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.
“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 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.
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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.
Spencer had brought chairs from his place and Kate had taken a couple of odd wooden chairs from John’s apartment back when they had cleared it out. They had enough seats now even if they didn’t match. The table would be crowded, but Kate looked forward to it. She loved entertaining and having company and this was the perfect holiday for it.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Kate made preparations for their Thanksgiving dinner. Spencer and some of their friends from the base were getting together on the day before the actual holiday because some of them had to work the holiday shift or mids that weekend.
After a delicious lasagna, French bread, salad and of course, cake (which Mrs. P swore Sarah was a natural baker) and ice cream, Mrs. P ushered them to sit in the living room. Mrs. P and Sarah left the room for a minute while a nervous Kate and a cheery Spencer chatted.
Leaves fell all along the drive Kate took to work when she returned the first time since bringing Sarah home. Orange, maroon and gold leaves swirled from the oak and maple trees, and clusters of yellow and orange mums bloomed everywhere. When Kate and Sarah walked Buttons these days, they sometimes walked on a carpet of orange and brown leaves. The days were gradually getting cooler. And shorter.
Their destination for dinner had the typical decor of red, green, and white. The tables were covered with white cloths and the silverware at each setting neslted in green cloth napkins. A few minutes later they were seated and looking over the menu. Kate ordered chicken Parmesan and Spencer the meat ravioli. They shared garlic bread and salad until their meals came. Sarah chatted about her books and little puppy that had to stay in the car. They rode in Spencer’s car since it was bigger for anything Kate might buy.