ELLIOTT MET KIT at the airport, following her four-week stint at the spa. She spotted his parked vehicle on the tarmac, then she saw him walking out of the executive terminal. Why do men get more distinguished as they age?
He was dressed in his usual uniform: pressed khakis, light green polo shirt with the MacKlenna Farm logo, Italian loafers, and perfectly styled thick gray hair. He was as handsome as she’d ever seen him.
He gobbled her up in a monster hug. ‘You look gorgeous.”
“You look rather handsome yourself.”
He smiled, showing perfect white teeth. “Stress lines are gone. For once in my life I wasn’t worrying about you.” He grabbed her bags. “Just these two?”
“I have a crate, too.”
She nodded. “The spa manager wanted to buy one of my Chimney Rock paintings, but I couldn’t sell it. Not even for a free week.”
“You passed up several thousand dollars.”
“I’ll never sell any of my Oregon Trail paintings.” She looped her arm into his. “I’ve been buffed and polished, and had several appointments with the OB/GYN Dr. Olson recommended. The baby is fine. Now tell me what’s been going on. How are my animals?”
“Stormy’s recovered most of his weight. But I had to send the damn dog to obedience school and thought about sending the cat too. You turned them in to wild animals.”
She climbed into the truck and buckled up. “It wasn’t all my doing. I had two little helpers.”
“Don’t get maudlin on me.” He walked around the front and climbed in the driver’s seat. “You look good—rested and more relaxed than I’ve seen you in a long time.” He turned on the blinker and eased into airport traffic. “Matter-of-fact, you look really good. Pregnancy becomes you.”
“I think that’s part of the deal. You get fat and feel ugly but you have a radiant glow that makes you look beautiful. Go figure. But I’m back now and ready to go to work.”
“Not on that damned fire truck.”
She patted her belly. “No more fire trucks. I think I’m giving up on the idea of med school too, at least for now. I don’t want to do anything that will take time away from this little guy. I’ll help out on the farm and paint. I might not know where my roots are, but I know where I’m rooted.”
AFTER A MONTH, Kit’s expanded waistline demanded she shop for maternity clothes. She’d been born without a shopping gene and hated going to the mall. Now loaded down with packages, she walked through the front door and without thinking, tossed her keys on the side cabinet, then cringed when they slid across the marble top and fell off the back.
She dumped her packages on the staircase and pulled the table away from the wall. There were enough dust bunnies to fill an Easter egg basket. There was also an envelope from the Bank of San Francisco.
“Yikes. I hope the bank followed up by now.” With the envelope in one hand, keys and cell phone in the other, she walked into the office, plopped down on the sofa, and kicked off her strappy sandals before scrolling through the fifteen emails on her phone.
While reading an email from the CFO, she dug a letter opener under the envelope flap and pulled out a sheet a paper. Her eyes did a back-and-forth-dance between the email and the letter.
She dropped the phone and sat transfixed, unable to breathe.
Oh my God.
Clipped to the letter was a brittle yellow envelope, addressed in an ornate script to:
Kitherina MacKlenna Montgomery
Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky