Lightning in a Bottle Chapter 1

"Follow Your Heart"

Tim's POV

'Oh, look, Al must have dropped his wedding vows. We should put them in a special place' Jill says. We're cleaning up the backyard after having hosted Al and Trudy's wedding.

'Okay, toss them in here' I say, brandishing a trash can. This makes Jill laugh.

'Look, your wedding arch didn't fall down' Jill comments, looking up.

'Do you remember the last time we were under one of those? We had no money; we had no kids' I ask Jill.

'No idea how our lives would turn out' she adds.

'I think so far they've turned out pretty well. If you had to go back and do it all over again, would you do it?'

'Yeah. Yeah, I would. I mean, there's been bumps along the road, I haven't always known where we were headed, there's always a possibility of a crash, but I wouldn't want to travel with anyone else but you' Jill replies.

'As a matter of fact, I would change things' I say after a moment's thought.

'Yeah? What would you change?' she asks.

'I don't think I'd propose to you in the back of a '68 Dodge Dart 273.'

'Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay, so what kind of car would you choose?'

'That's not what I mean. If I had to do it again, I'd pick a more romantic spot. First time I looked at you, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. Now twenty years later, I have the same feelings. Except this numbness in my thumb I can't explain. Jill Patterson, will you marry me?'

'No' Jill says. What?!

'No?' I question.

'I'm already married to the perfect guy.' Jill pulls me closer for a kiss. 'I know you don't want to go to Indiana.'

'It's not about me, it's about you. Are you willing to give up this opportunity?' I ask.

'Yeah I am. I don't want to leave my life here. Now I, I just, I can't imagine leaving this house' Jill says. I turn around and look at the house. Hmm…

'Well, if we ever decide to move, maybe we wouldn't have to leave the house' I tell her.

'What does that mean?' she asks.

'It means you're married to the Tool Man, which means that if there's a way to move this house, I'll find it! Ar ar ar!' I say excitedly. Jill laughs and goes back to cleaning up.

'What's all this talk about moving, anyways? We don't have a house picked out yet down in Indiana. We haven't gotten Randy's opinion on this. I mean, he only has one year of school left. It's not really fair to him to just uproot his entire life like that, without even considering him' she says.

'I'm sure Randy will think it's a great idea. And honey, we just talked about the house' I say.

'And it's not just that, it's leaving Wilson, Al, Trudy, Heidi, your mom, and the list goes on and on. And don't even try to tell me that you're going to drag all of them with us to Bloomington. I guess more than anything else, it's the memories here. None of those would be the same in Indiana' Jill says. We're sitting on the porch swing on the gazebo by now.

'Yeah, but don't you think it's time for a change? Don't you ever just feel like you've come as far as you can here in Detroit?' I press on with my case.

'So? What's wrong with being the big fish in the small pond? What's wrong with having a little routine, maybe even some normalcy, every once in a while?' She looks over at me and the face I'm making trying to keep the mosquitoes away. She laughs. 'I forgot. With you, there's no such thing as normalcy.' We both laugh and look up at the starry night sky.

The truth is, I'll miss it here in Detroit too. But Indiana will be fun. It'll be a whole new area to scout for hardware stores. Geez, Jill hasn't even agreed to this yet, and I'm already thinking in terms of will.

'Heidi ho, soon to be ex-neighbors' Wilson says, snapping me out of my thoughts.

'Hi Wilson' Jill and I reply in unison.

'I saw you two outside, so I figured I'd come by with a pitcher of my homemade lemonade and offer you some' Wilson says.

'Thank you Wilson. You're such a nice neighbor' Jill says, taking a glass from the tray Wilson was carrying.

'As long as you're here, could you maybe give us some advice?' I ask.

'On moving to Indiana?' he asks.

'Yes' I say.

'I'm afraid that that's one subject that I don't have a quote or piece of useful advice on. This is a decision that, no matter how much I would like to be able to make for you, you two have to make for yourselves' Wilson says.

'Yeah, but if you had to make the decision, if it were entirely up to you, what would you do?' I ask.

'I would take Mary Ellis' advice. Here's what you do: Sit down together, and make a list of the pros and cons for both moving to Bloomington, and for staying here in Detroit. Then throw both lists away, and do what your heart tells you is the right thing to do' he advises.

'Who was Mary Ellis?' Jill asks.

'My grandmother. She was related to Samuel Ellis, the man whom Ellis Island is named after' Wilson responds.

We sit out there together for another half hour or so, just talking, reminiscing, drinking lemonade (which I think is spiked with something), and thinking about how different our lives will be all too soon.

A/N: Okay, so here's a new story. This one, unlike all my other stories to date, is going to focus on the entire Taylor family, not just one or two people.

The very beginning part, for those of you who don't recognize it, is the end of the last episode of the three part series finale for Home Improvement. All writing credits for that part go to Marley Sims, Lloyd Garver, and Bruce Ferber. I also need to thank hiarchive dot co dot uk (I typed it like that because Fan Fiction will block the site name otherwise) because that's where I got the transcript for the episode.

Just so everyone out there knows, Mary Ellis was actually my grandmother (she passed away last summer as some of you know), and that was actually a piece of advice she liked to give. And no, as far as I know, she wasn't related to Samuel Ellis.

Anyways, please R&R, and thanks in advance for doing so.

-Yours truly, Randy Taylor