Saturday afternoon, 2:30 PM
Lucky boarded the bus and dug into his pocket for the exact change. He slumped into an empty seat behind the driver and placed the side of his face against the window. He was burning up with fever, and the coolness of the thin window glass and steel window divider felt good. He had gulped five aspirin without water before the bus pulled up, and his throat burned. The bus chugged along jerkily, and Lucky's body swayed back and forth with the motion. Lucky's eyes were closed, but he didn't sleep. He heard the brakes whine as the bus stopped several times with the sounds of feet, laughter, greetings, and clinking change. This continued for about 45 minutes until he heard the street being called out: Royal Street next stop.
Lucky dragged himself to his feet, grabbed his bags and stumbled off of the bus. He sighed and looked around at his old neighborhood. The aspirins were burning in his empty stomach, and he grimaced and dug through one of the trash bags to hunt for the Pepto Bismol. Lucky removed the cap and took a long, thick, pink swig. He made a yucky face. GAD! This stuff is almost worse than the pain in my stomach. UGH! he thought.
Lucky headed east toward his old house, noting the neighboring houses and little improvements that had been made in the last year. Mrs. Cox added yet another rose bush to her overabundant garden collection and a new white arbor in front of her doorway. It looked like the Bradfords welcomed yet another baby to the six that they already had. Lucky eyed the pink ribbon and balloons on the mailbox. And another girl, too, he chuckled to himself. They're gonna need more room for all of those kids. They must be busting at the seams.
When Lucky stopped in front of 24 Royal Street, he dropped his bags and concealed himself behind a large tree. He almost didn't recognize the house with its new blue paint and teal trim. There were cute country items everywhere with a dressed up goose beside the front door and silhouettes of kissing Dutch kids in the front lawn. His dad would have had a cow. Lucky noticed that his mom's prized lilacs and azaleas were ripped out and replaced with small, green shrubbery. He frowned as he recalled the heady floral scent of his mother's lilacs in the spring. He used to keep his window open at night, and the sweet breezes would brush his cheek and swirl around his bed as he contentedly slept. It looked like they tore down the old one-car garage, too, and replaced it with a new, Sears and Roebuck brown metal two-car unit. It was ugly and didn't match the house.
Lucky adjusted his position behind the tree when the new family drove up in a silver Honda Accord. The dad was about thirty years old, tall and rangy with dark blond hair. The mom helped one small boy out of the back seat and unbuckled a baby seat. She was petite, young and pretty with light brown hair, green eyes and a round, happy face. The little boy jumped up and down impatiently in a hurry to rush inside and play with his toys. He rambled on excitedly about their trip to the zoo and kicked at the newly planted shrubs. The dad walked up to the boy and grabbed him from behind, lifting him onto his shoulders and bouncing him as his boy squealed with delight. They walked toward the front door, obviously exhausted and happy to be home. When the family entered the front door, Lucky quietly turned, picked up his black plastic bags, and headed west towards his original destination.
Tony met Taggert back at the police station at 8:00 PM. Taggert was concerned about Tony's White Castle story, the bad reaction of the hooker and disappearance of Lucky. He wanted to check out the girl's story himself. Tony and Taggert agreed that Taggert would interrogate, and Tony would watch for any meaningful reactions.
Lucky found an isolated space in the park under a stand of pine trees. These pine needles should make a good bed tonight, he thought. Lucky sat down and pulled out his remaining dollars in his shoe. His throat tightened as he counted. There was only $75 left - good for maybe one night in a motel room. Lucky wiped his nose on his sleeve and looked at the bills again. He crumpled them up and shoved them into his pocket. Lucky repeatedly hit his fists on the ground and let the tears fall. He craved a drink so bad. He'd give $50 for a few sips of whiskey. Anything to take the pain away.
Lucky's attention turned toward his RAID cans, and he wondered if he could huff that stuff. He reached into a trash bag and pulled out a huge can. He let out a thin spray and sniffed at the can's opening. OH GOD! Lucky coughed and hacked and covered his nose with a sleeve to avoid the fumes. Garden fresh, my ass! If the poison doesn't kill them, the smell will.
Lucky hugged his knees to his chest and rocked for a bit. How would he find the money to rent himself a place to crash? Lucky remembered his winnings at Roy's poker game. The guys hadn't been too happy with him when he'd won and then promptly split. It wasn't good gambling etiquette to not stick around so that the others could try to win their money back. They probably wouldn't let him back in a game, but that was his only option, the only way he could grab hold of some decent cash. Lucky remembered that Roy talked about starting up a Saturday night game. Lucky was determined to talk his way in.
Lucky began coughing and continued for about five minutes. He kept coughing up and spitting out green gunk laced with blood and just felt like he couldn't get enough oxygen into his lungs. The aspirin had taken his fever down a notch, but did nothing to help the ache in his chest. He started feeling weak and sick to his stomach and leaned over to vomit the pink contents of his stomach. Yuck, I hate that Pepto Bismol, he thought as he buried the mess in the pine needles. Lucky moved over one tree to avoid sleeping on that spot tonight. He took his RAID can and sprayed a white X on the spot just to make sure.
Now that he decided how he would obtain some money, Lucky laid on his side in the pine needles and rested his face on the soft, fragrant ground. Reaching back, he checked for his gun in the waistband of his pants. Satisfied, he settled into that position and then fell into a restless sleep.
Saturday evening, 8 PM
It was dark when Lucky woke up. Crickets
were chirping, and there was a decided chill in the air, a reminder of the winter to come.
The moon was nearly full, and Lucky could easily see his surroundings with the tall pine
trees looming above him and the walking paths hidden by falling leaves. Lucky suddenly
felt like a little kid that impulsively ran away from home to the back yard, but forgot
his sleeping bag and peanut butter sandwiches. He remembered the fun and adventure of the
time that he and Emily had run away.
*** "Lucky, you chump!" Emily punched her best friend in the arm and laughed and squealed. Lucky had taken the ice from is his soda pop and placed it down Emily's back. Lucky sat back on his elbows with a straw between his teeth and laughed at Emily's reaction as she twisted and squirmed and craned her neck trying to free herself from the cold, slippery ice. When Emily was finally free, she plopped onto the ground next to Lucky and looked into his eyes.
"You're a such pain in the butt,
Lucky Spencer," she teased. "I'm glad that you're with me, though. I don't know
what I'd do without you," she said, her eyes shining and happy. ***
Lucky wished for the hot breezes of an
Arizona summer and the smile of his best friend. Their parting had been so sudden and
unnecessary. Emily and Juan had been in trouble constantly, and her parents finally put
their feet down on the young lovers. Almost a year ago, Emily was shipped off to Paris to
spend a year at a French finishing school. The Quartermaines were determined to refine
this young lady of theirs, and Port Charles with its temptations and bad influences was
obviously not working out for her.
*** Lucky and Emily were standing at the gate as her flight was called. "Gosh, Lucky, I'm really going to miss you," Emily sighed, brushing away a tear.
"Me, too, Em," said Lucky as he reached out and stroked her cheek with a gentle hand.
"Write me," Emily demanded, knitting together her brows and shaking her finger at her best friend.
"Of course," Lucky said, raising his eyebrows in surprise that she'd even need to say this to him.
Lucky pulled Emily into a big hug, and the two stood there for two minutes until the final boarding call was issued.
"Love you," Emily shouted over her shoulder, struggling with her carry-on and stumbling toward the plane.
"Love you more," Lucky
replied softly with his hand waving goodbye. ***
Lucky squared his shoulders, cleared his throat, and ventured out into the night.