I'm technically proficient

...despite certain attitude issues

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homecoming [RP for Lee]
hand on forehead
lockhart_md
September 8, 2007

She can finally go home. She takes a cab to the airport directly from her father's sparsely attended funeral, not lingering at the gravesite. She's done too much lingering the past several weeks, waiting for him to die.

Even though she's been preparing herself for this ever since she got the call from Texas, she still doesn't know how to feel. The past few weeks have been draining, emotionally and physically, Abby running on poor to no sleep most days, and bad hospital and vending machine food. She feels no more at peace with her father than when she'd come; she knows Lee had expected or at least wanted her to make amends with the man before he died, and while she'd been there every day with the dying man, the times when he was with it enough to converse had been stilted and awkward at best, if not as angry as when he'd been in Chicago.

The night he died, she'd been alone with him. After the doctor on call had pronounced him, she'd been left alone again, "to say goodbye." She sat there, staring at his body, trying to feel something other than anger and regret, trying to think of something appropriate to say. Eventually she gave up, getting up and walking out of the hospital in the direction of her hotel. On her way, she passed several bars; she stood outside one for a full five minutes before going in and ordering a beer. And then another, and another. When she finally leaves, she's successfully numbed herself, but when she returned to her hotel she opened the mini bar for the first time. She spent the entire next day in bed, nursing an impressive hangover.

Now, after calling Lee to let him know her flight information, she sits on the airplane, wanting nothing more than to just be home already. On top of her father's death, she's also missed her husband's birthday, the guilt over that not doing anything for her state of mind. At least she'll be home in time for Lily's first birthday, she muses, but even that thought doesn't cheer her as much as it should. And when the attendant comes around to take drink orders, Abby only hesitates a couple moments before requesting a tequila on the rocks.

When she lands in Chicago, she's just consumed enough alcohol to take the edge off, not wanting to be drunk when she sees her husband and daughter for the first time in weeks. She puts a piece of gum in her mouth as she walks through the terminal with the other passengers, scanning the crowd of waiting people as she makes her way towards the baggage claim.

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Eager to see his wife, Lee arrives at the airport early and finds a bench where he and Lily can sit to wait, not too far from baggage. He watches the arrivals screen as it updates, constantly checking for Abby's flight number. As he bounces the baby on his knee, excitedly telling her that Mama's coming home, it dawns on him that perhaps happiness isn't the right emotion to be feeling. Abby's just lost her father, Lily her only grandfather.

Once he sees that her flight has landed, Lee stands, Lily held against his shoulder as he scans the crowds looking for the only other face that interests him. Spotting her, he smiles despite his earlier thought and calls out to her,
Abigail! Welcome home...

She's surprised at the strong feeling of relief when she hears Lee's voice, and she turns, leaving the immediate baggage area to walk to him and Lily. She smiles, despite her mood, to see the two of them, and she reaches out to run her hand over Lily's head though she's looking at her husband. Lee...

Hey...He smiles at her, torn between offering her his sympathies again or just reveling in her presence. Giving in to the fact that he's missed her so much over the last few weeks, he shuffles Lily to one arm and wraps the other around his wife as he dips his head for a kiss. We have missed you...

Without thinking, she tips her head up to accept his kiss, knowing she'd missed him much more than she'd admitted to herself.

He starts to smile as he presses his lips to hers, the softness of her skin enough to distract him for a moment from the smell and the taste of alcohol on her breath. The realization that she's been drinking causes him to end the kiss much sooner than he'd like. He runs his tongue over his bottom lip as if to verify again that the taste was there though he doesn't say anything as he looks down at his wife.

She realizes her mistake when he pulls away so quickly; she flushes slightly and looks down, focusing on their daughter instead. Lily...Mama missed you...you got so big!

Letting it go for now, Lee nods as he places his hand on Abby's back, wanting her to know he's not angry with her. She has. When we get home you should see what she can do now. She likes standing up between the couch and the coffee table.

She reaches for Lily, looking both pleased and sad at the news. Do you, baby girl? You didn't start walking, did you?

He shakes his head at her query. No walking. Still getting her sea legs. Where's your bag? He doesn't release his hold on the baby, feeling protective of the little girl now that he knows Abby's been drinking.

Her brow furrows when he doesn't hand over the baby, and she keeps her hands on her daughter. Here, baby, come to Mama. She nods her head at the baggage carousel, in answer to his question. I haven't picked it up yet.

He feels stuck, wanting to keep the baby in his arms and yet knowing he'll feel like a heel if he tells her to go get her luggage. With Lily reaching for Abby, he finally sighs and against his better judgment he hands over the baby. I'll go get it.

She gives him a look when he hesitates and sighs, but smiles when Lily is in her arms. There we go...Hi, sweetheart...I missed you so much.

He bites the inside of his cheek to keep from saying anything to her as he goes to retrieve her bag, snatching it off the carousel and returning to them as fast as he's able.

I didn't forget how to hold her, you know. She says softly when he returns, avoiding any mention of her drinking.

I know. He swings the bag onto his shoulder and jerks his head towards the exit. I've just gotten used to having her to myself? It's a weak excuse and he knows it.

She kisses Lily's cheek, smiling weakly as the little girl makes a smacking kiss back. She ignores Lee's excuse and speaks to the little girl instead. Oh, I missed you so much, sweet girl. She follows Lee towards the exit, knowing enough about how she tolerates alcohol to know she's not endangering her daughter by carrying her.

He looks over his shoulder at her. Didn't you miss me too?

She stops walking, a pained expression on her face. Of course I did.

He smiles at her words, then notice her face. Hey...come on, I know you missed me. I was just teasing you.

She nods and starts walking again. I missed you, trust me.

I hope you know I missed you too. He waits for her to catch up with him, putting his arm around her shoulders when she does. And that I am so glad you're home.

I know. She leans on him as they walk. God, I'm so glad to be home.

As they reach the car, he uses his key chain remote to unlock the doors and pop the trunk. I'm sorry I wasn't able to join you for the funeral...

She shakes her head. It's okay...It wasn't much of a funeral.

Still...I'm sorry. He doesn't know why her words make him sad and he isn't sure if the feeling is for the dead man or for Abby.

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