String Theory The Musical


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Scene Title String Theory, The Musical
Synopsis It was bound to happen. Disney has nothing on Harmony Roberts and her band of Cardinal-Spawn.
Date December 8, 2019

Richard & Liz's Apartment, Raytech Corporate Housing

With Harmony finally finished with finals schedules, it's a relaxed Sunday! As relaxed as it gets when one has three children of the same age on the loose and they're all Cardinal-spawn. Things get a little wild sometimes around this place. As they sit at the table with mugs of coffee allowing the Spawn to make a lotta noise and at least attempt to figure out the Christmas tree decorations on their own, Elisabeth watches the three thoughtfully. It's been a rough year. "She doesn't believe that he's going to make it back for Christmas."

Liz has already filled Harmony in on the fact that Richard is heading for Antarctica on one of THOSE kinds of fact-finding runs without either one of them — not that Harm does this kinda shit. She's annoyed about it, despite the fact that she herself is recovering from a concussion and her sprained wrist is still splinted.

“He’ll make it,” Harmony comments, rubbing the side of her mug with just a smidge of heat to heighten it to a desired temp. “He’d better make it.” with an all to famous roll of her blue eyes, signifying that her attitude might have some sway over the way of the cosmos. Secret fact— it doesn’t. But you can’t tell her that.

With a thoughtful look at the kids, Harmony gets a little lost in the moment of winter bliss. No school, no big class events, just home quiet — as quiet as moms can get — downtime. “It feels so good to just not worry about— ” for a second, she starts to say something, but then cuts it short with purse of her lips. “Mm. Not gonna jinx it. Just gonna enjoy the moment.” she grins, “So how have they been for the most part these past few weeks? All four kids.” Giving Liz a knowing look, that she’s talking about Richard as well.

Waffling her hand back and forth, Elisabeth admits, "The twins are doing great. I've loved having them." She grins. "Perks of being mostly at a desk job are that I get to be in and out all day. Richard's stressing." She shrugs a little. "The trip has us both on edge, honestly." A glance is slanted toward Aurora. The words are kept between the two mothers as she admits, "Aura's reacting to it. This Christmas is a little rough." Last Christmas was shit on a stick, so… it's an improvement, right? "She hasn't said anything to either of us yet, but I'm going to get Felix to stop by and see her. Maybe she'll talk to him."

Listening, Harmony chews on her bottom, squinting at Aurora thoughtfully. “Perhaps they need a type of distraction.” her wheels are turning, and an image is forming in her brain, which makes her eyes widen once it comes to her, “Oh my god! Kids. Christmas. Pageant! Like, call all the parents, and someone write up a cute little script, make cute little outfits and let them perform! They’ll be so distracted as to not even THINK about not having a great Christmas. Annnnnd it’ll be incentive for Richard to hurry his ass back here as fast as he can.” Harm grins.

Oh God… she might have started a Thing. Elisabeth didn't mean to start a Thing! But it's Harmony! She should know better! "I'll send out a text, but I'm giving them your number as the contact person. Seriously. With Richard out of town, I don't have enough hands to manage that kind of stuff." She shows off her sprained wrist! (And she was never That Mom anyway.) "I do bet you could totally get Delilah on board, quick, fast, and in a hurry," she admits. Under the bus you go, Delilah. "If you need help in the building, I bet Seren could be roped in — they did a fantastic storytime over at the library for the kids." Seren too!

Yep! She started a thing! A rather glorious thing that throws Harmony into a small fit of excitement. But not too much as to trigger her shooting off lights, “Cool! I’ll take that bet. Tell them to get in contact with me ASAP.” Why does she do these things?! She has time to relax and she takes on another task! A glutton for punishment, but still, she grins, “Aurora, Lili, Ricky? How do you guys feel about putting on a show for Christmas? Maybe getting together with your friends and showing us what the Christmas spirit is all about?”

Well, the twins will grab any opportunity to be hams if they can. So they’re on board for this particular mission. You can see their little faces lighting up at the idea. Aurora's reaction is a little more measured, which is relatively unusual for her — she's usually more in between Lili and Ricky in enthusiasm for cool things, instead of being Lili's cautious self. "What kinda show, Mama Harm'ny? Izzit gonna have singin' and stuff?" She does look intrigued, slanting her mother a side-eye. That is a Richard look if Harmony has ever seen it.

Harmony sets her mug down, and leans over so she can get her arms out to collect Aurora, “Well honey, that all depends on what my co-director and inspiration thinks.” moving to set the girl in her lap. Harmony will do this thing till they’re 50. Cause she’s THAT mom. “You see, the goal here is to put on such a good show. So absolutely incredible that daddy would literally break his own neck to get back here to see it! And the person that will be the co-director will have an extremely important job. They get to put together a group to secretly try to get daddy to reveal what kinda Christmas story is his favorite and then they get to help me put the show on, AND they can also star in it and sing and dance. That is if my co-director wants that. Any guesses as to who that might be?” Harmony gives a grin and side glance to the twins, who obviously know mommy well enough to know what she’s doing.

Snuggling into the lap, Aurora seems perfectly happy to get drawn into such details. "We gotta group! And we're real good at secrets!" (They are so not good at this.) "An' we getta be junior Lighthouse, Joe said so!" (Oh God, when did that happen??) "Alia can put SPOTs in Daddy's office an' we can eabesdrop an' get Mummy to ask him 'bout Christmas!"

Elisabeth sets her mug on the table and stares. Blue eyes shift to the twins, with Ricky dancing up and down in glee nodding his head fit to lose it. "Wait, what? How'd I get dragged into this?"

The little girl pauses, though, and asks with a hint of concern, "He won't really break his neck, will he? Cuz Mummy says breaking things hurts. She hurt her hand. I don't want Daddy's neck to be broke."

“Ooh…” Harmony winces a little about the SPOT thing, “Well, at least Alia would take the blame for that one if he found out.” And Harmony pauses to think for a moment, which she then gets a spur of light frustration, “Oh come on, Richard! You haven’t learned to expect this kinda thing yet?” Not that Card is in the room, but Harmony bitching to the air about Richard isn’t really unlikely.

She shakes that moment off, and is back on the same plane of thought with everyone else. Grinning at Elizabeth, Harm wrinkles her nose, “Yeaaah, you got dragged into it when you gave birth to the cutest little secret agent in this building,” she snuggles Aurora, “And yes,” to the girl in her lap, “I mean he won’t really break his neck, not physically, it was just a figure of speech, an exaggeration. More like— daddy would rather break his neck, than miss the show you’re all gonna put on.”

“Can I help write it?” Lili asks, cause she likes those things. And she gets to deal with the adults.

“Of course honey! And put your brother to work on the manual stuff if you need to. You know how to keep him busy by now.” Harmony winks to her.

Elisabeth just rolls her eyes and chuckles while Aurora nods sagely at the explanation of neck-breaking. She's not much younger than Lili and Ricky, but sometimes she takes the strangest things literally. "I don't know if Delilah will have time before Christmas to manage fancy stuff, but you know.. I bet if you write something simple enough, we could even do something like have most everyone in their pajamas or something. Like dressed for a bedtime story and the show is the singing and dancing."

Okay, okay, the audiokinetic loves musicals. So sue her. "What kind of story do you want to tell, Lili?" Her arm flashes out to catch Ricky in the crook of her elbow just before he clambers up onto the back of the sofa to jump off it in exuberance. "Uh-uh, Spidey. No wall crawling." Swear to God, the kid is going to be a second-story man like his father. Forsrs.

“Well, I think we can do the bedtime stories thing with the pajamas.” Lili answers thoughtfully, “But I think it needs something.” She looks between Harm and Liz, like she is trying to figure something out. “What about you when you were little? What if it was a play about our parents when they were like us?! Our age, on Christmas!”

Harmony raises her brows at this suggestion, actually having to think about if she was a good child or not at that age. Afterwards she is just content to snuggle Aurora with her chin atop the child’s head, swaying back and forth. “Oh!” Ricky chimes in, giving Liz the equivalent of trying to hold a greased pig in squirming, “We can interview our parents! About how they were then! Right?” It sounds like they have a plan.

“That sounds like an excellent idea!” Harmony chimes, “I can get the band to play the music— Ohh yeeeeahh, that’s right…” Harmony waggles an ‘I-forgot’ finger at Liz, “Yeah, in a bit of a band. Well, I sing lead at a nightclub. Well it’s more complicated than that?” She makes a frustrated and cringy sorta face, “I really gotta talk to you about that. It involves some drama that’s actually non-drama, and relationships that aren’t relationships. Cause I’m kinda seeing someone but not? If that makes sense? It’s— complicated? We need to go shopping.”

"Hmmmmm," Elisabeth replies, holding her squirmy bundle of energy. "I definitely think you have a plan forming… but you know what I think might be fun? Get Grampa to dress up like Santa Claus and read the stories on stage." Whoops! There goes Jared Harrison under that bus too! "I don't know if your dad wants to talk too much about his christmases… when he was a kid, he didn't have very many good ones," she confides. "So maybe just stories and carols might be better, so nobody feels bad that their christmases weren't as good as someone else's, hmm?"

Aurora nods sagely and murmurs, "I 'member some good christmases… but they were forever ago. I wanna have lots of colored lights and stories, and no one being shooted."

Elisabeth tries not to wince at that one and then smiles. "No shooty things, kiddo." To Harmony, though, she quirks an eyebrow. "Oh reeeeaaaallllly?" Kinda dating but not, huh? Tell me everything, her expression demands.

“Ooh! Yeah! Let’s do Die Hard! That’s my favorite Christmas movie!” Ricky chimes in excitement bouncing. The movie itself is way older than the kid himself, but there are lots of parents around her who love that particular film too. “Yippee-ki-yay.” he says, doing his best Die Hard impression.

“Some people would argue that it isn’t a Christmas movie.” Lili adds to the conversation, providing the most Ms. Smarty-pants manner she can muster, “Those people are obviously wrong.” she folds her arms.

“Yeah, we are not doing Die Hard the musical. We don’t have the—” But Harmony does that thing to where her mouth says one thing, but her brain is thinking things through, and at the end of it, her thought contradicts what she is saying. It’s written all over her face. “Actually, that’s not a very bad idea. It could be entertaining, if that’s what you guys really wanna do. But no actual shooting. But you have to run it past the co-director tho.” she winks to Aurora.

From the looks of her face, what she is going to say to Elizabeth is pretty juicy and she isn’t sure where to start. “Alright. So to make a little extra money, I took up a job as the front singer of a band at a bar near school. The bartender the night that I tried out turned out to be the owner.” she takes out her phone and starts to search for something on it, “He’s hot of course. We got to talking, he’s really funny, and one thing lead to another and bam! I’m with the guy I’m working for… What is wrong with me?” she rolls her eyes. “But we’re not dating, right? Totally a FWB situation? But.” She enunciates that last ‘but’ firmly, “He’s catching feelings. I’m totally not, and now I feel weird. The other night, I think he said those three words during—” She pauses and looks at the kids for a moment. Trying to code it would be useless. Lili will question the authenticity until it comes out. Then she’ll have to explain with it is. “One of our conversations.” she decides, hoping Liz will get it. “Soooo… He’s my boss, he has this thing for me, and I’m over here like. Ha ha! Ha-ha-ha… I just wanna go home now.”

Looooord, they are Cardinal-spawn. Elisabeth would laugh herself to death remembering a Christmas she spent watching that movie with their father if she weren't so busy mentally facepalming at the fact that Die Hard the Musical is the epitome of shooty things, which she just promised wouldn't be happening. Not that Ricky has any reason to know why not.

"Maybe we could…" Jesus, she can't think of a good alternative now! "Can't we have Muppet Christmas or Pirate Christmas instead?" she asks with this baffled expression.

"This is why we don't have those conversations with our bosses, Harm," Liz scoffs in an aside. "Or the directors of movies either."

“Yippie Ki-Yay Merry Christmas! That’s what it’s called! I’m gonna see if someone can print a script of it out off of the internet for us!” Lili chirps, annnnd off she runs. Harmony is at a disadvantage, cause she’s holding Aurora, and Liz has the other half of the pair. Kids…

Harmony takes in a breath to call out a rebuttal, but gives up at its futility, just shaking her head. “I’m sure they’ll change their minds at least 7 times before coming up with anything solid. And of course, Jared will cave under anything they request of him for sure. So… It’ll be interesting to say the least!”

Ricky is celebrating in high energy fashion by waving his arms in the air.

“I know!” Harmony groans, “But I just thought he was the bartender! Like— ok! He totally played me on it! He was all like ‘oh yeah sure, I’ll talk to the owner for ya!’ being all sweet and slick. Watching me from behind the bar and feeding me special drinks that he only makes for certain people.” She snerks a little, “Nothing creepy, just VIP kinda stuff right? Then he lays it out later and gets all smooth with how he didn’t want me to feel intimidated or anything. So I told him hey Chach— that’s the name I gave him— I said look here. I’m a single mom, I’m in school and I don’t want something all complicated. I don’t wanna find a dad for my kids cause they have one, and what we got going on is perfect! Sooo… you’re cute, and single, and I’m single. So let’s throw shapes together and leave it at that!” Lili is gone, so she’s not worried about them catching on now.

“For a while? It was great, I mean really great! Like Liz… This guy.” Harmony mouths a big ‘oh my god’, “Best. Conversations. Ever. So yeah, if I wasn’t in total control of my emotions? I’d be all giddy. But again, I don’t want complexity. Annnd he made it complex. Or I did… By being so me or something. Would he make a good boyfriend or whatever? Maybe but— ehhhhhh.” She tenses her shoulders up uncomfortably, “Why mess up a good thing? I don’t get it.”

"Wait, there's really—" Elisabeth is cut off by the little girl running off to find the script and she looks at Harmony. "She's not joking, there's a script for this?? And it's…" she glances at Aurora in Harm's lap, who looks like she's not sure what just happened either. "Let's hope we can find something a little more… adventure than action," is what she settles on, giving Ricky a kiss on the head and a swat on the butt to send him on his way. "No climbing!" She gives him Mom-Eye.

Aurora squirms to get down too, racing after her sister, and the adults are finally able to be enclosed alone for a moment behind a field where the kids can't hear them even though their noise carries to the moms just fine. Harmony checks her phone curiously.

"Are you seriously not getting it?" Elisabeth asks. "Or do you just not want to get it?" She picks up her coffee to take a sip and observes, "There's a reason baby booms happen after a war, Harm. After seeing so much awful and living in the aftermath of it, most people just want to find someone they care about and find 'normal' again. Maybe this guy didn't think you were serious about no strings… which is totally on him, of course. But… do you really think no one's going to try? You're beautiful, ambitious, and you've got it together." She shrugs. "He'd be a fool not to at least try."

“Fraid she’s right actually.” Harmony replies while staring at her screen, “I was initially looking for a picture, but I switched gears to see if she was full of it— Which I should know by now that she never is— and she’s right. Filled with hysterical musical numbers, farcical fight sequences, explosions, machine guns, and more Christmas Snow than Los Angeles ever gets, there is a reason Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A DIE HARD Christmas Musical has quickly become a Chicago holiday tradition.” Harmony reads the screen, then turns it around to show Liz, “Kid knows her musicals.” A shrug.

There's a grin from Elisabeth at that… Cuz MUSICALS! "Bet that drives her dad nuts," she murmurs, laughing under her breath. The man used to be horrified at the thought of musicals. But she can see him bending to Lili or Aura when they want one… the imagery just makes her giggle more.

Harmony is in the whole ‘live your best life’ kinda thing, so if the kids wanna scamper off and do some kinda weird musical, she’s on-board with whatever it is. Not gonna hold back their dreams, in these kinda times. Which— “I know…” she whines, “I get it, I totally do. But— it’s like— I’m also mentally ill from all this crap! A relationship or just the thought of one gives me shell shock. Have I really turned into one of those girls? He’s a successful, HOT bar owner. From Scotland. Full accent. SO. HOT. And that’s what I’m afraid of! He’s bright and shiny and I don’t want just bright and shiny. Yanno? What if he turns out to be like every other bright and shiny dude so far? And yeah you’ll probably be like but what if he doesn’t? Yeah yeah I know.” Harmony puts her hands over her face and rubs at the anxiety.

"Look." Liz starts to say something following that and then snorts. "As if I'm the one to really talk to about this shit? Harm…" She pauses. "Bright and shiny isn't a crime," she finally retorts. "If you like the man — as in genuine like to be around not just fuck like bunnies — what have you got to lose?" Tipping her head, she studies the other woman.

"I am the last person to tell you that you need to find a guy and settle down." Elisabeth was the epitome of commitment-phobic once upon a time. "What I can tell you? Is that the only time I ever freaked out over 'what if' with a man?" Her shoulders rise and fall slowly. "I never saw it coming. Maybe you should just… take a deep breath and see where it takes you?"

From somewhere, Harmony produces a Kit-Kat of king size. Tearing open the package and breaking off a wafer to take a bite. Stress eating is a thing she’s kinda picked up. It’s not the best coping skill, but it’s not drugs or alcohol at least. “That’s the thing too, I’m really tempted. Kinda wanna find out if maybe sex isn’t the only thing we have? But then afraid of if it isn’t the only thing we have cause god… of all the emotions, love is by far the worst. I wanna smash out this degree, and be there for our kids, cause they’re what’s most important to me. But I also understand that self-care is necessary. So I gotta decide which is worse, fear or love.” Harmony shakes her head, “That’s a tough call…”

She takes in a deep breath to swell out her ribcage, “I was gonna talk to Richard about it after you, cause he really knows about this kind thing sometimes, cause he’s a guy. Maybe he can decipher this dude out.” And that somehow gives her an idea, “Oh hey! You should come sing! At the club sometime and you can totally meet him! We can duet!”

"Oh God, don't do that," Elisabeth objects instantly. "Unless the guy is blackmailing you or you need Richard to scare the fuck out of him, don't even think he'll be able to actually tell you guy stuff when it comes to relationships." She rolls her eyes expressively. "This is Richard we're discussing! Christ, are you nuts?" she laughs. Just the thought of dragging Richard into feelings-deciphering conversation should give any woman the heebie-jeebies. "Maybe ask Raquelle? You'd probably get better advice."

She's still laughing when Harmony suggests the duet. And Elisabeth looks wistful. "He keeps telling me I should just go do that." Playing with her mug, she confesses, "The first five years of Aura's life… I did what you're doing now. Club circuits, things like that. I had to avoid the spotlight there…" a small, wry smile. "But I did sort of get roped into singing with a pop star for a single that sort of made it huge." Eve wanted Liz's name on it, but no way in hell had she wanted that scrutiny.

“You’re right. You’re absolutely right. What was I thinking? I wasn’t that’s why; I wasn’t thinking. Richard would want him dead on knowledge of existence. Look at me!” she waves her hands with frustration, “I’m thinking of telling Richard cause I know he’ll hate the guy and give me a reason to back out. It’s totally self-sabotage. I talked about this in therapy. You’re probably right though, I should just see where it takes me. Or talk to Raquelle. I do need my hair done.” She munches down on another piece of candy, before offering one to Liz.

“Mmn! That’s why you should do this under a different name. It’s just a smaller bar, nothing big. Almost like open mike night. C’mon!” Harmony extends her foot out across the table to poke at Liz with her toe, “You deserve this kinda thing, yanno? You were just talking about all the bad crap we constantly go through, and like I said, self-care is super important these days.” She looks at her coffee, and a second later she plunks a chocolate candy wafer into it.

Taking the piece of candy to nibble on thoughtfully, Elisabeth pulls in a slow breath. "Tell you what… if we can get through the holidays without Richard getting his ass killed, I'll go with you after the New Year, okay?" She glances toward the room where the three children are now squabbling and laughing over some video of something or another on the screen and smiles.

"Anything that keeps Aurora occupied and in good spirits is going to be a good thing. So I definitely think you should do your pageant with them. I might take a day while you're on break to make a run to Rochester for some Christmas things that are easier to get up there. Haven't quite decided if I want make the run yet, though." She grins at Harmony. "Aurora needs some winter gear badly — she's actually grown a bit!" The petite little girl is still about two sizes smaller than Lili, able to wear her sister's hand-me-downs despite only 9 months between them. "Maybe she'll actually catch up at some point." Although to be fair, she could just be a little thing always.

“Perfect!” Harmony celebrates, “And you know, we’re really messed up at this point. When we so easily talk about Richard avoiding being killed so passingly. Like it happens so frequently… Because it does! God!” Harmony shakes her head, “The life we lead. Yanno?”

Harm has been absolutely all about her kids since they were taking their first breaths. And Aurora came along only making her circle of mother henliness that much bigger. “She’s growing quick. We barely notice sometimes, and then one day they’re like too big for their shoes! I brought a few things back with me already, but I wanna get some other stuff, so if you wanna make a run, maybe get a few together, I’ll go with you.”

Elisabeth turns her eyes on Harmony, the smile as she was watching the kids play slipping. "It's not passingly… but if I let myself think about where he's going, I'm going to lose my shit," she admits softly. "I watched him die there. The fact that he's going back has me waking up in cold sweats at night. Over the years… I finally stopped having the nightmare of the shadow-nuke mushroom cloud. There were… other horrors that took over. Now I'm having it again." She pauses and nods slightly. "I promise you, I'm anything but casual about this." She's just keeping her freakout very locked down, for the sake of the kids.

"If you want to make the run up there with me, I'll ask mom and dad to keep an eye on the monsters, though." The bodyguards will stay close too.

“Oh honey…” Harmony reaches over to place a comforting hand on top of Liz’s. “I didn’t mean anything by it, and I certainly don’t wanna minimize what you’re going through with this. I’m really just sad that we all live like this, on the edge all the time. Afraid to take a breath, or have a moment to relax. This… paranoia and strife that we put up with every day! The anxiety of things that would break a normal person? And then we gotta put our kids through it? Part of me wants it to stop yanno? And then there is part of me that wouldn’t know how to live without it. And then there’s what you’re going through right now. This trauma and PSTD? God Liz… I’m so so sad you have to live with that every day. I don’t wanna talk about how strong you are for enduring it or holding it together, I’m just going to feel sadness that you have to go through this. No one should. Ever.” If it weren’t enough that she is poking at feels, Harmony even sheds a tear.

"You know… most of the time? It's not nearly as bad as it could be." Elisabeth's lips quirk faintly. "Five years of therapy before the two years of hell helps a lot, I think. Most of the time, day to day, the only thing that really hits me is the occasional sense of unreality. Like sort of standing outside myself looking in and marveling that I'm living the mundane life I see." She shrugs a bit. "It happened when we landed in the place Aura was born too — it took almost two years to really feel like the ground was solid. And in some ways, it's almost better for me to know something is actually out there that needs watching for; at least I'm not worrying for nothing, right? Because I'm not sure I'd ever believe the idea there isn'tsomething out there and well… paranoia isn't really paranoia when something is real, is it?" She's not sure Harmony gets that. But she squeezes her co-parent's hand tightly.

"At the end of the day, most days, I curl up in the bed and breathe a sigh of relief that nothing went to hell that day. It's slowly, finally, starting to feel like we're really home." Now she does smile. "Waking up in the morning with happy kids bouncing around and Richard's hair standing on end makes me stupid happy." She reaches out and wipes the tears. "Don't cry," she murmurs. "I'm okay, Harm. Really. And we're home and all together."

“Well… yeah paranoia isn’t the right word. It’s mostly just… anxiety? Fear of the unknown, or of what could happen maybe. ‘One fear to rule them all, one fear to find them, one fear to bring them all and in the black box bind them.’ As a twist on Tolkien’s text. But mostly an individual’s propensity to experience fear caused by the perceived absence of information at any level of consciousness or point of processing; relatedly, intolerance of uncertainty; an individual’s dispositional incapacity to endure the aversive response triggered by the perceived absence of salient, key, or sufficient information, and sustained by the associated perception of uncertainty.” Harmony roll-bounces her eyes back and forth while going on her dribble. “…Or so to say. Sorry. Recalling up past reports and essay responses is a coping mechanism these days.” Harmony sighs, “Regardless, Liz you’re really amazing for getting through all of that. And more, really.”

“OMG! You haven’t seen our bedtime sleepover routine video I forgot! I meant to show this to you, you’re gonna die!” Harmony immediately starts scrolling through her phone to find the video. She shows Liz video of Harm with the three kids getting ready for bedtime movie. While Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ is blasting through the apartment, Harm is going through dancing with the kids doing various things while they lip-sync to the song: scrubbing bubbles in the bath-tub, putting on PJs, brushing their teeth in the mirror, and jumping on the furniture(Harmony included). It looks like a viral kinda video you could see on You-Tube. The kids even have dance choreography from the looks of it. It’s generally hilarious.

Harmony gets the side-eye for the reeling off of fear caused by the perceived absence of information. "You do know it's not a perceived absence of salient information when you actually literally know nothing, right?" Elisabeth teases drily. But she's laughing at the irrepressible nature of Harmony.

"Oh my god," she splutters, looking at the video. "No wonder Ricky climbs the walls at bedtime, Harm!" Elisabeth's amusement is clear, even as she gives Exasperated Mom face to the other woman. "It took me a week to convince them that roughhousing right before bed wasn't happening! But as long as the books had high adventure and I did the voices, they weren't too upset," she chuckles.

“OhmygodIknow, that’s why I got a C- on that paper.” Harmony facepalms, “I’m a physics major, not psych, but it’s required class for graduation blah blah blah.” She snorts distastefully, “I don’t even wanna think about school on vacation, and yeah I know it was totally me that brought it up. But this is me verbally REMINDING myself out loud, that we’re not gonna do that. Just like I’ve made a resolution: stop giving unsolicited advice! It’s totally trouble.”

Though she looks sheepish at the scolding, quite guilty because let’s face it. There is video evidence, “Yeaaaah, I kinda got carried away. Lost in the moment, and hey! They sat down after and passed right out 5 minutes into the movie! So I got results!” Harm laughs.

Elisabeth's laughter is easy, and she seems genuinely happy to see Aurora making faces and mugging for the camera with the twins. Her fingers touch the screen lightly and she nods. "You totally did," she agrees. Most days, the little girl seems to have seamlessly integrated and settled in. It makes Liz truly feel secure, to see how the little girl acts when she's not looking.

"All right, lady. Pageantry aside, I have got to figure out what the heck else to do for Christmas with this lot. It's her first Christmas home." Elisabeth is determined to make it memorable. "Richard got a tree up and we managed a ton of colored lights. I promised her …" her throat closes for a moment before she can finish the thought. "… that we'd do Christmas carols around the building. She remembers Felix taking her to someplace for caroling that last Christmas and asked if we could do it here." And by God, they will — and they'll even get a Russian to come 'round for it.

“Oh that’s easy! Baking cookies, making egg nog, carols is a sure definante. Ummmm…” Harmony rolls her eyes back thinking, like she’s trying to read her own brain. “Depending on the weather, snow angels, they’ll wanna go shopping for their friends, so taking them to do that maybe. Oh! And of course wrapping gifts! Leaving cookies for Santa, snowball fights… Oh!” and she grins, “~Do you want to build a snowman? Come on, let's go and play! I never see you anymore, Come out the door, It's like you've gone away!~” she sings.

Elisabeth looks at Harmony blankly and asks, "What's that from?" There was NO ELSA in Bright!!??? The pop culture reference for that one is completely lost on Liz. It makes Aurora look at Mama Harm'ny with interest. Although, that could be because she loves the color of Mama Harmony's voice, a rich, icy glacier blue when she sings (ironically enough).

“What?!” Harmony looks at Liz like she just shot the dog. “Ohhhh noooo, you missed out on that little gem? Kids! Kids! There’s a Frozen virgin in our midst! We need some Elsa in here! Stat!”

"~The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, Not a footprint to be seen, A kingdom of isolation And it looks like I'm the queen~" Harmony starts in with all of the drama of Elsa in Frozen, the kids come running in laughing, because they know what time it is. Harmony reaches to pick up the lightest one, because they're getting so big— which is Aurora— and spin her around while she sings, "~The wind is howling like this swirling storm insiiiiiide, Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I've triiiiiied, Don't let them in! don't let them see! Be the good girl you always have to be, Conceal, don't feel, don't let them knowwwwww, Well, now they knowWWWWWWWWW!~" She holds Aurora up out into the air at Liz, letting the kids take the chorus.

~Let it go! let it go! Can't hold it back anymorrrrre! Let it go, let it go! Turn away and slam the door! I don't care what they're going to say! Let the storm rage on! The cold never bothered me anyway!~ Ricky launch into their dramatic display of the chorus in their best kid singing voices which aren’t the best but it’s not cringeworthy.

"I have never," Elisabeth admits. And then the world breaks into music and dancing. Elisabeth takes the swooping Aurora and props her on her lap, laughing at Harmony. Down to Aura, she murmurs, "I think Mama Harmony lives in a Disney movie; she keeps breaking out in song over here." Of course, the woman is a consummate performer! The little girl stifles giggles, but she's absolutely involved in the song and dance that Mama Harmony and her brother and sister are putting on now. The song is definitely catchy. If Liz knew the song, she'd be able to fill in some of the musical strains to give them background accompaniment, but that will have to wait until she learns the movie!

The show is filled with so many dramatic moments and throws, and as the buildup approaches, Lili and Ricky kinda fall off to stand back and watch because they know what’s gonna happen. "~My power flurries through the air into the grooooound!~" Harm starts spinning her hands around each other, generating light in weird shapes and flinging them into the air to dance about like falling snow before fading away harmlessly. "~My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all aroooooound! And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast I'm never going back, the past is in the paaaaaaaaaast!~" The last verse is finished with a bright splash of light from her feet to the ceiling like an icy upwards waterfall made of lights, shattering into light fragments and vanishing.

Ricky and Lili rejoin in the key change and last chorus again, "~Let it go! Let it go, let it go

"And I'll rise like the break of dawn! Let it go, let it go! That perfect girl is goooooone! Here I stand in the light of daa-aaaay! Let the storm rage onnnnnnnnnnnnnn! The cold never bothered me anyway!~" Complete with a final dramatized exit on the final verse.

Absolutely flabbergasted. Those are the only words that might describe Elisabeth's fascination with this performance.

Aurora is positively gleeful, clapping enthusiastically and loving every second of it. She is practically wiggling out of her skin. "That was primal, Mama Harm'ny!! We gotta do like that for Christmas! Can we make fake snow an' everything?!"

Disney princesses for the win … even when you haven't seen the movie. Once the dramatic exit is made, Elisabeth releases the Kraken otherwise known as a squealing Aurora, and applauds the group. "That was great!" So theatrical and energetic! Oh God, what has she thrown her father and Delilah and Seren under the bus to experience??

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