Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, I am only
responsible for my sick and twisted imagination.
Summary: The regularly scheduled drama happens differently. A different take on what could have been.
Spoilers: Canon up to Rock This Town. After there you hit my AU twist.
A/N: I've had this muse buzzing in my head for weeks. I finally caved and put finger to keyboard and this is the first chapter of what in my imagination is a massive Degassi fic in the works. I have at least the next five chapters planned out in my head. I hope someone out there gets enjoyment out of this. Oh and titles are all going to be 80s songs.
She turned her cell phone off after the third or fourth call attempting to track her. She flicked over the missed calls quickly each time. She couldn’t help but look but she wasn’t going to see who wanted to each her. It was easier to tell herself that they wouldn’t miss her when she didn’t know who was calling. It was all a bunch of crap though and she knew it.
She left the terminal and got drenched by the time she found a cab. She gave the driver an envelope the used to hold a picture of her son. It had the address where he lived and that was where she was going. She didn’t call in advance but they’d always said she could drop by at anytime that she was in Seattle. She was going to hold them to it.
She signaled the cab off before bothering to see if they were home. She was abandoned in the rain at their doorstep. There were no cars in the driveway and no one was answering the door. She supposed she might have made a mistake in not calling ahead but this was sort of a spontaneous trip anyways. She didn’t care if she got pneumonia anyways. She let the rain hit her and she was going to wait. She’d wait and wait until someone showed up.
Nothing else could go wrong after all.
Hi. You’ve reached Mia. I’m not in at the moment. Leave a message.
JT knew she was screening her calls. He hung up the phone a bit forcefully. This was like the third time he’d tried calling her. He knew that because he’d tried Liberty like a hundred. He was seriously starting to think women were a bunch of trouble. If he didn’t love Liberty so much, he might just give them all up. He couldn’t give them up anymore than he could give her up though. He just had to keep his promise to Toby.
He nearly jumped from his hospital bed when the phone started to ring again. Manny had taken up the chair next to him in everyone else’s absence though and she collected it handing it over with a, “You’re acting coo coo bananas, JT,” she said in her own way telling him to calm down before he hurt himself.
JT rolled his eyes at her answering the phone.
“Hello,” he said.
He had to pull the phone away from his ear at what he heard next. It was Mr. Van Zandt yelling loudly. He wanted to hand it over to Manny and tell her that it was for her but he knew good and well the yelling was all for him. Mr. Van Zandt had never exactly… liked him. And the fact Liberty was now sort of misplaced and it was his fault wasn’t helping his case.
“Can you maybe… speak softer and slower so I can comprehend you?” he said trying to be as calm as he could.
This seemed to make the older man stop. When he spoke again it was comprehendible.
“I just got a call from a friend from a Sister firm in Seattle. My daughter has been arrested,” he said to JT over the line.
JT would have choked if he’d had anything in his mouth. Instead he found himself fighting back laughter. He couldn’t imagine what Liberty could have possibly have done that would merit her going to jail. She only ever broke rules… because of him. Crap. This was his fault. Again. Women!
“Toby is flying over now. Does he need to bail her out?” JT asked trying to keep his wits about him.
The use of the term Bail made Manny drop the fashion magazine she’d been reading and begin to listen more closely to this conversation. This was going to make for one hell of a story.
Mr. Van Zandt was quiet for a moment. JT could hear Danny and Liberty’s mother conversing in the background though.
“She’s met bail but they’re holding her until Toby gets there. It’s fortunate that she has at least one responsible friend. To be honest, I don’t see what she sees in you, James.”
JT winced at that. He’d never outright told him that he didn’t like him. He had used his that name before though. It reminded him of his mother scolding him for being bad back when he’d lived with her and his sister.
He had to man up here though.
“I don’t see what she sees in me either,” he started honestly, “But I love her and if she’ll have me when she gets back I’m going to make things right. I know you don’t like me. You think I’m this irresponsible, idiot and I am those things because I didn’t do the right thing the first time around. I love her though and I’m going to do those things. And you can either support us or you can go on hating me forever but you can be certain if she has to chose between me and you, she’s going to chose me.”
There was more silence. JT thought for a moment he’d hung up on him. Manny was just staring in complete awe.
“You hurt her ever again and I’ll be digging you a grave in our back yard. They’ll never find your body. You’ll wish you’d have died when those Lakehurst boys stabbed you,” her father finally told him.
JT had expected him to forbid him from ever seeing her again. He was shocked to have gotten off so lightly. He could abide by that though.
“I won’t,” he said simply.
A nosy neighbor had reported her for trespassing. Rich American neighborhoods, apparently did not like unknown dark-skinned people. She wouldn’t have hurt a fly but they made her go in. She refused to call home. She was just going to rot but the officer took her id and from there it became a waiting game.
Her son and his adoptive family were spending a week visiting relatives in Calgary. They were back in Canada. They were extremely apologetic for the whole situation though and told the officers that they could release her. She didn’t know her father had already posted bail anyways. They weren’t letting her out regardless. In there eyes, she was a runaway and she could not be collected until an authorized person came to collect her. She expected her father to come running in talking about how she was ruining her life at any moment.
That was just the sort of thing he loved to do. He was always telling her what she should be. While she dreamed of writing plays and living in a small apartment and running a theatre – he wanted her to become a lawyer. He wanted her to be just like him. Everything was his way or the highway. She’d be willing to be his little clone too until JT had happened. That had changed everything. When she’d written Dracula for the school play and helped direct it with JT she was closer to her dreams than she’d ever been before. In some moments, she’d even dreamed of them running the theatre together. He’d be a male lead in most of her plays.
One thing she’d never told him is how he was chosen to be Van Helsing in the school play. When she’d read the book months before there had been many things that stuck out to her about the character that reminded her of JT. He was one of the few characters physically described. The words description always stuck in her head: "a man of medium weight, strongly built, with his shoulders set back over a broad, deep chest and a neck well balanced on the trunk as the head is on the neck. The poise of the head strikes me at once as indicative of thought and power. The head is noble, well-sized, broad, and large behind the ears. The face, clean-shaven, shows a hard, square chin, a large resolute, mobile mouth, a good-sized nose, rather straight, but with quick, sensitive nostrils, that seem to broaden as the big bushy brows come down and the mouth tightens. The forehead is broad and fine, rising at first almost straight and then sloping back above two bumps or ridges wide apart, such a forehead that the reddish hair cannot possibly tumble over it, but falls naturally back and to the sides. Big, dark blue eyes are set widely apart, and are quick and tender or stern with the man's moods." The colors of the features were not the same but some of the details were very JT like in her head. And the personality had helped the case as well. He had an absolutely open mind. This, with an iron nerve, a temper of the ice-brook, and indomitable resolution, self-command, and toleration exalted from virtues to blessings, and the kindliest and truest heart that beats, these form his equipment for the noble work that he is doing for mankind, work both in theory and practice, for his views are as wide as his all-embracing sympathy. Not to mention well-developed, albeit ironic sense of humor. Those were all bits and pieces of Van Helsing and in her mind Van Helsing had become JT long before the play was ever read and long before JT and she had gotten together.
She found that in most books she read, she could see bits and pieces of him though. Some were more pronounced than others. JT could never be her muse again though. Not in the way he had been before. She’d written a few original pieces when they’d been together but she’d been far too ashamed of them to ever share them. They were all … extremely personal. Some were even illicit around the time they’d started to get intimate with each other. It certainly wasn’t a just woke up one day and did it thing. She’d made him work for it when he did get it.
And that was a night that played over and over in her head. Even now in a cell with prostitutes and drunks, she could picture the way his room had been set up. She could still smell his grandmother’s meatloaf downstairs left for them to eat if they got hungry. She was going out for a while. She could remember everything and she was certain even if she wanted to forget she’d never be able to forget a single detail until the day she died. Other times weren’t so clear anymore but that one was special. The night they’d conceived their son stuck out in detail as well.
She wasn’t going back no matter what she had to do. She couldn’t go back when she could remember everything so clearly and he was busy making memories with Mia. She loved him enough to want him to be happy.
Toby had, had an interesting phone call with Mr. Van Zandt to say the least. And then JT had called. He still hadn’t spoken to Mia. He had apparently spoken to Mr. Van Zandt and was in good spirits. He just hoped to be going to his own funeral. It wasn’t that he was afraid of Liberty. It was just that she could be scary at times. He knew she was going to give him a fight. He knew that he was probably going to have to drag her home kicking and screaming but he was going to do this.
He was confident as he entered the police station telling an office precisely who he was. They told him to follow and lead him to the cell where they were holding her. It was strange seeing Liberty behind bars. He’d never pictured seeing her like this in a million years.
For once he was glad for them.
She had to listen as long as she was in there. He asked for a few moments before they let her out.
“My father sent you?” she asked confused but unmoving from where she was sitting. She didn’t seem to be budging much.
“JT did actually. Your father just told me where I could find you in Seattle. I thought you might fall back into drinking and I’d catch you at a bar but I didn’t imagine jail. You never cease to amaze me,” he said smiling and trying to brighten things up. He was trying to be the positive happy one here. This would have been easier if JT had sent an instruction book for bringing her home. Surely he had an Owner’s Manual or something.
“You can send my regrets. I won’t be able to make it to his wedding,” Liberty said. She wasn’t saying much at all.
Toby ran a hand through his hair at that. Anxious reaction.
“Liberty, sometimes you really could do to wait rather than jumping to conclusions. I think you want to be at JT’s wedding. You always have. You want to be in it and maybe you could be if you let me take you home,” Toby said trying to say it without saying it.
She stood at that looking more than a little appalled.
“After everything we went through, he’d ask me to be in his wedding to her. I can’t believe his nerve. Tell him to ask Manny. She’s more of a wedding type girl anyways,” she said.
“For goodness sake, tell that to him yourself.”
Toby shook his head laughing despite the fact he knew this was far from funny. He opened his cell phone and dialed it. Obviously, JT was going to have to deal with this one.
He extended it to her but she didn’t take it.
“Fine,” he said putting it on speaker phone.
Moments later Manny picked up.
“Hello?” she said.
Toby groaned audibly.
“Put JT on now.”
“Hold on. Mia just left. She’s a wreck. You really should have been here – you’re in big trouble by the way. Did you really have to be so mean to her, Toby?”
Toby sighed. Great.
“I’m with Liberty and I have you on speaker phone, Manny,” he said simply. “We can talk about that later.”
“Ohhh,” she said seeming to catch his drift. There was some shuffling and muffled words and then something that sounded like an ouch coming from Manny and something that sounded remarkably like, ‘You could have taken it a little more gently’.
“Hello,” the voice finally said.
Toby noticed the way Liberty’s face changed at the voice. It was curious watching her go from fighting with him to completely tamed and yet there was still something going on in her eyes. She seemed to still be fighting.
“Hey – Liberty and I were just discussing your wedding and how you’d be really disappointed if she wasn’t there,” Toby said trying to egg him on that it was now or never time for action.
She seemed to be not going to speak for a moment but then she did.
“I’m not coming. Make Manny your ex-maid of honor or whatever sick thing you’ve concocted with Mia,” she said.
JT and Toby both shook their heads similarly at that to what she said.
It was JT’s turn to rationalize with her.
“I just broke up with Mia, Liberty. I was never going to propose to her ,” he said simply.
Toby watched realization of the situation hit her and then confusion. She still didn’t get it.
“Toby, is she still listening?” he asked.
“Her and half the hookers and drunks in Seattle,” Toby said as he noticed this moment was being listened to by more than just him and Liberty. And Manny for what she could hear.
“Liberty, you remember how you said to me that you were still in love with me. Well that night after you left, I came after you. I was going to tell you that I still love you too,” he said honestly. Toby officially felt like he was invading on something very, very personal. This was their moment. “I was stabbed though and then I realized. I love you isn’t good enough. Will you marry me is what I should have asked you long ago. We’ve been through a lot but we’re always going to get through it because we’re us. I love you and I hope you still love me.”
Toby let the guard unlock the door when he noticed she was crying. A hooker gave her tissues from her brassiere. He was surprised when Liberty actually used them to wipe her face. She was speechless.
“Are you proposing to me?”
“Hookers, jail, phones, and all…” he said with a laugh that let her know that he hadn’t gotten too seriously too quick. It only made her cry harder though.
Toby could hear Manny crying on the other end too though. Apparently, it was a woman thing.
“If my proposal is this unordinary, how are we ever going to have a wedding to top it?” she asked the phone.
Toby smiled. That meant yes. His friends were getting married.
“I have something special in store,” JT said all too seriously. “You’ve got to get back to Ontario first though.” He paused as if to add something. “And I’m sorry for hurting you. I shouldn’t have left that thing lying around. I wanted everything to be elaborate and beautiful and completely surprising. I blew it. I hope you’re not to mad at me.”
“It was perfect,” she said.