The home place had an eerie feel to it. One shutter was loose and banging against the side of the house, every time the wind gusted. The steps creaked as he walked up to the porch. He turned to look out at the prairie for a moment, dreading going inside. He knew he couldn't put it off any longer, he had to go in.
He hadn't seen his mother in ten years, and now to walk into the house and see her laying in a casket sent bile to his throat. Like sand-paper his eyes felt gritty, the sweat that trickled down and into the corner of his eyes and stung. His heart was heavy, tight, almost painful.
He wiped the sweat from his eyes, and turned to walk inside.
Right there in the parlor, he saw the casket. It lay on top the long table from the kitchen.
He almost backed out of the room it was so stark, so real, so heartbreakingly real. A lump formed in his throat and knotted.
He took his hat off and moved toward it with a sense of dread.
But the sweet angelic face that lay in sleep now sent a crushing blow to his chest. Her long beautiful brown hair was done in a bun in the back. Her dress was gray, and worn. However, the smile on her face was something he hadn't expected to see. "Mama," He cried out, as tears ran down his cheeks.
He could almost imagine her calling out to him, "Son, it's good to see you."
He touched her hand, it was so cold. He laid it down gently. Nothing seemed as it should be. The pain of not seeing her for all those years rose again in this throat. He should have come back after the war, but the war had warped him for a while. He hadn't wanted to be around anyone.
"I'm sorry I was too late, Mama." Cord said, and walked away from the casket.
"I'm sorry for a lot of things, Mama. I missed you…more than I can say. But I guess now, you'll be at peace with Pa. And that's a good thing. You'll rest right beside him now, as it should be."
He glanced over at her and a tear fell down his cheek.
Just then, the screen door swung open and Lilly walked through the door.
At first all Cord could do was stare. She wore a beautiful purple dress with white gloves, and her beautiful red hair, was gloriously draped over her shoulder"Cord…" She barely uttered, he stared at her with such intensity, caressing her with his gaze. Her cheeks pinked, her breast rose fully against her dress, as she stood there taking him in. She was a vision of beauty.
Slowly, she moved toward him. Her eyes never left his. Walking boldly up to him, she threw her arms around him and touched her lips to his, standing on her tip-toes to reach him.
It was so unexpected, and so welcomed. The hardness of his lips melted quickly against the softness of hers. Her mouth parted in a soft moan, and his tongue took the liberty to dance with her own. The kiss intensified like kerosene to a match.
It was clear she only meant to deliver a quick warm kiss, but the intensity that quickly grew between them sent a shock wave of excitement through Cord. The warm welcome couldn't have come at a better time. He so needed her right now. Did she sense that?
As he pulled away, his eyes smoldered into hers.
"Welcome home, Cord." She whispered as she reached to kiss his jaw and pulled away to look at him.
When he didn't say anything, she gasped. "What are you looking at?"
They'd never really kissed before, at least not like this and it was mind boggling. He'd kissed his share of women before, but that kiss was not on the same level. "I'm looking at you…Lilly. I sure wasn't expecting such a warm greeting!" He smiled, still holding her at arms distance.
"Someone has to welcome you home…" She whispered huskily, staring into his blue sparkling eyes.
"You're prettier than a sunset. Prettier than I ever remembered. My God, you are so much woman…When I left you were just a skinny little thing. But you've sure blossomed." He barely managed to get the words out, he was so overcome with emotions. "I can't quite get over it."
Her hand reached to caress his cheek. "I've missed you Cord." And she let out a sweet laugh.
For no reason at all, he pulled her back into his arms and kissed her again. The feel of her warm lips on his, made him want to hold her there forever. It had been forever since anyone had welcomed him—anywhere, and especially like that. She couldn't possibly know how much it meant to him.
When they finally came up for air, she backed away with a puzzled look, "What was that all about?" She tried to get her breath, putting her hand on her breast.
"That was a thank you, for the welcome…" He smiled.