Caro took her long reddish gold hair out of its bun and stretched out on the soft pillowed moss. She could see the blue sky and the bright glittering sun peeking out from behind the canopy of leaves. The round white clouds wandered lazily across the sky that seemed to go on forever. She raised her head, looking across the small valley. She could see the little white farmhouse sitting serenely in the green fields. The mountains fenced in the fields, a sharp contrast to the endless sky. Caro sighed sadly.

Then she heard a low bellow. It was Daddy blowing the conch horn for her to come to in to dinner. She stood up, brushed the moss off her jeans, and straightened her white t-shirt. She tied her hair up again and ran down the path.

The screen door slammed behind her. She saw her mother siring a pan with one hand and pouring milk in with the other. She looked stressed.

"Can I help you finish up dinner?" Caro asked helpfully. Her mother looked up, a few strands of hair coming out of her bun, "No thanks, Caro dear. I'm almost finished. You should go dress for dinner."

A puzzled look crossed Caro's face. They didn't usually dress for dinner. "Is someone here?"

"Yes." When it looked as if her daughter was going to trouble her with more questions she added, "You'll see him when you come down dressed. Wear something nice." She looked back to the sauce she was stirring.

"Yes, Mama." Caro walked up by the back stairs, assuming that the guest was in the living room with her father, in full view of the main staircase. Who was it? Probably wasn't one of the neighbors. 'Mama would have told me outright. He must be a stranger.' Her heart beat with excitement. 'I wonder where he's from.'

Caro's room was small but cheerful, with 3 windows and white curtains. The room was dominated by a big bookshelf. Caro loved reading about adventure, romance, and life beyond Tucker County, WV. She read everything she could get her hands on. She even read her father's newspaper. She liked to know what was going on with the world, even if it would never affect her.

Inside the closet, hung a white blouse with mother-of-pearl buttons running down the front. She put it on. The sleeves came to just off the shoulder. Lace edged the modest neckline. She stepped into a white skirt embroidered with blue flowers that fell to just below her ankles. She brushed her reddish gold hair and reached above her head to put it back into a blue jeweled pin. She stood back and admired her work. Definitely an improvement over grass-stained jeans. I should go or they'll be waiting for me. As she walked out of her room she slipped her feet into white sandals.

She half ran, half pranced down the hall. Her mother and her father had their backs to her. They were talking to a man of about 20 who was dressed in a red dress shirt and dark blue jeans. As she ran down the stairs he caught her eye. She looked away and blushed then slowed down to a graceful walk. He held her gaze after she looked up. His eyes were a deep blue-green. She felt a little treamor in her stomach then went to her mother's side to have her introduce her.