“Is your mother still happily retired and traveling around?” Mrs. Myers asked. “I lost track of her after …” The woman trailed off and her face filled with sympathy. “After … everything,” she finished gently.
There Lily stood in a dress and Uggs and crazy hair, with Aidan probably watching this entire debacle, and Mrs. Myers wanted to casually discuss the single most soul-destroying incident that had ever happened to Lily.
Over a mountain of crap food that she was holding on to with her chin. And those Cheetos stains weren’t going anywhere …
Thankfully, Mrs. Myers’s cell phone rang, and she got busy searching for it in a purse the size of Texas.
Lily let out a breath and stole a quick peek at Aidan, nearly collapsing in relief because he didn’t appear to see her.
Miracles did happen …
Before her luck could run out, she said a quick “Nice to see you” and hightailed it to the door.
Lily Danville was most definitely back in town. Because he couldn’t help himself, Aidan watched as she rushed to the door balancing an armful of junk food. Nice to know some things hadn’t changed.
Clearly she was trying to avoid him—a plan he could get behind. He had no desire to take a walk down Memory Road either, especially when that road had ended in a spectacular crash with no survivors.
Just the walking dead.
Still, after all these years she looked the same, hauntingly vulnerable and yet somehow tough at the same time. It was that willowy, curvy body coupled with those drown-in-me green eyes that she so carefully didn’t turn his way.
She almost got away, too, and then neither of them would have had to face each other, but someone jostled her at the doorway. Lily staggered backward, right into a five-foot postcard display of the Colorado Rockies.
The entire thing began to wobble.
With a gasped “Oh, no!” Lily reached out for it, sacrificing her bag of chips to do so. The bag hit the floor and then a package of donuts slipped out of her arms as well, landing next to the chips.
And that was it. The domino effect came into play, and sure enough the cherry pie went next.
The very last thing to go was the postcard display itself, falling over with dramatic flair, scattering postcards and Lily’s armload from here to Timbuktu, leaving her standing there, a junk food massacre at her feet.
“Damn,” Cliff said. “That always happens.”
“I’m so sorry!” Lily bent and began to scoop up the postcards.
“No worries,” Cliff assured her. “Seriously, I’ll get it.”
Very carefully not looking at the line where Aidan stood, she shot Cliff a grateful smile and vanished so fast that Aidan had himself half convinced he’d imagined the whole thing. Except the postcards sprawled across the floor said otherwise.
So did the odd ache in his chest.
He moved to help Cliff, whom he knew from last summer, when the guy had accidentally set this place on fire.
Cliff grinned as together they righted the display. “She was kinda hot. A mess, sure, but a hot mess, right?”
Aidan made a noncommittal sound and pulled out some cash to pay for the soda he’d come in for.
“Wait,” Cliff said, and picked up a package of cookies Lily had left behind.
And a set of keys.
“Hot Chick forgot these,” the clerk said. “Could you run them out to her for me?”
Shit. The very last thing he wanted to do was go have a one-on-one. Especially since clearly she didn’t want to talk to him any more than he wanted to talk to her.
“I can’t leave the store, man,” Cliff said. “You’re a firefighter, you rescue people all the time. Go rescue the hot chick, she’ll probably be super grateful.” Cliff waggled his brow. “You’re welcome.”
Shit. Aidan took Lily’s keys and forgotten cookies and strode out of the store. As expected, Lily was still in the lot, sitting in her car, thunking her head against her steering wheel and muttering something he couldn’t hear through her closed window.
He shook his head, braced himself, and knocked on the glass.
Lily startled and smacked her head on the sun visor. Rubbing the top of her head, she turned and glared at him.
He lifted his hand, her keys dangling from his fingers.
She stared a moment and then thunked her head on the steering wheel again.
“How long are you going to pretend you don’t see me?” he asked.
“Forever?” she asked.
“It’s just a set of keys.”
When she still hesitated, he revealed the cookies in his other hand, jiggling them enticingly.
As he’d suspected, that did the trick. She opened her car door a little bit, just enough to stick her hand out for the goods.
Aidan dropped both the cookies and the keys into her palm and then made his move, quickly crouching between the opened door and the driver’s seat so that she couldn’t shut the door on him—though she did give it the ol’ college try.
Damn, Lily thought. He’d always been fast. Whether on a pair of skis on snow or water, or just on his own two legs, the three-time Colorado state champion short-distance runner knew how to move. “You’re in my way.”
“What are you doing here, Lily? Visiting?”
No way in hell was she going to admit what had happened to her. Nope. Not saying it out loud. Ever. “Move,” she said instead.
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