Kate drove to the mall glad for a few hours by herself. Decorations hung from street lights throughout the area, different themes for the various towns on her route. The mall was also decked out, with huge displays inside, including a Santa for parents to get pictures with their kids while sharing what they wanted for Christmas, if they weren’t too shy. Kate stood watching a few minutes, thinking the parents were more embarrassing than the kids.
Kate left the rest of the decorations in the box, so that Sarah could help her put them out later when they had time. The remaining ornaments were made of wood or felt and Sarah wouldn’t be able to hurt them. Kate made a list of items she’d like to buy including some lights, stockings and gift wrap.
After picking up Sarah from Mrs. Pettigrew’s, they picked up dinner from Subway. Kate wasn’t in the mood for using her culinary skills. Though she felt less tense, she was still angry and upset she had to leave Sarah in a few weeks. They were still getting to know one another and the ‘rules’ of their relationship, and all that, which made her unhappy at the prospect of leaving and having to start over when she returned. But with so many troops stationed all around the world, she had to. After all, this is what she signed all those papers for.
“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.
“Kate, honey, the news is on. Kate,” Spencer whispered. He stretched on the bed behind her, wincing at the squeak his movement made. He gently rubbed her shoulder, trying to rouse her. “What?” she asked, turning over.
“The news is on, do you want to watch?”
She nodded and got up and stretched out her arms. “Did everybody go home?” she whispered.
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.
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.