A Return to Normalcy (9)

Steven Bains slowly turned his key to enter his apartment. He hadn’t been back in so long. He had told no one, and he had planned to keep it that way. The room was dark, with only a sliver of light shining through the drawn shades falling across his sofa. He walked over to an easy chair in the living room and threw his coat over the back of it. “Thank God,” he said, “I’m home.”

It was the first time Steven Bains had set foot back in Huntsport in two years. Of course, it was his job that kept him away. It always is, isn’t it? Unfortunately, his life had played out too much like the soap operas his mother had loved so much. They thought he was dead. Actually, they were certain of it. They had seen him die in a car crash two and half years ago, and buried him soon after.

The life of a cop was a hard one. He had learned that. It had become even more unbearable going deep undercover. He had had so much to look forward to in life. No one would believe him, or ever forgive him, for leaving them too early. Yes, Steven Bains was alive, but he had often felt he’d be better off in the grave that bore his name.

***

“Laura, is Elaine stopping over with Ted today?” shouted Frank Gardner from the garage.

“Yes, honey. She and Teddy are coming over for lunch this afternoon,” said Laura.

“Good, good. I have a few things I’d like to talk to Ted about,” said Frank, a hint of reservation hung in his voice.

Laura Gardner stepped outside and walked over to her husband. He was nowhere to be seen. “Frank? Frank? Where’d ya go?” she said, in her customarily sweet tone. Suddenly, a hand reached out from under the car and grabbed her ankle. “AH! Oh my God! Get off me!” she shouted, dumping a pitcher of lemonade all over her attacker.

“Jesus, Laura! Who the hell’d you think it was! Damnit all! I gotta change before the kids get here!” shouted Frank, sopping wet with what should have been a refreshing beverage. He stared at his wife a moment, who was visibly worried that she had genuinely upset her husband. “Come here, Mrs. Gardner,” said Frank, hugging his wife. “I love you, ya know that?” he said.

Laura smiled, “I love you too.” She paused for a moment. “What did you want to talk to Teddy about today? I don’t think they planned on staying long.”

Frank Gardner smiled. “Oh, nothing too much. It’s just a question about his future…” said Frank, winking.

“Oh Frank!” shouted Laura, “Do you really think so?” Laura Gardner had long awaited the day her daughter would marry. Teddy Burke was a fine young man, she had always thought. “Oh, I do hope you’re right!”

The Gardners stood in the driveway, unable to contain their happiness. Life was working out for them, even better than they ever could have imagined.

END

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