"I was hoping to get my lunch. Where's Rick..." Looking around he added, "... or Alice?"
"I get lunch almost every day." He was thrown off by the absence of his friends.
"I don't know who you are, but whatever you want I can get it for you," she said.
He looked at her. Rick didn't hire in March. Something about her jeans and tee shirt made him think she didn't buy them at Target or even Macy's. She didn't look like she could boil water, never mind make the chicken pesto Panini, he was craving. "Who are you?" he asked annoyed.
"I'm Jennifer Dixon."
He knew that name. Instantly he remembered the phone call. "The designer? What are you doing behind the counter?"
"Getting something to eat and how do you know my name?"
"Because Sydney called to tell me you were coming," he said.
"You!" she hollered, "You built that monstrosity on my beach. You've ruined it. We don't like a stranger coming around ruining what's ours!"
He stood there not sure how to respond. He agreed with her, but why was this stranger calling him a stranger. He was family here, dammit. His head was pounding worse now.
They were having a standoff glaring at each other just as Ricky came in through the back.
"Alex, I was wondering if I'd see you today! Is Jenny taking care of you?" Rick asked.
Jenny, Jennifer Dixon, was Rick and Alice's daughter. He never knew details about her other than she never came home and the whispers always blamed her husband.
He answered, "I just walked through the door, we haven't even introduced ourselves."
"Jenny, this is Alex Goodwin, my best customer, and a great friend. He's like the son I never had. Alex, our daughter, Jenny. Finally, home to visit," Rick said proudly.
Obviously sizing him up, she said, "It's Jen."
"This saves us a phone call," he said and continued, "When did you want to get into the Thompson house?"
"Monday morning... first thing."
"Fine. I usually stop for coffee at seven." He waited to see if she would respond to the early hour, but she didn't.
He turned to Ricky who had his sandwich ready and teased, "The son, you never had, huh. I already have two other fathers."
He noticed he was being stared at. He would normally sit and eat, but not today. A chill ran through the typically warm and friendly gathering place.
He drove over to the beach parking lot and ate in his truck. It was still drizzling, but the sky behind him looked to be clearing. The ocean was angry and churning. It looked very much like he felt. He would never expect Rick and Alice's daughter to be so cold. They were two of the nicest people. Hadn't he heard that she was Megan's best friend? Maybe New York changed her because the only word he could think of was bitch.
He wrapped up early since he had plans to see his brother. He wasn't sure he wanted to drink after the way he felt this morning. He wasn't happy that his date for tomorrow skipped town on him. Alex didn't really hold it against Julia, after all, he wasn't a fan of family events either.
Tom borrowed their mother's trusty Camry and drove over to Alex's new house. He was impressed with his brother's work, but teased, "Could this place be any emptier?"
"I'm not home much. I'm hoping not to be here long," he said.
"You just moved in!"
Alex explained that he had been trying to find a house on The Point for over a year. "That's where I want to settle. I'll even buy furniture for a house over there."
"By the looks of this stuff, you may want to hire a designer to help you," Tom said.
"Oh don't even talk about designers. I met one that I'll be dealing with next week. Hey, have you heard of Dixon Designs in New York?" Alex asked.
"Actually one of the partners at my firm used them. I went to a party to show off the finished apartment and they were there," Tom said and paused and said, "When they walked in the room, heads turned. They are a striking couple. I had to ask who they were. The husband seemed like a salesman and he definitely wasn't interested in my group of associates. But she spoke to me."
"Really," he dragged the two syllables out.
"I was looking at a hideous sculpture and said out loud to no one, I wonder what this is supposed to be, and she heard me. She told me that it wasn't part of her design. Then she joked about it. She seemed nice and ...."
"Okay, I thought she was hot. I remember thinking how lucky her husband must be. Why do you want to know about them?"
"... Because I met her today and she was anything, but nice. I'm going to be stuck dealing with her. She's working on one of my houses," Alex explained.
"Was she hot?" Tom asked.
"Not when she was yelling at me!" he said, but he thought of the way she moved and her eyes. They were brown like mocha and her hair was honey blonde. He figured the color came from some fancy New York salon but even dressed down in jeans, his brother had a point.
"What'd you do to make her so angry? Be your typical self?" Tom teased.
"I built a house and ruined a gorgeous stretch of beach. Truthfully she's right. The house does look huge sitting out there, but I never had a chance to agree," Alex said.
"Why'd you build it?"
"If I didn't someone else would. I was able to influence it. Believe me, as much as I hated the idea of it, it's a beautiful house."
Luckily the conversation moved on and he enjoyed spending time with his brother.
Cara was at the christening. He learned that she was back in Maine with her doctor husband and was going to be a mother very soon. As he looked at her pregnant belly, he was convinced that Kate loved to torture him, because she never warned him that she was expecting. His feelings for her had faded, but seeing her always brought the memories back.
Alex grew up in the Lake's Region west of Portland. Anyone know another character in one of my books from that region?
Please comment and vote. I love talking to readers.
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Designs of LoveRomance
(Complete) When Jennifer Dixon entered their impeccably decorated apartment, she was glad it was quiet and empty. She could call home. She missed her mother and father. When she went into the bedroom to change, she found Sterling in their bed and...