‘I thought you guys wanted things like plaques.’ And shrines and paintings and whatever.
Are you sure you’re okay?I’m fine. I was not on their mailing list. We never got their ads. Nor did anyone I knew. I had never even heard of the store before I had helped out Antonia. My shoulders relaxed.
Skye headed for the back, but she stopped halfway there and turned around. Charlie. I didn’t mean to offend you the other night at the concert.She used her thumb to point over her shoulder. About Linda. I didn’t mean she’d replace your mother or anything.Oh. I suddenly remembered how she told me Linda would soon be as important to me as she was to her. No. It’s okay. I know.
She looked at the floor. Linda has helped me through a lot. My mom left when I was little. . . .I took a slow breath. Now was the time when I told her I hadn’t had a mom since I was little either. When I made her feel understood. When I became more understood myself. When I stopped being a fake. I opened my mouth, but she turned without looking up and quickly walked to the back. Who needed to be understood anyway?
To be safe, when I got home, I checked the mail. Happy to see the pile of envelopes inside, meaning I was the first one to check it today, I gathered them in my arms and flipped through the stack. There were a few ads, but not the dreaded one. Now that the shock of it had worn off, my mind spun. They used me in an ad. Without my permission. That was so wrong. Then I remembered the form the guy had asked me if I’d signed. Oh no. Some other girl signed a paper giving them permission to use her image and I filled in for her that day. This was so unfair. I wondered if she was getting paid for this.
I shut the mailbox and took a few steps toward Braden’s house. I needed someone to talk to and his was the first face that flashed through my mind. Halfway to his door, I stopped with a sigh. He was still mad at me, and I was still mad at him for how big of a baby he had been about Evan. And for how mean he had been to me because of it.For the record, I never throw money away, she said, but she slid her hand into the hidden pocket of her wrap, pulling out her emergency twenty, which hadn’t fallen out in the bar. Of course not. It’d had to have been the knife. She gave a mental grimace and handed Eddie the cash.
Thanks, darlin’. He slipped the twenty away before kissing her on each cheek. I’ve got today’s newspaper, can I repay you by giving you your horoscope?Don’t bother. I’m sure mine says ‘please just don’t kill anyone today.’
He laughed softly. And it’s no secret who you’d kill either. He’s smart as hell, our boy. Intuitive too and a gifted investigator. He takes care of his own. He’d take a bullet for you—we both know that. But one thing he’s not good at is admitting his feelings.He gave her a don’t-be-stupid look.