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from Return to Sandy Shores by Shirley Holder Platt

Copyright © 2019–2021 Shirley Holder Platt

Chapter 18 - Trent

Tessa insisted we walk to the restaurant. It would be almost two hours before sunset, and the heat would have been unbearable if not for the breeze off the water. We strode together arm in arm like we’d done when we were children. The beach was full of people. Families huddled under brightly colored awnings. Kids laughter floated on the breeze. A young girl threw bread crumbs into the air and giggled as sea gulls flocked around her for the treats, laughing in that mocking way they do.

“I’ve missed this,” she said. She pulled my arm closer and put her head on my shoulder. She was almost as tall as me, would have been if she’d been wearing her heels.

“The beach?” I asked.

“No, goof. You. Chicago’s great, and I have some friends I wouldn’t trade for the world, but no one knows me like my little brother.” The water came close to our feet, so we moved away to stay dry. Little sandpipers poked at holes and moved with the incoming waves like a choreographed dance.

“So, you don’t tell your secrets to Marcia?” She’d told me of several girl’s nights out with a co-worker by that name. They apparently were great drinking partners. Marcia was said to have drunk aggressive men under the table on more than one occasion.

Tessa laughed. The sound brought back a world of memories. Memories of us building crumbling sand castles, ogling animals at the zoo, creating finger paintings for Mom floated through my mind.

“No. Marcia is good for a laugh, but I never tell my secrets to the people I work with.”

“Got any good secrets to share with me?” I winked at her to let her know I was only half serious.

“No. Love life is practically non-existent. No time, you know?” She twisted her mouth the way our mom does. I hadn’t thought about that in forever. I really needed to get over to their house and check on the parents, but for now, I wanted to enjoy the time with my sister.

“Tell me about it,” I said.  “I remember thinking about being a veterinarian back in the day. I would play with cute puppies and kittens all day, meet pretty girls that loved their hamsters, and make tons of money that I’d spend cruising around the world on my catamaran every summer. Instead, I’m on my feet all day, dealing with crazy cat ladies and dogs that have never been trained. My...

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