7. Becca Calling

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"Ever! Gosh, wake up!"

I sleepily opened one eye and saw a blurry Zoe standing in front of me, hands on hips and eyes wide and impatient. She, of course, looked absolutely flawless for a Sunday morning.

"What is it?" I groaned, sitting up and accidentally sending Mila tumbling off the bed. My puppy yapped indignantly and I reached down to lift her back up.

"Good, you're up." Zoe began to head towards the door, calling over her shoulder, "Becca called, since she couldn't reach you on your cell phone. She wants to see if you can help at her mom's store today."

I was up in an instant, tossing Mila off the bed again as I threw back the sheets. "What time did she call? Am I late?"

"Not if you're there in half an hour." Zoe nonchalantly closed my door behind me, and I heard her footsteps echo down the hallway as she headed down the stairs.

Quickly, I pulled on jeans and a sweater, then brushed my hair until it resembled its normal state and hurried downstairs for breakfast. Dad was in the kitchen tossing pancakes dramatically, grinning as he kept his eyes trained on his creation.

"Good morning to you too," I teased once I'd walked past him three times and he didn't say anything.

Dad glanced up at me as he slid two pancakes on a plate. "Hey, Ev! Zoe told me you were helping at Becca's mom's store today?"

"Yeah." I took the plate of pancakes and poured a generous helping of syrup on it, then carried it to the kitchen table. "Thanks!"

As I ate my pancakes, careful not to spill syrup on my shirt, I wondered about today. If Lauren was there working, there would almost certainly be drama. If she wasn't it would be a great opportunity for me to catch up with Becca. Lately, we hadn't had much time to talk and just be around each other. I blamed that on the crazy Sleeping Beauty schedules Ambler had us following.

"So I'm going to meet Ben at mini golf today," Zoe announced, plopping down next to me at the table. Every Sunday, he and his family went to play mini golf, regardless of the natural elements. Considering that Virginia Januarys could get ridiculously cold, I actually thought it was kind of crazy.

"I thought that was a family thing," I said as I got up to get more syrup. The pancakes today were unusually dry; usually, Dad made the best breakfasts in the universe. He must have been distracted this morning.

Zoe was spooning enormous bites of pancake into her mouth, seemingly unaware of the unusual texture. "Yeah, well they invited me today. Sweet of them, right?"

"Sure..." I'd never have labeled Ben as "sweet", per se; he wasn't exactly my type, but he and Zoe got along well and he had Dad's stamp of approval, so what could I say? Anyway, if it meant Zoe had something to do on weekends, than it was good.

"Yup! So I'm heading out now. Bye guys!" She finished her pancakes in record time and hurried to the sink to wash her plate, humming the whole time. Another thing? She was always ridiculously cheerful on days she got to see Ben.

Dad and I bid her goodbye as she hopped into her shoes and slung her purse over her shoulder. The doorbell rang, and she ran to answer it.

I quickly ate the rest of my pancakes, not caring about syrup, and raced back up to my bedroom to brush my teeth. I was not in the mood to see Ben right now.

~*~*~

It was a short walk to Draper Couture from my house, so I was there by noon. The bell jangled to announce my entrance and I immediately looked around to see who was working.

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