“What’s hanging?” I asked him.
He stuck his hands in his pockets and popped back his knees. “I’m afraid this is good-bye.”
“Good-bye?” Sage asked.
He nodded. “I’m afraid that for this next part, I’m going to need to disappear. For a long time. For as long as it takes to get the job done. I don’t know when I’m coming back, and I don’t know if I’ll know you when I’m back. So this is where we part ways. Eh, little lamb?”
I smiled sadly. “Okay, red potato.” Though Max had been aggravating at times, he did produce some fantastic pictures that would accompany my Creem magazine article on Sage Knightly’s first solo tour in Europe. And beyond that, he’d been my protector, my confidant, and my friend. I hated to admit it, but I was going to miss him. Well, I wasn’t going to miss him stationing himself outside the bathroom when I was using it, but I’d miss him otherwise.
I went up to him and threw my arms around him, and he embraced me back in a big bear hug. When we broke apart, he went up to Sage and stuck out his hand. “Thanks, man.”
And Sage took his hand, pulling him in for a quick slap on the back. He grinned. “Thanks, man.”
Max chewed on his lip, sent us both a bashful “aw shucks” look, and then turned around. We watched as he left the graveyard and kept walking into the trees. Eventually he just faded from sight.
Sage put his arm around me and kissed the top of my head. “Think I should call you little lamb in his honor?”
“Don’t you dare,” I hissed, smacking his chest.
“What about golden goddess?” he asked, his dimples showing.
I returned the smile. “Yes, that’s good enough, my golden god.”
I leaned into his chest, and we left the graveyard behind, stepping out into the sunny streets of London. I had “Wet Lips” stuck in my head.
In the year 1976, Peter Frampton released an album called Frampton Comes Alive. Sage Knightly put out his second solo album, Bloody Twat, which was banned in some stores because of the title (despite how many times he said it was a tribute to the late Jacob Edwards, a man he’d never heard from again but felt deep inside was okay wherever he was). Despite the title, the album still went platinum and Sage became a worldwide hit.
In 1976, the TV show Laverne and Shirley premiered. It became the show that Sage, Dawn, Eric, and their father would sit down to on Friday nights, now that Sage and Dawn were living in a small farmhouse on the outskirts of Ellensburg. Dawn’s family were all doing well, despite the bargains she’d made, and she made a vow to always keep them in her life, no matter what she had going on. Sage continued to make music, of course, but kept the sunny relaxed town of Ellensburg as his home base.
In 1976, a peanut farmer became the thirty-ninth president of the United States. That same summer, Dawn and Sage got married on her father’s farm. Ex-Hybrid singer Robbie Oliver and bassist Noelle were there – Sage had gotten in touch with both of them and made amends, reigniting their friendship. Dawn wore her cowboy boots under her dress and went down the aisle on her horse, Moonglow. Instead of reciting his vows, Sage picked up a guitar and sang them for her. It was the song he’d written for her; he’d just taken a long time to finally play it.
Tricky and Mel got drunk at the reception and slept together in Dawn’s barn. They’re still together to this day.
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