Chapter 02



Caroline’s husband Brian greeted Abby as she skated up to the lakeside.

“Took you long enough,” said Brian.  He offered his arm out for Abby.  With his help she pulled herself up from the ice onto the terrace to remove her skates.

“I’m sorry.  I had a late start.  I hope Caroline’s ok.”

“Quite alright.  Caroline has almost everything wrapped up and she is excited to see you.  We both are,” said Brian.

“You are so sweet.  That must be what Caroline sees in you.”

Abby sat on a stone bench then unlaced her skates.  The house stood on a hill above her overlooking Willow Lake.  During the day the house was hardly visible from the lake below.  She looked up at the lights of the kitchen and could see Caroline and the five-year old twins trying to see out the large glass doors.  Abby waved as she crossed the weathered boardwalk between the terrace and the steps of the house.  Through the surface of the snow bordering the walk pruned shrubs shivered in their burlap wraps among the parched straw colored ornamental foliage.

As Abby and Brian topped the steps Lily and Andrew ran out of the kitchen door bundled in heavy winter attire.  They scuttled toward Abby then squeezed her legs tightly when they reached her.

“Hey!  Let’s get inside before we freeze to death,” said Abby.

Abby led the group stumbling into the kitchen where Caroline was preparing for the party.  Food in different stages of preparation covered every counter.  The aroma of cooked meats and spices filled the room.  Over the oven hung the sweet smell of the cake baking inside.

Caroline’s blonde hair was held back with a headband and the oversized collar shirt she wore had flour on the tails and cuffs.

Caroline embraced her cousin.  “Hey sweetheart,” said Caroline.  They kissed the others cheeks three times, like they had learned years ago on their summer abroad in Holland.  “Back on the skates, huh?  How is it out there?  The edges were a bit creaky last weekend.”

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