Matt and Katie were just finishing up their dessert when Maggie and Matt's dad Russell came through the dining room of their home. Katie let out a big sigh, slightly blowing a long stray lock of auburn hair out of her face. "Wow, that was an amazing meal." Katie said pushing herself away from the table. Russell came and sat down beside her. He was a little heavier than when they left four years ago. His hair was a light golden brown with one or two grey hairs starting to show. He had laugh lines at his mouth and crow's feet at his eyes but his face and presence was so comforting and made her feel secure. He smelled of pine needles almost reminding her of a freshly cut Christmas tree. There's no other smell like that and she didn't realize how much she missed it until now. Russell laughed heartily and patted his stomach. "You don't think I got my handsome figure for nothing, do ya?" He reached over and grabbed Maggie's knee. "Oh stop." she said laughing. "How long will you be staying, Katie?" Russell asked leaning on the table. "Well," Katie started and looked over at Matt. "I was only going to be staying for a few days at first but with everything up in the air at home, I talked it over with dad and we decided probably a couple weeks would be best." Katie finished. Russell reached over and patted Katie's delicate hands that were folded on the table. "You are welcome to stay as long as you need to." He smiled and got up from the table and headed for the kitchen. "Would anyone like a cup of coffee or hot cocoa?" He asked. "No sir, Katie said, "I'm good, If it's ok with you, I really think I would like to go take a shower and hit the hay, it's been a long day." Maggie stood up and leaned over and hugged Katie. "You go right ahead and make yourself at home." she said and she walked into the kitchen with Russell.
As Katie walked up the stairs, she looked at all the pictures that were placed on the wall above the banister. There was one of Matt when he was on the football team in middle school, one of the whole family at Christmas time, one of the family at the table for Thanksgiving and the last one made her stop in her tracks. There on the wall in a 8x10 rustic wooden frame, was the last picture that she and Matt had taken together before they moved. They were leaning up against an old oak tree outside of their home in Georgia. She remembered that day vividly s if it had happened just yesterday. A lump grew in her throat. She had the same picture in a small frame on her dresser back home. Her smile was a peaceful one. The love in her heart as real as rain. Their relationship as strong as the old oak they leaned against. She made her way to the spare room that would be hers for the next couple of weeks. The bed was soft as clouds and she couldn't wait to get into it's nice clean sheets after a steaming hot shower. She laid her suitcase on top of the quilt spread across the bed and opened it up. She got her clean under garments and silk blue pajamas and headed for the shower. The water hit her face and immediately she started to relax. Downstairs, Matt spoke with his parents. "I love her you guys, just as much as I always did, being around her this past week back home made me realize that we still have "it" inside of us." Matt said seriously. "I sense a but, coming on Russell said s he took a...