|Luke Henry is cursed to live for (aneternity) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2014-03-23 16:35:00
|Entry tags:||batman, faust|
Who: Luke and Adam (+ the kids)
What: A surprisingly civil chat.
Where: Some indoor play area.
With everything that had happened in the past weeks, between Jack nearly dying and Wren being stuck through the door, Luke thought they were warranted a break. Gus especially had taken it hard, and since she needed rest and quiet to recover he decided to take the little boy out for the day, leaving Evie to watch Lia and Wren to have some time to herself. The weather was nice but instead of taking him to the park, or the zoo, their two most frequent hangouts, he decided to try one of those indoor play areas instead. It was a change, at least, something new, and he’d loved places like that as a kid. Maybe Gus would be the same. And, if not, they could always just go for ice cream and pet some baby goats; anything with animals always calmed him down.
The place wasn’t too crowded, thankfully, and Gus lit up at the sight of jungle gyms, forts, and enough space to run around in. Still, he was hesitant, sticking close to Luke as he found a quiet spot to take off their shoes since there was a socks-only rule in effect. “Okay, kiddo. One foot up,” he instructed, and Gus giggled as he attempted to balance himself for a one-foot-at-a-time shoe removal.
Adam didn’t love his time spent with Delilah. She was a good girl. The kind who was eager to please a man like Adam that expected the most out of everyone. Adam even had a soft spot for her somewhere, but most of the time her eagerness to please meant that he could keep going on as the distant father figure. Wasn’t he lucky?
“Go play.” Adam held the little girl’s hand with his long, bony fingers and pointed out at a jungle gym surrounded by soft squares to jump into. Delilah was delighted, tugging and spinning as she begged him to come play with him. “Later.” He promised with a thin smile and then bent on his knee to help her take her shoes off. One after the other with such methodical grace it hypnotized the small child. He held the tiny sneakers in his hand and with Delilah opened her arms up for a hug, he tried not to hesitate before giving in. Getting attached was a mistake. It was what got him into this mess in the first place.
As the tall doctor slowly got to his feet, he watched her scramble towards the jungle gym before shouting “Gus!” and skipping towards the Henry boy as if they hadn’t seen each other in forever. Adam felt panic, looking for the parent of the boy before locking eyes with Luke. His eyes were cool blue, relaxed and reserved as ever and he gave a small, barely there wave towards Henry as if he hadn’t told the man that he was too poor to be a good husband months before.
Luke had just managed to get his other shoe off without the boy topping over when the girlish shout of “Gus!” reached his ears, and both he and his son looked up simultaneously. Since only Wren had met Delilah, he didn’t recognize the redheaded girl who skipped their way with a bright smile and recognition for Gus in her eyes. Normally Gus was shy, even around his kids own age, but his face lit up in a way that indicated recognition on his part too. “Hi,” the little boy greeted, before informing his father in a whisper that “she’s Delilah”, who he’d heard a lot about after their trip to the zoo. Right, MK’s niece. The one who, for whatever reason, someone had seen fit to give her and Adam custody of. He smiled as Gus introduced him as ‘his daddy, the policeman,’ and then it clicked that Delilah couldn’t have been here alone. He wasn’t sure who he’d rather see, MK or Adam, but when he spotted the other man he realized it probably didn’t matter; he wasn’t on good terms with either of them anyway.
He stared for a second, maybe two, before returning his wave. Gus clearly wanted to go play with his friend, indicated by the way he squirmed, waiting for permission, and Luke nodded after a moment. “Go ahead, but be careful,” he reminded, and the two children scampered off in the direction of the jungle gym. He considered, very seriously, completely ignoring Adam and staying right where he was, but why? He had nothing to be ashamed of. He wasn’t the one who’d turned into a complete asshole, after all, after his friend had done nothing but try to help him. Yeah, he still believed there was something intrinsically good in Adam, and MK too, that had gotten buried, but he was beginning to think it was buried so deep that it would never see the light of day again, and he was tired of being belittled because he kept trying to unearth it.
But he could be the bigger man. He could show Adam that he really just didn’t care anymore. If Wren wanted to ignore the past and forgive MK, fine, but he didn’t have to follow her lead. So, once the shoes were set down, Luke approached the other man with as much of a smile as he could muster. “Hi.”
Adam was surprised that Luke walked over and that man’s forced smile was so hardfought it was almost amusing. His twisting anger at the Henrys for their perfect little world had dampened once Delilah came into the picture because wasn’t this what he always wanted? A beautiful bride-to-be, a child and all the money and hometime that he wanted? Sure it was difficult to drink or pop pills around the child (not to mention the needle waiting for him in a secret box), but it was interesting trying to find ways around that as well. Maybe, Adam thought, he and Luke could be on the same page again.
“How are you?” He asked with that robot inflection and the lingering smile that lost its meaning the longer it stayed on his lips.
There was absolutely nothing about Adam’s life that Luke was remotely envious of. Sure, the money would have been nice, but he didn’t need that and it wouldn’t have been worth the misery. Maybe it was cruel, thoughts like that. He felt a little guilty, but only a little. Cruelty had always been short-lived with him despite his claims otherwise. “I’m good,” he said, having no intention of disclosing their recent door problems. “Busy, you know, but good.” He shrugged. “You? Getting used to having Delilah around?”
Adam was sure of two things: Luke was delusionally happy and he needed money. Maybe he didn’t realize it yet with only an infant and a toddler, but he would once Christmas came around. Once they needed braces for their crooked teeth. Once they wanted money to take girls to movies and buy clothes that wouldn’t get them bullied. Adam knew and he smiled at the good like he saw something Luke did not.
No, Adam was no longer an envious man.
“Planning a wedding. Delilah enjoys looking through frills and flowers. Barely have to discipline her. Not that Maddie K would ever deprive the girl of anything.” He spoke so deliberately. No inflection on any single word, which made all of it somewhat menacing. “Should be this summer. Maybe fall. Interested in attending?”
There was something about Adam’s smile that rubbed him the wrong way, and while it could have been his imagination he was pretty sure it wasn’t. Had Luke been miserable and bitter, had he and Wren not worked out, maybe he and Adam could have stayed friends. But now, he wasn’t sure they were capable of anything more than civility and strained small talk. Even the way the other man described his life, the wedding and Delilah and MK, sounded so flat and matter-of-fact. Luke loved talking about his family, but there was an absence of the warmth and fondness in Adam’s words that he thought should have been there. “She seems sweet,” he remarked, watching the children play. And then he asked if he’d be interested in attending, and he turned to look at him, eyebrows raised. He didn’t actually want to go, but if Wren and MK managed to stay friends long enough then he’d go for her sake.
“Would we be invited?” He almost smiled, because really, after the insults and the ties between them being all but severed, an invite to their wedding seemed absurd.
In the distance, Delilah turned and waved at Adam enthusiastically and it was clear to anyone watching that the little girl was eager to impress the solemn doctor. It seemed odd on the surface why a child would like someone so incredibly serious. Someone so distant and unimpressed with simple childlike joy. But, anyone who had seen a girl from a broken home knew the truth. Adam represented an absent father figure, a man who could never love her enough to stay out of trouble for her and here was her chance to show she was worthy.
And, instead of giving the girl the support she deserved, Adam remained distant. And, Delilah didn’t seem to mind.
Adam turned to look at Luke. “Invited? Of course.” He said it as if there hadn’t been any bad blood. “Have few friends. Would like you there.” It was absurd how sincere his voice sounded just then.
He watched the little girl wave, watched Adam’s lack of reaction, and he felt a pang of sympathy for the poor kid. Maybe, one day, Adam and MK could be good parents, but he highly doubted they’d managed to fix themselves in a matter of weeks. They needed to take care of themselves first before they could take care of a child, but Luke had to stay out of it. He wasn’t going to interfere; trying to help had failed time and time again in the past, why would it be any different now? He knew Wren wanted to help MK, and that was fine. She could try. He’d be there to make sure she didn’t get hurt in the process.
Had he been a different kind of person, he would have made some sarcastic remark about why Adam had so few friends. Most people didn’t appreciate being insulted and torn to shreds. But he didn’t say anything, he just looked at the other man, trying to figure out if he was deliberately acting like everything was fine or if he was delusional enough to think it was. Either way, though, he figured it didn’t matter. “Yeah, okay,” he said, finally. “We’ll come.”
Adam gave a small, thin smile that crept across his face mechanically. “Glad.” A nod of his head and then a slow pause as he returned his gaze out to the kids playing on the jungle gyms and ball pits. “Would like it also, if you would consider being my best man.” Adam said clearly, as if doing so was a great honor. A bridge between the pain the two of them had caused each other over the past year. Having Luke there in a tux watching a beautiful, expensive wedding filled to the brim with strangers would be the final piece proof that his life was going to be perfectly molded. Adam would have his wife, a child and their friends. And, maybe one day MK would get off the drugs and actually give him a child of his own that he could raise to be a perfect little boy.
Luke highly doubted that Adam was actually glad, but then he was asking him to be his best man and this time he failed to hide his surprise. Okay, so it did occur to him that he might be asking because he didn’t have anyone else to ask, but still, it was a pretty big thing. Had he and Wren done the more traditional thing then Jack would have been his, no question. He had to think, to consider if he actually wanted to stand there and be Adam’s best man, but how could he say no? MK would probably ask Wren to be her maid of honor. Oh, he should tell him exactly where to shove it. He should tell him that after all the shit he’d put him and Wren through, he’d rather die than be his best man. But this wasn’t the place, and would saying those things actually accomplish anything? Maybe it was better this way. They wouldn’t ever be able to be friends like they’d once been, but civility was better than hostility. He’d spent too much of his life being angry and hating people; he didn’t want that anymore.
Still, he wasn’t ready to say yes. Not without at least talking to Wren first; he didn’t want to agree only to find out that she and MK were no longer talking or something. And, really, Adam couldn’t have expected him to give an answer so quickly. “Yeah,” he said. “I mean, yeah, I’ll consider it. I-- thanks for asking me.” It took some effort to say, but he managed a smile. This didn’t mean everything was fixed. It didn’t even mean he forgave him. But, he was willing to play nice.
Adam half expected Luke to explode right there at the indoor playplace with all the other mothers and fathers watching on. Their own children (even though Adam still couldn’t accept Delilah as his own). But, he was pleased that Luke didn’t and even gave consideration to Adam’s request to be in his wedding. A real smile, one that was rarely seen and most wouldn’t believe to be true, crossed his face. “Means very much to me.” Adam didn’t know how to work things out. He knew how to smooth them over. How to ignore them. And, if MK wanted to make friends with the Henry’s again, this was the only way to do it.
He felt a strange emotion. Happiness. It was a fleeting thing and when Delilah waved at him again, this time Adam waved back. “Should go play with her. Promised.” Adam said to Luke and then nodded, stepping away so that he could go help Delilah climb the jungle gym across the room.
Luke had been all but positive that Adam hated him, and so he was left utterly confused when he smiled. It wasn’t mocking, wasn’t full of false sincerity; it was the first glimmer of the old Adam, the one he’d actually called a friend, he had seen in a long, long time. He hadn’t even thought that man existed anymore. He nodded, hiding his uncertainty behind a smile. When Adam waved back at the little girl so eager for his attention, Luke thought that maybe, just maybe, Delilah could be good for him and MK after all. If they let her into their hearts, as well as their lives, and actually tried, maybe they could change.
Or maybe he was just being stupid. He couldn’t tell. “Yeah, of course,” he said, of Adam going to play with the little girl. “It was… good seeing you.” He watched the two together, trying to figure out what had just happened, whether it was genuine or an act. Even when Gus scampered over, babbling about Delilah and asking questions about who Adam was, he only half heard and it wasn’t until the little boy tugged on his hand that he actually snapped back to the present. “Yeah, kiddo, we can play,” he told him in response to his most recent question, and scooped him up with a grin.