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The Backup Plan

The Backup Plan
by Monte

Rating: G
Copyright: June 8, 2003 Monte
Type: Song Fiction
Status: Complete
Summary: Murdock finds out an old girl friend is getting married.
Warnings: Some sap and lots of remembering.
Disclaimer: I don't own Murdock and I didn't write the song.
Featured Song: 1997 "I Don't Have To Wonder" Written by Shawn Camp and Taylor Dunn Performed by: Garth Brooks.
Beta read by: Casper and T-Bird. Thanks guys, you're the best!
Comments: Yes, Please.



Murdock giggled as he read the comics. They were always so funny on Sunday. He started to flip through the remaining pages, not really reading the words before him. He almost missed the announcement tucked away in the gossip column, but there she was as lovely as ever. It had been so many years since they had been together. He closed his eyes and thought back to the summer of 1958 when he'd first met Tasha.

They were both children without a care in the world. They were happy playing together under the hot Texas sun. Over the years, their friendship grew and developed. They were so close.

Murdock remembered the day Tasha told him of her love for him.

"I'm not asking you to love me. Your spirit is as wild as an eagle. I know I could never hold you here, HM, but I will always love you."

Some years down the road, Murdock was being shipped out by Uncle Sam to Vietnam. He had just one more goodbye to say before he had to leave. Tasha's hazel eyes shone from the tears she tried to hide. He made her promise not to put her life on hold because he was leaving.

"You know me, HM. I always have a backup plan. But don't go getting yourself killed just so I'll use it."

There had been the occasional letter from Tasha, but he hadn't heard from her in years.

Coming back to the present, Murdock knew what he had to do. It was time he laid the past to rest. It was time to let go. He walked over to the telephone and called Face.

They drove to the bank where Murdock had a safety deposit box. He asked Face to wait in the car for him. It shouldn't take him any more than a few minutes to get what he came for. Once Murdock was in the privacy of the vault, he let the past flood over him once again. There beneath his fingers lay the bundle of letters from Tasha. But more importantly, the black velvet box was still waiting to be opened. Murdock slipped both the letters and the ring box into his pocket and exited the vault.

On Saturday, Murdock sat with pen in hand writing his farewell to Tasha. He picked up the clipping from the newspaper. Today was the day Tasha Brante would pledge her love and devotion to Andrew Straiker. Murdock glanced at his watch. It was almost time to go.

Murdock read over the words he had written.

"I never told you, Tasha. Maybe I should have. I did love you, but not in the way you needed me to. I loved you like a sister, like a friend. Yes, you were my best friend all those years ago. Perhaps if the circumstances had been different, we could have been married. I wanted to ask you. But I knew you needed more than I could give you. Now you have him. I truly hope he can be for you the man I could only aspire to be."

Murdock signed the note and placed it on top of the bundle of letters. He stared at his reflection in the mirror and wondered if things really could have been different. He slipped the ring box into the pocket of his navy blue dress jacket and carefully adjusted his tie. He picked up the letters and walked out the door.

Driving a borrowed pickup, Murdock arrived at the church. He parked across the street and simply waited. He hadn't been invited. Even if he had, he couldn't watch Tasha get married. So instead, he watched the chauffeur puffing away on a cigarette. Murdock could almost see how Tasha looked, her face aglow, a wreath of flowers instead of the traditional veil, a long white gown of silk.

Soon, the bells began to ring and the doors were opened. The guests poured out of the church, tossing rice into the air. Murdock watched in bittersweet silence as Tasha and Andrew emerged. She threw the bouquet over her shoulder and waved to the crowd just before they climbed into the limo.

When they drove away, Murdock started the pickup and drove off in the opposite direction. He drove for a while, not really knowing where he was headed. He pulled over near a park to go for a walk. The meandering path led to a stone bridge, which crossed a river. Halfway across, he stopped to lean on the railing.

With a sigh, he took the ring out of his pocket and examined it one last time. The white gold band held three stones, a garnet and two amethysts. Now it was just a metal band with a few colored stones. It held no meaning for him. He whispered, "So long, Tasha," and drew back his arm.

The ring flew through the air, landing in the water with a gentle plunk.

Murdock felt his eyes get misty as the last link to Tasha sank into a cold, watery grave. There were no second thoughts. He did what he knew had to be done. Time waits for no man, and women can only wait for so long. Murdock knew his time and chance had passed. The one thing he felt good about in this situation was the fact he knew Tasha was happy.

At least he wouldn't have to wonder about her. No, if Tasha was happy, he wouldn't have to wonder about her anymore.

Murdock turned back the way he had come and began walking again. He didn't bother to stop when he tossed the letters into a garbage can. He had dealt with the past and now it was time to move on. He was part of the team, Tasha was happy, and all would work out in its own time. That much he knew; he didn't have to wonder anymore.

Drove to the church in my suit and tie

But I just couldn't bring myself to go inside

So I sat alone in my truck across the street

Watched that chauffeur smokin' cigarettes by that long white limousine

I could just imagine what was goin' on in there

Sunlight streamin' through the stained glass and those flowers in your hair

And in less time than it takes a tear to fall

Those bells rang loud as thunder as they opened up the doors

Now I don't have to wonder anymore

Laughin' and cryin' tossin' that bouquet

And when you got in that limo I drove off the other way

And I still don't know why things happen like they did

But I parked that old pickup on that lonesome river bridge

I took your ring from my pocket

And I held it one last time

I watched that diamond sparkle

I drew back and I let her fly

And in less time than it takes a tear to fall

Oh that old ring went under, Lord now it's gone for sure

And I don't have to wonder anymore

Well the angels sang like thunder

As I felt myself go under

Now I don't have to wonder anymore.


The Backup Plan by Monte



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