(2018-12-28) All Apologies, Part 2
With the truth out in the open, the ball is in Wren's court. What happens now?

It's all thanks to Celia that Wren isn't a surly, morose youth, sitting here and spitting and railing on Calvin for doing what he had to do, back then. During that highly tempestuous, selfish age. Wren herself is poised on the roaring twenties of her age range but right now.. now, she feels six or seven again. She watches Calvin, studies him and to her credit she is just.. so good at reading emotions in others. Finding and hearing their truth. Not one thing, in voice or in movements, speaks to her of Calvin lying. Wren, even as her throat works to bite down some rioting emotions, sees this. She listens. She can see her mother now, and it's the thought of her mother that allows her green eyes to brim over. But she does not get upset… the only thing to betray something within her crumbling is how her throat works, how she's swallowing hard.

But it all makes sense. ALL of it. Little does Wren, all of that correspondence is in her grandparents' house. When Celia died and their tiny house was closed-up for good, all of Celia's paperwork went with Wren and both her mother's mortal remains in for form of paperwork and little Wren were installed into that cozy rancher.

Tears skitter past Wren's dainty nose but she listens. Her fine artist's hands fold in her lap and tense briefly but then… a hand reaches out to seek Calvin's if he will allow it. "N-not sperm donor.. father, a d-dad…" A whisper, her lower lip quivering a bit.

"It all makes s-sense now.. why Dex was… and why we.. y-you and I, the guitars and…" Her face crumples and she looks down briefly. Allows herself to cry a bit.


Dad? Dad. Calvin breaks. He just starts to sob. Stupid artistic sensitivities. "I'm so, so sorry Wren." He says, after he collects himself enough to be understood. "Dex did what he could without…pressing at your mother's pride. He was so ashamed of what I did. We never judged one another, I always say but he did. Only on the subject of you did he ever judge me. And…and only because he saw you when you were very small. You were in a stroller. That's as far as I let him get. I told him to never bring you up again. I didn't have a child. I wasn't anyone's father and I never would be. As long as I live, I will never forget the look Dex gave me. Disgust. After that? He never spoke of you again. Not to me. Not to my family. Not even to his partner. Eventually I found out about his big tips and his garage sale visits. But he never told me. And…I was glad." He wipes his face on his sleeve. "I went on. I married twice. I can't quite recall how many abortions I talked women into or paid out the nose for. I remember my second wife had one. My first had two. It would have been three but she miscarried. She was upstairs, crying about it. I quietly toasting to /my/ good fortune." He lets out a mirthless chuckle. "I was a real piece of shit back then. When I turned 40, I gifted myself with a vasectomy, shutting down the baby maker for good. Only reason I didn't do it sooner was because I thought I would change my mind. I didn't."

"Well…that's a lie. I did change my mind, in a way. See, when I found out who you were and let myself freak out about it, I decided to become a father that night. I said that I would tell you and let you decide what to do with the information. If you wanted me to fuck off, I would. If you wanted to get to know me, you could. Because I wanted to know you." His voice wavers again. And his next words come out stilted, in bits and pieces. "I'm so proud of you. An artist. A natural musician from a long line. And you are as beautiful and good as your mother."


Not once.. not once did Celia mention a musician with whom she had an intense fling. So intense that she, Wren, came of it. It couldn't have been easy. Now there's a whole other level to her mother that Wren is finding out about. DID Celia listen to any of Calvin's songs on the radio? See him in any interviews on the latest talk shows and/or highlight reels of the musical world? Surely she did; Celia always had music playing. All types. Surely some of Calvin's hits ended up in the reel. Still Celia said nothing, didn't indicate a damn thing… how did she do it. How did she stay civil? Sane? Never become bitter?

.. because she was Celia. She knew what she wanted and was woman enough to respect what her lover wanted to. Signed the papers, sent them off, carried on. Wren takes a deep, slow breath as she listens.. doesn't judge. Calvin was young and foolish afterall; riding that crest of growing fame. Better he nip things in the bud than litter the world with bastards.

But a weeping Calvin really strikes a chord with Wren. Celia rarely cried and Wren, unable to help herself, leaks from the eyes like a faucet and sputters out something that is half sob, have laugh. "S-so now I know who I get this from." She whimpers out, trying to inject even a shred of humor into it.. "M-mom never really cried but I.. so easy, and—" A deep breath, aghast at the prospect of telling Calvin to 'fuck off' after he bared his demons. She shakes her head, "N-no.. no no, I wouldn't.. never.. no. I-it all makes sense and.."

She reaches her arms out to try hugging the musician fiercely. "Better late than never." She sobs out. Still in shock, disbelief.. but it all. makes. sense.


Calvin does laugh as he pulls Wren into a hug, it's a relieved sort of guffaw. "Yes. Yes, you get it from me." He sniffs. "Even Dex wasn't like this. Me and my Mom, though? Weepy as fuck." He pulls away and looks at her, really look as he's been avoiding her gaze for a while now. "You'll have to meet your Shay-Starkweather grandparents. We're not quite speaking right now. This is a thing that happens from time to time. They will probably stop speaking to me after I tell them. But they will love you! You are their only grandchild, you know? Dex was gay so he never had an accident. Had he lived, he would have adopted. He loved kids. I like kids too. I used to get Make-A-Wish requests. I…I just didn't want to raise them. I didn't think I had the selflessness you need to be a good parent. I wanted to make music and then I wanted to be a rock star and all the shit that comes with and where does a kid fit into that, you know?"

He takes a deep, shuddering breath. While he is no longer actively crying, it's still sniffly and his eyes well up now and again. "I was here when Celia passed. I heard about it. Saw it in the paper. I made a donation to cancer research in her memory." There was a letter about that but the donation itself was anonymous. It was just another piece of paper. "I knew her daughter would be at the funeral and…I was too chicken shit to attend. Still living in some sort of denial headspace about it. I did pay my respects a few days later. I apologized for letting her struggle. That's where I was then. Until you walked into my store."

"So, now you know. You, uh, well…whatever you want or need is yours. I…knew I was going to to this before Christmas so I called in my decorator in Colorado Springs. There is a room up there for you, if you ever want or need it. I'm gonna give you a key and codes. And I changed my will. What do /you/ want now? From me? From this?" He pauses and then adds. "I couldn't stand the thought of you…going through your first Christmas without your mom without knowing you—you still had a parent."


It makes sense. It makes sense. She should be mad and upset and frustrated but Wren is an old soul. Not only from losing her mother young but the life before, when it was just her and Celia and their small immediate family. But it's, again, all thanks to Celia. Fiery she may have been, she was mature.. it's almost too good to be true. Are their strings? Is it too easy?


It's Celia's last gift to Wren: that open mind.

Calvin's 'weepy as fuck' comment results in Wren pretty much falling into the hug with the musician where, for a good minute, she gives in to a combination of sobbing and laughing. Calvin goes on to speak of grandparents — more grandparents! — and how they could make room for her in their lives and the slender girl just cries all-the-more. Misses her mother so powerfully. She eases back some and her eyes are just so wide and wet and wise that it could hurt the heart. No nineteen-year-old should look so wise. She rubs at her eyes with the heels of those pretty hands and takes a deep watery breath. "O-oh my god.." A soft sigh, not exasperation but still shock.

But Wren is still listening and talk of Dex — what he wanted, who he was — causes Wren's lip to quiver all-the-more. "I-I'm gay too," Said tentatively, worriedly; something tells her that Calvin won't mind or turn her out because of it, given his dear brother's lifestyle. Her eyes stream, black as coal as opposed to their usual mossy green. "O-or bi.. but I have a girlfriend. Dad." She whispers out, testing the moniker; finding the term alien and delicious as her guts simultaneously spin in amazement and pain.

Soon, like Calvin, Wren's weeping slows and she's simply looking 'scooped right out', as her mother would call it. T'il he mentions his last gift to Celia in the form of the donation; Wren is leaking again and she just gives up trying to wipe her face. Droplets spatter onto the thighs of her leggings, perhaps a couple onto the keys of the piano. She listens as Calvin speaks of how he made to accommodate her; lips quiver and eyes stream anew but Wren — to her credit — doesn't take Calvin to the bank or anything quite so bitter. He asks of her what she wants and all Wren can says is: "To believe it's all true. A-and I know it is but it's.. all I can think of right now. M-maybe some counselling sessions." There's her mettle right there: no expensive clothes or things or reparations, but simply the further means to recover. Oh Wren.

Then, a tremulous smile as she watches Calvin now, searches for herself in his features. "So.. u-uhm… is there a step-motherly sort that I should be aware of? I won't cause trouble w-with anything there, will I?"


Calvin hugs Wren and breathes out this deep breath of relief. He’s a warm and soft sort between his love of plaid and the softness of a middle aged man’s midsection. He dares to kiss the top of her head before she’s telling him about her girlfriend. To this, he chuckles. “They say it runs in families. My feelings about a person’s sexuality didn’t just include Dex or his husband. You know Mat. We still work together.” Mateo, an audio engineer, does work at the store from time to time as the rental recording studios are being set up. The long haired latino is usually terribly busy but he’s always been nice enough to speak to Wren when he sees her. “Or, shit, all the homos in the industry. It’s fine, sweetheart. I’d like to meet her when you are ready.” He smiles. “And, uh…shouldn’t have said homos. Woke kids. Sorry. I’m old.”

Her talk of belief and counseling, has him softly laughing and drying up a bit. “We can have a test if you want. I mean, you don’t really look much like me. You look like Celia.” He strokes her hair as he talks, eventually landing a hand on her shoulder. “I believed Celia when she told me. Her word is enough for me. Sides, I can see other things. Parts of me in you. I-I can’t wait to see more.”

“I’m dating a woman. Vic Grey. She’s a PI that I went to school with. We reconnected a few months ago and…I really, really like her. I think we’re on to something. After I met you and realized it all, I went straight to her. Told her. You don’t have a thing to worry about.”

He stands up and stretches. “This went better than I expected. You…well, you remind me a little of Dex. He had an old soul. He grew up faster than I did.” He sits on the bench again. “I think it was because he was always sick and he /had/ to take care of himself. My folks picked up on that, you know? He was treated like the mature one. The grownup in the room. He was supposed to watch over me. Because Cal’s not on the same level. Their words. Part of why we aren’t speaking. I’m forty-three and they don’t think I can take care of myself as I embark on a comeback.” He shrugs and looks away a moment.

“You don’t have to call me Dad, if you don’t want—or if it doesn’t feel right. Calvin’s fine, I answer to Cal, as well.”


The girl seems relieved, especially after having been held for a bit in what was indeed a comfortable hug. A fatherly hug. But when she pulls back to look at Calvin, to perhaps do as he does when looking at her face… she looks for herself in his. It's hard to focus with the adrenaline. But then Calvin goes on to accept her lifestyle and even find those parallels. Her lips twitch at their corners at talk of Dex and Mateo and her eyes soften, become dark pools of emotion.. no longer crying, but still overbright and touched. "T-thank you… I.. that means a LOT. It really does. Yaz and I are still, u-uhm.. new.. figuring it all out." Calvin was in his twenties once; he knows how it is!

Mention of the genetic testing results in a quick shaking of her dark-haired head, "No.. no, you don't have to. I trust you. T-there were… signs, I guess, even if I didn't quite know them as such. Thinking back to when you hired me, and had me hold the guitar.. it… no. No tests needed, I swear. I-I've always been told that I, like.. I look like mom. Nobody ever really had to question who my dad was because it was always just mom and I. It was all people needed to know.. at THAT time.” Blush.

Wren can't help it, her shy smile becomes a grin. "Who knows though.. maybe when I take you out in the field for that photography lesson you'll turn out to be a natural. M-mom couldn't handle a camera… so.." Interesting, this is therapy enough: talk of Celia still hurts; there's still a touch of emotion behind every syllable but here… she is having a surprisingly easy time even mentioning her beloved mother in the presence of the man with whom her late mother had… an 'agreement'.

It's amazing how at peace with it all Wren happens to be. Talk of Dex helps, somehow. Maybe that's from whom she acquired such a.. tolerant spirit. She tilts her head thoughtfully as she studies Calvin at talk of the tiff with his folks. "D-do you think that you'll all talk again, sooner than later? You and your folks? Not only are you working on that comeback but springing it on someone that you're their dad.. kinda takes guts and morality. That's a hell of a good example of being grown up." She supplies, hoping to be helpful. Then, what the musician says next just.. really makes this all feel a bit easier.

"Thanks… it's going to take time. Cal is best. But I really… really appreciate you telling me all of this." Says this girl, 19 going on 35 or 40 herself, soul-wise. Wren is taking it all TOO well.. she has a sleepless night ahead, coming to terms with it all. So much so that she isn't ready to tell her maternal grandparents, or even Yaz. Not yet.

Regarding Vic, Wren smiles meekly: “I’m glad she’s ok with it.. I’m sure I’ll meet her eventually, then. I’m just glad it won’t make anything awkward..”


Calvin dismisses Wren and her worries with a wave of his hand. “Vic is going to love you. Her assistant too. She about your age so you can bond about, I don’t know. 2011?” He teases as he paces to one of the rear windows. With a few taps on his phone, they open to reveal his indoor heated pool and jacuzzi. “I started on his house when I was still wild as hell. I was married but…couldn’t stay faithful to save my fucking life. She wanted the pool in. I wanted out.” He points up to the glass ceiling over it. “That opens. I like natural light and fresh air. I’m a rancher’s kid.” He looks back at Wren. “If you want to keep working at the store, that’s fine. But…I could really use a personal assistant type. And, yes, I was a bad boss when I was using. I’m almost two years clean. My behavior has mellowed significantly. The current plan is for the double album to drop in the spring. In the meantime, I’ll be spending more time away from the store and other, many matters to work. This is where you come in.”

He raises his hand. “You fill in the blanks. Keep me on task. Keep in touch with Grant, my manager. The band and I are separate entities on paper, so you work for me alone. No one will boss you around or be a dick. I’ll brief them. That’ll be fine too. They are family to me.” He clears his throat, looking slightly over her head. “Oh! Want a gig over Christmas? Mild housesitting. No pets, no housekeeping. The maid comes in twice a week Hell, you can just watch the cameras online if you want but I’d like you to come once a day to give survey the ground and make sure no one stole the silver. It’ll be gone about five days sooo, $100 a day good for you? And the PA job is about 40 grand a year.

“Current plan includes the uh, festival season. You know the big ones. Coachella, Glastonbury and South-By-Southwest.” He grins. “We made my grand debut there, so I will keep going as long as they ask. And then did. I was kinda giddy.” He thinks for a moment, leaning against the window. “So, whatever you want to do, Wren. You are in the driver’s seat here, okay? I’m the asshole on the back foot. I’m grateful you didn’t run out screaming into the night.” He chuckles briefly. “Don’t answer me now. Think about it. The housesitting is urgent though. Everyone leaves. Every agency at max.” Beat. “Oh, I’m taking Vic to Iceland to celebrate…why I need the sitter.”


And so it occurs: Wren's life has changed drastically — for the third time in less than a year — in this half hour? Forty-five minutes? Feels like forever and 'no time' all in one. Wren listens quietly to what, to her, would be an absolute Godsend. She could save up. Return to school if she wanted; whatever. Get her own little apartment, and in doing so take Yazmin with her—

She blinks her big doe eyes hard to slow her brain, and goes on watching and listening with an open, mildly-astonished look. Even as the heated pool and jacuzzi are revealed, she is still all-eyes on Calvin, though those amazing eyes of hers have widened even moreso. "A.. personal assistant?" Blink? Blink! She shifts a bit, knits her fingers into her lap, tilts her head.
Even anxious and startled she still sits like a gentle lady. "O-of course I will help out.. I'll do whatever it takes. We can even keep things on the down-low if that… if it helps your career. I really, really won't take offense if it's something… y'know, me, that has to come to the public knowledge… gradually." She offers. "I mean it's totally up to you… but I'm completely fine if.. if it gets out there." Blush. Her lips twitch upwards into a smile. Still trying to believe that this is happening to her.

"Of course I'll check out here, make sure things are safe. I'll come out every day." Wren confirms, meaning it. She's about to say that she needn't be paid until the PA income… cripes.

Wren's eyes glow. "I'll do it. All of it."


Calvin exhales with great relief, as he is finally allowed to breathe. His hand even goes to his chest. “Good. Good. I’ll get you set up before I leave town. I’ll put you in touch with Grant, my manager and he’ll help you with the PA stuff to begin with. What I mean is, he’ll just pass some tasks onto you because he’s been kinda doing it all.” He crosses over to her now and wraps his arm around her shoulders. “He took over after Dex got too sick and Dex did…everything. He’ll be so glad to delegate some of my smaller tasks.” He leans a bit to look in her eyes. “I know you’re shy so I’ll be there when you meet him. Which segues into the next item. Grant knows about you and Vic. That’s about it. Mateo knew Dex had a little kid he’d see about here but he didn’t know details. Let’s keep things quiet for now.” He lets go and turns to face her, taking one of her hands.

“My career and image are on the rebuild. You are one juicy fucking story and I don’t want you sucked into the madness of 21st century fame. I am not ashamed of you. I am ashamed of myself. One day, we’re going to get ahead of the story and it’ll be fine and smooth but…for now. Shh.” He offers a weak smile before releasing her hands. “Well, that was a lot. Let’s postpone today’s lesson, yeah? You can hang out while I get you all the information you are going to need. And a check. For the housesitting.” He winks and suddenly beams. “2019 is going to be my best year ever. I’m so glad you are a part of it, Wren.”

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