A Summer Song
Inspired by Chad & Jeremy
Trees swayin’ in the summer breeze
Showin’ off their silver leaves
As we walked by
Soft kisses on a summer’s day
Laughing all our cares away
Just you and I
Sweet sleepy warmth of summer nights
Gazing at the distant lights
In the starry sky
They say that all good things must end someday
Autumn leaves must fall
But don’t you know
That it hurts me so
To say goodbye to you?
Wish you didn’t have to go
No, no, no, no, and when the rain
Beats against my windowpane
I’ll think of summer days again
And dream of you
“Ok, slow down a little. Watch it, there’s a curve up ahead.”
“Mom, calm down,” Marty said, turning to glance at Roberta, sitting in the passenger seat, dramatically clutching the door handle like her life was flashing before her eyes. “I’m not going that fast.”
“This is your first driving lesson, I don’t want either of us to die,” Roberta insisted stubbornly.
Her hair blew in the wind whipping through the rolled down windows of their blue 1979 Plymouth. She brushed her shoulder-length curls back with an exasperated sigh before grasping at the door handle again. He had his hair, just slightly longer than Roberta’s, tied back in a ponytail. A look his mom fully disapproved of.
“I’ve been driving since I was 12, I think I can handle a mostly straight, deserted backroad,” he said.
“You told me Ray has been driving when you go out.” She had to shout a little for her voice to carry over the wind and Oldies station playing in the background.
“Ok, from someone who regularly drives 20 miles over the speed limit and loves to talk about her high-speed chase with the police in 1965, I’d say that’s pretty hypocritical,” Marty said, eager to move on from the topic of his indiscretions with Ray.
“It was not a high-speed chase, just a little misunderstanding. And for my peace of mind and the love of God, please slow down, Martin. I did not plan on dying today.”
Rolling his eyes at her, Marty took his foot off the gas and slowed to a crawling 35. His mom let out an exaggerated sigh and released her death grip on the door. He turned his face away so she wouldn’t see him smiling at her antics.
Marty supposed this wasn’t so bad. Since he’d started a part-time job, he and Roberta barely saw each other some days, and he’d actually missed spending time together. It was nice to have a few uninterrupted hours to themselves. Even if it was a snail’s pace.
Smiling to himself, Marty turned the volume up on the radio, lightly drumming his fingers on the window frame as the warm sun beat down on his exposed skin. He sang along as a Chad & Jeremy song came on, going for harmony on the chorus.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his mom raise her hand to her face a couple times, her body angled towards the door. After a second, he realized she had a Kleenex clutched in her hand, and she was attempting to discreetly wipe her cheeks.
“Mom?” he said hesitantly as he turned down the volume. Roberta rarely cried these days; when he was younger for sure, but now she usually reserved tears for particularly upsetting news. Marty fidgeted a little when she didn’t respond. “Mom, are you ok?”
“I’m fine, Martin,” Roberta answered in a choked voice that instantly put Deeks on alert. “No, keep driving,” she added when he made to pull over on the side of the road. He ignored her.
By the time he’d parked in the tall, weedy grass, Roberta was swiping her fingers beneath her eyes. Deeks hesitated now, not quite sure what to do. He was used to his mom’s dramatics and outrageous behavior at times, but not this. That he knew how to deal with.
“Mom, you want to tell me what’s going on? Cause you’re kind of freaking me out right now,” he finally settled on, going for a touch of humor to cover his very real worry.
“It’s just that song,” she replied, waving her hand towards the radio. She sniffled and started searching her purse for another Kleenex. “It reminded me of something from years ago and it made me a little sad.”
“What did it make you think of?”
Roberta sighed heavily, giving up her search, and turned with a grim smile. Shadows of makeup outlined her eyes.
“When your father and I were first together, this song came on the radio. We were driving on a sunny day, just like today.” Pausing, she glanced out of the window, her voice growing wistful. “It was such a beautiful day, and we were young, carefree. Gordon started singing–sounded absolutely awful–but I didn’t care. I was so happy.”
Deeks stayed silent, vaguely shocked by the story. He could count on one hand the number of positive things Roberta had to say about Gordon Brandel. Stories like this were an even rarer occurrence.
“That sounds like a good memory,” Deeks commented softly.
“It was.” Roberta nodded in agreement. “Now that song just represents everything that I got wrong about him, and all the mistakes I made.”
“It doesn’t have to.”
“Marty…” she rolled her eyes, exasperation creeping into her voice.
“Mama, I’m serious,” Marty insisted. “Maybe this can be a time when something good actually happened instead. I mean, there had to be a reason why you married Dad.” He grabbed her hand, which he’d outgrown sometime in the last year. “Or maybe he always was a massive asshole, but that doesn’t mean we have to let him ruin a good song.”
He half expected a reprimand, but instead, Roberta snorted, shaking her head.
“Damn, when did you get so smart?” she asked quietly. She squeezed his hand tightly. “Let’s make some memories, Kiddo.”
They finished the rest of the drive in silence, but as they reached their neighborhood, he pulled into a tiny diner he remembered going to when he was little. If they were going to create new memories, then he figured abolishing the old ones would be a good start.
“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” Kensi asked, brushing strands of long brown hair back from her face and securing them in her ponytail.
For once, she’d relented and let Deeks drive, in part because she didn’t know where they were headed.
“Nope,” Deeks said, offering her a smug grin. “You’ll just have to be patient, Kensalina.”
“Hm. Or, I could distract it out of you.” Leaning over the console, Kensi placed her hand on his knee. His lips twitched as she deliberately slid her fingers up his thigh. Then a little higher.
“That is not playing fair,” he said unevenly, laughing breathily when she persisted for a few seconds. “You know, you’re never going to find out where we’re going if I crash the truck.”
Kensi made a huffy sound, but relented, sneaking in a final pinch before she withdrew.
He drove for another twenty minutes until they reached a small park surrounded by trees on one side and carpeted in thick grass and flower beds. A brick path wound through the grass, little gardens of tulips, chrysanthemums, roses, climbing plants, and more exotic flowers.
“Deeks, this is beautiful,” Kensi gasped as he pulled into one of ten or so angled parking spots. He nodded, pleased by her reaction. It was pretty damn hard to surprise Kensi Blye at this stage in their relationship.
“I found it one time when Ray and I were—on second thought, you probably don’t need to hear that particular story.”
Kensi snorted, hopping down from the truck while he got out on the other side. She walked around to meet him, watching him reach into the truck bed, where he’d strapped two totes and a cooler beneath a blanket.
“So, this is why you were up to at six this morning,” Kensi observed as he pulled it all out, sounding more impressed than annoyed. She automatically grabbed the larger of the two bags before he could protest, stepping onto the first path. “How long have you been planning this?”
“Couple days.” Deeks shrugged, or as much as he could without losing any of his cargo. “When Hetty said we could have this Friday off if there weren’t any pending cases, I thought it would be the perfect day to come up here. You don’t mind the dramatics too much, right?”
“I think it’s very sweet and thoughtful,” Kensi decided, pausing to give him a quick kiss to the corner of his mouth. “Now there better be some food in one of those, because I only had a granola bar for breakfast, and I am starving.”
They set up under a small oak tree and grazed on local peaches, strawberries, sandwiches, and, because Deeks knew Kensi’s sweet tooth, a miniature blueberry cheesecake. It was worth the effort to see her ecstatic response.
Aside from them, there was only one other person, quietly reading a book on the other side of the park. They took their time enjoying the food and each other’s company. Once most of the food was gone, Deeks packed the empty containers away as ants started creeping in while Kensi finished off the remnants of the cheesecake.
Deeks hummed under his breath, switching between a melody of his favorites.
“What was that last song?” she asked, tucking the tip of her thumb between her lips to lick a speck of blueberry sauce away. “I don’t think I’ve heard it before.”
“It’s called “A Summer Song”. It always makes me think of driving lessons with my mom,” Deeks explained.
“Somehow, I can’t picture that going well. I mean, I love your mom, but she’s a little…”
“Oh yeah, she nearly had a panic attack every time I went over thirty-five.” He smiled gently, remembering how the song had become their theme for those drives. “Mom always resisted, but eventually I’d get her to sing along with me. Then afterwards, we’d go to this run-down diner and play the two Chad & Jeremy songs they had on the juke box. Drove everyone else crazy, but we didn’t care. A couple of times we even danced.”
“Can you sing it for me?” Kensi requested, laying down and tugging him with her. With her head resting on his chest, he sang the first few lines, Kensi’s soft breaths brushing across his skin.
“It’s beautiful, but what are you trying to say about our relationship?” Her voice was teasing, and she tugged at his ear. “They say all good things must end?”
“It’s wistful,” Deeks insisted. “Maybe it’s just talking about a particular day, like today for us.” He toyed with a piece of her hair. “But mostly it makes me think of summer and good memories. Like today.”
“Mm, it is a good day,” Kensi agreed.
Cupping Deeks’ jaw, she covered his mouth with a soft, lingering kiss. Rolling them into the sweet-smelling grass, Deeks pulled Kensi against his chest, deepening the kiss.