“That’s not what I heard,” Olivia said.
“What did you hear?”
“That he was smiling and laughing. Which is a big deal because he hasn’t had much to smile or laugh about in a while.”
“He was smiling and laughing because I made an ass out of myself,” Callie told her. “And to prove it, ask your source what I was wearing. Yoga capris and Uggs. Fake Uggs. That’s not a hot-mama look, in case you were wondering.”
“Yeah, I heard that too.” Olivia grinned. “And, um, not to be critical or anything, but today isn’t all that different.”
Callie looked down at herself—nice blouse, blazer, and sweatpants—and groaned.
Olivia laughed but then her smile faded. “Listen, Tanner’s been through a rough time. You’re going through a rough time.” She paused and waited for Callie to say something. When she didn’t, she said, “Do you really not see where I’m going with this?”
“It was coffee,” Callie repeated. “And you should know, even given what I do for a living—or maybe especially because of what I do for a living—I’m not at all sold on the male race.”
“I get that,” Olivia said gently. “But just think about it.” And then she blew Callie a kiss and shut the door.
Callie shook her head and started to head out of the building. She stopped short and once again looked down at her “work outfit.” Since Sam and Cole hadn’t gotten in until three in the morning and Tanner had probably been with them, she wasn’t going to run into him this morning. Right? Right. So there wasn’t a reason to change her clothes. She wasn’t trying to impress anyone.
She went back to her apartment to stuff her backpack with her laptop and wallet and rode to the bakery on the bike she’d bought on a whim the weekend before at a garage sale. She was crap on a bike, but in the name of getting herself a life, she’d decided that more exercise was a definite place to show improvement.
Her mission was threefold. Objective A: not thinking about her two friends, the both of them in bed with their big, sexy, hot men keeping them warm in their icy apartments.
She wasn’t jealous, exactly. She didn’t want a big, sexy, hot man to call her own.
But she wouldn’t mind one for a single night.
Objective B: caffeine and a doughnut—chocolate glaze. Make that two doughnuts.
Objective C: not hiding out behind her computer in Lucky Harbor but getting out and living.
The morning was startlingly clear and bright and sunny. But true to November in Washington, her breath made little puffs of cloud in front of her face, and she couldn’t feel her fingers and toes as she rode.
She came to the pier and stopped, gazing up at the Ferris wheel jutting into the sky. She’d gotten her first kiss there from Jonathon Walters in sixth grade, but only because it’d been dark, really dark, and he’d thought she’d been the very popular Jessica Bentley.
“Well, look who’s back.”
Callie eyed the guy painting the closed ice cream stand. “Lance,” she said with a big smile. They’d gone to school together. “How’s it going? Are you a painter?”
“Nah. I run this place in the good weather months with my brother.”
Thanks to cystic fibrosis, his voice was thick and almost hollow sounding, and her smile faded. “You doing okay?”
He lifted a shoulder. “Hanging in,” he said simply.
She felt her throat get a little tight and was figuring out how to ask if she could hug him when he spoke again.
“Your granny’s been up to no good.”
Uh-oh. “Such as?” she asked.
“Meddling.” He grinned. “She’s pretty good at it too, running a gossip circuit between Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr. She was on Facebook for a while but got booted for inappropriate pics. That woman’s on top of technology for being a couple hundred years old. How did she learn all that?”
Callie laughed a little but she was horrified as well. “I might have taught her.”
“Yeah? Well, you created a monster, babe.”
“Is it really that bad?”
He grinned. “She’s got a geriatric gang behind her and has armed them all with tablets that she got donated to the senior center. Mostly because they couldn’t navigate smartphones since they’re all over seventy and blind as bats. Anyway, they pretty much run the town.”
“This explains a lot,” Callie said.
“There’s even word that she plans to run for mayor.”
“Oh my God.”
Lance laughed, which sent him into a coughing fit. When he could talk again, he just smiled, though it was a weak one. “No worries, she can’t win. Most people think she has enough power as it is.”
This did not make Callie feel any better. She gave Lance a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Take care of yourself,” she said, and pushed off on her bike.
Five minutes later she was inside the bakery, which was once again crazy crowded. She ordered a coffee and stared at the doughnuts. Resist.
Leah smiled a greeting. “Hey. Heard you’re Lucille’s granddaughter.”
“Yep,” Callie said. “That’s me.”
“My grandma plays bingo with your grandma. Which is probably one of the more innocuous things they do. The seniors are all very excited you’re in town. They’re hoping you’re going to teach Lucille some new tricks.” She laughed at the look on Callie’s face. “Yeah,” she said. “And you probably don’t know even the half of it.”