Trucks with mud on the tires were what I was used to seeing parked outside a house party. Expensive foreign cars weren't. This place had at least twenty of them covering up the long driveway. I pulled my mom's fifteen- year-old Ford truck over onto the sandy grass so that I wouldn't be blocking anyone in. Dad hadn't told me that he was having a party tonight. He hadn't told me much of anything.
He also hadn't shown up for my mother's funeral. If I didn't need somewhere to live, I wouldn't be here. I'd had to sell the small house that my grandmother had left us to pay off the last of mom's medical bills. All I had left was my clothes and the truck. Calling my father, after he had failed to come even once during the three years my mother had fought cancer, had been hard. It had been necessary though; he was the only family I had left.
I stared at the massive three-story house that sat directly on the white sand in Rosemary Beach, Florida. This was my dad's new home. His new family. I wasn't going to fit in here.
My truck door was suddenly jerked open. On instinct, I reached under the seat and grabbed my nine-millimeter. I swung it up and directly at the intruder, holding it with both hands ready to pull back on the trigger.
"Whoa... I was gonna tell you that you were lost but I'll tell you whatever the hell you want me to as long as you put that thing away." A guy with brown shaggy hair tucked behind his ears stood on the other side of my gun with both his hands in the air and eyes wide.
I cocked an eyebrow and held my gun steady. I still didn't know who this guy was. Jerking someone's truck door open wasn't a normal greeting for a stranger. "No, I don't think I'm lost. Is this Abraham Wynn's house?"
The guy swallowed nervously, "Uh, I can't think with that pointed in my face. You're making me very nervous, sweetheart. Could you put it down before you have an accident?"
Accident? Really? This guy was beginning to piss me off. "I don't know you. It's dark outside and I'm in a strange place, alone. So, forgive me if I don't feel very safe at the moment. You can trust me when I tell you that there won't be an accident. I can handle a gun. Very well."
The guy didn't appear to believe me and now that I was looking at him he didn't appear to be real threatening. Nevertheless, I wasn't ready to lower my gun just yet.
"Abraham?" he repeated slowly and started to shake his head then stopped, "Wait, Abe is Rush's new stepdad. I met him before he and Georgiana left for Paris."
Paris? Rush? What? I waited for more of an explanation but the guy continued to stare at the gun and hold his breath. Keeping my eyes on him, I lowered my protection and made sure to put the safety back on before tucking it under my seat. Maybe with the gun put away the guy could focus and explain.
"Do you even have a license for that thing?" he asked incredulously.
I wasn't in the mood to talk about my right to bear arms. I needed answers."Abraham is in Paris?" I asked needing confirmation. He knew I was coming today. We'd just talked last week after I'd sold the house.
The guy nodded slowly and his stance relaxed. "You know him?"
Not really. I had seen him all of two times since he'd walked out on my mom and me five years ago. I remembered the Dad who'd come to my soccer games and grilled burgers outside for the neighborhood block parties. The Dad I'd had until the day my twin sister Valerie was killed in a car accident. My father had been driving. He'd changed that day. The man that didn't call me and make sure I was okay while I took care of my sick mother, I didn't know him. Not at all.
"I'm his daughter, Blaire."
The guy's eyes went wide and he threw back his head and laughed. Why was this funny? I waited for him to explain when he held out his hand. "Come on Blaire, I have someone you need to meet. He's gonna love this."
I stared down at his hand and reached for my purse.
"Are you packing in your purse too? Should I warn everyone not to piss you off?" The teasing lilt to his voice kept me from saying something rude.
"You opened my door without knocking. I was scared."
"Your instant reaction to being scared is to pull out a gun on someone? Damn girl, where are you from? Most girls I know squeal or some shit like that."
Most girls he knew hadn't been forced to protect themselves for the past three years. I'd had my mother to take care of but no one to take care of me. "I'm from Alabama," I replied ignoring his hand and stepping out of the truck myself.
The sea breeze hit my face and the salty smell of the beach was unmistakable. I'd never seen the beach before. At least not in person. I'd seen pictures and movies. But the smell, it was exactly like I expected it to be.
"So it's true what they say about girls from Bama," he replied and I turned my attention to him.
"What do you mean?"
His eyes scanned down my body and back up to my face. A grin stretched slowly across his face. "Tight jeans, tank tops, and a gun. Damn, I've been living in the wrong f**king state."
Rolling my eyes, I reached into the back of the truck. I had a suitcase and then several boxes that I needed to drop off at the Goodwill.
"Here, let me get it." He stepped around me then reached into the truck bed for the large piece of luggage my mom had kept tucked away in her closet for that "road trip" we never got to take. She always talked about how we'd drive across the country and then up the west coast one day. Then she'd gotten sick.
Shaking off the memories, I focused on the present. "Thank you, uh... I don't think I got your name."
The guy pulled the suitcase out then turned back to me.
"What? You forgot to ask when you had the nine-millimeter pointed at my face?" he replied.