The Promise: An NFH Novel
So, I’ve been very busy this weekend. It’s been crazy, getting ready for a friend to stay with us who is doing us a favor and doing the photo shoot for something special happening for us 🙂
I just realized what time it was so I came in here and decided to do a little sharing….
Meet Reed Bradford and Kelsey Lawson, the next NFH.
(I’m still dealing with Aidan and trying to figure out his story. I don’t want to force it)
“Kelsey?” he managed to get out as he tried to find the little girl that used to annoy the hell out of him in the small woman standing before him and…
God, she’d changed so much. She’d gone from a small little thing with bony arms and wobbly knees, ink stained fingers, and messy brown hair to this cute little thing with broken twigs and leaves tangled in her dark brown hair, an infectious smile, beautiful bright green eyes, and generous curves that he felt like an asshole for noticing.
“What the hell are you doing here?” he asked, still unable to believe that this was really Kelsey, the annoying little pain in the ass that had done her best to give him a heart attack when they were kids.
“Came home,” she said with a shrug.
“I see,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief, because he honestly never thought that he would see her again. “So, you flew home and-”
“Oh no, I drove here,” she interrupted him with a smile. “It took ten hours longer than it should have, but that probably had something to do with the incident at the drive thru,” she explained with a simple shrug and that smile that he couldn’t help but find adorable on her even as he asked, “Drive thru?”
She pursed her lips up, looking thoughtful. “Now that I think about it, the manager was probably right about the clown.”
“The clown at the drive thru where you give your order. When I didn’t hear anything, I went to push the button to call someone.”
“Sounds reasonable,” he found himself murmuring.
“I thought so, too,” she said, nodding. “But, I couldn’t reach the button so I opened my door and accidentally hit the clown, but the fireman said the fire would have happened anyway. Faulty wiring and all that,” she mumbled quickly, with a helpless shrug.
“I see,” he said softly as childhood memory after childhood memory hit him, leaving him standing there seriously wondering how she was still alive.
Granted, he’d been wondering that since the day he’d stumbled across her at the playground down the street, barely two-years-old and already pissing off all the other kids. He’d been forced to step in when the rest of the toddlers tried to bury her alive in the sandbox. He still wasn’t sure what she’d done to piss them off, but from that day on it had somehow become his job to keep the little pain in the ass out of trouble. He’d lost count of how many times he’d had to step in over the years to save her ass and this time wouldn’t be any different.
“My insurance is covering the repairs. The manager said the restaurant should be open again in a week at the latest. Thankfully no one got hurt. Well, except for Johnny.”
“Johnny?” he croaked, not sure he wanted to hear this.
She waved it away, unconcerned. “Johnny the burger clown.”
His lips twitched. “I see.”
“It’s fine, though, because I have really good insurance,” she added absently only to frown as she looked around the parlor, getting her first good look at the old house in years.
The old place was rundown, covered in an inch of dust and cobwebs, the wallpaper was peeling off, the ceiling was cracked, the heat was broken, and the water hadn’t been turned on in ten years, and there was no way in hell that he could let her stay here.
“Brian shut the water off years ago,” he said, really wishing that he could walk away, but he owed her grandfather too much to do that.
“Oh,” she said with an adorable frown as she took in the old parlor, once again making Reed wonder why Brian had held on to this place. “What about the heat?”
Once his grandparents passed away, Brian stopped staying here when he was on leave. Brian normally crashed with him or with whatever bar bunny he’d picked up for the night. Reed couldn’t even remember the last time that Brian checked on the old place. Between the taxes and the insurance, this house just wasn’t worth keeping, but every time Reed suggested that he sell it, Brian would just shrug it off and tell him that he would think about it.
“Broken,” he said, wondering why she really came back here.
Nodding absently, she mumbled, “I see,” as she reached up and pushed her messy hair back before releasing a heavy sigh. “I guess I’ll stay at a hotel until I get them fixed. Is there still a Marriot on Chase Street?”
“You can stay with me,” he found himself saying, because he couldn’t send Brian’s little sister to a hotel.
“Oh,” she said, as she turned to take another look around and somehow managed to trip over her own two feet and go face first into her grandfather’s old chair.
“That must be some insurance,” he said as he dragged her back up to her feet.
© Rerum Industries, Inc.