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For The Strength of Youth

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    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
 
Submitted by spazmom on 26 February 2007 - 2:10pm. |

The next morning I even managed to crawl out of bed by 9 a.m. They were already eating breakfast by the time I was showered and dressed, but I remembered Sunday’s to be rather lazy at the Palmer household. I sat down at the large wood table, running a hand through my still damp hair.

“Good morning!” Mari greeted me as she came out of the kitchen with a fresh plate of pancakes.

“Good morning.” I smiled up at her. “Boy does this smell good.”

She grinned and sat down next to Bill who was finishing a bite. “How’d you sleep?” She asked, handing me the jug of syrup.

“Great,” I poured the homemade sauce over my pancakes with relish. “It was the best nights rest I’ve gotten in a long time, believe it or not.”

“Good,” boomed Bill, his mouth now empty. “You needed our good fresh sea air to energize you, girl.”

I laughed at the sparkle in his eyes, so like his son’s. “Don’t give me that. The Great Salt Lake can stink just as bad as your ocean!”

Bill laughed just as Sean walked in. I knew then that last night had been no dream. He was looking handsome as ever in a pare of snug (I do mean snug) acid washed jeans and a T-shirt advertising Mt. Hood that fit in all the right places.

“It may smell as bad,” Sean teased as he sat down next to me, totally wiping out my appetite, “But it’s not as beautiful.”

I forced my brain to stay in gear. "It is so!" I argued. "We have gorgeous sunsets."

He shook his head as he poured me a glass of the orange juice he'd brought in before pouring himself one. “So, you’re all rested up, huh?” I nodded as I took a sip of juice. “Good.” He glanced up at Mari. “She ought to be up for our plans of the day.”

I looked over at her in surprise. “Plans? What’s up for today?” At least the orange juice reawakened my appetite. I dug into the pancakes while I waited for her answer.

“We thought we would drive along the Columbia River Gorge today.”

I stopped chewing and looked over at Sean who grinned. “Feel up to more sight seeing?”

I nodded and looked over at Mari and Bill. “Are you two going?” I was surprised, Mari and Bill had never been ones for doing sight seeing when I'd come before.

“Why yes, dear,” Mari seemed just as surprised at my question.

“'Bout time we went and saw the falls again,” Bill said gruffly.

“We thought we’d take a picnic lunch to eat at the falls,” Mari added, her eyes sparkling with enthusiasm. “And then have dinner at the restaurant by the locks.”

“That will be great!” I said, trying to swallow. “What a perfect day for it!”

And it was. Little fluffy white clouds in a gorgeous blue sky. It was a wonderful August day. I couldn’t believe how fun it was to walk along with Sean and his parents, taking pictures from the road stops. It was fun to be at Crown Point again and see the view of Washington, and Mt. St. Helen’s.

Sean and I stood for a moment at the rock half-wall, gazing into the hazy horizon where the mountains gleamed.

"I love this view." I said softly, leaning back against his firm chest. "It's almost as if you can see forever."

His arms slid around and held me there, his chin on my head. He didn't say anything - simply held me tight as we gazed before his parents called that it was time to go. It was a moment that made my heart feel as if it could accept things - I'd never felt so comfortable with a man before. Sighing with regret over having to leave this wonderful view, I turned in his arms, and he kissed me quickly before we headed off to the car.

We didn’t stop too many places so we could get to Multnomah Falls. I hoped I was up to the hike. I hadn’t gone to the top since I was a kid, and I had run half the way then.

Multnomah Falls is one of the most gorgeous places on the earth, I think, but then I'm prejudiced. It’s set back from the road, although one can see it from the freeway. Surrounded by lush green trees, ferns and plants, it's a tropical forest available for all.

We parked off to the side where parking was allowed, and got out the picnic stuff to carry up. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it, when Sean’s parents took off at a steady walk up the beginning of the trail. I was kind of hoping we would go up to the top and then come back down in the basket to get the lunch. But they each had a handle of the picnic basket in hand, leaving Sean and I with a backpack full of stuff which he promptly commandeered and flung over his shoulder.

The trail is wide enough most of the time for a car to traverse, but no cars are allowed - It’s only for nature lovers. At various spots along the switch back trail you can see Washington State and Mount St. Helen’s. It’s a wonderful hike.

At first Sean and I kept up with his parents, keeping up a conversation about old times. Then, as we were about half way up the switchbacks, Sean took hold of my hand and pulled me back.

“Mind if we talk, Angel?” He asked, walking slower.

Actually, I was glad to slow down a little. My legs were telling me torture would be kinder. “Sure,” I was enjoying the feel of his hand in mine.

We walked on for a minute, and I glanced at him to see a look of concentration on his face. “Is something wrong?” I wondered what took such thought.

He grinned over at me, and I felt warm all over. He was so handsome!

“No, nothings wrong," he assured me. "I just wanted to talk to you about some things. For one, I really did enjoy yesterday, and last night.”

His hand squeezed mine and I was reminded of our kisses - this morning's kiss having brought all the feelings back from that touch.

Oh boy, I thought, my knees going weak, I’ll never make to make it to the top at this rate!

“I’ve had more fun today than I remember having in a long time,” he continued. “This may sound funny, but it's even been fun with my parents. For some reason, we get along so well now, I feel more like an equal - although they’re still Mom and Dad.”

I smiled. “That’s neat, Sean. I’m sure they're glad to have you home.”

He shrugged, glancing out over the river. “Um, well, the reason I wanted to talk was - well, I wanted to ask you on a date, sort of.”

I stopped in the middle of the path to stare at him and then gulped as we shifted to one side, letting some hikers go past us. Why did that surprise me? Yesterday had pretty much been a date. I guess I just thought dates were more formal than the relationship we seemed to be building.

I started walking again, a little pink in the face--I could feel it.

“I guess that surprised you a little, didn’t it?” Sean stated dryly.

I nodded. “Yeah - but I don’t know why it should have. What did you have in mind?”

“Wednesday is a talent show at the school. I’d like to take you.” He sounded like it was no big deal, but I remembered suddenly that he’d had that disastrous relationship back east. That had been one of his reasons for coming home. So, he probably hadn’t dated much since he’d been home, if at all. I realized that this was probably difficult for him.

Smiling, I tried to ease his fears. “I’d love to go.”

He sighed and turned to smile at me, his clear blue eyes warming me to my toes. “I’m so glad you came back!”

I hoped he could see how I felt as clearly as I could see his - because I felt the same way he did. I really liked him.

He intertwined his fingers in mine and we continued our hike up the trail. We went a little slower now because it was beginning the steeper part of the trail.

“There is one slight problem,” Sean said after a minute, his voice hesitant.

“What’s that?”

“I have already asked my parents to go.” His tone of voice indicated his thoughts on that, and I laughed.

“Oh, that’s okay, we could probably use a chaperone.”

Sean laughed hard at that, pulling me close to give me a brief hug and even briefer kiss. “You’re probably right,” he agreed. “Especially after last night.”

That reminded me of something I wanted to tell him, and I bit my lip before I pulled on his arm to get him to look at me. “I want you to know,” I said hesitantly, “I - I don’t normally kiss the first night I go out with anyone.”

Sean stopped and looked at me, his expression somber, obviously realizing I was serious. He stepped close and touched my face with his other hand.

“I never thought anything like that,” he admitted softly. “I just couldn’t help myself.”

I smiled weakly, feeling ready to collapse at his touch. “I just wanted you to know.”

His face eased into his wonderful smile, and he pulled on my hand. “C’mon, let’s catch up with the “Old folks!” He laughed, shaking his head. “We’re not going to hear the end this.”

I grinned as I looked how far ahead they had gotten. “I don't think they'll be too hard on us,” I assured him, and he smiled wryly.

“That’s not the half of it,” he said under his breath.

I glanced over at him, not sure I had been meant to hear. “What do you mean?”

“Oh,” he looked over at me, realizing I had heard. The look on his face was suddenly unreadable, and I wondered what was going on in that head of his. More secrets? How many could he have?

He took so long to answer, that I'd decided he was going to drop it. Perhaps he would tell me later, when he was ready.

“My parents have been after me to get married again.” He dropped the bombshell without any preamble, and I stopped in my tracks, not caring who I was blocking on the trail.

“Married?” I gasped, staring at him in disbelief. Then, it all clicked into place. The girl from back east hadn’t just been a fling - she had been his wife, and the divorce had torn him up. It put the night before in a different perspective. No wonder he had left the car - after once having the freedom of intimacy in marriage, it must have been hard to try and resist it.

“Wow.” I didn't know what to say. My feelings floundered around as I wondered why he hadn't felt able to mention it earlier, or why no one else had mentioned it. Perhaps it just wasn't quite the intro material - 'hey, by the way, my son was married but now he's divorced and available?'

Feeling my heart settle with the knowledge he was trying to get things out in the open now, I searched his handsome face. He looked wary and the expression on his face was bleak.

“She was you’re wife," I said slowly, looking down at his left hand which I was holding. There was no mark - no indication there had ever been a ring there. "Why didn’t you want to tell me?”

He looked up the path and we started walking again. I squeezed his hand, wanting to reassure him I was wasn't angry and wanted to listen. “It’s been hard, you know?” He glanced over at me and then away. “When I mentioned it to other women, they ran in the other direction. It seemed as if they all felt it was something I’d done, not my ex-wife.”

He took a shaky breath. “I got home and had no interest in dating. My parents tried to be patient, but they also felt if I could just meet the right person the pain would fade away. They kept telling me it would ease the wounds and stuff.” He shrugged lightly and kept striding on. “I just wasn’t able to make myself be interested in anyone since Suzette.”

I made a face as I stomped up the path beside him. If I ever meet that woman, I thought angrily, and then had to laugh at myself. When did I think that was ever going to happen? How often did I go back east?

Sighing softly, I looked at the haggard expression on the man next to me. He had opened up to me in such little time. How could he have been so sure of my reaction? To have no faith in women when he came back, when so many of them have preconceived notions of divorced men - it was simply astounding he'd been willing to talk to me.

I guess at one time I might have felt the same way as those women - but that was before Sean. Since last night, I seemed to have lost all perspective on that score.
“Thank you for telling me,” I said finally, and he squeezed my hand in response, and that was all we needed to say for now.

We caught up with his parents at the top of the trail and enjoyed the view for a while. I took some more pictures and then we decided to find a place to eat. We had a wonderfully lazy afternoon, eating, talking, and Sean and I gazing at each other.

I was sure his parents found this very humorous, but I couldn’t help it. I was drawn to him unlike any other man I had ever known - the cliche 'a moth to the flame'. He seemed to have the same interests I did, and we could talk about everything. I’ve never been able to talk this freely with a man.

I caught Bill observing us with a twinkle in his eyes a couple of times, and I sighed. I don’t know why it should make me feel the need to blush, but I knew it was going to show up anytime.

Although we were talking about pretty much anything, Sean seemed determined to keep the subjects light and non-conflict inducing. His parents didn’t seem to be disposed to anything else, and it was a delightful day. I realized as I helped pack the lunch away that I had been wound up so tight I hadn’t been able to breathe. I remembered again that this was the first vacation I'd taken in a long time, I hadn't realized how much I needed one.

Looking over at Sean as he shouldered the pack, I realized that I hadn’t experienced a serious relationship in a while either. I think I had been avoiding them. Sean was like a breath of spring air after a stale winter.

He smiled at me and held out his hand, and I slipped mine into it, feeling the familiar shiver of excitement at his touch. I was beginning to wish I didn’t have to go back to Utah.

I could tell Bill and Mari were beginning to tire, the chatter and joking had basically stopped and she was leaning rather heavily on him. Glancing at Sean, I saw that he agreed with me - it was a good thing we had decided to go down in the basket. We walked slowly to the car and loaded everything back up. Everyone was ready to sit for a while. We drove out to the locks and strolled along them for awhile until Bill voiced the thought that his stomach was going to eat itself.

We all laughed at that and trouped into the restaurant he had been telling me about all day. Bill may have been a lumberjack in his youth, but he was still a fish lover and fished every opportunity he could.

I mean big fish, the kind you find out in the ocean. He and a friend owned a fishing boat and would go out to catch sturgeon and tuna and stuff. He would catch Salmon once in a while, but that was too tame for him. Because of that interest, he loved this restaurant at the locks. Apparently once in a while you could see Salmon going over it during the Salmon runs.

He also like watching the boats, or I should say Barges, go through the locks. I remember him taking me here when I was little and being fascinated with the huge freighters that came through. He hadn't changed.

The waiter seated us and we all looked at our menus and chatted about the day. I was so relaxed, I didn’t feel like the same person who had gotten up that morning. Yet, it seemed as if I was finely tuned to Sean’s every move, the tone of his voice, every look on his face.

I'm going crazy, I thought in the back of my mind, and wished I had someone I could talk to about what was happening. Was it too fast? Was Sean expecting too much of me? I sighed and put my menu down, knowing it wouldn’t really matter what I ordered, my stomach was in knots again, as it always seemed to flip flop around this man.

On top of that, I wasn’t sure what I could bring up for conversation any more. We had pretty much covered everything I could think of with the exception of where Sean worked, and he had told me that was taboo.

I glanced over at Sean who chose that moment to give me a look that melted my insides. Those eyes of his...

We were all pretty quiet while the waitress came and took our orders, but there was tension building and I felt as if something was going to explode. Right then Bill cleared his throat and fixed his gaze on Sean. Mari had been saying something about the BBQ they were having Monday, but I figured she realized none of us were listening when she quieted at Bills non-to-subtle hint.

Bill looked as if he had been thinking something over and had decided that it was time to get it out in the open.
“Sean,” he began, keeping his voice to a low rumble in the restaurant. “I understand you’ve been having some drug problems over at the school.”

I bit my lip, dismayed that it had come out in the open. Sean had told me this was a sore subject - hadn’t we been avoiding it all day?

“Yeah,” Sean admitted, his tone even, his face showing resignation at having the subject come up.

“Do you know the boy?” Bill’s expression was hard.

I shivered a little and turned to look out of the window. Why I was so uncomfortable with this confrontation, I couldn’t quite decide. But, I couldn't keep the little thought from popping into my head - did it have something to do with what happened to Dave?

Sean shook his head. “No, it wasn’t any of my students. I guess the big fuss was someone had tipped off the authorities, and that’s why it was found. It’s all of a sudden drugs now,” he added, sounding frustrated. “We haven’t had drug problems before this year. It’s been a source of pride for the school, you know, a big PR for them that they could boast about. But this year,” he shook his head, fingering his fork. “Since February we have had four different drug busts and they have been large - big enough to dope up the whole school. The administration’s very edgy and the parents are getting uptight. They want to know what's being done. Many of them have been threatening to withdraw their sons. It's become really tense."

I gasped at the information. “That much? So someone must be trying to start a ring! Have they discovered anything?”

Sean shook his head and Bill shook his, his disapproval obvious. “It makes me nervous, son.” He looked down at his glass of water he’d been holding as if he wished it were something stronger. "I talked to Shirley the other day and he says there has been a real uprise in usage in Astoria. I feel somehow that it’s connected.”

Sean frowned as they brought our salads. I glanced nervously at Mari, realizing she was being really quiet. It looked like she was trying to avoid hearing anything that was said. It made me wonder how many times they had been through this, and how it usually ended for her to have a turtle perspective.

“C’mon, Dad,” Sean started as soon as the waitress left, sounding a little angry. “I can see why you’d think that, but what else can we do? Haven’t the police been watching the entrances of Astoria real close? Don’t they pick up people who hang around street corners? The school is inside Astoria boundaries. Nothing can get in there unless it’s smuggled, and that could happen anywhere. Family members come all the time and friends too, you know.”

"I know that," Bill admitted, stabbing at his salad and taking a bite. "But I still say there has to be something more to this. I think you know more than you're telling us, maybe to keep us from worrying - I don't know. I also say where there's drugs, there's crime." He pointed his fork at Sean. "Just look at what happened at OSU last year."

I looked questioningly at Sean and he gave me a weak attempt at a smile. “There was a large crime operation uncovered there last year. But the students they busted said they weren’t the leaders!" he directed this last bit at his father. "Someone back east was getting the stuff to them, and taking the goods that were stolen. They were smuggling the stuff in and out in cars. Under the seats, in the wheel hubs, etc. Pretty professional for little town business.”

“Yeah, and one of the teachers got shot while trying to uncover the thing,” Bill inserted, attacking his salad again. That's why he's worked up, I thought with dismay. The whole reason for his fear - Sean's safety. I had never seen Bill this upset.

“Now Bill,” Mari finally interjected herself with a reluctant sigh as she picked at her salad. “I asked you to wait till you could talk to Sean by yourself. There’s no reason to put Angie through this.”

Bill frowned and thankfully the waitress came at that point with our dinners. I wasn't very hungry anymore, and looking around I could tell no one else was either. I sighed inwardly, wondering how this was going to play out. Obviously this was an on-going conversation, one that never seemed to have a conclusion.

Mari was a sweetheart to try and keep me out of it, but the way things seemed to be going between Sean and I, that wasn't going to work. I looked down at my plate of pasta and shrimp, wondering if I was going to be able to do it justice. The joy had simply gone out of the day with the talk of violence and crime. I didn't know how cops lived from day to day - dealing with it all the time. And Sean...

I glanced over at him, watching as he picked at his own dinner, the look on his face one of frustration and weariness. He wished he could do something about it too, I could tell. But how do you go about getting a new job when you're trying to build up tenure?

Sighing, I took a sip of water. This was not the kind of information I wanted to know, but it was out now.
Question was, what was Sean going to do about it?

“I noticed that the paint is peeling on the shed out back the other day,” Mari said suddenly. “I think we’d better get it painted before winter, or it’s going to be shambles by spring.”

Bill grunted.

“Too bad I didn’t think to do it before Angie got here,” she continued, ignoring his lack of response. “Then it would be done in time for the BBQ tomorrow.”

I intently studied my plate at that last sentence, not entirely comfortable with a BBQ in my honor - especially with all I'd found out about the problems with Sean's work. Not only did I feel this wasn't the right time, but I didn't remember any of the people around here. It wasn't like I was moving in or anything. It was going to be terribly uncomfortable. The only saving grace I could think of was Sean would be there. Thinking of him made me look up and discover he was looking at me.

The expression on his face was unreadable, but the warmth in those blue eyes wasn’t. All the conflict and confusion was wiped away at the look in those eyes and it made me catch my breath and hold it before I knew what I was doing.

Bill had finally given into Mari's attempts to talk about something else, and they continued to talk while Sean and I gazed at each other. “It’s been a fun day,” I said softly. He nodded, reaching under the table to lay his hand on my leg.

“Especially since you were with us,” he clarified, his voice low. “I’m glad you’re here, Angel.”

I swallowed against the emotions filling me. I had never felt this way before. Just hearing his voice sent my blood racing. “I-I’m glad I’m here too.” I reached under the table and put my hand on top of his.

We finally finished dinner and headed back to Astoria. It was a quiet trip as everyone appeared to be talked out and tired from the day’s activities. I was able to sit in the back with Sean, and enjoyed leaning next to him, his arm warm around my shoulders. I felt drained by the events of the day. One on hand, I wished I could do something to help Sean and his father, but on the other, I wasn’t sure there was anything I could do, or if I should try.

We arrived back at the house at about 9 p.m. the sun starting to set in a blaze of glory and I sat up reluctantly. Sean shifted and said something under his breath before he abruptly got out of the car, leaving me behind. Surprised by his actions, (I fully remembered the arm breaking routine) I slowly opened the door to see what was happening. Sean was standing by his car, then suddenly his fist hit the hood, followed by a string of words said softly but forcibly enough that I could still decipher their meaning - his face tight with anger. I went quickly to his side, tentatively touching his arm.

“Sean, what’s wrong?” I looked down at the ground where he was looking and realized what had upset him. Someone had slashed all of his tires and all were now flat - the car resting on the rims. I had never seen it done before, and it seemed brutal with the ragged edges of the slash marks showing.

“Someone slashed my tires.” His voice was full of the anger and frustration he'd expressed earlier, along with a tint of disbelief. He groaned, rubbing a hand over his face. “Dad is just going to love this.”

I bit my lip and turned to see his father come over from the car. I was afraid Sean was right. After the conversation they had just had at dinner, here was physical proof of his father’s worries.

“What’s wrong, Son?” Bill asked as he came to a stop next to me. “What the...” he broke off as he observed the damage.

“Yeah.” Sean’s face was tight, showing hard planes in the fading sun. “Guess you had it right after all.”

I gasped at the bitterness in his voice and he gave me a brief glance before he turned and walked into the house, Mari following after him - calling his name.

I stood numbly and stared at the tires, visual signs of the disagreement. I was a little shocked and dismayed by Sean’s reaction. I wished I knew what to say, but I didn’t - I felt completely useless.

Bill was silent as he surveyed the tires. “Well, I guess I’d better go call Shirley,” he muttered. “Come inside, Angie.” Turning, he headed toward the house. “There’s nothing to be done out here.”

I nodded and slowly followed him. Sean was already on the phone to the police and Mari was hovering near by.

“Oh, Bill!” She grabbed hold of his arm. “Why would someone want to do that to Sean? He’s never harmed anyone!”

“Maybe someone from the school.” Bill voice was full of anger and worry.

“Probably was someone from the school,” Sean said as he got off the phone. “They could have done it anytime today.”

Bill shook his head, his face suffusing with color. “What is going on there, Sean?” he demanded, folding his strong arms across his broad chest. “What are you involved in?”

“I’m not involved with anything, Dad!” Sean shot back angrily. “It just happens that one of the boys came to me when he found out about the drugs, and they fingered him.” He sighed, running a hand through his hair. His anger seemed to soften with the released breath and he shook his head. “"Someone has probably found out I'm working with the school administration and the police and are trying to send me a message. I’m not sure.” He gave a weak shrug. “Shirley said he’d send someone over in the morning.”

“Is it going to stop there?” Bill bellowed at his loudest, flinging his arms out wide. "Are they going to stop with giving you a warning? Or are you going to end up dead?"

I stepped back, afraid of the anger and frustration I heard in his voice. Surely this wouldn't get physical, would it? Father against son?

“I don’t know, Dad.” Sean's quiet statement seemed to check Bill's anger. I was amazed at his control. I could see his cheek muscles twitching while he tried to keep a lid on his own anger - watching the emotions on his father's face.

Bill instantly deflated, and he shook his head, giving a deep sigh. Finally after they looked at each other for a few minutes and both faces showed signs of calming – he put a hand on his son’s shoulder. “Look, Sean, I’m just worried for you! I can’t seem to do anything to protect you anymore.”

Sean nodded and gripped his dad’s shoulder, pulling them together. “I know, Dad. I know. I wish I knew what to do, but we’ll have to wait it out. Okay?”

Bill nodded and they squeezed each other’s shoulders before pulling apart. I was impressed. I wondered if this was an example of what had come out of their reunion. What had happened through all Sean had been through.

Bill took Mari into the kitchen and I stood with my arms clutched tightly together across my chest, watching Sean, wondering what he was going to do now.

“Are you going to work tomorrow?” I ventured softly after a few minutes of silence.

He sighed and looked over at me, almost as if he'd forgotten I was in the room, the expression on his face one I couldn’t read. “Yeah, I’ll be going. I’ll just be a little late. The kids will get a kick out of that.”

He came over to me and put a hand up, touching my cheek. “Can you try and forget this part of the evening and just remember the fun day we had?” he asked softly, his expression softening to the point where my knees went weak.

“I think I can do that," I assured him. "I enjoyed being able to see the falls from the top again.”

Sean sighed softly, as if letting go of the tension of the past couple of minutes. “It was fun to see them with you.” His voice sent shivers along my spine, and I felt the room was getting very warm.

“If I were smart, I’d tell you to stay away form me until this was cleared up,” he said, his hand still caressing my cheek. His eyes darkened at my beginning protest and he shook his head. “But I couldn’t bear not seeing you.”

“Nothing will happen to me,” I whispered, not wanting to move. “Besides, I don’t think I would go away if you did ask me.” I admitted with a slight smile. “I’d be too worried away from you, and I'd be too worried away from you, and -" I looked down, knowing I was crazy to admit it. "Too lonely."

"Lonely?" Sean's voice held a teasing note and a light entered his eyes. "Not lonely?" He pulled me close, holding me tight against him. “There’s no way I’ll let you ever be lonely.” His voice was husky in my ear. “You’re doomed to be bored by my company.”

“Bored?” I smiled at his sense of humor. “I’m afraid the last thing I would be is bored with you.”

He almost crushed me in his fierce hug, and I could only return it and hope nothing cracked. “I’d better let you go to bed,” he said, his voice thick. “Or I’ll be joining you.”

“Oh.” I knew I sounded like a little girl, but I couldn’t help it. “Good night Sean.”

“Good night, Angel.” He kissed my forehead. “Sweet dreams.”

I knew I’d have no other kind as I floated up the stairs. I knew for sure now that he felt something for me. That made tomorrow all the more interesting, I reflected as I prepared for sleep.

I just had one disquieting thought as I pulled the covers up over me. Was Sean in real danger? Or were we just imagining things?

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