|jess (veracity) wrote in onthewall,|
@ 2007-09-04 21:49:00
In Her Back Pocket, Roxy LeBlanc, PG
Title: In Her Back Pocket
Characters: Roxy LeBlanc
Fandom: Army Wives
Time Frame: Pre-series
Beta(e): smartasschef14, natacup82
Summary: Roxy realizes dreams shift over time.
Prompt: 125) People's dreams are made out of what they do all day. The same way a dog that runs after rabbits will dream of rabbits. It's what you do that makes your soul, not the other way around. -- Barbara Kingsolver. For femgenficathon.
Author Notes: This was slow in forming. I had the idea the minute I saw the pilot of Army Wives, but I couldn’t figure out the way I wanted it to play out. I’ve wondered what life would be like for Roxy before Trevor, about the life she lead. How hard it would be to raise two kids alone.
The sink was piled high with dirty dishes, kinda reminded her of that tall mountain she learned about in third grade. Trash duty was about three days late, and starting to smell something awful. Maybe it was the chicken fat, or the old sour cream. Who knew anymore? Besides, who had time to clean after working an all-night shift at the bar? She barely saw the boys as it was. Cleaning wouldn’t be a worthwhile exchange, not when Finn was growing in leaps and bounds and TJ was starting to ask about school and when could he go. Though, it really needed to be taken out. And the boys’ room was a dump with furniture floating around somewhere.
It hadn’t been this bad until Marta’d came flying in a month ago, giving promises and gifts like candy. Never mind that Roxy had moved three towns over to put a little distance between the family bonds. A kid could only handle so much heartbreak, and she wouldn’t subject her boys to that kind of pain. Couldn’t shield them forever because Marta was their grandma, making it hard to bar her forever, but a good parent would try their best.
Besides, her mama only came to visit when looking for a handout. After Roxy’d said no, Marta acted hurt, real sorry, and said she’d understood. That Roxy didn’t owe her anything and she’d been a terrible mama. She wanted to believe her mama, she did, but Marta only did was best for Marta. The rest of the equation didn’t count. Growing up with an alcoholic had taught that to her at an early age.
“TJ! Let’s go! Mrs. Macery is waiting. Finn!” She marched into their bedroom and found TJ playing that violent game Marta had bought him. Hell, she’d bought the gaming system, too. There was a reason why Santa hadn’t brought the “great big green box” for Christmas two years running. The world was violent enough; no need to screw up their childhood for what they’d meet with as soon as it was school time.
“TJ! What did I tell you about that game?” Raising girls couldn’t be much harder than this, could it?
“Sorry, Mama. I just wanted to play before we went next door.” He turned the game off without saving it. Well, at least that was a battle won today.
“Where’s Finn?” She asked while looking under the bed and in the closet for him.
“Peein’. Snack ready?” TJ left the room and went into the kitchen, looking for the snack she’d made to take next door.
Great, this day just keeps getting better. Following the sound of splashing water in the only bathroom, she found Finn playing in the toilet bowl. The dirty bowl. “Finn,” she groaned aloud, “What are you doing?” Grabbing his hands and undressing him at the same time, she put him in the shower, turning it on for a quick spray him down. Two seconds after it was done, he was running into the living room buck naked. Going back into the boys’ room, she grabbed his Spiderman jammies.
While putting the clothes on Finn, she heard a plate break in the kitchen. The desire to bang her head into a wall until she was concussed didn’t surprise her at all. Swinging the dark-haired boy onto her hip, she went to investigate the new mess. She called out, “You okay?”
Walking carefully around the corner, she found him in the corner, avoiding the little pieces of glass. “Hey, it’s okay.” Tiptoeing back to the doorway, she put Finn down. “Go play in your room for a minute. Mama needs to clean this mess up, okay?”
“Sure! Play with Thomas!”
Getting the broom and dustpan out, she swept up the mess without managing to step on anything. After throwing it away, TJ ran to her, tears running down his cheek. “Shhh, baby, it’s okay. Accidents happen. Look at your mama. I make a mess daily, don’t I?” Grabbing a couple granola bars, she put them in the overnight pack that served as luggage for the boys. Mrs. Macery had a key to get anything she needed, but better safe than sorry and all that.
“Finn! Time to go!” Hustling the boys out the door, she glanced at the clock. 7:54. There was no way she could get to work in six minutes. James was going to have her hide…again. Well, such was the way with two kids under six. Besides, she was the best bartender and server he had. He couldn’t complain.
With the door locked, she knocked on 214. Mrs. Macery opened the door for the kids to run in. “Hey, Roxy. You doing okay?”
Watching her two boys run to Doris, the elderly lady’s cat, she sighed. “Not really. I’m running late again. I should be home no later than three. Sorry, you know James and staying late if you get there late.” Saying goodbye to the boys and reminding them to be nice, she ran down the steps to her car, which luckily turned over. It was a definite hit or miss these days. She’d need a new one soon. Affording it would be another question entirely. They were barely staying afloat as it was. Well, she’d cross that bridge when Scooter finally went to the great junkyard in the sky.
Walking into the bar at 8:15, she said hello to the regulars, and neatly avoided James while clocking in. Putting on her apron and taking orders in the two tables next to the bar, she got to work; time flew as she entertained the clients, some new and some not. Bradley was back with his latest piece, who was not his wife. She knew that because Rachel was working at late-shift at the plant, trying to earn more money for her husband and six kids. He’d get his soon enough. Rachel’d started to get suspicious, or so she’d said last week at the apartment mailboxes. Tom, the owner of the mechanic shop next door, was nursing a beer, watching Billie Kay flirt with some out-of-towners.
Closing down at 2:30, she helped stack the tables and chairs. James had blistered her ear during the half-hour lull, but that was fine. So long as she got keep her job and pay the bills, it didn’t really matter much.
Arriving back at the complex at 3:20, she yawned while walking to the stairway.
“Hey, Roxy.” A couple feet away, a tall, skinny dishwater blond man was smoking a cigarette in his doorway.
“Oh, hey, Emmit.” She never told anyone that he made her feel uneasy.
“Kinda late, innit?” He stomped out the cigarette, walking towards her.
“Well, good night.” She cleared the stairs in thirty seconds. Maybe it was rude, but she didn’t trust him, especially since she was convinced that he wasn’t doing completely legal things in the apartment. Something just felt off. After Jesse, trusting instincts was a good idea. The first apartment complex after the divorce had been a rat hole and ended up being condemned six months after she moved in. This was the third complex in a little less than two years. One day, she’d find a decent one.
A quick knock on the door, and Mrs. Macery let her in to bundle up the sleepy boys and take them to their beds. Thank goodness for elderly neighbors who missed their grandkids, otherwise there’d be no way to make the kind of money needed to support the three of them. Nothing wrong with government help, but growing up with Marta did show that it was easy to abuse when the chips were down. Roxy intended to show the boys how to make do with what you have.
Closing the door halfway, she padded into her bedroom. Stripping and replacing the tight denim skirt with comfortable boxer shorts and an old, faded t-shirt, she skipped cleaning her face and went straight to sleep.
Less than three hours later, the boys were up and wanting breakfast. Grocery store brand Coco-Puffs at the table, then a snapping on of PBS, the boys were watching Big Bird spell using the letter of the day. Dead tired, she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, ready for their afternoon nap already. She needed a good nap, too. Watching her boys with bleary eyes, she remembers the dreams she had in high school. Going to college to be a beautician had been the largest. Not because of her mom, but the money would be steady and everyone needed a good hairdo, especially Ms. Connelly, the 40-year-old divorcee in 305 with her horrendous peroxide dye job. Maybe getting married before she was thirty to a good guy that wouldn’t run around or abandon her, settling down and having a couple kids while living in a nice house. Maybe a dog.
The only dream she had these days was keeping her kids healthy, happy, and safe. That took priority. Besides, she wasn’t giving up on her dreams; it was just a delay. She never knew what life had up its sleeve.