Kate Prepares for a Road Trip

****This is the end of Chapter 4!****

When they were finished with their leave paperwork, Kate and Spencer had to finish their shifts but made plans to pack the car after dinner and leave early in the morning.  “I’ll Google the route later, and print out directions.  What time do you want me to stop by tonight?” Spencer asked before going his way.

“Eight o’clock ok?”

“Works for me.”

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Kate at John’s Funeral

Kate sat in the front pew of the church, next to John’s parents and Spencer. Various other family members and the group from Scott Air Force Base, including CO Connors sat in rows behind and to the right of them. She tried not to cry whenever she heard someone else sniff. Be strong. She stared at the bouquets of carnations and roses, several arrangements in the red, white and blue colors of their beloved country. Several peace lilies, with their huge white blooms in stark contrast to their dark green leaves adorned the stage along with other house plants that she didn’t recognize.

The pastor talked of peace and a reunion of some kind in heaven when those who also knew Jesus would one day be together again. Kate had heard John talk a little about religion, but she had never thought much about what she believed. And right now she didn’t want to think about it. She was so angry that John was gone and left her behind. She had so many questions and would never get the answers. It felt like she was left hanging with nowhere to turn. As far as funerals went, John’s service seemed to be more uplifting than others she’d attended. That gave her food for thought as she followed the line winding into the fellowship hall.

After the service, Spencer and Kate and a few others had lunch with John’s family. His mother, Mrs. Kern, had said she heard so much about her, and Kate wondered how much John had said. “Kate, I know the next few weeks will be difficult for you, but please feel free to call me if you like.” Mrs. Kern handed Kate a lavender envelope with a scent that reminded her of a spring garden. “You can open this later.” Mrs. Kern squeezed Kate’s hand and said she’d be praying for her. Kate said thanks, wondering if John had been in love with her or not. Now she would never know, and that hurt most of all. And then she wondered why his mom would be praying for her. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

After eating what little she could get down, she said goodbye to John’s parents and left. She was anxious to get out of her blues and to have a good cry by herself. Spencer called after her, but she kept her pace, ignoring him. Confused and hurt, she made a quick getaway. She needed to be alone.

****

Until next time,

Michelle

Spencer Prepares for the Funeral

Spencer straightened the ribbons on his blues jacket, swallowing his sadness. He had met John’s family a time or two when they had visited John when he was stationed at Castle and Pope. They were proud of their son and tried to visit each base he had been stationed at. The last time Spencer had seen them was two years ago. He knew this day would be tough for all of them, especially Kate. He prayed for strength and wisdom for the weeks ahead.

He thought of the letter written by John, now sitting on Spencer’s desk at home after he pulled it out from his file safe. He would have to give it to Kate and soon. He’d rather stand still through a tornado.

Spencer recalled previous exchanges he’d heard between Kate and John when Kate would say something like, “I’m never going to be a mother and there’s no changing my mind.” Or, “Motherhood, who needs it?” Spencer didn’t take her too seriously, and hoped she had been joking. He’d find out soon enough.

But now, he had a funeral to attend. He ran down the stairs to the lobby and out to the cab, feeling like a twenty pound pumpkin weighed down his stomach.

****

Until next time,

Michelle

Spencer Grieves and Worries

Previously on HFN: Kate Loses It

Spencer was in trouble. Big time. He swiped tears from his cheeks and thought about John never coming home, never telling Kate what had held him back. He and John would never tease each other again, never provoke each other on the running field or catch a movie together.

Spencer sighed as he thought about what would happen now. It felt like cinder blocks anchored his insides, leaving him with a heavy sickening feeling. He tried to comfort Kate, hugging and crying with her. Coworkers from the building were coming out in pairs now that the news was out about John. He felt pats on his back and shoulders. But they weren’t going to help.

Spencer prayed for the days and months ahead and for the reaction from Kate when she got John’s letter. Spencer regretted not pushing John harder to tell Kate his secret. But there was nothing he could do now, but push forward, for better or for worse.

****

Next time, Friends Grieve With Kate and Spencer

Until then,

Michelle

 

 

 

 

Kate Gets Bad News at Work

Previously on HFN: Kate Returns to U.S.

The following Wednesday, Kate drove to the base with her TDY paperwork so she could turn in it and get the ball rolling on her reimbursement. After that she drove over to the Security Forces building for her first day back to work. She walked into the building, expecting much more noise. The closer she got to her cube, the quieter the hallways were. There was still activity of course, but it took on an eery atmosphere and made the hairs on her neck stand up. She didn’t hear a lot of conversation or machines beeping or keyboards clacking. Many of the cubes were empty which was strange.  The people she did see gave her guilty looks or looked away.

Either there was an emergency she hadn’t heard about, there was an unscheduled exercise, or something bad happened. Kate slowly reached her cube which was empty. She put her purse in her drawer, locked it and tossed her hat on the desk, giving her hair a quick brush with her fingers. She wondered where everyone was. She walked down the hall to Sergeant Thompson’s office. She heard muted tones as she got closer. Spencer, Kelly, Scott, and others were standing around his desk, listening to Sergeant Thompson.

Kate stopped at the doorway, saw the huddle and started to back away, not knowing what the meeting was about. Sergeant Thompson noticed her movement and said, “Kate, I’m afraid you need to hear this too.”   His voice sounded weak to her and it was then that the clouds hanging over her let loose and the dam broke. Sergeant Thompson was still speaking, but Kate’s brain stopped listening after she heard him say, “I’m afraid that John was one of the men killed while on patrol in Iraq.”

****

Next time on HFN: Kate Loses It

Until then,

Michelle

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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