AN: It's been awhile but I've been watching BOK on netflicks and its inspired me. Also I am determined to keep going despite the cancellation.
Anyway thanks to anyone who reads this or continues to write for this ship, its needs as many supporters as possible. Lots of Love- SB
Julianne stood in their living room, arms overloaded with bags and an exhaustion spread over her entire countenance. It had been a long night. A very, very long night that had culminated in Julianne attending her daughter's open house completely tired and nearly falling asleep on her feet as the teacher welcomed the parents into the classroom.
Not that it really mattered. There were no issues that ever needed to be dealt with when it came to Lily and school. In the end all that she had been obligated to do was sit at the desk for the first twenty minutes, then wander around the room and have teachers and random people walk up and shake her hand.
Lily had stood beside her the entire time, her cool eyes serious and her hair tied back into two little ribbon bound pigtails. Her daughter had looked absolutely lovely in her small dress, little cut out flowers falling along the hemline. The unseasonable warmth had negated the need for winter jackets which was a welcome bonus to the night. Lily never lasted long in layers, sooner or later they were lost of discarded and Julianne was certain any additional clothing would have just been loaded onto her. There were times when she felt more pack mule then mother. Then again she could be anything (and often had to be) for the sake of her exceptional daughter. Other then being significantly shorter then the rest of the children present there was very little to lend to the fact that her five year old (who was technically supposed to be in kindergarten) was functioning very well in her grade three class. Of course there had been moments where Julianne felt just how strange this life must be like for people like Lily. For people like her daughter's father.
The other parents stared at them but kept their distance, as if coming close to them and noticing that her daughter was so much smaller then the rest of the students was the worst sort of repellant . Still she could see Lily speaking to them, motioning with her hands as they made conversation. Still the boys stayed away from the little girl, the girls were kind but not overtly friendly. As she watched the interaction Julianne felt a stab of pain run through her chest, constricting her breath and holding it inside her. Her daughter was alright now but as she great older she would realize that the mental maturity she had would not be enough. She would be left behind. As the boys became intersted in girls Lily would realize she had no place in their social world. She would be pulled back into herself. Another stab of fear ran through Julianne as she realized her own psychosis might fall upon her little girl just as viciously as had on her. The thought had been enough to rush her through the night and hustle them both out of that room and back home. Agoraphobia be damned.
"Mom, are you okay?"
Julianne stopped her thinking, turning her head to glance at her small companion. Lily's eyes were staring at her again, that brilliant cool colour that had been borrowed from a man she had never formally met. Shaking her head she droppped to her knees to stare her daughter face to face. As she grew older Lily was growing into her features. As a baby Julianne ahd thought her daughter would be a relica of her with a different eye colour was as the years passed it was becoming more and more obvious that that would not be the case. While she did have her face and her smaller stature the little girls eyes were not hers, her lips were not hers and the hair, the waves were becoming longer and straighter, darkening and she knew sooner or later they would taken on that deep blonde brown that she had been all too familiar with.
"I'm fine baby, why don't you go and get ready for dinner."
That half smile that was nothing like her own lit up her daughter's face and within a few moments she had scampered off through the apartment and to her bedroom. Moving towards the couch area Julianne dropped onto the overused cushions and waited. She was tired, beyond tired. The last runner had taken three days to catch and while she was happy to be back with the Kings and grateful that her mother now lived close enough to babysit while she was working she hated being away from her little girl for that long. She closed her eyes, revelling in the rest and sense of completion it gave. Being at HQ was stressful, unspoken questions hanging in the air and all those moments when there were things that needed to be said but never were.
Being near Lloyd was both wonderful and terrible.
When she had met him in prison, when she had told him about Lily, she had wanted them to meet. In the end it was Lloyd who had had second thoughts. He had hated his own father, he was both in awe and scared of the implications of knowing Lars Lowery and even more so of meeting Lily Anne Simms. A week after she had visited he had requested that Lily never be brought to the prison. Julianne had argued it was fine, that Lily was intelligent enough to handle the situation but he had stated it was that same intelligence that made him want to keep her away. He had said, with Erica's daughter, it was different, the girl was average and her ability to deduce why her mother was there was not so profound that she would be able to tag her mother as a killer. Lloyd knew that it would be different with Lily and Julianne could admit that he was more then correct. Lily would know why Lloyd was in there and what it meant to know he worked on the same team as she did. She would be able to count back and realize her father was actually incarcerated when she was conceived, which would lead to a whole lot of questions that Julianne nor Lloyd ahd any desire to answer. He had argued they should maintain her innocence for as long as they could because sooner, rather then later, it would be gone. Or at least gone enough where an introduction in Maybelle would not be considered traumatic. Of course that hadn't stopped him from being interested. Lloyd called their home every single night. No one else knew (although Julianne thought Shea and Erica might suspect) When she had come back to work for the Kings there had been a moment where there was nothing but staring. She had hugged Erica, hugged Shea and the awkward hug with Lloyd had made everyone laugh.
The real reunion came later, after everyone had gone and all were in the field he had comeup behind her and wrapped his arms around her tentatively, as if he were afraid to face her. She had raised her arms up, holding his arm tightly against her and pressing her back to his front. It was a strange embrace, one full of memories and promise and shame. He couldn't look her in the face and while she could accept that she couldn't imagine why. Then she felt it, the tears against her shoulder and the lips against the column of her neck and she knew. He was ashamed of his feelings. His want and guilt were very understandable, after all they lived in her as well. It had been two years since he had seen her and while talking to her everyday was one thing being with her was another. It had been four years since the one time they had made love. This reuinion was a tempest, emotionallly wild and out of control.
Julianne opened her eyes when she heard the phone ring. Instinctively she reached over fished it from her purse and pressed her finger to the little green button before she even glanced at the number. The toneless voice of the operator was no surprise, but the call itself was. She had seen him not six hours previous, he rarely called on days that he could talk to her.
"Julianne?" his voice was tense, tentative as if he were afraid she would hang up. She wondered what the hell his mother had done to him to make him act this way everytime he called.
"Hey Lloyd, what's up?" she replied as casually as possible.
There was silence for a moment. It was part of their conversation. Her phone bills were murder.
"I'm sorry, I know I don't usually call when we've actually been talking," he paused once more then more vulnerably he asked, "I just wanted ot know how it went tonight. You know, the school thing?"
She smiled. She had forgot that Ray had mentioned it out loud, that it was parent teacher interview night and that she should hurry if she wanted to go. All the cons and Charlie knew she had a little girl and while they were more then eager to figure out what she looked like Julianne ahd been very careful not to have pictures of Lily lying around the office. The only one she had was tucked safely into her wallet. Shea and Erica would never know what/who her baby looked like unless they happened into Lloyd's cell in Maybelle. She knew there was one there, tucked into one of his books.
"It went really well." She responded, moving to her feet and heading towards the kitchen, it would be peanut butter and jelly tonight or frozen pizza tonight, she would let Lily decide, "They think she might actually be surpassing the class again. Apparently she's reading at a sixth grade level but since its only one up they might just leave her alone."
"I went to highschool when I was nine." He answered conversationally, "She might even beat me."
"I don't want her to be left behind socially." Julianne answered, tucking the phone between her ear and shoulder, "I'm worried she's going to be all alone."
Again the silence reigned and for a moment she thought Lloyd had hung up. Instead of ending the call she waited.
"Julianne, she's going to be alone." He answered with a sort of sad finality, "No matter what grade she's in she's going to end up alone for at least part of her development. Mentally she is too advanced to speak with kids her own age and physically those who are mentally at her level would be committing rape if they did anything inappropriate with her. She's going to need to accept that, in fact she probably already has."
"Well I haven't," Julianne answered sharply, "What she needs is someone to talk to, someone who understands."
"We've had this talk. I can't." he began.
She closed her eyes and prepared herself. This was their only real argument and she was far too tired to try and circumvent it tonight.
"You won't," she countered sharply, lowering her voice so her daughter wouldn't hear the whisper, "You've never even heard her voice."
"I'll talk to her when she's old enough to handle it." He answered desperately.
"She never will be." Julianne snapped, "You aren't. You're going to wake up ten years from now and realize that you've never even seen your daughter, you don't know her and she's grown up and you've lost your chance."
The dial tone greeted the end of her tirade and she lowered the phone and let out a long sigh. Tilting her head back she wiped the tears that were forming in her eyes away. It was only as she had taken her last deep breath that she realized she was not alone in the room.
Lloyd paced up and down the length of his cell, his hands in his hair, then on his chin then clutching compulsively at his prison oranges. His room had never seemed smaller, his skull had never seemed smaller.
Hanging up on Julianne was a stupid move, he had known it the moment he had done it, but it was the only option he actually saw. He had run, it was in his nature to run and when the opportunity to do so had presented itself he had taken it without a second thought. Moving swiftly he shuffled through his books, finding the one he loved best and opened it up. The picture had been folded and unfolded too many times to count and he had taken to guarding it the way a magpie guarded treasure. No one had seen it, not Shea, not Erica and certainly not Ray or Charlie. He assumed Ray knew and maybe Charlie but for right now he could hold them in his hands and pretend they were his secret and in a way they were. He was certain none of the other cons believed, even for a moment, that this could ever have happened. Hell, years ago when Julianne had appeared in the visitors room with her file folder of facts about their illegitimate daughter he had barely dared to believe her. Now that was what he held onto, what he clung too. There were other pictures of course but this would always be his favourite because it was the first. The sun dappled leaves, the shade spread over the serene image of mother and daughter sitting together and reading.
In this picture he had first seen her eyes (his eyes really) and the beauty Julianne had passed down to their child. He could see the sweet melding of their features in that small face and innocent smile. No matter how often he held it in his hands he could never look at it enough. His mind drank up every nuance to the image he could tell within the hour when and where it was taken just by the positioning of the sun. He could tell what Julianne was thinking, he could tell what Lily was reading. Everything about that picture was perfect and certain. Maybe that's what he was protecting. He was good enough at what he did (or had done) to know that his aversion to actually meeting Lily was not normal. Every parent in prison was ashamed of their position but that didn't stop them from being parents. He saw Erica with her daughter and knew that despite his own disdain at her allowing her child to entire such a place that the alternative of not seeing her would do far more harm then seeing her mother incarcerated. But there was that fear. Fear of being a father, fear of being the next Lars Lowery. He wanted to be a good father but he had no idea how. He had never met a good father figure and his mother's boyfriends, as few and far between as those men had been, were barely capable of babysitting a goldfish let alone a child. A gifted child was a whole other animal.
That was the second issue.
The ability, the perfect mind that he possessed that made him as he was, and he had passed that on. A gift or a curse given genetically to a young girl who had had the misfortune of being his daughter. He felt as if he had given her Parkinsons or Huntingtons or something else that would hinder her life. Just hearing Julianne talk about her and he knew, Lily would be coming upon the age where she would realize she was different. With her propensity to Julianne's own mental issues he could only hope their daughter didn't need extensive therapy by the time she was sixteen. He could only think of the women they had caught. When he thought of his daughter he thought of Starla. The seemingly innocent girl whose childhood had molded her into a sociopath. Lily had his intelligence but likely his flaws, she would be exhiled from normal society, placed on a lonely pedestal. Able to judge (in her omnipresence) everything but her own actions. He was scared for her and he was scared she would hate him for his part in her plight.
Looking at the picture he tried to calm himself by focusing on Julianne. Sweet, beautiful, damaged Julianne. He wondered if she would hate him for what he had given her. Their daughter had the potential to be something great, she also had the potential to become the human equivalent of a loaded gun. As aware that he was that he was not to blame for his mother's faults yet he couldn't help but feel that Julianne might one day display the hatred for Lily that his mother did for him. A single mom with a "special" child her life would be difficult. All Lily's problems would be exacerbated, and while he had turned to gambling he was worried she would turn to something else, something different.
Young women who lack father figures seek affection from other males in an effort to establish a sense of self worth… his mind supplied and he shuddered. His genius daughter was going to be stripper. A stripper married to a large biker three times her age.
The tension was overwhelming. He moved again, this time dropping the photo back into the book and closing it tightly. He never wanted this. Well, that was a flat out lie, he always wanted this, just never in these circumstances. He was aware that at the center of this is the issue with his own father. Not having a father meant simply he had no idea how to be one. In fact the idea of being one was terrifying. Initially it had been a wonderful dream and Lloyd was aware that he had never been this lucky. Julianne, perhaps the only women he had ever really considered a life with (despite his being one behind bars) had somehow, against the odds, become pregnant from their one and only encounter. It seemed miraculous to him or perhaps very unlucky for her. While most other women on the planet would have likely aborted the ill gotten result of a passionate mistake it was not in her nature. Julianne had allowed their child to grow, to be born and then to be supported. And as a result there was Lily. A living breathing human being. A child whom his influence might make or break. It was a huge responsibility.
He knew he owed it to them. He owed it to Julianne for her actually doing all this, for mothering their baby and making him a father and then giving him the chance to actually be one. And he owed this to Lily because he knew what it was like to be ignored by one's male parent and that there was nothing quite as mentally damaging as knowing that no matter how amazing you were there was nothing in the universe that could entice the one person you wanted to acknowledge you to actually give you the time of day. He couldn't be Lars, he wouldn't allow it. Which meant one thing, Julianne was right, he had to talk to Lily.
Julianne wasn't sure what to say. Not when those eyes looked at her like that. It was the same look Lloyd gave her when he was trying to see through her. It was the look that fell her every time. She sat on the edge of her daughter's bed watching the little girl watching her.
She wasn't stupid enough to think that Lily was unaware of the situation. She had heard everything and the look in her eyes was all the confirmation that Julianne needed to assure her that her daughter had learned of her father in the last few moments and in those moments had surmised that not only was her father in contact with them but also that the man wanted very little to do with her specifically. She hadn't even said a word; the little girl had merely turned on her heel and headed from the kitchen into her bedroom. Julianne had watched as Lily undressed, folded her clothes neatly, readied herself for bed. The silence always bothered Julianne simply because she knew what it was. Lloyd was rarely silent, even when upset he didn't seem capable of keeping himself quiet. However Lily was so like her in that way. When upset she clammed up, as if she needed to collect her thoughts and reflect. Or she was locking her mind in. She was terrified of it. The idea that her daughter would let her stunning, beautiful mind become a private prison was the worst thing Julianne could think of happening.
"Listen, baby, I know you heard. I wish you would talk about it." Julianne sighed, reaching forward and taking the little girl's hand.
Lily looked at their touching hands, her eyes staring down before looking back up. There were so many questions there, that Julianne felt overwhelmed by them. Years ago that sort of look would have sent her running but now it only bound her tighter. Moving softly she eased into the single bed next to her daughter. She had never been a large woman and like her Lily was always small for her age, they fit in the space snuggly but rather comfortable. Pressing the girl to her side Julianne began to run her hands through the burnished golden hair, humming to Lily like she had when the girl had been just a colicky little baby, intent on never sleeping.
"Why haven't you ever mentioned my dad before?"
The question was so softly spoken Julianne nearly missed it but instead she took a deep breath and answered as honestly as she could.
"I don't know really. We weren't supposed to be together and I was afraid I would get in trouble I suppose. Or that he would."
There was silence again and then the words fell from her daughter's lips as naturally as rain from the sky.
"Is he a bad man?"
She knew it shouldn't have shocked her. Lily was very intelligent and Lily knew what the Marshal service was and what her mother did for a living. She knew what a con was and Ray had never beaten around the bush when it came to his opinions on most cons, referring to them as 'badmen' in a deluded attempt at maintaining some sort of childish innocence. Since Ray was the central male character in her daughter's life Julianne had never curtailed his access to her Lily. In fact his daughter Teresa babysat Lily whenever Julianne was at work and had ever since Lily was old enough to be left alone and Teresa's schedule allowed for it. But still, the notion that Lily not only understood the concept of criminals but she was easy identifying her father as possibly being one took a lot more deduction then the average five year old should have been able to deliver. Julianne felt sick to her stomach.
"He's not bad. Not really." She tried.
"But he's a crook right?" Lily continued, undeterred at the political answer Julianne had provided, "Like Uncle Ray says? A com?"
Julianne smile at the mispronunciation due to the large whole in her daughter's mouth where a tooth had once been, the tooth fairy had paid a pretty penny for that one "A con you mean?"
"Yes, a com," she replied impatiently, "short for convict right?"
"Yes, you're right." Julianne replied.
"About which one?" Lily frowned, a small furrow on her tiny brown.
"Both," Julianne sighed, "It's short for convict and you Daddy is one of them."
She watched as Lily reached over to tug on one of her long golden curls. Julianne had noticed before, Lloyd would always do that, tug on his hair or run his hands over his face. Just movement seemed to help the thinking process. She wondered if this was a good argument for Nature over nurture, that Lily was easily developing habits that mirrored a man she had never met. Then again the idea her daughter had inherited her father's 'genius' might also account for that. This might be a genius thing rather then a Lowery thing. She really, really hoped it was, Lily had enough problems as it was.
"So that's why he doesn't want to see me? Because he's a bad man?" she asked, eyebrows raising.
"No, I think he's afraid of you." Julianne answered honestly, gathering her daughter a little tighter in her arms, "He didn't have a Daddy of his own and he's not sure how to be one."
"That's stupid." Lily snapped back instantly, her voice laced with hurt "You never new how to be a mom before me and you're the best one ever. He's just scared then."
She took a moment to look at her little daughter and the earnestness in those small eyes. There were still times that she marveled at just how intelligent the little girl was. There was nothing even remotely ignorant about Lily, whenever she said something it was with intent.
"But I had a good Mommy myself. Gran was a great Mom. His Mommy wasn't a very nice lady to him and I think he's embarrassed to be in prison." She supplied, feeling strangely like she was justifying Lloyd to Lily.
"Did he kill someone?"
It was inevitable, most kids assumed prison meant murder or robbery or something equally intense but Julianne found she couldn't answer. Julianne just looked down at the wide blue eyes staring at her with that fearsome genius behind them. Lily had her answer, she knew how to read behavior, she had since she was an infant. Silence reigned over the room and within a few minutes Julianne felt something pressing into her side. Her eyes dropped to see Lily had buried her head just under her arm, pressed to the side of her breast. She could feel her daughter's tears rather hear them. She felt her own rising up to meet them and she held her tightly, pressing her own sense of loss into the room and let the emotion well into the air.
Hours later she was asleep in a little girl's bed, her child tucked into her protective embrace and her cell phone ringing in the kitchen, long since forgotten.
It's been awhile, hope you liked it. :)