Mary was in the bedroom packing some last minute things for her business trip. She had recently been promoted to news director at WJM and had a conference in Chicago. She was more than a little apprehensive about leaving her and Lou's eight year old daughter, Lily. She knew Lou could handle things but she just hated to leave her. She walked out of the bedroom to find Lou and Lily in the kitchen.
"So munchkin, what do you want for breakfast? We've got this healthy cereal that Mommy buys or I can let you have some of my secret stash of my fruit loops."
"Fruit Loops, Daddy, Fruit Loops!" Lily said without hesitation
"So this is what you'll be doing while I'm gone? Plying our daughter with sugary cereal?" Mary asked walking over to them, "Good morning, Darling." She said kissing him
"Ah, a little sugar never hurt a kid." Lou said putting some into a bowl then pouring the milk
"Uh, huh," she said then turned to Lily, "Come here sweetheart, what happened to your hair?" It was in a twisted mess that was supposed to be a ponytail
"Daddy helped me because you had to get ready for your trip." Lily said
"Well, let's see if we can't fix it, huh?" Mary said sitting in a chair at the table, Lily had her back to her as she untangled her hair
"Hey, that was a great ponytail. " Lou defended himself, "What time is Martin picking you up?" He asked referring to the station manager
"In about half an hour, we'll go to the office for a while then catch a cab to the airport."
"Mommy, do you have to go to Chicago?" Lily asked
Mary redid her ponytail, "Yes, honey, I do. But Daddy will be here and you'll see Grandma and Grandpa."
Lily sat in her lap and looking at Mary with identical brown eyes, "I'll miss you. "
Mary felt the tug on her heart, "I know and I will miss you but it's only for a couple of days and I'll be back before you know it." She gave her a big hug
"Yeah and we'll have a great time. We'll play games and everything." Lou assured her
"Okay." Lily said
"Now sit down and eat your cereal, it's almost time for school. Daddy will drive you." Mary stood up and Lily sat down. Lou put the bowl on the table then walked back over to the sink to wash out his coffee mug
Mary poured herself a cup of coffee, "Okay, you remember she's going over to Jenny's after school, she'll ride the bus home with her. Janet said she could stay for dinner if you get stuck at work." Mary reminded him
"Yes, yes, I remember." He assured her.
"And tomorrow you're going over to my parents for dinner," She added, "I wrote everything down and put it on the fridge. Don't forget she needs to take her vitamins in the morning."
"Mary, we'll be fine. I have raised three daughters before." He reminded her
"I know, but I haven't. This is the first time I've left her like this." Mary said
"And it won't be the last. Everything will be fine." Lou said putting his hands on her shoulders
"I know it will. Thank you." She said kissing him again.
"I'm finished, Daddy." Lily said
"Alright, let's say goodbye to Mommy and we'll get going." Lou said
Lily walked over to Mary, "Bye, Mommy. I love you."
Mary bent down and hugged her tight, "And I love you, sweetheart. Now be good for Daddy and Mrs. Munson when you're over there."
"I will, I promise." Lily told her
"Go ahead and get it in the car, I'll be right there." Lou said
"Okay." Lily walked out of the room
Lou watched her go struck by how much she looked and acted like Mary, he then turned to her, "Now I don't want you worrying about anything. I'll take care of everything."
Mary smiled, "I know," she paused, "I'm going to miss you too. It's going to be awfully lonely in that hotel room all by myself." Her arms encircled his neck.
"Well our bedroom won't be much better. Just get back here soon." He said pulling her close and kissing her
"Hmmm, you can count on it," She assured him, "I'll call you tonight."