If You Knew
It's been twenty seven years since Connor Doyle last visited a fair. He didn't know what attracted him to the tacky little fair in Plumsville. Actually, it was a lie. He knew exactly why he went to the fair. Lindsay, Peter and Claire said they were going to relax from the stress of their now-solved case in the local summer fair and convinced him to come with them. He could still recall the conversation he had with Lindsay about it.
"Why do you wanna go to a fair?" He asked her.
"Look, I know that local fairs are corny and sticky and quite silly. But there's something fun in them, don't you think?" She asked cheerfully.
"Fairs were attractive when I was a kid. I'm too old for it now." Connor replied.
"Look, we'll just eat some popcorn, and go to some of the attractions and then we'll come back to the motel and go to sleep." Lindsay's eyes seemed to be begging him. "And it would be good for us to clear our heads a little bit before we go back home." Her words echoed in his head for a long moment after she mouthed them. It was true that fairs were crowded and sold junk food, but Lindsay was right, it was a good way to clear the mind before the team lands another case and it would unify the team.
And so he followed his team to the fair. His colleagues were all dressed for a night out and he was the only one who tagged along with his suit. Lindsay wore a tangerine summery dress that hugged her thin waist perfectly; Claire wore a short mint-colored skirt and a strapless top and many colorful plastic bracelets adorned her wrist; Peter wore a pair of blue jeans, torn at the knee and a dark blue T-shirt. Connor couldn't help feeling the odd one out. He removed his tie, pushed it into his pocket and then unbuttoned a couple of buttons. He mussed his hair and let the warm summer wind mess it some more.
"You're quiet tonight," Lindsay noticed and entwined her arm with his.
"I feel like a dork." He replied, masking his feelings with a smile.
"No one here knows you. None of those carnie-workers would remember you tomorrow, believe me." She smiled mischievously.
"Ah! I knew you dated a carnie-worker!" Peter pointed at her and grinned.
"Not exactly dated, if you know what I mean." Lindsay chuckled. "And he didn't remember me the next morning."
"Oh, I think he did…" Peter smirked. Lindsay looked at him suspiciously.
"How would you know?" She asked flirtatiously.
"I was 19 years old and on vacation from college when I worked at a travelling fair during the summer. I met this girl, in a town called Angelil. She was 17, and she went out with a guy she liked to the fair, but he ditched her for another girl. She was crying near my booth and I wanted to cheer her up, so I said to her that her green eyes are lovely." Lindsay's jaw dropped open. "She sniffled and said her eyes were actually grey and then I bought her some popcorn as a compensation for my mistake, but she couldn't eat it, because she had braces on her teeth." Lindsay put her hands on her hips. "She told me that the guy dumped her for a prettier girl and I replied…"
"You told me that I was prettier than any girl you've seen." Lindsay smiled in surprise. "I can't believe it was you!" She shook her head in disbelief.
"Wait, what happened next?" Claire said as she nibbled popcorn.
"She kept on crying and her spectacles fell off her nose…" Peter started.
"And broke." Lindsay completed his sentence. "And I could barely see anything. But he…"
"Told her that she was even prettier without the glasses and to prove it to her I took her to the photo booth and we took a few photos together." Peter said. "And then we took a couple of rides on the carousel and I tried to win a teddy bear for her…"
"But his shots were horrible!" Lindsay chuckled.
"Yeah, but I bought her a drink." Peter replied. "A beer, I think, wasn't it?" Lindsay nodded slowly. "And she drank the entire can like it was a soda and started hiccupping like crazy." Connor watched Lindsay's reactions to Peter's story. It seemed like she was amused and not at all embarrassed at Peter's story. He never imagined her to be such a reckless teenager who drank beer with a strange carnie-boy. "And then I said I know a sure way to stop the hiccups." Peter smiled at her. "And I kissed her."
"And it worked. I stopped hiccupping." Lindsay smiled.
"I still have the photos, if you wanna see them someday." Peter offered.
"Yeah, sure." Lindsay's smile exposed two rows of perfect teeth. Surely, the braces worked their magic.
"You think you can handle a beer this time?" Peter asked her as he entwined his arm in hers.
"Sure, but this time I'm buying." Lindsay replied. She turned around to Connor and Claire. "Would you like some beer?" She asked, but her gaze was directed to Connor. He seemed like he could use some booze.
"Yeah, sure." Claire answered on his behalf. Lindsay went off with Peter to get beer for everyone. Claire wrapped her arm with Connor's. "You're very quiet tonight." She said.
"I'm just thinking." He replied. And it was true. He was thinking, of a certain Peter who kissed 17 years old Lindsay more than 15 years ago and didn't know that one day he'll meet her again in a completely different surrounding. He wasn't sure if Peter was trying to rub in his face his connection with Lindsay or just naively trying to get his luck with her, once again, without even knowing Connor's feelings towards her.
"Is it something about the case?" Claire asked.
"No, it's just…"
"Pete and Lindsay." Claire completed the sentence for him. She shrugged as Connor gazed at her with wide eyes. "I think you're concerned about her. It's nice that you care for her this way."
"In what way?" Connor asked in confusion. Was he that obvious? He thought he was good at hiding it.
"Like you're her father." Claire grinned.
"What do you mean?" Connor wasn't sure he grasped the idea.
"You're concerned that Peter would hurt her feelings, because of their 17-years old carnie-love." Claire declared. Connor chuckled, but then became serious again. He didn't want Peter to be Lindsay's carnie-boy. He wanted it to be himself.
Lindsay and Peter came back with the beers and looked a little bit too close now. Connor wondered if Peter has kissed Lindsay again and the thought made his stomach ache. Lindsay has spotted a dance floor not far from there and somehow dragged the rest of the team over there. A happy pop song was playing and Connor was in no mood for dancing. The moment he noticed that his team members weren't looking, he left the dance floor and wandered off between the booths. It was just like the old fairs. There was a freak show (although the O.S.I.R. certainly had its own exclusive freak shows from time to time) and a bearded lady, greasy food and mechanic music. He walked around, sipping from his beer and suddenly he stopped. One booth attracted his eyes. It was the booth of Magda the Fortune Teller. He didn't know what drew him to this booth, of all the others. He didn't believe in fortune tellers, at least not in the kind that worked in fairs, but against his common sense, he walked into the booth and sat down on the chair, in front of a middle aged woman who was wearing a Gypsy costume and leaning on a round table, looking into a fake crystal ball.
"Welcome to Magda the Fortune Teller." The woman recited. "I see the future." She had the voice of a longtime smoker. Her eyes were piercing through him. "You are very confused, I can see." She said. "A man is overshadowing you. He wants the woman you love." Connor wondered how she knew that. Surely no one has told her. "Oh, I just know, dear." She replied as if she read his thoughts. "I can tell you something now, about your future. You might not like it, but it's all true." She said. Connor nodded slowly and she continued. "In four months, you and your colleagues will be travelling to Siberia for work. Something horrible will happen to one of them, a short man, with glasses. He will survive. You will find out a terrifying thing about yourself and give up your life so your colleagues can be saved." Magda looked into his eyes and searched for a sign that he wanted her to continue. "This fate cannot be changed, but now that you know the time of your death, you have a chance to do things differently." She stopped again and took a deep breath.
"Will Lindsay survive in this…" He didn't know how to call the incident in which he would lose his life.
"Yes. She will mourn for many months. You can make her happy and she knows it, but the feelings in her heart she is scared to express." Magda went on.
"And I cannot change my fate but I can change what happens until then?" Connor arched his brow. It didn't make much sense.
"You can, because now you know. What follows is in your hands." Magda's raspy voice echoed in his ears for a long moment and he knew what he had to do. He looked deep into her eyes and smiled.
"What do I need to pay you?" He asked.
"Do the right thing. My service is free." Magda replied and Connor nodded to her and went out of her booth, running back to the dance floor, where Lindsay was dancing, her body close to Peter's and looked so happy. He walked over to them.
"Lindsay, can you come over for a second?" He asked and took her hand, gently pulling her away from Peter. She looked surprised, but followed him away from the dance floor.
"Has something happened?" She asked. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
"Yes. Something has happened to me." Connor replied. "I found out something about myself and I realized that I have a chance to get something good, something that I've wanted for quite a while and was too scared to claim." Lindsay looked at him with a great deal of confusion. She put her palm on his forehead, checking his temperature. "I don't have a fever, Lindsay. I'm just… I'm excited because I'm gonna do something I wanted to do for a long time." He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close to him. He captured her lips with his, and she froze in his arms. He didn't care that Peter and Claire were watching them, he didn't care that it was the most public first kiss he ever had, and he also didn't care that it was barely romantic at all, but he drew the air out of her lungs, with his lips and when he pulled away from her, she looked as if she also saw a ghost. "I want to make you happy, Lindsay. I want to be your carnie-boy." He smiled. "But I will remember you the next morning, and I will love you until I take my last breath." He wasn't sure how to express himself anymore. "Would you like that?" She looked at him for a long moment. Her scarlet lipstick was smeared on his mouth and chin and she was pretty sure it was smeared on her face as well.
"Yes." She replied, breathless. "I would like this a lot." She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for another kiss.
If you knew
What would you do?
Would you believe it is all true?
And if she'll say
You'd go away
Will you come back to me one day?