CHAPTER ONE Elizabeth Warner held the small stack of photos tightly as she stared out the car windshield. The snow drifts were crowding the road more rapidly than just a few minutes earlier and she was beginning to fret. Right then the car skimmed another drift forming across the road with the onslaught of snow and wind. Pulling her eyes left, Elizabeth worriedly said to her husband, "Josh, the wind is blowing harder now and we still have a good half hour drive yet. Do you think we should turn around and head back to your Mom's? It's closer than our place." Joshua Warner ran one hand through his wavy, greying dark hair while assuring, "Liz, we've driven in this kind of weather all our lives. It'll be fine. Another mile down the road we could drive right out of it into sunshine." Flashing a confident smile, he touched her hand briefly before grabbing the steering wheel as another snow drift tugged the car. Reassured by his calmness, Liz relaxed. Focusing once again on the photos held in her hands, Liz's mind promptly traveled back in time. "Hey, remember when we were first married and we owned that orange super Beetle VW?" "Sure I do. I loved that car. It was the first brand new vehicle I'd ever bought " Allowing her mind to continue down memory lane, Liz then asked, "Remember how you used to love busting snowdrifts with it?" Getting more excited, she added, "And . . . remember? We used to drive it in State Land." Shooting her a loving look, Joshua replied, "Yup. We'd go everywhere the dirt bikes went." A reflective silence followed as images of steep hills and narrow spaces coursed through both of their minds. "It was great times," Josh said, and then added with a heavy sigh, "but it seems so long ago." Sitting straighter, Liz said enthusiastically, "Speaking of long ago, I love these photos your Mom just gave us." She thumbed through them, but stopped at one in particular. Pulling it from the stack, she held it up to study more intently. "How old are you in this one? And where were you?" She positioned the photo closer to Josh's line of vision. "Um, let's see . . . that was the summer of my senior year in high school. We were living in Louisiana and some friends had come for a visit. That day my parents, brother and I had taken the four of them to tour the French Quarters of New Orleans." Liz pulled the photo back to peer at it more closely. She wanted to better study this younger, more virile version of her beloved husband. The photo consisted of eight people standing in the vicinity of an old antique shop with wire mesh cages protecting the storefront windows. Above one window on the right was a dangling sign. Liz could almost feel a soft breeze swinging it back and forth as she read the words: Royal Trash and Treasures. What a unique and interesting name for an antique store Four older people were standing on the right of the photo under the sign, while Josh's brother and two unknown girls wearing skirts were further down the sidewalk, to the left. Liz decided the shop was obviously large, for the threesome was peering into one of the mesh windows of the same store. Her Joshua was in the middle of the photo. It looked like he'd just left the older group and was now walking toward the younger. Liz strained to see his hazel eyes, but couldn't quite make them out. Instead, she focused on his overall physical shape. "You look absolutely great in this photo Your dress slacks ... short sleeved shirt ... neat haircut, and ... buffed up body " Joshua chuckled at the tone of her voice, but concentrated on his driving. The snow was letting up, but now they were passing over patches of slippery ice on the road. Just fifteen more minutes and we'll be safely home. Beside him, Elizabeth let out a heavy sigh. "You and I didn't meet until almost seven years after this photo was taken. I wish I could have known you then. Do you think you'd have noticed me?"
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