andhiswife: (smile - pensive)
One unexpected side effect of Greta's visit with Biffy yesterday - and the initially mortifying but subsequently reassuring realization that she'd got the wrong end of the stick - is that it's made today's visit with Sam and Jordan less daunting. At first, it had been hard to convince herself that she wasn't imposing, what with the terms mostly being dictated by a three-year-old that she and Sam were both inclined to humor. Now, after the humbling reminder that sometimes she reads too much into things and frets over nothing and embarrasses herself, it's easier to just take it all at face value. All of them were looking at a more dismal holiday than they'd anticipated, so they're spending it together to make it a bit more cheery for everyone. Simple as that.

With a mind toward keeping the girl entertained (and reckoning that sorting out the day's activities shouldn't fall on Sam's shoulders, or be driven solely by the whims of a toddler who might get overwhelmed or frustrated), she'd brought along all the necessary ingredients and materials for making gingerbread men. She'd tested the recipe in her own oven, and was confident Sam's wouldn't be so different. And because it was Christmas, and because she wanted to leave her hosts with a more permanent gift than food, and because she liked having the excuse to experiment with some of the stranger yarns this world holds, she'd knit them a pair of hats. They didn't match perfectly - Sam's was mostly blue that faded into white around the brim, and she'd inverted the colors for Jordan's - but they clearly went together, and she thought the blue rather suited them.

The hats seem to go over well, but it's the baking that really captures Jordan's attention. They end up making a fantastic mess in Sam's kitchen, the girl stirring the dough with more gusto than finesse. It ends up being too tough for a three-year-old's arms to handle, but when Greta catches Sam watching a bit wistfully (she knows that look; she's usually the one trying to hide it), she makes a playfully casual remark about how people who plan on eating the gingerbread really ought to help make it, which is all it takes to rope him into the proceedings. It goes more smoothly with his help, though by the time the cookies are in the oven, all three of them have a rather liberal dispersal of flour about their persons.

Somewhere between cooling the cookies and icing them, Jordan ends up sprawled on the couch in an abrupt but unsurprising nap. Greta watches her for a moment or two with a fond smile, then turns to look over the kitchen, her smile turning considerably more sheepish. They've really done a number on the place. There's even a splotch of flour on the poor dog.

"I suppose we ought to do something about this, as long as she's asleep," she says, dropping into a crouch and coaxing Marvin over so she can wipe him off with a corner of her apron, giggling quietly.

Date: 2017-01-20 07:41 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
While, on one hand, having a three-year-old has meant that Sam has gotten pretty well used to his apartment being a mess, he's not sure it's ever been quite as bad as this, his own cooking mishaps a little less messy. He's also not sure he's ever been this pleased about it. Alright, so the flour scattered everywhere might not be ideal, but it's worth what it took to cause that to see Jordan having so much fun, to be able to say that he did, too. It may be a new sort of entertainment where he's concerned, but there's something so refreshingly normal about the three of them standing in his kitchen making cookies, in the way that he's always wanted Jordan to be able to have and never really has himself. That same feeling lingers even once she's dozed off, Sam brushing a streak of flour off his cheek as he makes his way back over to Greta.

"We probably should," he says with a laugh of his own, surveying the state of the kitchen and trying to figure out where to start. "Better to do it now than wait until she wakes up and have her tell us how boring it is."

Date: 2017-01-21 09:44 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
"It's okay, I'm kind of used to it," Sam says with a laugh, starting to gather what he can of the rest of the dishes. "Not the kitchen and the flour, exactly, but having someone like her running around tends to mean that things are more fun and more messy." This is just a variation on a theme, especially when it comes to the presence of someone else here. It isn't as if they've done things entirely on their own. For a while, they spent plenty of time with Andrea. Eden comes by sometimes. Still, this is a change of pace, and a welcome one, for how good Greta is with Jordan. Now that they don't have Jordan hanging around nearby, he thinks he should take advantage of the opportunity to tell her how much he appreciates that, but it's hard to find the words to start.

He moves to the fridge next, pulling the door open so he can stick a couple of things back into it. "Usually I'm stepping on things wherever I go. Don't be surprised if she manages to get half her toys underfoot while you're still here."

Date: 2017-01-26 06:47 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
"Sounds like a deal," Sam says, turning his head to grin over at her as he shuts the refrigerator. All of this is, he has to admit, a lot easier with two people, especially now that Jordan has dozed off for a while. Usually, whenever he does try to make anything, he winds up having to do all of the cleanup himself and keep her entertained at the same time. It's a life he's pretty well gotten used to — even before Andrea disappeared, it was the two of them here, after all — but it's still not one he'd ever imagined for himself, something of an adjustment at the best of times, enough to run him ragged. A second pair of hands makes a lot of difference.

He has to wonder, briefly, if this is what it would have been like if he and Andrea had stayed together, if they'd had the life he expected them to. As soon as it occurs to him to think about, though, he makes himself let it go. No good will come from dwelling on that now, and it isn't as if this is the same thing.

Grabbing another dishcloth — not the one just used to sweep flour into — he walks over to stand beside the sink, leaning against the counter. "Thanks for the help. I don't usually have company over who then cleans up, too."

Date: 2017-01-28 01:51 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
"That's true, they usually don't," Sam allows, though he's smiling still as he does. Even if she's the one who brought the baking supplies and the reason they've been making cookies in the first place, there are probably plenty of people who wouldn't bother to clean up someone else's apartment, no matter how much of the mess they contributed to. That, or maybe he's still just not used to not having to do this on his own, grateful as much for her willingness to insert herself into his and Jordan's mess of a life here as anything else. Not everyone would sign on for this in any capacity. Greta, though, evidently doesn't mind spending time with a three year old and a single parent who's still figuring out how to be one.

Just because he's long since stopped missing Andrea the way he used to doesn't make this any less of an adjustment, for him as well as for their daughter. He's lost one more person, and it's staggering, really, realizing that he's got to figure out how to parent for the both of them. It makes him that much more appreciative for anything that brings Jordan a little bit of normalcy. He's not much good at that himself, his own life a pretty far cry from it.

"And, honestly, I'm glad you could make it. Anytime you wanna come help me keep her entertained, you're more than glad to." It's not just about that, either. If that's all it were, he could take her to a daycare as often as possible and that would be the beginning and the end of it. Whatever's gone unsaid, there's an understanding here, or at least it seems to him like there is, and that means a lot to him, too. "It's nice having some company that's not a three year old."

Date: 2017-01-30 10:46 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
"Hey, I mean, I love her, but it makes it easy to set the bar pretty low," Sam jokes as he takes the bowl from her and dries it with the clean dishtowel. It's true enough, really, but it's not like he's just settling, either, in having her over. He's never really been overly social, and it would be easy enough to keep Greta, like he does with most people, at arm's length, using work and Jordan as an excuse not to get too close. Still it's tempting, but with her here and Jordan temporarily down for the count, he has nothing left to fall back on, and he doesn't mind that. Even without ever having had a chance to talk much about it, he's always gotten the sense that she gets it, at least to an extent. Now he supposes is his chance to find out, or at least tell her what he hasn't, her question both providing a way in and leaving him to pause for a moment, considering his response.

Nodding, he says after a few seconds, "Yeah, a while. Almost three years now." It's weird — staggering, really — but in spite of everything, he can smile just a little at the thought of it. "Jordan was just a few months old when we turned up. And now she's — well, running me ragged, obviously." Even now, a part of him feels a little guilty for it, knowing that a span of time like that has got to seem daunting, but he can't very well ignore it, either. It's part of the rest of what he has to say, if he decides to say any of it, the whole story about him and Andrea and her disappearance feeling like it's on the tip of his tongue. He's not altogether used to that, but maybe that's the reason why. If he talked about it more, it wouldn't be threatening to spill out of him now at just a moment's prompting. "Still hard to believe sometimes."

Date: 2017-02-01 11:00 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (pic#7567015)
It's something he's thought about a lot, one of the few fortunate spins to put on a situation as unpleasant as theirs was when they got here. Any older, and Jordan would likely remember the island where she grew up, the family she had, him and Andrea together, his father always around. If those losses were all hard on him, he can only imagine what an adjustment it would have been for her, trying to explain the way that time works here and that her own mother didn't know her, that she had started a relationship with someone else. One day, of course, he'll tell her the whole story of where she came from, of him and Andrea and how they got together and how good things were for a little while. She's nowhere near close to ready for that yet, though. Just Andrea's disappearance, and Andrea and Spike's son, too, has been difficult enough for her to try to comprehend. He's not about to add anything more to that, especially having been where she is now and knowing how hard it is to try to deal with.

With Greta, though, is a different story. Sam has been telling himself since he met her not to let all of this spill, but he doesn't have Jordan as an excuse not to talk about it anymore, and maybe she deserves some truths, to know just how they got here and what the situation is, especially now that they've progressed past a few chance meetings to her coming over to bake Christmas cookies. Having someone to talk to could only do him good, anyway, and he'll have the sense to back off if it becomes too much.

"No, definitely not easy in the slightest," he says with an exhale of a laugh, shaking his head. "Like you said, at least she was too young then to remember anything else, but showing up here..." He pauses, though he doesn't let his expression grow too serious. It wouldn't help anything now. Regrets won't get him anywhere. "Before I got here, Jordan's mother, Andrea, and I had been together for a long time. Sort of accidentally, we did everything backwards, but we'd figured it all out by the time she came along." He nods over at Jordan, mostly just as an excuse to steal a glance and make sure she's still asleep, before he continues. "Then we got here, Jordan and I, and Andrea'd been here for years. Not only did she not remember anything past our going on one or two dates, but she was with someone else."

Date: 2017-02-02 06:20 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (pic#7567015)
Sam shrugs, the gesture a little helpless, his attention more on the dish he's holding than on Greta, mostly because he knows what he'll see if he looks at her. She's not wrong. It was awful then and it is awful now, all the more so for the fact that Andrew and Jordan developed a relationship before the former disappeared. He wouldn't have been able to blame her for it if she couldn't do it, take on the responsibility of being present for a child who might as well have been someone else's, and Jordan, at least, wouldn't be grieving the loss of her mother now. At the time, of course, he couldn't have known that, but it's hard not to think about now, guilty as he might feel for it, as much as he always appreciated Andrea's willingness to step in and make Jordan part of her family, too.

"I got a job," he says. "Started settling in, getting her what she needed. Andrea got married." He doesn't add that, once, he'd been considering asking her himself, before his life got turned so upside-down by arriving here. That chapter of his life is one he's put behind him, and while he does find himself missing, on occasion, what they had, he stopped pining over her a long time ago. It wouldn't have done him any good. "And we... became friends, I guess. She was great with Jordan. She had a baby a little less than two years ago, who disappeared with her." He huffs out a laugh, but there's not really any amusement behind it. "It kind of seemed like we'd just started figuring out how our lives were going to fit together when she was just gone."

Date: 2017-02-05 05:58 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (only when I hit the ground)
It should surprise him more than it does, Sam thinks, to hear that she has a child back home. After all, it isn't like any of this has ever come up before. They've never really had the chance to talk like this, though, with Jordan always around, and it's struck him every time they've been around each other, just how good Greta is with his daughter, not the only reason he's found himself so appreciative of her company but certainly part of it. Some people are just like that, he knows. They possess some instinct — one that he had to fight hard to find for himself, having never imagined himself as a parent — that lets them take to it as if it's something they were born for. Mostly, he's written that off as being the case with Greta, but he's not sure he ever really believed it. Of course she has a child back home. it just makes sense that she would, in its own sad way.

The rest, though, a story stranger than he's heard in a long time, he can't say the same about. Curses and witches and things like that, they're nothing he's used to so much as considering as a possibility. Once, he might have dismissed it outright. Even if he had any doubts now, though, the look on Greta's face when he glances up at her would seem to serve as proof that she's not making any of this up — as if anyone would — and besides, he's been here for a long time now. Strange has become commonplace. He had a baby with a woman whose world was overrun by zombies. Witches and spells aren't that unbelievable anymore.

Right now, that seems to be so far from the point anyway that he can't bring himself to comment on it. Instead, a small, sympathetic frown on his face, he nods once. "Yeah," he agrees. "I guess it does." His whole life has been like that, though, marked by one loss after another. He'd thought he was used to it. Where Jordan is concerned, though, apparently that's not the case. That's a whole different story, anyway, one he thinks he'd tell her, but not right now. Not on the heels of a confession like that.

Some part of him, some instinct he can't explain or define, wants to reach out to her somehow, to rest a hand on her arm or shoulder, to say the things he can't otherwise put into words that way. Instead he keeps himself occupied with drying a dish, swallowing hard before he speaks again, not wanting to let what she's said go too unacknowledged. "I'm sorry," he adds after a moment, his voice low, soft. "That you showed up here without them."

Date: 2017-02-20 07:51 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (to give me some relief)
"But," Sam echoes, the word itself seeming to have enough meaning on its own. There are plenty of ways that sentence could be ended, and he understands all the ones he can think of, because he's been there, too. But it's hard to show up here alone. But losing people never gets any easier, no matter how often it happens, and especially when it's family. He's lost Andrea twice over now, in a manner of speaking, and his father three times over. It's been long enough now — since he was a child, really — that he's gotten used to it, but he still feels the weight of it acutely, finds himself stopping to think at times about what that will mean for Jordan. All he's ever wanted, since finding out he was going to be a parent in the first place, was for his child not to have a life like his. She's barely three years old now, and his chances of that are already sunk.

And for Greta, showing up without her husband and child... He's in a position to guess at what that must feel like, and watching her seems to tell him a good deal on that front, too, though he has the sense not to comment on it. It's hard enough, he's sure, without him making too much of it, without running the risk of sympathy coming across more like pity, something that's never sat well with him and that he wouldn't want to foist on anyone else. Besides, she's right. They aren't alone now. It makes all the difference, even if he has to remind himself of that fact often, that he still has people here, in spite of how many he's lost. He supposes he can count Greta among them now, though that, too, he hesitates to say. They're both here. That says enough.

"No," he agrees instead, with a small little smile to match her optimism. "We're not." He glances briefly over at Jordan, still mercifully asleep on the couch, then turns to Greta again. He can't quite shake the feeling that there's more he should say, but it's not his place to dwell on if she doesn't want to. Instead, he adds, "So at least there's that."

Date: 2017-02-22 03:00 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (hear the words and have faith)
It isn’t what Sam is expecting to hear. He can't say he’s never been told as much before, or like anyone has suggested otherwise, but it’s never really sunk in, either. If nothing else, he’s never stopped worrying about it, especially now that he’s doing this on his own. Even after he showed up here and the two of them weren’t together anymore, he had Andrea every step of the way; back on the island, he had his father, too, to give advice when he needed it. Now, maybe they’re not alone, like she said, but this is still uncharted territory for him, and there’s nothing he wants as badly as he does not to fuck this up. She deserves better, a life different than the one he had. Already he’s fallen short on that front — Andrea disappearing was outside of his control, but it’s hard not to feel guilty about that even so — and can only try to make up for that.

Part of what makes it so surprising, though, is that he’s seen the way Greta is with Jordan. It seems to come naturally to her in a way he’s not sure it ever really did for him, and he appreciates that, and her willingness to spend time with them, especially knowing that she had a child of her own back home who hasn’t come here with her, more than he knows how to say. He’s certain, too, that she must have been a great mother, making her compliment, one she sounds so sure of, carry that much more weight.

"I try," he replies, wry, a little joking, though his tone softens a little after just a moment. "Really, I… try very, very hard. I just want to give her the best life she can have." He pauses a beat, then says with a short nod of acknowledgment, "Thank you."

Date: 2017-02-25 09:01 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (pic#1074034)
It's the all things considered that Sam finds it hard not to get stuck on, that he wishes he could change. He can't, of course, any more than he could control the things that have happened in the first place. If it were up to him, Andrea would still be here, and William, too; if it were up to him, their family wouldn't have splintered in the first place, leaving him somewhere that Jordan's mother never even remembered having her. In moments that he would call weaker, he likes to think, in much the same way that time apparently keeps going after people show up here or that Andrea was on the island with him but here in Darrow too, that there's a world in which they're all together, him and Jordan and Andrea and his father, maybe sharing a makeshift Christmas dinner together right about now.

He stopped pining after her a long time ago, though there is, of course, a part of him that will always love her. It isn't about that. Jordan won't get to know most of her family, though, and after growing up without significant parts of his, that's a difficult thing for him to try to come to terms with.

Greta isn't wrong, though. Jordan seems about as happy as the circumstances could allow, and doing things like this helps a great deal. The gratitude still rattling around in the back of his head coupled with the hand she's rested on his shoulder makes him that much more tempted again to reach for her in some way, to offer the same, but he can't quite tell what would or wouldn't be out of place, or how easily he could write it off.

"If we're both still around, remind me you said that when she starts reaching the age when she'll hate me out of principle," he says instead, lightly teasing, his smile something like fond, and not just for Jordan's sake. He wouldn't wish this place on Greta, of course, least of all now that he knows she has a family to get back to, but he thinks she'll know that. "Plus, speaking of people she adores, she's pretty crazy about you. I don't think you're getting rid of her anytime soon."

Date: 2017-03-03 09:41 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (pic#1074005)
He needs all the help he can get and he knows it, but saying so in as many words seems likely only to lead them in a circle. Sam isn't entirely sure just how true it is, anyway. They've managed well enough, these past few months, and while they aren't entirely alone — he has friends to turn to, people who care about Jordan and who'll watch her if he asks — he's still been pulling the bulk of the weight, second-guessing himself at every turn but so far not leading them anywhere too disastrous. It is, then, maybe less about what he needs than about what he wants. Jordan can't have the family he didn't, that possibility long out of range now, but she can at least have people who care about her, and maybe be able to appreciate that like he couldn't. He was just old enough when his father disappeared to feel the weight of that so keenly that no one else's attempts at kindness registered until long after the fact. Jordan doesn't have to be like that, like him.

"I always need help looking after her," he says, hedging his instinct a little, smile wry and clearly teasing, an exaggeration. It's true, and he'll never turn down help, least of all from someone Jordan is clearly so taken with, but better to put some levity into the words. "Or even just someone for her to be with for a little while other than me. And, yeah, there should be a broom in the closet, one sec." It isn't far, but he still has to cross in front of Jordan to retrieve it, and walks a little more slowly, cautiously, as he does, not wanting to risk waking her. It's for that reason that he doesn't suggest any other means of cleaning the floor, though this might be a bit more time-consuming. She doesn't stir, though, a relief when he's back in the kitchen, broom in tow. "Mission accomplished."

Date: 2017-03-14 05:42 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
"Oh, yeah, there is no way she'd sleep through that," Sam says, chuckling a little just at the thought of it. She may be sleeping pretty heavily for the moment — at least, enough so that their conversation and cleaning hasn't stirred her — but the vacuum would be an entirely different story, and while he knows they probably only have a little while before she's up and looking to be entertained again, he does not want to deal with the inevitable tantrum that would ensue from such an abrupt awakening. "She can't stand that thing anyway. Waking up to it would not end well."

She'd get over it soon enough, too, but everything has been so nice, so peaceful, sort of like how he imagines things ought to be, that he's reluctant to disrupt it in any way. Besides, even with what they've been sharing, he can't help but appreciate having a little time to talk to Greta himself, not just keeping Jordan occupied. It isn't just for his daughter's sake that he thought this would be a good idea. There are other people he could have invited over for that, other plans he could have made, if he didn't enjoy her company, too.

Starting to sweep up the flour on the floor, he adds, "So I can definitely get why it scared the living daylights out of you. It does with her every time."

Date: 2017-03-19 03:00 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
"No, no, I can't say he's a big fan of it, either," Sam says, laughing as he does, though careful still not to let his voice get loud enough to disturb the sleeping pair on the couch. "Not enough to start screaming or crying either, but it doesn't usually go over well." That's always been the case, though, even when it was just the two of them, what feels like a lifetime ago now. He does, every once in a while, miss that makeshift apartment, not to mention its view, though he knows full well that it wouldn't exactly be the best place for Jordan. Mostly, though, what he misses is something far out of reach, a life that stopped being his a long time ago and won't be again.

He can't help it if Christmas serves as something of a reminder of that.

Smile growing a little wider, a little more teasing, he adds, "It usually requires very careful timing. And Jordan usually takes Marvin and hides."

Date: 2017-03-27 05:45 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
"Yeah, I give them time to move between rooms. I'd rather it take longer and keep the peace than interrupt them," Sam says, half-teasing. "Not worth the trouble, you know?" The same goes now, using the broom that he's just glad he even has rather than inevitably waking Jordan up with the vacuum. "And yeah, yeah, same closet." Seeing her already starting in that direction, he gives her a nod, continuing to sweep up the flour rather than lodging any sort of protest and offering to go instead. It's not like it's far or any sort of trouble, and after she's — they've — been baking in his kitchen, there's no sense in standing on any sort of ceremony and insisting that he do everything because it's his apartment. The whole idea of it seems silly anyway.

Date: 2017-04-02 07:15 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
Seeing Jordan seem to start to stir in his peripheral vision, Sam freezes, too, watching her carefully in case she seems about to wake up. It's short-lived, though, and somewhat of a relief for it — it will still only be a matter of time, he's sure, before she's up and active again, but he doesn't much want to risk anything contributing to her waking, knowing she'll likely be grumpier for it — and by the time Greta has made it back, dustpan in hand, it's all he can do to bite back a laugh. He's well-accustomed to having to sneak around on his own while Jordan naps. Having a partner in crime, so to speak, though, makes the whole thing a little more entertaining.

It's nice, really, at once somehow both comfortable and strange. There's an ease to it that accompanies his knowledge of what a far cry this is from what he's used to, and the fact that he probably shouldn't let himself get used to it now. Greta is a friend — a relatively new one, but a friend all the same — but she hasn't been here long at all, and he knows that must have played a part in her coming over today. That, of course, and Jordan's abrupt invitation. The whole thing has worked out well, really, but it seems probable that by the time the next holiday rolls around, she'll have somewhere else to go, someone else to spend it with. Jordan's got him more than wrapped around her little finger and he knows it, that he's entirely too willing to bend to her every whim, but that doesn't mean he would expect as much from anyone else, or for her to drop everything and arrange plans around them at Jordan's behest. It's something to enjoy while it lasts, and that's all, a chance for Jordan to experience something normal. This definitely beats whatever he could have figured out for just the two of them.

"At least there's that," he says, just as quiet as before, a trace of amusement carried in his voice. "Well done, though. For a second there, I really thought she was about to wake up."

Date: 2017-04-05 07:58 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
It's clean enough, Sam thinks, which tends to be his approach in general. Back home, it would have been even less so; on the island, there'd been less to worry about. He's never going to be a world-class housekeeper, though, and he knows it, so this, as far as he's concerned, is plenty good enough for now. Any lingering flour, he can deal with later, maybe in the time between whenever Greta leaves and Jordan goes to bed for real. If not, there will be tomorrow morning — and perhaps the promise of that is a lie he's gotten used to telling himself, when he's seen so, so many people come and go, but he prefers not to think about if he'll leave this place, or when, or what will happen if he does, mostly because he doesn't know what would happen to Jordan. Children usually leave with their parents, he's been told that much, and seen it firsthand. William is gone, after all, at the same time as Andrea. Even if that weren't the case, he has a plan in place in case anything does happen to him. He still can't bear the thought of it, and yet the idea of Jordan just somehow ceasing to exist is even worse. Still, he doubts he'd turn up back in L.A., suddenly in possession of a three-year-old. There's too much uncertainty and no way to win, and now hardly seems like the time to let himself get caught up in it.

"Good question," he says, gaze lingering on Greta for just a moment. Maybe it's the occasion itself, the fact of her being here, so neatly slotting herself into their holiday and, in a way, their lives, and the nostalgia for a life he never got that it brings up in him. Whatever the reason, though, he thinks she looks nice like this, standing in the kitchen, her hair falling loose. She must be used to this, though; it must be normal for her. "We wait and see how soon she decides to rejoin us, I guess." Quickly, as if it's only just occurred to him, he adds, "Do you want anything? A coffee or a tea or whatever?"

Date: 2017-04-11 03:59 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (pic#7566971)
Truthfully, Sam has never been all that much of a tea drinker. He's not even entirely sure, now, where the tea he keeps in his apartment came from — Eden, he'd be willing to bet — but he knows there's a box of something around here somewhere. All he can really do is hope that he finds it before he makes too much of an ass of himself, opening a few cupboards until he finally locates it. It's not a bad thing to keep on hand, really. If nothing else, it's better at the end of a long day when Jordan's been running him ragged and all he really wants is to get a little rest than a coffee would be. That it's helpful on the rare occasion that he has company is an added bonus.

"Tea it is," he says, sounding just a little pleased with himself for having found it without too much trouble, stepping around Greta to get the electric kettle in a back corner of the counter so he can fill it. "Tea and... early cookie tasting." He shrugs, smile widening. "I think, in this case, what she doesn't know won't hurt her, right?" There isn't a chance, really, that Jordan will notice any cookies that go missing; she'll be too preoccupied with decorating for that, and trying to eat as many cookies as she can without being noticed. There's really no getting around the inevitable sugar high she'll have, but he thinks — as ever — that it will be worth it. For her, it always is. To give her a better sort of Christmas than he could on his own, it's especially so.

Turning to Greta to offer a conspiratorial smile, he pauses, then, noticing what he hadn't before — a smudge of flour along her cheekbone. "Hang on, you've got a—" It's an instinct, and so is the way he reaches for her, his hand at her cheek to brush the flour off with his thumb. A moment too late, a moment of lingering a little too long, of being too aware of the change in proximity, and he realizes that there's probably a line crossed, wincing with the realization, his smile sheepish, apologetic, as his hand drops back to his side. "Sorry. Flour."

Date: 2017-04-16 08:33 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
Something changes. Sam doesn't know what, exactly; for that matter, he doesn't know if it's all in his head, or if it really is the product of having gone a step too far. He could have just pointed it out to her, something that occurs to him several moments too late to be any kind of help. She probably would have noticed it herself before long, anyway. That instinctive reach, he hasn't got an excuse for it, except, maybe, that he doesn't do this sort of thing, has no roadmap as to how it's supposed to go. He has friends, yes, but this is still a different situation. They've known each other a matter of weeks, and if he wants to get technical about it, Jordan is the one who first extended the invitation. He likes to think that Greta wouldn't have come purely to humor her, and evidently the two of them can manage to get along without a three-year-old to guide the conversation, but it isn't as if there's years' worth of familiarity between them, a boundary, or lack thereof, already defined.

She doesn't seem bothered, at least, not that he can tell. Still, it's like the air in the kitchen gets heavier all of a sudden, charged, almost, and the next breath he drags in takes more effort than it probably ought to. So does keeping that same sheepish smile in place. His hand is still warm from her cheek. He shouldn't be thinking about things like that. It's nothing, but it isn't, all at the same time, and he — Well, he's got no good excuse for getting carried away like this, even if it does make sense, in its way. It's Christmas, and he so rarely has company as it is, and he's already been thinking about how far this is from what he's used to, the life he never got to have and that he's always wanted for Jordan. Of course he'd get swept up in that, and a little over his head as a result.

He knew when he'd backed up Jordan's invitation that it wasn't just for her sake that he was doing so. He should have known what this would do to him, or at least how confused it would leave him.

"I'm pretty sure that stuff's got a mind of its own," he says, shaking his head. "I mean, you'd know better than I would, I... don't really do this sort of thing, but at least that's the impression I get." It's probably inescapable, really. Jordan alone isn't responsible for the flour that, a few minutes ago, was scattered over the kitchen floor, and so much could wind up underfoot, it only stands to reason that some might have wound up on one or both of them, too. Cleaning the kitchen floor, though, wasn't half as awkward as he feels now, entirely too aware of where and how he's standing, the space they each take up and both the distance and lack thereof between them.

Date: 2017-04-19 08:52 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
"Yeah, I'd imagine something like that would have made a pretty big difference," Sam says, quietly grateful for the shift in subject. It shouldn't matter, it doesn't matter, but his hand still feels warm where he touched her cheek, and he knows better than to let himself spend any time thinking about that, or what it means. There'd been flour, that's all, and maybe he acted on a little too familiar an instinct, but that still doesn't mean anything. She came here to help them bake cookies, because Jordan wanted her to, and that can be the beginning of the end of it. So can the fact that he's enjoyed talking to her without Jordan around, a welcome realization when his daughter has grown so fond of Greta. He'd have done the same, he's sure, for anyone else standing in his kitchen with flour smudged on their cheek.

He tries not to think about what it means that it probably wouldn't feel so substantial if there were someone else standing here instead. It doesn't matter.

"No, I think we're safe with two," he says with a laugh, still careful to keep his voice low. "She can only count so high, you know? It's not like she's gonna do a careful inventory when she wakes up. As long as there are still plenty of cookies, I think we'll be in the clear." And there will be at that. For her, it may as well not make any difference at all, so there's really no reason why he and Greta shouldn't give them a try ahead of time.

Date: 2017-04-20 07:23 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
Whatever tension may have been in the air, it fades. Hell, now that it's gone, Sam isn't so sure that it wasn't entirely imagined, the product of — he doesn't know what. The strangeness of this whole situation, maybe, or the fact that it feels so normal in a way that's anything but for him. Of course that would have him hyper-aware of everything going on. Emotional wouldn't be the right word for it, but it's easy to get caught up in this, to almost let himself think that it really could be normal and not just a one-time, or rare, occurrence. It won't be, of course. Greta's a friend, or becoming one, and he'd like to think that maybe this sort of thing could happen again, if only for Jordan's sake, but he'll never be able to give her the life he wants to, the steadiness he wants to.

Granted, he's not sure how normal life on the island with him and Andrea, former zombie hunter, would have been, but it would have been something. His daughter would have had a family. It would have been enough.

"Oh, I already don't," Sam says, casting a fond look in Jordan's direction. He's been wrapped around her little finger since the day she was born and he knows it, but she's something else already, and he'd be crazy to underestimate her. "But at least when it comes to counting, I've got a little time before she can call me out." Taking the gingerbread man Greta's handed him, he bites into it — an arm — and then nods approvingly. "Seems good to me," he agrees. "I mean, you're the expert, but..."

Date: 2017-04-24 10:39 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (Default)
"I... You are probably not wrong about that," Sam says, laughing, remembering just in time to keep his voice down. He doesn't even remember the last time he had gingerbread, for one, and it was probably store-brought and mass-manufactured. Greta, though he wouldn't have doubted it, really knows what she's doing, and there's something nice about enjoying something they've — well, mostly she's — made. It's more personal, and it's still hard not to be fairly taken with this whole turn of events, the normalcy of it. He wouldn't know how to begin to tell her how much that means, so he doesn't try. "I mean, homemade is definitely a big step up from whatever you could get in a store."

Jordan will love it. Jordan will probably be spoiled by it and expect nothing less from now on. He's half-tempted just to ask Greta now if she'd be interested in doing something like this again, but even now, he can't quite find the words for it, still figuring out how to rely on other people and ask them for help where Jordan is concerned.

Date: 2017-04-28 06:30 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (pic#7566972)
"I'd like that, yeah," Sam says, not bothering to try to hide how pleased he is by the offer. It isn't as if he would have asked or expected anything from her. For all he knows, her being here today is a favor of some sort, prompted by not wanting to let Jordan down, or maybe just that she didn't want to be alone for Christmas either. But for her to foist experiments of any kind on them suggests future plans of some sort, and he knows he can speak for himself and Jordan both to say that they'd like that. He doesn't want to let her gorge herself on sweets or anything, mostly because he's well aware of the sugar high that would inevitably follow, but still, it's nice of Greta to think of them at all, and a hell of a lot better than whatever he could buy in the store.

Grocery shopping is, if he's honest, something he's only started to get used to since showing up here anyway. The island didn't exactly call for it, and back home, before any of this, he lived mostly on takeout, something that would be beyond his means here, and not good for his daughter besides. She factors into everything now. There's no getting around that. Clearly, it's become the case with the people he might start to befriend, too. He likes Greta in his own right. He likes her a lot more for how good she is with Jordan.

"And she definitely would. More than she should, probably, but I think between the two of us, we can make sure she doesn't get too out of hand." Maybe that, too, is overstepping a little, but she's the one who's suggested it, and he doesn't think she would disagree with his line of thought. "That's gonna be the case today, too, you know. Give her half a chance and she'll stuff half of these into her face."

Date: 2017-04-29 08:09 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] improvises
improvises: (pic#1074004)
"Two fully-grown adults against a three-year-old? Yeah, I think we might be able to manage it," Sam says, his smile turning just a little fond as he glances over at Jordan, still asleep on the couch. God knows she can be a handful, but he's never let it matter to him that he didn't sign on to do this alone — didn't sign on for it at all, really, only rolled with what came at him. Strange as it is to think about now, he still remembers with startling vividness the day Andrea told him she was pregnant, that it was his, and how that turned absolutely everything upside down. He'd been fucking clueless, nothing short of terrified, but he'd been certain, too, that there was only one path for him to take. He grew up without parents. He would never have willingly deprived Jordan of one of hers.

It's just almost funny to think about sometimes, how this once would have been the last sort of life he expected for himself, and now he can't imagine life without her. It doesn't matter that the circumstances might not be what he'd have hoped. They have each other, the two of them, and no matter how crazy she might drive him sometimes, he'll never be anything less than grateful for that.

"I mean, she's pretty formidable, but at least she can't reach high surfaces yet."

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The Baker's Wife

July 2017

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