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Chapter 49: "That's a fool talking."

Getting out of the colony was proving harder than expected.  John and Andrew found themselves at a standstill.  Up ahead, beyond the four cars in front of them, they could see some emergency lights.  Andrew stared intently through the windshield, mindful that John was growing annoyed. 

"Can't we just turn around and try the other exit?" John asked.

Andrew nodded, but he was too focused on the lights.  Were they where he thought they were?  "Give me a second.  Let me see what's going on."  Before John could stop him, he exited the car.

One of the nice things about this part of Malibu was that most of the people in the colony were well-known so the other residents kept to a strict code that what happened in colony stayed in the colony.  On the flipside, knowing that rumors would not spread outside the gates meant that a lot of people in the colony gossiped freely and news spread quickly.  This was one of the few times that Andrew reaped the benefit of the newsvine, as he approached an elderly couple standing on the side of the road watching the flashing lights.

"Do you have any idea what's going on?" Andrew asked.  He was rewarded with a detailed report and soon returned to the car.  Once inside, he turned to John.  "Turn back.  This show isn't going to be over soon."

"Oh?" John quirked an eyebrow.  "What's going on?"

Andrew kept staring at the lights.  "Sam Vincent, the studio exec.  He topped himself."  Bitterly, he added, "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy."

"Sounds like you knew the man," John said, as he began backing the car up so he could turn it around.

Knew him?  Well, that was an interesting question.  "Not him so much.  He did business with my stepdad and . . . well, I kind of had a . . . thing with his daughter."

"A thing?" 

Andrew grew warm under John's gaze and knew he was turning a bit red.  "Yeah, a thing.  For about a month several years ago."  An incredible month, he had to admit. 

John was obviously amused by Andrew's discomfort.  "I guess the girl was pretty hot."

"Oh, man, was she.  You wouldn't believe--"  Andrew suddenly remembered who he was talking to and cut himself off.  Bragging about his sex life with a a close mate was one thing.  Doing it with someone who was effectively family was another.  "I told you it was just a thing.  Then her daddy found out and he told stepdaddy Philip, and next thing you know, I'm on a one-way flight back to London."  The car was now moving away from the emergency lights, which Andrew saw receding into the distance.  "Anyway, it was probably for the best anyway.  That was the summer before Sandhurst, and, well, you know . . . ."  He looked over at John, whose expression gave nothing away, then looked back out the window.  "It was probably better not to have any attachments."

John snorted.  "You get that from your pop?"

"It's true, isn't it?  There's no bloody point making her worry about you all the time."

"You know something, kid. . . .  I love Shane like a brother, but there are some things he just doesn't get.  Running away from people you love is a coward's way out."

Andrew felt the heat rise and he turned back toward John.  "My father is no coward!"

"Hey, I didn't say that exactly.  In some ways, your pop's the bravest man I know.  I've watched him dive in front of a bullet before, and not even for someone he particularly cared about."  John shook his head.  "But when it came to your mom -- sorry, kid, he ran away.  I know he was hurt about what happened with Winters, and he blamed himself for that, but they could've worked through that.  And when she showed up with Collier, she would've dumped 'Mr. Hollywood' in a hot second if your father had fought for her.  He just didn't.  He pushed her to Philip and ran away to the ISA."

"Maybe that was better for her," Andrew said, thinking about what Kim had said during their conversation at Chez Jacques

"Why?  Because she was safe and he didn't have to worry about her?"  John paused, as he checked traffic on Pacific Coast Highway, before pulling out of the colony.  Once clear, he continued.  "Your pop thinks love made him vulnerable, but he's wrong. Loving someone gives you strength.  You've got something to fight for, something to live for.  It helps push you through the worst."

"That how things have been with you and Aunt Marlena?"

"You got it," John said.  "Without her, I wouldn't be walking.  Hell, I'd probably have curled up and died a dozen times over by now.  Your pop could've had that too, but he blew it.  Tell me something, Andy.  In the past 20 years, what do you think his life's been like?  Have you ever seen him with a woman?"

Andrew shook his head.  "No, not really."

"And you never wondered about that?  A rich, good-looking guy like your dad?"

"He was always busy with work," Andrew explained.  "I just assumed he was too busy.  And then he told me that, in his line of work, attachments were a 'liability.'"

John chuckled.  "Shane would describe it that way.  A 'liability.'   Like he was weighing the pros and cons.  You can't do that with love.  For someone as smart as your pop, that's a fool talking."

They both fell silent, as Andrew let that sink in.  It was a different way of looking at things from what Kim had made him think, and he was confused.  In his mind, he ran through what John had said.  "Wait.  You said Father blamed himself about Cal?  Why would he blame himself?  He wasn't even around at the time."

John gave a derisive laugh.  "Kid, things in this world fall into two categories.  There the things you can control and the things you can't.  Me, I don't worry about what I can't control.  I deal with them when they happen.  That's not your pop.  If something happens that's beyond his control, he blames himself.  He may not have said it outright, but he figured if he hadn't been captured by Jericho or if he hadn't been caught in the explosion or if he had gotten his memory back quicker -- all those things nobody could control -- well, if any of those things had been different, your mom would never have gotten together with Cal and there wouldn't have been any doubt about Jeannie.  He got so wrapped up with blaming himself for what he couldn't control that he just pushed Kimmie away, and turned back into that guy who thinks attachments are a 'liability.'"

Andrew was glad to see that they were nearing the restaurant, because it gave him a momentary distraction from the conversation.  As John turned into the lot, Andrew continued to mull over what his uncle had said.  "You make it sound like it's all Father's fault they got divorced.  Even Mum says different."

"It's not a question of fault," John said, as he pulled the car to a stop.  "Kimmie did her part; I'm not saying she didn't.  I'm just trying to get a point across that going through life trying to avoid attachments doesn't make you strong.  It leaves you alone and miserable." 

They both got out of the car, and John paused, before looking across the roof at Andrew. 

"Look, kid, I'm not saying what you had with that girl was real love.  All I'm just saying is don't run away from love because you think you're protecting her -- or yourself -- from being hurt.  Don't make the same mistakes Shane made."

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Nov. 10th, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)
Wow! Great chapter. Really good description of why Shane behaves the way he does.
jwsel
Nov. 11th, 2010 02:59 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed it and the observations about Shane.

A lot of John's observations come from the show. The stuff about attachments is directly from some of the early Shane and Kim scenes and there are a number of points during the show where people comment on Shane liking to be in control things and struggling when he is not.

I should add I'm not sure that John's comments fully explain Shane. They are John's opinion, but different people may see different things. Hence, Marlena's comments to Kim in the previous chapter, John's comments here, and, in an upcoming scene, we'll get some of Shane's perspective. My goal is not to oversimplify Shane and Kim, who I think are very complicated characters.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )