Arthur VanBuren was marching through the halls, making sure all was quiet and that the students were where they were supposed to be. But instead of any sort of order, he saw chaos. Kids were running by him yelling "FIGHT! FIGHT!" and on that subject, he could rely on the student body as a whole to be accurate.
With a sigh, he stepped up his own pace. Not running, because that was against the rules and the Deputy Headmaster ruled by example. Soon he was at the edge of a circle of students four deep, he began to part them. "Back to class! Now!" he ordered, still not even sure who was fighting. The students knew better than to argue with him. He also led by example in the neighborhood of detentions.
In the center of the circle were Joey Piccolo and Vincent DiAntoni. "Alright, boys, break it up." he called to them, even as he bent to pull Vincent off of Joey. Securing each boy in one of his two powerful hands, he immediately headed for his office. Vincent quieted at once, but Joey, once again on the losing end of a fistfight, continued trying to get to Vincent. As a result, it was Vincent he let go in order to open the door to the Admin offices. Then he headed for his own office, assuming Vincent would be smart enough to follow. Once his office door was open he pushed Joey in a chair and told Vincent "Have a seat."
Vincent sat and folded his arms across his chest, glowering at Joey, but not saying a word.
Joey also glared at Vincent, but had apparently calmed enough to know better than to try and get any hits in while actually in the Deputy Headmasters office.
Arthur went behind his desk and opened a drawer. "What happened?" he demanded, even as he pulled out the suspension slips for both boys.
Neither boy replied, which was interesting to Arthur, because usually the fighters would both start talking, sometimes yelling, accusations at each other.
But these two were quiet.
"Fine. We'll call this a generic fight in the halls, which is a three day suspension for each of you." Arthur told them, and points his pen at Joey. "And this is your second this month. You get in another fight in the next ten school days and it's an expulsion."
Joey audibly growled like an angry dog, but still said nothing.
Arthur filled out his slip first. "Go to the nurses office and see about those cuts and bruises." he ordered and Joey stalked out of the office, slamming the office door solidly behind him.
Now Arthur looked at Vincent. He had been at the school since the beginning of this school year and had come close to having fights in the past, but by November, it seemed he had settled down quite a bit. This would be his first suspension, and Arthur really did not want to hand it out. "You want to tell me what happened, son?" he asks, in a voice Joey Piccolo had never heard before.
Vincent sighed deeply. "No sir. I don't. Me and Joey got in a fight. That's all ANYONE needs to know." he straightens up and blows out a breath. "Three day suspension, right?"
Arthur nods slowly. "Yes." he begins to fill out the papers. "This is your first offence, and it won't effect your scholarship." he tells him. "But if you get in another fight in the next two weeks, you'll have to go up before the Scholarship board, so that they can decide if you are really right for the Music Program." he expected they would let that slide, but. "And if you get into ANOTHER fight in ANOTHER two weeks ... I will have no choice but to expel you, Vincent. You'll be out of this school."
Vincent closes his eyes. "Yea. I know the rules, Mister VanBuren, sir." he swallows. "You're going to call my ... Darcy Lynch now, right?" she wasn't officially his foster mother yet, and he suddenly wonders if he's fucked that up, too.
"Yes, I'm afraid I am going to have to call her." he sighs deeply and hands Vincent his copy of his three day suspension notice. "Son, I don't know what Joey Piccolo said to you." and experience with Joey tells him Joey said SOMETHING. "But don't let him ruin your future." he sighs and nods at his door. "You're dismissed."
Vincent stands and takes the paper. "Yea, well ... he's on a fuckin roll, sir." he murmurs as he leaves, softly closing the door behind himself.
Arthur wonders at the strange words and picks up the phone, calling and leaving a message for Joey's mother, then calling Darcy Lynch at her listed cell number. The voice mail picked up and he left a message. "Miss Lynch, this is Arthur VanBuren from the Alexandra Academy called. I'm afraid I have had to send Vincent DiAntoni home on a three-day suspension. I can't give her any details, but I do have to inform you. Thank you."
Vincent walked straight home, going behind the Town Hall so he didn't even have to look in the clinic window for Addison, Fiona and Daisy. He hoped Daisy was going to be alright. He paused at the door of his apartment, so stressed, he forgot if Darcy was even at work today.
Darcy was at home and didn't hear her phone because she was taking out the recycling. She came back in to the message, in her sweats, on her day off, ready to do a new online yoga class since Vincent was still in school and she had the main room to herself. Reading the number associated with the school she immediately checks the message. Was Vincent hurt? Sick? Had Gino somehow gotten back on the island? These were her worries. She listened to the message and leaned on the kitchen counter uttering an audible "Shit Vincent...."
Vincent lays his hand on the door and then remembers his keys. Now that hes home he realizes his jaw hurts. Joey must have gotten in a lucky punch. He'd need some ice. Taking his keys he opens the door and comes in, dropping his bag and taking off his coat and work boots. He can see Darcy out of the corner of his eye and is trying not to react. No doubt ... the questions are coming.
Darcy hears Vincent come in and looks up, waiting to see if he'll just explain himself without grilling. She's still holding her phone and just looking at him. She uses this tactic with suspects in the interrogation room sometimes because she doesn't do the bad cop routine well, so she's found just staring can make people crack too, with way less guilt on her.
Vincent finally straightens and walks all the way in, seeing Darcy looking at her phone. He heads for the kitchen and a clean dishtowel, which he takes to the freezer and adds a liberal amount of ice. His chin is starting to bruise, even if he can't see it. "Um ... OK ..." he closes the freezer and puts his makeshift compress on his swelling chin. "So ... I .. um .. sort of .. got .. um ... into a fight .. with ... Joey Piccolo ... and .. um .. we sort of ... like ... got ... suspended?" he offers it up as if there might be a question that it happened at all.
Darcy's expression is unreadable but she notes the icing and softens on the inside a little. "Joey Piccolo. I've heard that name and not in a good way. What happened before the fight kid?"
Vincent is tempted to remain silent, like he had in Mr. VanBuren's office. But this is Darcy ... the woman he hoped would someday legally be his mother somehow. So he leans against the kitchen counter and sighs explosively. "He got Daisy pregnant." he reports. "And when she told him ... he ... God .. he told her to get rid of it ... first thing .. and then ..." he struggles to remember. "And then he asked if it was even his and ..." he tightens his grip on the ice pack. "He told her to get rid of it and he wasn't paying for her mistake and ... I stepped in cause he grabbed her and ..." he swallows hard. "He asked if I was fucking her too and that I could pay for it and ... he took a swing at me and asked if I was fuckin her too and ... I hit him and ... then ...." he shrugs. "We were fighting."
Darcy puts her phone down and rubs at her eye looking unimpressed "Daisy Dale? You got in a fight for the reproductive rights of a girl who started rumours about you?" It's a rhetorical question of course and after it she has to chuckle "You're an amazing guy Vincent. The suspension's a shitty deal...." She walks over to him and reaches out to give him a hug "Are you OK?"
Vincent honestly had not thought of it that way. "I ... I guess." he agrees. "Daisy just looked so lost and sad. And her being pregnant .. that's a lot worse than those rumors. THEY went away. No matter what she does ... it's forever." he hugs her, kind of proud she called him amazing. So he takes a chance. "So ... I'm not in trouble?" he ventures, hopefully.
Darcy sighs "I should say yes....but it wasn't not a senseless fight." She rubs his back lightly and lets him go "But you do have to be careful. I mean you can get charged with assault even if you're fighting for a good cause, even in self defense if you over defend. It's just how the law works. At your age and in school it's probably just a suspension...which you don't want too many of either...." That was the brunt of the lecture, more a cautionary tale than a disciplinary hearing.
Vincent nods and sighs and leans back a little more. "Yea. Mr VanBuren explained to me ... three fights and I get expelled. Two fights and I go in front of the Scholarship panel thing." he blows out a breath. "I just can't believe ... " he tightens his jaw and winces. "I bet that is what my father said before my mothers parents made them get married." he flexes his fingers, which are a little sore too.
Darcy looks at Vincent with love, understanding the many levels of this fight now. "We'll never know but you had the love of your mother, and grandmother you have mine, and Fiona's and many friends. Hopefully Daisy has people there for her too, whatever happens. Do you need another ice pack? I'll get it....go sit on the couch OK....we can just wrap you in ice and chill out...literally...."
Vincent sighs. "No, I think this is OK. And my hands." he closes his eyes. "Are sore but not damaged." but he does head for the couch and sort of flops down. "She's at the clinic now. Fiona and Addison took her." he blows out a breath, apparently not concerned all three girls are cutting school."
Darcy grabs the ice cube tray and the a ziploc bag and puts a few cubes in for his hand and comes to sit, laying it on the hand "That's good. She's OK then, as OK as she can be." Darcy doesn't mention the cutting school thing either as this is bigger than school.
Vincent stares out of the window. "How can that be OK? I mean ... she's ... only 15, I think .. and Joey ... God I hope no one makes them get married. But even then ... how is she going to finish school?" he was wondering also ... what if it happened to Fiona? They had been fooling around .. no sex but ... she had gotten on birth control pills anyway. Daisy obviously hadn't. Probably because talking to her mother about all of that. Then he remembers. "Daisy's mom kicked her out." he groans. "Fiona told me that before the fight. Christ on crack."
Darcy shakes her head "I think you parents situation was rare in terms of the marriage part. Most girls just end up single parents if they keep a baby that was unplanned, sad truth of our world. Her mom's a piece of work, but maybe she didn't mean it....maybe they'll work it out once she accepts that it's happening." Darcy has the tone of someone speaking from experience instead of the tone of alarm one might be expecting.
Vincent looks at her. There's something in her tone. "How ... I mean ..." his eyes grow wide. "Aunt Mari?" is the first person his mind jumps to.
Darcy lets out a breathy laugh "You're good kid. She gave up a baby for adoption when she was 16. When she first told our mom, it was bad. Mom threatened to kick her out like she was really going to do it....but she didn't mean it and she felt so bad when she found Mari packing to go she begged her to stay. My mom's a loving woman. She was just scared and reacting. I think Daisy's mom must love her too, even if she's bad at it."
Vincent sighs and nods. "Man I hope so, but ... I don't know." he flexes his fingers. "I'd better text Fi and let her know what happened, huh?" he pulls out his phone and tests her "3 days suspension. I got bruised chin and knuckles. Not grounded. Hope things work for Daisy." he shows the message to Darcy even with all the cutsie heart morning messages he and Fi exchange in the morning.
Darcy gives the text a little nod at the message and then teases Vincent "You guys are mushy..." She laughs "That's a lot of hearts and kisses there kid." She picks up the remote and hands it to him "You want tea? I'll make it...you pick something to watch if you like." There's a pale blue yoga mat that had been rolled out before she did the recycling but she picks it up and starts rolling it back up.
Vincent blushes a little and sticks the phone back in his pocket. "Yea, but ... we're in love. We can cat bored when we get old." he blows out a breath. "Um ... yea. I think tea would be nice." he flips through the channels, looking at the mat between. "You ... yoga?" he asks curiously.
Darcy sets the mat against her bedroom door "Part of my stress management plan. It's not just for hippies....and I usually do the videos on my laptop first thing in the morning but you were at school and I was off today so I slept in instead." She walks to the kitchen and says off handedly "I can't imagine you and Fiona ever bored. Mint? Chamomile? Jasmine? Bengal Spice? Earl Grey......shall I go on?"
Vincent tries to imagine it and can't. "I just don't understand yoga." he finally admits. "But at least you got to sleep in?" he laughs. "I can't either." he considers. "Jasmine, please? And man, I'm skipping lunch."
Darcy chuckles about the yoga "It's just breathing and stretching with intention, and yes, glorious sleep." She gets the box of tea down and clicks the kettle to boil and then opens the fridge "We do have food you know....how about a little pita pocket with hummus and veggies?" She starts pulling out the fixings.
Vincent smiles to himself. "I do that in bed when I wake up." he teases. He considers. "Yea. That sounds good. So we have any meat, though?" carnivore that he is.
Darcy pulls open the meat drawer and looks at her injured boy "Alright new plan...BLTs sound better? Same veggies..." She grins and puts the hummus away.
Vincent smiles. "Well ... actually they both sound kinda good .... but . yea BLT over hummus cause ... it's meat!" he grins. "Well, I can make waffles tomorrow morning for you, since even if I am not in trouble I am in kiss Darcy Mom tush mode." he had been afraid all bets would be off with his suspension. Fostering off. Home off. Back to calling her Darcy.
Darcy smiles and gets out the frying pan and then walks over closer to him and reassures him "Vincent, it's likely we will piss each other off sometimes, but even if i'm really mad at you someday, I still love you. Please don't be afraid it's conditional."
Vincent sighs in relief. "I'm still getting used to this." he admits. "I know I'll probably get in trouble someday. Probably without meaning to." he shrugs and thinks for half a second of the heavy make out sessions he and Fiona had on this very couch or in his room. "I love you, too. But I really AM still getting used to all of this." he admits. "But ... I'm not sorry about Joey. He's an ass hole and he deserved it. He can add those to the list after Seamus beat his ass on Fi's birthday."
Darcy nods, knowing she is too, and determined to keep lines of communication open. She turns back to the stove but is still in the conversation as she lays bacon on the warmed up fry pan "That Joey really knows how to pick his fights.......So he's already been suspended for one?"
Vincent nods. "Yea. Next time he gets expelled." he tells her. "His mother might even get mad at him for it too." he rolls his eyes. "He told me her and her brother are the ones got him that van of his." he sighs again. "OK, he really just .. man." he realizes how annoying Joey is. How mean and hateful and how much he truly dislikes Joey Piccolo. Especially after what he did to Fi.
Darcy isn't sure what the deal is with the van and just glances back "Sounds like a spoiled brat with a good helping of clueless jock?"
Vincent snorts a little and readjusts the ice on his face. "Yea. But he's not on any teams. I don't know. He just ... gets me." he admits. "I really don't like him, but its like Mr VanBuren said, hes not worth throwing my scholarship away over."
"Sounds like Mr. VanBuren is more in touch with what's happening than some VPs. And he's right." She slips the bacon and starts slicing a tomato on the island.
Vincent nods. "Yea. He walks around the school and seems to know all of us by name. That's kinda neat. No one knew anyone in my old school."
Darcy smiles as she sets the tomatoes aside and starts ripping lettuce leaves "That's cool. What about the principal?"
"Miss Spanner?" Vincent shrugs. "No one ever sees her, really. I hear she doesn't like girls, and is kinda weird. Maybe she'll quit or retire or something. It would be kind of nice to have a Headmaster or principal like Mr VanBuren. He seems pretty fair and likes the kids." he watches her cook, always interested in her doing it, even though its been months now.
Darcy sets the lettuce aside now and goes back to flip the bacon again "Doesn't like girls....yet she's female. Interesting." She opens the fridge and ducks her head back in ti searching for mayonnaise.
Vincent nods and moves the ice pack around. "Yea. You know .. skirts too short, all the girls are loose. She makes no sense the little I've even heard of her." he smiles. "But I like the teachers here. Even when their subjects are boring."
Darcy rolls her eyes "Yes because it's all about the length of a skirt. For Chrisakes......I'm glad you like the teachers though."
Vincent shrugs. "I guess she's old fashioned?" he offers. "But yea. I like the school .. and the classes. Even French." he grins. "And I am keeping my grades up." he considers. "I wonder if I can get my homework brought to me ..."
Darcy pulls the bacon off the pan with a fork and smiles about the French. She thinks about Vincent's request "Well your girlfriend is skipping school....for a good cause but you can't ask her. As your guardian I could go ask for it......and that's another point. I need to deal with some of those forms. Solidify...us..." She confirms and then gives him a look as she moves stuff to the island before making the toast "But for today I could get your homework."
Vincent nods. "Yea. I don't know how long a pregnancy test takes, but she'll be with her mom, since shes the nurse there. But if you could get mine ... it'll keep me from getting tossed out of school." he looks curious. "The foster stuff?" he asks, carefully wondering if she might not just skip that step and go for the gold. "Yea. I got no excuse not to do it and practice my butt off ... if I didn't fuck my fingers up on Joey's rib cage."
Darcy nods "I'll go after I eat." She plates up the sandwiches and brings them both to the couch "I think your fingers will heal fast." She offers him his sandwich and sits down with hers "And I was thinking maybe with Gino absent I could just apply to adopt you officially, if you'd be OK with that big a step?"
Vincent smiles. "Thanks. And I better. Or Professor Woll will kill me. Well not really but ... ugh." he takes the sandwich and looks it over half a second before lifting it to his mouth and biting into it. He begins coughing when she speaks. "Wo wan 'dop ee?"
Darcy has to laugh "Yes Vincent, despite your table manners. I want to adopt you."
Vincent swallows hard and looks at her. "Sorry ... I ... I mean I ... " he shrugs. "I mean I wanted ... that you know ... and with Gino gone ... if you could. Please. Do." he tightens his jaw, struggling with his emotion. "Shit .. and I was just thinking about him today, too.
Darcy sees his struggle and sighs, nodding "Hey, I'm sorry if I sprung that on you." She reaches over and gives him a little one armed hug "What were you thinking about Gino?"
Vincent hugs her back hard. "No . no I hate surprises but not THAT kinda one." he blinks. "Well first Joey comes off talking like Gino ... and then I was kinda glad I got to come here instead of his place." he sighs. "And then I realized that if I had to tell him, he would want to know what I'd done to Joey .. and the worse I beat him, the less trouble I would have been in with him." he leans against the couch and looks at her. "I gave him some good punches, but I didn't break anything. He MIGHT have a black eye. And I got this." he points to the bruise on the left side of his jaw.
Darcy frowns at his bruise and then inhales "Gino has a messed up way of seeing the world. I'm not happy you punched a guy for the sake of hitting someone. I'm not even happy if it was for a good cause. I do understand it though and I won't judge you for it. It just is. If this Joey kid continues on the path he's on, hopefully karma takes care of the rest."
Vincent nods. "He was all about his son becoming a man. So ... especially since I play the harp, I needed to be more ... aggressive in every other area." he shrugs. "Joey swung at me. I only wanted Daisy to get away from him. I seen that too many times with my parents." he reaches for his plate. "Adopted." he smiles at the sandwich and dances a little. "I need to tell Fi in person." he grins, sort of hoping they can still study together here after school ... even if Vincent was on suspension.
Darcy looks pained by the talk of Gino and his parenting values but then smiles as she eats her own sandwich, listening to the rest. After she eats, she stands up "I'll call Mr. VanBuren back and see about that homework. Classes are still on for a bit so I'll probably have to go at 3:30 to get it all. What did you have this afternoon anyway?"
Vincent nods and happily goes back to his sandwich. This time he swallows before he speaks. "Sure. All my academic classes are in the morning. Music classes in the afternoons. Practicing won't be a problem for me." he drinks deeply. "Man I'm all ... funny now." he can't really voice his mood.
Darcy thinks about that "We might even be able to get that by email if they have the sheet music to scan...." She looks at him worriedly "You don't have a concussion do you?" For all she knew this Joey kid could have knocked Vincent's head into a wall or the pavement even though she couldn't see any head injuries.
Vincent is chewing and nodding as she talks about the sheet music. Then he swallows and looks at her. "What? Oh .. no ... Joey got a couple punches in, but mostly ... yea. I won. This isn't a concussion. I know what THAT feels like." he finished the sandwich, nearly inhaling it and washing it down with more tea. "I mean I'm just ... all ... happy and light." he grins. "I'm gonna get ADOPTED!" he's giddy.
Darcy looks relieved and smiles "I'm glad you feel excited about it. I do too kid. Sometimes people come into our lives for a reason."
Vincent considers that. "Yea. Vincent used to tell me that God makes no mistakes, even if we think he did. And sometimes it doesn't make sense. So .... coming here .. meeting you ... Gino's crimes ... all of it it like weaving my life."
Darcy nods "Something like that yeah. I'm iffy on the god idea but fate. I took this job to escape form the big city, to try and figure myself out somewhere quiet. Then all of that from the flip side. Up until two years ago I'd only heard of Alexandra as a ferry terminal." She laughs.
Vincent grins. "Yea well... the Bittettos are Catholic, but also I guess his um ... grandfather or great-grandfather or someone ... straight from Italy so some polytheistic stuff from there. The Web Of Fate or something. I might look it up while I'm on this suspension." he could probably just laze around the apartment but he loved studying on some subjects.
Darcy takes her plate to the kitchen and chimes back "Catholic Italians. Consistent and yet unpredictable breed..." She teases "Oh the tea!!! Very strong Jasmine tea..." She laughs and pours.
Vincent nods. "Yea. They are. I remember church .. that's where I learned most of my Italian. And in 13's kitchen." he smiles. "I really like that tea. Never got it to much ... before ... mostly coffee. Didn't know there were so many teas." he laughs and looks towards the window.
Darcy fakes an Italian accent "Because it's nota cappucino!" She brings the tea over and sets a mug near him "Sorry, not to make fun of your culture. Feel free to mock French Canadians though." She says laughing as she sits.
Vincent snorts. "Oui, oui! Tres magnifique." his French accent teases right back. He leans back. "Man I need to not be tired." he laughs. "I guess it was kind of an emotionally draining day for me."
Darcy giggles and then looks at him through mothering eyes "Why don't you go take a nap? Do you need Advil for the swelling first?"
Vincent laughs. "I'm not six!" he protests, but tenderly touches his jaw. "Actually .... " he concedes. "Yea ... I think I'll take both ... the Advil and the nap. Damn Darcy Mom .. you're a natural at this."
Darcy rolls her eyes and shrugs with a grin "You don't have to be six for me to look out for you kid. Let me go get you some painkillers."
Vincent sort of macho snorts and rubs at his jaw while she heads for the painkillers. He stands and moves to the dining room table, on his way to his bedroom.
Darcy comes back to him with Advil and water and then gives him a little kiss on the side of the head "Go to bed kid. I'll get that school work call in while you sleep.'
Vincent smiles and takes the pills. "Thanks Darcy Mom ... for everything." he kisses her on her cheek and heads into his bedroom, looking down and realizing he can't see the clinic really from their height. So he strips to his boxer briefs and climbs into bed, asleep in less than two minutes.
Darcy watches him walk to his door and then turns and places a quiet call to the school. She gets the answering service maze and finally ends up with the option to leave a message for Mr. VanBuren's inbox "Hi Mr. VanBuren, this is Darcy Lynch calling about Vincent DiAntoni. Thank you for your call. He's home safe now. If there's any chance we could get his homework sent to my email over the next few days, he'd like to not fall behind. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and have a good afternoon."