The Talk

The Hamptons

A private golf course.


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Robert Knight Harper Donovan

It's a beautiful day to be on the green. It's early in the morning yet, because the best tee times are after breakfast with a break for lunch. Robert asked Harper casually, last night after dinner, to join him for a few holes today. It wasn't obvious, it was subtle and discreet, saving him from the horrified looks he knows his daughter would send his way and the disbelieving and chastising ones he'd get from his wife.
Robert feels that he should get some credit. He hasn't been nearly as hard on Harper as he has some (most, all right, nearly all) of Siobhan's boyfriends. There's been no tales of how easily an artery can be nicked by accident, no mention of household poisons that can be 'accidentally' ingested, and no discussions of pressure points that can incapacitate a man. After all, Robert likes Harper Donovan, and has no desire to scare this one off.
There are, however, conversations that must be had.
The morning thus far has consisted of idle conversation, current events, the Olympics, easy and safe topics. Robert isn't trying to lull Harper into a sense of false security, because they both know why they're out here alone, but he doesn't want the young man to think that anything has changed that much.
"How's uni going?" Robert asks as they gather their clubs to load up the cart and head to the next hole.

Harper knows far more what this conversation is meant to be about than he's letting on to Robert. There are sometimes when being telepathic is a pain, but this is the one instance where it comes in handy; Siobhan's father appears to be a bit more ill at ease in regards to this conversation than Harper is. Which works for his benefit, because it's keeping him lulled and not defensive.
He doesn't mind lugging the clubs around, and caddies might just get in the way of the conversation. As he sets his bag in the back of the cart, he adjusts his glove and edges a shoulder up a little.
"Well. I've got an internship lined up next summer here in the city after graduation. I'm keeping up a 3.8 GPA."

"I won't say that I'm surprised. You've always had a good head on your shoulders, and been a resourceful one." Robert has known the boy - correction, young man - for more than half his life. He's watched him grow up and that makes this a much easier transition.
"Congratulations on that. It's impressive. I know your parents are proud of you." Meaning that he knows Sam is proud of Harper. Karen is a hard read, though there are the rare bragging moments that show she is paying attention.

Harper nods his head. He is more like his mother; difficult to read most of the time. He's been that way a great deal of his life because it's just easier to block out everyone else's emotions if he keeps his own in check as well.
"Thanks, Robert." He's always used the man's given name, and not 'Mr. Knight'. He's not going to start now, just because he's dating Siobhan.
"Mother is quite proud. She is already planning a rather big gathering for graduation. Though I am certain she is still wishing I had chosen a more profitable career."

Robert wouldn't have it any other way. He doesn't want Harper to feel like he's become unreachable or some sort of ogre because he and Siobhan are more than friends these days. Again, he's not here to rake Harper over the coals or to scare him off; this is the young man his daughter has fallen for, the one he's watched her grow up pining after. She's happier now than Robert has ever seen her, and he's glad that it's because of a young man he respects and not some bit piece of trash that he's going to want to clock across the jaw someday.
Robert claps him on the shoulder before starting the cart and moving forward. "It's not what you do, Harper. What's important is that it makes you happy." That's why he supports Siobhan in her dancing and while he thinks she's bloody fantastic at it, even putting her mother to shame (though he'll never admit it aloud), he knows that it's going to take a little more than being fabulous to make a killer living at it. She's happy dancing, though, and he's happy with that.
"My first career choice was surfing, did you know that?" Robert grins. He's shared the story with Siobhan and Chris, but doesn't know if they've shared it with their friends. "Then, one summer, I was working as a lifeguard." Another disappointing choice of pursuit according to his father and grandfather. Unfit for a Knightley. "There was a bloke out there, took his board out when the waves were too choppy. Lost the board, got clunked on the head with it and went under. Waves were mad that day, dangerous, and I went out there after him. I got him back to the beach and did CPR until the parameds came, that was my turning point."
"If it hadn't been for that bloke, I might be some washed up surfer back down under. So long as I never knew what I missed out on - " Dawna. Siobhan. Christian. "- I think I would have been happy."

"Siobhan mentioned the story a time or two," Harper says with a grin. "I don't see that surfing would be such a bad career, but I think you'd have grown bored of it on your own eventually anyhow."
"Engineering, on the other hand, is quite fascinating, and constantly changing. However, I don't fit into the mold that mother or grandmother want for me. Doctor, lawyer, financier. The typical top three jobs of the Upper East Side." Wrinkling his nose, he laughs. "I think I'll have much more fun interning at Aerotek here in the city."

Robert's brows rise and he gives a whistle. "Aerotek? Now that is worth bragging about. Your parents didn't mention where you'd landed an internship." Robert is impressed, but he knows Harper isn't stupid or lazy, and is a rather determined young man. Quieter and more reflective than many, but as Dawna is fond of saying, 'still waters run deep.'
"Sometimes our children aren't what we want them to be. It's important to accept who they are." Robert gives a stout nod, and glances over at Harper. "Remember that when you're raising my grandkids."
It's an open door and an easy segue.
"No rush, I'd like to see you and Siobhan finish school and get your feet under you first."
"I saw the ring." And his daughter reads like a book sometimes.

"They don't know."
Harper grins at that, because he's kept it a secret from everyone. Including Chance. Which is rather difficult to do, considering that the sorcerer's father is one of the people that had to veto the application for internship.
Blinking, he turns to Robert and then laughs. "Yes, sir, of course. Though it'll be a few years off yet."
"A promise ring. To remind her that I am coming back once I graduate in the spring." Rubbing the back of his neck, he can feel the tips of his ears heating up. "No proposal until she's finished school. Because she needs to focus on that, and not planning a wedding."

"That would explain why they haven't mentioned it." Robert grins and shakes his head in bemusement.
"I like you and respect you more for taking that approach, Harper."
"I do like you, Harper. I like you more than any bloke Siobhan has ever brought home. I know you, and you're already family." Robert draws the cart to a halt at the next hole and looks over at his daughter's boyfriend. "But, Siobhan is my little girl. I've seen her get her heartbroken, and that's not something I like to see. I will be very, very disappointed in you if you hurt her."

"I'll be working at one of their buildings in Massachusetts during the next two semesters as well." In between school work.
Harper looks to the hole, and then glances back at Robert. "I'm not Jesse. I've no intentions of hurting Siobhan. I want to wait at least a year before a proper proposal so that I am at least finished my program, and Siobhan will be able to take the option of doing graduate studies in choreography if she wants to. I also want to wait until I've got a blessing from both you and Dawna. That is why I am making her wait a year before giving me an answer."
"And if I ever get my hands on Jesse again, I may throttle him for a second time for even daring to hurt Siobhan back when he was dating her, and the other day when he bruised her arm."

"I never liked that kid," Robert mutters, honestly. It's not just a matter of 'he's the boy dating my daughter,' but a genuine dislike and mistrust of the boy. Robert knew boys like Jesse, and was not happy when Siobhan brought him home, floating on air about how great Jesse was.
"I'm glad to hear that you're thinking these things through." Someone has to be levelheaded, and right now, his sweet little Flutterbee is so high up in the clouds that Robert knows she isn't. She'll calm down eventually and be rational, but right now? She's on cloud nine.
Robert's next words are chased right out his head by Harper's next words. "He… what?" Robert Knight is typically laid back and calm; he leaves the passion and emotional histronics to his wife and daughter. While he doesn't jump out of the cart and begin ranting, there's a very clear shadow that falls over his usual open features, eyes darkening and jaw tightening.

"He accosted her the other day while she was shopping? Out at lunch? It was one of the two. Trying to 'get back with her'. When she refused him, he grabbed her by the arm and left bruises." Harper frowns, and reaches out to clap a hand to Robert's shoulder. "I found him and beat the shit out of him for having the audacity to touch her."
He knows that Siobhan really could've taken care of herself, but she shouldn't have had to deal with that jackass alone.
"Sir, I love your daughter, but I respect you and your wife as well. The ring is a promise of my intentions, but if you ask us to wait another year or two after graduation, I'm more than willing to. As long as you're fine with the two of us marrying at some point in the future."

Oh, Siobhan, Robert thinks with the sort of mixed love and exasperation that only a parent can manage. He's not blaming her, and he knows why she never mentioned it. She didn't want to worry or upset her parents. It's sweet how she tries to protect them, but that's not her job.

"This is the point where I'm supposed to tell you that fighting doesn't solve anything," Robert says. "Between us, though, I'm glad to hear it." He's glad to know that when push comes to shove, Harper will do what it takes to take care of and protect Robert's baby girl.

"I'm going to be frank, Harper. I've known you a long time, and I respect the young man that you've grown up to be. That being said, Siobhan is and always will be my baby girl. I'm not going to lie and say that I'm one hundred percent ecstatic, and someday when you're standing in my shoes, I think you'll understand why it won't ever be one hundred percent." It's acknowledging that his little girl is growing up and moving on, and that there's another man in her life who's going to be more important than daddy.

"But I want her to be happy and I know that she's happy with you. More important than that, I know that you'll love her as much as her mother and I do. You're already like a son to us, Harper, and I don't have any qualms about making that legal and official someday. You stick to what you've said, give it the year for you both to finish school, and when you do propose, you'll have my blessing."

Robert adjusts his gloves and laughs. "Plenty of kids get married right out of uni. I'm not going to balk at that. I trust you both to do what makes sense logically. Financially. Not just romantically."

Climbing out of the cart, he glances back at Harper. "This is the point where I subtly remind you that I am a sorcerer and tell you don't want to find out what that really means."

"I know it doesn't, but that jackass is the type that only responds when someone's beating the crap out of him. I don't think he'll bother Siobhan again." And if he does? Harper will bring Quintin with him next time to tie the jerk into a pretzel and leave him in a dumpster. Harper may be good with his fists, but he's not ashamed to admit that there are people that are better than he is, and much more scary to make angry. He'll use whatever resources he's got to ensure that Jesse doesn't hurt Siobhan again.

"That's fine. I can settle for ninety percent," he quips. Clearing his throat, he quirks a smile at Robert. "I'm not planning on taking her anywhere. You'll always play a large part is Siobhan's life, even if she's moving to a new address. That's not going to keep her from you."


"A year for a proper proposal. At least another year to plan a wedding, if not longer. By then we can find a small place in the city." Realistically, Harper knows that to start, he's not going to be able to afford an Upper East Side home. At least not in the range that Siobhan and he are both used to. But they'll make it work.

"We're not in any rush, Robert. As long as we can be together, a long engagement doesn't bother either of us." At least long enough so that he's got a secure job and can afford to allow Siobhan to finish graduate studies if she wants to.

Hopping out of the cart, he grabs both sets of clubs and slings one over each shoulder. "No, I really don't."

As far as father-to-boyfriend conversations go, Robert thinks that this one hasn't fared too badly. It really does help that he knows Harper Donovan, knows his family, and respects him. He hasn't said a word that he doesn't mean: Harper is as much like a son to he and Dawna as Jenna is a daughter. He's very grateful that Siobhan has had the pair of them in her life, and if he's being truly honest, he's pretty certain that Harper is the only young man who could ever get his blessing without having to work for it.

Harper Donovan is the only one who's good enough for his daughter.

Of course, there is one more thing.

"I know you're sleeping together." Robert would like to plant his head in the sand and cling to his delusions that his daughter is chaste, pure and innocent and will remain that way until she goes to her grave. It's unrealistic, but he's her father. She's still his little girl.

He doesn't look around at Harper, holding up a hand to stop him from interjecting, and appearing to very engrossed in studying the green. "You're both young and in love. I've been there and I would be stupid to think I could stop it, and an absolute nutter to think that I should stop it. You're both smart, and I trust you both to be safe and not do anything that could throw a spanner in the works."


"Keep being discreet. I don't want to see it. I don't want to know about it." He only knows about it because his wife ambushed him and took him to task for keeping his head buried in the sand. Only now does he turn back to look at Harper and he rubs a hand over his face. "I think I speak for both of us when I say that we can just pretend we didn't have this part of the conversation? For both our sakes?"

"What conversation?" Harper knows where Robert's head is at that. He was young, and foolish, and had an affair with Dawna, and while that worked out well in the end, it could have been a horrible mess. One he doesn't want his daughter subjected to.

"Don't worry. I'm too young to want to be a father. With any luck that won't be happening until a few years after we are married, and have financial security. Besides, you and Dawna are too young to be grandparents, no matter how you might want to dote on a baby."

Clearing his throat, Harper hands Robert's clubs off to him.

"I think this hole is going to be hell to get par on."

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