Shade's Fall(7)

By: Jamie Begley

“Nothing that a little rest won’t solve, Razer.” Lily’s eyes went back to the cooking show on the television.

Razer’s cell rang and he headed into the kitchen to answer it.

The program was almost over when Beth came back downstairs. Her pale-blonde hair had been smoothed down and she had put on smoky eye shadow, giving her a sexy look. Her jeans and t-shirt with boots were all casual, yet Lily saw her lay a covered dress bag on the stair rail.

“I can’t wear my skirt on Razer’s bike.” She always explained with the same reason each time she carried her clothes to the clubhouse.

Lily picked at the red rubber band. They treated her like a child, and Lily was becoming frustrated that they watched everything they said around her.

“I guess we’ll be going.”

“Have fun.” Lily rose from the couch, giving her sister a hug, her frustration at her sister’s over-protectiveness disappearing at Beth’s look of concern. “Don’t worry; I’m going to spend the night catching up on my reading.”

Beth gave her a relieved smile. “What are you going to read?”

“I haven’t decided yet. I have one about discovering Alaska that I haven’t read. I usually read inspirational.” Lily smiled. “It may inspire me to leave the lower forty-eight.”

“Alaska?” Beth asked, picking up her dress bag.

“When I graduate, I’m thinking of going there. That’s why I wanted to work this summer. I’ve been saving all my paychecks,” Lily said enthusiastically.

“Lily, give me time to get over almost losing you before you start talking about going to Alaska.”

“All right.” Lily laughed, opening the door for her sister. Beth went out frowning while Razer’s amused chuckle had her looking up into his laughing eyes.

“Lil’ sis, I think you need to dream about visiting a warmer climate.” He followed his wife out the door.

Lily locked the door behind them, already missing their company. She didn’t enjoy being by herself. The problem was, she didn’t fit in with most groups. People her own age thought she was old-fashioned, older groups thought she was immature; the only place she really fit in was at church.

Lily went to the closet and took out her reading bag that she had placed there when she had come home from the library the other day. Taking the oversized bag to the couch, she took a seat, making herself comfortable before she pulled out the large book she was looking for.

The book had a cover of the Alaskan wilderness, which had instantly stirred Lily’s sense of adventure. Opening the book, she relaxed back against the soft cushions, tucking her feet underneath her.

She had just turned to the third page when the doorbell rang. Lily went to the door and checked the peephole, pausing before she opened it.

“Open the door, Lily,” Shade’s impatient voice sounded from the other side.

Lily did as he’d asked, coming face to face with Shade.

He held out his hand with keys in the palm. “Rider fixed the battery in Beth’s car.” Lily wondered why he hadn’t just left it at the clubhouse—Beth could have simply driven it home tomorrow—yet she stayed silent about that.

“Thanks.” Lily reached out, taking the keys from his palm, careful not to touch him.

“Do you mind if I come in? I want to order some Chinese and they won’t deliver to the clubhouse.”

“Of course not.” Lily opened the door wider, letting Shade inside before closing it behind him.

He pulled out his cell and then Lily heard him ordering his food as she retook her seat on the couch. Picking up her book, she started reading again, ignoring the man that had her jumpy again.

Shade took a seat on the couch beside her, looking at the book she was reading. Unconsciously, she stiffened, about to get up from the couch, but Shade’s hand on her thigh pressed her back into the cushions. Taking the book from her, he turned it so that he could look at the pages.

“You like Alaska?”

“Yes,” Lily said, remaining still.

Shade turned another page. “What do you like about it?”

“The snow. I love snow. I like how pretty it looks on the mountains in the winter.” Lily was aware of how silly she sounded.

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