6.31: Interlude – Try

Zayne couldn’t help but smile as the smell of the sizzling garlic wafted up from the stove beside him.

It was such a simple thing to find joy in — the smell of garlic. Yet he always did. The smell of garlic, the sound of clanging pots, the feeling of warmth radiating from the stove… To Zayne, there was nothing like it. No matter how many years passed, he never tired of being in the kitchen. And he doubted he ever would.

Zayne was so caught up in preparing dinner for his family that he nearly jumped at the sound of the phone on the counter ringing. Probably a telemarketer… Few people ever called the Rosebrooks’ landline, except those looking to sell them something or scam them out of money.

He sighed softly as he stepped away from the stove to glance at the caller ID. The only landline phone in the entire house happened to be the one sitting on the kitchen counter, so the responsibility of screening the call automatically fell on him.

His brow furrowed in confusion as he realized that the name on the screen was one he recognized — the drug store where his daughter worked. Must be Harper… Wonder what’s up. The whole situation made Zayne feel uneasy before he even answered. Why would she be calling their home number? And why was she using her work’s phone instead of her cell?

Zayne pressed the button for speaker phone. “Hello?” He said uncertainly as he got back to work by the stove.

“Hi, Mr. Rosebrook.” To his surprise, it was not Harper’s voice who addressed him, but another familiar voice he had not heard in quite some time.

“Nyla?” Zayne asked as he continued chopping up some vegetables to add to the pan. “What’s up?”

“Sorry to bother you… My boss wanted me to call.” Nyla explained apologetically. “One of our coworkers is really sick, so he’s going home early. We were wondering if Harper could come in for a couple hours to cover the rest of the shift?” She paused for a moment before continuing. “I know she doesn’t usually work Saturdays, but we’re really in a bind right now…”

Zayne nearly dropped his knife as the meaning behind her words finally hit him. “What?” He asked softly, drawing closer to the phone as he spoke. “But… Harper…” She’s already at work today… isn’t she?!

“Is she home?” The girl’s voice asked hopefully. “She didn’t answer her cell… And normally I would’ve just left it. But we’re like, super desperate.” Nyla continued almost guiltily.

His throat felt so dry, it was almost a struggle to reply. “She’s… She’s not home. Sorry.” He said at last. “You said… She doesn’t work on Saturdays? Never?”

“Yeah, that’s why I feel so bad about calling.” She replied. “If you hear from Harper before like, six, can you ask her to call the store? And we’ll try to find someone else for now.”

“Sure, Nyla.” Zayne replied weakly. “Thanks.”

“Bye!”

—————————————-

“Zayne… Sit down.”

He ignored his wife’s request, continuing to pace back and forth across the living room. “How the hell could she do this?” Zayne asked for what felt like the thousandth time. “What’s gotten into her lately?!”

“I know, honey. Believe me.” Hope replied gently. “This is… bad.” She admitted. “And we’ve gotta do something about it. But you’re starting to stress me out even more… Please sit down?” She asked again.

With a bit of reluctance, Zayne finally took a seat beside his wife. Harper would be home from her “shift” any minute, and he was already struggling to figure out what he was going to say. Where could he even begin?

“We are driving her to work from now on.” Zayne fought to keep his voice steady as he spoke. “Dropping her off at the front door. Hell, walking her in if we have to!”

Beside him, Hope nodded slowly in agreement. But before she could reply, a soft, gravelly voice reached their ears. “No, you’re not.”

“Tante Joce?” Zayne looked up toward the living room door in surprise. “How long were you standing there?”

The old woman shrugged as she made her way toward the couch. “Long enough.” Jocelyne replied. “And the both of you really need to think this through before you do something you’ll both regret.”

Zayne sighed. This was the same sort of lecture his aunt always loved to give him. “What else are we supposed to do?” He asked. “Did you hear what she’s doing this time?”

She nodded sadly. “Sneaking off to go see that boy…” Jocelyne paused for a moment. “But honestly? None of us should be surprised this happened.”

“I know I’m not.” Hope confessed, turning toward her mother-in-law. “But I agree with Zayne… We can’t let Harper keep up all this lying and going behind our backs. It’s not like her. We need to do something about this.”

“You’re right.” Jocelyne agreed. “Harper can’t keep lying to you like this. And you do need to do something… You need to sit down and listen to your daughter.” She said seriously. “And she needs to listen to you too. You need to meet halfway on this. You need to support her, not push her away. Because I hate to say it, but that’s exactly what you’re doing.”

Zayne just shook his head. Why couldn’t she understand? “Tante Joce, I appreciate the advice. But I don’t think you really get it.” He explained gently.

“Oh, I think I do.” She assured him. “Or have you already forgotten what your Opa told you all those years ago?” Jocelyne asked before turning her gaze toward her daughter-in-law. “Hope, I don’t know if Zayne ever told you this… But he made a promise to my Papa before he passed away. Back when Harper was really little… Maybe three years old?” Jocelyne turned her eyes back to her nephew. “Do you remember what that promise was?”

He nodded slowly. How could he ever forget his grandfather’s words?

“Just… promise me you’ll be there for Harper, Zayne. Don’t judge her. Don’t turn your back on her. Support her no matter what. Never let her forget how much you love her.”

“I promised I wouldn’t turn my back on Harper.” He replied at last. “That I’d always be there for her…” Zayne paused for a moment. “But that’s what I’m doing! I’m helping her stop all this nonsense before it’s too late!”

“You thought you were helping.” She corrected him. “But if she’s still going behind your back like this, you haven’t helped, honey. Not one bit.”

Zayne sighed, torn between sadness and frustration. “Tante Joce… You remember what happened to me, don’t you?” He asked softly. “Back when I was Harper’s age…”

“Of course I do.” Jocelyne smiled sadly at him. “How could I ever forget?”

“Then you know why we can’t just go along with this.” He explained. “I’d like to think Harper’s a hell of a lot smarter than I was, but…” Zayne shrugged, memories of his time running drugs for Eun suddenly so fresh in his mind. “I just don’t want anything bad to happen to her.”

“Neither do I.” His aunt agreed. “And I’m not expecting you two to go as far as I did back then. I know it was a mistake… But so is what you’re doing right now. All you’re doing is pushing her away, right toward everything you’re trying to protect her from.” Jocelyne’s voice was gentle, but firm.

Zayne opened his mouth to reply, but stopped himself. He hadn’t gone to therapy in years, but he still remembered the advice Dr. Hall gave him about communicating. Listening to others. So that’s what he tried to do.

She had a point, didn’t she? Forbidding Harper from seeing Erik had done nothing but push her right back into his arms… And if they continued to try to bar her from seeing him, what would she do? Probably just find another way to go behind our backs. More lies. More secrets…

While Zayne continued considering his aunt’s words, his wife finally broke the silence.

“I understand what you’re saying, Joce.” Hope assured her. “But this is all so much easier said than done… She’s our daughter. We want what’s best for her. We don’t want her around someone who’s such a dangerous influence on her… Surely you understand that.”

Jocelyne nodded. “I’ve been in your shoes before, trust me. I know how hard it is. But… I’ve been in Harper’s too. And she really needs both of you right now. But not to scold her or shame her for what she’s doing…” She shook her head. “She just needs you to listen. You don’t have to like what you hear. You don’t have to agree with her. But you need to respect her side of things.”

At last, Zayne seemed to have found his voice. He took a slow, deep breath before speaking. “You’re right.” He said at last. “I know this probably isn’t what Opa wanted. And the last thing we wanna do is push Harper away. But… Hope’s right too. This isn’t as easy as you’re making it out to be. I’m not sure how much we can really let slide on this whole thing.” He paused for a moment, sighing in frustration. “I mean, drugs? Partying? Sneaking off with some older guy? She’s still a kid, Tante Joce.”

“Not for much longer.” She reminded him.  “I’ve been trying so hard to step back and let the two of you handle this. But the fact is, Harper turns eighteen in less than two months… You’re running out of time.”

The thought sent a sickening wave of panic rushing through Zayne’s stomach. His baby girl would be an adult in no time. It was a fact he’d been too afraid to face until now. And judging by the look on his wife’s face, so had Hope. It was so easy to forget what turning eighteen would mean for their little girl… If they could even still call her that.

“Shit. She’s right.” Zayne turned to face his wife. “Pretty soon, it won’t really matter what we think, will it?”

His wife shook her head.

“We can’t keep letting things escalate like this…” He admitted as the panic in his stomach churned and bubbled unpleasantly. “Shit, we’re losing her already, aren’t we?”

“Hey, it’ll be okay. We’ll try talking to her, as soon as she gets home.” Hope promised. “And we’ll… we’ll figure something out.” She sounded anything but confident.

“What a fucking mess…” Zayne muttered. How had any of this happened? How, in the span of less than six months, had his little girl changed so much? “I just hope we’re not too late…” He glanced hopelessly toward his aunt for a moment.

Jocelyne sighed sadly. “Me too, honey. But right now, all you can do is try.”

72 thoughts on “6.31: Interlude – Try

    1. She’d already talked to them before about easing up, but she waited to have this full-on “intervention”-style conversation because she wanted to let Hope and Zayne parent their child without her interfering. They’re adults and Harper isn’t her kid, so she really doesn’t want to step on any toes.

      She just finally stepped in once she overheard they were gonna go even farther. That was when she knew they weren’t gonna figure things out on their own the way she’d hoped.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It makes sense – but I like to imagine that Joce has pretty much the same reactions as most of the readers – in that she knows they’re making mistakes and wants to yell at them about it… but seeing as how Joce is, mostly, a peacekeeper, it makes sense that she’d let them figure everything out on their own… poorly.

        Mostly I’m glad she’s stepping into the wise elder role that Mari held for quite some time (Tobi too, but it was weird to see Tobi be wise and Joce is a much better fit).

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Eventually Harper was going to get caught in her act. Harper needs to learn the error of her ways, but if nothing Hope and Zayne are doing will help, I honestly think they should let nature take its course. I mean sure, something bad will have to happen to her. But she’ll learn. Great Chapter!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Natural consequences, right? 😉 Hahaha Well, we’ll see what happens from here. Joce gave that advice without knowing the full extent of all the issues going on with Harper (and Erik)… We’ll see! Thanks for reading!

      Like

  2. The secret ismout. Thank goodness for Jocelyn’s really good advice. I just think it might be too late. I don’t think Harper will be ready to admit the truth or listen to anything they say and when they find out she gave Erik her money….yes all that advice from Joce is going to fly right out the window.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately that’s a definite possibility ;-/ Joce’s advice might definitely be too late! She didn’t want to step on their toes and wanted to let them parent their own child, so she was hesitant to really step in to this degree. But she realized they weren’t gonna figure things out on their own and she had to step in. Hopefully it wasn’t too late though!

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    1. Yeah, she wanted to let them figure stuff out on their OWN without stepping on any toes, but she finally realized she couldn’t wait any longer haha. Hopefully it’s not too late and her advice will help!

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  3. Joce is right. Harper is too old to be ferried around and watched all the time by her parents. They have to talk it out, with both parties being more equal, if that makes sense…basically, HoZay shouldn’t talk down to her, but talk with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, she’s almost an adult, and they should start treating her like one(even though she maybe isn’t ACTING like an adult… haha)

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  4. I get what joce meant…And at the same time I don’t, Correct me if I understood thing the wrong way but, I s Joces ayign they need to listen to her side of things, so that she see her parents are on her side, and bit by bit, letting herself her what her parents said, in a way is like: ”You can do anything you want, but, deal with the consequences…” AKA making her having to think for herself and figure her own stuff…? If it’s that, then, I think they should be fast, the times is running ouyt, and you can’t build a ”friendship bridge” in two months…Or can you?

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    1. That’s more or less what she’s saying 🙂 They need to talk to her about her choices but also accept and listen to her side of things instead of trying to shut her down, since that has definitely not been working.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Has Joce ever told Zayne about her past? About being pushed enough to run away to another continent? Of the stressors of trying to be perfect?

    I feel that Harper is the kind of personality that would make a good legacy founder… or a 100 baby challenge…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great question! I don’t think he knows the full extent, just parts. Maybe knowing more would help?

      And lol oh gosh, a Harper 100 baby challenge!

      Like

  6. At least Joce is still around. Of course, things shouldn’t go as far as with Zayne moving out, but Zayne could respect she learned from that. It was a dangerous decision for both of them, but they learned from it. They are not giving anything away by talking to Harper, trying to understand. And that is always the first part of resolving any conflict. Listen, be respectful, think yourself into each others shoes, respect their points. Work with what you’ve got. Once Harper has told her side of the story, don’t only argue from your side, but put up her points and arguments, don’t crush them but show up where she disagrees with herself, where she overlooked something important, where she is in denial – and take a step in her direction by explaining yourself, not only your reasons but your feelings, and show some insight at your own mistakes.

    But as this is still the Rosebrook family, I still see a mayor chance for them to wreck that situation, and all storm off hot-headedly with a bad decision. Harper doesn’t want to break all bonds and run away, but she would do it when pushed, like Joce did. Hope and Zayne will never be able to go back to that friendship-parent-level like they did, but they don’t need to. What Harper needs is not her influencial friend-parents like a child, but her parents to love and support her as an adult. And they can only get there if they respect the fact she has grown up.

    Things really got bad before Joce intervened, but propably it had to go that far before they were able to listen to Joces arguments and for Joce to decide to step that far into that conflict.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, you picked up exactly why things had to get this bad first. It had to be relaly bad for her to make the choice to step in AND for them to be willing to listen!

      Hopefully the conversation will go well… but as you pointed out, they are Rosebrooks, so the potential for disaster is higher than it would be with a normal family… lol

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  7. Jocelyn is right. But I wonder if Zayne and Hope will be able to keep their cool and listen to her advice.

    Maybe Joce is the one who needs to talk to Harper… obviously it’s better if her parents do the talking, but Joce is the only one right now who seems like she could keep her cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point that Joce might actually be the best one for the conversation! I think she wants to encourage them to do it themselves though, since (even though they aren’t doing too great at it) they *are* her parents, so it should be their responsibility…

      But we’ll see how it goes!

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  8. Yes, Joce for the win!!
    Now why do I have a feeling this isn’t going to go as well as this chapter makes it seem? 😰
    I hope not, but then again angst over at the Rosebrook household is always amazing to read… I’m pretty conflicted 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha we live for the angst, huh? 😉 But yeah, hopefully it won’t be a COMPLETE disaster… time will tell!

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  9. Zayne and Hope needs to hear a story about what happens when two people are forced apart by their families. Wonder who could tell them one of those stories…hmmm.. OH, that’s right! JOCE CAN!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, learning Joce’s story definitely might help them! Maybe she will tell it eventually… But maybe this conversation will work and she wont’ have to? *hopeful* haha

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It is high time for Hozay to have a heart-to-heart with their daughter. Hopefully Harper will listen and talk as well. I just hope that if Harper tells them that she loves Erik, they won’t come with the classic “you’re too young to know what love is” speach. Love has no age ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yay Joce! ❤

    But I can see it now. 😦 He'll leave her, or he'll let Simon take advantage of her because she "offered" or something, and it'll be the driving force that pushes the two of them apart. And I think, that will be the driving force for her becoming a criminal… Honestly, I really wanted a thing between her, Devon and Rylie… I like Erik, but I had (have) a bad feeling about him. I just hope that she doesn't get in the middle of his stuff, and him hers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting theory! There’s definitely a lot that can go wrong from here for Harper… Anything can happen! But ugh, hopefully that awful Simon stays far away!

      Thanks so much for reading, Wolfy!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This conversation was so frustrating. But, then again, most of their conversations frustrate me these days lol. On a different note, what exactly happens when a kid turns 18? I know technically the child is an adult now and has a bit more legal rights, but what the heck does that have to do with parenting? They act like they’re going to lose all their parental rights as soon as the clock strikes on her birthday LOL. “Pretty soon, it won’t really matter what we think, will it?” Really? If that’s the way they think, no wonder they think they’re losing her. Turning 18 means nothing. She’s still their child. They’re still responsible for her although she’ll technically be responsible for herself. What they say matters for the rest of her life whether she receives it or not. And? The rules of their house still apply to her! If she doesn’t like them, well now she’s in the legal right to move out and create her own rules. And, at the rate they’re going, it’s possible she’ll move out the day after her birthday LOL. So, ok…kudos for trying to fix things before that happens, but not sure what they expect after so many years of crappy parenting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, they could have made it clearer, but the second part of your comment was what they were getting at. She can go run away with Erik and never talk to them again (talking in extremes here for effect) once she’s 18 and they can’t do anything about it. So they’re realizing that they need to earn some of her trust back while they still can so she doesn’t pull something like that.

      But the question now is whether it’s too late to undo all the damage…

      Liked by 2 people

    2. (I forgot to finish my thoughts) You are right that parents still count when the kid is over 18… But they count the *most* if they have a healthy relationship with their child…. So that’s why they’re so worked up about her turning 18. *Legally*, what they say really won’t matter anymore. They didn’t realize/think about the fact that very soon she could leave/try to shut them out of her life til now and they’re like “oh shit” haha

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The Rosebrooks have always been too “laissez faire” for me. Who cares about what’s legal or not? This is their child! Their only child at that. They should do whatever it takes as long as it takes to straighten her out whether she listens to them or not. Eventually she’ll understand appreciate what they were trying to do…probably after they’re dead lol. Turning 18 doesn’t bind their hands or build an anti-parent electrical fence around her lol. I disagree that what they say won’t matter. It totally matters. It could have mattered a lot more previously (which is the whole point of the chapter, I know), but it never stops mattering…unless you intend to make her that cold hearted down the line.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No comment on what is awaiting down the line 😛 But I can confirm that they’re gonna try their damndest right now. But yes, they should have tried a lot sooner…

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I get what you Mean, but legally they have No right to tell her what to do, set curfew or anything like that. But yeah, if Harper Let’s them, they can still teach her so many things. And i agree that their house rules still count as long as she lives at home, but they can’t force her to follow cerfew

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Joce, my lovely Joce, luckily you are there to save the day ❤

    Zayne was getting on my freakin' nerves in the beginning of this chapter. Goodness. I'm glad Joce finally talked some sense into him.

    I think it's a common error parents make, though. They get so stuck on trying to fix the issues going on with their kids, that they get this weird tunnel-vision and forget to see if they're actually helping or just making things worse. Thankfully somebody else was there to shed some new perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Well, it certainly took a little while, but Joce has really become great at facilitating communication! I was really worried about the direction this chapter was going until she stepped in. It’s a rough situation, but I really think the Rosebrookes will, for one in their history, listen to each other and work together to make things right.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Aaaargh!!!! I’m so excited to find out what happens next. I shall hold on to the hope of a well deserved civil, truthful, understanding, accepting, and helpful talk 😉 Though, I have a feeling that tempers may flare, but I hope something sinks in 🙂
    Good on Joce for stepping in and getting Zayne to realise that he was just pushing Harper further away. It will be interesting to see how the conversation goes and I’m so proud of how much Zayne and Joce have both grown. They communicated beautifully today 🙂 There is hope for Harper yet!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Rosebrooks? Tempers? Never! 😉

      Joce did well here… hopefully the convo with Harper will go just as smoothly!

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  16. https://media.tenor.com/images/013c0bbdb1addfaf554556b736ed38b0/tenor.gif YAAAAS JOCE! I am so happy she finally stepped in and said something. I think it was good that she was respecting Hozay’s decisions and letting them parent Harper, but she stepped in when she needed to. Joce I think will always be my favourite (but it’s really hard cause Mari and Tobi and Clara…. We haven’t seen Clara in a while OHGOD).

    I’m happy it’s come out and hopefully everyone can heal from a hopefully good intervention talk but I’m worried it’s going to get a little worse before it gets better. I hope Joce is there for the talk, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also, what is your current posting schedule? Any chance you’ll give us a chapter a day like you have in the past? 😉 (only slightly kidding)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha I do two chapters a week right now, unfortunately. Wednesday and Saturday. I’m very busy with work, plus I am taking a class and also just bought a house so I’ve been insanely busy haha so no daily updates for the foreseeable future, sorry 😦

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    2. I’m glad you’re so happy with this one! ^_^ Joce has definitely become a wise old woman! Hopefully she didn’t step in too late though…

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  17. Well it was only a matter of time before she got caught. I really hope they ALL can sit down and discuss this rationally. As a parent I understand how frustrating this must be for Zayne and Hope. But their way is not working so maybe Joce has a point and they will follow her advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Omg, Joce talked sense into them! Loved seeing that famous Zayne hot-headedness…and that he was able to step back from it. I fear it’ll be a little too late, but they’ll be trying? I just fear Harper has already written them off and won’t be willing to meet them even a quarterway…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You might be right about it being too late… but at least they’re trying, like you said haha. Joce maybe should have spoken up sooner, but I think she really was hoping they could figure it out themselves. After all, Harper is their kid and she didn’t wanna interfere too much… but she got desperate LOL

      And yes, Zayne has gotten so much better and reigning in his temper over the years haha

      Liked by 1 person

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