Prologue: Calm before the Storm

It was bright beautiful September morning in Knights Ridge MA. The early morning sun mixed with the cool air, the cloudless blue sky and the rustle of the leaves in the breeze. Janet Meadows parked her dark blue Charger in from of 32 Gelson like she had done every morning since the school year started. With coffee in hand she charged thru the door.

"Phil, lets get a move on we're going to be late" She bellowed up the stairs.

Eddie was making his way down the stairs, pulling a t-shirt over his head as he descended. Janet took a moment allowing her eyes to take in his taught summer tanned stomach.

"Here you go guy" She said handing him a cup of coffee from her paper tray. " I figured you would need some after the last few days"

" Thanks Jan," He said flashing his famous smile. He took a sip "Mmmmm, just how I like it."

"So any word from Rory?" Eddie had decided to surprise his high school sweetheart on the spur and drive to Boston University. He really wanted to make this long distance relationship work, she had been gone for just over a week and he really missed her. But when he went into her dorm room he found her in bed with another guy.

"Naaahh, it is what it is. " He plopped down on the sofa and turned on the TV. Janet watched him for a moment, she could tell he was hurting but he was doing everything possible to hide it. First he lost his best friend Nick Garret to a European vacation and now he lost his girlfriend to another guy. Looking at her watch she turned her attention back to Phil.

"Seriously Phil, we are going to be late for class."

"Hold your horsy Janey, I will be right there. Much to do this morning"

"Phil I have done more this morning then you will do all week. I have been up since 2am, I took my mom all the way to the airport in Boston, drove back, went for a short run, went home showered , got you lazy asses coffee and still got here ON TIME! LETS GO!"

Eddie was watching the morning news but chuckled at Janet. Always the over achiever

"Holy Shit! Janet Phil, get in here a fucking plane just crashed into the World Trade Center"

Janet flew into the room and sat next to Eddie and Phil quickly followed. They watched in shock as the news unfolded before them. Janet now in tears as the second place hit. Eddie instinct put his arm around her. They watched for the next hour as their coffee turned cold and their thoughts of school vanished. And then Janet heard the words that would that would forever change her life.

"We are able to confirm that American Airline Flight 11 leaving from Boston's Logan airport in route to Los Angles, hit the North Tower"

Janet's hands flew to her mouth to stifle her scream. Eddie and Phil looked at her. She was in shock and for several minutes said nothing. She slowly turned to Eddie with tears in her eyes and finally said " That was my mothers flight"

" Eddie, did you hear me that was my mothers flight"

"Janet are you sure."

"Yes I am sure she said it 900 times of the past few days. Oh my god Eddie I don't know what to do. " He could see her shaking and starting to fall apart, he wrapped his arms around her and held on as hard as he could.

"Phil, get in the phone with the airline, see what you can find out. Janet, lets go to Sully's"

The drive seemed to take forever , he watched her as he drove, she was rocking herself with tears streaming down her face. He pulled into the parking lot she barely let him stop the car before she ran out and burst into the door. It was till early the only people there were Sully and Rooster. Sully was sitting on a barstool hunched over crying.

"Dad." Janet said softly. Putting her hand on his shoulder. "Dad" Again he didn't respond. Finally with all the strength she possessed she yelled " SULLIVAN MEADOWS!" That finally broke thru to her father and he turned to look at her tears streaming from his eyes. She placed her hands on either sides of his face and kissed him on the forehead. Eddie watched this tender moment between the father daughter and the back of his throat started to burn, as he fought back tears of his own.

"Daddy." She whispered

"She's, gone baby doll, I felt it in my bones even before I turned on the TV"

"Listen , daddy. I am going to go get the kids from school ok. Rooster watch him don't let him leave."

In that moment Eddie watched her transform, he could see he stuff down all her feelings. She wiped away her tears and didn't say a word. He went with her to pick up her brother and sister from school. "Eddie, how do I do this. How do I tell them that mom is gone" He could see he crack again but as soon as the kids were in sight her wall went back up and all the weakness went away.

The next week was a blur and life in the Ridge would never be the same.