This post directly follows the part 2 that occurred in Cedar Point:
Michael drives off of the ferry and into Alexandra. He points out the tattoo parlor to Stephanie. They had talked about all kinds of things, not the least of which was his strategic decision to leave Kuru off or the tattoo he was planning on getting. But also he talked to her about other things. Mostly positive, because he didn't want to arrive at his brother's house angry at his father. Making the turns, he is soon parking in front of his brother's house. He looks up at the door and takes in a deep breath.
John had been listening and watching for his brother's car. He was sitting in the living room reading but not really reading. He couldn't remember a thing from the last chapter even though his eyes had gone through the process of taking in the words. When Michael and Stephanie arrived at the door he opened it before anyone even knocked and stepped out, pulling his brother into a silent bear hug.
Stephanie had been following Michael but hung back as John came out and hugged him. In fact, she quietly just stepped around them and went in to find Colleen. They probably needed to talk for awhile without other people.
Fiona was up in her room after a short shower. She texted Vincent after seeing a few cute good morning emojis from him she hadn't replied to yet.
"Morning Minstrel. I wasn't ignoring you or sleeping in. My Grandpa died and our house got hectic. My Dad's dad not Grandpa Murphy." She had talked very fondly of her Murphy grandparents and barely said a thing about her Reinhardt ones, especially the grandfather, except that he was like Gino and had been abusive to her father and uncle.
Owen was surprisingly tidying up his areas in the room he shared with Seamus. He knew their uncle was on his way and he wasn't sure if Tristan would be sleeping in their room or not. He had even put in a load of laundry without being nagged.
Kurt had to catch the ferry and head back to his school dorm as he had classes the next week and needed to buy his books and learn the campus enough not to be hopelessly lost. He had an orientation scheduled that he just couldn't get out of later today. He had said a loving goodbye to Logan and hugged the whole family at least twice too.
Seamus watched Owen tidy, and did a little himself. He still had no real idea how to feel. Someone had died, but that someone had made his father and uncles life hell.
Logan had helped Kurt pack his bag, asked him to get his own books as well, giving him the money he had for them and said his goodbyes. Then he went looking for something to do. Anything to do, and had been in the living room on his laptop when his uncle had arrived. But he knew the brothers would need some time, so he just kept reading.
Vincent looked at the message when Fiona finally got back to him. It was her father's father ... the one like HIS father. He considered his reply, as he ate a little something and stared out of the window towards her house. Then he picks up his phone and replies with a hug emoji. "I'm confused because I am happy for your Dad and a little sad for your gran." followed by another hug emoji. Then he sets his phone down and goes back to the window, wondering how he would feel if he found out his dad was dead. He swallows hard when his gut reaction is the tug of a smile on his lips.
Michael hugged his brother tightly and for a long time. He vaguely realizes Stephanie has gone in the house. Pulling away he looks at his brother. "I'm fucking torn between laughing and crying." he admits.
Colleen had been keeping an eye on Kaitlin. Her mother in law was trying to clean anything that couldn't run away fast enough and eventually she had simply not argued when Kaitlin emptied out the cabinets and started cleaning them. The older woman was on her hands and knees finishing up the cabinets under the kitchen island when Stephanie came into the kitchen. Colleen hugged her hard. "Kaitlin." she called. "Michael's here. Come meet Stephanie."
Kaitlin backed out of the cabinet and stood. She wiped her hands on a cloth and looked at Stephanie. She smiled as if greeting a guest. "Oh, it's so good to meet you." she swallows hard, looking at Colleen. "I ... " she sniffs and blinks. "Of course Michael didn't tell me she was .... Asian?" she'd only known Michael was with a woman named Stephanie. Her face crumples a little and she throws the cloth into the sink. "Damn you, Heinrich Reinhardt!" she doesn't scream, but her Irish temper, so infrequently seen, cracks through.
Stephanie smiles awkwardly at Michael’s mother and is about to give a jovial cheeky retort when she hears the anger and decides to soften her approach "It's OK Kaitlin. Michael explained all that. And it's very nice to meet you finally despite the circumstances. I'm 3rd generation Japanese Canadian. My Great Grandfather, Makoto Yamada came to Canada on a boat from Sapporo, Japan, with his family. They were fisherman but Makoto eventually became one of the town founders of Cedar Point due to his sheer tenacity. Now my family run a sushi restaurant in town called Sakura's so we're still pretty close to the fishing culture. Mike tells me you're Irish...lots of fishing culture on that green island too." She's spewing off facts to share what Michael was never free to and to lighten the introduction and trying to reach out to this woman. She smiles up at Colleen after, drawing her in.
John nods "That's about right Mikey. Come on in. Mom's been cleaning again." He pats him on the back and walks through the door seeing the back of Stephanie and overhearing the tale end of her family history with a small acknowledging "Hmmm."
Fiona was brushing her hair when she saw Vincent's reply come across her phone screen. She looked at it with a sad little smile and then picked up the phone and texted back. She heard more talking downstairs and the front door opening and closing twice. She quickly typed "I get it, and I love you. I need to go for a bit. I think my uncle and his gf just got here. Laters:)" She slid her phone into her jean skirt back pocket and stepped into the hallway on her way downstairs.
Owen half finished and got a little defeated by the project. He looked at Seamus and grinned "I fuckin hate cleaning. Let's go see if they brought Tristan. Maybe we can take him skating and get outta here for a bit." He had heard the door and the talking too.
Seamus chuckles. "You got the clothes IN the washer." he points out. "Which is better than EITHER of us usually does." he sighs and nods. "Yea. Come on." he heads downstairs to the kitchen. He doesn't see Tristan, and looks around for him, quickly deciding he had been left behind. "Um ... Mom? Gran?" he keeps looking for Tristan. "I think ... we need to knock a puck around ...." he wonders if it's inappropriate to play games when a family member died. "Is ... is that ... okay?" he keeps looking for Tristan.
Vincent replies with "Love you too." and then tries to decide what to do with his day. He pulls out his new pasta maker and begins to make lasagna noodles.
Colleen watches and smiles sadly. That seems to be the only way she can for now. She looks at Seamus and Owen and understands. Everyone wants to be doing something. "I don't think Tristan came with." she tells them. "But knocking a puck around sounds like a great idea." she gives her permission for them to go.
Michael nods and moves into the house with John and catches Stephanie's words. He moves beside and around her. "Hey Mom." he leans in to hug her for a long time, lifting her off the floor and setting her back down. He looks around at the kitchen with all its pots and pans and plates. "Ya gonna repaint next, Mom?" he asks, unable to keep a twinkle out of his eye. He shakes his head and, betraying a little bit of his mother in him, begins to put everything away. "Bet you climbed on the counter like a red haired elf, too."
Kaitlin smiles as Stephanie speaks. "Oh my family didn't fish." she chuckles. "Potato farmers. One of the few that survived the Famine. But learned to blacksmith also." she pauses. "I'd like to visit your restaurant. I've never had Japanese food before." Michael comes in and she takes the hug gratefully and his words to her actually make her laugh. "Of course not, Michael. I can't reach the ceiling." she looks at Stephanie while Michael puts the dishes away. "Thank you for coming, Stephanie. This is a ... very ... strange .. week for me." she looks around. "I suppose I had better try and sit." she heads for the living room. "Please .. come tell me about yourself?"
Owen is halfway into his boots before Seamus even finishes getting permission. But respectfully he calls out "Hi Uncle Mikey....hi Aunt Steph..." He gives Stephanie the designation without even thinking. She just feels like his aunt, more than Sarah ever did. And with that, the jacket is zipped and he's out the door with his hockey stick.
Stephanie steps aside while Mike greets his mother and looks a little amused by their interaction. She sees the boys go by in a blur almost and then looks very touched by Owen's greeting and grins at Michael. She nods at Kaitlin's words after and follows the older woman. Maybe her role is to help Kaitlin take rest by letting her feel like she's entertaining? Stephanie sits down on the chair John had been reading in "Well anytime you want to try a meal at our restaurant, no charge. My family would love it if you came in. What would you like to know?" She offers with a kind smile.
Fiona feels the vibration of a message on her phone and reads it half way down the stairs with a little melting sigh. She will never get tired of saying, reading or hearing those words with Vincent. She walks into the kitchen and smells cleaning products and sees the things out from the cupboards. Fiona gives a knowing look at her mother and chuckles "Gran's like a force of nature! Did Logan let her into his side? He's barely got any clutter yet...."
John was at the coffee pot now, pouring himself another cup. The pot had just been made and remade all day. He answered his daughter "Yes but what normal people call clutter is an absolute dump to Gran." He looks at his brother "Mikey do you want a coffee? And no Tristan?" And then calls out to Steph "Steph...coffee or pop or anything?"
Logan stands up once his father and uncle pass. He looks at his sister and snorts. "Yea .... I've been keeping on top of the mess." he argues, which is more or less true. That and ... well ... he had Kurt if he wanted it THAT clean and ... well ... there were things he wanted to hermetically seal up if his grandmother was in cleaning mode ... which she clearly was.
Michael grins to himself when the boys pass by and the designation 'aunt'. He makes quick, but noisy work of putting the dishes away. "Yes more coffee, please." he orders moving from highest to lowest shelves. "And no ... no Tristan." he glances in the direction of the living room. "Why no Tristan again, baby?" he asks as he hasn't really thought about it until now.
Colleen could almost hug Stephanie for being the distraction that got the cleaning rag out of Kaitlins hands. She understood, but there was always something about that nervous habit that made her feel slightly inadequate. She moves into the living room and sits as well.
Kaitlin moves and sits down primly. She looks at Stephanie. "Well, I won't say no to free food." she smiles and turns towards the door. Leaning forward she arches her brows. "They call you 'aunt'" she smiles. "That tells me a lot right there.. Sara was always Sara." she narrows her eyes. "And always around. Oh, she was a nice enough girl, but ... it just ... she was never right for Michael. Heinrich loved her, though. Maybe that's why he married her." she sighs. "The boys sometimes did things just to try and placate Heinrich. We all did." she blows out a breath and then blinks. "Who is Tristan? That isn't Michael's cat? That's .. what was it? May? June? Something like that." she isn't yet pumping Stephanie on information on herself. More filling in some blanks for herself. She tries not to stand and get coffee for everyone.
Fiona grabs the cups, even though her father was the one offering. She's getting herself one anyway so she may as well take two to the living room as well. She shrugs at Logan "You've moved twice in 6 months...how much crap can you even have yet? And Kurt seems meticulous...at least his clothes do....not to stereotype....actually if I am probably more about being German than gay..." She admits with a cheeky smile. She pours three cups "Dad I got Gran and Steph's....Aunt Steph's..." she adds, liking at Owen said that and then winking up to her uncle. It dawns on her that her mother is also in the living room and she calls out "Mom? Coffee?" as she grabs a sugar bowl and a small jug for cream, not knowing what everyone wants in theirs.
John pours one for Michael and puts cream and sugar in and then helps him put the dishes back on the higher shelves. "Thanks Pumpkin." He says to Fiona.
Stephanie laughs "The aunt thing is new today...but sweet." She catches Colleen's eye "You have wonderful kids, all of them. Tristan is my son. He's 10. He adores Michael too." She calls back to Michael "Tris starts school on Monday and his last report card was shitty. My parents were willing to keep him a few more nights and I don't want him getting behind on his homework again in week one. I think he's a little pissed at me though.....what can you do eh." She grimaces a bit and then smiles "The cat's name is April." She doesn't reply to anything about Sara but feels an immediate liking for Michael’s mother as her perception was comforting to any insecurity she had about Sara from before.
Logan laughs. "He's a little of both." he admits. "But so energetic." he considers how that might sound and covers with. "You know how his personality is." he moves into the living room, not sure how that could have gone. He sits in the window box and leans forward a bit.
Colleen giggles. "Coffee for me too, please. And." she follows Logan with her eyes. "Thank goodness for Kurt. He really helped us today."
Kaitlin nods. "Tristan is the child, April is the cat. Got it." she grins. "Well, if he's got school, then that’s the priority." she announces and then watches Logan. She raises her voice. "Michael! Out of the mouths of babes with that auntie thing!" she calls to him. "I thought you were more like Logan here and had only used that Sara as a smoke screen for your father. Now I am confused." but she is still smiling.
Michael, who had turned to get the pots and pans. "Yes, Mom. Tristan is a smart kid." he has pulled off the counter a large pot and a frying pan and, when his mother speaks again, he drops them both and stares.
Fiona had to stifle a giggle at Logan's choice of words as she poured another cup of coffee for her mother and then decided to seek out a tray for the number of cups she now had to transport with the cream and sugar. She is reaching under the counter opposite her uncle and hears her Gran's hypothesis with a moment of pondering. Her moment is interrupted by her uncle dropping both a frying pan and a pot behind her. The pot spins away from him and into her foot, not enough to hurt, just enough to realize that with Michael's action he's confirming her Gran's hypothesis.
John had known too and had Michael confirm for him recently when he met Steph for the first time in the coffee shop and just started laughing, watching Michael drop things and flounder in the revelation that their mother knew as well.
Stephanie looks like she's about to bust a gut from trying not to laugh and looks at Kaitlin "I like you." She cranes her head around to see the edge of her beloved standing there in shock "Honey....do you want to come talk to your mother?" She asks innocently.
Fiona sidesteps the pot and quickly brings the coffee and fixings into the living room. There's no way in hell she's missing this show. She takes her own cup and plunks down, side sitting, on the floor with a front row seat.
Logan's jaw dropped and he stared between his grandmother and his uncle. He recovers quickly, but then begins to wonder ... is Stephanie a beard as well?
Colleen arches her brows. She had likes Kaitlin before and wished she could have gotten away fro more visits. Especially now. There was none of Heinrich's poison in Kaitlin.
Michael looks at Stephanie for a moment and nods, leaving the post where he'd dropped them and moving to his mother, kneeling beside her. "You ... you knew?" he stammers and looks up at her. "I mean ..." he sighs deeply, a little shaky. "I ... I lived .. as a gay man for ... all my life until Stephanie came along." he swallows hard. "Sara .. yea ... she was one of my best friends and ... she agreed to be my beard ... my ... smoke screen for Dad and ...." he looks up at her. "I DO love Steph, Mom. It was such a surprise. There no other woman ... even ... I mean ...."
Kaitlin reaches and strokes Michael's hair. "You never dated, Michael. Handsome as you were. And all of a sudden there is this perfect little German girl." she scoffs. "It's funny, but I didn't put it all together until then." she sighs and places her hand on Michael's cheek. "Your father would have killed you." it is a simple statement of fact for her. "I couldn't say anything to him or to you. But ...." she looks at him. "You're in love now with a woman? And that's fine. I don't care who you love as long as you CAN ... and can BE loved." she swallows and blinks. "I was so afraid you boys would ... would be like your father. But you turned out so beautiful." she pulls Michael close to her, hugging him.
Michael begins to cry a bit into his mother's shoulder, hugging her and not caring what anyone thinks.
As things turn serious, Fiona feels a little guilty about her tourist approach to the potential conversation. She has nothing but compassion for her uncle, who has clearly has to live a lie most of his life to survive his father. Contritely she scoots back and then climbs up beside Logan and looks at him with love and support. He had also recently made his preferences known to their family and even though her parents were no Heinrich Reinhardt, which had to be a little uncomfortable. She takes Logan's hand and gives it a little squeeze. Her respect for her grandmother also soars. They had always been a little distant because of her grandfather but things could change now and she hoped they would.
John walked into the room after Michael did and his laughter turned inward to a gulp and then muted quiet tears as he watched and listened. Mikey's path had been the harder of the both of theirs and he knew it.
Stephanie had taken a coffee cup and then sort of hugged it to her person, watching with misty eyes. To affirm Kaitlin's wish for Michael she stated resolutely "Michael is very loved. I promise you."
Logan squeezes Fiona's hand back and then puts his arm around her, pulling her close. For him, the decision had been simple, once it had been made. There were no tears .. not even any words. He only let the family see he and Kurt together on New Years with an impulsive 'fuck it' kiss at midnight, and all there had been was the odd raised eyebrow followed immediately by acceptance. Watching his uncle, Logan realizes how very lucky he was in his family.
Colleen watches mother and son with moist eyes. She cannot imagine living as they had and she doesn't try to imagine it.
Michael says nothing. He cries in relief in his mother's arms, as he has not since he was a little kid.
Kaitlin kisses the top of her son's head and looks over at Stephanie. "Thank you." she replies. "Their life has not been easy .. my boys. But ... in my day, women did not just up and leave. And Heinrich ... I didn't know how he could be. And once I knew, I was a mother with a son who needed me. And then I had another son. And no education but to be a mother and a wife." she sighs and kisses Michael's head again. "I could never have raised them on my own. No education, no bank account .. nothing but my boys." she looks imploring at the women who were so educated and strong to her eyes. "I defended them as best I could." she tells them and both of her boys may remember that she had indeed ... taken blows meant for them more than once. She hugs Michael hard and looks up at John, lifting a hand for him, as well.
John sniffs and takes his mother's hand, giving it a squeeze. He lays his other hand on Michael’s shoulder "We know Mom....we love you." It's a necessary release for all of them, both freeing and gut wrenching to watch and be in. But it still wasn't as hard as pretending everything was OK and living with the terrible human being who caused all the damage.
Fiona watched her father, uncle and Gran hanging onto each other and sailing to safer shores together and was unable to not cry with them. She hugged Logan beside her hard. She thought about her own family but also couldn't not think of Vincent and his father. Would he come to this point too someday? Either by death or simply facing things from his past, in his case, his very recent past.
Stephanie gripped her cup still and closes her eyes, nodding at Kaitlin. She hated to be glad someone had passed, twice this year now, but she was so grateful Michael, and his family, were able to let all of this out and hopefully find some peace.
Logan hugs Fiona back just as hard, sniffing. A few tears escape and he feels gratitude for this day. Other families might be sad. Not his.
Colleen sniffs, her own eyes wet with silent tears. This was more healing than almost anything, she believes. Like they were all free ... John, Michael and their mother most of all.
Michael cries for a long time, feeling his brother and mother in contact with him. At long last, he moves, looking up. "But Mom ... why did you STAY?" he thinks of the words Stephanie had spoken to him earlier. "Once I left ... we would have helped you. Me and John. Somehow."
Kaitlin sniffs and looks between her sons. "I couldn't burden you boys." she tells them. "John had his family and you had a career as a police officer." she looks at both of them with a mother's pride. "But I knew I was safe ... after you left, Michael." she sniffs and almost giggles. "I told your father that, as a police officer, you would come down on him with both feet if he hurt me. Considering your relationship ... he believed me. So ... things were better. I had a roof over my head and food in my belly and I wasn't a burden on you boys." she sighs and looks towards Colleen, Fiona and Logan. "I know I missed so much .. not being able to come to visit, but ... " she sighs "I didn't have the strength to be homeless." she admits and bites the corner of her mouth because now .. that is exactly what she is.
Michael snorts. "Well .. you were right." he admits. "And I'm ... I'm glad he backed off of you." he looks at her. "Mom ... you won't be homeless. You'll have Dad's pension now. It won't be a ton, but with me and John helping, you'll make it. And you can live anyplace you want. Close to us or far away." he glances at John. "Mom .. we're all free of him ... maybe you most of all."
John sighs "You know we would have helped you but I understand. Whatever you need now Mom. " He nods back at Michael and then looks at Colleen "Seriously, whatever. You are not a burden. Dad was, but you are not."
Fiona keeps hugging Logan and listening to the conversation. It's like when they were kids and all piled into their parents bed listening to bedtime stories. The younger brothers are missing from the pile though.
Stephanie sips her coffee and smiles lovingly at Michael and his family. She'll do whatever she can to help them all. It dawns on her how easily attached she's become to John, Colleen and their kids already.
Logan holds onto Fiona, partly wishing the younger brothers were here, but a lot of this might prove a little too much for them.
Michael looks up at John. "Amen." he intones and sighs giving his mother a quick hug of thanks.
Kaitlin smiles at her sons. "Michael offered me his spare bedroom, which I expect is filled with his weights and all. And you may have a larger house, but you still have a house full." she sighs and places a hand at her forehead. "Can I split time between you?" she asks meekly. "So I am not underfoot for either of you?" she sighs. "I'd like to get my own place someday." she blows out a breath. Maybe when the pension comes through ... IF it comes through."
Vincent inhales as the lasagna comes out of the oven. He sets it to cool a bit and then takes his phone and texts Fiona. "Boss. Hope all is well. Is it OK if I bring a lasagna over there for you guys?"
Fiona shifts on her hip while still half leaning on Logan and pulls her phone from her back pocket as it gives a little chirp, indicating a text. A few glances in the room dart her way as she breaks a silence and a moment with technology. With a self conscious little gulp she reads the text and then silently giggles at it before holding it so Logan can see it too. The I love yous from the earlier texts are still visible above the newest one about the lasagna.
John gives Fiona a little grunt about looking at her phone right now and then looks earnestly at his mother "Of course Mom. We're happy to have you anytime. Although I can't promise a weight room here if you're looking to start lifting as a hobby. I'm sure Mikey can spot you though." He teases.
Fiona smiles at her Dad "I know I'm looking at my phone but Vincent is offering us lasagna. Do you forgive me now? And could someone possibly pick him up? That won't be any fun to carry down the streets."
John perks up "Did you say lasagna? Fiona if he keeps making those he can skip the usual livestock to trade for daughters back in the old country..." He jokes and then offers "If Mikey will lend me his car, I'll go get him."
Stephanie lets out an exhale into a whistle "Must be some lasagna....weren't you sending in the fuzz on their first date?" She teases John and then winks at Michael.
The back door opens and Owen yanks it shut grumpily before taking off his boots and carrying them to the front and dropping them loudly and haphazardly on the mat before taking off up to his room without a word to anyone.
Logan looks at the messages, but its the FINAL one that makes him smile. He looks at Stephanie. "It IS."
Michael snorts. "She might like my couch even more. It's half my living room." he teases back. "And yes ... I was. He's a good kid. And apparently an even better cook." he winks right back at Stephanie and at last stands and moves over to her.
Colleen grins. "Oh yes!" she softly exclaims. "Go get him, John. If he tries to walk he might get mugged for that lasagna of his!" she looks at Stephanie and grins. "That would be what John did on their first ever date. Vincent won him with food."
Kaitlin watches. "Vincent? Lasagna?" she looks mildly confused. "It sounds lovely. I don't have to cook." she looks like she is trying to be alright with not cooking.
Fiona beams and texts Vincent back as she replies to her grandmother "Vincent is my boyfriend. He's Italian and he cooks..."She lets out an involuntary sigh and then says "Yeah...." before looking to the hallway where Owen disappeared from "Huh that's weird, only one of the dynamic duo. Maybe Shay just felt like skating some more to train...."
John actually blushes a bit "I'm over the overprotective jackass dad moment...thank you very much. Vincent's a good kid." He glances to the space Owen blurred through and shrugs "Probably...playoffs coming up right? Hey Mikey, keys please? I promise not to crash it." John's already in the hallway yanking on his jacket and stepping into his shoes.
Stephanie just laughs and nods "Well food is the great ice breaker in all cultures." She looks at Kaitlin "It's OK to let people feed you right now. You do know that? It's kinda how it goes."
Logan chuckles and also looks. "You know you can't get Shay off the ice." he watches his dad and laughs.
Michael fishes into his jeans pocket and retrieves his keys. "You break it, you bought it." he settles in with Stephanie.
Colleen smiles. "Stephanie is absolutely right. Let us take care of you for a while. Rest up." she encourages.
Kaitlin sighs and nods. "I know. I know. It's just ... all I know how to do." she sniffs, but seems alright.
Fiona texts Vincent to let him know her Dad's on the way to pick him and lasagna up.
Stephanie gives Michael a little hug as they settle in "Your family's amazing."
And John is out the door with a chuckle and starting the engine.
Logan gets up and moves into the kitchen, making sure all the plates and pots and pans are back on the shelves.
Colleen watches him and smiles, giving Kaitlin a little look at says don't help.
Michael puts his arm around Stephanie. "Yea .. they are." he admits. "You get used to them ...." he chuckles.
Kaitlin twitches a little bit, making herself NOT help Logan. "Who knew sitting could be so difficult?" she jokes a little bit.
John drives the short way to the Greybar building and waits outside for Vincent. It's milder out finally so he gets out and leans against the car. Hell of a day...hell of a day.
John glances at his watch and walks around a bit, antsy to stretch his legs after sitting in the house so much today. He turns his head and catches a glimpse of red hair and his father senses tingle. Is it one of his? He thought they were all in the house....he creeps closer and then his heart almost stops at the sight of his youngest and.....and.....he blinks and gapes.....Seamus? Seamus is in the woods with a girl doing something he’d never wanted to imagine catching any of his kids in the act doing.
Vincent gets off of the elevator with the lasagna in both hands, covered in foil. He is wearing an oven mitt and has and pot holder on the left side of the covered dish. Turning his back to the door, he opens it and sees Mr Reinhardt, who is starring. Turning around himself, as he knows he didn’t do anything wrong, he sees Seamus and almost drops the lasagna pan.
John doesn't even notice Vincent in his peripheral view but barks "Seamus Michael Reinhardt...what the hell do you think you're doing?!!" His face is instantly beat red like he's literally just been boiled.
Seamus jumps and almost falls. The girl makes herself decent and runs off in the other direction. They exchanged some words before that couldn’t be heard by John or Vincent. Seamus puts himself back together and sort of looks at his father. "Hey ...."
Vincent realizes perfectly what well what Shay is doing ... has just finished doing .. and he turns beet red, turning away to see that John is ALSO beet red. He says not a word, but carries his lasagna to the park and behind John.
John stares at Seamus, still red, nostrils flaring, like a bull. He shifts just his eyes to Vincent holding the lasagna and then closes them and hisses "Get in the car." He means both of them. Vincent is of course not in trouble but John can't form more than one short sentence right now. He walks to the car silently and goes to sit behind the driver's seat, gripping the wheel for mental stability.
Seamus sighs deeply. He knows that ... voice. He says nothing, going tot he car and getting in the passenger's side. Possibly a mistake. But he reaches back to unlock and open the back door for Vincent. Maybe that would buy him some helper points. Maybe,
Vincent keeps his mouth firmly shut and goes to the car, getting in when Seamus opens it and balancing the lasagna carefully as he closes the door. "Thanks." he whispers.
John doesn't put the key in the ignition but just sits there in silence for two full minutes. For the second minute he closes his eyes again, collecting his thoughts. He looks like he's in a deep meditation or possibly plotting a murder. Finally he turns to Seamus and asks very calmly "Did you at least use protection?" His expression is absolute disappointment.
Seamus shrugs and looks at his dad. "No. She's on the pill, Dad." he answers with complete certainty. "Has been for like a year."
Vincent looks down and examines the foil around the lasagna. He wouldn't speak now for any amount of money.
All the mediation in the world couldn't help John now. His face reddens again and his eyes widen as he positively shaking with shock and anger. If he were a cartoon a steam whistle would go off right ...now as he forces out "WHO is this GIRL? How OLD is SHE? Are you out of your fucking mind?! Condoms do more than prevent pregnancy...and how the fuck do you know she's telling you the truth...Seamus....you're 13!!!" He catches his breath after like he's just stopped running hard. Unfortunately for Seamus and Vincent, John was the type of parent who’d blast his kids in front of anyone if they were out of line and right now the line was nowhere to be seen.
Seamus turns a little red himself. "It's Sam Coffee, Dad. From my hockey team." he tells him. "I TRUST her, Dad! Isn't that what you and mom are always saying is important in any relationship? I KNOW how old I am, Dad." he can't seem to help it, his temper comes out.
Vincent realizes that foil wrinkles can be very interesting things and begins to look for pictures. Maybe he can see Elvis's face in a corner.
John's jaw sets and his eyes bore into his son "Do YOU? Do you now? Seamus, I don't know what to say. Your mother and I have clearly failed you...maybe it's me because she's a nurse. But surely they taught this all in school, about condoms and STDs?" He just looks stressed now and rants "Didn't they teach you all the ones that can kill you or give you a fucked up burning rash on your dick for the rest of your fucking life? Weren't there demonstrations with bananas? Because there REALLY NEED TO BE FUCKING BANANAS?!"
Seamus rolls his eyes. "I know about all that stuff dad!" he snaps back, emboldened by his own anger. "And USUALLY I use a condom just this was ... kinda ... spur of the moment. You know how it is." he says casually. They were a couple of men, after all. "But she's clean and I'm clean."
Vincent thinks maybe he can see a shaggy dog in a corner someplace. He cant's his head and the shaggy dog starts looking like a lion.
John almost snarls "I know how it is? Are you fucking kidding me? You didn't answer me before. How old is Sam Coffee?" He's committed the name to memory and has plans to try and figure out who her parents are if need be.
Seamus sighs a little bit. "She's fifteen." he replies, realizing this is NOT going to be a father/son bonding moment.
Vincent hears that this girl he was boning against a tree was the same age as Fiona and closes his eyes.
John leans forward on the steering wheel and pinches the bridge of his nose "Does she know how old YOU are? Seamus there's more to sex than what it feels like. That's the part you're too young for, and by young I mean emotionally mature.....there are big feelings that go with the physical sensations, complicated ones. If you're ready, that can be great....if not...." He looks up at Seamus with deep concern "They can break you. I don't want to see you get hurt."
Seamus puffs up again. "Of course she does. We're on the same team, Dad." he blows out a breath. "I can handle this Dad." he assures him. "How old were you and Mom?" he demands to know.
Vincent thinks he might see Trump in his foil ... but it might just be the stress as he does his level best to be invisible ... something he is VERY good at.
John almost doesn't want to answer, considering who's sitting in the back but does, because he's honest to a fault and Fiona would tell Vincent if he asked her "Fifteen, the both of us. But Seamus we didn't just jump into bed together. That's not how it works...or not how it works out. And you were doing it in broad daylight? You're god damn lucky you didn't both get arrested for public indecency. Use your brain to think not your pecker fer chrisakes."
Seamus scoffs. "Oh come on, Dad it was just ... a spur of the moment thing. She asked to see me and .. we met and .. one thing led to another and..." he shrugs. He doesn't mention about the indecent exposure, since he hadn't thought that one all the way through.
Vincent becomes somehow even move intent on the foil, but he makes a mental note of all of it, really. One thing he puts on his list of places NEVER to do it is the woods ... although he hadn't thought of that last week in the back yard ...
John takes a composure gathering breath and mutters "Thirteen.....that's part of the emotional maturity piece you don't have yet. I understand the urges. It's normal to want that...but you have to use your brain about it. And Seamus you are just too young to have that sense yet. If you want to keep seeing this Sam Coffee, you have to cool it right off. Bring her to the house to meet us. You can watch movies fully dressed in the living room. If you really care for this girl, it shouldn't all have to be wham bam thank you ma'am to be time well spent. Slow it down until you grow up a bit...please....I don't want you to get hurt." John looks over his shoulder at Vincent apologetically and then takes the key out of his pocket and starts the car.
Seamus sighs deeply. "I guess. I mean we met and ... you know being in the new school and all." he shrugs. "Alright. I'll talk to her in school on Monday, okay?" he offers and looks relieved when his father finally starts the car.
Vincent looks at Mr. Reinhardt and offers a very small smile he hopes says apology accepted. He's seen worse ... more or less. But he'll be glad to get this lasagna in the house.
John grumbled something inaudible and drives to the Reinhardt house in silence. He parks the car and sits in a slump as he turns it off, like this whole situation as exhausted him. After the day he's had, he's pretty emotionally drained so the exhaustion is real. What the hell is he going to say to Colleen about this? Their youngest...their baby! Screwing in broad daylight! All the while they'd been thinking Seamus would only ever look at or touch a girl if she was a lego minifigure and they weren't at all posable enough to get in that much trouble with.
Seamus hops out of his uncle’s car the moment it slows down enough for it to and hurries into the house. He plays it normal, but quickly heads upstairs, completely ignoring Owen.
Vincent pauses when Seamus leaves the car. "Mr. Reinhardt." he says after almost a full minute of them alone in the car together. "I know it’s not my business but ... if it'd been MY Dad .... He’d probably have given me a lot of undeserved praise and advice ...." he pauses a minute. "I think you’re a way better Dad than mine ever was. Sir." he shifts and moves to open the car door.
John watches Seamus pass and go in with a pained expression. Where had his little boy gone? He hears Vincent after a while and deflates further, knowing what kind of example this kid had, feeling bad for him, knowing, and grateful he wasn't that. He turns around and looks at Vincent before he gets out "Vincent....thanks. I needed to hear that. By the way...call me John OK?" He gives him a genuine grin "Let's go eat your lasagna."
Stephanie had been chatting with Kaitlin, trying to keep her from running to the kitchen again, telling her about Cedar Point and Michael's life there. She was mid sentence when Seamus came in and breezed right by, just as his brother had before."Two beaches actually. the one main beach is kind of the touristy spot, especially in the summer. That's the West Beach. My parents were lucky they got a spot on it for the restaurant. the North Beach is in the residential area and a really pretty walk to go along the boardwalk and paths between them."
Fiona was listening, but at this point half reading on her phone. She had texted Addy a reader's digest version of the events of the day already and updated her Instagram with a cute New Year's selfie of she and Vincent and had moved onto Twitter reading random mindless crap as she stretched out on the window seat, taking it over completely. She sat up when she heard the car and when the door opened and shut she expected Vincent and her Dad but saw Shay go by and blinked. By the time Vincent and her father were at the door she was opening it and looking confused "That took awhile. Everything cool?" She was talking more to Vincent, hoping her father hadn't lapsed and frightened him somehow.
John looked tired and answered first "Yeah...just had to stop and get Shay from a friend's place. He texted me en route." He steps out of his shoes and offers to take the lasagna while Vincent takes off his "Can I help you with that Vincent?"
Logan finished in the kitchen, making it clean. Then he took out plates and stacked them and the utensils, plus glasses for their lunch. Seamus comes in and rushes by without a word and he arches his brows. Then his father and Vincent walk in and he makes sure the plates are ready.
Michael smiles as Stephanie occupies his mother. He watches Seamus breeze in and up with a raised brow, followed by his brother and Vincent. He listens to what he has to tell Fiona and sits, ready to help if he is needed.
Colleen frowns when Seamus comes in and passes by, but then Vincent arrives and she knows she is needed down here.
Kaitlin smiles. "Oh, it sounds so nice. I'm looking forward to seeing it now. I missed so much." she looks at her grandson come in, followed by her son and another young man who must be Vincent. She watches them, carefully.
Vincent comes in and is glad to have the lasagna taken out of his hands. "Yes please, John." he replies, keeping to the request to now call him by his first name. He looks at the one person he doesn't know and smiles. "Hello Mrs. Reinhardt." he greets her. "Let me get the food on the table for you. Shouldn't be too long." he doesn't' offer her condolences or say he is sorry. One thing he knows is this is probably not the death at which to offer condolences. A parade maybe, but not pity.
Fiona gives Vincent a quick kiss in the bustle of his entrance and then glances between he and her dad. Did he just call him John? Curious and promising. She smiles a little and gets out of the way "You know you had us at the word lasagna...all of us Minstrel." She half teases.
Stephanie glances back and smiles "Hello Vincent." She grins at Kaitlin "It's always a good quality in a male when they cook." She gives Michael a little poke in the side.
Owen hears Seamus come into the room and pretends to be asleep in the top bunk while he decides whether or not to talk to him yet.
John takes the lasagna to the kitchen and sets it on the counter looking very busy and trying not to make any eye contact with Colleen right away, but not in an obvious way. He suspects he’ll crack and tell her when they go to bed but he can’t fall apart now. He just can’t keep secrets from her, especially not one this important about one of the kids. He walks to the table intent to set it and sees Logan already has so he looks for another task and starts going through the drawers to find lifters and knives for Vincent, setting out not less than 4 choices and making a hell of a lot of noise about it all.
Logan sees his father has come on in to help. With a shrug, he claps Vincent on the shoulder in greeting and heads back in the living room.
Michael laughs. "I can cook!" he protests. "Mom here made sure I could make an Irish stew fit for anyone, and my own variations kept me from getting bored as a one dish wonder."
Colleen watches John bustle with a raised brow. Something is up, between his bustling and ... Vincent called him John. Was that a problem?
Seamus gets in his bed and lies with his arms folded. He knows he is pouting, he just doesn't care. What does his dad know, anyway?
Kaitlin watches the young man who has just entered. "Minstrel?" he sounds curious as she watches him. She glances at Michael. "He does make a fine Irish Stew. I thought that would guarantee he got meats and vegetables and wouldn't starve. she explains.
Vincent looks at the selection of lifters and knives. He chooses one and does a mental body count, slicing accordingly. John seems upset, but .. that makes sense. "I play the harp, ma'am." he explains as he cuts. But for the most part he is silent. To him he is more here to do a service .. plus .. John is upset. "I can serve at the table, if you'll all sit." he offers. "What does everyone want to drink?" he takes the lasagna to the table.
John hears Vincent mention drinks and looks relieved to have another thing he can do and heads to the cupboard "Yes drinks....place your orders folks. We have water, juice, pop, milk...."
Fiona smiles at her Gran "Vincent and I met on Halloween trick or treating in Cedar Point. He played quite the soundtrack to the evening so I started calling him Minstrel then." She looks through the doorway to her Dad and then back to her Mom "So should I get the brats? They're probably into the lego by now."
John gives a noncommittal "Yeah...sure..." and keeps setting out glasses.
Stephanie smiles "I do like his stew." And then she calls to John "Water is fine for me please." She starts to move to the table.
Owen feels the bunks moves and sighs audibly so Seamus knows he's awake. Finally he just asks in an irritated tone "Was it worth blowing me off for? Wherever you went..."
Logan moves to the table and sits. He hadn't realized he was hungry but ... it was past lunchtime. "Yea, water is great for me too, Dad."
Michael chuckles. "She was Wednesday Adams and he was an angel with a harp .. or a lyre." he stands and moves with Steph until they get to his mother, who he looks at. She's strong and he won't patronize her. "I have his album if you want an autograph, Mom."
Colleen watches John and then calls out loudly. "Owen! Shay! Lunch!" and heads for the table herself. The morning had gone in a blink.
Seamus hears Owen and blows out a breath. "It was. At first." getting caught hadn't been in his plan. Then he hears his mother. "You go. I'm not hungry."
Kaitlin smiles. "Oh that's sweet." she replies to Fiona and then stands following Michael to the table and sitting on the side Stephanie isn't on, at the end near where she expects John will sit. "Oh? You have an ALBUM?" her eyes widen in delight.
Vincent's eyes grow large. "Not really, ma'am. I just played the harp as back up is all." he turns beet red as he begins to place slices of lasagna on plates, beginning with Kaitlin.
Fiona hears her mother yell and then just moves to the table looking forward to lasagna and teases Vincent "Just the harp that ties the whole sound together. It's gorgeous and you're too modest as usual." She looks through the counter "Oh yeah, water for me too please Dad!"
Owen's feet swing over the edge and then he drops down looking confusedly at his brother. He's still annoyed but his not wanting food is very odd "You sick or something?'
John fills up glasses with almost methodical intent and brings them to various people, heading back to do more.
Stephanie eyes the lasagna "That looks and smells amazing. Oh my god."
Logan sits and looks around. "You have NO idea, Stephanie. Man .... Vincent's got an uncle whose a chef." he agrees that Vincent is a little too modest.
Michael raises a brow as he is served. "Yea. It smells incredible. Leave it to John to hold out on me."
Colleen grins and sits. "This was very kind of you, Vincent."
Seamus huffs. "Tell Dad I already ate." his voice dripping sarcasm. He's feeling a little malicious. "Go on." he rolls over to face the wall."
Kaitlin inhales. "I didn't realize how hungry I was, Vincent. Thank you. I'm afraid I haven't been eating as well as I should have the last few days. Too .. busy."
Vincent smiles and fills the last plate. "Well, yea. My play uncle is a chef and he taught me a lot." he blushes more. "Oh come on Fiona. You're just biased is all." he steps back. "If you guys need anything, I'll help. Darcy Mom gets off at six tonight, but she said I can help as long as you need me."
Owen hears Seamus's tone and figures he's just in some kind of fight with their dad, like he seems to be picking everywhere. With a snort and a kick to the bunk bed he mutters "Whatever dickhead." and walks out of the room to the stairs.
Fiona grins at Vincent "You say that like it's a bad thing." She sits with her fork poised and looks around until everyone has a plate trying to hold back from just diving in and then hears footsteps on the stairs. Right...she still has two more brothers. She never did sell them at that lemonade stand after all. Only Owen walks in and she frowns slightly "Where's Shay?"
Owen tucks into a chair and looks sullen "Being an as....." He rethinks his words, seeing his grandmother and respecting her "Being moody. He says he already ate."
John's face goes red again and the little vein in his temple pulses. He picks up his fork and says "Fine. More for us. Thank you for this lunch Vincent. Dig in everyone."
Stephanie looks at Owen and then John and then down at her plate. Sometimes kids had their moods. Tristan wasn't too pleased with her right now. Shit happened, but then some days there was love and lasagna. She doesn't need to be told twice. She takes her first bite and closes her eyes as she chews, in absolute heaven.
Logan listens and rolls his eyes. Siblings. And Shay got moody more than the rest of them. When he was an ass, he usually didn’t go half way.
Michael digs in and nods as he tastes. He says nothing, because that would require leaving his mouth empty.
Colleen raises her brows and sighs. "Picked a damn fine day for it." she gives John another look, makes a mental note to investigate what Shay has done to make the vein pop out on his father’s head and digs sin.
Kaitlin huffs and tastes. After chewing and swallowing, she smiles. "Oh Vincent this is wonderful!" she looks around the table and feels a bit like lifting the mood. "I'll have Seamus's." she announces. "That’s what he gets for being .." she glances at Owen. "An ass."
Vincent clears his throat when Owen makes the announcement that Shay ate and consciously tries NOT to blush .. and succeeds. "Food makes everything better." he admits aloud. "I got a pasta maker for Christmas, so if the pasta isn't right, let me know and I'll adjust the recipe for next time."
Owen beams at his sweet little Grandma for completing his thought and swearing. Considering what potty mouths his Dad and uncle had, he'd always thought it came from their father. Maybe there was more piss and vinegar to this fastidious lady leprechaun. The connection improved his whole mood and he ate heartily, glancing up once at Vincent like he was some sort of food deity.
Fiona east slowly, savouring every bite like it's her last. In between them she sighs at Vincent happily "Don't change a thing...this is perfection."
Stephanie nods, still eating. She looks like she wants to say something in agreement but can't stop herself from taking her next bite and just gestures in the air with her hand like she's conducting her appreciation.
The glory of the lasagna does stop John's vein from pulsing after a while but he still doesn't look as cheerful as the first time he had the lasagna. He truly appreciates it, but his mind is clearly on something else.
Logan eats steadily, but senses the shift in mood. "It is great." he looks at his grandmother. "You swear, Gran?" he sounds mildly surprised.
Michael notices his brother's mood even while he enjoys the great food. "Wouldn't you?" he asks, looking at Logan. After all, his mother had been married to Heinrich. "I think my first word was probably a swear." he muses.
Kaitlin enjoys the food, eating in a neat, but very efficient manner. Relatively fast. She chuckles at Michael's words. "Well, my brother Ulick swears quite a bit and ... yes ... I swear sometimes." she looks over at her son. "But your first word was NOT a swear." she tells him. "And it wasn't Mama either." she mock huffs and looks in th either direction at her other son. "It was John." of course, this is far from a family secret, but news to Stephanie and Vincent.
Colleen giggles a little. "Oh, Michael was just the most ADORABLE little boy." she grins. "I'll have to get out the albums and show you some pictures. Trying to get them all scanned so all the kids can have sets. Michael too."
Vincent leans over a little and shoulder bumps Fiona. "Thank you." he replies to the compliment, but mostly just eats.
Stephanie looks between the adult siblings and melts a bit "Aww....you guys are so sweet. I definitely want to see those pictures."
John comes out of his funk a bit and grins at Michael. His mother is working a bit of magic with his bad mood, which is how they all survived living with their Dad. He half squints at his brother and teases him "That's cause Ma kept yelling my name when I tried to get you to say Shit."
Fiona burst out laughing "Gran, is that true?"
Owen almost chokes on his food, laughing too.
Kaitlin grins. "Something like that. John would play with Michael and say 'whose the little shit?' and I'd chide him with 'John!'" of course she uses the very tone a mother would use chiding her son. "But oh the look on John's face when Michael called his name first.' she giggles. "The sun rose and set on you, John." she finishes her lasagna and reaches for Seamus's.
Michael mock huffs. "And I am STILL blinded by his light ... when it shines off of his head." but he laughs aloud and concedes. "Yea, well ... he was by big brother. I followed him everywhere." he smirks. "Colleen fell in love with ME first, cause I was the cutest." he teases.
Colleen laughs, as she always does at this story. "I will make sure you get a set of all of them." she promises Stephanie and laughs again. "And yes .... Michael was QUITE the chick magnet, if I remember correctly."
Logan also laughs. "My father the chick magnet." he nods to himself. "More therapy, anyone?"
Vincent laughs too. He adores this family ... as if it were his own.
Seamus hears laughter from downstairs and huffs in annoyance again, closing his eyes and trying to go to sleep again.
John laughs heartily, his smile finally reaching his eyes "Yeah he was good for getting the girls to look. But I only really had eyes for one special one." He says, winking at Colleen. He gives Michael a smarmy look "She oils my head now, just to blind you."
Fiona blushes and says "Fuck, Dad...that sounds really rude....she oils your head? Holy shit..... Logan take me with you to that therapy!"
John snorts "Get your mind out of the gutter Fi. You kiss our pasta chef with that mouth?" He says head nodding at Vincent with a smirk.
"YOU said it! Not ME!" Fiona defends "And yes I do, as often as possible."
Owen shudders and then laughs "God you guys..." He had finished his piece and stood up "I need the bathroom." He headed to small the one on the main floor by the front door. As he walks there, he listens for signs of Seamus upstairs and hears none.
Michael laughs. "God! Yea! We always DID need the family plan i therapy. Fiona! Shame on you." he pauses and finishes his lasagna. "Then again my mind went in the same place as yours, so what's that say about me?"
Colleen giggles. "Now now, I also do it in case there is a disaster. You know for lighting fires." she looks at John with a smile, glad to see him doing it again.
Logan finishes his lasagna and shakes his head. "Yea. Family plan. There's a shrinks house payment with our name on it."
Vincent finishes his lasagna and almost chokes on the last bite. "Wow .... just ... wow ..."
Kaitlin wipes her eyes before she lifts her fork to the second piece of lasagna. "Oh ... this is how is SHOULD be." she proclaims and digs into it, not feeling a bit guilty for being happy with her family now that her husband is dead.