FRAGMENTS- Plot Summary:
One snowy night just before Christmas, Kate McCallister opens the door to a girl called Pandora, who introduces herself as Megan's daughter - but Kate has not seen Megan for many years following a bitter family quarrel that was never resolved. Pandora has brought a little boy with her too - her seven year old brother Calvin.
Kate invites them in and hears from Pandora how Megan's dream of stardom had gone wrong when her life in the glamour industry went sour. Kate asks if she can contact her daughter but she explains her mother did not know about her visit. Pandora also chooses not to tell her the truth about her father, or about the fact that the Wet Bandits are both in their lives...
Kate is determined to see her grandchildren again - and to track down her missing daughter so the family can finally be reunited. But Pandora is a strange girl with secrets and comes from a family with plenty of secrets too...
Sixteen years before, when Harry Lyme told his friend and lover Marv Merchants they would get rich quickly by scamming wealthy model agency boss Fiona Valentine instead of robbing her house. It seemed like nothing could go wrong and when Fiona trusted him with a secret worth millions they thought they had hit on the perfect crime - until a fall from a balcony almost cost Harry his life. But thanks to Marv's love and devotion, Harry begins to wake from his ten year coma - but he has no memory of the events leading up to the night he was almost killed, or about the key Fiona gave to him or the fortune it could unlock, nor does he know that the fall from the balcony was no accident and that Fiona will stop at nothing to get back the key to her fortune...
***Disclaimer - I do not own the Home Alone movies or the characters***
This story contains SLASH, strong language and adult situations, but is the cut version so I have now rated it T.
***This story has a sequel and it is called 'Pretty Little Pieces' and is also rated T***
The snow had stopped falling at last and as they walked up to the house two sets of footprints were left behind in the soft snow; the larger set came from Pandora's boots, she was wrapped up against the weather in a long, thick coat and wore a scarf around her neck. The smaller set of prints belonged to her seven year old brother who stopped and looked up at the Christmas lights that covered the house.
"Wow!" He exclaimed, "It's pretty!"
Pandora leaned down and took his thumb out of his mouth and put his glove back on.
"Don't do that, Calvin." She told him, "You'll get your hands cold. Keep your gloves on."
Then she looked up at the McCallister house. She took a deep breath and muttered, "Mom would kill me if she knew..." Then she took hold of her little brother's hand and they walked up the path, up the steps and she knocked on the door.
Moments later the door opened.
"Yes? Can I help you?"
As Kate McCallister stood there neither the young woman nor the little boy spoke, they just looked at her. Kate studied the girl's face; she had never seen her before but there was something familiar about her. She wasn't very tall and her short dark hair fell into a fringe that was shot through with purple streaks. She had dark eyes and an interesting face - not pretty in a feminine sense but when she smiled her eyes lit up and the light caught on a crystal gemstone that sparkled on one of her teeth.
"You must be Kate McCallister?" She guessed, recognising her as she recalled her Mom showing her old family pictures, "I'm Pandora."
Kate ran her fingers through her flame red hair and frowned.
"Pandora?"She wondered aloud.
The girl spoke again.
"And this is -"
She glanced around, then reached around, realising Calvin was hugging her legs and hiding behind her, "This," She said, taking his gloved hand and drawing him back to her side, "Is my little brother Calvin."
The little boy looked up at her with big blue eyes. Kate smiled at him.
Calvin pulled his bobble hat down over his ears and over his dark curly hair and then he shivered.
"I'm cold." He informed her, before pulling off his glove and putting his thumb back in his mouth.
Kate looked back at Pandora.
"I'm sorry I don't believe I know you? Are you lost?"
The girl hesitated. Then she took in a breath and decided she had come this far and it was too late to back out now...
"Look, Mom doesn't know I'm here. I just wanted to say Hi and meet you, if that's a problem I'll turn around with my brother and you can forget all about us."
Kate felt utterly confused.
"Who are you?"
"Our Mom's Megan." Pandora replied. "Your Megan, your daughter. The one you haven't spoken to for years."
Kate gave a gasp of cold night air and gripped the door frame: She could still recall the day she had yelled at her daughter, "No child of mine is going to make a living taking her clothes off! Get back here now, Megan McCallister, or...or... I'll never let you in this house again!"
Those words echoed back at her with the same clarity they always haunted her with; after Megan had cut off from the family she had even called the police. That was another conversation that would always stay with her:
"My daughter's run away from home! She's mixed up with this agency that want her to take her clothes off for money and I don't trust them one little bit! I don't even know where my daughter is!"
The female officer had listened on the phone, then asked her a question:
"How old is your daughter, Mrs McCallister?"
There was a pause.
"Nineteen?" The officer repeated, "And she's cut ties with her family to pursue a career doing what?"
"Glamour modelling." Kate replied.
The officer gave a sigh.
"She's old enough to leave home and make her own choice of career. I suggest you let her contact you - or if you're genuinely concerned for her whereabouts, to file a missing persons report..."
Kate had done just that, only for the police to get back to her and inform her Megan was alive and well - and that was all they could tell her, because she did not wish her family to know more- and it was her right to do so...
She stared at the girl who stood on her porch.
"You're my granddaughter? But you're too old to be my grandchild-"
"I was born a year after Megan ran away." She told her.
Kate felt a little dizzy now. Megan had a baby so young?
Calvin stepped forward and tugged on her sleeve. He looked up at her and took his thumb out of his mouth.
"It's cold." He said again.
Kate looked again at the little boy; he had to be around seven years old but he had a slightly vacant look in his eyes and he sucked on his thumb like a much younger child.
"He's my grandson?"
"My little brother's a great kid - but he's kind of slow. Years ago he would have been called stupid but these days they call it learning difficulties. He takes after his Dad, he's not the sharpest guy in the world but he's a great person."
"His Dad? You have different fathers?"
Pandora nodded. Then Calvin took his thumb out of his mouth again and gave a whine.
"It's cold! I wanna get warm!"
Kate stepped back.
"Come in." She said quickly.
They went inside and she closed the door. Pandora took off her coat and hung it up, then she picked up Calvin's coat from the floor and hung that up too. As she took off her scarf he made a grab for it but she snatched it back.
"Leave it alone, that was my Daddy's scarf!" She told him, and she hung it carefully on top of her coat.
"Go through to the front room." Kate said, "I'll make you some coffee."
As she headed off to the kitchen she heard Pandora tell Calvin to sit down and be good.
"Yay!" He yelled, "Christmas tree!"
She made coffee for Pandora and heated some milk for Calvin. All the while the thought ran through her head; I have two grandchildren I never knew about?
Soon Calvin was sitting in front of the fire eating cookies and drinking milk. He asked for a pillow and Kate gave him a cushion. Pandora smiled as she watched her brother lean on the cushion watching the fire burning.
"He loves warm milk, he'll probably fall asleep soon." She told her.
Kate sat down beside Pandora and glanced across the room at Calvin snuggling down on the cushion and then lowered her voice.
"Megan doesn't know you're here?"
"No, I never told Mom. I just wanted to meet you, I thought it was about time I did. I hope that was the right thing to do."
Kate smiled and kindness shone in her eyes.
"Of course it was! I don't know what your Mom's said about me but we quarrelled because of the way her life was heading - she was out partying all the time, mixing with people who were into God knows what - we knew she was dabbling with drugs, too. Then she said she was going to go with this woman who ran an agency who wanted to make her famous doing nude modelling - we had a huge fight over it and I said some things I still regret and she walked out the door and never came back."
"I know." Pandora replied.
"But I did try and find her."
"I know that too."
Kate fell silent for a moment. Then she looked into Pandora's eyes.
"Would you please tell me what's happened in her life?"
"Sure." Pandora replied, "But it's kind of complicated. Let me see... She started working for Fiona Valentine's agency. But Fiona couldn't get her enough bookings so she started asking her to do the porno work. Mom hated it but she thought it was a temporary thing so she did it anyway and that's when she really hit the drugs to get her though it. But that dried up too and suddenly Fiona was telling her she needed to earn some money fast because she couldn't take of her - so she started loaning her out to clients for parties and stuff."
Kate blinked back tears.
"Did she..." She glanced over at Calvin. The little boy was asleep now and the last of his milk had spilled on the carpet but right now a stain on the rug was the last of her worries. She kept her voice low.
"Did she have to have sex with people?"
"She changed her mind at the last minute and some guy beat her up for it. When Fiona had another party, she told her she had to perform or she would throw her out on the street. So my Mom ran upstairs and hid in a closet."
Then Pandora smiled.
"And it was the best thing she ever did because the guy who found her was Calvin's Dad. He took care of my Mom. Later on he married her, he even treated me as his own flesh and blood."
"So who was your Dad?"
"His best friend. In the early days when he was taking care of her, she slept with his best friend."
"So she cheated on him?"
"No! Mom and her husband were never a real couple - he was gay and my Dad was bisexual. They were together, but his partner was scamming Fiona Valentine out of a lot of money - she thought he loved her and they were engaged to be married, but then he had his accident."
Kate thought about it.
"Okay, so there's these two guys who are together - one of them is conning Fiona. He slept with your Mom but his boyfriend married her?"
"He's still married to her."
Then she wondered about Calvin.
"So if he was gay, how come your brother came along?"
"They sort of got together for a while - Mom got pregnant with Calvin."
"So they're together now?"
"They're married, sure. But my stepfather doesn't share a room with her. He's got his own place and he goes back there sometimes. He stays with us most of the time."
"And what about your father? You said there was an accident?"
Sadness cut across Pandora's eyes.
"I never knew he was my Dad until a few years later. I always remembered him as my stepfather's friend who used to stay with us. But I always felt we had some kind of bond, I loved him so much, too."
"When did he die?" She asked her gently.
Pandora looked at her in surprise.
"No, no. He's not dead!" She paused, gathering her thoughts.
"I remember that day. I'd just swum in Fiona's pool for the first time and he saw me do it and he gave me a hug when I got out and said I could swim like a mermaid. He was really proud of me. That was my last memory of him speaking to me. I went off to bed a little bit later and the grown ups stayed up and had some drinks. Next thing I know my stepfather was yelling his name over and over and I ran downstairs and my Dad was on the ground and there was blood everywhere and I remember my Mom took hold of me and turned me away and wouldn't let me look. Then Fiona came out of the garage and saw what happened and she started screaming too. He had fallen off the upstairs balcony, it was about twenty five feet straight onto concrete."
Kate stared at her.
"That's terrible, Pandora."
"I'll never forget seeing him like that, he was on his back and there was all this blood coming out underneath him." Pandora blinked back tears."I thought he was dead for sure. But the paramedics worked on him and they got him to the hospital and he had a lot of surgery. They said he wasn't going to make it at first. They told my stepfather he would never wake up again, they started telling him they might have to turn off the life support, then they said if he was clinically dead, would he consider organ donation - that's when he really kicked off and almost smashed up the hospital. But he made it, he pulled through and they said he still had brain function, he was just in a coma."
As Kate listened her heart went out to her grand daughter and to Megan.
"So he made it, then?"
Pandora had a spark of optimism in her eyes now.
"For the first few months they couldn't tell us anything for certain, but he started coming out of the deep coma after six months. Then it was little things, like all of a sudden he could breathe without the ventilator, then he started to react sometimes to sounds and stuff like that. He started to move like he was just sleeping, then he started reacting to our voices. Then the doctors said he was in a semi coma, he stayed like that for a few more years - but three months ago he started waking up. Now he opens his eyes and his pupils have started reacting to light and he looks at us when we talk to him. My stepfather's been to see him every day for the last ten years -"
"Ten years?" Echoed Kate, "Oh that's so sad, I'm so sorry for you!"
"Don't be." She said, "He's recovering now. Soon he might even be able to talk and walk too - he's not paralysed, he can move so all the signs are really good. My stepfather has lived for the day he comes home again and that day could be really soon. He just needs to recover a little bit more and then he can nurse him at home and that's what we all want. We might not be the most conventional family in the world but we are a strong family. We all love each other and we can cope with anything."
Kate reached over and gave her a hug.
"I'd be there for you and your Mom if she'd only let me."
"I can't tell her I came to see you," Pandora told her, "But I wanted to meet you and after my dad starting to get better the way he is, I just thought I'd do it because family's important, even if I cant tell Mom I've met you."
"My husband's gone over to our son Jeff's house, he should be back in about half an hour. Could you stay a little while longer?"
Pandora looked over at her brother, who rolled off the cushion and landed on the rug with a soft thump and opened his eyes.
"I have to get him home now, he's just about ready for bed - and I got to feed my Nero."
"My dog. He's a mastiff. He's only eighteen months old but he eats like a small horse."
"Can I call you?"Kate asked her.
Pandora had got up and started to help her brother to his feet.
"No - I'll take your number and I'll call you." She told her.
Then she helped her brother put on his coat and hat, took his thumb out of his mouth and put his gloves on him and then put on her own coat and scarf.
"I'm glad I met you today."She told her.
Kate smiled back at her.
"Stay in touch."
"I will," She promised as she folded the paper with Kate's number on it and put it in her pocket.
Then Kate watched as they walked off down the snowy street. Then she closed the door and blinked away tears, thinking about the terrible experiences her daughter had lived through when she left home. Then she wondered how the years could have flown by and Megan could have given birth to a daughter and then a son and not even told her about them...
Much later, as clouds chased shadows over the full moon and the chilly wind blew drifting snow, Megan stood by the window and watched as Pandora went out in the snow and blew the dog whistle. Nero rolled in the snow and shook himself, picked up his rubber bone and came back into the house.
"I hope he's not walking mud in the house." Megan said.
Pandora stopped by the bottom of the stairs.
"Mom, it's been snowing."
"And he's been turning it yellow."
"He goes up against the tree. He's not muddy!"
The mastiff looked up at her and Megan smiled and stroked his head.
"Okay, I see no mud. Don't you want to take your scarf off and hang it up with your coat?"
Pandora's hand moved up to her scarf.
"No, I'll put it away upstairs, it's Dad's, I want to look after it for him."
"I know, you look after a lot of his things." She replied.
"Goodnight." She said quietly, remembering Calvin was asleep in the room at the top of the stairs and his bedroom door was open because he didn't like the dark.
"Come on, Nero." Pandora said and the dog followed her up the stairs.
Megan McCallister turned away and headed back towards the front room and paused to look in the mirror. As she ran her hands through her dark shoulder length hair and chose to ignore the lines that were starting to appear around her eyes, she guessed she was still pretty. But she was older and wiser now and she felt thankful every day that her sensible, practical daughter had both feet firmly on the ground and would never make the mistakes she had when she was younger...
Pandora went upstairs, into her room and shut the door. Nero curled up the bottom of the bed and Pandora took off her father's scarf and sat down. Then she kicked off her boots and got comfortable on the bed, she thought about watching some TV but after being out in the cold she just wanted to be warm and go to sleep. She was glad her Mom had believed her and not asked too many questions when she had told her she had taken Calvin to see a friend of hers; she was glad she had done it - now she had actually met her grandmother. Pandora gave a sigh and held her father's scarf closer as she shut her eyes.
Thoughts flew through her mind and she said a silent prayer in her head:
"Okay, assuming you're really an almighty power who believes in good over evil, please listen to me - I'm sorry I lied to my Mom about where I went with my brother tonight. And I'm sorry I didn't tell my Grandma about my Dad and Calvin's Dad but she wouldn't have understood, the minute she knew I was talking about the Wet Bandits she probably would have gone crazy... But please help my Dad to stay strong, help him get better. He's almost there, he's so close to waking up now. Please look after him for me - and give me the strength to find a suitable way to punish that bitch Fiona Valentine - because I know it was her fault, I know what I saw when I was a little girl..."
Then old memories crowded her mind and she shut them off, instead pressing her face into her father's scarf as she ached to have her Dad back home where he belonged once more. She thought about the day she swam in the pool and remembered her father hugging her and being so proud of her and saying she was just like a mermaid. Then Pandora held Harry Lyme's scarf a little tighter and fell asleep.
Megan was about to go and make a coffee when she heard the front door close. Her husband took off his coat and shook snow from his curly hair and smiled at her.
She looked up at tall, clumsy Marv Merchants who wasn't the smartest guy in the word but certainly made up for it with his big heart.
She gave him a hug.
"How's Harry?" She asked him.
Marv's smile faded.
"He's okay but he was really restless tonight, the nurse said he's been like it all day. You know how he tosses and turns like he's having a nightmare? He was doing that, I couldn't do much for him tonight. I'll go back in the morning he should be a lot calmer by then. I hate it when he's like that, I always worry he might be having bad dreams."
"I know," Megan replied, "And the worst thing is, if he is having a bad dream we can't wake him."
Marv looked into her eyes.
"Harry knows he's not alone" He promised her, "He can hear us, he knows what's going on. He knows I take care of him, too."
Megan knew he was right; no one had done more for Harry than Marv - he had spent so much time with him he knew almost as much about caring for him as the nurses did, he had found out everything he could about stimulating coma patients and he talked to him, he massaged him and made sure Harry always knew he was there, whether it was by the touch of his hands or the sound of his voice. And Marv had stayed optimistic and devoted himself to caring for him ever since the day he had been told he was in a coma; Marv Merchants had never given up on the man he loved.
"Have they said anything more about when we might be able to bring him home?"
"Yes." Marv said, "As soon as he becomes a little more aware. The doctor said it could happen tomorrow, or next week or maybe never but we don't want to think about that, do we?"
Megan gave him a hug.
"I honestly think Harry will make it and come home purely because you love him so much." She said honestly, "He must know you're there for him, I'm sure he doesn't feel alone."
Marv hugged her back and then let go.
"Did Calvin have a good time tonight?"
"I think so." Megan replied, "He's fast asleep now. Pandora took him to see some friend of hers for the evening."
Marv thought about Megan's eldest child, the result of her brief affair with Harry back in the old days - then he smiled.
"I'm just glad Pandora's got a friend to go and visit - she should get out more, she's so serious about life."
"She's been that way since Harry's accident."
Marv kissed her cheek.
"I'm going up to bed now." He told her, "I need an early night, see you in the morning, honey."
Then Marv went upstairs to the room at the end of the hall. He went inside and shut the door and locked it quietly, feeling glad he had thought to put that lock on because definitely didn't want to be disturbed now...
He opened the blanket box at the bottom of the bed and took out a couple of spare blankets - underneath were memories that he cherished and he kept them all in a small suitcase that was locked. He put the case on the bed and found the key amongst others on his keyring and opened the padlock. The case was full of pictures and since Harry's accident they had been all he had to hold onto; pictures of Harry, memories of times they had both shared... then he reached under the pictures and took out a video cassette.
This tape was precious to him, because it went back to the days when they had just got out of jail and decided to spend some quality time together. Marv had come across a video camera during a robbery and decided to keep it. It had been a great big complicated thing but he had learned how to record and copy onto regular tapes to play back on the VCR. Harry hadn't been keen on the idea at first,saying, " Why the hell have you kept that thing, Marv?"
Then Marv's eyes had lit up and Harry understood.
"Home movies." Marv said, "You know - home movies of you and me?"
Marv switched on the TV and put the tape in the machine, then he sat back on the bed and thought about how Harry had been that day - he had gone to the hospital hoping to be able to massage him - he loved doing that for him, he was sure he would go crazy if he couldn't touch his lover like that - but Harry had been restless and impossible to settle. Instead all he could do for him was talk to him and reassure him, then after a while kiss him goodbye and promise to be back the morning. He always ached for him - sometimes in his heart, sometimes in his body, but tonight he just ached in every possible way and he longed to hold him. But at least he had his pictures, he had the tape...
Marv plugged his headphones into the TV and turned the volume up, then lay back on the bed and pressed play on the remote control.
The picture flickered into life. Marv laughed as he heard his own voice.
"Come on Harry, don't be shy!"
Harry was firmly gripping the covers and keeping them up to his shoulders as he lay in their bed. He glared at the camera.
"No, Marv! Get that thing out of my face!"
Then he looked beyond the lens and saw the playful expression in Marv's eyes and he started to smile.
"Oh come on, Harry! Please, do it for me, do it for your Marvin."He said teasingly.
Harry's cheeks flushed red.
"Okay, just for a minute."
Marv laughed softly in the background. Now there was amusement lighting up Harry's dark eyes.
"I mean it - I'm not doing anything dirty on this thing!"
"Go on, Harry... just pull the covers down."
Harry slid the covers down and the camera took in every inch of his body. Back in those days, Harry had been very muscular, he worked out twice a week and it certainly showed on camera...
Marv hit the pause button and reached into the box of photographs. He took out a batch of polaroids and smiled - they'd found the camera during a burglary and he had kept it, giving Harry that knowing look as he'd said, "Instant pictures, Harry..."
That had been back in the days before they had ever thought of breaking into houses and leaving the water running; these images were from even further back than the tape was. Marv looked through them; Harry on the bed with his shirt off, then a picture of the two of them kissing. As he looked at the third picture he smiled and ran his finger over the image; Harry was looking reluctantly at that camera but there was a sparkle in his eyes. He recalled how Harry had said no because he was too shy. Then he had changed his mind.
"Hey Marv, is this what you want?" He asked him.
Marv had stared at him, then grabbed the camera.
"Hurry up, I ain't no centrefold!" Harry had told him.
"No, you look great!"
Marv had taken the picture and known as it started to develop that he would always cherish it; Harry was laying on his side with the covers right off him and he swore he had never seen his lover looking so fantastic as he did at that moment...
Marv looked at the picture again then kept it beside him as he started the tape again.
The picture went in close and lingered as it went past his waist, slowly moving down his body.
"You look amazing." Marv said.
"Okay, that's enough. I'm a burglar, not a porn star!"
The camera moved over to a table in the corner of the room. Then Marv saw himself walk back over to the bed, knowing he had left the camera running...
As the images of the two of them together flickered across the screen, Marv felt an ache in his heart as he wondered if he would ever hold Harry like that again. Until now he hadn't even thought about if they would ever make love again, he had always been focussed on if there was ever a chance of Harry coming home again. But now there was he was starting to worry about the things Harry didn't know about - like the fact that he had, for a while, slept with Megan and even fathered a child. He guessed that would be hard to take considering that in the old days all their quarrels had been over Harry's inability to leave women alone. Harry had never known Marv to sleep with a woman - and until he got close to Megan, he never had...
He looked back at the screen, watching as he soothed the ache in his heart by sliding his hand down his body, remembering everything they had shared. When the tape was finished, Marv blinked away tears and then picked up the polaroid of Harry and kissed it.
"I love you, Harry." He said quietly, then wondered how much longer he would have to live with nothing but memories to keep him company at night.