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18 December 2011 @ 02:34 am
California/Upset  
TITLE/PROMPT: California. Upset.
AUTHOR: mkrobinson
RATING: PG
WORDS: 1591
TABLE: http://babysitters100.livejournal.com/53582.html#cutid1
SUMMARY: Jeff asks Sharon if he can move back to California. Part of Little Miss Stoneybrook...and Dawn from Sharon's POV.
WARNINGS: None really.
NOTES: The bits in italics come from Little Miss Stoneybrook...and Dawn; also this is in the same universe as my prompts for "Reunion", "Snob", and "Situation"

There was another phone call from Jeff's teacher today, says the note on the table, written by her daughter, and Sharon Schafer sighs. She isn't really surprised.

Sharon should have seen the signs, she really should have. She should have known that Jeff was unhappy in Stoneybrook, that he missed Palo City, and deep down, she thought she had, but she still hoped he'd give it a chance. After all, he was friends with those triplets that Dawnie babysat for, the identical ones, that though she couldn't tell them apart, he could, and didn't that friendship count for something? Didn't she and Dawn count for anything?

He'd called her selfish.

She wasn't selfish, was she? She and Jack had fallen out of love and without love she'd really had no reason to stay in a city she hated, in a state she hated, when she knew that Stoneybrook would welcome her back with open arms.

She didn't think she was selfish.

Okay, maybe she had been a bit selfish, but she'd needed the financial help from her parents and she'd needed a house and a job and those things were available in Connecticut, even if the house was a drafty old farmhouse with a rickety barn and what her daughter thought was a secret passageway and even if her original job had been working as Marjorie's brother's secretary at Unity while she studied for her brokerage exam, which she was pretty sure she'd only passed with Richie's help.

Dawn and Jeff just didn't understand.

Jeffy, he wanted to go back to California, with Jack, and she knew logically she was going to have to let him. She couldn't afford to pay for a therapist to reiterate what they all knew, there would be no point. She was sick of getting phone calls from Mrs. Besser every night, hearing her complain about her son, knowing that nothing was being done about that Haney boy, and she was sick of coming home from work and hearing him complain about how cold it was and how dreary it was-it was fall, not the middle of a blizzard-and dropping pointed hints about his “old” room and his “old” friends and his “old” life, and it really drove her insane.

She sat on the porch with the cordless phone, knowing she was going to have to call Jack. She sighed, sipping her wine spritzer, dreading the conversation.

What would she say to him?

That he was right?

She certainly didn't think so!

He had never admitted to being wrong, so why should she?

Part of her wants to lie to Jeffy and Dawnie and say she's called their father, but both of them know when she's lying now, and it sucks. Though they have thought she's been dating that awful Trip, this entire time, just as her parents have.

She hasn't been. Trip was too boring. He had the nerve to suggest she was scatterbrained, and they'd barely known each other!

Instead, she's been seeing Richie. He's loosened up on Mary Anne a lot more, and Dawnie and Jeffy think she's at work until 7 at night, despite the fact that she is a real estate agent and they don't really do that, so their meetings have gone mostly unnoticed.

It's almost fun, in a way. It's nearly like they never broke up, but even better.

She feels someone sit beside her, hears the creak on the stairs, and she notices that it's Jeffy, wanting to talk. The words spill out of him, like he's been practicing.

“I’m sorry about what happened at school today. Really I am. I couldn’t help it. It’s like, all I can think about is California and Dad. And I get really mad that I’m not there with him. There’s this sort of anger bubbling up inside me all the time. And then when something happens, like Jerry making his stupid-jerk comment today, all that anger boils over. Do you know what I mean? What do you think, Mom?”
“I think I want to know what you think.”
“I think … I think that if I could move back home – I mean, to California – all those anger bubbles would go away. Couldn’t I try it, Mom? Just for six months. If things aren’t better after that, then I’ll come back here. I promise. But things will be better.”
“This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to say-”


She pauses, trying to recollect her thoughts, to compose herself, to not burst into tears. He looks at her, hope in his eyes, and she bites her lip. She knows what she has to say, how to make it better.

“-but I think you’re right. I’m not sure what to do about it – after all, I have legal custody of you. However, I do think you’ve made some good points and should be allowed to try living with your father. I’ll make a few phone calls.”

He kisses her on the cheek and goes back into the house, not knowing that she's openly sobbing on the front porch. Madeline, her neighbor from down the road, is openly gawking at her, but says nothing. She doesn't care. She just cries. And cries. And cries. She doesn't want to do this, she really doesn't. But she knows she has to. For Jeff.

Jack of course says yes.

Their lawyer agrees to a sixth month trial period. She knows that Jeff likely will want to stay. Who can blame him?

Jack's normal. Trip was right. She is just a scatterbrained airhead blonde who was stupid to get divorced.

Sharon Schafer cries herself to sleep every night for the next two and a half weeks. Dawn doesn't notice, as she's too busy caring about some asinine beauty pageant to realize. Sharon had won the Little Miss Stoneybrook Pageant, of course.

Kathy hadn't spoken to her for a month after it happened.

She wonders what happened to Kathy. Dawn had mentioned that Ted Kilbourne's oldest daughter had become an associate member of the club-what on earth that meant, she didn't know-but surely Kathy hadn't married him. Even she wasn't stupid enough to not see that he was a sexist jerk.

She contemplates calling their house, just to see, but that would only serve to depress her further.

Marjorie told her she should be happy Jeff was going.

“A boy should live with his father, Sharry, I told you. Look at how wonderfully Watson turned out-”

They had had a fight, when she'd told her off for using the hated nickname and for implying that she couldn't take care of her son, which was rather odd considering that Watson's son and daughter lived with his ex-wife. She didn't care if she spoke to her again.

Peaches was nice to her, at least. She had heard through Rioko, who had heard through Claudia, who had heard through Dawn and Mary Anne. Richie would let her call him at all hours, just to talk, and she really appreciated that, but it didn't change the fact that Jeff was leaving today-shit-and they had to leave in forty-five minutes.

Dinner that day is leftovers. She screwed up again.

But at least he's happy. And he really is.

She wants to cry, as Dawn brings up all they're losing as they walk along the airport, but she redirects their attention to a nearby store.

Jeff asks her to buy him something from the vending machines, and she manages a smile, knowing that chocolate is a vice that they both share, even though Dawnie disapproves. She buys him as many Mars Bars as he wants, hoping that he won't leave.

That he'll decide to stay.

It doesn't happen.

And then she arrives.

The stewardess.

“Jeff Schafer? I’m Elaine, I’ll help you board now, and I’ll give you any help you might need during the flight. Okay?”
“Sure!”


Did he have to sound so happy about leaving? About leaving her and Dawn? She pulled him into a hug, blubbering all over his windbreaker, not caring who saw. Dawnie joined in, crying even louder. Jeff remained annoyingly dry eyed, and she wished he could at least pretend to be upset! Like this wasn't what he wanted all along! He gives her one last kiss, and he's gone, promising to call her once he gets back home.

Home. Sharon has never hated a word more. Home.

Dawn promises that she won't leave, and she believes her. She has to believe her, because otherwise what does she have? Nothing, that's what. Well,that's not technically true, and Richie is being so sweet to her about this whole thing, but it still sucks.

She's his mother. He should want to live with her.

Not "Disneyland Daddy".

Her.

But he doesn't.

It takes Richie, sweet, sweet, loving, lovely Richie, to suggest that perhaps she start to see a therapist about her, as he calls it, "obvious depression due to Jeff's departure", and he insists on her making the appointment.

The fact that her widower boyfriend thinks she needs help makes her actually remember to seek it.

Her name is Doctor Reese, and she's the one person in Stoneybrook that hasn't heard about the Porter family, or the Baby-Sitters Club, or about any of the things that have defined Sharon her entire life.

And it helps.

Not a lot, but it helps.

Jeff calls once a week, and that helps too.

When she feels up to it, she and Dawnie share their stories of the Little Miss Stoneybrook Pageant.
 
 
 
Emilybookplayer on December 18th, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
This is good! I especially love things that happen in canon from the parents point of view.
mkrobinson on December 18th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I love it too-it was maddening how they never did the parents' POVs in the real books!
joykilldramajoykilldrama on December 18th, 2011 06:15 pm (UTC)
This is amazing. I really love your Sharon stories. Especially since you've given her a very good reason to be scatter brained. I also love how you worked Dr. Reese into it.
mkrobinson on December 18th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you like them! Yeah, I knew there had to be some reason she was so scatterbrained, and that will be toned down a bit (lol there will be no shoes in the crisper!) so I'm glad you like that bit! Yes, I figured that that would be a nice piece of continuity!
Nikkiimamaryanne on December 18th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
This was lovely. I always liked Sharron, but really disagreed with her decision to move her children all the way across the country so soon after a divorce. I like that you made it a more understandable decision. When I was a kid, I didn't realize, obviously, how difficult it would be for Sharon to allow her kids to move back to CA, but I get it now. I'm a mom, and I can't even imagine how painful that is. You did a great job showing this!
mkrobinson on December 18th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I really disagreed with it too-like they couldn't have stayed in Palo City for a bit until she got things settled in Stoneybrook? In the earlier books of the series it seemed that Sharon was leaning on the Porters a lot more and I thought it would make sense that they'd agreed to help her if she came back, probably in an attempt to control her after the divorce. Yeah, I think it took a lot for Sharon to let Jeff and Dawn move back to CA, but I give her credit for allowing them to do it after they'd given Stoneybrook a chance. Thanks!