I’m not sure why I’m ending my year on Lightning Quick Reads with so many dark themed stories, but I am. Maybe it has something to do with the next several books I plan on writing. Or perhaps I thought the monthly theme of Thankfulness set itself up too easily for some sappy, everybody’s happy story. Who knows? But here’s another one.
In COMING HOME, after several years apart, John and Amber reunite after the unexpected death of their parents. Memories of a traumatic childhood haunt John, but Amber has a deep secret of her own.
Sometimes the worst situations can make us thankful.
“Would you like anything to drink, sir?” the flight attendant asked.
“Another gin and tonic. Thanks.” This was going to be hard, but the gin made John not care…for now.
“This is your captain speaking. We will be touching down in St. Louis in about an hour. Current weather is eighty-five degrees with eighty percent humidity. Some scattered storms are in the area, heavy storms are expected tonight.”
If he only knew. He handed his credit card to the flight attendant. “You’d better make that two.”
He emptied the first 3 cl gin bottle into the plastic glass filled with ice, and topped it with tonic water. Three hurried gulps drained the first glass, and he reclined his chair to savor the other bottle.
As the plane descended to Lambert Airport, it passed into dark storm clouds. The windows went from dry to a sheet of rain.
“This is your captain. Welcome to St. Louis. Local time is 3:05 p.m. If you’re catching a connecting flight . . .”
John tuned the rest of it out. 3:05, huh? He would have guessed half past 6 looking out the window. Typical St. Louis weather.
In the airport he looked at Amber’s flight information. He checked the status of her flight on the message board. Another hour. I guess I’ll get a bite to eat.
In the restaurant he ordered a beer and a cheeseburger. How was he going to react to seeing her after all these years? She was his sister, but with a six year age difference, they never felt like siblings. Cousins maybe. Second or third cousins, once removed, by marriage was more like it. Even after all they had been through together.
He finished his burger and had another beer before heading to Amber’s gate. When he saw her, he could tell she had aged. But will she have matured? Her auburn hair was shorter than he remembered, and the tattoos covering her left arm were new.
She ran and wraped her arms around him. As if not feeling the awkwardness five years brings, not to mention parting on the terms they did.
She pulled away, her eyes glassed over with tears. “I can’t believe this. I just can’t believe he would do it. I just. . . I can’t believe it.”
The same reaction she had had when he called to tell her the news. He didn’t know what she couldn’t believe. Hadn’t they grown up in the same house? John had expected something like this for the past fifteen years. Yet his precious sister, their favorite, found it unfathomable. She should have known them better. But she never did have a strong grip on reality.