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Chapter Twenty-Nine: Packing, Secrets, and Covert Operations
“You’re going to Tybee Island with Hayden?” I couldn’t believe it. Mr. Weatherly would never let Gemma go out of the state with Hayden let alone on spring break. “What happened? Did your Dad go Terminator on his ass?”
“Anya!” She gaped at me and I smiled sheepishly. It had just slipped. Never in a million years would I had uttered such a thing like that. But well…I was spending way too much time with Liam as of late, not that I regretted it in any sort of way.
“I’m sorry,” I said, trying to suppress the smile that tethered on my lips. “When did this happen? Spill.”
Gemma flopped onto my bed as I sat down next to her, picking up my suitcase and dumping it on the floor. Packing for tomorrow would have to wait. Hearing Gemma’s story could not.
“He came over earlier. I didn’t even know. And as luck would have it Dad had just gotten off at work.” I raised my eyebrows and shook my head in bewilderment. Oh Hayden…men. They had such terrible timing. “When he asked Dad if I could go with him to Georgia – I swear that I saw Dad’s fingers twitch to his gun strapped at his belt.”
My hands flew to my mouth as I covered my surprise. “What happened next?” I asked eagerly. I imagined that Gemma’s encounter was ten times more mortifying than mine ever was. Dads. Why did they have to be so mortifying and overprotective?
“He read Hayden his Fifth Amendment rights.”
I stared at her blankly. “Madness,” I whispered in a horrible attempt at a British accent. “He’s positively mad!”
Gemma giggled. “Don’t ever do that again.” I bumped my shoulder to hers and she fell backwards onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling. In a slow easy breath she let out, “I wanted to die, An. It was worst than when Hayden came to pick me up for our first date. I thought that my heart was literally going to jump out of my chest. Hayden handled it all well – it was more than I could say for me.”
I smiled. It reminded me of how I felt about Liam those weeks ago when he faced my father. Seeing the new sparkle in Gemma’s eyes reminded me of the newfound respect I had gathered for Liam just as she had for Hayden. They were brave men for surviving the inquisition.
“So when are you guys leaving?”
“Next Saturday. I wish you were coming with us.”
“I wouldn’t want to be the third wheel, Gems.”
She propped herself up on her elbow and peered at me mischievously. “You wouldn’t have been. Liam would have been coming with us too.”
“And how do you know that?” I countered.
Her lips quirked into a sly smile. “I know a lot of things that you don’t.”
“Like?” I pressed, curiosity getting the best of me.
“ Like…howyou’remadlyinlovewithhimbutyou’retostubborntosayitevenwhenitsobviousthathefeelsthesameaboutyou.” She said it all in one breath and by the end she was gasping for air.
I stared at her with wide eyes like some owl that had completely gotten lost in the woods. “What? How….not that again, Gems.”
She held up her hands in mock defense. “I just tell it how it is.”