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Life Lines

Posted on 30 Aug 2022 @ 9:53pm by Kaitlin Broward & Patricia Paahao-Ivanovich
Edited on on 06 Sep 2022 @ 7:05pm

Episode: E1: A Historic Voyage
Location: San Francisco
Timeline: Date 2025-04-26 at 1500

She'd never been to San Francisco. It had been on Kaitlin's bucket list, but just wasn't something she'd ever gotten around to. There was plenty of travel and movement to go around in her marriage to Ronnie and they didn't ravel so very much. Whenever he was home they tended to stay nearby or, if they weren't in Texas at the time, travel home to visit their families. Now, as she parked the rental car in the small hotel parking lot, she wondered why they hadn't tried to take a few days leave to make this trip. Flights from Seattle down to San Fran weren't terribly expensive and with the spring weather on the horizon it was hard to turn down the opportunity. And so she hadn't.

Kaitlin, though, wasn't truly there for sightseeing, though she wouldn't be sad if a bit of that was part of the trip. She was there to meet Tricia Pahaao, the wife of one of Ronnie's crewmates who she had met and connected with at the naming party for the crew's mess. She and Tricia had exchanged numbers and, since then, sent the periodic text. Nothing too deep. Just hellos and check ins. When Kaitlin had said she wanted to meet up with Tricia on her next visit to the area, she hadn't expected it to be so soon. And yet, here she was... nervous... clad in a new maternity t-shirt that showed off the growing curve of her belly. It was still small, even possible to hide if she wanted, but this was part of the reason she was here--seeking out a fellow spouse who also had children.

Of course... Tricia still didn't know this part of her news so as she snagged a small bag from the back of the car and walked into the hotel lobby all she could think about after wanting to get into her room to use the bathroom, was how nervous she was.

Tricia tucked the phone back into her purse as she saw Kaitlin enter the lobby and smiled, walking toward her fellow Navy wife, taking the other woman in with a smile, "Kaitlin. So good to see you. How was the trip?"

Without even giving it a thought Kaitlin opened her arms to hug the other woman, squeezing tightly. "Hi Tricia," she said warmly. The nerves were still there, but something about seeing the woman put her more at ease. It helped that the bump wasn't the very first thing that she asked about. "It was alright. Been a minute since I was on a plane by myself. When did you get in?"

"Been in a few days, hand holding a few officials as they navigate the consulate scene here," Tricia told her. "Nothing taxing." The brunette glanced around the lobby and said, "Nice hotel, but if you'd rather I'm kinda sorta house sitting for a friend and there's a spare room."

Kaitlin considered that for only a moment before nodding. "I've got a rental though. If there's space to park that would be lovely." She paused then, hand moving unconsciously to her belly, a movement she'd found herself making more and more. "If that's ok, of course."

Tricia gave her a conspiratorial wink and then took her hand, and led her out to the parking lot and a red convertible and gestured for the other woman to get in. "The rental can sit here for now, let's go take a look at it. Get lunch and tour about, then we can grab the car later.

A wave of relief rolled through her at the other woman's suggestion. "That sounds amazing," she said as she slid into the passenger seat. The two women exchanged pleasantries as they got underway, Kaitlin inquiring after the Paahao children and how they were handling with their father underway. Questions burned in the back of her head as the spoke and eventually she turned to the subject that was weighing on her most.

"So... Ronnie and I are expecting," she said as they paused at a stop sign, glancing over at Tricia to get her reaction. "Not planned, but... I guess that happens sometimes."

Tricia worked through the gears of the Fiat as they traversed several of steep hills and then pressed down on the gas pedal as they hit the 380 and merged into the 280 and they headed north-west toward the Richmond district. Glancing over at Kaitlin's revelation, she grinned. "Those things do happen fairly frequently, regardless of what my teachers used to say. Congratulations!! How far along?"

"17 weeks," Kaitlin replied, cheeks pinking slightly with appreciation at the other woman's congratulations. "It's... a lot to take in. And Ronnie leaving this time..." she trailed off for a minute, eyes dropping to her hands in her lap rather than the view around them. "Maybe it's just hormones, but this time has been a lot harder than the others."

Tricia nodded knowingly, not taking her eyes off the traffic and road as she shifted gears and accelerated through the traffic, exceeding the speed limit slightly, driving aggressively. "Each deployment's different because different things are going on in our lives." Tricia patted Kaitlin's knee before returning her hand to the gear shift. "Though yes your hormones are ramping up to the nesting stage while new ones are starting to spin you all over as that baby brews. Biggest suggestion I can give you is to keep busy socially: Don't get too far into your head over things or it'll feel like you're being crushed. Then that becomes Ronnie's fault because he's not there."

After changing lanes again and slowing down as traffic started piling up, Tricia continued. "That part's the hardest. We were in Hawaii when Lizzy was on the way. Kemo's family made a big difference there to me, especially when he was deployed. I think it was harder on him though," she remarked thoughtfully, speaking up over the noise of the other vehicles as she started to drift the car over toward an exit.

Kaitlin nodded, stomach dropping at the other woman's advice. They'd been in Washington long enough, she knew, that she probably should have made some friends by now. But she hadn't. It had been harder this time. It seemed like everything about this assignment had. It wasn't that she hated being in Washington, but their families and friends were far away in Texas. Nothing felt entirely right, particularly with Ronnie away. "I'll have to think of some things to get involved in," she said quieter than she should considering the sounds of traffic. Her eyes pricked a bit at the thought, though, and she was worried her voice would waver if she spoke any louder. "Ronnie's email said it was harder this time for him too. I hate how much he has to miss."

Tricia watched traffic for a minute. She'd barely heard Kaitlin speak and it took a moment for her brain to process out what she'd said. Glancing toward the other woman with sympathy she said. "When I said it was hard on Kemo, I meant more that he was able to see what he missed out on. When he was growing up, his blood family didn't have time for him. By the time we were in Hawaii, they had decided they wanted to know him...us, then.

"He never really admitted to it. He wouldn't. But knowing him, I think that really ate at him and he was jealous of me at the same time he was happy I had some of them to distract me. I leaned more on the other Navy wives and you should too, you know. And don't forget any church affiliations or VFW contacts near by. There are a lot of people out there willing to lend a hand and an ear. You just need to reach out, lady."

Kaitlin drew in a deep breath, listening intently and letting Tricia's words penetrate deep into her head. She wasn't wrong. And Kaitlin knew she could rely on others. At a minimum she could start by reaching out to Jon Demir and seeing if he could connect her with some of the others she didn't already know. "I will," she said, tone firm. It was as much a promise to herself as it was to Tricia. "Thank you, Tricia."

Tricia downshifted as she pulled into more residential streets and spent the next minute navigating the narrow streets until she pulled up in front of a town house that had a parking spot off the street. Setting the brake she killed the motor and smiled to Kaitlin. "I know how busy Commander Lewes's wife is, but reach out to her and, If you haven't spoken to her, talk to Sarah Goldman. The Commodore's wife. She's a beautiful soul who's seen pretty much everything being a Navy spouse. Those two have the pulse of the spouses network around the base and are very nice people. And of course you can always call me, Kaitlin."

She knew, through some scuttlebutt she'd heard from Ronnie leading up to their departure, that the CO's wife wasn't in Kitsap. Ronnie had speculated that there was some reason for it, but hadn't been sure what and had said he wasn't terrifically comfortable asking around, so they'd kept the curiosity to themselves. She did, however, now that Sarah Goldman lived near the base and she made a quick mental note to reach out to the other woman as soon as she was back. With a slightly emotional, but appreciative, smile she nodded back at Tricia. "Trust me," she said, "I will."

 

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