Title: Carmen the Vampire Slayer – What I Did On My Summer Vacation: Mike McQueen
Pairing: Carmen / Brooke
Rating: PG 13
Disclaimers: Everything good belongs to someone else. Popular characters belong to Ryan Murray etc and the Buffyverse belongs to Joss Whedon etc. I own nothing and I make no profit from playing with the characters and ideas.
Author’s notes: This story takes place in the summer between junior and senior years and is part of a series of short stories from the point of view of different characters.
“Brooke, honey, I was wondering if we could have dinner together, just the two of us?”
“Mike, are you talking to yourself again?” Jane McPherson called from the bedroom next door.
Mike McQueen stared at himself in the mirror and mopped the remains of the shaving cream off his face.
“I was just practising” he mumbled to himself.
“Practising what?” Jane asked, suddenly appearing in the mirror behind his shoulder.
“I um talking to Brooke” Mike couldn’t believe he had admitted that.
Mike watched as Jane’s face tightened.
“At least your daughter still talks to you.”
As Mike turned to take his girlfriend in his arms he wondered again he should tell Jane the truth.
Brooke looked around the diner where Mike had driven them. It looked vaguely familiar, something about the grease spattered paint around the grill
“Dad this isn’t…”
“The place we would come on our ‘dates’ before you got too cool to hang out with good old dad” Mike finished for his daughter.
“I wasn’t going to put it quite like that but yeah” Brooke laughed.
She picked up the plastic coated menu off the table top and peered at it.
“You know, I think this is the same menu from 5th grade.”
“So I guess you’ll have the usual: cheese burger, fries, diet soda…”
“..and a banana spilt” Brooke chorused along with her dad.
Mike smiled across the room at his daughter as she ordered for them both from the counter. It was nice to see her looking happy, which was somewhat surprising considering how the past couple of months had gone. With a number of her friends killed or missing and Sam’s depression Mike could hardly see what there was for her to smile about. And if what he suspected was true then sooner rather then later Brooke was probably going to have more pain to cope with. He knew he had to tackle this carefully otherwise Brooke would think he was crazy.
“What’s on your mind?”
Mike had been so preoccupied with his thoughts that he hadn’t noticed Brooke returning with their sodas.
“I was just thinking” he replied lamely.
Brooke fixed her dad with a penetrating look
“Come on Dad, I know that look. It’s the ‘I need to talk to you about something and I don’t know how to’ look. It’s the same one you had when you wanted to have ‘the talk’. Besides” Brooke waved her hand indicating her surroundings “there had to be a reason you brought me here.”
Mike watched as Brooke took a long drink of her soda and reached for a salt packet from the basket of condiments in the middle of the table. Tearing open the packet Brooke poured it on the table and began to trace patterns in it with her fingertip. I’m not the only nervous one, Mike thought suddenly. As Brooke continued to draw Mike cleared his throat.
“Look, Brooke, the thing is I’m not blind to what has been happening lately. And I’ve seen it before, when I was your age. And what I saw then are things I wish I had never seen and that I had hoped you would never have too. Seventeen is a difficult age, you’re about to enter your senior year and you don’t need to have to deal with anything extra, I mean SATS are bad enough without…” Mike paused to take a breath.
“Without what?” Brooke prompted staring straight at him.
Just then the waitress brought over their food and for a minute they were occupied with plates and napkins. Mike waited until the waitress was out of earshot, fiddling with the ketchup bottle.
“Without what?” Brooke said again and Mike noticed that her voice had an edge to it.
This was turning out to be harder than he had thought. I just have to say it. Mike decided:
“I know about Carmen. I know that she’s…”
“Gay.” Brooke interrupted her father.
“…a vampire slayer.” Mike finished.
“And she’s my girlfriend” Brooke continued.
“How did you know about slayers?”
“Wait, your girlfriend?”
The two McQueen’s stared at each other over their burgers.
“I…” Brooke began but Mike held up his hand
“Wait, we’ll deal with one issue at a time.”
Mike allowed himself a large bite of his burger and chewed it slowly, more to gain time than anything else.
“But…” Brooke tried again.
Mike raised his eyebrows and swallowed.
“I’m the parent here, I get to decide what we talk about first.”
Mike drank some of his soda trying to decide what to ask first.
“How long have Carmen and I…?”
“Well, that too, but how long have you had feelings for other girls?”
“Um, a while.”
Mike waited while Brooke ate some of her fries. Finally she said:
“When things didn’t work out with Josh I knew that I wanted something more. And once I got to know Carmen better, well she was more.”
“So it’s just Carmen?”
“Dad!” Brooke blushed “If you’re asking me if I’m attracted to other women, well, yeah, but with Carm it’s more, it’s…”
“You don’t need to explain” Mike said quickly, realising that he was blushing too “So, you and Carmen?”
“Huh?” Brooke choked on her fries.
“Have a drink, honey.”
Mike waited while Brooke sipped on her soda before clarifying:
“How long have you been dating?”
“Um, since before prom, sort of. I mean we hadn’t actually gone on many dates.” Brooke paused “You know, she’s pretty busy with…with the slaying.”
Mike realised that this was bringing them right back to that other topic.
“Dad, are you ok with me and Carmen?”
Mike reached his hand across the table and gave his daughter’s a squeeze.
“I’m a little surprised but of course I’m ok with you being gay. I mean Carmen is a lovely young woman, it’s just, well it’s complicated.”
“Because Carm’s the slayer?”
“Dad, how did you know that Carmen…and vampires, you know about vampires right?”
“Brooke, I’ve known about vampires and slayers for a long time. As for Carmen, I’ve seen her and Ms Glass out at night, near the cemeteries, when I’m driving home late sometimes. And with everything that’s been going on, bodies vanishing, well it seemed a little too familiar. I’m assuming that Ms Glass is her watcher?”
Mike took some of his fries and watched his daughter decide what to tell him.
“It’s ok Brooke, I understand about the need for secrecy. You see back in high school…”