Your Cart

Enjoy Chapter Eight of Laurie: A Fan Fiction Tribute to Laurie Partridge of The Partridge Family! | Susan Dey, Shirley Jones

Laurie: A Fan Fiction Tribute to Laurie Partridge from The Partridge Family


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven


Chapter Eight

Anything Else

She sat at the drum set in the Mulloy’s three-car garage, one two cars short, drumming to the Cult’s “American Horse” while Knox looked on.


  “Stop! Stop!” he yelled, turning the music off.


  “What?” said Laurie, exasperated.


  “Passion, girl!” he cried. “Passion! You’re playing like you’re doing a gig at a retirement home! That just isn’t you! Why are you so shy? It’s me, not some stupid schoolteacher!”


  Laurie knew how to play every instrument, from bass to electric guitar to drums to keyboards. She was excellent at keyboards and singing, pretty good at electric guitar and bass, but not too hot, apparently, at drums. Since Mom’s accident, to get her mind off things, she had begged him to give her some lessons, which he had happily obliged.


  He was a stern teacher, Knox. She appreciated it.


  He didn’t wait for her to answer, but said, “Can I show you?”


  “Please,” she sighed. She stood and handed him the sticks.


  He sat. “Start it at the beginning, then come behind me and watch.”


  She did as told. Moments later she watched as he played along.


  It was always a joy watching Knox perform. He played as though the drums were an extension of his being. And as for passion … Good Lord!


  Two minutes into the song, he stopped and yelled, “Turn it off.”


  She hurried back to the stereo and turned it off. She turned and faced him.


  “Get it?”


  “Yeah,” she said with another sigh.


  “Good,” he grumbled. “Now get back here and bash the shit out this set, you hear me? But do it with joy, got it? Joy. That’s all that fuckin’ matters in the end. People walkin’ out of the gig are going to have your drumming stick with them all the way home, then all the next day, and the day after that. Anything else is fast fashion.”


  She chuckled. “What?”


  “C’mon,” he said, “show me what Laurie Meadowlark is all about.”







She sat with him at the kitchen table as they settled on the set they’d play at Tat’s. Mrs. Mulloy had since come home, and fussed over them occasionally as they worked. Their final list was pretty much a mellow, down-tempo, “easy to digest your expensive food” selection (Knox’s words), with him joining her on acoustic guitar. He didn’t get a chance to play guitar live all that much, and relished the opportunity. As with drums, he seemed a natural at it.


  She sat back in her chair after taking a long drink of lemonade and dropping her pencil on the set list. “You know … if we do this whole make-our-own-group thing, we should try to be … I don’t know … different.”


  He chuckled. “I’d think that would be our first concern, kind of a given, right?”


  “That’s not what I mean. I mean a group where you don’t sit at the drum set all concert, for example, but trade places with me or another group member on occasion. Focus on our strengths and our passions for each piece or each subset. And another thing,” she added, “every member of the group can sing. I mean, like, really sing.”


  He sat back as well. “How many do you see with us?”


  “There’s me and you of course,” she began. “A bassist, lead guitar, maybe a fifth, instrument unknown at this time?”


  “I was thinking five too.”


  “And equitable payment. Money is divided equally among the group.”


  “No one more important than the next,” said Knox with an approving nod.


  “We need members who love music, obviously, but also love showmanship. Mom wanted to incorporate that in our shows, but of course Terry and Aaron refused, so we never did it. I just know the concerts I remember most where those where the players didn’t just root at an instrument and play it all night, but knew how to dance, how to rile up the audience, how to have real fun on stage.”


  “I remember an interview Bono gave where he said that he tries to reach the people in the highest and cheapest seats farthest away from him. If he could see them jumping up and down and dancing along, he felt like he’d done his job well.”


  “That’s what we need!” Laurie exclaimed. “Exactly!”


  “Do you have anyone in mind?”


  She shook her head. “I don’t even know where to start.” She shrugged. “Social media?”


  “I don’t do social media,” he grumbled.


  “I’ve got a Twitter account … I think the last time I logged in was 2016. Meadowlark has a YouTube channel, and Mom was on Facebook for a little while.”


  “Don’t you chat with your friends from school?”


  “At school, yeah. But since we’ve graduated …” She shrugged again. “The boys wanted into my pants, and the girls were catty and cruel. I didn’t bother making serious attachments because I wanted to play music, and I wanted to be something better than what ninety-five percent of them will end up choosing for themselves—a meaningless, shallow life, nothing that you can call yours, truly yours. In five years, ten tops, most if not all of them are going to walk the aisle and start pushing out the puppies. They are going to safely ensconce themselves in suburbia, where they will patiently wait for death. I want much more. I always have.”


  “It’s weird,” he remarked, “I don’t even know your friends from school.”


  “Truthfully, Knox, I’ve always seen you as my best friend. The girls I gave something of a crap about—Charlene, Kaitlin, Dorie—I mean, they’re great, we’ll talk a few times this summer, get together in September or something … and then they’ll be gone too. I just …”


  He reached for her hand. “Hey. You’re the real deal. You’re a true rebel. And that’s just something most people can’t handle. My feeling on that is simple: fuck ‘em.”


  She gave a slow and considered nod after a time. “Yeah. Fuck ‘em.”







She and Knox had parked at the hospital for their daily visit. Mom was improving daily; in another week or so they were going to bring her out of her coma. She had already undergone three surgeries; the doctor told them just yesterday that “she should be dead. But she’s a real fighter. That’s good, because her recovery is going to be challenging.”


  Laurie was thinking of that when she saw a familiar car pull into one of the last remaining parking spots two rows ahead and to the left.




  “Fuck me,” she whispered.


  “Well, there the shining star is,” announced Knox as they watched him get out and start for the entrance. “Look at ‘im. Not a goddamn scratch on him. No breaks, no crutches, no scars. Perfect shape.”


  This was, she knew, the very first time he had bothered showing up to see how Mom was. She knew that because the ICU had a single hour each day in which one could visit a loved one, and she had been here every single day since Mom arrived and had spent the entire hour each day.


  “It’s been nearly a month,” she growled. “Fucking asshole!”


  Knox put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed. “What do you want to do? Laurie? Talk to me. Wait! Where are you going?”


  She had gotten out and slammed the door and was heading for Terry at a full run. Knox muttered “Shit!” and hurried out of the car for her.


  Terry was three rows from the ambulance admitting driveway when she caught up to him. He only heard her at the last moment, wheeling around just in time for her foot to strike up into his groin, felling him to his knees. Hands protecting his nuts, his face turning bright scarlet, she slammed a knee into his nose, sending him careening backward. She was instantly on top of him, knees on his chest, her fists pummeling his pretty-boy face. She shrieked with every strike. “You—fucking—asshole! You—mother—fucking—asshole!”


  Knox caught up to her a moment later, lifting her off of him with great effort. Terry curled to his side and vomited, his face already swelling, blood pouring from his mouth and nose. She got free of Knox for an instant and kicked his head one more time, snapping his head back and knocking him unconscious.


  She wasn’t going to fight Knox. But she wanted more—much more. The problem was, Knox’s strength was impressive. She wasn’t going to get away a second time. He hauled her to the car and slammed her back against it. “Stop! STOP! Listen to me! LISTEN!


  She eventually stopped struggling.


  “Do you want to continue seeing your mom? Huh? The hospital will ban you if they have seen what you did! I’m surprised they haven’t called the cops! Listen!


  “Let’s go,” she growled, wrenching herself free. “If he wants to see her today, that was his price of admission. He should count his lucky fucking stars that’s all I’m going to demand—for now!”







When they went back the following day, Terry wasn’t there. She and Knox were admitted into the ICU with no problems, suggesting that no one from the hospital had seen the assault or had viewed security camera footage, which had to have captured it. Even odder was the reality that Terry hadn’t reported her.


  Mom’s color was coming back, and the tubes and monitors were slowly going away. She was off the ventilator; Laurie took the time to comb her hair and kiss her cheek several times. “I love you. I can’t wait until we talk again.”


  Knox bent and kissed her forehead as well. “She’s really looking much better.”


  “It isn’t just me hoping and so seeing what I want to see?”


  He shook his head. “I don’t think so. But I’m the wrong one to ask. I might be deluding myself too.”


  “You’re more level-headed than me,” she said. “If you think she’s looking better, that’s what I’m going with.”


  She kissed her again, and they left her.


  Terry hadn’t bothered showing up.







Tat’s was completely booked when they began their set at 8 PM, with a thirty-minute wait for a table. That shuffled many patrons into the bar, where they were. By the time they started, the place was packed. Maybe fifty in all, with several gazing in from the entrance. The sound of conversation mixing with clinking glasses and silverware filled the air.


  Knox was seated to her right; both had their own microphones. They were playing acoustic guitars.


  When people saw they were about to begin, a couple clapped, a few whistled.


  “Hi, everyone,” Laurie began. “We’re M—” She caught herself, and finished “—Laurie. I hope you enjoy our set.”


  She heard Knox chuckle under his breath.


  She had played a hundred gigs since Meadowlark formed, but she was not as nervous at any of those as she was here, in this minor setting. The stage they were on was small and accessible by two stairs; a big band like Meadowlark would not have nearly enough room to play on it. They were very close to the audience, almost uncomfortably so.


  She took a deep breath and, guitar at the ready, began with Guns N’ Roses’ “Patience,” with Knox doing the whistling, yet another skill he was good at.


One … two … one … two … three … four …


Shed a tear ‘cause I’m missin’ you

I’m still all right to smile

Girl, I think about you every day now

Was a time when I wasn’t sure

But you set my mind at ease

There is no doubt you’re in my heart now


  The song concluded, and the gathered audience clapped pleasantly. As the night passed, she noticed that more and more people were filling the bar. By the end of the set, it was standing room only.


  “Thanks for coming out tonight, folks,” she said. “We’ll be here Thursdays and Fridays for a few weeks, so don’t be a stranger!”


  The responding applause wasn’t raucous, but it wasn’t totally polite and measured, either. A few whistled; a few called out “Encore!” Knox grasped her shoulder. She glanced at him. “That’s how ya do it,” he said with a proud smile.







She dialed the hospital three days later. A nurse had left a message. After wading through the prompts, she finally got another nurse on the line.


  “Your mother has been moved from the ICU to a regular room,” the man reported. “Visiting hours are from eight to four daily.”


  “How is she doing?” Laurie asked. Mom seemed to be healing at a faster and faster clip, encouraging everyone. “She has a chance at a full or at least close to full recovery,” the nurse told her. “I don’t say this often about other patients, but your mother is a real fighter. Most in her condition would have given up. We’ll be bringing her out of her coma in a few days.”


  Laurie sighed with relief. Now, all she could think was, That bastard can see her now!, for which she felt an intense wave of guilt wash through her. Despite the fact that she loathed Terry, and now always would, he was, for better or for worse, Mom’s son.


  Perhaps it wasn’t just that, though. Aaron could visit Mom now if he wished. And so could that strung-out dude who’d joined the band. And the new drummer. Tex. Whatever.


  She shook her head, thanked the nurse, and ended the call.







She was practicing with Knox in the living room when the doorbell rang. He put down his guitar and got to his feet. “I’ll get it.”


  “Laurie … it’s for you,” he called a few moments later.


  She rose and went to the door, where he stood with a quizzical look on his face. A man in a suit and tie stood outside. “Are you Laurie Meadowlark?” the man asked.


  “Yes,” she said.


  He stepped forward, an envelope in hand, which she took. “You’ve been served.”


  Laurie, confused, retreated to let Knox close the door, which he did gruffly and with a grumbling, “Motherfucker …”


  “What is this?” she asked as she opened the envelope. It seemed Knox already knew. He waited silently as she opened the document—a restraining order against her from none other than Terry.


  “Fucking dick,” she hissed. “I’m to get no closer to him than five hundred feet.”


  Knox sighed. “I figured he’d do something like this. I was worried that he’d file assault charges against you. Frankly, I’m very surprised he didn’t.”


  She brought her angry glance up to him. He raised his hands. “I’m not the bad guy here. I’m just speaking my mind.”


  “You think I should have left him alone?” she demanded.


  “Yeah. I do. But not because he didn’t deserve a good beat-down. He did. Absolutely. I’m saying—Laurie, listen to me—I’m saying it because I knew it could only hurt you, not him. He gets the temporary bruises and blood loss. You get the permanent legal consequences. It’s not a level playing field.”


  He had followed her into the living room, where she had dropped angrily into the lounger. On the way she had thrown the restraining order on the table. He picked it up and looked it over.


  “Can we call it a day?” she asked.


  He put the document down. “Sure.”


  He gathered his guitar and turned for the door. At the landing leading into the living room he turned back.


  “I’m on your side. You know that, right?”


  She hesitated, then gave an angry nod, her stare centered on her knees.


  Knox waited for a moment, sighed again, and left.







Her phone rang and rang and rang, first at 7 in the damn morning, then at 8, then at 8:30. Then every five minutes after that.


  She had forgotten to turn it off. It lay in the heap of clothes she wore yesterday, and was across the room. Way too far to get up and fetch.


  “God-damnit!” she yelled into her pillow at 8:55, when it started ringing again.


  She turned over, threw the covers from her body, and sat up, then stood. She stumbled to the phone and snatched it angrily from under her jeans.




  “What the—?” she mumbled. She hit TALK and growled, “You better have a really fucking good reason for calling me a hundred times today!”


  “And good morning to you, too!” he called.


  “Not joking, dude. I’m depressed, I’m pissed off, and all I want to do is sleep until noon! Or later! Is that such a fucking problem?”


  “I sent you a link. Check it out.”


  Before she could say anything more, he said: “I’ll be by at 1 to pick you up to see your mom. But check out that link. You’ll like it, I think.”


  He hung up.


  She lowered the phone, went back to the bed and, sighing, plopped down on it. She opened her email and clicked on the top unread one, from Knox, which was titled: “I guess we’ve got some fans …”


  She clicked it.


  “What … the … hell…?


  The link led to YouTube. Someone had filmed their second show at Tat’s last week, and had done so with what had to be a top-of-the-line phone, judging by the picture and sound quality. The YouTube title of the post was: “A GREAT rendition of GNR’s ‘Patience’!”


  As she heard herself singing, she gawked at the view count, one that had nearly ten thousand upvotes:




  “What the hell…?”


Chapter Nine

Download the rest of the story for free here