Falling for the Flyboy(4)

By: Trish Milburn


Amanda started the truck’s engine. As she slid her hands onto the steering wheel, the sight of her engagement ring and wedding band caught her eye. A lump formed in her throat. Most days she didn’t notice them. For six years, those rings had simply been a part of her, her bond with the man she loved. Through four years of marriage and two years of sometimes debilitating grief, they’d been an extension of her. As she looked at them now, the diamond seemed bigger than normal, as if it was reminding her that David was still with her. That she’d given her heart and soul to him and could never love another.

She looked back at the door through which she’d fled moments before. Though it shamed her, today she’d needed a little reminding.

~

“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming for a visit?” Janet asked.

Cameron Blue looked at his sister and smiled. He was going to enjoy spending more time with her and her family — if his plans worked out.

“Well, it’s not actually a visit,” he said.

Janet’s lips shifted to one side, a look he’d witnessed hundreds of times as she was trying to figure out a problem. “What do you mean? You have that look in your eye.”

Cam stretched his legs out in front of his chair and laced his fingers behind his head. “What look?” he asked, feigning innocence.

“You know exactly what look I’m talking about. The one that says you’re up to something.”

“I could have a plan or two up my sleeve.”

Janet leaned back and crossed her arms in front of her. That instinctual movement was so like their mother that Cam felt he was staring at a younger version of Sharon Blue.

“Okay, spill it,” Janet said.

Excitement caused him to lean forward. “This is all still iffy, but I’m in the process of planning an airport and industrial park for Cedar Bend.”

The look of disbelief on Janet’s face wasn’t exactly what he’d expected.

“An airport? Why do we need an airport?”

It wasn’t the first time he’d heard that question, but coming from his normally positive sister it bothered him. “So industry will locate here and provide jobs. If there are jobs, people can stay. They won’t have to sell their farms and move to Fargo or Minneapolis.”

He didn’t like the way Janet looked at him like, well, a counselor. She seemed to be staring a hole right into his brain, delving for some deeper meaning behind his grand plan.

“Is this about Mom and Dad?”

He should have known she’d think that. She’d been astute beyond her years from the time she could talk, a particularly annoying trait as they’d been growing up.

“No. It’s about me. I want to move back here, but I can’t unless I can make a living. Not much chance of a pilot doing that without an airport. It’s a good opportunity for everyone.”

“Why do you want to move back to Cedar Bend?”

Damned if his sister hadn’t turned into a steely-eyed interrogator.

“Why did you?” he asked.

She paused, indicating he’d one-upped her. “Because it’s home.”

“Precisely.”

Janet put her hands up, palms outward, in surrender. “Alright. Tell me what you’ve planned.”

With new enthusiasm, he pulled a folded sheet of paper from his pocket and smoothed it out on her desk. “This is rough, but I figure if we can get three good size buildings filled and a small airstrip for executives to fly in and out of, we’d be well on our way to rebuilding the local economy,” he said. Not to mention giving him some financial stability.

During his years in the Air Force, he hadn’t exactly amassed a fortune. And now that his military service was behind him, he’d floated aimlessly for a couple of months trying to decide what to do with his life before venturing into business on the advice of a friend.

“Who’s we?”

“I have a buddy up in Grand Forks who’s an architect. He’s excited about doing a project of this size. And another friend in Minneapolis works for Hamilton Snacks and says they’re looking for a place to relocate that’s cheaper to operate.”

“We can’t give them a free ride here. We need the tax dollars. Walk through the school and you can see that.”