Family - Part 6 - Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies from Dad
Episode 3 - The Future That Was
Location: the Dervishian Residence, Earth,
Timeline: Early 2416 (Alpha)
Tags: romance, relationships, funny
[Previously in Parts 3 and 4]
. . . . . .
Theo realized she wasn't going to get any farther if she pushed this subject, so she decided to let it go. "Alright," She said. She hadn't expected this conversation to be easy, but her heart felt heavy. She wished there was something more she could do. She asked, "Is there anything I can do for you? Bake some cookies and send them in a care package?" She just wanted him to be happy, that was the whole point behind this. Anything she could do to help, she would do.
A small smile returned briefly to Oliver's expression. He used to bake, too, mostly muffins, which he learned only to impress Michaela. Now that he thought about it, he used to do a lot of things simply to impress people. Age had taught him how silly that was, but those were also happier days, days before Michaela left, days before the war.
With a shake of his head, he said, "Thanks, Theo, but that's alright. I . . ." He paused and looked away for a moment before looking back at the view screen. "Bake some for Terri. She likes . . . orange chocolate chips cookies, I think."
Theo smiled softly. He was trying. "I will," she replied.
. . . . . .
Meg rolled her eyes and sighed. "Terri. Hon. Just say sorry. Nothing fancy. Don't think about it too much and get nervous, just say, 'I am sorry for slapping you, Gustave' and then wait for him to accept your apology, which he will, then it's all over and forgotten."
Terri grumbled inaudibly as she crammed more ice cream into her mouth. Some moments passed before she licked her bowel clean. Putting it back down, she sighed heavily.
"OK, OK, I'll talk to him." She conceded, if only to stop the twins from making her feel any more guilty.
. . . . . .
Theo wiped off her floured hands on her apron. She tore off a chunk of one of the cookies she had just finished, putting it into her mouth. She chewed slowly, concentrating, then nodded. They were perfect. As usual.
Theo plated the orange chocolate chip cookies nicely, poured a glass of milk, and brought the array into the living room where Terri sat on the couch. She smiled down at the girl and said, "These are from your father. Orange chocolate chip." She put them down and crossed her fingers behind her back, praying that she would like them.
Terri had been noticing the tangy and sweet aroma of her favorite cookies coming from the kitchen, and it took her quite the effort not to rudely barge in there. After unceremoniously slapping Gustave in the face last night, she told herself to be on her best behavior for the rest of the weekend. She was the house guest after all.
The built up anticipation meant that she was more than delighted when Theo handed her the tray and by implication gave her the permission to dig in. But it was what she said that took her by surprise.
"What do you mean?" She asked, picking up the biggest piece of cookies from the tray. "I thought you were baking these in the kitchen just now."
Theo's smile softened. "He had them specially ordered. He felt bad for not being here to celebrate a certain someone's birthday." She thought about ending it there, but she didn't want to leave such an unhappy note, so she added, "And he's not the most talented baker, so I stepped in to help."
"Really?" Terri's eyes lit up with glee, but then a thought crossed her mind, and her smile faded. "You talked to him, didn't you?"
Theo's heart dropped when Terri's face fell. "I did." She wondered whether or not she should tell Terri that he said he might call, for she didn't want to get the girl's hopes up.
Theo suddenly had a small idea, but a nice one nonetheless. She bent down and hugged Terri tightly, saying, "This was his other present. He really does feel guilty for not being the father he wants to be." She hoped that wouldn't just make it worse.
"Thank you." Said Terri. It would have been nice if her dad had done this without any prompting from Theo, but she would take whatever she could, even if it's a little forced.
She took a bite of the cookie and a smile returned to her face. "This is really good."
"Why thank you," Theo replied with a proud smile. At least the girl was happy with the cookies.
Terri took another bite of the delicious cookie and drank from the glass of milk. "Dad used to bake, too." She said. "But it's always muffins. Blueberry muffins, honey banana muffins, maple bacon muffins. There was this once on the Themyscira when Michaela left the ship for a week for some doctors' conference and we had muffins for breakfast every day while she was away. After that I couldn't even stand the thought of muffin for a whole month."
Chuckling, she finished the cookie and picked up another one.
Theo laughed with her, smiling and taking a cookie for herself. "I really shouldn't eat these. I'm getting older, and my metabolism isn't what it used to be." She shrugged in sweet, chocolaty defeat. "Oh well, I'll just go on a bike ride sometime."
"Nah, you look great." Said Terri with a smile. Munching on her cookie, she was quiet for a little while. When she was done it, she picked up another piece, but instead of biting into it, she turned to Theo. "Can I ask you question?"
Theo braced herself for the worst, but kept soft smile on her face as she said, "Of course, anything."
"Hmm, you know how my mom and dad were best friends since they were kids, do you think, I mean, people like them who are friends since childhood can, you know, uh, be more than just friends?" Her voice trailed off a little as she finished her sentence.
Theo thought for a moment. She knew that Terri was thinking about Gustave, but she didn't want to bring that into the conversation unless Terri was ready. She tried to phrase her words to seem generic instead of focused on Terri specifically. "Well yes, it can happen. Love can happen to anyone, sweetheart, even friends. So if both are willing, then yes. But if it only goes one way, then all you are doing is damaging your friendship. It is up to you to determine which is more important to you."
"Hmm." Terri took a bite of her new cookie and pondered what Theo had just said. "But, how can you tell if someone is, uh, willing?"
Theo picked up another cookie and ate it to stall for enough time to think. "Well first off, they would act differently. Going out of their way to spend more time with you. Saying things they wouldn't usually say. Acting embarrassed, as if they have a secret they can't tell you, but they really want to. I wouldn't know all the... symptoms, but you could probably tell."
"Oh, I see." Terri nodded as she continued to chew on her cookie. Gustave hadn't done any of what Theo just said. Did that mean he was . . . unwilling? Sighing quietly, she stuffed the remainder of her cookies into her mouth before picking another piece and stuffing some more. "Buuys ar stuupit." She mumbled under her breath with her mouth full of delicious cookie.
Theo chuckled under her breath as she said, "That they are." Theo wasn't stupid, she had seen the way Terri looked at Gustave. She just wished that there was more she could do about it. Cookies could solve a lot of problems, but hearts tended to take their own path. And as much as it pained her, she knew that Terri's heart would have to tough this one out and risk getting broken.
Just then Gustave walked in, looking for his mother. He saw her on the couch and said, "Hey mom can we tal-" He stopped abruptly when he saw Terri. He noticed that her cheeks were puffed out like a chipmunk's, and then he noticed the plate of cookies. He resisted the urge to laugh, as he didn't want to risk her getting mad and slapping him again. He broke the awkward silence, saying, "Uh, hi Terri."
Terri was so glad she had stuffed her mouth full of cookies. There was no way she could talk to Gustave now, certainly not in front of his mom. She mumbled a few random syllables that she hoped would pass as greetings to Gustave as she stood up from the couch, doing her best to look and act normal.
"I, uh, hoove t, uh, talk t Meg un Moorian,"
She took a quick glance at Gustave before making her way away from the couch, only to stop a few steps later. Turning back, she mumbled a few more random syllables and took from the plate all the cookies that could fit in her hands. Another furtive glance at Gustave, she hurried out of the living room and disappeared into the hall way.
Gustave shook his head. "Mom, I just don't know what's going on with her. She seemed perfectly normal at first, but then things kept getting weirder and weirder. She went from talking about news to laying on my lap and having me scratch her back. And then she slapped me! Did I do something wrong?" He looked up at Theo in bewildered confusion, hoping that maybe she could answer the questions he could hardly fathom.
Theo sighed, "She's just confused. It's been a while since you last had a chance to really talk, and she doesn't know how to act around you anymore." She smiled at him comfortingly, putting a supportive hand on his shoulder.
Gustave wasn't quite convinced. "Are you sure that's all? She was acting pretty strangely."
Theo broke eye contact and looked across the room at the television that was still on. She tried to think of the best way to say what Gustave needed to know. "Terri has been through some pretty traumatic stuff in her life, and around her birthday, the pain always comes back and reminds her." Theo looked back up at Gustave and smiled reassuringly, "She is just looking for a little bit of affection, and her best childhood friend happens to be where she is seeking it."
Gustave frowned, then nodded in understanding. "I suppose that makes sense. I guess she was just embarrassed when the twins walked in, so she slapped me." It was clearer now. Some of it still seemed to... odd to be explained, but the pieces were starting to fit together.
Theo smiled, "Hey, just because she opened up to you doesn't mean she's ready to open up to the crazy twins yet. She'll come around in time, but you're right, I'm sure she was pretty embarrassed."
Gustave's smile returned to his face for the first time that afternoon. "Alright. Thanks, mom. You really do know everything." He laughed, and Theo joined him. He gave her a big hug, then grabbed a cookie and started for the exit, saying, "I'm going to get some sleep. Goodnight, love you."
Theo called to him as he left, "I love you too, sleep tight." She sank into the couch with another cookie, finishing off the milk. She was glad she had helped both Terri and Gustave, but she hoped that they would be able to solve this on their own. She flipped through the channels until she finally fell asleep.
[To be continued . . .]
Commander Theo Dolarian
Scientist, Starfleet R&D
Lieutenant Terri Lee
Researcher, Starfleet R&D
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant Gustave Dolarian
Fighter Pilot, USS Churchill
(NPC - Theo)