Chapter 1

"And that's all for today class, feel free to stop by my office any time today between 2 and 5pm if you have any questions."

I stood up from my cramped position of 2 hrs. in a hard wooden classroom desk. Finally. I made my way out the door of the crowded lecture room and started down the sidewalk toward my dorm room. A nap sounded really inviting right now. Studying the mating habits of the green backed dragonfly for 2 hrs can make you sleepy.

"Alex!"

It was Matt. Just who I needed to see.

"Hey baby. You look like you just had your spleen removed without any anesthesia."

He grinned stupidly. Aaaah. He knew just what to say to make me feel good.

"Worse. We studied the mating habits of dragonflies."

He wrapped his arms around my waist and gave me a big kiss on the cheek.

"Mmm. That's bad. Want some lunch?"

"No, I think I'll just take a nap. I'm tired out."

"Uh oh, not staying out too late with those other boyfriends are we?"

His face had the look of mock concern.

"Yeah, I really shouldn't have stayed over at his place last night, but it sounded like a good idea at the time. Didn't get much sleep as a result though."

I grinned back at him and we both laughed. We had been dating since high school and planned on being married right after we both graduated and got decent jobs. I was a junior English major planning to teach high school if my dream career as editor for a major magazine fell through and he was a senior year Biology major studying to be a heart surgeon.

"Hey, are you doing anything tonight? I mean, you got any plans with the other boys?" He snickered.

"No. I'm free."

"Mom's making fettuccine alfredo."

"Mmmm. Sounds tempting. I'll be there."

I gave him one last kiss and said my goodbyes as I started toward my room. Definitely needed a nap. I crashed into the bed and fell asleep instantly.

Ring!!!

Ring!!!

"Huh?"

I answered the phone.

"Hello?"

"Hey. Were you asleep?"

"Umm.."

I checked the clock. Crap.

"No.."

"Alex! We've got dinner in an hour! Can you be ready?"

"Yeah, give me a minute."

"I'll wait downstairs."

Great. I had slept all day, missed all of my classes. Just what I needed. Where was my good for nothing roommate? She could have shaken me or something. Oh well. I got ready and went downstairs to meet Matt. We drove to his parents' house in comfortable silence and pulled into the drive.

"Hey. You didn't sleep all day did you?"

"Ummm..."

"Alex! You can't keep doing that!"

"I'm sorry ok? I was tired!"

"Yeah, cause you stay up all hours of the night. Geez, Alex, I'm beginning to think you're going nocturnal on me."

I froze at the proximity to the truth.

"Let's just go inside ok?" I was ready for this conversation to be over before it began.

"Okay."

We rang the doorbell and I could hear Mrs. Cromer inside calling, "Come on in kids! Dinner's almost ready!"

We entered the warm house and the sights, sounds, and aromas immediately greeted me with a sweetness that I could not describe. I loved this house.

"Come on in. Come in. Alex, honey, it's been too long.

"I was here last Sunday Mrs. Cromer." I smiled.

"Just the same honey, you should come more often."

She took my coat and grinned warmly.

"Come on in the den, I just have to finish the garlic bread."

She rushed off to the kitchen before I could ask if she needed any help. I knew what the answer would be anyway. We sat down on the couch and Matt switched on the TV. A football game. Typical Matt. I sighed and turned my attention to the rest of the room. Mrs. Cromer was one of those ladies who kept the entire collection of Yankee Candle in various locations around the house. I could smell the bread coming out of the oven. This place made me so happy.

"Come on kids, she says it's done."

It was Mr. Cromer.

"Hey there Alex. How are you?"

I gave him a big hug.

"Just fine Mr. Cromer."

"Good, good. Hey you."

He patted Matt's back.

"Come on, let's go get some chow."

"I won't argue with that." Said Matt as we made our way into the dining room.