If it wasn’t for the hybrid course he’d developed (in which he would temporarily teach classes every other week), Adam would be lost. He’d had to make the course a hybrid out of necessity, as he wouldn’t naturally prefer it. Nonetheless, he had a strict code to follow that the school set into place, and he wouldn’t go against it, as lenient as they were about his absences due to his other important projects. His name also brought somewhat of a celebrity to the school. Adam Lindstrom - award winning researcher. But in the mornings, he wasn’t Adam the National Geographic sponsored archaeologist. He was Adam the dad, which was far more challenging.
It was like a wild goose chase just getting Lola in her clothes in the mornings. Two speedy little feet pranced through their home, as quiet as a mouse in their tone. It was a stark contrast against Adam’s feet that boomed almost as loud as a thunderstorm. Blundering around after her, dress in hand, Adam screeched as loud as an eagle. "LOLA, NOT THIS MORNING! DADDY HAS AN APPOINTMENT!" reverberated through the halls and bounced off the walls with as much excitement as the situation entailed. Tripping on the dining room rug that always had a knack for being slippery and out of place, he quickly popped right back up, remarkably light on his feet for a man of his size and stature. Rounding a corner, he caught his first glimpse of Lola in what seemed like years.
A bit out of breath, his eyes squinted into tiny slits as he and his daughter stood in the kitchen, practically having a Mexican standoff. Lola’s eyes swept to the window as a sly smile bloomed across her face. Adam frantically looked to the window, then back to Lola within a second. "Don’t you dare." The words crept out of his throat in one of the most sinister tones little Lola had probably ever heard in her life. But she seemed to fear nothing, giggling like a scampish little imp as she would rather climb out the window than wear a dress to daycare. He was at the window pulling her back in almost as soon as she got a leg out. It must’ve looked ridiculous, a single dad yanking his daughter in through the window as she clung onto it for dear life. "No school!" the little girl finally piped up, screaming it from the top of her tiny lungs. "Yes school!" he retorted. Their battle of wits went on for a few minutes until eventually Lola gave in, hesitantly putting on her dress and shoes and being dragged to the car.
Adam checked the clock, and to his shock, he still wasn’t late. He plowed through yellow lights, the roads becoming a raceway as he ripped the streets of Alexandria a new one. No one got in the way of his daughter and her daycare. Out of nowhere came a pickup truck almost as big as Adam’s Ram, but not with nearly the same amount of speed and durability. Did it have a Hemi? No sir, it did not. Adam naturally wasn’t going to become this imitation’s bitch, and because of that, it was only natural to race past it, avoiding any confrontation. Naturally, there was a misunderstanding, the truck racing past him. Adam sped past it one last time, heaving his truck past the lighter car. Just when he thought he was in the clear, the other car raced ahead of him, cutting him off and pulling in front. "Oh, come on," was all that escaped his lips, pinched together in a thin line. He tried to get around the car, but to no avail. Oh, did they pick the wrong day to mess with Adam.
Kicking it into overdrive and stepping on the gas with a bit too much force, Adam made several consecutive attempts to zip past the other truck, but he was boxed in between several different cars and felt trapped like a rat. His brow furrowed as his tongue slipped out of the corner of his mouth while he watched the road in deep concentration. Once the cars in the lane next to him moved out of the way, he began to tailgate the driver in front of him, and when they dramatically put on their brakes, Adam whipped his car into the lane next to his own and cut right in front of them, speeding past in a blaze of glory. "Whooooo Hoooo!" he cheered as he bolted down the highway, eventually making it to Lola’s daycare in record time. He unbuckled her from her car seat, lifting her into his arms and grabbing her bookbag and lunch for the day as he quickly made his way inside the preschool. "Dada?" she asked, raising her eyes to meet his. "Mm?" he replied, raising an inquisitive brow. "No more speeding," she spoke imperatively, almost giving him an order. "I wouldn’t have to go fast if you behave in the mornings, babe," he said under his breath with a slight shrug.
He checked the clock after returning to his car, noting that he’d be just under five minutes late if he sped like a bat out of hell to get to his appointment on time. It was with a hesitant sigh that he realized he had to do it, his strong sense of pride in keeping his word and utter distaste for looking unprofessional getting the better of him. When he finally arrived at the site, he was in fact only a few minutes late, having narrowly dodged a speeding ticket and a few cops along the way. Grabbing a hold of his tool bag and necessary items for scoping out the site, he approached the owner of the lot with his usual friendly air. "Dr. Adam Lindstrom, I’m sorry I’m late. This doesn’t usually happen, but I was held up this morning," he spoke to the stranger, extending a hand and hoping for the best.
As a vehicle pulled up, Robert’s eyes scrutinized its carefully crafted lines, as if they could convey the inner workings of their owner’s mind. Whatever it was that he found, it left the investigator thoroughly unimpressed and far more impatient than before. He frowned, and pushed himself off the side of his own car, arms uncrossing as the man stepped out and approached him.
Robert blinked at the excuse, his icy eyes dropping to survey the extended hand before he reluctantly accepted the gesture with a firm grip. "Robert Falk." He stated, his gaze finally meeting that of Lindstrom’s. Already he knew that he wouldn’t like the man, for no other reason than the fact that he was late by a handful of minutes, and maybe even because he just didn’t like that man’s face… or his hair.
"Unfortunately, I work." Letting go of the man’s hand, Robert turned to face the lot of land that had unfortunately brought the men together. “Typically from nine to five, which means I won’t be able to supervise your…” Robert paused, pursing his lips as his eyes surveyed the land. There were brightly colored markers along the edges of the property, marking where it ended and where it began. Spray paint, and bits of the markers of future foundation could be seen jutting out from the ground from where they stood. All postponed in the name of some long forgotten people. He rolled his eyes at this entire predicament. ”Whatever it is that you do and I can’t stay here for much longer." The investigator gave the man a sidelong glance, hoping he understood what he had implied: Make this quick.
Being forced to let a complete stranger roam and dig up the land that he rightfully owned tore at some old childhood wounds. Ulrich had never let him have anything of his own, so now that he had, he didn’t want anyone touching anything unless he said so. And here was this hick of an asshole, five minutes late and ready to trample on something Robert worked so terribly hard for. "So, how does this work?" He asked, folding his arms across his chest. “Do you just, dig up the pieces and my contractor can get back to work… preferably by tomorrow?” As far as plans went, the house was expected to be completed by November, just in time for holidays. Little Madison was already teeming with excitement over decorating their new home with sparkling lights, and homemade ornaments. He couldn’t let her lose that spark.
A long silence. “Fine.” Tennessee huffed, shooting a few more glances filled with distrust before turning his eyes to the scenery passing by. He could make out buildings and houses in the dark, dimly illuminated by street lights. His own reflection stared back at him from the window; Robert’s, too, was visible. The nineteen-year-old didn’t quite know what to make of him yet. Although the man had hastily assured him that no, he wasn’t going to ask for anything remotely sexual, he still had not answered the question (why was he helping Tennessee?). Perhaps Robert was nothing more than a mere passerby who was nice enough to help him out. But the blond had gone through far worse situations, where no help came regardless of how loud he screamed—he eventually learned not to make any sounds—, that he deemed any help that came his way suspicious. Plus, he had been asked of sexual favors before, to which he’d responded with a horrified yet firm no fuckin’ way, get the hell outta my face. He didn’t like this. He didn’t like this one bit.
He silently watched the older male fiddle with the steering wheel, leaning slightly towards it, intrigued, as a woman’s voice trickled out of the speakers. He had Siri on his iPhone, but it was pretty cool to see a car with a voice recognition system. It reminded him of KITT, a car equipped with artificial intelligence from the TV show Knight Rider. “Freddie,” he noted without meaning to, quirking a single eyebrow in approval. Queen, Bowie, Led Zep, Springsteen—the ’70s was one of the most glorious decades in the history of rock music. He enjoyed listening to current bands as well, like Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines, but there was something about old school rock ‘n’ roll that drew him in.
Blinking slowly, the boy paid half of his attention to the driver fanboying over his ideal women (who the fuck was Gillian Anderson, anyway?). Blonde hair or not, he lost all interest if there was a vagina involved. He wasn’t ignorant nor blind, girls were beautiful, but they were beautiful in a sense, say, a landscape was beautiful. “No. I don’t like girls an’ I don’t know who that is,” he muttered, picking at a loose thread from his t-shirt. Her name sounded rather familiar, though. “But ain’t M’donna, like, really old? Old ‘nough ‘tuh be your mom?” asked Tennessee, wrinkling his nose a little at the notion. This guy seemed to be in his twenties and Madonna was almost sixty, wasn’t she?
So many fucking questions—questions he didn’t want to answer. He felt like he was being interrogated. They were normal, innocent questions, those you could ask a stranger in an attempt to make small talk; however, to him, they were not. ”No,” he replied curtly, crossing his arms over his chest in a defensive gesture. No family to drag him anywhere. If his grandparents hadn’t taken him in, he would’ve been still stuck in Texas, working shitty hours at some equally shitty diner. Maybe such a life was what he deserved after all he’d caused, he thought, lips twitching bitterly.
"I’m here ‘cause I got no family ‘cept f’r my grandparents," explained Tennessee, his voice brusque, blunt, and matter-of-fact—he explained as if that sentence was a mere line from a Wikipedia article. He was angry. Angry at how this man kept prying. Angry at how light, innocent, and unknowing his tone was. Of course Robert couldn’t be aware of his past—years of abuse, shouts, and hatred (so much hatred)—but that didn’t make him any less angry. It wasn’t rational, but anger wasn’t rational. “How long ‘til we get there, anyway?” he asked flatly.
Doing his best not to roll his eyes at the kid’s reaction, Robert reminded himself that teenagers were often impatient, rude, little shits who enjoyed over reacting to things, and there wasn’t anything he could possibly do to further placate the boy. Though, at least the boy had spirit, unlike himself when he was at that age. Life after Ulrich had been nearly as difficult as life under him; most of his teen years had been spent waiting for death to collect him, haunted by a sense of foreboding that lingered until the psychopath’s execution. But even after the execution, Robert continued in life with his emotions dulled and a sense of purposelessness until Madison’s arrival.
The blonde tot had awoken in him something he never thought he could possibly feel again: purpose. No longer did he go about daily life as a soulless robot, taking orders when given, wondering when it will all finally come to an end. She gave him life, painted the monochromatic world in saturated shades he had never seen before. Robert had grown more in the last five years than he ever had before and he had his daughter to thank for that. Smiling at the boy’s murmur of approval, the investigator took another careful turn. They were almost there now, about ten or so minutes away, depending on traffic.
Tennessee’s response nearly had him hit the brakes. "Whaaaaat? You seriously don’t know who she is?" He asked incredulously, his eyes widening in disbelief. Where did this kid live, under a rock? Robert had never even seen the show, but even he knew who Dana Scully was, and who played the woman. Letting out an indignant huff, Robert rolled his eyes at the kid’s clear disapproval of his choice of celebrity crushes. "She’s not ol— Wait, are you calling my mother old?” The investigator gave the blond a mock offended look. "Man, if you think the Queen of Pop is old, then you’re really going to judge me for finding Martha Stewart hot.” He shook his head, grinning as he returned his gaze to the road before him. "She’s like, what? Seventy three? And Madonna’s nearly sixty."
Well, he supposed they weren’t that far off in age from one another now that he really thought about them. Anyone over forty was probably an ancient creaking mess to a teenager, no wonder Tennessee disapproved. His mind started mulling over why exactly he found men and women twice his age so enticing, but his train of thoughts quickly led to Ulrich being the reason. Stomach churning, Robert turned his attention to his passenger, hoping the kid would something to pull his mind away from the darker corners of his psyche. "I guess I like them older," he said, shrugging at the peculiarity of his attractions. "Kind of like how you’ve only got eyes for men, y’know?"
If it wasn’t so annoying, Robert would have been impressed by the kid’s negative attitude. Family was clearly a touchy subject, further cementing his suspicions of neglect and abuse. "Sorry," he replied. A tired sigh left his lips, his drowsy eyes doing their best to focus on the brake lights of the vehicle in front of him. "I didn’t mean to…" He paused, letting the music play uninterrupted by his voice for a long moment. There wasn’t much else to say, Robert had gotten what he needed to form a hypothesis of sorts on the state of the relationship between the kid and his family. Soon, they’ll be at the hospital and hopefully before the sunrises, he’ll be on his way back home. "We’re about five minutes away." Although, if he wasn’t more careful with his words, those five minutes could end up feeling like an eternity. As much as he loved a challenge, Robert simply didn’t have the energy to deal with that tonight.
-- Christopher Coan (via brittle-nymphs)
-- Tomaž Šalamun
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
-- Anonymous (via astound)
-- Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
-- Carl Jung