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Authors: Len Webster

Sometimes Moments (6 page)

BOOK: Sometimes Moments
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“Like what?” Jay asked, taking out a screwdriver from the toolbox. He removed a screw from the front panel of the dishwasher and placed it on the steel bench. “Well?” he said over his shoulder.

Peyton watched his body movements as he pulled apart the dishwasher, fascinated by the way his shirt strained against his muscles. There would be no denying that she didn’t find Jay Preston attractive. Every girl did. But he was one of the rare ones who had stayed. The rest of the males had gotten out of Daylesford just before their last year of high school. Most of them had attended private schools in the city—made their résumés look impressive—before they’d attended university.

In such a small town, the pickings of a male companion were slim. Peyton valued Jay’s friendship and she’d never cross that line. In fact, she wouldn’t even consider dating anyone she knew from her town. Graham was also on her mental ‘do not date’ list. And Jay happened to be on the top of the list.

You tried the small-town-girl-and-small-town-boy love story. And in reality, it’s the worst kind of romance. Be a nun for the rest of your life. Your abstinence has prevented STDs and pregnancy. You just lack a little action…a little intimacy…a little pleas—

“I’m going to ignore that blush on your cheeks, Peyton,” Jay said, pulling her from her thoughts and waving the screwdriver in her direction.

She let out a cough. “What blush? I’m not blushing!” she exclaimed, fidgeting with her cardigan.

“Oh, yes, you are. I know a blush when I see one.” Jay grinned.

Peyton shot him a dirty look. “Fix my dishwasher.”

“How about, ‘Please, oh, sir knight. Fix thy dishwasher and release thy maiden’s duties from washing thy dishes’?” He dramatically held the screwdriver against his chest as he made Shakespeare roll in his grave. It was like he had sinned against literature. He didn’t even have to try.

“How about, ‘Please, oh, pub owner. Fix my dishwasher before I go to your pub and break yours with my skill of breaking appliances’?” Peyton said with a smirk.

Jay ignored her and removed the panel of the dishwasher, setting it on the floor. Peyton tried to peer over his shoulder and into the insides of the washer. Jay cranked his face, gave her a wink, and reached for the flashlight.

“Your uncle unplugged this, right?” Jay asked, his back turned to her.

“No, my uncle wanted you to get electrocuted. Of course, he unplugged it,” she sassed, untangling her arms and pushing off the bench she’d been leaning on.

He turned around and raised an eyebrow at her. “Got to love them sassy hotel owners.”

Peyton sang along to the song that played as she folded the laundry she’d taken out from the dryer. It was a song she knew very well. The artist, June Sinclair, had used the hotel as a writing retreat and would be returning to The Spencer-Dayle in the spring. She was from the city, and pressures from her recording company had had her in a funk. June was someone Peyton admired, and her upbeat music was what was favoured, but when Peyton had heard her acoustic—more country—version, she had fallen in love.

Now, June’s music was mixed, and Peyton had even received a mention in June’s thank-yous in the album’s booklet. Since she’d broken the hotel’s dishwasher earlier in the day, Peyton had made sure not to touch anything else in the hotel and opted to call it a day. She had gone home and looked at her plans—she had no plans on her ‘plans’ paper. So she’d procrastinated and ended up doing housework.

“I can’t help but blame myself for thinking we’d make it past all our mistakes,”
she sang along with June’s voice on the speaker.

A loud knock on her front door had Peyton walking over to the speaker her iPod was plugged into and turning down the music.

Peyton stepped barefoot over the cool floorboards until she reached the front door. The stained-glass window panels decorated with Australian birds blocked the view of her visitor. Instead of looking through the peephole or asking who it was, she opened the door.

“Son of a bitch,” she said, annoyed by the visitor who stood on her ‘Spencer’s’ doormat.

“Such a warm welcome. Thank you, Peyton,” Callum said, sounding almost hurt.

Ignoring whether or not the way she had greeted him was the reason for his hurt tone, Peyton glanced over Callum Reid.

He was wearing dark-blue skinny jeans, and his unzipped hoodie exposed his tight, grey T-shirt. He’d always embraced a casual look. His dark brown—almost black—hair was tousled upwards. She remembered the times that she’d sat under the cherry blossom tree outside her window and run her fingers through it. She had well and truly loved him at seventeen. The heat and tightening of her chest returned from the memories.

Damn it, Peyton. Don’t feel. Do not feel anything towards him. Be numb. He broke your heart. Why do you keep forgetting that?

“What do you want?” Peyton asked roughly, wanting him off her property as quickly as possible.

She noticed him wince and felt awful. Though she sassed at Graham and Jay, she was never mean to people. But Callum was an exception. She was a bitter and angry person because of him…and other circumstances. Sometimes, she just hated the world and the cards it had given her. Stupid, unfair cards at that.

“I thought I’d let you know that I’ll be in town for a while,” he stated, his eyes never leaving hers.

That one sentence stopped her heart and breathing.

Don’t show any emotions. Don’t give him anything.

“Why?” Her hands clutched the door and she dug her fingernails into the wood.

“Wow, Peyton. Not blunt at all, I see. I deserve that,” he said, his body still tense.

If he was looking for a, “No, Callum, you don’t,” then he was kidding himself.

“Why are you here? I thought you went back to the city. And why are you on my doorstep? And get off my mat,” she said, looking down at the customised mat her mother had purchased shortly before her death. It was worn, the ‘E’ and the ‘R’ in ‘Spencer’ hardly able to be made out.

Peyton lifted her chin and scowled at him. Callum looked down at the mat before he took a step back. He wouldn’t get why his feet on her surname offended her. It was like another slap in the face for her. He hadn’t been there when she’d buried them and seen their last names on their graves. He was literally stepping all over the Spencer name.

When his face met hers, Callum drew out a sigh and placed both hands in his hoodie pockets. Peyton placed her left hand on her hip, waiting, even tempted to tap her foot.

“One, because I need to be here. Two, I did go back to the city, only to get my things. And three, I came here to talk to you,” Callum said, answering all of her questions.

Peyton tensed. Frustrated by his vague answers, she straightened her posture and removed her hand from her hip.

Then she cleared her throat. “One, you don’t need to be here. I told you to never return. Two, grab your things and go back to the city. And three, I don’t want to talk to you. Now get off my veranda and leave!”

Just as she was about to slam the door, Callum stepped forward and pushed it, squashing her attempt at ending their conversation.

“What the hell?” she shrieked.

“Listen to me, Peyton,” he panted. His nostrils flared as if he were trying to control his anger.

“Why should I?” she asked as she gave up the attempt at closing the front door. He was stronger than she was; it’d be no use.

“Because.”

“Because why, Callum? You never listened to me. You never gave me answers. So, why now?” The anger boiled in her as her throat tightened.

“I had my reasons, Peyton. I’m here now.” He pushed off the door and took a step back, ensuring that he didn’t stand on the mat.

For a moment, she appreciated where he stood. “Well, I don’t want you here or anywhere near me. I made that clear back at the hotel,” she stated, crossing her arms over her chest. In her mind, it was the only way that she could protect herself from him.

“How long have you owned the hotel?” he asked with a sad tone to his voice, deflecting her previous statement.

“Why does it matter to you?”

The wind picked up, tossing his dark hair out of place. Callum’s face saddened as he placed his hands in the pockets of his hoodie.

“It matters to me, Peyton.”

Peyton met his eyes. Grey and as beautiful as ever. She hated it. Her jaw tensed and she had to battle hard to ignore the heat that took over her chest. First loves were the worst kind—especially when they returned.

“It doesn’t matter to me, so leave me alone.”

When Callum took a step forward, Peyton raised her hand and placed it on his chest. The way her heartbeat picked up at the feel of it under her fingers made her mentally curse. His chest was far more solid than it had been when he was seventeen. Her breathing heaved as she tried to control the emotions that overtook her. Emotions that had been dormant for over four years.

He stilled under her touch, his eyes firmly staring at hers. The way her heart pained at all their memories together had her eyes stinging. She chanted to herself not to cry and pushed him back. Then she removed her hand from his chest and took a step onto the veranda.

“Fine. Legally, I’ve owned the hotel for almost four years, but my aunt and uncle have been running it until I graduated—not that you care. But I’ve officially been the owner for the last four days.”

Nope. No mention of my parents. Not a single care.

“So, it was like your first day when I showed up…”

“More or less,” she sighed. “Now, seriously, Callum. Why are you here? Why are you back in Daylesford?”

Callum sighed and pulled his hands out of his pockets. His eyes made it down to her lips, staring for a moment before he looked away. Then he turned around and glanced at the house across the street before he stared Peyton in the eyes.

“Peyton Olivia Spencer, I
need
your forgiveness. I’m here for redemption.”

The pain of her imploding heart seeped into her veins. “You self-righteous bastard. Get the fuck off my property!”

“A
re you sure you’ll be all right, love?” Aunt Brenda asked as she handed Peyton her jacket.

“I’ll be fine. Jay fixed the dishwasher, and all I have to do is wait for Marissa’s email about her wedding and then I can concentrate on my plans for the hotel. I’ll be okay. Just have fun on the peninsula.” Peyton threaded her arms through her jacket and buttoned it before she faced her great-aunt and gave her a smile.

BOOK: Sometimes Moments
2.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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