Becky Bloom is lost in her own thoughts about the hardships she and her town are going through. She thinks about her past, and finds herself growing frustrated with the mistakes her father, Ken, had made while looking after her. But, instead of doing what she used to do and keeping it all inside until she burst in a fit of anger; she talks to him about it. And they’re able to come to an understanding. 2,657 words.
mentions of childhood trauma, pstd, violence, and abuse.
Becky didn’t know what had possessed her to help Guillmero today.
He was sick.
Probably to death.
She could have been rid of him, if she’d wanted. And all she’d have to have done was not do anything.
Becky threw Don’s tennis ball out across the yard and watched as her two mimics began to chase after it, honking and chirping loudly.
She wanted to kill Guillmero, but she didn’t want him dead.
At least not that kind of dead.
She didn’t want him to waste away into nothing and rot in misery, slowly starving under the weight of his own loneliness and longing.
Being lonely was a horrible thing.
A horrible, horrible thing that made your skin crawl like it was covered in nipping insects in its longing for someone’s touch.
The tennis ball found its way back into Becky’s lap, and she threw it again.
She remembered France.
That year she spent trapped away from her friends, and Isa, and Mimi, and everything that made her feel safe and loved and comfortable.
It was like her life force had been slowly sucked from her until she was wasting away like an abandoned dog on a chain.
She’d never wish that on anyone. Even her worst enemy.
Because, somehow, she’d managed to feel it twice.
She’d never wanted to feel that isolated again, but it had somehow crept up on her while she’d been dating Mattel…. And it had been worse, then. Because her friends had been right there with her, the entire time. But she’d still felt like they were a thousand miles away no matter how much they reached out.
At least when she was in France calling them on the phone and hearing their voices helped her feel better.
She threw the ball for her mimics again, and watched as they ran circles around it, weaving past each other as they exhausted themselves.
She was still angry about France.
She wasn’t sure why.
She thought she should be over it, by now. Her and her father were doing so well! And she forgave him for it….
At least, she thought she did.
Maybe she didn’t?
She didn’t like being angry about it. But she’d been angry about it for so long, she wasn’t sure she knew how to not be angry about it….
Something else to talk to Goodhuman about, she supposed.
‘Done outside!’ Mimi chirped suddenly before skittering over to the back door and rushing into the house. ‘Nap time for Mimi!’
‘Nap time!’ Don echoed, before picking up his tennis ball and running halfway to the house— But then he skidded to a stop and turned to Becky. ‘Is my Alpha Becky coming inside?’
‘In a minute,’ Becky promised. ‘I just need to get my thoughts together, first.’
Don watched Becky for a moment before hurrying over to her and clambering into her lap.
‘I will stay with you,’ he purred, a large glob of drool squeezing its way through his teeth and down his chin onto Becky’s leg. ‘Because my job is to keep my Alpha Becky company! And I like my job. It is a good job. I like to be helpful. Yes. I do. I like my job a lot. I am a good beta! Yes I am.’
‘Good boy,’ Becky giggled, scratching at the back of Don’s neck. ‘You’re so thoughtful.’
‘My pretty pink Mimi says I am the best Flamingle!’ Don bragged, gnawing happily on his ball. ‘My Mimi is the prettiest pink! Pretty pretty pink! The prettiest pink!’
Becky gave a weak smile before scooping Don up in a hand and pushing herself to her feet. ‘Come on, she’s probably waiting for you to go and curl up with her.’
Don gave an excited honk at the idea and began wiggling his feet in the air as Becky carried him inside.
Shutting the door behind her, Becky slipped off her shoes and sighed.
She still couldn’t stop thinking about France.
And a little but about Guillmero. But mostly, she was stuck on that miserable year her father had put her through.
She didn’t get it.
Why had he even taken her?
He’d never taken her before. He’d had no idea what he was doing and—
‘Ah! Becky!’ Ken’s voice cut through the air, and Becky felt her chest grow hot with the anger of her thoughts. ‘I have finished the alterations for the little costume you bought Don and— I… erm….’
Ken trailed off, stepping back as his ears folded down, and Becky realised she was scowling at him.
She hadn’t meant to. So she quickly bit her lip and looked away and cleared her throat.
‘Sorry, Dad, I—‘ she cut off with a sigh. ‘There’s been, like, a lot happening in my head today.’
‘Ah, I see…. Would you like to talk about it…?’ Ken asked, slowly. ‘I have… pizza. And garlic bread. In my office.’
‘Cheesy garlic bread?’ Becky asked.
‘I can put cheese on it?’ Ken offered; his nervous smile dropping as Becky shook her head. He fiddled with the little blue costume in his hands for a moment before smacking his lips and. ‘Hm. Then no….’
‘Hm… I’ll still sit with you though. I guess.’
‘You will?’ Ken’s ears flicked up as his voice filled with a hopeful excitement. ‘Really?’
‘Yeah…’ Becky nodded. Then coughed and pet Don. ‘So. You uh— Finished the alterations for Don’s new outfit?’
‘New outfit? For me?!’ Don gave an excited honk, and wiggled his legs. ‘Oh! I love my outfits! Ken makes such fun things!’
‘Ah! He is excited!’ Ken’s energy changed, then, to match Don’s, and he quickly took the mimic from his daughter so he could slip it into the shark costume he held.
Becky grinned as Ken lifted Don up proudly; the outfit fit perfectly. Which was fantastic, considering it had originally been made for a dog.
‘You’re really good at that,’ Becky blurted. ‘Like. Making clothes and stuff.’
Ken was too busy beaming at Becky to make a coherent reply; instead he opened his mouth and let out a happy, high-pitched little “ah!” noise.
That was when Isa laughed, her voice floating in from the nearby laundry. ‘Well I would hope he’s good at making clothes, considering it was his job for twenty years!’
Ken blushed as Becky snickered and loudly agreed.
‘I am a shark!’ Don honked, flailing his neck and legs in joy until Ken put him on the ground so he could tap his feet. ‘I am so happy! I can look like anything I want! Anything at all! Oh! Oh! It doesn’t matter that transforming is hard! I don’t need it! My family makes me outfits instead! I can be anything I want to be!’
It earned a giggle from Becky, as Don bolted for the stairs, trilling that he couldn’t wait for Mimi to see him.
‘Come on, love,’ Ken said, taking his daughter by the arm and following after the mimic. ‘Come sit with me, and tell me everything that’s been bothering you.’
Becky shrugged, not fighting her father as he led her up the stairs to his study. He sat her down on his spare chair before taking his own seat and reaching for a cold, half-eaten pizza.
He offered it to Becky, who took a slice and ate it slowly.
Sausage, she noted. With olives. And pineapple. And egg. And peppers— What the hell kind of pizza was this?!
Becky tried not to make a face, but she knew she failed when Ken looked humoured and took his own slice.
He ate it quite a bit faster than she did, and took a second slice before she was even halfway through her first.
They ate in silence, and Becky tried to clear her mind and Ken watched on with a….
It wasn’t an expectant look. But it was clear he was waiting for her to say something; to vent her frustrations to him— Or more, by the way he seemed to be bracing himself when she looked over, at him.
She took a deep breath, and tried to keep her voice even as she asked; ‘Why did you take me to France?’
Ken paused, obviously taken very off-guard, and put down his food.
‘I wanted you with me,’ he said, slowly.
‘I… I really didn’t want to go,’ Becky told him. ‘I wanted to stay here.’
‘I know. And I’m sorry,’ he apologised. ‘I’d lost your mother, and I was terrified of losing you, too. I wanted you close.’
‘You could have stayed here.’
‘I was selfish,’ Ken admitted, simply. ‘I never had much. You. Your mother. And my job. That was all…. And when I lost your mother I couldn’t bare to lose anything else— And I was selfish.’
‘I still have bad dreams about it,’ Becky said, slowly putting her own half-eaten slice of pizza beside her father’s. ‘About everything that happened while we were there. The yelling. The fighting. That smell when the girls would make themselves throw up— I know I try and laugh it off and make jokes about it and stuff. But, like… sometimes when I wake up I have to go look at myself in the mirror, just to make sure my skin’s not getting all blistered again.’
Ken’s eyes closed slowly and he took a deep breath, a mix of pain and guilt washing over him. ‘I’m so sorry,’ he whispered, putting his face in his hands. ‘I never meant to hurt you.’
‘I know,’ Becky rolled her chair closer to Ken so she could wrap her arms over him. ‘And, like. I forgive you. But somehow I’m still mad? I… don’t really get it. Like. How can I still be mad, but forgive you? I mean… like… isn’t forgiving meant to be, like, not being mad anymore? I’m so confused.’
Ken took a deep breath, sitting up straight so he could return his daughter’s hug. ‘Are you still mad at me,’ he began. ‘Or are you mad that it happened? Because… well. Those are two very different things.’
‘Are they?’ Becky asked, curiously.
Ken nodded. Then, he gave a weak chuckle. ‘Knowing that is how I survived you.’
Becky blushed and squeezed her father tighter; though she didn’t reply. Not for a long while.
She just held him, and let him hold her, as they sat together and listened to the sound of Isa moving from room to room collecting laundry.
‘Dad?’ Becky finally asked.
‘Do you remember when I was little, and you used to pick me up and lift me right up to touch the roof? Then right down to touch the floor?’
‘You remember that?’ Ken asked, his eyes wide. ‘I thought you’d have been too young.’
‘Mm…. I miss it.’
‘Ah… so do I,’ Ken sighed into Becky’s hair. ‘I would do it again, if you hadn’t grown so big.’
Becky echoed her father’s sigh, before biting her lip as a thought hit her.
She could be smaller.
‘B— Becky?’ Ken gave a squeak of surprise as Becky took a deep breath and began to shrink. ‘Becky what are you— Ah…?’
Becky shook herself out, from the end of her snout to the tip of her tail, and looked herself over.
Perfect. She was exactly what she’d hoped to turn into; a little reddish-brown raccoon.
‘Becky, why did you turn a raccoon?’ Ken asked, nervously. ‘Are you alright?’
Becky nodded and then held up her hands. She made a grabbing motion, clearly communicating that she wanted her father to pick her up— And he let out a laugh as he understood.
‘Oh, mon étrange petit chou!’ he exclaimed, taking Becky under her arms and standing so he could hold her up towards the roof. ‘This?’
Becky gave a happy chitter and lifted up her hands to touch it, stretching up as high as she could to run her fingers over the plaster. Then, she felt herself lowered down, down, until her feet tapped against the floor.
‘Is this what you want?’ Ken asked with a laugh, lifting his daughter to the roof again when she nodded.
They played this game for a few minutes before Ken placed Becky on the floor and let her go.
‘Ooh,’ he groaned, rubbing his arms. ‘I have not lifted anything like that in a long time.’
Becky chittered out a giggle, bouncing in place, then she flopped onto the floor and turned back into her elfish self so she could lay on her back.
Ken joined her, resting his head on a roll of fabric as he watched her lovingly.
‘Dad?’ Becky mumbled softly.
‘You’re a good dad,’ Becky said.
‘You really think so?’ Ken asked. ‘Even after… everything?’
‘Yeah,’ Becky gave a weak chuckle. ‘Yeah. I think so. I think that, like. We both made mistakes and stuff. But, like… we’re both just learning, you know? You try really hard and that’s what matters… I’m sorry I didn’t see it before.’
Ken let out a quiet chuckle. ‘I have always sort of just flopped through fatherhood, trying my best not to kill you. And stopping you from killing yourself— Because you were for some reason very determined to do things that could have hurt you…. I’m still not sure you have grown out of it.’
Becky giggled as Ken poked her in the side. ‘No, not yet!’
A knock sounded on the door, and Becky craned her neck to look up at Isa as she came in.
‘Ah…. Are we on the floor, again?’ she asked, adjusting her grip on a half-full clothes basket.
‘Yeah,’ Becky answered.
Isa heaved a sigh, putting down the basket of clothes before lowering herself to the floor behind Ken and wrapping her arm over him. ‘How are we all, today?’
‘Meh,’ Becky answered, shrugging. ‘It’s been a weird day…. You guys know Guillmero?’
She saw her parents stiffen.
‘Yes…’ Isa answered, carefully.
‘I think I saved his life, earlier,’ Becky explained. ‘He was, like. Choking up all this black stuff cos he’s like. Starving to death without attention. Like he could barely stand up. So I like. Helped him,’ Becky rolled over to trace her finger along the patterns in a roll of fabric. ‘Like. I could have just left him and then like. He might have had to leave town or died or something and I’d never have to see his stupid face again. But I like… felt bad for him. For some reason. So I called a friend to help him out and stuff.’
‘You called a friend to help him out?’ Ken echoed, scrunching up his face in a way that made it clear to Becky that he remembered the man was an incubus.
‘Well, yeah,’ Becky shrugged. ‘Cos I wasn’t about to fuck him. Like, ew. No thanks. Like, I have standards!’
Isa smothered a laugh, at that.
Ken just sighed. ‘You are a better person than me,’ he admitted. ‘I would not have helped. Not after he hurt you.’
She hadn’t told her dad about all of the things Guillmero had done, but she knew he’d figured it out. Either by talking to her friends parents, listening in on her, or cornering and interrogating poor Jareth….
A playful honk broke through the awkward silence, and Becky saw Isa’s brow furrow deeply.
‘Did you… let Don in?’
‘Yeah,’ Becky nodded.
‘And you… left him alone with Mimi?’
‘Uh…’ Becky hesitated for a long, long moment as Isa’s words sunk in before she made a loud squawking sound and leapt to her feet. ‘OH MY GOD I LEFT THEM ALONE TOGETHER!’
She almost took her father’s door off its hinges in her hurry to bust out of the room and get to her own.
She was so stupid!
The last thing she needed right now was a litter of baby mimics to look after!
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