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.”

 

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