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11 January 2010 @ 03:41 pm
(fic) Vignettes - Winchester, Idaho (1/7)  
Title: Winchester, Idaho (1/7)
Author: ladygray99
Pairing: Charlie/Colby, OFC/OFC
Rating: PG13 (NC17 overall)
Warnings: On screen adult sex, off screen teenaged sex and making out, mild violence.
Word count: 40,270 total (the original Vignettes story was only 33,291 words.)
Summery: It’s the 4th of July and after almost 20 years Colby is heading home to Winchester, Idaho. And he’s bringing his husband and daughter with him.
Spoilers: Toxin, Janus List, Trust Metric, Counterfeit Reality, Greatest Hits, Finders Keepers
Notes: Part of Vignettes ‘verse taking place after Dumped but you might also want to look over A Direct Threat as it gets mentioned. Long Author’s notes will come at the end.
Beta: The very brave and amazing swingandswirl
Thanks: boymommytotwo served up the bunny and helped me outline the story in March, 2008 and really gets a lot of credit for this ever happening. autumnwriting stepped up as the official Vignettes ‘verse Hebraic scholar and military adviser taking the time to fix my terminology and my Hebrew. swingandswirl did her own linguistic bit providing the French.

Winchester, Idaho

Emily Granger stood in front of three of her four grown children.

“Let me make this abundantly clear. I do not know how many 4th of July reunions I have left in me, probably not as many as I’d like. Now Colby has stayed away out of fear of offending your delicate sensibilities for too long and I am sick of it. He is coming this year. He is bringing his husband and their daughter and as long as they are guests staying under my roof you will be polite and respectful, am I very clear?”

“Yes ma’am,” Emily’s children mumbled in unison under her sharp gaze.



Colby stopped the rental car by the gate that had rusted open when he was still a kid. The driveway was a quarter mile long so the house was still out of sight. Colby leaned his head on the steering wheel.

“Colby?” Charlie touched his shoulder.

Colby took a deep breath. “Okay, look, you know how Don and you were always told not to hit each other?”


“Well I never got that lecture. Dad encouraged us boys to lay into each other, toughen us up.”

“Fun,” was Esther’s sarcastic commentary from the back seat.

“Charlie, I haven’t talked to my brothers in years and we never really had the communication thing down to begin with. Someone’s going to say something in the next few days and someone’s going to take a swing and just... just fair warning okay?”

“Colby, Esther and me, we can just get a room in town, maybe head into the park...”

“No!” Colby snapped. “Absolutely not. You are my family, both of you, and we’re sticking together. Plus if I show up without you two Mom will kill me.”

Colby felt Esther squeeze his shoulder. “Don’t worry, Dad, we got your back.”

Colby turned the car back on and turned up the driveway. The little rental bumped over the ruts laid down by years of pickup trucks. As they came around a small bend the whitewashed house came into view. The porch and front room were a hundred and fifty years old, the rest was pieced together one room at a time as the family’s population and fortunes rose and fell.

Colby parked between the tidy front yard and the east paddock. Everyone piled out of the car. Esther grabbed his wrist.

“Dad, is that actually a cow?”

Colby leaned over to check. “Um... steer actually.”

“It’s a cow, it goes moo?”

The animal made a sound that sounded nothing like moo. Esther jumped.

“In a couple of months it’ll be Sunday roast.”

Esther squinted suspiciously at the steer as she pulled her bags from the back of the car.

Colby counted seven other vehicles in front of the house. Colby knew Esther was the youngest of his mother’s grandchildren. A few of the older ones had already given her great-grandchildren. And every 4th of July all of them gathered for a big family reunion, except for Colby. Colby knew the last time he had been home Charlie had done a long distance diagnosis of prodigy on his four year old nice and the last he’d heard about her Katie had finished her doctorate and was now looking for a university to settle down at.

Colby could hear people as the three of them neared the house. The front screen opened and Frank stepped out. It took Colby a moment to recognize his brother. He’d gotten old. Colby supposed he’d gotten old as well, but the last time he’d seen his older brother there was more hair and less weight.

“Colby.” Frank gave a slight nod as they climbed the stairs to the porch.

“Frank.” Colby gave a nod of his own. “This Charlie and Esther. Charlie, my brother Frank.”

“Nice to meet you.” Charlie replied pleasantly, avoiding the hand shake since his hands were pretty much full.

“Same.” Frank gave a quick nod. “Mom’s in the house.”

“Thanks.” Colby opened the screen door. Inside the house it was dark and cool. It looked the same as he remembered, maybe a little different here and there, more pictures, new lamps, but in essence it was the same house he grew up in.

“Mom,” Colby called out. Emily Granger came sprinting from the kitchen and threw her arms around Colby. “Hey, mom.”

“I’m so glad you made it.” Emily gave Colby a nearly rib breaking hug then moved to Charlie who gave her a warm hug in return. “It’s so good to see you, Charles.”

Charlie grin. “It’s good to see you too.” Colby knew Charlie found his mom’s insistence on calling him Charles rather amusing, much like Larry’s similar quirk.

Then Emily pulled Esther into a hug. “Oh, look how tall you’ve gotten,” she gushed once she’d pulled away.

Esther bounced on her toes a bit. “Another inch and I’m taller than Dad.”

Emily laughed as Charlie rolled his eyes. “I’m so glad you three could come.”

“Well this one’s about to go off to school,” Charlie pointed out, nudging Esther, “so I figured a family trip might not be a bad thing.”

“They do grow, don’t they?”

“Oh!” Charlie suddenly dove into one of his bags. “Before I forget,” Charlie pulled out two bottles of wine. “Compliments of my father. From that vineyard you liked the last time you were down. He said the chardonnay is good to go but the cabernet could probably use another year in the bottle.”

Colby couldn’t help grinning a little to himself. He realized that it was distinctly possible that those were the first bottles of wine ever to cross into the Granger household. Certainly the first chardonnay, at any rate.

Emily took the bottles. “Thank you, Charles, be sure to say thank you to Alan for me.”


“Now, do you boys mind bunking down in Colby’s old room?” Emily asked.

“Nope.” Charlie answered quickly. Colby caught a glint in Charlie’s eye that usually meant he was planning something naughty and/or evil. Colby looked around. Various people Colby didn’t know but knew he probably should were wandering into the living room and they were all looking at him, Charlie and Esther. It was making Colby’s back itch. If Charlie and Esther were aware of the scrutiny they were hiding it well.

Emily turned to Esther. “Do you mind bunking down with Katie in Mary Jo’s old room?”

Esther’s smile stiffened a little. “No, no problem.” She replied quickly.

Colby added that to the list of things that could go horribly wrong over the next few days. For several years now, whenever Charlie had mentioned Katie or some paper she’d published or was working on, Esther would go into a ‘Daddy doesn’t love me ‘cause I’m not good at math’ sulk. It was completely ridiculous and even Esther knew it but it was fuelled by teenaged insecurities and inter-genius competition. Colby wasn’t sure how well it was going to go having Esther in the same room as her perceived rival for her father’s affection. He’d just have to remind Charlie to heap on the affection and hope for the best. Then again, Charlie had taken it a little personally when Katie had chosen MIT over CalSci so maybe that would help balance things out.

“Now, have you three eaten?” Emily asked.

“I could eat.” Esther blurted out quickly before Colby could respond.

Emily laughed. “You’re fifteen. Of course you can eat. How about you boys?”

Charlie shook his head.

Colby picked up his bags again. “We’re fine, Mom, we’ll go unpack.”

The hall down to the bedrooms was lined with pictures. Generations of Grangers represented over the course of their lives from infancy to old age.

Charlie pulled up short and pointed to a picture of a man in a World War II era Army uniform. “Colby, who’s this?” Charlie asked tapping the frame.

“That’s my grandfather Bartholomew. Grandpa Bart.”

Charlie peered at the picture. “You look just like him.”

“You think?” Colby looked close.

“First time I saw you, yeah. You looked just like that. Seriously, it’s a little creepy.”

Colby grinned. “Well there are more pictures of him around so you can get a sneak preview on how I’m going to look when I’m old and grey.”

“I already know how you’re going to look, you’re going to look great.” Colby blushed, just a little. Even after all these years together, once in a while Charlie could still come out with something that just seemed to get right inside him. “Come on, I want to see the walls where you hung your Farrah Fawcett poster.”

Colby opened a door that once held a sign that read ‘Colby’s and Robbie’s Room. Keep Out!’ It had been more or less turned into a guest room. Traditionally multiple generations had lived under the roof and the idea of a guest room was silly but Colby’s generation had broken with tradition by moving out even if Colby was the only one who had gotten out of town.

Charlie looked around. “I’m a little disappointed. I was kind of hoping for cheerleading posters.”

“Mom threw those out.”

Charlie bounced on the bed a little. “Yeah, moms do that. I thought Don was going to cry when Mom found and tossed his Playboys.” Colby winced in a little sympathy. “I’m sure the hour long feminist lecture that went with it didn’t help.”

“Probably not.” Colby opened his closet and reached up into it and into the little void between the ceiling and the attic. His fingers brushed paper. “Got ‘em!” Colby crowed and pulled out a half dozen very old Playboys.

Charlie grinned. “Colby, you naughty, naughty boy.” Colby sat down next to Charlie. “Okay.” Charlie asked. “Who was your favorite?”

Colby closed his eyes, trying to remember. “September. Miss September ‘89.”

Charlie quickly found the September issue and carefully opened the yellowed pages. He gave a bark of laughter. “I knew it. It has nothing to do with me, you just have a chalkboard fetish.”

“I do not!” Colby objected.

Charlie turned the magazine around in order to jar Colby’s memories of Miss September. Colby felt his cheeks burn. Prior to baring all, Miss September was in a little school girl uniform leaning against a chalk board in a class room.

“Not that I’ve ever objected to your fascination with me up against a chalkboard, but you should feel free to admit these kinds of things.” Colby pulled his teenaged porn from Charlie’s hands and quickly re-hid it in the closet. “And I will try to avoid any jokes about you hiding hetero porn in the closet.” Charlie followed up with a smirk.

“It was the only place I thought Mom wouldn’t find it.”

“And obviously she didn’t.” Charlie bounced on the bed a few more times. “Want to make out?” He suddenly offered with an evil grin.

“We should probably go find out who else is here and keep Esther from eating Mom out of house and home.”

Charlie pouted. Colby kissed that pout. “Maybe we can sneak off after dinner.”

Charlie grinned then gave Colby a deep kiss. “I love you. Now, let’s find Esther and meet the rest of your family.”

They found Esther in the kitchen nearly at the bottom of a large bowl of potato salad. She’d hit that age where her body was demanding she eat everything in sight while her brain was starting to fret about things like weight and dress sizes.

“Did you find your room okay?” Emily asked as they entered the kitchen.

“It was just where I left it.”

“Well, why don’t you find the back yard next and say hello to everyone. Your brothers are getting the barbeque set up.”

Esther quickly finished off her potato salad and all three of them headed to the back yard. Colby looked around at the milling people. There were at least fifteen adults and probably a half dozen kids. Colby had to remind himself that his mother had had Frank at twenty-one and all his siblings had had their own kids by twenty-five and some of those kids had already had kids. His brothers and sister were probably grandparents already whereas Colby only had one fifteen year old and he’d been comfortably past thirty when Esther had shown up.

A large man pushed through the crowd of people who were standing around, sipping beer or helping to set up the large grill that would feed the masses in a couple of hours. It took Colby a second to recognize his baby brother. Like Frank, Robert had lost hair and gained weight. Colby thanked god for whatever fluke of genetics had let him inherit his grandfather’s looks. He might be the only almost brunet in a family of honey blonds but at least his hair had stayed in.

Robert pulled Colby into a quick back slapping hug. “You’re looking good.” Robert said by way of greeting.

“So are you.”


Colby laughed. “Robert, this is Charlie and Esther. Charlie, Esther, this is my baby brother Robert.”

“Hi.” There were quick handshakes and Robert turned back to Colby. “So you finally made it home?”

“Well, Mom kinda insisted.”

“Well, good.” Robert gave a nod to Charlie and Esther and headed back to the grill which was receiving a good scrubbing.

“Believe it or not Robert’s the conversationalist of the family. The funny one too.”

Charlie patted Colby on the shoulder. “How about if we just split up and mingle.”

“I’m not splitting up. I’m sticking with dad,” Esther declared. “This many blondes in one place makes me nervous.”

Colby looked to Charlie. “I tutored Princeton frat boys. I think I’ll survive.”

Colby took a deep breath. “Well, I should probably go help with the grill.”

“I’ll go track us down a few beers.”

Colby just nodded and headed towards the grill. Before he could get far Frank was in his line of sight obviously wanting some attention. There was a young man standing next to him with the classic honey blonde Granger looks. And while he may have been in civilian clothes Colby could make out the line of dog tags under the kids t-shirt.



“This is my youngest, Andrew. He just got back from Afghanistan.” There was a sick pride in Frank’s voice.

‘Ah.’ Colby thought. Frank had joined the Army before Colby, having gotten the same speeches about duty and honor, but he had never seen combat. He spent most of his career in Europe behind a desk. Colby knew that Frank must be pleased as anything that it was one of his offspring that had joined up and had seen action. Afghanistan would also explain the thousand yard stare in the kid’s eyes.

Colby held out his hand. “Nice to meet you Andrew, I spent some time in Afghanistan myself way back in ‘02. Sorry if we left it a bit of a mess for you.”

Andrew shook Colby’s hand. “Nothing we can’t handle, sir.”

“Just Colby’s fine. I haven’t been a sir in a long time.”

“Yes, sir.”

Colby couldn’t help wondering if he’d been that bad. Probably. “How long have you been back?”

“Arrived in town this morning, sir. Had an eighteen month deployment.”

“Well I’m sure your father’s very proud of you.” Frank was just brimming with pride over his warrior son. Colby gave the kid a pat on the arm. “Welcome home. Take it easy.” Colby gave Frank a quick nod and headed towards the grill before he did something stupid like punch his older brother.

By the time he got to the grill Charlie was already waiting for him with a beer; Budweiser, in a can, there was none of this fancy microbrew stuff in the Granger household. Charlie was sipping his with a funny look on his face.

“What?” Colby asked.

“Just having a flashback to my first frat party. Cut me off if I try to smash the can on my forehead.”



Esther sipped at an orange soda while she watched her dad and a bunch of other big guys set up a huge grill. It looked big enough to cook half of that cow out front. She’d leaned her back against a nearby tree mainly so no one could sneak up on her. She hadn’t been lying. Out of the twenty plus adults and kids she was feeling very conspicuous as the only real brunet. Normally she was okay in crowds, she’d mastered academic and law enforcement small talk at a pretty early age but she had no idea what she was supposed to talk to these people about. ‘So, know any good potato recipes?’ was about all she’d been able to come up with.

A kid of about ten approached. Esther braced herself.

“Hi,” the kid said.


“Who are you?”

“I’m Esther. Who are you?”

“I’m Brian.”

“Hi, Brian.”

Brian tiled his head and peered at Esther. Esther mimicked the gesture.

“Are we related?” Brian asked.


“We don’t look alike.”

Esther fought the urge to really screw with the kid. “Well, genetics are a funny thing.” Brian squinted at her a bit. Esther sighed. “My father is Colby Granger. I’m told I look a bit like my mother.”

“Oh.” That explanation seemed to satisfy and Brian wandered off.

Esther thumped the back of her head softly against the tree. It was going to be a long week.


Colby tipped out a big bag of charcoal into the family grill. The charcoal and the grill was made by the Lewis family up the road and it would be sacrilege to use anything else for a barbeque in Winchester. His brothers also tipped out bags. Colby had literally seen half a cow grilled on the huge old thing. Frank, as the oldest Granger male, would man the grill, cooking up enough food to overfeed twenty. Charlie and Esther had apparently retreated into the kitchen to help with the food prep.

Colby rolled up the charcoal bag and went to find another beer. He had a feeling he’d be drinking a lot tonight. He only hoped Charlie would forgive him for making an idiot of himself at some point.

By the time he got back Frank had the thing lit up and was fussing with the coals, trying to get the fire evenly spread and the coals stacked. Colby wrinkled his nose. He forgot Frank always used a bit of siphoned gas to light the thing up. California had been rationing gas for over a decade and even the used clunker cars were hybrids. It had been a while since he’d smelled gas burning.

Colby was going to offer Frank a beer when he noticed Andrew standing down wind of the grill. The kid was frozen and staring wide eyed at nothing.


“Move it soldier.” Colby quietly barked into Andrew’s ear before grabbing the kid’s arm, dragging him away from the crowd and away from the smell of burning gas.

Andrew was back to himself by the time they got around the side of the house.

“Deep, clear breaths,” Colby advised. “Keep your eyes open.”

“I’m fine sir, thank you.” Andrew gasped out quickly even as he leaned against the weathered, white clapboard.

“Yeah right. Car bombs?”

Andrew nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“The more things change.” Colby mumbled to himself.

Colby saw Andrew suddenly snap to attention just as a voice bellowed behind him.

“What the fuck is going on here?!” Frank shouted.

“Everything is fine, sir.” Andrew answered. Colby rolled his eyes. He was positive his brother was getting off on hearing his own son call him sir.

“What the hell have you done?!” Frank was still shouting obviously ignoring his son.

“Andrew, go help your grandmother in the kitchen, now. “ Colby quickly ordered as he turned to face his brother. Frank was two inches taller and had several pounds on him but Colby still had his field status. “What the hell do you think you’re doing to my boy you little...”

Colby threw the first punch to prevent whatever word was about to come out of his brother’s mouth. Frank’s head snapped around. Colby then grabbed his brother by his shirt and slammed him against the side of the house.

“Car bombs you fucking idiot.” Colby snarled. “Ever smelled a car bomb? No, you haven’t. The first thing you smell, once you get past the ringing in your ears, is the gas, the burning gas. Then the rubber, then the smell of whatever poor bastard that got caught in it cooking.”

Frank shoved back and Colby let him.

“Your kid’s, what, a week out of combat? Two? You’re parading him around, your perfect little toy solider. You’re fucking lucky he only froze up instead of having a complete freak out.”

“Don’t you tell me how to raise my son.” Frank snarled.

“Don’t you try to pretend you have any idea what it’s like to be in a war zone.”

“What is going on out here?!”

Colby froze and his back curled up at the sound of his mother’s voice.

“Mom, he...”

“I do not want to hear it.” Emily said tersely cutting Frank off. “I asked you to do one thing, one simple thing and that was to behave yourself around your brother.”

“But he...”

“No. I do not care. Frank, go tend to your fire. Colby, there is a bag of onions in the kitchen with your name on it.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Colby and Frank mumbled in unison.

Colby followed his mother into the house. Andrew was sitting quietly at the kitchen table watching as Esther carefully chopped up tomatoes. Colby was pointed towards a large bag of onions.

“Andrew, dear. Would you like some lemonade?” Emily asked.

Andrew looked up after a moment. “Yes, please.”

Emily patted him on the shoulder before pouring a tall glass out of a pitcher. “I was thinking, your father’s place is pretty much packed to the rafters, maybe you could stay here in his old room.”

Andrew stared at his lemonade. “I wouldn’t want to be an inconvenience.”

“Nonsense,” was Emily’s sharp reply. “Besides, I could use a young strong back around here to help out for a few days. Now drink your lemonade.”

Colby watched as Andrew drank his lemonade and actually smiled a bit.


Robert watched as Colby’s husband tapped away at an unusual looking laptop. That was still a weird thought for him. Colby’s husband. He and Colby had shared a room growing up. Colby had even shared his Playboys. Colby had dated some of the best-looking girls in school. Then Colby left town and never really came back. He visited when he was in college, and a few times when he was in the Army, and a couple of times after he joined the FBI, but after a while he stopped coming home all together. Stopped calling, stopped writing.

After she vanished for Thanksgiving one year their mother broke the news that Colby was with a very nice young man, a doctor even, and they even had a little girl. Frank had said some things at the time that made their mom chuck him out of the house until he learned to mind his mouth. Mary Jo already sort of knew the ‘very nice young man’ since he was the one who set up all kinds of extra schooling for Katie. Robert had just been quiet that day, not sure what to think.

The party was still in full swing. Frank and Colby were drunk along with almost every other adult, and the sun had just finished dropping away. Robert had seen the small man with salt and pepper curls slip away and not come back. Robert found him sitting on the edge of the porch, his legs dangling over the edge, tapping away on the strange looking laptop. Robert approached with a good bottled beer he’d snuck in as a peace offering.

“Hey,” Robert said by way of greeting.

Colby’s husband, Charlie wasn’t it, looked up from his computer. “Hey.”

Robert held out the beer. “Beer?”

“Thanks.” Charlie took the beer but before Robert could hand him the bottle opener Charlie popped off the cap on the edge of his laptop.

“Wow, never seen a computer you can do that on.”

Charlie grinned and patted the side of his computer. “Custom made case. I lost four in the line of duty so we got the Swatch people to do a custom job. It was my brother’s suggestion that I should be able to open a beer with it.”

“What happened to the other ones?” Robert was unsure how you could lose a computer in the line of duty being a doctor.

“Two caught bullets for me, one got blown up and one ended up at the bottom of the Port of Los Angeles.”

“What kind of doctor are you?”

Charlie laughed. “Doctor of Applied Mathematics. I consult for the FBI a lot. That’s how I met your brother and lost four computers. We tested this one by chucking it off the sixth floor of the Federal Building then taking it down to the range and emptying a couple of clips at it.”

“Sounds like fun.”

Charlie grinned and took a sip of his beer. “Actually it was incredibly satisfying.”

Robert peeked at what looked like lines of gibberish on the screen. “What’s that? Some kind of game?”

“I’m hacking into the Pentagon.”

Robert was sure he couldn’t have heard that right. “You’re what?”

“Hacking into the Pentagon. I know I should be socializing but I promised I’d have this done by tonight.”

“Promised who?” Robert was suddenly afraid that he was going to have to make some sort of citizen’s arrest of his brother-in-law.

“The Pentagon.”


“They just paid a small fortune of the taxpayers’ money for a new security system. They could have paid me half the amount and gotten a better one but instead they paid someone else to build it and now they’re paying me even more to try to break into it which I should be able to do in just a minute.” Charlie hit a couple of keys and took a sip of his beer. The computer beeped and a login page came up. Charlie typed in a login and password which the page seemed to accept. “And we’re in. Wanna nuke China?”

Robert choked on his beer. “Seriously?!”

Charlie laughed again. “Nah, it’s just a dummy test server. It’s not really connected to anything. But there are a bunch of military nerds who are going to have a very long night explaining to top brass how I got into their fancy new expensive system.”

“How did you get in?”

“I’m very smart, that’s how,” was Charlie’s blunt reply. “But there are a handful of people out there who are as smart or smarter than I am and they don’t necessarily work for the United States Government. Actually...” Charlie pulled out his phone and pressed a few buttons. “Could you take a picture for me?”

“Sure.” Robert took the phone, which was on a camera setting. Charlie flipped around the laptop so the screen was visible, held up his beer and grinned. Robert snapped the picture and handed the phone back.

Charlie poked at his phone. “Eat. That. Interlocking random irregular primes my ass,” he mumbled to himself.

“Okay, if you’re so smart, here’s a question for you.” Charlie looked up at him. “If you’re such a genius what the hell are you doing with my brother?”

Charlie laughed. “Geniuses are not easy people to live with. Your brother is probably one of the most patient men in the known universe. He’s kind, he’s forgiving, he’s easy on the eyes and at the end of the day he’s not exactly the village idiot.”

Robert thought about this for a few moments. “Well, whatever works for you I guess.”

“Oh, believe me, Colby works just about better than anyone I’ve met. I would have been an idiot not to take my chance and an even bigger idiot to ever let him go.”


Esther looked across the small bedroom at her cousin Katie. It was a name she’d heard her whole life. Katie who was always publishing ‘innovative’. ‘groundbreaking’, ‘game changing’ shit that Esther didn’t understand because despite her father’s best efforts and genetics she’d only passed calculus by the skin of her teeth.

Esther had never actually met Katie. She’d always had this image of some backwoods nerd with thick glasses, stringy hair, and no teeth. Katie actually looked like she could have a second career as a lingerie model with long blond curls and perfect curves. Esther decided she was in hell.

Esther realized she was being spoken to. “What? Sorry, zoned out there.”

Katie laughed a high sweet laugh. “Don’t worry; I do that all the time. I was just wondering if you minded if I left the light on for a bit.”

“No. I was going to work on some translations anyways.” Esther quickly grabbed a notepad and a couple of books out of her bag just for proof.

“Oh good, I always do my best work at night myself. Something about it being dark just kind of gets everything else in focus.”

“I’m just an insomniac like my dad.”

Katie picked up a notebook herself and climbed into bed. “That must have been handy, having someone to stay awake with.” Esther just shrugged. “My family never really got it. I used to hide out here all the time growing up. I mean I love my family but Grandma Emily is the only one who got as far as trig.”

“I only got as far as calculus myself.” Esther stated hoping Katie would stop trying to make conversation and just let her die in peace.

“Yeah, but you speak like 50 languages. I flat out flunked French.”

“I’m not up to fifty.”

“That’s not what your dad said, he was totally bragging on you.”

“Well he had a few and really I’m not native fluent in most, just textbook, there’s only so much immersion you can do in LA. I mean my first paper was on tracking migrant worker routes by the distribution of regionally specific Spanish vernacular. Not exactly ground breaking.”

Esther found herself hit with a pillow. “Did I mention I flunked French?”

Esther tossed the pillow back. “J’espere que tu te rends compte qui si on doit avoir un bataille de polochons je serai totalement plongee dans l’embarras?”

“What did you just say?”

Esther grinned. “That’s for me to know and you to find out.”


Charlie sat on the bed while Colby collapsed onto it. Charlie had drunken a couple of beers but hadn’t wanted to look like a lush in front of his in-laws. Colby on the other hand had gotten into some sort of weird passive aggressive drinking match with his older brother.

“I love you,” Colby mumbled.

Charlie went to pull off Colby’s shoes. “I love you too.”

“I hate Frank,” Colby drunkenly declared.

“No you don’t, he’s your brother.”

“He’s an idiot.”

Charlie started pulling at Colby’s jeans. Putting Colby to bed drunk wasn’t the easiest thing. “He’s not an idiot, he’s just under educated. Help me get off your pants.”

Colby started trying to kick off his jeans but proved to be more of a hindrance to the process than anything else. “Want to mess around?” Colby tried to offer in his bedroom voice.

“Not when there’s a chance you could pass out and crush me. That would be a very embarrassing way to go for both of us.”

“But I’m horny,” Colby suddenly whined.

Charlie finished yanking off Colby’s jeans. “If I know you, and I do, in about a minute you’re going to be unconscious.”

“Will not.”

“Oh yeah, close your eyes and take a deep breath.”

Colby closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Thirty seconds later he was snoring.


biblotbiblot on January 11th, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
Winchester, Idaho
What a Happy New Year gift. Can't wait for the rest.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 11th, 2010 05:30 am (UTC)
Re: Winchester, Idaho
You're welcome. Next part tomorrow.
Devo79devo79 on January 11th, 2010 07:25 am (UTC)
So happy to see this back.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 11th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
Happy to be back. :)
(Deleted comment)
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 11th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
Colby's not a chardonnay kind of guy.
mass_hipgnosis on January 11th, 2010 09:38 am (UTC)


ladygray99ladygray99 on January 11th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (I think)
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on January 14th, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
totally agree!!
lillyglillyg on January 11th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC)
Yay! You totally made my day! I love so much this series!

I really don't like Colby's older brother. He's so selfish... But I'm sure Esther could make him cry in no time... That would be so funny!

The last scene is really funny! And the part with the laptop too!

I just notice a few typos "hetero porn" instead of hetro, "je serai" instead of "je serais" (it's future) and "embarras" instead of "embarass", it would also be better if you write "doit" instead of "va"...

See you tomorrow :p
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 11th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
Frank isn't really there to be liked but he will show some growth. Thank you for the catches. Coming from California I had to study Spanish in school and failed that miserably.
lillyglillyg on January 11th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to see the link between Spanish and the French sentence :p
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 11th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
Most of the high schools on the east coast offer French. Out West it's spanish.
lillyglillyg on January 11th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
aaaaaaaaaah! Thanks, I'm French, so I didn't know that! Thanks for the lights! ^^ Anyway, I think Spanish should be waaaaaaay more useful. I wanted to take it in classes, but my mother forced me to take German... How can I put that? uh... EPIC FAIL! LOL!
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 11th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
I would think that Spanish would make a little more sense since it's at least in the same language group.
lillyglillyg on January 11th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm trying to learn by myself, it's easier since I speak French, and that I learned a bit of Latin in school. But German... Naaaah!
autumnwritingautumnwriting on January 11th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
Cheers for Vignettes! =)

You earned yourself some aleph bet soup. :D
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 11th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
:-) Yum. Thank you.

Part 2 is up. I hope you like it.
mikes_grrl on January 13th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)

I like how this is set up, with the family reunion being ground zero - both the best and the worst of folks come out at times like that, so I have to wonder if Emily is just as conniving as Alan sneaky like that.

I agree that Frank seems very one-dimensional right now, but on the other hand, I know both that 1) is exactly how he would come across in that situation and 2) you aren't done with him yet. I'm actually more concerned about his relationship with his son than his brother, tbh - he seems to be using the boy to live the Warrior's Life through him and that never ends well, for either party.

Emily does intrigue me; she seems almost too perfect, I'll be honest, so I'd love to see some more back ground on her come out. For instance, is there a particular reason she's so supportive of Colby? Was there a gay family member that got ostracized whom she regrets losing? She is a proud mother but on the other hand, she has plenty of family, so it seems there must be more going on here than simply her being Colby's cheerleader.

As usual I love how you show Colby and Charlie working together as a couple. Especially in this story, where they have been together 20 years, they work very much like gears in a clock - it is very clear that they know each other. Nicely done!
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 14th, 2010 04:07 am (UTC)
Emily does have a back story. unfortunetly I couldn't really get it working here. I did try but there just wasn't a place for it. I might try to work it in somewhere else in vignettes. Lets just say that she has a copy of HOWL signed 'Emily, Thanks for the banana bread - Alan.

And I do hope to flesh out Frank a bit. He got named Frank by me after Frank Burns on MASH. That was the voice in my head when I first started writing him.
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on January 14th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
::OMGOMGOMG:: it started DAYS ago??? i was getting a little compulsive last week (imagine that) so i forced myself to stop checking! i am just beyond honored to have provided a tiny little bunny to you, my friend. now i can't wait to read it, knowing sleep is far off in the future for me, and am wondering where i'm going to get my caffiene to get through the day tomorrow. i love you!!! ~ami
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 14th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
Yes. I've been waiting for you to notice. I hope you like it. It really is 100% your fault.
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on January 14th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
right now i'm ::snorting:: at miss september - omg! and you weren't saying at the beginning that colby was last home on the 4th, right? OMG STILL SO EXCITED!
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on January 14th, 2010 04:33 am (UTC)
::snort:: robert's the conversationalist... lol...
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on January 14th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
okay... ::giggles:: at esther looking like her mom... AND her being correct about the side of beef on that gargatuan grill!!! so. funny!!

yeah, can totally tell going to hate frank on colby's behalf... but what a tender moment you surprised me with about colby and andrew connecting over the smell of burning gas. wow, that that is these vets' reality, returning home after that hell.

::shakes head:: at the citizen's arrest lol... but GO robert! that's awesome him reaching out.

and what did esther say to katie in french??

just beautious my dear! i love it! and can't. wait. for MORE!!! you may want to watch out... my girlcrush could be back ;;)
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 15th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
the French is roughly 'you do realize that if this actually turns into a pillow fight I just might die.'
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 14th, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
Always glad to create excitement.
fredbassettfredbassett on April 30th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
*g* That was fun. I loved Esther and Katie finally meeting.
ladygray99ladygray99 on May 1st, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
It was hard to get the balance of the meeting right. I didn't want it to turn into a girl fight bitch fest but I didn't want them to be BFF right off the bat.