Kitty sent Tom to the general store for supplies. Upon his return, he could smell the burgers cooking on the outdoor grill. His stomach growled. Gazing into the thick woods, he froze, his mind suddenly back in Vietnam, the grilled meat reminding him of burning flesh. He was shaken to the present by Kitty, calling out to him from the house. He shook his head and took a couple of deep breaths. It’d been so long since he’d had a flashback or nightmare. What had triggered it? Was it survivor’s guilt? Was it a reminder that life is not always as idyllic as it seemed at present?
“What were you doing out there?” said Kitty.
“Thinking about the book,” he lied, refusing to put a damper on the day.
“If the thought’s any good, you’ll be reading about it soon enough.”
“Those burgers smell so great. Call Linda and Bill.”
He was about to tap at the door of their room when he heard moaning. Unable to resist, he stood there a moment listening. He tore himself away before succumbing to the temptation to peek through the keyhole.
Kitty looked at him as she entered the kitchen, where she was tossing a salad. “Are they coming?”
He smiled, scratching his head. “They’re busy.”
Kitty laughed out loud.
They were seated at the table on the back porch when Linda and Bill finally pushed through the back door. Tom gave Kitty a nudge with his foot, and she immediately understood his intent. The Hartes feigned being offended. Linda’s face was scarlet, her expression grave. Tom sensed she was about to cry, and was no longer able to pretend to be miffed. He guffawed.
“You should’ve seen your faces,” said Kitty, giggling, burger in hand. “I wish I’d had a camera handy. Sit down and eat. Love is what this place is all about.”
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