TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Linda took a deep breath, as she stood for a moment, there at the back-stage door. Steve was in there, waiting for her, she knew. She didn't have time to hesitate any longer, though, as Terry and R. J. came busting out, talking and laughing, on their way to the bar.
She stood there, looking in, then hesitantly entered the room. There he was. Her eyes locked with Steve's.
"Steve," she cried, as she held out her arms to him.
"Linda?" Steve said, as he went to her.
They waited a few seconds, as flashes of memories came to them both, then they were in each other's arms.
"I'm sorry, Steve, so sorry I never came back," Linda said. "I had to keep away...you understand?"
Steve nodded. "Yeah, I do, and I am glad you got away when you did. It got so much worse."
"I thought it might, and all I knew was to run," Linda said. "I wish I could have taken you and our sister with me."
Steve was overcome with his sudden emotions, and was having a hard time continuing, but after a minute, he said, "Linda, we have to talk, but not here."
She nodded. "I'll be here for a few days...we'll have time. Kinsey's letting me stay upstairs while I'm here."
"Oh, ok...good. Tomorrow then?" Steve asked.
"Yes, anytime," she said, and smiled at her brother.
Steve then remembered he should introduce Ghost to her. This whole time, Ghost had been across the room, watching, listening, but giving them time to re-connect. His head was filled with the extreme emotions from the two of them.
It was breaking his heart...the pain they both had been through as kids...some of which Steve had told him about, but it was amplified, now that brother and sister were together. Tears ran freely down his face.
Steve led Linda over to where Ghost was sitting. "Ghost, this is my sister, Linda, and Linda, this is my best friend, and my love," he said.
Ghost looked up into Linda's eyes and knew everything would be all right. He smiled.
"Ghost..." Linda said, and knelt down in front of him, taking his hands in hers. "You've captured my brother's heart...and now you have mine, too. Thank you...thank you for loving him all these years, when I wasn't able to." She pulled Ghost into her arms.
Ghost could feel she meant it, and he lost his heart to her, too. She was a part of Steve, and that made her a part of himself.
Linda felt it too. She was as drawn to Ghost, as Steve was, and could feel a bond already, because of their love for Steve. Looking into Ghost's eyes, she said, "Sweetheart, you have a beautiful voice, and an even more beautiful heart. I want to hear you sing again, but for now I must get some rest." She knew it was her call to bring the evening to a close.
She stood, and giving Steve a hug, she said, "I'll be waiting for tomorrow, Steve." Turning, she left, to go upstairs to her room for the night.
Steve and Ghost just stayed there, lost in their thoughts for a few minutes.
"I like her a lot," Ghost said. "Do you think she likes me, too?"
Steve grinned, and said, "Ghost she fell in love with you just as much as I did."
Ghost caught his breath, at that, and hugged Steve, with his face pressed into Steve's shoulder. Steve could feel Ghost silently sobbing, at the relief he felt...that he could release some of his worries.
"It's gonna be ok," Steve said. "Do you feel that it is, now?"
Ghost nodded. "Yeah," he said, his voice muffled.
"Ok, now look at me," Steve said, raising Ghost's face. "Tomorrow I'll come here and we'll talk. I'd be happy if you come, too, but you don't have to. It might take all day. She's only here for a short time, and I don't know yet what her plans are. But we'll talk it over, and work it out." He stopped, as he saw Ghost shaking his head.
"No, I won't come with you, Steve. This is for you and her to talk about...private stuff. Later, you can tell me what's gonna happen next, but only if you want to tell me other stuff, ok?"
"Yeah, it's ok. We do have the past to reconcile, but you are part of that, too, Ghost. You are my family, and you are a part of her now, too...so maybe you should hear it all," Steve said.
"I don't know...I'll think about it," Ghost said. "I think it might be too much for me to know. I already know some of it, and it breaks my heart already, Steve." He squeezed Steve's hands.
"Ok, I understand," Steve said.
There was a knock at the door, and then Kinsey came in. "Everything ok?" he asked.
"Yeah, it's all good, Kinsey," Steve said. "I have my sister back. We're gonna get together in the morning, to talk."
Kinsey came over, giving Steve a hug. "I'm happy for you. I know you were anxious about seeing her again, but she felt the same...and now you both can move forward." He looked over at Ghost. For some reason he was getting a mixed feeling from him...like happy and sad, at the same time, if there could be such a thing.
"Come here, Ghost," Kinsey said, pulling him into the hug. "I love you guys. It'll be ok. Now, I'm closing up, locking up, all that. Y'all can stay here tonight if you want to."
"Oh, guess we'll go on home, Kinsey," Steve said. He began gathering up his guitar, and other equipment. "We'll be outta here in a few."
Kinsey nodded. "Ok, then...see ya in the morning." He left to tend to his chores.
Steve sighed. "What a night..." Looking at Ghost, he noticed he was still bare footed. "Where's your boots, Ghost?"
"I don't know...I guess out there."
"Well, go get them. It's cold out there, and you need to put them on. I'm taking this stuff out to the car...come on out, when you find them," Steve said. He lugged an armful toward the back door.
Ghost went back to the stage, to find his boots and scarf. As he stood there on the stage by himself, he could still feel the lingering essence of the music, the band, his friends, and the crowd. "It is good, what we did tonight," he thought.
He found his things, but just stood looking up at the ceiling, at the twinkle lights, still on, and then over to his writing wall. This place represented love to him. It was his home, and his family, just as much as his little house in the woods was. Smiling, he put on his boots.
He did not look up toward the upstairs balcony, and the rooms upstairs, but he could feel that Linda was there...looking over the railing...watching him. He knew she was wondering what his story was, and also sending thoughts of love and caring down to him.
As he left the stage, he paused, not looking back, and whispered..."I love your brother with all my heart, Linda..." Then he went out the door.
Linda started, when she heard Ghost's voice. It was very quietly said aloud, but she could also hear it loud inside her head. It was such a strange feeling, that she'd never had before. Who was this Ghost?
She watched Ghost leave, then went into the small apartment Kinsey had let her stay in. She made a phone call to check on her children...she'd left them at home with their Aunt Lisa...her and Steve's younger sister. She would tell Steve tomorrow that Lisa was found, too. So much to catch up on...
Ghost had come outside, getting in the car with Steve. He leaned back in the seat, propping his booted feet up on the dash board. "I got 'em, see?" he said.
"Umm, yeah, I see," Steve said, and started the car.
After a few minutes driving down the highway, Ghost said. "She was watching me. She was looking over the railing upstairs, and she just watched. I sent her a message...I said I love you."
Steve looked over at him. "You said you loved her?"
"No, I said I love you. I said, I love your brother."
"Oh, what did she say?"
"She didn't say anything. I think she didn't know why my voice was in her head."
"Yeah, that is kinda freaky," Steve said. "I guess she'll get used to it, though, if she spends any time around you." He laughed.
Ghost agreed, and laughed, too. "I know, 'cause y'all never know when I'm gonna say something."
Steve gave him a look. "Ghost...you're saying something all the time."
"Yeah, but not always to your head," Ghost said.
Steve pulled up into their driveway, and they carried in their equipment. Both were happy the show had been a success, and the meeting with Linda had been good, but knew tomorrow would be intense.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing