CHAPTER 12 | stones

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"You're right," Ethan snapped, "it's none of your business."

Mason, still not done with the conversation, pushed the discussion further. "You've been spending a lot of time with her over the past few days. I would hate to see her being hurt deliberately just so you can get justice for what happened. Despite what you think, I believe she's a genuinely honest person and I don't think she deserves whatever plan you're hatching."

The contracting of the muscles in his jaw and the scraping of his teeth was the only sign that Ethan was listening. Mason stood and brushed the sand off of his pants. He looked down at his friend and shook his head sadly, "Your issue is with her father and mother. Not her. From a few details Grace has shared with me, Sydney's as much a victim in this as anyone else."

For a long while after Mason had headed back to the house, Ethan continued to stare out at the water, watching the small waves as they lapped onto the shore. His thoughts were in turmoil. More so now than they had been when he had arrived. His plan had been so easy. Get close to her and find out what she knew about her father's whereabouts.

Had he been so transparent, that his friend had worked out his ultimate goal?

So why do I feel so lousy? He asked himself.

Masons parting words, echoed in his mind, bouncing around until he could no longer think straight. He had spent the better part of the last few days with Sydney. While his ego had been slightly damaged during the Kayaking trip, he had enjoyed the experience as well as spending the day with her. She had been so easy to talk to, that once they had put the swan incident behind them, it had been difficult to keep her at arm's length. There was something about her that had him naturally gravitating towards her. There was some unknown magnetic force that breathed easier each time she laughed - each time she smiled at him.

It was becoming harder and harder to keep his resolve in place. He had found himself actively seeking her out each day, hoping to spend more time with her.

He didn't understand how he had agreed to it, but the previous day, she had convinced him to catch a bus to travel to Aquinnah rather than drive to the far side of the island. It had been years since he had been anywhere near public transport.

In the end he was pleased he had agreed to it. The small town only had car parking spaces for fifty cars. By the time they had reached their destination, every space was occupied and there were dozens of cars circling.

Ethan shouldn't have been surprised at her knowledge of the area when she promptly introduced him to the wonders of the Aquinnah Cliffs, which up until that point, he was not aware was a national historic landmark. Her ability to bring alive the smallest of information had him entranced and captivated the entire day.

However, underneath her slowly softening stance towards him, he knew she didn't trust him. For some reason beyond him, this didn't sit well. It was unsettling to think that she was ready to bolt from him at any given moment. He had to admire her astuteness while, at the same time, he was feeling the odd prickling of shame that she had him pegged correctly.

Ethan stood up and brushed himself off, ready to return to the house. He needed to fortify his resolve.

She had to know something.

Didn't she?

His phone went off, distracting him from his train of thought.

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"Where did you want this?" Sydney asked as she walked into the dining room, her hands were laden with a large dessert, still warm from the oven.

Grace came over and leaned down to breath in the fruity aroma of the large peach cobbler which Sydney was holding. "Smells divine," she said before taking it from Sydney and heading back to the kitchen.

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