Even though he doesn't have to be at the park until late in the afternoon, Tim is up at the crack of dawn to shower and dress. It occurs to him that maybe he should dress up but it seems too early for that and Neal's a criminal. Tim doesn't have to impress anyone for his benefit. Even if he really sort of wants to make the right impression.
He settles for a jeans and a t-shirt and pretends that his hands aren't sweating as he slips out of his room to escape the hotel.
It's surprisingly easy to hail a cab and Tim slides into the back, reading off his destination from a scrap of paper and leans against the window. It's not quite eight in the morning and the city is bustling with activity, sidewalks full and pedestrians darting through the stalled traffic. His cabbie is of the type that chatters endlessly about the day and the news. Tim smiles, nods, laughs and occasionally comments when he feels he has something substantial to contribute. It's doing wonders for his nerves and he finds himself relaxing against the seat.
The traffic makes the drive take twice as long as Tim anticipated, but in the end he's grateful for the delay. By the time the cab pulls over and slows to a stop, he feels like it's just another day and this is just another meeting. He leans over the seat to pay the cabbie, leaving a healthy sized tip, before starting to climb out of the car.
The cabbie, Joe, stops him and Tim glances back as the guy speaks, “I don't care if you're a Giant. You're a nice kid.”
Tim laughs bright and loud, bumping fists with Joe before getting out of the cab and jogging up the steps of the ridiculous house in front of him. He'd known it was going to be grand, but this is insane. He's met a lot of rich people and had to do schmoozing that he's hated but even then he'd never seen something like this. The insanity continues when he knocks. An honest to god maid in black and white lets him in and leads him to a sitting room before slipping out again.
The sitting room is actually a comfort, not unlike the offices of some of the higher ups. He paces it, leaning in and peering at knick knacks. He makes it to the fireplace and atop the mantle are generic family photos. One not so generic photo is of Neal holding a pug, sunny smile on his face with his hair windblown and a fedora askew on the pug's head.
“You know, Neal is one of the few dog walkers in Manhattan that always did his job in a full suit and hat.”
Tim puts the picture down. He feels like a kid caught with his hands in the cookie jar. “He never mentioned he was a dog walker.”
“If you're here, I imagine there's a lot of things Neal didn't tell you. I'm June. But I suppose you already knew that.” June smiles and brushes Tim's hair away from his face. He can't help the way he blushes. “Oh, you're adorable. No wonder he likes you.”
His instinct is to bristle at being called adorable but instead he's meekly letting June steer him through the house. Beyond that, he's really not sure how they go from point A, the sitting room and Tim's awkward nosiness to point B, sitting on a patio with a million dollar view, eating lunch and discussing Neal's overall life in New York.
Whereas Neal's confession had been a bare bones sketch, June's description fleshes out the story and really gives it life. Tim starts finding the truths in the stories that 'Nick' had told him and he gets to hear a few that are new, like Neal completely blowing it at a bachelor's auction with only a coworker's pity to help him save face. When he's finally stopped laughing, he feels guilty all over again and stares down at his plate, fork flicking bits of food back and forth.
“I didn't exactly tell him to leave, y'know. But I made it pretty obvious I didn't want him there. I thought everything was a lie. Another con to get something, anything. Or that I was a new toy that was still shiny enough to hold his attention.” Tim says, pushing his plate away and looking up at June through his hair.
“Or perhaps another pitcher to replace the one he left?”
Tim shakes his head. “No. He told me about Peter. There wasn't anything there but maybe some hero worship.”
“And yet you can't believe that Neal really cared about you. That he loved you.”
“He never said he loved me.”
June's smile is gentle and reminds Tim all too much of the way Posey will smile when he's slow walking you to a conclusion that you should reach on your own. Tim huffs at her and stuffs another cookie into his mouth. As long as his mouth is full, he doesn't have to admit that his denial and hurt wouldn't let him see what was really there. And he really doesn't want to admit what Posey and Sandoval have been insisting all along, that Tim was completely head over heels in love with his criminal.
June hooks her hand into the crook of Tim's elbow, leaning into him as they walk to the front door. He tries to thank her, to explain to her how much this has meant to him, learning the truth about Neal and knowing, really knowing, that it hadn't been a lie, that Neal had really cared about him. June just smiles and shakes her head, hugging him and kissing his cheek.
“Not at all, dear. You're going to be good for him, and that's enough for me. Now,” She takes a moment to smooth Tim's shirt down and push his hair out of his face, mirroring his smile. “My driver will take you to the stadium. And I expect you to have dinner with me before you leave New York.”
Tim does, and cheerfully endures Wilson's ribbings about his sugar mama when pictures turn up online.