Where present meets past . . .

“I’m outta here,” Theda Johnson hissed. “Tell Kelsey not to worry about me. I’m going to Searcher’s Point to spend break with my grans.” She hugged Cassidy. “I’ll call you when I get there.”

       She grabbed her tote and picked up her Diet Coke. When she reached the doors, she glanced back to see Nicole Sumner slap Kelsey’s cheek. The contact of hand to cheek followed Theda down the hall.

      Good. Wish I could do the same thing. She raced to the principal’s office. If I can just get out of here before Kelsey misses me. “Phfftt!” Not a problem. He’s too busy fighting with Nicole.

. . . “Gran, it’s Kelsey. Please talk to me.”

      “Kelsey, dear, I’m glad you’ve called.”

      “Where is she? How is?” He held his breath. “Will she talk to me yet?”

      “I don’t think so. I’ve tried to coax her into a call, but you need to know she’s really upset.  You also know how stubborn she can be when she’s upset.” . . .

      “This isn’t the way I wanted to have the conversation but it’s the best I can do.”

      “This isn’t the way I want to hear the details either.” She took a deep breath. “I’m going to ask you politely not to call back. If I want to talk to you, I’ll call you.” She smiled when he started to argue. “I love you.”

      He heard the dial tone and swore.

“Take your hands off my brother’s girl, Cane,” Lucas demanded. “You SOB, don’t you have enough women you’ve ruined who take care of your needs?”

      Darcy turned his attention to the intruder. “Where the hell did you come from?”

      “Doesn’t matter, does it?” Lucas now stood beside Theda, his fists clenched. “Get back to the house, Thea,” he hissed at her. “I’ll meet you there in a minute.”

      Theda quickly found the clearing that led to the path back to the inn. She was anxious to return to the safety of the grans. She sighed then took her ritualistic deep breaths, finally able to collect herself. Good grief! What was that all about? I can’t believe that guy snuck up on me without my Six-cents alerting me. She gave herself a shake, anxious to rid her body of tension.

      I don’t want to upset Gran. I also want to know what the hell is going on over there.

      Theda heard the rustle of leaves. She turned and saw Lucas walking towards her. She let him catch up to her then began walking. When they reached the tree house, Lucas stopped her.