2007-03-07: It Sure Beats Rehab


Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif Micah_icon.gif

Date It Happened: March 07, 2007

Summary: A not-so-normal family, a completely normal dinner — things are looking up again, right?

It Sure Beats Rehab

A family restaurant, Midtown, New York

Family dinner, outside the relative safety of Monica's apartment, is somewhat of an occasion. That doesn't mean that it entails anything particularly special, except for lots and lots of caution on Niki's part. At a nice, if run-of-the-mill family restaurant in Midtown, sit the Sanderses. Sanderses and… Hawkins. Sanders-Hawkins? The point is, the tight unit that is Niki, Micah and D.L. have settled down for dinner, and as the dinner wears on, so does dinner. It's coming up on the time that one usually orders dessert. "You can get whatever you want as long as you share, Micah," Niki says with a good-natured laugh as she pushes the laminated menu along the table. "Look, they have ice cream, too."

Perhaps the D.L. is something of a full load right about now, because he's not even wanting to look at the Dessert menu. In fact, he's even cringing a little bit at the sight of it. "Oh man, more food?" He makes it a point to look across the table and peer at the little Micah, though he's got a nice smile on his face. "Where do you put it all?" He's such a happy camper right now. It feels so good to have his family back together again.

"Share? Last time I did that, dad ate half of my pie, and told me it's my fault I eat too slow." Micah says with a giggle, trying now to pout as he plucks up the last bit of crust from his sixth piece of pizza. Truth is, he's a champion pizza slammer. How he keeps the weight off is anyone's guess. Though with his father sounding full, he puts on a bright smile, knowing he may get away without giving any of his sweet treat away. "I wanna strawberry sundae, with extra cherries on top!" He beams with glee, eyes lighting up like candles. "Dad, you going to work tomorrow?" Say No, say No, Say No. He has been wanting to have a Saturday afternoon with him -forever.-

Despite her reservations about being out in public when she's something of an escapee, it's been so far, so good, and Niki can't help but glow as she sits with her family. Like normal. She laughs with Micah. "Cherries on top of strawberries, huh? Well, /I'll/ share with you and I /promise/ not to eat it all. You know, I don't think I could if I tried. To be eleven again-seriously, *I* don't know put it either," she concurs with D.L. When the boy mentions his father going to 'work', a brief, dark flash passes her features and she looks at her husband, but the smile that's been in place pretty much through the entire dinner doesn't fade.

Oh boy. This is going to be interesting right here. "Okay, I /was/ full, but that sounds too delicious to pass up. So it looks like you better get two of those, Micah. Since your mother's going to eat most of it." His teasing nature is brought to a slow halt as 'work' is mentioned and he has no idea what in the hell to really say right about now. Does he even really go to 'work'? Is he living a lie? Why is Niki looking at him like that? He catches Micah's eyes and sighs a little bit. "I am. For a little bit." He needs to fix this somehow. "Just in the morning, though. I'll be home by lunch." See? Family more important than crime!

"Awww, maaaan." Micah says as he finds himself ganged up on by dessert hungry parents, propping his chin up in the palms of his hands, sputtering out a pout. "Long as you promise to leave me a 'little' bit, and at least two cherries." With a shift of his eyes to his father, that hopefulness fades a bit. Darn. "OK, long as your home by then. I want you to show me how to shoot a basketball. The kids at school make fun of me, because they said I'm supposed to be genetically bred to be Michael Jordan or something, and I told 'em I was half black, and I got told it's no excuse cuz' Larry Bird played like a black guy or something." He squints his eyes a bit. Those sixth graders sure talk smack to the younger guys.

The thing is, Niki knows that D.L. doesn't have a job, especially not a legitimate nine-to-five one - or morning-to-noon one as he indicates - and that means that he's lying to Micah. And, by extent, lying to her, although the former is worse. The accusation is all in her eyes, guarded, but definitely there. Bit by bit, her smile starts to disintegrate as she regards D.L.; it's not even that she's staring him down. No, she's just thinking, contemplating - her eyes just happen to be glued on the subject of her worry. "They giving you trouble?" she asks of Micah, concerned, if a touch distracted.

It's not lying. He is going to 'work'. And he will be home when he says so. It's just that he's not working for a legit company. It's not like Niki's perfect! But D.L. can feel that she's not happy with him, which means that he's not feeling as good as he was a few moments ago. He lowers his head a bit, just looking at Micah to remember why he's doing all of this bad stuff. For him. For Niki. "I'll teach you how to shoot. And then I'll teach out how to knock those guys out." He forces on a small smile, since he's definitely making time to do this. He can't have people picking on his son.

"No, no, they aren't messing with me." Outside of calling him a nerd. Micah leans over to rest his head on his mother's shoulder, feeling the weight of her tenseness in the air. "They just figure I know how to play ball. They aren't bad. Monica watches out for me." With a slink of his arm around Niki's waist, he gives her a bit of a squeeze. "You wanna come watch me and dad play ball, mom?" He asks, tilting his chin up to the blonde, trying to peer into her blue eyes.

Niki's distracted gaze falls to the glass of water in front of her; her hand wraps around its base, as if she's going to pick it up and take a drink, but she doesn't. She just stares at it, avoiding D.L.'s gaze just incase he happens to look at her instead of Micah. "…Hey," she interjects belatedly when she realizes the basketball conversation has progressed to beating people up - but her mouth tugs up into a smile at the same time, so she must not be seriously concerned. She wraps an arm around Micah's much smaller shoulders and looks down into those peering eyes. It's not much of a battle! "Absolutely!" Niki's voice quiets conspiratorially as she adds, "I'll totally be routing for your team."

Oh great. Now he's got to make sure to show off and lose to Micah so that Niki has a good show to watch. But whatever keeps the family all in the same spot. That should keep anything bad from happening, honestly. Especially, well, considering how paranoid D.L. is these days anyway. "Don't worry, Micah. By the time I'm done with you, those boys won't know whether you're Jordan on Kobe. The school got a team? Maybe you should try out." That might be cause for another secret plot or something. Shoot The Basket, Save The World?

"I dunno, maybe, but it's for the bigger kids in the higher grades. I'm fine in not being on the team, honestly. I just want to fit in." Micah says, even though he knows he is far from a normal child who can just 'fit in' after all that he's been through with his family. But, regardless, the idea is nice. WIth a sigh, he snuggles up with his mother, then says. "I thought we were getting sundaes." He says with a smile sliding along the corners of his lips in a wide grin.

As if summoned, the waitress comes by, arriving with a hustle and bustle. She starts to clear plates. "Can I interest you guys in some dessert?"

"Ah-haha. Just in time. Go ahead, Micah," Niki encourages, giving the boy a friendly little jostle around the smiles. She's all smiles for everyone. Everyone except D.L. But even that's temporary; while Micah deals with the pressing issue of dessert, the blonde looks across the table at her husband. Blue eyes soften as she regards him. She's worried. That's all. Now isn't the time to figure everything out - not while there's a sundae or two about to overtake the dinner table.

D.L. looks back. Mainly because he's not worried. Well, he is worried. But he's also helpless and doesn't know what to do. Crime is the only thing he knows he can handle without too much of an issue,. And he never even really takes on a dangerous assignment. And still, it's not like any jail can hold him so. "Alright. But if you change your mind and want your old man to grow an afro and teach you how we played back in the day?" D.L. flashes a big ol' smile. "You know where to find me." Smile.

"An afro? Eeeh.. No, I like your head the way it is." Micah says with a wrinkle of his nose, giggling, before blurting out to the waitress. "Strawberry sundae, with extra cherries! Two of 'em. Both for me." He has quite a cheeky grin upon his face as he bats his eyes to the lady, who practically coos over how freaking adorable he is. He may be a super genius, but that doesn't mean he can't work the crowd a bit, and fish for some compliments. He's no idiot, and he knows his father is pretending to be Robin Hood, while his mother talks to herself sometimes in the hallway mirror. He can at least pretend they're all normal, even if it means dragging his family into the illusion with him. It sure beats rehab.

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