Aunt Maureen grabbed Clara's suitcase before she could even reach for it.
"I had to park a few streets away," Aunt Maureen said. "I hope you don't mind a little stroll."
"Not at all," Clara said. "I really want to see more of Breach Point anyway. But Aunt Maureen, you have to let me carry that."
Clara reached for the suitcase, but her aunt tugged it away.
"Nonsense!" Aunt Maureen said. "You're my guest and I'm perfectly capable of carrying one dinky little piece of luggage a few blocks."
Aunt Maureen smiled mischievously. Clara couldn't think of any warmer image than the face of a person who was this happy to see you after such a long time. Aunt Maureen didn't look sick, as Clara had imagined. She actually looked a little younger and healthier than Clara had remembered from the Thanksgiving visit, which put her mind at ease about the summer – and about letting her carry the suitcase.
"You travel light, Clara," Aunt Maureen said. "I admire that in a modern young woman."
"Only the necessities," Clara said. "I remembered you saying that whatever I needed that I didn't bring, I can pick up here in town."
"I said that?" Aunt Maureen asked. "Hmm... I'm pretty smart."
They crossed a side street, passing a guitarist who played happy strummy music under the awning of a sidewalk café. His wavy blondish-brown hair was long enough to kiss his even stubble. Clara admired his face – especially the defined planes of his cheeks and jaw. The surfaces looked almost completely flat when he turned toward the streaming sunlight. She remembered reading how most people's faces were really asymmetrical and thought, "He's got to be the exception." Clara imagined how bad a portrait subject the guitarist would make.
Aunt Maureen caught Clara's gaze. "Now that is one beautiful man," she said, making no attempt to hide her delight.
One corner of Clara's mouth pulled to the side – something she did when she was teetering on the edge of embarrassment.
"He is... classically beautiful," Clara said.
"I'd say so," Aunt Maureen said. "Let's face it – the man is perfect!"
Clara gave the guitarist another look and said, "Sorry, Aunt Maureen, but I didn't mean it as a compliment. Perfection is boring!"
Aunt Maureen sighed in commiseration. "Oh is it now? So wise you are, Clara dear. I think we're both going to have some adventures while you're here."
They walked another block and a half before reaching Aunt Maureen's tiny green hatchback. Clara studied the kitschy stickers on the windows – one of them was a cute male hula dancer strumming a ukulele. She also noticed little hand-painted flourishes above the rear wheel wells. The bit of yellow filigree had been done in a fairly neat style, but it was still a little messy around the edges. Clara knew without question that Aunt Maureen had painted the decoration herself. The car perfectly fit her quirky personality.
"Hop in, girl," Aunt Maureen said. "I'm starving."
Clara dumped her suitcase in the back seat and got into the passenger seat. Aunt Maureen gave a careful look over her shoulder before pulling out.
The drive to Aunt Maureen's house didn't even take ten minutes. "And with all this traffic," Clara thought, "we'd have made it faster by walking." But Aunt Maureen seemed to enjoy chauffeuring Clara around in the hatchback. Clara enjoyed her aunt's bursts of local color that lasted until she pulled into her heavily-patched driveway. They both stepped out of the car.
YOU ARE READING
Breach Point (Haunted)Paranormal
When high school sophomore Clara Tuffney is hired for a summer internship at an engineering firm, she accepts an invitation to live with her Aunt Maureen in the quiet seaside town of Breach Point, New Jersey. Soon after arriving, Clara learns of t...