* * *
When the New Orleans work group
reached Houston for their connecting flight to San Francisco, Alex
MacKenzie and John Kelley prepared to catch their own flight to Los
Angeles. Alex and John said their good-byes, and Cam and Kevin, carrying Casey, walked to the L.A.
departure gate with them to say a last good-bye.
"How long are you guys going to be at home before you leave for England?" Cam asked them.
"We're leaving next week," Alex said. "John will start scouting
locations for our next film in London," he added. He looked at
the boys. "Remember, the keys to the house will be at the middle security gate waiting for you."
The boys nodded.
"Is there anything we need to do at the house when we get there?" Kevin asked.
John and Alex looked at each other.
"I can't think of a thing," John said.
"Just remember the house rules," Alex said with unaccustomed
sternness. "No drugs, no alcohol. No parties. We're
agreed on that, aren't we? We're trusting you. Do it for
yourselves and for Casey."
"Yes, sir," Cam and Kevin said together.
They stood at the gate chatting until the men had to leave.
"I'm glad you both came on this trip," Cam said to Alex and John.
"We haven't been able to spend enough time together since I moved to
L.A.," Alex said. "And I mean with both of you." He pulled
Kevin into his arms and held him and kissed him on the cheek.
"Take care of my son and grandson," he said, halfway kneeling to kiss Casey
on the forehead in his carrier.
"Thank you for letting us stay in your house for school," Cam said as he embraced
and kissed his father. "We'll take good care of things."
"One other thing," John said after he had hugged and kissed the
boys. "You remember our next door neighbors' son, Jeff Miller?"
"Yeah," Kevin said as he and Cam looked at John curiously.
"We're pretty sure that Jeff is strung out on meth," John said. "His
dad has had him in rehab a couple of times, but Jeff hasn't been able
to stay clean. Periodically, the Millers throw him out of their
house. I bring it up because...well, I don't want him putting
temptation in your way. And I don't want him in the house
unsupervised, either. Preferably, I'd rather not have him in the house at
all, but as long as you're vigilant, that's your call. The kid
needs money all the time to feed his habit, and he'd as soon steal from
you as look at you. He can't help it. Capisce?"
"Yep," Kevin said as Cam nodded.
Alex pulled Cam aside while John was still talking to Kevin about Jeff Miller.
"Remember," he said quietly, "Kevin's Mustang is in the carport under a
canvas cover. The keys are on the key rack in the house. I'll leave it to you how best to surprise him with
"So much has happened, I'd almost forgotten about that," Cam
said. "Kevin will be kissing your feet the next time he sees
you. He loves that car more than he does me."
"You know better than that!" Alex again drew his son into his arms and kissed his cheek.
Kevin and Cam waved to Alex and John as they walked away, and then rejoined their church
group for the last leg of their trip home. They caught up to
Catherine, her carry-on bag slung over one shoulder, as they all walked to
their gate. Cam was carrying the baby, so Kevin took Catherine's
bag off her shoulder and added it to his own load.
Catherine turned her head and smiled at Kevin, and he took her hand as
they walked along. Talking about the Malibu house with Alex and
John made him think about how hard it was going to be to leave Catherine in
San Rafael when fall arrived.
"I love you," Kevin told her quietly. Short and sweet. No
interpretation needed. Her eyes widened a little when she heard
"Thank you, sweetheart," Catherine responded. "What brought that
on?" Most teenage boys wouldn't be caught dead holding hands with
their mothers, or offering unsolicited endearments.
"I don't know. But I mean it." Kevin held her hand all the way to their
gate. Soon they were all boarding and settling down on the plane.