Mark Hamill Stories

If Only the Truth Could Be a Lie

By Celene Haberkost

A young girl, no more the age of fourteen, climbed out of a dark blue, small car along with her mother and her brother. Her shoulder length, wild, thick, auburn hair lay on her back, blowing in the slight California breeze. Her eyes resembled the middle of the ocean, dark blue except for tints of light that flashed in the sun. Her skin was fair, yet not pale, and glowed in the warm sunlight. Her jean shorts and her plain, gray, short-sleeved T-shirt lay limply on her small built body, but still a look of maturity echoed around her. She carried a few books and pictures in her hands and slammed the car door shut with her hip so she didn't have to put down the pile. Her mother shot her a wry smile as they made their way to a large, new building with a sign posted on the front reading, "BLACK PEARL CONVENTION - MARK HAMILL/ERIC JOHNSON - AUGUST 13-14". "Are you happy now?" her mother asked.
"Yes, thank you!" the girl said as she clung the stack to her chest. "Geeze, I've been waiting my whole life for this, and now that it's really happening, I can't believe it!"
"Yeah, well you better believe it, Randi, because I hope I didn't drive 500 miles for nothing," she said, her smile still lingering on her face.
"You didn't," the girl replied, returning her mother's smile. She had been named Miranda by her parents when she was born, but when the girl realized she didn't want to be their sweet, innocent little girl anymore, she told them they would have to call her Randi, or she wouldn't answer. At first, they didn't listen, but after months of silence from the girl's room, they decided to give in. Ever since then, she had gotten everyone to call her Randi. She smiled at the thought of it. She liked getting her own way.
She crept up to her little brother, the pile now in one arm, the other extended out to him. Her fingers crept around to his stomach and began to tickle him furiously, and he began to scream with mixed feelings of being startled and hatred and excitement. In his screams, an occasional, "Randi!" or "Quit it!" came out, but she didn't back down. She almost dropped her stack of books and pictures from laughing so hard at her brother's wriggling.
From behind her, her mother called to her, "Randi, stop torturing Patrick like that. I'm sure you think it's fun, but I'm afraid he doesn't."
"Sure he does," she retorted, still making her brother squirm. His light blonde hair was bouncing as he tried to free himself from her grasp. His green eyes he had inherited from his mother were wide with excitement and terror. In defense, he fell softly down to the parking lot's pavement and cringed into a little ball. She didn't back off.
"Randi, I'm warning you..."
"Okay, okay," she said as she ceased, and she even extended a hand to help her little brother up. "Sorry, Patrick."
He took it gratefully. "It's okay." There was a pause, a long pause, a frightening pause, and when it was over, Patrick jumped on his sister and began trying to tickle her, just as she had done.
Except she was bigger, and more forceful, and more experienced then he would EVER be at tickling, so of course, she won.
Their mother was mad, now. No, furious and enraged is more like it. "Would you two quit it - we're out in public!"
Two stunned faces stared blankly up at their mother, and as they both snapped out of it, their grins were wiped from their faces and they helped each other up. "Sorry," they both apologized in unison.
"Okay, can you now try to act like normal human beings for once?" she pleaded.
They both nodded. Randi quietly said under her breath, "Later, the battle continues. You and me, be there." The two siblings laughed and their mother just rolled her eyes.

The building was, thankfully, not only air-conditioned, but in the shade as well, keeping it cool and maybe a slight bit chilly inside. Randi didn't care. She was glad to be out of the sweltering heat of the hot summer day. The pile of things for Mark to sign had been held close to her chest all this time, although she hardly even knew it. It was almost an act of guarding them, protecting them. From who, no one knew, not even her, but many things that she did and the reasons for them were not known by many others.
She took a deep breath and glanced around the room, in search for Mark's unique sandy-blond hair and ice-blue eyes. She became worried when she saw no one with those features, but realized he might be sitting down.
Her brother had already taken off to look at the comic books, and her mother had followed him, quietly muttering to herself. Randi had to laugh. Her little brother was so much like Mark in so many ways; she wondered if they had been related to each other at a time. Comic books, action figures, cartoons - the signs were all there. It was funny that they hadn't met yet.
Randi's eyes darted about the room, still in search for the one she had been searching for all her life. She thought she found him when she saw a line...a very, very long line, a line that taunted her as she stared at it. "That's it, isn't it?" she asked herself quietly. She started to make her way to the extremely long line and gripped the books and pictures closer. She sighed, but realized she had been waiting all her life to meet him; she could easily wait a few hours.

The wait was amazing not that long. Well, it didn't seem like it, to her. She really had no clue how long she had been waiting when she stepped up next to the table. She had been off in her own little world, a place she like to visit frequently, where there was no time, or problems, or family...a place she could often wonder about things. A place she usually dreamed about Mark.
She felt that the smile on her face could not possibly get any larger, and her eyes could not possibly get any wider. Sure, she had seen his face in many other places, but never in person. His eyes and that devilish grin of his could melt anyone's heart. He was clad in black jeans and a black shirt, covered by his famous, long black leather jacket. It made her hot just looking at him, but then she realized she might want to be wearing the same thing if she was in this chilly building the whole day. It was still pretty cold. He was the first to speak, thankfully, and Randi could now relax. Or, partially relax. She was afraid she would never be able to relax again in her life after hearing his voice. "Hi, how are you?"
Dah! she thought. He just asked how I was! She replied with the most animated reply she had ever said in her life. "Great!"
"Okay, good," he said, a grin creeping on one side of his face. "So, what's your name?"
"Randi," she said rather stupidly, but she hardly cared.
"Randi," he echoed. "That's cute. I'm assuming with an "i"?"
"Yeah," she answered as she shrugged. She was thinking about telling him the story, but decided against it. She doubted he would care.
"So, what have you got there?" he asked, gesturing to the pile in her arms.
"Oh, a few things that I hoped you wouldnít mind signing," she implied as she lay the stack on the table. She now knew what she had grabbed earlier that morning: two issues of the Black Pearl comic books; or graphic novels as they were officially called, a few Star Wars books she had collected over the years, and a few pictures she had found in various places. She was afraid that he wouldn't sign the books or the pictures because they had nothing to do with The Black Pearl, but he graciously took the stack and uncapped his pen. She was grinning uncontrollably now, but soon became a little more comfortable when he asked, "Do you want to sit down?"
She didn't know what had made him ask the question. She soon realized he didn't want to know. But, she gratefully said, "Yes, thanks," and sat down in the chair beside him. It kind of reminded her of grade school when she sat down behind the teacher's desk as he slowly graded her papers. Mark was also going noticeably slow, but she knew that he was taking time to think of what he was going to put. It was a great quality that Mark possessed that she loved. He was also so considerate and gentle and thought about everything...he was so...human.
He came on the last picture and put the pen to his mouth, thought about what he was going to write, and thought of something and the pen flew to the paper and he scribbled something. She wanted to read it, but she decided rather than appear pushy, she would wait.
He handed them back to her and made sure she had them grasped tightly in her fragile hands before he let go. She smiled, thanking him with all of her heart. He knew that she was grateful, and she found out when he grasped her hand as she held on to the stack of things he had handed her. She sheepishly grinned as she stood up. She didn't want to leave, but there was nothing more to say. And if there was, she couldn't think of it. She was about to turn around when she heard an older man's voice cry out in fury. She knew it couldn't be Mark; it was too deep. She spun around and noticed a huge man with an unshaven face and dirty, curly black hair standing in the center of a room...with a gun in his hand, which was waving furiously in the air. The pile dropped from her hands and on to the floor, although no one noticed. Mark jumped up from his chair and stood behind her and put his hand on her shoulder. She wasn't even sure he knew he had done it; she hardly did. The man was rambling about something...she could hardly understand him. It didn't help that her heart was beating uncontrollably against her chest and he was waving that damn gun in the air. His voice quieted and he slowed down; she could understand him now. She wished she couldn't.
"...but no, they said they don't LIKE my comics...rather use someone ELSE'S comics...with more You know what I say to them...go to hell, you bastards! See this gun? Who's laughing now. Ha! Me!"
The guy was insane. "
And, what if Mr. Bigshot over here would just happen to go to hell with 'em..." he asked, apparently to himself as he staggered over to where she was standing. He waved the gun in Mark's face. "What would happen then, huh?" His breath stank of beer and cigarettes, and made her cringe. Mark, although appeared calm, was terrified. His hand was gripped tightly on her shoulder, and his blue eyes were wide with horror. She wished she could comfort him, but she was also frozen in hear herself. She couldn't move.
Thankfully, he walked back to the center of the room...where her mother and Patrick were standing. She wanted to tell them to move, get out of there, the guy was insane, but she knew that would only get them killed. Maybe if they didn't move... - no!
The manís arm came around her mother's neck and the gun went to the side of her head. "No!" Randi yelled instinctively. Mark's other hand came over her mouth and the one on her shoulder came around her chest. She didn't struggle to get free...although she wanted to help her mother. But she wouldn't even be doing that; she'd just be getting herself killed. Even with the commotion going on, she realized that.
"What if this bitch went to hell with everyone else? Huh? The bastards who rejected me, Mr. Bigshot over there, and this bitch. What a nice happy group, huh? That'd show 'em, wouldn't it?"
No...the terror in her mother's face was unbearable for her to watch. Still, Mark's hand was still covering her mouth and his arm was still around her chest, although they both knew Randi wasn't going to do anything. It was more like an act of security, being protected by each other.
"I should just kill 'em all and THEN see who would be laughin', huh? I'd get my comic published while everyone who ever doubted me would be rotting in hell."
The guy was living in a fantasy world. No wonder the people had rejected him...look at him! He looked like he should be on the streets, not behind some desk drawing stupid comic book characters.
"Yeah...that'd be nice..." Patrick must have had the same idea Randi did a few minutes ago because he started to run towards his mother too...except there was no one to hold him back as Mark did to her.
She would've yelled, "Patrick!" if Mark's hand had not been over her mouth. Instead she tried to run out to him, to stop him, to save him, but Mark held firm. His arm moved from her chest to her waist to keep her back. She was trying furiously to get out of his grasp, but he was too strong for her. He was trying to calm her down by saying, "No, Randi, no, you can't do anything...don't..." but she hardly even heard him.
The man saw Patrick and instinctively pulled back the trigger as it was aimed towards her mother's head. The next sound was a sound Randi would never forget no matter how long she lived. The sound of the explosion of the bullet out of the gun, the sound as it made it's way into her mother's skull...Mark heard it too and pulled her to the ground and covered her body with his. No scream...just the terrified crowd all going into hysteria. If her face hadnít been buried in her hands and shoved to the floor, she would have screamed, too.
The next sound was almost a repeat of the first. It was almost if it happened an hour after, but she knew it had only been a second or two. Another gunshot. And it wasn't her mother this time...she knew that. Her mother was probably already dead. She shuddered at the thought. No, it was Patrick.
It was so quiet after Patrick hit the ground that you could hear the heavy breathing going on in the room. She could especially hear Mark's, since he was lying on top of her. She could feel his chest against her back as he breathed. They stayed on the ground for what seemed like eternity. She didn't want to get up. She didn't insist that she get up. She didn't want to see the two dead body's lying on the ground. They weren't her brother and her mother anymore. No, they were just two dead body's waiting to be hauled away to their funeral. She now had no more family.
The guards had restrained the man and were ushering him back to one of the back rooms until the police could get here. Mark slowly got up, but Randi kept on the ground. He was worried when she didn't move. He bent down and gently turned her over. She didn't resist. He saw her tear-streaked face and immediately his eyes filled with sympathy. His hand came around her neck and helped her sit up. She didn't help him at all. She was limp. Her eyes were closed and she had no intention of opening them. She didn't want to see. She didn't want to see the truth.
She heard someone call out, "I'm a physician!" but she didn't care. She didn't want to know, but she knew they were dead. She had felt their souls slip out of their body's as the gunshots had sounded. They weren't coming back.
"C'mon, Randi," he told her as he helped her to her feet. "It's all right, now."
"No it isn't," she told him, her voice cracking with despair. "Look, both my mother and my brother-" she stopped in mid-sentence. She gasped at the sight she saw. Her hand flew to her mouth and her eyes closed. "Oh no," she whispered. It was worse than she thought. Not only were there two, lifeless bodies lying on the ground, but they were lying in pools of blood, their own pools of blood. "Oh, God, no..." Mark couldn't bear to watch her cry any longer. He pulled her close to his chest and softly stroked her tear-dampened hair.
"I'm sorry," the physician said sadly. He pulled his two fingers away from the body's, Patrickís, neck. "They're dead."
"Oh, Randi...I'm sorry," he whispered in her ear. She went limp in his arms. "I'm so sorry."

She sat in a chair in the corner of the room, tear stains still marked on her face. Her knees were pulled up to her chest and her thin arms were wrapped around them. She wished she could be in her own world, but couldn't concentrate hard enough to get there. So, instead her head was buried in her legs as she tried to hold her tears back. She was glad her hair was covering her face. She hated to cry.
A hand on her back startled her, but she soon knew who it was. She had felt it before, on her shoulder, over her mouth, and in her hair. She looked up and didn't even say "hi". She didn't think she had to. "They didn't deserve to die."
"Oh, I know that, Randi. I'm sure everyone does. I'm even sure that psychopathic maniac does, too."
"But no one can change it! It's happened and there's no turning back. I wish there was, but... I don't have anyone now. My mother and Patrick were the only people left of my family. Everyone else is dead. They are now, too..." She had to stop. She was just making it harder on herself. She was already depressed enough as it was, without her own comments having to make it worse.
He was silent. There was nothing more to say. He knew what was going on, so do she, so they both had no reason to talk. Instead, his hand came around her back and she didn't mind. She needed comfort, from anyone, and he was the best there was. She cuddled up next to his chest with her knees still pulled to her chin and his other hand brushed away the hair that was stuck to her wet face. He started to rock her and whisper comforting things into her ear, things her father used to say when she had a nightmare and would come into his room in the middle of the night. Mark reminded her a lot of her father, before his addiction and his death.
The body's had been taken away, thankfully; no more reminder of what had happened in the past hour. Or no visual reminder, anyway. There would always be the emotional one, one that would never be taken away. The police were inspecting the scene, although they were all pretty sure what had happened. They were asking people questions, and luckily they hadn't reached Randi yet. She hoped they wouldn't have to. If they did, she would have to say she couldn't answer. It wouldn't be a lie, either. It would be impossible for her to answer. Mark had already been questioned, and she had heard him mention her more than once, although she wasn't sure what he had said. Anything to get this guy in jail for life, she thought. She didn't want him to die...she had never believed in the death penalty for anyone, not even when they murdered your brother and your mother. Why kill another when there has been so much pain already? Killing another wouldn't bring her mother and Patrick back...although she wished there was something that would.
She had drifted off into the closest possible sleep she could get into at the moment, and when Mark thought she was out of it, he gently lay her down on the two seats they had been sitting in. He took his leather jacket and carefully lay it on her sleeping body, aware that she wasn't in a deep sleep and anything could wake her up. He bent down and brushed the hair away from her face again, but this time kissed her cheek as her father would have. She was too tired to smile, but if she would have been fully awake, she would have.

Randi woke up, but didn't open her eyes. She heard voices beside her, two men, one of them being Mark. She didn't know who the other unfamiliar voice was, but from the way he sounded, a cop at best.
"I...I just don't know where she's gonna go," Mark told the cop helplessly.
"Well, what about an aunt or an uncle...or a grandmother...any other family..."
"She HAS no other family. She's all alone. This crazed freak killed the last of her family. I don't know what we're going to do."
"We can always set up a foster home-"
"After what she's gone through?! I don't think she wants to be living with strangers when her mother and brother were just killed!"
She tried not to flinch; she was supposed to be sleeping, but that still didn't mean it didn't sting.
"Well, Mr. Hamill, do you have any better ideas?"
There was a disturbingly long pause. She wished she could see their faces...maybe she could interpret what they were thinking.
"Yeah, I think I do. But I need to talk it over with her first. I'll get back to you."
He bent down and put his hand on her cheek. She was already awake, but didn't want him to know, so she blinked a few times and sat up. She took one hand of hers and rubbed her eyes with it, revealing the most bloodshot eyes to Mark that he had ever seen.
"Are you all right?" he asked with high concern in his voice.
"Um, yeah," she told him as he blinked a few more times. He picked up his jacket from the floor and put it around her shoulders. It was heavy, but warm and comforting...and smelled like him, which had to be one of the most comforting sensations she had ever experienced.
"All right. I have a question to ask you. I know that..." he was choosing his words carefully, "I know that you don't have anyone else in your family to go to, and I know you don't want to be spending the next couple of years in a foster home, so...until we can work out something, somehow, I was wondering if you want to stay at my house for awhile...just until we can find someone that-" he stopped himself from saying something that he'd regret, "just until we can work out something."
He'd brought something to her attention that she hadn't even realized. Where WAS she going to be staying? She didn't have anyone, now. Well, besides Mark. He had offered to take her in, thankfully, but if he didn't, where WOULD she be staying. She was glad she didn't have to think about it. She was glad Mark was there.
"Really, you'd do that?" she asked with hope-filled eyes.
"Of course I would. I know what it can be like, wishing you could go back in time and change the past. I've lived like that, too. I know how hard it can be..." His blue eyes were distant as they remembered his past. She could tell his life was not as joyful as it seemed. "I'll tell you about it sometime if you wanna know. So, what do you say?"
"Oh, Mark," she started, her eyes beginning to fear with grateful tears, "thank you."

He had said to her that she must be tired, and they could go to her house in the morning to pick up her stuff. He had asked her if that was all right, and with very heavy eyelids, she had agreed. He led her up the stairs of his house...the lights were darkened and the rest of his family was asleep, and walking up a dark stairwell was not fun when you had never seen it before. Still, Randi managed to climb and they reached a spare bedroom. Mark opened the door and flicked on the light, and the glare hurt her eyes. Her arm came up to her face to block the light, and Mark apologized and dimmed it. He let her fall on to the bed, but asked his question anyway, knowing it would keep her up longer. He didn't want to, but felt as if he should offer. "There's a bathroom across the hall. Do you want to take a shower before you fall asleep?"
She turned her head to him and thought about it. She really didn't feel like getting up, yet she probably couldn't go to sleep feeling this dirty. "Yeah, sure."
"All right. I'll go get a towel and an old T-shirt you can sleep in, okay?"
"All right." He turned to leave. "Oh, Mark?"
"Hmm?" He turned back to her.
"Thank you. Thanks for everything."
The smile that crept across his face warmed her soul, as he knew it would. She needed as much warmth and comfort as she could possibly get right now.
He left, leaving her alone to go into the shower whenever she wished. She decided now, before she fell asleep. It wouldn't be that hard, at the moment.
She got up wearily from the bed, and made her way to the bathroom across the hall. She closed the door as quietly as she could so she didn't wake up the rest of his family and turned on the water. She stripped her clothes and let them fall to the ground. It was nice to get rid of them. They reminded her of the awful day. It was amazing that it was only a day. It seemed like it should be a week, possibly a month. She stepped into the inviting, hot, steaming water, and felt a little better, although it was her soul that needed the cleansing. She washed her hair and her body, and especially her that had been drenched with so many tears over the course of the day. She reluctantly turned off the water, knowing she had been in there too long, but not wanting to give up the soothing water. A towel was waiting for her on top of the sink, graciously put there by, apparently, Mark. His soul was so gentle, so harmless. He couldn't be mean if he wanted to.
She dried off and brushed her soaking hair, and squeezed that out when all the knots had come out. She wrapped the towel around her shivering body and walked over to the room she had came from. A folded, black T-shirt had been lay on the bed, another gift from Mark. He was the sweetest soul she had ever met. She quickly slipped it on and hoped it would warm her up. She was still freezing, but not so much as in the building. She shuddered. Not because she was cold, but because she'd remembered the building...the man...the gun. She closed her eyes and tried to get the image out of her head. She climbed in the bed gratefully and pulled the blankets up over her chest. She turned out the light beside her bed and her eyes closed rather quickly, or more quickly than she had thought they would. Soon, she was out cold.

The gun. It flashed before her eyes. It made her jump when it exploded as it shot, not one, but two deadly shots that went into the blackness of her mind. Suddenly, red appeared, thick, red blood on the inside of her eyelids. The dream ended with one word...a word whispered by, it seemed, Mark..."death..."
She shot up in bed and screamed...then realized where she was. Her hand came over her mouth in shock and she wished she hadn't opened her big mouth. But it was too late. As she learned in her painful lesson before, you can't go back in time and change the past.
Although she wished she could.
Mark came running into the room in only a pair of black boxer shorts. His bare chest was exposed, along with every other part of his body that she'd never seen before. His blue eyes seemed like they were illuminating themselves, even in the dark. His hair was ruffled and thrown about every which way, which gave him a very relaxed aurora. He came and sat down on her bed, and noticed her shirt was soaked with cold sweat, and her face was dripping. He picked up a blanket that was covering her and wiped off her face, and she let him. She was still stunned from her dream.
No words were spoken; no words were needed. The expressions on both of their faces said everything that was needed to be said. He knew she was scared, not only about the dream, but also the whole day. She knew he was trying his best to comfort her, give her what he had never gotten when he was in the same situation as she was. She knew something had happened to him before, but she wasn't sure what. Not yet, anyway. Hopefully, he would tell her, but she didn't want to impose.
After what seemed like endless minutes of silent communication, he asked, "What was it about?"
"The dream?"
He nodded.
"I'm not sure. About the whole day, I guess. Everything that happened."
"You mean yesterday."
"It happened yesterday. It's the morning," he explained as he pointed to the clock beside the bed. She looked and found out it was 3:45. A wave of relief swept over her like a cool summer breeze. She had lived until the next day. She had gotten through the most horrible day of her life. She was overjoyed that the worst was over.
He crawled up higher on the bed and sat beside her. "I'm proud of you Randi. You were strong and you faced the truth, no matter how difficult it was to take in."
"Thanks, that means a lot to me." Tears were beginning to swell in her deep blue eyes again, but this time, she really didn't have a reason why. She thought they might have come from the fact that she couldnít turn back time and change everything that's happened, or maybe because she was so overjoyed that she belonged somewhere still, she wasn't exactly sure. But still, the tears dropped from her eyes onto her cheeks, and then the blankets that covered her legs. He took his hand and wiped one away from her face.
"Why are you crying?" he asked in the sweet filled voice he had always possessed.
"I don't know," she said honestly, nearly laughing. "I don't know if I'm sad, or happy...I can't tell."
"That's all right," he told her. "Why don't you lie down. I'll stay here with you for awhile, or as long as you want." He put his arm on her back, implying for her to rest her weight on him. She did so, and he lay her down gently back on the mattress and her head on the pillow. Even though the room was dark, she could see his delicate face in the moonlight. She felt safe; for the first time in a long while, she actually felt safe. She smiled and didn't think he would notice, but he did, unlike most people. "What?"
"Nothing...I was just thinking of something."
He didn't persist. He never did. He thought if he needed to know something, you'd tell him. That one of the things Randi loved about him.
It had been a few minutes when his voice broke the silence. "I'm afraid to ask, and you don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but I've been wondering about your father. What happened to him?"
Her eyes closed and she thought about it. Usually, she could remember it in a heart beat. But since today...or, actually yesterday, she had to think of it. She didn't think he'd really want to hear, and she hated telling the story, so she gave him a short summary. "I was really young, like three, so I don't remember much. He was a heavy drinker, and he got in an accident." She wasn't going to let the tears come back. She had cried enough, today. But, she still had to tell him. He had done so much for her, she at least owed him this much.
He looked confused. She had no choice but to tell him more. She took a deep sigh and closed her eyes. "One night, he'd been drinking so badly that he had no clue what he was doing. He went out driving, and before he knew it, he crashed into another car." She swallowed. "Both cars exploded."
"Oh, Randi...I'm sorry."
"And I wasnít three, I was eleven," she admitted.
"Oh, Randi. That must have been so hard on you. It probably still is hard on you. I should of never have never-"
"No, it's all right. I needed to tell someone. I'm glad it was you and not someone else."
He smiled at her comment. He thought she was sweet, and why her life had gone this way and why she was being treated so harshly and unfairly was beyond his comprehension. Still, he hoped he could change things.
He took a blanket he had thrown off the bed earlier and wrapped it around his shoulders and came and sat down again. He looked out the window and to the clear night sky, thinking, remembering. He turned back to her, letting her see his face. "My mother, when I was little, always sang me a song when things never went the way they were supposed to. She even sang it to me when I was twenty-six, when I got into a horrible car accident that nearly took my life. When I was lying in that hospital bed for two months, I wanted to die. But she came in and sang the song, and it strengthened my body and my soul. I'll never forget it."
She now knew what it had been he was talking about...the accident. She had read some things about it, and knew what he had gone through. She felt sorry for him. Her eyes met his, glowing a bright blue in the moonlight shining through the window, wanting him to tell her it, maybe even sing it. "What is it?"
"Oh, I couldn't..."
"Sure you could," she encouraged him. "You're a great singer. I've heard you. And no one's around. Go ahead."
He closed his eyes, she wasn't sure in concentration or deciding whether to do it or not, but his mouth opened and out came the most glorious words and notes she had ever heard in her life:

"No where to run,
But you canít turn back.
You canít face the truth;
Itís not courage you lack.

Youíre frightened, youíre scared,
You donít know what to do.
If only you could turn back the hands of time,
And wish the nightmare was through.

You stare to the stars
And watch the sun set,
Wondering where you would be
If you and fate had never met.

But timeís paths have crossed,
And you want to give up and die,"

She finished it for him, also singing the last two lines:

"But you must be strong and try to survive.
If only the truth could be a lie."

He looked at her in wonder, and also amazement. "Howíd you know that?"
She smiled sweetly to him as a far away-look was washed into her eyes. "My parents used to sing that to me when I was little. I didnít even remember that until you started singing it." She looked back to him with grateful, glowing eyes. "Thank you. Now I can remember something about my parents that I would have never known. It brings back old, old memories. Memories that I wouldíve forgotten."
There was a long pause as Mark considered what he was going to say. "Would you rather have forgotten them?" he asked, feeling slightly guilty at what he had brought up.
"Oh, no," she said, the far away-look still in her deep blue eyes. "No, Iím glad you made me remember them. Now...Iím not as scared. The song was so comforting; it made me remember." It was hard to phrase the emotions she was feeling for him at the moment. "Iím glad you sung it. It made this a whole lot easier. You made this a whole lot easier. Thank you."
"Iím really glad I could help," he said as smiled back to her. "Do you still want me to stay?"
She thought about it for awhile, but knew the whole time what she was going to say. "Please," she said quietly. "if you donít mind."
"No, of course not. But, Iíll probably fall asleep," he warned.
"Thatís all right. As long as youíre here." Her eyes closed, almost unwillingly, and she felt his warm body crawl next to hers. Just before she totally drifted off, she felt his hand brush against her cheek and his soft lips against hers as he silently kissed her "goodnight".

He heard crying. Soft crying, right next to him. He couldnít remember where he was or who was in bed next to him. At first he thought it might have been Marilou, but the voice was too high. He opened his eyes and saw the window next to the bed. He wasnít in his room. No, he was in the guest room where Randi had been sleeping. It was her crying.
He put his arms around her and gently turned her over so she was facing him. Her face was distressed and streaked with tears. He cupped her face in her hands, but she pulled away and hid her tears from him. He took his arms and wrapped them around her waist and pulled her closer. He thought she might try to struggle away again, but she let him and even let him put his hands around her face a second time. "Randi, whatís wrong?" he whispered. He tenderly brushed the wet hair away from her eyes.
" came back." Her voice was soft but full of pain and suffering. She inhaled an unsteady breath as if she was going to say more, but didnít.
He didnít want to ask, but felt as if he should. "The dream?"
She nodded her head exhaustedly. He wondered how long she had been crying. He wondered how long ago sheíd had the dream again.
She did say more. "It..." she took another unsteady breath, "it was worse this time. There...there was more."
He knew she didnít want to talk about it. He wasnít going to ask her anything. If she wanted to tell him, she would. If not, he wasnít going to pressure her. No...his father had done that too much with him...
There were no more words passed between them. There didnít need to be. Their actions spoke louder than their words ever could have. He took her shaking, frightened body and pulled her close to him as she curled up and wrapped her arms around her. He put his arms around her back and rubbed it gently. Her hands were pressed up against his smooth, soft chest, and once she started to settle down a bit and regain control, she put her face against it, also. She felt his heart beating quietly against his chest and it turned into a hypnotic suggestion for her. Her eyes slowly closed and she almost completely forgot about the horrid dream that had haunted her for the whole night. She felt his hand stroke calmly through her knotted hair, being careful not to hurt her, only to comfort her. She felt safe against his warm, loving body. She didnít know why she did. She had only met him that day. But the way he had been so open and humble to her, it made her feel like sheíd known him for her entire life. She felt like she belonged somewhere. Now she knew how it was to... Her eyes were closed and she was out even before she finished her thought. He glanced down at her sleeping, innocent face before he also closed his eyes. He wanted to make sure she was asleep before he dozed off, too. He still kept his arms wrapped tightly around her, and hoped the dream didnít come back...for her sake.

She woke up, and felt his soft hair tickling her face. She didnít want to jerk away, for she was afraid that she would wake him up, so she just lied still and hoped she would fall back asleep. His breath slowly crept out of his slightly parted mouth and into hers, but she didnít pull away. She realized his arm was around her waist and his gentle hand was pressed against her back. His face was glowing in the moonlight that was shining through the window, and she realized hers would be, too. But, as she blinked a few times, she noticed her face was stiff from the residue of tears that had streaked her skin. She knew she had been crying, but couldnít remember exactly when, and what Mark had done when he had realized. She knew he had tried to comfort her, judging from the position she was in when she woke up, but wondered what had exactly happened. She couldnít remember much at all. Although, she didnít know if she wanted those thoughts bombarding her mind again. She had vented them through her tears, and she didnít want them back. She was glad the day was over. She fell back asleep before she had even realized she was closing her eyes. She hoped she would forget this day ever happened.

That morning, Randi was awakened by voices by her bed. Although they were whispering, she could still hear what they were saying. It was Mark, and she guessed Marilou...talking about her.
"Listen, Marilou. She has no where else to go. They said they were trying to look for a foster home for her, but no one wants a fourteen year-old girl...sheís nearly grown up. She has her own opinions, her own ideals. But they donít know how sweet she honest and loving she is. Marilou, if you would--"
"Mark, I know, but I donít know if we can have another child. I donít know how the other kids could handle it. Especially Griffin...having another around his age...a girl? I just..."
"Marilou, listen to your heart. You know this is the right thing to do. Think about what sheís gone through...think about what sheís going through now. We canít let her down, especially not now. She needs us, Marilou. Weíre the only oneís she has."
There was a long silence as she thought over what they were going to do. She really didnít want to hear the answer, but she had no choice. Not unless she were to wake up, and then there wouldnít even BE an answer. No, she needed to hear this.
"All right, Mark. We can apply to be her foster parents. But if there are any problems--"
"There wonít be," he told her confidently. "Not with her."

It had been a year since Marilou and Mark had officially become Randiís foster parents. Their children had handled it surprisingly well, and her and Griffin became fast friends. Nathan treated her as a little sister, and Randi and Chelsea had a strong relationship as sisters. Mark and Marilou had been treating her as a daughter, although could never, or never had to yell at her. She knew what they had done for her, and she was more than grateful. Although she would never forget her real family, she loved this one and would never trade it for anything.
But that day, as she knelt beside her motherís and Patrickís grave, she couldnít hold the tears back. She tilted her head back, and hoped theyíd disappear. But Mark came over too quickly, and her attempt had failed. She wanted to keep from bawling, so she stared at the graves and not into his eyes. She wouldnít be able to hold the tears back if she couldnít turn away.
He put his hand on her shoulder and knelt down beside her. In his hands, he held two roses, and lay one on Patrickís, and one on her motherís. She continued to stare at the graves, but was grateful and whispered, "Thank you."
He nodded his acknowledgment. "Itís the least I could do. I thought about it, and--"
"No, for everything," she softy interrupted. "I mean, itís been a year, and I still keep coming back to it."
"Donít apologize. I didnít expect for you to just forget about it like it never happened. In fact, I hoped you wouldnít. Itís unnatural to just forget something like that."
"I know. I just wish it never happened."
"I know you do, but itís not that bad. It really isnít. Just think, it couldíve been you, too." He paused and put his other hand on her shoulder and made her look at him...into his eyes. "Randi, Iím glad it wasnít you."
She couldnít help but smile. "Thanks," she told him again, stroking a rose on her brotherís grave. "Everything that youíve done means so much to me."
He smiled back to her. "Iíll be back in a few minutes. We can go--"
"No, itís okay. Iím done," she told him hesitantly.
He got up and then extended a hand to help her up. "Feel like going home?" he asked.
"Yeah, that sounds like a good place to be right now," she smiled.

"Chelsea, come on out of the water! Címon!" Randi yelled to her sister as she herself climbed out of the enormous ocean. The sand felt hot on Randiís feet, although it was pleasant compared to the icy salt water of Malibu Beach.
"Chelsea!" She wasnít in the water anymore. Where had she gone? "Chelsea?" Suddenly a small pair of arms wrapped around Randiís waist and she whipped around to catch her attacker. "Chelsea!" Randiís outstretched hands came down to Chelseaís stomach and she began to tickle her little sister wildly. She fell down on the sand and Randi leaned over her victim and picked up her speed in her hands. They were both laughing hysterically, and Randi remembered a year ago when she had done this with her own little brother --
Her thoughts were broken by a pair of firm hands on her shoulders. She screamed, although she had a pretty good idea who it was. Her hands were pulled away from Chelsea and reached up to grab the wrists of HER attacker. But, instead of her tickling someone this time, her attacker flipped her on her back and began tickling her. Thatís when she saw his face. "Mark!" she screamed in between laughs. "Mark!" Even though Mark had became her foster father, she still wasnít able to call him, "Dad." She didnít think she ever would be able to. She partially felt guilty. He had done so much for her, and yet, she still couldnít call him by what he was. Sheíd work on that, though. Maybe she would be able to, someday.
He was laughing, too. Chelsea got up and joined in her fatherís attack. They both ganged up on her and Randi began laughing uncontrollably. She tried to push their hands away from her body, but they kept coming back. Not that she minded it, or anything. It made her remember when she was younger, and her family used to have tickling battles. She had never had her last scheduled battle with Patrick. He had died before she could even say goodbye, otherwise tickle him. She missed him, but she was also glad she this family. She was more than glad; she was overjoyed.
They finally stopped after what seem like forever, and they both helped her to her feet. (Chelsea tried her best, but Mark helped a little more than she did.) Nathan and Griffin came over with a frisbee and a surf board and met up with them as we made our way over to Marilou. They all sat down on the blanket and all lay down. The ocean wore you out, especially after a tickling battle. She had missed those. She was glad she was reunited with them. It made her remember her real family, and how they used to have fun. Still, she was glad she was united with, what she liked to call, her second and only family.

If you have any comments, email Celene, and if you want to see your story added on this page, email me.