Here is another fan-favorite moment from The Downey Trilogy:
This one is going out to Mary, a huge Tommy and Mickey fan who tells me this is her favorite father-son moment from First, I Love You:
Tommy was half glaring at him, lips pursed. Then he, too, let out a sigh and shrugged, running his hand through his hair.
“Truth is, my mom had already mentioned something to me a couple times before last night about spending more time with you while I’m here. I think I’ve been soundly outvoted here,” Tommy said, still sounding agitated.
“And you hate that, don’t you?” Mickey asked with a smile.
This boy was so much like him sometimes it was uncanny. But he knew instinctively that would be the last thing he should say to him right now. He walked over to the wet bar in the study and fixed an Old Fashioned. It was 5:00 somewhere. He got a cooled bottle of water out for Tommy from the mini-fridge and handed it to him. Tommy was watching his movements with a wariness and body language that spoke of fatigue.
“I’ve made no secret of my desire to have you be a part of my life. Everything’s been said, what feels like a thousand times over by now. But the last thing I want is you standing in my home against your will. Out of some sense of obligation to the people you do actually care about. It pleases me to see you, but it pleases me to see you happy most of all. What would make you happy?” Mickey asked softly.
Tommy looked down at his bottle in his hand and back up at Mickey through the fringes of his hair then looked away again. He didn’t answer, but he took a drink from his water and walked to the Chippendale desk in the corner of the room. Tommy fiddled with Mickey’s Al Capone bobble head someone had given him as a joke when he first moved to Chicago. It was difficult, but Mickey bit his tongue and waited, giving Tommy the space he needed to answer.
“If I didn’t care it would be easier, wouldn’t it?” Tommy finally answered, not looking at Mickey.
Mickey remained silent, such was his shock at hearing his son say he cared about him. Or is that what he said? Maybe by ‘cared’ he simply meant ‘cared to never have anything to do with you ever’. His confusion kept him mute.
Tommy finally turned and looked at him.
“It’s not like we’re strangers. Like we just met or something. We have… loved ones in common. A shared history; a few fond memories, though long ago. We’ve spent a couple holidays and family events together. But it’s not as if we’re close either. We don’t really know each other except for facts on a sheet and a superficial understanding of likes and dislikes. And, yes, that has been intentional on my part. I’ve told you why. I haven’t been able let go of my anger at you for what you put my mother through, and I can’t help but think,” Tommy stopped and ran a hand through his hair again. “What’s the point of getting to know you better? I’m still a cop and you’re still a man who has zero respect for what I do for a living. But I’ve never claimed to be indifferent. Of course I care. I care that my own father loves me, but I also care that he obviously doesn’t respect me—”
“Now hold up just one second, son! I do respect you. I am very proud of you and of the man you’ve become—”
“I care that you make me feel important and valued but treat others—”
“It’s true I don’t have any faith in law enforcement—”
“—with such breathtaking callousness and cruelty.”
“—or the justice system but I admire your dedication to it. I admire—”
“I care that you lavish us with obviously heartfelt gifts with money stolen—”
“—that you are a good person and a good example to your—”
“—from ‘dedicated’ and ‘good’ people who fear you—”
“Enough!” Mickey shouted.
The bourbon in his glass spilled all over his trembling hand and dripped to the worn wooden floor below. His stomach churned with tension and residual panic, and far from calming his nerves, the alcohol seemed to be ramping up the suffocating sensation of powerlessness that had threatened at the edges since Frank’s call. For years he had called all the shots. For years he had commanded respect from everyone around him. But with the one man whose respect he was so desperate to earn he was completely ineffectual. Everything was hanging in the balance on every front, and he couldn’t guarantee that a few loyal men and few billion dollars would be enough to protect his children and the woman he loved and he had given all that power up for this man – this man! – who refused to even see him as anything but the sum of his worst actions.
–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey