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If there was one thing that always seemed to bring Orion peace it was work. That sounded crazy to most since work was usually what caused stress for most people but it was something he was used to and enjoyed. It was always fun when bidding for different jobs because of the simple fact that it wasn’t enough to be better than the competition you had to be reasonable as well, you could be the best but if your costs were too high, you didn’t always get the job. The trouble today was he opened his emails to see that one of the gala events in the city that he had a five year contract with was doing bids for that very same job. It had only been two years so they still owed the three that were listed in the contract which had been signed. Usually it wasn’t something that would bother him and he would just talk to his contact within that organization but for some reason it just made him unusually angry like when he had been in high school and nearly everything would set him off.
Sighing he leaned back in his office chair trying to calm his mind which wanted to either call the organization he had the contract with or send them a very strongly worded email. The issue being as his mind mulled over what to do it kept coming up with phrases and verbiage which shouldn’t be used in business dealings. Getting up from his chair he began to pace back and forth across his office which was an old habit that hadn’t been a part of his mannerisms in a long time. Shaking himself out of it left his office and walked down the hall to the bathroom, closing the door behind him he turned on the cold water and splashed it on his face which seemed to shock him out of it a bit. After turning off the water he stared at his own reflection in the mirror and nothing seemed to be amiss. Perhaps it was just a bad nights sleep mixed with a misunderstanding, it was nothing to truly worry about.
Heading back into his office he began to type up a professional email explaining to the organization hosting the event that he had a five year contract with them so the contract bidding would need to be ended. It was a legally binding document they had both agreed to and whatever stipulations they would like to change, they could sit down and discuss and try to come to an agreement. After hitting send he checked his phone looking for a random text to put a smile on his face. There was nothing there which he knew was understandable because Sariah was working but for some reason it was like another negative kick to his mood. For a moment he almost sent a text and then he started thinking about Sariah’s ex and he didn’t want to seem controlling or too clingy. Orion’s mind finally reasoned that they talked every day and it was no different today than any other day.
Editing the text he was going to send, ‘Seems to be one of those days where things just aren’t going according to plan. On the plus side, I haven’t spilt any coffee on my computer so I’ll consider that a plus. That and I’d hate to see you upset over it’s untimely demise.’ He inserted a winking face with it’s tongue sticking out to keep it light and teasing since he really just wanted to talk to her even if it was just something silly. There weren’t many things that could lighten his mood when it took a turn but in many ways Sariah was his anchor and that was an important thing to have.
Work. For some people it was the thing you did as a means to an end in order to pay the bills every month and ensure a roof remained over your head, for others, it was everything, it was their true passion and how they believed they could make a difference to the world. She’d always felt like she fell into the latter category but lately, she was trying to stop working being her be all and end all, to acknowledge there was far more to her life than that now and while work was definitely still a very large and important part of her, so were other things now. Orion had definitely been a big part in that shift of mentality for her, she supposed for a long time she had been throwing herself into work because that felt easier than thinking about all the other things, difficult parts of her past that she’d certainly prefer not to repeat.
Lately, the days at the organization were long and busy but she felt generally positive about where things were headed, project X had made huge headway in the past few weeks and she was optimistic about the results. She was working on contracts for not one but two new factions to join the peace treaty in Evermore, which, while very tedious and boring and generally revolving around constant long meetings, was a very exciting prospect for her, officially closing the door on any potential conflicts and securing more people a safe home in Evermore. But all of that had definitely taken a toll on her free time, especially while at work where she had skipped lunch a few times and just eaten at her desk because she needed to get things done. Of course, she told herself it was just a phase and that it would let up sooner or later but that didn’t make it any easier to handle.
Usually, she would find the time to chat with Orion throughout the day, not usually anything serious, she tended to send him cute pictures of animals that popped up on her social media profile or the odd meme she found that related to them. Their conversations normally revolved around movies or some astronomical event due to happen, or just generally about people in their lives. She vented her frustrations about the board she had to answer to sometimes, he told her about annoying clients who didn’t seem to understand how basic security worked. It was nice, having someone she could always reach out to whenever she wanted to. This week though, she had definitely been neglecting their chats thanks to all the meetings she had been in and generally just not being able to put down work as easily as she normally did.
She had left her phone on her desk, so by the time she read Orion’s message and went to answer it, it had been about 30 minutes, she sat herself back in her chair, leaning in it and thanking her assistant for insisting they get one that was more comfortable than her last one “I swear you have a subconscious vengeance for technology. Poor computer, all it wants to do is help you work” she added a couple of crying emojis to the end and laughed shaking her head and sending it before she followed it up “Sorry the delay, meetings up to the roof :( sounds like we could both use an after-work drink”.
Time seemed to be passing at an oddly slow rate for Orion, maybe it was just tediousness of the files he was going over or the fact he knew that some of his clients weren’t practicing full disclosure with him since the blueprints and attached information for a few jobs was not adding up. It was all causing pressure to feel like it was building behind his eyes and he reached up trying to rub it away and just get done what he needed to. After all that was a simple enough concept, but it was one of those easier said than done type situations as everything he looked at seemed to trigger some small annoyance within him. Sighing in frustrating he shut down his laptop and mentally stepped away from work which was something he rarely had to do.
The full moon was still a ways off so he didn’t know why he was feeling this way and unlike most younger Therians he had a pretty good handle on his animal side and was able to suppress the aggressive side of himself which tried to surface for many Therians. Opening his laptop back up he powered it on and waited for it to reboot before looking up celestial and astrological events which might for some reason be affecting him but he didn’t anything. It really didn’t make sense but he wasn’t honestly sure when the last time things had made sense in his life.
Hearing his phone buzz he looked over at it seeing a text, at first he thought it was from Sariah but it was from a client. Ignoring it he tried to focus on his breathing and the simple things he had learned when he was younger in order to maintain control of himself. Once more his phone buzzed and he snatched it off the desk as if it had offended him before looking at the notification and feeling a hint of calm take over. If ever there was a silver-lining in his life it was his children and Sariah.
“I have nothing against technology, you should ask it why it hates me. Maybe it’ll give you a straight answer or maybe you could even sweet talk and charm it for me.” He sent back before looking at the follow up message. “Hey you still have a job to do which doesn’t including saving technology from me. And yeah drinks sound amazing.” Especially since all he wanted to do was get out of the office and think about work.
If there was one single thing that could brighten her day enough to turn a bad one into a good one it was talking to Orion. Being around him just made her feel brighter and more relaxed and sometimes he even reminded her that work wasn’t the be-all and end-all of her life. Even without work she still had him and while she loved both, it was a settling feeling knowing that her life had expanded in a way she never expected over the past few years. Just as she was settling herself at her desk to write up some notes on what happened in her last meeting she heard her phone buzz against and smiled. That was a nice feeling, knowing someone wanted to talk to you.
She laughed when she read his message about technology, it did seem like he and literally any electronic device were in some kind of war, she had seen it for herself in the way his phone kept freezing and turning itself off one night and how he always seemed to manage to get his laptop into weird modes designed for children “Maybe it just enjoys the fact that you’re easy to rile up?” she texted back and smiled, she had never seen someone get so much bad luck when it came to technology and it couldn’t all be a lack of experience because Orion texted her pretty much every day now.
His second message came through a little slower, the line in the organization building had been a little on the blink lately because they were doing updates and because she was away from her desk for so long she had forgotten to connect back up to the WiFi “Ah but saving you from technology makes me feel like much more of a hero” she messaged back and grinned slightly “Let’s say the evening rose at about 7?” she responded and smiled, she had good memories of the little bar over in the north of the city. It was a supernatural bar which probably meant she’d want to avoid it but she actually liked the openness and seeing all the different people who came in.
For the next couple of hours, she kept her head down and focused on getting everything she needed to out of the door. By the time it was appropriate to leave the office she was happy with how much she had managed to get done but she was definitely ready to be thinking about literally anything else. She headed out of the building and ordered an Uber to take her over to the bar. She used to walk everywhere in the city and never minded it but now she tended to avoid doing so at night thanks to everything that happened with Elijah which still had her on edge a little. Though she felt like she was getting better.
It had been a very long time since he had cared about someone so much, let alone felt a sense of calm and purpose by being around them. So many were defined by their relationships but he and Sariah were both two clearly individual people who happened to have found one another. Part of him did enjoy when people referred to the two of them together but they both held their own strengths which helped to raise and benefit the other. It was very give and take as any relationships should be and the fact that she was so bright and brought so much happiness made his heart flutter. The kitsune unaware that he would have ever felt like this again but he liked how she both challenged and supported him depending on their separate views on things. Nothing was perfect but he would never try to undermine her opinions and he did truly want to hear them and know where she was coming from with them. That might tear some apart but it seemed to bring them closer together since they were able to learn more about one another that way.
Having returned to his meditation to calm the unfamiliar rage which seemed to be building in him he nearly fell asleep. That was until his phone once more released it happy chime of announcing a new message. Checking his phone he couldn’t help but grin at the words illuminated on his screen. “I think it just knows if I mess it up that means I call someone who loves and cares or the technology which has done me wrong.” He retorted back since he had to admit maybe a times he messed things up just to have a reason to bother her. Though other times it honestly just lost it’s mind which she had been an unfortunate witness too more than once.
“My hero.” He tested back adding in a swooning gif, “Can’t wait to see you there.” He sent directly after so she knew he was good with the time and location. It was a quant little bar but it showed the very best of what they were trying to accomplish in Evermore, peace beneath species since all were welcomed though the humans had no idea the species they were brushing elbows with. All walks of life seemed to wander in from all species but there were rarely issues and if any arose the staff very quickly and quietly put an end to it.
With a renewed and much better mind set he focused on work once more feeling it was a much needed break. Something seemed to be scratching beneath the surface, a building temperament he hadn’t experienced since he was a teenager but he was able to ignore it for the time being. Amazingly he was able to make a fair amount of progress in a few projects and create a schedule for his employees for upcoming events. The sunshine began to shift as it began to lower ever so slightly in the sky reminding Orion of the time. Logging off his computer, he turned it off before locking up the office and heading to his car. How such a horrible volume had ended up blaring podcasts through his brain he wasn’t sure as he quickly turned it down with a slight ringing in his sensitive ears.
The drive was short as he pulled into the small bar parking lot ending up having to parallel park on the side of the main street since it was already busy. Granted it was in the evening so it wasn’t exactly unusual. Getting out he headed to front door of the bar his eyes scanning the parking lot and entrance way out of habit. There were a few woodened benched out front so he took a seat realizing he was a bit earlier than expected. Traffic had actually flowed at a decent rate which was rather surprising but he was fine with that as looked down to check his phone before catching the scent of another Therian and nodding in greeting as they entered the bar.
She couldn’t help but smile at their random little conversations throughout the days, honestly, it was one of the things which could make her feel better and lift her up on a bad day, just seeing a message or even a short phone call was enough to completely change her perspective of the day. That was what caring about someone was in its nature she supposed, you wanted to be with that person and know how they were doing, invest in the life they led, their happiness made you happy. She giggled out loud the moment she saw the swooning gif come up on her screen and shook her head a little as she peered around the room to see if anyone heard or noticed her sudden outburst. Thankfully it seemed she got away with it “Can’t wait” she replied before tucking her phone away in her pocket.
The hours seemed to move so slowly after that, it was always the way when you had something to look forward to, you kept staring at the clock hoping that would make it move faster but it never did. Before long though she was packing up her things and heading home, she changed into something comfortable which was a little unlike her for a date but she thought but now it was okay for her to dress down a little to spend time with Orion. So she chose a pretty blouse, paired with a knitted sweater which had a heart pattern on it, jeans and boots. Before she had much time to settle back home she was on her way to the bar.
She thanked her Uber driver for the lift before heading inside, this place was one of her favorites simply because there wasn’t much to it, a few tables and chairs lined the outskirts of the room and in the middle was the bar which stocked pretty much every liquor you could think of. The place was known for pretty much being able to make whatever cocktail you asked for which was always fun at the end of a hard working day. It wasn’t long before she spotted Orion sitting alone at the bar. There were some other people in here minding their own business but she couldn’t help but shoot them a glance, even now she felt a little paranoid when it came to their now-public relationship.
She took the seat next to him and in true Sariah fashion just started talking because she always had so much to say to him and she never knew how to hold it back “So Ada decided that she wanted to chew a hole in my favorite sweater” she commented and pouted slightly “I was going to wait for her to come back inside so I could scold her because I swear she does it on purpose to protest me going to work, she’s clingy” she laughed softly meeting his gaze and giving him a soft smile “Hey” she gave a moment of silence before she leaned in to kiss his cheek softly “I missed you” she admitted with a shy smile.
Orion had become well versed in text speak by this point and tended to use a fair amount of gifs from time to time in order to show what he couldn’t fit into a handful of words. Besides, it was kind of fun and honestly both of his children made fun of him for it. It brightened an otherwise bleak day though that was for sure. It made it easier to do what needed to be done at work while he had her motivation. Even when all they did was speak non-sense and joke with one another it helped his mood and motivation in a way nothing else did, that was how special she was to him. It got a lot of shit for the age difference, but she kept him young in more ways than just her age since she had a wisdom beyond her years.
Maybe a bar wasn’t the best of ideas when every small thing seemed to grate on his usually calm demeanor. Usually Orion’s temperament was that of a leader but as of late it had been pushing more towards that of a teen therian going through their first shift and he didn’t understand why. Ember had suggested meditation but that seemed a waste of time. Bringing the glass of whiskey to his lips he did his best to allow the alcohol to sooth his nerves which had never been necessary before. It was nice to be able to sit at a bar and openly wait for Sariah though since they’d had to keep things quiet for so long not one hundred percent sure where things had been going until they finally had that eye opening conversation. He cared so much for her that he was willing to make the stupidest of decisions to protect her but she had made sure he started to ask her thoughts and opinions before hand as not to put a strain on what they had going.
The warm and crisp scent of Sariah surrounded him right before she took a seat a smile immediately pulling on his lips as he turned towards her. Eyes sparkling in happiness at being able to see her after the day he’d had. For the first time today feeling very much like himself. A chuckle left him, lips separating as he couldn’t help but widen his smile, “I can’t say that I blame her but poor sweater, another bites the dust.” It seemed a habit but both Sariah and Orion knew that Ada didn’t do it to be hateful or malicious, she was just acting out in one of the ways she knew how. The kitsune could happily listen to Sariah speak for hours on end without giving his input since he loved the way her eyes light up and her expression changed depending on the topic at hand. “Time to find a new favorite sweater again?” He questioned humor dancing in his hues as he leaned his head to kiss her cheek as well. “I missed you too. How did I go through my days before knowing I got to see you at the end of it?” He inquired with sincerity since she gave him something to look forward to. A sensation of happiness building within his chest. “So how was your day beautiful?” His tone somewhat searching as he reached out to brush a stay strand of hair behind her ear. “You look beautiful.” And he meant it since she had her own unique style which he adored.
Usually a bar wasn’t really Sariah’s scene, of course she had been to them in college but as she got older she grew out of those habits and generally became more inclined to stay indoors but it was nice to be able to meet someone, share a drink and just chat for a while and she didn’t mind the noise too much. If anything she actually quite liked people watching and seeing everyone around them. She noticed the way Orion naturally turned around to greet her before she said anything, one of the things you had to get used to when dating a therianthrope is that it was almost impossible to sneak up on them because of their senses. Orion always seemed to be able to tell her front a crowd without even trying and it sometimes still baffled her when she experienced it.
She pouted a little when he spoke about Ada and the sweater, she wasn’t mad at the cat because she was just trying to express how she didn’t want Sariah to leave but she really needed to find some way of stopping her attacking all her clothes “From now on I’m getting a lock for my closet so she can’t get in there and ruin things” she commented and laughed softly “Yes...do you think I should get one with a picture of a cat on for the irony, or would that drive her into a jealous rage” she giggled under her breath as she made herself comfortable next to him and smiled leaning into the soft kiss he placed against her cheek “Hmm... maybe with the promise of a really well-cooked steak?” she raised her brows playfully, she had always learned pretty quickly that the way to a therian’s heart was often through their stomach.
It was a nice compliment though, to know that you brightened someone’s day to the point where knowing they got to see you made it better “Busy” she responded and laugh “I have this stack of papers of my desk I need to get through and I swear I’m working through them but the pile just keeps getting bigger, you’d think in the days of modern tech I wouldn’t need to be signing so many things that my pen literally runs out of ink and I have to go find another one” she laughed shaking her head in amusement. His compliment about her looking beautiful made her blush slightly “Oh this old thing” she teased and grinned “What about you? Any light at the end of the contract tunnel yet?” she knew there had been a lot of negotiations ongoing.
For some reason Orion found Ada adorable and endearing and she clearly loved Sariah and wanted more time with her and that was a feeling that Orion could understand. “You could also be one of those people who takes your cat everywhere in a carrier or on a leash.” He teasing trying to imagine Ada with either of those two things. “Granted that might make it a bit difficult to actually get anything done.” Amusement twinkling in his eyes knowing that Sariah loved the female and understood why she did what she did and it was cute. “You could always get a sweater specially made with her likeness, then she would probably be confused on what to do with it. Jealousy? Contentment? Confusion? It might be interesting to watch her reaction.” A chuckle leaving him as he tried to imagine the outcome of such a thing. “I don’t know, ever a perfect steak doesn’t hold a candle to you and that’s saying a lot.” His tone full of sincere humor since he would take Sariah over a steak any day.
There was a feeling of contentment in his chest at being here with Sariah, it made the stress and the frustrations of the day seem like nothing and it had been something. But that portion of the day was over. “Yeah it reminds me a lot of the new paper cartoon where the man was chained the desk with an unending stack of paperwork. Except we’re far more advanced now and yet the piles still keep getting bigger. So for your birthday I should get you an unending supply of pens?” He teased truly feeling her pain on that once since even though the contracts could be sent digitally they all required a physical signature so they still needed to be printed, read and signed. “Old thing? I consider it more of a classic.” He mused at her in a joking fashion since it didn’t seem to matter what she wore she was stunning, especially when she laughed or smiled, it caused a flutter in his chest her happiness feeding his own.
“It doesn’t really seem like the light is willing to shine just yet, but Ember is coming back to the company so that should a bit of pressure off of me. Though it’ll be strange since I’ve gotten used to having total control.” Especially since even though Ember was part owner, she had been gone for the last two years, not that he was necessarily blaming her but she had just up and disappeared leaving him to handle everything. Plus the business was growing at a rate he hadn’t anticipated, “I’m probably going to have start the interview process again since we need to hire a few more people.” He muttered with an exaggerated groan since it was always such a pain in the ass and a majority of the people who applied were in no way qualified. “We really need someone to look at these never ending work tunnels, I think someone messed up in their construction since working 24/7 can’t be right.” He stated reaching over and lacing his fingers with hers, “But at least we’ve got tonight.”
Sariah widened her eyes at the thought of taking Ada out on a leash or a cat carrier “She would cry the whole time, it would be a whole mess” her cat loved attention and cuddles and when she didn’t get what she wanted she would meow loudly and repeatedly until she got what she wanted, she even did it to Orion, tending to completely ignore the fact he was a Kitsune and therefore naturally supposed to make cats wary. She laughed at the thought of wearing a sweater with Ada on it “I feel like people at work would definitely think I’ve taken the crazy cat lady thing to a whole new level” she laughed softly shaking her head, getting a cat definitely had brought a whole new layer to her life she never knew she needed before she had found Ada.
“You know, I’d offer to make you a steak so you could have the best of both worlds but we both know how well my cooking turns out” she laughed softly, there was a reason she had opted for take out for their first date and why it was Orion who did the grilling whenever they had a barbeque. She thought she could sense stress coming from him in his messages earlier but that seemed to fade away now they were together, there was something about getting to see him which just made her day better regardless. She laughed “Definitely, though I feel like they need to have cute characters or colors on them to make it slightly less depressing” she grinned slightly. She gave him a pointed look when he described her outfit as classic “You’re cheesy, you know that?” she jested it but the soft smile on her lips spoke all she needed to say about how it made her feel.
“Ember” she commented with a surprised raise of her brow, she knew Orion’s business partner had been taking a backseat when it came to the company for a while now and honestly it had been so long that she had completely forgotten she would probably come back at some point “Damn that’s good be quite the shift after so long” she commented tilting her head slightly and wondering what Orion thought about it all, he had gotten used to being his own boss over the past couple of years after all. The way he grumbled made her laugh “Hey look at it like this, it’s painful to find the people now but once they’re all trained up, you’ll have more free time for yourself” though she could imagine the recruitment process wasn’t easy. She took a deep breath and looked down at their joined hands and smiled “Tonight is what’s important” she spoke softly, rubbing her thumb gently against the back of his hand. After a pause of silence she bit her lip and spoke “Do you ever feel like we don’t get to see enough of each other?” it was an honest question which had crossed her mind because of how busy their lives had been lately.
A chuckle left him, “I can’t imagine her being too happy with being close to you have actually having to let you work instead of walking all over the keyboard.” He was very aware of Ada’s lack of volume control when she wanted something, which was usually a treat or affection. The feline enjoying nuzzling against Orion more than he had expected since most animals in the feline family were put on edge by his very presence. A predator usually having that effect on anything that might consider itself prey but Ada seemed very aware he wouldn’t harm her and actually enjoyed her presence. “You can always remind them you have a life outside of work and a boyfriend. Though I think we can both agree Ada has a bit more control over both of than we would like sometimes.” He stated which a chuckle since the feline was something else for sure and a very important part of Sariah’s life. Being a Therian though, he found that very attractive, the bond the human and feline shared a pure one.
Humor danced in his eyes since they both knew cooking wasn’t Sariah’s strong suit so he was the one in their relationship with the cooking skills. “Well when you’ve had to help feed a large family from a young age you learn a few skills. I’m sure with a little work we could polish yours up.” He teased though either of them having time for such a thing was a rarity and he didn’t mind cooking for her or getting takeout. It make him feel like himself again since it was something he did enjoy. “Of course, you can’t have boring pens of just black and blue. That wouldn’t suit you at all. Maybe some with a Disney theme.” His smile growing into a full on grin. “Only for you.” He said sincerely before leaning in and giving her a quick kiss on the lips.
“Surprised me too.” He responded to her expression since it was probably close to the same one he had worn when he caught her scent at the office. Ember had been running ever since Orion had met her and that was unfortunately something he understood. “It is but it’ll at least lessen the load.” And at this point that was about all he could ask for since everything seemed to be igniting his temper as of late. Everything other than his kids and Sariah anyway. “The interviewing process does seem to be the hardest part of it all.” But if he was able to gain just a few hours back a week once it was all said and done then he would be alright with that. At her honest question he sighed because at times he did feel the same way but he knew that this wasn’t going to be easy but he wasn’t ready to give in or give up. “I do at times, but I try not to dwell on it. It was always going to be a challenge.” Thought it seemed like that was more true recently than ever. "And it's proving to be at times but moments and nights like this make it all feel worth while."
She laughed shaking her head in amusement as she tried to picture what Ada would be like if she brought her to work with her “She thinks her keyboard smashes are endearing but they definitely make writing reports a challenge” she commented, sighing under her breath because of how crazy little things like that could get. Her cat had definitely brought of lot changes to her life and she had fallen head over heels for the little feline. She basically had everyone who ever met her fawning over her. She looked up at him and smiled “I guess you can count yourself really lucky that she approves of you huh?” she giggled shaking her head with a smile, she did love seeing them of them interact.
He was great at cooking which she definitely found attractive, it made sense because he had to take over the empty space that was left when his wife passed, his kids were looking to him for help and of course, being the strong person he was, he stepped up to fill that void. “We can certainly try, though I want to add that I did warn you how bad I am at it upfront, so you can’t be disappointed with the results later” he laughed softly, she had been practicing and she could make basic things now but when it came to the longer more difficult dishes, she often fell short, she was still yet to make a lasagne that either wasn’t too hard or too runny. “I do love Disney” she commented as she thought about the pens on her desk at work, maybe she did need something more fun “I should look for a Stitch one...since he’s basically my spirit animal” she grinned slightly.
She swore her heart fluttered every time he leaned in like that, her eyes closing and she smiled against his lips as he kissed her softly. It didn’t last long but it left her with a soft, happy expression. She had to admit she really didn’t expect for Ember to come back into the business for so long but Orion didn’t seem too worried about it so she wasn’t either “Yeah it feels like you’ve needed that, all those long nights with contracts can’t be good for you” she knew the feeling but thankfully she had a PA to handle most of the paperwork for her now. Her question just kinda blurted out and when he sighed she bit her lip wondering if it was something she shouldn’t have asked. She didn’t want him to feel bad or anything like that, she was just to curious to know where he was at and they both knew she wasn’t great at filtering her words “I’ve never really had an experience with...healthy relationships before this” she admitted with a shy smile “Sometimes I wonder if there are things I should or shouldn’t be doing” she laughed “Maybe we should plan a summer vacation” she commented softly, that would give them something to look forward to right.