Kats (wildrider) wrote,

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You'll be glad that you did

Yesterday as I turned onto our street, I noticed two large birds lazily circling pretty much directly over our house. This intrigued me, and as I came closer, I saw them dip and weave together and apart, still just lazily circling. I pulled into my driveway and saw they were kind of over the street, kind of over the condos across, and while they were dipping and weaving and circling, I figured by their size and shape they were ravens and not eagles or hawks; they stayed long enough for me to get the binoculars and check this (ravens), before they just flew together a moment, then started heading north until I couldn't see them anymore. It was nifty. And going by my "good luck omens" that ravens seem to be for me, that means something really good should happen tomorrow (superstitious? Me?).

I rock. Although today there was an anniversary breakfast and then our Fall Festival lunch, so I ate quite a bit. Just a salad and toast for dinner. I made some yummy rye bread which is yummy as toast.

Am WAY behind on Tivo watching. I think I have ten episodes of Craig Ferguson, not to mention all of this week's shows and some of last week's, now including NCIS since the yoga class sillymagpie got me into is on Tuesday nights. We've started watching House live so I don't have to sit through the annoying junk between How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory; I used to like Two and a Half Men, but it's getting very old and lame -- still funny at times, but not like it used to be. Starting to become deeply unbelievable (not that it was ever anything more than a farce, but even so).

Chapter Fifteen

Bonnie had started to realize what exactly people meant by "the time goes faster when you're older." It seemed hardly a blink before another holiday season came and went, this time spent by the family in the big new house Sean Patrick had bought in Malibu to raise his little family in. Even Matt was dragged out of Texas, for the first time, she was assured, in decades. The old man seemed older now, less aggressive and a lot wearier, but he was still cantankerous enough to find fault with almost everything Sean Patrick was doing and had done with the kids thus far.

Bonnie was glad to go, because Las Vegas was lonely without Sean Patrick, and despite all the various hobbies she'd taken up, from gardening to playing piano, she found herself wishing for his visits, which were fewer and further between, now that he was a daddy.

She realized the irony–now she had what she'd wanted all along. She was the second family, and his visits had gone from leisurely weeks of dining out, shows, and dancing to hastily snatched weekends in bed, relieving his monumental libido before sending him back to his children in Malibu. He was still the same Sean Patrick, just a lot less available. But always, she was welcomed at their little ranch, and the children loved her. She rode their horses with Matthias and Seana, and played games with Tara, who was already smarter than she was. Bonnie adored them all.

When he came to Las Vegas, he always brought gifts, of course, and her monthly allowance was never late. The house was as well-tended as ever, and when she had a leaky roof or a plumbing disaster, it was dealt with instantly. Bonnie joined a book club, but she really couldn't find close friends with whom she could share everything, and when Sean Patrick arrived unannounced while she was hosting, it was impossible to explain him.

"You can tell them I'm your nephew or something," he told her later, after they'd left.

"Not after that kiss," she responded, then caught herself when she realized it was a matronly, indulgent smile, the smile of an older woman. She felt her spine start to stiffen. Sean Patrick raised an eyebrow at her.

"I thought that didn't bother you anymore," he said.

"That was a few years ago," she responded. "I'm over forty now, Sean Patrick. You may make me feel like a girl, but I'm not." His response to that was to make her feel very young, indeed.

She couldn't deny the years passing. They were mostly good years, filled with warm Las Vegas sunshine, passing acquaintances who sometimes became, if not close friends, at least people she could go to a movie with or have over for dinner, and the holidays were always spent with Sean Patrick and the children, who were growing like weeds and seemed to be flourishing under their uncle's care, along with his stern but marvelous Spanish housekeeper and her small brood, who all lived at the little ranch, making it a true pocket-sized version of the hacienda back in Texas. The main difference that Bonnie could see was the nearness of the ocean, which seemed to be assisting with turning the children from Texans into Californians.

It was early one March they got the word that Matt Junior had peacefully passed away. "He was sitting on the porch watching the chickens on the lawn. Everyone thought he'd fallen asleep, but when Teresa went to get him for supper, he was gone," Sean Patrick said over the phone. It was a sad occasion, but felt much different than the last time. With Matt's death, the wake truly was the celebration of a long life well-lived. For the last time the entire family gathered under the old hacienda's roof.

"I think this is saddest for me," Sean Patrick confided to Bonnie. The stories about old Matt were actually making the gathering laugh as they remembered their patriarch and his long, iron-fisted reign of the O'Connor Ranch, lovingly known as "The Ocee." "This has been my house for longer than most of these people have been alive."

"Most of?" Bonnie echoed, her eyebrow arching. Sean Patrick blushed, but nodded in acquiescence. Bonnie smiled as Bobby came up to them carrying two glasses of wine.

"Ma'am," he said politely, handing one to Bonnie. She took it with a smile.

"So where's mine?" asked Sean Patrick.

"Get it yourself, you lazy SOB," replied Bobby in a calm manner.

"That's the respect I get," replied Sean Patrick with a chuckle. He winked at Bonnie and ambled off toward the refreshment table.

"We seem to only meet at funerals," said Bobby.

"Sean Patrick told me you've been invited out to Malibu for the holidays," she replied. "But you've never come."

He shrugged. "I just don't have the heart to travel at Christmas time," he replied. "It was my Meg's favorite time of year."

"I can't blame you," she said, patting his hand. He chuckled slightly. "Maybe you can make it next year. We sure would love to have you."

"You know, I think I'll try that," he said. "It'd be nice to make some new memories."

Bonnie stayed with Sean Patrick for several weeks while he finished all the business involved in turning the private residence of the O'Connor family into the O'Connor State Park and Historical Preserve. Bonnie took care of the kids, playing in the yard with Matthias and Tara while Seana sat serenely in the shade of the porch, learning to crochet. Tara had turned into an eight-year-old tomboy who could throw and wrestle and keep up with her older brother in nearly everything. Bonnie sat on the steps near Seana, watching as Matthias wound up and pitched to Tara, who connected with the pitch perfectly, sending the ball soaring down the avenue of sycamore trees.

"Power swing, there, gal," came Sean Patrick's voice from the doorway behind Bonnie.

"Thanks, Daddy," called Tara. The other two still called him "uncle," but to Tara he was her daddy, and nothing could change her mind.

"We're getting ready to wrap things up, kids. About time to say goodbye to Texas."

Matthias scowled. "I want to stay here," he said, his tone rude. Sean Patrick's eyebrows dropped, the crease appearing between them.

"Now, don't start," he said, drawing a deep breath and obviously counting to ten before he went on, "The renovation crews will be coming in starting Monday, and it won't be anyone's home anymore. There won't be anyone here, Matthias."

Matthias crossed his arms over his chest, glaring at his uncle from the safety of the full sunlight. "I'm Matt now," he said, daring, belligerent. Bonnie sucked in her lips to keep from laughing at his expression, which was hovering between defiant and hesitantly cautious, as though he were ready to run in case Sean Patrick decided to brave the sun. "Granddaddy's dead. I'm Matt. I'm the head of the family now."

Sean Patrick considered this, then nodded. "You're right. You are Matt now," he agreed without argument. "But you're still only fourteen, and until you're twenty-one, buddy, you answer to me, not the other way around. Now round 'em up, Seana. We're gettin' ready to head this chuckwagon west."

"Yessir," she said instantly, rolling up her crochet and putting it in the pretty flowered bag she carried.

Sean Patrick sat down on the steps above Bonnie. "He's a handful," he said.

"He's got a good heart, though," she responded.

"He's his mother's son," he agreed. He drew in a deep breath. "I'm gonna miss this place, Bonnie."

"I know. Your heart's here."

He just nodded.

They all flew back to Las Vegas, simply because Sean Patrick's car, the big Chevy he'd been driving since the children came to live with him, was still parked at Bonnie's house. It was the first time the kids had been there, and Seana fell in love with it as much as Bonnie herself had at the same age. Sean Patrick loaded them into the back of the Suburban along with his luggage before kissing Bonnie goodbye. "Next time maybe we can just have a little fun," he said. With the usual "See ya soon!" he drove away, and Bonnie closed the door to find the house was lonelier than ever.

A few weeks later Sean Patrick called and asked, "Are you going to be busy next week?"

"When am I ever too busy for you?" she responded.

He laughed. "Not for me, honey. I'm buried in paperwork. That idiot stockbroker my accountant’s office stuck me with lost me ten grand last week and I'm still picking up the pieces. But I talked Bobby into finally taking himself a vacation, even mixed with a little business for me, and he's coming up to Vegas. Since I can't be there to show him around, I told him you could."

Bonnie blinked. "Bobby? Bobby Ryan?"

"Yes, Bobby Ryan. My cousin. What other Bobby would I be talking about?"

"I don't know," she said, shaking herself and laughing a little. "Yes, of course I can! I like Bobby."

"Good! If I can get away, I'll be up there, but I make no promises."

Bonnie didn't like the way his voice sounded, the strained edges around his cheery tone.

"Are you all right, Sean Patrick? You sound tired. Are you getting enough blood?" It was a matter-of-fact question she'd asked of him many times over the years, often not receiving a satisfactory answer. She didn't get one now.

"Sure." He coughed a little, typically evasive, then said, "I gotta run, honey. Hope to see you soon."

"Feed," she admonished him before he hung up the phone, and she was left fretting about her careless vampire. He wouldn't do anyone any good if he didn't take care of himself.

When Bobby called her, he was almost apologetic. "I figure I could make my way around on my own, but Sean Patrick insisted I call."

"I'm glad he did," she said. "I would have been hurt if you'd come all the way to Vegas and didn't call me. Where are you?"

"The Flamingo," he responded. "Nice place."

"I've never seen much of the inside of the Flamingo since all the renovations. How about we meet in the lobby in an hour? I'll take you out for dinner."

"Okay. I'll be there."

Bonnie dressed quickly, semi-casual for the new Vegas, which had been gradually changing over the last few years from an elegant adult playground paradise to a casual hot spot. It was no longer necessary to dress up for dinner except in a few remaining swanky places, but Bonnie always liked to look nice when she went to the Strip, with or without Sean Patrick.

The Flamingo was still a glorious pink palace, just across the street from Caesars, directly in the center of the Strip. Summer had been hot this year, but Bonnie, born and raised here, didn't mind it. She drove the little convertible Sean Patrick had given her last year for her birthday and parked, making her way through the casino from the back lot toward the lobby, where she found Bobby looking around curiously. His face lit up when he saw her.

"You're a sight for sore eyes," he said, kissing her cheek when she came up to him. "They told me it was hot in Vegas, but heavens to Betsy, it's hot."

"You do get used to it," she replied, taking his arm when he held it up for her. "What do you feel like having for dinner?"

"I'm good with just about anything," was the predictable response.

Bonnie rolled her eyes. "Of course. But if I take a Texas boy to a steakhouse I know what his response will be," she said, chuckling. "Not as good as Texas beef. I've heard that."

Bobby laughed. "It's possible we deserve that. But I'm actually pretty easy-going when it comes to food. Do you know a good Italian place?"

"I do! That sounds terrific." They walked, across the street and up the long sweeping drive of Caesars. They stopped at the fountains, where Bobby tossed in a half dollar.

"For luck," he said.

Bobby was quite a bit less worldly than Sean Patrick, so for a change it was Bonnie who took the lead, choosing the wine for their meal and recommending what to order. After dinner they walked through the casino, sometimes stopping to drop a few coins in a slot machine or two, having drinks, and eventually making their way back out to the Strip, where they walked and talked for hours.

When they finally got back to the Flamingo, Bonnie said, "I hate thinking of you staying here all alone. I have plenty of space at my house. You could come out and stay there, once you're finished with your business."

Bobby actually blushed. "I don't know, Bonnie," he replied. "That might not be right. I mean, well, you– " His voice faded out, and he fidgeted a little nervously, before rubbing the back of his neck self-consciously. "I'd love to see your place, of course."

"Well, I don't want to make you uncomfortable," she said, squeezing his hand. "I'll see you tomorrow, and we'll do whatever you want."

"That'd be great, honey," he said. He kissed her cheek. "Thanks for a nice time."

Bobby stayed in town a week, but stalwartly refused to spend a night in her house, although he did come out and see everything, and spent a whole day working in the sun with her in her garden, weeding and trimming and hauling clippings to the curb. They had dinner at home that night, and he helped her clear up and do the dishes, his company comfortable and homey. Bonnie enjoyed every moment he was in town, especially when she realized that no one stared at them walking together, not like they had begun to do with her and Sean Patrick.

"I hope you come again, soon," she said when she saw him to the airport.

"I will, Bonnie. I had a grand time," he said. Then, to her surprise, he bent and kissed her on the lips. She responded without thinking, a kiss that was somewhere between a friendly platonic kiss and a lover's kiss, leaving her confused and flustered as he boarded his plane. She stood at the gate until the plane left the runway.

The next time Sean Patrick came to town, he was tired and out-of-sorts, and spent most of the time sleeping, gratefully drinking the blood she warmed for him and made him drink. It was only beef blood she bought from a nearby butcher, but it seemed to help ease the tension in his shoulders and took away some of the strained look on his face, not as good for him as human blood but it definitely helped.

"Matthias is running me ragged, woman," he said when she gave him a second mug of blood. "I knew that raising a teenaged boy wasn't gonna be easy, but good God in heaven, I didn't think it would be this hard."

Bonnie smoothed his shaggy hair back from his face and kissed his forehead. "Well, relax, honey," she told him. "Senora Salazar will take Matthias in hand while you’re away." His housekeeper had a boy of her own Matthias’ age, and knew what she was doing.

Sean Patrick nodded, sleepily, and patted her hand. "Thank you, darlin'," he slurred. He was asleep the next time she came into the room, so she carefully took off his boots and covered him with a blanket, leaving him sleeping in the armchair as she got ready for bed.

Two days later Sean Patrick sat her down, his expression serious. "What's wrong?" she asked him.

"Honey, how do you feel about Bobby?" he asked.

Bonnie looked at him quizzically. "Bobby? He's lovely, why?"

Sean Patrick smiled. "Because he really likes you, sugar, and don't think that I'm completely blind to the fact that I really do look like your son now."

Bonnie felt her face heat up. "You told me it shouldn't bother me," she whispered.

"But it does, and I know it does. Not to mention that everyone at Matt's funeral told me so, and Bobby... Well, my cousin Bobby asked me if it would be all right with me if he took to courtin' you."

"What?" Bonnie gaped at him.

"It's strange, I know, but our whole relationship has never been all that normal, honey, let's face facts," said Sean Patrick, holding both her hands in his. "For me, I'd keep coming to see you as long as you live, because honestly, you're just as beautiful to me now as you were eighteen years ago when I first set eyes on you."

Bonnie warmed to the compliment. "Has it really been eighteen years?" she asked, shocked, although she knew it was true. "Sometimes when I see you again after a few weeks you do look so very young to me," she said, caressing his face tenderly. "So boyish."

"Bobby told me you two get on like gangbusters. He really cares about you, but he was afraid to say anything, he didn't want to tell me, even, but I wormed it out of him. I told him I'd ask you, and I'd leave it up to you. Is it time for us to end it, honey? If you say yes, I'll step aside, and if you agree, then Bobby would be honored if you'd consider, well, dating him." He smiled a little.

Bonnie couldn't think of what to say. Of course it was a thoroughly bizarre situation, one she'd never heard of before, because who could say that their perpetually young vampire benefactor was trying to set her up with his own cousin? But it had been nice, going out on the town with Bobby, who was as courtly and polite as Sean Patrick, but looked and acted her own age, and was as relaxed and comfortable with getting older as she was, not endlessly active and restless as Sean Patrick. There had been times in the last year when Sean Patrick had come and she'd simply not been in the mood for sex. As aware of her moods as he always was, he never had pushed her, but she knew when he'd left her house he'd gone to one of the chicken ranches outside of town.

Finally, she spoke, "I don't know what to say."

"Take your time, honey. I sure have plenty, and I'll do whatever you tell me to do. For myself, I'd be honored either way, if you want to keep with me or if you want to become my cousin. There ain't a member of my family who won't welcome you into our midst, and you know that."

"Oh, I know. That doesn't worry me. I've never not felt right at home with your people," she said, again caressing his face. "I just don't know yet how I feel about Bobby. I know I like him, I know I'm comfortable with him, and I certainly enjoyed our time together, but I don't really know him very well. Not like I know you."

"That's why he'd like to court you, honey," said Sean Patrick. "See if like becomes something more. Bobby's been mighty lonely since Meg died, and I think you've been lonely here, too. I haven't been as attentive as I could have been since Three and Blythe died."

Bonnie looked at him and felt oddly like a widowed mother being set up with a new boyfriend by her own son. She could see it easily now, how people must think they were mother and son, and as the years went on, she'd become grandmother; and he would always, always be just as he was now. She'd known for a while now that they were coming to the end, it was just something she hadn't wanted to face. "I'm going to miss you," she whispered, her choice of words making the decision for her. His eyes filled with tears, and for a moment, she thought she'd made the wrong decision. Then he closed the distance between them and took her in his arms, holding her tightly.

"I'll miss you, too, Bonnie."

She wrapped her arms around his neck and held him, wanting to break things immediately but wanting, just one last time, to be with him, to feel that closeness, to feel– "Sean Patrick," she whispered into his air, tilting her head to the side, "feed on me. One more time."

It was sex without sex, this feeding, as he held her tightly and drank her blood, binding them together anew, a friendship deeper than any she'd ever experienced. She felt his love for her, but there was also a sense of relief. He wanted to be sure she'd always be taken care of. They both cried a little, kissed, and then he was gone.

Was falling asleep in front of the news earlier. WILL go to bed very nearly as soon as FlashForward is done.

Tags: chapter fifteen, television, vampire and me, weight
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