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16 February 2013 @ 04:36 pm
Fic Post: Healthy and Unhealthy Fears  
Title: Healthy and Unhealthy Fears
Author: Montiese
Category: Family/Friendship/Romance
Characters: Kate Wolcott, John Barton, Stanley Wolcott, Cate Hale
Pairing: John Barton/Kate Wolcott
Rating: TEEN
Summary: How could Kate make sure that her son was safe but also not make him live in constant fear? It was one of the hardest things about being a parent.
Author’s Note: This is #7 in the Falling for You series.


“Are you gonna do it?”

“I'm thinking about it.”

“What's there to think about?” she asked. “You either do it or you don’t.”

He turned in the direction of her voice. “Has anyone ever told you that you're kinda pushy?”

“Yes.” Cate sighed. “My bad.”

“It’s OK.” Stanley replied.

“I brought a helmet.” She handed it to him. “Just in case you wanted to.”

Stanley held the helmet on his lap, running his fingers over it. He wanted to; he wanted to more than anything. Honestly he had no idea what was holding him back. Life was too short not to take a risk and have an adventure. Stanley felt lucky to have a friend who had the same kind of adventure streak in her.

“I don’t think my mom is going to get me a bike.” He said. “I want to be hopeful but I doubt it. I have Detective John on my side and its possible that he might convince her.”

“I heard my mom talking to Ms. Hillridge at the diner and they said John is a marrying man.” Cate said.

“What's that mean?”

“They said he and your mom are gonna get married. Not like tomorrow or anything but Ms. Hillridge said Detective John hasn’t dated in years and he wants a good family and a good woman and maybe he's found her. They said it sucked since he can't have kids and all and how nice it was that he could have a son with you.”

“What are they even talking about?” Stanley had a strange look on his face when he asked.

“You're asking me?”

“They said Detective John can't have kids?”

“Yeah. Apparently his wife left him because she wanted to have a family and his sperm is low…or something like that. This is secondhand information Stanley; I'm not saying it’s true. I just know that’s what I heard.”

There was a lot of gossip in this town; that much Stanley knew for sure. It wasn’t all malicious though some of it could be. People just talked. Most had known each other their entire lives and there was always something to whisper about.

Broken marriages, troubled kids, unpaid bills, sex…the list was endless. Stanley had only been there a couple of months and he knew it already. Once in the church parking lot right after services he heard people whispering about each other. It could be interesting, weird, and disgusting all in the same breath. One thing for sure, it was the Newberry way.

“People aren’t saying bad stuff about my mom, are they?” he asked.

“Not that I know of.” Cate shook her head. “OK, there are a small handful of folks who think she might be on the run from something terrible but c'mon, that’s like Lifetime movie type stuff. No one runs away to a small town in real life cuz you'd be too easy to find. Don’t you think?”

“Yeah.” Stanley nodded. “I’d go to Chicago or L.A. or something.”

“Exactly.” she hit his arm and smiled. “Do you think your mom might marry Detective John?”

“I don't know.” He shrugged. “They like each other a lot but aren’t you supposed to wait a long time do those things?”

“When you're young, yeah. But they're old and older people do it differently. If they want to have kids and stuff then they better do it now.”

“You think they want to have kids?” Stanley was looking in the direction of her voice again.

“I'm starting to think you're stalling.” Cate said. “Put on that helmet, Stanley Wolcott; we’re going for a ride.”

She got up from his front steps where they were sitting. Her butt was cold; she was a little cold as well. A good ride would get her blood pumping. It was December and even though the temperature in Newberry was a little higher than usual it was still freezing.

Cate would have to go in a little while to warm up. Her mom probably wouldn’t let her come back outside. So it was really now or never. At least it was until the spring anyway.

Stanley sighed. He put on the helmet, the strap going under his chin. Then he stood, counting down the four concrete steps as he held onto the railing. On the sidewalk he knew he was standing right beside Cate. He could feel her presence and he could smell her too. She loved the rain scented soap; Stanley was starting to like it too.

“OK, what do I do?” he asked.

“You just stand on the back pedals and hold on.” Cate said. She took his hand, bending down so he could feel them. They’re right back here. I'm gonna get on the bike. Then you get on and hold onto me. Don’t hold on super tight with the Vulcan death grip or anything but hold on. OK?”

“OK.” Stanley nodded.

Cate climbed onto the bike and then waited for him. With one more deep breath, Stanley climbed up onto the pedal, straddled the bike and put his foot on the other pedal. His hands on Cate’s shoulders were tentative at first. Before she could tell him to hold on tighter he did it himself.

“Are you ready?” she asked.

“And you're sure you’ve done this before?” he asked.

“Um, it’s not a lung transplant Wolcott. I've done it with other people a bunch of times. I'm not gonna kill you. I hope I'm not gonna kill you.”

“I'm a little afraid.”

“Good, a healthy fear separates us from velociraptors.”

“You are so weird.” Stanley smiled.

“Are you ready?” Cate asked.

“I'm ready. Go.”

Cate put her feet on the pedals and took off. She was a bit of a speed demon on a bike but she kept a normal pace since this was Stanley’s first bike ride. Since it had rained the past couple of days there were some nice puddles on the block. Cate loved riding through puddles. She loved the water rising up but managing to be going so fast that she rarely got wet.

“You alright back there, Stanley?” she asked.

“This is the most awesome thing ever!” he squeezed her shoulders.

Kate looked out of the front door and was surprised not to see Stanley sitting on the step. He’d been outside too long, it was winter time. He needed to come in, have some lunch, and warm up. His book was still sitting there and that caused some concern.

She opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch. He wasn’t in front of the house. He wasn’t a few houses down riding his scooter either. She didn’t even see Whiskers, who’d become his best friend recently.

“Stanley!” she called out as she stood on the edge of the porch. “Stanley, where are you?”

Fear gripping her heart and stomach, Kate Wolcott rushed down the front steps and looked both ways down Canal Street. It was Sunday; the block was quiet from a long night of partying and shaking off the week. Her son was also nowhere to be seen. She’d been in the den but hadn't heard a car or a commotion.

What if someone had taken him? What if she was never going to see Stanley again just because she’d taken her eyes off of him for an instant? Oh my God, this couldn’t be happening. Kate rushed back up the steps. She yanked the screen door open.

“John! John, Stanley is gone!”

John came rushing out of the den to Kate. He walked out onto the porch with her and they looked around.

“He's gone, John. He was out here and then he wasn’t. Oh my God.” Kate covered her mouth.

“We’re going to find him.” he caressed her face. “I promise you that we’re going to find him.”

“Oh my God; oh my God.” Kate’s knees felt weak. She felt as if her legs were about to come out from under her. “John…”

“Its OK, baby.” He stroked her hair as she fell against him. “Everything is going to be OK.”

As he held her, John looked down the block and saw the bike blazing down the sidewalk. He wanted to smile; it was the picture of two kids having fun. But he wouldn’t allow himself because he’d been on the receiving end of a mother’s fearful wrath more than once in his life. This was going to be troublesome.

“Hey Ms. Wolcott.” Cate said, waving as she screeched on the brakes in front of the steps.

“Stanley David Wolcott, where have you been?” suddenly she wasn’t anguished anymore, she was angry. And she was coming down the steps.

“I just went for a bike ride Mom.” Stanley climbed off the back as Cate put down the kickstand. He felt a little unsteady on his feet but that dissipated after a minute or so.

“Don’t you ever, I mean don’t you ever walk away from this house without telling me. Do you understand?”

“Yes ma'am.” He nodded.

“You scared me.” she pulled him into his arms and held him tight. “I thought you were gone.”

“I'm sorry Mom. I'm really sorry.”

“I'm sorry too, Ms. Wolcott.” Cate said. “It was totally all my fault. I didn’t mean to scare you or to get Stanley into trouble.”

“Alright, Cate.” Kate nodded. “You should probably just go home now. Its cold out here; you need to be inside.”

Cate looked at John Barton and he gave her a reassuring smile. He put his arm around Kate, who was still holding onto her son.

“Go on Cate, its OK.”

“See ya later, Stanley.” The ten year old kicked up her kickstand.

“Bye.”

She rode off and his mother took him into the house. John closed the front door behind them.

“I'm in a lot of trouble, aren’t I?” Stanley asked as he took off his jacket.

“You have to tell me if you're going somewhere Stanley. You can't just walk away like that. I know, it’s a small town and you feel safe and I want you to feel that way. I never want you to fear your own surroundings. I never want to have a little boy who’s afraid to leave the house. But you never, ever go off without telling me.”

“I never will again,” he shook his head. “I'm really sorry. You're not mad at Cate though, are you? It’s totally not her fault.”

“I'm not mad at Cate.” His mother replied. “I made you lunch, OK? It’s in the kitchen. Go on and eat…you need something warm in you.”

Stanley wanted to say more but he didn’t. He just walked off, using his echolocation to make his way to the kitchen. He could already smell the soup; chicken noodle was his favorite. He could tell his mother was angry but it wasn’t just that. She’d been angry at him a few times in his life. She seemed like she was about to fall apart.

Kate hoped the kitchen was far enough away for her son not to hear her sobbing. John held her and she just cried. That feeling, even if it lasted for just a few minutes, was the worst feeling in the world. She wanted to take her son and lock him in his bedroom where he would always be safe.

They didn’t live in a safe world. They lived in a world where children were hurt. They lived in a world where children went out to play and never came home. How could Kate make sure that her son was safe but also not make him live in constant fear? It was one of the hardest things about being a parent.

“I am so mad right now.” she whispered through her tears. “I don’t even know why I'm mad but I am so mad.”

“It’s OK.” John held her tight. “You were scared; you don’t know what to do with the anger.”

“He's fine, he's safe; it was just a bike ride.”

“Yes. And he probably didn’t ask you because he was afraid you'd say no.” John replied. “That surely doesn’t make it right but it makes Stanley ten.”

“John, the most horrible things went through my mind. How do I get those images out of my mind?”

“You want to go upstairs and lie down for a little while?” he asked. “Its not going to be easy but you had a scare. You need to rest.”

“I have to look after Stanley.” Kate reasoned.

“I can look after Stanley.”

“You shouldn’t have to…”

“Hey,” he took her face in his hands. “I want to. I know this shook you up. You shouldn’t have to jump right back into super mom mode. I can take on a little of the responsibility…if it’s OK with you. I want to help. He's just having his lunch and then surely he’ll go back to his book or one of his puzzles. He might want to talk a little; I can do that too.”

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“I'm positive.” John kissed her lips. “Go ahead, its going to be fine.”

Kate sighed. She didn’t want to leave Stanley alone. She didn’t want to let him out of her sight. It was irrational but it was how she felt. Part of her felt he was perfectly safe with John.

At the same time there was a fear in the pit of Kate’s stomach that she was sure would never go away. Squeezing him one more time, she just gave up and went to her bedroom for a little while. Sometimes the only thing to do after something like this was to lie down and recover. A little catnap might set her back in the right frame of mind.

No one was to blame for what just happened. Cate and Stanley were being kids. Kate was being a normal mother concerned for her child. She had to let it be over.

John went into the kitchen where Stanley was eating his soup and sandwich. The little boy had a concerned look on his face but was trying not to. He couldn’t imagine what Stanley was feeling right now. As a cop he’d been in his fair share of missing kid cases. Luckily most of them ended just like this one had.

“Hey Detective John.”

“Hey. Do you want some juice?”

“OK.” Stanley nodded.

John poured him a glass of cranapple juice. Then he got a bowl of soup for himself before joining Stanley at the table.

“Is my mom OK?”

“She's going to be fine. I sent her upstairs to lie down for a little while. She had quite a scare.”

“I never meant to do that, I swear.”

“I know.” John nodded. “You were just out enjoying a bike ride. No one did anything wrong Stanley, it was just a misunderstanding. Your mom knows that. She was just very scared.”

“She's really not mad at me?”

“No, she loves you. That’s why she was so upset. If anything happened to you it would hurt her so much. She moved you here so that you could grow up safe and sound. That’s always going to be her hope.”

“I really like it here.” He said. “I mean, I liked Buffalo even though there were bad memories there. I liked our house and being close to Grandma and stuff. I didn’t mind leaving though. I knew we could find a new place and make good memories.”

“Are you making good memories here, Stanley?” John asked.

“I just went on my first bike ride.” He smiled despite how he was feeling. “It was awesome.”

“I bet it was.”

“I felt the cold wind on my face and we rode through puddles and water splashed on me. It felt like we were riding so fast but it was different than riding in a car. It almost felt like I was flying. I got to feel all of it…does that even make sense?”

“Yes, it does make sense.”

“I bet my mom isn’t gonna let me do it again.” he said.

“I think your mom might surprise you.” John said.

“You think?”

“I do.” he nodded. “I'm also glad that you enjoyed yourself. Just keep thinking about that, OK?”

“OK.”

Stanley finished his lunch and John stayed in the kitchen with him. After lunch he actually went to lie down too. It had been a little too much for the both of them. John understood that. He went to the master bedroom, watching Kate for a while as she slept. He sat down on the edge of her bed and stroked her face. She opened her eyes, giving him a sleepy smile.

“Stanley is resting in his room too.” he said. “I think I'm gonna go now that you two are OK.”

“I want you to stay.” She held his hand. “Sleep with me.”

“I don’t want Stanley to see and think…you know what I mean.”

“I know.” Kate nodded. “Stay with us, John. It’s OK.”

He didn’t want to say no, he couldn’t really. They still only saw each other once a week and occasionally on the weekends. Talking on the phone and texting was their main mode of communication and both enjoyed it a lot. Still, being face to face, able to touch, was always going to be his favorite thing.

Kate was still scared and shouldn’t be alone. John didn’t want her being alone or feeling that way. So he kicked off his shoes, climbing into her bed. Kate sighed as she rested her head on his shoulder. John wrapped his arms around her.

“Tell me something to make me smile.” She said, closing her eyes as she slipped her hand under his sweater to rub on his stomach.

“Stanley had his first bike ride today. He may have been bitten by the bug.”

“What bug is that?”

“It’s the bug every kid has to take flight.” John replied. “He said he felt like he was flying.”

“You two are gonna gang up on me about this bike aren’t you?”

“No…maybe. But it won't be today. Today we’re just going to breathe. We’re also going to take a little nap. I'm staying and I'm holding on.”

Kate knew she’d be able to relax and get a little sleep with a smile on her face. Thinking about that would always make her smile.

***

 
 
Where am I?: the lair
Feelings: happyhappy
Background Noise: silence
 
 
 
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