1000 hours the next day
Chloe rubbed her eyes trying to massage the ache out. She had been on the phone since three am with her family in Connecticut. The first call had been to Nicole. Kevin and several other of her family members were out looking for Molly so Chloe was able to tell her sister in law Molly was at least safe. Whatever went on between Molly and her mother had not lasted long. Chloe had closed her eyes for thirty minutes before the calls started coming in: her mother, her sister Delaney, her brother Thomas, and the list kept coming until Nate cut the line at five-thirty am pointing out that Molly’s parents knew she was safe, had talked to her, and they could call back at a decent hour after they knew something. By six-thirty am Logan and Mara were up for the day which meant so was Chloe. Breakfast was a disaster with Molly going between crying to anxious about having to go with Nate to Delta Shuttles. Nate had left close to when the kids got up to talk to whoever he needed to in order to help their niece. By seven-thirty am Chloe quit for the day. Logan had been sent to school and Mara was curled up on the couch watching some mind-numbing cartoon about Paulie Pulsar and his Band of Celestial Friends who saved the day. Chloe thought she had been free but by eight am her sister had called once again.
“Meredith I had no idea she was coming here,” Chloe growled for the tenth time rolling her eyes, Nodding her head she moved to the cabinet pulling out her bottle. The dosage on the bottle was ten mg so she could take up to eight a day according to the maximum daily limit. Since she had built up a tolerance she had pushed a few more mg from time to time but that was when she was alone. With Nathan here, she tried to cut back and some days she was able. Today was not looking good though to hit the sixty mg mark. Popping two pills in her mouth Chloe spoke between sips of coffee to wash them down.
“Why are you blaming me,” Chloe yelled into the comm feeling her anger rising. Picking up the remote for the TV she turned it up to give her some privacy. Even though Mara was too little to understand any of this, Chloe didn’t like to fight when she could avoid it in front of the kids.
“Because if you had just stayed here Molly would have listened to you and not run halfway across the galaxy to find you. You know that is why she went there so don’t act stupid. She lived with you all last year. She got close to you and you left her,” Meredith snapped back.
Entering their quarters Nathan came in with Molly behind him as he perched himself in the doorway as Chloe talked, to whom he thought had to be Merridith. The room itself was loud as he could see Mara dancing to some cartoon on the screen as only a two-year-old could. Leaning into Molly he whispered in her ear as he placed his hand on her back to head to the room with Mara. She had been very quiet since the whole ordeal and seemed to rather just sit silently than say any counter. Looking back over at Chloe it was clear she hadn’t seen either of them yet, her back turned and her attention clearly on the call.
“Meredith I left because I was a mess there. I needed to get my head back on straight and to try and fix things with Nate,” Chloe tossed the dishrag she was fiddling with across the kitchen.
“No, you left because things got tough. You had no idea Nathan was even stationed there so don’t give me that malarky. You ran away and that taught Molly it was okay to run away,” Meredith began to unload all her pent up feelings onto her sister.
“I am going to hang up in about ten seconds. You are not going to blame me for what Molly did,” Chloe began to pace the room moving things from one place to another trying to dispell all her nervous energy in the inanimate objects.
“Someone has to. Everything she had done is because of you. She got hooked up with some musician like you,”
“Nathan is a psychiatrist,” Chloe yelled throwing a pillow across the room.
“Who was in a band and can’t keep a job which shows,” Meredith spat out angrily. How her sister was so blind to all of this was making her crazy. Chloe was the only one who married a rebel which had so many repercussions on the family. Why Chloe couldn’t see this astounded Meredith and she was bound and determined to show Chloe the error of his ways.
Nathan couldn’t help but smirk a bit as he kept listening, moving from the archway he sat down right behind Chloe, her complete focus on the call seemed to keep his presence completely silent as he reached forward grabbing an Apple as he began to bite into as he listened to all of Merridths points about him. He couldn’t help but smirk to himself at the absurdity of all but it was good for entertainment value.
“Whoa whoa whoa you need to back that bus up. Nathan,” Chloe started immediately defensive. Part of Meredith’s issue with Nathan was that even when Chloe was trying to force him to divorce her Nathan refused. Meredith was divorcing husband number four and just plain jealous that after all Chloe and Nate had gone through, he was still standing by his wife and refusing to give Chloe the divorce she kept screaming she wanted. Chloe tried to remember this but at times with Meredith it was hard.
“Joined Starfleet, quit Starfleet, got a degree, quit that degree and oh joined Starfleet again,” Meredith continued on her tirade. “He didn’t even tell you, left with a month after the baby was born. Do you realize how that makes our family look,” Meredith grumbled?
“No, but I am sure you are about to tell me,” Chloe stared longingly at the bottle of booze on the shelf. If she wasn’t pregnant, she would down the entire thing.
“It shows that you are unstable. You need to be home with the people that know how to take care of you. You need to be a role model for your niece who frankly,”
Nathan put down the apple which was half eaten as he put his feet down as he slid out from the chair as he walked over to Chloe as he wrapped one arm around as he turned her gently around as he lifted one finger to his lips to try and keep her quiet as he took the communicator from her hand. “Meredith… I really think you need to consider that the next time you wish to complain about our family, that you have been married four times… and if I understand what Nicole said you have been dating three guys right now at the same time, and you left your kids with Drew and Jen during Christmas to go skiing with one of them… I think it’s a cry for help… my father is nearby and I think he would love to get into that head of you and find what little remains of a brain, but for right now kindly stay the hell away from my family.” Nathan said as he clicked the comm call off as he tossed it onto the dinner table.
“And you wonder why she doesn’t like you,” Chloe said looking at her phone and then her husband. The statement was false. Her family loved Nathan’s humor and family-oriented nature. What they hated was that he was the only ‘outlaw’ that didn’t seem to know his place or role when they wanted to assert it on him. Chloe though loved Nathan’s to the point nature. He might at times said things a little less blunt but he was always honest in his appraisals of the situations.
“Now…” Nathan said as he pulled Chloe fully into his arms as he wrapped them around her, leaning in to kiss her deeply before separating slowly as he had an innate desire to linger in her arms before heading into the living room. “Computer turn shows volume down by 40%,” he said as he took a deep breath. Looking over at Molly he couldn’t help but noticed her snickering slightly, clearly enjoying Nathan’s brash approach to her aunt.
Mid-dance Mara looked over spying her Daddy. While she loved him visiting, she wasn’t particularly thrilled with the way he hogged the TV or controlled the volume. Recently her mommy had created ‘get nuts’ as she called it which was a wonderful game were her mommy turned the TV really really loud. Then she, Logan, and Mommy danced around until they didn’t have any energy left. Usually, the game was played before a nap when Mara felt particularly rambunctious.
“Oh you finding it funny miss, half of this is your fault… but you are cute and I will excuse like 30% of it,” he said with a small wink before he could feel the tugging of Mara down at his leg as he kneeled down to lift her up.
“I like your math,” Molly said leaning back on the couch kicking off one shoe then the other into a pile at the end of the couch. Leaning back she began to text one of her friends that had been blowing her up the entire meeting with Delta Shuttles.
Putting her hands on either side of Nathan’s face she pressed her nose to his. Her eyes were going cross-eyed as she tried to look at him but was lacking the fine motor skills to do it. *No dad dee,” she said trying to scold him for turning down her show. He used that word so much she was realizing whenever she was having fun. “I dance,” she did a little hip wiggle in his arms in an attempt to show him what she wanted.
“And what do you think buttercup, how have you been?” he asked as he gave her raspberries on her cheek as bursts of giggling came out. “You been good for mommy?” he asked as he stopped the raspberries as he flopped down on the couch next to Molly and placed Mara on his lap. Looking over at Chloe he gave a small reassuring wink, he wanted her to feel secure, she needed that just as much as the kids.
Chloe made three cups of coffee and brought them to Nate and Molly. “Just so you know, without caffeine this isn’t doing much,” she set one on the table next to him, handed Molly hers and then curled up in the chair across from her husband and Molly.
Seeing the coffee Mara stuck out her pudgy hands opening and closing them rapidly saying “cuppa pah tee.” Sending Nate a look indicating he was not moving fast enough she wiggled some as if the motion would get the cup closer to her hands.
Her comment made Chloe laugh out loud as she sipped her own cup. “Here Mara,” Molly clapped her hands grabbing Mara’s attention. “You can have some of mine. Uncle Nate’s is yucky.”
“But she and I had cuppa coffee parties,” Molly laughed looking at Mara’s confused expression as she looked back and forth between Nate and Molly. “There was far more milk and sugar in it than coffee,” she explained to her Uncle. “The people at Starbucks loved her. Mara what so we ask for at Starbucks,” Molly said in a high pitched happy tone.
“Mah me ma toes,” Mara threw her hands up in the air like it was a football touchdown but then pointed to her feet as she wiggled her toes. Suddenly it became clear. Maybe this was better than a cuppa pah tee. Maybe they were going to have a mah me ma toes party. Those were the best. The drinks had whipped cream all over them and Molly always asked for extra whipped cream for hers.
Nate’s reaction caused both Chloe and Molly to break out laughing. Molly even let out a few snorts as she tried to get herself under control as Chloe held the cup out from her body as to not spill it from her hysterics. “Macchiato,” Chloe finally managed to get the words out translating for her daughter. “Jeeze Nate, who would give a two-year-old a mojito?”
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