Kate Returns to U.S.

Previously on HFN: Kate Deploys

Two months later Kate picked up a newspaper at the Chicago airport before getting her connection to St. Louis. She hadn’t kept up too much on the world news lately. She found her seat next to a middle-aged woman who played an electronic bingo game. Kate glanced through the paper, scanning headlines before she decided to read the first section. On the front page was a story about the latest roadside bombings in Iraq. Kate felt a chill snake down her spine. She shivered as if she felt a breeze flow around her.

Her seatmate commented, “These planes are always chilly, aren’t they?”

Kate didn’t realize her seatmate had paid any attention to her shiver. “Uh, yes they are.” She readjusted in the too-tight plane seat and looked around. Nobody seemed to be alarmed or worried about anything. It was just nerves she told herself.

The flight was nothing to write home about and after she retrieved her bags, she hailed a taxi to get from the St. Louis airport to home. Spencer had emailed her an offer to pick her up, but she didn’t want to trouble him. Besides, she needed some time to readjust to the time change and didn’t feel like talking right now. She would pick up Buttons first thing in the morning.

The next morning right after a late breakfast from the nearby cafe, Kate drove to the kennel. Buttons was beside himself as usual. She didn’t know if dogs had memories or not, but he certainly was always excited when Kate got back from a trip. They drove to the commissary next to restock her fridge, Buttons going crazy when she left him behind in the car. After getting home, she played with Buttons and then started laundry. She opened her windows to allow cool fresh air to eliminate the musty odor.

Between loads of laundry, Kate emailed John to let him know she made it home safe. She had an earlier email from him she hadn’t read yet. In his note he said things were escalating in the area and they were taking extra precautions. He was on night patrol for the next week or so and would email her again when he could.

Kate called Jenny and they made lunch plans for next week and she talked to Kelly briefly to let her know she was back.

The weather had turned from summer to the early stages of fall while she was away. The days would still be hot, but the evenings cooler. This summer had been pretty bad from what she’s heard others say by text or email.

Kate had a couple days to herself after her TDY, so she drove to the base library and stocked up on a couple mystery novels and some thriller and suspense movies. She loved Agatha Christie for her great settings and stories, Robert Whitlow for his legal thrillers, and Jacqueline Winspear for her Maisie Dobbs series. Armed with her free entertainment, she drove to the shoppette and picked up some trail mix, tortilla chips, and salsa to munch on. When she got home, she deposited her library bag on the sofa and took Buttons to the dog park so she could get some exercise before settling in with her reading and videos.

****

Next time on HFN: Kate Returns to Work

Until then,

Michelle

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