Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss part one of Chapter Two?
Chapter Two Continued
“Oh, shut up!” I said. “Right now, I’m debating on whether or not to get
groceries for just another week or if I should play it safe and get enough for
“Get enough for two, so it’ll last you until after you get the job,” Tori said
excitedly. “But then again, if that happens—which it will—you’ll get a place
closer to town, I assume. And you don’t want to have to move a bunch of
groceries from the motel to wherever you wind up. So… maybe just shoot
for a weeks’ worth? I’m going to drag you out to eat at least one more time
before the committee meeting. We could go rental shopping together
tomorrow and grab lunch if you want?”
“I can’t even think about that right now.” I grabbed a few cans from the
shelves, including baked beans. I could make tacos one night. I didn’t have
much to do at the motel other than work on my presentation and plan
out meals, so I resisted the urge to buy too much processed stuff. In the
past few days, I’d snacked too much out of boredom.
“You want the job. The job means staying in Golden for a while, you
know?” Tori said. “You can handle that, can’t you, Hope?”
“I can handle it,” I said, though I didn’t feel it. Tori missed my tone.
“If you can handle it, stop wearing a disguise to the store,” Tori insisted.
“Look, I know this is hard for you, but you can’t keep hidden forever.”
I exhaled. “Fine. Fine! I’m taking the hat off—jerk!” I laughed, yanking my
hat off. “Look, let me finish shopping, and I’ll call you later. Maybe we can
do brunch tomorrow?”
“Ooh, are you going to wear a Halloween mask to brunch?”
“Hanging up now, Tori,” I said. “Talk to you tomorrow.” I hung up the
phone, stuffing my hat into the cart and removing my sunglasses. She’s
probably right. I am being overly dramatic.
My heart leaped as I spun around and came eye to eye with the one
person I wanted to avoid more than anyone else: Dustin Peterson. For a
split moment, I contemplated how to react. Hide? Pretend not to see him?
Lie and act like he was confused and mistaken me for someone else?
Smile? Be excited? Were we on handshake or hug terms?
“Hey, Dustin,” I said as plainly as I could.
He blinked like he thought he saw a ghost.
My breath caught.
Dustin hadn’t changed a bit. He had the same rugged features and
“What are you doing here?” he asked, taking a few anxious steps closer
like he thought I’d disappear if he came too close. “When did you get back
“Um,” I said, realizing instantly Dustin had no idea why I was there.
Hadn’t Tori told him who would be putting in a proposal at the committee
meeting? “I’m not exactly back,” I said. “Well, I might be. We’ll see, I
suppose. I may have a job out this way.”
“In Golden?” he asked, looking skeptical. “You disappear for, what’s it
been, five years? And you come back suddenly for a job? Did life in LA not
pan out for you?”
I crossed my arms and smirked. “Last time we spoke, I was heading out
to Bali. How’d you know I landed in LA? You been spying on me online or
Dustin had never been one to get frazzled from embarrassment, but he
took a step back. “Well, I, um….”
I couldn’t help myself. I laughed. “I’m just kidding, Dustin.”
“People talk,” he said. “I’m sure I heard it from Tori. She and I are on the
town committee together now. You two are still chummy, right?”
“Of course,” I said. “I know I’ve been gone, but I haven’t completely
disconnected from Golden.”
Dustin was quiet. He switched his grocery basket from his right hand to
his left and straightened; a thought seemed to occur to him. “Tori…” he
muttered. “You’re here for the restoration of the Clock tower! You’re the
other bid, aren’t you?”
I took a breath. “Yes, Dustin, that’s me.”
He cocked his head back. “Work that bad you’ve got to get your high
school friend to try to get you a job back in your hometown? That’s just
I put my hands on my hips, unable to believe his nerve.
“I know you did not just say that to me,” I said. “I’m interested in the job
because it’s going to look good on my resume. I need to spice it up, so
when Tori called me and told me Golden was looking for an architect, I
decided to throw my name in the hat.”
“Of course you did,” he said, sounding gravely disappointed. “You know
you’re going up against Revival, right? They specialize in revitalizing small
towns, hence the name. Do you even have anything like that on your
resume? Have you ever done anything other than a few office buildings in
I laughed at him. “Oh, wow, you have been creeping on me online,
haven’t you? You’re checking out what I’ve been up to, Dustin?”
“I told you I’m not,” he countered. “Well, whatever. Welcome back to
Golden, I suppose.”
“Why do you have an attitude with me, Dustin?” I asked.
“You know what, I’m not getting into it in a grocery store,” he said. “You
just finish your shopping. I’m sorry I said anything. Should have just
pretended I didn’t see you.”
“Yeah, you probably should have,” I said and then took a breath.
“Dustin, I’m sorry. I wasn’t expecting to run into you.”
“I certainly wasn’t expecting to see you either,” he admitted and then
took a calming breath as well. “I’m sorry. You just took me off guard, that’s
all. I don’t mean to be hostile. I’ll leave you alone, let you do your shopping.
I suppose I’ll see you at the committee meeting .”
“Yes,” I said. “I’ll see you then.”
We walked off in opposite directions. I’m going to kill Tori for talking me
into taking my hat and glasses off!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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