Chapter One

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Howlong had it been?

Shesat in the window watching the wind blow against the silhouettedtrees on the lawn. At times the leaves came down in a soft shower ofcolor upon the front porch. "I'll have to sweep the porch in themorning," she thought to herself.

Shelooked down at the locket hanging on a silver chain around her neck.She put her hand around it and smiled.

Thetea kettle whistled from the kitchen and she hurried to turn off theburner.
Shetook her favorite cup from the cupboard and got out a box of pumpkinspice tea. She thought of her mother as she dropped the tea bag inthe cup and poured water over it. The rich aroma brought back so manymemories, so many haunting memories.

Shecould picture Eric standing in the doorway, the day after hermother's funeral. Hard to believe it had been a year ago. They hadknown one another most of their lives and she never dreamed she wouldbe without him.

Whenhe announced he was leaving, she would have cried, but she knew itwas the right thing for him to do. He had his own life now.

Sheremembered when he first announced he was going into Missionary work.She was a senior in high school. They had talked of marriage, but shedidn't want to be a Missionaries wife. She had cried. She rememberedher mother's sound advice. "I know it's hard, but you and Eric aremore like a brother and sister. I never thought of the two of you asanything else. If he is to be with you or you with him, well, timewill tell and time will heal."

Julia never thoughtof him as a brother.

Erictraveled to Indonesia a few years later. He called occasionally, butmainly to talk to her father. Eric liked discussing the work he andthe others were doing and often asked her father to spread the wordto other churches about their needs. Eric's emails were more frequentbut, as were the phone calls, mostly sent to her dad.

Whenher dad had died, the frequency of his calls and emails lessened. Hehadn't been able to come home for the funeral. She remembered thelong letter he had written to her mother, brothers and her. His wordsspoke of how much he hurt. He wrote of how her father had been a manhe had looked up to most of his life.

Iwas an orphan and he took me in. He gave me a home, a family andlove. The charity he showed taught me how to give. The devotion andlove he had for God taught me how to share God's love and Gospel withothers. I am who I am today because, even though I wasn't his son, heloved me

Ericnever missed her birthdays. There was always a card or a call. Whocould forget her birthday? It was the day after Halloween. He hadgiven her the nickname Spooky.

Whydid it seem they always avoided one another now?

Ericonly had a month before his furlough would end. He had planned tostay through Christmas, but one of his fellow Missionaries had fallenill and he would have to get back. Hehad spent most of his time traveling the country to speak to churchesabout his Mission work. His goal was to reach out to as many as hecould for funding and donations of non perishable items.Everystate he went to, every town or city he visited, every church heentered welcomed him with open arms. His presentation about the workhe and his fellow Missionaries were doing in the far away islands ofIndonesia brought a lot of needed attention and money. He had toadmit, he was good at being the ambassador and spreading the word.

Hehad grown accustomed to life in the tribal environment and theconditions of the vast forest and mountains that surrounded himthere. Nothing could compare to being home though. There was so muchhe missed. He missed Julia most of all, but he just couldn't tellher.

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