Chapter 3

Amelia meets me at Merlotte’s, the bar that Sam opened when he moved here.  She gets her fruity girly drink and sits next to me in our usual booth.  “Soo…” she starts, drawing out the word, “how was work today?”

I cock an eyebrow at her.  “What do you know?”

She works in the Tourism Bureau for the lake, coming up with events to draw more people here and drum up business.  “Oh, a little birdie might have mentioned something big going on this summer.  So?”

If she wants to play coy with her details, I can match her.  “Calvin had us looking over some properties that would be available for three months straight.  It was harder than it sounds, but nothing major.  How was your day?”

Checkmate.  She has no patience when she’s excited and gives up the goods.  “Okay, so I know that a movie is being filmed here and that your honey is one of the leads.  I told you it was a good time to make that list,” she says with a cocky smirk and takes a sip around the umbrella in her glass.

“Ames, there is little to no chance I’m ever going to meet him.  I’m sure the studio will have someone handling key pickups and the mundane day-to-day dealings with the properties.  Hell, I’m going to be working even harder to keep up with normal business.  You know how it gets after Easter.”

“I know that, dedicated professional that you are, will definitely go out of your way to make sure all those big stars have a way to occupy themselves in our fair hamlet during their down time.  You’ll want to let them know where they can go to let their hair down and not get mobbed by fans or where to relax and get pampered.  You know, the places with the best takeout and who delivers… things the average joe wants to know when they’re visiting an area for an extended period of time.”

I sip my tea.  “Yeah, and we have this nifty little binder – provided by the Tourism Bureau – that has all that handy information right there.  Every rental property has one… you made sure of it.”

“So?” she says, remarkably unimpressed.  “Who says you can’t just make that ‘nifty’ little binder hard to find?  Damn Sookie, use your imagination.”

Sighing, I flag the waiter for a refill and ask him to let Sam know we’re here.  “Nothing going to happen Ames, and I’m not going to go out of my way to try to change that.  That whole list thing was stupid anyway.  All it did was piss Sam off.”

“What pissed me off?” Sam asks, siding into the booth next to me and kissing my cheek.

I roll my eyes and flick a glance at Amelia.  “The list.  I told Amelia it was a bad idea and that she should just forget it.”

He surprises me.  “No, it was unfair of me.  It’s just a silly fantasy anyway, right?  There’s no harm in it, and it wasn’t like I didn’t know that you like some of the guys you listed on there.”

True enough.  But he doesn’t know that my biggest celebrity crush was going to be in the same zip code for 3 months.  Is it wrong that I don’t feel bad about leaving him in the dark about that fact if I’m sure that nothing is going to happen?  I don’t think so and apparently neither does Amelia since we both neglect to mention anything about the movie.

We finish up our gossip and eat a quick dinner.  After making plans for this week’s Girls’ Night, she heads home and I go into the back to say good night to Sam.  We make out a little bit in his office before I drive home to snuggle into my bed


As we’ve done the past few years, the entire week before Easter is spent organizing files and properties getting ready to be occupied.  There are four weeks each tourist season that take longer than usual and they all center around holidays.  Since we are at the renters’ beck-and-call at all times, the three of us rotate the days off so we can enjoy some of the summer.  Since I’m not especially religious and don’t have kids, I volunteer for Easter on the condition that I get the Saturday before it and Fourth of July off.  Danielle and Holly agree instantly.

Sunday I hang around the office by the phone in my jeans and tank top now that it’s warm enough to start wearing my spring-summer clothes.  Since most check-ins were yesterday, I don’t expect to be busy, but one of the reasons renters stay with us season after season is our personal service.  I spend most of my time catching up on email and playing around on the web.  If I really wanted, I could forward any calls to the office to my cell phone and head out, but I really don’t have anything better to do.

A few late arrivals show up, unable to check in on Saturday.  I pull their keys and maps, showing them the quickest way to get to their properties.  I get them to sign the paperwork and remind them of the big no-nos, like pets or smoking inside.  All of them have rented through us before, so they’re aware of the rules.  Once the last ones leave, I check the clock and stretch.  Not too much longer until the answering service takes over for after-hour calls.

I spend the last hour playing stupid games on my phone and fielding calls about various details that were overlooked by the cleaning service when they were prepping the houses for check-in.  At five o’clock, the phones shut-off and calls are automatically forwarded to the answering service.  After one last check of my email, I shut down my computer and make sure that I haven’t left anything at my desk.  Satisfied, I pull out my keys and shut off the lights and head out.

Right as the key turns to lock the door, the rumble of an engine reaches my ears.  Perfect.  Once more minute and I would have been free, but no.  Of course not.  But that’s one of the perils of working a holiday.  Before turning around, I unlock the door again and stick the keys in my pocket.  Doing an about face I see a car that is definitely not common around here.  The late afternoon sun flecks off the metallic flakes in the candy apple red paint of a stunning Corvette.  Even more stunning is the tall blond stepping out of the driver’s side door.

Oh. My. God.  It’s him.

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