“Yeah, it is. No one’s going to judge you for your life choices, Cara. But they will for the lies.”
“I’m not spending Mom’s money, you know. I have it all in my account. I haven’t spent a penny of it.”
“Whatever, Cara; lying is lying.”
Another long silence. “What am I supposed to tell them?” she asked softly.
“The truth. That you followed your heart, for better or worse. That you quit school two semesters ago. That you’re working at some store.”
“I’m a personal shopper for Macy’s, which thankfully is a forty-five-minute drive so the nosy-bodies from Lucky Harbor haven’t discovered me. And you know what? I happen to be really good at it. In fact, I love it,” she said. “In case you wanted to know.”
He sat up and moved to the door.
“Where are you going?”
“Home,” he said. “I’m tired from sitting around on my boat all day long.”
She turned on the e-reader again, and her face was bathed in soft ambient light. She had the good grace to grimace. “I shouldn’t have said that, I’m sorry. I know you work your ass off. But I’m doing the same now, I promise. And I’ll figure out the Ward thing. Soon.”
He crouched at her side. “If you love this job, then just tell Mom and the rest of the coven the truth. Make up with Ward or don’t. But tell them. That’s all I’m asking.”
She bit her lower lip and gave a barely there nod.
Good enough, he thought, and hoped she meant it. He moved to climb down.
“Thanks for not telling on me.”
“It’s not my place to tell,” he said.
“I appreciate that—”
“Because it’s yours.”
She blew out a sigh. “You suck.”
“Damn it. And now the guilt…”
“No guilt,” he said. “We’re family. Family doesn’t lie to each other. You hear me?”
She sighed again.
“Yeah,” she said. “I hear you.”
Their gazes met and held, and then he left her alone, hoping she’d do the right thing.
A few days after Holy-Cow-Didn’t-See-That-Kiss-Coming Night, Olivia woke early. A storm had blown in at some point and she could hear the wind pounding the warehouse, whistling through the rafters high above her.
The heat hadn’t kicked on, so she huddled beneath her blankets, not wanting to get up. From bed she checked on a few of her pending eBay bids and Craigslist items she had her eye on for the shop. Next up was email, which she tackled with one eye closed because everyone knew that made it easier to ignore the bad ones.
Yep. Her sister had emailed.
And so had her mother, which was new. Tamilyn had finally stepped into the twenty-first century, God help them all.
She also had an email from the TV Land producer, in which he quickly and efficiently outlined the retro special he’d planned.
A nightmare in the making.
She was in a good place, damn it, a really good place. She didn’t want to go back. Not even for a day.
Braving the icy morning, she got up, showered until she ran out of hot water—which took only about five minutes—and then dressed and headed out. Down the hall, she knocked on Becca’s door.
It took knocking a second time before Becca opened up, her hair wild, cheeks rosy, wearing a grin that wouldn’t quit.
Olivia shook her head. “We’re going to have to switch our weekly breakfasts to dinners.”
“No, I promise I can get ready in two minutes.”
“It’s not because you’re late,” Olivia said, stepping inside while Becca searched for clothes.
“Why then?” Becca asked, throwing on a sweater that was clearly Sam’s, since the chunky cream cable-knit hit her at midthigh.
“Because I’m jealous,” Olivia said. “And anyway, it’s been a bunch of months already. Aren’t you tired of having sex all the time yet?”
Becca laughed. “Are you kidding? You’ve seen who I’m sleeping with, right?”
It was true, Sam was pretty damn fine. As was Tanner. But Olivia’s brain had a perma-pic of Cole on her frontal lobe, wearing the same heavy-lidded, sensual look in his eyes that he’d had after kissing her. No doubt even if she spent every night in Cole’s bed for months, she wouldn’t be tired of him yet, either.
Becca hopped into a pair of jeans and fought with the top button. “Damn it, I’m going to have to order oatmeal this morning instead of my usual bacon-and-eggs special. I’m getting to be a chunk.”
“Yeah right,” Olivia said, looking at Becca’s warm, soft curves.
“It’s true,” Becca said. “Oh, and I invited the new girl to join us. Callie.”
“But you know I don’t like new people.”
“Oh good,” came a female voice from the doorway. “And here I was nervous that this would be all awkward, like high school.”
Olivia sighed and turned to the door.
Callie stood there, not looking awkward in the slightest. In fact, she was smirking slightly at Olivia. She was in another pair of yoga pants, sans dust this time, and a long, soft sweater the same blue as her eyes. Her smile was a mix of dry wit and bravado, and Olivia felt like a jerk.
“I’m sorry,” she said genuinely. “I didn’t actually do high school.”