The lights of the town started to come into view of her window on the airplane. She closed the book she was reading and started to open her small bag to return the book to its shelter. She leaned back looking about the cabin at the other passengers that were on the flight. A couple families and a few others that looked as exhausted as she feeled. The young woman couldn't wait to get back on the ground and out of this seat. Maybe I should move a little closer. Then I could actually just drive instead of flying 3 hours. Her thoughts once again focused on the scene spreading out below them. It has been 8 years since she last stepped foot in this town that had once been her home. A few strands of dark, raven black hair fell about her soft features as her dark sapphire blue gaze looked down at her bag making sure she had gathered everything.
She was dressed in a thicker dress coat and a pair of slacks with snow boots. At least I will get to see Nora and Emma in person instead of over Skype. Deni couldn't wait to see her two nieces Nora and Emma. She was the Aunt who always called on Skype every couple of weeks to say hi or on their birthdays. They belonged to her older brother Gerald who had moved back to town after meeting his wife Rita while he was in school. Auntie Deni made sure she had brought along a couple gifts for the girls as well that they could open when she arrived at their house.
The slight turbulence and voice of the pilot brought the young woman out of her thoughts and she prepared to disembark from the plane once they had landed, which happened only a few minutes later. Deni had made sure to only tell her brother Gerald she was coming and no one else as she wanted to surprise their parents and her nieces. "Now just to get my luggage and rental car and then I will be on my way to Gerry and Rita's house." The line seemed to move slower than a snail to leave the plane and the wait for luggage was worse. Thankfully her bag was one of the first ones to come out and she was soon walking towards the rental car reception desk.
Of course another line...She thought taking the pause to pull her phone out and shoot a text to her brother letting him know she had arrived safely. Her eyes moved to the falling snow outside the window after she sent the text. "Hopefully the roads aren't too bad. That is the last thing I need to have happen." It was chaos back at her office from what she could gather from the messages streaming in from her assistant attorney Justin. "I can't seem to even be gone for a few hours and the world is ending for him." A soft chuckle leaving her lips as she moved to stand in line waiting for her turn to get her car.
Edited at December 11, 2019 09:04 PM by Rustyk Pack
Laughter echoed through the office as a young man spun around a desk and plopped down in a wheeled chair. Papers flew up from his desk as he picked up a pen and tossed it across the room.
"Get that article finished up about Mrs. Mallary. The town should get to hear about her fundraiser," he shouted out, ducking as a another pen flew across the room, almost hitting.
"Joan, watch the trajectory!"
"Ya whatever Jonathan!" A woman snapped back, humor lacing her voice.
Rolling his eyes, he leaned forward and began sorting the papers that had been thrown haphazardly across his desk. "Someone turn on the music," he barked good naturedly as he pulled a pencil from a drawer.
Bing Crosby's voice came over the speakers and he began to hum along. After a moment, his gaze rested on a small note jotted down on the last paper. Picking it up, he examined the words closely.
"Is anyone looking into that lawyer woman who's coming home?" He believed he remembered her from years gone by but they were very vague memories. He ran his hand through his dark brown hair before leaning back.
"No one's got that one boss. Why don't you do it yourself?" a younger coworker said with a smile
"Alright Brian, but it comes out of your pay!" Jonathan teased. He returned to his sorting before glancing at his clock. Squinting, he looked at it twice before quickly shuffling his papers away. "Where is it...." he grumbled and finally snatched it up. Kicking the chair back, he leapt to his feet, snatched his coat and dashed towards the door.
"I've got a plane to meet folks! Everyone can leave in two hours, just make sure I've got those articles written!"
A chorus of okay's followed him into the freezing air. He quickly pulled his coat on and slid into his older Toyota. Turning the key, he breathed in the fresh cool and started off. Christmas music flooded the inside and he swayed as he drove. "Dashing through the snow... in a one horse open sleigh!" His baritone voice followed along, quickly making a turn down a back road. Traffic was awful but luckily he knew every round-a-bout way.
Calmly, he pulled into the parking lot and strode into the airport, stopping in front of a large sign. His eyes scanned over the flights and stopped on the woman's flight. It had landed.... 20 minutes earlier.
Jonathan turned and raced towards the rental cars, sliding past passengers as he went. "Dashing through the airport, got a lady to meet..." he changed the words slightly as he jumped over a stray suitcase. Stopping at the rental cars, his gaze searched for the girl he had met many years back. A raven haired female caught his eye and he moved forward, able to catch a glimpse of her face.
"Denalia?" He called out, lifting his hand and waving it.
Edited at December 11, 2019 10:00 PM by Time'sGhost
Her gaze flitted over to the person that had called out her name. She offered a wave back with a smile. "I haven't been called that in a long time. And you don't look like my brother or my mother." She walked over to the young man and offered her arm meeting his green gaze. "Please call me Deni." His face felt somewhat familiar to her but she couldn't quite put her finger on where she knew him from.
A little jingle could be heard in her pocket and she pulled her hand away for a moment. "Sorry, it sounds like my brother is calling." She stepped away from the man and put the phone to her ear. "Hello. Oh hi Emma. How are you? How is Nora?" She looked over her shoulder with a *I'm sorry* smile before moving back to the line motioning for the guy to follow if he wanted to talk. Normally it would seem a little odd but she was in a crowded area and this wasn't in the town where she now resided.
After a few more moments of perfectly timed *aw's and oh's* she hung up her phone and shook her head chuckling. "I love my nieces but sometimes you never know what they are going to ask or talk about." The line had moved closer to the desk and she looked back over to the male and offered her hand again. "Should we try this again? I can't guarantee that I won't get another call....you never know with family or work."
As much as she was joking in her tone, her words held more truth than she wanted to admit. She loved her family and nothing could tell her different but work on the other hand was becoming more of a hinderance to the young woman. Yeah she was successful and had her own law firm but she had worked harder than most which caused most of her personal relationships to dissolve. Deni had little time for friends or even a love life with how many hours she spend working on cases for people that she took on as pro bono. They weren't often but she was just coming off the trial of her most recent one where she had been able to help a grandfather gain custody of his two grandchildren after their parents had been taken away by the police for drug usage once again. Of course the young woman hid most of the stress fairly well with makeup and a little bit of drinking but the bags under her eyes were a little more prominent and her energy quickly draining.
Why does this guy look so familiar? Maybe he hung out with Gerry when they were younger or....is he from the local newspaper? Her mind circled through the thoughts before landing upon the newspaper idea. Why would they want to do a story on me? I am not that famous.
Edited at December 11, 2019 10:52 PM by Rustyk Pack
As the woman approached him, Jonathan took in her dress coat, slacks, and snow boots. It was clear to him that she was doing very well for herself and the clothes were very becoming of her. He met her with a warm smile and took her hand, "Well than Deni it is." He casually took a step back as she moved forward with her phone. His mind raced as he tried to place an exact memory of her. At the mention of Emma and Nora, his eyes lit up. Those two occasionally would tramp through his office causing all sorts of trouble. Gerry had been one of his best friends in school, though he had always been the nerd. Back when, he was a skinny kid, with acne and braces. Deni, as she went by now, always tried to avoid him and his awkwardness.
At the woman's wave, Jonathan followed behind her towards the line. Patience was key in his line of work, but it had also become a habit. As Deni put away her phone and held out her hand, he took it with a smile, "No worries." He took a moment to take in her facial features. The makeup was quite complementing but something was amiss, though he couldn't quite place it.
"My name is Jonathan Brown. I own the newspaper downtown. I've got a car out front if you'd like a ride home. I know where you're heading," he finally said with a good-natured smile and waved her out of the line. His green eyes glowed with the vigor of life as he stood there, his hair in disarray, and his trench coat swinging by his knees. Every part of him seemed to show excitement with each moment as if the small town itself held thousands of adventures waiting to be discovered. And, in all truth, it did hold that many adventures for him.
At one time he had wanted more but as he took of the family business and went out into the town, he learned that there was always something new and exciting around the corner. Christmas time was the best, however. Decorations went up, the Christmas spirit took over the town, and life seemed to explode into ecstatic chaos. And of course, people came home. Which was why he was here. No one had seen Denalia Michaels in at least eight years. Her coming home was big in a small town like theirs. There were so many questions. What brought her home after all this time? What had she been doing?
And then there were a few more personal questions he had for himself. Small things that bothered him about this female. She was successful no doubt and could clearly hold her own, but there was something and he determined to figure it out.
Deni looked between him and the receptionist for a few moments before following Jonathan. Now she remembered him. He was one of Gerry's friends that she usually avoided mainly because of the age difference and she was spending time with her girlfriends. "I will talk to the rental place tomorrow....but how do you know where I am going?" A smile played on her lips as she fell into step with him. The man beside her didn't match the memory she had but time does change everyone.
"I was actually going to head to Gerry's house. I want to surprise my parents tomorrow." She ran a hand over her braided hair before slipping it into an unused pocket. Of course the newspaper would send someone. Not many people come back after leaving for a while. She thought as they walked along. Part of her wondered why the owner had come and not one of the lower underlings. She shrugged it off and huddled into herself a little more at the blast of cold air from the outside.
The young woman paused in the snow and took in the sights in front of her. "I guess I forgot how much this town really enjoys getting decorated for Christmas." Her eyes moved over to the man beside her taking in how even though it looked a little chaotic, everything fit him nicely. "It hasn't changed that much from my memory."
She paused for a moment and adjusted the bag on her shoulder while pulling her other one to her side."Lead away Mr. Newspaper owner. I doubt you are still driving that dark blue Subaru since that thing was almost 20 years old when we were in high school."
How did she remember that? Of all things to remember and she had to remember what color car he was driving years ago. Maybe she actually avoided him because she didn't want her brother to lose a friend?
As they set foot out into the wintery air, Jonathan sucked in the icy air before letting it out, creating a cloud of warm breath. Rubbing his hands together, he glanced over at his new car companion. "To Gerry's house it is then!" His gaze returned to the scenery and his lips curled into a smile. The beautiful colored lights lit up the airport and the snow gave it a beautiful ethereal glow. People rushed in and out of the buildings, suitcases were everywhere. Laughter and joyful words echoed through the parking lot. A content sigh escaped him as he enjoyed the moment. Who would want to leave this?
"Everyone adores this season and you're right, they do enjoy decorating," he said softly. "I hope this place never changes. There is so much it offers, to everybody." Especially for you Deni... he thought and looked over to the troubled woman as she shifted her luggage.
At the mention of his old Subaru he let out a warm hardy laugh, "That car died on me a few years back. Took me a while to get over the grief. You should have seen the memorial." His eyes danced good-humoredly as he reached out a gently took the suitcase from her grasp. "I'll show you the way to my new ride." He stepped forward and began the short walk to his waiting vehicle. Each step he took crunched in the snow as he dragged the suitcase behind. Relief washed over him as he pulled it along. He would have felt horrible if he left her pulling it through the snow. It was no easy task.
Stopping in front of his teal 2004 Toyota Carola, he grinned like a boy in a candy shop. "Here she is! This baby is my dream ride." He patted the side gently as he fished through his coat pocket for the keys. After a moment, he pulled out the old fashioned car keys and popped the trunk. Heaving the suitcase up, he deposited it inside, snow and all. He motioned for her to put the carry-on beside it.
"Just you wait until we actually get into town. Then you'll see Christmas truly erupt. Of course, you probably already remembered that." Jonathan brushed the collecting snow from his hair and shook his head slightly. "Hope you don't mind but on the trip to your brother's I plan on asking you a bunch of questions. It's been eight years since you came home. The town might like to know what happened to their pride and joy."
He paused, unsure if she truly realized how much everybody had loved her. How many times had he heard a conversation about that Michaels girl who actually made something out of herself? How many times had someone commented about what a bright girl she was in school?
A light airy laugh left her frame as she listened to him talk. "I wouldn't expect less from a reporter." She offered a congratulatory clap when she saw the car. "It is a good choice. And thank you for helping." She moved to stand next to him before setting her carry on next to her bag. I actually missed this place more than I though. Had she made a mistake in leaving and refusing to return until now? She rubbed her hands together as she moved to the passenger side of the car opening the door. She quickly entered the vehicle and used her breath to warm her hands up a little. Her gloves were nicely tucked away in her bag. "I am a mostly open book."
Hopefully he wouldn't ask about the failed engagement that she had broken off earlier in the year or the fact that she rarely was rumored to be in a relationship. If he did she would go to her trusted, 'We just didn't want the same things and it was better for us to go our separate ways.' It was her go to. It didn't leave much room for other questions and many took that answer. Once she could feel the warmth in the tips of her fingers, she put on the seatbelt and waited for the questions and drive. It had been a while since she had taken the time to stop and smell the roses or in this case, take in the lights and appreciate the simplicity of the life she had.
"Do the Jensons still do their little nativity scene or has someone gotten them to stop?" Her gaze moving over as she covered her mouth when a yawn overtook her. "Sorry about that. I had an early early morning. Between Justin and Esme I usually have to go extinguish a fire. But I love them to death and am thankful for them." Yes she complained about the other two attorneys but the trio had been together since first starting law school. Each one contributed in their own way that melded with the others. Not many people understood the oddball ideas but they were working on making a difference.
"I don't mind one bit. Helping is what this season is all about," Jonathan replied with a smile and slid into the driver's seat. He inserted the key and the car jumped to life, Christmas music blaring immediately. Turning it down, he put on the heat and pulled the car out. "Mostly? You are already heaping on the intrigue."
He glanced over for a second before shifting his eyes back to the road. "And yes, the Jensons do. They actually set up one for the church too now." At the new names, his eyes lit up, "Justin and Esme? Your kids?" The thought itself was sobering and bothered him for some reason, though he couldn't figure out why. He hadn't seen a ring, though he being married wasn't an impossibility. And if she was married, why hadn't she brought her husband and kids?
The low playing music filled the momentary silence and he glanced at her again. Nope, no ring. He rewired his thought to a more analytical level, not wanting to get emotionally involved. He would let her tell as much as she wanted then move into more pointed questions. Still, some things just weren't sitting right.
Deni couldn't help but laugh when he asked if Justin and Esme were her kids. "Oh heavens no! Justin has a lovely boyfriend and Esme has her eyes on some Broadway star that she has been talking with. They are my co-conspirators for work. I have known them since starting college." She shook her head as the laughter died down from her. The Christmas music had been not as much of a shock as she had first thought when he had started the car. It was kinda refreshing to hear a blast from the past and was calming.
"Well then ask your questions and see which ones I chose to tactifully answer or avoid." She offered a playful wink before turning her gaze to look out of the window at the passing lights. Her head leaned against the window as her body started to relax in the company of an old acquaitance. Her mind wondered if he had found someone that he would head home to after dropping her off. She closed her eyes and let out a deep breath before opening them.
Please don't open the wound....Please. She thought resting her hands in her lap as her right hand brushed where the engagement ring had been sitting just a few months previous. "So do you have any mini me's?" The words were out of her mouth before she could process what they were. She looked over with an innocent look in her eyes that had seemed to darken in hue with the lack of light.
The lights off of the houses and street lights danced in the reflection on her eyes as she looked over to him. If you looked closely, the girl who loved the town was peeking around the wall that had been built up. As much as Deni loved her family and the fond memories she had, part of her hated being in the small town where everyone pushed the idea that someone couldn't leave and make it out in the so called real world.
I wanted to prove them all wrong. Show them that this little town has potential in its students but I can see why those that leave very rarely return back home. Everyone has to know everything about everyone....gotta love the small town rumors. It also didn't help that a rumor had gone around when she was in high school that she was having a relationship with one of the teachers at the school that had been started by the cheer captain, Marie.