, to be honest."

Madeline giggles.  "I don't even know what an avocado IS."  she tells him.  "Um ... lettuce and cheese and ... mustard, please?"

Josh grins.  "It's something some people put on burgers.  I don't get it."  he slices off  cheddar cheese.  "But cheese ... VERY good choice."  he looks at Darcy.  "And you, Darcy?"

Darcy chuckles "I love avocado. I'll get one so you can try them Madeline. You can mush them up and make guacamole. Great for corn chips. Cheese, lettuce and tomato and pickle for me please. Do you have any mayo Chief."

Josh mock rolls his eyes at Darcy as he places the cheese on the burgers and covers them to help it melt.  "I DO have mayo."  he turns and puts everyone's burgers together, opting for everything except mayo on his own.  Then he uncovers the burgers and sets them with their melted cheese on the rolls.  "Lunch is served."  he announces and brings all three plates to the table like a professional waiter.  "I worked my way through college waiting tables."  he explains nodding to a chair for Madeline to sit.

Madeline watches it all and giggles.  "I'd like to try it."  she tells Darcy and moves to the table when her grandfather nods to it.  She stares at the sandwich for a long time before she picks it up at an encouraging nod from Josh.  "Thank you."  she is able to say before taking a big bite and beginning to eat, moaning to show she likes it.

Darcy takes Josh's eye rolling with a grain of salt and looks cheerful to receive her food "Waiting tables can be brutal. I did a few rounds of that too. This looks great, thanks." She watches Madeline's reaction before she takes her first bite and giggles "Ok, kid approved. I'm in." She happily eats.

Josh watches them with a smirk.  The few things he CAN cook, he can cook WELL.  "You doubting your Chief?"  he scoffs and then takes a first bite.  After chewing and swallowing, he looks at Madeline.  "Do you have a nickname?"  he asks, half hoping to slow the child down.

Madeline shakes her head, her eyes big and her mouth full.  But she swallows and speaks.  "No.  I'm just Madeline."

Josh nods and stands, going to the fridge and taking out three sodas.  Bringing them back he sets them down and opening one for the little girl.  "I hope this is alright for you, Darcy."  he offers and looks at Madeline.  "That's so formal."  he considers.  "What about Maddie ... or Mads?"  he asks.  "Like friends, eh?"

Maddie beams and takes the pop.  "What do you think, Darcy?"  she asks, eagerly.

Darcy smiles "I had faith in your cooking but kids are always the best judges." She nods at the soda "Thank you." Listening and the looking at Madeline she says "It's you who has to like it, because nicknames stick. What do you like?" She offers back.

Josh smirks and takes a drink of his pop, then looks at Madeline.

Madeline looks between the adults and bites her lip.  Clearly she is afraid of making a 'wrong' choice.

Josh looks at her.  "She's right.  You have to pick it.  Not me." he tells her.  "Sounds like you've always been called Madeline ... but now ... pick something for me to call you, even if everyone else calls you something else.  Makes it special, between us?"

Madeline chews on her lip and looks down and then up ad her grandfather.  "Maddy?"  she whispers and raises her voice a little.  "Maddy."

Josh nods, then smiles.  "Then finish your burger, Maddy."  and he winks at her.

Maddy beams.  "Ok, Grandpa."  and she picks the burger up to finish it.

Darcy looks between them with an expression that suggests her heart is melting watching them connect. She finishes her burger too and then offers to take the plates when the others are done "I can wash up before I take off. It was lovely."

Josh clears his throat, as his own heart melts a little bit and finishes his burger.  He nods at Darcy.  "Sure, that'd be helpful.  And thank you, Darcy.  I'll see you at work in a few days."

Maddy finishes her burger and watches the adults.  The day is very happy/sad for her, but she knows she is happy.

Darcy makes short work of the dishes and leaves them to dry in the rack before saying a brief goodbye to let Josh and Maddy have their time. She leaves with a full belly and a warm feeling. This was a year for people who needed family to come together.

Build Site - Hugh, Alex and Rain

Sam was having his morning coffee on the patio of Kitty's small apartment when he saw the construction equipment coming down Water street and turning.  It was a moment later when he realized it was pulling into the lot between his house and the community center.  With a huge sigh, he wondered how Alex would take it ….  but knew he couldn't go and find out.  As it was, he had slept a little TOO late with Kitty and now had time to gulp down his coffee, kiss her quickly and jog across the street to begin his shift.

Hugh Reader drove off of the ferry and onto the island, quite able to find his location without paying any attention.  Driving around to the dead end of Central, he parks his car in the lot across the street, to keep his car clean.  Checking that his tie was straight, he walked up to the door to knock.

Alex was ten breaths into a guided meditation, the sounds of a babbling brook coming through his iPod dock speakers. He lay on the floor of his room with his eye mask on trying to delve....inward.....

There were loud vehicles a short distance away but he could tune them out. Inhale...ten....Exhale...ten. They were coming closer but he was still focused. Inhale ....eleven...exhale...eleven.......closer still but he still breathed. The knock at the door jolted him before he breathed to fourteen and he sighed and got up to answer it.

It was his cousin Hugh and behind him the construction crew was unloading - right in the lot beside them. Alex looked panicked and demanded "Hugh! What's going on?" He reached for one of his breathing masks by the door and clutched it protectively. "Is there a water-main break?!"

Hugh stood poised to knock again when the door was opened.  He looked at his cousin blandly.  Standing where he was, he watched Alex holding the breathing mask.  "Hello Alex.  How are you?"  he began, his voice showing neither happiness or joy at the cousin he had not seen in quite some time.  "May I come in?"

Alex looks suspicious at Hugh, not knowing his current habits. He sniffs the air "Are you wearing scented products?" He asks cautiously. He knows his limits and hopes Hugh remembers. He glances warily at the construction setting up again and curses the time. Sam will be at work soon.

Hugh's eyebrows raise slightly.  "No." he replies, simply.  He is not exactly wired to understand and react to human emotions, but he's learned some over the course of his life.  "They are messy and tend to smell." his brows narrow a bit more.  "May I come in before my suit is covered in dust?"

Alex steps back to allow him to step in and looks stressed but curious "So...what IS all this?" He gestures towards the construction area.

Hugh walks in, looking ... deadpan ... unfeeling ... almost mechanical.  He glances in the area of the construction.  "My mother failed to inform you that she is having a house put in that space."  he tells Alex.  "She told me to come by and tell you before she moves in."  he pauses.  "And she is sorry she forgot to let you know."

Alex blinks slowly and then stares incredulously "Uh WHAT? Seriously?" He tries to process it but it's vexing.

Hugh sidesteps into the small living room of the brick house and looks at Alex.  "I SAID My mother failed to inform you that she is having a house put in that space, she told me to come by and tell you before she moves in and that she is sorry she forgot to let you know."  he repeats, simply.  "I have the plans, if you would like to see them.  The house will be far back on the lot, so it should not block your side door."  he tells him, simply.  He rarely remembers that his autism is often mistaken as a coldness or even a lack of simple humanity.  That he often has to remember on his own.

Alex walks to a window and looks out, still trying to process this. He turns and sighs "Hugh, I needed more notice than this. I'd love to have Aunt Connie next door but the building materials, the off gasing. I'm not sure I have enough air filters......I don't have a plan for where to go if it all makes me sick....." He paces and then walks to the kitchen and fills the kettle, trying to find calm in a cup of tea to think his way through it "What's prompted her sudden move?"

Hugh doesn't even shrug.  "I'm sure you can find more filters.  My mother can probably help, if you need it."  he follows Alex into the kitchen.  "She wants to move mostly because she has a hard time pronouncing Tsawwassen.  And a friend of hers is also moving here.  Probably in the summer."  he pauses.  "I only made it possible for her."  he doesn't sound proud nor ashamed.  She asked.  He delivered.

Alex doesn't argue it. They do own the land and it's their right to put a house on it. He just wished he had more time to prepare. "For today I'll wear the mask when they really get started. I won't be able to go in the house for months. New building materials.......but it should be OK...if I'm careful." He sighs again. Surprises like this were challenging. It wasn't Hugh's fault though and he reaches to get out two cups "Tea?" He offers as the kettle begins to whistle.

Hugh nods, still standing a bit stiffly.  "It is a prefab."  he announces.  "So the house should only take between 10 and 15 days for it to be move in ready."  he offers.  "My mother wanted it up as soon as possible.  Sometimes it takes as long as 80 or more weeks."  he looks at the pot and nods.  "What kind of tea?"  he looks down at the pot, cautious.

Alex thinks about this "Well faster is better in terms of starting to air out.....Does she really not like her home?" He opens the cupboard where there is an overwhelming choice of tea "I was thinking of Yerba Matte but we have many others "Rooibos, Green Tea, Black Tea, Lemon Balm, Dandelion, Wild Sage, Chamomile of course, Mint, Jasmine, all organic of course, some I picked and dried like the mint and sage.

Hugh looks at him, his face bland.  "She does not like trying to pronounce the city it is in.  That was my failure."  he admits.  "But she should have told me then.  It's corrected now."  he looks in the cupboard and his brows twitch slightly.  "I am still trying to be normal, Alex."  he explains.  "Some things I have stopped trying with, but simple things like tea ..."  he trails off.  "Black Tea, please."  he finally decides on, still standing like one of the Men In Black.

Alex can't help but chuckle "I don't even know what normal looks like Hugh but I understand. Do you take anything in it? I think Sam has some dairy products in the fridge if you like that sort of thing and an digest it. We have honey." He fixes two cups and pours the hot water. "It's good of you to help your mom. I'm sure she appreciates it."

Hugh comes close to the counter, looking at the kitchen.  "I tried.  My problem isn't allergies.  It's autism."  this is a family member and they know ... enough about each other.  Looking at the kitchen he considers.  "I think black is safest."  he watches Alex pour.  "She says she does.  All my life she has taken care of me.  Even more than my wives."  he nods.  "She was right that I should not be married.  I upset them too much."

Alex looks sympathetic "I know Hugh. I said that because you know I won't judge. People are what they are and it's all good. Maybe you just haven't met the right person? The world is full of different perspectives." He passes over Hugh's tea and stirs honey into his own, thoughtfully.

Hugh waits until the tea is set on the counter, then rubs the first two fingers on each hand with his thumbs, then blows on them and finally picks the tea up.  He wraps his hands around it to warm them.  "I have been married three times.  Each time they rarely saw me.  I avoided them."  he pauses, but this is a relative and relatives tended to be safe.  "Marriage can be very ... messy.  Dirty.  I don't like dirty."

Alex nods and then asks curiously "You mean just the emotional stuff or sharing a home with another person stuff? I don't have a lot of relationship experience to offer to this. Most women see one attack and decide I'm too much hassle..." He laughs a bit but there's sadness to it.

Hugh nods.  "Yes."  he means all of it.  "And sex is also very messy.  All of it."  he shakes his head.  Looking at Alex, he nods.  "Women feel that way about my ... quirks."  he blows on his tea and takes a cautious sip of it.  "Like my father.  My mother and sister Ruth understand me better."  he nods, as if to himself.  "How is your brother?"  he asks.  "I forget to be social sometimes."

Alex blushes about the sex comment. His older cousin talking about stuff like that was a bit weird to him. It was bad enough that his brother was so open. "Sam is fine. Healthy, working. He must have slept at Kitty's last night. I guess I should text him about this construction stuff so he's not surprised too. Let me go find my phone...." He takes one more sip of tea and trod off to the stairs. Alex wasn't a keep his phone on him at all times person. He didn't have that many contacts vying for his attention.

Hugh nods in understanding.  "I remember you have allergies.  Cats must be one of them."  he barely turns his head, as Alex goes upstairs for his phone, not really understanding why he doesn't have it with him.  To assure himself, he places his hand on the breast of his suit jacket, feeling the solidity of his own phone within.

Alex walks back in holding the phone "Cats, dogs, anything with fur..." He had heard Hugh as he walked away "You don't have a cat do you?" He looks almost like he might suggest a decontamination chamber if Hugh says yes. Then he quickly texts Sam with the following message  "Aunt Connie is having a prefab house build next to us right now. Hugh is here. Mask day." Alex looks outside and sees building materials in full swing and pulls on his mask after another sip of tea.

Hugh cants his head.  "Cats are messy."  he announces.  "My mother has considered getting a dog, but I told her if she did, I may not be able to visit her anymore.  Messy."  he pauses, as he has come to understand that there are NO normal people in his genetic line.  "Why is Sam sleeping with a cat?"

Sam hears his phone vibrate and looks at the message, sighing heavily.  He glances around a bit before he replies.  "Connie told me she was thinking about it.  She must have had Hugh work his magic.  It's gonna be a bad summer.  Connie construction plus the Olin PLUS the school at LEAST.  I'll go and order you more masks overnighted right now."  he sends the message and then does exactly that from a trusted online supply house.

Alex listens to Hugh and then has to laugh "Kitty is short for Katherine. It's a woman, his most of the time sort of girlfriend I guess. I don't ask for details." He sees a text come across the screen of his phone and acknowledges it with a glance. The phone he just left haphazardly on the counter like he doesn't care what happens to it. "Where are you living now Hugh?"

Hugh nods and doesn't ask for the details.  "I've been in White Rock since the divorce and before."  he tells him.  "I need to move.  My apartment is too big."  he considers.  "I'm just not sure where.  I've always been near Mom."

Alex gestures around "How about here? I mean Alexandra...not in our house. We have many nice apartment buildings on the island. Would your work just let you move? It would be a pain to commute...maybe you can do the same thing here..."

Hugh stands still and considers it.  "An island is very isolated."  he proclaims.  "My top clients have said they would come to me if I moved to new York.  I, of course, told them I would never live in New York, but it turned out they meant they would come to me for their accounting needs no matter where I was."  he pauses.  "I could look for a small office space someplace.  And a small apartment nearby."  he motions towards the side of the house.  "And Mom will be right there.  I'll do that."  he pauses.  "You should know not to just go and visit my mother."  he tells his cousin, who seems very shy.  "She is like Ruth and Sam it sounds like.  Very ... open."

Alex blinks a few times, turning a little pink "I uh...I always call first. But thank you. Noted. If you need a bicycle when you move here, I can help you with that. I build them, repair them...."

Now it is Hugh's turn to blink.  "A bicycle."  he is quiet a little while.  "I have not had one in a long time, and it seems that here it makes good sense.  Yes, please build me one and I will pay for it.  Thank you, Alex."  he sips his tea again.  "You have grown into a good, clean, quiet man."  he seems as pleased about that as Hugh gets.  "What about food here?"  he asks.  "I don't have allergies, but I can be picky about food.  Do you know, or would I have to experiment?"

Alex thinks about this "Thank you. I'm limited because of allergies but there are a LOT of restaurants so for people with no allergies, there's a lot to choose from. I know of them even if I don't eat at many. What do you like? Or, what do you want to avoid? My friend Rain has a restaurant and she's very good with accommodations for adjusting things on her menu."

Hugh looks at Alex.  "I like breakfast foods.  Not as much meat as some people eat, but I am not a vegetarian.  I don't like my foods to touch."  he considers.  "I will try your friend Rain's restaurant.  What does she serve?"

Alex brightens "There is a breakfast place called The Breakfast Nook. Rain's place serves more vegetarian and vegan foods, but really good. Greens, burgers made from walnuts.....smoothies.....good for you good food, all organic."

Hugh looks curious and then away.  "That may be the place my Mom also likes.  And your friends place I will try because I trust you."  he considers things.  "And you do know I can do your accounting.  I usually do all the family, but your name has never come up before."

Alex has to laugh "I'll come see you at tax time, but it's not much to file. I don't make a lot of money. If I was well all the time and could work consistently it might be different. But I live simply, I grow most of my own vegetables and cook and I ride my bike. It's not an expensive way to exist."

Hugh straightens his glasses.  "Maybe not, but I will be able to save you more money than you are already saving."  he explains.  "You would have a home office?"  he looks around the small kitchen at the wall.  Nodding at the door.  "Through here?"

Alex gestures mid sip and then walks to his shop door and pushes it open. It's a mess of bikes hanging from the ceiling, half constructed bikes in all places, boxes of parts, tire tubes. There's an old wooden filing cabinet, an air purifier and a makeshift desk with a refurbished laptop as well as a simple work table. "Come on in....this is where it happens."

Hugh turns and walks to the door .. and freezes for a minute.  Looking through the door he swallows and closes his eyes.  "Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace."  he whispers, as if to himself.  Then he opens his eyes.  "Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go, Friday's child is loving and giving."  he takes in a deep breath and then releases it.  "Saturday's child works hard for a living.  But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay."  he blows out another breath and looks around the room, finally placing both feet inside.  "Your home office."  he announces.

Alex watches Hugh and then face palms "You hate mess....we can go back in the kitchen. sorry, it's just the nature of the work. I take stuff apart and put it back together....."

Hugh walks back into the kitchen.  "Thank you.  And it's alright.  I don't get as upset with other people's messes as my own."  he explains.  "My father once disturbed all of my clothes and I ... sort of ... melted down.  He did that a lot, but he was also gone a lot."  he tells him.  "All of my wives would lash out at me by rearranging my closet space or the cabinets.  The last one was the worst.  She burned my suits on my bed and told me it had never been so hot in there."  he actually gives half a sigh.  "I don't like melting down."

Alex looks truly remorseful. He, oddly, get it. His issues are more physical but control over his environment is for his survival. Hugh has the same challenges in another area. "That's truly unkind. I am sorry. If you....move here....that will be hard for you until you have all your things arranged the way you like them right?"

Hugh nods.  "Yes.  My father could not handle a child like me.  But my mother and sister could ... that made things easier.  And he was off fishing more often than not.  He would come home at most two weekends a month, but those were stressful weekends."  he admits.  Then he nods, once.  "I will move in and won't sleep until it is right."  he explains.  "When I am single, I prefer studio apartments.  One bedroom if I have to.  The smaller, the better for me.  Easier to keep clean."  Again he almost smiles.  "My mother has adopted some of my minimalist ways.  I didn't know it was a thing before she adopted it.  But she is much neater now."

Alex sighs quietly, feeling bad for Hugh. He always felt like a huge burden on his own parents too because of all his illnesses and issues " Small is beautiful they say in the preservation of ecological sustainability. Minimalist. I do that about some things but I upcycle and recycle all the bike parts so I can't in the shop. If I see kick ass shifter in a dumpster, I grab them..." He laughs "And hope to god there's no paint thinner beside them. The used bike sales are great though when I can make them.

Hugh goes back to his tea and finishes it.  "You are running a business, so that is a better course of action for you."  he glances at the door.  "I only need to rent a small office for my own use.  Nothing shared."

Alex nods "Well I'll help if I can. If nothing else, tea when you need company, and a bike. I won't charge family though. A summer day camp just approached me to ask if I'd run a go cart workshop on one of their camp days for the kids. If it's outside I should be able to manage. And it's guaranteed once a month for July and August. It's out of the community center next door so it's handy. I can take supplies over in the morning and run it after lunch."

Hugh nods, once.  "And I do not charge family for my services either."  he glances in the direction of the community center.  "That sounds like it could be good for you.  Speaking of lunch ... or even breakfast.  Have you eaten or would you like to?"

Alex considers this "I had granola at 6 so it could settle before my morning meditation practices. I could eat lunch though. Do you wish to try Sprouts and meet my friend Rain?"

Hugh considers and nods, slowly.  "Yes.  I would.  Will we walk there or drive or does she deliver?"  he wonders.  "My car is in the parking lot across the street from here."

Alex looks in the direction of across the street and then shakes his head "It's really not far. And I like to walk on as many good days as I get. If you don't mind though, we'll cross over and avoid walking by the construction?"

Hugh nods.  "It is a good day to walk."  he agrees.  In his head he prepares himself.  Through his life he's developed many coping mechanisms without which he would probably still be in his room.

Alex puts the tea cups in the sink to wash later and is heading to the door to put on his sneakers and a hoodie. His phone is still lying on the counter like he has no plans to take it on his person or has simply forgotten it exists.

Hugh pauses at the door, watching.  "Did you forget your phone, Alex, or were you not planning to take it?"  for him, leaving your phone at home was nearly as bad as leaving your clothes at home and going out naked.

Alex looks back casually "Oh yeah, it might be handy I suppose. I don't always take it, but thanks for the reminder...." He does a quick dash back for it and then is out the door "Make sure to explain the food touching thing to Rain. She's REALLY open minded and understanding."

Hugh nods as he goes back to get his phone and then again as they walk down the street.  It's been a very long time since he's been in Alexandra.  Long enough he feels almost like he is seeing it for the first time.  People moving in and out of the major coffee house and on the street.  Mostly he focuses on where he is going.

Alex points ahead "It's in that red brick building right there." He's trying to offer some comfort in knowing what's coming, knowing Hugh needs structure. They cross over and are at Sprouts in no time. It's old home for Alex but he knows all the unfamiliar food and smells might trigger Hugh and he's prepared to try to be helpful. He pushes the door open and looks for Rain. He knows she does keep the place clean and that will help Hugh.

Hugh nods and has a place to focus on.  As they approach the restaurant he looks inside and finds it sparkling clean.  Good first impression.  As they walk in he finds the place light and airy.  Not confining.

Rain March hears the door open and comes out from behind the counter.  Alex is standing there with a taller man in a business suit.  Her bright smiles appears on her face.  "Alex!"  she moves to greet him, taking both of his hands if he lets her, then turning to the taller man and looking at him.  Her hands lift, as they always do to 'feel' his aura.  "Welcome to Sprouts."

Alex does let Rain take his hands and smiles and squeezes hers back. He had dropped his mask when he entered but it's still hanging around his neck "It's good to see you Rain. This is my cousin Hugh. We're coming to have some of your good clean food." He steps back as she raises her hands, expecting she'll figure Hugh out somewhat quickly. He does watch though, ready to redirect if needed.

Hug's eyes move to Rain as she begins to ... wave .. move her hands about.  Both of his aunts did that a lot.  Hippy stuff.  He takes half a step back.  "Hugh Reader.  A pleasure."  but he doesn't offer to shake hands.  "Alex recommended your place."

Rain keeps the smile on her face, reading more from his reaction than anything.  That being that he didn't really have a reaction.  She lowers her hands and continues to beam at him as if he is bestowing a great favor on her.  "A pleasure to know YOU, Hugh Reader."  she beams.  "Take a look at the menu and let me know what you want."

Hugh looks at her, blandly.  "I don't like my food to touch.  Is that a problem?"

Rain's smile doesn't change.  "Nope.  Whatever you want, I can help you with.  But I DO recommend the sweet potato fries."

Alex smiles gratefully at Rain for how she's taking on Hugh at face value and adds in "They are good. I will have some with a falafel please, but no rush. Hugh you can take your time."

Hugh moves to the counter and appears to actually read EVERY WORD of the menu.  Finally he turns to look at Rain.  "I will have The Crunchy Salad.  Large.  Walnut vinaigrette dressing.  Please."  he takes out his wallet and his card and sets it on the counter, moving his hand away once he does.

Rain watches Hugh while standing beside Alex.  "A falafel and a Crunchy salad with walnut vinaigrette.  Give me seven to ten minutes."  and she heads back in the kitchen, humming to herself.

Alex looks pleased and gestures at the menu "Good choice Hugh. I've had that salad. Thanks Rain." He calls out softly to her.

Hugh nods and backs away from the counter, even though there aren't any customers.  "I recognized the most things in that one."  he admits.  Then he looks over at the smoothies.  "I forgot to order something to drink."  he admits, but doesn't seem upset.  "Water."

Alex nods "People don't drink enough water. They poison themselves with
colas and sports drinks." He gestures at the tables "I'll let you pick
where to sit. I can put my hoodie down..."

Hugh nods.  "The menu there offers other options, but ... I'm being brave enough I think."  he looks around the place and picks a table in a corner away from all windows.  He looks at the seat, then at his cousin.  "Metal.  Nice.  Clean.  Sanitary."

Alex smiles and nods "All of those things. You're doing great." Alex sets his hoodie on one of the chairs in case they get called up at any moment "Can I ask a strange question Hugh? Do you ever wear jeans?" He smiles a bit "Or sweats? How about pajamas around the house? I guess that's more than one question." He admits.

Hugh watches his cousin and, almost copying him, takes off his suit jacket and hangs it on the back of his chair.  Even through the suit, its obvious his body is in top notch shape.  "Yes.  I do."  he nods.  "I have five suits, which include five shirts and five black ties.  Two pair of jeans; one black and one blue.  Seven pair of sweat pants and shirts.  I sleep in the pants in the summer and both in the winter."  he answers completely, and then some.  "But most of the time, I am in a suit.  Since I was coming here, I wore a suit, since I wasn't sure if this was business or personal.  In a way I guess it is both."

Alex looks impressed with his mental inventory and nods along "Well alright then. You keep good track of it all, that's for sure." Alex isn't much of a clothes person. Many of his are cast offs from Sam and their father and threadbare at this point. But he does sew and patch any holes and never lets any of it go to waste if it can be reused or worn a little longer.

Hugh looks over Alex.  "You recycle your clothes as well."  again it is not really a question.  "At some point you will have to buy new."  he tells him.  "But your environmental footprint would be lower than mine."  he admits.

Alex nods slightly "I know. I do sometimes. Socks and underwear especially. There are places I can order from that are safe, not always cheap. Or Sam can pick things up and just wash them a few times to get any chemical detergents out of them."

Hugh nods.  "Yes, that's very important.  I have fourteen pair of each."  he considers.  "He still protects you.  Like Ruth." now he nearly smiles.  He remembers them as younger children and is glad Sam didn't stop.

Alex smiles "Sam's a good brother, and Ruth's a good sister. We got lucky. Sometimes I think being my brother is a bit hard on Sam though but he doesn't complain, ever." He chuckles a little and looks sadly towards the counter thinking of Rain and the brother she lost.

Hugh glances out of the window.  "They are good siblings.  Ruth used to cry.  So did my mother.  When things got bad or they were afraid.  It's why I have tried so hard to be normal."  he clears his throat a little bit.

Rain comes humming out of the restaurant with their orders.  "You know I forgot to ask if you wanted these to go or if you were planning on eating here."  she admits.  "If you want, I can repackage them."

Alex looks at Hugh in understanding but then answers tentatively "We're eating here." That was the plan and sticking to it is better for Hugh "Thanks Rain. Do you want to sit for a bit if you have time?"

Hugh nods once, looking around.  It's not crowded.  "That's fine."  he watches Rain, not complaining either way to her joining them.

Rain smiles.  "I can.  You caught me during the morning slow time."  she sits nearer to Alex.  "The kids won't be coming in for lunch for another hour or more."  she says is casually, but there is a hint of warning if they don't want to be around a lot of people.

Alex looks happily at his falafel and then gratefully at Rain "Do you get a lot of students? That would say something good about the food choices of teenagers in this town." He glances at Hugh, including him in his commentary.

Hugh watches as steam rises from the fries and so turns to his salad.  Doing the same hand motion that he did before taking his tea, he then reached for the dressing to pour it on and begins to eat.  The first forkful, he tucks neatly into his mouth and chews with his mouth closed, nodding to himself, but not looking at either of them until he swallows.  "Very good."  he only glances at Rain hen he speaks.

Rain nods at Sam.  "They love my fries, some of them."  she replies happily.  "There's a new place by the ferry landing that also ha them, but he deep fries his in some kind of animal fat."  she shrugs.  "But it gives people a choice because sweet potato fries just rock."  she watches Hugh and her smiles widens.  "Thank you.  I'm so glad you like it."

Alex had taken and chewed a few bites of his falafel and nodded while she spoke. He sets it down now and replies after a smile at Hugh "I saw that when I was out on my bike. A little old man in a suit was cooking everything. that Italian man, Bittetto I think his name is."

Hugh eats while he listens to them talk.  Inside he is grateful for the notice of a time when more people will be around.  But he also makes a mental note of other options, as he does have a weakness for fried food.  If he is going to move he may need to know that.

Rain nods.  "Oh he is ... you know how a person can be awful and wonderful at the same time?"  she giggles.  "That's Giovanni Bittetto.  Nothing at his place is vegan.  he doesn't offer salad and I shudder to think how those suits are made.  but he is so nice and sweet and full of life.  He came to try my fries and even HE likes them, even though we both know we aren't in competition with each other."

Alex looks a little amused "Interesting. People can have many aspects to who they are. and as we know, often people aren't aware of what they consume or support, it's not in malice but just what we're all told unless we question it. Or maybe he tries to choose ethical animal options at least....a compromise of sorts. My Aunt Sunshine went through a phase of believing that if you wanted meat you had to go out and get it, and use the whole animal like the Aboriginal people, thank its spirit, not waste.....She had lived among the Haida when she was young...sort of like Emily Carr." He looks at Hugh "Did you spend time with Aunt Sunny when she was trapping rabbits and making slippers from the fur and hides?" He looks apologetically at Rain "Sorry.....not vegan friendly conversation I know."

Hugh has taken several bites at this point and when the conversation includes him again, he looks between the two he is with he dabs his lips with a napkin.  "No.  My mother and father didn't believe in that."  he states.  "She was the sister who got away from the hippy dippyness."  he quotes his mother.  Alex probably knows how his Aunt Connie felt about it.

Rain listens and watches Hugh, waving a hand at Alex.  "It doesn't bother me.  I'll eat meat if it's done properly.  Basically Kosher works for me."  she looks at Hugh, but not directly as she senses that wouldn't really work for him.  "Your honesty is just so beautifully refreshing."  she almost gushes at him.  "Hide nothing.  Pull no punches."

Alex can't help but chuckle and then grin between Rain and Hugh as he eats some more. He comes up for air after and admits "Well we were like the hippy Olympics in my house for awhile. Different after Mom left.....and then Dad went away, more stable with Sam now than it has been in a long time." He notes.

Hugh nods.  "Sam is a very stable individual.  it is good to have one in every family."  he goes back to his salad, obviously enjoying it.

Rain smiles.  "In mine, that would be ME."  she proclaims.  "Which should tell you how insane my family can be."  she beams.

Alex chuckles again "And to us you seem very sane." He exchanges a look with Hugh and then gives Rain a warm smile. The shyness he had with Rain at first has relaxed into comfort.

Hugh nods and almost smiles.  For him it is as close to an out and out laugh as he usually gets.  He works to finish his salad and swallows, pausing a moment before he goes for his fries, biting into it and chewing.  "Yes.  This is also very good.  Thank you."

Rain giggles a bit.  "Sane ....  not many people use that word when thinking of me."  she grins.  "Thank you so much, Hugh.  That is high praise."

Alex  watches Hugh and then starts on his own fries. He's finished the falafel now "Mhm." is all he can say back because they really are good. He looks gratefully at Rain and then gives her a quick wink. He doesn't usually wink. That's something he sees his brother do and his sudden moment of it makes him blush a little and chuckle at himself.

Hugh tends not to make eye contact while eating, so he misses the interaction between his cousin and Rain.  But he does enjoy his meal.  He eats methodically and then sits back.

Rain watches the men eat, happy.  Moving out here had felt right and her feelings had not steered her wrong.  She allows herself to take a small break, leaning back and sticking her shirt legs out in front of her.

Alex is just getting over his blush when he inadvertently stretches his legs at the same time Rain does her and bumps her "Sorry..." He offers and pulls his feet back under his chair, pink in his cheeks again. She looks happy and rested though and it's good to see. He glances over at Hugh.

Hugh watches his cousin.  He didn't see, hear or feel anything, so he assumes the words were aimed at Rain.  And he notices that Alex is blushing, so he assumes it has something to do with Rain.

Rain feels it and when Alex pulls back, she reaches up to touch his arm.  "It's alright, really."  she tells him.  She enjoyed the touch.  Being close.  "So are you two just visiting?"  this is a relative of Alex's she's never met before.

Alex licks his lips and purses them and then gives Rain a little shy nod before seeming to snap back to the present moment and comfort zone "Right...uh...well Hugh's mother, my aunt Connie is putting up a prefab house next to ours." He tugs at the mask still hanging around his neck "Hence the..." He knows he doesn't have to explain it to Rain of all people. He looks up at Hugh and gives a little smile "So Hugh knocked on my door this morning to tell me....and we got to visiting, which is good. and lunch, Also good."

Hugh nods and sips more water.  "My mother is not always very good at conveying messages.  She called me this morning to come by here."  he confirms.  "Since then, I have decided perhaps to move here myself.  It seems a very nice place."

Rain offers Alex a little smile before listening.  "Well this summer is supposed to be a real construction fest."  she looks at Alex, almost pitying.  "But I think it's survivable .. and once it is done .. it should be back to the usual."  she stretches a little and sets her hands on the wrap on her head, where her hair has been growing for nearly a year.  "Might even let the babies out."  she jokes, patting the linen her hair is wrapped up in.

Alex holds up a hand at Hugh "At least I had some warning. Sam is ordering me more masks. It's set back so it hopefully won't all blow right into my workshop....but I may put some  barriers down at the bottom of the doors tonight. And I'm glad you're moving here Hugh. Be nice to see you more than a few times a year." He nods at Rain "That's what Sam said, the school, the Olin....for whatever it's worth with THAT place. I don't envy them......." He breaks off and finds himself watching her stretch, perhaps more intently than he means to let show and then clears his throat "The babies? You mean"

Hugh considers.  "That would be wise.  Take precautions."  he cants his head.  "Olin?"  he asks curiously and then arches his brow at the mention of Rain's hair.  His is professionally short and, of course, neat.

Rain nods.  "Good.  You need to be protected.  Life on a construction site .."  she shudders.  "And that Olin .. needs more than a cleansing."  she smiles and nods.  "You know, I've been working so much and haven't shown you my hair since it was just little baby knots."  she reaches up and undoes the wrap, pulling it off and pulling at ropes of hair in every conceivable thickness.  They come down to her shoulders.  "They're actually more like teenagers .. or really grown now."  Beginning to take one or two and feel them from base to tip, she stops at one.  "And some got married."  she giggles showing him one that hat two distinct ends.  "I let my hair do what it wants.  And this is ... what it wants to be." she shrugs and looks at Alex.

Alex starts to answer Hugh "It's this sort of dive motel. It's had a lot of crime scenes...some people get...superstitious that it's cursed but I think with all the bad energy....I don't cleanse maybe but i think some have tried." He turns to Rain, hearing her and then sort of just staring as all the hair falls down around her face. Before he thinks too hard about it he smiles dreamily and just breathes out "You're beautiful...." Then he purses his lips like he didn't mean that to slip out "I looks great...suits you Rain." He reaches to pick at his fries but he's finished them so then he covers his awkwardness by just casually drumming on the table and saying "Hugh we should probably take off before the crowd eh?"

Hugh listens.  "There is probably a logical explanation."  he states.  Looking at the dreadlocks he pulls back his head.  "It is ... interesting."  and it is .. somehow both a big mess and very neat.  Then he looks around.  "Perhaps."

Rain takes the compliment by blushing, although with her dark skin ... who can tell.  She takes her wrap and begins to wrap it all back up, so used to it, she doesn't have to look.  "Hugh, I have been looking at apartments.  I might be able to help you.  There two on the water."  she tells him.  "One is a very small studio over a clothing store that closes pretty early in the evening and opens pretty late.  And even when it's open it's quiet there.  The other is a one bedroom, but it is over the ice cream parlor.  That's the one I think I will take.  The views are both of the forest across the inlet.  Very peaceful looking."  she bites her lip.  "I've found a home here ... so no more living in my trailer ...."  she glances at Alex and then away.

Hugh listens and nods.  "I would like to look at the smaller one."  he announces.  "Please give me information on who to call."

Rain smiles and reaches in her pocket for a pencil and a pad of paper to write it down.  "I hope you like it.  You'd be a wonderful neighbor."  she looks at Alex.  "And you'll have a new place to visit."  she tells him.  "I've been looking for a long time.  The Ice Goddess is cold, which keeps the germs and molds and allergens down.  And the view ... well it's a nice as from your workroom and ... you know ... its nice is all."  and she stands.  "You both have a fantastic day.  Today.  Please.  Thank you for coming." she is a little nervous now.

Alex is thankful for Hugh and Rain's conversation and lets his head swivel between them as they talk, trying to shake off his forward moment. Rain often hugs Alex goodbye but he's feeling embarrassed from blurting out the compliment, even though he did mean it and he realizes he may have made her self conscious too. He stands and is suddenly super polite "Thank you Rain, for the food, conversation and help for apartment finding for Hugh." He doesn't try to initiate a hug but lightly touches her shoulder with his body posture open to one, but not obvious.  "You have a wonderful day too.." He starts to step back and let his hand drop reaching to bring his dishes to the counter before leaving.

Hugh stands and moves to take his dishes to the counter as well, but is stopped.

Rain reaches out to stop Alex's hand.  "I'll get them.  Don't worry."  she moves closer and embraces him, hugging him tightly and whispering to him.  "Thank you."  then she finally pulls back and repeats, adding.  "Thank you for visiting me .. and bringing your light and your cousins light here."  she knows Alex is very shy, but she feels a need to hug him.

Alex is disarmed by her hugs and hugs her back tightly, breathing into her shoulder as he closes his eyes for a second and looks completely blissful. He's facing Hugh but doesn't think about being watched "You're welcome and...thank you...we'll talk soon." He lets go after her and steps back towards the door "Good luck with the lunch rush."

Hugh waits patiently for the hug to be done.  Going to the door, he opens it and holds it for Alex, partly to be polite and partly to make sure he is not next on the hugging list of the friendly woman.  Affection is not one of his strong suits, as proven by his three divorces.  "Thank you and have a nice day."

Rain relishes the hug and backs away after.  Hugh is already halfway out the door, so she just smiles and waves, picking up the dishes for disposal.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ice Goddesses and Candy Demons - Tony, Fiona and Annie May

Fiona Reinhardt looks sternly at Tony "OK so just ONE scoop or you'll get way too hyper again.....savour it....and don't mix ALL the candy toppings together."

Tony Penhall is torn between the cool adult casual walk and the I'm a ten year old getting ice cream skip. "Wait! Just ONE?" he stops and looks at her. "But ... but ... think of my sugar crash?" he offers like a seasoned negotiator. "That's worth a really LONG movie I can't watch!"

Annie_May.Saigawa wanders up with a shopping bag she looks around spotting Fi waves her bag 'ohh Hai there Fi say says happily  and looks over to the boy smiling 'helloo there

 Fiona ponders this and frowns at Tony "Fine, 2, but don't drown it in syrup...." She looks up "Hi Mrs Saigawa. How are you?" She starts walking towards the Ice Goddess front door.

Tony Penhall: me Tony smiles a self satisfied smile. "I won't." he promises i his sing song and waves. "Hey Mrs ... Saigawa." he heads to the door trying to think of a combination that does well NOT droned in syrup.

Annie_May.Saigawa  starts for the ice cream shop and smiing 'im  great she wanders int 'ohhh bethany and tamaki been so good for Jun.. i think ill get them all a treat . im grat she say waving at them

Fiona Reinhardt smiles "Say hi to them for me." she nods at the clerk and gestures at Tony "I'm with him. You go first Tony. I'm still thinking......"

Tony Penhall approaches the counter. "Hey Dave." he considers. "What would you recommend as an option for a 2 scoop NOT drowned in syrup?" he asks and rolls his eyes nearly to the back of his head, indicating the despot restricting babysitter. Dave snorts. "Vanilla or chocolate." he suggests. "Tony moans but then shrugs. "Two scoops of chocolate and vanilla swirl." he orders with a smirk, just to be an ass.

Annie_May.Saigawa  smiles 'tamaki keeps calling for you .. says Fi Fi ' she laughs 'i think he got a crush on you and Bethany keep asking when addy is coming back 'she laughs and looks at the boy smiling '

Fiona Reinhardt grins "We'll have to come visit them." She walks up right behind Tony and smiles at Dave as she stage whispers "You know all that syrup perfectly preserves your organs...making you much more appealing to zombies...." She bats her eyes at Dave innocently "I'll have a small salted caramel please, in a cup."

Tony Penhall turns to look at Mrs S when she mentions someone has a crush on Fi. "She's taken." he insists. While true, he is actually remembering his own unrequited crush on Fiona ... and Addison for that matter. Neither of which has been willing to wait for his father to decide he's old enough to date. He rolls his eyes at her. "They have to catch my sugar rushing as ... butt first." he watches Dave scoop. "Oh wait put it in the large cup, please." he asks at his sweetest.

Annie_May.Saigawa giggles soflty 'aww id think they love that 'she smiles at Fi attempt to not get Tony all sugared up.. she looks at the choices  thinking tilting her as she think and giggles soflty 'well he is two so hell get over it quickly soon as Paw patrol comes on 'she chuckles softly  as she smile sweetly at the young man 'how are you young sir ' she says politely" nearly two ' she corrects

Fiona Reinhardt laughs and nods and takes the cups as they are handed to her by Dave, handing Tony his and taking her own "Remember, moderation..."

Tony Penhall smiles as Dave does as instructed, beaming at the fact that Dave has ALSO given him LARGE scoops. "You ROCK DUDE!" Tony proclaims and heads for the toppings. Dave put the 2 scoops in a 3 scoop cup and Tony begins to pile on the toppings, apparently determined to use all 5 of them. But Fiona said Moderation, so he uses his favorite 3 of the 5. All the while he hums some popular hip hop dance song, but doesn't sing the words. He looks over his shoulder. "I'm GREAT .... NOW." the fie toppings are threatening to overflow the cup and the ice cream is nowhere to be seen. He begins to eat the toppings, the spoon between two fingers.

Annie_May.Saigawa  smiles 'nice shirt by the way ' she say pointing to Fiona 'aint that truth ' she smiles big .. 'so good to see a girl with some power 'she say proudly beaming at her as he looks around .. 'hmmm i get me a vanilla swirl scoop please . then when im done ..ill need three orders of two scoop rockyroad please ' she smiles 'i was so proud today when Bethany said mama Leia is my favorite princess  ' she laughs. she chuckles at the boys attics 'my future ' she points 'or tamakis .. 'she laughs

Fiona Reinhardt: Fiona's eyes go wide and Tony and the sighs "THAT is not moderation....." She grins at Mrs. S and nods "Leia rocks too." She walks up to Tony "Alright smarty pants, pay the toll...." She tries to tip his ice cream over hers and half the topping mountain, willing to take on the mess of flavour combos over the kid on sugar crack madness for days and her never getting hired back again.
Tony Penhall is eating the toppings that threaten to spill. He swallows, takes a breath and goes in for more. "It onwy free." he manages around a mouth full. He gulps the mouthful down. "And I didn't drown it in syrup like you said not to." he defends himself. He squeaks like a waylaid mouse as he tips his toppings over. "Hey!" he protests. "Give those back!"

Annie_May.Saigawa  just giggles at Tony . as she receives her vanilla swirl cup . she add some M and Ms to her cup and starts on it chuckling a bit as she watches glad for her small respite of child caring .. 'ohh kids. ' she whispers to Fi .. 'aren't they the darnest ' she smiles looking at Tony beaming .

Fiona Reinhardt stares Tony down and then licks her spoon and stirs it through the mess "Sorry, girl cooties all over now. Mine! I left you some....." She takes a bite and shudders "Gawd M&Ms and sour gummies....are your taste buds broken kid?" She looks at Mrs. S "The darnedest something alright..."

Tony Penhall huffs in annoyance. "Hey. If I knew you were gonna ROB a brutha Idda put all Red Hots on it!" he snorts. "What if you get all FAT? Don't blame ME!" he hopes this might make her give it ALL to him, cause hers looks kinda good.

Annie_May.Saigawa  laughs softly 'full of spunk ' she just chuckles as she eats her ice cream ' beaming happily watching it all  as she eats 'ohhhh ' she shake her head 'you done it now .. you've unleash the kracken dear boy . .' shes shakes her head as she eats

Fiona Reinhardt: Fiona rolls her eyes "I will totally blame you if I get fat...dork. And then sit on you and take all your ice cream. She pushes the sour candies to the side and digs for salted caramel and then gestures at Mrs. S with her spoon after a bite "No Kracken. No body shaming either. Tony don't talk about any body form like it's good or bad. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes."

Tony Penhall looks at Mrs S. "Release the wha?" then Fiona explains and he sighs. "I'm sorry." he apologizes. "You're just so pretty. Kinda skinny, but ....." he turns a little darker and tips his head back, pouring as much candy as he can in his mouth. With it full, he can't put his foot in it.

Annie_May.Saigawa @ nods and smiles 'it sure does .. ' she smile 'ever pound and every inch .. I'm proud of she smiles 'its what makes me . me ' she giggles ' I meant kraken in the sense that you'd put him .. straight ' she giggles as he blushes she finishes her cup beaming ' 'it a mythical being to take down thing .. like body shaming in this case 'she smiles

Fiona Reinhardt: Fiona just chuckles and musses Tony's hair "Eat your ice cream buddy. You've still got years to figure it all out. And watch Pirates of the Caribbean, now there's a kracken." The last part she says in a piratey voice and grins over at Mrs. S.

Tony Penhall chews and swallows, then nods to indicate he's heard the other woman. He brightens. "Can we watch it o Netflix over PIZZA?" he brightens, planning dinner already.

Annie_May.Saigawa chuckles 'yeah .. don't rush that .. it be slipping away before you knows it ' she say in a her own pirate wench voice '  she winks as she scoops some more vanilla in her mouth

Fiona Reinhardt looks down at the ice cream "Your Dad said we could do ice cream and left cash. We can't order pizza too. But we'll cook something good. Netflix yes.....on the kid's section." She enforces "How about Big Hero 6?"

Tony Penhall nods as he begins to eat his ice cream mess as if the imagined pizza is already cooling on the table. Then she shoots him down and he sighs. "OK, OK...." he considers the cooking as he takes a spoon full of gummie bears. "Big Hero 6 and ..... your Shepherd's Pie?" he asks with raised eyebrows, complete with blinking like an adorable doe. "That has vegetables in it so you don't have to make a salad." he counter offers.

Annie_May.Saigawa  giggles 'that a good movie .. my kids love it ' she beams . 'but don't you what be big and strong 'she say offers  to Tony  all those extra veggies make ya grow big and strong ' she nods ' like power ups on video game  ' she say

Fiona Reinhardt points at Mrs. S "That's right......Mario has to eat mushrooms! I'll see if your Dad has the stuff for Shepherd's pie. You can smash the potatoes for me. Mrs. S, if you need anyone to babysit, don't hesitate to call me too. I'd be happy to. Enjoy your ice cream and have a good weekend!" She heads for the door expecting Tony to follow.

Tony Penhall looks at Mrs S like she might be unstable. "Um ..... right ....." he follows Fiona out, determined to talk about mushrooms.

Annie_May.Saigawa laughs ' softly 'it how i get Bethany to eat her veggies .. big Mario kart fan 'she laughs 'well do .. ' she waves

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Flew the Coop - Darcy, Thea, Frank, and Sam

Darcy is tapping her pen on the edge of her desk absently, in her cubicle, while she rereads some case details on the computer screen "Bruises on the right maybe the perp is left handed?" she mutters trying to piece reports together and make things match. She blows out a breath at the screen, willing it to reveal something more.

The door to the station opens and a stricken dark haired woman walks in with a backpack on her back, pulling a rolling suitcase behind her. She is distraught but also drop dead gorgeous, like some kind of voluptuous Greek Goddess. The deity in question is named Thea Stavros. She approaches the desk "May I please speak to Officer Darcy Lynch?"

Sam is at the desk.  Mert is out for the day as her husband is sick again.  He sees the woman come in and looking at her she looks upset.  But she is specifically asking for Darcy.  He smiles in a reassuring way.  "Sure hold on."  he moves over to Darcy's cubicle.  "Someone's here to see you."  he tells her.

Frank is in her cubicle typing away.  She nods and smiles to herself and murmurs softly.  "And they all lived happily ever after."  as she clicks the print button.  Sam is dealing with someone at the desk and getting Darcy, so Frank heads for the printer, grabs her printout and returns, sitting to read the printed sheets for spelling errors she may have missed.

Darcy looks grateful for a break from the case file "Oh thank god. Sam, can I email you this case? I need a second pair of eyes...or a second brain." She had vaguely noticed Frank go by twice and turned to walk to the front and then gasped "Thea?" Not even waiting for Sam's reply she walks to Thea as she crumples into a heap and starts sobbing hysterically. "Thea...oh my god...what happened?!" She catches Thea in her arms and holds her up trying to gently steer her "Come talk to me in my cubicle....Is it?" She winces "Is it Timon?"

Thea can barely breathe at first but then chokes out "No, my father is fine. It's Amy....she left me....she just disappeared.....and I'm pregnant!" This all comes out of her in a hysterical stream just as Darcy literally guides her into a chair and sits her down. "I need you to see if you can find a missing persons thing...." No one else seems to exist in the building for Darcy except this very upset woman she appears to be extremely connected with.

Darcy sighs "Did you have a fight?" She asks carefully.

Thea hisses "THIS is not a DOMESTIC dispute. The cop I reported it to on Theta asked me the same damned I left without filing and came here......if YOU can't help me......" She starts to stand up again.

Darcy clamps both hands on her shoulders and pulls her back to sitting "I didn't say that. Thea, it's a logical question. I'm sorry...."

Sam watches the whole exchange and simply adds his eyes to Darcy's case, as obviously she knows this distraught woman and can possibly help more than he can.

Frank half listens while proofreading, but then the woman ... Thea, if she overheard correctly ... talks about being abandoned and pregnant.  That was familiar on two levels; Frank remembered her own abandonment, but she also remembered Darcy talking about an ex who had married and might be considering having a child.  Now she begins to listen more than read .. even though she knows she shouldn't.

Thea works to stop herself from hyperventilating and lets Darcy sit her again, coming down from her gaskets near blowing "I'm sorry I'm just scared Darc. We just found out about the baby....she wouldn't just leave me....some thing must have happened......."

Darcy sighs and strokes Thea's hair on one side of her head "I don't know Thea....but let's go through it OK? I'll see what I can do. When was the last time you saw her?"

Thea sniffs "Six days ago. We had the doctor's appointment in the morning. She drove me to work and she seemed fine, great...we were happy....I came home and she wasn't there. I thought maybe she just went for groceries at first but then I started seeing things missing. It was all her stuff. She packed up and left.....but what if....what if she was taken?"

Darcy closes her eyes fort a long moment and then opens them. This didn't sound like a kidnapping "Thea, when people are kidnapped, they don't usually give the victim time to....pack......but I'll run her name......"

Thea's shudder can be heard in her voice "I know what it sounds like, but could she do that? Could she just flip a switch like that? It seems impossible..."

The sound of typing can be heard and then Darcy's chair wheels as she swivels "OK, that's the BC index.....give it a few minutes.......Do you have reason to believe she would leave the province for ANY reason?"

"She used to live in Calgary before she met could try Alberta next. Maybe she just has cold feet?"

Darcy tries to keep her voice impassive "Maybe. Thea, you're packed for a week here......are you staying in town?"

Thea speaks through another sob "I was hoping i could stay with you.....I don't know where else to go. Dad will just say I told you so if it turns out she's bailed on us....he never liked her.....he's still mad I didn't marry you....."

Darcy freezes and stammers "Uh.......ok.....Jesus. You can stay.....I have a kid now I'll need to give a heads up to, not a baby...I adopted a teenage boy, long story.....but uh we'll work it out for a few days...." She swivels back to the computer "BC's not showing anything but your marriage registration and her driver's licence. You want me to run Alberta?"

"Yes please....oh, try her maiden name too...I dunno worth a  shot..." Thea exhales "You became a mom....Darcy that's wonderful...I thought you didn't want kids?"

"Babies....not a baby person - no offence and congratulations, but Vincent is amazing." She smiles a bit "Was it McCoy right? Amy MCoy? And yes I remember because of Star Trek....."

Thea actually lets out a small laugh "Thanks. Of course you do. Amy McCoy.....or maybe if you could run Amelia McCoy too. Her full name."

Darcy nods "Oh I always just thought it was Amy....ok....BC again with both of those....let's rule out one province at a time."

Frank was half listening ... and then she found herself three quarters listening.  God, this woman and she had SO much in common.  But then again, Frank had not been pregnant.  She picks up her coffee mug, standing and planning to deliver the report to Greene when Thea mentions that her Amy's name is Amelia McCoy.  The coffee mug falls from her shocked hand, lands on the edge of her desk and shatters.

Darcy was still waiting on the database and heard the smash and called out "Frank?"

Thea was watching the screen like it might catch fire and paid no attention to the loud noise. It wasn't her concern right now. The search finished and the no entries found message popped up and she prompted Darcy back " the other.....please...sorry......"

Darcy looked down "Dammit. Yeah OK. Thea it's OK....." She called up the database again and ran

Frank blinks and turns at the sound of Darcy's voice.  Ignoring the broken mug and spilled coffee, she moves to Darcy's cubicle.  "You won't find her."  her voice is short and sounds a little shocky.  She blinks and looks at Thea.  "Can you give me a physical description of this ..."  she motions to the monitor.  "Amalia McCoy?"  she pauses.  "Please?"

Darcy looks confusedly at Frank, wondering if Amelia had a record she didn't know about.

Thea looks completely taken aback "Uh, what? I'm sorry, why are you telling me this?" She's immediately on the defense "I don't even know you...."

Darcy puts a hand on Thea "It's OK...she's a friend Thea....maybe she can help. about my height, brown hair....Thea, you still have your wedding pic as your Facebook profile right?"

Thea nods, still looking warily at Frank but pulls out her phone "I have pictures of Amy, lots...." She clicks to her photos and finds a really nice close up of Amy from a  walk they took just a few weeks back in a forest park. She holds it out to Frank.

Frank still looks a little stunned, but replies, her voice still betraying her shock and suspicion.  "Sorry.  Lieutenant Francis Sharp.  Frank."  she mutters her introduction and then looks at the picture.  Her eyes drift closed and she takes him a deep breath.  "God."  she sighs deeply and leans on Darcy's desk as if for support.

Darcy watches Frank and has a look of dawning. The way Amy left......She looks between the two women and just gently nudges "Frank? Talk to us...."

Thea looks shocked by Frank's reaction and then down at Amy's picture with a  frown, gathering her own thoughts.

Frank hears Darcy and reaches deep for professionalism.  "Thea .... may I call you Thea?" she asks, but goes on anyway.  "Was your wife's name Amelia Lenore McCoy?"  she asks in a gentle voice.  She looks from Thea to Darcy.  "Yea.  I think it's her."  she refers to the story she'd told Darcy on New Years Eve.  "But this is ....."  she motions a bit to Thea, as she believes this is worse than anything Amelia did to her.  If, indeed. it IS the same Amelia.

Thea looks up from Amy's picture "Is she a criminal....or did she have a relationship with you? You know her middle name. she hates her middle name so she'd only tell you if you were significant Frank."

Darcy grits her teeth awkwardly, looking between them as another search comes back fruitless. She keys the first name into the Alberta index and waits.

Frank sighs deeply.  "Amelia McCoy has no criminal record that I know  of."  she states and relaxes a little bit.  "And I haven't been significant in half a dozen years or so ...."  she shrugs.  "When she asked me to marry her and then abandoned me literally the next day."  and she sighs deeply again.

Thea starts shaking as Frank explains their connection and her hand flies to her abdomen "She got a little further this time.....oh god....what am i going to do? Did she ever talk to you again Frank? Like EVER?"

Darcy looks pained as she runs the next name and then looks back at the two women, listening in horror.

Frank closes her eyes a moment and then shakes her head.  "I never heard from her again."  she admits.  "All of my searches were futile.  Even her ID number was a phony."  she pauses and then blows out a breath and places her hand on Thea's shoulder.  "But THIS time ... she'll get FOUND.   Somehow.  What she did to me is one thing but you...."  she blows out a breath.  "Alright, let me think ... of any clues."

Darcy looks like the gears are starting to turn in her head despite the emotions around her  "OK so she went by Amelia and then you have reason to believe she'd ever use her middle name? I know she said she hated it.....but you have to have something to put on a hotel room booking right? Should I try her middle name in combination with her maiden name or Stavros?" She looks between them, ready to type "Because Alberta had nothing on Amelia Stavros. There's an old driver's licence for Amelia McCoy that's expired. No birth certificate or medical card though....that's strange...."

Thea nods and swallows hard at Frank and then shakes her head "Oh I never saw a medical card...Amy doesn't trust doctors. She refused to go to one....ever.....this whole baby thing had to be on me in terms of carrying and dealing with that side because of it. I wanted it was fine...well it was when I didn't think I'd be doing it alone...."

Frank shakes her head, but not in denial, but in amazement.  "Yea.  She hates doctors."  she confirms.  "She told me it was because her mother had died and the doctors didn't do enough to help.  Maybe even killed her.  Which kills all trust, right?"  she bites her lip and looks over the cubicle wall and outside.  "But seeing a doctor means giving your identification number, and for someone living under an alias ..."  she blows out a breath and watches the people moving about the streets of Alexandra.  Something makes her blink.  "We went to Ontario once."  she seems to change the subject abruptly.  "A weekend away.  And this woman ....  came up to her  ... you know ... like how someone will come up to you that you haven't seen since you graduated high school.  Oh my god, Darcy Lynch is that you?"  she moves her eyes to Darcy.  "Amelia told the woman she HAD to he mistaken ... but the woman was so SURE."  she frowns, clearly trying to remember.    "I didn't think of it while I was searching.  Too close .. or in to much pain."  she nod to the keyboard.  "But its worth a shot.  Worse comes to worse, it's just another alias that goes nowhere."  her jaw tightens.  "Try Lenore Warren, Darcy."

Thea's jaw sets and her face hardens "It is her middle name...maybe it was all a lie....everything between us....everything about her..." He disillusionment is hanging in the air like a thick vapour.

Darcy listens to them both and then intently to Frank "yeah except it's guys asking me it I'm Marianne and trying to kiss me......" She gives a short laugh and then on a hunch flips to the Ontario database and types in Lenore Warren and drums her fingers. There's a few immediate hits "Oh, expired driver's licence, not expired Royal Bank account......that is the year she was born....and look at the driver's photo ID section...." She points at a  younger Amelia Amy  with longer hair but the face is unmistakably her. Darcy sits back with a grave expression and then looks worriedly at Thea and Frank "There's something seriously going on here...."

Frank's eyes move to Thea.  "I don't know."  she tells the woman.  "Maybe .. she just .. has a commitment problem.  I know the woman who stopped us was like 'I wondered where you'd vanished to after that night.' so maybe that was one of the first in a pattern?"  she shrugs.  "Blew off her first date, probably.  I mean ...  Amelia asked ME to marry HER .. I didn't ask."  she bites her lip.  "Whose idea was it to have a baby?"  she wonders before the information is on the screen.  She looks at it for a moment.  "Think we can access that bank account?  Address .. phone number?  It could all be fake with electronic banking these days but .... hell it could be her childhood home.  Maybe she ran there?"  she hopes so.  For the sake of Thea's baby.

Thea sits there just seething fora  full minute before answering Frank "It was mine. But she did propose to me too. I begged for a baby. I needed to grow it......I spent away my RRSPs, my savings, everything.....we've been living at my Dad's while he was in Greece, now he's back. I thought maybe she left because of him. they've never gotten along. Maybe he sensed something about her I wasn't seeing. He's not a homophobe. He LOVED Darcy, still does...." She looks wryly at Darcy.

Darcy smiles sadly "Your Dad's an awesome guy Thea. I love him too." She admits. She looks back at the screen "Let me dig into this a bit, try some combinations, see what comes up. I'll follow this thread but I just have a feeling there might be more...."

Frank nods.  "So she went a step further with you."  she tutts.  "It's like some kind of mental illness with her.  Propose and abandon .. then get over that and MARRY then bail on a pregnant wife."  she growls in her throat a little.  Then she almost laughs.  "Darcy's something else.  Not quite my type, but ... I can imaging the woman who would fall for her."  she manages a slight laugh, as she IS the one dating Tams now.
Thea grinds her teeth as Frank growls and then softens and becomes the delicate beautiful creature she is at her sweetest "I don't need to imagine and I'm an idiot for not marrying her instead when I had the chance...."

Darcy tenses up and turns very red "Trying to research here gals....DO...YOU MIND?" She says trying to stay professional herself now.  She scrolls at a map, magnifying and then writing something down, which she keys into another database "This address has no Lenore Warren listed according to the last info for the house title or the census index."

Frank laughs at Darcy, as she often does.  "Fine.  Research."  she looks interested in the results.  "But what name DOES it have?  With a little luck, its a relative."

Darcy shakes her head "Nope. No one with the last name Warren at that address. Richard and Mona Allen, and then it was sold to oh I can't pronounce this last name.... Mandeep......" she points and sounds it out slowly" Chattopadhyay." She exhales "We could look up the Allens because Amy didn't look East Indian to me..."

Thea smirked at Darcy briefly and then sighed "She claimed Irish and English heritage but who knows now. She's white so European something..."

Frank nods.  "Well, I think we should keep digging."  she suggests.  "It's one thing to abandon ME, but to abandon the mother of your CHILD."  she shakes her head.  "That's just ....  I'm so sorry this happened to you, Thea.  I know you have to be an incredible woman."

Thea gives a small sad smile "Thanks Frank. I don't really know what to think about it all yet. I'm all over the place. Devastated, furious, confused...scared.....I want to know the truth. Who the hell is Amy?"

Darcy turns her screen and taps at it "Richard Allen is still alive. Mona had an obituary listing from 5 years ago. The name Amelia appears in under grandchildren. He's in a nursing home though in Etobicoke, Ontario. We could see if he's still cognitively aware enough to tell us about his granddaughter."

Frank nods.  "That sounds familiar."  she quips.  "I eventually stopped caring so much ... then got scared to get into any real relationships for a LONG time.  One thing I've figured out now ...  Amy .. is pretty damn sick."  she looks over at Darcy when she speaks.  "We could."  she looks at Thea.  "I think that is more a decision for you than me.  If she's really gone ... you could get support for your baby"  she points out.

Thea looks like she's digesting the idea and conflicted and then snaps her gaze to Frank, before Darcy "I need to know. I need to know if it was ALL a lie."

Darcy nods at Frank and then Thea "There might be more we dig up. We could gather more leads and then try and pursue a few, instead of going on what might be one wild goose chase. But yeah, it's up to you. Thea, I can't leave the province until my adoption papers go through, but once they do, I can go with you, try and coordinate with local police stations if there's anything to be uncovered.."

Frank nods.  "I understand that, too."  she admits.  "For me it's been years.  And the damage wasn't as bad as I thought it would be."  she looks at Darcy.  "Well, I can help with phone calls, but also if we DO find her, she may balk at even being approached by a woman." and she turns her head towards Sam.  "You in, or out?"  she asks.

Sam, who had been quietly working at the front desk, but pretending not to listen, turns to fave them.  "I'm in, of course."  he declares.  "Especially if you need a complete and unbiased stranger to approach that ...."  he seems to pause and check his words.  "Woman."

Darcy smiles at frank pulling Sam into the fray of this layered monstrosity and now speaks to his position in the room as well. "Let me have a bit more time with these databases and then we can figure out a plan." Directly to Thea she now offers "This might take awhile. I can borrow a car and drive you to my place if you want to settle in and  have a rest. How are you feeling...physically I mean?"

Thea seems comforted by the support of the three officers; one of them her former love, one of them Amy's former love and one of them a friend to both of those women. It's an unlikely trio, but it's solid. She sighs "Nauseous but I don't know if it's the baby or just all this stuff. But a rest might help. Thank you Darcy. And Frank...and whoever that guy is..." She gestures towards the front.

Darcy laughs "Sam. That's Sam Wright. Come on let's get you chilling out a bit."

Frank shrugs.  "Could always be both."  she suggests.  "And sure ... anyone can drive you over."

Sam gives Thea a half a bow.  "Pleasure to meet you."  he smiles.  "And if a man with dark hair walks in, don't kill him, eh?"  he is about to say more but the door opens and an off-islander comes in to ask directions.

Thea smiles at Sam, leaning around and then looks back at Darcy and Frank "What's the kid's name?"

Darcy laughs "Vincent. I'll text him. Listen...Frank, would you consider driving Thea over? I'm kinda on a roll here and I can just keep at it." She looks at Thea "If that's OK with you?"

Thea nods "I want information, so please...." She looks at Frank too as Darcy digs out a set of keys.

Sam nods.  "No problem.  Always glad to help."  he grins and turns back to his work.

Frank nods.  "Sure.  I'm due for a break anyway.  Then I can do a drive around."  She reaches for the keys to the apartment, then goes to the pegboard where the cruiser keys are kept.  "Ready when you are."  she announces.

Thea and Darcy both stand up and Thea grabs Darcy in a hug and stifles another sob "I'm glad I came here....even if the news is all bad."

Darcy hugs her back hard and rubs her back "Oh Thea I'm sorry. I wish it wasn't."

Thea nods and then wipes her face and reaches for her pack and rolling suitcase to follow Frank "Me too...." She whispers. She passes Sam on her way "Bye."

Darcy watches her go and then sinks into her chair looking at the computer screen in anger.

Frank watches the exchanges as she looks at Jerry, the stations Janitor, who is looking at her mess with a raised eyebrow.  She passes quickly with Thea and opens the door for her.  "Parking lot is over here."  she moves to the parking lot and opens the front passenger door and lets her in before getting in behind the wheel.  "Now one thing you learn in Alexandra is that everything is close by."  she winks and starts the engine.  She turns right and drives straight into a parking lot between the clinic and the pharmacy.  "From here, we walk."  she winks as she parks the car.

Thea glances briefly at the janitor and follows Frank and gets in "Oh good. I love to walk. Theta is pretty walkable and I've been here once or twice, mostly when I was younger for school team stuff, volleyball." She shrugs. In almost a blink, she's getting out again and wheeling her small suitcase "OK....." Then she just has to ask "How long were you with Amy, sorry Amelia for you, happened?"

Frank nods.  "I hear Theta is nice enough, but I tent to take the ferry in the opposite direction."  she chuckles.  She sees that Thea has her suitcase with her and sighs at the question as she walks across the kids play lot.  "Well, she left me six years ago come spring."  she tells her.  "But before that we were together for nearly a year and a half.  Sic months as friends slash lovers before we moved in together and then almost a year in the same apartment."  she opens the door for Thea to enter the Graybar building.  She considers asking the same for her, but isn't sure if the woman is THAT fragile or not.

Thea sighs "That's almost the same. God I'm an idiot. Did you ever meet her family at all? I thought they maybe were closed minded homophobes. Her mom died, or so she said. But no cousins, old's partly why my Dad never trusted her. He said that wasn't normal, even with someone coming out......there was no one on her side for the wedding. Darcy actually ended up witnessing for Amy, because I had other about awkward for Darc....but she's good that way." She sees the elevator and instinctively walks towards it.

Frank moves to the elevator and presses the call button, holding the door for Thea while she enters.  "Yea ... well she told me her mom was dead also.  But ... the funny thing is that, for me, I guess love blinded me to a thousand red flags I now see perfectly.  No friends.  Everything dealt with in case because she didn't have a bank account.  Bills all in MY name .... "  she nods.  "Darcy is amazing.  I love to tease her.  She's not exactly my type ... which is funny considering I'm with another cop ... just not one in Alexandra."

Thea steps through and shimmies her suitcase "Thank you. Cop isn't exactly a "type'." She does quotations in the air "If I had known Darcy would ever settle down somewhere and leave the air force I would have taken her back....the tours drove me nuts. I guess you still wonder if a lover will die every day they're a cop but not with the idea that they might die somewhere so far away.....anyhow....we missed that flight. I did anyway. Amy seemed so perfect, it was like she was molding herself to what I wanted though....maybe she was playing me all along. We never even fought, not ONCE." The elevator dings and Thea pulls her bag out but then waits for Frank to show her the way.

Frank nods.  "True, true.  But for me it was just ... I was so messed up all I wanted was a fuck, if that makes sense.  Heep it sexual.  Everybody cums and no one gets attached.  But with Darc .. it just isn't there.  That chemistry."  she snorts.  "Well, me and Amelia didn't agree on EVERYTHING, but ... at the end of the day, she would agree with me, even if it turned out I was wrong.  But yes .. molding herself to me."  she moves out on the 10th floor ans walks along the hall.  She pauses as she unlocks the door.  "She was very sympathetic to my mother's refusal to support my being gay."  she tells her.  "Was there anything big in your life she completely sympathized with ... that made you think .. oh yea ... thanks for being there for me?"

Thea nods "I get what you mean. And it's just as well. Darc gets all freaky and moral about casual sex, believe me I tried that with her when we were both single at the same time. She only went there with someone once and totally freaked out after, so probably better not with a  coworker or an ex. " She thinks about Amy " Yeah well the big she sympathized with, empathized even was I met her no long after losing my mom. She told me she had been through it too......and that's shitty about your mom. I'm sorry."

Frank lets them on and toes off her shoes out of habit.  "Yea ..."  she chuckles.  "That would be the woman I am now in love with.  I didn't know until she and I stopped by the station and Darcy freaked out a little bit because of all that.  Darcy strikes me as someone who needs to have at least one foot in the emotional well before things start to get hot."  that's part statement and part question.  "Although that doesn't stop me and Sam from teasing her."  she smiles.  "Thanks and yea ... it is.  But it tells us that MAYBE this woman gets her foot in the door with sympathies.  And it ALSO means ... "  she sighs in resignation.  "That HER mother might not be dead."

Thea does a double blink at Frank "Seriously? This town is too small isn't it?" She laughs and then nods "And you are correct. I'm glad she has friends here who don't let her take herself too seriously." She takes off her owns shoes too "I have no idea what to think of all....." She exhales and looks around "Wow, what a view..."

Frank laughs.  "Well, to be fair., my lover lives in Cedar Point but .... it IS a small world.  Look at us.  What are the chances of THIS ever happening?"  she looks at the window.  "I KNOW, right?  It's an INCREDIBLE view."  she looks around a bit.  "Do you want me to fix you something?"  not that she knew her way around Darcy's kitchen.

Thea smiles a bit "No I'm OK. It is's almost like I want to warn any future women now she might meet.....I wonder how many others there are like us?" She shakes her head and walks around. She looks in the TV cabinet "Star Trek.....of course...." She inhales and looks back at Frank "what the kid like? Vincent?"

Frank laughs.  "Well, if we're starting a club ...  I want to be Master At Arms.  Cause now I want to kick her ass again."  she sighs a second and then laughs.  "Yea ... she .. really likes Janeway, I hear."  she chuckles.  Then.  "Oh, Vincent is a really good kid.  Just turned 15, good grades.  He's a scholarship student.  They're a good fit, those two."

Thea confirms "Mhhm ,'s the voice....gravelly. She would get all hot and bothered when I got a cold." She grins and sits on the couch, assessing it "Comfy enough." She curiously stands and peeks under a cushion "Oh over better, it's a pullout...." She puts the cushion back "Vincent sounds like her kinda kid. She was a good student, still is, loves to research. But thank god right now. I wonder why Amy runs? I mean...we're not crazy.....she had choices. Maybe a fear of endings, or not knowing how......."

Frank arches a brow.  "Sick sex?"  she shudders a little bit.  She watches her inspect the couch with interest.  That would help with an overnight guest.  She sighs.  "Maybe shes scared to commit ... but with each woman gets closer to it?  But .. she married you .. so who is she not committing to a child.  How fucked up is THAT?"  she sighs, realizing at this point in the game Thea may still be head over heels.  A week after abandonment Frank had her own issues with denial.

Thea giggles "Not when I was like pouring with snot, just the voice thing. I eventually humoured her and bought a red bob wig.....which is more than you ever needed to know..." She winks and then grimaces "It's fucked up. I can't even...I just can't even..." She sinks into the couch.

Frank chuckles and nods.  "WAY more." she agrees, but then Thea looks like she might cry.  "It's going to work out."  she offers, not really moving too close.  She knows the woman is distraught, but she isn't the huggiest person in the world.

Thea nods, holding up a hand and trying to find strength "I know, in some way. We just met, thank you for your patience. I know you understand Frank."

Frank smiles a little.  "Just hang in there."  she offers.  "And I would be happy to support you."  she offers.  "Now how about you rest?  Vincent probably won't be home for a few hours yet.  I know you must be exhausted."

Thea nods "Yeah...tired is my new thing. I will. You take care Frank. I'm sure we'll talk again soon." She looks at the couch and debated pulling it out and then just decides to stretch out on it as is and pull the woven knit blanket from the back on top of her lightly.

Frank grins and nods.  "Sleep well, and we definitely will."  she promises and slips back into her shoes and out the door, leaving Thea to rest.