[This is a multi-part story. Lexi Brown is trying to escape her past and create a new life for herself in Otter Village, 500 miles from where a traumatic event occurred 6 months ago. In our last episode, we read that Kevin told Lexi he had discovered her true identity, and Lexi told Kevin she’d received disturbing news about Dan.
Here are the posts in order so far:
Lexi took a deep breath. “Dan is my brother-in-law. Technically the brother of my deceased estranged husband. Not sure there’s a term for that.”
“Not sure either,” Kevin said. “Okay. I see. I’m sorry to have brought all that up again. Has he been contacting you?”
“He contacted my sister Vicky.” Lexi stepped closer to Kevin, and he embraced her again. She liked how easily the physical affection had materialized tonight… and also she needed to speak softly. “He found me on an internet newsfeed. He knows where I am. He, um, actually saw a photo of us together at the Otter Festival and is freaking out over the idea I’m having fun so soon. It was a nice photo of us. I’ll send it to you.”
“Great, but geez, I’m sorry. Now I feel even more like a jerk for stalking you online. I know! This isn’t about me.” Kevin hugged her. “But I’m a self-centered gorilla.”
She laughed. “No, you’re not! You’re very kind. Stop fishing for compliments. Dan is scary, especially now… after we know Jim cracked up. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe Dan is about to lose touch with reality like his brother did.”
Kevin held her shoulders and gazed into her eyes. “This is a lot to deal with. Are you okay? Do you still feel comfortable here in this house? Maybe we could alert the local police–”
“Vicky’s husband Nick is a cop,” Lexi put in. “And he says Dan hasn’t done anything or made any threats. He wants to talk to me though. I have nothing to say. I already–”
One of the other tenants came into the kitchen and opened the fridge. “Help yourself to some cookies,” Lexi offered.
“Hey thanks!” After he extracted a Coke and put a dollar in the jar, he grabbed a cookie from the plate.
Lexi was about to explain to Kevin what she discussed with Dan at Jim’s funeral, but then another tenant came in and began to heat up a can of chicken noodle soup.
“Maybe we could take a little walk in the moonlight?” Kevin whispered in Lexi’s ear, and she shivered from his nearness and the romantic idea.
“I’ll get a jacket.” She dashed up to her room and back down again. Kevin waited by the front door. “Do you have your cookies?” she asked him.
“In my backpack,” he reassured her. “I’d never forget my care package.”
“Aww.” She held his hand as they stepped off the porch onto the sidewalk and then strolled down to the beach path. “I really like my landlady and all the tenants, but I avoid telling them anything too personal.”
“That’s smart,” Kevin said. “I also keep the personal discussions out of my workplace as well. In the hotel biz, it’s easy for things to get overshared, and I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable on the job.”
She nodded. “Makes sense. I haven’t really come up with a cover story other than a bad relationship I don’t want to talk about, and since I’m not great at lying, I figure it’s best just to avoid people.”
He squeezed her hand. “But eventually you have to make friends!”
“Yeah. I know.” Or more than friends. A warm glow surrounded her even though the wind off the water was chilly.
“What did you do about Facebook and all that stuff?” Kevin wrapped an arm around her, keeping her warmer, as they stepped onto the sand.
Lexi laughed. “Deleted all of it! And I don’t miss it either. Most of those friends are fake anyway. They don’t care about what you’re doing. I have Vicky to keep me up to date.”
“And to freak you out.” He pulled her close. “Kidding. I’m glad she warned you. I hope Dan doesn’t contact you in any way. You’ve been through enough.”
“Thank you.” The waves softly splashed against the sand as they continued their stroll. “You’re right though… I do need a friend up here. And thanks for being one.”
“Maybe we can be more… than friends,” he said. And as a billion stars glittered their approval, he kissed her in the moonlight.
[to be continued]
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