Christmas, 1941

Cincinnati, Ohio

Kit Kittredge sat curled in her father's chair by the fire, in a desolate state of mind. It had been a strange Christmas, what with the war. All of the male boarders had joined the army, save for Sterling. But even he would soon be leaving.

A pacifist at heart, Sterling had been drafted to serve in Paris. Kit was less than happy to see her beau go. Whether she wanted him to or not though, Sterling Howard was leaving on the New Year.

"No one has the right to look that sad on Christmas." Sterling told her, sitting on the floor in front of her. "Not even you, so what's wrong?"

"Nothing." Kit mumbled, turning away from him. "I think I'll go for a walk."

"I think I'll go with you." Sterling said, scrambling to his feet.

"Okay." Kit murmured, even though she really didn't feel like having anyone accompany her. As she grabbed her coat, she told him, "I can't promise I'll be good company."

"That's okay. Just be you." He held the door open for her and they walked out into the bracingly cold night together. They continued for a minute with the crunching of the snow being the only sound heard. Then Sterling stopped and looked up at the stars glittering brightly in the dark expanse of sky. He said thoughtfully, "I wonder if the stars will look the same in Paris?"

Kit just shrugged, unable to shake her mood.

"You can tell me anything, you know." he said quietly.

Kit shrugged again.

"Quit that." Sterling snapped. "Quit shrugging. Talk to me, Kit." his tone softened. "Please. Talk to me about this. I don't want to leave you like this, moping around all the time. I need you to at least try and be happy while I'm gone. It's not like I'll never come back. I will, and then we can get married and live one of Ruthie's 'happily ever after's."

"But what if you don't come back?" Kit exploded. "You're going into a war zone, Sterling! You may not come back! What if you don't? What happens to us then?"

"But I will be back. Remember when your family first opened to boarders, when you didn't want us here, yet there I always was, charging into your house, eating at your table, and taking over your room? I always come back." He pulled Kit into his arms, and whispered into her hair, "I will come back to you."

"Promise?" Kit asked, her head resting against his chest.

"Always." Sterling answered, moving and pressing a kiss to her forehead.

I'm not sure about the historical accuracy of this piece, so if I messed it up, I apologize. Please review and tell me what you think. That would make my day! Thanks!:)