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18 January 2012 @ 08:38 pm
A Chance Encounter/Listen  

TITLE/PROMPT: A Chance Encounter/Listen

AUTHOR: mkrobinson

RATING: PG-13

WORDS: 3307

TABLE: http://babysitters100.livejournal.com/53582.html#cutid1

SUMMARY: Sharon Spier is trying to sell a house. Byron Pike is trying to figure out a secret.

WARNINGS: none for this

NOTES: 




Sharon Spier was tired. She wasn't particularly happy about having to be at the Slate Street property so early in the morning, especially on a Saturday, since it was cold, but her clients had insisted she be there when every showing occurred. Every one. Even Kathy Kilbourne's Coldwell Banker showings, which, of course, had amounted to nothing. The couple from Hartford had, evidently, stood them both up, and she didn't honestly blame them. It was eight in the morning. It was cold. It was snowing. It was the weekend. Kathy, had, of course, already left, but no, she had to stay.

“Mrs. Spier?”

She looked at the Pike triplet that was standing in front of her, recognizing him as Byron, Jeff's best friend, and she managed a smile.

“Hi, Byron. How are you?”
“I'm okay. How's business?”
“Booming. Just booming.”
“Really?”
“No, honey, I'm being sarcastic. Why are you up so early?”
“Mallory's home. She's being annoying. She woke everyone in the house up, so I had to escape.”
“Jeffrey mentioned to Richie and I that your sister wasn't going to Riverbend anymore. Was it because of her girlfriend?”
“Oh! No, she's pregnant.”
“I'm sorry, what?”
“It's true. She had to withdraw. So she's been moping around here all the time. It really sucks. I mean, stinks.”

She managed to blink.

“Your sister is...pregnant? Your sixteen year old sister?”
“Yeah. You'll still let me hang out with Jeff, won't you?”
“Of course. Don't you worry about that.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Spier. Oh! I brought you some coffee. It's really cold out.”
“Thanks, honey. You want a tour of a house?”
“What?”
“I have to show it to somebody, don't I? Besides, you know you don't want to go back home.”

He shook his head.

“No. I don't.”
“Come on, honey. I don't mind. We can just sit in the kitchen and talk. It'll be warmer?”
“You can do that?”
“The owners moved to Florida, and Kathy's clients never showed. Of course I can.”

He smiled at her. She smiled back. Out of all of Jeff's Stoneybrook friends, she liked Byron the best.

He was just so...sweet. And he didn't try to hit on Mary Anne and Dawn like his other, identical, brothers, which she found refreshing.

“Is Jeff back yet?”
“Not yet. He'll be back a couple of days before the end of your Christmas break. Leaving Palo for a semester was a huge step for him, Byron. You know that. He'll miss Jack, and Carol, and Gracie, and all his friends from Vista.”
“And the beach, and surfing, and the sun.”

Sharon wondered what exactly her children had been telling people about California, because it wasn't as if she could remember them ever going to the beach after October and before April, but she didn't really say anything in response. She never really knew what to say to Jeff's friends. They were, well, boys, and she, well, wasn't. At least with Mary Anne and Dawn's friends they could chat about the stereotypical girl things.

“Mmm.”
“Do you miss it?”
“Sometimes. Not really, though. I don't think I was ever truly happy there. Maybe before things went bad with Jack...”
“Why is Jeff coming here? For school?”
“Oh, you didn't hear? I'm pregnant, too, just like Mallory. Except that I'm not the oldest child of eight and I'm certainly not a high school junior. Sorry, I really shouldn't pass judgment, should I?”

She sighed. He shrugged.

“I don't care. Vanessa made her cry last night.”
“I wouldn't hold much stock into it. Everything makes pregnant women cry.”
“Really?”
“Yes. Though I suspect Mallory will not enjoy going to SHS as a pregnant teenager.”

They lapsed into silence, again. She sipped her coffee some more.

“How's Livvy? She have a nice Christmas?”
“Yeah. Santa brought her all she wanted. 'Cept Jeff, but she knew he'd be coming later. I bet she'd like to see you, you know. You could babysit.”
“Like Karen?”
“You know, there's no need to be so disdainful of her. I know she's annoying, but she is a good kid.”
“You just like to annoy her mother.”
“No. Her stepfather was in my grade. He used to make fun of Richie. That's the one I'm trying to annoy. Don't tell anyone.”
“I won't. You dated Mr. Spier during high school?”
“Yeah.”
“Oh. I think I might have known that.”

Seth Engle made her so mad, just like he'd made her back then, and in a desperate attempt to forget about him, she steered the conversation back to Byron, twisting her wedding and engagement rings out of nervousness.

“How about you, Byron? Any new girlfriends?”

***

“What?”
“Sorry. I'm not used to talking to Jeff's friends. Dawn and Mary Anne's friends like to talk about their boyfriends, and Livvy's friends are too little for me to really talk to-”
“No. It's okay. I've been on a couple dates with Charlotte Johannsen. But it didn't work out.”
“Oh, that's too bad, honey. I'm sure you'll find the right girl some day. She'll be very lucky. You're a sweetie.”
“You're-you're sure?”
“Of course, honey. Any woman would be lucky to have you. Don't be so down on yourself.”

Byron watched Mrs. Schafer carefully, hoping rather desperately that she was telling the truth. That maybe, just maybe, being rather scatterbrained led to oneself being, well, all knowing, or something. That maybe liking Jeff was just a fluke. That not feeling any physical attraction to Charlotte meant nothing.

She twirled her blonde hair around her fingers, looking vaguely lost, as if she was remembering her high school days (or where she'd put her house key), and he surveyed her, discreetly, of course.

Adam and Jordan said she was a MILF, and though Byron had found that incredibly rude, he wished he knew why, exactly, they thought so.

To him, she was just Jeff's mom. It was gross to think she was hot.

Even though they had all seen her in a bikini. His brothers had made fools of themselves, and though she'd remained oblivious, he'd still apologized to her.

She'd blinked, smiled, and shrugged.

“Mrs. Spier?”
“Yes, honey?”

He knew he had to phrase this carefully. He didn't want her to know he was talking about her son.

“You know what it's like to date, well, someone that people don't approve of, right?”
“Well, yes, people didn't really approve of Richie when we dated in high school, and it was rather tough, but we made it through. Though we went our separate ways we did manage to find each other again. Do you have someone like that?”
“Yeah.”
“Well, honey, just go for it. I think it's sweet.”

He knew she wouldn't think it was so sweet if she knew it was her own son. Even flighty Mrs. Spier had some moral standings. And Mr. Spier was a sworn conservative, and Byron knew that he certainly wouldn't approve of him, well, liking Jeff. Though he did like him, though he knew that that was because he (unlike his dear identical brothers) didn't have a persistent urge to hit on his wife.

“Even though some people think it's wrong?”
“Of course. Listen, honey, why don't you talk to Jeffy about this? I'm sure he'd have better advice than me.”
“O-okay.”
“You want to come over for breakfast? I'm sure Richie and Livvy wouldn't mind you joining us.”
“O-okay.”
“You sure?”
“Yeah. Thanks, Mrs. Spier.”
“You're welcome, honey. Tell me more about your problem.”

They leave the house, and he looks around Slate Street, nervously, and he gets into her car, sitting up front with her because he isn't a baby and can sit up front, at the very least. She's reapplying her lipstick as his brothers appear, and she gives them a friendly wave. Mallory is behind them, looking slightly green. He notices that Mrs. Spier does not respond to her half-hearted greeting, but that doesn't matter to him.

“Sharon, where are you taking Byron?”
“Yeah, can't you take us?”
“We're so willing to help you-”
“Even Nicky!”

He glared at them, while Mrs. Spier remained completely oblivious to his brothers' affections. And the fact that they'd taken to calling her Sharon. He knew it was her name, but it was just weird. Jeff didn't call his mother Dee.

Finally, she realized they were speaking to her, and she smiled.

“You wanna help me? Find a buyer for that house I'm selling. And find out who's been wandering off with my for sale signs.”

His brothers all exchanged a guilty look, which thankfully she missed. Mallory came towards the car.

“Mrs. Spier? Can I babysit for Olivia? My mom says I need a job.”
“You need to invest in some raincoats, is what you need.”

Adam and Jordan guffawed. Mallory and Nicky seemed confused.

Byron cringed.

They were so embarrassing.

“I'm sorry, Mrs. Spier.”
“What? Oh, it's alright. You haven't done anything. I told you, Byron, I don't mind you.”
“Even though I-”
“I told you, you're alright. You're a good kid.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Spier. Thanks.”

He doubted that she'd agree when she figured out that he had a majorly huge crush on Jeff, but he smiled anyways.

At least he'd never get pregnant or get a girl pregnant.

They drove down Slate Street, the radio playing softly, and he nervously chewed on his fingernails. He wasn't stupid, after all, he knew that one wrong sentence and all his practicing, his decent relationship with the Spiers, hell, his friendship with Jeff, even, could be ruined. He watched Mrs. Spier answer her cell phone, completely flouting the Connecticut cell phone law, and he sighed.

She didn't seem to notice his slightly dour expression.

***

“Byron, Jeffy's home soon!”
“Oh, Livvy, leave Byron alone. Why don't you go watch some television while we eat?”
“Wanna eat with Byron!”
“Well, okay, I guess. Did you have some of Daddy's french toast?”
“Uh-huh! And bacon!”
“Yes, you like bacon, don't you? Tell you what, you can have some fruit salad while we eat, okay?”
“Uh-huh! I love you, Mommy.”
“I love you too, Livvy.”

Sharon followed her almost three year old to the table, smiling slightly as she climbed up to sit next to Byron, while she took her usual seat beside Richie, who'd taken it upon himself to cook a big breakfast, though technically she could have been at work, and Olivia didn't eat much. Dawn and Mary Anne had gone out to California, but she supposed it was just habit. Richie had made her promise that she had brought Byron over, and not one of the others, and she'd simply sighed.

She was scatterbrained, and rather easily distracted, not completely obtuse.

Byron was the nice one. The one who didn't find it appropriate to hit on her.

The only one of the entire Pike family that didn't completely antagonize her, and that included his parents. It wasn't that John and Dee weren't nice, they were, it was just that they were different. It was weird. Everyone thought that they'd get along, after all, they were all under the delusion that she was some hippie, just because she lived in California, and they did, at least enough to exchange pleasantries, and they didn't mind Jeffy being friends with Byron, Adam, and Jordan, but she thought they were a bit...permissive.

“So, Byron, Dawn and Mary Anne said that Mallory's back in town?”
“Yes, Mr. Spier. She is.”
“It's a shame that boarding school didn't work out for her, but I suppose your parents must be glad to have her back home.”
“I-”

She interjected, noticing that the conversation was making Jeff's best friend rather uncomfortable.

“Anyways, Richie, I just wanted to let you know that I still don't know who's been stealing my for sale signs, but at least this latest one's lasted for more than three days.”
“Bad day at work, Shar?”
“No, it was okay. Kathy's clients didn't show up, but whatever. How are things at the firm?”
“Oh, just wonderful. We're very close to winning one of our cases, I feel.”
“That's great. Livvy said she had fun going to work with her daddy!”
“We had a grand time. She was a hit, weren't you, princess?”

Their daughter grinned at them, bouncing excitedly on her chair, and she smiled at her.

“It was fun!”
“It was, wasn't it?”
“Uh-huh! Daddy took me to the mall during his lunch and we went on the horsies!”
“The merry-go-round? That's great, Livvy.”
“I wish you come!”
“I know. We'll go on the merry-go-round later this week, okay?”
“With Jeffy?”
“Maybe. He might want to hang out with his friends, though, princess.”

Olivia shot Byron (who had been evidently deep in thought) a hopeful look.

“Please? Horsies with me and Jeffy?”
“Well, okay. We'll go on the horsies with you.”
“Yay!”

She skipped off (apparently the news about the merry-go-round had distracted her from her fruit salad) and Richie cleared his throat, leaning over to give her a kiss. She smiled at him, silently giving him permission to leave.

“I have some briefs to review, Shar, do you mind-”
“Go ahead. I'll be fine. Besides, Byron's here. He won't let me do anything stupid.”
“You promise?”
“I promise, Richie. You go finish your work.”
“If you're sure...”
“I am. Honey, your office is just down the hall. Don't worry.”

She blew him another kiss as he finally left, and she stared at Byron, trying to figure out what on earth he was trying to hide. She didn't understand why he seemed to perpetually single, after all, he was friends with all of the girls in Jeff's little Stoneybrook crew, and he was certainly more polite to them than Adam and Jordan (Sharon Spier couldn't tell them apart from one another but she knew who Byron was because he didn't try to peer down her tops or wolf whistle whenever she and Richie dared to take Olivia to the neighborhood pool, amongst other irritating things.) Besides, he seemed nice. He was nice to her.

“Mrs. Spier, how come Jeff doesn't speak to his grandparents?”
“What? Of course he speaks to Jack's parents, dear. They just live out in California.”
“No, not Mr. Schafer's parents. Yours. Jeff told me that they're mad at him and Dawn for-”
“Oh, well, my parents don't approve of Richie. They never have, not since we first were dating, and I guess they don't like that Jeff and Dawn like him and are happy that him and I got married. It's complicated.”
“Oh.”
“You're just a kid, you wouldn't understand. Don't worry about it.”

She noticed the look of wariness cross his face, and she sipped her coffee, wondering what on earth could be the matter.

It wasn't like Byron had a girl like her, was it?

Was it?

“Mrs. Spier, can I tell you something?”
“Sure, honey.”
“You won't get mad?”
“Of course not.”

She noticed he looked rather relieved, and she wondered just who this girl was.

“It's just that I don't know what to do, Mrs. Spier, the person I like doesn't like me, I know it. All they care about is the California sun and the surf, and they might go to school in Stoneybrook, but I know that they don't really want to, and it's so embarrassing, Mrs. Spier, and I don't know what to do-”
“Byron? Honey, are you crying?”

It certainly wasn't worth crying over! While it was true that Dawn (Sharon was so proud of her observational skills) would never date Byron Pike, and while it was a bit unfortunate that a sophomore in high school had a crush on a freshman in college, that certainly didn't mean it was unheard of. Kathy and Ted had dated with a similar age difference, and they'd gotten married.

Not that Sharon thought Dawn would marry Byron, in fact, the idea was nearly laughable, but he didn't need to sob over it.

“Byron? Honey, are you okay?”

More sniffles were heard from the teenage boy who was sat across the table from her, and she stood, putting a supportive hand on his back.

“You think I'm a freak!”
“No, honey, no, I don't. I don't. Nobody will.”

***

“What?”
“Nobody will make fun of you, honey. It's only a crush. Plenty of people have crushes.”
“But-but-but-”
“Look, it's stupid if you're going to let that bother you. Who cares what people think? My parents hate Richie, and I married him. If my mother had had it her way I'd have married Watson Brewer. Though, she did like Jack...”
“But this is weird!”
“Look, Byron, you're being ridiculous. You don't think that plenty of people are involved in so-called “weird” relationships? People will think your sister's weird for having a baby at sixteen, won't they?”
“Margo wants her to be on 16 and Pregnant.”
“See? At least you're not the only one who's struggling-”
“But, I'm a freak-”
“You're not. Why do you care what people think? Doesn't being happy matter most of all?”

Byron thought. Mrs. Spier did have a point. He should want to be happy.

“I guess.”
“Honey, look, I know you're upset, but really, it's not the end of the world.

“I know.”
“Why don't you talk to Adam and Jordan about it?”
“I can't! They wouldn't get it.”

She sat beside him, forcing him to look at her, and he did, forcing himself to look into eyes the same exact color as Jeff's. He cleared his throat, taking the offered tissue. He dabbed at his eyes.

“...well, why don't you talk to Jeff? He might offer you some perspective. You never know.”

Jeff? She wanted him to talk to Jeff about having a mad crush on him?

Mrs. Spier was nice, but a little weird.

“What?”
“Honey, he's your best friend. A silly little crush on your California surfer won't change that.”
“You're sure?”
“Of course I am. You're best friends, that's all that should matter. Shouldn't it be?”
“Yeah. It should be.”
“You feel better?”

She removes her hand from his back, and she smiles at him.

“I guess. Thanks, Mrs. Spier.”
“You're welcome, honey.”
“I should probably get going. You have things to do.”
“Not really. I ought to start cleaning for Jeff, but I don't know if I really want to. I can bring you home, though. You shouldn't walk. Look at the weather.”

It was snowing a bit. He was only wearing a thin jacket.

He didn't really want to walk.

“Okay, Mrs. Spier. If you want to.”
“I'm a mom. I can't let you walk home in the cold!”
“Okay.”
“Let me just tell Richie where I'm going.”
“Okay.”

Byron Pike felt incredibly proud of himself. He'd told someone about his crush on Jeff, though he'd not quite intended it to be Jeff's mother, and she'd barely reacted at all.

There was something slightly odd about that, but he didn't want to question her behavior. What if she changed her mind? What if-

“Mommy's letting me go with her, Byron! She's gonna take me to the horsies after!”
“That's great, Livvy.”
“You promise you and Jeffy go horsies too when he comes back from his daddy's?”
“I promise.”
“Yay!”

“You like the merry-go-round?”
“Uh-huh! And I like you and Jeffy! Jeffy come for a whole year!”
“You're excited? So am I.”
“Jeffy come soon!”
“I know. I think your mom's ready to bring me home.”
“And to the horsies!”
“And to the horsies.”

Byron sat up front with Mrs. Spier, who kept shooting him sympathetic smiles, and fortunately the conversation they could have had was abandoned for her and Olivia talking about how Jeff was coming for a visit, and that change in conversation suited him just fine.

He'd be fine.

Everything would be okay.

It would be.

...Wouldn't it?


 
 
 
cassandraclue: sophisticationcassandraclue on January 20th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
Pregnant Mallory? Now THAT'S a story I need to read. ;)
mkrobinson on January 20th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
lol I might write it...I just have to reread some Mal books first.
automatic doorautomaticdoor on January 21st, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
Oh noooooo, Sharon! Man, she really failed at listening. :) Though it's not really like Stoneybrook is good at the gay thing. What was that about Mal and a girlfriend? AND PREGNANT MALLORY? Holy crap. Though, wow Sharon, way to be judge-y. IDK. I'd love to read that story and who it was and why she kept the baby, etc.
mkrobinson on January 22nd, 2012 12:04 am (UTC)
lol if only Byron hadn't been quite to vague! Exactly, it really isn't. Oh, Mary Anne might have assumed her friend Smita was her girlfriend at one point... Yes, pregnant Mallory! ...Sharon was trying to figure out how to react to that, which is why she was a bit judgey! Maybe I'll write it!