She had to find herself.
Who was she? Sophie? Katherine? Jenny? Which of the numerous names or personas she'd assumed over the years? Where could she go to find herself?
There was only one place she could go. Only one person who knew who she really was.
With that thought she clutched her plane ticket tighter and walked toward the gate, unaware of the speculative eyes that followed her.
She let herself into the house, using the key she kept locked in a safe deposit in another city under yet another name. She didn't bother to sit, knowing he'd be home soon. Instead she walked the rooms, seeing the stark neatness of the house. This wasn't him. This was never him any more then Sophie was her.
She heard the sound of keys and slipped back, out of immediate sight. He walked in, setting his briefcase down and walking directly to the bar, reaching for a decanter of brandy. She clenched her hands together in sudden despair, wondering if this was a good idea. It had been years ... had he changed so much ...
She moved slightly forward, the movement catching his eye. He paused with the glass half-raised, the brandy as yet untasted. His eyes met hers in the mirror over the bar and she took a deep breath, steeling herself before saying four words in a lilting voice.
He stared at her image in the mirror, his body stiff and for a moment she was afraid he would deny her then his hand moved and he poured the brandy down the sink.
"We won't be able to leave until the morning. You know where everything is."
She almost sobbed in relief. "Yes." Was all she could say and she turned to walk up the stairs.
When she finally stepped from the bathroom, wrapped in a towel with another around her hair, she felt clean. Truly clean like she had washed Sophie from her. Make-up, nail polish, perfume, all down the drain. Sitting at the vanity, she looked into the mirror, double-checking to make sure there wasn't anything left of her. But there was one more thing ...
Opening a drawer of the vanity, she pulled out the scissors she knew would be there. Pulling the towel from her hair, she let it fall on her shoulder and took a handful of hair. Before she could begin cutting a hand rested lightly on hers, taking the scissors from her.
She straightened, meeting his eyes in the mirror. Silently he cut her hair and while it wasn't anywhere close to a professional job it was acceptable. At least for now. When he was finished he put the scissors away and gathered up the cut hair, slipping from the room.
Dressed in a pair of men's pajamas, she walked downstairs, tossing her clothing into the trash. Oriental take-out was set out on the table and they ate in silence, not even looking at each other. Neither of them was ready yet.
She was up by five o'clock the next morning, walking down in a pair of jeans that were a little loose on her and a man's shirt. Her feet were bare, not that it would matter for long.
He was already there, closing up the house in preparation. Gone was the suit and tie, he was dressed in a familiar faded sweatshirt and worn, torn jeans. She walked past him and into the garage, smiling at the old Jeep there. The covering had been pulled off and the top rolled back. It was as familiar as an old friend.
There was a jingle of keys as he locked the door connecting the garage to the house and climbed into the Jeep, starting it up. She activated the garage door, waiting for him to pull out before closing it. Ducking under the closing door, she ran over to climb into the passenger seat.
They traveled in silence, even when they stopped for lunch. She tied a scarf over her hair to hide the bad cut and he paid in cash, neither ready to completely assume themselves yet. She picked up a couple suduko magazines from the attached store and amused herself with them as they resumed their journey.
She was struggling with one of the harder puzzles when the car began to slow, finally rolling to a stop. She knew what that meant but didn't immediately look up, holding to her old self for a moment longer. When she did look up, it was to see him staring at the small sign announcing the upcoming village and the number of residents. The number, she saw, had actually gone up, from 551 to 573. She had to smile at that. A population explosion.
He turned his head to look at her and she knew by the amusement in his eyes that he was thinking the same thing. They stared at each other for a long moment.
"I called Connie last night." He said at last. "She sent her brothers up to get the cabin ready."
"Last night? She didn't have to."
"I told her that but she insisted."
She felt a stab of guilt. How long had it been since they were last here? Two years? No. Three. She was amazed people actually remembered them.
"I'll drop you off at Ramona's then go do some shopping." He reached out to finger the ragged strands of her hair. "She's going to pitch a fit." He sighed.
"For a whole thirty seconds. Then she'll start working out a new style." She smiled. "She loves it."
"True enough." He let his hand drop back onto the wheel but didn't coax the car forward. "You'll probably have to purchase some new clothes."
She sniffed at that. "Thinking I won't fit in what we left?"
He gave her a look. "It has been …"
"… too long." She finished. Opening the glove compartment, she pulled out the worn wallet and woman's clutch she knew would be there, offering him the former. Driver's licenses, credit cards, cash. Everything they needed.
He looked at her intensely, not taking the wallet. "I took four weeks off. Will that be long enough?"
"It should be." She set the wallet between them and rested her hand lightly on his arm, repeating the words she had spoken the night before. "I need you, Jaime." Like the night before, she spoke in their native language.
With those words the last vestiges of Jim Sterling fell away and she saw the man she'd known for so long, the one who would drop everything to help her, should she ask for it. With a smile he rested his free hand over hers. "It's good to see you again, Moira." He replied in the same language.
Taking up the wallet, he put it away and shifted the Jeep from park, steering down toward the village.