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"Come with me, Shelle. I want to show you something."
Shelle followed him, on crutches again because someone had stepped on her sore spot where the bandages were at the party.

James went to the piano and Shelle noticed that there were a couple new pictures on the mantel. The one of her as a baby and the one of Lindy and Shelle's dad presided over the room with the other pictures in their newly-polished frames.

"I want you to have this. I can't read music, but I have these. Don't know why." He put a few music books on top of the piano. Shelle thumbed through them. They were all very nice and new and they were all of James's songs and of his bands. Each one of them had some writing in the cover. Shelle read:

"I have always needed somebody, girl,
But I close the doors to keep out the world.
But for you, I would be here all alone.
To Shelle, with love, James."

That was lovely. It was so wonderful of him to write that for her-even if it was only from a song that had been recorded a while ago. The words fit in with everything perfectly. There were various lyrics in the other books, all signed by him, some with a personal note to her. The thickest book, the greatest hits of his first band from 1962-1970 contained an envelope with a letter. She did not read it then, but saved it for later.

She hugged him tightly. It was not because of the music that he was giving her that she was happy, it was that the love that he had shown in the messages towards her.

But there was something else in his hand. It was her locket-she'd dropped it outside a couple days ago-and it was shining. She took it.

"Look inside," he told her.

She did and found a very small picture of James and Lindy ("You can take it out if you don't like it." "No, no! I like it! It stays."). He also gave her a small bracelet he'd worn in the early days of his fame, which was a little big for her because she was so thin. She hugged and kissed him again and thanked him very sincerely. She stowed all these good things away safely in her suitcase except for the locket and bracelet. It was silver and made out of "links," neither for a girl or a boy. Very simple. She tightened it on her small wrist and fastened the locket 'round her neck. She went back to him and he took her outside where the horses were ready.

He helped her up and they rode off, singing again, into the distance as Allen Peters drove in. He just shrugged and left a note at the door:

"I haven't really found much else, but I will say this:
If there are any more gifts, I think it's a family one.
You and Lindy and your children always had a real family feel, very
close and loving. Now you and Shelle have a bond, warm and close.
Love to all~Allen."

He drove off again, leaving the farm in absolute quiet-except for two voices floating on the air.

© Lissa Michelle Supler

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