Calm - by Brophy
Disclaimer: Parry doesn't belong to me, but George, Esther and those mechanics from Helmers are mine. :)
This was one of the ideas I started working on right after TTIHAP. Didn't get around to finishing it until now. Figured I'd do something different and write from George's perspective. Grey was kind enough to beta for me once again.
That's about it from me. Hope you like.
George couldn't remember the exact date that Parry first came into Helmers, but he remembered how the encounter went quite clearly.
The first time his daughter laid eyes on the notorious Son of Ipswich...
Esther was helping him clean some car parts when the boy walked in. And when she saw him, her eyes widened like saucers, the gear clutched in her hand falling with a thunk in the bucket.
Just one instant.
One single instant, like the click of a finger, and she was smitten.
Though she covered it up pretty well.
And ran away, too, with an implausible reason: doing homework.
The kid's never that enthusiastic to do school work.
When George asked her if everything was okay, Esther stuttered and fumbled with a demure he hadn't even known existed. And it irked him something fierce.
He hated to be so nosy about all this, about his daughters life. But in the end, he just wanted what was best for her.
So that was why he got to know the boy.
Whenever Parry brought in his bike, George would see to it personally. They chatted, all brief and casual like. He tried to sound brief and casual, at least.
And Parry seemed all right. Eager for sports of any kind. Just a regular athlete.
He had the looks. The title. The money.
Yeah, it was no wonder Ess was infatuated with him.
And that was what kids did as they grew older. They had crushes. Meaningless crushes.
So George brushed it all off. Esther would move on soon enough, and Parry would remain oblivious. That was how prep school students worked with public students. That was what he thought at least... He'd learnt so, back in the day (and god, just thinking that made him feel old.)
But his theory went belly up when Parry laid eyes on Esther.
Ess hadn't noticed that the Son of Ipswich was there, listening to George's old eighties cassette tapes as she tried to finish off some homework. Actually tried. He wasn't sure whether to be proud or concerned.
The one thing George noticed about Parry was that he was an observer. Always taking in his surroundings, a talker if he wanted to be, but most definitely a watcher and listener. His eyes would glance over the room, familiarize with the environment unconsciously.
And when he saw Esther, it was as though his eyes were fixed on her. Like he couldn't move them away. George had to click his fingers in front of Parry to snap him out of it, an aggravated frown planted firmly on his face. The boy seemed to compose himself just fine, but there was an intrigue in his eyes that told George that the deal was sealed.
And he didn't like it. Didn't like the knowledge that Esther was a grown girl. Hell, that she was a young woman! That boys were interested in her. But it wasn't as though he had control in the matter. The teen phase was inevitable, as was the dating game. This was dangerous terrain George was treading on and he didn't have a back up plan. Nora was gone. Who else could he talk to about daughter problems? Dex would probably laugh at him. Dom wasn't much help either. And he didn't even bother considering Tony.
In the end it was his better judgement that he had to depend upon. And he wasn't sure whether his judgement was better to depend upon.
George noticed the looks his daughter gave Parry, those speculative and unconscious glances that spoke more than words. But more often than not, he noticed the glances Parry gave her.
He wasn't looking at her like a hunk of meat.
If he was.... Well, he wouldn't have been alive this far. No doubt about that.
No, Parry's expression was calculative, questioning.
He wondered, but didn't act.
It was a good trait to find in a boy these days. A surprising one, sure, but a good one nonetheless.
George knew that they were both making things unnecessarily complicated for one another. He knew Parry was dating someone else and knew how sullen Ess would get over him, how frustrated Parry would get over her. They were both on different frequencies, sending each other mixed signals.
It was hilarious.
Some sadistic side of him enjoyed the torture Parry was going through. But the other side of him was waiting for the boy to break. He was waiting for an excuse, any excuse to disapprove.
But Parry didn't act on impulse with Esther.
He controlled himself.
He was faithful.
In other words, Parry was a good kid.
Good enough for his daughter.
That was why George made the decision that, should Esther ask, and should Parry break up with whoever he was seeing, then they could date one another. She'd always sought for approval when dating a guy before, but he understood why she wouldn't ask when it came to the biker boy. She thought he'd disapprove.
Truth was, it was the first time in a long time that Ess could be happy. So once they were dating, George let her be. He didn't pressure. He gave her some space. He just hoped that Parry did too. Otherwise he would have to call a few friends in high places and make sure that Son of Ipswich knew he meant business.
George had said similar warnings to Esther before, with previous boyfriends. But she'd never taken him seriously; laughed it off like it was a joke.
He was dead serious.
No one hurt 'his muffin'.
He hoped Parry knew what he was getting himself into.
That was why he refrained from getting out a shovel and digging the boy's grave himself.
It was nine in the morning when he called Rory's house. Mrs. Hlasek answered the phone. He wanted to let Esther know that he was going out of town, so she could spend another night at Rory's. But Carrie said she wasn't there. Not that she had left early, but that she hadn't been there at all.
And he was beyond concerned.
Essie wasn't with Rory.
She lied to him.
He could deal with that, but what was she lying for?
That was the pickle.
She spent more time with Parry than she did breathing.
So George connected the dots.
Thing is, there weren't a whole lot of dots to connect. It was just plain and simple.
Ess was spending the night.
...with her boyfriend.
He reevaluated everything. Every moment she spent with him, every sign.
He hoped that he was wrong, that he was overanalyzing.
He hoped to hell that Parry knew what he was getting himself into.
An act like that was far more personal, far more serious in his eyes. This wasn't him just discovering she'd gotten her belly button pierced. This was a big, big deal.
George didn't know what to do. How to react. He knew he wanted to hit something, anything, but he couldn't unleash such anger without a reason. He tried to stay calm; keep everything under control. Be mature.
So he called Nora.
And instead, the boyfriend picked up. "Hello?"
"Hey, it's George, could you put Nora on the line." he said, more statement than question. He didn't use pleasantries with the jerk.
Now that George thought about it, he didn't even know the guys name. But he sure had some mighty fine and colorful nicknames for him, though.
George held back a growl. He felt like he was a teen again, having arguments with the ex's boyfriend. It was beyond immature.
"I'm not telling you."
"Well then you're not talking to her." the boyfriend replied, just as stubbornly.
"Put her on the phone."
"Put. Her. On. The. Phone."
"No can do, G."
G. It was the way he said it that was infuriating. George was about to tell that bastard to stick it where the sun didn't shine until he heard a noise in the background.
"Give it to me!" It was a harsh whisper. Demanding and meaning business.
He remembered that tone.
There was a struggle for a moment, accompanied by the unmistakable sound of a phone cord smacked around lightly against the speaker.
Eventually, the muffled sounds and aggravated murmurs stopped, a clear voice suddenly greeting, "Hey, George, you called?" It seemed so foreign hearing from her again, speaking to him as though they were buddies.
He subconsciously dismissed the thought as he barked, "I think our daughter's having sex!"
She sounded too casual. Far too casual.
He told her their daughter might have done it and she said that?
"She… she spent the night... with her boyfriend."
"Okay…" Her voice was more than neutral, not strained in the slightest. "Well, calm down, alright?"
"Why would you say that?" He huffed. "That's– that's just stupid."
"Good grief, you're such a cranky old man sometimes..." His eyes narrowed at that. He was about to reply before she continued, "Look, Esther's old enough to make her own decisions. She can think for herself. They both can."
"You know something." he stated accusingly. "I know you do. Tell me right now."
He remembered that sigh all too well.
"...She told me."
"She... told you?"
"Things like this aren't usually discussed with fathers. Once we were more comfortable with each other and I gained her trust, she told me."
"Told you..." he trailed off. His grip on the phone was even tighter when it dawned on him.
"You have to understand that things like this aren't easy to talk about with... well, you."
It's all he can do to keep calm.
After a long moment, he spoke through gritted teeth. "So she's done...?"
"Grow up, George."
"I don't want to know that my little girl is having sex!"
"Better than not knowing." Stunned, he didn't know what to say. Nora carried on talking. "Look; just talk to her when she gets back. She can explain everything to you, as uncomfortable as I know you are in this situation."
"I am not uncomfortable." he replied, quickly and casually. It was a dead giveaway.
"Esther's known Parry for a long time." Nora said, ignoring his defensive remark. "If she's trusts him this much to take the next step than she obviously loves him. And rather have one of the reputable Sons of Ipswich dating her than some sleezy boy that we don't know of."
"Alright." He felt as though he was in a losing battle. "I'll ask her when she comes in."
"Good." There was a moment of silence before she spoke, "She really respects you, you know."
"She respects your opinion. That's why she's too afraid to talk to you."
"She can always talk to me." he says before adding, "Just not about boys."
He could almost see Nora rolling her eyes the way she used to. "Remember what it was like for us, being kids in love? Keep that in mind for when you talk to her."
"Okay..." George let out an exaggerated breath. "And…" he combed a hand through his hair as he struggled out the word, "thanks."
"You're welcome, George. Goodbye."
George hung up the phone, head swimming with questions and only worst scenario answers.
He heard the door open.
This was it.
He felt as though he was pulling his teeth out having to do this. But Nora was right, better knowing than constantly oblivious to his daughter's life.
It was just happening too fast, that was all. Where had the time gone?
One minute he was changing her diapers, next he was seeing her finish her last years of high school.
Esther was growing up.
She was mature enough to make her own decisions.
But she was still young in his eyes. Far too young.
He didn't want her to be taken for granted.
He wanted her to be taken care of. Watched over. Loved like she deserved to be loved.
George knew that Parry did. He could see it in the boy's eyes.
He just hoped Parry would see it through. That his feelings didn't phase.
'Cause he'd damn well be marrying Esther when George was through with him!
And there's the storm... But nyaaaaaw, Esther Parry; how adorable. :3