Alder Heights Losing at this endeavor
#1
Noon. That was what they'd agreed. And what he'd intended. And then a work call. Not a pressing issue, but one that dragged out all the same. Which ended with him swearing, apologizing, and excusing himself when he realized the time.

God dammit, Tiffer.

Here it was, 12:16 when he pulled up to the dorms. Furious with himself, for all the good that did his eldest. He'd certainly done worse, but after having to reschedule and...

Christ.

12:19 by the time he knocked at her door.
#2
She was less annoyed than she thought she'd be at the delay. Partly because she definitely told herself she'd only need an hour to get ready, and she definitely was still not ready.

"Who is it!" she yelled through the door, still styling her hair.
#3
Yelling, but not angry yelling. He didn't think so anyway. He did know how she sounded angry, but the door muffled a bit. Leaning close to the side without hinges, he called back, "Dad!"

Then after a moment's thought, "Alexis' dad!" Did she have a roommate?

Jesus christ you should know this, Tiffer.
#4
Damnit! She wanted to say "dad who" like it was a knock knock joke just to delay him a little further. But instead she just.

"Alexis's dad who?!"

Well she did pretty much the same thing.
#5
Tiffer's forehead pressed against the shut door. Eyes drifted shut in relief as he smiled at the stupid, familiar, teasing humor. She couldn't be that mad, then. There was possibly something to that, an indication that she'd been conditioned into low expectations, but he decided not to torment himself at the moment.

Better to spend his mental energy coming up with a response. Unfortunately what came to mind was a very dumb song about Stacy's mother. "Uh... Alexis' dad has got to go real bad?!" More or less in the song's cadence.

This earned him a confused look from another student further down the hall. Tiffer couldn't do much beyond smile and nod.
#6
She busted into a laugh at the unexpected response.

Unfortunately the door was locked, so. She had to pause and get up and let him in, and she did so with a smiling scoff and eyeroll. "Hello Alexis' Dad. You're lucky my room has its own bathroom," she pointed him to it. Some dorm rooms had to share the communal bathroom and they sucked!

Settling back in her chair, she went back to straightening her hair fuck you that rhymed too.
#7
Even without the context of the moment providing continued relief that she wasn't pissed, Lex's laughter was good to hear. Following some unknowable universal law, he'd always tried to make his daughters laugh. And just an inevitably usually ended up making them groan and cringe.

Which had become its own goal, but laughter was still better.

He grinned when the door opened, following where she'd pointed with a quick, "Thanks." He didn't really need to go, bad just being the quickest rhyme for dad that his brain provided. But squeezing out a little pee was easier than explaining that.

Sitting on the toilet, he again called through a closed door, apparently just the way they'd talk today. "Do you know where you want to go?"
#8
"GROSS!"

She was not talking through a bathroom, thanks >:[
#9
Eyes rolled, though a smile endured. Whatever, Lex, he wasn't pooping.

Emptying a quarter tank was a quick task, and he lowered the lid back down before flushing and washing his hands. Emerging back into the dorm room, he settled into a sideways lean against the door jam, folding his arms.

"So, preference?"

It was... nice. How normal it all was still. He was dating a psychic—something he might hazard to bring up, but probably not—so it was less of a shocking paradigm shift for him than might have been expected. But that Lex was at least not full on freaked out on the surface about it all...

It bode well.
#10
"Uhhh.... Malaysian?" she asked-answered, still sectioning the last of her hair. "I dunno — what's the options?"

She'd also pretty much forgotten the whole point of this meetup, if mostly because she had no idea what she had anyway. Out of mind, out of... mind?
#11
Easy shrug against the wood. He wasn't the picky one in the family, not about food anyway, so the options were pretty wide open. "Whatever you want." They could talk in the car on the way there or back, so seating at the venue wasn't even really an issue.

"Malaysian works." He thought he knew a place in Ridgefield, but couldn't fully recall. Arms unfolded to pull out his phone so directions could be confirmed.
#12
Well that definitely helped narrow it down, dad. She made a little eye roll his way and decided that was the answer.

"Have you ever eaten Malaysian food anyway?"

Had to challenge him. Kept him young.
#13
A glance up from his phone had his eyes narrowing dangerously.

"Dangerously."

"I happen to be richly cultured and cosmopolitan. Of course I've had Malaysian."

Indignantly looking back down to confirm the route and tap over to a probably outdated menu, he added, "Once. When your mother made me."
#14
Oh? OHhh???

"PFFT."

Pfft. Once. And blaming her mother!

"Now whaddyou eat all the time. Probably just doughnuts."

You know, cop stereotype. She finished up her hair finally, and started applying serums and stuff so it didn't get all fried.
#15
Almost exactly the response he was hoping for, putting a big satisfied grin on his face. Far gone were the days Tiffer tried to make his children think he was cool. Being an exasperating nuisance was a much more manageable goal

"And bricks of freeze-dried coffee, yeah."

The brief look at the menu was enough to remind him broadly of what he was getting into. God bless rice, a comforting touchstone of familiarity that spanned countless cuisines.

"About ready?"
#16
"Been ready," she lied smoothly, setting her hair just so and then turning around.

In the meantime along the drive, she remembered something.

"You didn't tell me if I was ending up on a list. For being a... you know."

Eyechanger, for now.
#17
Okay, Lex. A thin smirk and shaking head was all the reply he had for that, not wanting to push his luck when he'd been so late himself.

A moment or three were taken as they headed out of the room, down the hall, and back into the open air. Just in his head, just taking it in. The college experience. Parents were always trying to give their kids what they'd missed themselves, and he'd never experienced this. Straight into the police academy out of high school. But that wasn't really it. He was just looking at her life, wondering how it would change. It already had recently in ways he regretted.

How could he ensure it didn't get worse?

"Not for being a psychic," he replied swiftly, going right after the word in some effort to strip it of any negative power. This was the decision he'd come to. He didn't feel great about it, knowing there was some clear favoritism at play. But yeah, he favored his daughter over strangers. Colleagues. Everyone. Hopefully nothing would force his hand.

"It might be important if it turns out to be something dangerous. Do you know what you do?" On a straightaway, he spared a glance to her.
#18
Oh, okay. That was comforting to know. It was like, just. A little worrisome, you know? To know that now she was, uh. One of... them?

"No clue yet," she shook her head. "I didn't even know my eyes were changing until someone else pointed them out."
#19
He only nodded, eyes back on the road. Someone had seen and told her. A psychic, according to her earth-shaking text. He thought better of saying he'd seen it, her eyes, before. Sort of seen. He'd not wanted to believe it. This was... better than either known alternative, though.

"The psychic who broke the news to you," he reasoned aloud. "Friend of yours?" Didn't look at her.
#20
A friend? Well. She wasn't not a friend, not that she could be considered one already, and...

Oh, just answer.

"Um. Not really. Not yet?" she asked. "We just met that one time."
#21
Hmm. Not what he was hoping for. "I see. Did they...?" Did you make any friends today, honey? Christ, don't treat her like she's in kindergarten, Tiffer.

Shaking his head, he switched gears. Conversationally; the Volvo was too new to be a manual. "Do you know any others? People you trust?"
#22
Did they...? She never would find out what he meant to say. But she did shake her head no to the other question.

"I haven't met anyone like that since. But I guess that's... usual, right? It's not like they're all that common."

"We," she guessed now. But it was hard to feel special when she didn't even know what she did.
#23
The nod this time was a bit wobbly. Uncertain. "It's hard to say without any ability to ID them." Not that he thought things would be universally better if there was, what, a government registry and some way of forcing participation.

"But I've been surprised to know a few outside STF business." More or less. He'd really only known Rhett through work, and Ashley Miller through her petition for making herself a resource. Even Adeline probably would've remained unknown if not for how he's wrangled her into a working relationship.

"I can introduce you to someone if you want. If you..." Slight frown, eyes still on the road. "I don't like the idea of you not having anyone you can ask about things."
#24
Her dad introducing her to someone? She pictured some old person like him, talking to her like a student or daughter or something in between those. Eh. Ehhhhh...

"I dunno. I kind of feel like I should figure out what I even do?"

Question mark?
#25
Slow your roll, Tiffer.

"Yeah, that's fair. Do you have a plan for that?" Probably not. And that was okay. You'd need to be okay with that.
#26
"No," she answered honestly. How was she supposed to plan anything when she didn't know what she was trying to plan for! Still, that made her wonder.

"You know of any way to like... figure it out? Through your like. Job or something."

Maybe he'd experienced it???
#27
Pursed frown misdirected toward the stop sign he rolled up to. "Not really, no." He hated giving that answer. As the STF's chief, it felt a gross inadequacy whenever he had to admit they were not incredibly well informed or equipped. As a father, it was worse, not having comforting answers.

"I can ask some people, but it doesn't... seem like the experience is all that uniform." Still, there was something he could do, a safety measure he had.

Fishing around in his jacket pocket, Tiffer pulled out a device that looked a great deal like an ankle monitor. A little slimmer. It was held out in one open palm. "If it manifests, if it's something dangerous or out of control, putting this on will suppress it. You should carry it with you everywhere, just in case. Like your mace.".

He glanced her way. "You still have your mace, right?"
#28
That looked like some kind of crazy scary tech. She took it, reached for her purse, and placed it very politely in one of the inner pockets. At his question, there was a little pinprick in her brain, and though she didn't know it, her eyes changed for it.

"Yeah. In my..."

Oh. Oops. She felt around in her purse, realized she'd forgotten to transfer it over. Uh oh, Lex. Bad luck.

"In my other purse."

On the plus side... not that she knew, but Dad would have a moment of good luck in exchange some time today!
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