Amber Greyson looked up to see her four-year-old daughter Kylie standing in the doorway. "Where did Daddy go?"
Amber sighed and crossed the room to pick up the little girl. "Daddy had to go fight that forest fire in Yellowstone," she said.
"Is he coming back?" Kylie asked. Amber gazed out the window and thought of what her husband Carter had told her the night before. "He'll come back....he won't miss your birthday for anything."
"I want Daddy back now," Kylie said as she began to cry. Amber cuddled her oldest daughter in her arms as she went to check on twenty-six-month-old Aileen.
She found Aileen sound asleep on her blanket in front of the TV which was showing Animal Planet, Aileen's favorite cable channel. Amber put Kylie down on the couch and picked up Aileen, placing her on the other couch across the living room. Aileen never woke up. She's just like her father, Amber thought with a smile. I had to literally shove Carter out of bed when I went into labor with Kylie.
Yellowstone National Park
Carter Greyson looked at the forest fire and cringed. This so cannot be happening, he thought. My oldest daughter is turning five tomorrow and I won't be there like I promised. Why the hell did I agree to do this?
As he and his team tried to drown the fire with everything they could try, Carter found his mind drifting back to when he told Amber he was heading out here.
"Carter, you can't! Kylie's counting on you to be at her birthday!" Amber said.
Carter sighed. "I know, babe, but if I don't..." He let the sentence trail off.
Amber sighed. "Promise me you'll come back?" she said in a small voice, with brown eyes full of tears.
"Oh sweetheart, you know I will," Carter said, folding his arms around his wife and letting her cry. Amber sobbed into his shoulder for a while, then finally calmed down. "You better go. I'll tell the girls when they get up in the morning."
Carter nodded and went to start getting his stuff together. Then he went over to Amber, who was still standing by the bedroom door, and kissed her. "I love you, Amber."
"I love you too," Amber managed to say. Carter kissed her again and was out the door before she could blink.
Carter was so lost in thought he didn't hear it until it was too late.
"Carter look out!!" somebody yelled. Carter looked up just as a burning tree fell...headed right for him.
Carter knew there was no way he could get out of the way in time. I'm sorry Amber... he thought.
Two thousand miles away, Amber woke up with fear clutching at her heart. Oh my God, she thought frantically. Carter's dead... Just then the phone rang. Slowly reaching for it, she forced her voice to stay calm as she said, "Hello?"
"Is this Amber Greyson?" the voice on the other end asked. That's when she knew.
"My husband's dead isn't he?" she said softly. The voice said, "I'm afraid so." Then she went on to explain what hadhappened, but Amber wasn't paying much attention. All she could think of was How am I going to tell the girls that their father's dead?
"Mommy?" It was Kylie again. "Daddy's not coming home is he?"
Amber wondered how she knew, but she managed to say, "No he's not." She gathered up the four-year-old in her arms and started to cry.
"It's okay, Mommy," Kylie said, hugging her mother. "You'll see Daddy again someday."
Little did Amber know that it was going to be a lot sooner than she