TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
When they arrived back home, Linda hurried the kids in to their bedroom. Getting them in their pajamas, she said, "Y'all wait here. I'll bring sandwiches and milk. You can eat in your room."
Stevie and Mandy liked the sound of that, and began pulling out some toys from the already packed boxes. Not much was left in the room by now...just the toys, and a mattress on the floor, to be loaded into the U-Haul, in the morning.
Linda went back into the kitchen to prepare the food for the little ones. She could hear Lisa and Bill talking to Steve and Ghost, out in the front yard. They were getting a bit loud. After bringing in the food to the kids, she went to the front door.
"The neighbors don't want to hear all this. Get in here...all of you."
They shuffled in, one by one, into the kitchen. Linda put a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jelly on the table in front of them. "There's your supper," she said, as she slammed a knife down beside the bread.
"Sit...now start talking," she said, looking at Steve. And, he did, from the beginning, as he knew of it...of Maxey's involvement, all the way up to the surveillance cameras he'd hidden at their house, and being on the run. When he'd finished, they all sat in silence for a minute.
"Is that how it happened, Ghost?" Linda asked.
Ghost nodded. "Most of it. Just like I told it to Steve. But, there was more...it was way worse than that...and, I never want Steve to know it," he said, swiping at the tears on his face.
"Ghost?" Steve asked. "I thought you told me all of it. You need to tell me the rest." He looked stricken that anything worse could have happened.
"I can't, Steve, I just can't...and I told you the main parts...all of it...just not the whole little parts...the inside parts...how I felt, and how I hurt, and ...I can't think of the word, but it don't matter anyway, 'cause my head got all fuzzy, and I don't even remember it all...just the hurt..."
Steve reached over, hugging Ghost. "I'm so sorry. I tried so hard to find you. I looked everywhere..."
Ghost nodded "I know...I knew you were there. I saw you, but I couldn't help myself then. And, you'd already killed me once...I couldn't...I was scared, Steve...of you...that you'd come to kill me again, or at least that you hated me. I didn't want you to see me."
"Oh, Ghost, I made a horrible mess of everything," Steve murmured into Ghost's hair, as he rocked them back and forth.
Lisa and Linda were wiping their own tears away. Bill said, "I see now why you hit Maxey, Steve. He had no business being around Ghost tonight...and grabbing you...no way. I'm glad, now, that you cold-cocked the bastard."
"He's not coming back, is he?" Ghost asked.
"No, he's behind bars for a long time. Don't worry about it ever again," Steve said.
With the air cleared, they ate their sandwiches. "Ok, guys, I'm tending to the kids, and going to bed. Still stuff to do in the morning. Good night..." Linda said. Everyone else did the same, and Lisa turned out the light as she left the kitchen. Everyone collapsed int0 their beds.
Steve and Ghost talked in low voices, after the lights were out. "I know you want to know all of the...the...what is that word?" Ghost asked.
"Details...the details..." Steve said. "Yeah, I do, but I won't bug you."
Ghost nodded, and snuggled closer into Steve's warmth. "I know, and I really don't remember it all, but I did write it down...as much as I could, in a journal...a long time ago. I'll find it at home...you can read it."
"Ok, only if you want me to," Steve said. Ghost yawned, and nodded, "Yes," he said.
Linda was so tired, she fell right to sleep in her room. Bill and Lisa talked a bit about Steve and Ghost. "What do you make of the whole story?" Bill asked. "I mean, it must have happened, but...well, it's so far out of our nice, peaceful life here." He shook his head. "So much that has happened to Ghost, and to Steve, too..."
Lisa agreed. "From all I've heard, it's a wonder Ghost is even still alive...and to have found his way back to Steve...well, I wish we had known back then...he was practically right around the corner all that time...so close."
"I know, Lisa, but it is in the past. Everyone deals with their situation and moves on. That's all anyone can do," Bill said.
Lisa sighed. "I know...and, I'm going to miss Linda and the kids, and even Ghost and Steve, now, when they leave tomorrow. I'm going to cry."
Bill gave her a hug. "I know, honey. It'll be sad to see them go, but we'll visit out there real soon...as soon as your classes let out for summer break."
Lisa nodded, already half asleep. "Mmm-hmm, real soon."
Morning dawned in another picture perfect, California day...warm, with a hint of ocean breezes, drifting over the neighborhood. Linda was up first, a million things running through her thoughts. She cooked breakfast, a big one, since they'd not had much of a supper. The smell of the coffee brought out Lisa, who poured a cup, then sat down at the table.
"Bill's in the shower. Are the kids awake?" she asked.
"They weren't a few minutes ago, but it's time I do need to wake them up. This is pretty much ready," she said, turning off the burners on the stove. "I'll go see to them," Linda said.
On the way down the hall, she met Steve, who was on his way to the kitchen. She gave him a hug. "Morning, brother," she said.
"Mornin', Sis," Steve said, smiling. "I like the sound of that."
"Me, too..." Linda said, and laughed. "Breakfast is ready, whenever you are." She continued on to the kid's room, waking them, and getting them dressed for the day.
Steve poured himself and Ghost a cup of the hot coffee, telling Lisa they'd be back for food in a little bit. She got out plates, and poured milk for Stevie and Mandy. Bill came in, giving Lisa a hug, knowing today would be emotional for her.
Steve gave Ghost his coffee, after waking him up. Ghost curled his fingers around the cup, warming them. He breathed in the steam. Steve could see that he looked pretty rough, and knew he'd not slept very good. He'd felt him tossing around, and heard him cry out in his dreams, more than once.
"Steve, I'm sorry everything got so messed up last night," Ghost said.
"Yeah, me too, but it wasn't your fault...wasn't none of ours fault, ya know. And, now we're going home. I am so ready to be back at our house. I don't really ever want to come to L. A. again," Steve said.
"Me, neither," Ghost said, shaking his head. Brushing long strands of his hair from his face, he smiled his crooked smile. "Ya think they got some molasses out there? I'm so hungry."
Steve laughed. "I'm pretty sure they do. Get up and we'll go see."
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing