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Rearview Mirror Saints

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On Elle’s tiny screen, Riley looks very tanned. He looks very handsome too, sun-kissed, with short dark hair and light stubble. Like all reporters, he displays the appropriate amount of sympathy in his story and makes all the right sounds. Like all reporters, she can only imagine after this great tragedy he’s discussing, he’ll be tossing them back in someone’s backyard. He doesn’t look like a laid back surfer from Oakey, he looks like a real reporter. Only a night ago she was admiring Cameron on a tiny screen, and now she’s doing the same for him. And he’s not even dead, just...Away. Riley always looked like someone with good humour. Not to say that he was incapable of being scary when he wanted to be, of course, because he was. Elle wouldn’t like him so much if he was a nice, normal, uncomplex guy. But most of the time, his general look was one of someone who made her laugh. Who had a smile that caught like leprosy and who could fix her with a single look and come crashing in through her hang-ups like a wrecking ball through a paper wall. All of this is to say that she missed him terribly. 

That had been one of her mother's specifications when it came to figuring out if you love someone. You always want them around, and when they aren’t, even if it’s just for a while, you wish that they were. She finds it difficult to believe her mother had ever wanted her father around the way she talks about him these days. But she must have, once. The same way Elle wanted Lucas around once, or Oliver, or any of the other not Riley's she’d populated her life with while he was gone. It also applied to most of her other loved ones. Donna, for example. She missed Donna like missing one of her fingers, but she was so proud as well. She knew that Donna would come back to her once the thrill of being surrounded by the vapid, vain upper crust she designed for these days got to be boring for someone as smart, kind and funny as she was. 

For her own amusement, she slid the ring onto her left ring finger, just to see it there. A simple silver band with a heart-shaped faux opal in the centre. Exactly not what she would have picked, but somehow it matters more than any of her much more impressive diamond-studded jewellery Dad had gifted her over the years. 

“I didn’t know you were engaged.” Elle was broken from her thoughts of Riley, who seemed to consume more of her thoughts than ever before these days by one of her brothers. David. Another multiple, probably the one of them with the strongest morals. She admired the shine from the pink-ish gem against her hand. 

“I’m not. It came in the mail for me this afternoon.” 

“Sorry, didn’t mean to assume just thought because you’re wearing it on that finger…” 

“Well, you’re only half wrong. It was given to me by someone I love, as a promise but...It’s not a promise to marry.” 

“What is it a promise of, then?” 

“That we’ll be a couple. I’ve been seeing him on and off for eleven...Twelve years. We’re both journalists. When I said I was planning on coming home...He said when he was finished with his contract then he’d come to wherever I was and we could try.” She has no idea what that’ll look like. She might be signing herself up for heartbreak, but...What’s life without risks? She loved Riley, had since the warehouse roof came down on them. She hadn’t been ready then and she lost him. But she is now, and so is he. She might even be able to convince him to go see his parents. 

“Sounds like he loves you.” David ascertains.

“He does. He’s saved my life more than once.” 

“Must be nice to have someone like that.” 

“He gets it. Not a lot of people out there who do.” David tilted his head, his hair is clean and shiny, slicked back from his face in an attempt to seem more mature and adult than his sweet face would imply. His button-down has been ironed and is tucked into his trousers. Fun-loving blue printed birds, but not so fun-loving as to leave it untucked.  He radiates good intentions, with an underlying aura that he’s smarter than you. Probably unintentional. In her limited observations of him, he had good emotional intelligence. Unusual in a smart person. Unusual in a Robinson. 

“Do you always look at people like that? Analysing them?” He interrupted her mental spiel, throwing her for six.

“What?” 

“The way you’re looking at me, you’re taking stock of my parts. Looking for weakness.” 

“It’s a journalist thing.” 

“What have you sussed out, then? Enlighten me.” Elle sighed, and then leaned back on one of her arms. 

“Well, your clothes. Fun print on your shirt, but it’s ironed and tucked in You’re fun, but you’re not that fun. You wear your hair slicked back from your face, in a style that is older than your years. You don’t strike me as vain, and I know it’s not for your husband because he’s infatuated with you so must be work. You feel like your colleagues don’t take you seriously. Could be because of your sexuality, or ethnicity. But it’s probably more due to the Finn Kelly debacle, you were tricked...Or not. Either way, they think you were taken for a ride. You don’t have the classic Robinson trait of fiddling with your accessories, in your case a wedding ring, but you do wear the ring all the time. And you clean it - Marriage matters to you. You’re wearing your work shoes and pants to a casual family dinner, you didn’t have time to change after your shift. Being punctual is important, so important that you didn’t even put on a pair of more comfortable shoes. Your pose is casual, leaning over, hands clasped between the knees. I’m on your turf - not the other way around. How close am I?” 

“Are you auditioning to be Nancy Drew?” 

“Just observant.” She says, shrugging slightly. “I’m sure as a doctor you make many of the same observations when you walk into a room.”

“True, but I make fewer deductions.” 

“Want to deduce me?” He examines her and perhaps determines that this little game of wills will win her over so he starts. 

“Well, I can’t see any roots, even though you have highlighted in your hair. Natural blonde, no need to worry about chemicals. Good eyesight, breathing fine. You’re left-handed, I can tell because the bones of your ring finger are warped from years of holding your pen incorrectly when you write. You do a lot by hand?” 

“I like the tactile-ness of it.” 

“Thought so. If I didn’t know you’d just come from a New York winter I’d think you were a little too pale. Maybe deficient? Hm, no. You seem like someone who takes supplements and is at least a bit health conscious.  Are you vegan?” 

“Yeah.” 

“Thought so, smart woman like you absolutely takes vitamins of some kind.” 

“I do take some supplements, but I try and keep my meals nutritionally balanced.” 

“It’s impressive that you lived in the US as long as you did and kept your natural teeth.” 

“I like taking care of myself.” She said, “Not bad, you know. Maybe I’ll make a journalist out of you someday.” 

“Hm, thanks but I think I’ll stick to doctor-ing.” 

“Your loss.” She pulled her legs up onto the chair she was sitting on and crossed them ankle over ankle. “What can I do for you, or are you just here for the Nancy Drew Deductions about your life?” 

“When I went to see Robert, you know that I didn’t do that with any malicious intent.” 

“It’s only natural you’d be curious about your siblings. You went to all that trouble to find your father and family is deeply important to you.” 

“It is.” He agreed, but she butts in before he can continue, 

“Not important enough that you’d reach out to me about Robert, though. I get not talking to Dad, he and the past have a tenuous relationship at the best of times. But why not me? You’re a multiple. You know that I know Robert best.” 

“You haven’t seen him in over ten years.” He says, weakly, “And I was worried you’d be upset.” 

“You know as well as I do the time doesn’t matter. Rob’s my triplet. Always will be. I can feel him, and he can feel me. It sucks like that. And I wouldn’t have, it’d be for moot. You’re a doctor, your focus is on Robert’s specific brand of crazy. Being a doctor makes you naturally curious. You didn’t not reach out to me over any concern over me. Robert’s just more interesting.” 

“Maybe he is,” David said diplomatically. Elle wonders how to crack the caring doctor facade and find his Robinson side - He had to have one, they all did. Even Cameron and he was the mildest of mild in terms of Robinson-ness if Dad was the barometer. “But you’re right, I should have spoken to you or Dad first. I don’t mean to make it seem like I’m privileging your abuser over you.”

“Relax, this isn’t a hospital and I’m not about to sue. I can’t be angry with you when your actions brought Harlow into the fold, can I?” David smiles slightly, and the crease between his eyebrows smooths out. “Ultimately, your actions led to Dad finding out about Harlow and getting to speak to her before Mum or Rob. Which takes the ability to hold her over Dad’s head or otherwise poison the well away from him, and anything that takes power away from ol’ RobRob is good in my opinion. Oh, and it got Mum off my back about having kids which is a bonus.” 

“You’d deny him his daughter?” 

“That’d be pretty funny, coming from me, the ultimate Daddy’s girl.” 

“So you think it’s okay for Harlow to talk to him?” 

“I don’t think it’s okay for anyone to talk to him. The main reason I’m upset you didn’t reach out is not because I think I’m the arbiter of Robert Robinson, but because you have no idea how dangerous he is. Neither does Harlow but I can’t go and tell her anything more serious than I already have - I don’t want him to have reason to poison her against me.” 

“You seem very concerned about that.” 

“What is this? Therapy?” 

“Just observing. You care about what Robert has to say about you to Harlow. About what he might have said about Dad.” 

“Shouldn’t Dad be allowed to ruin his own relationship with Harlow rather than have some psycho with a chip on his shoulder ruin it for him?” She asked. David studied her and then tilted his head slightly, hands still clasped between his knees. He’s waiting for her to fill the silence, it’s an age-old trick and it’s well employed. She could let the silence get awkward, or answer his question. Neither outcome is going to be good so she pushes on. “When he was on the stand, Robert said some...Things about me that I’ve never been able to shake. About how I tormented him, about how I made his life Hell...About how I ruined his chance to ever be normal and have a normal life.” 

“I’ve read the court documents. A traumatized, scared nineteen year old should never have been put on the stand. What happened to you was wrong.” 

“I guess. But it’s not all wrong. I did make Robert miserable when I could get away with it.” 

“Why?” David asks, and he’s intently looking at her face, picking her apart with his analytical doctor’s brain. 

“He made Cam’s life Hell.”

“Example?” 

“He spent our entire childhood goading him, mocking him, tormenting him, saying just the cruellest things. When Cam didn’t react to the mocking, he’d start doing physical things. Lashing out. When we were ten, just before Dad went to jail, he sent us some gifts. Rob got a watch. Cameron got a huge book of old buildings, which was a fascination of his. He was going to be an architect. Did Dad tell you?” 

“I’m sure he would have been good at it,” David assured her in a doctor's voice. 

“About a year later, Cam had enough. He came down on Rob like a sack of bricks and in retaliation, Rob took the book while he was at a football camp and systematically blacked out every line of text, and turned every image into a black square. That was the first communication we had from Dad in years and would be the only one for years to come. He was heartbroken.” 

“I’m sorry Cam went through that. Did you tell your mother?” 

“What would have been the point?” She asked, brow creasing. “She wouldn’t have done anything. Maybe told him off and banned him from the television for a week. Wouldn’t have brought the book back.” 

“You think that was why Robert picked that book? Because it came from Dad?” 

“I think he picked it because it was Cam’s favourite. It was Cam’s favourite because it came from Dad.” 

“What did he send you, if you don’t mind me asking?” David asked, eyes still firm on her face. Maybe at the end of this, she’ll come away with a diagnosis of what’s wrong with her and a prescription for Adderall or something. 

“A teddy bear. I collect them. When you pressed the paw, it would play a recording of him saying ‘I love you.’” 

“Sweet.” 

“Sure was, until Robert drowned it.” 

“Did you tell Gail about that?” 

“No point. Even at thirteen Cam and I knew that the only way to deal with Rob was ourselves. I socked him so hard that he got a black eye for like a week.” 

“So you never told anyone about the fairly obvious red flags Robert was displaying?” David asked, perplexed. 

“Of course we told people.” She said, sounding offended and whiney even to her ears, “For years, Cam and I told anyone who would listen that there was something wrong with him. We told Mum, but she wouldn’t hear of her precious Robbie misbehaving. We told teachers, who couldn’t believe that smart, funny always does his homework Robert would behave badly, especially when it was coming from badly behaved trouble making Lucinda and Cameron. I told a guidance counsellor, who did nothing. Cam told our grandfather, Ian, and he did nothing.  We told Dad on the phone but he was in Rio, busy with his new son, and new hotel and new wife. We told the parents of our friends, who didn’t care, we told our stepfather who hated the three of us equally, and he didn’t care.” Her voice got higher and higher with every failed attempt to get help for Robert. Or, to get them away from him at the very least. David looks increasingly surprised at every person she listed. “We told everyone who we could think of that there was something wrong with Robert and the way he was acting. But no one did anything. So Cam and I had to learn to deal with him ourselves and we did. If we hated Robert then it was nothing that he didn’t bring on himself.” 

“Were you surprised when he did what he did?” 

“I don’t know. I thought when he left for London, that things were okay with Rob. I mean, the three of us weren’t friends really but we were okay. We were talking. Spending time together. I...I thought he was coming good. Turns out he’d already decided Cam and I should die, along with Dad.” 

“I didn’t know that, either.” 

“Well, if you’d reached out to me...” 

“I’m starting to see that the media reports about Robert were limited.” 

“I don’t want you to think that I had an awful childhood, or that my mother was incompetent. It was actually very good. Money was tight, but we never went without. Mum loved us, and she never let any of us feel like we didn’t matter.  When it was just me and Cam, I was the happiest I’ve ever been. We ran wild.” David nods empathetically, and Elle realises that for the second time today she’s been tricked into divulging her deepest hurts to someone who had offered nothing in return. Before she could get too mad about it, her phone buzzed, she tilted the screen to wake it up and saw a text from Riley. It makes her smile a goofy little smile. Being in love feels like having Sprite in your lungs. He sent a picture of himself, in his hotel mirror showing off his new haircut she’d noticed earlier. She had always liked his hair longer, but it didn’t really matter. So long as he was whole and healthy the rest of it just didn’t matter. 

“Is that your…” David pauses as he tries to come up with the word, “Betrothed?” He settles on. 

“That easy to read, huh?” She wonders, amused.

“It’s the same face Dad makes when Terese texts him.” 

“No one could ever accuse the fertility clinic my parents went to of incompetence.” She says, playfully. David chuckles, and his laugh is very charming. “His name is Riley. Riley Parker, you might have seen him on the news.” 

“I read my news, sorry.” 

“Ah, well. He sent me a picture.” She turns the phone so David can see him, and he nods approvingly. 

“Handsome.” He says, bobbing his head. Elle leans over so that she and David are in the frame for the phone camera and snaps a picture. The flash blinds them temporarily, but the picture is good enough to be sent. 

“Bonding with brother...And then I’ll include two hearts. Roxy thinks I should use more emoji’s.” 

“I think Roxy uses too many emoji’s when she texts,” David says, as she fires it off and put the phone screen down on the chair next to her. 

“Okay, now you have to tell me about you. You know all my backstory but I don’t know any of yours.” 

“I’m sure Leo’s said some things.”

“Sure. Some things. I want the good stuff.” 

“Vulture.” He teases, his teeth are very white in the darkness that is combing over them in long streaks. As the sun has set, their shadows lit by the porch light are giants creeping through the landscape. 

“That’s the job.” 

“Well, I was born in Paramatta. I spent most of my childhood studying to be a good doctor. Not very social, not like Leo. Had a stepfather, I don’t think he cared very much for us though.” 

“Mine was the same. What drove you into your profession. And don’t tell me you just want to help people, because that’s a lie.” 

“It could be the truth.” She fixed him with a look. He rolled his eyes. “I became a doctor because my mother told me it would be a good thing to do, and I wanted to please whatever my imaginary father looked like.” 

“How was it? Finding out your dad was your brothers business rival?” 

“Strange. But not bad. I always thought I would know if I was talking to my father, that we’d have an instant paternal bond. He’s on my nerves at the moment. He doesn’t like our surrogate.” Oh, yes. Dad had dedicated much of their recent conversations to the fact that Nicolette and his doctor son hadn’t made a contract. Well, he’d referred to David as ‘the boys’ with his husband. She found it infantilizing but saw no point in bringing it up. 

“She waved to me when I was getting the paper, so she can’t be all bad.” 

“Did you see Leo before you left?” David asks, changing the subject. 

“He isn’t speaking to me.” 

“Why?” 

“Thinks I’m to blame for him joining my scheme.” 

“How did you figure out he needed money, by the way?” 

“Family grapevine. For the record, I wasn’t just being rude. I know what it’s like to lose all your money, same thing happened to me...It’s why I had to sell Harolds. So, I paid Leo a large sum of money to do very little.“ 

“Why would you do that?” 

“He’s my brother.” 

“So’s Robert.” 

“Leo’s not insane.” 

“Debatable.” 

“He’s also never tried to kill me.” 

“Okay, that’s fair.” They looked at one another and then both burst into light laughter at the absurdity of the conversation. That’s Robinson life for you. 

“Please don’t be too harsh on Dad about money. If he believed that Leo was not going to be able to get himself out of it then he would have helped with no strings attached. I was honestly surprised that his offer was as generous as it was.” 

“He wanted -” 

“He’s a control freak. Of course, he wanted a controlling share. Just be thankful he took the cameras down.” 

“Wait - Cameras?” 

“Dad almost got strangled in our home in 2005. He wired the whole house up with cameras and developed a case of agoraphobia. I moved out.” 

“You two have lived a lot of life.” He says, thoughtfully, “Ever thought about writing a book?” 

“So other people can gawk at my trauma? No thanks. I’ve worked the crime beat long enough to know the damage untrained randoms convinced they’ll be the next Thin Blue Line can do.” 

“But you aren’t untrained.” He pointed out, “And you’ll be...Speaking your truth.” 

“I hate that phrase.” She said, “Why don’t you write about Robert? I’m sure you can get a neat little article out of it.” 

“It’s not my place. Robert has never hurt me, the opposite.” 

“Personally, I think it was homophobic of him to not cough up the kidney right away.” David rolled his eyes good-naturedly. 

“Okay, that’s a little funny. But seriously. You know I can’t hate him like you do.” 

“You’re entitled to your complicated feelings about Rob. Just because I can’t reconcile them with my knowledge of him doesn’t make them less valid. He’s always been my mother's favourite child and I don’t love her any less for it.” 

“I find it difficult to believe that, she always seemed very reasonable to me.” 

“She is the reason for Dad’s empire.” Elle agreed easily, “Robbie was her sweet, sensitive child. I’ve always been Daddy’s little Robinson.” 

“And Cameron?” 

“A very normal teenage boy.” 

“I couldn’t imagine life without Leo.” He said, “I’ve always had him. I haven’t always liked him per se, but…”

“Cam drove me crazy half the time too. That’s just what it’s like to have a sibling. But I bet you wouldn’t trade one second you’ve had with him.” 

“No, I wouldn’t. And as your sibling, am I also entitled to drive you crazy half the time?” Elle took a comically large breath and then nodded her head. 

“Sure. Why not.” He smiled at her, and the porch light shines off his teeth. She smiles back. 

“Elle! David!” Dad stood in the doorway, leaning against it to take the weight off his bad leg as he often did in the evenings. “Get inside before the mosquitos carry you away!” 

“Let’s get going, I’m sure the pasta is getting cold.” She said, standing up and tucking her phone and ring back into her pocket. 

“Vegan pasta?” 

“I bullied him into it.” She confirmed as they made their way back in. She slapped a mosquito on David’s arm as she passed him. He slapped her back sibling style. 

Inside the house, everyone was gathered by the coffee table which had the contents of the Robinson Family Album spread on top. Roxy was gaping at a picture of Elle’s formal gown, while Harlow had her eyes narrowed a picture of her and Cameron practising her cheer stunts in the backyard. 

“How did you get your leg that high?” She asked as Elle approached. Dad was putting something into a frame, and Terese was seated on the arm of his chair, one arm over his shoulders. 

“Practice.” She replied, shrugging. Riley had oft commented on her flexibility...And so had most of her other lovers. Poor Cameron on the other hand was less enthused by her plight to use his shoulder as an ankle rest. He’d have preferred her to find a ‘less dangerous hobby. ‘For God’s sake, Porky!’ He’d said,  ‘They had to put screws in that girl's ankle - what if it was you!.’

“How are you making this ugly dress kind of work?” Asked Roxy, turning the photo of her formal around. It’s the same one from her apartment, but Robert hasn’t been vandalised. He was her date after her boyfriend of one month and two days dumped her at the pre-formal party. He’d agreed last second to be her date after previously not planning to go at all. They got to keep their table of ten, and Rob was, for one night, a hero to a bunch of seriously drunk seventeen-year-olds. 

“Hey. Pink Lamae was very in that year.” She defended, taking the photo from Roxy and smiling at her past self. 

“You looked like a princess, darling,” Dad said, uninterestedly. Clearly, the frame he was fiddling with was more important. Even David’s husband was in the photo action, sifting through some old polaroids of her, Dad and Rob (pretending to be Cam) at Scarlet Bar.

“Well thank you, Daddy. I should, seeing as it was your credit card that paid for it.” Not even a flinch, he must be involved with whatever he’s doing.  

“What’s up with this?” Ned asked, showing her a photograph of Cam’s blueprints for the new Lassiters Tasmania which was a tidy, streamlined and appropriately modern design. 

“Cam was an architect.” She said, proudly, “That was his plan for Lassiters Tasmania.” 

“I heard that place was a nightmare,” Terese said conversationally. All these years, Elle had never thought Dad would find someone as in love with Lassiters as he was but she’d be wrong. Terese clearly cared a great deal about the trials and tribulations of running a suburban hotel. She’d know as well as anyone the reputation of Lassiters Tasmania. The hotel formally known as Lassiters Tasmania she should say.

“Oh, yeah. I’m pretty sure you’d catch something if you weren’t careful. But the minibars were stocked, and Robert was not there so Cam and I didn’t care.” Dad looked up, interested now. 

“You and Cam were drinking on my tab? How old were you?!” 

“Well, you sent us your staff card when we were fifteen after you, I presume, got back into the hotel business.” 

“And I wonder why your mother doesn’t talk to me anymore.” 

“Please. Having Lassiters was a good thing, it was our place to escape Rob when things were bad at home. The alcohol was a bonus, and don’t worry. We weren’t like...Giving to the other kids. Though maybe we should have...Could have made a killing.” David’s husband, Aaron, chuckles, and Ned smiles. It’s nice. It’s family-like and it’s been such a long time since she was part of a cohesive family unit. 

“What do you think of this?” Dad asked, and then held up a picture for everyone to see. Cameron, holding a pool cue and grinning at the camera. His fringe just brushes the tops of his eyebrows, and under his favourite green army jacket, he’s wearing a grey shirt with a print of a four-leaf clover on it. He seems...Happy. She vaguely recognizes the setting as the old Lassiters games room. 

“It’s...Nice.” She said, and there was a general sentiment of agreement in the room as everyone nodded and smiled in their own time. 

“I just thought…” Dad says, “That I don’t have a picture of him up anywhere. And I should.” Terese took the photo from him. 

“And I know where we should put it.” She strode past the fireplace, and into the dining room. Elle trailed behind, Harlow by her side. Her new stepmother proceeded to put the picture on a side table next to one of her son Josh, who passed away. 

“Looks like you’ve got a new friend, mate,” Dad says, addressing the picture of Cameron much like Elle does. “He looks nice there.” He says, leaning in to kiss Terese on the lips. She placed one of her hands on the small of his back and rested the other in the middle of his chest. When he looks at her, there’s love in his eyes. The gentle weight on her arm is Harlow, and she’s smiling too. Ned and Roxy. Aaron and David. It’s a family, a big family like she’d always dreamed about having. 

Dad, of course. Elle’s visions of family had always included Dad. He’d been in every iteration of Elle’s family either in person or as a spectre over the landscape of her heart. Better to be with him than without him because honestly, truthfully, and with all her heart she adores him. Is he a good father? No. But he doesn't have to be a good father so long as he’s her father. Will they have more blowout fights that wake the neighbours? Probably. But the good times will always be good and for her, it’s enough. 

But it’s not just them anymore. There’s a mother now, Terese. Who has welcomed Elle into her home in spite of her reservations about her. Who has accepted Cameron onto the table next to her own son, saying to not only Dad but also to anyone who comes through this house that these are my children. My sons. This is its own kind of love, and it means something. Elle can see friendship in their future, she can feel it the same way she can feel her mother will never recover from the loss of her sons. To love Terese would not be to stop loving Rebecca. It would not be to stop loving Mum. Elle does not believe in cliche, and she doesn’t believe in any innate fairness of the universe but she does believe that she deserves to be happy. That Dad deserves to be happy. More than either of those things: That Terese deserves to be happy. 

The smattering of brothers she’d always seen herself as having. She still sees herself as a triplet even now. David, Aaron and Ned all had parts of Cameron she’d loved about them. But they weren’t Cameron and they didn’t have to be. He was gone now, but she didn’t have to close herself off to all other brothers. Will she ever love them as much as Cameron? It’s unlikely she’ll ever love anyone as much as Cameron but that doesn’t mean she needs to withhold all love. 

Roxy was the sister Elle always begged for but never received, bright like the sun and astute in her own way.  She doesn’t need to be anything other than who she is. She didn’t need to listen at the bar or give advice but she did anyway. She’d returned Elle’s shoes out of, literally, the goodness of her heart tonight.

And...Harlow. Mum was right. She was a gift, and a blessing but not because she came from Robert. She would eventually convince Elle to go see her beloved Dad, no matter how much she held out and refused to be smoothed over. She’d accepted that now. But that’s not why Elle thought she was special. She was special because she decided Cameron wasn’t going to be a dirty word anymore. She’d done more for him in one conversation than Elle had been able to do in years. She’d taken the weight of her father onto her shoulders, like Elle. She’d found a way to love someone who did horrible things, like Elle. She left everything she’d ever known and came to find her father...Like Elle. And she’d come out stronger. Better. Kinder. 

It was then that Elle Robinson had the best idea she’d ever had. 

“Oh! Nobody move!” She exclaimed, grabbing her phone from her pocket. “I’m going to take a family picture.” 

“Hey I didn’t sign up for this!” Exclaimed Ned and received a very motherly look from Terese and shut his mouth. 

“Hold this.” She ordered Cameron, placing the phone with a timer set up against the frame before returning to the group of family next to Harlow, who she wrapped in one arm, pressing their cheeks together. Harlow beamed for the camera in reply. After the flash, she grabbed it and examined it closely. 

Robinson-Willis family. Dad has dropped his stern business man persona and is laughing as Terese kisses his cheek. Aaron has an arm draped over David, Ned’s arms are wrapped around Roxy and she and Harlow are practically hugging. For the first time in some years, Elle believes that things are going to be okay. 

Things are going to be just fine.