Ties That Bind
By Peg Keeley
Danno photo credit to Terri Whitman

There were scattered snowflakes fluttering through the air; the kind that one has to stare very hard to see. Juliet Harven did not notice them. This time of year, they were a common everything kind of thing. Not the nuisance that a determined snowstorm could be, they were something to be ignored. She picked her way through and over the icy drive to the daycare in her heels, without even a hesitation to her step. The mark of a professional in the state of New York. Nothing of nature or man could phase her. It was Friday at last. Tomorrow she could sleep - if Audrey did not have other plans for her. Christmas break would start today. With school out and the holiday itself still a week away, it would be difficult to entertain an eight-year-old and get any work done.

She pushed her way through the glass door and passed the large decals of Big Bird and Winnie the Pooh. There were samples of children's handiwork on the large bulletin board and an announcement regarding a fee increase over Christmas to handle all the working parents' children. Merry Christmas.

Marianne, the director, was just passing the office, spotted Juliet and stopped. "Hi, Juliet, forget something?"

She laughed good-naturedly. "Nothing much, just my child. Is Audrey ready to go?"

A puzzled look crossed the young woman's face. "What?"

Juliet suddenly felt something was wrong. "Audrey? Is she ready?"

The color drained from Marianne's face. "You picked her up already, Juliet. At least I thought so." Maybe this is a big mistake. Maybe it was another child. Audrey has to be here. This isn't really happened. Marianne dashed back into the grade school classroom wondering if she was about to be embarrassed - praying she was about to be embarrassed.

Juliet was right on her heels. "What's going on?" She pleaded in fear.

"She was picked up - the blue car - it looked like yours!" Marianne stammered. "Audrey called out that it was you. She ran out the door." Marianne looked helpless and distressed.

They stood in the center of the room, surrounded by a group of six to eight year olds. Juliet, stunned beyond feeling suddenly shouted. "Where is Audrey!"


The huge jumbo jet flew eastward into the morning sun, most of the passengers asleep. It was crowded and had taken a bit of doing just to make it to the airport in time to catch the flight. For most people just getting the two first class seats would have been beyond possibility - but not for Lincoln Adair.

Lonnie Williams sat in the window seat playing with the stereo headset, mildly bored as the ocean streaked by beneath them. Dan Williams sat beside him staring at a flight magazine but never turning a page.
After all this time. Lincoln Adair. Even now his power seems to transcend time. The last time I heard from him was when I graduated from college. I haven't been to that cloistered castle on the Hudson of his in much longer than that. The man has got to be ninety-something. Actors try not to reveal their ages and Lincoln is all any actor could be and more. Vain, prideful, arrogant.
Steve had offered to let Lonnie stay with him, but Danny had not wanted them to be apart for the holidays. And Lincoln's offer had included passage for the boy.
"I don't know why Adair called me," Danny had remarked to Steve. "I haven't seen him in a million years."

"He's frightened," Steve replied. "He's an old man and Audrey is his whole life."

"You don't know Adair, he isn't like other people."

"I don't have to know him to know human nature."

Danny smirked. "That old geezer wasn't even frightened of the CIA; nothing would scare him. And Audrey's no more his blood than I am. Well, at least Lonnie can see that there is more to this world than Oahu and Maui."

Danny's thought process was broken by Lonnie's announcement. "Land!" He sounded like a sailor of old who'd been at sea for six months. He pressed his face to the plexi-glass window as the Golden Gate Bridge passed beneath them. "Wow!"


The plane landed in San Francisco without delay and as they exited the ramp, Lonnie glanced at his watch. "What time is it here?"

Danny spotted a clock and gestured. "Eleven AM."

"Cool! My watch says 8:00!"

They had an hour layover, and Danny took Lonnie into one of those expensive boutique shops that had ski apparel on display. "You'll need a heavy jacket."

Lonnie was fascinated by the selection and feel of the ski parkas. He finally picked out one with the San Francisco 49ers logo on it. A pair of gloves topped the outfit. He wandered around the shop in the coat clowning around in front of the mirrors and posing. "This is weird," he remarked as Danny came away from paying.

"Yeah, real weird," Danny remarked absently.

"There will be snow there and everything, huh?" Lonnie asked.


He giggled. "I look like that tire guy - the Michelin man!"

Danny just smiled.

At 12:30 they were skyward again, continuing east. As they traveled, the sun passed unnaturally rapidly behind them, and quickly headed towards sunset. A meal was served as they flew over the Rocky Mountains.

"This is lunch, right?" Lonnie asked.

Danny grinned. "Yeah."

"Then why does my stomach think it's still just breakfast time?"


It was dark when the plane finally approached Kennedy International Airport. Lonnie was speechless as he watched the thousands of glimmering lights, the spires of tall buildings, and the long rivers of white and red lights that threaded their way across the black expanse below. He caught just a moment's view of the Statue of Liberty as the plane banked for its final approach.

The airport was packed with people trying to get away for their Christmas holiday. Most looked straight ahead, burdened down by baggage and dark heavy winter outerwear. There were few smiles, and no bright colors and flower scented atmosphere. The crowded, unhappy humanity was suffocating. Danny felt the first of what promised to be many moments of regret that he had come. He placed a protecting hand on Lonnie's shoulder to keep them together and they pressed their way through the crowd.

Near the jetway stood a young man, immaculately attired in chauffeur's black suit complete with cap. "Mr. Williams?" he summoned them.

Danny forced his way through the people. "You are Kenneth?"

He nodded. "The limo is outside. I've already employed someone to retrieve the luggage." He led them through the throngs towards the exit.

"Get a load of his outfit, Dad," Lonnie murmured too loudly as he fiddled with his watch. Then he saw the limo they were headed towards. "We're gonna ride in that! Cool!"

"Lonnie, if you don't mind, just get in the car," Danny remarked.

"All right!" He joyfully jumped into the back seat, examining the features of the compartment. "There's a TV back here! And a refrigerator!"

Danny expression changed to mild alarm.

"No fear," Kenneth commented reading his thoughts. "All alcoholic beverages were removed. It is stocked with a selection of soft drinks." He moved towards the skycap bearing the suitcases.

Danny got in next to Lonnie who had already popped the top on a can of 7-Up. "All right, Dad, what time is it now?"

Danny glanced at his watch and did some quick math in his head. "Eight o'clock."

"Cool, we left home eight hours ago and it's fourteen hours later!" Lonnie hummed to tune of Twilight Zone. "Can we take this thing to Burger King or something? I'm starved."

Kenneth closed the trunk, tipped the porter and got into the front seat. He half turned towards them. "Mr. Adair will already have retired by the time we reach Nyack. Would you prefer to stop for dinner in the city?"

Danny looked at the young driver, estimated that Kenneth could not be a day over 25 and wondered how the young man could fit into such a stuffy job. "It would be fine to eat in town," Danny agreed.

"I have instructions that Mr. Adair will pay all expenses," Kenneth added.

"Cool!" interjected Lonnie. "Let's eat some place cool!"

Kenneth gave a grin. "Your choice, Sir?" he asked of Danny.

He glanced at Lonnie, then Kenneth. "No, your choice, Kenneth. Show Lonnie a good time."

Kenneth winked at Lonnie and said professionally, "Very fine, Sir."


It was after eleven at night when they left the parking lot of the nightclub Kenneth had escorted them to. Not exactly the kind of place Danny would ordinarily have taken a ten-year-old to, it was actually tame by Wakiki standards and the waitresses did keep all their clothes on. The music had been great.

Lonnie was all excitement and comments as Kenneth expertly navigated the limo up the Hutchinson River Parkway, then east on Rte. 287 until they were crossing the Tappanzee Bridge and leaving the lights and bustle of New York behind. They turned north off the highway and proceeded along the Hudson River. Lonnie began to make out spots of white along the roadside in the dark. He had not seen any snow in the city, but was pretty sure it was on the ground here. They entered the small town of Nyack, closed tight in the dark night hour. Here and there neon lights still blinked their way through the night. The car stopped for a traffic light. There was no other traffic on the road at all, making it seem silly for the large vehicle to be just waiting in the cold night.

Lonnie whispered loudly. "This place must be a zillion years old. It reminds me of the drawings of villages in fairytale books."

The old icy crusted brick fronts, gabled roofs decorated with icicles and naked craggy trees seemed less inviting to Danny. He dug deeper into his over coat. Maybe one had to be a child to see the magic of a place like this.

Kenneth turned the limo up the hill where the steep road switchbacked its way through the tall, naked trees. Occasionally a forbidding iron gate would glimmer momentarily in the headlights, then they would pass on by. Finally, Kenneth steered the car off to the right, and the beams illumined the high, stone walls, and electronic black wrought iron gate. He pressed a button on the visor of the car and the gate slowly opened before them. The vehicle passed through and the gate closed behind them as if to shut them away into a prison.

Lonnie looked back over the seat as they moved forward. "That was so cool!"

Danny did not reply. The house was ahead; several lights shining from the first floor. It rose before them like a gothic monster four stories high --an ancient giant, dying a slow death. Kenneth drove the car under the portico by the front door where a light shone brilliantly on either side of the enormous wooden double-doors making the pathway up the stone steps bright.

As soon as the car came to a halt, the front door opened and an old man, white haired, stooped from age, hurried down the steps.

Danny grinned in spite of himself to seen the man. "Gideon!" he exclaimed, stepping from the car before Kenneth could open the door for him. "I never thought I'd see you again!" He embraced the elderly gentleman.

The old valet laughed, clapping Danny's back. "Oh, Mister Lincoln keeps me young! He says he could never do without me, so I mustn't dare think about dying!" He turned to Kenneth and scolded. "Why are you so late? I expected you hours ago!"

"They were hungry, so I gave Master Lonnie a tour of New York," Kenneth replied without concern as he opened the trunk.

"Master Lonnie?" Gideon asked and peered from Danny to Lonnie who had already jumped from the car and was half in the dark poking a toe at a patch of snow.

"Look at this, Dad!" he announced. "Snow!"

Gideon smiled. "I am so glad you brought him. We were not certain at all you would. Mister Lincoln with be delighted."

"Yeah," Danny replied with less enthusiasm, "I bet he well."

"Come on inside, please. Let's get warm. Tell us about your trip," Gideon said, moving them towards the door. "You must be so tired."

"Actually," Lonnie said as they passed into the large entryway, "my watch says it's only five in the afternoon."

"What's that?" Gideon asked, squinching up his nose.

"Never mind," Danny interrupted.

"Come along, I shall give you some warm milk and cookies." Gideon turned his attention to Lonnie. "Young boys still enjoy toll house cookies, do they not?"

"What?" Lonnie asked.

"Chocolate chip cookies," Danny rephrased.

"Great! I'm hungry!" Lonnie said yanking off the thick coat. He started to drop it on the floor, but Danny caught it and passed it over to Kenneth.


It did not take Gideon long to get Danny and Lonnie tucked away on the second floor in adjoining rooms with the bath between. There was a fire burning on the hearth in each room and the four-posted beds were loaded with thick, heavy quilts and pillows.

Lonnie stood in his room, open-mouthed. He pushed down testingly on the bed. "This is something else. How can people stand all this stuff on them?"

Danny picked up Lonnie's bag and opened it on the bed. "Like it?"

He shrugged, then went to stand close to the fire. "This is neat. Wait till I tell the guys back home that I had a fire place in my bedroom."

"Well, no playing in the fire," Danny lectured. "And as hard as it may seem, try to get some sleep."

"But I'm not tired," Lonnie challenged, pulling his Gameboy from the suitcase and flipping it on.

"Your body may think that it' suppertime, but when seven AM arrives Eastern Standard Time, you'll think it's midnight. Force yourself."

He flopped onto the thick, soft bed, Gameboy in hand. "So, what happens now?"

"About what?"

He glanced from his game towards his father. "You know, you gonna help look for that girl -- Audrey?"

"Well," Danny hesitated. "I'll talk to Mr. Adair and see what he wants. I'm not a police officer or detective in New York. It's been a few years since I was a detective anywhere. The best thing I can do is stay out of their way."

Lonnie gave a little laugh. "This Adair guy didn't have you come all the way here to do that."

Sometimes, Lonnie, you seem wise beyond your years. Without knowing it, you have just touched the most difficult part of our venture here. "Well," Danny replied, without vocalizing his thoughts, "We'll see." He patted Lonnie's leg. "By the way, he may want you to call him something other than Mr. Adair."

"Yeah? Like what?" The Gameboy uttered a few measures of music to announce the game over. "Rats."

God forbid it should be "grandfather". "He'll tell you. Just appease him, okay?"

"Sure, Dad." He lay down the game. "Maybe I should call him 'uncle' like I do Uncle Steve. That's sort of special. But I guess he's bunches older than Uncle Steve, huh?"

"Yes, Lonnie."

"But Uncle Steve is old, too."

"I don't suggest you tell Uncle Steve that."

Lonnie drew his knees up under his chin and shivered a little. "It's kind of cold here, huh?"

"That's what those blankets are for." He picked up a quilt and wrapped it around Lonnie, even thought Lonnie was not out of his street clothes.

Lonnie lay back against the pillow watching Danny for a few minutes as the latter finished unpacking the bag. "Will you stay here till I'm asleep?"

Danny looked surprised. "Something bothering you?"

He looked around pensively. "Well, it's just that this place is spooky. It's like a ghost house," he added in a whisper.

Danny gave a small laugh. "You are too imaginative."

They did not speak for several minutes, the crackling of the fire the only sound in the room. Then Lonnie asked, "So, what kind of relative is Mr. Adair?"

The kind you run away from as fast as you can. Danny hesitated to go into detail under Lincoln's own roof. "Well, he was married to Aunt Clara a very long time ago. But he had three wives after her. He never had any children of his own so he sort of followed the lives of Aunt Clara's sisters. They were Aunt Martha and Aunt Bea."

"I remember Aunt Bea! She sent me those cool Matchbox cars for Christmas once."

He nodded. "Well, Aunt Bea died about five years ago. But Aunt Bea had one daughter -- Juliet -- Audrey is her daughter. Aunt Martha had one daughter, too. Her name was Ginger, but they both died in a fire a very long time ago -- I wasn't much older than you then. Audrey is very special to Mr. Adair."

"Well, then he must like you, too, right? You're Aunt Clara's boy."

"Well, sort of." He wanted to shut down this discussion. "You need to get some sleep, Lonnie."

"Why don't we ever get cards and stuff from Mr. Adair?"

"Lonnie, he's an old guy, remember?"

"Well, you never even talked about him till now. How come?"

How come? How come indeed? Is there an explanation for a 10-year-old? "Lonnie, I have to go unpack my stuff."

The boy looked up in alarm. "You said you'd stay!"

"I will stay. Look, the bath is right here. I'll leave the light on and the door open between us." He walked into the other room to escape the trip down memory lane as much as Lonnie's questions. What did I think he'd do? The questions were bound to come. I always knew they'd come someday. I could not have been so lucky as to have Adair never return to my life. How do I reckon this with Lonnie? How do I reckon it for myself? I wish we had not come.


Maybe it was the house full of ghosts of years gone by; maybe it was the cold. Danny lay on the bed a long time after tucking Lonnie in, just staring at the ceiling. The snatches of memories of this place were closer to nightmares of unresolved bitterness and anger. He could still recall the echoes in the cavernous hallways, the voices raised in anger, accusing, fighting, and weeping.

Lincoln and Clara. What a pair. Now, as an adult he could understand Clara's fear of Lincoln's power and why she had hidden behind a seven year old boy, yet at the time...

....At some point he knew he'd slept an hour or so, but it wasn't restful and did not refresh. At last, he showered, changed, and fixed the time on his watch -- 5:06 AM. He walked out onto the balcony, then made his way down the dark wood winding stairway and crossed over into the sitting room. The oriental carpet was the same one he had known from his childhood but the fireplace seemed smaller. As a child he could stand upright in its huge hearth. An enormous Christmas tree stood dark and imposing nearby. There was something depressing, or maybe pathetic about it. The lights on it were unlit; the aged ornaments glimmered dimly reflected in the firelight. On one wall of the room was a painting almost six feet high. It was of Aunt Clara and had captured her enchanting beauty in her twenties. She was in a lovely dance pose, dressed in a black strapless evening gown, which, even in the still painting moved and swirl around her legs. The masterpiece seemed alive. It was no surprise that after all these years, even after Clara's passing Lincoln would keep it in a place of honor. Just being in its presence made Danny feel young and vulnerable and somehow homesick for Aunt Clara's laugh and hug.

On the wall opposite was a collection of photos. There had to be over a hundred in all sizes and sorts of frames. Some were professionally done, some snapshots. A few were cut from newspaper articles. Lincoln has organized them chronologically. The first were baby pictures, not of Lincoln but of Clara. They were old, faded black and whites where the eyes were nearly washed out. Danny slowly moved through the gallery, examining each one. New people, actors, friends, enemies, were present in various pictures.

He paused before one photo a long time. Danny had his own copy of this one, but it was buried away in a box somewhere. The picture was of Clara, Bea, Martha, and their brother David in their teens linking arms around a huge stone drinking fountain in a park, mouths open in laughter. It had been one of Clara's favorite photos. Next to it was another. And this photo, although no one knew it at the time, spoke of something that would change their lives forever and had made his own what it was. It was of David, a beautiful woman on one arm, and a curly-headed toddler on his shoulders. David was in a Navy uniform, his sailor's cap on the toddler's head. There were palm trees in the background.

"Mister Dan?"

Danny jumped.

"I didn't mean to startle you," Gideon said hurriedly.

"It's okay," he mumbled, face flushing.

"May I get you anything?"

"Hum, no," he said quietly. "Quite a little photo museum here."

"Yes," Gideon said. "Mister Lincoln wanted a time line of the whole history."

"Remarkable. It isn't his life he's tracing, but Aunt Clara's." He has no right to immortalize her so. She wasn't his and he is trying to capture her once again.
Gideon smiled softly once again. "In his heart, Lincoln has never left her."

"In his heart, he never let her go," Danny replied abruptly.

There was a sadness in Gideon's eyes as he agreed. "Something Mister Lincoln has never learned -- to let go. At one time I feared his loss of Clara might consume him. Did you know that he went nearly three years without taking an acting contract after---" he searched for the diplomatic word, "--well, I guess I don't really need to tell this to you."

Danny looked back at the picture again and at the parents he did not recall. "I spent most of my childhood thinking Lincoln held me responsible for World War II."

Gideon chuckled. "It did seem that way, didn't it?"

Danny turned towards Gideon, giving him full attention. "Why did Lincoln call me here now?"

"He told you is was about Audrey, you know how devoted he is to her."

"The Nyack police and FBI can handle that."

Gideon rubbed his hands together. "Perhaps he just wanted to see you one more time. He's an old man, Mister Dan, and he is dying -- not of some specific ailment -- just a slow deterioration of age. No matter what you may think, he does care greatly for you." He gestured further down the line of photos. "Just because he lost you doesn't mean he stopped caring." Gideon turned away. "It is almost 6:30. Mister Lincoln will be awaiting me. He'll want to see you shortly."
Like being summoned before the king, Danny thought sullenly.

He turned back to the picture collection and was surprised how thorough it was. There were the expected photos of other Broadway greats and movie stars as they came to visit Lincoln at his castle, but there were a far greater number of pictures of Clara and her sisters. There were quite a few of Danny himself which surprised him a little until he reminded himself that Clara had probably sent them. Pictures of his childhood, of his baseball team in high school and college.

Another photo amongst the many caught his attention. He was seven, maybe eight, sitting on the beach, sand sticking all over him. He held aloft a sand shovel in his right hand, his left hand holding the hand of a little Hawaiian girl. Her long, black hair was half blowing across her face, but her bright smile was magnetic. It seemed like yesterday. Mali. He forced himself to move on.

More uncomfortable were several newspaper clippings of events in Hawaii surrounding his career with Five-0. He wanted to stop looking, but could not. It seemed like a perverted parody of "This is Your Life." He stopped cold, breath catching in his throat. This was a picture he had seen before -- too many times before. Why would Lincoln immortalize one of the darkest chapters of my life? The truth of the picture was it was not technically of Danny, but Steve. And, unlike the other Five-0 related pictures, this was a bold, detailed, color 8 x 10 photo. The bastard bought a copy from the photographer. The three-quarter view of Steve revealed the pain, anger, fear, and panic all wrapped up in one expression as he was struggling to get to the officers lined up by cars and out of the line of Robert Chaney's fire. The man draped across Steve's shoulders was unidentifiable in the photo, but it did not matter. I have to deal with the memory in the scar I see every morning. Why does Lincoln have to add to that?

Danny rubbed his eyes quickly and moved away. This whole trip is going to be one big mistake. Danny wished he had not been forced to come.

Gideon came to the doorway. "Mister Lincoln requests you come."
Lincoln has never requested anything in his life, Danny thought hotly, but followed without a word.

end part 1

Part 2

Return to List

contact author