kay_brooke: Two purple flowers against a green background (spring)
kay_brooke ([personal profile] kay_brooke) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2017-04-03 09:24 pm

Argent #21, Rain Cloud #4

Name: [personal profile] kay_brooke
Story: Unusual Florida
Colors: Argent #21 (facets of truth), Rain Cloud #4 (got bitten)
Styles/Supplies: Frame, Seed Beads
Word Count: 1,663
Rating/Warnings: PG-13; no standard warnings apply.
Summary: Oliver meets his grandson
Note: Constructive criticism is welcome, either through comments or PM.

The boy standing outside his door was late teens, maybe early twenties. Brown-skinned and blue-eyed, dark hair cropped close to his head, dressed in jeans and a blue button-down shirt like he had attempted to dress up but had only gotten halfway. Oliver didn't mind that. The last time he'd dressed up fancy had been to attend his daughter's college graduation, and in the end she hadn't even gone, so he didn't.

There was a girl with the boy, about the same age, even darker skin, loosened black curls springing from her head and down her back. She had on a green blouse and a long pale skirt that nearly brushed the ground. Incongruous with her age. Oliver thought all young women believed the skimpier, the better.

"Hello," said the boy as Oliver opened the door.

"I'm not interested," said Oliver. He'd had people like this by before, yes. Students fundraising for something, church people asking for donations, sometimes straight up beggars and con artists. Usually they were white, because this was Montana and that was just how it worked out. But Oliver saw nothing particularly strange about this particular situation.

"Please, sir, are you Oliver Williamson?" the boy asked. Pleaded, almost.

"I told you I don't want to buy anything," said Oliver. He made to close the door.

"I'm not selling anything!" the boy insisted.

"What is it, then?" Oliver demanded. "Some kind of petition? Still not interested."

"My name's Terrence Long," the boy called desperately as the door swung toward his face. "I'm your grandson!"
The word struck Oliver deep in his heart, leaving it aching and ringing with a sense of loss so profound he had stopped realizing it was even there. He hated the boy a little bit for reminding him. "I'm sorry, but I don't have a grandson. I don't have any family."

"My mom is Samantha Williamson," the boy said in a rush, taking advantage of Oliver's brief, struck pause. "Her dad is Oliver Williamson. Is that you?"

Oliver looked at the boy, and he wasn't sure if he was really seeing it or if wishful thinking was tricking his brain, but he thought he did see something of his Sam in him. The eyes were the right color, a Georgia noon sky in the middle of winter. Maybe the shape of the boy's nose, or even the way his eyebrows had drawn apart in nervousness.

You're imagining things.

"I haven't spoken to my daughter in more than twenty years," he said gruffly. "She made her choice clear and I aim to respect that."

"I don't mean to bother you, sir," said the boy, "and I don't know what happened between you two, but I'm not my mother." He had a flat Midwestern accent, and Oliver wondered where he'd grown up. Last he knew Sam had moved to New York. Had she stayed there or gone back deeper into the country? He shook his head to clear it of his musings. She didn't want him to know, and it wasn't this boy's place to tell him, no matter who he was.

But curiosity and loneliness and a faint stirring of hope made him open the door wider. "Well, you'd better come in, then." He looked at the girl, who so far hadn't said a word. "Who are you? My granddaughter?"

"No, sir," she said. "My name's Melissa. I'm Terrence's friend."

"Girlfriend?" No judgment there; she was pretty.

Both of them looked horrified. "No!" Terrence said. "Just a friend."

"I'm here for moral support," said Melissa. The jut of her chin dared him to make an issue out of it.

"Then you should come in, too," Oliver said, gesturing them through the door. He might have been embarrassed by the mess, only he didn't own enough things to make much of a mess in his small, rented house. Just his bowl and coffee mug from breakfast, sitting innocently and lonely at one end of the Formica table set against the wall in the small kitchen. Truth was, there wasn't much to distinguish this house from a particularly small apartment.The living room and kitchen pressed against each other with no barrier other than a tiny jut of counter space. Two doors in the back wall, one leading to a small bedroom and the other to a closet that was only considered a bathroom because it contained a toilet and a shower stall. Not even a sink. He had to use the kitchen one if he wanted a sink. He supposed he could have afforded better, but what would he do with more room and multiple sinks? It wasn't like he lived with anyone. It wasn't even like he ever had anyone over.

He did have a couch, though, a battered gray thing that might have been blue in another life, and he gestured for his young visitors to sit. They did so, right next to each other, and he saw the girl grasp the boy's hand.

Not his girlfriend? he thought as he pulled his one kitchen table chair out into the living room. But what did he know? Kids these days were strange.

"So," he said, sitting down and leaning forward, hands on his knees. "You're...Terrence?"

"Yes," said the boy. He glanced at Melissa. "Terrence Long. I've got two younger brothers, Matt and Ben."

Now he suddenly had three grandchildren. Oliver felt a little dizzy with it all. "Did they come with you?"

"No," said Terrence, shaking his head. "They don't know I'm here. No one knows I'm here."

"So you just left your mother, didn't even tell her where you were going?" He felt a little indignant on Sam's behalf.

Terrence looked a little stricken, and Melissa answered for him. "It's Spring Break, Mr. Williamson," she said. "We're juniors at Michigan State. Terrence's mom just thinks he decided to stay on campus this week."

"So you lied to her," said Oliver.

"Maybe a little," Terrence admitted.

Oliver shook his head. Who was he to pass judgment on this boy? He'd run away from everyone he'd ever known, run until he found a place where he was a complete stranger, and he made sure it stayed that way even as he worked and paid taxes and ran the rent check for this place down to Mr. Bolinger every month.

And even with all that, his past life had caught up with him.

"Michigan State," he said. "That where Sam ended up?"

"No, sir," said Terrence. "I was born and raised just outside Atlanta. I just went to Michigan for school."

"Cut out that 'sir' crap," said Oliver. "No one's ever called me sir who wasn't being condescending."

Terrence's cheeks flushed. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to come across as condescending."

"I know that."

Terrence glanced at Melissa again. "What should I call you?"

That was a good question. He was nowhere near comfortable with Grandpa or any variation thereupon, especially not from this boy he'd known for five minutes. So he said, "Oliver's fine. That's what most people call me."

"Okay," said Terrence, but he didn't look very comfortable, either. He looked around the small living area. "Could I ask a question?"

"I assume that's why you tracked me down," said Oliver.

"Is my gran--does your wife live here?"

It had been so long it took Oliver a moment to even register what the question meant. But of course Terrence wouldn't know. Sam wouldn't even know, not if she'd really completely cut herself off from them. "Amanda and I divorced way back. Not long after your mother graduated from college. I don't know where she is now."

"Oh," said Terrence. "I'm sorry." He looked down at the floor for a second. "The reason I ask is that because I couldn't find her. Well, we couldn't find her." He indicated Melissa. "She's been helping me search. We found you, though, and I guess I just hoped she'd still be with you."
"Maybe she remarried," said Oliver, ignoring the hurt that rose in him at the thought. "Maybe she changed her name." Or maybe she was dead, but he didn't even let that thought be born before he strangled it. "How did you find me, by the way?" He'd moved all the way out to Montana to get away from people trying to find them.

"You can find pretty much anything on the internet," said Melissa, sounding a little smug.

"I don't use the internet," he said.

"You don't have to," she said. "But you still leave a paper trail, everywhere you work, every time you rent a place, every time you take out a loan."

Oliver narrowed his eyes at her. "I hope you two didn't break any laws tracking me down," he said.

"Nope," said Melissa, but Oliver noticed Terrence didn't look sure. Whether because Melissa was lying or because she had been the real brains behind the search and Terrence had no idea what she'd actually done, Oliver didn't know. It didn't matter. They were both here now.

"So," said Terrence, clearing his throat. "If you don't mind, I do have some questions. If you're willing to answer them."

"Depends on the question," said Oliver, but he decided to take pity on the kid. He'd gone from Michigan to Montana over what was supposed to be his break, and despite that Oliver's head was still reeling a little, he didn't want the boy to put in all that effort just to go home with nothing. "How's about lunch while we talk? There's a diner in town I like. People there'll leave us alone." He'd be the subject of gossip for weeks, but they'd at least pretend to give him his privacy while he was physically present.

Terrence's face lifted in a tentative smile, and there, yes, he was certain. That was Sam's smile, no tricks this time. He had to blink back tears.

"Sure," said Terrence. "I could eat."

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