TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Ghost walked over to the writing wall by the side of the stage. Taking out his markers, he began to write about finding the rose on the porch, this morning. Then he drew a picture of Steve and Linda, and one of himself and Steve up on the stage. Last, he drew a pretty good likeness of Gumbo, playing their songs on stage.
Closing his eyes, now, he tried to envision the scene from the show last night...trying to pinpoint where in the crowd Maxey could have been. All that came to mind was a person that was not dancing, back behind the jostling kids on the dance floor. That must have been him. He didn't know what to think, now. Maxey was out of jail, and at the show. He knew he didn't want to ever see Maxey again, after he'd escaped from him. Finished writing, he got out the phone, and managed to dial Zach's number.
It rang several times, and then Zach answered, sort of... Ghost could hear giggles. Then he heard Trevor say 'hang up', and Zach saying, 'ok, just...' Then Zach spoke into the phone, "Hello?"
"Zach, it's me, Ghost..."
"Oh, Ghost, can I call you back?" There were kissing sounds.
Ghost smiled. "Ok, Zach, when y'all get done loving on each other, call me back." More giggles, and the phone shut off. Ghost stared at it for a minute, then sighed, putting it back in his jacket pocket. He hoped Zach would remember to call him back.
Making his way out to the kitchen, he began to help Kinsey prepare the food. "Got your business taken care of?" Kinsey asked.
"Yeah, some of it. I need to talk to Zach about stuff, but him and Trevor was busy," Ghost said.
"Uh, yeah...in bed...ya know...he'll call me back."
"Oh, I see," Kinsey said, and smiled. These young'uns never get enough...
"How do you think Steve and Linda's meeting is going," Kinsey asked.
"Ok, I guess. She's real nice and I like her already," Ghost said.
"Seems like it to me, too," Kinsey said. They finished up the sandwiches and began cutting up vegetables for a stew.
"Kinsey, I need some advice," Ghost said.
Kinsey glanced up. "What about, Ghost?"
"Well, something happened this morning, and me and Steve..." Ghost began, then Kinsey interrupted.
"Are y'all ok? Not fighting are ya?" Kinsey was on alert.
"No, we're ok, but I found out Maxey is out of jail now."
"What...already?" Kinsey frowned, hearing that bit of news.
"Yeah, and he was here last night, but we didn't know it. And, he sneaked over to our house later, and there was a rose and a note on the porch. We found it this morning."
"What did the note say?"
"It just said he liked the show, and he wouldn't bother me," Ghost said. He looked up into Kinsey's eyes, and Kinsey could see that he was worried.
"But, Kinsey...he already did bother me, 'cause he came to the house, ya know, and that really bothers me. So now what?"
"It bothers me, too, Ghost. I would have never let him in here, if I'd seen him. I didn't know he was back on the streets so soon. I'll make a few phone calls, and find out what's what. In the meantime, don't acknowledge him...don't respond, or contact him. Just ignore anything he tries. Maybe he's gone, and maybe he really means it, but be alert, Ghost," Kinsey said. "Stay close to Steve, and report anything suspicious. I'm gonna check on that restraining order...make sure it's still in effect, or get a new one, ok?"
Ghost nodded. "Yeah, Steve made me come here today, too. He didn't want me to be alone at the house, either."
Kinsey nodded. "Good, and until we're sure Maxey is gone, keep it that way." He saw that Ghost was still worried about it. Giving him a hug, he said, "We'll work it out, Ghost. Everyone has your back in this."
"Thank you, Kinsey, I'll try not to worry."
"It'll be ok. Now, I do have some good news," Kinsey said. "Y'all's CDs and books got sold out."
"Really?" Ghost smiled. "That's great, and Steve will be happy, too."
In the office, Steve and Linda had started off their meeting a bit awkward, at first, but eased into the conversation a little at a time.
"Steve, I'm so happy to have found you again," Linda said.
"Me too, but why now?" Steve asked. "Didn't you want to...before you saw Kinsey at Disneyland? And, where were you all this time? Would you have just gone on never finding me, if..." Steve said, then stopped. He looked down, and rubbed his face. "I'm sorry, Linda, that sounded bad. I'm really glad you're here."
Linda took his hands, immediately seeing how hurt Steve was...seeing how his defense was up, continuing the way it had always been for him...hiding his very real pain behind the rough exterior.
"Oh, honey, I'm sorry...for having to leave, and for leaving everyone behind. You understand, I had to. It was getting worse with Dad, and then Mom told me to go. She said she'd follow as soon as she could."
"I know that," Steve said. "And, after you, Mom, and Lisa went...it was...it was just me left behind...just me and Dad..." Steve's eyes watered, and a stray tear fell down his cheek. He brushed it away. "Why, why didn't she take me, too?"
Linda shook her head, closing her eyes. "I don't know, Steve. I always wondered about that. I never got a chance to ask."
"Didn't she find you...later, I mean?" asked Steve.
Linda shook her head again. "No, I never saw her again."
Steve sighed, trying to understand how things had gone so wrong for his family. "Where did you go?" he asked.
"I just ran...out of this town. I got a ride...west...and another one, until I ran as far as I could, and that was California. I did what I could to survive. I ate in soup kitchens, did odd jobs, stayed in shelters...all of that," she said.
"And now? You have kids, Linda," Steve said.
Smiling, Linda said, "Yes, two of them. I met a man...we got married, and we were ok for a few years, but then it was over. He took off and never looked back. But, my kids are what keep me going."
"Tell me about them," Steve said.
"Ok, well...first there was Mandy. She's eight now. Then my son...he's six. I hope you don't mind, but I named him after you...Steven. We call him Stevie, though." She smiled at her brother. "I swear he looks like you," she said, nodding.
"You named him after me? I don't mind, I like that. I sure would like to see them someday," Steve said.
"You will, I'm sure."
They sat for a few minutes, absorbing the words. Then, Linda said, "Steve, there's something else. I told you I never saw Mom again, but I did find our sister. I found Lisa."
"What...how?" Steve asked.
"It was crazy how it happened. Her and Mom had come to California, too, trying to find me, but I'd kept moving around. They finally settled, and made a home, never knowing I was so near. Lisa finished her schooling, and got her teaching credentials. She'd just started her first year teaching kindergarten, when I found her."
Steve was leaning forward in his chair, taking it all in, as Linda continued. "Mandy started school that year. She came home that first day, and said she loved her class and her teacher...Miss Finn."
"And, it was her?" Steve asked, wide-eyed.
Linda nodded. "Yes...of course I was startled to hear our last name, but really, there's probably lots of Finn's, you know, and what were the chances?"
"Yeah, one in a million," Steve said.
"Um-hmm, so anyway, the next day I went to the school to see for myself. I walked into the office, and I asked them to see Mandy's teacher. They led me to the classroom. Mandy was of course all excited to get back to school, and for me to meet her new teacher." She paused for a second, remembering how it had been. "Steve, Lisa was at her desk...I knew immediately. I just stood there saying her name over and over, and crying. She called my name and came running to me. That was all it took. We had found each other."
"Wow, that is amazing, Linda," Steve said. "So, y'all have been together now, in L. A.? Is she still teaching?"
"Yes, and we live together now, in a big old house. She still teaches, and has a fiancé. My kids adore their aunt Lisa. And, you know what? They'll adore their uncle Steve, too."
"I want to see them all, like right now," Steve said.
"I'm sure it will be soon, Steve," Linda said.
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing