Brighter Than Imagined - A Short Small Town Enemies to Lovers Romance Story

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KIM

“You look very happy this morning.”

Kim was busy making coffee for her father and her in the kitchen. It was Sunday morning and Stella had gone to church.

She stirred her father’s coffee for the last time and poured some more hot water in the mug to make it full.

Her voice was light when she spoke,

“It’s because I am.”

He was silent at first, studied her, she could feel it.

She handed him his coffee, smiled and sat down across him.

“I’m glad you’re home, baby girl.”

She reached out and touched her dad’s hand, aged by years of hard work.

“I’m glad I’m back.”

“You know, I didn’t think you were going to feel that way.”

“What do you mean, papa?“”

Again with the staring, she thought.

“What?” she said laughing.

He kept meeting her gaze, but she could sense he was being serious.

“What happened back then. I know it affected you a lot.”

She looked down and cleared her throat.

“That’s the past. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“I’m glad to hear that.”

She could hear he meant it.

“I know you were out with Levi last night.”

She looked up, eyes widened, not knowing what to say.

“It’s okay. I’m not mad at you. You’re a grown woman.”

“Dad, we didn’t...”

“I know. I know,” he said waving his hand as if to wipe away her fear.

He crossed his arms on the table.

“Kim, the reason I said you don’t know Levi was because he was quite young when you left.”

She looked down again, stirring her cup of coffee.

“I know. You were right, I don’t remember him. I don’t know how I don...”

“He’s Becky’s brother.”

The spoon hit the side of the cup loudly as she let it go. Her head jerked up and she sucked in breath as if feeling a kick in her stomach.

And then it all made sense. He even looked like her. The anniversary of his sister’s death. It was September after all. But yet it didn’t make sense. It shouldn’t. Why him?

She blinked fast, not knowing what to do.

“I wanted to tell you but I didn’t think you could handle it. I didn’t think you’d get along with him.”

“Does he know?” she, her voice shaky and higher than usual.

“No. I’ve never told him. And your name was cleared. He never knew about you.”

She rested her forehead against her hand.

“This is a mess.”

She looked up, angry suddenly.

“Why did you hire him? If you knew.”

“I only knew after the fact. I couldn’t just chase him away.”

“No, you couldn’t,” she said more to herself than to him.

“I’m sure if you talked to him...”

“No! No I can’t let him know.”

“But honey, you can’t lie to him. He’ll find...”

“It’s fine. Really dad. He’ll never need to know. Besides, I’m not planning on being here for much longer.”

She paused.

“Did you...think about what I said?”

“About the farm.” He nodded. “Yes I did.”

“And?”

He looked at her long and hard.

“I’ll sell. I can’t take care of this place anymore.”

He chuckled and looked around the kitchen.

“I guess this old place outgrew me.”

“I’m sorry, dad.”

“Oh, don’t be. It had to happen at some point. Like you said my health is the most important thing.”

“They’re not going to be too happy about it.”

“I’m sure they’ll understand. We’ll make sure this place lands in good hands.”

“I promise.”

She stood up, heading to the sink. She didn’t want the coffee anymore. She wasn’t sure she could stomach it.

“Kim.”

She turned around to face him.

“Yes dad?”

“Are you sure?”

“About what?”

“About selling. Is it what you want to do?”

Kim wanted to hesitate. She wanted to think it over.

And that’s why she answered quickly.

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