The Best Goodbye(2)

By: Abbi Glines

We were living in the guest house of one of the massive beach homes that lined the shore. The only resident in the main house was an elderly lady, Diana Baylor, who seemed thrilled to have us right outside her back door. It was a good fit for all of us.

Without this job, I would have no reason to get close to River. And I had a mission. One I was no longer so sure of. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t doing this for me. My needs and desires had taken a backseat nine years ago when Ann Frances had entered the world and become my reason for living.

The day Franny had turned five, she’d asked for one thing: to meet her father. Every year since then, that was all she ever asked for, on her birthday and on Christmas Day, without fail. She wanted to know her dad like her friends knew theirs. I’d made excuses and tried to compensate for the fact that she only had me. But then I had begun looking for the boy I had loved so much, then one I’d sacrificed everything for to keep him safe.

Looking back, I wondered if my sacrifice was a mistake. Franny’s plea to meet her father made me feel I’d failed her while trying to save River. But I’d been a kid myself then, with choices to make that affected the only people in the world I loved.

“Are you going to finish the job I gave you or stand there and do nothing?” Elle’s voice snapped me out of my thoughts. Her long dark hair was draped over her shoulders, and those catlike green eyes of hers glared at me. I wasn’t sure why she had decided to hate me, but she had.

“Captain told me to stop and help Brad in the kitchen,” I replied, trying not to let my dislike for her lace through my tone. If she complained to River, I was sure he’d fire me.

Elle was one of the biggest obstacles to my plan. I didn’t want anyone so vicious in Franny’s world. As much as my daughter wanted to know her father, I had to decide if that man was worthy of Franny. Sadly, I’d found after two weeks of working for him that he wasn’t exactly measuring up. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to fulfill my daughter’s one request.

“Fine. Then go. You’re wasting time. We have things to do,” she ordered, pointing toward the kitchen as if I didn’t know where it was.

With a sharp nod, I headed that way. No reason to stay in her presence any longer than necessary.


Nothing was running on schedule. We should have been closer to opening than we were, but I’d waited too long to hire the full staff. That mistake was on me. But now I was beginning to question my choice of employees. Fixing what was wrong with a restaurant was one thing; opening a whole new joint was another. This wasn’t what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I was questioning how much effort I wanted to pour into this place.

I was done with my past, but facing the future wasn’t proving to be easy or promising. Maybe I needed a new direction. Once this place was up and running, I’d leave it in someone else’s hands to operate and go find a fishing town somewhere with a bar on a pier that I could buy. Running a bar for a bunch of local fishermen seemed more my speed.

Getting this place open and running successfully had to happen first. Not just because I owed it to Arthur Stout, the owner, but because I always finished what I started. What Arthur was paying me would allow me to find that bar on a pier so I could finally enjoy the easy life.

“We need to fire that redhead. She’s not cut out for this,” Elle announced, as she walked into my office.

I didn’t have to ask her who she was referring to; I already knew. Rose Henderson was petite, with curves that could stop traffic and the face of an angel. The cute pair of glasses she wore didn’t hinder her looks, either; they just made her eyes stand out. That only made Elle hate her more. She didn’t like competition, and I could tell she saw Rose as a threat. Not because I’d given her any reason but because every male who worked here clearly noticed Rose. She was hard to miss.

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