Home > The Sometimes Sisters(9)

The Sometimes Sisters(9)
Author: Carolyn Brown

“We all got older.” Harper smiled.

“Well, duh,” Brook smarted off.

Harper stopped and leaned on the mop. “She reminds me of Tawny at that age.”

“She’s got some of you in her, too,” Dana said.

“I bet that makes you real happy.” Harper’s tone held an edge of sarcasm.

“Nope, it does not, because that means she’s like our father, and God only knows I’d rather she’d be like my mother. Mama might be wild and crazy, but she didn’t abandon me,” Dana said.

“There’s more than one way to abandon a kid,” Harper whispered.

“You got that right. Come on, Brook, let’s get to the house and finish putting things right,” Dana said.

They were out of the café, each of them carrying a dessert, when Brook asked her mother, “What did Aunt Harper mean by that?”

“Have no idea. You’ll have to ask her, but don’t expect an answer. I tried to get in touch, but . . .” She shrugged.

“And Aunt Tawny?”

“I called her on the day she graduated from high school, but she was too busy to talk to me. So I figured that they knew where I was and if they wanted to get in touch, it was on them,” Dana told her.

“They’re both sad,” Brook said. “They remind me of you when you told me that you’d been fired at the ranch. You never told me why, Mama. I thought that those folks liked you a lot.”

“It’s a long story for a less stressful day. We’re used to getting up early, but tomorrow we start crawlin’ out at five thirty.”

Brook stopped in her tracks, dropped her chin to her chest dramatically, and moaned. “Why would we do something stupid like that?”

“Store opens at six so the fishermen can get supplies for their day. And I called the school before we left the ranch. The school bus runs right by the store at seven thirty every morning,” Dana said.

“But why five thirty? That’s two hours before the bus runs.”

Dana stopped to hug Brook. “So we can eat the fantastic breakfast that Uncle Zed makes every morning before everyone else arrives. You don’t want to hurt his feelings, do you?”

“No, but I have one more question.” Brook sighed.

“Well, spit it out.”

“Is it too late to change my mind about moving to this place?” Brook asked.

“I’m afraid so,” Dana told her.


Harper awoke on Friday morning with a clear head, and although her eyes hurt from crying so much the day before, they weren’t nearly as bloodshot. It was still dark at five o’clock that morning as she made her way from her cabin to the café. Stars twinkled in the sky, but the promise of a pretty day was carried in the sweet spring air. In her previous job, the bar didn’t even close down until two in the morning. By the time she got things cleaned up and made her way to her tiny little apartment above the place, it was usually after three and she could still smell beer and whiskey that found its way up the back stairs. Then it took at least an hour to wind down before she could sleep.

“So I should be going to sleep about now, not waking up to the smell of roses and pure lake water. I could be happy here forever. If it weren’t for my sisters.”

“Mornin’. Who are you talkin’ to?” Zed said when Harper entered the café. “Have a cup of coffee and sit with me for a few minutes. We’ll get the breakfast goin’ at five thirty. Won’t be nobody here this mornin’ but you girls, so we won’t have too much to do.”

“Good mornin’ to you. So our day won’t be rushed?”

“Not this mornin’, but it’ll pick up this evening,” Zed answered.

“Why are we even open? Granny’s only been gone two days.”

“Because that’s what she made me promise. The day she passed on I was to call you girls, and the next day we were to be closed so y’all could get settled in. But on the day after that, we were to open shop for business as usual,” he answered.

The coffee machine offered decaf, dark roast, and hot water. Packages of instant hot chocolate along with a few kinds of tea were in a basket on the table. She poured a cup of the dark roast and then ripped open two of the hot chocolate packets to add to it. A double shot of half-and-half and she could pretend that it was a mocha latte.

“We got a full house checkin’ in sometime between three and suppertime. That’s ten cabins full, so tomorrow mornin’ will be a lot different than this one. Flora’s comin’ about midmornin’ to make sure all the cabins are up and ready. We shut them down a week ago when the doctor said it was Annie’s last days. Whooo-wee!” He threw up both hands. “You can’t imagine the fit she threw over that. Said that she could die without us losin’ money.”

Harper sipped her coffee. “That’s Granny Annie. She believed that work never hurt anyone.”

“Yep.” Zed’s head bobbed up and down. “We worked seven days a week around here, but we got to do it together so we sure enough didn’t mind. Come seven o’clock at night, we’d close up the café and watch some television.” He rolled his eyes toward the ceiling to hold back the tears. “I’m glad you girls are here. Don’t know if I could handle it without y’all. I could hire help, but”—he hesitated—“family needs to be with family in these times.”

“Even if it’s a dysfunctional one?” she asked.

“Maybe more so.” He eased up out of his chair and carried his mug with him to the kitchen. Harper followed right behind him. He slid a pan of biscuits into the oven and then shook some flour over sausage that he’d already cooked in a deep cast-iron skillet.

“You can whip up those eggs, and I’ll get some pancake batter ready. Dana has got to go to school and enroll Brook this mornin’. I don’t expect that they’ll keep the child, since they’ll have to get all her records from the school she was in, but if they do, she’ll need a good breakfast. What they serve in lunchrooms these days is a cryin’ shame. Can’t have nothin’ fried,” Zed fussed as he slowly added milk to the skillet.

“Who’s goin’ to mind the store while she’s gone?” Harper picked up a whisk and went to work on a bowl full of eggs.

“Ain’t nobody here until after three and the locals don’t get up until midmornin’, so she can leave it for an hour or so. After today, it might be tough for her to get away through the daylight hours because she’ll be real busy. Not only is fishin’ season in full swing, but the local folks that own summer places have started to move in. Business is pretty steady most days. It closes at seven like the café, so her evenin’s are free. After breakfast you can take my grocery list to the store. We usually do our shoppin’ at Walmart in Tyler. I’ve got it ready, and I’ll send the company credit card with you,” he said.

“You goin’ to trust me with that?” Harper asked.

“Sure I will. You buy something not on the list, it comes out of your paycheck and I will cross-check the receipt with the list,” Zed answered.

It was straight up six o’clock when Tawny arrived at the café. Covering a yawn, she sniffed the air and went straight for the table where Zed and Harper had spread out the breakfast. She loaded a plate and took it to a table, returned for a cup of coffee, and headed back.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» The Sometimes Sisters
» All the Little Lights
» The Hardest Fall
» To Hate Adam Connor
» To Love Jason Thorn
» A Beautiful Funeral (The Maddox Brothers #5
» Beautiful Burn (The Maddox Brothers #4)
» Beautiful Sacrifice (The Maddox Brothers #3