WHEN SHE ENTERS YOUR LIFE

Wednesday, May 22nd, 1968

Driving a beat up station wagon, she arrived at the Four Innocents' house that morning, though three of the boys did not discover her until the afternoon. Danny and Timmy had gone to the park, and Matt had gone to the store. Patrick had slept in, feeling ill, but not so ill that it drew out his bandmates' overprotective instincts. The young female stranger was in luck, for Patrick was the one she had come to meet. She and he shared the same father. And it was she, a black haired beauty named Mary Thompson,that would end up changing the lives of all four of the Innocents.

The nervous girl stood outside, her inner dialogue going crazy. Are you sure this is where your brother lives?

HALF-brother.

Half-brother. Are you sure-

The guy at the club said this was where the Four Innocents live.

Yeah, Four Innocents, I know. But are you sure that Patrick Keefe kid is your half-brother? You've never met him before. And will he want to meet you? Your Dad may have loved your Mom, for what it's worth, but he raped Patrick's mother.

If he doesn't want anything to do with my father, I'll understand, Mary insisted to herself. Neither do I. But we've come this far, I mean, all the way from Boston...She rested her hand on the doorknob.

Yeah, we can't chicken out now.

Mary almost stumbled inside, for her fidgety hand had been playing with the doorknob. "Hey, it's unlocked!" She stepped in.

Mary! her other dialogue scolded. Unlocked or not, you can't just walk in.

Why not? He's family. She was well inside now.

Yeah, but he doesn't know he is yet.

There doesn't seem to be anyone home, Mary observed, sitting on the edge of the psychiatrist couch.

She was startled by a gasp coming from someone just as shocked. The girl looked up and saw a sleepy blond boy standing at the top of the stairs. "Are you Patrick Keefe?"

He nodded hesitantly. "Are you a friend of Danny's?"

Mary shook her head without recognition. "No-I'm Mary Thompson."

"Oh." Patrick remained where he was.

"Mary Thompson," she repeated emphatically, standing up. "Thompson. The name Thompson rings a bell, doesn't it?"

Patrick shrugged.

"How about Harry Thompson?"

His hand tightened on the stair railing. "That's my father's name."

"Yeah, well, it's my father's name, too." Bluntly, she continued, "You're my half-brother, you know."

"Half-" he began weakly. Deciding maybe he better go downstairs and greet his relative face-to-face, he put an unsteady foot forward, and stumbled down two steps.

Mary leaped up. "Oh, are you all right?"

"Sure, sure," he said quietly, picking himself up and making his way to the bottom. "Sister, huh?"

"Half-sister," Mary corrected.

Patrick and she stood face to face, uncertain if an embrace was appropriate.

Finally, Patrick smiled shyly. Mary returned the grin, and extended a hand.

Patrick remarked, "This is going to take some getting used to."

"I know," Mary told him.

II

Patrick fixed lunch for the girl, and the two of them were eating when the rest of the band returned home, together after Matt had gone to the park to pick Danny and Timmy up.

"Now, this is an unexpected sight," Danny observed. "Patrick dining with a lovely young lady."

"Oh, fellas, this is my half-sister Mary."

"Half-sister?" Matt wondered. "I thought you were an only child."

"I thought so, too," Patrick said.

"I know the feeling," Timmy reminded them.

"So when did you find out about her?" Danny asked.

"This morning."

"Oh, so it's no wonder you didn't tell us about her before, then."

"I came all the way here from Boston," Mary explained. "I'm old enough now where I want to make it on my own."

xxxx

The boys offered Mary use of the guest room until she found a place of their own. They ate supper together that night, and afterwards, Mary helped with the dishes.

"So, how long you boys been a band?" Mary asked.

"About two years now," Matt said.

"You play guitar, right?"

He nodded.

"I love the guitar!" she squealed, putting an arm around him to draw him away from the kitchen sink. "Can you show me how to play guitar?"

"Well, I suppose." He turned towards the bandstand.

"No, not your guitar, my guitar," she insisted. "I have my own but I don't know how to play it. It's out in the car."

"You want to be a musical act?" Danny wondered.

"Well, I always wanted to sing and maybe play in a band."

xxxx

That evening, Mary joined Timmy and Patrick, who were sitting on the porch.

"We probably got more out there," Patrick said to Mary.

"Half-siblings?"

"Yeah, you never know about my father."

Timmy cocked his head thoughtfully. "Yeah, that's true, I suppose."

"Well-" Mary broke in suddenly, startling the two. She giggled, and put an arm around each of them. "At least you got one thing out of this."

"What's that?" Timmy asked.

"You got me."

Patrick smiled. "That's true."

"Question is, now what are we gonna do with you now that we've got you?" Timmy teased.

"You could let me sing with the band."

"We're the Four-"

"I know, the Four Innocents. That's why I said with the band, not as part of it."

Timmy and Patrick glanced at each other. "We'll have to all talk this over together," Timmy decided. "Matt's the bandleader, you know, and it wouldn't be fair to leave Danny out."

"So let's go get them," Mary said, heading in.

"Talk it over now?" Timmy demanded, getting up. Patrick followed him into the house.

"Now." She grinned. "Don't worry, I won't be infringing on your tight unit. You'll still be the Four Innocents. And I'll be Mary. Mary and the Four Innocents."

It was agreed; Mary could sing with the band, as long as she didn't claim to be an Innocent herself. It wasn't that she was naughty, but she did want to get married someday. It was a major change for the Four Innocents, and it would lead to even more changes, good and bad.