fabala_fic1: (Fambly)
[personal profile] fabala_fic1
Title: Echoes Around the Hallway
Fandom: The West Wing
Rating: G
Spoilers: None
Characters: Molly and Andrea Wyatt-Ziegler
Wordcount 1148
Disclaimer: This is all fiction.

The bedframe hasn’t been delivered yet, so Molly throws the mattress down on the floor. It’s right in front of the windows, which makes Andy a little nervous.

“Mom,” Molly says, grabbing a set of sheets out of the box and throwing them down. “It’ll be fine. The fire escape is out the kitchen window, and I’m four flights up. Pretty sure that nobody’s going to Spiderman into my living room.”

(She’s not worried about living in the city. Sure, she knows it’s going to take her time to re-learn all the subway stops and find a good deli within walking distance of both her apartment and work, but she doesn’t feel like she’s moving into the city; it feels like she’s moving back.)

Andy nods, but checks the locks on the windows anyways.

When they came to look at this place before she moved in, Molly had walked exactly three steps into the main room and at least had the grace to turn in a full circle before turning to her mom and quietly saying, “So you know I need this place, right?” Andy smiled and made herself wait ten whole minutes before asking the landlord if rent was to be paid by cash or check.

It’s a technically a loft. There’s not a whole lot of space up in the loft itself—she’ll be lucky if she can squeeze a dresser and nightstand up there with the bed—but the rest of the apartment more than makes up for that. The built-in bookshelves that take up the entire east wall are just icing on the (delicious, amazing) cake.


Molly makes the bed as best she can, and then goes to unpack her bathroom stuff. The landlord has promised to get the leaky showerhead fixed within the next week or so, which she figures translates into “between three days and two months” so she keeps a lot of stuff packed into the little plastic tub. It fits under the sink and she probably won’t bash her toes on it when she stands there to brush her teeth, so it’s okay for now.

The bathroom doesn’t look too grungy—in fact it looks like the previous tenant scrubbed it the day they left—but she inherited a little of her mom’s feeling about cleaning, so she goes into the kitchen to grab some cleaner and a pair of gloves. Her mom’s re-washing all her glasses as she unwraps them from the newspaper they were packed in. She turns when she hears footsteps, and says, “Do you feel like ordering food, or do you want to just grab something from the hotdog guy down the block?”

“Ooh, hotdog guy, definitely,” Molly says, laughing. “And you aren’t allowed to say anything about the obscene amount of mustard and relish I plan on loading that thing up with.”

Her mom just laughs as she goes back into the bathroom; Molly is very much her father’s daughter. (At least it’s not onions.)

The last person to live here thoughtfully left the little steel rack that sits across the tub, which was most likely because it’s an old claw-foot tub, and those racks don’t fit anywhere else. It’s awesome, though, because Molly loves a good soak. She’ll definitely have to buy more bath fizzies, but until then, two bottles of shower gel and the little collection of themed rubber ducks she got custody of in her last breakup will fit on the shelf just fine.


Andy knows enough not to help Molly unpack her books, since Molly’s got her own system, and also, the girl’s got a lot of books, and Andy does want to be out of the city sometime this week. She hugs Molly just after nine o’clock, tells her to call if she needs anything—she’ll probably be awake until after midnight because she’s still got touches to put on a speech, and reminds her to deadbolt the door before she goes to sleep.

Her phone rings at ten-thirty. Andy forces herself to take a deep breath and wait until the second ring to pick up.

“Hey, Mom, it’s me.” Molly says, cradling the phone between her ear and shoulder. “Do you remember where that box with all my dance clothes is? Not my performance stuff, just the scrubby workout gear. I don’t want to have to dig for it in the morning.”

“Yeah, I think I saw it in the kitchen, next to the stove.”

Molly goes into the kitchen, muttering when she reaches out a hand but doesn’t hit the lightswitch. It takes her a good thirty seconds of groping and muttering under her breath before she finds it. “Clearly, I need glow in the dark stickers or something until I figure this place out.”

Andy laughs. “I can get you some.”

Molly finds the box right where Andy says it is, next to the stove, half under the little kitchen table. There’s another box next to it, and neither of them are marked. “Mom, remind me the next time I move to put little content lists on the outsides of all the boxes, okay?” Because it’s almost eleven o’clock at night and I’ve just dug through five boxes, looking for one single pair of legwarmers, and—”

Molly trails off, and Andy waits. Molly shifts the phone to her other ear, tugs the box out into the middle of the floor, and sits down crosslegged in front of it. Her legwarmers are in this box (purple with silver stars, not the blue stripey ones she wanted), but so is the little lamp that’s sat on various dressers and night-tables in her room since, as far as she can recall, forever. Nestled around it is the heavy quilt that Gramma Wyatt made for her when she was four. It’s all different shades of pink and white, patches of flannel and cotton that used to be baby clothes and her mom’s outgrown t-shirts and dresses; there was a time when Molly was about six, that she remembers literally dragging this quilt everywhere she went. Her mom told her once that she used to have to wait until Molly was asleep just to be able to wash it. “You packed my quilt. And the dinos.”

“Yeah, Mol, I packed them,” Andy says, quietly. “You didn’t really think I was going to let you move into the city all alone, did you?”

“Thanks, Mommy.”

“Love you, baby girl.”

Molly disconnects the call, gathering up the quilt and lamp to take them back into the living room. She stubs her toe on a stack of boxes trying to move them so she can get at the outlet, but once the lamp is plugged in, it casts just enough light. She spreads the quilt over the mattress, crawls beneath it, and kicks her feet a little to warm it up.

Ten minutes later, she’s sound asleep.
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August 2011


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