Advice to a Teenaged Izzy


hadley_icon.gif isabelle_icon.gif

Scene Title Advice to a Teenaged Izzy
Synopsis Once upon a time, Izzy came to her foster-mother with a question or two.
Date Spring, 1999

The Hadley Home

It can't be particularly fun for a young girl, being fostered by this pair. Mr. and Mrs. Hadley are older: 50 or so, or maybe a million, depending on if Izzy herself were asked. Still and so, they obviously love each other, and they're willing to love her (given time for her to loosen up a little) in turn as well. Mr. Hadley is missing his left leg from the knee down, and he's a gruff man with little to say but for when it needs saying. In comparison, his wife is a chatter-box.

The house is a small thing in the Lower East Side, three bedrooms and a kitchen, and a postage-stamp sized yard. Still, it's cozy and warm and it smells of lovely things because Mrs. Hadley enjoys working in the kitchen. They're tight with the cash, but not impossibly so — just frugal after so long living on the edge. Isabelle has one of those rooms to herself, to decorate as she likes ("Just don't put too many holes in the wall, dear") and with a door that closes.

The front door bangs open and Isabelle storms in. She has a fierce expression on her face. Cold grey eyes are narrowed and her ponytail swings back and forth as she begins to walk towards her room. "Hi." Is all she says in greeting to the two older people.

Mr. Hadley looks up from the news and arches a brow. He simply grunts a greeting and lets her be — girls are a mystery at the best of times, and angry girls most of all. Mrs. Hadley, on the other hand, peeks out through the little archway-window that splits kitchen from living room and calls out, "Isabelle! Come taste this for me, won't you?" If she realizes the young woman is upset, there's not a sign of it.

The young girl stops and it takes her a second to whirl around where she steps into the kitchen. Nothing is said, she just looks at the older woman with a raised eyebrow. Izzy's eyes are red now if someone is looking and notices it. Maybe from crying. "What'd you make?" she asks in a low voice.

It's an apron for Mrs. Hadley for now, scattered all over with cinnamon and sugar and flour. "Well," she informs with a wry smile, "It's supposed to be cookie dough." The bowl is brought over and set on a bit of counter where the teenager can see inside. "But I'm not sure if I got the ratios just right, so you might have to help me test it." The older woman leans over a little to add, sotto voce, "Don't tell Mr. Hadley, he'll get jealous and want to come help." Maybe she hasn't noticed the tears? Her regard is steady and lacking in the nasty pity that so often makes things worse.

"I won't tell." Isabelle promises and goes to taste from the bowl. After a moment she grins softly and nods her head. "That's really good." She says and looks up at Mama Estrid.

Then her expression takes on a more serious tone. "They made fun of me again today." She says softly and goes to sit down on a chair in the kitchen.

The bowl is brought over to set on the table between them, along with a pair of spoons. Mrs. Hadley settles on a chair nearby and asks quietly, "What did you do about it, dear?" It has all the tone of a fact-finding mission, no judgements made ahead of time about the handling of the situation.

"I broke her nose." She says matter of factly and takes another bite of the cookie dough. "Is it bad to not want people to bother you? So you do what would make them leave you alone?" Isabelle tilts her head at Mrs. Hadley.

Both of the older woman's brows rise at that one. "Broke her nose." Mrs. Hadley slants a glance out to her husband, then looks back to Isabelle with a wry grimace. "That's a little violent for someone making fun, sweetheart. But school was a long time ago for Mr. Hadley and I, I admit." She eats absently herself, more attention on the conversation and the girl than the sweet. "It isn't bad," she says after a long moment. "To want people to leave you alone sometimes. Everybody wants that once in a while." She brings her hand up then, pressing it lightly to her own heart. "But you need to understand that you change the world around you, every time you make a decision. Do you want a world where people do whatever they need to do? Or do you want a world where people find ways to get what they want that aren't so violent as a broken nose?"

The teen ponders the question and shrugs. "I don't know yet." She admits and takes another spoonful. Mrs. Hadley has a way of making Isabelle think about things before she does them or at least reflect on her actions.

"If everyone was violent then.. things wouldn't be that great in the world." She speaks and looks up at Hadley. "Have you ever found out anything special about yourself.. but you knew you couldn't tell other people?"

It's an unfortunate truth that Mrs. Hadley doesn't know yet. About her own ability, about anyone else's. Such things don't exist. So she gives the only answer she can: "Everyone has secrets, dear." She leans over to press a hand lightly to Isabelle's arm, faint pressure for reassurance. "Private things, and there's nothing wrong with that. If you trust someone enough to share yours, that's a gift worth more than any amount of money in the world. If someone trusts you enough to share theirs, treasure them. But don't give them away willy-nilly, hmm?"

This could be said to be the moment where Isabelle really learned the value of keeping a secret. Izzy nods her and grins at the older woman. "So it's ok to have a secret that nobody knows." The recent discovery of her ability has proven to be her biggest secret yet, though how could she know that years later she would be the keeper of many, many other secrets? "Thanks Mama Estrid." She says and smiles warmly.

And all because an old woman remembers what it is to be sixteen, at least a little: how having her private thoughts was often one of the only comforts to be found in the middle of all a normal teenager's upheavals. So Mrs. Hadley gives her hand a firm squeeze again and straightens up. "Now don't you go telling Mr. Hadley that I keep secrets from him," she warns with a low laugh, conspiratorial. "He'll have to insist I speak up, and then start going on about how many he has, and we don't want to hurt his feelings by knowing he keeps his favorite whiskey tucked away behind that fish he caught when he was twenty."

"Don't worry Mama Estrid. I wouldn't dream of it." She says with a chuckle. Maybe telling Isabelle about the whiskey wasn't the best idea.. she raises an eyebrow and looks into the living room with a grin. That's trouble for another day. The young teen sits in silence for a moment and then decides to ask one more question. "Do you think if my parents were alive.. that they would want me?"

"Yes." And that's all Mrs. Hadley says in answer. She doesn't try to justify it, or sugarcoat, or ring it 'round with declarations about why. She simply answers with every bit of faith in her small but plump little form.

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