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Heading Home

Author: Queen of Cups
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I am an evil criminal mastermind who has kidnapped Joss and his buddies and forced them to sign over their copyright privileges. Honest. Or not.
Distribution: List archives, Blurred Vision, others on request.
Feedback: Will be gratefully received at vamp_katie@yahoo.co.uk.
Summary: Lindsey goes home... Again.


The road was straight and flat and boring. There was no other traffic, and nothing interesting to look at anywhere. The radio offered evangelism or pop for the last 150 miles and Lindsey's was in no mood for either. Sometimes owning a classic vehicle had its downside. Like no CD player. Not even a tape deck. Nothing. Just the radio or his own thoughts. Not much of a choice.

Interstate driving had always left Lindsey with a strong desire to run off the road just to ease the boredom and this time was no exception. He comforted himself with the knowledge that there wasn't much farther to go.

\\So, where're you going, Lindsey? Back to your roots?"
"Something like that."//

He'd said it without thinking. He'd had no real plans at the time, save for getting the hell out of Dodge before his bosses caught up with him, but once he'd hit the road and began to think, the idea of getting back to where he had come from became more and more attractive. Small towns - not rural, just ordinary little places with four-figure populations. Places where the head cheerleader still married the star quarterback before producing a child whose birth date could be counted back to precisely the date of the Senior Prom. Picket fences and screen doors and saying "Howdy" to the neighbours. Towns where people spelled 'standards' with a capital 's'.

Travelling from town to town, he kept himself busy. Hell, he even managed a couple of quaint, old-fashioned dates. Nice girls who allowed a movie (no touching) coffee (he paid) and a discreet kiss goodnight on the front porch (no tongues).

He was distracted enough that it took until Solomon Springs (pop. 6700) for the memory to surface. It was while he was booking into the boarding house. The owner was a woman who looked as though she had stepped straight from a cookie commercial. From her soft white hair caught in a bun, to her neat floral dress, she was like a little kid's picture of Grandma. It was when she smiled that he began to remember. There was something calculating in her gaze, like she was weighing him, making sure he was fit be in her place. Something in those mirthless eyes told him that she would be utterly ruthless to anyone who didn't quite measure up.

He had been in about the third grade. His new buddy Steve had invited him home for dinner. He hadn't asked his folks, as kids that age tend not to, he just took Lindsey home and stood him on the porch while he cleared it with his Mom.

Young Lindsey had stood obediently outside in his dusty sneakers, waiting for his friend to invite him in, when he heard a woman's voice through the window.

"You brought a McDonald to my house? After everything I told you? Well young man, you can just go tell that trash that he isn't welcome in a respectable home."

It was a mile and a half to his house from there, and the school bus was long gone. On the long, lonely walk home, the woman's voice echoed around his head.

It was the memory of this incident that had pushed Lindsey through school and then through college. It didn't really leave him until somewhere in the middle of Law School. The shame and the anger that he felt on that long, hot walk home stayed fresh and painful all that time.

Small towns were full of kids like him. Outcast kids. The ones that nobody wanted around in case the neighbours saw them. He remembered standing in lines at grocery stores and in the parking lot after church, casually eavesdropping as people's lives were ripped open and picked over by morticians in Sunday best. Nothing was too personal, too private, too embarrassing to be a topic for throwaway gossip.

Some things never change.

Getting back to where he came from taught Lindsey an important lesson. He had done the right thing by moving on.

Lindsey was going home now - back where he belonged. He allowed himself a slight smile as he passed the sign that told him he had just entered California and was on the right route back to LA.

Roots? You could keep them.

~end



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