Chapter 11 Sam watched Al leave. Something was still wrong, but he had yet to figure out what that was. Al just didn't seem like Al tonight. Sam tried to come up with a word that would describe Al's behavior. He was melancholy, was the best Sam could do. Kelly had fallen asleep in Sam's arms. With her full tummy and the gentle rocking, Sam was not surprised. He got up carefully and placed the baby in the bassinet on her side. He covered her with a blanket then left the room, closing the door partway. He brought the bottle to the kitchen and placed it next to the sink. His stomach rumbled, reminding him that he had yet to eat. Sam searched through the cabinets and came up with a can of tomato soup, and the ingrediants for a grilled cheese sandwich. He washed a few pans, silverware, plates and a bowl. Sam set about making his dinner. Carefully buttering the bread, he lay it in the pan with a satisfying sizzle. Two slices of cheese and another slice of bread had the sandwiches starrted. On the other burner, he began warming up the soup. Sam watched the cheese melt down, the smell was making his mouth water. He stirred the soup in the other pan and took a small taste. It was almost warm enough. He flipped the sandwiches. One side was a nice golden brown. Checking the soup again, he turned it off. He filled his bowl, then took it to the living room. There was no kitchen table, so he placed the bowl on the small coffee table. Returning to the kitchen, he claimed his sandwiches before they started to burn. He transferred them to a plate and watched a glob of cheese drip down. Turning off the stove, he brought the sandwiches to where his soup was waiting. Placing them next to the bowl of soup, he returned to the kitchen for a spoon and napkin. He looked into the fridge but only found milk and soda to drink. He passed on both for now. He went to sit on the couch in front of his makeshift meal. The taste of the warm soup brought back a memory of the farm. Sam closed his eyes and remembered. It had been raining out and he and Tom had gotten soaked trying to get from the barn to the house. Katie had been just a baby then. Sam was only five and Tom was nine. They had run into the kitchen door dripping. His mother had wrapped them both in large plush towels and had sat them at the kitchen table with steaming hot bowls of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches just oozing cheese out the sides. That memory was etched deep in his mind, the feeling of being warm, eating hot soup and feeling safe and secure in his home. Sam jolted from the memory. He missed being home and seeing his family. He ate his dinner quietly. Sam considered turning on the TV, but changed his mind. There was nothing he really wanted to watch. Television just didn't appeal to him much anymore. He finsihed up his dinner and went to the kitchen. Glaring at the mound of dishes his host had left him, he went to put the remainder of the soup away. That accomplished, he set to work cleaning up the kitchen. It didn't take long, but he was tired when he finished. Sam looked at the clock mounted on the wall. 10:30. He figured a nice hot shower, then he could climb into bed. He checked on the sleeping baby and finding no problems, he dug a nightgown and underwear from the small dresser. Stepping into the bathroom, he left the door open so he could hear the baby, if necessary. As he turned on the faucet and waited for the water to heat up, his mind returned to the problem of Al. Al had been acting strangely tonight. Granted that he had been missing for almost a year, but still... it nagged at him like a memory he should remember, but couldn't. He would question Al about it again and get to the bottom of it. Something just didn't seem right, and Sam trusted his instincts. He had to. Sometimes it was all he had. He stepped into the shower and began to wash up. He tried to remember any of his previous leaps. He could recall bits and pieces, but if he tried harder, the memories vanished. One memory that didn't vanish was a dark-haired woman. He closed his eyes and tried to recall more. She appeared sad, loney. He wished he could remember her name. The abrupt end of the hot water and a fresh stream of cold shocked Sam out of his reverie. He yelped in surprise and grabbed for the knobs. Turning off the water, he stepped out of the tub and grabbed a nearby towel. He dried, and dressed then hung the towel back up. His reflection caught his attention as he turned around. The face that stared back at him was not too different from the woman he had been remembering. Just younger. But still lonely. He wondered just what he was going to have to do on this leap. He turned out the light and made his way to the bedroom. He collapsed on the small bed and was asleep in record time.