Heir Force Novel: Kate Attends a Baby Shower

Previously on HFN: Kate Gets Orders

A few days later, Kate ran into Spencer in the hallway at work. He had to catch her to prevent her from falling. “Oh, hi, Spencer. Sorry.” She backed up a few steps.

“No problem. You look like you’re on a mission.”

“Just going to lunch with some of the girls. Kind of like a baby shower, but a lunch hour version.”

“Ah, well have fun.” He walked away a few steps and then turned back around. “Hey, Kate, have you heard from John lately?”

Kate stopped and turned back toward Spencer. “We’ve been skyping each other including last night, but he hasn’t had much to say. Guess he’s fine.”

“Good. He replied to my email too, but didn’t say much either. Well, have fun at the shower.”

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Heir Force Novel: Kate Gets Orders

Previously on HFN: Kate and Spencer Enjoy Meatloaf

The next morning after arriving at the office, Kate’s boss informed her she’d be leaving in a week or two at most for a remote location. “Get your affairs in order, you know the drill.” Sergeant Thompson dismissed her. Kate groaned silently. But she had to do what she had to do. It couldn’t be helped if the guy she was replacing had needed surgery and got sent home. These things happened. She drove home after work and ran through her mental TDY list:

Clean out the fridge

Empty all garbage cans

Stop the paper and mail

Call the kennel to make reservations for Buttons

Get caught up on laundry

Water the two plants still living

She pulled out her green duffle bag and left it on the bedroom floor. She gathered uniforms and some civilian clothes to wash and started a load of laundry to stay caught up so it wouldn’t be piled up when she had to leave. She called the local kennel she used and made a reservation for Buttons to ensure they would have space when she needed it.

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Heir Force Novel: Kate and Spencer Enjoy Meatloaf

Previously on HFN: Kate Cooks and Spencer Installs

With the potatoes boiling along, Kate took out the salad fixings and a bowl and sliced the onion, romaine, mushrooms and tomato. She was looking forward to this meal and the leftovers she could have for lunch. She would also send some home with Spencer.

She peeked around the corner and saw Spencer sitting at her desk, pulling some cords up. She had forgotten to offer him something to drink, so went to remedy that. “Would you like something to drink?”

He stopped tugging for a second and turned toward her. “Please. Do you have any tea?”

“Sure. I’ll be right back.” She went back to the kitchen to get his tea and water for herself. Afterward, she went back to the kitchen and put the meatloaf in the oven. She would put in the bread the last five minutes of baking time. She took the salad to the dining table and took out dressings from the fridge. She wiped down the counters and washed all the prep dishes before setting the table. Each time she reentered the dining room, Spencer was doing something different. She sat at the table and asked, “How’s it going?”

“Good. I’m almost done, since Murphy didn’t show up today for a change.” He turned back to her and grinned.

“Fantastic. Dinner will be in about twenty minutes.”

“Smells fabulous. I feel like you’re getting the short end of the stick.”

“How so?”

“I do this stuff every day.”

“Well I cook almost every day. Or at least every week,” she confessed.

“You cook a whole lot more than I do. Lean Cuisine and pizza for one is the extent of my cooking, unless I grill.”

“Well, we’re even.”

“I suppose.”

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Heir Force Novel: Kate Cooks and Spencer Installs

Previously on HFN: Kate and Spencer Spar

Kate took out the packages from the plastic bag and looked through them. She was glad Spencer was a computer geek in addition to his military role. She was already lost. She glanced through the car window and noticed the storm had eased up and would probably be only a memory by the time they got home and changed. She figured Spencer probably had clothes in the car, to make it easier to crawl around on the floor under and behind her desk.

After they got to her place and got Buttons to settle down at the prospect of a new playmate, they changed out of their wet clothes. Spencer asked, “Do you have a place I can hang this sopping thing?” He held up his uniform.

“I’ll get you a hanger and you can put it over the shower head.”

“Very practical.”

“Don’t start.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Spencer dropped his head in mock submission. Secretly he was wishing he could dry her off, but he had to reign in those thoughts.

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Heir Force Novel: Kate and Spencer Spar

Previously on HFN: Storms and Skype
Kate nodded. She looked out the window. “Looks like it let up some. Want to run for it?”

“Sure. I’ll get your door,” he said, but Kate was already out and running for it.

Spencer shook his head, running after her. Kate waited for him inside the door. “Well, that was fun,” she said.

“Something like that. Come on.” He led her to the area where they could find the equipment he needed. Spencer picked up a few packages and some cables. Kate just followed, letting him do his thing. This was definitely out of her realm. “Got everything I need. You need anything?”

“I’m good.”

Spencer walked over to the checkout. Kate pulled out her wallet, but Spencer said, “Let me get it. It’ll be faster.”

She didn’t want to protest and make a scene, so she kept silent. Spencer paid cash which surprised her. She took the bag while he got his change. “I’ll pay you back in the car,” she said. “I’ve got cash.”

“Nope. I got it.” He headed out the door.

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Heir Force Novel: Storms and Shopping for Skype Equipment

Previously on HFN: Kate and Spencer at Lunch

Author’s note:  I am not a techie person, so I may not get all the Skype details right.  Especially since I’ve never used it and I don’t know if it can be used by Security Forces across the world due to technology available and/or security issues.  Just remember this is a fictional story 🙂

 

After work it was raining, much to Kate’s frustration. But Spencer said they could at least buy the equipment and worry about installation later if they had to. Spencer held up an umbrella and so they walked in a stilted fashion to his car, trying to stay in step. He was at least four inches taller than her so it wasn’t easy.

The rain drove down at an angle, soaking them. They tried to walk faster, but it was awkward. “We’re getting soaked,” Kate groaned.

“I hope you don’t melt,” Spencer teased.

“Ha ha.” They reached his car and he opened the door. She slid in, trying to dry off with a tissue from her purse. She heard him open the trunk, but she couldn’t see what he was doing. When he got in, he handed her a towel. “Oh, thanks. This is much better.”

She finished drying off, while he started the car and turned on the defrost. She finished drying off her uniform the best she could and started on Spencer’s. She dried off his sleeve and his cheeks. “There. That’s the best I can do.” She handed him the towel and their fingers touched, sending an electric shock through her arm. It was so unexpected, she gasped.
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Heir Force Novel: Kate and Spencer at Lunch

Previously on HFN: Spencer Asks Kate to Lunch

When it was lunch time, Kate walked to Spencer’s area to find him. “Pasta Garden sound good?” He asked, his long legs slowing to match her shorter ones.

“We don’t have to go that fancy,” she replied, looking at him.

“We need someplace quiet.” He stopped walking and stilled his keys.

“We do?” Her heart skipped a beat. She wondered why they needed a quiet place, but she didn’t voice it aloud.

Suddenly it felt like there was a boxing match going on in her stomach. She gulped, trying to remain calm. Spencer beeped the locks to his sedan several feet away and rushed ahead to open the door for Kate. “Spence,” she started to protest. She used his shortened name, but in frustration, not friendliness this time.

“Kate.” Spencer looked down on her, a serious expression on his face.

“You don’t need to open my door,” she finished.

“I don’t mind, ladies first and all that.” He swept his arm toward the car.

“You’re quite the gentleman, as usual.”

“I try.” He waited for her to get in and shut the door.

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Heir Force Novel: Spencer’s Secret

Previously on Heir Force: Kate Reflects at Work

Spencer stood inside the door, thinking about what he thought Kate felt. Spencer knew why John hadn’t used the ‘love’ word with Kate and he also knew that’s what she was waiting for. But she was too proud to probe John. Spencer hoped John would step up to the plate when he returned from Iraq in three-and-a-half months. Spencer found it difficult to keep John’s secret and even harder to keep it from Kate.

Spencer followed Kate a few seconds behind her and headed in the opposite direction for his Acura. He tried to push his feelings for Kate aside. He knew John beat him to her and had to respect that. But he also knew Kate would be in for a shock when John returned. Because Spencer was going to urge John to tell Kate his secret. They couldn’t keep their relationship in limbo forever because of his secret.

Spencer worried how Kate would react if something happened to John.  How would she handle hearing the reason behind John’s secrecy?  As Spencer drove home, he fervently wished nothing would happen to John of course, and prayed for his safety.  Not only for Kate, but for a little girl in Iowa.

Spencer sighed, letting the wind blow his blond hair every which way. There wasn’t anything he could do about it now.

****

Next time on Heir Force: Scott Air Force Base Facts

Until then,

Michelle

 

Heir Force Novel: Kate Reflects at Work

Previously on Heir Force: Dinner with John

 

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Two weeks later, Kate received an email from John: Arrived safely. Sand still stinks. Later, John.

Kate took a deep breath. But the cloud over her didn’t disappear. She drove to the park near the apartment complex where she lived to eat lunch alone. She sat in the car, with all the windows down, nibbling on her sandwich while staring at walkers and joggers going around the track and children playing on the jungle gym. Oh, to be young again with no worries about your coworkers or best friends being in harm’s way 24/7.

The day was mild for an Illinois spring. Cardinals and robins flitted nearby, the robins looking for worms in the fresh cut grass. At least she wasn’t hot, sometimes spring was more like summer and it could change from winter to summer in a day.

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Heir Force Novel: Dinner With John

Previously on Heir Force: Kate Meets With Her Boss

 

Kate and John ordered the chicken special at Ravanelli’s, a casual restaurant not far from the base that specialized in pasta and chicken. Kate didn’t like cooking chicken, so ordered it often in one form or another when eating out. She just didn’t like the texture of raw chicken, whether it was skinned or not.  Her friends called her a chicken.  She didn’t care.

John was leaving in three days and this would be their last time together before he deployed. Kate could barely eat anything, and John’s silence wasn’t helping. He seemed to be in his own world.

John picked up Kate promptly at seven and they left for the restaurant shortly after. He was wearing navy slacks and a gray and red polo.

Their meal was eaten mostly in silence, and Kate was worried. “John, what are you thinking about?”

He swallowed his mashed potatoes before answering. “Everything. Why I’m doing this, why I have to leave again, how much I hate the desert. Leaving you and my friends. Worrying my parents.”

Kate reached for John’s left hand and nodded. She thought the same thing before deploying too. And if she didn’t know better, that would be soon. She’d been stateside for five months now.

“I’m ready to get out. To do something else and stay put.”

John’s announcement startled her. This was new. “Really?” She thought maybe this is what he’d been trying to say for the last few months. And maybe what was holding him back from proclaiming his true feelings.

“It’s time.” John looked away from Kate.

“You only have sixteen months left, right?”

He nodded, picking up his ice tea. “Yep, and it can’t go fast enough.”

Their server brought their ticket and John removed his wallet, leaving a generous tip with the bill.

Later that evening, Kate realized she didn’t feel any less fear about John getting out and wondered if he was going to break up with her. He didn’t really go into what he would do after getting out or where he would settle. Or better yet, who with.

 

Next time on Heir Force: Kate Reflects at Work

 

Until then,

Michelle