There’s no sign of her. We’ve searched the town, the trails and empty cabins and hotels. Lindsey has disappeared but I doubt she’s gone. This is her home as much as it’s mine, Leo’s and Brynn’s. We grew up together, it's in our blood.
And I’m worried.
Beckett and Aubrey are living at Georgia’s home, a renovated hotel she has converted into a mansion. She needs the room with a family the size of the Bradford’s. And Georgia is digging her own roots here.
Running for mayor has taken the entire town by storm. Georgia has schmoozed the business owners, has helped her neighbors and brought a sense of community back to Moss Bluff. We have regular community meetings and events, other businesses have been calling to do schedule their own renovations. Everyone is all aboard the Georgia Bradford train to success.
Georgia not only announced her run for Mayor six months ago, she’s fully moved in. Renting out an office in town, Georgia has recruited all willing to help her win. Markham hasn’t taken it well.
Leo and Quinn have moved in together. That wasn’t a surprise but Georgia was hoping for a wedding first. Hope is happy having her favorite guy under the same roof and I’m sure Quinn feels the same. She’s the hold out, not Leo.
If Leo could marry her today he’d do it in a second. Quinn isn’t convinced that marriage is the right thing for her and Hope. I think she’s gun shy. She’s been through a lot and there’s still more to come.
Brynn and Paige have been busy working with the crew on the restaurant, picking out flooring and paint, furniture and appliances not to mention trying out recipes on us. I haven’t tasted anything I don’t like. Georgia has another hit on her hands. I doubt the woman knows what failure is.
Georgia has also convinced our local flower transplant, Mia, to join her team. She is nothing like Georgia and sticks out like a sore thumb despite her desperate attempts at hiding in the corner. The woman would do better hiding in her garden, she fits there. With her jet black pixie hair do and big gray eyes, her tiny stature makes her look like a real fairy. Tinkerbell watch out!
“Hey! Are you going to work or daydream?” Beckett yells waking me out of my thoughts.
I’ve been dazing out a lot lately. It’s hard not, given the crew that is in this building every day. I’m not used to seeing so much of Brynn. I’m used to getting my morning coffee and leaving her safely tucked behind the doors of Perking Up, her coffee and sweet shop.
Now that we’ve started work on the restaurant, she’s in here daily, dropping off treats for the crew, bringing over lunch with Paige and checking out every nail that’s hammered in, every board we replace, every drop of stain we add.
This is her baby and she wants to be involved in every step of the process. I don’t blame her. This is a big step for her. She’s dreamed of having her own dinner house for a long time. I remember when she was mine, and I got to hear about those aspirations and I wanted to be there to see her make them happen. I didn’t think I would be the one building her dream from the floorboards to the roof.
I’m happy to do it. I just wish I could share more with her.
We’ve made no progress since our little conversation at the spa a year ago. It’s two steps forward and three steps back. Some days I think she’s going to open the door and others I hear the lock slam shut. Maybe it’s time I moved on.
“Move your ass, Ethan, or I’m gonna shove this nail gun up your ass!” Leo bellows, getting me to move out of the way.
“Why don’t you just talk to her and put all of us out of your misery? It’s not like she’s not accessible.” Beckett mutters, looking across the room where Brynn and Georgia have their heads together over the blueprints again. “If they make one more change, I’m quitting.”
Georgia has become a thorn in his side on this project. We no sooner get the blueprint approved to move forward and she changes something and we’re back to square one. Cole has refused to come to the site until Georgia is positive there will be no more changes.
“She won’t talk to me unless it’s about the project. She’s been hiding behind your wife lately.” I complain to him, knowing he understands my dilemma.
“Don’t make any weight jokes! Aubrey is really sensitive about it. I think she has a demon possessing her lately. I literally got her a gallon of ice cream and left it at the door before I rang the bell. I’m starting to be afraid to go home.” Beckett’s joke is severely exaggerated.
Aubrey is six months pregnant. She glows with happiness and warmth. I’ve never seen her happier. We’ve been working as fast as we can on the house. Beckett wants to be moved in before the baby comes but as we move into cold weather, we’re going to need to get the roof on before the rains start.
“Who’s hungry?” Paige announces her presence with the scent of chili and hot rolls.
Work halts throughout the building as everyone gathers around the three makeshift tables that are set up in the main dining room. Bowls of steaming spicy goodness are passed around. Baskets of hot bread are spread over the planks of wood. All talking stops as food is devoured.
“Uh, Ethan? I’m supposed to have Cole okay a delivery. Do you know where he is?” Our resident pixie chatters at my ear.
“In his office. Mia, eat something. You need to put some meat on your bones, honey. Cole isn’t going anywhere.” Paige pushes a bowl of chili into her hand and takes the clipboard away, handing it off to Beckett to deal with.
Taking my own bowl and bread, I go to the kitchen to hide and eat in peace. Walking in, I find Brynn standing there alone. Her long blonde hair piled up in ringlets on top of her head and spilling down her back. That elegant neck I used to love to kiss is exposed to me. My fingers itch to touch her.
I take one step back, to quietly leave her alone but I’m caught. “She’s out there.”
“What? Who?” Brynn got my attention.
Turning her head she looks over her shoulder at me. “Lindsey. She’s not gone like that sheriff said. She’s here. She’s waiting.”
A chill runs down my spine and I find myself going to Brynn. Setting my lunch on the counter, I look out the window and try to see what she does. Brynn isn’t wrong. Lindsey hasn’t gone anywhere, she is planning her next move.
“Did you see something?” I wonder if Brynn is watching her or just thinking out loud.
“I feel eyes on me all the time, Ethan. I don’t have to see her to know that witch is out there. All of this started with us, remember? Beckett and Aubrey weren’t her first targets.” I don’t like that thought.
It’s like a big dark cloud looming over us. All we can do is prepare for the storm and hope we make it through without too much damage.
“I remember.” And I have no plans to repeat that memory.
I’ll never hurt Brynn that way again.