Changing Skies

by Jasmine Taylor
1301679916|%e %b %Y, %H:%M %Z|agohover (updated 1301689107|%e %b %Y, %H:%M %Z|agohover) | 0 comment(s)

IC Date: March 13, 2011
This episode takes place almost a week following the log Research Party

I wonder if it makes me a horrible daughter, or just a horrible pessimist that I’m waiting for the minute when this all goes pear-shaped. I love my father, and we don’t get to see nearly enough of each other, it’s true. But, there’s a good reason for that. He doesn’t get me, not anymore (if he ever did), I don’t think that I’ve ever gotten him.

It doesn’t mean that we don’t try. Daddy really, really tries. We have our Father-Daughter outings once a month, when he’s in the city and we can have them, but this one is particularly special. It’s my birthday and Daddy’s gone through the effort to make it extra special. We caught the matinee of a show out at West End and now we’re having dinner at a very nice restaurant, Flare. I guess everything would be as perfect as it could be if we weren’t talking like two strangers trying to avoid any serious conversation, because that way usually leads to some disagreement or another.

“How is work, Jasmine?” It’s always Jasmine to my father. Never Jas, or Mina like my grandmother used to call me. He thinks that Jas is a silly nickname, and we both know that Mina reminds us too much of Nona. “Are you still enjoying your work at PSI?”

And so it begins.

I hide my sigh behind my glass of water. “It’s work. It’s good, Daddy.”

“Don’t give me that look, Jasmine.” I hope that I hide my frown better than I hid my initial reaction. “I’m ask because I’m your father. I worry. I want you to be happy with your career choice.”

I know what I should do. I should smile sweetly, thank him for his concern and then throw all my energy and best acting at convincing him that I couldn’t be happier. A month ago, I would have. But a month ago, it seemed simpler. The world was a simpler place a month ago and being the dutiful daughter was the role I was perfectly molded to play. Now …

My eyes are open. George is right. There’s so much more out there in the world that has nothing to do with the Foundation or the little cocoon that my father’s been swaddling me in since the night my mother left. If vampires can swoop out of the shadows and attack unwitting girls in alleys, what else is out there that we’ve been trained to ignore?

“And you think that I’m not happy because I’m not doing something better suited to my skill set?” I pick up my fork and pick at the crisp greens on the small china white plate. “Information Technology is my skill set.”

Now, it’s my father who doesn’t do a good job of hiding his own disappointed sigh. He’s never approved of me stepping down and depriving myself when, in his opinion, I could have done so much more. “What about your natural talents? I don’t want to see those go to waste.”

“They’re not. They won’t. I don’t need a job in PR or marketing or hospitality just because of … that.” Nothing is going to change the fact that I’m a telepath. Whether I’m in a desk outside of a server room or in a board room advising the president of some big corporation. “I’m happy where I am. Can we talk about something else? I really don’t want to argue.”

There’s a beat while I worry that he’s not going to simply agree to disagree. “How’s your friend?”

Yes, because this topic is so much safer ground than the other one. I’m actually grateful that for the sake of appearances we’ve been speaking like non-telepaths. It would be so much harder, if not impossible to hide my feelings and emotions when sharing sends. “George is fine.”

“Have you seen him lately?” Asked with casual curiosity, the sort of hopeful casualness where he hopes the answer will be negative.

“I see him every weekend.” Sometimes more often, but I don’t offer that up. George is straight forward and reliable. We hang out and watch bad movies or waste hours on his game console. It’s one of the few times I still feel like I’m me and I’m not pretending to be someone else, and not trying to fit into a dress that someone else designed for me.

“You and he aren’t —”

“God! Daddy, no! George is just a friend.” I love George, but like a brother. I’m not even sure where my father would get that idea from, and I’m not sure I want to know. Yet, I can’t stop the next words that come tumbling past my lips. “But what if I were? So what?” It’s probably bitchy and I’m going to burn in some sort of Terrible Daughter HellTM for baiting him like that, but I can’t help it.

“I know that you like him, Jasmine, but George is —” Not stable. Not right. Not like us. “I don’t want you to make any foolhardy decisions that you might regret later. You’re still young, and you have to be careful. I’ve seen too many young people your age who get dragged into something because of their associations. I just don’t want to see you do that, or cut yourself off because you’re too attached to him.”

It’s hard not to respond to what my father is thinking rather than what he’s saying. I’m not supposed to hear those private thoughts. I’ve spent a lot of time masking the fact that I’m a lot stronger than him, instead of just mildly. Because if the pressure isn’t on enough when he thinks I’m still near to his level telepathically, I don’t want to imagine the pressure my father would put on me if he knew the truth. He wants me in Alexander Tower and always has. It’s a place of prestige and honor, although I think that he wants it more for his prestige than mine.

’Look at the psychic my genes produced. My wife was a flake but my daughter is all right.’

My hands busy themselves adjusting and readjusting the napkin in my lap while I slowly chew a large bite of salad. I need the time to formulate a response. In the end, I can’t come up with anything to say that won’t launch us into a row in the middle of the restaurant. George had a rough time of it, and he needs friends, not people backing off because he’s not proper or up to expectations.

~ I was at a bookshop a bit back. Met a shop girl. I think she might be a low level teep. ~ I offer that up for conversation in the hopes that my father will latch onto the bait and we won’t have to discuss George, or my work, or my life choices any further.

I know that it’s worked even before my father peers curiously at me over his glasses. I can feel his curiosity, sliding off of him and leaking onto me. ~ Do share, Jasmine. ~

I’m not well-talented at the skill of perfect recall, as I know some other telepaths — usually those stronger than me — happen to be. I can manage, somewhat, sometimes, and truthfully, I think if I got more training I could be better at it, but it’s one of those things that I never really saw any use for. Still, I do my best to put myself back at Spellbound books and relay to my father the feelings and thoughts I picked up from odd shop girl. It’s not much, but I’m able to send him the picture of her face, the bizarre tint of Talent coursing just beneath the surface.

~ I assume you reported her? ~

I freeze, startled by the question, although I really shouldn’t have been. I didn’t report the girl — Carys. I hadn’t actually thought about her since leaving the bookshop, too preoccupied with waiting to hear back from Jean and what her professor has to say on the subject of old dead things.

~ I - I didn’t think about it. ~

~ ”Jasmine.” ~ My name is spoken aloud and telepathically, perhaps so I can get the full brunt of my father’s disappointment. ~ How can we possibly help her if the Foundation doesn’t know that she’s there and needs help? ~

I’m twenty-two — twenty-three years old today — and somehow I’ve just been reduced to feeling like I’m twelve with a few simple words.

~ I’ll report it tomorrow, ~ I promise, and I mean it.

~ It’s all right, sweetheart. We all forget things from time to time. ~ My father reaches out to pat my hand. ~ The important thing is that you told me, I reminded you and that poor girl will get the guidance that she needs.~

“Now, what did you think of the show?” Just like that, my father flips that switch and we’re back in that good warm and fuzzy Father-Daughter zone.

I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that my father can flip so easily or that I no longer can.


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