Issy shook her head. Gramps seemed back on form. And actually, this wasn’t such a bad idea. Lull everyone into a false sense of security then hit them with it. Just to show what she was capable of. She’d put some pretty spun-sugar things in as well, of course. She stared at her face in the mirror, trying to convince herself that she was shop management, run-your-own-business material. She could. Surely she could. Helena had to rap on the door.
Sound of phone switching hands.Now that was James. His hello sounded more like be concise.
Hi, James. It’s Charlotte. The kids were a little nonverbal, so I just wanted to check that everything was okay.Yep, it’s all okay. Having the time of their lives.Okay then. Thanks for watching them.
Charlotte pushed End and sat back. Deep breath and exhale those toxins, she could hear her yoga instructor say. Charlotte made herself light-headed trying to purge out the toxins. They weren’t budging. Stupid, stubborn, lead-butted toxins.Why had she thanked James for watching them? He was their father, not a babysitter. Get a spine, girl. And how could she just take all that from Justice? But maybe she deserved it … Stop that, Charlotte! It’d been good to hear Lu’s and Beckett’s voices at least. Would have been nicer had their words been different.
The phone’s battery was low, so she dug through her bag, found the recharger and adapter, and plugged it into the wall. She looked around the desk for a magazine or something else to read while she waited so she wouldn’t replay the conversation in her mind again and again. She moved aside a folder.
The one beneath was labeled Windy Nook. It really was an appealing name. Charlotte flipped the folder open, hoping to find a photo that would match the lovely image of it that she had in her head. First she found a stack of legal papers: lists of debts, back taxes, threat of foreclosure, then a lease to a third party.I miss you tons, Al, she said, using his nickname. As an infant, he’d resembled Al Gore to a disturbing degree—the VP era, not the bearded era.
You’re coming back tomorrow, right? he asked, his voice worried.Charlotte hesitated for three seconds—three seconds to imagine her two weeks with Eddie, three seconds to weigh her hoped-for happiness against Beckett’s. She did her best to keep any regret out of her voice when she said, You bet.
Charlotte cleared her throat and forced herself to smile so he could hear the smile in her voice. How’s Lu been?Beckett snickered. A huge pain in the—