Mara unbuckled her seatbelt and waited for her door to open. Blaine was there within seconds to help her out. When their gloved fingers touched a tremor radiated through her as he returned the pressure. They walked together in silence towards the rows of trees. It was enough to just to breath in the cool afternoon air.
“Pick one,” he said beside her.
Grinning like a little girl, Mara slipped her hand into his and led the way down the first row of trees.
“They’re all so beautiful, and so tall!” Many of them reached heights of at least ten feet. “It would be glorious to have such a massive tree in the house, don’t you think, Bl—Captain?”
He appeared to ignore her slip up. “This tree farm didn’t used to be here, you know. My father used to take my mother and me out to the country to find a wild tree. Mom always picked it. Do you see one that captures your fancy?”
Maybe it was in the way he said it, or the way his eyes seemed to darken when he asked that question – a question which her double-crossing heart leapt at. Indeed, she saw something that struck her fancy, and just the thought of it scared her to death.
“I, um...” She pushed the escaped hair back into her knit hat. “How about that one?”
The tree she pointed to was a blue spruce, full and alive with thousands of tiny needles. It was a solid seven feet and would fit perfectly in their—the Graham’s home. She needed to stop thinking of it as hers. It wasn’t hers. Temporary, it was only temporary. This – this thing with Blaine and David, it was a dying man’s last wish. Nothing more. It couldn’t be, because if it was, she was afraid her heart might not be able to take it.
“She’s a beauty,” Blaine said, never taking his eyes off hers.
Neither of them spoke for several seconds, then a voice broke through their moment.