By Missy

SERIES: Ebbing

PART: 1 of 1



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SETTING IN TIMELINE: sequel to Shotzette's "Tides" - post-Show Cali Canon

SPOILLER/SUMMARY: "Don't Leave Me Now." (L/L and the beach)

NOTES: Sequel to Shotzette's "Tides".




The brackish water lapped at Laverne's ankles as she followed Lenny's footprints up the coastline. "Are you sure this is where you left it?"


He looked over his shoulder, saw her stumble on a heavy bit of driftwood and grabbed her outstretched hand. She got her footing and smiled greatfully. He smiled back, eyes on her hand.




He started and let go of her. "Oh! Yeah, we put the timecapsule right next to that old palm tree," he pointed a little way up the beach, where a well-battered and near-dead-looking tree had taken root. Fifteen years ago it had been young and new - fifteen years ago they had all been nearly virgin in their faith and innocence.


Laverne eyed her old friend as he began to shovel the wet sand pile directly to the right of the tree. As she began digging beside him she remembered the day they'd burried it right in that spot - he had been in his army greens and she had worn a soaked ratty peasent skirt.


It had been his last chance to get away to Canada - his number had come up, he had burned his draft card but had been caught when his reserve unit had been called. She had served her time and gotten out but he owed the army one more year. He was frantic over leaving her behind, but determined to do his duty.


She had brought him to the beach a day before his deployment with a heavy black strongbox and some of her favorite posessions. Into it had gone the prop gun from his magic act with Squiggy, a black 'L' from one of her sweaters, programs from the New View, some guitar string, a TV Guide from June of 1968, a pack of foil-wrapped Twinkies and a mood ring.


They dug a hole deep enough to withstand fifteen years of high tides and she told him, "this is our special thing, Len no one else knows where we put it. You gotta come back now, 'cause I don't wanna dig it up alone."


He cried and she held him.


Laverne remembered little of the days that passed in his absence, for he had been the color to her shadows, and now that she was alone it was all shades of bleached-out grey and impenetrable black. Carmine was in New York, Squiggy was running Squignowski out of a one-room rathole in Studio City, and all she had for company were her Pop and Chuck - and the occasional sailor, soldier, fireman or cop. She had allowed herself to settle for the occasional thrill, which were getting cheaper and harder to find the older she got.


But he had followed through with his promise and returned two years later, a scar on his neck where a bullet had grazed him and a new sadness in his eyes.


He had gone back to his apartment and to his new thriving business; she had married twice, unwisely, one

to a navy officer ending in divorce, the other annulled when she was abandoned by her policeman husband. Lenny had been a co-defendant in the former case, and Squiggy had joked that Lenny put the 'alien' in 'alienated affection."


For all of the time they spent together, they were practically a couple. Heck, except for the license they were all but married...


Lenny stopped digging and took a deep breath and mopped the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand. Laverne quickly looked up at him as he stared at the incoming water and felt a curious tremor inside of herself - nerves woke and jingled that hadn't rattled since Michael had last kissed her so long ago...


Her shovel struck something heavy.


"I got it," she said, reaching down into the deep hole and shifting aside the sand. His hands touched hers as they pulled the container to the surface, the contact heating her deep within.


He pulled out his lucky rabbit foot keychain, selecting the right one before turning the lock and swinging the banged and dinged lid open.


Scrambling down to the sandy floor they sat down facing each other, the box between them.


Once Lenny lifted the lid they were both smacked in the face by the moldy odor of rotten Twinkies. "They said those were supposed to last through the apocalypse," Laverne grumbled, pushing aside the bright-green sponge cakes to get at her 'L'.


"There's my old prop gun!" she had found and was smoothing out the 'L' in her lap and was therefore taken unaware when his arm wrapped itself around her neck and yanked her back against him. "Your money or your life, Vernie!"


Her elbow landed right in his slightly-pudgy gut. "Don't do that!"


"You know it only shoots flowers!" he pulled the trigger to remind her.


"You scared the pants off of me."


"I hope so," he grinned libidinously.


She leaned back against his collarbone and soaked in his warmth. His eyes heavily upon her, their years together putting a glow in their depths.


Her arms went up, her hands finding the chill back of his neck and pushing his head down to hover over hers.


The kiss was so light it felt unreal - a moth flitting by, a leaf falling from a tree.


They parted; he looked down at her, a crinkle in the flesh between his eyes, confused and silent.


"You never left, Len," she said quietly.


He swallowed hard. "I did. But the whole time I was in the jungle I thought of you..."


"You didn't really leave. Even when I was with other guys you were the only one I used to think about."


He tried to shift away from her, and she silently took his hand and placed it on her breast.


He tensed. "Laverne."


"Don't leave me now."


"But we had all of these chances; all of these years..."


"We ain't dead yet. We got now, Len - let's start with today."


And so they touched and tasted as if they weren't forty, as if Vietnam had never happened and they had never had shattered their hearts. Defying the eternity of the beach, of the California coast, of old memories, they lay with each other unashamedly. They had each other. They always would.