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Read Chapter Seven 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


She waited in his mother’s car. He’d driven here, and said as he parked: “I’ll be just a minute or two. I’ll leave it on for the AC.”


  “Thanks,” she said, not meeting his gaze. She felt terrible. This was her fault!


  He didn’t wait to tell her it wasn’t—for what would’ve been the fiftieth time. He must have seen the look on her face, because he sighed just before closing the door and hurrying between two of about a dozen cars waiting at the drive-thru. She watched as he disappeared through the front door.


  The sun was oppressive today. It made the odor of fast food smell slightly off, like it was going bad. She wrinkled her nose in disgust and turned up the radio, which was playing one of Mom’s favorite songs:


Opened my eyes to a new kind of way

All the good times that you saved

Are you feeling

You feeling that way too?

Or am I just

Am I just a fool?


  It was impossible, as it had been for the last week, to keep from crying whenever something reminded her strongly of Mom, as this Journey song did. She didn’t blubber; her eyes welled up and spilled as she blinked tears away, silently.


  Thirteen minutes and three songs later, Knox climbed back in the car.


  “Well?” she demanded as he started backing out. Her eyes were red, but he didn’t seem to notice.


  His answer was to hold up a white envelope in which a pink severance check showed under the open flap.


  “Fuckers …” growled Laurie. “Knox … I’m so sorry …”


  “All I know is there’s a revolution coming. Whether it’s bloody or not is up to them. If I can be a bandleader for it, I’ll die happy.”


  He backed the car out and roared out of the parking lot back onto the street.


  “I know I’ve said this before, but … I mean … can’t I just go in there and talk to him—?”


  They came to a stop light. “No,” he answered. “For one, as I already said, he won’t listen. He’s a tosser who’s gonna spend his whole life managing a fast food restaurant at the corner of No and Where, and that teeny-tiny bit of power he’s got he’s going to use to berate and abuse his employees. For another thing … I mean, no offense, Laurie, but seriously? You?”


  “I owe it to you, Knox! He canned you because you were there for me! I feel horrible!”


  “None of this is your fault. But if it’ll make you feel better, you can pay me back in another way.”


  He merged on the highway and accelerated.


  “That’s not payback,” she said. “I already told you—I’m in!”


  “Look,” he said, “we’ll get by. It won’t be easy; in fact I’m certain nine parts in ten are going to suck hard, but what-the-fuck-ever, you know? Mom’s got me down for staying with her forever; I have to practically force money into her hand every month to pay for room and board! She says it ‘doesn’t feel right.’ But I know it is right; just like I know we’re going to be all right. That fuckin’ gig wasn’t going anywhere anyway. Guess that goes without saying.”


  She glanced at the time on the dash. “We’ve still got a couple hours before the ICU opens to family.”


  “I figured we could cool our jets at the beach, maybe blow this hard-earned cash on some nice lunch. Tat’s, maybe?”


  She sighed as the city flowed by. Her window was open; she enjoyed the feel of the hot air as it blew into her. She sighed again and said, “Tat’s sounds delicious. Maybe have a quick walk on the beach?”


  He chuckled. “This time maybe you’ll keep your lunch down.”


  “That’s not funny.”


  “Sure it is.”


  She couldn’t maintain her angry glare. A smile forced its way to her mouth. Before she could respond, he said, “I would’ve puked too. I love Cherylynn. I’m just tryin’ to keep your head in the game.”


  “That’s the problem, I think.”


  “Keepin’ your head in the game?”


  “The opposite. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get it out again.”







They meandered along the beach, just near where the surf reached. Knox gnawed on a toothpick; both had taken their shoes off. The day’s early heat hadn’t held; low clouds and fog had blown in, cooling things down nicely. On occasion they’d break, and the sun blazed, shimmering blindingly for a few moments off the breakers. There were many surfers out today, despite the low tide; the water was that beautiful jade color she always cherished this time of year.


  Despite not being able to go up to the ICU, Knox had insisted on being with her every single day.


  Terry and Aaron were still rotting in the county lock-up. Terry had called her relentlessly. She refused to pick up, and never bothered listening to the voicemails, deleting them instantly. There was no forgiveness for him, or for that asshole Keating, and there never would be. She had no idea what kind of legal trouble they were in, hoping that the system would throw the book at them, maybe bash their fucking skulls in with it. That sounded like justice. Anything else would be insufficient.


  As though reading her mind, Knox said, “DUIs are damn expensive in this state.”


  “Not expensive enough,” she muttered.


  His phone rang. He pulled it out of his back pocket and glanced at the screen. “Cole.”


  “From Tat’s?”


  “What’s up?” said Knox, phone to his ear. “What? When? Serious? … I don’t know. Let me ask. Hold on …”


  He lowered the phone. “It’s Cole. His manager saw him talking to us at the restaurant and knew who we were from the band, and asked if we’d be interested in performing acoustically a few nights a week this summer. Whaddya say?”


  She snorted. “He expects all of Meadowlark to show up?”


  He gave her a withering look. “What? No! He’s talking about you and me!”


  “Oh!” she chuckled. “Is it paid?”


  “That’s a good question,” he said, and once again lifted the phone to his ear. “You hear that? It is? Excellent. Yeah, that sounds good. Let me check …” He gazed at her. “Thursdays and Fridays, two bills each time, two hours. We’ve already been given the okay for the underage bullshit.”


  Laurie frowned. “Four hundred dollars—a week?


  Knox waited, that impatient look on his face again.


  She backhanded his shoulder. “Yes! Yes! Say yes! Of course I’ll do it!”


  “Yeah,” he said into the receiver. “Cool. Cash? Better. This is a really great deal, dude. How did his manager hear about us? Uh-huh. Yeah. I was wondering … yeah. That’s really great, dude. Catch you Thursday.”


  He hung up and put the phone in his pocket. “The manager is a big fan of Meadowlark’s. Believe it or not, he was at the damn bar the other night and saw you sitting with Reuben frickin’ Kincaid. He knows what happened to Cherylynn, and says he’s a huge fan of hers. He offers his best wishes for her recovery, and wants to help. The owner gave him the okay. The fucker’s got more money than God; four hundred a week wouldn’t even be worth ledgering for someone like him.”


  His phone rang again. He pulled it out and gazed at who it was, his brow furrowing. “What the…?”


  “Who is it?”


  “Says ‘San Diego CDC.’ Why’s the health department contacting me? Think it’s about Cherylynn?”


  He went to answer, but Laurie grabbed his wrist and pull it down. “No! Don’t answer that! It’s Terry or Aaron! It’s not the health department, it’s the County Detention Center!”


  He chuckled. “Seriously? They’re calling me? Seriously? After all the shit they put me through?”


  He tapped the button to connect, bellowed “Fuck you!” and hung up, turning the phone off.


  “That’s really rich of those assholes, you know?”


  She grabbed his arm. “Thank you.”


  “They’re probably being held for drugs too.”


  “Probably. I heard that they got into it with the cops. I heard Terry tried to run away. But that’s all rumor.”


  “That’s what the paper reported. I haven’t bothered trying to keep up on the news.”


  “What the paper reported doesn’t make it true.”


  “No shit. What do you think?”


  “I think in this case they got it right, or mostly right. Aaron probably got belligerent with a cop and tried to hit him, or resisted arrest. He’s a total dick when he isn’t high or drunk. When he is he’s a hall-of-famer; and I think Terry did try to run away. Though I doubt he tried to resist arrest. He probably just babbled like a little baby. Just thinking that he didn’t try to help Mom makes me …”


  She shook her head. “Mom would’ve bailed both out by now.”


  “That’s who she is. Speaking of, we’ve got twenty minutes to get to the hospital.”


  “Let’s go.”


  “Hey! We’ve got a well-paying gig!”


  Laurie smiled sadly as they left the beach and began up the sidewalk. “It’s a well-paid pity gig. But I’ll take it.”







The ICU had its own waiting room, much smaller than the one downstairs for emergency patients. There she and Knox sat. A nurse always approached after she signed in, usually no more than ten minutes after doing so. Almost twenty-five minutes had passed, and still they were sitting.


  “Goddamnit,” she muttered, glancing at Knox’s wristwatch. “What the fuck is going on in there?”


  As though on cue, a bespectacled middle-aged man wearing a stethoscope came out. “Are you Laurie Meadowlark?”


  “Yeah,” she said, holding on to her temper.


  “May I speak with you alone concerning your mother?”


  “Knox is my best friend. You can speak freely.”


  He shrugged and sat next to her.


  “What we know right now is that your mother will require a full year, maybe more, of physical therapy. We’re going to have to perform at least one surgery to repair damage around her spinal column and one to repair her right knee, which will have to be replaced entirely. She’ll need reconstructive surgery on her chin and left cheek; and I’m sorry to say, she’ll never sing again. She’ll be fortunate if she can talk again.”


  Tears streamed from Laurie’s eyes. Knox grabbed her hand.


  “Is she still unconscious?” she asked.


  “We’ve induced a coma so that her body can heal. But we’re going to bring her out of it in a few days. We want to flush those meds from her system before she goes into surgery, as a safety precaution.”


  “Thank you for letting me know,” she managed to get out.


  He stood. “Would you like to go see her now?”


  She nodded.


  “You can come too,” he said to Knox, who glanced up, surprised. “I’ll let the staff know you can visit Cherylynn too, as long as she is accompanying you.”


  “Thanks, Doc,” said Knox.







He stared down at Mom, his face blank.


  The bruises on her face seemed to be subsiding, revealing patches of normal-colored skin near her chin and her forehead. What parts of her neck Laurie could see looked like a maze of stitches. Her eyelids were still black and blue, and swollen grotesquely, so too her chest and along most of her arms. The hum and click of the breathing machine, and the ghostly green light of the monitors above her head, made Knox’s face appear even more severe than it already was.


  He bent and kissed her forehead, straightened.


  “If I see them again, I will kill them,” he said in a low voice.


  Laurie sat. He did too. (The nurses had brought an extra chair for him.) For a long time neither said anything.


  “There’s no forgiveness for this,” he added.


  Laurie was holding Mom’s hand, being careful not to disturb the intravenous tube attached to it. “They wanted me gone,” she said. “They wanted Mom gone. They wanted you gone. This is the outcome of all their scheming.”


  “What do you suppose the law is going to do with them?”


  She shrugged while shaking her head. “Fuck if I know. They are where they are supposed to be right now. I know they’ll eventually be released, but I don’t care if that never happens.”


  “Second that,” he grumbled.


  They left twenty minutes later. Once back in his car, he sat for a time without turning the engine over. “I’m seriously fucking pissed right now.”


  “Let’s go back to your place,” she offered, “and start getting a set together.”


  “Let’s go to yours. My mom will be there and she’ll be all up in our business about Cherylynn. We won’t get much practicing done there.”


  “Sounds good,” she said.







They were sitting at the kitchen table after three hours of occasional practicing, half the time of which they mostly talked about Mom. Knox had made them dinner—grilled cheese sandwiches and a tossed salad—when Laurie’s phone chimed.


  “Oh, shit,” she said after picking it up and glancing at it. Her face had darkened.


  “What? What is it?”


  She slammed the phone down, angry tears spilling once more.


  He picked it up. Terry had texted her. The text read:


Schnelling bailed us out, you fucking cunt.

You are no longer my sister.


Chapter Eight

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