- A Serialized Novel -

Sorting out Carson's legacy only leads to more questions.

Author’s Note: I think Mackenna’s like me in the always connecting stuff to songs department. That’s about all since I’m with Carson, couldn’t fix a car to save my life.


“Feeling any better?”

“A bit. I wish I could stop the whole worst case scenario thinking. I mean, why do I have to keep assuming that it was some kind of sick abuse? I’ve got no proof, after all, and I’d like to stop freaking out about it. I don’t want to do this.” Carson rose, walking away from the table to the back door. He didn’t know what Mackenna was cooking, but it did smell good. He would like to have an appetite for a change, but every time he thought about what he’d remembered, his stomach turned on him. “I don’t know what to do. I can’t stop thinking about it. This is what got them to put me on medication last time. They didn’t think I could handle it otherwise.”

“Maybe not then, but you’re not the same person you were, and you’re better at dealing with things now,” she told him, and he frowned at her, not believing that he’d improved much over the years. He was still a coward, and he didn’t like that he was, but he didn’t seem to be able to stop himself. “Besides, this time you have me.”

That made him smile. “Yeah, I do, don’t I? I don’t really know what I’d do without you, either. You keep me sane. You keep me going at this point, and I appreciate it. You know, for all that we’re not like that, I’m wondering if maybe I shouldn’t just beg you to marry me so that I know you’ll be around.”

She rolled her eyes. “Sure. Because no one ever gets divorced. Marriage is no guarantee, vows or no vows. Too many people break them.”

“I know. I’m not really planning on asking.”

“Good. I’d have to say no.”

He knew that. It wouldn’t be for any right reason that they’d be considering it. They were both lonely, messed up people, but that didn’t make them in love. Both of them had too many issues to deal with to complicate it with the other’s problems, and while they made good friends, they weren’t anything else.
“What are you making?”

“Finnan haddie,” she said, ducking her head. He didn’t know what to think of that. “Okay, your lack of response shows that you don’t know that song, do you? Good. I’m not sure I want to explain that one. Just… don’t ask for any of my finnan haddie.”


She laughed. “Fine, fine. Let’s see, how does it go again? ‘If I invite a boy some night to dine on my fine Finnan haddie, I just adore his asking for more, but my heart belongs to Daddy.’”


“I know, I know, inappropriate under the circumstances, but I owed Mac something special for the kidnapping of the Airstream, and this particular Finnan haddie recipe is my great-grandmother’s. She brought it with her when they emigrated. She was very proud of it, and he loves it. I can’t help that Cole Porter chose to rhyme haddie with daddy for his song or that it gets stuck in my head every time I cook it. I’m kind of bad with songs, if you can’t tell.”

Carson nodded. He’d picked up on that. If not for the lyrics in that one, he’d find that habit of hers very amusing. Like her geekiness about cars and history. He liked it all. She was a lot of fun to be around. “All right, let’s play a song association game. You tell me what you come up with when I say something random, and we’ll see just how little I know about music.”

“This could be fun,” she said, taking the fish out of the pan, letting the liquid drain off through her spoon. “All right. Go ahead. Make it as weird as you want, but be warned that I can come up with some obscure things. Too many nights with the old guys at the Legion swapping stories of the songs they used to know or just enjoying my face when they get into their cups a little and start in on the bawdy ones. I didn’t know what they meant at first, and wow, did they have fun with that.”

“I bet.” Carson took a deep breath, trying not to pick anything obvious. He looked around the room until he spotted something he could use. “A letter. No, no good. Return to Sender or The Letter. Way too easy. Um… an eagle. Crap. Also easy. Fly Like an Eagle.”

“If you want more… obscure, go Stormy Monday.”

“Stormy Monday?”

“But Tuesday’s just as bad.”

Carson shook his head. “Okay, you got me. I don’t know that one.”

She grinned. “It’s not a long one, pretty simple, an old blues classic. ‘They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad. Wednesday’s worse, and Thursday’s also sad. Yes, the eagle flies on Friday, and Saturday I go out to play…’”


“Want to pick another? I mean, we will have to get all the old records out and the digital collection and everything so you can hear the songs as they’re meant to be, but… this could keep us busy for days. I could even quiz you because you’re not as bad as you think.”

He smiled. “Sure. That sounds good to me. Any time we need a good distraction, we can do this. Until we’re sick of it, of course.”

“Of course. You want to set the table while I finish up?”

“Sure. I can do my part.”

“Yeah. You’re starting to fit right in, aren’t you?”

He wasn’t sure he’d go that far, but he liked the idea, liked being a part of her life and her family as much as she liked being a part of his. “Maybe.”

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