By Carole McKee
Published by Carole McKee at Smashwords
Copyright 2014 Carole McKee
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
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Cassie pulled into the first rest area on I-79 as soon as she crossed the Pennsylvania border. Besides having to use the facilities, she had to gather her wits and draw strength from that. It had been a long time since she had last set foot in the state—a very long time. Almost fifteen years, unless you wanted to count those two Christmases when she came back on Christmas eve and left less than 24 hours later. She had left two days after graduation and never looked back, well, except for those two times when her parents made it known that they felt it was mandatory that she make an appearance. She didn't count those times, since she got in and out as soon as possible, not even spending a full twenty-four hours. Her last duty visit had been two years ago. She had come home for Christmas for the last time and had to endure the questions from her parents and the insults from her two brothers, as well as her mother's plea that she settle down and get married before it was too late. Too late for what, Cassie had no idea. She had only stayed a day, flying in on Christmas Eve late in the afternoon, and then leaving on Christmas day after dinner. Six months after that, her mother had passed away. Cassie had been on vacation in The Orient at the time, and couldn't be reached with the news. When she returned to her home in Florida, she had called her father. He was distraught over her mother's death and that she hadn't made it to the funeral. She apologized to her father and asked if he needed anything. He declined her offer of help and they hung up on a rather bad note. Now he was gone. He was gone and now she would have to face her brothers' insults and criticisms for the next three to five days—tops. She hoped that was all the time she would be there.