The Time Between

The Time Between by Karen White Read Free Book Online

Book: The Time Between by Karen White Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen White
Tags: General Fiction
issued a driver’s license, but I’d still preferred to get around by boat or bicycle.
    We turned again, down the narrow dirt road that led to the large white house overlooking Steamboat Creek, near the dock where I’d once seen Finn tossing his paper airplanes into the wind. I’d been in the johnboat with Lucy, eagerly paddling in the opposite direction so he wouldn’t see us, afraid the off-island boy would want to come with us. I hadn’t told Finn, unsure if he’d welcome the knowledge that I’d witnessed that, had seen his aloneness as a child.
    The tires crunched over the unpaved drive, past the wax myrtles and a stand of pecan trees, until I reached the white house with the red roof. It had stood near the bend of the creek where it met the North Edisto River for nearly two hundred years, and it was clear from its defiant posture that it was planning on remaining there for at least as many more. A carved wooden sign that seemed to be almost as old as the house had been stuck into the earth right past the pecan orchard, announcing the house’s name: LUNA POINT .
    I pulled up behind a large white Cadillac, a relic of the eighties. Finn caught my gaze and gave a wry grin. “I need to get rid of that, but I don’t want Aunt Helena to feel like I’ve taken away all of her independence, even if she knows she’ll never drive it again.”
    I nodded in agreement. If it weren’t for Lucy and her Buick, I would have felt like a mouse in a maze with no exit. I turned off the ignition and we sat for a moment in silence. His long fingers drummed on his thighs and I realized with some surprise that he was nervous.
    Feeling a tinge of alarm, I asked, “She knows I’m coming, right?”
    He didn’t respond right away, which answered my question. I focused on not sagging against the headrest. “So what happens if she doesn’t want me to stay?”
    He turned cool gray eyes on me. “She’s unable to determine what is in her best interests right now. As her guardian and only surviving adult relation, I have to decide what she needs. And what I need. I can’t be with her all the time, but I know she wants to stay in her house. This is the only way I can make that work for both of us.”
    “All right,” I said, smoothing down my skirt and opening the car door. I glanced across the seat at him. “I just wish you’d explained that to me before . . .” I’d almost added
before I set all of my hopes on this.
    He looked at me with understanding, and I wondered how I hadn’t noticed this about him before, hadn’t realized that his gray gaze missed nothing yet at the same time created a barrier to seeing what lay behind them.
    “It’ll work out, Eleanor. It will.”
    I was tempted to believe him if only because he said so.
    The house was much as I remembered it, a raised cottage with a tabby foundation and front and back porches as wide as the house, each with a vista of creek or river. I was surprised to see that it was in good repair, having pictured it as being old and sick like the owner, then remembered that Finn was in charge of its upkeep.
    The white clapboard siding gleamed in the buttery morning sun, the smells and sounds of the island pulling me back for a moment as I remembered my happy childhood spent barefoot on the beach, digging for clams with Lucy and Eve and the summer children. Something like pain pressed at my heart, reminding me of why I never looked back at those days. Remembering made everything so much harder, like the flash of a camera that blinded you and sent you stumbling.
    Empty flowerpots sat on the steps leading up to the porch and on either side of the front door, the soil inside dry and brittle. Six white wicker rocking chairs faced sightlessly out toward the river, swaying like ghosts. Finn didn’t knock on the thick wooden door or press the doorbell before opening the door and motioning for me to enter.
    I found myself blinking in the sudden dimness. Although windows covered most of

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