Fandom: Breakout Kings
Title: When the Bough Breaks
Author: Lexgallant/ Seraphim Burning
Rating- Pg 13
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Summary: Futur (ish) fic –Julianne has kept a secret from Lloyd for two years now but can't bare it any longer. Now she must go to Maybelle and decide what they have to do with this information.
A/N The story hasn't been changed just reposted with a few corrections. Thanks so much to Lucky713 for pointing out an error I made with the names. All the best
When the Bough Breaks
Lloyd had always been a nervous person. Even when he was younger (for as long as his extensive memory would let him remember) he had been a nervous sort of guy. His mother had assured that, using every point of weakness as a springboard for some painfully loaded attack upon him. Throughout his life he was blamed for every single misfortune that fell upon either himself or his mother while she simultaneously demanded his unwavering love and support. So, as an adult, when the unexpected came he took it with all the determination and zeal of a deer being pursued by hunters in a forest. He tried to make himself as invisible as possible and avoid notice and when all else failed he ran like hell. That had been his long -standing back up plan and was more then to little to blame for his stint as a fugitive from justice and the subsequent twenty-five year prison bid. But in the end-running worked. In most cases it allowed him enough distance to avoid serious physical harm and would often bide him some time to rethink the situation to an extent he was able to think his way out of it.
Of course that strategy hardly helped when someone specifically requested to see you in a prison. It was hard to avoid that, not to mention (in his case) unprecedented. In all his time at Maybelle and even when he was at Rahway there had been no visitors. Well, that wasn't totally true, there were his lawyers at first, but they were hardly guests. Then the money ran out and those little treats stopped. His mother had never bothered coming to see him in the first place and his father was in "Holland", probably unaware of his incarceration. He rubbed the back of his neck nervously at the thought. What if it was his mother? His heart leapt with both with fear and hope. What would it mean should she come and visit? He didn't know and his nervousness grew.
Feeling he could no longer sit Lloyd began pacing the length of the visitation room, his mind working at maximum capacity, searching out any reason why, after so many years, anyone would want to speak with him. The only contact he had on the outside was Charlie and Ray and his mother. That was it. No one else really cared if he lived or died and he wasn't so sure how devoted to the cause those three were. Perhaps it was an old student? He dismissed the thought as soon as he had it. Most of his students, while grudgingly admitting he was brilliant, despised him.
He heard the guard approach and immediately hurried back to his seat, eyes trained at the door. It creaked out while opening, revealing a glance of a guard calmly informing the person on the other side of the door what to do when he/she was ready to leave. He wanted to scream out that it was stupid to instruct someone on how to contact you when you are actively monitoring the room itself but he restrained himself. Instead he dropped his hands to the sides of the metal chair, clutching at it desperately while training his eyes straight ahead.
The first thing he saw as she entered (for it was definitely a she) was the hair. Soft and blonde, it reflected the harsh lighting of the room. Flaxen was the term he had read and he always used it in regards to her. He could claim blonde hair as well but he had always noted that his hair had none of the luster hers always had. From the first moment he had seen it, pulled back from her face with only a few twisting tendrils escaping their enclosure, he had wanted to reach out and wrap it around his fingers. So many times he had imagined himself tracing its progress down the side of her face, feeling the way it framed and enhanced such delicate features. He caught his breath as she came into view.
It had been awhile since he had seen her (around two years if he was correct-and he usually was). She bit her lip nervously as she approached, teeth biting against pink, soft flesh, before exhaling and pressing them together in dogged determination. Her eyes fell upon him and he was caught in her view for a moment before lowering his own face. Her gaze burned through him with a dark smoldering heat he prayed he might still be able to ignite there. Fear lingered in his mind as he debating conducting this conversation while looking at his lap. Her eyes were so expressive and he was so observant. Lloyd feared what emotions he might see there. Those eyes were so familiar, looking up at him innocent and vulnerable a look of friendship and trust. He had also seen those eyes below him, half closed with passion. In that moment they had been hot and dark and he had been unable to look away from them. He wondered how such a silly metaphor such as drowning in someone's eyes could be so accurate. He felt his own cheeks blush with embarrassment at the memory. His most treasured memory coupled with an intense shame; it always seemed to be the way with him.
She seemed to sense his discomfort and matched it with her own. She took her seat, across from him and shifted uncomfortably. He noted they were close enough to touch hands should they reach yet the expanse between them seemed huge. Lloyd kept his hands on the edge of the table; unsure of what to do or say. He hated feeling so uncertain. He hated being so bared and stripped down before her. He hated that he was wearing his prison blues. He hated that she wouldn't look at him.
The guard regarded them sharply before closing the door, he heard the locks click into place. He tried to lean back, to look more casual so as to alleviate her anxiety and his own. Lloyd noted that her hands were visible on the table and that were slightly shaking, a clear indication she probably had driven here on her own. He wondered what on earth had caused her to drive all the way here to visit him at Maybelle, way out of her safe zone, after not seeing her for nearly two and a half years. If she wanted to speak to him she could have easily arranged to speak to him while he and the others were out catching a runner. He also doubted Ray or Charlie would have denied her access to his cell phone number. Hell, she could have gotten it all on her own without them even knowing. The inability to accurately assess the situation gnawed at him, setting his already frazzled nerves on edge.
"Well, this is a nice surprise," he offered, the statement coming out a little more bitter then he would have liked.
Her head shot up to face him and for a moment he thought she was just going to get to her feet and leave. His hands were on the table in an instant, reaching towards her despite the rules that kept him from doing so. He heard the static demand of the guard, warning him to back away, but he ignored it. His eyes looked to hers imploringly, begging her.
"Don't leave." He whispered sharply, desperation tinting his tone.
"I wasn't going too…" she whispered back.
"Yes, yes you were. You know you were and I wouldn't blame you if you did" he replied rapidly, moving back and sitting down in agitation, "But please don't."
There was silence again as she tried to settle herself. For once he tried to stay quiet and keep his observations inside. The way her eyes scanned the room, the way they refused to look at him did not settle well in his stomach. She was a picture of anxiety, despondence and guilt. Whatever had brought her here was not good. She pressed her head to her face before closing her eyes and breathing in slow steady motions. Not good at all. His nerves returned two fold. Finally, unable to bear the silent minutes his mouth opened and the words flowed out.
"Why are you here Julianne?" there was a tenderness there that was nowhere near as masculine as he would have hoped but it seemed to reach her.
She seemed shocked by his words but began steeling herself to respond to them. He knew she would answer. Regardless of the mélange of disorders she housed Julianne wasn't a coward. Lloyd knew that if she came here to do something the only way she was leaving without accomplishing her task was by force, either physical or mental. He was a great therapist and a very good manipulator, if he wanted to get rid of her he knew it would be easy to verbally run her off. However, when he looked inside himself it was plain to see that he didn't want to. Whether it was emotion or pure morbid curiosity he wanted to hear what she had to say.
"It's about, um, that night. You remember right? The Jefferies case? With Stiltson?" she said tightly, pursing her lips at the mention of it.
Did he remember? He laughed at the statement and then immediately clamped down on it. Of course he remembered. The runner, the marshal that had come in to consult on the case. The man had been painfully handsome and had started hitting on Julianne the moment he spotted her in the room. The way he talked to her, in that suave voice that would have made her think that agreeing to go on a date with him was her idea. They had apparently known one another at the academy before she was thrown out. There had been a thousand inside jokes there, flirtatious glances on the man's side and soft smiles on hers. It had been horrible watching the attractive successful young law man swoop in and sweet talk her while his hands were figuratively (and at times literally) bound. Of course Lloyd wasn't an idiot. He knew that his anger towards Stiltson was irrational. He was in prison and had a large stretch to go, there was no way he was asking her out on any dates. Hell, It wasn't like he could even offer her anything remotely close to a normal life. Still, he was shocked to find that logic and an IQ of 210 did little to quell the most primal of instincts and he marveled at his own animalistic response to an unknown male encroaching on his territory. He knew that acting like some sort of Cro-Magnon man was totally below him and probably painted him as pathetic but it didn't stop him from being a colossal ass to Marshal Stiltson. He drug into the man the only way he knew how, using his mind to take the man apart piece by piece. So much so that he was left behind when the rest of the team went to apprehend the runner, leaving Julianne to babysit.
The others had accepted it of course, there was an unspoken understanding that the way the man was going after their blonde tech was painful for everyone to watch. He also guessed his own feelings were pretty obvious, especially when Charlie, 'Virgil' Charlie, empathized with him. So while the others risked their lives to apprehend a fugitive he was left with an annoyed Julianne. It only took fifteen minutes (by his count) before they found themselves alone and the argument ensued. It had been sharp and intense. He could openly admit that he had not yelled at someone so irrationally in his entire life and Julianne gave as good as she got. It was simply ironic that her level of trust and comfort in him gave her the confidence to tell him exactly where to 'shove it'. Had the situation been different he would have thought it amusing. The two quietest people on the team tearing into one another like vicious wolverines, going for the throat all the while never saying the things that were really running through their heads. At its peak they were in one another's face, chest to chest, spewing all sorts of venom that, even now, he couldn't remember. And then he kissed her and it had all spun out of control from there.
He had not had a lot of experience sexually; spending his high school and college years painfully young compared to those around him and then, finally when he was old enough to explore his sexual options those were all his age were his students. To engage in a relationship with any of the young ladies of his acquaintance would have been considered breach of trust. Oh, don't get him wrong, he had wanted to and the opportunities presented themselves as clear as day, but being gifted (in his case) also allowed for a heightened sense of personal ethics. He knew a breach of trust when he saw it and that's what any sexual experience with any of the young women he knew would have been. No matter how desperately he tried to work around it or hide it he just couldn't lie to himself about that. His ethics had always been important to him; exploiting a woman (even if she seemed more then consenting) was just wrong.
That's what Julianne had been and as much as he knew he should stay away, he had never experienced anything so primal before. He was aware she was hurt, damaged, and he that he had a duty to protect her. Even from himself. It was a slip in a long line of recent slips and despite his personal feelings of shame for taking advantage of the situation he couldn't bring himself to be ashamed of the act itself. Making love to Julianne (for that's what it had been- at least for him) had been one of the best moments of his life.
He kept his feelings about it to himself. They had never spoken of the incident between them and a few months later she spontaneously resigned from the team. When Charlie told him he had had to excuse himself from the room for a moment. This was the first time he had seen or heard from her since then.
"Um, yeah…" she stammered as he became aware he had never answered her question and had been staring at her instead.
"I remember," he stated. His mind screamed at him to keep her talking, to cajole her into staying just a little bit longer. He was desperate to see her and hadn't realized how much until grasped the fact she could leave at any moment.
"Do you ever think about it Lloyd?" she asked softly.
All the time. Every single hour I've been here since it happened, his mind answered immediately.
"Sometimes," his voice supplied.
She nodded. Meeting his eyes before gently smiling.
"I think about it all the time," she said softly, her cheeks reddening with each word.
He thought his heart might actually jump out of his chest despite the completely impractical nature of the term.
"I don't like how it ended." She continued, speaking more out loud then to him specifically "I should have spoken to you. We should have talked about it. I just, I couldn't be there. Seeing you and then you seeing me, knowing that I…"
She stopped as he leaned forward. Her words floated to him in a haze. He was controlling his breathing to keep himself from saying something, to speak out loud everything he had wanted to say to her in her thirty-month absence. He wanted to reach over so he could hold, he wanted to press his lips against hers and taste her again and again. A thousand completely illogical situations where they ended up spread upon the cold table skittered across his mind like spilled marbles and he hastened to catch them before they spiraled out of control.
"There was so much I should have told you Lloyd. I mean I owed you more." She continued, unaware of the turn his mind had taken, "And I know you're going to hate me and I hope that one day you'll be able to forgive me."
He felt the arousal replaced with confusion as she wrung her hands before him. He had no idea what could have rattled her so far or caused the tears that were welling in her eyes. He wanted to comfort her but at the same time felt his own guards go up. What had she done? What could she possibly have done? He couldn't imagine a single scenario that would cause him to hate her.
She reached to her side where he spied a previously unseen file folder. He wondered idly how she had managed to get it through security before he realized they must have checked it through. How strange. She didn't open it, merely placed it on the table and slid it between them, letting her hand rest on it, leaving it up to him to draw it to him or to push it away. It was as if she were offering him a choice, to take it or to leave it.
"I wanted to get your opinion," she stammered, suddenly overtly nervous, "As a doctor. A behaviorist I mean."
He caught the way her eyes shifted, as if she were trying to tell him something. He was no fool and he had always been so adept at reading her. He nodded, agreeing to go alone with this deception.
Slowly he reached over. He let his fingertips touch her, drawing one finger across her nail in an achingly slow embrace, the only one he could offer her in this situation. She caught her breath for a moment before letting colour seep into her cheeks, then, just as tentatively, she turned her hand upward, letting the tips touch one another. He smiled at that; at the perfect picture she made. He willed his mind to etch it into his memory so he could replay it over and over once she left. After another lingering moment it was over and she let him take the folder from her, their eyes locked across the table. Then as he had the papers in his possession she lowered her head like a chastised child, waiting for a blow.
Her reactions made a stab of fear slice through him as he opened the plain folder and looked at the assembled documents within in. At first he had no idea what he was looking at. A case perhaps? The first thing he saw was the square of paper with the words "Certificate of Live Birth" across it. His eyes roved down the names before his breath caught in his throat. He was certain forgot how to breathe even as he forced air painfully into his lungs. He forgot how to think as he stared the document and the information it held. His hands tensed sharply before he pulled them away so that he would not crush the paper. They seemed to be shaking. He looked down again, wondering if perhaps he was hallucinating, but the name was there in its bold letters, as clear as day.
Lily Anne Simms
He scanned the paper. Julianne Simms was clearly listed in the spot that indicated mother, her loopy signature staring out at him. Again he barely managed to hold it together when his eyes caught the point the line that listed Father. The only thing there was a very conspicuous word. Unknown.
Lloyd forced himself to look at the Birth date: December 21. His mind did the calculations without any effort, counting back nine months before the information filed itself away in his mind as being totally possible.
Completely possible, his extremely rational mind argued.
Impossible the emotional part whispered back. Refusing to allow him hope.
His panicked feelings fell upon him like a tempest, anger, defiance, hope, terror, fear, joy warring for dominance in the wake of what he now knew. He covered his face with his hands, struggling to breath and kept it together. The possibilities raged on one side, giving him a kind of hope he hadn't felt in so many years. The other side sharply reminded him that in order for that to be possible Julianne would have lied to him or at least withheld the truth. The horrible realization that the point might be completely moot hit him. Perhaps she was being honest when she was saying she needed his expert opinion. Perhaps this little girl had nothing to do with him at all. Ray's name flashed through his mind and he saw red.
His eyes sought Julianne out across the table, trying to see some type of truth in her eyes. She seemed to be wringing her hands so tightly they were brilliant red and he worried she might rub them raw should she continue. Her eyes were streaked with tears as she looked at him. Guilt spread over her like a cloud of shame and he knew there were no answers to be found there.
He pushed aside the Birth Certificate, looking for something, some proof to either foster or crush the hope he felt budding inside.
The next thing that hit his eyes was the picture. It was a snap shot, nothing professionally done or really impressive, just a picture someone had taken at the park. He picked it up, grasping it in his hands as his analytical eyes studied it with all the power of observation he had ever possessed. He was a doctor and at the very least, he had a good understanding of how genetics worked. He knew which traits should be passed down and which of those he possessed. However, as his analysis of began he realized he hardly needed it.
Julianne was centered, looking lovely in a light blue summer dress, her shoulders bare and her hair tied back in only a loose braid. Her face was a picture of happiness, smiling down at the smallish creature tucked securely into her lap. The little girl was looking straight at the camera, a matching smile upon her lips as she sat in her own blue-green dress with large flower silhouettes printed upon it, a picture of childhood innocence. There were books spread around them on bright green grass, each open and turned to different pages, as if the choices were so many that not a single one could be decided upon. The shadows played across the faces of mother and daughter, sunlight filtering through a tree that was out of sight but obviously providing shade for the angelic duo. The little girl glowed with a sense of adoring trust and happiness. Just looking upon her Lloyd was taken aback by how happy she seemed. It was a happiness he could never remember himself feeling even as a young boy. Then again he had no memories of his mother taking him anywhere, least of all a park on warm summer's day.
On a less sentimental note he could see the structure of the child face mirroring Julianne's exactly, granting the little girl a charming elfin appearance. The smaller version of Julianne's mouth, chin and brow gave him a clear impression of what this child would grow up to look like and the assurance that she would be lovely indeed. However, it was the differences his eyes sought out and the evidence presented itself immediately and inarguably. Whether or not his name was anywhere near that birth certificate his contribution to this little girl was clear.
He tried to overlook it, perhaps use it to discredit the possibility that he had been involved in creating something seemingly perfect but the mind he relied on so heavily for any sense of self worth he still had would not allow him to deceive himself in this matter. The turn of the child's nose was certainly not her mother's, her upper lip was fuller then Julianne's and a great deal redder and then there were the eyes. He was not a handsome man by any means but the one thing the few women he had been briefly intimate all complimented were his eyes. They all said that just looking at his eyes they could tell he was sharp. They said the bright, arctic blue colour seemed to convey his intelligence, as if that alone allowed others a brief glimpse of his mind. The girl's eyes were housed in the same stunning setting as Julianne's but unlike hers they were not dark or smoldering. Instead he found crystal blue staring out of the photo, bright and alive. They were his eyes, without a shadow of a doubt; he was also startled to realize that it was not simply the colour they seemed to share. He saw an intelligence there that sent a chill down his spine and he understood exactly what those women had been speaking of.
The eyes led him to look at her hair. Surrounding her face were waves of dark blonde. He unconsciously reached up to his own and grasped it tightly. As if tested his theory he tugged a few strands out and dropped them next to the picture. The tone and colour matched perfectly but the texture was different. The straw-like quality of his own hair was gone in the image and replaced with soft waves tied back with ribbons and bows. There was absolutely no evidence of Ray in either the girl's structure or bearing. While he could pass as the father based on colouring alone it was clear he was not. Not to mention the overwhelming fact that Ray would never allow his own daughter's birth certificate to remain blank, regardless of the mother's wishes. The evidence was there, right before him, yet his mind wasn't quite making the jump to the inevitable conclusion.
"God." He whispered softly before looking at the Julianne, "She's… she's…"
There were no words.
"I think she's beautiful." Julianne supplied softly, her voice still uncertain in the silence of the room "But I think she came out beautiful. Then again, I'm biased since I'm her mother."
Mother. It ran through him like a shock the word jump-starting the part of his brain that had slowed to a painful crawl with his revelation. He wanted to be furious with her, heck a part of him was. There was a piece of him that wanted to throw this in her face; tell her she was a liar and that he obviously wanted nothing to do with her or her daughter. But the other part, the secret part that safe guarded any hope or strength he had ever had, would not allow it. Lloyd was a practical man. He was intelligent but in the end he was aware that his intelligence made people move away from him rather then draw them near. Genius might be an impressive term to own but it was not one that most people could have while maintaining a normal life. He had always had a difficult time with people (women and men), even when he was a tenured professor and published behaviorist. There was little chance of a woman taking an interest in him now, when all of his good qualities had been stripped away and replaced with a decades long prison sentence that hung over his head like the sword of Damocles. He had held onto the hope that maybe, one day, he would have a child. A wife. But it was a dream and he knew the chances of it happening were slipping away with each passing year be spent behind bars.
He was smart enough not to throw this opportunity away because he was angry. He was aware enough to know that any anger towards Julianne he might be feeling right now would likely disappear in time. It would be foolish to burn a bridge he may have to cross at some point. He just needed to control his emotions and calm down.
"I know you must be mad." Julianne started.
"Oh do you?" he demanded sharply, allowing the anger to seep through, "Why? Did someone have you're kid and not tell you about it too?"
She drew back as if struck and he cursed his inability to kepe his mouth shut. Then, watched in horror, as she gathered her things, obviously preparing to make her exit.
"Sorry, I'm sorry." He started quickly, "I'm just a little… um… caught off guard with all this. Maybe this is how Lars felt."
He watched her still. He had told her about Lars Lowery. She knew how he felt about the man who was his father in name alone. There was also a dawning awareness upon her face as he spoke, making it clear that she was slowly coming to the realization that she had inadvertently turned him into his absent father.
"Lloyd," she started, he could see the tears were now trailing down her cheeks "I am so sorry. I just, I found out and then I got scared. I was a washout of the Training program, working with cons and then I got this job offer. If they had known that the baby was yours... Lloyd, I just couldn't get throw out of another group like that. Especially not when…"
Her words caused a dark fury to rise up in him but it disappeared in a moment as he watched her hand slip under the table. He knew it was resting on her uterus. He recalled seeing Erika make the exact same gesture and he decided not to mention it to Julianne but he felt a warmth come over him. She may have been desperate to hide her daughter's paternity but it had not been out of shame of him. Her hand told him differently. It was a protective gesture. Regardless of her actions she had made those decisions because she truly believed she was protecting their baby. Their daughter.
"It's alright." He said, his voice cracking around the words. He reached up to wipe a tear way, he had no idea why he was crying. It was too much emotion.
"I just thought you should know." Julianne replied gently, "I didn't know if you'd want her to see you like this. I don't even know if you ever wanted kids."
"I do. He stated suddenly, "I did, I mean."
She smiled at that, a soft uncertain smile.
"Um, what's she like?" Lloyd asked, his voice wavering.
There was no telling what would happen and he hadn't even breached the idea that he might someday meet her. In fact it was merely his own understanding with her behavior that let him believe Julianne wasn't just here to tell him he was a father and then depart forever, leaving him with the knowledge of a daughter he would never know. Of course her initial reason for being there might be true, in fact there was a good case for it. She might need help with Lily but at the same time the visitation reason might have just been a cover. Still, he struggled to keep his mouth shut; to keep a lid on every stray thought. The power was completely in someone else's hands right now; Julianne's hands. He felt a rush of exhilaration that usually came with gambling and he rode it for the little pleasure it was able to provide on this obviously harrowing day. Oh he had issues. He was aware.
Julianne didn't answer right away but a smile passed over her lips that lit up her entire face. All the worry seemed to just disappear as she looked up at him with shining brown eyes and he found himself marveling at her beauty once again. He congratulated himself on not over reacting in his earlier moment of anger as his affection for her was very obviously still in tact.
"She's amazing. So amazing." Julianne smiled warmly, "Such a good girl and happy all the time. She's always singing and dancing and reading. I've spent a small fortune on books."
She caught herself but he wished she hadn't. The joy in her eyes, the pure excitement she showed had been lovely on her. She was just exuded happiness; it was coming out of her pores.
"She can read? At two? So is she…?" he let the question hang, both scared and eager for the answer and what it would mean.
His 'gift' couldn't always be described as such. He'd had a hell of a time as a kid, and it hadn't been much easier as an adult. Again the concept of genius was a lot easier to live with when you weren't the genius. He felt a stab of regret and grief rush through him for what he might have unconsciously done to this little girl just by being the one who had fertilized her mother's ova. It was a frustrating, the thought that he had most likely passed on a genetic predisposition to being an outcast along with startling intelligence. What a trait to pass on to your kid.
From the way she pursed her lips pursed he had his answer. He let a sad smile spread over his lips.
"The specialists say they can't tell for sure how high her intelligence is until she starts school but they wanted to start her early. I said no. I didn't want her to be a two year old in a class with four year olds. I mean when she's old enough to attend I might consider skipping grades. I'm looking into good enrichment programs at some local elementary schools" Julianne stated seriously, "I do what I can. We go on play dates and I try to get her to spend time with other kids her age but it's hard. Even when we're at play dates with my friends the other kids avoid her. They don't know what she's saying most of the time"
"They didn't know what I was saying either," he replied, his mind slipping into the more comfortable position of behaviorist while trying to press down the mounting guilt, "Starting school early might actually be a good idea. It usually helps gifted children, most are more self aware then people give them credit for."
Julianne was paying very close attention and he was a little surprised when she produced a small notepad with a pen and immediately wrote his advice down.
"Getting her books is great but you might also want to look into other things. Play off her interests." He continued, trying to think of all the things he had wished his mother would have done for him when he was a boy.
He wondered if Lily was well adjusted; if she was happy. She certainly looked happy in the picture and with a mother like Julianne he didn't see how she could be anything but happy. So few people realized that along with all the other benefits and pitfalls of being a genius it did not mean that a successful happy life was guaranteed; he was living proof of that. An IQ of 210 had not saved him from making the bad decisions that had ended resulted in his being locking him away for a quarter century. He wondered if a happier, well-adjusted childhood would have made a difference. That perhaps if he had had loving supportive parents he might be in a much better situation. He dismissed the thought almost immediately. Firstly because it was useless to mull over the impossible and secondly because all the errors of his life were responsible for his meeting Julianne. That was not something he was willing to trade for.
This came with a renewed vigor and sense of control. While his life had been made better for meeting Julianne hers obviously had not. Had she not met him she might be a while lot happier, or at the very least her life would be a great deal simpler. If Lily was happy then why would anyone allow a con to take an active role in their child's upbringing? The thought scared him into action.
"You should watch for the signs," he found himself stating, shoving through the papers in front of him for any evidence Lily might not be well adjusted. That his daughter might need him in some capacity, "we know that you have a genetic predispoition to anxiety disorder and agorophobia, we might not have to worry about symptoms for another few years. Until then you should take her for evaluation, you know, catch these things before they become real problems."
"Really?" Julianne asked, quirking an eyebrow, her hand stilling from the pad "You honestly think she needs a therapist? She's only two."
Lloyd rubbed the back of his head self-consciously. He didn't want to lie to her, not at all but the reality was now sinking in. He had a child. Julianne was a good mother, more then capable of raising Lily on her own. He didn't want that. He didn't want his daughter to have to face the world all alone and different, with no one around that she might relate too. He may have not been aware of her but as their conversation continued he was becoming more conscious that he did not want another man raising his girl. She would need him as she grew and her intellect developed and he was sure that he would need her.
"Well, if you don't want to force Lily to speak to a stranger," he began, "I could do it. You know, you could bring her around. Maybe we could arrange for a private room and I could talk to her. Give you some perspective. It would probably be better seeing as I am the only genius in the field I know of. In this area of course."
He felt his heart in his throat. It was a sound offer. He reminded himself he was a great therapist, people used to pay hundreds just for an hour and his opinion. Of course it hadn't lasted long but the opportunity was too good to pass up. He had to admit he was nervous; of Julianne's answer and the possibility meeting his daughter. He was even more nervous about the little girls' well being. He was knew he couldn't be much of a father (it was an improbably that he would be out of prison until after her fifteenth birthday) but in that moment he decided he didn't want to be to Lara was a stranger. Even if he had lost Julianne (he had already convinced himself of that ages ago) there was no way he was willing to let his own child be a stranger to him. There was no way he would be to Lily Simms was Lars Lowery was to him. He had to find a way and if it was through the guise of therapy then so be it.
However, in the end it was all about Julianne. Lloyd found himself watching her, searching her for any inkling of what she was thinking. It was sad that for the first time he couldn't read her expression at all. He had put his cards on the table, gone all in and now it was time for her to show her hand. Had this all been some sort of exercise in confession? To let him know his daughter existed simply because the weight of the secret was just too much to bare any longer or was she going to let him have a chance. Had she come here because she realized that not only did Lara need a father but she needed him specifically. He contemplated the words he had told Erica so long ago, that a mother was "the one person genetically designed to nurse" their child. In his amazement he found that the same could be said of Lily and himself. He was possibly the one person in the world who had been genetically designed to nurse her, to teach her. He just prayed that Julianne had come to that revelation as well.
Julianne seemed to stare at his suggestion before catching herself. He watched as she seemed to mull the situation in her mind before smiling at him nervously.
"Would you mind?" she asked.
"No, of course not, not at all." he answered eagerly, "If it's alright with Charlie and Ray I would love to help."
"Then I'll talk to them and let you know." Julianne said.
An onslaught of emotions washed over him. Unable to cope with it he placed his hands on the table before dropping his head to his hands. He felt tired. So tired as he hurriedly wiped the tears from his face before turning to face her. Julianne was smiling but crying as well. In her eyes he saw an embrace, he saw all the sadness, shame and guilt she had been carrying for all these years. He tried to will his forgiveness to her because there was no way he could say it out loud here in Maybelle.
There was no doubt there would be far too many emotions to deal with after she had left but he wanted her to know there was no malice for her in him. She had done him wrong. She had hurt him and infuriated him and he knew it would take a long time to let his own trust issues to get over this betrayal however he would not squander the chance he was being given. Nor would he bite the hand that feeds and right now that hand was Julianne's.
"Well I should go," Julianne said while rising to her feet and gathering the now scattered papers, "I think I can convince them it's for the best. After all how many genius' do you think are out there that would be able to help Lara understand herself."
"I don't know any," Lloyd answered honestly before reaching out and taking up the one picture of Lily and Julianne as it fell from the folder.
Vulnerability imbued his words as he held tight to the photo.
"Can I keep this? Please?"
She didn't answer but offered a nod, reaching over and pressing her fingers to his. They intertwined for a moment and he brought them to his lips and pressed a reverent kiss upon her knuckles. He wasn't quite sure why he did it and he tried to ignore the voice over the loud speaker telling him to let her go. Julianne's response was to diffuse the situation but bringing his fingers to her mouth and kissing them back before telling the guard she was ready to leave.
He sat there for a moment as the guard removed Julianne and then quietly moved him back to his cell. He tried to keep him mind as blank as possible, to hold it together until he was allowed the privacy of his room. His thoughts did not linger on anything for long but the moment he was back in his cell he pressed his face into the pillow and wept. He wasn't quite sure what it was for, he felt every emotion known to man. Happiness, sadness, anger and fear intertwined with one another as he lay there for hours trying to take in everything that he had been told and everything that had happened in the last few hours. Later, after he had recovered he tacked the picture on the corkboard.
That night he fell asleep staring at the image of Julianne and Lily on the green grass surrounded by books. That night he dreamed he was with them.