Luke towered over her arms crossed, “you’re going if I have to carry you.”
Chloe sighed, and rubbed her forehead. “Isn’t bad enough I’m mooching off you.”
He lowered his arms and softened a bit. “It’s not mooching when you earn your keep, this place has never been this clean and you’re a damn good cook. Come on Sofia invited you to come over and meet the family.”
She’d been sleeping on Luke’s couch for the past week, in which the outside situation had only gotten worst. They we’re living off generator and wind power. Luckily Robin, Luke’s older brother, had installed a windmill a few years ago and it was powering the farm. The satellite had gone out, along with it the internet and cell coverage. They’d managed to get spotty information from the radio, but now that was just repeating the same message. It didn’t look like this was going to blow over anytime soon. Her ankle while still tender was on the mend, so she couldn’t use that excuse anymore. In the week there she’d learned that Luke was just as much a fitness nut as she was even turning his extra bedroom into a gym.
“Come on,” he badgered. “You can’t hide here forever, and the kids want to meet you.”
Rolling her eyes she let out an exasperated, “fine.” Walking over she snatched her sneakers from their spot by the door and jammed them on. “What are we having anyway?”
“Spaghetti and meatballs.”
Luke grinned, “Don’t knock it Sofia makes her own pasta, sauce, and the meatballs were grown right here.”
“Huh,” Chloe reached for the coat Luke loaned her. “Do you think she’d teach me how to make pasta and sauce?”
He chuckled pulling on his own coat, “she’d love that.”
Leaving the trailer they traversed the muddy, snow splotched yard and driveway to get to the main house. March was turning out to be unseasonably warm. Leading her up to a side door, Luke pushed it open and guided her inside. A homey kitchen greeted her, with Sofia bustling around wisps of her dark hair had slipped from the bun on her head and floated as she moved. The smell of garlic, tomatoes, and basil mingled with home baked bread, causing Chloe’s mouth to water.
Sofia turned as Luke closed the door behind them, a smile brightened her face. “Chloe, you came, Luke wasn’t sure he could convince you. How’s your ankle?”
“My ankle’s better, and it’s hard to say no when he threatened to carry me over here.” Chloe replied, taking off her coat then following Luke’s lead and toeing off her muddy shoes.
“Luke you did not!” Sofia exclaimed, putting her hands on her hips.
Looking slightly ashamed he muttered, “I might have…”
A pink blur streaked into the kitchen yelling, what sounded like, “Unky Pukie.” A dark haired little girl dress in a pink princess tutu wrapped herself around Luke’s leg. The most adorable cherub cheeked face turned toward Chloe, with huge blue grey eyes. “Are you Chlo-weee?”
Grinning despite herself, Chloe nodded, “yup. What’s your name?”
“Maria.” She replied, letting go of Luke’s leg.
“Really? That’s my middle name, Chloe Maria Parker.”
The little girl's eyes grew wide, and she smiled revealing a huge gap where her front teeth should be. “That’s so cool.”
Author's Note: Unedited Version