In this story of secrets from the past, Kris comes back after two years with no contact with anyone from Raintree Thoroughbred Farm, save for numerous e-mails with Todd. She comes back for a reason, which everyone, especially Dani, tries to figure out.
"Hello, Ms. Ritt- Mrs. Betart?"
"Yes, who is this?"
"It's Kris… Kris Furillo"
"Oh my… Hi… Uh, hi, Kris. How, where… How are you?"
"I… I'm fine. I was wondering… would you, would mind if I… Came and stayed with you at the ranch for a while? I'm not in any trouble or anything."
"Uh… yeah… That'll be fine. Where are you? Do you need me to pick you up?"
"No ma'am, I'm right down the road."
Kris turned down the radio as she drove down the road towards her old farm home. Thinking was becoming hard with all the things she knew she had to say, but to find the words seemed impossible. It wasn't like she could keep it a secret forever; Matt had a right to know.
She pulled up in the dirt driveway, it felt odd, driving herself into this place, as if she finally belonged, as if she were finally equal. She shut the door of her yellow Mustang and paused, suddenly very nervous. "Ok Kris, calm down. You have to do this."
Kris looked around, even in the dark she could make out from memory every building and tree on the ranch. She walked to the door and knocked, a little harder than she meant. The oak door felt familiar under her fist even after two years. Again the pang of anxiety. Who would answer? She prayed it wouldn't be Matt. It wasn't.
Todd's face lit up when he recognized Kris, he looked as if he wanted to hug her, but he resisted. He was taller, more defined, becoming the man he had always wished he were. Now fifteen, he was about Kris's height with shaggy brown hair and dirty work clothes. For some reason, Kris expected PJ's and teddy bear.
"Uh, hi, Todd?"
"Kris! Wow, I am so glad to see you! How are you? Nice car!"
"Yeah… uh…" Kris pulled her jacket close. "Can I come in?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah." Todd opened the door and showed her to the kitchen where Pablo sat, sipping what smelled like hot chocolate. He smiled at her, but said nothing. At that point Jean walked in with a smile on her face.
"Kris, honey it is so good to see you again." Jean said with a wide smile on her face. "We were worried when you left, it was just all so sudden."
Kris quickly tried to change the subject.
"Yeah… Um, so how have things been on the ranch? How is Wildfire?" Kris asked with a hint of anxiety in her voice.
All of a sudden the room got deathly quite. Pablo stood up and went over to Kris.
"Kris, Wildfire isn't doing so well. He is pretty sick and he has been upset since you left and we aren't really sure how much time Wildfire has." Pablo said while trying to comfort Kris.
Kris sits down as Todd quickly apologizes for not telling Kris in the many emails he sent to her.
"What? You two have been talking? Since when and how often?" Jean asked wondering why her youngest son hadn't told her he had been talking to Kris.
"Well, I didn't know how to tell you without Matt overhearing." Todd said but quickly regretted his choice of words.
Jean looked nervously at Kris, but Kris just smiled.
"Where is Matt anyway, and Junior and everyone?" Kris asked hoping not to sound to eager.
Relieved, Jean replied in a lighter tone. "They went out to a party with Dani."
"And Amber?" Kris asked, simply to be polite. Ever since Amber's first wisecrack about Kris's past Kris had taken a particular disliking to her.
Pablo replied for Jean. "Oh, she isn't allowed near parties. She has chronic alcoholism. She's in the twelve step program. We're all glad she's gotten help."
Todd did his best to hide the humor he saw in the situation, but couldn't resist a smile. Jean gave him the motherly look that clearly says 'shut up!' whether you're saying anything or not. That pretty much wiped the smile off his face.
Kris yawned and stood up. "Are you sure it's ok for me to stay here? Should I find a hotel or what?"
"Nonsense! You'll stay here, in the house with us." This kind of hospitality was unexpected from Jean, but Kris was very grateful. "Todd will show you to the guest room." Kris complied eagerly. When she reached the foot of the stairs she paused and turned back to the kitchen. "I almost forgot, congratulations on the nuptials."