Char nodded. “I know, and of course I feel the same way. It’s just that it’s all amping up again—the resort, the past, and I can’t stop it or help them. I worry, too, about them.”
Lily met Char’s gaze in the mirror. “What’s amping up again?”
“Oh, never mind my ramblings.” Char waved her words off like she regretted uttering them in the first place. “It’s just me being silly. You’re doing a great job on my hair, honey.”
Lily took in Char’s expression, carefully blank now. Clearly she’d said more than she’d wanted. Lily wanted to push, wanted to … what? Help? She could barely help herself.
And then there was Aidan.
She didn’t need to know what was going on in his life. She was here to earn some money until a real job came through.
That was it.
She was not here to reminisce or daydream about Aidan. Besides, if she was going to think about him at all, it was to hope that he’d taken one look at her and was even now pining away for what he could’ve had all those years ago.
Later, when Char left, Lily took a walk-in customer. She was finishing up the cut when the door opened again, to another woman.
“The special please,” she said, waving a coupon from the week’s paper. “The young rejuvenating facial. I want to look thirty.”
“Mom,” Jonathan said. “It’s a facial, not a magic wand.”
She rolled up the paper and swatted him with it. “Fine. I’ll take forty.” She gave Lily a hug. “And you! How lovely to see you again!” She turned to Jonathan. “So … you can make me look forty, right?”
“How about gorgeous?” Jonathan asked his mom. “Does gorgeous work for you?”
“Aw.” She grinned at him. “Always can count on you. Love you, baby.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he said. “That won’t get you out of leaving a tip.” He nodded at Lily. “You want my specialist to do this. She’s the best woman for the job. Plus, I hate giving facials.”
Lily loved skin care. Actually, she loved all the different aspects of what she did: cutting and coloring hair, skin care, all of it. There was just something about making people feel good that made her feel good. She loved the easy, fast people connections, too, especially since in her everyday personal life she didn’t tend to make such easy, fast connections at all.
She never had.
She gave Jonathan’s mom a facial that did indeed make her look gorgeous. Then she did an eyebrow wax for a woman who’d worked for Lily’s dad years ago.
“Such a shame how he went,” the woman said, her eyes closed while Lily worked. “That heart attack. So sudden. And in his prime too.”
Lily stilled. “Yes,” she managed. “A shame.”
“He was a good man,” the woman said, not noting Lily’s discomfort since her eyes were still closed. “And your sister too,” she went on. “Such a tragedy. You okay with being back, honey?”
Lily was still having trouble finding her words. But her client had opened her eyes now and was looking at her expectantly, so she put on her best “I’m good” expression and nodded. She even added a smile, which she thought was a good touch.
“Are you?” Jonathan asked quietly after the woman had left. “Good with being back?”
“Don’t start,” she said.
“So you’re not. Damn, I knew it.” He slid an arm around her and pulled her in for a hug. “What can I do, Lily Pad? Anything for you, you know that, right?”
“Yeah.” She hugged him back, drawing on some deeply needed strength. “I’m working on being okay, I promise. I think I just need some more time to adjust.”
A truck drove up. The man driving it parked right out front in the no-parking zone like he owned the place and ambled into the shop.
Aidan. The only man she didn’t want to see, wearing sexy jeans faded in all the stress spots that she absolutely wasn’t noticing and a T-shirt that said KEEP CALM AND SKI ON.
“Mm-mmm,” Jonathan murmured for her ears only. “I tell you what. Channing Tatum and his gorgeous wife both own my heart, but Aidan’s a close third. The girls are going to be bummed. We love it when Gray sends Aidan to fix stuff.”
“Not this girl,” Lily said. She blamed the kiss. “And this place is falling apart,” she said, trying to redirect. “You should be as irritated with him as I am.”
“No can do.” Jonathan was not only an equal opportunist when it came to sex, but he was also eternally optimistic. “I’m a lot of things, but irritated isn’t one of them.”
Oh, for God’s sake.
“Hey,” Aidan said in greeting to Jonathan before his gaze then slid to Lily.
She stood her ground instead of running in the other direction as her feet wanted.
“Lily,” he said with a nod and absolutely no indication that he’d played tonsil hockey with her just yesterday. “One of you called?”
Lily glanced over at Jonathan, who was very busy looking at Aidan like he was the sun and the moon and maybe also a lemon meringue pie. She gave him a nudge that was really a shove and then spoke for both of them since apparently she was the only one of them immune to Aidan’s dubious charms. “We need some renovations,” she said.
Aidan raised a brow. “We.”
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