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15 December 2011 @ 01:26 am
For A Second Time  
TITLE/PROMPT: For A Second Time/95 Reunion
AUTHOR: mkrobinson/bloodredcherries
RATING: PG-13 (mentions of drinking, smoking, and some curses)
WORDS: 2278
TABLE:http://babysitters100.livejournal.com/53582.html#cutid1
SUMMARY: Back in Stoneybrook for a visit, Sharon sees Richard for the second time since her move to California.
WARNINGS: Sharon smokes, and there is some foul language
NOTES: This takes place pre-canon, when Dawn is seven. This will sort of alter canon a bit as she and Richard keep in touch after the meeting but will not alter it very much. This will be part of a series of one shots.

Sharon Schafer did not have a complicated life.

She grew up in Stoneybrook, Connecticut, a small town about a half an hour outside of Stanford, where she'd lived off of McLelland Road, from the moment she was born to the day she went off to UCLA, at her parents' insistence. She lives in Palo City, California, a small suburb of Anaheim, with her husband, Jack, and their two children.

She had her friends from Stoneybrook. She has her friends in Palo.

For the most part, they are separate. It's easier that way.

Her Stoneybrook friends know about the Stoneybrook her: the naïve, conservative, head cheerleader who had purportedly shamed her parents and their society friends by first choosing to go to Stoneybrook High School instead of Stoneybrook Day School and then daring to fall in love with Richard Spier, who'd done nothing wrong but be the son of a mailman who was a bit poor.

Her Palo City friends know about the Palo City her: the health freak, who is not as crunchy-granola as Betsy Winslow and is married to Jack Schafer, who had gone to UCLA and who loved being a “Californian Girl”. They are mostly Jack's friends, but she doesn't mind.

The truth is? She hates California. She loves Jack, she really does, but she hates California.

She visits Stoneybrook as much as she can, hoping one day she'll get to move back.

Sharon brings Jack back to Stoneybrook with her nearly every time.

He constantly complains about the cold, the trees, the lack of surfing.

They stay in her parents' house, in the guest room, the kids in the room down the hall, and it's nice.

She misses it here in Connecticut, though she'd never admit it. Jack loves California, Palo City, the whole deal, and merely tolerates the visits to her hometown as a favor to her. Dawn and Jeff are the same.

It's not that Sharon has doubts about her marriage-she does love Jack, after all-but there is something. Something that she really doesn't want to think about.

During their first visits to Stoneybrook, Jack went places with her. He frequented her old haunts, humored her when she tried to see old friends, even though none of them were really around anymore, but the last few trips he'd been in their room, doing work all the time, and she'd barely seen him for meals. Dawnie was busy doing her school assignments, but that was understandable.

So, despite the fact that it was cold out, and her mother certainly wouldn't have approved, considering she was a married woman with kids, she found herself walking to Bradford Court, where her Richie lived.

She hadn't seen him in years, not since the time she'd run into him at a rather sleazy bar out of town and she'd listened to him talk to her about how his wife had died and how his daughter had been sent to live with her grandparents in Iowa and how he missed her so much and she'd managed to drive him home and sober him up, praying he'd forget about the events when he woke up with a hangover and actual food in the kitchen.

They hadn't kept in touch. What could they talk about? The fact that his wife was dead and his daughter lived in Iowa and her husband was alive and her children lived with her? Besides, she just knew that Jack would have had a problem with her staying in touch with Richie.

So she walked to Bradford Court, somewhat relieved that Richie was having coffee with a young woman and actually smiling, and she fished in her coat pocket for her lighter and cigarettes. Yes, she, Sharon Schafer, so-called “health nut”, liked to smoke. It relaxed her.

What didn't relax her-as she took a drag of the somewhat forbidden cigarette-was getting hit by a wet, frozen, snowball. She let out an undignified shriek, attempting to brush the snow out of her only jacket and her hair.

Great. She was going to develop pneumonia because she accidentally walked in the middle of a snowball fight. No wonder Jack stayed indoors. At least he wouldn't get sick!

The woman that Richie had been talking to ran down from his porch, and he himself soon followed, a tea towel in his hands.

Wonderful. She was going to meet his new wife, or girlfriend, or whomever she was, with half a smoked cigarette in her hand.

“I am so sorry, I don't think Charlie meant to hit you with the snowball, he was probably throwing it at the Kishis' girl, or something. I'm Edie, by the way. Edie Thomas.”

She blinked.

“Sharon Schafer. It's alright, I guess. I have kids too.”

The fact that Dawn and Jeff were petrified of the snow went without saying.

“Sharon?”
“Richie?”

Damn it, she hadn't meant to do that. Though she had to admit it was rather a relief to see that Richie was at least doing well, considering how he'd been the last time they'd seen each other.

“What are you doing here? Are you back for good?”

She laughed. The idea of Jack and the kids moving to Stoneybrook full time was ridiculous.

“Just for a visit, Richie. I thought I'd see how you were. It's been awhile, hasn't it?”
“You came back. You always have.”

He remembered?

“How is your daughter, Richie?”
“Mary Anne? She's fine. She's building a snowman with Kristy and Claudia.”

She deduced that Claudia was the Kishis' daughter and Kristy belonged to Edie, but she didn't quite know how to respond. What could she say? She hadn't been expecting to see him, after all.

“I have a daughter too. Her name is Dawn. She's going to be seven.”
“So's Mary Anne.”
“I have a son, too, Richie. He's four. His name's Jeff.”

This wasn't so bad, she supposed. She was talking to Richie again, and it wasn't too terribly awkward.

“I heard you got married?”
“Yes. To Jack. How-”
“You told me. That night. You told me that you knew that I would get Mary Anne back, you told me that things would be okay, you helped me realize that they would be, Sharon. I didn't know what I was going to do-Patrick, he's Edie's husband-he'd left me at the bar to chase after some sports star, or something, and then, there you were.”

He broke off, abruptly, and she realized that there was a small girl tugging at his pant leg, looking at her warily.

“Daddy, you said I wouldn't have to have a sitter today!”
“Mary Anne, this is my friend-”

She stepped in.

“Hi, Mary Anne, I'm Miss Sharon. I went to SHS with your dad. Don't worry, I'm not going to be your babysitter.”
“Hi. It's nice to meet you. May I go back to Kristy and Claudia, Dad?”

Richie nodded, and she gave him a hug before running back to her friends.

It was a shame he was still Richie Spier and her parents were still Rita and Charles Porter and it was also a shame that Mary Anne lived in Connecticut and Dawn lived in California because she suspected that they could be friends.

Sharon removed her sopping wet hat and shoved it into her pocket, putting her lighter and cigarettes in the other.

“I didn't know you remembered much of that, Richie. You were a bit tipsy.”

That was an understatement. Richie had been completely shattered, not that she blamed him. And how could his friend Patrick just abandon him?! She sighed. She was getting all worked up over nothing.

“I wouldn't forget you, Shar.”
“Me either, Richie.”

The children were continuing their snowball fights and snowman building, and she vaguely noticed it was getting later, but she didn't want to know the time. She wanted to stay with Richie for a bit, awkward though it was, and reconnect. It wasn't like Jack or Dawn really needed her back, or even Jeff, as her father had announced he was taking them to the movies at Washington Mall, with her mother. She'd been invited, but she didn't want to go.

“Things have gotten better.”
“That's wonderful, Richie. I'm glad to hear that.”
“I'm on track to make junior partner at my law firm, soon. I'm in corporate law.”
“Good for you. You always wanted to become a lawyer.”
“Mary Anne moved back in with me when she was almost two. Edie and Rioko have been a huge help. Rioko is Claudia's mother.”
“I'm glad, Richie.”

She really was.

“Do you want to come in? For a coffee, or something? I know you should be heading back soon, but-”
“Sure, Richie.”
“Come in, then.”

She followed him into the house, noticing that while there were traces of what could only be described of as a shrine to his late wife, at the very least they had lessened a bit. The years had been good to him. Time had healed at least some of his wounds, though she suspected not all of them. He poured her a mug of coffee, stirring in the cream and sugar that she'd taken back when they were dating, and she sipped it. Richie didn't need to know that she wasn't a cream and sugar girl anymore. His coffee was still black.

“Richie, I am sorry about your wife. And about not keeping in touch.”
“Did you know your parents went to her funeral?”
“What?”
“They did. They took me aside and apologized to me and said that you couldn't make it because of Dawn, I guess, but that they'd gone for you.”
“They did?”
“Yes. They suggested I let Mary Anne live with Verna and Bill for awhile. I think that I needed that more than I knew. I was in a real dark place, Shar.”
“I know, Richie. I don't know how hard it must have been for you. But I'm glad you're doing okay.”

She really was. She sipped her coffee slowly, catching a glimpse of the clock, knowing she'd have to leave soon, but not wanting to.

She'd missed him.

So much.

But she loved Jack.

She really needed a cigarette.

Fuck. This was hard.

“How are you?”
“Well, I'm alright. I'm still in California, with Jack and the kids, and it's okay, I guess. It's different than here. Here I belonged. Out there...”
“What?”
“Well, it's just different. I don't know, Richie. I am happy with Jack, and he likes it out there, so I guess it's alright. Sometimes I just wonder, that's all.”

They both sip their coffees. She sighs.

“It's normal to wonder.”
“I know.”
“Who knows, maybe you will come back some day.”
“Maybe.”

Jack would be thrilled if they never came back to Stoneybrook again, but that doesn't really matter.

“When are you leaving?”
“Tomorrow. Afternoon.”
“I thought perhaps the girls could meet, but I suppose that wouldn't work.”
“I'm sorry.”

She really was. She could just picture the look on her mother's face if she saw Richie now. She smiled, wanting to smirk.

“You're imaging your parents' reaction to seeing me again, aren't you?”

He smiled at her.

“Maybe. Richie?”

She really had to leave.

“You have to get back, don't you?”
“I'm so sorry. It's just that it's nearly dinner time and-”
“I understand.”

She finished the rest of her coffee, wishing she could promise him a second time, or even the possibility of a friendship, but she didn't know.

It was easier to keep things separate, after all.

But, he was Richie.

“Do you think, if you're ever in California, you might look me up?”
“Of course!”
“Thanks, Richie. I'm gonna miss you.”

Shit, she was crying, nearly sobbing. This was why she'd only seen him the one time since they'd broken up!

“Shar? Are you okay?”

He gave her a hug-a friendly hug-and he let her cry it out, likely knowing how embarrassed she was. She drew a deep breath.

“I'm sorry, Richie. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine.”
“You can call me. Any time. I promise.”

He released her, and she smiled at him.

“Okay. Thanks, Richie.”

He gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek, and she gave him one in return.

“You're welcome. Thank you.”

He walked her to the door-thankfully those children had stopped their snowball fight-and she knew he was watching her walk away until she was out of sight. She smiled, lighting another cigarette.

She'll send Richie a Christmas card every year, like she does her other Stoneybrook friends.

He'll like that.

Maybe he'll even send her one.

And maybe someday they'll see each other again.

She'd like that.

Sharon returns home and dodges her parents' queries by claiming she'd been at Marjorie Brewer's brother's house, cooing over his new son, and because they approve of those people, they stay quiet. She doesn't dare mention her coffee with Richie to anyone, not even Dawnie, who wants to know why she looks so happy, and eventually the matter is dropped.

They leave Stoneybrook the next day.

She wishes Dawn could have met Mary Anne.

Someday, she thinks.

She goes back to her normal Californian life, trying to forget all about her trip to Stoneybrook, which is hard when Betsy demands to know all the details about it, because they are supposedly best friends, and she swears her to secrecy and tells her all about Richie one night over tie-dye (which she's starting to enjoy) and booze and cigarettes and pot. Jack isn't in attendance, as usual.

The one Californian she likes and he hates.

That Christmas, she sends Richie a Christmas card.

...three weeks later he sends one back.
 
 
 
Liz Wlizwiz_ on December 15th, 2011 07:08 am (UTC)
I've never made the link that Sharon went to SHS rather than SDS, which would have made more sense with her parents, adding that was a nice touch.
mkrobinson on December 15th, 2011 07:19 am (UTC)
Thanks! In Mary Anne Saves the Day it mentioned that Sharon and Richard went to high school together and considering her parents' attitudes I think it made sense that she chose to go there, because I really couldn't picture them picking SHS over SDS or SA.
bleep blap bloop: pic#114906113miss_slipslop on December 15th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I really like this! You've done a really nice job with Sharon's characterization, and I'm looking forward to seeing more!
mkrobinson on December 15th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you think I characterized Sharon well! I am almost done with the second part of my Sharon/Richard arc!
Nikkiimamaryanne on December 15th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
This was great! Richard and Sharon are my OTP.
mkrobinson on December 15th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks! They're one of mine, too, especially of the parents. I'm glad you liked it-I posted another story from this storyline up earlier today!
Lisa: The Office: Hugozqueen on December 16th, 2011 06:00 am (UTC)
Oh, I love Richard Spier so much! So happy to see fic featuring him! ♥

I really, really love the last line. So sweet! ♥
mkrobinson on December 16th, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
Thanks! I love him a lot too, and will be featuring him and Sharon in a lot of my fanfics!

I'm glad you liked it! I wanted to end the piece on a happier note, since it was rather dreary!