Spencer found the room Kate was assigned to and walked in quietly. She looked okay, except for her arm in a sling and scratches and bruises on her face and neck from the airbag. Spencer knew she would be sore for a few days at least.
A nurse came in to check her temperature. “Do you have any idea how she is?” Spencer asked, not too hopeful.
Spencer pulled into the nearest Emergency Room parking spot and whipped out his ID from his wallet. He would get answers and he would get them now.
As soon as the receptionist behind the check in desk saw Spencer striding toward him in his uniform, he knew who we was looking for. He picked up his phone and held up a hand toward Spencer to let him know he was on it.
Earlier in the evening the Fairview Heights Police Department were notified by an unidentified Good Samaritan of an accident on the highway not far from the mall exit. One car was in the ditch. Officers Taylor and Griffith were dispatched to the scene.
An unconscious Kate was picked up by emergency personnel and transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in downtown Belleville. She was assessed and put into a room to await an X-ray on her arm.
Spencer was worried. He knew it wasn’t like Kate to be incommunicado on purpose. An airman was supposed to be reachable at all times, in case something happened and they had to report in or leave immediately.
Something happened to Kate and he had to find out what. He found Sergeant James and explained the situation. Before Spencer could finish, James said, “Go, go. We got it. Call us when you find out what’s going on. I’ll leave a message for Thompson.”
Since Kate was leaving in a couple days, she, Jen and Kelly made plans to have dinner at the Olive Garden in Fairview Heights. Mrs. P would watch Sarah since Spencer had to work that evening.
Kate drove on her own so she could get some stocking stuffers after dinner. Tonight flurries were falling and the forecast called for two inches of snow by morning. She pulled into the restaurant parking lot and went inside to see if either of her friends had arrived yet. She added her name to the list when she learned neither of them were there yet. She sat on a bench holding her gift bags.
During their flight home Kate fretted about her upcoming deployment. She made a mental list of things to do. She needed to write out a plan for Sarah’s routine and leave contact information, etc for Spencer. It hadn’t been that long ago she went on her last TDY when she went to Germany, so she had all her shots, but had to update her will (now Spencer was named legal guardian) if anything happened to her. Spencer would keep Buttons for her and would check on Sarah on weekends when he could.
That night’s dinner had been by candle light and very simple. Kate had made a meatloaf and baked potatoes while Spencer made a Romaine salad. Now relaxing by the fire, they sat close, lost in their own thoughts.
Kate tried not to worry about leaving the safety and security of her beloved country, but found it difficult to say the least. She had to leave Sarah behind with Spencer, Mrs. P and other friends. She sat in front of the movie, but her thoughts and worries played around in her head.
The fireplace glowed tangerine orange and crackled like miniature firecrackers. The night outside was cold and black as ink. Northern winds blew against the windows, but inside the log cabin, Kate and Spencer kept warm.
They nestled under a blanket on the sofa and watched a Christmas movie. It was just as Kate imagined the other day when she took the tour of the cabin. The two of them were comfy and it was quiet. She was wearing blue flannel pajamas with a miniature snowflakes pattern and her new robe Spencer gave her for her birthday.
That night, Timothy and Judy joined them for dinner. It was good to see Judy again, and Sarah remembered her when she and Lauren cleared out John’s apartment. Sarah chatted away about her first time playing in the snow, talking about the snowman she and her grandpa and Spencer made together.
Spencer drove down a rocky driveway and pulled in front of a sprawling ranch home with pine trees on three sides and smoke coming from a chimney. Kate didn’t think it would take her long to settle in. Just the setting was peaceful to look at. A long porch ran along the front of the house where a porch swing and several chairs with flowered cushions made it look inviting, even in winter.