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A Bag and a Folder

“….and that a major heatwave will surely start within a couple of days,” the weatherman explained before Uncle Frank muted the television. I sat in the living room with him, laptop burning my thighs, frowning at the news. Uncle Frank was on some type of business call and it was only eight-thirty in the morning. I surfed the web in silence as he left the room. A couple of minutes later I heard his car leave the driveway.

“Hey.” Ada waltzed in an hour later. Today she wore a beautiful dress and high heels. I was still in my pajamas. “Have you had breakfast yet?”

She wore an evil smile on her face. One thing to know about Ada, she doesn’t do anything out of the kindness of her own heart. There’s always something for her to gain.

“Why?” I furrowed my brows, slowly closing my laptop.

“My friends and I are having brunch,” she told me, that sickly sweet smile never wavering. “I’d love for you to come.”

“Uncle Frank is making you love for me to come,” I corrected, narrowing my eyes. The smile fell and a smirk replaced it.

“Okay, so he promised to buy a pair of shoes I’ve been eyeing in return,” she relented. “But you should really get out of the house more. What do you even do with your Michigan friends for fun?”

When I didn’t say anything, she sighed.

“Sorry.” She wasn’t sorry for hurting my feelings, she was sorry for the awkwardness that followed after her dumbass question. “I still think you should come. It’ll give you a chance to get out of the house. You can borrow my clothes if you want.”

We were the same size, which was beneficial, to say the least.

“Look, I’m leaving in thirty minutes. I’m sure you can shower and get dressed in that time. You don’t even have to wear makeup,” she concluded, walking out of the room. I pondered over it for exactly one minute before deciding I definitely wasn’t going to go. Plus, thirty minutes was not enough time for me to tame my unruly hair.

I was happy when I heard Ada pulling out of the driveway. She was a lot of things, but she knew when to take a hint. I was grateful for her not being a pushy person when it came to me. Maybe it was because we were family. Or maybe it was because she thought I wasn’t worth the effort.

Nonetheless, I was glad I didn’t have to hear her and Viola argue over a brunch table. Her other friends were airheads, and I didn’t even bother to remember their names. I assumed some guy she pinned after was going to be there as well considering how well she was dressed.

When I finally mustered up enough willpower to shower, I took advantage of having the giant home to myself. I blasted music and got dressed leisurely. Since no one was home, I slipped into my bikini and threw a t-shirt dress over it. I grabbed a couple books and my phone before jogging downstairs and out to the backyard. It was an exceptionally beautiful day with no clouds in sight.

After about an hour of lounging poolside, I took a dip into the water and swam around. One moment I was underwater, and the next I was above the surface, being stared at by piercing blue eyes. I yelped, unable to contain the noise.

“Hi,” I blurted, momentarily shocked by the handsome boy in front of me. He was tall, very tall, well-muscled, and lean. He had a duffle bag in one hand and a folder in the other. I trod water until I felt my feet touch the bottom. Feel self-conscious, my first instinct was to stay in the pool. “Can I help you?”

“I live next door,” he pointed in the direction of the closest home, a half-mile away. I could see the pretty white house in the distance and frowned.

“Mr. Devaroux lives there,” I corrected, slowly making my way out of the water now. I narrowed my eyes.

“I’m his son,” he informed, lifting a brow at me now standing on the opposite side of the pool from him.

I wasn’t aware that Dick Devaroux had a child. Of all the years I’d known him, he never mentioned it. And it’s not like he didn’t have a wife. Jenna Devaroux was as sweet as pie. The boy in front of me must have seen the skepticism in my face because he let out a sigh.

“I’m just here to drop off some things for Franklin Barnett,” he told me, looking down at the folder to get the name correct. “He here?”

“I can take it,” I assured, not making any move to get closer. We stood in silence for a moment, studying each other. Once he’d had enough of me just staring, he rolled his eyes and set the bag and folder on the closest pool chair.

“Have a good day,” he waved, his brows furrowed in confusion as he left. I watched him until I felt myself become creepy and shook my head to clear my thoughts. He was the most handsome boy I’d ever laid eyes on and all I could do was stare at him.

Quickly, I bounded over to the other side of the pool to retrieve my uncle’s items. I was shocked at how heavy the bag was. That boy carried it with one hand while I struggled to hold it with two. I made a mental note to work out more this summer.

Curiosity got the better of me when I walked into my father’s office with just the folder. I flipped through it, but there was a lot of businessman jargon that I didn’t care to read. I leaned against the side of his desk in my swimsuit, not caring that I got it wet, as I looked at the duffle I’d placed in his chair. The more rational part of my brain told me it was a dumb idea to open it. The inquisitive part told me I had to open it. How could it have been so heavy?

An impulse decision had me unzipping the bag with a quickness as if I was going to get caught. That wasn’t the case. My uncle was going to be gone for a few more hours at least. For some reason, my brain didn’t factor in Ada coming home from brunch.

I gasped when I caught sight of what was inside and jumped when my cousin spoke to me.

“What are you doing?” Ada asked, standing in the doorway.

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