Jeff finished his medley and idly drummed his fingers on the guitar’s face. “Hmm.” He watched Arabella lead her sons back to their table. Clarice returned to her own table as well.
I could play another song or two, but—
His stomach growled.
“I think I deserve a break right about now.” He put his guitar back into its case and closed it up.
“Trust me.” Laura opened the guitar case.
Jeff frowned. “I don’t understand.” He pulled the guitar out. It was a beautiful instrument — black all around the edges with a burnt parchment-colored belly.
“It’s for you.”
His frown lifted, but he still felt puzzled by it all.
“I figured with you taking singing lessons, you really should have an instrument to play along with your singing.”
He laughed. “Do you really think I can learn two things at the same time like that?”
She kissed him. “I know you can.”
He opened his eyes and looked into her dark brown eyes.
She believes in me even when I don’t.
“I love you, my Laura girl.”
If only you were here now to see me do what you knew I could do.
He thought about her and smiled. “You would be proud of me.”
I know it.
“Which reminds me.” Jeff pulled out his cell phone and called Raven’s number again.
LM reread Jo’s rejection of Laurie one more time. He took into consideration everything that Capernaum had said about it.
He frowned and shook his head as Jo told Laurie, “Nuh-uh. Ain’t happening ever. Welcome to the FRIENDZONE, my friend!”
It still doesn’t make sense. I don’t see the lines that lead to her rejecting him. It doesn’t make any sense at all.
Raven’s phone rang again.
He answered it. “Hello?”
“Is my daughter safe?”
“Yeah, is she safe?”
LM stood and checked Missy. “She’s safe.”
“What is she doing?”
“Still? Is she okay?”
He looked down at her and shrugged. “She’s breathing and there aren’t any alarms going off. Doesn’t that count as okay?”
“Get one of the nurses. One of the doctors. Ask them. Make sure she’s okay.”
“mmnnn.” Missy yawned and opened her eyes. “Raven?”
“Well. She’s awake and talking and—”
“Let me talk to her.”
Tsk. He didn’t even say please.
“Just a minute.”
Missy focused on the half-fey. “You’re not Raven.”
“No, I’m LM. I could tell you more than that, but—”
“You don’t have to. I. I know you. You were Capernaum’s friend.”
He brusquely handed the phone to her. “Your father wants to talk to you.”
She took the phone.
LM walked over to the window and looked outside.
Capernaum is dead. He is still with me and it’s almost like before.
But he is dead. He is a ghost now.
It is not like before.
Before, he was alive.
Now, he is dead. He is dead and he is a ghost. How does he feel about that? What does he think about staying here with me as a ghost? Is it what he wants?
Is it what I want? Yes. I miss him. I need him. If he leaves me, I’ll be completely alone. Who will I turn to if he isn’t there anymore? Who will protect me?
Who will be my friend?
Capernaum is my friend, but am I his? Does he secretly resent me keeping him with me? What if he does?
What am I supposed to do?
He is my friend. My protector. My whole support system. I have no one else. Just him.
But what am I supposed to do?
What do I need to do?
LM scoffed. “I’m acting like a human. Asking questions when I already know the answers. Nonsense. Just nonsense.”
Capernaum appeared next to him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disappear for so long.”
LM stared fixedly out the window.
“What? What is it? What? LM?”
The half-fey swallowed hard.
“You are my friend. My one and only friend.”
“I always will be.”
Tears stung his eyes and fell. “I’ll miss you when you leave me.”
Capernaum studied his expression. “LM, I’m not…leaving. I’m here.”
LM sniffled. “I know.”
“LM, what are you trying to tell me?”
“I don’t want you to leave me. I want you to stay here, to always stay here with me. I want to say this. I want you to do it. I want. I want…” He rubbed away his tears, but he did not turn to face his friend.
“LM.” Capernaum gently laid his hand on the half-fey’s shoulder. “Tell me later. You can tell me what you need to say as soon as Jeff returns. Okay?”
LM nodded. “I can wait till then.”