Twice in a Blue Moon

Page 60

She gets to curl up against this man and be his best friend, his lover.

I push to stand, needing a few minutes alone to clear my head before Devon comes for me. At the door, I turn back. He’s watching me go with a tight expression I find unreadable.

“Actually,” I tell him quietly, “I think Milkweed is the best thing you ever did. And if that’s the best thing you ever did, I’m okay being the worst.”


MY CABIN’S SCREEN DOOR slams behind me, and the sound seems to hang in the fog of the early morning air. The farm has turned cold so fast. Indian summer left and abandoned us in the chilly vacuum of Northern California fall.

I don’t ever want to leave Ruby Farm. It’s more than just a quiet retreat; it’s like a warming of my bones, some settling of the frenetic beat that seems to always course through me. My house in LA feels sterile and uninhabited, doing little to calm me down between projects. But I’m so seldom there that it’s never felt worth the effort to make it into a homey place. And then when I am there, I regret not making the effort. The prospect just feels so overwhelming.

Here, each morning, I wake up in my cabin and try to pretend this is where I live now. I’ve put my clothes in the dresser and closet, stocked the small kitchen with a few staples. I go for long runs. I keep flowers on the table and had Mom ship me a few blankets from my house. Up here, I can pretend the chaos and exhaust and clatter of LA not only isn’t my home anymore, but it doesn’t even exist.

The birds in the tree beside my door let out a cacophony of sound when I emerge, squawking and rustling overhead. Down the hill, in the pasture, the cows yell to be milked and fed. But there’s no human sound. Everyone is taking this day off to sleep in. I hope I’m not the only one up early, unable to turn off my brain.

I stretch before heading down the trail in an easy jog. Leaves crunch beneath my shoes, and the sound must echo down the path because Sam is already looking up as I pass his cabin. He’s sitting outside, clearly more accustomed to the cold than I am, because he’s only wearing a thick cream sweater, jeans, and socks.

“Tate.” He puts a notebook down on the small table, picks up a steaming mug of coffee. “You’re up early.”

“So are you.”

He takes in my leggings, long-sleeved layers, and gloves. “Going for a run?” When I nod, he motions to the abandoned journal. “Was just writing some things down.”

“For another screenplay?” I hike up the small incline, stopping at the foot of the stairs leading to his porch. It’s the first time we’ve spoken since our blowup yesterday, and the part of me that will always be eighteen and infatuated with him wants to climb the steps and curl up on his lap.

“Maybe,” he says. “Don’t know yet.” Sam studies me over the lip of his mug as he takes a sip.

“You writing yourself into this one? Maybe it’s about the heart you broke in London.” The words are out before I’ve weighed whether or not they’re a good idea.

Sam blinks a few times before smiling gently. “I don’t think that’s my story to tell.” An awkward pause. “This time, at least.”

We face each other in strained silence.

“Want some coffee?” he finally asks. “The stuff they brew in the Community House is awful.”

I really need to keep moving, but he’s not wrong. “Sure.”

“Come on up.” He stands and tilts his chin for me to follow him inside the cabin.

Trudging up the stairs, I feel so anxious and excited that it makes me nauseous. It isn’t just the proximity of Sam, now it’s the proximity of Ellen’s, well, Roberta’s, grandson. He knew her. She raised him. I marinated in that reality all night, skipping dinner at the Community House, skipping the campfire I could hear all the way down the trail. I curled up in bed and re-read the script with new eyes. His formidable, brave grandmother. His tenderhearted, fun-loving grandfather. Was it even a question that he would do anything he could do to save them?

I didn’t take much time to look around yesterday, but it wouldn’t have taken much to absorb everything here. Sam’s cabin is one big room, almost like a loft, with a bed in the far corner, a little kitchen to the left of the door with the table and chairs, and a small sitting area in between. It’s cozy from the country decor, and he’s got a fire going in the fireplace. I make a beeline toward it, holding my hands out to get them moving again.

“You’re such a Californian,” he says, laughing.

“It’s cold!”

“It’s probably fifty-five degrees out,” he says, opening a cabinet and reaching for a mug.


Sam laughs again as he sets a pot of water to boil and scoops some fresh grounds into a French Press. Something has eased since he told me the truth yesterday; it feels like there’s so much more air in here.

But with that space, it means I’m not working to ignore him, which in turn means I notice him again. As he goes about the business of brewing me a cup of coffee, I start to zone out a little on the shape of his broad back beneath his sweater, his enormous hand reaching for the whistling teakettle, his ass in soft, faded jeans.


I’m not my father. I’d never cheat, or be with a cheater. I blink away, back to the fire, letting the brilliant orange and red burn into my retina and clear my mind. I can’t think of him like that.

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