Author's Note: To anybody who is still actually reading this, here is the long overdue chapter six. I could give you a number of excuses for why it ah taken me so long to update, but there really is no point. In the end, the majority of the time was my laziness. But now i plan to get back to writing this.
And to anyone who is interested, after my year long hiatus, I am now also working on some stories for Touched By an Angel. So if you're interested, keep your eye out.
Again, I am sorry for this excusable delay. Here is hoping you enjoy this next chapter
A Simple Twist of Fate
6. A Day Out
Lohan looked up at the man walking beside her. Gary was, she noticed, tall; just like she used to dream her father would be. And, she had to admit, he was rather handsome with his dark hair and muddy green eyes. He had a nice smile too; though she hadn't seen it much. It made her wonder why he had never gotten re-married. She was young; she readily admitted that. But even she could realize that there must be tons of women who would gladly marry a man like Gary Hobson. So why hadn't he ever re-married?
Lohan glanced over at Gary once again. He was studying an article in his newspaper. That was another thing the girl had noticed; that he almost seemed to have an obsession with newspapers. Everyone had to have a hobby; she knew that. But couldn't he do better than newspapers?
Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Gary's voice beside her. He was talking to a bald man in a suit and tie at a street crossing. "Excuse me, sir, but do you have the time?"
"Oh, sure!" The man replied kindly, "It is…. 10:32 AM."
"Thank you very much," Gary thanked the man kindly.
"Don't you already have a watch?" Lohan asked, as they began to walk down the street again. She was almost sure she had seen it on his wrist just this morning.
"Uh, y-yes, I do," Gary stammered, "It's just that this one, well, it's always speeding up or slowing down, so I just wanted to make sure I had the right time and all."
"Oh," Lohan nodded her head. That kind of made sense, she supposed.
The girl looked up at Gary, "Yes?"
"I just wanted to tell you how I really appreciate you coming with me." Gary told her, "It really means a lot to me."
Lohan just smiled. She wasn't sure what to say, so instead she said nothing at all. She felt strange. This was a feeling she had never felt before, except in her dreams when she was a little child. For the very first time, she actually felt a slight connection with the man who was her father. And she liked how it felt. And, she decided, Gary Hobson may not be so bad after all.
For the 22nd time, Luke dealt out a game of Solitaire. He wasn't even really concentrating on the games and he knew that. But he was trying to keep his mind off of the present happenings. He didn't want to think about Lohan, or Gary, or his mother, or his grandparents, or anybody else for that matter.
But as much as he tried, he really couldn't help thinking about things. For some reason, he could now understand how Lohan had been feeling for the past week. And he had to ask himself; why had he even tried to defend Gary? But, of course, that led up to the question of why he wouldn't try to defend Gary? After all, a little voice inside him kept saying, Gary didn't do anything to you. Why are you angry with him? In any case, if it wasn't for him, you'd be living with your Aunt Susan right now. And you know what you think of her…
Luke let out a loud sigh. He wasn't all that fond of his Aunt Susan. She had two little annoying poodles that she treated like they were her children. And she had this perky personality and always wanted to coo over "how big her niece and nephew were getting!"
Suddenly, a rough looking character walked into the bar and sat down. That's when Luke got an idea. The man reminded him of some kids at school he had seen. They were a rough crowd who cared about nobody but themselves. Before, Luke had steered away from them, but now…. Now he was wondering if maybe that was the kind of kids he'd be happy hanging out with. Luke had decided to drastically change his personality, so he needed to also drastically change the kind of people he called his 'friends'. Yes, that was what he would do. He'd join up with their group. He was tired of being a "good kid".
Marissa was sitting in the office, when suddenly the phone rang. Picking up the receiver, she said; "Hello; McGinty's,"
"Hey, Marissa!" It was Chuck Fishman from Los Angeles, California.
"Chuck," Marissa exclaimed. "How are you doing?"
"Oh, we're doing good," Chuck answered, "Alex started 5th grade this year. He loves it." Married to his wife, Jade, Chuck had two kids; Alex who was ten, and Emma who was seven.
"Oh, that's great," Marissa replied, smiling.
"Hey, um, Marissa, how's Gary doing?" Chuck asked next.
"Well… they're doing alright, I suppose," Marissa said, "But it hasn't been easy, Chuck. I tell you, those children have a mind of their own."
Chuck laughed quietly, "Just like Gare," Then he got serious again, "Hey, the reason I called is because Jade and I thought that if you two need any help with anything… I'd be glad to come over anytime. I mean, if Gary needs to know anything about parenting-I mean anything-anything at all, he can talk to me, 'kay?"
"I appreciate that," Marissa chuckled, "But what about work?"
"Ah, the studio can get along without me for a few days," Chuck replied, "Just say the word and I'll be on the next flight to Chicago, alright? I don't want Gary doing this alone."
Marissa smiled. Chuck was still mostly the same old Chuck Fishman, but over last few years he had changed some. And it was definitely for the better.
"Alright; Thanks, Chuck."
"No problem, Marissa," Chuck stated, "That's what friends are for, right? And I think right now, Gary could really use his friends."
Gary sighed with relief as he glanced at his watch. It was two-thirty in the afternoon and so far the day had gone by smoothly. He and Lohan had gotten along fine and now that Gary had a four hour break in the Paper, he had a surprise in mind for his daughter.
"Where are we going?" Lohan asked. They were riding in cab and as they drove, they were getting further and further from the hustle and bustle of the city.
"It's a surprise." Gary replied suspiciously with a wink.
Lohan sighed and leaned back against the seat of the car. She had never liked surprises much.
Fifteen minutes later, the cab driver pulled over and stopped. Thanking the driver, Gary got out of the vehicle and motioned for Lohan to do the same.
Once they were outside the taxi, Lohan looked around and it didn't take long for her to realize where they were. There were horses everywhere; of every size, color, and breed. She looked up and, sure enough, a wooden sign hung in the air that said; Liever Stable and Ranch.
Lohan looked up at Gary who was now standing beside her, a smile on his face.
"What are we doing here?" She asked.
"Well….." Gary started slowly, "I have some extra time on my hands and I thought that… you know, since I heard you liked horses, I thought that maybe we could go for a ride or something."
Lohan's mouth dropped open in astonishment. "Are you serious?"
"Yeah, well sure I am. But if you don't want to…" His voice trailed off, as his mud-green eyes twinkled with mischief.
"Oh, no, I do! I would love to!" She exclaimed gleefully. "Can we really?"
"Mmm, hmmm," Gary nodded, "C'mon, let's go."
Lohan happily followed Gary up the driveway towards the stable. They walked into the barn and Lohan breathed in the familiar scent of horses, sweat, leather, and hay. Oh; how she loved that smell! She always felt at home with horses.
A man with a lead rope slung over his shoulder and a clipboard in his hands walked over towards them. He appeared to be in his early fifties, but in good shape. "Can I help you people?" He asked kindly.
"Um, yes," Gary nodded, "We're here to rent some horses."
"Well, I'm glad you're here then," The man smiled. He stuck out his hand, "John Liever." He introduced himself.
"I'm Gary Hobson. We spoke on the phone this morning." Gary shook the man's hand, "And this is my daughter, Lohan. She loves horses."
"It's nice to meet you," Mr. Liever said, "Well; why don't we get you some horses. Have you ridden before?"
Gary glanced down at Lohan, inquiring silently.
She grinned, "I used to take twice-a-week lessons in Springfield."
Gary nodded, "Yes, we've both ridden before."
"Well, good." Mr. Liever smiled, "Then I have just the horses for you." He brought them to two stalls right next to each other. Two horses stuck their heads into the aisle.
"This," Mr. Liever said, rubbing a dark brown horse between the eyes, "is Casey. She's about nine-years-old. And this," He patted a gray horse's neck, "This is Saturn. He's around eight-years-old by now. I think these horses will suit you just fine."
"Thank you very much, Mr. Liever," Gary smiled, "We appreciate it."
"Oh, it's 'John' and you're very welcome." Mr. Liever pointed to a wall with tack hanging on it neatly. "Their tack is right there on that wall. If you need anything, just let me know." And with a slight wave, he left the two alone.
"This is terrific, Gary!" Lohan said happily, "Thank you so much!"
"Well, I'm glad you like it, now; which horse do you want to ride?" Gary asked.
Lohan bit her lip. She studied each horse carefully. She knew from experience that each and every horse had their own disposition. Just like people. And they too had their good days and bad days. But she could tell right away that both Casey and Saturn were having good days. But she liked Casey's personality very much, so she pointed to him.
"I think that I'd like to ride Casey." She quickly glanced up at Gary. "Un-unless, of course… you wanted to ride him."
Gary smiled and handed the girl Casey's tack. "No, no you go right ahead. I don't mind."
Lohan smiled shyly and silently took the tack from Gary. They both began to tack up the horses, neither one saying anything to each other
.Half an our later, Gary and Lohan were riding side by side on a trail in a seemingly forgotten area on the furthest outskirts of Chicago. It was a wooded area with plenty of trees and flowers. It was a beautiful day to be out and Gary couldn't help, but feel hopeful. But neither one of them had said much, so Gary tried to make some small talk.
"So I talked to my parents on the phone the other night." He commented while glancing over at his daughter.
She nodded, then her eyes lit up with a new discovery and she looked at Gary curiously. "My grandparents?"
He smiled and nodded. "Yes, I guess so. They are very eager to meet you and Luke." he added.
She gave a tiny smile. "Where do they live?"
"Hickory, Indiana." Gary replied. "You have probably never heard of it, because it is a very small town. But I grew up there."
"What made you come here to Chicago?" Lohan asked.
Gary shrugged. "I don't really know. I guess I just wanted to get out the small town atmosphere and feel a little independence. My mother, your grandmother, she can be very protective, you see. And me being an only child..."
She nodded in understanding. "Your parents probably love you very much." She said shyly.
"I guess they do." Gary admitted with a weak smile. Then looked very at his daughter with concern in his mud-puddle green eyes. "Your mother loved you very much, Lohan. Don't ever forget that."
She sighed almost subtly. "I know that. But i just don't understand why she would lie to us about you. It seems so unfair."
Gary nodded. "I know it does, because, trust me, it was unfair to me too."
There was some silence for a few moments, but then Lohan broke it with a question. "Are you mad at her?" She asked.
"Your mother?" Gary checked.
"Mmm, hmm." She nodded.
Gary sighed. "I don't really know myself, Lohan." He replied honestly. "I know you and your brother are both going through a lot of mixed feelings right now. But so am I."
Lohan nodded. "Its okay if you're mad at her, Gary. Sometimes I feel mad at her too." She admitted quietly.
Startled, Gary looked over at his daughter to see her quietly staring subconsciously at the path ahead.
Confused, he shook his head. This was a new development. He never really expected the children to get angry with their mother. He made a mental note to talk to Marissa about that later that evening.