(2019-01-19) From Joy to Tragedy
Calvin and Vic get their families together to give them the good news about the upcoming wedding and rugrat. Calvin's ex-wife crashes the party with murderous intent.
Players:
calvin..vic..

Calaveras' healthy ski season afford the city a few nice restaurants. This is Troy's Steakhouse, a locally owned place that serves farm fresh steaks. Troy Jr., the current owner is a school friend of Cal's so when Calvin Shay asked for the private dining rooms to be cleared, save one for a party of six, it only costs an arm, at the discount of a leg.

Calvin is dressed quite nicely in a blue sweater with a gray blazer and jeans. He agonized over what to wear. Vic's parents have him nervous. Nervous enough that he insisted they wait for their parents to arrive outside, in his pickup. He's just not ready to go inside. His parents, friends with the owner's family, had no problem coming to Troy's but they are a little late. Calvin's been eyeing the clock on his phone. "It's been three minutes. They are very punctual."

*

Vic is in a simple purple sheath dress, with a spangled black cardigan over it for warmth. Walt and Lucy Carmichael were here 5 minutes early, because that's who Walt is. No doubt he's pestering Lucy with questions about this dinner which she insists is a surprise and to suck it up and shut up. He may be intimidating, but Lucy rules his world. The retired nurse is extremely happy to be able to see her daughter. They know the Shay family, of course, since their kids went to school together, so when Calvin's folks arrive, it'll be familiar faces at least.

Vic can't help but grin watching her parents from afar. "Dad is going nuts. He hates surprises and not knowing what's going on. Mom is probably enjoying the hell out of that. She doesn't take any of his shit. You'll love her and she will adore you. Just sayin'."

*

Calvin smiles and lets out a light chuckle. "I hope so. I'm just…I mean. I was such a mess before and my Mom or Dad might spill some embarrassing shit. Suddenly, I'm rock star trash and not husband and father material." He looks up in the rear view mirror and sighs with relief. "There they are. I told them to head on in. They will end up yaking with Big Troy anyway. I want to meet your folks." He takes a deep breath and gets out of the truck to open Vic's door for her. Sweet but he left the engine running.

*

"Cal, the engine is still running," Vic points out as she slides out of the cab of the truck, finding her footing in case of ice. "Dad will warm up to you, because he likes the hell out of your music, and you're making him a grandfather," she points out with a grin.

*

"Oh shit!" He reaches across the passenger seat to kill the engine and grab the keys. "He's a fan? Oh. That's great. I'll just turn up the charm. I thought I was going in this like a normal person." He laughs. He waves at his parents, who are heading inside. They wave back, beaming at him. "They saw me help you out the truck. Plus, we haven't spoken ten words since my performance. They are tickled to see me. They…no filter. Either one of them." One more deep breath. "Let's meet Walt and Lucy…or Mister and Mrs?"

*

"Walt and Lucy. We're not teenagers. We're grown ass adults," Vic says certainly. She loops her arm through his to let him keep her from slipping and sliding in her low heels. She raises a hand to wave to the Shay's nervously. "I hope your folks don't think I'm some kind of trampy fan or something," she murmurs. It's taking all her willpower not to put a hand to her stomach. It's her go to lately, anytime she feels nervous, as if the child growing inside can soothe her.

*

"Oh, no no. You're a neighbor girl to them. Not some young groupie. Also, I'm introducing you to them. I never did that." Calvin has a tight grip on Vic. "They always met my bride a few days before the weddings. I was such an asshole."

*

"Then let's get on it. I need lots of moms time between now and spitting out this kid. Since neither of us know jack shit about babies," Vic notes with a chuckle. She leans up to kiss his cheek gentle as they reach the door. "We got this."

*

Calvin chuckles. "We're going to have like…three nannies. We don't need to know anything." He winks and as they approach Walt and Lucy Carmichael, one can almost feel the change in his demeanor. Just posture opens as he stands up straight. He seems to puff up as he greets the future in-laws. "Lucy! Walt! Hey there! I haven't seen you since high school but I wouldn't say you've changed a bit!"

*

Walt turns first, the old cop instincts having heard their approach. The silver haired man looks as severe as he ever did as a cop, and pale eyes sweep over Calvin Shay like he's categorizing everything about the man in a split second. Lucy turns a moment later and seems shocked and surprised. "Calvin Shay! My goodness! I remember when you and your brother were just little things." She was a nurse, she may have been there for some of Dex's hospitalizations. "Hey baby girl," she coos to Vic and moves to wrap her daughter in a hug.

Vic hugs her mother back tightly, eyes closed for a long moment, as Walt offers Calvin a hand. "Saw you and Vic singing at the rodeo. Wondered what was up with that." Vic lets Lucy go and hands over a bag of presents to the woman. "Belated Christmas. We were in Iceland for the holidays. Hi Dad." The latter is said softly and uncertainly as Vic looks at her father.

*

Calvin gives Walt's hand a firm shake. "Yeah, the rodeo. I…she'd got a great voice, doesn't she? She lassoed my heart long before that day though." He grins at Vic. As Vic speaks to her father, Calvin smoothly turns his attention to Lucy. "Dex and I used to tear up those halls, didn't we? He could never sit still. The second he felt better, it was time to run. Good to see you, Lucy." He spreads his arms for a hug.

*

Lucy slides into that hug and squeezes Calvin tight. She's got strength, this woman. All those years of lifting sick people kept her fit. "My little girl and our very own hometown Rockstar. I never in a million years thought…" Well neither did Vic, or anyone else, because she was a damned hermit for 15 years.

Walt folds his hands for a moment after the shake, and it takes him a few minutes to look Vic in the eyes. "Hey kiddo," he offers, finally, then breaks and moves to pull his daughter into a hug. The two of them are whispering all sorts of hushed apologies to each other for a while, before Lucy breaks it up. "Good, now that you've both decided to be grown ups again, let's go eat, I'm starving and dying to catch up!"

*

Calvin looks so relieved already. He takes Vic by the arm and leads them inside of Troy's. As predicted, The Shays are chatting with the retired owner and his son. They break off as soon as the rest enter and the six top is lead to their dining room.

It's in the back of the restaurant. Far from the kitchen and noise of the front of house. There are three of these such dining rooms one large and two more medium sized ones. And they can all open to make a giant hall if needed. Calvin picked one of the mediums but the others are, indeed, empty. A beautiful table for six is set up. Calvin guides the elder men to the heads of the table. He and Vic sit on one side and the wives sit on the other, each beside their husbands or fathers. The Shays are an easy-going and affectionate pair. They are holding hands as soon as they sit and are giggling together and some unknown joke.

The waitress enters to take the drink order. She is nervous when she gets to Calvin. She was prepared to be his server but Oh My God he is RIGHT THERE. Calvin smoothly orders water for he and Vic and a Shirley Temple for his father, which makes the Shays laughs again. "No, seriously, he loves those things." Calvin assures the waitress.

*

"Ooh make mine a Shirley temple too," Vic insists. "I haven't had one of those since I was little. We used to get them at the cop bar, remember Dad?" she asks Walt and he chuckles at the memory of his little girl sitting on a stool, feet swinging in the air, his patrol hat settled on her head and covering her eyes. All the cops loved the kid. "I remember. Burt kept extra maraschino cherries on hand just for Victoria," he explains. Lucy is beaming with joy at having her family reunited and she holds a hand out to Donna. "It's so good to see you and Craig. It's been too long." She was retired before Dex's final struggle, so it has been quite a few years. They were at the funeral though.

*

Donna takes Lucy's hand. "Too long is right. We were glad you came to Dexter's funeral but it shouldn't be just sad occasions that we all gather together." She looks to Craig, who is happily chatting with Calvin. It's a quick catchup between the two, as Calvin talks about Iceland and the album and Craig shares that his cancer treatment is going well. He hasn't lost any hair, so he's considering it a total win. "So, son, after the album, are you still going to tour?" Calvin nods and Donna opens her mouth but Calvin hurries to add. "It's a festival tour. Just a handful of shows in the spring and summer. I'm not touring past fall." He pauses a beat. "And there is a good reason for th—" The waitress returns with drinks. Calvin tells her to take a break. "We gotta talk to the family for a bit. I'll find you or call up to the front, yeah?" The waitress nods and she exits. Now, Calvin gets to his feet, pulling Vic with him. "We have announcements. Vic?"

*

Vic takes a sip of her Shirley temple and looks over the rim at Calvin for a moment. Then she sets it down. "Ah, yeah, so, um." She clears her throat and sets her napkin in her lap. "Calvin and I have decided this thing we have is something we want to keep having. We've been really good for each other. Neither of us takes the other's crap, we keep one another on the straight and narrow, and I won't speak for him, but every time I see him, it's like my world starts turning again. I never thought, ever, that I'd be happy again. Or that I'd be in love again. Losing my husband fifteen years ago broke something fundamental inside of me, but Calvin has repaired it, made it even stronger." She smiles at him, her eyes for no one but the musician. She lets him handle the rest of the announcement.

Lucy looks near to tears at her daughter's admission of loving again. She never thought Vic would get past Evan's death, and trying to get her there only put a wedge between parents and daughter for a long time. Walt looks relieved.

*

"Christ, Vic. Make me sounds like a proper husband. Which is what I'd like to be." Calvin says, looking to Walt. Donna blurts out. "Cal, are you sure?" She winches as Craig squeezes her hand and glares at her. "All—You are lovely, Victoria, it's Calvin we worry about. He can move so fast."

"Mom, it's for real. I mean, she's older than me and…she…she makes me want to be a better man. To rise to the standard she holds me to. Rise and surpass. This isn't one of my groupie wives or shit like that. This is grown up shit." He kisses Vic on the cheek. "We're going to get married, sooner rather than later. I'm positive she's the one."

Beat.

"As positive as her pregnancy test." And Calvin sits down.

*

Vic is all blushes as Calvin drops the baby bomb, and then Lucy shrieks, "I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT! I saw you walk up to us with that glow and I just knew!" She gets up and rushes round the table to hug her daughter, bringing Calvin in too. "I really never thought I'd ever see a grandbaby. OH MY GOD WALT!" Walt can't help it, he's grinning across the table and shaking his head in amusement. "Gonna have to kid proof the whole house, Lucy." A reason for him to get out the power tools. "Congratulations, this is surprising news, but great news. When's the wedding?"

*

Craig and Donna exchange shocked looks as Lucy shrieks and hugs. Craig is first, "You got fixed. You never wanted kids." He's grinning though, clearly pleased. Calvin replies, "I did. It failed and…well, I have a few reasons for going forward. First and most important one is…well, I wouldn't say I changed my mind so much as…I came around to it." He regards Walt and Lucy. "I was famously childfree, you know. Never wanted kids. Dex was going to be the one to deliver the grandkids. But around the time we found out about Vic's pregnancy, I wanted to do something I hadn't done. Raise a child. We just got…well, fate intervened." He looks around the table and Donna is quietly sobbing. "Mom? What's wrong?" He gets up and crosses to her, squatting at her side.

"Dexter was supposed to do it but it's you. I'm happy, I am, Cal. So, so, happy. I can see you are happy and Lord knows that is a rare sight since we lost your brother." She trembles a bit and then hugs Calvin around the neck, breaking down into his shoulder. She pulls away, sniffling. "Dexter would be so happy for you too, you know that? All he wanted was for you to be happy and keep moving and you are. We are so proud, aren't we Craig?" His father nods, wiping away a few tears himself. Donna just holds Calvin's face for a few moments, looking at him. "You know, older mothers produce twins at higher rates." She winks at Vic and when she looks at Calvin again, he's crying. Just a little. "This is when I really miss him." He says and that's it for the Shay's. It's a group hug, boohoo fest over there.

*

"My mother and aunt were twins," Lucy adds, "And they say it skips a generation!" Oh god, twins. They are so doomed to have twins. Vic wipes at her eyes because of all the love in the room, and the goddamned hormones. "I was thinking, hoping, with your blessing," she looks at all three Shays, "if there's a boy out of all this, we can name him after Dex?" Walt reaches over to offer a hand to his co-grandad-to-be. "Well Craig, we have a lot of spoiling to do, don't we?"

*

As soon as the Shays simmer down, Craig raises a glass to Walt. "To our kids and grandkid." He nudges Calvin as he passes back to his seat. "I hope it's just one for your sake. Lord help us if you have a set of boys. He'll have them at the piano before they can sit up good." Donna is the one to answer Vic. "Oh, you don't need our blessing. Dex and Cal had a deal, didn't you?" Calvin nods as he sits down. "Yeah, we always said if we ever had sons, we'd name them after one another. Well, as middle names. Even though Dexter /was/ his middle name. So, yeah, I have a promise to keep." He adds, "As for a wedding…soon? I mean, she wants to do it before she…shows. A lot. And I don't really want to wait until after. But whatever it is, it will be very small. We both did the wedding thing. We just want to share our love. But, uh, I was going to get the license on Monday. I want her on my insurance considering her age and my Cadillac medical plan. But the celebration itself will be—"

There is commotion coming from the front of the house. Loud voices mostly but the words are hard to make out. Conflict is apparent.

*

"Just something small with family and close friends. The tabloids can pay us if they want photos, we're not letting them in. It'll be a great start to buying things for the baby." Or babies. Vic looks like the world is just about perfect right now. She doesn't seem to notice the commotion as her mother grips her hand. "It's a geriatric pregnancy, so we're going to have to be really careful the whole way, Victoria. But you and the little one will be great. You have a nurse for a mom, and a very wealthy, very invested husband to be to find the right doctors." Vic snorts, "We've seen like a dozen already. He's gonna make me crazy," she chimes with a happy laugh. Walt looks towards the sound, ex-cops never quite lose that edge. Unless their Vic and pregnant and overwhelmed.

*

The noise is in motion and words are being made out. "No, no. You get out of MY way. He's my ex-husband. I can see him whenever I like!" Only Calvin knows that voice and he is deeply unhappy. "Astrid." Donna groans and looks at Craig accusingly. He grunts and looks away. "It wasn't me! I haven't spoken to her in ages." Beat. "Oh, shit." Donna nods and looks to Calvin. "We got a call asking us to reconfirm our reservation at Tony's. Craig corrected her and hung up and I just had a bad feeling."

Calvin stands up. "I'll handle this." He leans down to kiss Vic. "Astrid's my first wife. Not counting the annulment. She can be unstable but I can always talk her down." He addresses the group. "Excuse me." And Calvin leaves the dining room but stops in the hallway, just outside the door. "Astrid, hey. What's wrong?" There is a pause and Calvin raises his hands peacefully. Outside, there are screams of terror. "Astrid, there is no need for this. I mean…who did you hear it from?"

"Lydia, of course." She has a harsh voice, angry and damaged. Smoker, for sure. "You made me have how many abortions? Three? Four? And I begged you to help me when I got remarried and you knock up some old bitch? Calvin, what the fuck?"

"Astrid, don't do this. I'll help you. Just put down the gun, please?"

Bam! BamBam! Three rounds of gunfire and Calvin drops right there in the hallway. Somewhere…everywhere, a woman is screaming.

*

Vic leaps to her feet, as does Walt, and both rush to the hallway. Cops. They're former cops. "CAL!" Vic shouts out as she runs through.

*

Astrid isn't even 35 by the look of her. She was a model once. Tall, leggy. She might have been beautiful too but now she is a woman crazed. Her blonde hair is long and tangled. Her makeup is streaked. The second she sees Vic, she fires those three rounds. One goes wild. One tags Walt but it's not even enough to knock the old cop down. But Vic? Now, she's laying in the hall, blood spreading across her midsection.

Chaos reigns. Sirens are approaching. Donna, Craig, and Lucy are rushing about. As for Cal? He stares blankly at Astrid. She got him good. Three shots in the chest and belly, but he ain't dead. Astrid reloads one bullet into her revolver and sticks the gun in her mouth. Boom. Just like that, it's over.

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