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Author: Nubiangeek (with help from Kelticgeek)
Summary:  Matt gets a call from a long lost love
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I do not own the Psi Factor characters, but it would be so fun to own Matt Praeger!

    The last three months had flown by so fast for Laura.  When she left Matt three months ago, it was as if her heart had been ripped out.  IF anyone had asked her if she were in love with Matt, she probably would have said ‘no'.  But, the more she analyzed it, the more she knew, yes, she was in love with him.  He was more different from any other man she had ever met.  He was moody, sarcastic, and strange.  She loved that about him.  Deep down he was very loving and caring, but most people didn't see that part of him.  She felt very happy and privileged to be one that he showed that side to.
    Now, being in New York, Laura thought about Matt every day.  She was very excited about dancing in a New York theater.  Her friend Michelle from college was the one that told her about the audition.  Now Michelle was dead.  She was not the first to die, however, a piece of scenery fell on another girl named Marcy Freeman.  Each of the girls was the lead dancer in their current production. Everyone in the company was saying that it was the ghost of the theater.  Laura didn't buy it.  She had made the decision to call Matt for one reason and one reason only: She was now the lead dancer.
    "Hello, Matt.  I need you."  The words and the voice both stunned him.
    "Laura.  Is that you?"  He knew that it was, but he couldn't believe it.
    "Yes, it's me.  I need you to  come to New York.  Something has happened here.  There have been some deaths."  That really got Matt's attention.
    "I-we'll be on the next plane to New York."
    Matt's  briefing with the team was short and sweet.
    "She said that it might involve poltergeists."  Peter rolled his eyes.
    "You have something to say Peter?"  The adversarial relationship between the two men was quite apparent to everyone in the room.
    "Is this just you chasing after a lost love, or is this an actual case?"  Matt wanted to smack his smug face.  Matt answered through his clenched teeth.
    "It is an actual case.  She called me because I am OSIR."
    The tension was thick enough to cut.  Lindsay and Anton were very uncomfortable.
    "If there's nothing else, we will leave on the next plane for New York."


    Matt had given orders to have the mobile unit meet them at the theater while the rest of them flew there.
    Matt sat with Lindsay on the plane and she could tell that he was filled with anxiety.
    "So, are you nervous about seeing Laura again?  Matt tried to laugh it off, but she could see the pain in his eyes.
    "Well, as you know, I'm not very good at relationships."  Matt laughed nervously.
    "I mean, it's been three months.  She probably doesn't feel the same way about me anymore.  Besides, she's probably got a new boyfriend."
    Lindsay felt really sorry for Matt.  He seemed to be so lonely.  No one really knew him at all - not really.
    "Haven't you kept in touch at all?"  Matt looked guilty.
    "Well, we did at first, but you know how it is with long distance romances.  We fell out of touch." Lindsay knew that he was just making excuses.  She knew that he was in love with her and that she was in love with him.  Why was it that something like that was always apparent to everyone else, but not the people involved?
    "I don't believe you.  You're in love with her, aren't you?"  Matt just smiled and didn't answer.
    When the team arrived at the theater, they were met by Laura.  She had let her hair grow out and she was a bit thinner,  but to Matt she was beautiful.
    "Hello."   It was very awkward.  Matt wanted to take her into his arms and kiss her incessantly.  But, such was not to be.  Laura wanted to cry because she wanted him so badly.  Lindsay and Peter could sense the tension.
     "Well,  suppose we get started."
    They went into the green room and sat around the table.
    "Laura, tell us everything from the beginning."
    Laura composed herself before going into the story.
    "It all started about two weeks ago.  Marcy was the first.  She was on stage and one of the big scenery pieces fell on top of her and killed her.  Matt interrupted her story.
    "Now, you told me something about her being the lead dancer."  Laura nodded and continued her story.
    "Yes, she was the lead dancer.  Then Michelle got the role as lead dancer."  At this point, Laura started crying.  This was too much for Matt.  He took her into his arms and held her.  Lindsay took out a Kleenex and handed it to Laura.
    "Michelle was my roommate in college.  She was the one that told me about the audition.  She was my best friend."  They gave her a few minutes to calm down.
    "Everyone kept saying that it was the ghost that did it.  It was the first time I had heard about the ghost.  I mean, every theater has one, so I wasn't surprised.  But, I never heard of a ghost killing anyone."  Everyone looked at Peter the resident expert on ghosts.
    "Yes, well I guess I'd better go and get some readings on our ghost."  They smiled at him as he left.
    "What happened next, Laura?"  Lindsay asked gently.
    "Well, the police came down and investigated.  They asked everyone questions about it.  But, as far as I know, they didn't find out anything  yet."
    "How did Michelle die?"  Matt asked.
    "She was taking a shower after rehearsal.  Someone  threw a radio into the shower.  It was still plugged in."  Laura started crying again as she recalled the grisly incident.
    "It's alright.  I think that we're done for now.  Lindsay, why don't you start interviewing the rest of the troupe."  Lindsay nodded and went off to interview.
    Matt felt so awkward.  He wanted to hold her forever - never to let her go.  But, he couldn't help thinking that she probably had a boyfriend.
    "So, do you want to go and get something to eat - and talk?"  Laura looked at Matt.  Oh, no, she thought.  He wants to break up with me.  I can't take this - not now.  He's found someone else.
    "Uh, I can't right now.  I need to rehearse.  Can I take a raincheck?"  She barely gave him time to answer as she scooted off to her dressing room.
    Matt didn't want to think about the way things were between him and Laura, so he decided to go and see what Pete had found out about the readings.
    Matt found Pete standing on stage where the first incident occurred.
    "Well, anything so far, Pete?"
    Even after all of this time at OSIR, Matt didn't know if he really believed everything about the paranormal but, he had seen some very strange things.
    "Well, I'm getting some very strong readings, but it's not consistent with poltergeist activity, This is very strange."  Pete fell silent again as he continued his readings.  Suddenly there was an energy spike and Matt was calling out.
    "Pete, watch out!"  Pete got out of the way just before a huge light fell to the stage.
    "What the hell was that?"  Pete asked.  Matt was still too shocked to answer.
    "There was an energy spike and then this.  It looked more like a kinetic
    force."  Pete was thinking out loud.
    In a few moments, others came running because of the noise made when the light fell.
   "IS everyone okay?"  The director, Brad Snyder, was asking.  Laura was standing just behind him and she was visibly shaken.  She was holding onto Brad.  Matt noticed this as he surveyed the shocked looks on the actors' faces.
    "It must have been Gladys."  A perky-looking actress said.
    "Who is Gladys?"  Asked Lindsay.
    "Gladys is the name of the ghost.  Her full name is Gladys Wellington.  She was an actress at the theater back at the turn of the century.  She was the leading lady.  She died tragically in a fire here at the theater.  Since then,  all of the leading ladies were supposed to pay homage to her by leaving a bouquet for her on opening night.  They say that trouble befalls those who don't follow this tradition."
    There was hushed silence as everyone took this in.  Matt was finding it hard to focus because he was thinking about Laura and director Brad.
    "I don't know.  I'm not getting any readings from poltergeist activity. I am getting readings from kinetic activity."  Pete said.
    Then Matt added his two cents in a sarcastic tone. "Besides, it's not opening night."
    "So, what you're saying is that someone is deliberately causing these accidents?"  Director Brad said, ignoring Matt.
    Everyone unconsciously looked at one another trying to figure out who it was.
    "Well, if no one objects, we'd like to get back to the interviews if we could?"  
    Lindsay had been looking for a reason why anyone would want to kill the leading ladies. She was focusing on whether they and worked with anyone before and if that person were holding some kind of a grudge.  So far, the only connection was that Laura was Michelle's roommate.
    Laura went with Brad into the green room.  She was still upset about what had just happened.  She was thinking about how close that light had come to hitting Matt.
    "You're thinking about him, aren't you?"  She couldn't deny it.
    "Yes, I was thinking about him, but I think it's over."  She said sadly.  Brad took her into his arms and held her tightly.
    "It's alright,  my darling.  Maybe it's for the best."
    Neither of them noticed the figure in the doorway taking everything in.
    He had to get out of there, so he decided to take a walk.  Matt ended up at the corner drugstore where he bought a pack of cigarettes.  He had not smoked in over a year.  Well, this warranted him going back to it.  It was better than getting drunk, which is what he really wanted to do.
     He stood outside the theater thinking about what he had seen.  He had been right, Laura did have a boyfriend, or someone that wanted to be her boyfriend.  Director Brad.  He wondered if she had to ‘audition' for her part.  He was being malicious, he knew, but he felt so hurt and betrayed that he didn't care what he thought of her.  Deep down, he knew that she wasn't like that.  She would only take a part that was offered because of her talent.  Thinking about this only made things worse.
    "Hey Matt.  I didn't know you smoked."  Pete said innocently.
    "I don't."  Matt threw the cigarette down angrily and walked back into the theater.
    Laura was on stage now doing a very sensual tango with Brad.  It turned out that Brad was also the choreographer for the show
    Matt watched even though he knew he shouldn't.  He felt like he was a voyeur intruding on something that was very private.  She was a very good dancer.  Matt especially liked  her very long, graceful legs that were being shown off nicely by the short, black, flouncy skirt.  Matt decided to call an update session as soon as Lindsay was finished with the interviews.
    "Alright, what we have, so far, is kinetic activity instead of poltergeist activity.  So, one of our little friends has a hidden talent.  Any ideas about whom it might be?"  Matt looked over to Lindsay for an answer.
    "Well, I was looking for someone who might be holding a grudge - like a Carrie thing.  Some of the actors have worked together before, but there wasn't any real connection there - except for Michelle, Laura and Brad."  Matt's ears perked up when he heard Laura and Brad mentioned together.
    "Okay, so how does Brad fit into this?"  Matt tried to sound as aloof as possible, but it wasn't working.
    "Well, they all went to college  together.  They were like the three musketeers or something.  One of the other girls, Janet, hinted that there might have been some jealousy there."  Lindsay watched Matt's expression.        "In fact, Janet went so far as to implicate Laura in the killings."  Matt could see where Lindsay was going with this.
    "Well, it doesn't make sense that Laura would call us in if she were the one doing the killings.  Besides, we've tested Laura for psychic ability."  Matt was trying to keep this very business - like, but they could tell that he was having difficulty.
Irreplaceable Part 2