Chapter Nine

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"We dream about the things we love the most."


The sun was so bright that weekend. Relentless and sweltering, I was close to believing it was summer all over again - which was fine with me and my indoor preference. I was not one of the foolish people in the backyard at the hottest time of the day working to mend the broken fence. Instead I was the person in charge of twisting lemons over a juicer with a cool, calm smile.

My dad was never the handyman and he was fully aware of that; but while his new bromance with Mr. Hugh came with questionable situations, it also had its perks. One of those being Mr. Hugh and him working hard to fix up the mess hurricane Sandy left a couple years back.

"Jacob can you hand me the mint leaves please?" I motioned towards the necessity in clear sight across the kitchen. The boy had the nerve to think it over. Then he shook his head. "Seriously? Are you being for real right now?" Would it be wrong to admit I wanted to watch him tumble to the ground? "You are so annoying --"

To my astonishment Clayton appeared from behind him, the smirk on Jacob not faltering a moment.

No one told me Clayton had arrived. Hell, he did not even tell me he was coming over; and by the look on my brother's face, he knew he was.

My lemon juice covered hands instantly flew to my hair in full regret of lazily throwing it up in a bun. Without a doubt my baby hairs were sticking up in every direction, standing up in a cheery response to Clayton's sudden appearance.

Was that why Jacob wanted to take a breather outside on the patio? He was wanting to catch Clayton before he knocked or rang the doorbell so I could be completely blindsided.

That little. . .

"Hey, Lucy." Clayton gave me a smile I did not deserve. It was so beautiful. He was beautiful. "I overheard you needed some mint?" He reached out to hand it to me.

I had to gulp down my anger towards Jacob right then and focus on Clayton. He was wearing work out clothes: a muscle tank that showed off everything I needed in life and black basketball shorts. His hair disheveled and messy already, he pressed his fingers through the small blonde curls out of habit.

"Thanks." My heartbeat sounded louder than that, so I had to repeat myself. "Thanks, Clayton. You're helpful unlike that. . . Eh." It was so hard not staring at the sliver of rib cage I could see from that angle. A few inches to the left and I could practically make out his abs. . . "Anyways!" I blurted out, taking in a quick breath. "What's up? I didn't know you were coming."

"Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. My dad texted me after I was finished working out with the guys that he was here and could need the extra help. Your dad gave me the okay, too, so..." He did jazz hands. "Here I am!"

I chuckled briefly before peering out the window. There was still a lot of work to be done and plenty of lemonade to drink; and if Clayton was going to wear that and work hard out there, then I could make as much lemonade as they wanted. The reward of watching him was enough.

"Well, you made it just in time I guess. I am nearly done with the lemonade." I poured the lemon juice into a small cooler filled with ice. Clayton cheered at that. "If you wanna head out back then you can, I'll bring out some cups once I'm finished."

He put up cheery thumbs up then flipped around, shaking Jacob's hand. "It was nice meeting you, by the way."

"Yes," Jacob bowed his head with a sardonic smile. "It was nice meeting you too, Clinton."

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