Sunday, April 15, 2012

4.8--Onwards and Upwards

Dasia's publisher stops by unexpectedly.  She's only ever spoken to him on the phone, so she's surprised to find out that he's so... young.

As soon as he steps inside her home, he immediately gets straight to business.  "I read your latest submission. Are you really going to include that in your next work?"

Dasia quirks her brow.  "What? You don't like it?"

Randolf frowns deeply, accenting the premature wrinkles he's already developing - most likely on her account. "Talking polar bears, Dasia?  Am I being so demanding that a half-assed rewrite of His Dark Materials is necessary to meet the submission deadline?" 

"Dammit.  I knew I got that plot from somewhere." She smirks, then shakes her head when she see's he's not amused.  "I have writer's block."  Dasia feels even more defeated admitting it out loud and Randolf's careful gaze isn't helping any.

"Let me take you out to dinner." He finally says.  "Maybe a small brainstorming session away from home will help you."

"You really want your cut of my next novel, don't you?"

Randolf laughs and then dons a smirk to counter Dasia's suspicious glare. "No.  I just really want one of my favorite authors to continue writing quality literature."

Dasia feels like a failure the more she elaborates on the aborted and horrible plots that have been going through her mind for the past month.  Randolf gives good suggestions, but none that she thinks are up her alley.  However, being out of the house and simply having a conversation with someone that is invested in her work is enough to promote some motivation on her end.

"Do you take all your writers out for dinner?" Dasia asks.

Randolf shakes his head.  "You're honestly the only sane one I'm representing.  The others tend to lash out when I push them for deadlines.  One even threatened to write a flop next time to make sure I didn't get a paycheck.  How he thought that was hurting me more than himself, I'll never know."

"If I'm sane in comparison, then you need to find new authors." She laughs and Randolf smiles in response.  "You should smile more." Dasia says before she can stop herself.

"When you send me your next masterpiece, I'll make sure do so.  In fact, maybe I'll take you out for a few celebratory drinks ... or something."  He grins again.

Dasia started the flirting and he went along with it.  She's sure this is second nature to him, something he does in order to exude charm when necessary and likely won't go anywhere - but she still feels obligated to stop it. 

"I, uh... I need to get back.  I think I've got a few ideas I want to write down."  She stands up abruptly, driving the point home that she wants to leave.

Randolf nods, as if he knows she's uncomfortable with the current mood of the conversation.  "Of course.  I don't want to interrupt genius."  He can't help smiling as he watches her glare at him until he begins moving from his seat and toward the car.  She's beautiful, but also clearly off limits.  Not to mention, someone he works with.  

"I'll give you a ride home." He offers and beyond her acceptance and a careful "thank you and goodbye" when they arrive at her home, she doesn't say another word to him.  Randalf shrugs it off as soon as she's safely inside.  Keeping things professional would be easier - but he was never exactly someone who strove for "easy."  He wouldn't have gotten as far as he had, at his age especially, if that were the case.  So he resigns himself to calling Dasia later that week.  He does have to check on her progress, after all.

Just like her great-grandfather, Robert Dennis, Ellis finds herself rummaging through trash in the name of work. She has since been promoted to the resident Crime Scene Technician and is expected to fill out reports on local suspects, specifically ones pertaining to recently re-opened cases, but the pay increase swayed her perception of the "investigation" portion of the job.  She doesn't particularly care for these new duties - but as the saying goes, someone has to do it and that someone is unfortunately Ellis.

Logan keeps his promise and takes Harlan out for dinner, with Ellis' permission, at the local diner.  It was hard for him to miss Ellis'relieved smile when he showed up.  Add to that Harlan's apathy with his company and it's clear that the non-trust Ellis harbors has filtered to their son.  He can't fault them for it, he knows this, but it still hurts.

Logan isn't surprised to find Ellis waiting in the kitchen for them to return.  After Harlan goes to bed, they both sit wearily at the table.  "He looks like he had fun." Ellis says with a tired smile.

"I think so.  Although I can't really tell with him.  He is still reserved around me."

Ellis nods.  "He's... a quiet kid.  Always has been.  Just give him time and I'm sure he will open up to you eventually."

"I don't need encouragement, Ell." He frowns.  "If he decides to keep me around, then I'm staying."

"Good." Ellis stands up, moving toward the front door as a signal that Logan should leave.  "Harlan tells me you're going to drive him to school tomorrow?"

"Yeah.  I'm leaving for Bridgeport in the afternoon and I thought I would say goodbye personally."  Ellis nods again, holding the door open as Logan passes through back into the night air.  "Ell."  He says, turning back before she can shut the door on him.  "He's a great kid.  You did a wonderful job raising him."

"Thanks... truly."  She smiles for a brief moment, before shutting the door and leaving Logan to his waiting taxi.

Saying goodbye proves difficult for both of them, but Logan promises to call as often as he can until his next visit.  Harlan smiles at that and quickly hugs Logan, something he wasn't expecting, before heading into the building.

This "dad" thing is better than he thought...

Speaking of dads - Duncan had been teaching Lachlan how to drive for the past few days, in preparation for his license test.  They had quite a few scares (including almost hitting an old lady when Lachlan confused the gas pedal for the brake pedal), but he was getting better.  And by better, Duncan means "not murderous."

"So dad.  What kind of car are you and mom getting me once I ace my test?"

"A fixer, probably.  I'm not getting you anything new, what with your current driving 'expertise.'"

"Hey!" Lachlan frowns.  "I haven't almost run over anyone today.  That's progress!"

Duncan laughs.  "Let's hope you don't have to use that argument with your driving instructor.  He or she will fail you on principle."

"Do you think if I cry, it will net some sympathy points?"

"You're an ugly crier.  I wouldn't bet on it."

Lachlan smirks. "Thanks, dad.  Love you too."

Not to either of his parents surprise, Lachlan does pass his driving test with flying colors.  Both Dasia and Duncan chipped in for a "new" car, and although he acts excited when opening the box containing his new car keys, he can't help feeling the guilt rising in the pit of his stomach.  His parents promised to get him a car if he got his license, sure, but also on the condition that he does well in school and doesn't get into any trouble.  School was going well, but Lily's "deal" was severely compromising the latter.  Hopefully, things would go in their favor because he's not so sure he can deal with both of his parents disappointment if it doesn't.

So I finally got Photoshop working again, which means my pictures are going to look a bit different from here on out (assuming I have the motivation to continue editing them).  Nothing fancy; I just thought they were too giant, and given the fact that my computer doesn't have a "real' graphics card, also too blurry.  I fixed them as best I could, so hopefully it makes a marginal difference.

Ellis has been blasting through promotions lately.  I'm okay with this, yes I am.

Dasia hasn't written anything recently, mostly because I've forgotten to keep up with it, hence the writer's block plot.  She's still at 9 or 10 novels and slowly working on her 11th - which is a romance novel.

Harlan is at level 9 with his logic already and I didn't write down any of Lachlan's skills, so uh... yeah.  Ja-whoops.

Monday, April 9, 2012

4.7--A Family Visit

Lachlan is gone a lot more than usual, especially the last couple of days.  Dasia chalks it up to him meeting a girl - something she's quite nervous about - but she trusts him enough to give him his space.  Harlan, on the other hand, is a bit annoyed at his cousin's lack of presence.  Lachlan is his one and only friend and suddenly being alone is - boring.  So, he concocts random potions in his room.  Hey, who knows?  Maybe he'll somehow create a miraculous cure, or a stink bomb he can use during the next assembly at school...

...or he can accidentally mix two combustible liquids together and blow himself up.  Anything to break the monotony.

While Harlan takes his sweet time taking a bath...

...Ellis is greeted by an unexpected visitor.  Against every initial impulse of letting him rot outside her door until he finally gets the hint, she hesitantly let Logan into her home.

"What are you doing here?" She asks sternly, glancing upstairs to where her son was hopefully so wrapped up in whatever he was doing that he couldn't hear them downstairs.

Logan knows that his anger isn't justified; that if anything, Ellis's consternation of his impromptu arrival is warranted, but he goes on the defensive anyway.  "I'm here to see my son."

"No."  Ellis spits.  "You don't have that right.  You can't just waltz back in here after promising me that you would be regular figure in his life, only to leave him again.  He needs a father, Logan, not a disappearing act."

Logan frowns, letting his anger fade to guilt.  "I promised that I'd visit when I could, Ell.  Work has been tough lately and I've barely had time to go home, let alone see my kid."

"If work is more important than your child, then maybe it's better that you just go."  Ellis lets the words fall from her mouth, full of venom.  When Logan looks at her, truly hurt, she sighs. "Logan, you have to understand where I'm coming from."

"I do.  More than you know."  Logan says, shaking his head.  "Look, I know I don't deserve a second chance - but can you at least let that decision be Harlan's?  Can I talk to him?  Please?"

Ellis grinds her teeth in concentration, letting the silence hang between them.  "I'm supposed to protect him from this."  She whispers.  "From these situations.  If you break his heart, Logan, I'll..."

Logan grabs her hand.  "I know.  And trust me, there's nothing you can do to me that I won't do to myself if I don't pull through this time."

"Don't make me regret this... again." She chides.  He nods sternly and she motions to the couch.  "Harlan is upstairs, but he should be down soon to get help with his homework.  You can wait in the living room."

Ellis leaves Logan alone to wait until Harlan comes downstairs.  The kitchen was far enough away from Logan, but close enough for her to see the stairs when her son would make his inevitable appearance.  

As soon as she see's Dasia enter the house and glance toward the living room with a confused expression, she ushers her sister into the kitchen.  "Is that Logan?"  She asks skeptically.  "Why did you let him in?"

Ellis bites her lip in frustration.  "I don't know."  She says slowly.  "He says he wants to see Harlan.  And he wants to speak with him and let him decide whether he wants him in his life or not.  Watcher knows, I wanted to slap him in the face and tell him to leave - but I agree with him.  Harlan should be the one to send him away if he so chooses, not me."

"He's a child, Ell."  Dasia raises her hand to her sister's shoulder, squeezing softly.  "Are you sure he's ready to make that decision on his own?"

Ellis pats her sister's hand nervously.  "No.  I don't.  But I don't think I have the right to deny him that either.  What should I do, 'Sia?  I still have time to send Logan away, to pretend like this never happened."

Dasia smiles weakly.  "I'm just as clueless as you."  She shakes her head.  "But I'll be there with you through it all.  You know that."

Harlan finally emerges a few minutes later.  Ellis manages to intercept him before Logan and inform about what is going on.  Harlan listens in confused contemplation the entire time - making Ellis a bit worried that her son isn't entirely grasping the situation fully. But before she can ask any further questions about his preparedness, he heads toward Logan, who has been waiting in the background patiently.

"Logan."  Harlan nods, extending his hand toward his father.  

Logan glances at his son sadly.  He couldn't expect him to hug him and call him 'dad,' after all these years.  Could he? "Son."  He answers, shaking his child's hand like he's a business partner rather than family.

Harlan releases his hand and they both stand there in silence. "I, uh... understand you have some homework that you need to do."  Harlan nods.  "Would like me to help you with it?"  Harlan shrugs and grabs his homework from the kitchen table and sits on the floor.  Logan immediately follows suit.

At first, there's no conversation.  Harlan just starts working on the problems, occasionally scratching out an incorrect answer.  Logan makes a few poor jokes to fill the silence and Harlan smiles, but there's still no words uttered on his end.  At least not until Logan realizes that Harlan is doing math far beyond his age group.  "Is that trigonometry?" He asks, confused.

Harlan turns and nods.  "Yeah.  I tested into College Mathematics this year.  I'm good at Science too."  He says, confidently.

Logan laughs.  "You must have gotten that from your mother's side.  My side has only been good at business and, well... being generally unambitious.  So why do you need help with your homework then?"

Harlan smiles.  "I don't.  I just like spending time with mom."

"I'm sorry, kiddo."  Logan looks down at his hands guiltily.  "For not being there, I mean.  Things were hectic and I got my priorities screwed up."

Harlan frowns at his finished homework.  "Will you be here tomorrow?" He asks.

"I will.  I'll be here for the next two days."

"Will you take me out to dinner tomorrow after school?"

Logan smiles at that.  "Sure thing, kiddo."

Longest and probably most uneventful chapter of the legacy, but there you have it.

Logan is going to be playing an interesting role coming up (assuming I get the necessary pictures), nothing too fancy, but it's obviously heavily tied to his "relationship" with Harlan.  

Aaaand... this is where I say I'm getting back into the swing of things legacy-wise - but that would be a lie.  I'm trying to keep on a schedule (ha! right) as much as I can, but school keeps rearing it's head and messing up with anything that's, well, not school.  

Next up should be Lachlan's adventures, which I'm excited to reveal over the coming chapters. :D  Although I have to play through some portions to get there, so...