If the Fates Allow

Summary: Grant Rashton spends a lonely and painful Christmas reflecting on his life.

Disclaimer: The Lyon's Den characters belong to their creators. No copyright infringement intended. No profit is being made.

Author's Notes: This story was inspired by a fan fic challenge given to me by VJ. The foundation for the challenge is Judy Garland's version of the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." I don't know if my words can give justice to the wonderful imagery and emotion envisioned by VJ, but I thank her for allowing me to lend my
own interpretation to her scenario.

Author: Tracy Diane Miller
E-mail address: tdmiller82h...

If the Fates Allow

Once the house had been filled with a child's laughter. Now, it was a shell of emptiness.

The magnificent Christmas tree that sparkled so proudly in the past with lights, ornaments, and tinsel was no more; the customary overflow of presents nestled comfortably at its base was conspicuously absent.

A single and emaciated wreath, looking more as if it were in mourning rather than celebrating the love, joy, and hope of the occasion, adorned the front door.

The living room curtains were drawn.

Only the angry roar of the flames emanating from the marble fireplace represented the sole light in the room.

Standing by the fireplace, Grant Rashton stared almost hypnotically into the near empty glass of brandy he held in his hand before desperately gulping down the liquid allowing it to burn his insides with its own form of vengeance. As expected, the liquor offered no answers. Instead, the brandy was false comfort during this particularly low moment in his life.

On the mantle piece stood a contradiction, a battle between hope and unfulfilled promise versus the proof of unmitigated failure.

Smiling faces. Not a manufactured happiness to lie to an unsuspecting camera. A long time ago, they had been happy.

The sterling silver picture frame housed an informal portrait of Grant, Samantha, and Ryan Rashton. The picture was taken eight years ago. The then four-year old Ryan, with his expressive mud green eyes and dark hair, was the miniature mirror image of daddy. Raven-haired beauty Samantha, her shoulder length dark mane sporting a French
twist, had perfectly chiseled features seemingly befitting her blue blood pedigree.

But it wasn't the picture that held a perverse fascination for him. Rather, it was the object that lay next to the frame. Placing his glass on the mantle, he picked up the item. He read the words aloud, almost as if he expected them to vanish from his mere utterance. "Samantha Rashton, Petitioner versus Grant Rashton, Respondent. Petition for Dissolution of Marriage."

An hour ago, a process server had arrived at Grant's door. "Grant Rashton, you've been served. Happy Holiday." The unnamed man said, his words the cruelest of ironies, as he handed the shocked lawyer the divorce papers before quickly disappearing into the night. It was Christmas Eve, after all. This particular service was the last of his appointed duties for the evening and he was eager to get home to his family.

For the man inside the house, he had no family with to share this special holiday.

Grant closed the door and walked slowly towards the living room as if he were in a trance, his eyes fixed on the legal document. Weeks ago, when Samantha moved out of the house, she had insisted that they needed this time apart to think and reassess their relationship. He had not tried to dissuade her then feeling that they could, somehow, work through their problems and save their marriage if not for themselves; then for Ryan's sake. Never once had she implied that she was going to sue him for divorce. Regardless of how they felt about each other, they had agreed that their son always came first. How could she believe that it would be in Ryan's best interests to be the product of a broken marriage, to be shuffled from two different homes as if he were a yo-yo? Even when he and Samantha fought, they were very careful that Ryan would never witness their shouting matches. Around their son, they exhibited a polite veneer. Samantha called in a cool indifference. She felt that Ryan could sense the tension and that would be just as bad for the boy as if they had verbally attacked each other. But Grant had expected, for Ryan's sake, that they could make amends during Christmas. They should at least spend the holiday together as a family.

Grant always wanted Christmas to be an extra special time for his son. Growing up in Georgia, he had never forgotten what a lonely and painful time Christmas had always been for him. The unwanted orphan spent most of his formative years in a succession of foster homes, never really fitting in, never really feeling as if he belonged anywhere. That feeling, that memory had been branded into his soul accompanied by so many emotional and physical scars carried from his youth and kept carefully hidden from public scrutiny.

When the spirited daughter of one of the partners in Lyon, Lacrosse, and Levine had married the young, rising associate, many of the firm's rumormongers felt that the union was a merely a marriage of convenience. The tenacious attorney had already impressed the top brass by generating the new business of a string of wealthy clients.
He seemed the destined heir apparent especially after capturing Samantha's eye. The Rashtons had been married a year before Ryan was born. Those early years were the happiest in the marriage. Grant finally had the family that he had always wanted and a career on the fast track. However, a punishing work schedule that had enabled him to surpass the firm's already stringent weekly billable hours and an indiscretion with a temporary secretary had jeopardized the marriage. Samantha had been more willing to forgive his workaholic ethic (for the good of the firm, after all), than the infidelity. He had insisted the woman meant nothing to him and promised his wife that it would never happen again.

But it was a promise that Grant had been unable to keep. It seemed as if his appetite for success was as insatiable as his appetite for other women. But if Samantha had been able to look the other way and keep the marriage intact (for Ryan's sake), that all changed when she discovered her husband's ongoing affair with Ariel Saxon. Maybe Samantha sensed that there was something about Grant's attraction to Ariel that was unlike the others. Maybe she believed that Grant viewed Ariel as more of an equal than merely a warm body to fulfill his physical needs. Maybe, for once, it was Mrs. Grant Rashton who
felt like the "other woman" in her husband's life.

The fire continued crackling defiantly showing no signs of weakening. Grant picked up his empty glass and walked slowly towards the bar. Absent-mindedly, he turned on the radio. As he poured his drink, the strains of Judy Garland's "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" filtered the air:

"Through the years, we all will be together.
If the Fates allow...."

Grant smiled wryly. People had talked about miracles, but Grant had never been big on miracles. Fate had never been particularly kind to him. Fate had taken his parents away from him. If a miracle could have saved them, such a miracle had deserted him. The only belief that he had subscribed to was hard work and sheer determination. It was his hard work and determination that had enabled the orphan to leave behind the pain and loss of his Georgia roots and to carve a success in a city that was known for its political machinations and unhealthy liaisons.

It was with the same hard work and determination that Grant vowed to fight for his son. He would not let Ryan believe that his father deserted him.

If the Fates allow.

Grant wasn't about to allow the Fates to shape his future. In his mind, he brewed a plan to cheat Fate. This would be the last Christmas that he would ever spend alone.

The End