|When Harper Met Holly|
|What: Roy and Lian Harper run into Holly Granger. Social.|
Between Midtown and Upper Manhattan sits a fitness center. Conveniently located for the masses that live in the towering apartment complexes of the city, it also happens to be the place where Holly Granger works as a trainer. At the moment, she has finished for the day. She emerges from the fitness center with a gym bag in one hand and heads down the street.
While Roy Harper had been caught busy in between transferring agencies, there was one thing that he would always do his best to make time for, and that was his daughter. Certain plans had gone just a bit awry, thanks to a little bit of an unexpected maneuver, but that was all right. It was just a little shiner, and Lian had fussed over that, going as far as to scold him for -not being careful-, her hands on her little five-years-old frame with a big pout.
In recompense, then, the young father was taking Lian out for ice cream in Manhattan. Which was -why- there was a bundle of energy darting in between people, brushing up against and bumping into people... forcing Roy to try and catch up with a loud "Lian! Wait!"... at least until Lian crashed smack into a certain fitness trainer.
Luckily, Holly's a sturdy one and the sudden crashing-into by a little five year old isn't enough to knock her down. Oh dear. She reaction is to immediately kneel down, peering at Lian. "Hey, are you okay?" she asks, concern in her voice. "I'm really sorry, I was off in lala-land for a while there, didn't see you coming."
Lian stares up wide-eyed as she steadies herself. Rather than respond, she darts her way back, immediately ducking behind Roy as he comes up.
"Sorry about that," Roy says as he brings a hand down to Lian's hair to stroke it, as she peers around her father. "Lian, what do you say?"
There's a shake of her head, and Lian ducks back behind her father. "Aheh. Sorry, she's a bit shy around new people. No harm done?"
Bright green-blue eyes study Holly quickly, sizing her up for whatever reason. Probably not an unfamiliar sensation for her, neh? Tall, definitely athletic... a quick glance at her hand. No ring. Hm.
Roy nudges Lian. "Sorry about that. Name's Roy. And this is my daughter, Crash."
Lian flares up, brings her little fist up and socks her father's thigh. "It's LIAN!" she says in no uncertain terms, before regarding Holly with a wide-eyed look.
Holly Granger is dressed in dark shorts and a tank top, as well as sneakers. Appropriate, given the heat New York has been dealing with this summer. "I was more worried about her than me," Holly says with a smile. Still kneeling, she tries smiling again. "Hi Lian. I'm Holly." She stands, offering a hand. "Nice to meet you, Roy."
Dressed in a light summer pink dress, the brunette half-asian Lian quickly darts around Roy and reaches up to take Holly's hand, shaking it before Roy can do anything. Preservation? Who knows. "Hi, Holly! That's a nice name."
Roy flashes a half-proud grin, ruffling his daughter's hair before glancing up at Holly. "Was just about to buy Lian ice cream. Want to join us?" He motions towards the ice cream shoppe nearby. "What do you think, Lian?"
"Why?" Lian asks suspiciously in that way that little kids have when they think they're about to be subjected to something they don't want to do.
"... because you crashed into her."
"Oh. Okay. But daddy pays, because I don't have money. I have money in the purse, but I'm not allowed to take it out where people can see," Lian says, already tugging on Holly's hand. "Can we?"
Holly Granger shakes Lian's hand with a grin. "Well... if it's okay with you, Lian." Which is promptly answered when the little girl tugs on her hand. "Don't mind me while I drag my gym bag," she adds. "Just finished work."
Dressed in blue jeans and a dark red t-shirt with a baseball cap on his hand, Roy nods with a grin. "Big bag for work," comments the young man as he motions for Holly to lead the way. "Not a desk jockey sort, are you?"
Lian has other ideas about leading, though, already tugging on Holly's hand like an eager daschund. "It's hot, and I want strawberry."
There was a bemused grin from Roy. Well, if Lian was already behaving comfortably, maybe the girl was good peoples. Lian had a sense about something like that.
Holly Granger makes a face. "Oh god no - leave that for my roommate." She jerks a thumb - her semi-occupied-by-bag hand lifting - back to the join a half block behind them. "I'm a personal trainer," she explains. "So Lian, you know where to go for ice cream?"
"Yep!" Lian chirps, already tugging harder as she half-drags, half-races for the ice cream shoppe.
"Roy falls in line, nodding at Holly. "Rough sort of job. Getting people in shape, keeping them that way. Come in touch with a lot of people of all sorts." He grins. "Your roommate's a desk jockey? Poor girl."
Holly Granger manages to keep up so she doesn't go tumbling. "Nah," she offers to Roy, "But it seems like the sort of thing he'd enjoy more than I would. You know, quiet, predictable. No excitement. The only time he'd have to raise his voice would be when I leave dirty laundry on the floor." She grins at that last bit, remembering the last time it happened.
"Hnhh... I ought to know how that is," Roy grins, as he motions to his daughter. "She's the one who lectures me on it. I have no idea where she gets it from." Well, possibly from her mother, though that would be rather odd, coming from a rampant mass-murderer. "He? How'd you end up with someone like that? You seem like the adventurous sort."
The ice cream shoppe is reached soon enouhg, and Lian is already bouncing around like an excited puppy. "Lift me up! Lift me up!"
"I thought you wanted strawberry," says Roy as he looks over the flavor.
"I want to look anyway!" Lian retorts.
"I've got her." And Holly helpfully lifts Lian up to the counter. "He's my best friend," she returns to the previous topic. "Started hanging out a lot, his father owned a place, offered to let us move in so we could save money." She shrugs. "I can't complain, even if the commute's a pain in the butt." She helpfully censors herself for Lian's sake.
Lian squirms as she gets to look at the multicolored vats of ice cream. After due deliberation, she announces, "I want strawberry," and points.
Roy sighs, already taking his wallet out. "Small strawberry, mint chocolate chip for me, and..." He glances at Holly, waiting till she indicates what she wants before ordering that. "Saving money's good. Living in New York's a helluva lot expensive."
"Daddy," Lian admonished.
"A lot expensive," Roy amends, rolling his eyes ruefully. Yeah, yeah, being just a bit restrained for the sake of his daughter. "Where're you commuting in from?"
"Butterscotch, please," is Holly's answer. And then: "Greenwich Village. Not far, but if I miss that one bus I end up having to cab it up here or walk." And again, not -terribly- far, but with New York City traffic added into the equation... "What about you two?" and to Lian, "Nice choice. My roommate loves strawberry."
Butterscotch for the lady, then!
"Not a bad place to be. We're living close by so I can get to work quickly myself. Just the two of us. Lian's going to nursery school now. Getting to be a big girl, though she still needs a nanny."
Lian beams at Holly. "Thank you!" she exclaims, as she squirms a bit in Holly's hold. Grabby hands goes for her ice cream cone as the attendant gives it to her and then Lian settles a bit, licking her ice cream.
As the respective ice cream cones are passed to the adults, Roy motions. "You keeping regular hours, or part-time?"
"Lucky enough to be getting full time. I have enough clients so that I see a few every day." Holly puts Lian down, then gestures to a nearby table. "Mostly middle-aged folks. You know 'drat, my doctor says I have to lose weight.'" Holly's rather impressed with how much she's managed to censor herself around Lian without needing a reminder, and the surprise on her face shows.
"Yeah," Roy grins. "One of my neighbors' sort of like that," he adds as Lian obediently walks over to the table, sitting down and licking her cone. She does however feel obligated enough to look up at Holly and try and join in. "Why do people need to lose weight? Daddy say we should accept people as they are, and that they should be comfortable with themselves."
"Ummm..." Roy rubs his neck. "Well, I said that, but... uh, it's hard to explain, honey.."
"We should," Holly says to Lian, nodding. "But sometimes, people get so big it's not healthy. They could get sick. So their doctors tell them they need to lose a little weight. It doesn't mean they're bad people, though."
"Oh." Proceeding to lick her ice cream, Lian falls silent, leaving Roy to grin up at Holly. "Thanks," he says, quirking his lips. "You've got a way with kids."
Holly Granger shrugs as she licks at her ice cream cone. "Just being honest," she says. "I think kids don't get enough credit. If you just be honest with 'em, I bet most of them would understand a lot more than we think they would."
"Yep!" Lian nods proudly. "I understand lots of things. Like what Daddy does with the new girls wh---"
Clasping a hand over Lian's mouth, Roy grins sheepishly. "Kids, they say the darndest things."
Holly Granger leans back in her seat, a smirk touching her lips. "Oho," she says, clearly amused. "Lian, you are now my new best friend," she says with a wink at the girl. "See? Kids understand a lot."
Well, now, how do you get out of the hole Lian's digging you, Roy? Um...
"Lian, remember that talk we had about not saying -everything- that you want to say?" Roy sighs.
"But daddy, you told me to speak my mind. I can't be 'spected to remember every-thiing," Lian whines in that 'why is Daddy being so difficult' voice.
Shaking his head ruefully, Roy grins sheepishly at Holly. "Well, if it helps, they have to be Lian-approved." Most of the time.... just don't introduce 'em to Lian.
Holly Granger puts her cone on the table, then lifts her hands in a 'hey, not me!' gesture. "I'm not judging," she says, chuckling. "I don't exactly have a great track record myself." She shrugs, then resumes eating her ice cream.
Flashing a wry grin, Roy nods, bringing his hand down to ruffle Lian's hair, who returns a wounded look as she tries to straighten her hair without putting down her ice cream cone. At least that should keep her quiet for a bit. "At least your record's probably cleaner than mine. I ended up with her, after all. Not that I don't regret it for a minute... well, maybe who it was with."
"I had my share I would've regretted had I said yes," Holly answers. "I used to be a cheerleader in high school." Which right there should explain a lot, right? "Got out of that pretty quickly. The other girls were such catty... jerks."
"A cheerleader...?" There's a totally quick and wide smirk that's hidden quickly as Roy nods slowly. "Well, yes... but..."
"Say yes to what?" Lian asks, blinking as she gets her hair straightened (somewhat- little strands of strawberry-ice-cream-ladened hair sticks out quite awkwardly) and starts munching on the cone.
"To going out for dinner, or a movie, or something like that," Holly is quick to explain. "They just weren't nice people." She does catch Roy's smirk, but does not mention it. "Moved on to sports. Track and field, lacrosse, rugby..." Yeah, she looks the rugby sort. A little more athletic than your average gym bunny.
Nice save, Holly.
"C'mere," Roy says as he nabs a paper napkin, wets it with his tongue, and wipes off the strawberry ice cream in his daughter's hair, while Lian makes a face. Ewww, daddy-drool. "I never really got into sports. Most of what I picked up was from the reservation. And then things happened and I never really went out for high school sports."
Holly Granger is not as simple-minded as her roommate/partner occasionally (jokingly) claims she is! Her cone finished, she claims a napkin for herself. "Well, it was nice meeting you Roy, but I shouldn't keep you two." She stands and digs a card from her bag, tossing it to the table. Her name, the name of the gym, business number. "Lian, you make sure he behaves."
Nabbing the card, Roy flashes a grin as he takes the card. "No problem. Thank you."
A quick glance. "Personal training, hmmm?" Oh yes, it's fairly clear what -that- tone means, even if it goes over Lian's head. "Can I come?" Lian asks. "Well, princess," Roy begins...
She kneels again, beside Lian. "Tell you what, Lian. You convince your daddy to come by on the weekend, all right? We have a special thing for big girls on the weekend." This is not so unusual - weekends in the city, nowhere for little kids to go? Yeah, the gym owner saw that, so a weekend class was started up. "It's a lot of fun, I promise."
Nice way to cut off Roy with the obvious. Though ...
"Daddy's sometimes busy on the weekends," Lian pouts. "Can I go, Daddy? Can I? I don't want to go to daycare..."
"Uh... we'll see." There really wasn't a good -way- to do this, particularly when Roy ran late. Still... Roy glances up towards Holly. "Occupational hazard. Uh. We'll figure out something."
Holly Granger gives Lian's hair a bit of a ruffle. "See you soon then, kiddo. Nice meeting you both, Lian. Roy." She salutes with two fingers and hefts the bag again, heading back out to the street.
A two-finger salute in return, as Roy flashes a grin. "Nice to see you too, Holly," Roy calls out, twirling the card in between his fingers expertly.
"Bye, Holly!" Lian waves happily, before turning to her father. "You'll go too, will you Daddy?" Lian certainly -didn't- like her father's occupation when it kept him busy, but...
"I'll try, Princess, I'll try."