[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 was having second thoughts about getting involved with Lexi so soon after he had to deal with his own romantic drama back in Chicago.
Here are the posts in order so far:
Lexi was ashamed of herself for checking her phone every five minutes like a lovesick teenager. It was just a kiss on the beach, for heaven’s sake! Well… a few kisses. Under a romantic full moon, in his warm embrace…
Stop! She stuck her phone in a drawer and busied herself with laundry. She was not falling for Kevin, despite the fact that the first time they met she had literally fallen off her bike and he helped her up. It was too soon. She needed to chill here, not get involved in a new emotional entanglement.
But a bike ride was an excellent idea. As soon as her clothes were out of the dryer, she’d take a long one. It was a great thing to do on her weekday off work and especially today to clear her head and get re-centered.
She grabbed her phone before she left the house. No messages. Kevin was probably busy working, plus she wasn’t naive. A moonlit walk and a few sweet kisses didn’t necessarily mean that much to a man. Just because she felt all fluttery at the memory of last night didn’t mean he felt similarly. He might not be thinking about her at all. Maybe he took romantic walks all the time with various women.
Biking down to the beach, Lexi took deep breaths of the fresh air. Another gorgeous day! She couldn’t help but smile at people she passed on the path. Even though she didn’t want to get close to folks here yet or reveal much about herself, didn’t mean she couldn’t be friendly. It was a relief not to be wary and tense all the time like she’d been back in the city. The news from Vicky about Dan had flung her back into that whirl of stress, but being with Kevin had magically swept it all away.
Her feet slowed; her ebullient mood popped like a child’s bubble. She turned off the path and stopped, gazing out at the crystal blue waves breaking on the sand. It was still warm enough to play in the water, but the school year had begun, so the beach was relatively empty. Lexi took her phone out of her backpack and saw that she had a message.
She allowed her mind to drift back to last night and how good it felt to be with Kevin. He was so understanding. Even though a new relationship hadn’t been on her radar when she’d escaped the big city after her husband’s death, now it seemed exciting when the idea circled around a certain sexy dark-haired hotel manager. Maybe a good, slow-building relationship with a nice, steady, calm, even-tempered man would not be stressful…
She unlocked her phone. The message was from Vicky. Dammit! Okay, she’d listen later. Lexi got back on her bike and in a surge of energy pedaled for miles up the coast. By the time she turned around and got back to the rooming house, it was dusk and her legs felt like overcooked noodles. She put the bike away and climbed the stairs an inch at a time.
“You okay?” Carolyn the landlady asked at the second floor. “You hurt your back?”
Lexi shook her head. “I overdid it on a bike ride. Just lost in my thoughts. Pretty silly.”
Carolyn laughed. “That can happen. Go lie down. I’ll make you a cup of tea and bring you some Advil. I think there’s leftover veggie lasagna. Want me to check?”
“That’s so nice of you!” Lexi said as she hobbled toward her room.
“Well, of course, dear.” Carolyn started down the stairs. “We’re all little refugee birds up here. Thanks for making those yummy cookies for us last night.”
As Lexi arranged herself in her room, stretching out in her comfy chair, she thought about Carolyn’s comment. Little refugee birds. That’s why people came to Otter Village, to escape something. Not just Lexi, but Kevin too. She’d been so wrapped up in her own head she hadn’t thought about what his story might be.
Why was Kevin here? She recalled him saying he was relatively new, around three months, but that was a month ago. So, what had made Kevin leave Chicago four months ago? What was his story? He had never told her.
But then again… she hadn’t asked. There was no reason not to. He knew all about her life. After she rested for a bit, she was gonna call him. But first, Vicky’s message. She’d procrastinated long enough…
“Hey sis, call when you can. It’s nothing urgent. Just an update on the Dan situation. He kinda confronted me again, but this time Nick was waiting in the car, so things got a bit heated. Nothing terrible! It’s just that Dan is really pissed we won’t give him your new phone number, so he threatened to drive up there and find you in what he terms ‘hickville.’ Nick said he’d slap a restraining order on him, but Dan said he had a right to take a vacation where he wants, it’s a free country, blah blah. He backed off on the finding you part, but I’m worried about it. Nick thinks he’s all talk, but I dunno…”
[to be continued]
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