Episode 10:

(Forgot where we left off? Re-read Episode 9)

“Angie, if you don’t hurry up, I’m leaving without you,” Bob called toward the house, teasing his wife. He whistled as he packed the last of the kitchen items into the Winnebago Grand Tour’s cupboards. Or what he thought was the last of the kitchen items. Angie pushed another pile of snacks and cooking utensils toward him on the floor, her head appearing at the bottom of the steps.

“I swear I’m forgetting something,” she said.

“I don’t see how you could be. You’re taking the whole house.”

She scanned the Winnebago, chewing her lower lip with worry. “You sure you’re going to be okay driving this? It’s so big.”

Bob stopped putting things away. “Woman, I have been an RV man my entire life. If you think there’s a model made that I can’t—”

“Okay, okay.” She threw her hands up. “You’re the master of all things RV. I get it. I still think it’s too big.”

“You won’t think that after we pick up Marissa and the twins.”

They were picking up their daughter and granddaughters on the way to their son’s house, where they were taking the RV for Christmas. It might seem like a lot of space now, but by the second day on the road with two toddlers, Angie was going to relish every extra foot of space—no matter how much she loved her grandbabies. And if she didn’t relish it, Bob definitely would. The Winnebago was meant for this sort of trip, not a weekend getaway with empty nesters.

“Pies!” Angie shouted suddenly, nearly scaring Bob to death. “I forgot the pies.” She raced back into the house to get them. Bob chuckled in her wake.

Outside, a horn honked twice. Bob stepped out to see his next-door neighbor Tim behind the wheel of his truck, pulling the Airstream Bob had sold him as part of their trade.

“Get that monstrosity out of here,” Tim shouted in mock rage. “It’s blocking every driveway on the street.”

Bob laughed and walked up to his window. “How were the Ozarks?”

“Absolutely beautiful!” Kathleen, Tim’s wife, exclaimed. “The lakes in winter were so gorgeous, and you were right. That little Airstream is plenty cozy.”

“You’ll have to send Angie the pictures.”

“I assume you won’t be around tonight. Where are you guys headed?” Tim asked.

“Phoenix for the holidays, and then who knows? We’ll be back by the end of January for sure.”

“That’s a hell of a trip,” Tim said. There was a hint of envy in his tone.

Bob grinned. Not long ago, he’d been the envious one. “If it were just me and Angie, we’d be taking an Airstream like yours, but with five of us…”

Tim’s expression became satisfied again. Bob loved to see that look on the face of everyone he did business with. “Yeah, five would be a lot for this little silver bullet. Perfect for me and Kath, though.”

Just like Bob had known it would be. He heard the door close over his shoulder and told them, “We’d better get going. If Angie comes over here and starts talking, we’ll never get on the road.”

They waved him farewell and backed the Airstream onto their driveway.

“Was that Tim and Kathy? I should go ask them how the—”

Bob put a hand on her arm, steering her toward the Winnebago. “They had a great time. The lakes were beautiful. Kathy will email you the pictures.”

Angie stopped and stared at him. “Are you in some kind of a hurry, Bob Martin?”

“Yes,” he answered. “After all the ups and downs this year, I can finally take some time off the lot and see the country with my beautiful wife. I want to start doing that. Right now. Immediately. Let’s go.”

She rolled her eyes at him as she climbed up into the passenger seat. When they were buckled in and Bob was negotiating his way out of the cul-de-sac (expertly, if anyone was curious), his phone chimed a few notifications one right after the other.

Angie grabbed it off the dash to check it for him. “Ken Mahar wishes you a Merry Christmas and says your SuperCollector is killing it, whatever that means.”

“It means we’re collecting a lot of emails. What’s the second one?”

Angie’s eyes went wide. “It’s a deposit confirmation from the bank. Bob Martin, if that’s how well we’re doing, you are taking me to California after Phoenix. We’re going to the beach. I’m thinking wine-tasting in San Luis Obispo.”

Bob laughed. “What about Marissa and the twins? How are they going to get home?”

“Apparently, we can afford to fly them.”

Indeed, they could. Bob pulled out of their neighborhood and onto the highway, smiling despite the holiday traffic. He didn’t know for sure it was going to be a great day…but if the end of the year was any indication of what lies ahead, he had a pretty good idea it would be.

The End.