:AN: Chronologically, this is set during Parental Bonding, but some of the occurrences don't exactly fit the timeline (like the presence of Danny and Tucker in Sam's home, even though they don't actually go inside until a few episodes later...). So… if you'll just over look that little detail, we'll all be just peachy!
Title:Enjoying the Green
Disclaimer: I own everything. Now, if you'll believe that, I also own your wallet and any other of your worldly possessions that have any worth. Hand them over.
Thurston Manson surveyed the area and took a deep breath. With a slight smile, he adjusted his stance and grip. One last look down the fairway and swing!
Yes, Thurston was one of the few out there who could properly enjoy a good game of golf. He'd grown up with the sport and, had he the opportunity he could have turned pro. Now though, it seemed like the only time he got to play was when he was meeting clients and that wasn't really playing –that was business.
This morning though he was alone for an early tee-time. He relished the feeling of solitude, of the rush of getting the small white ball to reach great distances, overcome obstacles and meet the goal. He inhaled the scent of the freshly cut, meticulously maintained grass. He loved the smell of fresh cut grass.
He heaved his heavy golf bag on to his shoulder and started his trek towards the ball. The sun was shining perfectly today and the temperature was just right. The only sounds were the occasional bird or the periodic thwack of a struck golf ball.
Something was missing. He shook his head, those days were long gone.
He focused on the crunching sound the ground made under impact from his spiked shoe, but it didn't work. Phantom laughter filled his ears, a ghost of a smile flashed by his eyes.
Little Sammy, five years old, rolling on the grass shrieking with laughter.
He only laughed then, he remembered, at the other glaring golfers who had gone to the course expecting peace and quiet, not the ecstatic laughter of a toddler. No, he smiled at his happy little Sammy.
She would always beg to drive the golf cart he only rented when she was with him. She was always full of energy, running around, chasing the rabbits, enjoying the aroma of the freshly cut grass. She could enjoy a game of golf like none other.
She used to clasp his hand in her smaller ones and smile up at him with admiration.
He remembered the time she got stung by a bee on her toe. It had been the day she'd insisted upon wearing sandals when he had told her not to. It was the same day he had, thankfully, discovered she was not allergic to bees. But boy, she sure had screamed something awful. He practically had his membership revoked that day, not that it mattered in comparison to his daughter's wellbeing.
Never though, could he ever remember her golfing on one of their golfing outings. She'd never cared much for the sport. That must have been the rift between them, the start of it anyway.
Soon friends took away from her childhood admiration of her father. Her dislike of the game stopped her from joining the outings and suddenly his easy to read daughter was an enigma.
Now slightly depressed, he ended his game early.
After a shower to wash away the grime that came with the game, he headed down to the basement, intent on retrieving a file he'd need for work the following morning.
He was stopped in his tracks. It was the laughter again, pure and sweet. Only this time it wasn't mere memory. He rushed down the stairs to see his daughter and her two best friends lounging about on the floor. Sam laughed hysterically lying on her back, a bright smile on her face.
None of them noticed him.
He stood there on the stairs, mesmerized and trapped in a time warp. It wasn't his surly fourteen year old Sam he was seeing, but his sunny, bright five year old Sammy.
But the laughter stopped and he was tugged out of his trance.
"Dad," she asked. "Is something wrong? Did you need something?"
"Ah… yes," he said at last, rushing down the remaining steps. "Just have to grab a file from the office. I'll be upstairs if you need me."
"Well, that was… odd," he heard Sam mutter after he returned up stairs.
The following day at work, he was determined to make Sam smile again. He knew that doing so would require going against some of his better judgment, not much –but some. He wracked his brains at his computer desk. He knew there had been something in the CHS PTA News Letter. He yanked it off of the bulletin board. Success! There would be a school dance in two weeks!
This would be a perfect opportunity to do something nice for his daughter; something she would actually appreciate. Of course, there was a problem. He knew absolutely nothing about Goth fashion. Luckily, that was nothing a little money and a fashion consultant couldn't fix…
It took a few days and a lot of sneaking, but he finally managed to get his daughter's size measurements. That, along with an updated photo was all his fashion consultant required to find the "perfect dress". He hoped his little Sammy would like it. He really wanted to see her smile again.
When he saw it days later he decided it certainly looked like something she would like. It was all purple and black, very gothic, and had a sort of classic beauty to it. It was custom made and sure to fit her like a glove.
After a small argument with Pam, who wasn't at all fond of the idea of fueling Sam's rebellious nature, he finally got his other half's okay to go ahead with the plan. They were a team after all. Of course, Pam agreed to let Thurston present the gift alone, as a father-daughter moment that was just all too rare.
He confronted her later that afternoon, the Thursday before the big dance.
"Hey Sammy," he said pleasantly as she walked in the door. He noticed she was in a bit of a sour mood. Hopefully he'd be able to take care of that. "How was your day?"
"It was," she struggled for a word, but decided it wasn't worth the effort, "It was… a day."
"I see," he said. That clinched it; the sooner he showed her the dress, the better. "Well I have a surprise for you up in your room if you'll come with me."
Sam's face paled. "What did you do to my room?" she demanded in horror.
Thurston could only chuckle, "Don't worry, Sunshine, I didn't touch a thing. It is in exactly the same shape now as it was when you left this morning." He pulled his slightly shell-shocked daughter under his shoulder and together they walked to her room.
"What's this," she asked, gesturing to the large black box on her bed. It was huge; six inches thick and nearly as long as she was tall. It was bound with a big, dark purple ribbon.
"Well, I remembered you have a school dance coming up," he shrugged. "I figured you could use something nice to wear."
Sam approached the box skeptically. It had to be a trap. Sure, the box looked Goth enough, but it was probably just a ruse to get her hopes up. She reached tentatively for the ribbon.
"Well, aren't you going to open it?" her father asked impatient with anticipation.
She shot him a look over her should, "I'm getting to it!" In one swift move, she tugged the ribbon away and threw open the lid. Her breath caught in her throat. She looked back at her father to see him beaming at her. She lifted it from the box, "It's amazing."
"Oh fantastic!" Her father cried. "I was hoping you'd like it!"
He was surprised to find that when she faced him again she wasn't so much smiling as she looked on the verge of tears. She managed to hold them back, "Why'd you have to go and get me such a great dress?" she demanded.
"I wanted to do something nice for you Sunshine."
She growled, "Well great, now I'll never even get to wear it."
"But what about-"
"Nobody asked me," she dully replied to the question he was about to ask. She stared forlornly at the dress.
He was taken aback, nobody asked her? Ridiculous! "But what about your friends, Danny and Tucker?"
"Dates," she sighed.
"Well, since when has that stopped you?" he asked. "I mean, you're a very strong, independent person Samantha. I'm sure you could-"
"Thanks Dad," she interrupted. "But I don't think I am going to go." She walked over and gave him a hug. "Thank you so much for the dress though, I'm sure I'll find sometime to wear it, even if it's just around my room. I love it, thanks." She smiled.
That was the important thing. "Don't mention it," he hugged her back. "Of course, your mother wanted me to remind you that she'd still prefer you try to lighten things up, so to speak."
Sam laughed. "That's good to know. I was beginning to think you guys were possessed or something."
He laughed and ruffled her hair.
The next evening, Sam shut herself away in her room. Thurston had expected this; she was most likely a little depressed. It bothered him that her best friends hadn't thought to try and include her. They were losing points drastically.
Until the doorbell rang, not long before the dance was supposed to start. The security camera picked up one of her friends, Tucker. He called Sam to open the door.
And shortly thereafter he saw is daughter move faster than anything he'd ever seen in his entire life. Barely having the chance to register what was going on; Sam was down stairs fully dressed in her new gown, beaming.
It made his heart swell.
Unfortunately he didn't have time to capture the moment on camera.
With a simple, "Tucker's date bailed, I'm going to the dance, bye Dad!" cried inhumanly fast, his daughter was out the door.
He grinned. Tucker had just scored oodles of Manson Approval Points.
He sat down to watch the evening news, content to know that his daughter was going to have a fantastic time. He didn't need a photograph to remember that smile. Maybe she'd even be willing to go to golfing with him again sometime. He'd gladly get golf cart.
… It could be just like old times.
He dozed off with a nostalgic feeling in his heart, just missing the latest news flash…
"This just in! Ghost sightings at the Casper High Spring Dance! Could your child be in danger?"
:AN: I thought this would be a nice little Father's Day one-shot, plus it has the duel action of explaining Sam's dress. You know, that Goth one she said her parents got her? I thought it summed things up quite nicely. And I couldn't help but add a dash of irony at the end... involving Tuker's approval points and the news flash. Lol.
Oh, and for those of you who read Spider's Web, Chapter Nine is on the way! With any luck it will be posted in the next week! I apologize a thousand times for the delay!