her summer teaching gig, she never dreamed she’d question whether he was the one she truly wanted.
So this was it. This was my life for the next 90 days. The next 2160 hours, give or take. When you were trapped in purgatory did a few hours more or less really matter?
I’d only had a chance to visit grandfather once before we left. I hated that I wouldn’t be able to see him more. But the nurse promised she’d read my letters to him as often as they arrived.
He was asleep more than he was awake now, but I knew he could hear me and could feel when I was there. Which meant he’d miss me when I wasn’t. And three months seemed like a very long time to be away. Still, with the money I made from this I’d be able to get him into a facility closer to home where he could get the proper care he needed. That was all that mattered now.
I missed my old life. When Grandma was still alive. And when granddad was still, himself.
Sighing, I stuffed the memories back down. It was over. Moving on. Our first day was pretty flexible as far as time commitments went. There was a tour and orientation and then we were encouraged to explore on our own after lunch. Kenzie had already hooked up with some graphic arts instructors from Brazil she’d met during the interviews. When I declined to join them for a swim, she took off, leaving me alone in the cabin.
It had pretty much everything you could want. Indoor plumbing, microwave, even a coffee machine. I mean it was hardly roughing it. But no tv or internet sucked, and I hated being way from my sculpting class. And of course granddad.
Enough moping. A walk, that was what I needed. I tugged a sweatshirt over my tank top and shorts, slipped on my flip-flops and headed outside. I followed the trail into the woods nearby. Beyond it was the lake, a crystal glistening clear blue body of liquid, just begging for some party hard teens to fall into and drown. This place had high school horror flick all over its idyllic brochure. And here I was in the middle of it. A girl with a dream guy occupying her nights and a real live one terrorizing her days. At least that was how it felt seeing Troy again, after that night. Nothing like being completely forgotten to boost a girl’s self-esteem, and to be reminded of said failure every time I saw him, which from the sounds of it would be a lot of the next nine weeks.
I’d only been walking a few minutes when I ran into Kenzie.
“What happened to the Brazilian boys?” I asked as she sauntered over.
“They got hauled into the principal’s office for smoking. I told them not to do it out in the open.” She said. “Where ya headed?”
“Can I join?”
I shrugged and kept walking. Until I stopped dead.
Up ahead was Troy. Fitted white t-shirt, gray track pants rolled to the waist, looking way too good. He was jogging, listening to music and heading in our direction. My heart lurched and in a moment of panic, I grabbed Kenzie, shoved her into the bushes, then dove in after her.
“What the f—”
I clapped my hand over her mouth as Troy jogged past us, his rock hard muscles that I remembered all too well, flexing as he ran.
When he was out of view, I climbed out of the shrubs and offered Kenzie a hand to help her up.
She smacked it away. “What the hell was that?” She dusted her red leggings, scowling. “In what universe do we dodge gorgeous guys?”
Every day in my universe. “Sorry. I just wasn’t ready to see him again.”
“Well make it uncomplicated.” She raised her brows in expectation. Then her foot started taping.
Her voice escalated. “Why don’t you want to talk to Mr. Hot?”
“Because,” I whispered, dragging her back toward the cabin, “I know him. I mean, we’ve met before. In the past.”
“You’re being cryptic. What happened? How’d you meet?”
“He was teaching this course I was taking.” I chewed my lip, regretting that I hadn’t come up with a lie.
“Cool.” She studied my face. “Or not so cool. You’re clearly not too thrilled about seeing him again. Get a bad grade?”
“Yeah, something like that.” Actually nothing like that.
“And now he’s your boss. Cra-zy.”
“Right?” That seemed to satisfy her which meant for now, my humiliation was safe.