“How can we thank you enough?” Jenny smiled and kissed Sam on the cheek. “You’ve been like a guardian angel too us. I don’t know how we would have made it without you.”
Warren squeezed her hand and reached his other hand out to Sam. “I tell you I’d get more in the habit of pickin’ up hitchikers if they were all like you, Sam. Sure you don’t want anything?”
Sam smiled and shook Warren’s offered hand. “I’m sure. It was my pleasure.”
“Well, you be careful out there. The road can be a dangerous place, you know.”
Jenny leaned her head on Warren’s shoulder. Her face was more content than it had ever been in the brief time he had known them. Her hand that was not in Warren’s rested on the shoulder of their young son, Barry. Sam realized with a pang that he missed being part of that picture. Even though Leaping as himself had many advantages, he was always alone. Even Al had not been able to find him, apparently. He was always a stranger, wandering into the lives of other people, hoping to help them set right a few of the things that had gone wrong in their lives. He missed becoming instantly part of a family, not having to earn trust because it was given to him, many times, along with the face he wore. He could feel the Leap coming on, and briefly he wished that maybe at least once more he could have that experience, confusing as it was, of being in the middle of something.
“Well, I’ve got to get going.”
Warren nodded. “Thanks for everything, man.”
Sam smiled and turned to walk away. Before he was out of their sight he felt the Leap overtake him, but he didn’t mind. It had happened before, and he figured the people just assumed that he was their guardian angel. Maybe he was.
Blue electricity and time finally overcame him and he Leaped…
Into the middle of a melee of sound and microphones.
“How does it feel to have saved the life of someone as famous as Ferne Marshall?” a voice called above the din.
“Do you know if you will be allowed to see Miss Marshall when she recovers?”
“Mr. Kemp, are you a fan of Ferne Marshall’s films?”
“Uh…no comment,” he stammered. Someone took him by the arm and began to part the sea of people before him. Bewildered, Sam trustingly followed the unknown Moses. Behind him, the torrent of voices and flashbulbs persisted.
“Oh, boy!” he whispered.