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   Chapter 13 Roses for Juliet

Roses for Juliet By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 8573

Updated: 2018-03-14 10:08

Chapter 13

Driving home Steve thought about what Bryan said. Did he owe something to his dead? Even with this thought circling around in his brain, Steve realized he felt good, easy in his own skin in a way that he hadn't felt in a long time.

'Wasn't there an old saying about a burden shared', he thought as he pulled up to a stoplight. As he waited for the light to turn green he spied some teenagers hanging out. He saw the overhead street lights highlight certain features and shade others and without really thinking about it he began to frame the composition, the way he would paint the scene.

The light changed and Steve shifted his foot from brake to gas and shook the thought away. The time when he had been an artist was long past. Painting was no longer a part of him. Steve glanced at his hands on the steering wheel. Those hands hadn't held a brush in years. There were no flecks of color dotting the skin and the smell of turpentine no longer followed him. That part of his life was over. He buried it when he buried his family.

'Don't you miss it, " a little voice deep inside him whispered. 'Just a little?' He flinched with the question as though it had been a whip. It was a question he had never asked himself and even in the privacy of his own thoughts he refused to answer it.

Instead of framing a reply he switched on the radio. Steve flipped through the dials until a Pink Floyd song caught his attention. It was mellow enough to suit his mood and he knew the lyrics well enough to use them to block his own thoughts. He let it play as he drove, mumbling the lyrics to himself, not wanting to spoil the song with his own out of tune voice. He stopped mid sentence when the lyrics hit him.

…hey you …don't help them to bury the live…

Steve clamped his jaw around the words and turned off the radio driving the rest of the way in silence. As he pulled into the driveway, his paranoid streak flared up at the sight of his house. There was no way he was going to be able to sleep until he checked every room for the presence of someone else.

Steve sighed, got out of the car and went into the house. He rolled his eyes at himself as he checked all the locks on both the doors and the windows, searched every room, peeking into each closet. Steve was very glad he lived alone and had no witnesses to see him look under his bed, just in case. He straightened up, satisfied no one was concealed in his home.

Steve ran quickly through his nightly routine, laying out his clothes for Monday morning at the offic

to him. Steve turned the envelope over, read the address and just held it for a moment. "Aren't you going to open it?" She asked. Steve nodded and ripped open the top. He could feel his pulse beat in his throat as he pulled the papers from the envelope. He read the top letter and he felt his heart almost stutter to a stop.

"I got it, " he said, his voice barely a whisper. "I got the scholarship." Without that scholarship he never would have been able to afford the cost of tuition. His mom wrapped her arms around him in a hug.

"Congratulations baby." He said and kissed him on his cheek. He had grown tall enough that she couldn't drop a kiss on his head anymore as she used to unless he was sitting down. "I knew you'd get it. She gave him an extra squeeze. "My son the artist. You know I may not have done a whole lot in this world, but I gave them you. And I'll get to come to your shows, sip champagne and point out to everyone that I'm the reason you are so good."

"Thanks Mom, " Steve replied, giddiness beginning to set in. "Will you wear a big hat with a long trailing feather?" He asked. His favorite book as a kid had featured such a character on the cover.

"Of course, " She said without hesitation. "Now I think we should celebrate. I vote that instead of left-over night we all go out. What do you say?"

The air conditioning kicked on and the sound of the fan woke Steve from his dream. He blinked in the dark, a lump rising in his throat. He displayed no pictures in his home and had no reminders of the past. Now he could almost smell the scent of his mother in the air and feel her arms around him. He rolled over and tried to find his way back into the dream.

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