CHAPTER TWENTY

	The bright spotlight focused on Miss Gray, who was standing in the middle of 
the stage. "Attention, ladies and geltlemen," she said into the microphone that 
was propped up in front of the heavy red curtain. The audience slowly became 
basically silent.
	"Wow! This town sure does have a lot of hot babes," Sam heard a familiar voice 
say. Al was standing in the aisle looking smugly up at Miss Gray.
	"Kelly and I are getting married!" Sam told Al joyfully. Sam was so happy 
about th news he felt kike he wanted to tell the whole world - starting with 
his future best friend.
	"Did you say something, Sam?" Al asked turning towards him.
	"I'll tell you later. I have to go to the bathroom," Sam told them as he got 
out of his seat. He walked down the side aisle toward the back. Al was not 
following. He was stil gaping up at Miss Gray and at Kelly. He looked guickly in Sam's 
direction. Sam moved his head in the direction of the exit. Al reluctantly 
followed him out into the hallway.
	"Why did we have to leave?" he asked him. "Can't you talk to me in the room 
where those babes are?"
	"No," Sam aid as they turned down a dim empty hallway. "I don't wan anybody 
telling my parents sayig that their son was talking to himself, and claiming to 
see a strange man, who looks like a huge neon pumpkin." He looked at him. Al 
was dressed in a day-glow orange suit with bright lime green hat and shoes.
	"I do not look like a pumpkin! Orange happens to be Tina's favorite color, and 
it's her opinion that counts - not yours." Al noticed Sam's dreamy blissful 
look. "Did you and Dodger go on the hay, before you came here?"
	"Kelly and I are getting married! Gee, I can hardly believe it. Kelly and I 
are getting married!"
	"Married! I can't believe it either! Why do you want to do a stupid thing like 
that for?" Al said in total disbelief and annoyance.
	"Because I love her," Sam explained.
	"It must be more than that. Is she pregnant?"
	"She's not pregnant."
	"You can't marry her."
	"Why?" Sam asked crossing his arms over his chest as he gave the grownup a 
look of teenage defiance.
	"Why! There are a lot of good reasons why."
	"Like what?"
	"You're engaged to her now, but what happens when your younger self comes back?"
	"Younger self?! What are you talking about, Al?"  The Teenager had a pensive 
look as he tried to figure out what was going on.
	"You mean you don't remember the Project or leaping?" Al asked as he pressed a 
few buttons on the handlink.
	"What project?" he asked curiously.
	"You really don't remember Project Quantum Leap?" Al asked. All he got back 
was a blank stare full of interest and curiousity. Al read Ziggy's display, 
which showed Sam's brain to have 95% regressed, and the gap was closing in 
quicker than before. Te man before him was more teenager than Al had ever saw 
him before. "Never mind about the project," he said figuring that it may not be 
best to tell Sam all about his future. "Do you still remember me?"
	"How could I forget you, Al?" Sam smiled. "But why can't I marry Kelly?"
	Al tried to figure out someway he could convince the Teenager not to get 
married. It had to be something logical, and something that made sense to him. 
The future sure did not make sense to a sixteen-year-old boy at all. "Well, 
you're going off to college next year. You want to become a doctor or a 
musician or a physicist or -"
	"Maybe, all of the above. I don't know what I want to be yet. Most of all I 
want to get married to Kelly. Not right away, but after I finish school. I can 
probably do all of those things, and still be married. Can't I?"
	"Suppose that works, but in another thirty years, your young beautiful 
girlfriend turns into a ugly fat old woman. She could turn into the most 
hideous woman in the universe. Would you still want to be with her?"
	"Of course, I love her. Unlike you, I don't care what she looks like. My love 
is too deep for her to car about superficial things, like looks."
	"You still can't marry her," Al said. Sam could tell he was still withholding 
some information from him.
	"Why can't I? I gave you plenty of reasons why I could. Now, tell me a good 
reason why I can't."
	"I can't tell you."
	"How come?"
	"Because I promised I couldn't tell you something thatI want to tell you. 
Let's just say that it sis a very good logical reason that has to do with you 
and this person and your future," Al wished he could tell Sam that he already 
had a wife waiting back home at the Project waiting for his return, but Al 
swore to her that he would never reveal this seceret. It was a seceret that Sam 
never knew about, even when his brain was 100% from his normal self.
	  "Who cares about the future? The future is what you make of it, and I'm 
making it belong to Kelly and me," Sam said defiantly. "There's no reason! I 
should and can marry Kelly, if I feel like it - and I do."
	"Did anyone ever tell you that you were a really stubborn teenager?" Al 
stated. He inhaled from his cigar trying to calm his nerves from dealing with a 
obstinate teenager. *I give up!* he thought. *Right now, a part of me is 
actually glad I never had kids, so I wouldn't have to go through dealing with 
know-it-all teenagers. Unfortunately, the teenager I have to deal with right 
now is my best friend, Sam.*
	Al tried to get his mind back on the last thing Sam said, and away from the 
way he was acting. "I guess, because if this happens, the other thing can't. 
The other reasons are still valid. In my opinion, nobody should get married. It 
causes nothing, but troubles. Take it from me. I was married five times, and 
each time it ended miserable. There is no happily ever after. Life is not a 
fairy tale, Sam."
	"Well, maybe it could be," he rebutted.
	"Trust me. It's not," Al said. "I really came here to check up on everything. 
Tonight's the night."
	"I know. My friend invited me to the lake after the show," Sam told him. "I'm 
going. I have to in order to keep Kelly from drowning."
	"You have to be there," Al said. "Dodger's depending on you." Sam could tell 
that Al was really concerned about what happened to her that night. "No way can 
you not be there. You have to save Dodger's life. I don't want anything to 
happen to her. By the way, where is the future Mrs. Beckett?"
	"I'm not telling you."
	"She's back in the auditorium. Isn't she? I think I saw her there before. I 
can't help it, if your fiancee is a total babe. You don't have to act so 
protective of her. It's not like I can actually do anything, even though I wish 
I really could. That woman up on the stage was really something else as well." 
He pushed a large colored button on the handlink, before he disappeared into 
the auditorium. 
	Sam turned around and started to slowly go back. Within a couple of minutes, 
Al was by his side again. "That was quick," Sam commented.
	"It was so dark in there, I couldn't see anything," he commented. "The only 
thing that I could see was a guy up on the stage telling jokes. I'm telling you 
that kid was as funny as Jerry Steinfeld or Robin Williams."
	"Was it the guy I was with in the caf?"
	"Yeah."
	"I'm next." Sam raced down the corridor and into the room as fast as he could 
go. He ran down the side aisle almost knocking down Kelly, who was opening her 
guitar case and getting her guitar on the floor next to her chair.
	"That was close," she said looking up at him. "You were gone a long time. You 
missed Jordan's act. He was hilarious. We're next."
	"I know. That's why I came back."
	He looked up at the stage. Miss Gray was already standing in the middle of the 
stage announcin their act. Kelly and Sam calmly walked up to the stage and took 
their positions. He sat down at the piano, and Kelly stood right next to him. 
He glanced over to her as he sat dow on the worn piano stool. He could tell 
from her appearance that she was still on cloud nine from before. "Good luck, 
Kelly."
	"Ditto, Sammy," she said right before they started to play.

Monica