This summer might just be the best time of their lives, but is Hadley ready for everything to change – again?
I enter the hallway, making a point to relax my shoulders. Lily still knows how to push my buttons. I make my way to Mr. Beauman’s office and just before I knock, I hear Hadley’s voice. It’s wrong but I lean closer to the door, listening.
“A little warning would have been nice, Dad.”
Mr. Beauman says something, but I can’t make it out.
“Well,” Hadley continues, “don’t expect him to stick around longer than he chooses.”
Her form nears the door and I don’t have a chance to move just as the door flings open.
A version of the sixteen year old girl I left two years ago stands in front of me. I was right, her braces are gone.
“Hey,” I say.
“Hi,” she says with a shake of her head.
We stand frozen in place for a few seconds before Mr. Beauman speaks. “You all set?”
Hadley jolts and steps aside.
I brush past her. Her scent follows me. Strawberries. I place the application and waiver down on Mr. Beauman’s desk.
“Great,” he says. “I’ll see you in a few.”
I turn to the door and she’s still there, her lips parted. I open my hand, signaling for her to go down the hallway first. I struggle to keep my eyes on hers, fighting the urge to move across every inch of her body. She turns and scurries down the hall in front of me, granting my wish. She’s grown into her curves since I saw her last. Her long legs carry her quickly.
She stops at the double doors leading to the front part of the office and turns around. “Did you hear—I didn’t mean—”
“I heard you,” I say, watching her face crumble. “But you’re right. I need to get back.”
My teeth grind together. Aunt Mabel did give Mr. Beauman a version of the truth, but I can’t help but wonder what Hadley knows. “Yes.”
She nibbles on her lower lip. She nods twice before freeing her lip. My gaze drops to her mouth. She leans against the door and opens it. I hold it for her, my arm grazing her shoulder.
She offers a polite smile. “Then I guess we should make the best of it while you’re here.”
I lean closer. “Sounds good to me.”
She turns around, entering the room.
“Who left last minute to open up the position?” I ask, not wanting to stop talking to her.
“My—” She shakes her head, strands of her hair falling across her face. She pushes them back behind her ear. “Carter Daniels.”
I clench my jaw. “I just saw him.”
“He’s on the pool staff now apparently,” she mumbles.
People mull around the room, eating off paper plates. Hadley halts, staring at the back of the room. Carter and about a dozen people I don’t recognize have gathered around the table. My hands fist at my sides, looking for any excuse to knock him out.
“I’ll be right back.”
Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.
Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.