Title: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Author: Fiona Duffy
Spoilers: Episodes 1&2 of Season 3; FYI: Some of the things in this are made up. You'll know what I mean if you've watched episodes 1 &2 and can't find mention of some of the things that are in this fic.
Pairing(s), if any: Hank/Karen, Becca
Disclaimer: I wish I created these awesomely fucked up characters, but alas, I did not. The credit goes to Tom Kapinos. But I did create this fucked up little rambler, so enjoy. Or not. The choice is yours.
Summary: Karen is dating a man in New York and Hank is more than a little perturbed by this. Meanwhile, Becca is being her newly sullen and insolent teenage self.
She's seeing someone.
Okay. Cool. Shit, that's fine by me. Really. I mean, we did agree that we were going to allow each other to be with other people. Like date. And fuck. We had a real grow-up like conversation about it.
I've been with a few people myself since she jetted off to the Big Apple. And I'm sure she's- well, she's probably gone on a date or two. Just one, I think. Mr. H.O.B., bad breath. We all know how that one ended.
But now she's seeing someone. I'm not entirely sure I know what that means exactly. I forgot to ask her last time we were on the phone. Are we talking like, dinner here, Karen? The movies? Fucking?
No, I know Karen. When she sees someone, she's not fucking them. In fact, when we were first together, she didn't really see me until later on in our relationship. Fucking is fucking. She'd tell me she was fucking someone else. Right?
Well, she doesn't really have to tell me. We agreed that we weren't going to ask, that we weren't going to be nosy and annoy the shit out of each other about it. Whatever happens, happens. Carpe diem.
Okay, so maybe she is fucking this guy. I'm not so blasé about the whole thing that I'm not even just a little concerned about that. I know her. She doesn't fuck someone if she doesn't mean it. If she doesn't feel it. One of the many things I love most about her, actually. Me? Sex is sex. It's a way to take my mind off shit. Like not writing. Like my piss poor attempts at being a responsible, single father in LA. Like how much it sucks to be a fucking teacher right now.
Karen doesn't do casual sex.
I'll have to ask her what she defines "seeing someone" as. Just out of curiosity. I'll find a way to ask her so she doesn't think I'm being nosy. Because if "seeing someone" really means fucking—and I know Karen means business when she fucks people—then…"seeing someone" could be a relationship. And I'm not sure I'm okay with that.
I guess we really didn't talk much about this whole arrangement. I agreed to the dating of other people. I agreed to the sex with other people. I don't remember agreeing to a relationship. That doesn't sound like me. No, I'm pretty sure I didn't.
I wonder what this guy means to her. If it is a guy, that is. It's entirely possible that Karen has gone down the path of the bi-curious. In that case, I'm cool with it. As long as the chick isn't butch or a midget, I am down with some exploratory lesbianism. By all means, Karen, scissor away.
But I'm nearly positive she said "he" on the phone the other night. So that blows my previous, totally hot theory out of the water. Well, shit. It was fun while it lasted.
She said precious little last night about this "someone."
"Well…I guess you could say I am seeing someone right now, yes…"
"Oh, I see. Do I need to be worried about this someone?"
"Don't you always do that anyway? No, he's a cool guy, Hank. No need to worry about me."
Then she changed the subject to Becca and her new friend Chelsea, if I'd managed to forget to make Becca lunch for school yet again this week, Charlie and Marcy, etc. Her subject change didn't go unnoticed.
As I lay in bed that night—another nameless Starbuck's barista snoring contentedly at my side—I couldn't get myself to stop thinking about what little Karen had said about this guy. 'He's a cool guy.' What the fuck does that mean? Cool? Cool like me?
She's out with him tonight. Becca told me as we ate the Chinese takeout I'd ordered for dinner.
"Did mom call?"
"Yes. She told me to tell you that she can't talk tonight. She's going out."
"On a date. With that guy."
I felt a pang in my chest and my stomach knotted up; an unfortunate side effect of hearing about Karen's sexual goings-on's with other men. Whatever appetite I had for solid food dissipated. I swallowed my mouthful of chow mein hard.
"What guy? The guy from last week?"
"That's the one," she replied nonchalantly. She was busy texting.
It was quiet for a few moments as I thought of how to best phrase my next question without betraying my anxiousness.
"So…you know anything about this guy?"
Becca finally glanced up and gave me a look that was so Karen, I did a double-take.
"He's an architect."
I nodded, "Oh?"
Becca sighed, "Mom met him a few weeks ago on a project she was working on. She liked him, so she asked him out. He said yes. End of story."
"What?" I was floored. And deeply disturbed at the same time. He was an architect? She asked him out?
"You're surprised? I thought you and mom agreed to see other people…"
"Ah, we didn't exactly define 'see'."
"Just because your definition of 'seeing someone' means fucking them and not having an actual, functional relationship doesn't mean that's how mom sees it too."
"An actual, functional relationship? Is that what she's having with this guy?"
"Does that bother you? So what if she's serious about this guy? You don't seem to care these days…"
"What? Since when did I not care? I have always cared, Becca. That's the problem."
"No! The problem is that you can't stop sticking your dick in everything that moves!"
Holy shit. "Where did you pick up that little gem?"
"Does it matter? Mom is serious about this. She's discovering who she is. So that if it's meant to be, she can really be with you. You're not taking this seriously. You show up to work drunk, you're with a new girl every night! If you care then why don't you act like it?"
Fuck. Out of the mouths of babes. The truth of her words shook me to the core. I was at a loss for words. No come back. Not even a 'Go to your room!' She was absolutely fucking right.
Becca spoke up again, her voice softer this time, "I used to look up to you. Now I don't even know what to think anymore."
My heart plummeted into the pit of my stomach. I leaned against the kitchen counter with one hand; it was all I could do to keep my knees from buckling as she stalked off into her bedroom, shutting the door quietly.
My worst fears are coming true. My little girl—the most important person in my entire life—hates me. Or at the very least, has lost whatever little respect she had for me. Karen is in New York, on a second date with an architect. And once again, I fucked up big time. Like that song by the Animals, my intentions are good. At least this is what I've always thought. But now I'm starting to question if they really are.
I agreed to this separation. At the time, I saw the logic in Karen's belief that it would be good for us to take a break from each other for a while. If we were meant to be, we would end up together. If not, oh well. At the time that all seemed fine.
Now I'm starting to think we made a mistake. What if we don't end up together? What if we weren't meant to be? What if Karen falls in love with someone else? What about Becca? What about our family?
What the fuck?