DISCLAIMER: See Part 1, the song is "Honestly OK" by Dido and is not mine
(yes, there finally is a song)
NOTES: See Part 1, as part of a deal I made, I'm posting two parts in one
day, so enjoy. :) Comments are always appreciated, btw. ::grins::
SUMMARY: KD and Toby deal with possibilities, Leo finds that he has to start
taking steps to stay happy and keep the women he loves happy at the same time.

"Dad, what are you doing here?" Mallory asked as she stepped forward and
put her key in the door.
"Waiting for you. We need to talk." He replied, trying to contain himself.
"We already did. I told you what I wanted, and you agreed." She said
softly. Leo paused and then shook his head.
"I agreed to let you make your own decisions about what you wanted to
with your life, but I didn't agree to hearing from Sam that you'd gotten
drunk or to hear that you were just going to pack up and leave for New
Hampshire." He corrected her. "Why are you doing this, Mal? Sam loves you and
I know you love him too." He exclaimed as he followed her into the apartment
and closed the door. "You love your job and the kids. What could make you
just decide to give it all up and move somewhere else?"
"I'm a grown adult, Dad. I can make these decisions, and I should be able
to without everyone getting on my case. I made the decision and there's
nothing really to say about it." She replied as she put her jacket away. Leo
paused as he saw the bottle on her table.
"Mal, what's this?" He asked as he picked up the half-empty bottle of
Jack Daniels. Mallory snatched it from him and screwed on the cap.
"It's none of your business, Dad. Don't you have a girlfriend to get back
to? Or maybe back to the office?" She said harshly as she moved to put the
bottle back into the kitchen.
"Mal, this isn't like you. Six years ago, you were there to help me
conquer this sort of thing and now it's conquering you." Leo said as he moved
into the kitchen. "Talk to me. You don't have to do this."
"It's not about what I have to do. It's about what I need to do. What I
want to do. I need to find my own life. I need to find one away from you and
mom and Sam." Mal exclaimed suddenly, her eyes wide and brimming with tears.
She didn't want to deal with this right now. Leo sighed and moved forward to
take her into a hug, but she pulled away.
"Mal, don't pull away from us. We're trying to help you before you go
find yourself in a down spiral you can't get out of. Trust me, I've been
there." Leo said softly but sternly.
"This is different." Mallory insisted. "I know that you love me and I
know drinking is not the answer. But I also know that I can't stay here. I
have to find my own world and I can't do that here."
"Mal, please don't do this."
"I'll still call you, dad. We will keep in touch and all that, but I
can't do this. Maybe I'll come back. I don't know. I'm just so confused right
now, so frustrated, that for me to stay here would be to ask for a nervous
breakdown. I have to get away from all this, Dad. Why can't anyone just
understand that?" Mallory snapped. "I'm a grown adult, I can make my own
decisions and this is the decision I've made. Accept it." She added sharply.
Leo stood in silence as her words sank in. He realized just how much the
words hurt him, and he suddenly knew why Sam had been so angry earlier that
afternoon. She'd said the same things to him.
"Accept it?" He repeated softly. "Mal -" He started.
"Dad, accept it." Mal repeated. "Now please leave." She pleaded. Leo
stood there in silence again, aghast by her request.
"You're scaring me, Mal. Have things really changed this much?" He asked
softly. "Are you really this affected?"
"Don't flatter yourself, dad. It's not just about you." Mallory said
"If you ever need me, for anything..." Leo trailed off.
"I will call you." She whispered. Leo nodded, still in shock.
"Okay. I guess there's nothing else I can do." He admitted. "If this is
what you want, if this is your final decision, I think the only thing I can
do is be happy for you while at the same time being in silent protest."
"Thank you, dad. That's all I ask." She whispered. Leo nodded and kissed
her on her cheek. She closed her eyes and listened to the sound of his
footsteps walk away. She heard the door open and close again and then finally
allowed herself to let out a long-held breath. She moved out into her living
room and turned on the stereo, eager for something to disrupt her thoughts.

I just want to feel safe in my own skin
I just want to be happy again
I just want to feel deep in my own world

Mallory collapsed on the couch and closed her eyes. So many things were
going wrong and she knew it was all her fault. She'd hurt Sam, hurt KD and
now she'd hurt her father. She kept insisting that the decision she'd made
was the one she wanted, but she knew deep inside she wasn't the least bit
sure. She didn't know what she wanted. She didn't even know if she wanted to
go back to New Hampshire. She just knew that it was all falling apart. And
she knew it was her fault. With that thought, she went back into the kitchen
and pulled back out the bottle of Jack Daniels.

But I'm so lonely I don't even want
To be with myself anymore

Moving back into the living room, Mal sat on the couch and listened to
the words streaming out of the speakers. She took a swig out of the bottle
and closed her eyes. She'd told Sam that she wasn't happy with him. She'd
told KD that she was wrong to call Leo 'dad' and made the stupid mistake of
mentioning KD's true father to her. Now she'd basically told her father to
butt out of her life. What was the cause of all of it? She wasn't even sure.
She'd been dealing with her parents' on-again-off-again relationship for more
than a year and a half, and she was to terms with it. Wasn't she?

On a different day
If I was safe in my own skin
Then I wouldn't feel so lost
And so frightened

The liquid burned her throat a little as she swished it down, her eyes
still tightly closed. The burning was almost refreshing, a reminder that she
was still alive. She knew it wasn't the right thing to be doing. She knew
that drinking wasn't going to solver her problems. Her stint in the jail
tonight was just burning proof of that. But every moment she breathed, she
felt like she was losing herself and everyone around her. A voice inside her
head told her that she was pushing everyone away. She silenced the voice with
another sip.

But this is today and
I'm lost in my own skin
And I'm so lonely I don't even want
To be with myself anymore

And there was Sam. She knew she had put him through so much. At the
beginning of their relationship, she pushed him around and baited him,
confusing him with each step. But as time went on, she could feel him
changing her, teaching her things she'd never thought about before. She felt
like a better person with him, mainly because he treated her like one. He
taught her that it was not always the best thing to treat people with
hostility and domineering every time she met someone new. He taught her that
she didn't have to prove herself to anyone, and that she could just take it
slow and be human.
And KD. How could she just say such horrible things to the woman she
respected as an older sister? KD never liked to hear about her father and the
many things that had gone wrong with his life. She loved her father and his
memory, but Mal knew that KD struggled every single day with trying to move
on. She'd found a way by looking at Leo and calling him 'dad' but now Mallory
had interfered with that. Would things ever be the same for any of them
again? Of they would. Sam would move on. Leo would have KD and Jeri. KD would
be able to still see Leo as a father and she had Toby to hold her close.
Hell, KD had a child on the way to keep her happy. What did Mal have?
A bottle.

I just want to feel safe in my own skin
I just want to be happy again

As her clock struck seven o'clock, Mallory climbed to her feet and walked
for the bedroom, tired by the whole long day. Her mind was still racing,
searching for a solution. She didn't know if she could find one, but she knew
she had to. The way things were going, Mal could only see one conclusion and
it was on the path that she did not want to take.

TBC... .


Blessed - 11



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