Little Wonders


harmony_icon.gif jaredh_icon.gif

Scene Title Little Wonders
Synopsis Wherein Harmony gives Elisabeth's father far more insight into his daughter than he's ever had… and perhaps breaks him a little in the process.
Date November 23, 2011

Cabin in the Adirondacks

Jared Harrison has been a quiet, watchful presence since his arrival yesterday afternoon. This morning, however, by the time people are up and moving, he is in the kitchen of the cabin doing something his daughter was quite prone to doing — cooking for a horde. The oven is set to warm and there are apparently things in it, a large skillet is crackling with the sound of the bacon that fills their with its fragrance, and there are small bowls of vegetables sitting on the countertop waiting for people to toss into omelettes or scrambled eggs.

He looks like he belongs here in this rustic place. Six feet tall, wearing rugged jeans and hiking boots, a long-sleeved shirt with its sleeves rolled up, a dish towel hanging over his shoulder, his greying hair slightly disheveled. When he hears footsteps, he glances over to see who’ll be the first to appear, his blue eyes the exact piercing shade as Elisabeth’s. “Good morning,” he greets quietly.

Harmony makes it a point to often be up before the twins, as much as possible. Some days she gets lucky, other days not so much. But everyone has been exhausted and wiped out given the events that have transpired. After Harm's initial freak out and then followed by her talking to Richard about it, she tucked him in with the babies. She did the same the night Liz’s father arrived. Her mom duties are made just a little easier as the kids have been put directly in Cardinal's path to focus on and for those kids he'd do anything.

This morning, mom gets her reprieve, and with bare feet and a bit of bed head, the blonde ventures out into the kitchen, rubbing the remaining sleep from her eyes against her palms. Her eyes may be a bit puffy, because crying is reserved for night time until she falls asleep. With a half-awake smile, she stumbles her way to the table to plop down in a seat. "Morning." she offers.

Jared gestures toward the far side of the counter. “Coffee’s hot,” he offers. He picks up his own mug, taking a long swallow while he turns bacon. “Did you get any sleep? I heard the babies up a couple of times.” Getting here to find Cardinal, a blonde woman not his daughter, and two infants was … something of a shock and a half, but he hasn’t said anything about the situation.

Oh god, he says the magic word. Coffee in the morning is an absolute must. If she had to be addicted to something, thankfully caffeine is very common and not much of an addiction. Her blonde brows raise with excitement, shuffling up out of her seat to go serve herself some coffee. In the midst of her pouring, Harmony pauses as if frozen, her gaze is distant, watching a memory play back through her head. Used to be a ritual with Liz when she would let Harm sleep a little bit longer when she popped over in the morning. It's bittersweet, but more on the bitter side, as wounds are still new from the loss.

"It's really strange, honestly." Harmony sighs, carrying her mug of mana over to her seat, "I actually feel like the twins’ grandfather showed up for the first time. Which is probably in part due to my father having been gone for years now, and well… I can't shake this association I developed. The kids had a second mother, in all honesty."

Apparently Harmony just rendered Jared Harrison speechless and immobile. The man stands there looking pole-axed. “I… I’m sorry, what?” He’s been pretty out of the loop of his daughter’s day-to-day life for months now, by necessity.

He’s pulled out of his momentary shock by a particularly loud pop of bacon grease and turns his attention to pulling the strips out of the pan and putting them on a paper-towel-covered plate. Then he turns back to the young woman whose remarkable (apparently to him, at least) statement still has him looking curious and a little confused.

Glancing toward the bedroom where the twins and Richard Cardinal currently sleep, he purses his lips slightly. And then blue eyes fall back on Harmony. “My daughter’s always been a bit private about her dating life — he’s really the only one of her boyfriends I ever met. And that was after she asked me to have a headstone placed for him next to my wife.” Which, to him, means something far more significant than dating. And then the guy turned out to be alive. His daughter’s life is an episode of the Twilight Zone. “You’ve all rather thrown me with this situation. How well did you know Liz?” he asks her quietly.

The situation is complicated in a way. And it has been quite some time since Harmony has had to explain it. It's been such a non-issue thing since the original issue, that she's forgotten how unconventional it all is. "Uh—" Harmony winces, tilting her head and scratching her fingers through the back of her hair, "Not awake till I have coffee, obviously…" she grumbles a little bit, taking a sip of the 'awake-juice'.

"Ok, so— Before I really even knew about Richard and Liz's relationship, and honestly I think before Richard realized its degree himself. Richard and I had the pleasure of being stuck together during the crisis around Christmas time last year. We thought we were gonna die, sought comfort with each other, and well… Seems he hit the mark, I'm pregnant with the twins. At first, when we told Liz, it was really awkward and things were rather rough, but her relationship to Richard, and my continued friendship to him brought us all really close together. There's nothing romantic between Richard and I since that night, it was just impulse. But Liz and Richard was the real deal."

Harmony stares somewhat into the dark liquid sitting in her mug, shaking the cup to stir it some, "Liz and I formed a sisterhood, she looked after me throughout the pregnancy, and once the twins were born, she grew instantly fond of them, and they did her as well. We got so close that… I considered Liz to be their second mother. I even made Lili's middle name Elisabeth." the blonde sighs, her emotion almost leaping out of her throat, "I… never got to tell her; that I intended to raise the kids to call her mommy as well. I was gonna tell her when she got back."

Refilling his coffee as she begins to talk, the man who was Liz’s father watches her carefully. He can’t help it — a career lawyer, he’s always looking for the evasion. But he sees none of that in Harmony’s expression, and he nods thoughtfully when she talks about how she wound up with Richard Cardinal’s children. Jared’s face shows no particular judgement on the situation, he’s simply taking in the facts.

When Harmony talks about being looked after during her pregnancy, it brings a faint smile to the man’s face. Perhaps a hint of pride. And then she gives him the last bits of explanation and the tall man has to set his coffee down. He turns his back to Harmony and looks out the kitchen window, clearly struggling to keep emotional reactions to himself. Clearing his throat, he says roughly, “Do you think she would have liked that?” He’s never talked to Liz about whether she would marry or have kids — a REALLY bad experience, he knew, had colored her views on such things. “She never seemed to think about that for her own future. Not that she ever said to me, anyway.”

"Ohh," Harmony smiled wistfully, shaking her head slightly, "If you could have seen her with the twins… You'd think she'd have had them herself." And Harm considers that for just a moment, "Well she kinda did. Deliver them, I mean. Liz was a rock; my rock. Because I had my doubts about being a mother. I think if Ricky and Lili grew up calling her mom, it'd have made her cry… again." Pushing her tongue against her cheek, Harmony lowers her head so that she can pinch and rub her forehead, just about her nose's bridge.

"Our last conversation, I had inspired her to hope for her own children with Richard. 'Ricky and Lili are kinda it for me unless I get married, so it's probably up to you to give them a brother or sister, since I doubt anyone will marry me,' I told her. And I'm sure she took my words to heart. When it was all over, she was gonna do it." With a sigh, lifting her head, Harmony looks over at the man, "She left musical recording for them, on my request, because her singing always calmed them."

There’s this expression on Jared’s face that is part amusement at the thought of what Harmony describes as how good his daughter was with the babies and part sadness — there is so much about the woman who was his daughter that he … clearly had no idea about. His jaw clenches at the thought of so much lost. Pulling in a slow breath, he turns to look at her. He can’t hide the grief and sheen of wet in his eyes from her, but he keeps his voice steady.

“Perhaps sometime you’d let me listen to that. I haven’t heard her sing in a long time,” Jared tells her. “Let’s get you some breakfast before they wake, hmm?” He can’t process all of this at once. His hands shake just a bit as he moves to do exactly what Liz always does when she’s overwhelmed — back to the food! Feed them all!

Harm is wrapped up in nostalgic memories. The pleasant thoughts keep her from turning into a crying mess, because Harmony has to be strong for not only the kids, but Richard as well. She has to be super-mom, and has no time to grieve until later. Seeing Jared's face though, Harmony can see the grief in his eyes, and empathizes with how much he's lost. "Sure… Uh, that's not— not a problem." the blonde is thinking behind her blue eyes, nodding in response to breakfast, partially.

"Hey listen," Harmony rises, "I dunno how weird this might sound to you, or even if I should really even entertain the idea." casually folding her arms, in slight sheepish body-language, "Like I said, the twins don't have an actual grandfather. And I don't think a child should grow up without at least knowing a grandparent. I still intend to tell the twins that the woman on the recordings is their other mother. Their fairy-godmother actually." Harmony sorta chuckles, "If you want to maybe be a part of their lives, and get to know them, and keep Liz's memory alive for them, they could use a grandpa figure to spoil them when mom is being mom." Harm smiles.

Talk about nailing a man where it hurts. He has to stop moving, stop touching anything when she asks that. Jared Harrison practically stops breathing. For a long moment, it seems as if he might not answer her. A great many things flash through his expression, and Jared sets down the dish towel slowly, turning to look at her.

“You, your children, Richard… you all clearly meant the world to my daughter, Harmony. I’m… I wasn’t exactly prepared for all of this. Give me a little time to … process, okay? But I will promise you that whatever you or they need? All you ever have to do is ask.” He swallows hard. “I’m sorry… I need to step out for a few minutes.”

Moving quickly, he grabs the jacket on the hook near the back door and leaves the cabin without giving her time to respond. He moves on swift feet into the trees toward the lake, putting as much distance as possible between himself and the cabin.

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