Teaser: After the Mardi Gras ball, there was the tangled little thing known as Brooke and Adam's reunion.
AN: A short collection of moments in the Brooke/Adam relationship, as told from the Stupidverse.
Disclaimer: I do not own AMC; if I did, this is what we'd be seeing, KO?
And I was talking to
and I knew then it would be
a life long thing
but I didn't know that we
we could break a silver lining
And I'm so
like a good book
I can't put this day back
a sorta fairytale
a sorta fairytale
way up north I took
all in all was a pretty nice
day and I put the hood
right back where
you could taste heaven
feel out the summer breeze
didn't know when we'd be back
and I, I don't
we'd end up like
- Tori Amos, 'A Sorta Fairytale'
Perhaps she should have taken the hiring of Erin Lavery as Little Adam's nanny as a warning sign.
Standing awkwardly in the elevator, worn down by her latest visit to visit the father of her son, she wished sorely she had taken the stairs, since Adam always hated them so damn much. After a childhood of mining and searching the worst possible places for food, he had always muttered as he adjusted his already perfect tie and grinned at her, a man should be allowed to take the elevator, right?
"I didn't think you'd hire her."
"She has all the correct information."
"A Chandler hiring a Lavery?"
"Your boy living with a Lavery?"
"My son's living arrangements are none of your business," she sighed, watching as the lights above the closed doors slowly ticked down, far too slow and far too fast for her at the same time. "And my son's choice in nanny for my grandson are none of yours," he responded lightly, a bit of clear amusement there.
"It is when I'm the one who suggested her to you."
"Was that you?"
She looked over at him, torn between rolling her eyes and bursting into hysterical laughter; her emotional circuits, already strained over the last several hours were now flickering at the edges of her awareness, telling her outright to climb out of the elevator and get away from him, feeling herself being mentally drawn closer to him.
It didn't help that he had finally ditched his hideous sweaters and gone back to his usual suits and ties; it also didn't help that he had gone back to wearing his old cologne, a comforting mingling of something faintly dark and darkly rich, and it drew her, kicking and screaming, back to dinners in the garden after Laura had fallen asleep.
"You're such a soft bastard."
"There is such a thing as a 'soft bastard,' dear?"
She laughed slightly, shaking her head as she shrugged helplessly, hating how much smugness she could pick up so easily in his familiar voice. "Only with you, Adam—you're the only soft bastard I've ever met, trust me." She paused, knowing he was grinning at her and finally looked at him, adding, "Your face could stick like that, you know."
Adam just stared at her, intently, something flickering there that brought a rush of remembrance to her, nostalgia easing some of the ache in her heart and making her look away quickly, uneasy now with sudden emotion. The dinging continued, and she felt like someone, far above, was laughing at her.
By the time the elevator doors finally slid open, she was trembling slightly, and he was staring at her all the more intently, and she exhaled uneasily, rocking back and forth on her heels nervously, feeling like a teenager again in a darkened movie theater. She exploded out of the elevator with a bit too much force, and turned around hastily to find him grinning, ear to ear, as if he had just come to some decision about something very important.
"Do you still like white wine?"
Somehow, impossibly, his grin grew all the broader before he leaned forward and pressed the button quickly, the doors sliding shut as he disappeared from view. She stood there, nervousness warring with a sudden blinding excitement before, with a snort of laughter, she headed to her car, shaking her head at her own ridiculousness.
had nothing to worry about.
The pile-up had done its damage.
While most of the chaos resulting from it had died down in the last days, the families thrown into the mess following it were having difficulty dealing with everything. Personally, Brooke never wanted to spend another minute in a hospital but, here she was, slinking in before the sun came up with something to soothe everybody.
At least, now, they didn't have to worry about Babe; she was still, thankfully, in jail, one less thing for the family to worry about.
When she got to the room, though, she found Adam playing with two of Little Adam's stuffed toys, humming and sitting in the uncomfortable seat so that the little boy could watch from his place in Erin's lap. The redhead didn't even notice her entrance, deep in conversation with JR over Little Adam's clothes for the ride—
"He can go home?"
Pausing in the way he bounced the animals around in his lap, Adam grinned slightly, cocking his eyebrows at her proudly. "He's a Chandler, Brooke; a little ten car pile-up isn't going to keep him down." He went back to the play, and back to his humming for several seconds as she watched JR and Erin bicker about whether the boy should wear jeans or his shorts home.
"What is that?"
He sighed, scowling slightly before humming again, a bit more loudly, bouncing the heads of the toys together in front of him thoughtfully, watching as she set her bag down and opened it, pulling out two Styrofoam cups and a handful of plastic spoons. "Well?" She handed Erin one and a spoon and smirked at her ex-husband.
"It's the theme from Bonanza, Adam."
"Well, damn it, how come I didn't get—"
"Darn," he amended dryly, rolling his eyes as he dropped the toys to his lap and plucked the container from Brooke, opening it and then lifting his eyebrows in amusement. "Italian ice, dear?" She passed him a spoon, shrugging as lightly as she could. "I had the morning off, and I thought you guys might like something."
Adam knew quite well she never had the morning off, to judge by the patented grin he was directing at her, and she quickly turned attention to the clothes-covered bed, watching in amusement as the little boy bounced in his nanny's lap, feeding himself a fistful of the dessert with one now-bright blue hand.
"Mine," the boy announced excitedly as JR gave up and dropped onto the bed with a sigh, burying himself accidentally in a mountain of small-sized outfits and shoes. The boy, apparently no longer aware of the mini-battle previously waged over his clothes, continued to feed himself in the most eager way possible, scooping up small handfuls and devouring them quickly.
How something so adorable could come from Babe, she had no clue.
She passed another to JR with an amused grin, lips twitching a bit more when he took it with a wounded look, not unlike a kicked puppy. He looked worn and beaten, and very much an exhausted parent at his wit's end and she swallowed uneasily, looking away and focusing on everything other than Adam's son and Adam.
This was feeling too much like home.
Peering at the computer screen over her glasses, Brooke drummed fingers against the desk she sat at, and she waited, absently, for words to come to her, to fill her head they way they always did. But they wouldn't, something that had been happening more and more the last two weeks.
When her eyes flicked helplessly to the newspaper several feet away, she grimaced, pressing her fingers into her temples and sighing harshly in the silence that filled her home, that damn silence she'd never suffered in when she had kids who had cared about her enough to care. Grimacing again, abruptly, she gave herself a mental shake to get her head out of unhappier memories.
Standing with another shake—this one physical—Brooke rubbed her face and dropped her glasses to the table, leaning back in her chair to glare childishly at the computer screen and the blinking that taunted her horribly, a rare thing for her to experience. Snatching up the newspaper, she smacked it against the desk a few times, growling, "This is all your fault."
"Maybe you should go to the hospital?"
Brooke shrugged lightly, tossing her hair back from her face as she examined her bruised knuckles and swollen hand, studying it with an odd mixture of pride and awe, remembering how stunned she had been at how amazingly easy it had been to knock Erica out with one right hook.
"At least put this on it," he sighed and she obeyed, letting him settle the ice pack on her hand, shifting it a few times before nodding in satisfaction and settling back in the seat opposite hers, grinning wickedly. "That was quite a surprise, Brooke; even for someone who's known you as long as I have."
"I was annoyed."
"And now Erica's unconscious."
"You sound proud of that."
He chuckled, flipping his tie thoughtfully around his neck as he watched her with that unerringly intense gaze. "I have to admit, it was a lovely sight," he finally admitted as he leaned forward again to shift the ice on her hand and then studying one broken nail. "One minute she's attacking you, and the next she's flipping backwards over the dessert table, feet flying over her head and flashing her underwear to the world."
"It was horrible underwear," she snickered, and he had to agree, laughter bubbling up inside him quietly.
"Looked like something a Carey would have worn," he whispered and she burst out laughing, only to clamp her uninjured hand hastily over her mouth, looking at him with wide guilty eyes. But it had done its magic, filled the wrecked dining room with her essence and he chuckled more quietly, cocking an eyebrow at her. "You didn't ruin Thanksgiving, you know…" His fingertips alighted on her wrist, playing with the sleeve of her blazer. "Erica did that when she barged in, accusing you of slander."
"Slander's spoken; what I printed was libel."
"And it wasn't libel… it was the truth; she was the one who tried to pay me off."
"Nobody pays off Brooke English."
A few more moments adjusting the cold weight on her knuckles before she sighed and nodded, apparently finding it in the right position finally to ease her bruised hand. "Thank god I already finished the story; I can't type like this, not for a few days." She paused, and then flashed him a smile that brought to mind the scene from some hours before. "It was worth it, you know."
"You're a smug bastard."
"I thought I was a soft bastard."
"And now you're being a smart-ass."
"Excuse me, do you two not know the meaning of adult language?"
They both looked over to Colby, decked out in a brilliant red sweater and black jeans, blonde hair held back with reindeer ears and wearing enough Christmas jewelry to make Brooke's eyes water at the sheer brightness of it all. "Little A's going to be down here any minute, you crazies!" She slammed a plate of cookies down on the coffee table in front of them, tossing her hair around sassily. "Stop swearing, KO?"
This so stated—or, more precisely, yelled—the youngest heir of Chandler, Little A notwithstanding, whirled and ran back into the kitchen, nearly stampeding past Erin and Winnie, carrying out several more plates of food. "What's going on?" Brooke, elbowing Adam sharply into silence, gave a dry snort, holding up a small velvet box. "Adam says I'll be married to him this time next year."
"You haven't actually opened it up yet, dear."
"You're telling me this isn't an engagement ring?"
He smirked and said nothing, opting instead to pop a cookie into his mouth and chew thoughtfully, looking very proud of himself and leaving her feeling like the world was rocking dangerously under her. Glancing away from him, she found Winnie giggling as she darted back into the kitchen, and Erin staring at them both like she wanted to run and hide under a bed. "You two are engaged?"
"We will be—"
"We are not engaged, Erin," she stated loudly, drowning him out as she suddenly wished that the boy would come downstairs already and save her from the humor glinting in Adam's gaze. "Nor will we ever be engaged," she added more forcefully, smacking his fingers away when he reached out to adjust one of her diamond earrings playfully. "We're just friends."
"Friends that share a bedroom?"
"Who's sharing a bedroom?"
She turned, stared at Marian, looking as elegant as ever in her dark green dress and grinning, eyes flicking over the small group in front of her. "It's none of your business," Brooke muttered hastily, glancing at the stairs, awaiting the boy's entrance with growing desperation. "Are you and Adam sleeping together?"
He grinned cheekily back at her, eating another cookie as he wandered away from her and to the tree in the corner, a massive thing of bright colors and shining ornaments. He looked down at the selection of gifts stacked beneath it, nodding to himself in satisfaction as she ground her teeth and tried not to throw the jewelry box at his head. "You told me you wanted to marry me and then gave me a jewelry box, Adam—what did you expect me to think?"
"Oh my, he proposed?!"
"That's none of your business!"
"If you're going to be family, it's completely my business."
Brooke forcefully turned away from Marian, glaring at her ex-husband heatedly. "Then what is it?" she demanded childishly, foot itching to stomp on the floor, an itch that only increased when he chuckled lightly, slipping hands into his pockets and rocking back on his heels. "A gift, dear."
"You're a jack-ass—"
"Language," Colby shrieked, throwing down one last plate of food before running upstairs to help get Little Adam up and about and rolling her eyes, Brooke counted to ten before speaking again, trying to stay calm. "I'm going to open it." He gave a shrug, not worried and, casting a dirty look at Marian's intensely excited gaze, she slunk out of the room and into the kitchen.
Casting one last glance over her shoulder, she finally flipped it open and tossed the folded up paper tucked in the lid to the counter at her side. She stared at the gift, and then proceeded to stare even more, open-mouthed, at the gift, understanding seeping into her brain as she counted and then did the calculations, blinking as she realized what the gift meant. And then she glanced at the door, scowling and smiling at the same time, hating that he knew how to make her heart feel like this.
Laura's birthstone, and Jamie's birthstone, and she sighed deeply, sliding a thumb across the golden band. Not an engagement ring, but a gift; exhaling noisily, she finally nodded in satisfaction and gratefulness. It was a perfect fit, of course, and she studied it intently, warmed by the colors and the lives they represented, even if one was lost and one wasn't quite as loving to her as she'd like.
She glanced at the note, snorted, and grinned again.
"You're a smug bastard."
The note, in his elegant and amusingly jagged scrawl, laughed at her and she chuckled in answer, heading into the living room just as Little Adam came staggering down the stairs with JR and Colby, the blonde female leaving brother and nephew behind to dive beneath the tree with gusto, making up for lost time.
This felt like home.
And that wasn't a bad thing, right?
You'll receive the necklace with the other children's stones after our marriage… by this time next year.