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This an ongoing story that I’m posting over the next few hours. I’m not sure how I’m going to end this, any suggestions? I’m writing this on the fly, so this story is rough, really rough, but I thrive on this impromptu stuff so … there you go. 🙂 Just two more installments to go! Thanks for reading!
The crowd surged forward, then abruptly fell back to make room for the exiting passengers. Squeals and cries echoed off the airport walls as loved ones were reunited. Excited chatter soon built in volume and it was hard to think straight let alone hold a conversation.
The three women politely stood out of the way, but they kept craning their necks, their eyes constantly searching for Carter and Pierce.
As the wave of departing passengers began to ebb, the women’s hopeful expression began to fade.
“Where are they?” Alecia asked, desperately trying to keep the panic from her voice.
“I’m sure they were on that flight,” murmured Margie as she dug into her handbag to pull out her boys’ itineraries. “Excuse me, sir?” She asked a large security guard with a protruding belly. “Do you know if that was flight 207 from Washington D.C. that just came through here?”
The man grunted once before picking up a clipboard and checking the timeline. “Yep, that was 207.”
“Do you know if all of the passengers have exited the plane?” She asked.
“That, I don’t know. Sorry.” He turned his attention back to the passengers in line who were currently taking off their shoes.
“Okay, I’m confused,” Jessie said. “This is the flight. And Carver called you from the plane, they should be here by now. What do you think …”
Jessie’s words trailed off as she spotted Carver and Pierce.
A tall man with large arms and a head full of buzzed black hair was pushing another man in a wheelchair out of the security checkpoint. Both men were wearing fatigues.
“Oh my God,” Margie mumbled at the same time that Alecia shrieked in utter delight.
She sidestepped an elderly man and ran up to her husband. She stopped a foot in front of him and suddenly offered a shy smile. “Hi,” she said, her voice silky smooth and heavy with emotion.
“Hi,” he responded, his eyes drinking in every part of her face. His smile was wide, boyish and completely besotted.
“Welcome home, my love,” she whispered and she closed the remaining distance with a last lunge forward. They wrapped their arms tightly around each other and would have remained that way for quite some time if Lisa hadn’t squawked in protest to make her presence known.
Alecia and Carter laughed together as they reluctantly separated.
“And who do we have here?” Carter asked, his eyes sparkling with moisture. He smiled at the baby and gently took one of her tiny hands in between his thick fingers. “Hello pretty girl,” he said gently, his voice incredibly deep and rich with unspoken emotion.
Lisa studied him for long, serious moments. Then she blinked and began smiling, the dimple in her cheek deepening noticeably.
“Oh Alecia,” Carter breathed in, “she’s absolutely gorgeous. Look at those beautiful eyes and look,” he grinned, “she has my dimple.”
Alecia sniffed and ignored the tears running down her face. She laughed and nodded. “She definitely has your dimple.” The couple leaned in close and finally, after ten long, grueling, emotional months apart, kissed and re-sealed their devotion to each other.
When they stepped away from each other, they continued to gaze into each other’s eyes for long moments until Margie cleared her throat to get their attention.
“Hello! There are more people around you.”
Carter laughed, the sound full, rich and overflowing with happiness as he scooped his daughter into his arms and kissed his mother on the cheek. “Hiya mom. What’s shakin’?”
Margie laughed and walked into his one free arm for a hug. “You probably don’t want to know, son.”
Alecia stepped back and fished a tissue from her pocket (she had been prepared for the tears) and moved toward Pierce and Jessie, who were talking intensely.
“Hey you two, I hate to break up the little party,” Alecia interrupted, “but I haven’t had a chance to say hello to my brother-in-law yet.” She smiled down at Pierce and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “What sort of mischief have you been up to now?” She purposefully kept her tone of voice light, but braced herself for whatever he was about to tell her.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I just broke my leg, no biggie. I should be out of this cast in another six weeks or so.” He blushed.
“Well, we were surrounded by the enemy see …”
“He fell off a stage,” Jessie said with mock disgust. “He was doing karaoke with the guys, drunk,” she smiled down at him, “and took a dive into the front row.”
“Hey! That was supposed to be our little secret!” Pierce assumed a mock-hurt look.
Alecia burst out laughing as Carter came up behind her and put an arm around her shoulders. She settled in close to his body.
“And I saw the whole damn thing, too.” Carter said with a laugh. “There’s no way you can sugar coat this one, bro.”
Pierce started to mutter a curse but caught himself in time when Jessie nudged him and pointed to the baby. “So you have a daughter, eh? Let me take a look at this little squirt.”
Carter placed Lisa on Pierce’s knee, but kept a firm hold on her. The baby again seriously examined Pierce’s face before she slapped him on the thigh.
“Hey now! You give daddy a big grin but you give me a slap? What gives?”
Carter sputtered a loud laugh and patted his daughter on the head. “That’s my girl.” He hauled Lisa back into his arms and stood back. “So … you two,” he gestured between Pierce and Jessie, “you okay or what?”
Pierce looked at Jessie, Jessie looked at Pierce and they both shrugged. “We’re working on it,” Pierce said and Jessie visibly relaxed and offered a smile.
“Cool,” Carter said and turned toward Margie. “Where’s dad?”
Alecia stiffened next to him and he noticed the movement. He looked from his mother to his wife and tilted his head. “What’s up?”
“He’s fine, Carter,” Margie said with a soft smile. “Let’s all talk and catch up at my house, shall we? I’m sure your father is dying to see you both.”
Alecia grabbed the stroller and pushed it as Carter looped an arm around her shoulders as they all exited the airport and started walking toward their cars in the parking lot. She didn’t know if Margie’s play on words was an accident or not, but suddenly, she didn’t care. They would deal with whatever happened because that’s what family did – together.
She kissed her husband’s stubbled cheek. “Welcome home, Carter.”