The words slipped out of her, and before the questions could start, she gave the truth. Of sorts. “I was homeschooled.”
Tutored on set. Same thing.
“Man, I wished for that,” Callie said. “I did the opposite of homeschooling. I went to a small-town high school.”
“Really?” Becca asked. “Where?”
“Right here in Lucky Harbor.”
When both Olivia and Becca just stared at Callie, she smiled. “Left after graduation and vowed to never again live in a town small enough that you could run into your gyno at the grocery store. Or your parole officer at the post office.” She shrugged. “And yet ten years later, here I am.”
“Hey,” Callie said. “I was kidding about the parole officer.”
“So…you missed Lucky Harbor?” Olivia asked, drawn to the idea. She’d been in town just long enough to know she loved it here and hoped to never leave.
But Callie laughed. “No, I didn’t miss much about Lucky Harbor, actually.”
“So why are you back?” Becca asked.
“My grandma,” Callie said. “She’s acting a little…” She swirled her finger on the outside of her ear. “Cuckoo. Like maybe her box of crayons is missing a few colors. My family took a vote on who had to come back to check on her. I drew the short straw.”
“Your grandma’s living here with you?” Becca asked.
“No, Grandma owns the local art gallery,” Callie said. “There’s room there for me, or at her house, but I need my own space.”
“Art gallery.” Becca smiled. “Your grandma’s Lucille? The oracle of Lucky Harbor?”
“Oh, God. You know her?” Callie asked. “It’s true then, she’s been making trouble?”
Becca laughed. “Well, that depends on who you ask.”
“Great.” Callie shook her head and looked around the interior of Becca’s apartment. “Looks like yours is as big a piece of crap as mine.”
“Yeah, but not Olivia’s,” Becca said. “She owns Unique Boutique, that really great vintage shop downtown. She did up her apartment as pretty as her store.”
Pride filled Olivia at the unexpected praise. “It’s all older stuff,” she said, “nothing new.”
“Some of the very best stuff is old,” Callie said, and she came up in stature in Olivia’s eyes.
They left the warehouse and stood outside a moment, taking in the vicious dark clouds coming in off the water, churning up the sky like black cotton candy.
“Gonna be a hell of a storm tonight,” Becca noted.
“I remember Lucky Harbor’s fall storms,” Callie said, wrapping her arms around herself. “Does the power still go out all the time?”
Becca and Olivia, both relatively new to Lucky Harbor, looked at each other.
“Never been here during fall,” Becca said, not sounding quite as excited about the storm now.
“Stock up on candles,” Callie warned. “Just a tip. Although that’s not going to keep me online and working, so hopefully I’m wrong.”
“What do you do?” Olivia asked.
Callie paused for the briefest second. “I run an online one-stop wedding website.”
“Wow,” Becca said, sounding impressed. “You can make a living off that?”
“People are pretty serious about their weddings,” Callie said.
They walked past the docks toward the pier. While Becca and Callie chatted, Olivia took in the empty slip where Lucky Harbor Charters’ boat was usually moored.
“The guys took out a big group of fishermen,” Becca said, noticing the direction of Olivia’s gaze. “It was supposed to be Lucille and her cronies, but they decided on bingo instead.”
“You mean Sam and Tanner took out the fishermen?” Olivia asked.
“Not Sam. He’s building a boat in their warehouse today.”
“But Cole’s shoulder,” Olivia said. “He shouldn’t be out yet.”
“He’s not. He’s working the hut,” Becca said.
Lucky Harbor Charters operated out of a large warehouse on the harbor. A smaller building functioned as their client reception area. They called it the hut. Olivia knew this thanks to Becca. The two of them had often sat and watched—and also drooled—over the three guys either out on their boat, surfing, or having pull-up contests in the alley between their warehouses…and Becca had just as often suggested Olivia go for one of them.
Olivia had declined.
“I should probably tell you,” Becca said. “Cole asked Sam about you.”
Olivia stopped breathing. “Why?”
“Maybe for the same reason you’re pretending not to notice that he exists,” Becca said slowly, watching Olivia.
“I know he exists. A girl can’t see a guy naked and not know he exists.”
Oh, shit. Had she really said that?
Both Becca and Callie choked. “Okay,” Becca said. “You owe me a story. Now.”
“We were wet,” Olivia said. “Cold. Possibly hypothermic. We had to…lose our clothes.”
Callie grinned. “Nice.”
Becca blinked. “How did I not see this one coming? Damn, I’m losing my touch.”
“You saw everything?” Callie asked. “Is he still hot?”
Becca turned to Callie. “You know Cole?”