Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat

The Bandbox Hat

Previously: SarahJane decided she needed closure from Linda and Austin at Date My Son! so she called Liam and he told her to come back to the house at 4:00 that afternoon.

Chapter Fifty-Two

I managed to exhaust April. We went to the zoo, the Gene Autry Western Museum, and railroad park, and did some shopping at the mall.

She loved it all and nodded off in the back seat as I drove us back to my apartment. I had an hour to get ready and drive across town to the Date My Son house.

I’d called Rachael and she readily agreed to come watch a movie with April while I was gone.

April was rubbing her eyes and I slipped on my strappy heels when I heard the knock.

“April, let in Aunt Rachael please,” I called.

She sighed but staggered to her feet to do it.

“Wow, you said you had something to do, you didn’t say it was a hot date!” Rachael surveyed me from the door.

“It’s not.” I must have grimaced because her brow furrowed.

“What’s going on? Anything I can do?”

“You’re doing it by staying with April. I just have to go settle a few things. I shouldn’t be more than a couple of hours.”

I dropped a kiss on April’s forehead and squeezed my sister’s elbow as I passed them.

“Are you really my aunt?” April asked as I clicked the door shut behind me. Little did April know that not only was Rachael was her aunt, but she had a cousin back home that she knew as an older kid at school. As glad as I was to have my sister back in my life, there were some issues we still had to discuss. Like did she ever plan to come back to Rosedale? Be a part of her son’s life?

Those questions would have to wait. Now, I had an appointment to see a man about some answers of a different kind.

Traffic flowed nicely for mid-afternoon and it was ten minutes to four when I pulled up to the security gate.

“Hey, George.”

His face creased into a grin. “Hey there yourself, SarahJane. What are you doing here?”

I sighed. “It’s a long story. Did Liam put me on the list or do I need to call him?”

George perused the iPad in his beefy grip then his grin faded. “You’re on here all right. You sure about this?”

My head cocked. “Very sure. Why?”

He shrugged. “I just didn’t figure you for the type–never mind, it’s none of my beeswax. Go on up to the house.”

“Thanks, George. How’s your puppy’s training going? Is he still stealing kitchen towels.”

Instead of chatting like we used to do, George shrugged again and pushed a button. The wrought iron gate swung open.

That was weird. And unlike George not to want to talk about his little Rottweiler pup. He could jabber about that dog all day long. Oh well. Maybe he was having a hard day. The show was winding up. He could be preoccupied about his next job or … or anything, really.

At the top of the hill, an intern motioned me where to park then fell into step next to me.

“It’s good to see you again, SarahJane,” she said.

“Thanks–” I wracked my brain for a name and came up with it just a hair too late to make it seem like I hadn’t forgotten her “–Jaime.”

She tossed her blonde hair over one shoulder. “I couldn’t believe it when Liam said you were coming back.”

“Really? Why?”

“Well, I mean–it’s done all the time sure, but I didn’t think you would be–”

“Why does everyone keep saying that?” I asked. We turned from the driveway and made our way down the front walkway. Scents of lavender and cool earth tickled the air and I inhaled deeply.

“I guess, you just seemed more like the kind to get on with your life, not to wallow in–”

“I’m not wallowing in anything. I just want some closure.”

“Wait–what?” She tripped and did a quick step to regain her pace.

“I’m here to talk to Linda and Austin and ask why they strung me along only to dump me without a warning.”

“Oh SarahJane. I had no idea. Liam thought–”

We climbed the last step onto the porch and the door swung open. Liam stood in the opening.

With Austin behind him.

Then Linda behind her son.

And a cameraman behind her.

What did I get myself into?

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