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22 February 2012 @ 07:35 am
Three Weeks/See  
TITLE/PROMPT: Three Weeks/See
AUTHOR: mkrobinson
RATING: PG-13
WORDS: 4023
TABLE: http://babysitters100.livejournal.com/53582.html#cutid1
SUMMARY: For three weeks you've been working up the nerve to have this conversation. Three weeks, during which John has considered you nearly insane for not automatically calling her up and discussing the situation and you know Byron has hoped you forgot.
WARNINGS: language
NOTES: This is a companion piece to “A Chance Encounter” and I'm using the 'see' prompt in the figurative sense, not the literal sense.



You've been struggling to have this conversation with Sharon Spier for over three weeks now. You really have been, and in fact, you don't know how you're going to get the words out. Questions run through your mind, like they have every other time you've seen each other, and you try not to think of them. Why did Byron go to her, and not me, you've spent nights wondering, trying to solve the answer in your sleep.


You really don't know. You know Sharon as Richard Spier's wife, the mother of Dawn and stepmother of Mary Anne, both of whom used to be friends with your Mallory, and of Jeff, who's your three oldest sons' best friend. She knows you as Dee Pike, the woman with the eight kids, and you know that she on some, minor, level disapproves. But the two of you are always pleasant to one another.


For three weeks you've been working up the nerve to have this conversation. Three weeks, during which John has considered you nearly insane for not automatically calling her up and discussing the situation and you know Byron has hoped you forgot.


Of course, during the three weeks, you've seen her everywhere. The post office, the bank, the property that's languishing for sale down the street from your house, Stoneybrook High, even the movies. Honestly, it's like the universe knows you're trying to avoid her.


Now, of course, you're both at the grocery store. You're both alone, which had been a positive for you up until you spotted her, perusing the produce section.


You sigh.


You know that you're being ridiculous. She probably hasn't even realized that you've been avoiding her, and she might have even completely forgotten about the conversation she had with your son all those weeks ago.


You grit your teeth and maneuver your cart so that it's beside hers, smiling lightly at her. She doesn't notice that you're there.


“Sharon?” You find yourself addressing her. She finally looks at you, confusion on her face, and she smiles back.


“Hi, Dee,” she responds, reaching for a container of strawberries. “How are you?”

What makes it worse is that she's being perfectly sincere, thinking she's just exchanging pleasantries.


“I'm doing well,” you reply, though that's far from the truth. She stares at you, and you nearly flinch.


“That's nice,” she chirps happily. “How are your kids?”


You know that you should bring up her conversation with Byron now, but you can't. It's just too hard to discuss your son being, well, gay, in the middle of the grocery store.


“They're doing well,” you respond. “Claire's recently started doing drama at the community center, Margo's joined the swim team, Nicky is enjoying SMS, Vanessa is planning on starting a poetry club once she gets to high school,” you pause for breath, and to recollect your thoughts. “Adam and Jordan start baseball in a few weeks, Byron just seems happy to have Jeff back, and-” You stop abruptly, not wanting to tell her what happened to Mallory, not out here where everyone could hear them.


“I heard about what happened,” she responds, the normally chipper voice seeming slightly saddened. “I think she'll be okay. How is she handling it?”

Sharon touches you on the shoulder, looking up at you in concern. You have to remind yourself that this is Sharon, not someone as judgmental as, your mother, her mother (whom you are on the Library Board with) or even Linda Arnold.


“She seems to be taking it in her stride,” you say. “Did Byron tell you?” You have to know.


She looks surprised at the question, and shakes her head. “No. Jeff did. He wanted me to talk to her.” She sighs, staring down at the display of strawberries and grabbing another carton. “I had a miscarriage too, back when I was with Jack. Byron didn't say a word to me about it.”


“Would you?” You find yourself asking. “I don't really know what to say.”

“I could,” she replies, smoothing out her hair. “If Mallory wants me to, I'd be willing to.”

“Thank you,” you whisper. She nods, looking contemplative.

“You're welcome.”

You decide to press on with your pleasantries, rather liking the fact that the two of you are actually talking. “How are your kids?”

“They're good. Dawn and Mary Anne are enjoying SU, they say it's a nice change from NYU and UCLA, Jeff's surprisingly liking things here in Stoneybrook – he's already talking about extending his stay, and Livvy's wonderful. I can't believe she's already so big!” She tosses a bag of grapes in her cart, and you do the same. “Did you know that I'm pregnant again?” She asks you, looking ecstatic.


“Jeff mentioned that,” you reply. “Congratulations.”


“Thanks,” she says, beaming widely. “It's another girl. Richie and Jeff wanted a boy, but I'm happy.”

“I'm happy for you too,” you respond, completely serious.


You and Sharon don't always see eye to eye, or even always get along, but you do like her. And you want her to be happy. You remember what she was like when Jeff first befriended the triplets, and you have to say that though this happy, bubbly, peppy head-cheerleader version of Sharon Spier might be a bit annoying and a bit exhausting to be around, it's certainly an improvement over how she was when she came back to town, shrouded in what you thought was an unneeded level of scandal.


She giggles. Loudly. “Thanks, Dee! So, what's up?”


“What do you mean?”

“I'm not stupid, Dee,” she replies, smile never wavering, and you sigh. “I know that you want to discuss something with me. I just don't know what I've done that's wrong.” That last part was added in a whisper, and she looks down at her shopping. You of course feel terrible.


“You haven't done anything wrong,” you assure her, not wanting her to start crying in the middle of the A&P. “I was just wondering if you...wanted to grab a bite to eat.”

“Now?”


“How about tomorrow?”


***


You're starving. It's lunchtime, roughly around 12:30, and you're waiting at The Rosebud for her, wondering what's taking her so long. You don't know how you're going to have this conversation. You don't. She knew that your son was gay for three weeks, and she didn't tell you. Richard Spier likely knew that your son was gay for three weeks and he didn't tell you, though you listened to his impassioned speech at parent teacher night about why he thought Romney was a better politician than Obama. You even nodded and smiled at him!


She arrives, looking a bit flustered, and you smile graciously at her, not wanting her to feel badly.


“Sorry I'm late,” she mutters, sitting in the booth opposite her. “Jack called, and Sunny wanted to talk to me, and that took forever, and I feel so bad that I kept you waiting!”


“It's okay,” you assure her.


“So, how are you?” She asks, looking at the menu.


“I'm fine...”


“Are you sure?” She looks at you, and you shake your head. “What's the matter, then?”


“Why didn't you tell me?”


She looks confused. “About what?”

“About your talk with Byron,” you reply, sipping your soda.


“Oh, he just told me that he likes, Dawn, that's all,” she says, before thanking the waitress for her drink. “Why?”

“Wait, you think Byron likes Dawn?”


“Of course,” she replied, looking indignant. “Who else would he describe as a blonde surfer who loved California?”


You fake an interest in your menu. She lets out a squeak, having figured it out.


“Does he like Jeff?” She manages a whisper, and you nod. “Oh. What's the big deal, then?”


“He's gay!” You reply, a bit louder than you intended. “Aren't you upset he has a crush on your son?”

“Not really,” she answers. “I like Byron. He's a sweetie.”

“Aren't you and Richard conservative?”


“So what?” Sharon shrugs, like you asked her if she and Richard drank milk, or if she and Richard enjoyed it being sunny. “Yeah, we're not all that liberal, but we're not like those people you see on the television.”


“It doesn't bother you?”

“No,” she says, sipping her drink. “I think he's a sweet kid and I think it's sweet that he has a crush on Jeff.”


Something about that reassures you, makes you feel better about having a gay son in Stoneybrook, Connecticut, and you smile at her.


“Thanks,” you whisper.


“Oh, you're welcome,” she answers, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “Stuff like that shouldn't matter to people, anyways. I think it's stupid that it does.”

“Aw, shucks, hi, Mrs. Schafer-Spier!”


Their waitress has been replaced by none other than Logan Bruno, whom Sharon gives a tight smile to. “Hello, Logan,” she mutters. “It's Mrs. Spier. It has been Mrs. Spier since I married Richie.”


“Shucks, Mrs. Spier, I forgot. How's Mary Anne?”

“She's doing well,” her dining companion replies. “Logan, I'd like the steak tips with onion rings. Thanks.” She smiles at him.


“What about you, Mrs. Pike?”

“I believe I'll have the chicken salad sandwich,” you say. “Thank you, Logan.”

You wait until he leaves to speak again. It isn't like you want Byron outed to the entire restaurant. She plays with her bracelets and adjusts her top, sighing quietly.


“Honest, he didn't tell me that he liked Jeff,” she says. “I didn't even know he did until you just told me.”


“What did he say to you?”

“Well, he talked all about 'forbidden love' and that reminded me of me and Richie dating and so I sort of got a bit distracted,” she pauses to sip her drink. “But I told him that I didn't think anything should stop him from going after the one he loved. That's what you say, right?”

“You didn't say anything wrong,” she confirms.


“I did,” she whispers, turning pale. “Oh my God, I remember now. He was all upset and he was crying and I've never dealt well with crying and I told him to tell the person how he felt! Oh my God, Dee, what did I do?”

“Calm down, Sharon. I'm sure everything will be fine.”

“Oh, no. Why didn't I pay attention to what he was saying? Why did I have to give him such stupid advice? This is like high school all over again! Why didn't I stay out of it? Why?”


“Sharon! Calm down!”


Sharon looks stunned, and you can't believe that you had to use a tone you normally only use for Claire and Margo on an actual adult, but at least it gets her to be quiet.


“I'm sorry,” she mutters, staring down at the table.


“It's okay,” you reply. “But only because Byron listened to you and Jeff was fine with it.”

“Jeff knows?”


“According to Byron, yes. He does.”

“Well. Maybe my advice wasn't so stupid after all.”

Your food arrives soon, with an irritating Logan Bruno delivering it, and you both eat in silence. You feel bad for thinking such thoughts about her earlier, and you really should make it up to her.


“I saw your mother the other day,” you offer, deciding to leave out the fact that she'd caused a scene at the Library Board meeting.


“Did you?” She asks, looking mildly curious. “How is the entitled bitch?”

“Well...” You trail off, feeling awkward. She smiles at you. “I'd say she's about the same.”

She snorts. “I figured, Dee. My mother is only on that board because it makes her look good. What, did Rioko want to buy a DVD that was rated R, or something?”

“No, she was upset that we're waiving certain patrons' library fines due to the economy.”

“Oh, you mean that the board deigned to concern itself about the poor? I'm surprised she didn't resign on the spot.”


“How come you moved back?” You've wondered that for a long time, but have never managed to ask.


Sharon's eyes widen and she shrugs. “I had to move back. Mom and Dad got me a house, a job, a car. I didn't want to.” She pauses. “That's not true. I did want to move, I did. I wanted to go back to Stoneybrook, to go back to Richie. But I had a plan. My parents didn't approve of that plan, and once the divorce was finalized...”

She sighed, sipping her drink. “I think it all worked out, though. How come you have so many kids?”

You'd be offended, but she seems genuinely curious, and you did ask her a personal question, so you suppose it's fair.


“We just wanted them. I know that it might seem crazy, but it's true.”


“I don't think it's crazy,” she responds. “I mean, I don't think I'd want to have eight kids, but I don't think it's crazy. Do you think that people judge you?”

“Don't you hear them? Louisa and Linda are especially fond of casting judgment.”

“Louisa Bruno?”

You nod, and she shakes her head. “Don't listen to her, Dee. She's like a sheep.”

You're confused. All of the times nine year old Jeff would say that 'your house overwhelms my mom' and 'mom can't really deal with all the people that are here' in response to your dinner invitations and invites to coffee and Sharon's fine with it all?


“I thought we overwhelmed you.”

“Dee, everything overwhelmed me back then. I was depressed, I wasn't taking my medication, of course a house full of eleven people was going to overwhelm me. Hell, Richie had to do my friggin' grocery shopping for me at first because that overwhelmed me. It had nothing to do with you.”


“Oh.”

“And then by the time I was finally well enough to have it not overwhelm me, Jeff was back with Jack and there was no more invitations to coffee or dinner or anything.”

You feel guilty, and she concentrates on her meal.


“Do you want to come over for coffee?” You ask. She beams.


***


You send Claire to answer the door, which might have been somewhat of a mistake, and you hear the somewhat headache inducing greeting she gives Sharon, wincing slightly.


“Mom, is Byron home?” Your youngest asks, skipping into the room. “Mrs. Spier brought Jeff!”

Which, of course, would explain the enthusiastic greeting she'd heard a moment ago. “He's downstairs in the rec room with your brothers.”


You watch as Claire insists on following Jeff down the stairs, surprised when you notice Sharon standing there awkwardly.


“You can sit down,” you say, pointing to a chair.


“I wasn't sure if I could,” she murmurs, her blue eyes flashing as she sits down. “I'm really not good at social cues. I never have been.”

“Oh.” You don't know what to say. “I'm sorry.”

“It's okay,” she replies. “That's what I have Richie for, anyways. Thank you for inviting me over.”

“You're welcome.”

“You have a nice house,” she comments, and you remember that she's in real estate. You don't know how you can forget with her picture splashed on most of the for sale signs you've seen around Stoneybrook, but you did.


“Thanks,” you reply. “So do you.”

“Have you been by to see it? We had another addition put on when the girls were seniors.”

“No,” you respond.


“You should come by!” She offers, staring at her, her blue eyes unblinking. “I could give you a tour. I know how to do that.”


“Maybe I will,” you offer, wondering why your house is so quiet. “I'm sorry this place is such a mess.”

She starts to giggle. “The only reason my house stays neat is 'cause of Richie. It's fine. Don't worry so much.”

“Is Jeff staying?”

“Here? He better be, he's my ride home.”

“I meant in Stoneybrook,” you clarify.


“Probably,” she says, nodding, and she smiles widely. “There's a lot of drama going on in Palo, and I don't think he wants to be involved.”


You don't press.


“Truthfully,” she continues, “I'm a little relieved. I like having him here. He's great with Livvy.”

“I'm surprised you didn't bring her.”

“Oh, Richie's home. She wanted to stay with her daddy.”


“Is she excited?”

“For the baby?” Sharon asks you, laying a hand on her abdomen. “Yeah, she is. She's really cute about it, too.”

You could talk about pregnancy for hours, but Mallory is home, and you don't want to upset her. Truthfully, you're not exactly sure whether your oldest had a miscarriage or an abortion (you didn't ask or press for any answer beside the one that you were given), but you don't want to make her cry. For all you know she's listening in to your conversation.


“Have you sold the Slate Street property?”

“Not yet,” she answers, rolling her eyes. “Gosh, I wasn't even pregnant when that got put on the market. The owners won't budge on anything I've suggested.”

“Is it even worth that much money?” You're a bit curious.


“No! It isn't. Maybe five years ago, it might have been, maybe even three. Now? No.” She snorted. “You try telling that to some people.”

“Do you like being in real estate?”


You've always been a stay at home mom, save for secretarial work here and there.


“I guess,” she replies. “I like it enough to still do it, even though Richie makes enough that we'd be comfortable if I stayed home...”


You don't want to press her. “I understand.”

“You do?” She shrugs, sipping her coffee. “I don't know why I thought this place was so overwhelming. It's really quite quiet.”

“It wasn't back then,” you say with a smile. “I love my family, but it was like a madhouse here.”

“Jeff liked it,” she says, wistfully. “I regret a lot of things, Dee. Sometimes I wish I'd done things differently when we moved to Stoneybrook.”

“You seem so happy, though.”

“I am,” she replies, a dreamy expression coming over her face. “I have Richie again and things are just so wonderful, but it could have been better. I know it's true.”

“You can't change what's passed,” you say, with all the wisdom that having eight children has provided you. “You can only change the future.”

“I know.”

“Why aren't Mary Anne and Dawn friends with Mallory?”

“I don't know!” She responds, a bit defensively. “Okay, maybe I do know, but not all the details.” She toys with a strand of her hair.


You're about to press for more details when her cell phone rings, and she guiltily answers it.


Her half of the conversation is, well, interesting. “She did what, Jack? Where? No I don't want to talk to her!” You watch her hang up the phone, and she curses under her breath.


“What is it?” You ask.


“It's nothing,” she replies. “It's just Sunny, that's all.”

“Sunny?”

She rolls her eyes. “It's always Sunny.”

“Is she your daughter, too?”

“Hah. No, she's the daughter of an old friend...” She looks off in the distance, rather wistfully. “I should be doing more...” She taps her fingers on the table, sighing, and she almost effortlessly changes the subject. “You know, we're having a cookout next week. Richie says the weather should be warm enough. You should come. All of you.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I mean, Jeff wants to have the triplets, and Nicky, so the rest of you should just come.”

“Well, okay.”

She grins at you and takes a bite out of one of your homemade cookies, dunking a bit of it in her cup of coffee before popping it in her mouth.


“It should be fun,” she says. “The girls from the club will all be there. It will be good for Mallory to see them.”

“Will Sunny?”

Sharon's gaze hardened, and she shook her head. “No. I haven't seen Sunny since the girls graduated from high school. And she certainly wouldn't come here.”

You wonder what happened, and you actually ask, despite always telling Margo and Claire not to pry into other people's lives. “Why?”

“Why, what?” She sighs. “You don't remember?”

“Remember what?”

“Oh, it's nothing. Just the most disgusting relationship you could think of.”

Sharon had been so open minded about Byron, and yet she seemed so disgusted about whomever her friend's daughter was dating.


“My perspective of disgusting has changed recently,” you reply, and she wrinkles her nose.

“Not this much,” she answers. “You remember how Kristy's dad made that surprise appearance at their graduation?”

You do, vaguely, and you remember hearing rumors about him and his new girlfriend, but you don't know why she's bringing it up. Unless -


“You're kidding!”


“I wish I was. Believe me.”

“Does Elizabeth know?”

“Everyone at that stupid graduation knows. I wanted to die of shame.”


You don't blame her. In fact, the thought of that makes you nauseous.


“I don't blame you.”

“Elizabeth wouldn't talk to me for months! Like it was my fault, or something,” she complains. “It isn't my fault they're messed up morons.”


“You were guilty by association,” you murmur. “Do you think people will except him?”

It had just slipped out.


She looks contemplative, as if she's trying to figure out the best way to answer the question.


“I think that there will always be people that don't approve. I know that there will be. But, the thing is, there are lots more people that will accept him for who he is. Even people that might surprise you, like Richie and me. Honestly, I know he can handle it.” She sips her coffee, smiling slightly. “I can tell you the story about the head cheerleader and her wrong side of the tracks boyfriend, if you want.”


Oh dear, you think, wondering what Stacey McGill had gotten up to.


“What happened?”

“You already know.”

“I do?”


“Yeah,” she says. “It's me an' Richie.”

You breathe a sigh of relief.


She smiles at you.


The quiet is rudely interrupted.


Margo comes in from practice, dropping her stuff all over the kitchen, barely greeting their guest before running upstairs to her room.


Almost immediately the sounds of WSTO blare from the upstairs.


“I can ask her to turn it down,” you offer.


She's about to respond when Claire runs up the stairs in tears, complaining about how unfair it is that Byron got invited to Jeff's for dinner and not the rest of them.


You don't take it personally when she looks overjoyed to see her son, though he doesn't look too thrilled with the hug she gives him.


“I had a nice time, Dee,” she says to you, as she's waiting for Jeff and Byron to be ready to go. “We should do this again.”

“You really think so?”

“Yeah,” she replies, smiling at her. “At my house, next time.”

Next time. You like that. </lj>
 
 
 
Takeitharaisingirl99 on February 22nd, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
I didn't really have the time to read this right now; but the summary intrigued me, and once I got started I just could not stop. I so enjoyed the flow of the conversations and the references to happenings in Stoneybrook (past and current). Also, Richard supporting Romney somehow seems perfect to me. :)
mkrobinson on February 22nd, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much <3! I'm really glad you liked it! Oh, yes, Richard would be supporting the most mainstream conservative canidate he could, I agree.
automatic doorautomaticdoor on February 22nd, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
Awww, I'm so glad there's a follow-up to sort of explain what was going on when last we left off in your 'verse with a bunch of the fics! Oh my god, Sunny's dating Patrick?! Byron and Jeff: cleared up! And I'm so glad Dee and Sharon are becoming friends. I think Sharon desperately needs friends, and Dee's a lovely lady. Also, I feel so bad for Mallory. I loved this.

Also, I had to giggle at Richard supporting Romney. My boyfriend is very Richard-esque in his politics and he is a Romney supporter by default.
mkrobinson on February 22nd, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you like it! I knew it wouldn't sit well with Dee to find out that Sharon had 'found out' about Byron being gay before she did - and we all know how Sharon completely missed the boat on that one lol - so I wanted to do a fic from Dee's POV to sort some of that out.

lol yes, Sunny's dating Patrick - bookplayer and I were having a jokey chat about that particular pairing in the chatzy when we both realized (with a dawning horror) that Sunny is *exactly* the type of person to fall for Patrick and his brand of charm. Yes, Byron and Jeff - definitely cleared up. I'm glad too-oh, she definitely desperately does need friends, and Dee is lovely. Absolutely, you can feel bad for Mallory.

I'm glad you liked that. Yeah, Richard's definitely more of a conservative than a liberal. It used to amaze me on the babysittersclub board how people thought he'd become a flaming liberal 'due to Sharon's influence' during those 'what party is who for' discussions, especially since Sharon just kind of seems to simply want to be a vegetarian and Dawn's the one on all the crusades.
automatic doorautomaticdoor on February 23rd, 2012 03:04 am (UTC)
Richard will never, ever be a flaming liberal. Ever. He's a moderate Republican. If, like, Rick Santorum won the nomination, he might vote for Obama or more likely just not vote in the presidential block and vote down the rest since Connecticut is reliably a blue state and it's not like his vote would be needed to keep Santorum from winning Connecticut's electoral votes.
mkrobinson on February 23rd, 2012 03:13 am (UTC)
Oh, I know. I was aghast at the person who thought that. (I did have a fit of the giggles picturing him as a flaming liberal, though.) Exactly, he's a moderately conservative Republican. I don't really know what I'd consider Sharon, though.
automatic doorautomaticdoor on February 23rd, 2012 03:19 am (UTC)
Sharon's an independent! She refuses to be tied down by one party! ;) She probably voted for Bush in 2000, Kerry in 2004 because she didn't like the war really, and then had to think about it really hard but voted for Obama in 2008 because Palin's rhetoric was too divisive. She was totally not a fan of Clinton at all though.
mkrobinson on February 23rd, 2012 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh, that's right! You'd think I'd have remembered the independent party since that's what I am-duh-she's totally an independent. That makes a lot of sense, actually. And Richard Spier is never ever ever a liberal, flaming or otherwise. Poor Richard. He's described as 'Mary Anne's conservative father' in the actual canon...