In Search For Life, Part IV

Participants:

faye_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title In Search For Life, Part IV
Synopsis Mother and daughter finally meet.
Date January 28, 2010

Coffee House


The morning passed in a whirlwind. After receiving the call last night from Rebecca Nakano that the detective had met with Peyton's birth mother and that Faye Crawford wanted the clairvoyant to call, everything happened in a tumble of emotions and thoughts that will take months, if not years to sort out. The two touched base by phone, an awkward but, at least on Peyton's end, emotional conversation, and agreed to meet that afternoon. It's a little coffee house in the Upper East Side, neither too posh nor too greasy, but comfortable, with big overstuffed chairs and free refills for the simple cup of house brew some other. More fancy concoctions like macchiatos and blended ice mochas and such of course are not free, but come loaded with whipped cream and caramel or chocolate sauce drizzled at a fraction of the cost of their more ubiquitous competitors.

Peyton arrived early to stake out a good seat with a view of the door. Rebecca met her and gave her the phone number and photograph of a woman who looked more like she could be Peyton's sister than her mother, and now Peyton sits, sipping from a giant purple mug a cup of tea — she's much too agitated, despite her recent sleep deprivation, to add any caffeine to her system. She's dressed in dark denim jeans, black boots, and a green cashmere sweater; her long hair is held back by a matching green headband, and a simple pair of complementing amethyst earrings adorn her ears.

The young-mom thing tends to happen when someone has a child at the young age of barely sixteen. The door opens with a ring, the dark haired woman wears a good sized coat that has a visible sheep-fleece in the inside and collar, zipped up and pulled tight. A dark scarf wraps around her neck, and the woman's hands are covered with dark gloves. There's a bag hanging from her shoulder, bigger than a normal purse, but smaller than a suitcase. Rough and looking as if it could hold quite a bit, while still being conservative.

Faye scans the room with her dark eyes, passing over a few college students and older business people, until she spots the young girl. They don't exactly look alike, but there's some similarities. Eye color, a little bit in the cheeks… There's a hesitant way in which she inhales, before she steps forward, crossing the distance until she's next to the table. "Peyton?" If the daughter is nervous, at least she can rest assured that her mother seems to be nervous too.

Peyton watches the woman enter, setting down her mug with anxiousness, the better not to spill. She waits until the woman comes her way, then jumps to her feet. "Hi," she breathes out, biting her lower lip a bit with nervousness, her dark eyes taking in Faye's form, as if to study her for similarities and differences. Of course, she's struck by the fact her mother is beautiful. Her adoptive mother was attractive but not what one would call beautiful. Faye is.

The younger of the two reaches out her hand, offering a handshake, having decided after a bit of planning that this would be the most proper greeting so as not to appear too sentimental or pushy. "I… thanks for coming," she finally says, not sure what comes next.

There's a small pause at the offered hand, but Faye reaches out and takes it, with her glove still on. "I— I'm glad you decided to try and find me," she admits, voice whispered in tone. Moving to take the opposite seat, she leaves her gloves on and looks across. "My father handled most of the adoption. I wasn't really— I was only sixteen when you were born, so I ended up having to sign away a lot of my rights to try and find you, or know anything about where you ended up." Or more accurately, her father signed it away.

"But that was a long time ago." Her voice shakes as she smiles, somewhat grateful looking. "I didn't even know your name until Rebecca found me. I spent all morning looking for that— she said I would have seen you on the news. I saw some articles, about what happened last year. Are you all right?"

Peyton's excitement and nervousness helps cover the woes of the past week. Her cheeks are flushed, giving her recently pale skin a touch of life. Her lips twitch a touch at the mention of the kidnapping, and she shrugs. "I was really lucky, and I try to dwell on that," she says softly, dropping her eyes, and then bringing them back up, her rosy cheeks getting rosier. If her mother read articles, she would have seen more than a mother wants to know about their child, stranger or not — all the tabloid fodder about dating various celebrities, all the parties, all the drugs. "Someone involved in the kidnappings is still free, and it's a little scary, but I'm trying to … focus on the positive." It sounds so cliche.

The younger woman shakes her head, smiling and waving a hand dismissively. "It's in the past. What about you — what… what do you do, what should I know about you?" She's afraid to ask if the woman re-married, had kids. She isn't sure how she feels about the fact another child would have had Faye's love, even though she certainly understands why she was put up for adoption.

"I'm sorry that you had to go through all that," Faye says, serious expression on her face as she especially doesn't like the idea that her daughter's tormentor might still be at large. "I— I joined the Coast Guard for a few years. I retired a while ago, though, and became a member of the Park Board. I'm mostly in Harbor Patrol. I always liked boats. If the weather ever lets up, I could take you sailing sometime. Teach you how, if you wanted. I know the… your parents were well off. You might have already spent time on a boat."

Slowly, she peels her gloves off. There's no ring on her finger, no welt to show that she had one. If she had one, she had it a long time ago. "I normally don't advertise this, but after what happened to you.. I'm Evolved too. If your private eye looked at the Registration lists, she would know too. I'm not sure if she did. I only found out about it when I was around your age, but…" She holds her bare hand out. "The Registration Board called me a tactile telepath, but despite the name, I can't read your mind. You can send me thoughts, but I can't 'hear' anything you don't actively try to send."

Peyton smiles at the offer to go sailing. "I've sailed but never like, really did much to help. Mostly I lay around in a bikini while the other people did the jibbing and jabbing… but I'd love to learn. I'm sort of… trying to be more active instead of … just enjoying other people doing the work for me, if you know what I mean." It's not easy to admit you were spoiled, especially to someone as hardworking as Faye must be, to someone who had such a rough younger life. "And wow. I mean, that's part of what made me curious — if you were, if I got it from you. What … so what makes it tactile? Tactile means touch, right?"

"It means touch, yes. I have to touch someone to form a connection. I try to avoid it, because… It can be troublesome at times," Faye says, keeping her hand held out. "I form some kind of connection while touching someone, that I can send thoughts through, or recieve thoughts. The longer I touch someone, the longer it lasts," she explains. A glance down at her hand makes her frown a moment, as if this might have a lot to do with… something she'd rather not discuss. "It's likely you inheriated the gene from me, yes. You said that that— one of the ones who hurt you. He's still out there."

She'd thought of offering this as soon as she read the articles including her daughter's name. What happened to her… "If I hold your hand for a while, you can send me a message if you're in trouble."

That explains the gloves. Peyton glances at the glove and then back to Faye's face, her eyes widening a touch at what the older woman offers. "Are you… are you sure? My power… the articles don't mention it, and the Registration doesn't know what exactly it is I can do. It can be … well. Disturbing. If I think to you now consciously, you can hear it, even if I don't touch your hand first? I want you to know what I can do before you agree." That and how strange to have your mother, and a stranger, knowing your thoughts and feelings.

"I can sense what condition you're in, physically. I used to be in Search and Rescue, and— I noticed it when I'd help carry people onto the boat and I could feel something wrong with them," Faye explains, keeping her hand held out, but sounding patient. Usually her ability is not something she'd offer— but… she only touched her daughter once. For a very short time. And the idea that something could happen to her, or she'd be taken away again…

"I can send my thoughts to you. And you can consciously send thoughts to me. It may take a while to figure out how. I practiced with a few people after I Registered, to get the full extent of my abilities. They had to force the thought out toward me, for me to get it. It could cause an issue with your ability, though." She didn't reveal her full ability to the Registration Board? There's a small frown, but… "If it does I can sever the connection without causing any trouble for you. And it will fade after a while. It lasts longer if I touch you longer."

Peyton nods slowly. "I just don't want you to have to see some of the things I … do." That sounds wrong, so she hastens to explain, lowering her head so her hair swings forward, covering her cheeks, lest there be anyone in the coffee shop who can read lips. Her voice drops even quieter, nothing more than a breath. "I can see what other people's see… if I've met them, seen them, first, anyway. Or seen them through someone else's eyes. So like… I've been keeping an eye on that guy. To make sure he's not coming after me. He wasn't — he wasn't the one who personally kidnapped me, but he's HF and he knows who I am, and I sort of …" she breathes in a shaky breath, "I sort of testified against him and he said he'd find us and kill us and now he's free." Somehow, perhaps because she's whispering, she manages to get it all out without the stutter that manifests whenever she's frightened. "But if you're willing," she adds, her eyes lifting and seeking her mother's. She holds her hand open, lying on the table.

"I've never seen anything someone else is seeing," Faye assures, touching the girl's hand finally and squeezing it gently. There's no warmth, or any sign of anything until there's a quiet whisper in the back of her head, like a far off radio wave.

If he does come after you, maybe I can help.

After abandoning her as a child… after losing her for so long… Her fingers tighten again.

I don't want to lose you again.

Even if it just means they'll get together for coffee sometimes, or for sailing lessons. It's twenty-one years they missed out on. Twenty-one years they never had. "Try to think at me." She doesn't let go. The longer she holds on, the longer it will last. Even a few minutes will give her a fair amount of time.

Peyton's eyes prick with tears, and she glances down again, focusing on her hand in her mother's. Her own show her nerves of late — chipped paint suggests once they were taken care of, manicured, but now they are bitten and ragged from the past few days of watching Danko until Gillian told her that it wasn't necessary to do so every waking moment. Part of it was of course for her own peace of mind — if Danko is sitting drugged on his sofa, he isn't about to come through her door.

Thank you. She tries to send the thought, unsure if it will work or not, not having ever consciously tried to send her thoughts before. She glances up to see if Faye heard her.

The rest of it is painful but not as much as it would be if she hadn't had parents who cared about her. Her relationship with the Whitneys wasn't perfect — it was rocky and volatile at times, but she always knew they loved her, even if they were not proud of her. I'm glad you wanted to meet. It means so much. And … for what it's worth, I understand and I would have done the same thing.

I didn't really get a choice, Faye says, keeping a hold of the hand, and directing her eyes lower. But it's obvious she heard the sent thought. My father was an officer in the Coast Guard. He saw it as a shame on the family, and a barrier in following him in that kind of career, she explains, still not making direct eye contact. In some ways she really didn't want to give up her child, in other ways… it had been more likely, if they'd allowed her to keep it, or adopted the child themselves, she would have been raised as a sister. To avoid her father's precieved shame.

It's worth a lot, she adds on, looking back to to smile.

Peyton smiles. To hear that she might have possibly been wanted by her mother means so very much to the girl who has lived her entire life trying to be important for all the wrong things and the wrong reasons. She reaches up with her free hand to wipe her eyes. We can be friends… I don't expect you to tell everyone you have a daughter or anything. I know that might cause problems. But if I can just … get to know you, spend time with you. It'll be enough. She glances down again and then out the window, before her eyes flit back to her mother's. Is anyone else in the family Evolved? I didn't know until this past summer.

Not that I know of, Faye sends back, smile faint, but there's a hesitant pause. "I was married briefly, quite a few years ago. My ex-husband still lives in Boston with our son. He got sole custody of him," from the sound of her voice, which is spoken outloud this time, she's not proud of this. "He visits in the summer, I take him out sailing, and horseback riding. So you can meet him then. He's a teenager. His name is Neal."

An unanswered question gets answered. But as far as I know, it's just you and me. I don't know if Bryce has taken Neil in to get tested.

She has a brother? Peyton was always the spoiled only child, and except the undue negative attention when she did something wrong, she never minded the fact that she had no one to share with. But now the news is welcome, when she has no family ties except a grandmother who she knows in part blames her for her parents' death. "A brother…" she whispers. "How old is he? Will he… will he want to know me, or do you want to keep it quiet?" she switches to speaking, the thought projection straining her aching head just a touch.

"I told him he had an older sister somewhere. I didn't know your name, or anything else, but once he was old enough to understand… I'd told him," Faye explains, speaking outloud, even as she keeps contact. The longer they touch, the longer she can rest assured that her daughter isn't in the hands of a psychopath somewhere.

"He's fifteen. He'll be sixteen in a couple months." She'd still been young when she had her son, by the sound of it, but at least moving into her twenties. "I'd like to introduce you, in the summer when he visits, if you're willing to meet him."

A little brother. Her eyes grow teary again and she smiles. "Of course I want to meet him, if it won't upset him or anything," Peyton says, squeezing her mother's hand in hers. Their hands are similar in shape, fine-boned and agile looking, about the same size, she notices. "I … I'm happy just to get to know you, I don't want to be greedy, but I have to ask…" The question that her mother is probably hoping will not come is inevitable. "What can you tell me about my f-father?"

"That— I'm afraid that's a long story, and I'd rather not go into it," Faye says, diverting her eyes a bit, but there's nothing overtly painful in her gaze. It doesn't seem like she's hurt by her questioning. "It was a long time ago, too."

"It's okay," Peyton says softly, squeezing her mother's hand, offering a smile. Sure, there may be a touch of disappointment in not knowing the other half of her heritage, but she certainly understands painful pasts and relationships gone wrong, or flings that never became a relationship at all, for that matter. "I'm sorry. And I'm happy just to have you in my life, Faye." The name at the end sounds a touch awkward, unfamiliar on Peyton's lips.

"And I'm happy you decided to search for me," Faye says, keeping the contact for as long as possible. It's the first time she's intentionally linked with someone in a long time, for more than just practice. A connection she often failed to make with anyone… even her other child. Since this one was taken from her hands, so long ago.


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