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Authors: Len Webster

Sometimes Moments (2 page)

BOOK: Sometimes Moments
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“Peyton?”

She heard her name. When she looked at the door, the grey eyes made her shake her head.

“I don’t…” she breathed out.

“I’m sorry,” he apologised.

“When were you going to tell me?” The aching in her chest stifled her sob.

He looked away and she felt her heart crumble.

“Callum,” she begged.

“I couldn’t tell you, Peyton. Had I told you, it would have been difficult to say goodbye,” he said and then instructed one of the movers who held a box that was marked ‘Callum’s room’ to place it in the back of the truck.

“This is much worse!” she yelled.

Callum flinched before he breathed out and reached for her hands. Peyton took a step back.

“You’re leaving me!” she sobbed.

“Summer’s over, Pey. I can’t stay in this town. I have to leave. I’m... I’m sorry about everything. It and us… We shouldn’t have happened. We should have just stayed friends,” Callum said before he turned and walked back into the house.

Friends.

That one word pierced her heart.

Peyton wiped her tears and looked around. More boxes were packed into the trucks, and she tried to process it all.

“Peyton, I didn’t think we’d see you today.” She heard Mr Reid say.

She lifted her head to see an older version of Callum step out of the house. “I-I,” she stuttered, but she couldn’t form words.

“Dad, just leave it,” Callum said angrily. He didn’t look her way as he handed his father another box.

Callum stood in front of her, and the fine line his mouth made was one she never saw.

“You should have told me,” she said, hurt and devastated by what was happening around her.

“There was nothing to tell. I’m moving to the city.”

“That’s it? You’re just up and moving to the city. That’s all it took? Two days and you changed your mind,” she cried.

She had told him that she loved him. He hadn’t said it back, but he hadn’t pushed her away. That night they’d gone to the lake, she’d given him her innocence and told him that she loved him. Two days later, he was leaving.

“Peyton, it’s goodbye,” he softly said. The break in his voice didn’t match the menacing look in his eyes.

“Then goodbye. But don’t you ever come back to this town, Callum. You’re dead to me! If what we had meant nothing to you, then good. Go! I never want to see your face again!” Peyton took one more look at those grey eyes before she turned around and walked towards her house.

“Peyton!” he called but she couldn’t do it.

She couldn’t listen to his voice calling her name. Her heart was too broken to accept any more pain at the hands of him.

Present day

 

C
herry blossoms dancing in the wind caught her eye. Beautifully and gracefully demanding for attention. Sheer, cream-coloured curtains obscured the pink flowers. Breathing out, Peyton parted the curtains and pulled the window open, allowing the cold autumn air to serenade her. The cherry blossom tree outside her window held so many memories, ones she hated and ones she loved. That tree was the reason why her parents had bought the old house in Daylesford, Victoria.

Peyton admired the structure of the tree, taller than the house and older than she. During winter, the cherry blossoms grew vibrant, far more beautiful than in autumn or spring. This one tree strived in showcasing its beauty during a time when snow would sometimes fall. Giving the tree one last appreciative glace, Peyton closed her window and locked the latch.

“Peyton.”

She turned around to see her great-aunt Brenda holding a plate of scrambled eggs and toast in her hands.

“Big day today,” her aunt said with a proud smile.

After walking over to her oak dresser, Peyton picked up a hair band and tied her brown hair into a low ponytail. With a huff, Peyton made her way to the bed and sat on it.

“I don’t know if I can do it, Aunt Brenda,” she confessed as she looked down at her hands.

The bed dipped and Peyton turned her head to see her aunty smiling up at her.

“Honey, your mother and father would be proud of you,” she said with confidence and placed the plate in Peyton’s hand.

“But what if I’m not ready, not skilled—”

“None of that!” her aunty scolded, cutting Peyton off. “Peyton, you worked hard. Your Uncle John and I, we know you can do it. You put yourself through school. You know how to run the hotel. You’ve run it plenty of times before.”

Peyton closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Yes, but I mean, it’s now mine. It’s not you and Uncle John running it anymore. It’s me. It’s mine. I just… I don’t want to let Mum and Dad down as well as the town.” Picking up a piece of buttered toast, she took a bite to stop her from saying any more.

The fine line Aunt Brenda’s mouth made was one Peyton didn’t like to see.

“You inherited it, Peyton. It’s been yours all this time. We have just been maintaining it until you finished university and decided what you wanted to do with it. Nothing is going to change unless you want it to.”

“I know,” Peyton said before putting a forkful of scrambled eggs in her mouth and chewing.

“You know, Peyton,” her aunt said, taking her hand.

Peyton knew this talk. It was one her aunt had had with her many times before. But the sadness in her light-brown eyes had Peyton’s heart aching.

“You don’t have to stay here. You can go to the city. You can go anywhere in this world and do what you want. Maybe see Cal—”

“No,” Peyton cut her off and handed her aunt the plate.

“But—”

“I will
not
go to the city. I will
not
leave this town. And I will not see
him
. He’s dead to me and you know it. He didn’t even—” Peyton stopped herself. She felt the tears burn her eyes and swallowed hard, hoping they’d retreat.

Standing up from her bed, Peyton looked at her great-aunt. The heartbreak was always evident in her eyes. They shared a form of pain. Her aunt had lost a niece and a nephew-in-law, and Peyton had lost a mother and a father.

Aunt Brenda placed the plate on the bed and wrapped her arms around Peyton. “You need to forgive him, love. Your mother wanted you to forgive him,” she whispered.

Peyton stood there, letting the tears slide down her face. She had tried to forgive him for leaving her, but the moment that her parents died, the idea of forgiving him had become a thought she couldn’t comprehend. Breaking her heart, she’d get over. But not being at her parents’ funeral? That, she would never forgive. There was no point in forgiving. He’d left their small town years ago and never once looked back.

Two weeks of no bookings allowed Peyton the time to decide if she’d change what her parents had worked hard to establish. It hadn’t been her idea to close the hotel for two weeks. It’d been her aunt and uncle’s. Though in their early seventies, they had still managed to run The Spencer-Dayle while she’d finished her last year of high school and then university. But now, the hotel was Peyton’s and her aunt and uncle would be enjoying their retirement on the peninsula.

Holding her laptop bag close to her, Peyton walked up the hill until she met the path of trees that led up to the lake. She looked up to see that the leaves had turned into lovely shades of brown and orange. Leaves slowly fell from the branches. She stood there a moment and tried to settle her nerves. It was her first day as owner of her family’s hotel.

The moment her parents died in that car accident, Peyton had inherited it all. Her parents’ money, the house, and the hotel. They had rebuilt it after the previous owner had let it grow old with time. They’d seen the hotel by the lake as potential, and her parents had chosen right. It had become a popular tourist accommodation and brought income to the family and town.

After making her way through the lane of autumn trees, Peyton reached the end of the dirt path and glanced over at the fog that blanketed the lake. It didn’t matter how many memories she shared with
him
on this lake; she would always love it. The days she had spent with her father sitting on the pier, admiring the hotel were the memories she wished were her reality. But all it had taken was one car crash and she’d lost her parents forever.

Behind a few trees near the edge of the lake was a bench. The first Monday of every month, Graham Scott would meet her there. When she had started her final year of high school, Graham had been one of her best friends, and when graduation came around, he was the only one who stayed in the area. Instead of moving to the city for university, he stayed on his family’s lavender farm and enrolled in an online university course just like Peyton. What brought them closer were her parents’ deaths. Graham was the only one who could understand after he’d lost his mother to cancer when he was twelve.

Since he’d taken over the farm, she saw less and less of him. But they had stuck to their promise. The first Monday of each month—a morning together by the lake. Peyton smiled, knowing she’d see him next week. Squinting her eyes, she noticed someone sitting on the bench. She knew it was either Mrs Figs on her morning stroll or Mr Tucker feeding the ducks. Peyton walked over to the bench to say good morning.

She stopped just short of the bench when she recognised his baseball cap. Shaking her head, she cleared her throat.

“Think you’ve got your dates wrong. First Monday of the month is June second,” Peyton stated.

A chuckle slipped from Graham’s lips as he stood up from the bench, turning to face her. The large grin on his face was one she loved—so was his deep dimple. His blonde hair was just visible from under his hat. Peyton looked down to see a bundle of lavender in his hand. Each time she saw him, he’d bring her lavender from his farm.

“It’s a big day for you, Peyton. Couldn’t miss it for the world. Plus, it gives me an excuse to see you,” he said as he pulled her in for a hug.

The scent of lavender hit her nostrils and she smiled. It was the scent that was forever on his skin.

“Not a big day if you keep me from working!” she scolded before untangling herself from him. Then she let out a laugh as she took the lavender from him.

Turning, she looked out over the still lake and then at her hotel. It daunted her. The idea that she was now the owner of what her parents had once called theirs terrified her.

She didn’t want to let her parents down, but she found it would be inevitable. All she could hope for was that she wouldn’t destroy the dreams they’d built. She didn’t want to tarnish what The Spencer-Dayle meant to her aunt and uncle and the town.

BOOK: Sometimes Moments
3.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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