“Individuals make impressions and judgements about people very quickly, very easily, and with very minimal information. And once those judgements are made, they tend to be hard to undo. They’re quite sticky.” -Dr. Vivian Zayas
Spencer waited in the passenger seat as JJ dropped Henry off at school. Monday’s and Thursday’s were her days to drop him off and today happened to be a Monday. She made it a habit of picking Reid up on the way so he wouldn’t have to take the subway. She claimed he was going to get robbed one of these days.
“Will is so much better at this,” JJ said as she climbed back into the driver’s seat.
She quickly pulled her seat belt across her chest and started the car.
“Why?” Reid asked as he looked out the window at the multitude of children walking to school. “Isn’t Henry a momma’s boy?” He asked while he turned to face her.
“Exactly, Spence! That’s why it’s so hard to get him to go inside, he doesn’t wanna let go of me!” She said in an overdramatic way while pulling out of the school parking lot.
Reid turned his attention back to the window, taking in all the reds and oranges of the autumn leaves. Quantico was beautiful this time of year. It was a shame that they only got to experience it at small moments like this while on the way to their incredibly stressful job.
JJ turned again to park at the FBI building. She managed to sneak into a spot close to the doors which was a rare occurrence.
“I don’t know, JJ, maybe you shouldn’t complain about your son loving you. Things could be a lot worse,” Spencer teased as he gathered his messenger bag and coffee and let himself out of her car.
JJ walked around from her side and nudged into him. They laughed as they walked into the building together, making their way to the elevator and pressing the button for their floor.
“Did you hear about the new agent?” JJ finally asked, breaking the silence.
“Yeah,” Reid said, remembering how Hotch had told them they’d be getting a new addition to the team.
He personally didn’t think they needed another member but Hotch seemed adamant about it. The elevator bell dinged and the doors opened. JJ and Reid walked into the BAU department and were quickly met by a small woman with dark hair.
“Hey, Em! Is the newbie here yet?” JJ asked as she put her belongings down on her desk.
Reid looked over at Emily, hoping she had some more information than he did.
“Not that I know of,” Prentiss said with a sigh.
It had been a while since they got a new member so the anticipation was killing all of them. They each sat down at their desks and began looking through the files that would consume most of their day.
About thirty minutes into the day, Hotch called everyone into the briefing room. Reid was the last one to enter and sat down in his usual spot next to Derek.
“Hey pretty boy,” Morgan said when he noticed him enter the room.
Reid gave him a quick nod of hello as he adjusted himself in his seat. Hotch stood in the front and was about to speak when there was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” Hotch said in his usual monotone voice.
In walked a small girl with long, dark brown hair and wide green eyes. One would say ‘girl’ because she couldn’t be more than 20 years old. She wore a white collared shirt with a pocket on the breast and a suede knee-length skirt, topped off with 2-inch black heels. She was slightly over dressed for the BAU, but they all had dressed like that on their first day.
“Ah yes,” Hotch said, extending his hand out to the new girl. “You must be Agent Hopkins, it’s nice to finally meet you.”
“Call me Belle,” the brunette said as she shook his hand.
Although he towered over her, she didn’t look the least bit intimidated. Brave, Reid thought to himself.
“Belle it is. I’m Aaron Hotchner, but everyone here calls me Hotch. Let me introduce you to the team,” he said as they all stood up to greet the new member.
“This is Agent Derek Morgan,” Hotch said while pointing to Morgan.
Belle shook his hand while smiling.
“Hey lil mama,” Derek said, causing the girl to giggle and look down at her feet.
“Next is Agent Jennifer Jareau,” Hotch said.
Belle stuck her hand out to meet JJ’s.
“JJ,” she said with a bright smile.
Belle nodded as they shook hands. Hotch then began pointing to Reid.
“This is our genius of the team, Dr. Spencer Reid,” he said.
Spencer blushed lightly at the use of the word genius. Belle held her hand out and he stared down at it. They stood like that for a few seconds until realization struck her that he wasn’t going to shake it. It’s just something that he didn’t do.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she said while retracting her hand.
The genuine smile on her face let Reid know that she wasn’t offended by his lack of physical contact.
“You too,” was all he said.
It wasn’t because she was pretty, because hell, she was. He had social anxiety meeting new people, regardless of what they looked like. The small dimples that fell upon her cheeks when she smiled at him may have had an impact on his nerves, but that went unnoticed by the rest of the team. They already knew his quirks, so they didn’t question it.
Hotch quickly introduced Belle to Prentiss and Rossi before turning to Garcia.
“And finally, this is our computer analyst, Penelope Garcia. She’ll get you anything you need during a case, just ask,” Hotch said as Penelope practically leaped out of her chair.
“It’s so nice to finally meet you! I’ve heard so much about you. Well, more like I read so much about you while I stalked your file, but that’s beside the point! Anyways, you’re just as adorable as I expected! Are you an Isabella or an Annabella-”
“Slow down, baby girl. Let the girl breathe,” Morgan chuckled as he noticed Belle turning blue from the hug she was engulfed in.
Penelope quickly let her go.
“Oh, sorry! I’m just so excited to have another girl around here!” Penelope exclaimed as Belle giggled at all the attention.
“Don’t worry about it, it’s nice to meet you, too! And I’m just Belle, nothing fancy,” she said in a shy tone while a small dust of pink spread across her cheeks.
“Ooh, short and to the point, I like it,” Penelope said as she smiled at the young agent in front of her.
Belle giggled again, which caused the whole team to smile. The sound could be described as nothing short of adorable. It was refreshing to have someone younger on the team. Until now, Reid had been the youngest, and the team was starting to show their age. He would never tell Hotch and Rossi this, but they did occasionally refer to them as the grandpas of the BAU. They would need younger members to eventually fill in when those two got too old for the job. Although it was hard letting new people into the little family, Reid could already tell that Belle was going to fit in.
“Where’d you get that necklace? It’s lovely,” Emily asked as they all took their seats again.
Belle sat next to Spencer, which made the heat on his cheeks return. He wasn’t used to being this close to a beautiful woman. Of course, JJ, Emily, and Penelope were all beautiful, but they were older than him and he just didn’t see them in that way. He was comfortable around those three. Belle, however, was new and it caused discomfort on his part. Not a bad discomfort, though. He already found himself wanting to get to know her better. It was more of a nervousness that overtook him.
The slight tinge of what Reid assumed was Belle’s perfume broke him out of his thoughts. She smelled like a mix of peppermint and something that he couldn’t quite place. Whatever the fragrance was, it reminded him of one of his only good childhood memories; Christmas mornings with his mother. Reid was about to be bold and tell her she smelled nice when he was interrupted.
“My boyfriend gave it to me, isn’t it beautiful?” Belle answered as she held up a tiny rose-gold pendant in the shape of a heart that was attached to the chain around her neck with a smile plastered on her face.
Spencer closed his previously opened mouth and turned back to the file in front of him.
poor neglected babies, i havent drawn some of them in so long.
So this was sort of in response to this comment i got (forever ago) when i mentioned i felt like my fan oc creation was getting out of hand :
charmingviolence said: I’m at several hundred ocs now and it honestly ain’t a problem. The more characters and stories and worlds you have, the more people you have to cheer you up, and have your back, more stories to explore and create upon, and more places to escape to on a bad day. Keep creating and don’t ever feel like it’s getting out of hand. I’m looking forward to each and every creation you show us! ^u^
I just thought it was really cute. And Im sort of weirdly self conscious about creating fan characters?? i dont even really know why?? but this was just a good take on character creation in general, so thanks charmingviolence
Butter is an elegant posh restaurant in the heart
of downtown Atlanta with an upscale southern home-style cuisine. The restaurant
décor is simple but high-class with neutral hues and a modern minimalist style;
soft lighting bathes the room in a warm ambiance and the live jazz music
wafting around the room adds to the serene atmosphere.
Michonne remembers the
first time she came to the restaurant. It was junior prom and the night turned
out to be awful. The only thing pleasant about the night was Butter;
she thought the place magical then and only became more enchanted with the
restaurant as the years passed.
Now, Michonne curses the
place for being so popular as well as herself for having similar taste as her mother.
Her eyes go to Rick, she
notices the tick drumming against his jaw; it’s been present ever since the
introduction of him as her friend.
Friend, Michonne? You
could have done better.
Michonne scolds herself.
It’s true but as her
father said, her tongue was buried down his throat and being caught by her
father; she lost her sense and said the first thing that came to mind. It also
didn’t help that Rick was going to introduce himself as her husband. Even if
that is true, she would rather ease into that conversation with her parents
then dive in head first.
She chances a glance at
him as she sits down, his normal cerulean eyes a shade of gunmetal blue as they
bore into her. Michonne tries to smile as she pats his hand; his eyes narrow on
her as the tick works overtime.
Judge doesn’t sit right
away, he notices some men at a nearby table and starts in their direction to
Before he departs he
gives another order, “Order wine, you know what your mom and I like.”
“Let’s just get
“Maybe it will not
be that bad,” Glenn says hopefully. Michonne and Rick both shoot him a
doubtful look, “I said maybe.”
Michonne turns back to
Rick and reaches for his hand again, “Rick, I’m sor-”
“You said you
wanted to talk about this later. Or do you really want to have this
conversation now? In front of your father?” Rick asks cutting her off.
She nods and swallows
the lump in her throat as an older server arrives at their table. The server
takes their drink order, Michonne orders several chilled bottles of wine as
Judge returns. He nods at Michonne’s choices before dismissing the server.
her father starts.
“Rick is derived
from Richard, correct?”
“Yes, but everyone
calls me Rick.”
Anger flames his eyes,
she discreetly reaches over to him and squeezes his thigh. Rick’s eyes drop to
her hand before he looks up at Judge again.
Judge smirks in triumph,
“Richard, tell me about yourself.”
Rick barely says two
words before Judge’s attention is snatched away. He allows the reprieve to
collect his anger.
Judge stands and greets a sophisticated petite chocolate skin woman with
straight gray and black hair. Similar to Judge, the woman is shrouded by an
aura of majestic power radiating of high status and wealth. Judge kisses her
cheek; she returns a smile as her eyes sweep across the table. Her eyes
brightens at the sight of Michonne before dimming at the sight of him.
Rick sees the
resemblance between the older woman and Michonne, especially in the dark brown
eyes. The older woman is elegantly beautiful, effortless, the same beauty
Michonne has. His mind can’t help but wonder if this is a glimpse of how
Michonne will look when she’s older. Even in his anger, Rick warms at the
thought of growing old with Michonne.
the woman coolly says. Michonne rises to her feet and gives her mother a quick
“Who do we have
“Mother, this is my
friend, Rick Grimes. Rick this is my mother, Vivian Rhee.”
Bile rises in the back
of his throat as the anger churns in the pit of his stomach causing his heart
to beat violently, that word again: friend.
Grimes.” Rick forces a smile standing to his feet and extending his hand.
She looks at the hand for several long seconds before she takes it
She says her name as if the two words can bring mountains to their knees, as
Rick looks into her eyes he has no doubt of the possibility.
“Pleased to meet
“Please call me
so similar to Michonne’s coldly regard him. Rick quickly places the look, it is
not contempt, more distrust and disinterest.
All eyes go to the new
arrival at the table. Rick immediately recognizes her as one of the women from
Las Vegas, the stoic brunette and Michonne’s sister-in-law, Maggie.
him?” Judge asks.
“Uhh… yes we met
once before,” Maggie replies glancing around the table. She locks eyes
with Michonne for several beats before returning to her father-in-law. “Briefly,
we meet briefly but Michonne has spoken about him before, so I feel like I kind
of know him.”
Vivian murmurs pursing her lips together, “Too bad the same can’t be said
by the rest of us.”
“Rick you remember
Maggie Rhee, my sister-in-law?”
“A pleasure to see
you again,” Rick replies kindly.
Maggie gives him a tight
smile, “Yes, nice to see you again.”
Judge pulls out Vivian
chair as Glenn does the same for Maggie and everyone takes a seat at the round
table. Vivian sits at Judge’s right side and Michonne takes a seat at his left
with Rick taking the other side. Glenn sits between his mother and his wife,
Maggie who in turns sits next to Rick. As they all take their seat, Rick
notices he’s sitting immediately across from Vivian. Her dark eyes ripping into
The server returns with
empty glasses and several bottles of wine. Rick watches with narrow eyes as
Vivian and Judge are both polite and respectful to the server who pours their
wine. Vivian asks for several minutes to look over the menu, the server nods
before leaving their table. They all are silent as they look over the menu.
“Judge, my love,
has Michonne said anything to you about… this…” Vivian trails off looking
Rick over before returning her eyes to her husband, “Rick?”
“No my love. This
is the first time I’m hearing or seeing him.”
murmurs again. Rick can hear the disapproval in the sound. “Grimes you
“By the way of
King’s County, Georgia.”
“Never heard of
it,” She says before sliding her eyes to Michonne who tenses once her
mother’s eyes latch onto hers, “Michonne… you look… well.”
A tight smile fits
across her face, “You as well, mother.”
“We don’t see you
“We see each other
at least once a week.”
“You weren’t at
Sunday family dinner.”
“I was busy,”
Michonne calmly replies. Sunday evening, Michonne and Rick spent together on
her couch eating soup and talking after their botched date the day before when
Michonne got sick.
“We use to see you
almost every day,” Judge says putting his menu down.
“If you’re so busy,
what brings you here tonight?” Vivian asks.
“Rick and I were on
our way to grab dinner.”
“My love, Michonne
is being modest,” Judge starts, taking a sip of his wine before he
continues, “She was tongue wrestling Richard while he groped her in front
of the restaurant.”
Vivian gasps. Glenn and
Maggie visibly cringe. Michonne tenses but sits straight in her chair with her
“I’m a grown woman,
“Yes, but are you a
whore as well?” Vivian fires back causing Michonne to slump slightly and
bow her head.
His anger snaps at his
resolve, he refuses to allow anyone including her parents to speak to her with
such disrespect. Rick leans forward, he opens his mouth to speak but feels
Michonne’s hand on his thigh. He glances at her and she shakes her head
slightly. Clenching his teeth and balling his fist, he remains quiet.
“We were only
“He looked like he
was trying to impregnate your mouth,” Judge comments.
“You should know
better than to present yourself lesser than a lady. You know better than to
behave in such a manner, especially now with all of Georgia watching us,”
“I know… I’m sorry,
“I know I didn’t
raise my daughter to behave so…” Judge trails off before he finishes,
“Do you do this
with all of your friends?” Her mother asks taking a sip of her
That word again: friend.
and I are not only friends we are m-”
Michonne cuts him off again. She can feel his eyes cut into the side of her
face as his anger rises. She’s going to have to make it up to him big time. She
will deal with Rick’s anger later but at the moment her more pressing concern
is getting through the impromptu dinner with her parents. “Rick and I are
“You have a
boyfriend!” Judge states.
Rick asks his head snapping at her.
Shit. Michonne thinks. His anger boils into
rage, she can feel him vibrating because of it. Maggie’s eyes dart between the
two and Glenn looks as if he’s trying to decide whether to throw up or run.
“Yes. A boyfriend!
Ezekiel,” Judge answers.
King,” Vivian corrects.
King?” Rick asks. Michonne feels his cool blue eyes burn into the side of
repeating everything, you’re starting to sound like a damn parrot.”
“Ezekiel was never
my boyfriend!” Michonne says to her parents before turning to face Rick,
she puts her hand on his balled fist and looks into his eyes. She almost
flinches at his cold glare. The nerve on his jawline ticking furiously. “I
do not have a boyfriend.”
“Nonsense! You and
the good doctor are seeing each other!”
“We dated for a
couple of months but we haven’t spoken in several weeks,” Michonne says
with eyes locked onto his. He calms a fraction but the tick still remains, his
normally blue eyes look almost gray with rage.
“Are we ready to
order?” the server asks slipping up to the table.
Judge orders appetizers
for the entire table, not bothering to ask anyone what they may want. He then orders
for himself and Vivian. Glenn and Maggie who have been quiet finally speak up
and order their dinner. Rick glances down at the menu and orders the first
thing his eyes land on while Michonne orders a small salad having lost her
“I’m glad to see
you’re at least watching what you eat. The older you get the harder it is to
lose weight,” Vivian starts.
please,” Michonne begs.
“You’re no spring
chicken, so it is best that you watch what you eat. You do not want to be some
fat mid-thirty year old black woman who can’t find a husband, now do you?”
From the corner of her
eyes she can see Rick’s mouth drop open before he can say anything Glenn
“So… uhh… how long
have you two been… uh… dating?”
Michonne is thankful for
the change in conversation but she wishes it was any topic besides herself and
“A couple of
mother grumps taking a sip of her wine.
“How did you two
meet?” Judge asks.
“You’re a lawyer
too?” Her mother asks. Michonne can hear the hint of hope in her voice.
“No, I’m a
“And you two met at
work?” Judge asks, eyes narrowing on the two.
“Rick escorted a
guy up for court… that’s how we met.”
Michonne’s head aches
from all the lies she’s telling. Her stomach churns with disgust at her
cowardliness and guilt. The lies are a necessary evil, she knows there is no
way she can tell her parents that Rick is her husband; that they met in Vegas,
got married a day later and all of this took place two weeks ago. She can’t
tell them, at least not yet.
“Hmmph…. From a
renowned surgeon to a small town sheriff?”
wrong with being a sheriff. A sheriff is a servant of the people, just like you
Judge,” Glenn says defending Rick. Rick gives Glenn a nod in thanks at
coming to his defense.
“Glenn, honey pie,
don’t fantasize his job… he’s a glorified mall cop with a gun babysitting a
“He’s more than
that! Rick was elected Sheriff of King’s County and he didn’t even campaign for
Sheriff. His name wasn’t even on the ballot, people love him so much they wrote
in his name and he overwhelmingly won,” Michonne informs them also coming
to his defense. She can feel his mood shift and lighten a fraction.
“You say all of
that as if I am supposed to be impressed,” Vivian comments.
“Viv, my love, it
is slightly impressive,” Judge observes. Vivian gives her
husband an unimpressed look as she elegantly rolls her eyes. Michonne always
marvels at how a woman can elegantly roll their eyes, yet her mother mastered
the art with great ease.
She turns her
unimpressed glare at Rick, “Well… Sheriff… I am not impressed.”
Rick locks eyes with her
mother, the glare exchanged between the two seems like Titans gearing up for
He tilts his head and
evenly replies, “I am proud of what I do and I am damn good at it. I enjoy
my job. I enjoy helping people. I enjoy… no, I love protecting and serving the
people of King’s County. You may not be impressed but the people of King’s County
are. I may not be a lawyer, judge, or surgeon but I do damn good work. ”
Michonne beams with
pride at Rick. She clutches his hand and gives him a supporting squeeze.
Rick’s annoyance at
Vivian’s constant ‘hmmph’ murmurs eat at his resolve faster than her cool and
quick jabs at him and Michonne. The condescending noise grates on his nerves;
he wants to curse them then grab Michonne’s hand and storm out of the uppity
restaurant. His southern manner will not allow him to disrespect Michonne or
her parents as much as he may want to; therefore, he doubles his efforts to
keep his boiling temper at bay.
The server returns with
a bright smile. He refreshes everyone’s drink and tells them their appetizers
will be ready soon. Vivian graciously thanks him before he leaves.
“God forbid if this
goes further than dating,” Vivian starts saying the word as if
it tastes foul upon her tongue. She washes the taste with another sip of wine.
God forbid? Rick bites the inside of his cheeks so
hard his mouth starts to fill with blood. He clenches his fist as Vivian
continues, “You’ll be the breadwinner.”
wrong with being the breadwinner, mother.”
“Being a wife,
possibly a mother, a career woman, running the house, and making sure all of
the family’s finance needs are being met? It is a daunting and tiresome
“This is not the
1950s, it is possible. All of it.”
“Before you and
Judge met, you did it,” Glenn defends her.
“After you and
Judge married, you did it,” Michonne adds.
“That was… is different.”
“A marriage is a
partnership… my wife –”
repeats narrowing his eyes on Rick.
Rick continues without
pause, “My wife will not be alone in these daunting
and tiresome tasks of providing, parenting, and taking care of our
household. I will support her in every aspect of our marriage. If she wants to
be the breadwinner than I will stay home with the kids. If she wants to be a
housewife then I will make sure she wants for nothing.”
Rick feels Michonne eyes
upon him, he wants to look at her but he defiantly stares into Vivian’s eyes.
Those dark eyes so similar to Michonne’s almost cause him to back down, almost.
“She will want for
nothing? On what? A thirty-five thousand a year salary? Maybe forty thousand
and that’s me being generous. The shoes alone in Michonne’s closet cost three
times what you make. Michonne is accustomed to a certain life-style. You
wouldn’t be able to give her everything she needs, let alone
everything she wants.”
“Do not mother me,
“Glenn won the bid
for the Z Project,” Maggie speaks up cutting off Vivian and Rick. Rick
freezes at the name, turning to the stoic brunette.
Glenn.” Michonne says, a genuine smile crossing her lips at her brother’s
success, even though the tightness remains around the edge of her smile.
“Oh honey pie,
that’s wonderful news!” Vivian coos softening as she leans over and gives
Glenn a kiss on the cheek before wiping at the area with the pad of her thumb.
Rick is taken aback at
how quickly Vivian’s demeanor change but more so he’s surprised at hearing
about the project Glenn is working on. “Z Project?” Rick asks.
“Z Project is the
nickname given to the Zero Project being led by a fast growing company out of
Macon. What’s the name of the company, Glenn?” Maggie asks smiling wide as
the argument from the previous moment fades away into something lighter.
“G. and Cunningham,
it is a company that said to be revolutionizing safety and security. They’ve
been around for years but it wasn’t until a few years ago when they brought on
a technological scientist Eugene Porter that the company exploded.”
Rick stills and holds
his breathe at the mention of the company.
“I’ve heard of G.
and Cunningham, they’re the company that won one of the national defense
contracts with Homeland Security,” Judge states.
“G. and Cunningham,
it sounds familiar, isn’t that the company you were brokering a deal with two
years ago?” Michonne asks her mother.
been over three years ago but yes. Ultimately my firm lost to another one; the
company was purchased by the same security company that brought Vivint for 1.4
“The company sold
but the company is still doing National security contracts?” Maggie asks.
“If I remember
correctly, the company only sold about forty-five percent of its equity,
allowing the CEO and board members to maintain controlling power of the
company,” Vivian explains.
“Is the Z Project
part of the defense contract bid, Glenn?” Michonne asks, Rick can hear the
relief in her voice from the change of subject. He tenses at the subject
wanting it to desperately change.
“No, the Z Project
is something totally different, but part of the project is to build a high tech
self-sufficient community along with a state of the art command center. Think
of an underground bunker but not underground.”
“It is more than
interesting, it is exciting. I am so proud of you honey pie.”
Glenn shrugs his
shoulders and shakes his head before moving to rub the back of his neck as he
speaks, “My meeting today with the CFO, Morgan Jones, went very well; he
loves the plans for the building and community. The other chief officers
weren’t available for the meeting today but Jesus will give another
presentation tomorrow for Mr. Jones, Mr. Ford the COO and Mrs. Cunningham the
President. We should know by Monday, Jones wants the project to start as soon
“Why aren’t you
presenting tomorrow?” Judge asks.
Glenn steals a quick
glance at Maggie before he looks at Judge and then at his glass of wine,
“I have another presentation.”
Judge eyes narrows onto
Glenn as he fidgets in his seat, “I thought the Z Project was the focus of
the entire firm.”
Vivian gently reprimands Judge before she smiles and rubs Glenn’s arm
“That sounds wonderful honey pie.”
another bid on the project but the way Mr. Jones was talking, it sounds like
we’re a shoe in.”
too prematurely,” Judge comments.
“Yes, sir. I
congratulations, you earned this. I’m proud of you.”
father!” Glenn beams with pride.
Rick takes in the family
moment. He releases a slow breathe as he locks eyes with Glenn.
“Congratulations, so you’re an architect?”
“Yes, I’m a senior
architect at Hilltop United.”
“Stop being modest,
honey pie. You’re the top senior architect and the youngest at
Hilltop United. If it wasn’t for you and that brilliant mind of yours that old
fart Gregory would have lost his business,” Vivian states.
“Gregory is not
that bad once you know how to deal with him.”
“If I were to call
him a jackass, it would be offensive to donkeys,” Vivian says. Glenn only
chuckles at his mom.
Judge nods in agreement
with his wife before he adds, “Gregory is a well-connected man. It is
better to have him with you than against you.”
Rick relaxes as the
conversation moves away from G. and Cunningham; he immediately recognizes the
name of the prominent architect firm, Hilltop United and its connection to the
Z Project. He doesn’t comment not wanting any more attention on himself or G.
and Cunningham; he only makes a mental note of Hilltop United, Glenn Rhee, and
their connection to G. and Cunningham, planning on doing research about the
tomorrow? Is he off of probation?” Michonne asks.
“Stop calling that
boy, Jesus. His mother named him Paul not Jesus,” Vivian huffs giving an
elegant roll of her eyes before taking a sip of her wine. Rick marvels at the
elegant eye roll that’s so similar to Michonne’s that he almost smirks.
Glenn, Michonne, and
Maggie all give a light chuckle.
“Yes he is, he’s
doing well after the incident,” Glenn says with another chortle. Whatever
the incident is, he knows it is nothing too serious, “Gregory is still
watching his every move but he’s mostly off of probation. You know, he asks
about you all the time. He tells the same stories about you two that I’ve heard
a thousand time.”
Michonne shakes her head
and chuckles. A burn of jealousy turns in his stomach as he looks at the side
of Michonne’s face; he makes another mental note to ask Michonne who this Jesus
man is along with her ex-boyfriend, Dr. Ezekiel King.
As if on cue the Server
returns with their appetizers placing small plates in front of each patron and
the collection of food in the middle. Judge surprises Rick when he blesses the
food once the Server leaves. He stares blankly at the man as he helps serve his
wife, smiling lovingly at her as he does so. Michonne places a small helping of
fried pickles and dip on her plate before she passes the serving plate to Rick.
He follows her lead and adds items from the collection of appetizers to his
you think that’s enough bread dear?” Her mother asks as Michonne starts to
place a small butter biscuit on her sparse plate. Michonne leaves the biscuit
untouched and passes the serving plate to Rick.
“What do you do
Maggie?” Rick asks placing a biscuit on his plate and one on Michonne’s
plate. The passive aggressive move is noticed by all but no one comments about
it. He feels the dark burn of Vivian upon his flesh; he’s not doing well to win
“I’m the director
of Alexandria Safe Zone Charity.”
“ASZ? That charity
does great work and not only for Atlanta but all the surrounding areas. I
believe there’s a charter in King’s County.”
“There is a charter
in King’s County, it is the newest one. ASZ is a great place.”
“One of the largest
non-profit woman and children’s charity in the south,” Vivian beams with
“Maggie is an angel
sent from heaven the way she loves on those hurt people, women and kids. She
does excellent work!” Judge agrees.
Glenn leans over and
gives his wife a kiss on the cheek. The woman blushes, she looks up at Michonne
who smiles happily at her.
“What about you
Michonne? How’s work?” Maggie asks shifting the attention from herself to
Michonne. Almost automatically the light mood of the table shifts at the
mention of Michonne’s job. Rick watches as Michonne shifts in her seat.
Michonne stifles a
groan, instead she sips some wine before putting down her glass.
“Work is going
well. I’m working a high profile case with Laster an-”
“Is Laster the lead
prosecutor?” Her father asks.
“I am still baffled
at how you were passed on being a partner.”
Michonne feels Rick’s
eyes fall on her. She licks her lips and shrugs.
“Michonne is a
partner,” Rick declares. Vivian cuts her eyes at him before shifting them
back to Michonne.
partner,” Judge clarifies.
“Barely a step up
from being an intern.”
“Mother stop being
dramatic, there is nothing wrong with being a junior partner.”
“I do not
understand how Andrea… became a senior partner and not you. Is she sleeping
with one of the executive partners? That can be the only explanation.”
“Andrea is not
sleeping with any of the executives, she’s not like that!” Michonne defends
“Really? Need I
remind you about her and Dale Horvath?”
Michonne says angrily, “She loved Dale and they we-”
Vivian waves Michonne to
silence with a graceful flick of her wrist and a roll of her eyes as she
finishes Michonne’s sentence, “Were married for eleven years. I know the
Maggie pleads, “Andrea is smart.”
“I’m not saying
she’s not, she’s very smart using her vagi-”“
She softens at Glenn and
pacifies him with a pat on his hand as she continues, “All I am saying is
that Michonne is smarter and better than her.”
“You are a force to
be dealt with in court! You have the highest successful case wins at that damn
firm!” Judge adds his voice rising slightly in disbelief.
Vivian moves to comfort
her husband, “You are not known as Michonne 'the Shark’ Carter without
reason. What is Andrea’s nickname the wh-”
“Was it the buy in?
I heard Deanna increased the price of the buy in to eighty thousand dollars,”
That’s a hell of a buy-in,” Glenn quips.
“If you’re not
paying attention Sheriff that’s at least two years of your salary.”
She ignores Michonne and
states, “If you need the money, we will lend it to you.”
“Nonsense, we will
give you the money as a gift for making partner!” Judge commands.
“It is not the
buy-in. I do not need the money.”
Vivian shoots Rick a
cool pointed stare before asking, “Votes?”
“Everyone loves you
at the firm. I doubt you didn’t have the votes.”
“I should talk to
Deanna and see if I can sway her to call another vote.”
necessary, they’ll do another vote in five months and I’m sure I’ll make senior
Vivian questions with wide eyes a fork dangle in the air halfway to her mouth.
“That will ruin the
plan!” Judge barks.
“You do not need me
to make the plan work,” Michonne says.
Her mother tsks,
“We agreed upon this as a family!”
“You and Judge
agreed upon this and dragged the rest of us along!”
“Speaking of the
plan how is the camp-”
Judge cuts Glenn off
with a hard look, he brings his stare to Rick before returning it to him. Glenn
sighs and drops his head and focuses on his plate.
No one speaks when the
server returns with their meal. Rick can barely stomach the aroma of the food.
He itches to snatch Michonne’s hand and storm off away from the table and
Michonne’s parents. The way they talk to Michonne is appalling; especially her
mother as if everything Michonne does is not good enough for the woman.
He knows the true reason
she didn’t make senior partner, it is simply because she didn’t want to. She
withdrew her name from the candidacy hours before the vote took place. He
wonders why she just doesn’t tell her parents her reason.
During the course of the
conversation Rick leans in, wanting to tell the reason but Michonne squeezes
his thigh again. He knows he is going to have a bruise where her hand pressed
against him the entire night.
For several moments no
one talks and Rick is thankful for the reprieve but the silence only adds to
the tension that sits at the table. Their meals are placed in front of them as
the small appetizer dishes are removed; Rick notices his and Michonne’s plate
have barely been touched. Once the table is settled with steaming hot plates of
food and drinks refilled, the server silently leaves.
Judge is the first to
start eating and the others follow his lead. Glenn starts the conversation
again when he asks his mom about her financial firm. She cheerfully answers
him; Rick happily ignores her as he watches Michonne from the corner of his
eye. He chews his food slowly, while Michonne pushes hers around her plate. She
hasn’t taken a single bite.
He leans into her and
catches her eyes, the sadness in her brown eyes cause his heart to ache in
pain. He fights the urge to pull her into his arms to comfort her. He reaches
over and touches her right wrist. She looks down at his hand before glancing
back to his eyes.
He leans in closer and
whispers: “We can leave, Michonne. Say the words and I’ll take you away
He can see the
indecision dancing within those brown eyes. After a long pause she discreetly
shakes her head no. Rick nods and looks up to find both Judge and Vivian
staring at them. Judge stares at him with distrust and peak interest while
Vivian stares at him with distaste. Rick focuses his attention to Maggie who
helms the conversation, Rick pieces the bits he hears together to figure out
she’s talking about her family.
“Beth has an
equestrian competition in London in a few weeks, Glenn and I are flying out
there to support her.”
Vivian sighs and shakes
her head slightly, “Noah also wants to go.”
consider allowing him to go, Maggie and I will be there. We’ll watch over
him,” Glenn offers.
“The boy has been
begging us for the last two weeks,” Vivian confesses.
“If there’s a break
in his schedule we may allow it,” Judge comments.
“How is Noah, I
have not seen him in a while?” Michonne asks trying to join the
“Of course it’s
been a while since you’ve seen your baby brother! You don’t come to family
dinners!” Vivian replies coldly.
shoulders drop in defeat. She holds her chin up defiantly but the look of
overwhelming sadness wrenches his stomach.
classes at Morehouse this summer, right?” Maggie asks trying to defuse the
“He’s not pleased
but the courses will aide his academics resume,” Vivian says.
“When is his next
game? I want to come and see him play but he always answers my texts
late,” Glenn states.
“I’ll look up his
schedule and let you know honey pie.”
He nods before he
glances at Michonne and tries to pull her into the conversation, “Yes, let
us know. Michonne you should come too, we’ll make it a big family event. We
could go get pizza afterwards like we use to.”
She smiles at his offer,
“That sounds great. I love watching Noah play.”
“Really? Is that
why you missed his last three games?” Vivian jabs at her, immediately
Michonne’s smile falls.
“I missed a few of
his games as well,” Glenn says coming to his sister’s defense.
“Perhaps but at
least you make an effort. When was the last time Michonne even talked to
“In fairness to
Michonne, Noah is pretty busy. I barely see the boy myself and I live with
him,” Judge defends Michonne. She smiles weakly at him.
Silence returns for
several minutes at the table. Rick’s temper sits at the back of his throat; he
now along with Michonne, pushes their barely touched meal around their full
“Beth tells me that
Noah’s team has a good chance at winning national’s this year,” Maggie
Judge and Vivian both
brag on their youngest son for several minutes. Rick can see their love for
their children especially Noah, who Rick surmises is both their biological son.
He also notices Vivian heavily favors Glenn while Judge tends to favor Michonne
but not quite to Rick’s liking. He doesn’t know the complete story between
Michonne and her mother but he feels Judge shouldn’t allow his wife to cut down
their daughter as she did during the course of dinner.
“Your son plays
baseball?” Rick asks.
“No AAU basketball,
he’s the star shooting guard for the Vikings; they are one of the top ten teams
in the country,” Vivian brags.
“My son, an
upcoming sophomore, plays AAU baseball for the War Hawks varsity, the
top baseball team in the country. Rick retorts with a smirk.
"You have a
son?” Vivian asks with wide eyes.
“Yes, I have a
fifteen year old son, Carl, and a four year old daughter, Judith,” Rick says
“I assume you are
Vivian inhales deeply
before she exhales shaking her head in distaste. She lifts her head and rolls
her shoulder back one at a time. Her brown eyes grow darker as she glares at
Glenn is cut off with a
flick of her manicured hand.
“Is this what this
is about? You’re trying to replace –”
“Is this the reason
you didn’t make partner? Is this the reason you’re ruining the family’s plan?
Because you rather play mammy to his children because of An-”
Michonne snaps cutting off her father. His eyes grow large with shock at her
“You go from a
highly educated successful surgeon who’s one of Atlanta’s most eligible
bachelors to this hick-town divorced sheriff with two children? And you’re
telling me this has nothing to do with –”
“No. I doesn’t! I
lov-” Michonne cuts off her sentence. His head snaps to the side of her
“You what Michonne?
You love him? We’ve gone through this before,” Vivian huffs in a humorless
laugh before she coolly continues, “I should have figured, we were due for
another one of your breakdowns!”
She ignores Glenn and
focuses the entire weight and force of her dark brown eyes onto Michonne,
“This…we… we are all in pain, whether you want to believe it or not we all
feel the pain of his loss… we all feel it. We have all dealt with it but you
still try to find an escape, I thought you were over this. I thought you were
stronger than this but I fear I was wrong. I am disappointed in you. He would
have been disappointed in you. Your behavior is appalling.”
Michonne’s crumbles, her
eyes drop to her plate; her shoulders shake as she sobs silently, her tears
pouring from her eyes. Seeing Michonne normally strong and proud helplessly
falling apart from her mother’s attack causes his anger to erupt. He chides
himself for not ending this horrendous dinner earlier, for allowing it to
continue this long.
“You think just
because you spread your legs for this man that –”
patrons’ eyes move to their table.
“Enough! You will
not talk to Michonne like that. I refuse to idly sit and allow you to speak to
Her quiet pleas silence
him. Her voice, the soft quiver stops him before he can truly rip Vivian apart.
Clenching his jaw he turns to gaze at her, his heart aches at the sight of her
“I know she’s your
mother but I will not allow her continue to disrespect and speak down to you as
if you’re not an amazing accomplished woman,” Rick says to his wife.
“And if you think I
will sit idly by while you disrespect my wife and the mother
of my children then you are sadly mistaken. Vivian may be hard
with her approach but she is not wrong!” Judge speaks low through clench
“I was raised to
mind my manners and respect my elders but you are a coward for allowing your
wife to tear done your child with so much glee. She’s
a malicious b-”
He feels the power of
her wrist flicking up to cut off his words the same moment he feels Michonne’s
hand on his. She squeezes his hand as hard daggers are thrown by her mother at
him before she turns to Michonne.
She calls out, “Michonne!”
She lifts her teary face
and Rick’s heart clenches.
“Allow me to end…
end this… whatever this may be,” Vivian says leaning in looking from
Michonne to Rick then back at Michonne, “You claim you love him but have
you told him? Have you told him about Andre? Have you told him what you
Michonne inhales deeply,
she pulls her hand away from his and pleas with her mother, “Please
“That’s what I
thought,” Vivian turns a triumph smirk to Rick, “You may go
“I’m so sorry…
Rick, I’m sorry.”
it is we can work it out,” He says as she avoids looking at him, he moves
to touch her hand and she flinches away from his touch.
should leave,” Judge orders.
me,” He pleas his eyes only on weeping face. She pulls her watery eyes to
him and his doubles in pace at the sight of pain that resides in her usually
bright eyes. His only desire to hold her and take away the pain.
me,” He repeats.
As she reaches for his
hand her mother speaks, “Tell him what you did and let’s see if the
Sheriff will still look at you the same. Tell him.”
Her eyes grow wide as
she takes in his face before they close against her mother’s words. Michonne
pulls her hand away from his, the tears doubles their race down her face.
She whispers. He nods fully understanding her even though she doesn’t see his
action. Rick leans into her placing a soft kiss on her temple above her teary
right eye before sweeping out of the restaurant.
Michonne cries harder
once Rick leaves. The comfort and peace of his presence goes along with him. Her
cries garnish stares from the other tables.
“Enough of that
Michonne,” Vivian chides.
enough!” Judges states. He pulls Michonne into his arms and allows his
daughter’s tears to soak his expensive suit.