Michael Vaughn stood in front of the counter of their favorite Chinese place, suddenly worried and anxious. Now the scare with Syd had passed (Jack said she was at home), he just realized that his ex was breaking and he had to be there to keep her together. Did he mention that said ex and he did not end their relationship on great terms? With his job, her sudden insecurities, and of course, Syd (which considering he could never a functioning relationship with her until they took down one of the world's most formidable crim syndacites, played a much bigger role than it should have) they had agreed that space was the best thing. Lots and lots of space. As in, he hadn't seen her since.
Beef lo mein, kung-pao chicken, crab rangoon was scrawled on the piece of paper stapled to his take out bag. He smiled ruefully, some things you never forget. He knew her favorite foods, it could have been his job, hell, he knew what kind of wine Syd liked and he only saw her in a deserted warehouse and in a CIA ops center.
Driving to her place, a myriad of thoughts swirled. What would she say about him showing up like this? God, that was preemptive and stupid to promise her on the phone. But she sounded so sad and heartbroken that he couldn't help it. As he pulled up, he straightened his shirt and briefly checked over his appearance. He was still uncertain. He had ended things so badly with Alice, and Syd was a fantasy. He refused to delude himself into thinking that SD-6 and especially the Alliance would be taken down anytime soon, he could only hope that it would be while they were both still alive. He was pondering. Undoubtedly, he had fallen for Syd. But maybe it was the idea of her. Maybe he should have tried harder at his relationship with Alice. He wasn't the kind of man who through away relationships for a woman that was way out of his league.
After heaving a sigh, he rang the doorbell. Several moments later, he heard the padding of feet and the sound of locks being undone. Putting a small smile on his face, he was greeted with the relieved and brave smile of Alice.
"Oh god, Michael, you came. I didn't think you would, I'm sorry to-" She started, as he looked her over. She hadn't changed much since he had left her, same lovely body, the same face, although he thought her hair changed slightly. Taking inventory of the black smudges under her eyes and the tissue clasped lightly in her hand, he knew she had been crying.
"Shhh. It's okay. I knew your dad too, remember?" He searched her with his eyes. All thoughts of romantic relationships flew out of his mind. At this moment, she was the sister who needed comfort.
"Yeah. It's you. Of course you came." She looked down with an embarassed smile. "Oh, come in, of course, sorry. Can I take your coat?"
Stepping into the hallway, Michael looked down at her small frame. "Alice. It's fine. You're not hosting a dinner party, honey. I brought your favorite from that Chinese place."
Finally looking up at him, she smiled. "Thank you. so much. I really appreciate you coming, I know how busy you are." She said as they walked into the kitchen. Still the same apartment, but the furniture had been rearranged. The Lifetime Movie Network was on mute in the background. Michael raised his eyebrows slightly, he never understood females, but refrained from comment. Sitting down across from each other, the silence stretched to uncomfortable as she retrieved the plates.
"So..." He began, "How have you been?"
"Uh, good, yeah, good. Well aside from Dad, and well- yeah." She trailed off. For the next few minutes the only sound thyat could be heard was the clang of silverware and chewing.
"God. Michael, it's just been so hard." Alice sniffed slightly. "He's- he's so pale and he barely has the stregnth to talk."
"C'mon." He took her hand gently and led her over to the couch, both sitting down, his arms around her shoulders as she leaned against his chest. "Don't think about him like that. Think about the time we went over for that fourth of july barbeque." He soothed.
"Yeah." She smield slightly, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. "I remember. And you burned the steak." She settled into the crook of his neck, old habits coming back easily.
"I did not. It was well -one." Michael mock-protested.
"You couldn't chew it." Alice raised her eyebrows and he smiled back. Teh silence turned comfortable as he rubbed her arm soothingly. "I missed you." She said softly.
"Alice..." Michael trailed off, knowing she was trying to divert the conversation.
"Yeah, yeah, face your problems." Alice gave him a rueful glance. "I know what you're gonna say, Michael." He simply looked back at her. "And yeah, you're right, per usual." She conceded. Suddenly, her voice cracked. "I'm gonna miss him so much." She sobbed.
Wrapping his arms around her, he whispered placating nothings until her tears abated as he rubbed them away with his thumbs. The rest of the night was spent on the couch watching a rather insipid made for TV movie broken by soft cries and passing of tissues. Finally, checking his watch, he realized that he had to get home.
"Alice, Alice, darling. I have to get home." He shook her slowly awake as her eyelids fluttered.
"What? Oh yeah, Michael, I'm so sorry to have kept you so long." She got up and led him to the doorway, "but you really helped. Thank you so so so much. This means alot to me."
"Losing a father is never easy." He hugged her softly before opening the door. "Call me if you need anything. And if I don't answer, I'm probably on business, but if anything about your dad, please call."
She stood in the doorway, looking at his retreating form with an odd look in her eyes. "You haven't changed, Michael." He looked back at her for a moment before wishing her a good night and going back in his car.