gotham_knocking: (Default)
[personal profile] gotham_knocking
Alex and Rapunzel caught a 9:30 am flight from Goodwin Airport to Fort Lauderdale. She made sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat that hid her hair so that no one knew just how fast it was growing, and the first thing they did after claiming their luggage was find the scissors and trim the excess. Alex traveled light, with just one large suitcase. Rapunzel had three, and he wondered just what she had in them since everything she brought was summerweight (and in a few cases also rather skimpy). But he knew enough never to ask about such things.

On the flight, in the Avis lobby, and in the car ride up to Pompano Gardens, Alex reviewed everything about his parents one more time. Not that he needed to. Rapunzel was a good study, and remembered his dad's tendency to be a grump, his mother's love of cooking and of asking personal questions, Alex was nervous. He hadn't seen his parents in years. He hadn't brought a girl home to meet them since he was just out of high school and thought that things were getting serious with his prom date. And he just didn't trust his father not to say something stupid.

Leaving the airport, there were only a few signs of the recent hurricane. The bulk of the damage was from Miami south and east. Tomorrow, they would leave Pompano and look for that damage, and look for eyewitnesses to the incredible. Today, they were just visiting.

“Here is it.” Pompano Gardens was a private community of apartment buildings and “villas” in Pompano Beach, about two miles from the shore. It always seemed a little ramshackle to Alex, showing signs that upkeep was not that great in brown lawns and cracked pavements. It was, though, better than anything Martin and Estelle Knox ever lived in in Gotham. There were pools, tennis courts and a nine hole golf course, as well as a variety of activities, and even buses so that Martin rarely needed to drive. “Never could get used to anyone living inside walls.” So what if there was a security checkpoint that always made Knox think of JFK or Reagan in Berlin?

They drove up to a villa with the look of something that wanted to be Italian but fell short. Alex got out of the car and waited for Rapunzel. He looked as nervous as he ever has. “Ready?”

Date: 2009-07-17 06:24 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (any longer length)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
Alex's nervousness has rubbed off on her, a little. She gives him a reassuring smile and takes his hand.

"I love you, Alex. It will be fine."

Date: 2009-07-17 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"Love you, too, babe." He rings the doorbell with his left hand.

He hears the muffled sounds of two familiar voices, and then hurried steps to the door.

"Well, look at you. You look great! Come in and give your mother a big hug. And where is your luggage? You must have luggage. And this must be Rapunzel. I am SO glad to meet you." The woman is around 70, with a good dye job making her look a little younger, in an apron over her dress. Her voice is a bit high but also a little gruff.

"Hi, Mom. Yeah, this is her." Alex lets himself be hugged.

Date: 2009-07-17 06:50 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (med/long smile)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Knox. Alex has told me so many nice things about you."

Rapunzel offers her hand with a genuine smile. It's obvious that she she loves her son very much.

Date: 2009-07-17 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"Please, you have to call me Estelle. But not Esther or Esti. Estelle." This is said in the gentle tones of a woman who's been making that correction for a lifetime.

"Luggage is still in the car. Wanted to see our room first. See if we have room for all of it."

"Alex, this place is huge. Don't worry about that." Huge only compared to the tiny two-bedroom Alex grew up in. His place is Bristol is bigger. And in better shape, as he sees water damage outside and in. "Now come and say hello to your father."

They head in towards the living room.

Date: 2009-07-17 07:12 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (Default)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
Oh, Rapunzel likes Estelle; she seems like a worrier and a manager, but in the best possible way.

As they enter, she doesn't notice the shabbiness as much as Alex, an instead focuses on the little touches that make the place a home.

"You have a lovely home, Estelle."

Date: 2009-07-17 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"Thank you. It's amazing what you can find her. There is so much shopping. Not like Gotham at all." They enter the cluttered living room. Some of the furniture is old, clearly left from the Gotham years. The rest is less worn, and full of pastels instead of muddy reds and browns.

"No," says the older man in one of the older chairs, "nothing like Gotham. Gotham, I am proud to say, never had any malls." Martin Knox doesn't bother to get up. He mutes the sound on the TV - it seems to be an old movie - and looks at everyone else.

"So you finally remembered our address. And brought someone. I have to say, you did a lot better than I ever thought you would." Alex tries not to glare at his father. He settled for just looking every place else.

"Dad, this is Rapunzel."

Date: 2009-07-17 07:25 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (med/long smile)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
Rapunzel gives a friendly smile as she squeezes Alex's hand.

"Mr. Knox, I'm so glad to meet you! I can see where Alex gets his good looks."

Date: 2009-07-17 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"Hmph." Martin doesn't even offer a hint of a smile. "Well, at least you know how to flatter people. Tell me - where did my son meet you?" He sounds utterly skeptical about this. As if he thinks she's an actress or something.

"Martin, she just got here. Let me at least offer them some food. Something to drink."

Alex is quiet for a moment. He warned Raps about this, and knows that she's ready. He thinks.

Date: 2009-07-17 07:40 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (any longer length)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
Rapunzel just laughs off the grumpiness. She grew up with Frau Totenkinder, after all--this man is positively friendly in comparison. She walks a little closer to Martin, to talk with him more easily and show him she won't be held at bay with rough words.

"Alex was the first person to welcome me to town when I first arrived. I'd never been to a place like it, and we became fast friends almost immediately."

She gives Alex a wink. Of course 'town' would be Milliways, but it works just fine in this case.

"The rest progressed from there."

Date: 2009-07-17 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
Estelle interrupts before Martin can say anything more. Because he was ready to. "Oh, that is so sweet. Just like my Alex to be friendly. Always knew how to make friends." Just not girlfriends, Alex thinks she means. "And where are you from originally. That's an interesting accent. Sort of reminds me of my Aunt Pesha." She guides Alex and Rapunzel to a small breakfast nook next to a small but neat kitchen.

Martin goes back to his movie.

Date: 2009-07-17 07:51 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (med/long smile)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
"I'm originally from a small village in Eastern Europe, but we traveled a lot when I was a child."

She takes a seat beside Alex, making herself comfortable.

"I speak quite a few languages, so my accent is probably a good mix of Europe mixed with America."

Date: 2009-07-17 07:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"How about Yiddish," Estelle says in Yiddish. Not that she cares about Alex meeting a nice Jewish girl (since she intermarried). But she is the sort who asks such things. Sort of like her son.

Date: 2009-07-17 08:08 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (med long looking up)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
She smiles and shakes her head apologetically.

"Not enough to hold a conversation without embarrassing myself. I seem to have a gift for languages, though, so I may be able to learn it, given time."

Date: 2009-07-17 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"I will keep that in mind. Now, what would you like? Some lunch? A snack? What sort of drink?"

Alex grins. He remembers that she was always ready for company.

"How does lunch sound, Raps?"

Date: 2009-07-17 08:19 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (looking over shoulder long)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
"Perfect. I was too nervous about flying to be able to eat much, earlier."

She had never been on a plane before, so had been more interested in how everything worked than anything else.

Date: 2009-07-17 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"How does tuna salad sound?"

"Sounds great, Mom." She always knew what to do with a can of tuna.

Date: 2009-07-17 08:27 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (med/long smile)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
"Lovely. Is there anything I can help with?"

She knows she'll probably be turned down, but she doesn't want to seem like she expects to be waited on.

Date: 2009-07-19 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"Please. You're just in. And it's just tuna. But thank you." Off goes Estelle to the kitchen.

"So what do you think?" Alex seems a little relieved, a little nervous. "Don't let Dad get to you. He's always been like that."

Date: 2009-07-19 08:27 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (Default)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
She smiles at Alex and shakes her head.

"He's fine. I've dealt with pessimism before, and he's just a but gruff. Your mother is wonderful."

Date: 2009-07-19 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
"Yeah, right now she is. I think she likes you." He pauses. "First time in ages that I'm seeing her and she's not asking about my social life.

"But you know she is going to ask about when we're getting married. Even if I told her to not be nosy."

Date: 2009-07-19 08:41 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (Default)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
"I have a plan for that, actually. I'll simply say that it was my husband's dying wish that I never remarry."

She gives him a wink.

"It will be fine."

Date: 2009-07-19 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
Alex is a little startled by that. And then laughs. "She'll buy that. She might still give both of us a hard time, since I think she wants more grandchildren, but she'll buy that.

Estelle returns with several small but well stuffed tuna sandwiches on rye, a pitcher of lemonade, salad, and fruit. "Here we are. Martin, come and join us."

There is a grunt from the living room. Followed two minutes later by Martin coming in.

Date: 2009-07-19 08:53 pm (UTC)
longlonghair: (Default)
From: [personal profile] longlonghair
Rapunzel makes all the usual polite comments and easily answers questions. She makes sure to ask Martin questions occasionally, even if he only gives grunts or one word answers.

Date: 2009-07-19 09:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gotham-knocking.livejournal.com
As lunch, and the day, progress, Alex finally feels more at home. He realizes that he missed having a mother around, if only because no one treats you like a mother. He's also more and more thrilled that she and Rapunzel get along. And loves it when, after lunch, Mom invites Raps into the kitchen, to compare recipes and help with some of the cooking for the Rosh Hashanah lunch tomorrow.

Alex and Raps don't stay all day, of course. He has a column to write, and that means getting out in the field and finding all those eyewitnesses to Superman and the Flash holding back the tide, and to Batman on anti-looting patrol in Miami. But they leave well-fed. And when they return that night, he is glad to have the bed under his parents' roof. Albeit a bed he shares with his love.

He just wishes his dad would say more than two words. Maybe on the next visit.

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