Homecoming

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Where: Caldecott's Home

When: June 16, 2012; Brunch

What: It's not quite the happy reception for Timothy's return home.

Normally Stephanie leaves the cooking to other people. She's typically too busy to always lay out a decent meal for the family, and often the family isn't around all at once to even sit at table to eat together. With the twins coming and going in effort to make a final decision on which college they're going to. James has early office hours. And Zan… is another story.

But today she's been in the kitchen all morning, working off yesterday's rage in a fury of cooking. A fine spread of waffles, eggs, bacon, ham, fresh fruits, juice, coffee— the works for a fabulous brunch has found its way to the more informal dining area. Along with place settings for four. She's still holding out hope that the wayward Caldecott boy will be home. "But if you think he's going to eat anything I've made," she tells the room while effortlessly stewing a strawberry syrup. The uncompleted threat could be aimed at either of her sons. Or maybe even her husband.

In fact, the series of polite, sharp knocks on the front door is a little bit early. Timothy's arrived, dressed in a nice pair of slacks, a pale blue tailored dress shirt, and he's come bearing what seems to be a box, gold-wrapped. Probably chocolates. And a bottle of champagne. Both of which are held in front of him perhaps a little bit defensively, as he waits.

It's the Mayor who answers the door, staying wisely out of the kitchen lest he find himself less some bodyparts. That diamond he mentioned to Zan is tucked away to be given later in the day, when really needed. For now, it's dad answering the door and welcome in his son with a smile. "Just in time. Just know, that by doing this you will be shortening the battle, but saving many lives by coming to brunch." WHere Zan is, he doesn't know. But Zan was given a sorta ultimatum and so he's hoping that he'll show up.

Timothy gains a wry twist of a smile at the words. "I brought peace offerings, should I set them by the table or give them to her now?" he explainshalf asksas he steps inside, of the two items that he's holding. A nod follows, more proper greeting for his father. "Good to see you, Dad."

"If that's Timothy," comes Stephanie's voice from the kitchen. But again, any threat is left unspoken when she appears around the corner from the kitchen. An apron is tied around her waist, protecting clothing from the hazards of culinary arts. A spoon is wielded in one hand like a sword, pointed and thrust at the two men standing in the doorway.

"Look at you," she says, proudly, gracing Tim with a smile. Whatever anger she'd had yesterday is put on the back burner for the moment and she closes the distance to draw the younger of the two into a hug. "My son's graduated college." It's a shorter hug, and he's pushed back to arms' length to give him a once over. "Now we're going to have to have a talk about your practice choices." Her tone brooks no argument.

"Steph, leave him be. He's chosen a respectable route. Just means that we hope that you both never find yourself sitting across from each other." Given that Stephanie is a white collar criminal lawyer. There's a gesture from James to pass the gifts to him and thus go hug his mother while he retreats back to the kitchen. With the bringing of champagne, there is only one option for drinks at brunch.

Mimosa's.

Timothy hands over the gifts easily to return the hug, then takes a step back even from the arms length. "Hi Mom," he responds. "Yeah. They're sending the framed version for my desk, too." There's a moment of silence, and Timothy runs one hand over the very barest stubble of a beard that's beginning. "It's a good job, Mom. It's a good job and a lot of opportunity." Then, there's a glance around his surroundings, refamiliarising himself with them given that he hasn't even been home for summer since he first went off to college.

"Please," Stephanie responds with a look at James. "He had a respectable job once he got here." But she leaves off the argument. For now. Tim is drawn into a briefer hug before she waves for him to follow her into the kitchen. "Come on, come on. Your sisters are off visiting colleges and making plans for their futures. Your brother did not return any calls last night. But he may come home still."

"Off fooling around in the desert with Rylie, instead of home, and working on his education and ensuring more than a pass." Comes from the kitchen, the brief pop of the champagne being opened.

Timothy shakes his head briefly. "Fooling around sounds like Alexander alright," he agrees, and then there's a double-take. "With who?" Nevermind, given the fact that Timothy doesn't wait for an answer or explanation. "But I appreciate breakfast, I've missed your cooking." Timothy grins, pausing in the doorway of the kitchen and then moving so that he's entirely out of the way until and if he's asked to do something.

"Put some glasses out, please," is Stephanie's request to James while she whisks the syrup bubbling happily on the stove. "With Rylie. She works for your dad. She and Alexander have been seeing each other far more socially." She removes the saucepan from the burner after turning off the heat and carries it to join the rest of the spread at the table. "She's a nice girl, though." Her hands spread after finding a place for the syrup, inviting the men to sit and eat.

"She's an exceptional woman," he corrects his wife, maneuvering the champagne to the table, beside some OJ before returning to cabinets to get glasses like she requested. "I just don't like the pair of them together. It mixes business with pleasure. What if I have to fire her some day? Please father, don't fire my girlfriend." Imitating Zan. "It's awkward. Very awkward." And in his eyes, too much like his son and daughter.

"Take a seat Timothy. Are you moved in?"

Timothy moves to pull a chair out for his mother first, before sitting down himself, with a grin at the spread on the table. Fastest way to his heart is through his stomach. "I've gotten things just about settled," he affirms. "I'm still waiting on some of my things from my place at Yale, but I checked the UPS tracker this morning and they'll be here next week, and it's nothing I can't do without in the meantime." The subject of his little brother's girlfriend gets left alone, for the most part. "That's good for Alexander, then," he decides, a carefully neutral wording.

"I know you don't," Steph answers, placating. Timothy's actions earn him a smile as she takes a seat at the table. Her napkin is plucked up and set in her lap as she scoots her chair in a touch. "But." The word is emphasized. Likely from some drawn out discussion that's been had on more than one occasion on the matter. "It isn't our place to get any more involved. He's distanced himself enough as it is. —Where did you find a place, Timothy?"

It's almost too quiet to hear through the sounds of conversation, but the front door opens and closes itself again. A minute passes after that, then Zan himself actually appears in the doorway to the kitchen. He may have spent the night out, but it doesn't look as though he'd made it to the desert. Too clean for camping. "Morning, everyone," he says generally, as though it completely normal to be strolling in late. His backpack is slid off his shoulders and set on the floor near the doorway before he starts toward the table.

"You decided to come after all." Mind you, it's brunch as opposed to helping his brother move. "Feel free to take a seat. We're discussing where your brother has moved to, and Rylie." The mayor forces a smile at the last, taking up his own seat and smoothing out a linen napkin over one leg.

Timothy sets his napkin in his lap and move to pour his mother's drink first, quite obviously still set on trying to smooth things over. "Hey there Alexander," he adds, before moving to pour his own drink. "I was starting to wonder if there wouldn't be any brunch left by the time you showed up." Tim waits to serve himself food, though, and sits back in his seat. "There's a very nice apartment complex a few blocks away from the office," he explains, "it suits my needs. Good amenities, good security, convenient to just about everything, great gym on the premises."

Stephanie reaches across the table to place a hand on James' wrist and give him a smile when her younger son appears. "Speak of the devil," she muses, then looks up Zan. "Good morning. You're late." Her attention turns swiftly to Timothy as he describes his new place, looking thoughtful. "We'll have a housewarming party. Do you need anything?"

"It's Zan," the youngest Caldecott male points out quietly before he reaches across the table to offer his older brother a handshake. "I decided to come, because Rylie and I decided to leave later today. She had to go in to finish some work." Handshake done, he slides into the remaining set place, napkin dropped into his lap and the orange juice claimed for his own glass.

"Mom, I promise, I don't need anything," Timothy says, not protesting the housewarming party as such, but there's a definitely thoughtful look down at his plate of food, then it's shrugged off, and he looks over at Zan. "Okay then. So, what're you studying these days?" There's a careful avoidance of either his brother's name, or nickname.

"Nonsense. If your mother wants to throw a party, then we'll throw something. Just not too big" Something small and in the yard of the currently occupied house. What Zan is studying though, means that Caldecott turn to Zan to see how he's going to respond to his brother.

"A party," Stephanie insists as she begins serving James and Timothy from various dishes. Waffles and fruit are given to each plate, and then her own. Fruit choices are nudged around. "We'll only invite close friends, and try to nail the twins down long enough to attend. Those girls have far too many choices and not a lot of time. They should go to Harvard or Yale like we suggested, not touring around."

Zan returns the juice to the table and reaches for a waffle for himself, dropping it onto his plate before standing again. "Besides the usual," he asks going to the pantry. "Been taking courses in film mostly. Got accepted into the film maker program, and I was planning on becoming a screen writer." Regular maple syrup is found while he speaks, and he lets the implied but linger after his answer as he returns to his seat.

Tim raises both hands in abrupt defeat, caving to the insistence on a party. "Alright. I'll let the office know whenever we decide on when for the party," he says. "I might need a week or so to make sure I don't have work, of course." The demands of work, but he quickly changes the topic, turning back to Zan. "Was? Changing your plans again, then?" There's no real accusation in the tone, just a hint of incredulousness. "Pick something and stick to it."

Was. That is the key word here.

Was. Caldecott catches the past tense and stops in the process of cutting up his own waffle, preparing it for the whip cream and strawberries.

"Was?"

Even Stephanie is caught by that word, the implications that follow. All pleasantries cease in an instant and that cold front that likely greeted James' ear first thing yesterday morning returns. She's not spitting yet, but there's an all too calm air about her. "Was," is echoed in an even quieter tone. Ominous.

"I haven't changed anything," Zan points out. The syrup is poured carefully onto his waffle, as if nothing were amiss. "Just considering. The whole plan was for me to get into the program and graduate and I'm thinking I might take a different course of enlightenment for a while." He trades the syrup for a fork and starts cutting into his waffle.

Timothy watches Zan, for a moment. "Pick something, and stick to it," he repeats, and there's a sigh.

"You're just fucking with us at this point." Caldecotts fork is put down unceremoniously and stares at Zan. "Can't let us have a brunch or a meal in peace, you already knew that your mother already is upset over Timothy's choice for employment, and you’re upset that I made you come today. So you're deciding to do this. Fuck with us." It's not often that Caldecott swears, finding it a vulgar thing to do and a base thing to do. Hands are steepled in front of his chin and regards his youngest indecisive son.

Stephanie remains silent, looming though she hasn't moved from her seat. One brow arches upward very slowly and her expression isn't pleased or even questioning. It's the sort of dangerously neutral look usually reserved for court.

Zan shakes his head at his older brother, frowning. "Like it's any of your business," he retorts. His dad is given even more of a frown, like he's not sure what he's hearing from the old man. "You didn't make me come here, we were all set to leave last night. I could have gone with Rylie, but decided to stop here instead. And no, Dad. Mom. Timothy. I'm not fucking with anyone. But I've sort of been considering alternatives. Quitting school for a while and getting a real job."

Timothy furrows his brows, setting down his fork on his plate, despite that his waffle is only half-eaten. "Zan," Timothy responds, patiently. "Don't make it worse on yourself, really. You're better than that. You're smarter than that."

"You do this, you leave school Alexander Caldecott, then that's it. You are evicted from this house. You will have to find a place of your own, or move in with your brother. But while you are here, under our roof and get an allowance from us, by god Alexander, you will stay in school." The ultimatum laid out, Caldecott staring at his youngest. unhappy

Stephanie's napkin is picked up from her lap and used to dab at her lips though she's yet to take a bite off her own plate. It's set, wordlessly down beside her plate and, far more calmly than her husband, she finally speaks. "Alexander. You had better think very hard and very long on that decision, son. We sat down and we all agreed to these arrangements. You will have our support." She pauses to look at James before returning her attention to her younger son. "But you will be cut off completely."

"You haven't even heard what—" Zan shakes his head practically throwing his fork down on the table. "See this is why I don't talk to you two. You don't… neither of you listen to what I'm saying. Just automatically assume I'm…" He shakes his head and pushes away from the table to stand. "Nothing's been decided. I haven't changed anything yet. Right now I'm still going to school as planned. And it's Zan."

Timothy rolls his eyes, and sighs. "Alexander. Think about what you're saying. Listen to what you're saying," Timothy urges. "All they're asking you is to do the right thing and focus on your education." A grimace, and he looks towards his parents, almost apologetic. "Anyway."

"And you are assuming that we are going to put you to the corner irregardless. Which is not so. Only if you choose to leave school and pursue something other than an education. You cannot make something of yourself and I will not fund a laze about. Look at your brother. He pursued and has achieved as will your sisters. If you choose to drop out, then that's it. You will have to find someplace else to live and with your job, you can afford your own place. You'll have to grow up." Caldecotts speaks, taking his napkin up, wiping his mouth and throwing it down on the table. "I've lost my appetite."

Timothy scowls at his plate in front of him.

Stephanie raises a hand to stay her older son's arguments. "This has nothing to do with us not listening to you, Alexander. This has everything to do with us showing concern for your well being. Your education is more important than starting a job right now. Even if the degree you're pursuing may not benefit you in the real world. At least you'll have completed something."

Zan shoves his chair back into place and turns away from the table. "Yeah, because going to school is all there is. And what if I left school to join the military?" He stops, a step closer to his pack, to look at his parents and brother. "Hm? What I quit school to join the peace corps? Or better yet, did you know the greatest producers didn't have a degree? A lot of fantastic directors never even went to college? But no." He turns and retrieves his pack. "You automatically assume I'm going to screw up, choose some job flipping burgers or something instead of something worthwhile."

"Then join the military. Do something with your life Alexander Caldecott other than be a thorn in mine and causing me to worry how you will mess up, because you do." Caldecott barks out, and like Zan, turns, but actually leaves the room. Better he leaves than stays.

Timothy watches his father leave. "Thanks, kid," he looks towards Alexander. "Mom, you need any help with the dishes, before I go? I have some papers to look over and file at the office, I promised I'd be in to finish them eventually today."

A long, heavy sigh is expelled while Stephanie pinches the bridge of her nose between a thumb and forefinger. "No, Timothy," she answers after a moment. It's a longer minute still before she looks to her older son and smiles apologetically. "Why don't you do that, come home for dinner and we can catch up. With your father." The last is called after James as he leaves.

Zan's fingers tighten around the strap of his pack, but he doesn't rise to respond to his father's words. The strap is pulled up onto his shoulder as he turns and looks back at Timothy and their mom. "Yeah, well we can't all be perfect like Dear Little Timmy," he replies. His phone comes out of his pocket and he starts a text message as he leaves the kitchen and inevitably the house. The front door slams to mark his departure.

Timothy pushes to his feet, looking over and nods. "Alright," he says. "Sorry about all this, Mom." He moves over, bending to give her a brief kiss on the forehead. "The chocolates are your favourites, I… they won't make up for everything, but it's a start, yeah?" And with that, Tim's heading out.


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