Is there anything such thing as a happy L5Y fic? I think not, oh well I hope you enjoy it anyway :D
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing plots and characters (except Lauren) all belong to the incredible awe-inspiring Jason Robert Brown!)
Cathy wakes up suddenly to the sight of her tiny little girl snuggled up to her, eyes closed peacefully in perfect slumber. Her own eyes blink reluctantly as her vision adjusts itself to the incoming sunlight.
Hey kid-good morning, you look like an angel. I don't remember when you fell asleep… We should get up kid, Jamie is waiting.
At least she hopes he is.
Look at me lying here dreaming, pretending.
Cautiously she tries to get up without waking her sleeping angel. As she pulls back the hand-knitted comforter she feels her hand get caught on something. Surprised, she tugs and sees small white threads entangled in the diamond on her left hand. It's been five years since he left, but she still hasn't taken the ring off.
I made a promise and I took a vow.
Silently she swings her legs over the edge of the bed, a soft thud makes her grope bleary-eyed for her glasses. Once she locates them, she looks around to see what fell. Staring up at her from the carpeted floor is Jamie's softly smiling face. She still isn't sure why she continues to read his books, or why they keep her up so late. No matter how many times she sees it though, that picture of him always gets to her. She remembers taking it when he wasn't looking, and every time a new book of his comes out she is surprised to see it still there, gracing the back and inside covers.
We wrote a story…
She can't leave the book on the floor and now that she's holding it she can't resist flipping to the one tear stained page at the very back of the book. According to fan buzz it's the last book in the series, but she knew it before anyone else. Why? Because Cathy knew it was about them. That was obvious from the first page of the very first book, and for that reason she thought she could guess the ending, but she was so wrong.
And he changed the ending
The couple in the book end in 'happily ever after', but their marriage was far from that. He had left without a word of explanation just a note; a feeble apology, which could not make up for the pain he had caused her. In fact he never even checked up on her. Never knew that he had left her with a child, their child. Neither of them even took the time to make the separation official mostly because Cathy doesn't want him to know about Lauren. Here she is working two day jobs, forced to put her baby girl in daycare and still stuck in Ohio every summer. That BFA isn't good for much else…
Jamie, just look at me now.
Still even if he did come back she wouldn't have him, not after what he did. Leaving without a real explanation or even a goodbye.
Hold on, facts are facts.
Why should he deserve to know about Lauren? He didn't raise her. He wasn't in the delivery room when she gave birth. HE didn't spend sleepless nights caring for her!
Just relax lay low.
Despite all this he is still Lauren's father. And a child deserves to know her father even if the father doesn't deserve the child.
Alright, the panic recedes.
But, what if he wants partial or even complete custody of her baby?
Nobody needs to know.
Today is the last day before summer. Cathy remembers when she was younger, in high school and even college summer was always anticipated and savored. Now though, it was dreaded. Today is her last day with Lauren for the next three months and part of it has to be spent driving up to Watertown where her parents live. Every summer she drops Lauren off in the capable hands of her mother as she goes back to Ohio for a summer of minimal but steady paycheck.
Put on my armor I'm off to Ohio back into battle till I don't know when.
Every summer it's the same she is pretty much guaranteed leads and supporting roles in all of the community theatre productions. Some of the sweet younger fans make the bitter pill of Ohio living easier to swallow, but nothing ever seems to changes. Except for this summer…this time something is different.
"Jamie? What are you doing here?"
"Doing what I should have done years ago. Making sure you're alright. How are you Cathy?"
"Fine, still stuck in Ohio as you can see."
He chuckles, "I half hoped I wouldn't find you here because that would mean…Anyway, what's new in life?"
She stares at him in shock, "I can't believe you! You are acting like nothing happened between us!"
He frowns at her outburst, "I'm not trying to upset you, it was just a friendly question. You don't have to answer."
"I don't really believe you care, but if you must know life is pretty much the same."
Swearing to him that I never was with you
"…Except without all the pain and confusion you caused!"
His eyes search hers knowingly. She was never able to lie to him or hide anything from him. If only he had had that problem as well. "Are you sure? You seem different."
Panic settles in. And the fear of discovery forces her to use every ounce of her acting abilities to mask her distress. She doesn't have a real home, a career, or even a husband. Lauren is all she has left.
Praying I'll hold you again
No matter what she cannot let Jamie know about Lauren
Hold on clip these wings
She had always sworn that she would never be the girl "stuck at home in the burbs" but now that's all she wants. Cathy Hyatt the girl who wanted out now she only wants to have a real home with her baby girl. She only wants to be tied down, to have safety and security ensured for the little life that has been entrusted to her.
Things get out of hand
"I'm sorry sir could you repeat that?"
She interrupts him coldly, "My name is Ms. Hyatt"
"Ms. Hyatt you've been such a faithful member of our company, but…how should I put this? That bigger theater that opened down the street is running us into the ground and we're being forced to make some paycheck cuts."
Something in her snaps, "What are you talking about? You barely pay us anything now! Do you expect us to work for free? Or I guess not for free, but I suppose that myself and all the actors would be more than willing to bring the joys of theater to the people of Ohio without monetary compensation. Is that right?"
Her voice goes up another octave, "In fact we should be paying you for giving us this invaluable theatrical experience!"
"Ms. Hyatt! That is quite enough, this is not something I want to do but I am forced to make this decision for the good of the company…"
She interrupts him unceremoniously, "The company's good or your paycheck? Where is that money really going to go? Because if it's going into your filthy pocket…well it better not! Because I have a daughter and I'm doing my best to provide for her and this paycheck…well I might as well quit if you cut my pay."
The director's usually hard face is even colder and harder than usual, "Ms. Hyatt you may come by to night to pick up your final paycheck, but as of now I want you out of my office. Immediately."
All right it's over it's done
She leaves the office thunderstruck. Hot tears threaten to fill her eyes as she walks down the street to her shared run-down apartment. As she enters she slams the door behind her, gaining some temporary satisfaction from the resounding 'thunk' of wood hitting wood.
No one will understand
Three days later she shows up on her mother's front porch, hoping for but not expecting sympathy.
"Cathy, how could you? How could you lose your temper like that? You have a daughter to provide for now."
"I know…I know."
No one will understand
"I'm sorry Lauren, I'm not a very good mommy. I'm so sorry."
We built a treehouse I kept it from shaking a little more glue every time that it breaks
She is lying in bed wondering how she ended up here in her parents' spare bedroom. Her life had been so perfect, some might have even called it picturesque. Jamie and Cathy Wellerstein, were well off and happy together. He was living his dreams and she was pursuing hers. What had happened? They had jobs and a home, but she had ignored the signs. The nights he came home from parties, hours after they had ended. Not matter how glaringly obvious it became she still denied it, she refused to believe that he was being unfaithful. And she had tried to make for his neglect, like somehow it was her fault.
When he came to Ohio that summer five years ago she had thought that everything was going to be alright.
Then he starts making conscious deliberate mistakes
That's what she thought, but he left almost as quickly and suddenly as he had arrived.
Over and over she reassured herself that it was nothing. She was being jealous and paranoid over nothing. But unconsciously she pulled away, she no longer wanted to give herself fully to him because she knew in the depths of her heart that he was no longer fully hers.
All that I ask for is one little corner one private room in the back of my heart
"Nothing seems to belong to me anymore..."
Not Jamie, not her pride, her apartment, or even her job. But, Lauren is hers and only hers.
Tell him I found one he'll send out battalions to claim it and blow it apart
If he ever found out, he would want her. She knows that for a fact. Jamie Wellerstein always wanted what he didn't have. And despite everything that has happened she cannot pretend that he is not affectionate and if he knew he had a daughter… But, no! If he knew he would take her away, then what what would she be left with? Nothing. No matter what she can't let that happen.
I grip and he grips and faster we're sliding
Here she is sitting on this wooden chair where she had hoped to never be.
"Mrs. Wellerstein is it true that you hid the existence of your child from your husband?"
Those eyes are looking at her, not with anger like she had expected, but with sadness. Anger she could have dealt with indignation would have been understandable, but this silent sadness is almost unbearable. His eyes are searching hers asking silent questions that she cannot bring herself to answer.
Sliding and spilling. What can I do?
"The court rules…"
The words are a blur an unmemorable string of sounds that she consciously refuses to acknowledge or believe.
Come back to bed kid lie down beside me
That night she wants Lauren in the bed with her. Usually she tries to keep Lauren in her own bed, but tonight and every night after today she wants to be able to hold on to her for as long as she can.
I promise I won't lie to you
"Lauren sweetie, I know you can't understand but I promise I'm going to fight this. With everything I have no matter how little it is, I will fight this."
Hold on don't cry yet I won't let you go
Tears are freely streaming down her cheeks. Mirroring the ones that had poured down Lauren's cheeks earlier when she was embraced by the total stranger that is her father. Cathy doesn't want to imagine the teardrops that will roll when Lauren will be forced to spend months without her mommy. She prays that it won't happen, gently she wraps her tiny daughter tighter in her arms. Physically assuring her that she is safe.
All right-the panic recedes
Jamie doesn't even show up for meeting scheduled to discuss the details of the custody shares. Maybe the ruling will change? Maybe everything will change…
All right-everyone bleeds
He was late but he showed up eventually. She wishes that he would be cold and angry, but that has never been Jamie. Just that sadness in his eyes and something that seems like, disappointment?
"Cathy, I understand this is hard."
"How can you possibly understand?"
"But I have missed out on five years of her life."
"Her name is Lauren. See you don't even know her name! You can't be her father!"
"Like it or not Cathy I am her father and I have a right to be with her and get to know her!"
All right-he gets what he needs
"What right do you have? Were you in the delivery room? How about when she took her first step? Was her first word dada?"
"Who's fault is that?"
"Because you're the one who left!"
"But, you're the one who cut me out of her life."
The lawyers interrupt them and before Cathy can say no it is decided that Lauren will spend every summer with her father, the school year with her mother and they would take turns having her on holidays. Crushed, doesn't begin to describe Cathy's feelings. Even now after everything Jamie Wellerstein still always gets what he wants.
And nobody needs to know. Nobody needs to know.
Would it have killed him to go his life without Lauren? He stole everything from her and now he's taking her daughter. He didn't need to know, nobody needed to know. This is her last night before he takes her away for the next month. Thirty-one endless days. This year the custody period will be short but next year he'll have her for three entire months. But, tonight is now, and she doesn't want to think about tomorrow. She just wants to hold her baby girl and kiss her and never have to let her go.
And since I have to love someone, since I need to love someone, I know that I will always love someone
"No matter what happens mommy loves you Lauren."
I hope you enjoyed it! Please read and review (follows and favorites are also welcome) and I won't stop writing!