After a long shower, Sam took time to blow dry her golden locks and apply a light dusting of make-up before slipping into a comfortable pink and white sweat suit. She thanked the women at the desk when she turned in her key and accepted the free jelly filled donut that was offered to her on the way out the door. She took a deep breath of asphalt scented air and couldn’t help but smile as she took the drivers seat. She knew where she was going. The only place she could go. She was going home, to Crabtree lane. To her mother and father, the people she’d walked away from so many years before. She was going back to her old life. To the place she grew up. The only other place in the world that she knew she could belong without the man that had defined her for so many years.
Once the decision to return to Destiny had been made, the miles seemed to disintegrate as dotted lines turned to solid and sturdy highway faded into winding country roads. The scenery became less foreign and more familiar with every turn until she entered the county line. Butterflies danced in her stomach as she drove passed endless farms and sporadic housing developments. There was a new high school and a middle school was added so that it no longer shared space with the elementary school. She stopped at the single light on Main Street. The Courthouse looked small, dwarfed by the solid Oak trees surrounding it. There was a Dairy Queen that hadn’t been there before and a movie rental store, a few gas stations, but all in all, the town hadn’t changed. She turned onto Robinson drive unconsciously lifting her foot slightly off the accelerator. The closer she came to that final turn onto Crabtree lane the slower she wanted to go. It had been ten years since she’d left. She’d spoken to her parents over the phone and e-mail, she’d sent letters and postcards, but she hadn’t spoken to anyone else from the town accept Jason’s family, who had visited several times. He’d visited them as well but she had always found some reason to stay behind. She remembered to send every Christmas and birthday card for her parents and brother, and they had returned the favors but because she was a little ashamed by the way she’d done things, she allowed herself to become more and more estranged from them. Jason had never agreed with that, he’d always said that they’d love her forever, no matter who she’d chosen to spend the rest of her life with. He’d never been angry or hurt by the way they’d turned their noses at him. It was strange the way they’d disliked him because they were normally such open hearted loving people. Jason always insisted it was because she was their little girl and it wouldn’t have mattered if he’d been a millionaire’s son rather then the youngest son of Dirk Cameron, local rancher and lady’s man. He swore they’d hate him anyway and he promised he’d show them how much he adored her someday. That was Jason though, big hearted Jason. She wondered where that man had gone and when he’d become the quiet, withdrawn, distant man that came home to her every night. And now, here she was running like a scared little rabbit to the parents she had left, knowing that they would take her in because that’s the kind of people Jason always insisted her parents were.