Title: Under These Rocks and Stones
Author: Aeryn Sun
Feedback: Yes, please
Archiving: Ask, and ye shall receive. Just ask first.
Rating: R for rough language and a certain expected level of angst.
Spoilers: This is a sequel to Spin Out . Any episode is fair game.
Series/Universe: Under These Rocks and Stones.
Summary: Nicole talks to her mother while Sam and Brooke enjoy a somewhat quiet day.
Warning: If the idea of two women involved in a romantic relationship together disturbs you, run, run far far away and never look back. If it's illegal where you live, move quickly. If you're under the legal age, age quicker, it's fun here. Other then that, enter at your own risk, and enjoy.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were. I bow to their creator and offer my humble thanks. I make no profit from this, only harmless (?) fun. My profit comes in the form of feedback.
Living is Simple
Author's Notes: Yay! My `Stones' muse has awoken from her coma!
Nicole parked her car in the all-too familiar driveway at the Julian mansion. Part of her missed her childhood home; but the larger part of her just wanted to drive away in the direction she came. Fond memories of the ostentatious building were few and far between and none of them included her mother whom she knew to be waiting for her inside those doors.
Cursing herself for agreeing to this meeting with her mother, Nicole slammed her car door shut and walked up to the front door. She knew that whatever her mother wanted, it was going to end up in a huge fight with her nerves frayed and her stomach in knots.
(God, I really don't want to see that harpy. Money-hungry, greedy bitch that she is,) Nicole thought to herself She knew really that the only reason her mother would want to see her was to `talk' about the trust fund Nana left her. And since Nicole wasn't going to sign the rights to it over to her mother in this or any other lifetime, the whole meeting was a waste of time. Time that she could otherwise be spending with Lily on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.
She let herself in the building, not seeing any reason to knock when technically it was still her home and headed directly to her mother's study. Checking her watch, Nicole saw that she was a tad early but figured the sooner she got this whole thing over with the faster she could get home to Lily.
"Ah, Nicole, you're early," her mother Gayle observed when Nicole entered the study. "That's fine. Be a dear and bring me a drink before you sit down."
Nicole rolled her eyes at the order but poured her mother a scotch before sitting down across from the older woman. She knew better than to try to talk to Gayle if the woman was completely sober. Gayle wasn't the most stable of people on a good day and without a drink to even out her mood and relax her, she was the Queen Bitch, making Nicole a distant second.
(Then again,) Nicole mused to herself (her liver's probably so pickled that there's no such thing as completely sober for her anymore.)
"I'm so glad that you agreed to meet with me," Gayle cooed in an overly sweet voice. The tone made Nicole's teeth vibrate painfully and she started to grind her teeth together.
"Look, I'm here as requested. Could we just drop the whole façade of you being glad to see me?" Nicole snapped.
Gayle tsked her as she sipped her drink and stared at her daughter over the rim of her glass.
"Now, Nic, is that anyway to speak to your mother?" she asked in the same condescending tone. Nicole rolled her eyes again and then glared back.
"You stopped being my mother the day you decided not to accept me for who I am. As a matter of fact, you never really were my mother so drop the bullshit and tell me why I'm wasting a perfectly good afternoon here with you instead of my girlfriend."
All pretense of this being a friendly meeting suddenly vanished from her mother's face as Gayle's eyes turned icy. She slammed her glass down on her desk and returned her daughter's glare.
"Your `girlfriend`," she scoffed. "You can't tell me that you enjoy playing `Homo the Happy Homemaker', can you? I mean, this has gone on long enough. You've indulged yourself with this game for too long and it's time you sent that little ruffian on her way and started to act the way I raised you to."
"She is not a `ruffian'!" Nicole raged. Her eyes flashed dangerously at her mother. "Her name is Lily and you either refer to her by that or, even better, don't poison her name at all by mentioning her."
"Watch your tone…" Gayle started.
"Oh bite my ass you heartless, mean-spirited harpy!" Nicole cut her off. "And for the record, I not only enjoy being a happy, homo homemaker, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. And YOU didn't raise me to be anything other than an emotionless bitch, like you. It was Nana who raised me and she taught me to follow my heart. I forgot I even had a heart for a long time, thanks to you. But now that I found it again, nothing, and I do mean NOTHING is going to ruin it. Not even you."
After a few moments, Gayle took a deep breath and plastered another fake smile on her face.
"Nicole, honey, I think we started off here on the wrong foot. I didn't want to fight with you, I just wanted to discuss things."
"Oh give it a rest, Gayle," Nicole sighed. "The only thing you're interested in is my trust fund. And you can't have it. Nana saw to that."
"Your precious Nana was a senile old bat!" Gayle screamed. "She was soft and weak and she passed those qualities on to you. Obviously Nana was not in her right mind when she created that trust fund for you. That money belongs to this family, which does not include you."
A rage like Nicole had never really known flowed through her veins at her mother's insults to Nana. She just wanted to lunge across the desk and wrap her hands around Gayle's throat, squeezing until the bitch was dead. But the other side of her brain, which sounded remarkably like Lily's calm voice, told her not to give the woman the satisfaction.
"I AM a Julian!" she responded, standing up to look down on her mother, literally now as well as figuratively. "And Nana was a Hell of a lot saner than you've EVER been, you pickled alcoholic!"
"You are not a true Julian," Gayle argued coldly, skipping over her daughter's `alcoholic' remark entirely. "You were just some unwanted little runt of a stray that we picked out of a pile. Obviously a bad choice."
"But YOUR `choice', nonetheless, MOTHER!" Nicole leaned over the desk so that she was practically nose-to-nose with the woman. "You CHOSE me out of all those children, Gayle. Call it fate, karma or just plain bad luck for both of us but you've really got no one to blame but yourself. As for Nana, well, she loved me like I was her blood related grandchild. She wanted the best for me and knew that you would be unable, or unwilling to provide it for me. So she created that trust fund, from HER money, to make sure that even if she were gone, I could provide for myself. And guess what? There's no way in Holy Hell that you will EVER get your greedy, selfish, self-centered but well manicured paws on a single penny of that money. I'll spend, donate, and give it all away before you even see ANY of it."
"You little bitch," Gayle seethed. Nicole smirked.
"Thank you. Coming from you, I consider that a great compliment. Jesus, Gayle, you've got more money than God, why do you want mine so badly?
"You have no right to it," Gayle responded coolly.
"Nana thought I did," Nicole countered in the same tone. "Whether or not you agree with that really is no longer my problem.
They stared at each other angrily, neither one willing to give in.
"You are such a disappointment," Gayle growled. "Oh, and your father," she continued in an overly dramatic way. "He is SO displeased with you that he can't even stand to hear your name." That mode of attack made Nicole blink in surprise.
"My `father' is nothing more than a mouthpiece for you," she laughed suddenly at the absurdity of her mother's comment. Nicole didn't care what her father thought of her same as he didn't care about her. They got along rather happily that way.
"Wow, Gayle, you really must be grasping at straws if you feel the need to drag that overgrown puppet on a string into the argument. That has absolutely no effect on me."
"He is your father," Gayle continued.
"Oh get real! He's no more my father than you are my mother. I thank God everyday that I don't actually share mutual DNA with the pair of you. I'm finished with this little pow-wow. I have better things to do." Nicole turned and started for the door. As she reached for the handle, her mother's voice cut right through her.
"In that case, Nicole, haven't you ever wondered about your REAL parents?" Gayle taunted. Nicole's hand hovered just above the door handle.
(Shit, that bitch HAD to play that card) Nicole swore to herself. She turned back around, suddenly very tired with the whole situation.
"What about them?" she asked, reaching up to rub at her eyes with the pads of her fingers. Gayle smirked and it took everything that Nicole had not to go wipe that smug look off the harpy's face, violently.
"Well, I'm sure you've HAD to wonder about it at some point, haven't you? Who are you really? Where did you come from? What's your family like? Your medical history?" Gayle mused aloud.
"So what about it?" Nicole asked sharply.
"Dear, you don't think we'd adopt a child and not find out everything we could about her, now do you?" Gayle smiled triumphantly.
"So you know about my birth family?"
"And what, pray tell, do you want for it?" Nicole asked, knowing the answer before she even voiced the question. Gayle's smile widened.
"I think you know the answer to that, Nikki. Give me back what belongs to this family and I'll tell you all about your own."
Nicole stopped to ponder this offer. She knew that the vast resources of the Julian family had no doubt gathered boatloads of information on her birth family. And it was something that she'd wondered about since she was 8 and her mother had divulged that she was adopted during a drunken rage at the youngster. Still, she wondered if giving in to her mother was worth it, this once.
Making her decision, Nicole walked back to the desk and placed her hands on the surface. She stared right into Gayle's smug face as she answered.
"I would rather die not EVER knowing about my birth family then to hand you a red cent," she hissed. Gayle's smile faded and her eyes widened in shock at the answer. "So you can take whatever information it is you have, and stick it up your ass. Because I am never, and I do mean NEVER going to give you the satisfaction of ever having power over me again. Do I care about finding all that out? Yes, I won't lie. But your price is too high." she turned and walked towards the door again.
"Besides, I think I have more than enough money now to find all that out on my own," she finished.
"This is not over, Nicole! That money belongs to this family and I will see it returned to us!" Gayle shouted at Nicole's back as the teen calmly walked out on her. Nicole barely bothered to wave at her as she answered.
"Whatever. Knock yourself out. But next time talk to my attorney. Oh and, Happy Mother's Day."
"Pik pack Mackie wak…" Mac shook herself to the beat as best a toddler could while she watched her `Wiggles' DVD. Sam watched the child amuse herself as she and Brooke sat on the couch doing their homework.
"I think I preferred the Teletubbies," she muttered as she flipped back through her Trig papers. Brooke snorted.
"I never thought I'd say this but, I agree," the blonde answered. "To think that we actually miss those frightening little color coded things…"
"I always liked Po. I thought she was cute," Sam added. "Po!" Brooke laughed at Sam's rather accurate imitation of the smallest Teletubbie as Mac turned around to face her sisters.
"Po?" she asked, looking around. She held up her stuffed toy. "Boo!" She then burst into a fit of giggles that only a tot can manage, apparently having amused herself greatly.
Sam looked at Brooke and arched a dark brow.
"I love the kid but sometimes I wonder what really goes on in her head," she explained. "Like sometimes she says something that no one understands and then knocks herself over laughing. Very strange child." Brooke smiled.
"Obviously Sammy, it's her own private joke," she said. "She must get the weirdness from your side of the family." Sam shot her a mock glare.
"Hey!" Brooke raised her hands in a `peace' gesture as she continued to explain her logic.
"I'm just saying that you do it too," she grinned at the confused look on Sam's face. "Sometimes you start to laugh in mid-sentence at whatever you plan on saying but since you haven't actually said it out loud, you're the only one laughing." Sam stuck out her tongue.
"Relax, Sammy, personally I think it's cute." Sam's response was cut off by the ringing phone. She glanced behind her at the readout.
"And Caller ID say's `the winner is…Unknown Caller`," she said sarcastically. "Gee, like that's something new."
"Third one today and tenth in three days," Brooke recounted.
For the past few weeks, since Mike lost custody of Brooke and Mac, the house phone where the girls were living rang at odd hours day and night. It would wake them almost hourly while they slept, and ring the moment that they got home, like someone was watching them. Yet it was always `Unknown Caller' and if they picked up, no one was there. Of course, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who it was.
"Doesn't this qualify as `harassment'?" Sam wondered aloud. "You'd think since we never answer that Mike'd get a new hobby."
"It could be a genuine wrong number," Brooke suggested optimistically. "Or bill collectors…although I don't think Jane has any overdue bills." Sam raspberried in the general direction of the phone as it continued ringing.
"And elephants may fly out of Mike's butt one day too. I just wouldn't hold my breath until then is all. Although it would be funny to see," she giggled.
"Maybe Aunt Terri's right and we should change our phone number," Brooke said sadly. "Damn it, that's like letting him win or something."
"Either that or he can continue to drive us nuts with the 3, 4, and 5 AM wake up calls. Personally I prefer my sleep uninterrupted unless it's something more…fun," Sam wiggled her eyebrows suggestively and got a notebook across the nose for her effort.
"Down, puppy," Brooke admonished although she was smiling. The phone continued ringing and, annoyed, Brooke picked it up.
"For for Christ's sake, we don't want any. And if this is you, Mike, knock it off. You're supposed to be the adult here. Act it, you boob." The answering click that she heard on the other end was oddly satisfying. She hung up the phone and looked back at Sam who was staring at her with an odd look on her face.
"What?" Brooke asked.
"'You boob?' The best insult you could come up with was `you boob'?" Sam snickered. "Oh, you sure told him, McQueen."
"Eh," Brooke shrugged. She was quiet for a few moments, choosing her next words carefully. It was something she'd been thinking about a lot lately and she wanted Sam's opinion.
"Hey, Sam, I've been thinking lately that maybe I should change my last name," she said quietly. At Sam's confused look, she continued. "I just mean, `McQueen' is my Dad's last name and really, I don't want to be associated with someone like that, parent or no."
"Uhm, ok, any ideas?" Sam asked. Brooke shrugged again.
"Well, I thought about `McPherson' because this IS my family now and I thought it's be a great way to say `thank you' to Jane," she explained. "but then I thought about having to explain why my girlfriend and I have the same name and given that some people already think that our relationship is…odd…given our pasts, that would just give them more names to call it. You know, like `incest'."
Sam crinkled her nose up at that thought.
"Ew," was all Sam actually said. Brooke smiled slightly and nodded.
"Then I thought about my Mom's maiden name, which is Aunt Terri's last name. But then I thought about what my Mom did to me and how her abandonment really screwed me up for a while and I don't want to associate with her, either."
"Ok, I think you're running out of options," Sam pointed out. "Unless you just pick a new one, one that you like."
"Yeah," Brooke agreed. She looked up at Sam through her bangs. "Do you think it's a good idea?"
Sam chewed on her lip as she thought it over.
"Well, I can see why you feel the need to change it," she said finally. "But…Brooke, it's just that, in some sort of way, that's letting Mike win too. You know? I understand that you don't want to be tied to him in anyway but `McQueen' is YOUR name."
"I'm not following, Sam."
"I just mean that Mike's given the name such a bad reputation over the last few months that maybe you should keep it. To, I don't know, change that reputation. Mac's last name is `McQueen'. If you change yours, that'll leave Mac as the only sane holder of that name," Sam smirked. "Maybe you should keep it and together you and Mac can make it a good name again. And to Hell with Mike."
Brooke sat quietly as she thought over Sam's words.
"Look at it this way, Brooke," Sam went on a few minutes later when Brooke continued to be silent. "If you change your name, you'll be free of a small link to your father. You'll prove to him that you're your own person. And that'd be great."
"But…" Brooke supplied, hearing the implied word behind Sam's tone.
"But," Sam agreed. "Mac'll be tied to him until or if she changes hers. Alone. Plus everyone knows you as `Brooke McQueen'. And that person has a great reputation, hon. People look up to you, whether you like it or not. Am I making any sense because I'm starting to feel like I'm talking in circles."
"No, Sam, I follow you," Brooke said. "And I guess in some way you're right. I should keep it and make it my own and separate from Mike."
"Exactly," Sam chirped. "Besides, I've gotten kind of used to the `McTwin' and `McSister' comments that Bio Glass has so eloquently saddled us with. It makes us a pair, you know?" Brooke smiled.
"Yeah. Although `McBrats' isn't a favorite."
"No, definitely not," Sam laughed. Brooke leaned over and kissed Sam lightly on the lips.
"See? I knew if I talked to you, you'd help me think things through," Brooke grinned. "Thank you."
"Any time, babe," Sam blushed. The phone started ringing again.
"I swear to God if that's Mike again," Sam growled. Brooke glanced over.
"Oh, the Caller Id says Julian, N." She picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Hey B, just checking in," Nicole replied. "How goes it?"
"Other than the crank calls that Mike's occupying himself with, pretty good actually. You?" She heard Nicole snort on the other end.
"Spent some quality time today with the old bag."
"Bet that was fun," Brooke said sarcastically. She didn't even want to imagine how THAT conversation went. At least with Mike he was too much of a coward to actually speak TO them.
"Oh, definitely. Like having a Belgian wax using superglue," Nicole retorted. Brooke winced at that image.
"Exactly. Anyway, hon, could you do me a favor and wish Jane a Happy Mother's Day? I'll be by this week to give her my gift."
"Nic, you do so much for us anyway, there's no need," Brooke objected.
"Well, I felt like buying her something. She's been more of a mother figure to me in this past year than Gayle's been for the past 18."
"Nic…" Brooke started.
"Forget it, B, it's done," Nicole cut her off. "So what you and Spam get her?"
"You know, the usual: cards, candy. And a new CD player complete with a bunch of CD's she's been wanting. You know, Jane actually has really good taste in music. Even if it is OLD stuff," Brooke laughed. "So we're teaching her the difference between CD and vinyl."
"Hey, vinyl's making a comeback," Nicole reminded her. "Hey look I gotta go. I'm taking Lily out to dinner and I have to get ready. Say 'hi' for me. Later B."
"Bye Nic." Brooke hung up the phone and shook her head. Although the smile on her face let Sam know that nothing was actually wrong.
"What's Satan up to?" Sam asked. She and Nicole were back to using their nicknames for each other. But now they were said with more mutual affection than animosity.
"Taking Lily to dinner. She saw her mother today and I guess it didn't go well," Brooke explained.
"I would imagine not," Sam agreed.
"She said to tell Jane `Happy Mother's Day' and she'll be by with a gift this week." Sam sighed. She had no doubt that Nicole had more than likely gone over the top on a gift for her mother.
(Eh, well at least I know my Mom will appreciate just about anything, given how stressful things have been. The thought that Nicole thinks of her as a mother will no doubt make her day) Sam decided.
"That's nice of her. God only knows what Nic's idea of a Mother's Day gift is, though," she giggled. Brooke nodded.
"True. OK, Sam, we've stalled long enough. We need to get back to our schoolwork if we have any hope of actually passing this year. We've missed so much school with all the crap that's gone on that we're still far behind. It's already May and if we want to graduate next year, we'd better work at catching up." Sam stuck her tongue out at the blonde next to her and crossed her eyes.
"Slave driver," she grumbled. "You know, they say that `God only gives you as much as you can handle', right?" Brooke nodded. "Then what the heck is that man thinking?"
They both burst out laughing at the absurdity of Sam's question before eventually going back to their schoolwork.