TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve and Ghost continued to find their way with each other. Some days were harder than others, but they had come through the fire at last...tempered by the flames of betrayal, painful, physical, and emotional scars. They grew to trust one another again, with an enduring ember, that would burn forever, however many times that ember would flare with sparks, and they knew they could face it together.
Steve had not mentioned to Ghost, that he'd seen Terry on that morning he'd gone out for groceries. As he was leaving the small store, arms full of bags, Terry had just come in. They had not seen each other since Steve had been in the hospital, nor had they spoken on the phone. It had been awhile, so it was a bit awkward now, to see each other.
"Hey, Steve, how's it going?" asked Terry.
"Hey, Terry. It's going ok...been busy." Steve said, as he adjusted the bags he held.
"Looks like you're set for awhile then, with all that food ya got there," Terry chuckled.
Steve wasn't in a mood to talk, but he did want to see if he could come back to work for Terry, so he tentatively, hopefully asked.
Terry gave him a hard look. "Uh...Steve, when you left the shop, you said you weren't ever gonna come back to work for me. You were bored and hated it. What's changed?"
"I know, Terry, I know," Steve humbled himself, "but, I need money. I gotta get another car. And, actually, I'm bored not working. Kinsey won't let me play over there at the club anymore, so...what d'ya say?" he gave Terry a smile.
Terry sighed, "Steve, I know things have been hard for you lately, so...if you're serious, and I mean you come in on time, and no calling in with a hangover...ya know what I mean...then, ok. I'll give you another chance. Just one more, got it?"
"Yeah, Terry, I got it, and thanks, man."
"Ok then, come in starting next Monday morning, regular time, regular pay. We'll see how it goes."
"Sure thing, Terry. See ya then," and as Steve began to walk away, he heard Terry say, almost like he didn't want him to hear, yet loud enough that he did...
"Say hey to Ghost, when ya get home."
Steve froze for a second, then tried to pretend he didn't hear, and continued walking.
"Shit," he thought. "Why did Terry say that? How could he know Ghost was back? Could he just feel my happiness, could he see on my face that it was true?"
He hurried on home. He'd have to tell Ghost that word was out that he was back in town. Then, with all that happened when he got back to the house, he'd forgotten. Now, he decided he'd better say something about it.
"Hey, Ghost? Guess what?" Steve asked the next morning, after their night of soul searching. "I got my job back with Terry."
"You saw Terry?" Ghost asked.
"Yeah, I forgot to tell you. When I got those groceries, he was there. I asked him about it...said I could start next week. What d'ya think?"
"Well, I guess if you have to," said Ghost.
"Yeah, I do kinda have to, since I'm flat broke, and I gotta get another car, and we have to eat," said Steve. And now comes the tricky part... he continued, "Oh, by the way...I think word is out that you're back in town, Ghost."
Ghost caught his breath, "How? I haven't seen anyone, haven't been anywhere."
"I don't know...just that Terry said to tell you hey, when I got back to the house. I didn't say anything at all to make him think you were here."
Ghost sighed, "Well, I didn't want to yet, but guess if Terry figured it out, he's telling everyone in town." He thought for a minute.
"How're we gonna do this? How am I gonna do this? Should I just hoover around the edge of town, and people could say 'yeah, I saw a ghost', or should I just pop out at people and say 'Boo, I'm back."? Ghost started giggling, and couldn't quit, and Steve joined in, until finally they had to stop and catch their breath.
"Oh, shit, Ghost, you crack me up!" Steve laughed. "Well, let's just wait and see what happens. You know Terry probably ran straight to Kinsey, and he'll tell everyone else. I'm going to the record store in a couple of days. I'll see what's been going on, and then we can go from there, ok?"
"Yeah, let's have a couple more days to ourselves first," Ghost agreed.
Meanwhile, Steve was right. Terry had figured it out, and went to see Kinsey. Kinsey was happy to hear Ghost was back, but it complicated things..a lot. He'd always thought of those two as sons he'd never had, stood up for them, and helped them along, however he could. But, he'd been so horrified at what Steve had done, he'd cut off all communication with him, and shut off his feelings...washed his hands of him. Now, if Ghost was back with Steve, and could forgive him, could he do the same? He didn't know. Terry had taken Steve back to work with him, said he was in a much better place after his wreck. He was trying to make things better. Said he looked happier than he'd been in a long time.
"Well," Kinsey sighed, "guess I can try, too." Then, there was the matter of the posters he'd received in the mail a while back. What should he do about that? "Maybe when Steve is on the job on Monday, I'll drive out to Ghost's house...see if he's really there, and bring the posters with me...let Ghost know what's going on with that," he thought.
So on Monday morning, Steve walked into town to work...on time and in a good mood. Ghost planned on writing in his journal, and working on some new songs, then cooking them something for later. He was on the old couch, writing some lyrics, when he heard a car crunching the gravel in the driveway. He looked out through the front screen door, and saw Kinsey's car stop. Watching him come up on the porch, Ghost felt a twinge of anxiety, and was surprised at how much older Kinsey looked after almost two years. He sensed Kinsey's feelings about coming here, too. The feeling of anxiety from him, too and of hopefulness of seeing Ghost again, and his turmoil about Steve.
Then, Ghost mentally shook himself, and realized he had no need to be afraid to see Kinsey. He was sure he could help put it right, about Kinsey's reluctance about Steve. Even so, when Kinsey knocked on the screen door, Ghost jumped, and his heart pounded. He rose off the couch, and slowly walked to the door.
His eyes were beginning to fill with tears, at seeing Kinsey again, after so long. As he opened the door, Kinsey still looked a little surprised to actually find Ghost there. Then at the same time, they both spoke the other's name.
"You really are here, Ghost."
Ghost nodded, which made his tears fall. He reached out, hugging Kinsey tight. "I'm here, Kinsey. I had to come back. This is home."
"I know, Ghost, I know," said Kinsey, with a catch in his throat, as he hugged Ghost, and smoothed his hair away from his face. "Just let me look at you for a minute. It's so good to see you."
They sat on the couch and talked a bit. Ghost telling a little about where he'd been, Kinsey relating town news. Then, they both grew quiet. Both had something important to say, and neither knew how to start. Then Ghost took a deep breath, and began.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing