Disclaimer: Just borrowed, briefly

Warning/Notes: Standalone. AU. A Guide Story (TS related).


By Jayed

EMAIL: Jayed


The young man walking slowly down the small town’s Main Street didn’t at first appear to be anything more than that, a twenty-something stranger with dark blue eyes and handsomely exotic features. If anyone had been watching him, they would have seen him casually window shopping. However, when he reached the small department store on the corner of Main and Pine, a young woman came out just as he was reaching for the door handle. She smiled at him and held the door. A broad smile appeared on his face, and he spoke a single, quiet word, “Thanks,” before disappearing into the depths of the store.

The young woman at the door, the cashier, and a pair of passersby all stared at one another in shock and delight. “Guide,” they whispered. “Guide.”

“If you are lucky enough to hear an unbonded Guide speak for the first time while he she is smiling, then you will know you have met a Guide. The combination of voice and emotion will ‘wash over you’ like a soothing caress. If you have a headache or other small pain, it will leave you. Bonded Guides will not give this same impression, nor will Guides you have met previously.

It is believed that this feeling is what is shared between Sentinel and Guides every time the Guide uses his or her ‘Guide Voice’ to soothe or ground his or her Bonded Sentinel. Perhaps it is Nature’s Way of allowing the rest of a us a glimpse; more likely, it is a Way for Guides to find out who is Sentinel or a Sentinel to find a Guide.” Dr. Eli Stoddard,  “The Guides Among Us,” Rainier University Lecture Series #2, 1995.

It was with some difficulty that Sheila Murphy, the cashier, kept from leaving her post and chasing the young man through the aisles. She also managed to keep herself from alerting others in the store. Tradition and common sense combined to keep most folks from doing anything foolish or disruptive in these situations. She just wondered if anyone would believe her later and if the awkward pinched feeling in her new shoes was permanently gone.

Edna Carstairs, the young woman at the door, was unceremoniously whisked away to Bob’s, the diner on the opposite corner of the street, for a celebratory slice of his “should be famous” blueberry pie, warmed of course, and a scoop of hand-churned real vanilla bean ice cream. She was the one who had gotten the Guide to smile, and the others felt they owed her. Although she had never before spent any time in the company of either of the two men, they were soon all three chatting like old friends. Rumors would soon be flying in the small town about why Edna had been joking and laughing with the Fire Chief and a bank clerk. Rumor would find what it thought was the answer when she became Mrs. Lionel Peters in the same week that the young man became Head Teller. In the absence of her long-dead father, Chief Nichols gave the bride away. Later, he proudly stood godfather and surrogate grandfather to the couple’s three children.

The Guide, on the day in question, had arrived in town as part of his “Summer Tour.” This was a summer he’d long promised himself. His uncle had gifted him with a three month unlimited bus pass soon after the death of his mother. The older man knew that the younger needed a break from school and some distance from the place where his mother had died so suddenly and foolishly.

The small legacy left him by his mother helped with the rest of his planning. It had given him enough money to store his belongings, put down a deposit on an efficiency apartment for the Fall semester, and still have a bit left over for both this trip and food during his senior year, so long as he didn’t do anything too extravagant. He’d camped, stayed at the YMCA and youth hostels, and generally avoided all but the least expensive hotels. Occasional nights had been spent awake at Denny’s or Perkins, drinking black coffee and writing in his ubiquitous and ever present journals. The journals were both catharsis and the seeds for a series of papers he hoped to write, some for classes and a few, he hoped, for potential publication.

The first time he’d truly spent any time with his uncle, actually his mother’s mother’s brother, his great-uncle, was when he was twelve. He and Naomi had been traveling all around Arizona with his mother’s latest “very good friend,” Lenny. On that particular day, his mother was high on life and the various “vortexes” they had climbed, taking in the incredible views and beauties of area. She was so caught up in her discussions of auras and light that she never even thought to look at anything as mundane as traffic as she strolled toward the shop she had been told sold “the best meditation stones” in the city.

Lenny had taken one look at the woman lying in the street, unconscious and bleeding, and a second look at her horrified and distressed son, and then he’d returned to their motel room, packed up his belongings, and all of their shared funds, and “detached with haste.” When the police on the scene were informed that the boy had no one else to look after him, they’d allowed him to travel in the ambulance and tried to make arrangements for Social Services to take charge of him. In desperation, he’d remembered that his mother had more than once mentioned her only relative, Uncle Nat.

Nathan Silverman, tracked down through the injured woman’s address book, proved himself a true believer in family. He’d arrived the following day, filled out the paperwork for his niece’s hospital stay, retrieved his great-nephew from Social Services, and moved the two of them back to the hotel room. By the time his niece was conscious and ready for discharge, he’d made arrangements for the two to return with him to his home in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and he’d already taught the boy the rudiments of driving a big rig.

It was a shame Naomi hadn't learned her lesson about traffic the first time.