Harrison and Sparrow

“Psst,”

Clenching her eyes together, she mentally willed herself to keep them closed. She could still feel the chill in the air, knew the sun hadn’t woken up yet. Moaning, she rolled over in bed.

Something pressed into her cheek, pushing her face to the side. “Psst.”

“No,” She groaned, the word pulled out and dragging.

“Sparrow.” He sang her name.

They had been up late last night, drinking despite the two of them being under age. They had been invited to a house party to celebrate the first weekend of summer, and they had gone because there had been nothing else to do.

Harrison King and Sparrow Wilde were heavily spoken about at their highschool. They were the kind of kids that were mysterious, they had the kind of money the cool kids had, but never hung out with that crowd. Usually they spent all their time together.

Brianna Ferguson had invited Harrison hoping having him there, out of school and drinking would give her the opening she had always wanted. Unfortunately for her, inviting Harrison meant she was inviting Sparrow.

She had hung off him most of the night, breathing her hot, alcohol coated breath in his face as she giggled without reason. Harrison had kept his eyes on Sparrow, as she laughed at him and the position he had gotten himself into. She had socialized as much as she could tolerate before she hid in the garage by herself and sang songs from musicals.

A few hours and cheap wine coolers later, Harrison had pried himself out of Brianna’s grasp and found her in there. They stumbled home together, singing and making the most of the night.

It felt like she had barely had the chance to fall completely to sleep before she felt the bed sink beside her, the familiar poking and Harrison’s trying to get her to wake up. “Sparrow.”

“What?”

“I can’t sleep.”

“So?”

She swatted his hand away when he pressed a finger to her face again. “So come and watch a movie withe me.”

“I don’t want to watch a movie.” She told him. “I want to sleep.”

“I will make you come waffles. Waffles with whip cream on top…” Harrison rested his open palm on her forehead and kept it there.

It was such an odd thing, feeling the weight of his hand on her forehead that she opened her eyes and turned her head to look at him. “Ugh, alright.” She held her hands straight up.

Walking over to the other side of the bed, Harrison scooped her up and carried her down the hall towards the living room. Carefully placing her down on the couch, he tossed a blanket on her before slowly trudging over to the kitchen. “Alright.” He groaned, stretching his arms over his head. “Now I have to make waffles.”

Pushing the blanket off her head, Sparrow crawled over to the other side of the L shaped couch so she could see him in the kitchen. “So, anything interesting happen with Brianna? She was all over you.”

Harrison groaned again. “I felt like a mouse stuck in one of those sticky traps. No matter how I tried to squirm feel, she just held on tighter and tighter.” I heard him pull the waffle iron out from under the counter and curse under his breath as something fell. “What do you think of Brianna?”

If she were being completely honest with herself, she hadn’t thought about Brianna Ferguson much at all. The very first time she had really thought about her was when they had been invited to this party and she had wondered whether a party thrown by Brianna was the kind she wanted to go to.

She had noticed Brianna on occasion. Brianna was the kind of girl who was always the centre of attention, by her design. She made sure all eyes were on her. It was for that very reason that Sparrow didn’t pay her much attention, she already had more than her share.

As a person, Sparrow couldn’t be sure. Vincent always told her that when she was trying to sum up someone’s character, always go with she should always go with her gut. If she went on her gut feeling alone, she would say Brianna was the kind of girl who could have any guy she wanted, and she wanted Harrison because she liked the number on the price tag attached to him. She knew his worth, and she wanted a guy that was worth as much or even half as much as Harrison King was.

So many of the girls at their school cozied up to her with the same intentions in mind. She was the little oddball that sung to herself while she walked down the halls, but she was also the little oddball that got Harrison to sing along with her. That meant that she was also worth something.

“As what?” She asked him.

Turning, he looked over at her. “As a person. What do you think she wants with me?”

“Besides the usual raging hormones stuff?” Sparrow wondered if she should talk poorly about someone she barely even knew. Then she reminded herself that if she didn’t Harrison may end up with that little leech attached to him. Sighing, she still found herself wondering after all this time if it was her place to have an opinion. “I don’t know Harry. Do you like her?”

Of all the people in Harrison’s life, she was the only one allowed to call him Harry. “I don’t like her, but she seems okay.” He poured the batter into the waffle iron and her stomach growled as she heard it sizzling. “She’s pretty, not stupid and she is ambitious.”

Ambitious was right, Sparrow thought. In the couple of years they had known Brianna Ferguson she had only dated the kind of guys that could afford to keep her living lavishly. To be fair, there were a lot of wealthy students at their school, but she always seemed to go right up to the top shelf.

Shaking his head, he looked at Sparrow. “You don’t like her.”

“Why does that matter?” She wondered.

Harrison just looked at her. “At this point in my life, there is no one who’s opinion matters more to me than yours. You are my best friend Sparrow, I would never want to do anything to upset you.”

His words hit her like a slap to the face. “Harrison, you could date whoever you wanted. That would never upset me. I just want you to be happy.”

“I’m happy when I am with you. Harrison and Sparrow. Do we really need anything else?” He grinned at her. It was the grin he gave her when he was trying to turn her into complete mush and get her to admit to him how important he was to her.

“That’s more than enough for me.” She cleared her throat, trying to rid it of the lump growing there. Harrison and Vincent King were her family, and it scared her to know they weren’t really hers. Any day now they could wake up and decide they had put in enough time, given enough effort. Her own family hadn’t cared enough to really hold onto her, why would anyone else?

It had been seven years since Vincent had taken her from her townhouse she had lived in with her mother. That didn’t mean anything was set in stone. Her father had been in her life just as long before he decided it was a life he never wanted. The same could happen here, she reminded herself.

Harrison sunk down beside her, rubbing her thigh before pressing a wet kiss to her cheek. “Your pancakes, my lady. And since I woke you up, you can pick the movie.”

Sparrow smiled. “You spoil me.”

 

 

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A Good Man’s Woman

Sparrow leaned onto the counter and ran her mascara brush through her eyelashes. She had woken up exhausted, her stomach aching from all the fancy finger sandwiches she had eaten at the fundraiser. She could also say it was because of the dozens of sandwiches she had emptied into her purse as Vincent scrambled her out the door last night.

She had eaten those purse sandwiches in bed last night while watching reality television until she fell asleep. The crumbs on her sheets this morning and her aching belly were the only sign those sandwiches had even been there.

Groaning, she took another sip of her water as she let out a long breath. She barely turned to look when she heard the door she had left slightly ajar open. “I’m in here,” She called. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

Running her fingers through her hair, she walked out of the bathroom and dropped to her hands and knees beside the bed, searched for her daytime purse which would be crumb free. Seeing the brown leather strap, she reached for it and began to tug it out from underneath. “What was going on with you last night? I thought we were going to stick around for you to give your speech, then suddenly you were pushing me towards the door.”

Standing up, she froze. Her eyes widened as she looked at the open door, her purse sitting on the floor as she held onto her strap. “Harrison.”

Her heart leapt into her chest as she stared at the familiar stranger.

Standing there dressed in a plain white t-shirt, jeans and sneakers he walked into her room and looked around. He seemed to look everywhere but directly at her. “So you’re the mistress.” He picked up one of her notebooks and flipped through the pages before looking at her. “Or the woman my mother thinks is my father’s mistress.”

Sparrow couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “Of course. Meredith heard your father was actually enjoying himself, god forbid, and sent you to investigate.” The feelings of betrayal and anger resurfaced and she finally caught her breath. Shoving her purse onto her shoulder, she pushed past him to grab her wallet from the table.

“What are you doing here, Sparrow?” He asked her. “After almost ten years you just show up back here, going to functions with my father like no time has passed?”

Pursing her lips, she found herself mentally hoping Vincent would show up right then so she could leave without having to answer all the questions Harrison was going to ask her. “I don’t have to explain myself to you.” She told him.

Her door swung open again and she sighed, happy for the distraction. It wasn’t who she was expecting, she realized as her eyes met with the icy blue eyes of a huffing blonde standing in her hotel room doorway. “I knew it!” She pointed at Sparrow before taking a hostile step forward.

Groaning audible, Sparrow held her hand up to the thin, beautiful woman. “Wait! If you are thinking about coming over here and hitting me, I suggest you take another look at me and ask yourself if I look like the kind of person who is going to let you hit me and do nothing about it.”

The woman stood there, her chest heaving before looking at Harrison. She pointed her accusing, perfectly polished fingers at him. “I knew it! I just knew you had someone else on the side.”

Sparrow laughed. “No.”

Harrison looked at Sparrow before he looked at the woman standing in the doorway. “Did you follow me here, Rachel?”

Brow raised, Sparrow looked at Harrison. “That is what you are asking the person I am assuming is your girlfriend? You’re asking her if she followed you here while she is accusing you of having an affair?” She shook her head in disbelief.

Relief flooded through her as she looked past Rachel and saw a puzzled Vincent. “What in the world is going on here?” He looked at Harrison and then over at Sparrow. “What are you doing here, Harrison?”

“It’s strange you didn’t mention Sparrow being with you last night at the benefit last night.” Harrison said.

Nodding as she finally understood, she walked past Harrison and Rachel. “Ah. That was why you were practically dragging me out of the fundraiser. Alright,” Clapping her hands together, she pressed a kiss to Vincent’s cheek. “Should we get going? I don’t really want to be in… whatever this is.” Forcing a smile, she looked back at them. “There isn’t really anything valuable in this room, feel free to have at it.”

Vincent nodded at Harrison. “Feel free to call me later.” He looked at Rachel. “Rachel.”

Sparrow grabbed onto his hand and pulled him down the hallway after her, praying Harrison and Rachel wouldn’t follow.

 

A Good Man

It was beginning to get hot under the dozens of blankets they had used to transform the whole living room into a deluxe blanket fort, but neither Harrison or Sparrow would ever admit it.

“We should ride our bikes down by the water today. Can you swim?” Harrison asked her.

Sparrow nodded. “Yes. I can swim. But I don’t have a bike.”

Sitting up and pushing up part of the roof with his hands, Harrison lifted his shoulders. “My dad can get you a bike.”

Wrinkling her nose, she slowly shook her head. “No, I don’t need a bike. Don’t you want to go for a walk instead?”

Harrison had noticed in the couple of weeks Sparrow had been here, that she refused to accept anything they offered her that wasn’t food, lodgings or transportation. He couldn’t understand why. His father had enough money to buy them anything they could ever want, and Sparrow had nothing. He had always thought that if you offered someone who had nothing things like bikes and games, they would accept them without question.

She never said no, she always just suggested something else.

“Or, you could just use my other bike. It’s not as new, and it is a little too small for me, but you are a little smaller. So it should be perfect for you. You can borrow it.” He didn’t have an old bike, he only had a bike, but it was a year old and he had ridden it long enough for it to look worn. He would just ask his dad for a new bike and let her ride his old one. She couldn’t say no to just borrowing a bike.

Thinking about it for a moment, she finally gave in. “That would be okay, I guess.”

The front door swung open and both their brows furrowed as they waited. “Harrison! Harrison, my love. Where are you? Mommy is here!”

Scurrying out from under the blankets, Sparrow hesitantly followed.

“Hello mother, what are you doing here?”

Wrapping her arms around him, several gold bangles jingled together as she lifted him on the floor and held onto him. Sparrow watched, slightly hiding behind the couch as she watched them. “Go on now, go pack your things.” She placed him back on the ground and gave his butt a light smack.

Harrison looked over at the fort. “Mom, I can’t leave. I have to stay and take care of Sparrow.”

Rolling her eyes dramatically, Meredith put her hands on her hips and looked down at him. “Harrison, darling. I can get you a bird at home. Any kind of bird you want. Something nicer than a sparrow. Like a parquet or something extravagant like that.” Waving her hand in front of her, she attempted to shoo him up the stairs. “Now, go on love.”

Vincent looked down the stairs at Sparrow crouched behind the couch and groaned and the familiar, shrill voice of his wife. Moving to stand behind the couch, he gave Sparrow’s shoulder a comforting squeeze before moving to stand in front of her. “Meredith… honey… what are you doing here?”

Her eyes narrowed at him. “Well, what did you expect me to do? We had agreed Harrison would come and stay with you for one week. One week. That was over two weeks ago. Every time I call, you tell me ‘maybe next week’ and I am tired of waiting. Harrison is going to come home with me, and he is going to come home today.”

Harrison looked up at Meredith. “I don’t want to come home today.”

Forcing a smile, she got down to her knees and grabbed onto his arms. “Harrison, why would you want to stay here?” Rubbing at his arms, she let out a long breath. “No, you will come home with me today. Or we could go to Paris, would you like to come with me to Paris?”

He shook his head. “No. I already told you, I have to stay here and take care of Sparrow. I promised her I would.”

Moaning, she stood up. “Well, just go on and get your Sparrow and we will take it with us.”

Harrison turned towards Vincent and Sparrow. “Do you want to come with us back to England?”

Meredith raised her brows as Harrison turned to Vincent, and she jumped when Sparrow poked her head out from behind him. “Um, no thank you. I think I would rather stay here with Vincent.”

“What is this, now?” Meredith gestured to the little girl. “It’s been two weeks and you’ve adopted a little girl?”

“Vincent didn’t adopt me, he is just watching me until my mom gets back.” Sparrow said.

Holding out her hand, Meredith shushed her. “This is ridiculous. Is this your plan to keep Harrison here with you? Get him some play-thing?”

“Jesus, Meredith!” Walking over, Vincent grabbed her by the arm and pulled her down the hall.

Harrison and Sparrow listened as her bedroom door was closed and hushed yelling began. Walking over to her, Harrison grimaced. “That is my mom.” He told her.

Nodding, she didn’t know what to say.

“I am not going to leave you, you know.” He said finally.

“You can, if you want to.” She told him. “You don’t have to stay here if you want to go with your mom.”

Thinking about it for a moment, he shook his head. “No. I promised my dad I was going to try to be a good man. And I promised you I was going to take care of you. A good man keeps his word.”

 

A Lifetime Ago

Letting out the breath she had been holding in the whole time she had walked down the hall, she reached out a steady hand and knocked on the fancy hotel room door. Reaching down, she smoothed the front of her white and navy striped skirt and pushed a lock of hair back behind her ear.

The door swung open and Vincent smiled at her. “Sparrow!” Pulling her into his arms, he held onto her as he closed the door behind her. Turning away, Vincent grabbed his wallet off the table by the bed and shoved it into his pocket. “What did you have in mind for today?” He asked her.

Grinning, she clasped her hands against her chest. “Okay, so I have been looking at all the things we could do in New York. I haven’t been here, well not really. Mostly just passing through. Anyway,” She waved her hands in front of her as she realized she was beginning to get off track. Excitement had her rambling, she had never thought after all this time, she would have Vincent back in her life. “I thought we could sight see for a little while, I have always been interested in Central Park. It’s completely man-made. Isn’t that insane? I also heard they kept Einstein’s eyes in a safe deposit box in New York? Is that true? You’d know if that were true, wouldn’t you?”

Reaching out, he rested his hands on her shoulder and started laughing. “Whoa, Sparrow. I can barely follow. We will do absolutely anything you want to do, but I think I had better get you out into the fresh air before you collapse.”

Laughing, she nodded and followed him out.

The park was their first stop. She kicked off her shoes and ran through the grass.

“You’ll step in dog poo running around like that.” He called out to her.

Twirling bare foot in the grass, she held the thin strap of her purse to keep it from flying away. Smiling at him, she threw her hands up in the air. “So.”

“So then you’ll have poo on your feet and I’ll have to carry you over to wash them off.”

“Are you saying you don’t want to carry me to wash my feet if I get poo on them? And here I thought we were completely back in one another’s lives.” Standing still, I put my hand on my hip.

Vincent laughed. “I guess that’s true. Hey, I thought we would go shopping today and get you something to wear tonight.”

“What’s tonight?” She walked over and asked him.

“I have this fundraiser. They are usually boring, a lot of schmoozing and such. Having you there is going to make it a million times more fun, plus they have those fancy little sandwiches you like and an open bar…”

Holding up her hand to stop him, her eyes went wide. “Vinnie, you had me at fancy sandwiches.”

He groaned. “You know I detest when you call me Vinnie. Can’t you just call me dad or something? If it has to be a nickname, I would love it if you call me dad.”

Sparrow just smiled at him.

“One day… one day you are going to call me dad.” He smiled at her.

Rolling her eyes, she walked over and hooked her arm in his. “Let’s go shopping.”

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The fundraiser was worth it for the snacks alone. Walking around in her floor length black gown, she wondered if anyone noticed she was no longer wearing the expensive black heels Vincent had bought her to go along with the chic gown.

Reaching out, she grabbed a sandwich off a tray as it passed her and sought out the server carrying the flutes of champagne. When she couldn’t see them, she made her way over to the bar.

“Sparrow Wilde.” A large man in a black suit walked up to stand beside her. He held a glass of whiskey in one hand and held the other one out to her. “Vincent King’s daughter.”

It was impossible not to smile at the fact that Vincent had been telling anyone and everyone she was his daughter. Taking his hand, she nodded, pushing her thick hair back over her shoulders. “Yes, hi.”

“I’m David Walkins. I have been working alongside your father for years now. I was shocked to see Harrison absent from the past several fundraisers.”

She tried not to wince at the mention of Harrison. “He is very busy.”

“Yes. I heard he was doing projects in Dubai.”

Harrison was in Dubai? She had always just assumed he had moved to Paris or Yorkshire to be with Meredith. She had never thought up a scenario where he went off and lived his own life, free of her strings.

Interesting, she thought to herself.

Nodding, she snatched a glass of champagne off a tray as it passed. Pressing the glass to her lips, she nodded at the tall woman who had just joined them. The woman was long and thin, and she reminded Sparrow of a preying mantis. Her face was so sharply angled, her almond-shaped eyes serious. “David, introduce me.” She said, sipping champagne.

“Allison, this is Sparrow Wilde.”

“Ah, Vincent’s daughter.” She ran her eyes over Sparrow. “From Meredith as well? She looks nothing like Harrison. Meredith or Vincent either. Perhaps she is a love child?”

Sparrow’s brows shot up in disbelief. “You do know I can hear you, right?” Shaking her head in disbelief, she walked away. “Wow.” She muttered as she continued to make her way to the bar.

“I see you ran into that vile wench, Allison Greer.” Vincent met her at the bar ordering himself a bourbon and her a red wine sangria. “I was going to throw a glass at her to cause a distraction for you to escape.”

Smiling at the bartender as she took the glass, she looked at Vincent with mock shock on her face. “That seems a little drastic.”

Nodding, he took his glass and sipped it. “Yeah, that was what I concluded. Then I figured you could definitely handle yourself.”

“Definitely.”

“Do you want to get out of here, love?”

Pursing her lips, she tilted her head in thought for a moment. “I heard you had to give some kind of speech.”

Sighing, he nodded.

“I think I can handle myself until then.” Raising her glass to him, she strutted away from the bar.

“Sparrow, love?”

Stopping, she turned back.

“Where are your shoes?”

Smiling, she walked away.

Vincent watched her walk into the crowd, pick someone at random and start talking to them. He laughed when she interrupted the conversation to leap out and grab some snacks off a passing tray.

“What has you so happy?”

Every muscle in his body tensed as he turned slowly. Clad in a custom black suit, with his dirty blonde hair slightly longer on the top pushed back from his face, he stood casually leaning against the bar with on hand in his pocket. “Bourbon please.”

“Harrison.” Vincent swallowed. “It’s been… what three years since you’ve come to any of my fundraisers. It’s been over six months since I’ve even seen you in person. Now here you are.” Looking behind him, he adjusted his tie nervously. “Your mother is not here, is she?”

Taking his drink from the bar, he laughed before raising the glass to his lips. “No. She is still in Paris. Opening an art gallery there. I don’t think she ever plans to leave.”

“Good. Let the French have her.” There was a time when Vincent would try to hide his distaste for Meredith from Harrison. There was also a time when Meredith would try to hide her countless affairs from Vincent and Harrison. Such things were becoming so normal in their family, it was hard to have a conversation without mentioning it.

“She sent me here because she heard through the grape-vine that you were with a woman.”

His eyes went wide as he sipped at his glass. “It’s funny how someone can carry out countless affairs and still get jealous when she thinks I am doing the same thing.”

“We both know you’re not the kind, which is why it always confused me you hadn’t divorced mom in all these years. If you had taken a lover of your own, I would be completely floored. Mr. Loyal. Mr. Good Man. It would be so unlike you.”

In all the years Vincent had been married to Meredith, he had never been unfaithful. He had made a promise, and had always been told a good man keeps his word.

“So tell me, who is this woman that’s got mom’s feather’s all rustled?”

It was an odd thing to saw, and Vincent could merely smile at his son over the rim of his glass as he polished off the last of his drink and slid his glass back to the bartender. “I’ve no idea what you mean.”

 

They Built Her A Birdhouse

Standing outside the building so tall, she couldn’t tilt her head back far enough to see the top, her stomach lurched.

“It may seem ominous from out here, but I promise you, nothing bad will happen to you here.” Vincent reached out and took her small hand in his own.

Sparrow looked at his hand. The way her small hand almost disappeared in it made her raise a brow as she tried to remember the last time someone with such a large hand held onto hers.

A lot had been lost to her in such a small amount of time. She had lost her father, not that she had ever truly felt as though she had him, she had lost her mother, and her home, and she imagined living on the other side of the city meant she was also losing her school and whatever routine she had left in her life.

Taking in a deep breath, she let him lead her inside.

The heavy glass doors slid open when Vincent held a little black circle on his key chain up to in. Inside, a smiling man nodded at them. “Hello Mr. King.”

“Hello Joseph, how are things?”

“Well sir, very well.” He responded. His gaze dropped and he looked down at the Sparrow. “And who is this beauty?”

Extending her hand, she shook his and gave him the best smile she could muster under the circumstances. “Sparrow Wilde, sir.”

Smiling down at her, he looked at Vincent. “How polite.”

Vincent and Joseph spoke to one another for a few moments before Vincent ushered her away and into a large elevator that’s walls were made up of mirrors. She tried not to stare at the reflection of herself, afraid that if she saw herself standing there next to this man she barely knew holding a small suitcase will all she owned inside, she would break down and cry.

The elevator moved quickly, and before she knew it they were on the floor labeled PH.

The elevators opened up into a small siting area. There were leather chairs on both sides and then three steps leading down into the apartment. There was no door, she noted. The elevator door were the front doors to this man’s apartment, she realized.

“Your bedroom is down the hall to the right there. There is a full bath there, it will be just yours and Harrison and I will use the bathroom upstairs.” Taking her small suitcase from her hands, he walked down the hall.

Sparrow didn’t follow him, she just stood at the top of the steps looking around.

A little boy with dirty blonde hair and steel-blue eyes popped out from behind the sofa in the centre of the room. He stared right at her for several moments before disappearing behind the couch again. She didn’t move, just waiting.

“Who are you?” The voice came from behind the couch.

Leaning slightly forward as she tried to see over the couch from where she stood, she pursed her lips for a moment. “Um, my name is Sparrow.”

Sparrow?” There was a thud from behind the couch before he snarled. “What kind of name is Sparrow?”

“When my mother was very young, her parents put her away for a little while. She would spend hours and hours sitting in the window of her room. A sparrow made its nest on the ledge of her window, and it would often sit there and stare at her through the glass. Sometimes it would sit there all day. My mother told me that it could feel the sadness in her heart and didn’t want to hurt her feelings by flying away when it knew she couldn’t. After that she had a bit of an obsession with sparrows so when I was born Sparrow seemed like the perfect name to her.”

He popped up again and looked at her. “You talk a lot.”

Pursing her lips, she lifted her shoulders. “Not usually.”

Tilting his head slightly, he looked at her. “Just now?”

“I guess.” Vincent came down the hall then and smiled at her. “I see you have met my son Harrison. Harrison, this is Sparrow. She is going to be staying with us for a while. Be sure to show her the ropes.” Resting his hands on her shoulder, he pointed to the open kitchen area off the living room to her left. “Help yourself to absolutely anything you like, I am just going to head up to my office and make a call. I will be back in a few minute.”

She watched him walk up the open stairs that went up over the kitchen cupboards. Standing there, she looked at Harrison until he walked over and stood and the bottom of the stairs looking up at her. “How come you’re staying with us?”

“My father left because he didn’t want to be a part of our family anymore, and my mother left because she didn’t want to be her anymore.” She took a step away from him.

Her words shocked him. “Both of your parents just left?”

Sparrow nodded.

Reaching out, Harrison wrapped his small hand around her own and led her down the steps and towards the kitchen. Walking around the bar height island that separated the kitchen from the living room, he helped her up onto a stool before going to the fridge and pulling out a carton of chocolate milk. Grabbing two glasses from under the island, he sat down next to them and filled the glasses. “You know,” He said finally. “We could be your family… if you want.”

She didn’t say anything. Lifting her glass she chugged her chocolate milk to ease the tightness that was growing inside her throat.

Harrison reached over and pushed her hair back behind her ear. “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you. My dad is a good man, and he is teaching me how to be a good man.” Smiling, he refilled their glasses and sat back down next to her.

A comfortable silence filled the space between them as she looked around the massive apartment she still hadn’t seen completely. She could easily say this apartment was larger than the townhouse she lived in with her parents.

We’ll take care of you. The words repeated in her head over and over again, slowing her heart and calming the butterflies in her stomach.

A Sparrow In A Snare

Vincent had been following in his father’s footsteps. He had been doing his best to ensure he was always stepping towards being a better man. As such, he had taken on a handful of pro-bono cases.

Since he had moved to Toronto to start an architecture company, he had opened himself up for legal advice no longer being able to practice law on this side of the Atlantic. Although architecture had always intrigued him, it lacked the interaction he craved. He still wanted to be able to reach out and change someone’s life for the better.

Free of charge, he had agreed to see a woman about giving up her parental rights to the city in order to get treatment. The specifics of the case hadn’t been thoroughly read. He had been up trying to convince Harrison that Toronto would be better for him than Yorkshire.

Meredith had refused to make the move, but had agreed to have Harrison accompany him for a month. He was hoping in the end, it would be Harrison that told Meredith he wanted to stay.

Walking up to the townhouse in the community housing, he opened the screen door and knocked. There was some coughing inside before the door swung open.

The woman who opened the door was pretty but looked like she had lived the kind of life that had completely worn her down. She had purple circles under both her eyes, her cheeks were hollowed, and she was overly thin. Pushing her long chestnut hair back over her shoulders, she gave him an empty smile. “Hello.”

“Hi, I am Vincent King. I spoke to you on the phone about-”

“The lawyer.” She interrupted.

Nodding, he waited for her to open the door to him. He stepped inside the dimly lit townhouse and waited for him to gesture him over to the leather sofa. He sat down, waiting for her to sit down next to him before he opened his briefcase and pulled out her file. “Alright Mrs. Wilde. I was informed that you will be signing yourself into an institute to get some help for…” He paused, looking for her condition.

“Bi-polar.” She told him. “It has been getting a lot worse since my husband left about two weeks ago. I’ve been down more than up…” She trailed off. “It’s a weird confusion. I have been living with it for so long, holding it at bay, building walls so that the world would see me as normal. All the while, every smile made a crack in it. Weakening it. Then Michael left and… everything came crashing down.”

He was sympathetic, but that didn’t change his stance on anything. “You do realize if you sign your daughter over to the city, there is a chance you may not be declared fit enough to get her back later on.” He had already told himself he was going to try to sway her against her decision. Once her daughter ended up in foster care, she could be lost, unable to be given back to her mother due to her mental illness. “Aside from that, should her father return, he could easily obtain custody and keep you from seeing her in the future.” He could never imagine giving Harrison up, not even to his own mother.

Mrs. Wilde shook her head. “She’s not safe here with me.”

“Isn’t there a friend or family member you could leave her with?”

“No. Just Michael, and I have no idea where he is.” She clasped her hands together in her lap.

A small girl walked in the back door and through the kitchen. She paused before walking into the living room, looking from her mother to Vincent and back before placing her school bag on the floor and smiling at him. “Hi. You must be the lawyer.”

He was shocked that she knew who he was. Standing, he walked over and gave the little girl his hand. She must have been the same age as Harrison, yet she seemed so much smaller, so much more frail. “My name is Vincent King. You must be Sparrow.”

Smiling up at him, she nodded. Reaching into her back pack, she walked over to her mom and handed her a sandwich before walking up the stairs and towards what he could only assume was her bedroom.

His heart ached.

Turning back to Mrs. Wilde, he sat down. “I just can’t imagine seeing her being signed over to the city, having her end up in a group or a foster home.” Before he knew what he was saying, he was giving her his card. “Look, I am a good, honest man. I have a son of my own around her age. I could look after her for you while you are away, and then when you get out, you can come and get her. No questions asked.” Meredith was going to kill him. “Please think about it. It would be so much better for her than signing her away.”

As he climbed back in the car, he was unable to turn the key in the engine. He wanted nothing more than for his phone to ring and for Mrs. Wilde to tell him she had thought about it and he was right and he could take her Sparrow for her, keep her safe.

That poor girl. Abandoned by her father, being left by her mother so soon after. It was so much to lose in such a small amount of time and he wanted to be there, to comfort her when she felt the world falling out from under her.

Harrison King

His very first breath caused her heart to flutter in a way she never thought was possible. His swollen eyes had opened and closed so slowly, rolling slightly as they struggled to take everything in. His ten little fingers wrapped around her own and she knew she had finally gotten everything she wanted.

Harrison Aldrich King.

Her son.

Meredith’s son would be exactly as she was. He would want for nothing. Everything and anything his little heart desired would be his no sooner than he would ask for it. She would make sure of it, just as her late father had done for her.

On the most special day in her entire life, lying in the hospital giving birth, she would have thought her mother would have made an appearance. Diana Remington had told her to her face she wanted nothing more to do with her daughter. The two of them had never really gotten along, and that was a fate she refused for her and her son.

They would be thick as thieves, the two of them. Meredith and Harrison against the world. She would do everything in her power to be sure of it.

Vincent had very little say in the way she raised her son. “Meredith, dear. You spoil him. Telling the boy ‘no’ every now and again would be good for him. It will help him build character. Do you think my father went around giving me everything I asked for?”

As strong and powerful as she wanted her dear Harrison to be, she would never deny him anything. “He will develop his character when the time comes.”

Sighing, Vincent shook his head. “Honestly Meredith, the boy is terrorizing this house. He would strive from some discipline.”

Ignoring her husband, she sought out her son.

Vincent had his own agenda in mind. He may have Meredith believing she pulled all the strings in their life, it was easier that way, but he would not have his son becoming the spoiled beast she had turned out to be.

Walking quickly down the hall, he found his son and quickly pulled him into a room. With a finger to his lips, he gestured for his son to be quiet while they took the back stairs down to the garage and hopped in his car for a drive.

Harrison was still young, only seven, but he felt it was due time to show him how enriched his life really was.

Driving out to the middle of the slums, he slowed his Aston Martin and pointed out the window to his boy. Harrison had lived a sheltered life. He had gone from his Yorkshire mansion to his Ivy League private school, to his preppy play dates with Blue Blood friends of the family. His eyes were so closed, and it bothered Vincent to no end.

“Why is everyone dirty?” Harrison asked him.

“Because not everyone who lives in this neighbourhood has a home, so they scarcely get an opportunity to bathe.” He stated

“Not everyone has a home? Why not?” His ignorance was innocent, but of their own design.

“Your mother has always had the luxury of money. She comes from a long line of people who at one time were considered next to nobility. Their treasures were so plentiful that they got passed down the line, and there is still enough money to continue passing it on for some time without them ever having to worry. My family has always worked hard. My father’s father was the son of a farmer. They had very little money and had to work very hard all hours of the day to afford to keep their house.”

“Grandpa King couldn’t afford to keep his house?”

Vincent nodded. “It was a struggle. Every day they got up before the sun and worked in the fields until the sun had already gone to bed. My father took a second job hunting at night and selling the meats so he could afford to go away to school and become a lawyer. He started his own practice and soon, that practice was worth millions of dollars. No matter how much money my father made, he never spoiled me. Do you know why?”

Harrison lifted his shoulders.

“Because although money can build you anything you want, it can’t build your soul. Hard work teaches you to appreciate things, appreciation teaches you compassion and empathy. These are the things that make a good man, whether he is rich or poor.”

Looking out the window again, Harrison frowned. “I want to be a good man, dad.”

Nodding, Vincent started the car and began driving home. “There is nothing I want more in this world, than for you to be a good man.”