Teardrop Shot

Page 4

“Yeah. It’s a basketball camp.”

Both guys were watching me, silent, waiting for something. No doubt waiting for me to clue the hell in on what was going on.

“Who’s coming?”

I started going over my list of ideas as I asked. It could be anyone. The Coyotes? Fuck. That’d be a dream job. Sit back and watch them play all day? Reyson got traded a few years ago. Marley before that… I ran down the list of who I thought was still on the team. But what if it wasn’t them? It could be a private school. Or a special league. Or… The possibilities were endless.

“Who is it?” I asked again.

Keith smirked. “I’m not telling you. That’s what you get for not reading the form.”

A surge of anger rushed through me. “How did you ever escape the #MeToo movement?”

Okay. Maybe not so random right there.

Keith ignored my question, his gaze on the front of my shirt. He smirked.

Oh, you—I started to raise a fist in the air, but Trent checked me.

He shoved my hand down, slamming his side to mine and hiding my fist behind us. His laugh was forced, as was his smile. “That sounds great, Keith. Thank you.” He cleared his throat, stretching his neck a little. “So, uh, where are we all staying?”

Keith was glowering at where our hands would’ve been, but rather than comment, he just flicked his eyes back up. “You’re in the main lodge,” he told Trent. “You got room 222.” He turned to me, his eyes hardening. “You, missy, got the fish cabin.”

The fish cabin?


“Oh.” Another forced laugh from Trent as he shifted to face me, letting go of my fist. His hand came down on my shoulder, as if he was holding me back. “I told him you were writing a book, so he thought the fish cabin would be a good idea.”

Keith’s lips were mashed together, his dimple showing (I hated his dimple). His shoulders shook with repressed laughter.

The prick.

The fish cabin had been given that name for a reason. That’s what it had been used for. Cleaning fish. They’d stopped using it for that purpose after a local game warden threatened to report the camp. He’d been half-joking, but the next week a camper threw up from the fumes, so Keith declared it abandoned.

Until now, apparently.

I’ve mentioned he’s a dickhead, right?

Fine. Whatever. I gave him a closed-mouth smile, though it was painful as hell to my cheeks. “I’m sure I’ll love it.”

He held up his hands. “I was just thinking about your writing. It’s the most private place on the island.”

For a reason.

He laughed. “Besides, it’s not that bad anymore. We’ve had it cleared out over the last few summers, so just spray some of that nice-smelling stuff you girls wear and it should be as good as new.”

“I’ll make do.”

The fish cabin was at the tip of the island, closest to where the bridge and road came on to the island. My cabin would be north of the main lodge in the center of the island, and to the west of the village that had the nicest cabins. That was Morningside. There was a patch of trees between the main lodge and the basketball courts to the south, so my walk would be a nice long one each morning.

“What about the staff headquarters?” I asked.

That was a building in Morningside that the staff used mostly during weekends. It was a bit more relaxed than the rest of the camp facilities, but I knew they had jazzed it up recently. I saw pictures of it on social media.

“It’s not available. All the rooms are booked up.”

The definition of asshole: exhibit A. Keith, such a bitch boss. He’d put me in the smelliest cabin, farthest from everyone I knew, and the closest cabins to me would be booked with campers—campers I still hadn’t identified. Lovely.

“Where’s Helen?”

At least she’d be a welcome change. In her early sixties, she was the main receptionist at camp. She didn’t live too far away from the island, so it was an easy drive back and forth. Plus, she hated Keith as much as I did. We’d bonded over it, and I missed her.

A flash of guilt settled in my gut.

She’d been another one I stopped coming back to visit, stopped checking in with. Crap. The last I knew, Helen’s husband had medical problems. He could be dead by now.

Way to go, Charlie. Way to drop the ball on everyone.

Keith’s nose wrinkled and he rested his hands on his stomach. “Helen won’t be here for the three weeks.”

“What? Why?”

Trent nudged my elbow, nodding toward the pile of NDAs on Keith’s desk. I got his implication. Helen sucked at keeping secrets—hence a very old friendship with her. My uncle had visited me from Missouri one time. He was going through the area and wanted to say hello. Keith made him sign an NDA.

My uncle still talks about how we must have had the country’s president at our camp.

He would’ve been sorely disappointed.

It’d been a group of sixth grade boys for fishing week. In fact, I was certain that’s when the camper had retched from being in the fish cabin.

“Because she had a family emergency.”

I narrowed my eyes.

Keith looked away, starting a drum solo on his stomach.

He was lying, but I got it. And damn, I was really wondering who these people were that were coming.

I sighed. “Just tell me if these people are going to be assholes.”

I realized who I was asking and rotated to face Trent. “Am I going to want to kill these people?”

He cocked his head to the side. His eyebrows went up, and he raised a hand to scratch behind his head. “Well…”

Fuck. I was.

“I mean, you don’t have the best record at liking people, so…” He faltered, his eyes locking on Keith’s. “Help me out here.”

Keith deadpanned, “You hate people. You’ll hate them.”

I hated him.

And I wanted to ask if a hot air balloon could ever use cold air instead.

I raked a hand through my hair. “Okay, then.” I punched Trent’s shoulder. “Help me move in?”

“Uh.” I didn’t miss the way his eyes returned to Keith. “I need to go over my talk.”

Right. Because he’d been asked to come here. I had been foisted on the camp. Got it. I swung around to Keith.

“So where’s the rest?”

I knew Owen and Hadley from our group had moved back from when I was still on the email chain. Even though I never replied, I’d been happy for them. Owen’s dream was to run this place. Though evidently he hadn’t gotten there yet.

Trent flashed me a grin, ducking out into the hallway.

It was just Keith and me. This was a scene in one of my nightmares, but Keith didn’t seem disturbed. He had sat down behind his desk and started going through some papers.

“They’re around,” he said, distracted.

I saluted him. “Way to be helpful.”

I picked up one of my bags and started for the door. Apparently, I needed to de-fish a fishing cabin.

I took two steps to the door and heard, “And Charlie?”

My heart sank. I didn’t look back.

“You’re looking real good. You’ve not let yourself go.”

I looked now, glaring, and he smirked. He never gave a shit. Well, neither would I now, and I extended my hand, my middle finger very prominent as I waved it at him.

“Fuck off, Keith. Fuck off.”

I left, his smug laughter trailing behind me.

“Always the joker, Charlie.”

Owen was always the most responsible, kindest, and organized of our entire group. He probably would’ve earned a promotion a long time ago. Maybe I’d be proactive in helping him get that promotion.

A lot proactive. Keith had to go.

The trail to the fishing cabin wasn’t very big, just wide enough for my car to fit. Barely. Tree branches scraped the side, but I had to prioritize: save my already-piece-of-crap car from maybe one or two scratches or save myself a broken back from carrying all of my stuff on foot.

After further thought, I reprioritized and grabbed one of the golf carts the camp used. I was fairly certain I needed to sign a whole other form to be allowed to drive one of them, but that was Keith’s fault. That was my rationale. If he hadn’t been such a dick, I might’ve gone through the appropriate channels, which would’ve meant getting one of the maintenance guys to drive me. But I knew who that would’ve been, and that was another history hill I didn’t want to climb. Not yet, anyway.

When I arrived, a station wagon was already there, the back end opened up, matching the windows and the two doors to the cabin, which were also propped open.

And as I walked in through the side door, a voice blared from the bathroom, “Did someone let the dogs out?”

Another voice chimed in, “Woof! Woof!”

I found Owen dancing in the living room, a purple bandana on his head, tied at the base of his neck. He wore an old camp staff shirt. It was faded in patches and ripped at the sleeves. He threw his head back, his mouth forming to howl at the next words, and he jumped backward on one foot. Eyes closed, he stopped and did a full-body twirl, a purple feather duster in his hand.

He wasn’t alone.

Hadley came dancing in to join him from the bathroom.

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