Looking back on it, he thinks that maybe he should have killed Wyatt Long when he had the chance because his girlfriend (he still can’t believe his luck, the amazing fact that now, finally, she’s his. Seriously. He has to pinch himself every damn day to make sure that no, he’s not dreaming, and yes, the girl he gets to pull into his arms is indeed the same girl he spent his entire youth utterly enamored with.) is currently listening to her angry, “look at the racists in this small, stupid town” song and pacing around the room muttering…in Spanish. Again. It’s a good thing they’re alone, too, because this is New Mexico and she’s currently talking about how she wishes she was a witch so she could turn Wyatt into a rat and then freeze him in her lab. She said something about “disección” which he’s choosing not to think about because that word gives him anxiety and it’s just not the time for that. He’s tried talking to her but for the most part, there’s no clue that she even heard him even though she had driven to his place about an hour ago so he thinks she’s present somewhere in her head. “Or,” a small voice in his mind dares to venture, “maybe you’ve become her person.” He shuts that voice down really quickly because this really wasn’t the time for the butterfly invasion in his stomach that idea would bring on. The song starts again and he watches her start her pattern across the room once again, wracking his brain to find the best way through to her.
“What are you changing? What do you think you’re changing? You can’t change things, we’re all stuck in our ways. It’s like trying to clean the ocean. What do you think, you can drain it? Well, it was poison and dry long before you came. But you can wake up younger under the knife. You can wake up sounder if you get analyzed. And I’d better wake up. There but for the grace of God go I.”
Her father had kept the promise he’d made her months ago and gone forth with trying to attain citizenship. There had been setbacks-a major one had been Noah (and, yeah, there was that desire to pound his that guy’s head into the ground once again) but Liz had managed to find an even better lawyer (through connections she still had from out of state) and they were fighting. The stress had been running high enough and then about a week ago, Wyatt had finally gone in for his court date but, as people with privilege sometimes do, he managed to get off on some sort of technicality. (Technicality his ass, really. Sometimes Max really hated how people on this planet could be bought. He supposed it was probably that way everywhere but really liked to hope otherwise.) Ever since that day, Wyatt had been coming by the Crashdown just to taunt Mr. Ortecho and call him the most disgusting names. Luckily for the blood still running through the guy’s veins, he hadn’t laid a hand on father or daughter because Max really didn’t think he’d be able to hold himself back.
“It’s hard to believe your prophets when they’re asking you to change things. With their suspect lives, we look the other way. Are you really that pure, sir? Thought I saw you in Vegas. It was not pretty, but she was (not your wife). But she will wake up wealthy and you will wake up forty-five and she will wake up with baby. There but for the grace of God go I.”
Liz had been handling it amazingly. He was in constant awe of her, though that was nothing new. He knew that she had been working on being nothing but positive at home, wanting her father to see nothing but the pride and awe that she towards the man. It constantly caught in his throat the beauty of how close they were. There was something so incredible about watching them together, the love between them this ever visible line. The warmth in Mr. Ortecho’s eyes every time he looked at Liz and her pride and love for him shining in her eyes whenever she looked back. Not everyone had that parent-child dynamic and a small piece of him was jealous but mostly he was just protective of them both. Today had been a hard day in America because the…president…(He hated calling that tick that.) had finally gotten further with setting up plans for The Wall. It was unbelievable what small minded people were willing to do to help aid the hatred of anything and anybody that was different. Wyatt had celebrated by getting hammered and then by “accidentally” setting a fire to part of the Crashdown, then looking at the father-daughter duo in the eye as if daring them to do something so he could do something violent and claim it as self-defense. It set Mr. Ortecho back a few thousand dollars in damages which was the last thing they needed right now. He and Cameron had personally put him behind bars again but as the drunk asshole tended to do, he ran his mouth loudly and talked about how try as they might to keep him down, he was “untouchable”.
“What am I fighting for? The cops are at my front door. I can’t escape that way the windows are in flames. And what’s that on your ankle? You say they’re not coming for you. But house arrest is really just the same (just the same). Like when you wake up behind the bar trying to remember where you are. Having crushed all the pretty things. There but for the grace of God go I.”
He doesn’t come up with a plan but instead just goes in front of her path and pulls her to him. She goes stiff for a moment and then goes lax, a frustrated sob coming out of her throat as he traces patterns over her back. Maybe he doesn’t have the right words to say, he doesn’t think they exist. He just wants her to know that he’s there for her, for her dad. He’s sturdy with the love that he has for her because his American dream has always been to love and take care of this woman that’s in his arms, looking up at him with wide, hurt, and tear-filled eyes.
“But I still believe. And I will rise up with fists. And I will take what’s mine. There but for the grace of God go I. There but for the grace of God go I. There but for the grace of God go I. There but for the grace of God go I.”
“We will beat this. All of this,” she says, her voice full of conviction and he looks into her eyes, tracing his thumb over her cheekbone. “We will,” he agrees, his voice full of promise. As she leans up to kiss him, and take a piece of affection to help settle her in her knowledge that he’s here, real, and hers, he realize just how much he’d do to make sure this all ends the way that they want. Hell, he’ll go to the end of every world to make sure it does.