Title: Before It's Too Late
Summary: Futurefic… A one-shot about someone and their regrets. This is my first fic, so please read.
Spoilers: Not many, but it's better if you've seen all four seasons.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Rob Thomas is incredible.
That's how long it had been.
Eighteen years since that fateful night that she had packed up all her meager belongings in a suitcase and left everything she had loved behind in the dust. Now here she sits, all these years later, just waiting for a single glimpse of the life she had left behind.
The park had been renovated since she was last here. This surprised her at first. She knew, of course, that things would have had to have changed after all this time. But the naïve, unrealistic portion of her psyche, that controls her thoughts more often than she would like to admit, had allowed her to believe that Neptune had frozen in time the day she left and she would be able to come back at anytime to begin where she left off. This belief, that she now realizes is utterly ridiculous, was what had both kept her away and kept her going all this time. Now she sits on a bench near a swing-set, in an area that she still remembers as being a rather small sandbox, with her hands trembling in her lap and her eyes focused in front of her.
The soccer field. It was the one thing that seemed relatively unchanged in her absence. The only difference between then and now was the young children that were now playing on the field. She allowed her eyes a moment to wander across the grassy expanse, unconsciously searching for the little girl with blond pigtails and green knee highs. She softly chuckled at the absurd disappointment she felt when she didn't see her and nervously brushed the stray strands of short blond hair out of her face.
She didn't know where else to go, where else to look. Every other place she had tried had been full of familiar faces, or at least as familiar as they could be considering the amount of Botox and facelifts that were necessary to maintain an '09er appearance after so many decades, but none were what she was hoping for.
Sighing, she allowed herself a moment to wallow in the pain and regret that swirled around her memories of the past, realizing that she had once again lost what she had not even gotten back this time. And she only had herself to blame. Stretching stiff muscles, she gripped onto the back of the bench for balance as pulled herself up. She slowly shuffled along the cement path that she knew led to the street where she parked her car.
She saw a brown-headed blur coming at her in her peripheral vision, but she did not have enough time to react before a little boy, in a red shirt and denim shorts, was sprawled on the ground in front of her. A moment later, he was emitting loud, pain-filled wails with tears streaking his dirty cheeks as he clutched a skinned knee.
"Are you alright?" she asked, as she attempted to awkwardly lean down to his level. Tear-filled brown eyes peered up at her, but his cries only became louder in obvious fear of the proximity of a stranger. He was about 5 or 6. Up close, she could see the natural blond highlights in his light brown hair and the smattering of freckles across his nose. She stood there, wracking her mind for something comforting to say to the little boy, but came up blank after so many years of never having to worry about anyone but herself.
"Ryan," a concerned voice called from behind her, as a man with the same dark brown hair jogged up next to them.
"Daddy," the boy, now Ryan, cried out as he wrapped his arms around his father, who had knelt next to him to assess the situation. "I fell."
His father gave an amused snort as he picked his son up. "Well, that's why you're not supposed to go running off, buddy." The boy, whose cries had started to die down the moment he saw his father, merely sniffled and wiped his face on his father's shirt. "It's just a scratch. We'll clean you up in the car and you'll be good as new."
"Can we get ice cream?" the muffled voice asked.
The father smiled down at him. "As long as you don't tell Mommy."
She wistfully watched the parent and child interact, once again feeling the disappointment and pain from before resurface. She was about to ask if he was sure the boy was alright, when she got a good look at his face and was struck speechless. "Logan," she whispered breathlessly.
His attention since he had arrived had been completely devoted to his son, but he looked up at the sound of his name. Logan stared at her for a moment in confusion, until recognition seeped into his eyes and his arms stiffened protectively around his son.
"Lianne," he responded, his tone flat. They stared at each other, her eyes hopefully searching his for answers while his remained emotionless. The only sounds were those of the children playing around them and his own son's occasional sniffle.
"How have you been, Logan?" she asked, wondering how and if she could even ask him about Veronica. She knew they had once been friends, but that was a long time ago. The man holding the child in front of her was so different from the boy she remembered, and it broke her heart to think how different Veronica must be now. She doesn't even know her anymore.
"Fine," he answered, obviously not intending to elaborate or respond in longer than one-syllable answers. He looked down at his son and readjusted his weight on his hip. "I should probably get him…"
"Have you seen her?" she quickly asked before her last hope could leave. "Do you know how she is?" She stared at him pleadingly, trying to pin him there with her gaze.
He watched her warily, emotions she could not recognize flashing behind his eyes. Sighing, he placed his son on the ground. "You want to play on the monkey bars a minute, tiger?" The boy nodded happily and ran to the equipment that was just in his father's sight, previous injury forgotten. Logan turned back to her, his arms crossed in front of him. "What do you want, Lianne?"
"I just want to see her," she told him. "Talk to her. Be a part of her life again."
"You sure?" he asked, a spark of anger in his eyes. "You sure you don't want to steal more money from her? From your own daughter?"
She looked down, too ashamed to see the disgusted way he was looking at her. "That was a mistake," she whispered. "I want to tell her I'm sorry. I know I screwed up. I just… want to make it better."
He snorted, though he looked anything but amused. "A little late, don't you think?"
"I know," she said, feeling the tears track down her face as she raised a shaking hand to wipe them away. "But I just want to see her again before…" She stopped, taking a moment to compose herself as she felt sobs wracking her body. She saw a flash of what she thought was sympathy in his eyes, but it was quickly gone and replaced with his emotionless stare as he waited for her to continue. She took a deep breath and continued, "I was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and I…"
"Want to use it to gain sympathy? So you can what? Scam her out of more money and then abandon her again?"
"No," she cried out, hurt and anger surging through her veins. "I just want to see her while I can still talk to her without slurring or drooling! While I still have enough mobility to walk over and hug her! While I still remember who she is and how much I love her!" Her impassioned cry came to an end and she watched the mix of emotions as they surged across his face. "Please," she whispered.
He broke eye contact first and wearily rubbed his eyes with his hand. She watched the sun glint off his wedding band. "Veronica's happy," he said. He looked at her, a determined expression on his face. "We're happy. Our son's happy." She broke contact long enough to stare out at where the little boy was dangling from the bars. Her grandson, she thought in awe.
"His name is Ryan. He's five and a half. His birthday is on May 14th, and he is going to have a little sister in four months." She turned back to Logan. There was a small smile on his face, the one she noticed he used anytime he talked to his son. He obviously loved his children. "We've been married seven years and our anniversary is on October 17th, which happens to be the day before our daughter's due date." He paused and looked down at his watch, an expensive watch that matched the name brand polo and jeans he was wearing. Lianne smiled softly to herself, reveling in the fact that her daughter had everything that she had always hoped for herself with Jake Kane. Yes, he would have provided her with financial security, but even more than that they had loved each other. Lianne had loved him before he had become a billionaire and she would have loved him anyway. With Keith, though, she had never loved him as much as he loved her and that always just magnified their problems. It was why she had started drinking. It was why she had really left.
"Look, sorry about the Cliff-notes version, but it's getting late," Logan said as he looked back at her. "I have to get him home."
"I understand," she mumbled, slightly disappointed. There was so much more she wanted to know.
He nodded, staring at her for a moment, and then turning to walk down the path toward the monkey bars and her grandson. Suddenly, he paused and turned back. "I'll tell her I saw you. If she wants to call you, she'll find you. She's an FBI agent, she'll figure it out." He gave her one last nod and turned his back on her. She watched him collect his son and allowed her eyes to follow them until they left the park.
Taking one last glance around the familiar park, she thought back on all the happy memories here. Too many of her memories from Neptune revolved around unpleasant things and unhappy events, many of which she caused. But the memories from this park, the soccer games, puppet shows, barbecues, and birthday parties all featured Keith, Veronica, and herself with smiles on their faces. She could only imagine the memories that Veronica would create here with her own family. Lianne hoped that, before it was too late, she would be able to be involved in her own grandchildren's memories.
A/N: This is my first fanfic, so if you could tell me your thoughts I would be unbelievably grateful. Originally, this was supposed to be more LoVe, but somehow it ended up being about Lianne, which I can't understand because I don't really like her character (reminds me too much of someone from my own life). But somehow this happened and I'm a little nervous. So thanks for reading and pretty please review