shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Julie Cooper The OC)
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Title: Wouldn't it be nice...?
Author: shallowness
Fandom: The O.C.
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairing: Julie
Word count: 579
First posted: May 2005
Summary: It's Valentine's Day, and Julie has her credit card.

Disclaimer: I make no profit from this fan-written fiction.

Author's Note: 2nd person POV. Present tense. Thanks to FridayAngel for the beta. Takes place during 'The Lonely Hearts Club'


Wouldn't it be nice...? shallowness


No, she doesn't want to come back in the car, she says. You are too slow to even suggest a curfew, let alone insist on it. She is gone. You are left behind, dismissed by a faker smile than the others she has given you all evening. You gave up on the suspicious looks by the second course.

You are left to deal with the discreet waiter and the bill, so you check it, something you tried to stop doing when you were with Jimmy; but Cal would be disappointed in you if you didn’t. You give him your card. Suddenly he is no longer soundless or invisible. Without Marissa practicing her enigmatic pose in front of you, as he walks away, you are aware of the creak and clack of his shoes, of every diner’s whisper and chuckle. Your throat is dry so you finish off your wine and the jazz-funk crawls up and down the scales.

You realize that you're just relieved that the evening ended civilly, even if she won't listen. Mom-resistant Marissa is nothing new. Tomorrow you will make plans for the future that will take that into consideration. You’d like a few more months, a few more dinners, but you have to admit that you won’t get them. You’re going to have to play things with Cal out very publicly. If Marissa can manage to be civil then, to throw in a few smiles, even obviously insincere ones, you’ll make do.

The waiter returns, holding a small tray with a slip of white and your card, which still means something, even in Newport Beach. You sign your authorization confidently. You’ve done so enough since the summer that your second surname comes naturally. It does not feel like something you tacked on. You smile and nod, as you take the card back into your new purse, enjoying the deference….

You are returning to the limo, the engine running peacefully, door open and waiting for you. Once it closes, you are snug, protected.

You are alone, but you crisply tell the driver to take you home crisply, as if that will be enough for him to forget that he drove your daughter to the restaurant too.

Tonight the streets are lined with girls clutching solitary roses in their hands. You don't envy them because you know better than to believe that the smiles will last as long as the petals, but you know too that a few months ago, Cal would have smiled at you when you got back from a trip away. But yesterday he made all your brightness ring hollow and blew you off to bandy words with his new daughter. Words that you bet didn't include 'illegitimate.'

You wish you didn't know so well what everyone's credit rating is with Cal, or that you couldn't time how long lies will stick. You wish that Marissa had inherited that knowledge from you, but she didn't. You’ve tried talking to her, but she won't listen, and you are left clutching at the fact that she blew you off civilly.

You wonder if Cal will still be up, if Lindsay has left, how late Marissa will be, as the limo approaches the last turn for your home.

Fin
Feedback is very much appreciated.

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