July 17th, 1998

Syd saw them first, two figures emerging from the gate in the middle of the crush, and she patted Ellie's and Gabrielle's shoulders. "There they are."

Two saw them at the same time, getting Lora's attention and waving.

They all embraced, talking all at once, about the flight and how good it was to see each other.

"This's gonna be the greatest weekend," Gabrielle said as they all headed for the luggage pickup area, and someone behind them dropped their wallet unnoticed.


Steve Perry examined the outside of his house again and commented to himself about how well the grass had grown back beneath his bedroom window. Whatever the hell had been out there hadn't been back, and that was the end of that as far as he was concerned.


Neal and Jon had decided Cadott, Wisconsin was a decent place to hold a rock festival. Jon still had the occasional twinge about how the new lineup would be received, but he decided that would either fade with time or when the whole thing crashed and burned, which he didn't think it would. Either way, it was worth it to him. At soundcheck, while setting up the Whale, he'd been telling Aug, and an unusually quiet Neal, about the dream he'd had the night before. It was about the time he'd been on vacation with his family as a kid and had nearly drowned.

"I still don't know who saved me," he said. "I guess I'll never know. But it still makes everything a little more important, you know?"

Aug had clapped him on the shoulder and told him he did know.

Almost unconsciously, Jon found himself fingering the opening chords to 'Don't Stop Believin'' again and listening to the sound echo away...

And wondering if it ever truly stopped.


July 12, 1998