"A Seed of Doubt" challenge by Twyla over on Psychfic dot com.
"A seed of doubt once planted, sown deep had begun to crack the very foundation that united them."
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Prologue: I Don't Care About Mickey, I'm in for the Rides...
Santa Barbara, late Spring, 1987
"But Dad, you promised!", Shawn protested and stomped his foot on the living room floor.
"I didn't promise, I said 'we'll see'. That's a difference, Shawn. And if I see you stomping your foot again, we'll never talk about it again."
"No buts, Shawn", Henry interrupted. "I know we've been talking about making the trip to Disneyland this summer, but that was before the transmission in the car gave out and had to be replaced. Do you know what putting a new transmission into the car costs?"
"No sir," Shawn brought out from behind a pout.
"Enough to put some serious stop to any Disneyland plans. Shawn, we've had a number of unexpected expenditures this year, the new transmission being last on the list. Your mother and I are going to have some serious thinking to do whether we can afford that trip to Disneyland or not. I'm just telling you not to get too excited about it yet, because as of now it doesn't look as if we could make it this year."
"That's just what you always say. Last year it was because you had to work, this year it's the money and next year there will be something else. That's unfair. I'll never get to Disneyland."
Henry sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Shawn, why don't you go upstairs and finish your homework before dinner. We'll talk about this again once your mother and I have come to a decision."
"That's not fair!", Shawn said again, turned around and ran out of the room and up the stairs. He slammed the door to his room with as much force as he could muster, knowing that his Dad was probably going to berate him for it but not caring the least bit about it. He threw himself on top of his bed and punched the pillow as hard as he could.
It just wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that his Dad always had to ruin everything. Already he wasn't allowed to read all the other comic books his friends and classmates were reading all the time. But so far, there had been nothing his Dad had been able to say against Disney. Not that Shawn was so into going to Disneyland for Mickey and Donald, or those stupid parades, on the contrary. All right there were some ideas in the back of his head about Mickey, but those were ideas best reserved for the last day of their stay at Disneyland, when being kicked out wouldn't matter anymore.
No, Shawn was in it for the rides. To his nine-year old self, solely the imagination of all the rides in Disneyland were paradise. Ever since last year Shawn had been bugging his parents about going to Disneyland, and even his Dad had not been against the idea. Strange enough, seeing that his Dad's idea of a family holiday was staying at a remote fishing cabin somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
But Shawn should have known from the start that all this talk about going to Disneyland was just that – talk. Empty talk. Last summer, his Dad had been working a huge case, and by the time the case had been closed, Shawn's holidays had been nearly over. Goodbye Disneyland.
But he had promised they'd go this year. Well, not in those exact words, but he had made it unmistakably clear that they'd definitely go this year. It was as good as a promise. And the worst part was that Gus would be going. They had been planning it ever since last fall, and finally Gus' parents had relented and had agreed to take Gus to Disneyland this summer. It had been the perfect plan. Four glorious days of ice-cream cones, hot dogs and rollercoaster rides. Shawn was ready and willing to spend the rest of his summer going on fishing tours with his dad if that was what it took.
But now the stupid car had broken, giving his Dad just the reason he needed to ruin another of Shawn's summers.
Shawn hit the pillow again. And again. And again. It didn't make him feel any better, but at least it was something to do.
Having slapped his pillow into a little pulp on his bed, Shawn got up and started pacing the room. There had to be something he could do, he only had to figure out what it was.
After a few minutes of pacing, Shawn became aware of raised voices from downstairs. He sighed. On top of everything else, his parents were arguing again.
Silently, Shawn opened his bedroom door, and crept out into the corridor. Taking care to remain in the shadows, Shawn descended the stairs as far as he dared and then stopped to listen. His parents were in the kitchen and couldn't see him, but there was just no way that Shawn could miss their shouting.
"…shouldn't have told him that we're not going until we're sure there's no way it'll work out!", his Mom said sharply.
"I didn't tell him that!", his Dad's voice shot back.
"Oh, and then why did he just storm upstairs, slamming his door shut?"
"Because that's Shawn! I told him we might not be going, he hears we aren't going. It's not my fault that he never listens."
Shawn knew that tone of voice. It meant his father was getting fed up with explaining, which meant that the loud discussion would soon turn into full blown shouting on both his parents' part.
"I told you to wait until you tell him anything, Henry."
"What, and let him get more excited about going to Disneyland by the day? And what was I supposed to tell him then? Sorry buddy, we're not going, too bad you spent the last weeks getting excited about it? Fat load of good that would have done. Now at least he knows that it isn't sure we'll be going on holiday this year and can prepare for it. He's old enough!"
"He's a nine year old who wants nothing more than to spend his holidays with his best friend, somewhere he enjoys himself for a change."
"Oh, and what's that supposed to mean?"
Yep, now the point was reached where the original reason for the argument began to fade into the background and his parents started yelling at each other. Shawn had heard that particular style of argument often enough over the course of the past weeks, he didn't need another performance.
As silently as he had come, he got up from his seat on the stairs and crept back into his room. When dinnertime came around, both his parents would pretend that nothing had happened, though they probably wouldn't be speaking to each other for the rest of the evening, and his Dad would ask about the homework for sure. So he'd better get it done before his parents saw that as the next best excuse to have a go at each other again.
He didn't know what was going on with them lately, but he would get to the bottom of it. And he would go to Disneyland, come what may. He'd definitely not be listening to Gus' tales of just how great the rollercoaster rides had been. He'd be there, one way or the other.