weren’t for the wart on her chin, she’d look just like that actress with the tattoo on her shoulder. The one who adopted all the children?”
“Really?” Grier said.
“I keep tellin’ her she oughta get one of them laser doctors to take that thing off. But she just gets on her high horse and starts sayin’ how men are all about the superficial.”
“Hm,” Grier said, not sure what to add that would be anything remotely resembling diplomatic.
The elevator dinged, and the doors slid open.
Beaner stepped out and beckoned for Sebbie and her to follow. “You and your buddy are right down this way, Ms. McAllister.” At her door, he took the card and slid it into the lock. She stepped inside, removing Sebbie’s leash. He made a beeline for the king-size bed, hopping up and making himself at home among the quartet of pillows propped at the headboard.
Beaner pointed out the room’s amenities, mini-bar, TV, and pullout couch should she need it for any reason. “If you want anything at all now, you just buzz the front desk and ask for me.”
“Thank you so much,” she said, handing him a five.
He nodded, grinned and then ducked his head once before letting himself out of the room. As soon as the door closed behind him, Grier collapsed onto the bed next to Sebbie.
Her feet literally throbbed, and she held one foot in the air, managing to gingerly remove the strappy sandals before letting them drop to the floor. “Ah,” she said, thinking she might actually cry with the relief.
Sebbie cracked one eye as if to make sure she was all right, then buried his nose beneath a pillow and resumed his nap.
Her cell phone rang. She considered not answering it, then grabbed her purse off the floor and fumbled through the outside pocket until she found it.
Amy’s number flashed on the screen. “Hey,” Grier said.
“You’re there,” Amy Langley said on what sounded like a sigh of relief. “I’ve been calling for hours.”
“The service here seems to be somewhat intermittent,” Grier said, collapsing onto the bed again.
“You sound funny. Are you all right?”
“I had a little car trouble. Sebbie and I both are out of gas.”
“Tell him I miss him terribly.”
“I will,” Grier said, smiling.
“Is your car fixed?”
“It’s in the shop.”
“Should I get you a rental?”
“If it’s not ready by tomorrow. I won’t need it tonight.”
“How does it feel to be back home?”
“Everything look the same?”
“Yes and no.”
“Seen any old boyfriends yet?” Amy asked, cheeky.
“Unfortunately.” She immediately regretted the admission, not wanting to get Amy started on her find-a-man-for-Grier campaign.
“It was no big deal.”
“High school flame?”
“Ah. Is he married?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Grier said, eager to change the subject. “I won’t be seeing him again.”
“Too bad,” Amy said. “I thought for a second there you might be ending your dating drought.”
“I like my dating drought.”
“Grier, they’re not all like. . .”
“My last ten dates?”
Amy laughed. “They weren’t all bad.”
“You just haven’t met the right one.”
“And I’m not looking.”
“Well, it’s been like ages since you went out with anyone.”
“Have you heard me complaining?”
“No, but. . .”
“All right then. Gotta go. Busy here.”
“It’s not normal!” Amy managed to get in before Grier ended the call, flopping back on the bed and folding herself around a pillow. She wasn’t lonely. She’d turn herself into the Sahara desert of loneliness before she ever gave Darryl Lee Randall the satisfaction of knowing she’d given him a second thought in the years since she’d last been home.
When the rumbling of her stomach began to disturb Sebbie, who made his displeasure known with breathing sounds that could only be equated to a heavy sigh, she got up and headed for the shower. She stood
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