A Deep Ocean Of Secrets



with thanks to Len's player for handling Jared Harrison

Scene Title A Deep Ocean of Secrets
Synopsis You have to trust someone sometime. With everything. With all of it. If you're very very lucky, that person deserves the trust you place in them. But you don't know until you give up those secrets.
Date Nov 2, 2009

Home of Jared Harrison, Upper West Side

She hasn't been by to see her father much, though she's managed to keep up with weekly calls as usual. It's not that it's all that unusual for him not to see her — she does try to have dinner or something with him at least once a month. She hasn't laid eyes on her father since before Labor Day, though, too aware that he's going to see that something is very very wrong. He's asked every time she's called as it is. The visit from Teo… the knowledge that a woman she considered a friend was killed by another person she believes to be a friend and that there's not a damn thing she can do about it — hell, even if she arrests Teo, Sabra Dalton is just going to get him out again — is eating into the fragile peace she's managed to build for herself. And once more she finds herself turning not to the lover who has been her solace through so much of the past few months but to the parent who remains to her. She called ahead, just to let him know she was coming — although she has a key and the door to her home is always open to her, he has a girlfriend these days and that could prove awkward if she were to walk in at the wrong time. The key in the lock heralds her arrival, and Elisabeth calls from the doorway, "Dad?" Over her shoulder is a small overnight duffel.

Jared Harrison lives a far simpler life than his daughter it seems. Breakfast alone, for the most part, followed by a short jog of 6 miles, then lunch at his favorite diner down the street. Dinner is typically a small portion of meat or fish with a salad or a baked potato if he feels up to popping one into the oven. The only real change in his lifestyle in what seems like forever is that he has begun to see a female friend from a few houses down. It's more of something casual, a friendship of sorts, but there's a little something there. He has been open about it to his daughter, but he doesn't want there to be anything awkward, so he ensures that he's alone when she arrives to the house. He's putting the dishes away from the drainer that sits next to the sink. The dishwasher he bought years ago is rarely used since it's just him now. He walks in to greet her with a towel draped over his shoulder and a few additional wrinkles on his face, but otherwise, it's the same dad she saw a few months ago. He approaches her for a hug, "I thought maybe you were avoid me." Or his new girlfriend, perhaps.

"Nah," Elisabeth offers with a faint smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes. She's thinner than when he last saw her… thinner than he's seen her since her mother died, in truth, with faint lines creasing her face. It's been a hard couple of months — she's told him about her partners being respectively kidnapped by a serial killer and Humanis First, so it shouldn't be TOO big a shock. Or perhaps it is. Elisabeth sets the duffel down, locks all the locks on the front door, and slips out of her jacket and her shoulder harness in deference to her father's wishes that she not be armed in this house before walking over to press herself against him in a tight hug. "Just… busy," she offers lamely as she buries her face in the man's shoulder.

"Too busy to have lunch with your father, it seems." He's teasing her, of course. Jared knows that cop-business has no set hours, though she's always taken time for him before. Things are getting worse in the city. He pulls back from the hug after a long moment, letting her hold him as long as she wants or needs. He places his hands on her shoulders and looks at her. "Your mother would be aghast to see how skinny you've become. Even cops need to eat, Lizzie. I think I have some steaks that I can heat up." For some reason, the gun doesn't bother him as much as it had in the past. He knows she knows how to use it, plus there's obviously something on her mind.

Liz forces that smile again; the one that fools most people but is unlikely to fool her father much. "We can just order out, if you want," she offers. As if that's not exactly what she's been doing to for weeks — ordering out and just not bothering to eat it when it arrives. "If you're in the mood to throw steaks on, though… I suppose I won't complain much. I haven't had a lot of time to cook lately." Which is saying something — she's more like her Italian mother and grandmother than she might like to admit, hiding in the kitchen when things bother her, feeding herself and everyone around her with massive amounts of food during stress. "Uhm… do you mind if I catch a shower before we eat? It's been kind of a shitty day," she admits softly. "I won't be long." A quick kiss to his cheek and she gathers her things together and heads for her room and the shower.

But she's in the bathroom for a really really long time. Long enough for everything Jared might want for dinner to get done cooking. Long enough for the water in that shower to surely have gone cold in spite of the huge hot water tank they have. And the light doesn't show under the bathroom door when he comes to knock.

And he does come knocking. Food has been ready for quite some time and concern crosses his face when he realizes that it's been over an hour since she went into the bathroom. The light rapping of his knuckles up the wooden bathroom door comes soon after. "Lizzie?" he calls through the door. The lack of light is noticed under the door as it typical shines through the slight gap between the door and the floor. His knock is a little louder as is his voice. "Elisabeth?"

There is no sound from behind that door. No movement. The hiss of the shower can still be heard and that's it.

Jared's hand moves to the doorknob, though he hesitates for just a moment in opening the door or even checking to see if she's locked it. "Elisabeth!" His voice is booming now as he finally gives the knob a turn, though it doesn't go far. Locked. Fortunately, like most bathroom doors, it's rather flimsy so it just takes a single slam as he pushes his shoulder hard into the door and it splinters open.

He reaches for the light switch and flicks it a couple of times to no avail. Burnt light. The shower curtain is drawn and the room has no windows, the light buzzing of the small fan on the ceiling can be heard. The water is still running, so with little light in the room, only what is let in from the hallway, he reaches in and turns off the water, feeling the super cold of the water on his arm. All he does is react as he grabs the towel from the bar and drapes it over her, then he leans down to pick her up.

She is curled into the bottom corner of the tub, squatted into as tiny a ball as she can possibly make, her face buried against her knees as the cold water pounds over her. Her skin is chilled, her hair sodden, and she's shivering as her father's arms wrap around her. The touch of hands causes her pull back further into the tub with a full-throated, blood-curdling scream that thank God is not sonically enhanced, but it also snaps her head up and her eyes open. The light after however long in the darkness is a beacon, but she can't stop herself from fending him off with her hands. Whatever she might have said is lost in the grapple of hands shoving at other hands there for a moment, terror communicating itself in the panicked sobbing.

"What in the world..? Elisabeth!" Jared places his hands up and tries to secure her wrists. Perhaps it's the darkness and she cannot see him or what. "Lizzie! I'm your father. Calm down. Calm down." It's when it hits him all at once. Her avoiding face-to-face meetings. Her weight. Her entire demeanor since she arrived. Something has happened. "Oh, God." he mutters under his breath, as his mind whirls with possibilities. "Lizzie, let me help you." His voice softer now as he tries to shush her.

"D-Dad…?" Elisabeth's voice is a bare gasp, the stutter that plagued her decades ago in full force. "T-T-t-t-t-turn on the lllll…" She can't shove the word out. She hasn't moved from the crouch at the bottom of the tub, but she's struggling impressively to control her panic, sucking in huge breaths and fixing her gaze on the door with its hallway light. "G-g-g-g-got t-to g-g-get …. " She bites her lip. "'mokay!" She ducks her head and moves to stand up, the towel held tightly to her to protect her — though her modesty honestly is the last thing on her mind, really. The towel is mostly dry, though, and somewhat warmer than her chilled skin. "J-j-just n-n-n-need to g-g-get out of t-t-t-tub," she strangles on the words.

"The light went out. I'll replace it, but let's get you out of her and warmed up. You're freezing." Jared's hand is at her elbow as he helps her to stand up straight. He grabs a second towel and puts it around her shoulders. He has never seen her like this. She had the stutter as a kid but she worked damn hard to keep it under control. "Let me help you, and we'll get some warm in you." Then you can tell your father what this is all about, isn't that the way this goes?

More docile now that the hallway light is offering respite from the unrelenting blackness of the bathroom that so paralyzed her initially, Elisabeth follows him out of the bathroom with the towels around her, still dripping wet. "I'll… g-g-get d-d-d-d-ressed," she says between chattering teeth. "S-s-so-sorry, Dad." She looks miserable. Sort of like a drowned cat at the moment, all regret and despair as she shivers. She makes her way back into the bedroom, rummaging in drawers to pull out clothes from years earlier since her current clothes are in the bathroom still and she's not going back in there to get them. A pair of sweatpants that have seen better days, some socks, and a sweatshirt from college later, her hair wrapped in the drier of the two towels, Elisabeth rejoins her father in the brightly lit living room. Her expression, now that she's managed to pull herself together, is wary as she eyes her parent. She has that look that says she knows an explanation has to be forthcoming… and if he's any judge of his daughter, he can already see her doing the spin-doctoring in her head as she watches him.

In the time that she's went in to dress, Jared has changed the light bulb in the bathroom so that it's nice and bright. Then he walks into the living room and waits. He doesn't ask for an explanation when she walks into the room, but he's never had to. When there's something to be told, it just takes a look. He stands to meet her as she walks in, but stays several paces away from her. Finally, he sits back down, leaving room for her to sit, though there are a couple other chairs in the room she could sit. He knows if she sits next to him, then she's going to come forth with the truth. If she doesn't, then whatever spin she plans to put on this is the answer she'll give him.

The dynamics between fathers and daughters can be obvious or subtle. In this case, there might as well be the neon sign demanding answers. And Elisabeth is not sure she has them to give. He can't clean up her mess. He can't really even help her anymore; she's in so far over her head these days. Trembling hands come up to take the towel away from damp hair, and the blonde walks silently back down the hallway to hang it in the now-bright bathroom. By the time she comes back, she has run a comb through the wet tresses.

It used to be a standing joke when she was a kid — if she needed to tell her dad a secret that she really didn't want her mom to know, she could hire him as a lawyer too, because lawyer-client confidentiality trumped Daddy-confidentiality for some things. She invokes the old ritual now, holding out a dollar bill for him to take. When her hand brushes his, she lowers herself to sit next to him and tears fill blue eyes haunted with painful snippets of memory and knowledge. "This is going to take a while."

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