She was careful to keep her head bowed so folks would think she was praying and not disturb her, and as the crowd began to leave she walked over to the grave of her brother, then the grave stone of her father and mother and finally to Will's headstone with her name on the bronze plaque under the words "Loving wife". She paused at each grave, with it's red, white and blue arrangement, and tiny fluttering flag and fixed a buddy Poppy to each flag holder. Turned and walked to her car, as the merest breeze began to stir.
Driving home she rolled the windows down and turned up the radio, her aching heart went back in time. "Love never dies." True love never dies and never fades, but it also wants the best for the one left behind, and that was what Ivy believed. Deep in her heart, deep in her heart she knew. She drove into the driveway and Skye was perched by the kitchen door, Millie was "hiding out" in the window well, ready to spring out and surprise her. The more things change the more they stay the same, she mused silently, as she filled the water dish with fresh water.
The house was cool, a quiet retreat, and Ivy looked out the window and across the little bridge to the house where Gus and Adeline had lived. The beads of condensation on her glass of ice water dripped down onto her foot, rousting her from her thoughts. "it's time to move on." she announced to Skye and Millie, who had their paws and faces pressed against the door. She ambled out the kitchen door with a treat for them. "So tell me little man, where do you live? You have been visiting me for a long time, I think I should know where you live." she questioned Skye, who returned a very confused look. "Millie, you sweet little dire wolf wanna be, I know where you live, and I also know Mike doesn't like me giving you treats. But I don't care, us girls gotta stick together." The trio sat on the steps, watching the clouds roll in and feeling the cool breeze turn to gust of winds that sent dust whirling. It grew darker and darker and a few raindrops crackled on the shingles and the walkway. Soon rain began to drip from the roof and Ivy reached her hand out to feel what she expected was cold and refreshing raindrops, but they were warm, almost hot thunder rumbled.
Skye and Millie huddled close to the door, just as a lightening struck on Coulters ridge. Smoke rose above the trees. Ivy opened the door saying "In you get my stalwart guardians. " Millie and Skye tumbled over each other attempting to get under the sofa, Ivy laughed and covered Mr.Chips cage, grabbed her camera and binoculars and headed out to the front porch, where the view of Coulter's ridge wasn't quite as good, but the roof was better protection from the rain.
Smoke was streaming down the ridge, and even without her binoculars Ivy coud see a few licks of flame. tree branches were falling and the rain fell in sheets that looked like more like wind driven snow than wind driven rain. She snapped a couple of photos, and then went into the house. For a few moments it sounded like jets were flying low over the house, the power went out, just as suddenly it was silent. The eerie silence, broken only by water dripping from the leaves and eves, drew Ivy outdoors, she was hoping, hoping with all her might that the old trees in her orchard were still standing. She swung open the kitchen door, Skye and Millie on her heels. To her relief the old trees were standing tall. Mike ran across the street, calling "Millie, Millie!" just as Millie made a dive for the window well, and Skye raced out to greet him. "Have you seen Millie?" there was a definite worried tone in his voice. Ivy tried hard not to smile as she said, "No, but there is a dire wolf wanna be hiding in the window well." " A what?" and no sooner were the words out his mouth when Millie pounced. "I always thought she might have been raised by cats!!" He laughed, Ivy laughed.
Mike reached to scoop up Millie as she started to shake off the water and debris stuck to her luxurious black fur, "Hey! Millie you could put out fires that way" he admonished, and scooped her up gently and holding her securely in his arms, like one hold a frightened child, "See ya later!". Ivy watched him cross the yard and turned to Skye and said " Ain't that the way life is?".