A few days after getting their tree decorated with popcorn strings, courtesy of Mrs. P, and the other decorations Kate had, she made the decision that they would travel north since Spencer offered to go with them. Kate didn’t want to deny Sarah or the Kern’s the chance to visit. They would be gone for five days and when they got back, they would still be some time to prepare for their early Christmas before Kate had to deploy. There was no way Kate would have made the trip with Sarah by herself at that time of year, in that kind of weather otherwise.
Spencer’s heart sank. Oh, no. This will not be good. He continued on to his station, where he dropped into a chair and blew out his breath. Kate always put her heart into things full force but if you steer her where she doesn’t want to go, she’s like a raging bull.
Unfortunately the eased tension from the day before increased when Kate arrived at work. She was informed she had to leave over the holidays for two months. Kate’s stomach felt like a fighting match going on inside. Even though it was a short deployment, it was still too long for her. What in the world would she tell Sarah and how was she going to take it? It was a good thing she was young and didn’t really know how her daddy died. The last thing she needed was for the little girl to worry about Kate dying, not just being away.
Spencer announced, “I want to talk.”
“What about?” Kate’s attention tuned into Spencer’s serious tone. She set her fork on her half-finished plate.
“Lots of things.” He reached across the table and held her hand, squeezing it gently. “I don’t want to rush you and I’m sorry if I’ve been a bit pushy lately. I don’t mean to be.”
“At least not yet,” Spencer whispered. He turned back to Sarah. “What kind of pancakes, blueberry or chocolate chip?” Spencer asked, changing the subject. Kate acknowledged she had the ingredients needed.
“Chocwat chip! No daddy?” Sarah, as if on a mission, marched toward the dining room. Spencer and Kate followed.
The next morning, Kate woke up to find herself in Spencer’s embrace. She started to stretch out the kinks. A voice interrupted her movements.
“Good morning, Kate.”
She turned to Spencer. “Good morning. Sleep well?”
The more she thought about it, the more she realized that her relationship with John had mostly been on the surface, not very deep. John had never read her poetry, seldom cooked for her, and rarely hugged or kissed her. Yet, she thought he had been in love with her and she with him. They held hands at the movies or at the park, but that was about it. She wondered now, why she had held onto him as long as she had. She seemed to be in love deeper with Spencer than she had ever been with John, and she and Spencer weren’t even that close. She pondered this oddity until Spencer came back with his water. She actually looked forward to spending more time with him. Especially as compassionate and tender as he’d been so far.
Spencer hadn’t seen or talked to Kate since their big Wednesday dinner. He was a little concerned, but didn’t know if he should call her or not. Considering Sarah was involved, maybe he should. He knew Kate wouldn’t do anything dangerous, he believed that was in the past and dealt with, but he didn’t know if they were eating right or taking care of themselves as well as they should.
Spencer called Kate that afternoon. His curiosity was getting the better of him. His call went to voice mail, but that was no big deal.
They finished up their work and the doorbell rang. Kate went to the door. “Hi, Andrew, Matt, come on in.” They stepped in and commented the aromas were tantalizing. “Thanks, I’ll take your coats after you bring your goodies to the kitchen.”
“Look who’s here,” she said to Spencer.
After a solemn dinner, Kate dropped Lauren and Judy off at their hotel, and shortly after put Sarah to bed and thought seriously about signing her papers to get out of the Air Force. She decided to go for it. With her mind made up to take the early out, she slept peacefully.