2007-05-18: A Private Retreat

Starring:

Heidi_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Simon and Monty Petrelli, and George the Driver.

Summary: Heidi's taken the kids to a hotel. She's not sure when she's going home, since it's a whole lot harder to cope with this than she wants it to be.

Date It Happened: 18 MAY 2007

A Private Retreat


A Hotel, Somewhere in New York

Heidi sits in the hotel room, cross-legged on the bed. Warily, she's eying the bandage wrapped around her hand, over an injury that stings and itches like hell. She should go to the hospital, but with Elena not here, and no identification on her person, she's not going to be able to even get past the front desk. But she had to get out of the house, had to take her boys. There were just too many memories there, the hurt was pretty overpowering — and so rather than stay awake in the house the felt like Nathan, smelled like Nathan, /was/ Nathan with all those pictures on the walls, she elected to pack herself, Simon, and Monty up and leave while Elena and Elle remained unaware.

They've been here for a day now. Almost two. They've been to the pool a couple times, Simon's been playing his Nintendo games, and Monty's sound asleep on the next bed over. It's around four o'clock when Simon climbs up next to Heidi and gives her a hug. "Mom, how 'come dad's not here?"

Heidi told the kids that this was their end-of-the-school-year retreat. They went to one of those fancy private schools that ended mid-May instead of mid-June. The timing was perfect, the excuse was solid, and Heidi saw no reason to tell the boys otherwise. So they're enjoying a nice stay at a nice hotel, with movies on-demand coming through the TV, and room service waiting on them hand-and-foot. Heidi tells herself it's for the boys, and it is, to some extent, but she's attempting to buy her way back to happiness, and it's just not working.

But she's looking at Simon, thinking about how he's so much like his father, and realizing that by sitting here telling him lies, she's teaching him to act like Nathan, too. He's not old enough to know the whole true, but he deserves to know—

"C'mere, you," Heidi says, smiling and pulling her older son into her lap. She looks over at Monty, still asleep. Oddly enough, she gets the feeling that he /knows/ something's wrong. Then again, he's always been a perceptive kid, prone to figuring things out before his brother. She'll have to talk to him later. For now… Simon. "You know how it's important to tell the truth?" Heidi asks.

Simon nods. "Yeah. Did Elle tell you I didn't? I wasn't trying to lie, I was just tryin' to have fun with Monty a little, but he kept—"

"Simon."

"Yeah?" He stops, finding his mother's eyes. One hand reaches up to play with the ends of her hair. Sure, he's a /boy,/ and he'd never do this in front of his friends, but none of his friends are HERE right now. Actually, it's kind of boring.

"I just want you to remember that it's always important to tell the truth, especially to people you love very much." Heidi gives him a hug, trying to figure out how she's going to start this. As Simon sits in her lap, he starts playing with the end of her bandage. The slight pressure stings a little, and Heidi reaches forward for his hand. "Even if you think it'll hurt their feelings. It's better to tell them than for them to find out on their own. Do you understand?"

"Not really," Simon mumbles. "You and Dad tell me I shouldn't hurt people."

Heidi sighs. "The truth is a little different. Simon, Daddy kept a secret from me for a long time. And when I found out, it hurt a lot more than it would have if he told me." Her child won't understand what 'affair' means. He doesn't even know what Heidi and Nathan share behind closed doors. This is foreign to a child, as it should be. Therefore, explaining it is difficult, but when Simon looks at her questioningly, she has to say something. She just got through telling him to never lie. Perhaps she should have thought through her choice of words a little better. "I love your father very much. But he and I, we're having a little argument right now."

"And you wouldn't have argued if he told you his secret?"

Heidi looks down. "We would have, but… It would have been better if I knew a long time ago. It was something important that I should have known. Secrets that can hurt other people, Si. That's what I'm talking about. Some secrets are okay, like if you're planning a surprise for someone, or… If you have a Christmas present - those things are special. Those are good secrets."

"You tol' me all this before, Mom." Simon rolls his eyes. "And you said that— that—"

"I just needed to remind you, is all. Is that okay?" Smiling, she gives him another squeeze. At least being here with her sons has kept her from completely falling apart, even if she really wants to. She goes to the small hotel room bathroom to cry sometimes when the kids are both asleep. When Simon starts drifting off, she'll probably do the same thing. At the moment, she can't see how she's going to reconcile this. As she's about to clarify a little, there's a knock on the door, a specific pattern she reserved for George, so she knows it's him.

Lifting the already heavy-eyed child, she places him on the bed, so she can answer the door. On the other side, set against the bright blue sky, is one of Nathan's young drivers. British, slightly pompous, he's nevertheless been a good friend, and while he doesn't know all the details of Heidi and Nathan's row, he hasn't even thought to ask. In his hand is Heidi's purse, which he holds out. "Peter brought that by just a bit ago, Ma'am. I thought I'd get it to you as soon as I could."

"Thank you," she states gratefully, taking the purse from him, which, despite his formality, he's holding in front of him as if it's diseased. Men and purses.

The phone is beeping, every few seconds, indicating that she has voice mail. Picking it up, she opens it and shuts it off. No, not right now. Maybe later tonight. "George?" She looks back at Simon, who's almost asleep now. "George, I'd like to go to a doctor so they can take a look at this." She holds up the bandaged hand. With ID and insurance in her possession again, she can, except taking the kids to an urgent care center's waiting room isn't going to be their idea of fun. "Can you watch the kids? I'll try to be back in a couple hours."

"Of course. Take your time." George smiles, stepping into the hotel room and taking off his suit coat.

Heidi opens her wallet, takes out some money, and hands it over. "You can call for pizza around five-thirty. They're probably pretty hungry. I'm going to go call a cab from the lobby."

With the cash accepted and George now sitting with the children, it's only a matter of time before Heidi's able to get into an after-hours office so they can check her hand. Elena did a good job with what she had, which was probable from the start, given the girl's choice of profession. It hasn't been treated for almost two days, though, which means, despite the fact that it's no longer bleeding, the doctor is slightly worried about infection. And so Heidi leaves with an antibiotic cream and a roll of bandages. Simple enough, and not near as bad as she thought it would be, even if it was commented that she probably should have gotten a couple stitches.

By the time she returns to the hotel room, Simon, Monty, and George are all enjoying a large pepperoni pizza. She can even bring herself to smile long enough to sit with them and have a slice herself.

After George leaves, after another trip to the pool, after watching Ice Age on the TV, after the kids are sound asleep again and the sun has set on their second day here… That's when Heidi finally allows herself to sit on the floor of the bathroom, leaning against the bathtub, with her face pressed into her hands. That's where she cries, that's where she tries to convince herself she can get through this, that no matter what she decides, she and her boys /will be happy again/ one day. Or, rather, /she/ will. Simon and Monty are pretty blissful at this point, and given that they've been getting pizza every night, they're pretty happy, too.

Of course, Heidi can't possibly realize that despite the fact that she's gone out of her way to keep the kids from learning just how upset she is, Monty is lying awake, listening, just like he did the night before. And he just doesn't know what's wrong, or how to make it better. All he knows is that he hopes the drawing that he put in Heidi's make up bag will make her feel better when she finds it tomorrow morning, but since grown-ups are weird, he can't be sure.

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