Maybe they never moved away.
"Mom? Can we go find my room?" Her son tugged on her hand and she tousled his light brown hair affectionately. Summer vacation from the local high school where she taught had coincided nicely with the latter stages of her pregnancy and she was feeling more relaxed than she had in a long time. Lindsey seemed happier too. He’d been moping around far too much this past year, the disappointment in not getting as much session work as in the past weighing on him. They’d discussed moving to LA but when she’d told him that she was expecting again, he’d simply wrapped his strong arms around her, murmured in her ear about how much he loved her, and they’d almost immediately started scouring the neighborhood for a larger home. He’d lain in bed next to her that night and told her he’d make things perfect for her, for their family. Stevie knew things would never be perfect - they were too passionate, too argumentative for that - but this was better. It was what she wanted.
Maybe Lindsey’s illness was worse than they’d expected.
Stevie pulled the comforter closer around her body, trying to protect it from the chilly coolness of the downstairs of the Buckingham abode. A few months of sleeping on their sofa was not doing her back any favors but she couldn’t stay away. The doctor had been again yesterday, given another attempt at a diagnosis and had looked no more convincing about this one than he had previously. Sighing, she pressed her fingertips to the sides of her temple, willing her headache to go away.
"Darling, are you okay?" Stevie turned over and looked over to see Rutheda knelt by the side of the sofa, watching her with a concerned expression. "I know sleeping here isn’t ideal but Greg should be going back next week so…"
"S’okay," Stevie smiled sleepily. "It’s their home."
"It’s yours too. You’re family, after all."
Tears welled up and she cursed herself for becoming so emotional these days. She’d actually cried all over Lindsey’s shirt yesterday and had had to go and find him a clean one, much to his amusement. “He’ll be okay, won’t he?”
"I hope so."
Maybe she wouldn' t wear the ring.
She had refused. She had refused him every single time she asked. Three times, in all.
The first time was very sweet and romantic and she’d been tempted to say yes. But they were young and in love and free and about to move and it wasn’t the right time. She’d patted him gently on the shoulder and indicated for him to get up off his knees. “Honey, you don’t have to do this… We’ve got plenty of time.”
The second time was desperate and passionate. They’d had another blowout fight and she’d even thrown a glass at him. He’d thrown the ring at her in return. She ‘d picked it up and examined it. Beautiful. He’d stalked over to her, taken it from her, put it on her ring finger. She’d stared. “Please. Marry me. I need you.” She’d refused, telling him he’d regret it later if she said yes.
The third time was a last ditch attempt as she walked out the door. A plea, an angry begging, before he slammed the door in her face and said ‘good riddance’. She knew he didn’t mean it. Either the proposal or the pretend happiness at her going. She’d miss him too.
She watched Kristen out of the corner of her eye, all slim and blonde and perky and pretty and… She kept fiddling with the damn ring. It was perfect, of course. All class. For a classy lady. Stevie had never been perfect. She looked down at her own ageing hands, examining her ring finger, the slim gold band that never left it these days. It might not be showy or glitzy but it was hers. Because she’d finally accepted a ring from him.
Stevie knew it wasn’t intended as a consolation prize; it was a reminder. That he was still hers.
Maybe they came back for family.
The funeral was on a Saturday morning and Lindsey felt numb. They’d driven back yesterday, the car overwhelmed by the heavy, oppressive silence which had never been a part of his and Stevie’s relationship. Sitting side by side in the front row of the church, he gripped his girlfriend’s hand tightly, trying to draw any tiny bit of comfort he could from her. The last hymn was sung and he could feel her fingers running over his back, a pattern of up, down, left, right, around which he found lulling and reassuring.
He held onto his mother for what seemed like hours after the service was over, clutching at her and crying into her shoulder like he was a little child all over again. Eventually, they broke apart and he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the sorrowful, sympathetic expression on Stevie’s face as she watched on, standing hand in hand with Jeff a mere foot away. She came to him and held out her arms for him, offering him her. And he took. Took and took and took.
They never discussed it, really. The house was quieter without his Dad’s familiar presence but, certainly, having he and Stevie move back in seemed to bring a kind of peaceful acceptance to his mom and Lindsey couldn’t take that away from her. So they stayed.
Maybe the money ran out.
She sat curled up on the sofa, her head on Lindsey’s lap as he ran his fingers through her soft hair. She sighed contentedly and glared at him as he laughed.
"No problem then." He leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to her willing lips before tucking her more securely against him. His body was solid under her and Stevie rubbed his thigh mindlessly. "Lindsey?"
"I know we talked about this last month but it’s truly getting to be an actual problem. The whole money thing? I only got three shifts this week and how many gigs did we play? One? Honey, it’s not enough…"
His warm hands caressed her upper arms and he closed his eyes to her searching gaze. “I know, I know. Maybe we can move back home; try again when we have some more money together?” He was disappointed, she knew that, but even dreams and talent couldn’t sustain them forever out here.
Maybe she decided to leave him.
She’d spent the day mulling it over while watching the snow falling down outside. Of course, she’d considered it before, even quite seriously, but this was the big decision and she knew it. She huddled up in her pile of cushions and blankets and played aimlessly with a few chords on her small guitar. It sounded pretty. Lindsey would be able to make it sound prettier, naturally. That really was one of the things she loved most about him, how incredibly effortless and natural music was to him. The way his voice wrapped around hers and the way he made love to the guitar, coaxing beauty out of it with ease was incredibly attractive and powerful.
But attraction and power wasn’t enough. She needed to survive and be happy. And Stevie was not happy. She knew it and she was fairly sure he knew it.
It was strange, having decided she’d tell him this was it, the end of them. It didn’t really feel real and she almost didn’t want it to. She could already see the expression on his face, the hurt and grief there and she knew it would be mirrored on her own face. This was going to tear her apart and yet it needed to be done. She strummed a bum note and winced. Wiping a stray tear from her cheek, she punched the large blue cushion next to her. Goddamn. She hated herself today.
Maybe the first album sold well.
She held the phone up between them so they could both hear the news. Moments later, after they excitedly thanked the person on the other end and hung up, she was flying through the air, being lifted and swung around in her boyfriend’s arms. Stevie laughed loudly, joyfully and put her hands on his shoulders, trying to get him to put her down. Finally acceding to her wishes, he stood, bouncing on his toes and grinning at her. Infectious.
"Looks like the move paid off, baby. I honestly wasn’t sure if-"
Stevie kissed him, shutting him up, stopping him. He responded lustily, lifting her back up and then carrying her over to their makeshift bed on the floor. “We’re going to be famous,” she crowed as he kissed her neck. “Gonna have some money,” she continued as he lifted his shirt off. “So proud of you,” she murmured, kissing his bare chest and reaching for his belt.
"So proud of us," he corrected, smiling lovingly as he caressed her side, his fingertips trailing over her soft skin. "Love you."
Maybe the second album didn' t sell at all.
The sky darkened and she watched it. Lindsey had gone off into their bedroom a few hours ago and she could still make out sound of his guitar being strummed furiously. He was angry. She was numb.
"The album’s been dropped. I’m sorry; it just didn’t perform to our expectations."
The words replayed themselves over and over again and they seemed as unreal as the first time she heard them. Stevie found herself wondering if the disappointment would be less if they hadn’t had such a great success with their first LP. They’d been heralded and lauded and applauded and praised all over the country, played everywhere to adoring crowds. And now, a mere year and a half later, they were once again facing an uncertain future. This time she was less certain of whether they’d make it through.
They’d been more than confident in this new album - the songs had been masterful, the lyrics deeper than before, the guitar playing more genius. And yet… Sighing, Stevie leaned her head against the window. She should go and talk to Lindsey; his moods were best left for a time and then confronted or he’d think she was neglecting him. God, this was going to destroy them. She hoped it wouldn’t destroy them.
Maybe they quit.
He liked them; he really did. Mick, John and Chris were great, just great. But he needed out. Wrapping an arm tighter around Stevie, he nudged her gently. She was awake; he could feel her soft breath against his bare chest. They’d fought again today, not an unusual occurrence these days, and he needed to talk to her. “Stevie?” he whispered and she responded by curling into him, her open hand coming to rest on his stomach. “Stevie, we need to talk…”
"Now?" she moaned.
"Now. I want to quit, Stevie." She opened her eyes suddenly, squinting across at him in the darkness of their bedroom. "We’ve made enough money, we’ve gotten our names out there."
"It’s killing us. You know it; we both do. We’re either in the studio making music or in bed making love. The only time we have to ourselves besides that we spend arguing and fighting. I can’t do that anymore. I need music but… God, Stevie," he said passionately, entreating her with his eyes. "I need you more." She nodded slowly and kissed him, caressing him tenderly.
Maybe she kept the baby.
She cradled the small body all swaddled in purple close to her body, unable to tear her eyes away from her baby daughter. Her eyes only lifted when she heard the voice coming from the direction of the door. Her parents had left an hour or so ago and the nurse had only just left so… He looked hesitant, standing awkwardly by the wall, fiddling with the edge of his jacket and looking everywhere but at her. “Lindsey?” she called, smiling softly at him. He blinked once, twice, and walked over to her obediently as she beckoned, still avoiding her eyes. She’d known this would be difficult.
Her bandmate cleared his throat. “Don?” And she could’ve killed him for that being the first thing out his mouth. Insensitivity, thy name is Lindsey Buckingham.
"No, on tour. He’s not… She’s mine. Just mine." He nodded and smiled sadly before sitting down on the very edge of the bed, carefully not touching any part of her. Jittery. "Do you want to-"
"Can-" Their eyes met and she carefully held out the baby for him, watching carefully as he gingerly took her in his strong, protective arms. Lindsey brushed a small strand of dark hair from off her daughter’s forehead and the gesture was so familiar, so intimate that she felt her eyes watering immediately. Damn hormones. Damn him. "She’s beautiful," he said quietly and then reached for the baby’s fingers, a look of amazement in his eyes. Startled by the feelings welling up in her chest she touched Lindsey’s leg, trying to reach for some clarity. "I’ll be anything you need me to be here, Stevie. Anything you want. A partner, a boyfriend, a husband, a…" Voice cracking, he ran a shaking finger over her daughter’s small head. "A father. If you need me, want me, anything."
Maybe the music re-opened the wounds.
She thought his voice might give out if he shouted anymore at her. She’d sent him over the demos yesterday and had wondered how he’d react. She’s expected him to be gratified, maybe, because he loved when she wrote about him but this…
"Stevie, we can’t include it!"
"Have you read the lyrics?"
"I wrote them."
"Well, then, how do you think Kit is going to feel when she sees a song on our new album which is so OBVIOUSLY about how we were having an affair while I was dating her and how I loved you but couldn’t stay because Will came along?"
"Maybe she’ll be flattered at being such an inspiration and thankful that you chose her?"
"Will she fuck?! Stevie, don’t be so blasé about this! You just CANNOT write things like this and expect for me to sing them with you. On our album."
"We always have in the past."
"Yes, before I had a wife and children! Stop being so naiive."
"I’m being honest. As I always do. Besides, maybe she won’t realize the lyrics are about you."
"Stevie, anyone who listens to these songs will know they’re about me. God, yes, they’re true. So true. But I just can’t-"
"Do you ever regret it?" he asked softly. "I mean, telling me to go back to Kristen and the baby?"
"This song will go on the album, Lindsey. Please," she continued, a note of pleading in her voice. "Give me this. If I can’t have you, give me this."
Maybe they learned to communicate.
She was about to walk out the door again. Truly, Lindsey thought, a better verb would be storm or stalk or stomp… A blanket wrapped under her arm, she had the car keys in hand and god, he was tired of this. Rolling his eyes he marched over to her and stood in front of the door with his arms crossed, staring her down. She pushed on his chest once, twice, demanded he move but not this time.
"Lindsey, move the fuck out of my way!"
"No? How dare you say no to me, you-"
"We need to talk." Putting a stilling hand on her arm, he gestured for her to move back to the couch and she did, with a huff and a grumble. Following her, he tried to formulate what he needed to say in his head, hoping to god that it came out right. Every time he spoke to her lately, she seemed to think Lindsey’s sole purpose was to annoy and stifle her. "Look, things are shit at the moment and we can’t keep going like this. I don’t want you to go. I don’t want to go. I go into the studio every morning and listen to you raking me over the coals and christ, Stevie, it hurts and you know it! Can we," he suggested hesitantly. "Can we try talking instead of screaming? Can we try telling each other what’s upsetting us instead of writing lyrics about it?" She took his hand and opened it up, placing the keys on his palm. "Thank you." He kissed her forehead, breathing her familiar scent in and sighing. "I love you."
Maybe she got fed up of being the breadwinner.
She almost tripped over him as she tried to get into their bedroom. Instead, she tripped over his second guitar. “Oh, for fuck’s sake!” she yelled, biting into her lip to stop from uttering further curses at her boyfriend’s prone figure on the floor. He was asleep. Of course he was, the asshole.
Stevie had had to stay back and work late, and had done so with a gritted smile, knowing they needed the money for their rent this week. She’d thought about when she’d get home and how Lindsey would be there waiting for her, maybe he’d even tried to cook dinner for once, cleaned up a little, maybe? But no. Of course not.
She kicked him gently in the side and choked back a bitter laugh as he grimaced and smacked his gums. The man could sleep through anything sometimes. He held his other guitar tightly in his arms and she glared at it. She loved him, truly, and his guitar playing but something had to change before she kicked his lazy self to the kerb. Some days she felt she was already reaching breaking point and as many times as he promised they’d make it soon, things would be fine, it certainly didn’t seem that way to her.
Things had to change. Now. Lindsey was going to have to get a job.
Maybe the children saw.
Lindsey knew he should’ve locked the door. Of course, he’d never had any need to before. His studio was usually a fairly solitary place, where he could come and think things through, play his emotions out in music, work on his demos. He and Stevie should’ve been working on their demos…
He’d make a token effort at resisting the temptation as they’d hugged in celebration when they played back the tape of the first song. He’d tried to resist the desire he had to just kiss her, share in her joy, show her how thankful he was. Of course, when she’d tentatively kissed him back, locked her arms around his neck and rocked up against him with a low moan as he parted her lips, he’d been lost.
His shirt’s buttons were half undone and his face flushed with pleasure as he watched her undoing her own blouse when he noticed the child staring in horror at them from the entrance to the studio. Oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god…
Leelee had run away, slamming the door behind her, looking disgusted and shocked and far too knowing.
The accusatory looks at both he and Stevie that night at the dinner table from all three children made him feel more nervous than he had been for the first live show he’d ever performed.
Several months later, he played all four EP tracks to his children for the first time. His oldest daughter spoke up first, merely laying her head on Lindsey’s shoulder and saying sadly, “I don’t understand it, Dad. Why don’t you go back to her if you love her so badly?” He couldn’t answer the question.
Maybe he resented her success too much.
She watched him ignore the album. It had been propped up against the mixing desk for hours now, sitting there with his name clearly marked.
And he was clearly ignoring it. Tapping him on the shoulder, she forced Lindsey to meet her eyes. “Hey. You going to take it or?”
Taken aback slightly, she frowned at her bandmate, tilting her head slightly to the side. Stevie couldn’t work him out lately. He was more sullen than usual, moodier. Of course, things with that bitch Carol Ann weren’t exactly all fun and games but… He cringed as she reached out and put a hand on his arm and she grabbed him harder. “Hey. What the hell’s going on, Lindsey? And try and be honest.”
"Honest?!" he spat at her. "How’s this for honest? I hate that this fucking album exists. I hate that someone else produced it. I hate that so many songs aren’t about me. I hate that you’re happy."
"So what, I should be wallowing in misery just because you’re not having a good time? We’re two different people, Lindsey! Bandmates who have lives outside each other."
"I hate that too." He looked down at his shoes and she moved closer to him, hesitantly wrapping her slim arms around his middle. "I miss you, Stevie."
Sighing, she pressed a kiss to the skin where his shirt was unbuttoned. “I won’t ever leave you.”
Maybe she resented his freedom too much.
He sat on his bed, cross-legged, and nursed the phone in his hand, trying to work up the nerve to call her. Last night had been… God, he couldn’t go through that again. Backstage she had been a mess, unable to recognize some of his family members, unable to speak a coherent sentence, and groping him and giggling between bouts of seeming completely unaware. Onstage, she’d changed lyrics, had searched his eyes beseechingly, had made him want to wrap her up in his arms and just take her away, make her better. She’d left three messages for him and now, hours later, he thought he was ready to talk to her.
"Lindsey." Her voice was dull, flat, none of the sparkle and life that he had always associated with her. It hurt. She laughed bitterly. "The way you looked at me last night, all that disgust and pity, I thought I’d never hear from you again…"
"Stevie, you need to stop. Whatever it is is killing you."
"Frankly, on nights like last night I think that wouldn’t be such a bad thing…"
"Stop. Just stop talking like that. Look, Stevie, you know I care about you but-"
"But you left me. Just left me. Alone."
"We’ve been through this!"
"How is it finally being free, Lindsey?" she asked, pain and longing etched in every word. "Being free from me? I wish I could be free sometimes, you know. Not feel that fucking thing I feel when I see you or hear you…"
"Are you high?"
The next thing he heard was the slamming down of her phone. She was gone.
Maybe she took one pill too many.
He was told that her manager had found her lying on the bathroom floor, passed out. Lindsey had sat by her bedside at the hospital, refusing to leave and glaring at any doctor who showed any indication of showing him the door. He stroked the back of her hand, watched with tear-stained eyes at the weak signal on the heart monitor, didn’t speak when her parents and Chris entered the room, couldn’t do anything when the nurses forcibly removed him from the room when the noise started.
She never regained consciousness.
The funeral was held on a cold, wet morning. Someone (he couldn’t remember who, now) had asked him earlier in the week - very kindly - if he wanted to play a song or two at the service. He’d told said someone to fuck off and then cried himself to sleep that night.
They’d played a recording of Stephanie instead. He almost laughed. She hadn’t spoken to him in two years and here she was, being farewelled to the sound of his love song to her.
He didn’t meet the pitying gazes from other famous people at the service, and instead stayed close by Jess and Barbara, trying to be a comfort to them, clinging to them like a lifeline. He sat with family, he mourned with family and then he went home alone, clutching a small bunch of wilting flowers in his hand.
His guitars lay silent for a long time. There had never been a Stevie without music and now, for him, there was no music without Stevie.
Maybe they weren ’ t loyal.
She finally admitted it when he confronted her for the fourth time in one night. They were sitting at the dinner table, studying the food on their plates, when he banged his fist on the wooden surface and she looked up in shock. “Alright, Stevie. Let’s talk, then.” She winced and pushed her vegetables around, paying them more attention than her musical and romantic partner sitting opposite her. Finally she looked up, meeting his cold eyes. “Did you fuck him in our bed?”
And then Lindsey saw the fight go out of her. “You really think I-“
"You’re not exactly innocent in this, Linds. I SAW you with her. In the studio, for god’s sake!!!"
"Would that be the day AFTER I caught you making out with him in our car?"
"It was a peck on the lips, for fuck’s sake!"
"Do you think I’m that stupid?"
"Do you think I’d cheat on you?"
His silence answered the question and she got up from the table, walked around to him and kissed him once on the lips. It felt wrong. “You did, didn’t you?” he accused harshly.
"I thought about it."
"I’ve always been loyal to you."
"Fuck you, Lindsey Buckingham, fuck you."
She left that night. And the next time he heard from her, it was when he received an invitation to her wedding in the mail.
Maybe losing him destroyed them.
They’d nearly decided on a name. Lindsey had been so adamant that their son was not going to made fun of at school and thus had crossed every single one of Stevie’s suggestions off the list. A normal name, he’d insisted. He knew what name his girlfriend had favored now - she’d been whimpering it in her sleep the past eight nights…
The doctor had warned him about what it might be like, but nothing he had said came close to the huge emptiness that was consuming his life. He held Stevie close at night, trying to comfort her, but wanting to weep. Just weep and weep and weep. Some nights she talked to him, told him about the plans she’d had for them, for their little family. Some nights she refused to speak, a mute little girl inhabited his lover’s body and he couldn’t get through to her at all. Some nights she cried out in her sleep, screaming for them not to take her baby away.
Some nights he slept on the couch.
She scribbled in her journals a lot, closely guarded them, never told Lindsey what she was writing. He knew it was about their son. One morning he found her clutching the small teddy bear he’d bought in her hands, almost wringing it’s neck, her grip was so tight. He pried it from her hands and asked her if she wanted to talk about it. She didn’t. As the months went on, she never wanted to talk about it anymore. He needed to. The pain that was now constantly sitting in his chest was burying him. And it needed out. Lindsey played her a song one day, a song he’d written for their unborn baby. She didn’t cry. She walked out of the living room and locked the bedroom door that night.
He walked out of their house a year later. Permanently. Decades later, he still found himself thinking about that little baby. He’d seen it when… after… In the hospital… A mess of bloody limbs and fluid, alien and yet human… His only son.
Maybe being creatively stifled is a bitch.
Stevie remembered the days when he’d been manic - always energetic, his guitar playing a frenzy of talent and notes. Of course, that was when they’d had hope. She picked their daughters’ dolls off of the floor and put them back into their toy chest. Rhiannon always forgot to put her things away, leaving a trail of destruction behind her.
The living room lights were off when she went in, and she smiled as she saw their baby daughter curled up in her husband’s arms. She was snuggled in her blanket and Lindsey was watching her adoringly. She touched his back and he looked up at her and she almost took a step back as the adoration changed to bleakness. She’d hoped… But, no, the moods lasted weeks now sometimes. It had taken some adjusting. The local bar still loved hearing him play but the other bookings had dried up recently. He’d gotten a few gigs as a session player locally but on those evenings he’d come home furious at having his creativity stifled. She knew he was meant for more. And she knew she was too.
But they had two daughters. A family. They needed food, shelter, a home. Stability. She massaged his shoulders firmly and chuckled as he closed his eyes tightly and sighed happily. They were happy a lot of the time.
Hopefully it would be enough. Stevie watched as their daughter squirmed in Lindsey’s arms, reaching up, blinking her beautiful blue eyes rapidly. Gorgeous. They were so worth it. But… No, she’d let those thoughts trouble her mind later.
Maybe he chose her.
The knock on the door came at midnight and he came armed with two suitcases and a tear-stained face. She held her arms out for him and he came readily, burrowing into her cashmere sweater and holding on tightly. They stayed up all night talking, talking about things that they’d been too afraid to discuss for decades. He yelled, she threw a cushion at him, but by six am they were lying on her bed, side by side, holding hands and pretending it wasn’t a new day.
Lindsey had chosen. She hadn’t given him any kind of ultimatum, really, but they both knew a decision had to be made. She knew he couldn’t devote himself to his child and be cheating on his or her mother. And he had agreed. And he’d chosen her.
Stevie was struck between an overwhelming love and and gratitude for the man currently at her side and a nauseating feeling residing low in her stomach. And she finally asked the one thing she hadn’t had the courage to. “The baby?”
"She’ll keep it," Lindsey said, staring at the ceiling and gripping Stevie’s hand tighter. "She told me I’d be able to see him or her regularly, get to have him on weekends when I’m not touring maybe. She told me she’d try not to hate me."
"I almost told her I’d stay, you know," he admitted, avoiding his lover’s eyes. "She looked so prepared when I came to talk to her, like she knew what was coming. She didn’t even cry. I…"
Maybe the dolls weren' t enough.
He visited her three weeks after it was announced publicly that she’d adopted. There had been some concerns expressed over her ability to care sufficiently for the child but she’d finally gotten clean last year, quit the band, promised not to spend too much time away from home touring. She would’ve done a lot more too if they’d demanded it of her. Stevie was well aware this was her last chance to be a mother. And little Adam had needed a mother. It was fate. Even the name, for heaven’s sake…
She was in the middle of warming up the bottle when she heard him speaking, asking to be buzzed in. Unable to stop the grin crossing her face, she let him in and nearly barreled him over with an over-enthusiastic hug when he finally made it through the door. He looked shocked, taken aback, and rightly so, she guessed. After all, they’d not seen each other for several years now, occasionally exchanging a phone call or Christmas card but nothing more.
He looked good though and she was unable to stop herself from quickly pressing a peck to his lips as he furrowed his brow in confusion at the emotional greeting. Adorable.
Five hours later he still hadn’t left and Stevie was fairly sure she was going to burst into tears at any moment. Adam was a quiet boy, very solemn, and liked to keep to himself, for the most part. He’d not spoken to her yet but the people she’d consulted had said it was normal for boys who’d had a rough time of it like he had to have their speech delayed somewhat. But now he was smiling. At Lindsey. And gurgling laughter was coming out of his mouth as her ex pretended to be in pain as he knocked a pile of bricks over onto himself. The guitarist looked over at her with pride as the small boy toddled into his lap and sat there happily and the tears came.
Stevie wanted him to stay. She asked him to. He said yes. She didn’t tell him she meant forever.
Maybe the car broke down.
They barely made it out of San Francisco before the car broke down. Stevie said it was fate but he was fairly sure the blame could be laid at the foot of their empty gas tank…
Staying the night in a local motel wasn’t too bad, really, but he found himself cuddling closer to Stevie than he usually would under the thin sheets, seeking some kind of reassurance that they were doing the right thing. She seemed a lot more confident than he did about this whole endeavor but then she’d moved around a lot throughout her childhood; she knew the drill. He didn’t.
He played with her fingers mindlessly and opened his eyes when he heard a muffled moan coming from his girlfriend. “You okay?”
"Yeah," she answered softly. "Think so. Just…" Suddenly she was racing for the bathroom and he was wincing at the retching sounds.
They went back home as soon as the car was fixed. The pregnancy test had come back positive.
Maybe they found their market.
When the phone call came through, they were still high on the thrill of the show they’d played the previous night. 5,000 people. Fans. Of them. It had honestly been such a long time coming that Lindsey had started thinking things were never going to really take off for them but the audience had been warm and appreciative and the two new songs in the set had gotten rapturous applause.
Stevie had asked him about the phone call and had seemed interested by the prospect of joining a pre-existing band. He’d then told that they just wanted him. He’d kissed the frown off of her face and told her that she KNEW he’d never leave her, that she was as important as he was. She’d laughed and told him she was MORE important; had she seen the way they’d screamed for her last night?
Lindsey had conceded the point and they’d gone to bed. To celebrate.
The next day, Stevie rang Mick Fleetwood back. And said no, told him that they really believed they had something good going and that people were finally starting to realize the potential of the Buckingham Nicks duo. He wished them luck and she did likewise.
The following year, their album reached #10.
Maybe he didn' t walk away.
The tour was hell. Some nights he found himself wishing a giant hole would open up in the stage and just take him down into it. Crash, bang, die. The past week had been the worst thus far. Stevie had probably missed more cues than not, had managed to almost fall offstage twice whilst drunkenly twirling, and refused to talk to him about anything other than how much she wanted a baby. She just wanted someone to love her, she said.
She was a mess. And refused to do anything about it. One night he sat in his hotel suite, trying to concentrate on figuring out some guitar parts for a song he was working on (very melancholy, melodic), when he heard the crying. The weeping.
Oh god. Stevie had the room next door and he was in there within minutes. He stared horror-struck at her. The door had been left ajar and he found her sitting in the bathtub, water dripping over her as she pounded her head against the porcelain and sobbed. What the hell?! He managed to lift her from the bath, naked and shivering, and wrap her in a large hotel towel. She clung to him fiercely, arms around his neck like a vice, and he grimaced as he reached the bed and laid her down. She wouldn’t let go.
He wished he could let go.
Maybe they gave into temptation.
They managed to last four weeks.
Stevie wondered if she should feel guiltier. Because the only thing she was feeling as Lindsey lowered her to the hotel bed and kissed her neck tenderly, gently undoing the buttons on her blouse, was grateful and ready for him to hurry up and take all of her clothes off…
Afterwards, as she rested her head on his sweaty chest and listened to his deep, steady breathing, she wondered if something was fundamentally wrong with her, that she kept coming back for more even when she’d promised, SWORN to both Lindsey and herself that this wouldn’t happen THIS time. For god’s sake, yes, she’d slept with Lindsey before when they’d been in other relationships.
But he was married.
She scratched his arm gently with her fingernails, tracing the muscles there, and watching his chest rise and fall. He was still so handsome… He should be hers. I mean, she loved his children dearly, truly. They were beautiful. But she still couldn’t resist the feelings of envy that arose when she saw Kristen hanging onto his arm, kissing him, playing with her wedding ring.
She’d never wanted to marry him, of course, had even refused his offer once when they were younger. But this? This was something she could never refuse. Last night, she’d offered up a pathetic ‘I don’t think we should do this…’ before pushing him back against his dressing room door and practically attacking him in passionate kisses. Hopeless.
Kristen confronted her the next day. And apparently wasn’t as clueless or as desperate as Carol Ann had once been in a similar situation. The divorce went through several months later.
Maybe their dreams came true.
William plucked at the guitar strings, his chubby fingers trying to create a familiar sound. His face screwed up, obviously not pleased with the ‘music’ he’d made and Lindsey picked him up with a chuckle, resting him on his lap. “Want to be a famous guitarist like your Grandpapa, hey?”
He turned and laughed at his wife, sitting beside him, rolling her eyes in a way he swore should be patented. Patting her hand gently, he pointed to the wall. “Even you can admit we’re famous, darling.”
"I don’t like to give you the smug satisfaction."
"I seem to have it regardless of what you say or do, sorry…"
"I had noticed," she replied drolly before getting up to join their daughter-in-law in the kitchen. Jessica had always been a great cook and having her here for the Christmas vacation was a treat. Their own cook was perfectly adequate but it wasn’t the same as this. Nothing was the same as this, having all the family here.
William tugged at his jacket and Lindsey lifted him away from it, poking him in the stomach. “Whatcha doing, buddy? Trying to ruin my new clothes? Your daddy would be sooooo proud of you. He always used to do that, you know. I remember your grandmama being very upset when he ruined a satin shirt she’d decorated for me to use for a concert.” He leaned in close and kissed his grandson’s forehead. “Never upset her,” he whispered conspiratorially. “She can be very-“
"Very what?!" Stevie said sharply gripping his ear between her fingertips with a firm pressure.
"Very loving and beautiful and talented and clever?"
"Very gullible, apparently," she said, leaning in for a kiss.
"Mmm, love you."
"Of course you do. By the way, I’d suggest fetching a wet cloth to clean yourself up. Will has just given your new jacket a lovely new coloring." She wrinkled her nose up, adding, "and odor…"