another life
a time gem narrative
  1. there are many universes out there, many timelines out there that the timegrem could pop molly patton into. it could have deposited her in the timeline where she was born in 1935 and ended up dead in 1951 due to a failed abortion. it could have easily put her into the one where she is born in 1919 and in 1975 realizes that she is bisexual, and would like to run away with a woman she meets in a club. it could have put her in the universe where lily patton was born first instead of gryffin, it even could have placed her into the universe where molly patton is in fact miles patton.

    the time gem decides instead, to make her experience this one.

  2. in this universe, ari saylor is in a sweater, rather confused at the woman siting before him. her name is karen patton, and seven months previous, they had met at a conference. they had fallen into bed together in a night ari thought was rather lucky for him, they had parted ways, and ari had put away the memories for later. here and now, karen patton has just told him that he is the father of the girl growing inside of her, and that she did not want to keep her, that her career would be on the line to keep a little girl like this, would take up her time.

    ari saylor has always been an odd ball even for a saylor, absent minded and focused on his horror memorabilia when he wasn't puttering around with weed in his spare time. being a father hasn't really been in the cards for him no matter his thoughts to the future, and if he were being truly honest with himself, he always had the thought that he'd be too immature to be a good father.

    here and now, looking at karen patton's hard face, at the way her hand squeeze the handles of her purse, he thinks about it more than he ever has. he considers what it might be like to have a son or a daughter, to spend his days with someone who might be like him or his brother or his mother--

    there's a lot of responsibility in what karen patton wants here. he flushes beneath the collar of his sweater, and his glasses slip on his nose. he feels cornered, forced to confront adulthood, real adulthood in this moment. he's a coward, now, thinking on it, on what it would take to raise a little girl, on how hard it would be...

    his finger rubs against the bottle of beer in front of him. he considers the difference in a woman who clearly is uninterested in keeping her and a man who is afraid to.

    he looks at karen. her mouth sets into a thin line. he thinks of his brother and his wife, and the niece who was born days before, how she felt in his arms. considers for a moment, that same bundle, and how she had felt in his hands.

    something a little like bravery sparks in ari's heart.

  3. karen calls him. she goes into labor in the middle of her very catholic family's christmas dinner. ari considers bringing up the question of karen's parents again, of her family, but that's all moot at this point. the last few months have been a push and pull of frustration over karen deciding that ultimately, she wanted no connection to their little girl, that she refused to tell him any detail about herself that wasn't medically necessary, and that she refused any and all assistance ari and the saylors had to offer her. she just wanted the girl out of her.

    ari gets to the hospital from the apartment he's been renting close by in a practiced ten minutes, huffing and puffing his way to the room as fast as he can. he only stops to phone his mother and his brother, and after hastily getting them off the phone, he arrives in time to be the first person to see margaret saylor squalling into the world.

    bravery turns to love the moment she is placed in his arms. a love that burns so brightly, that it's no wonder that he starts to cry in that moment.

    (it's also the moment he turns to in later years in bafflement. years and years of abject frustration and confusion when karen repeatedly insists that there is no connection between her and molly.)

  4. it's okay, he thinks to himself, hours later. he watches her in the hospital, wrapped in a pink blanket. his mother and brother will be there in a few hours time, wanting to see the little girl he's nicknamed molly already. even if she doesn't want you, you and i are going to be good together, kiddo. as if she hears him, molly shifts in her sleep. in the hospital, alone, ari thinks for the first time in years that maybe he believes a little more in a higher power than he previously thought.

    not that he'll express that out loud now, to anyone. he just watches her, and when his mother bustles in hours later, he wraps his arms around her shoulders, and allows her to do as she wants.

  5. he tries, one more time, to get karen to acknowledge molly before she's brought home. the look she pins him with is sharp, annoyed, and more than a little reproachful.

    ari knows that he should drop it. he knows that this is karen's choice, that they agreed on this. his hand hangs on the cold door knob, and he waits for karen to change her mind.

    she turns her back on them, and he shuts the door on her.

    molly yawns in his arms, and when he puts her in the back of the car with his mother, he says one little prayer for her: that she's more like him than karen.