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The Way I Hate Him: Chapter 8


I let out a large sigh as I stare down at my phone.

Five minutes late so far.

I swear she’s doing this intentionally to drive me nuts.

If she is, it’s fucking working.

Instead of sitting on the porch, I’m sitting on my island, staring at the front door, waiting. That’s when I see her fly into my driveway, in my car, putting it in park and sprinting to the front door with her backpack in hand. Funnily, she glances at the Adirondack chair I’ve scared her twice in, and then she puts the code in my front door and pushes through, only to come to a screaming halt when she sees me sitting on the counter.

“Dear God, don’t you have better things to do than wait around to startle me?”

“You’re late,” I say.

She pushes her wet hair out of her face. “The commute was a real bitch.”

“It’s fifteen minutes.”

“A stressful fifteen minutes at that, can’t even fit in a solid playlist.” She sets her bag on the couch, near her bundles of papers, and then scans me. “Did you seriously not make yourself coffee?”

“That’s your job. I’m paying you extra for it, which seems like I’m getting the short end of the bargain with that deal.”

“The minute you hired me, you were getting the short end of the bargain.”

She moves past me, the sweet scent of her shampoo wafting by me. She grabs a mug from the cabinet and pulls out the creamer. I watch in dismay as she pours the creamer into the mug, sets it under the coffee maker, then fills it with a pod and turns it on.

“I thought I told you creamer after.”

“You did, but I’ve done this for the last two days, and you didn’t notice, so suck it, Hayes.”

She then pulls out the things needed for my protein shake. I watch her work around my kitchen as if she belongs here, and it oddly feels right. Don’t think I’ve ever had someone familiar with my home before, other than Abel.

“You know, you should switch it up every once in a while with these smoothies. Don’t you get tired of the same thing over and over again?”

“No,” I answer. “I like routine. I like the same thing.”

“Maybe if you switched it up, you might be able to write another song.”

“Switching up what I put in my smoothie will not help me hit the top ten on the Billboard list.”

“You never know until you try,” she replies right before she turns on the blender and smiles at me.

While my smoothie blends, my coffee finishes up, and I go to grab it, but she holds up her hand to me.

“I need to earn my money. You asked for a delivery, I’m going to give you a delivery.” She picks up the mug and then holds it in front of her as if it’s a diamond on a red velvet pillow and walks it toward me. “Your fuel, your mages—Oh mother of pearl,” she screeches. “My toe, oh my God, my toe!”

“What?” I ask, trying to figure out what the hell just happened, but before I can hop off the counter to check on her toe, she stumbles and grumbles from the pain, and I watch in horror as the freshly brewed coffee tilts forward, brown liquid propelling out of the mug and onto my leg.

“Fuck!” I yell, leaping off the counter.


The mug flies to the floor, shattering into pieces.

Burning-hot liquid sears right through my pants and onto the meat of my thigh.

“Motherfucker,” I yell while shimmying out of my pants as quickly as I can.

“Oh God, are you burnt?” Hattie asks while bouncing on one foot.

The wet fabric clings to my leg, making it exponentially harder to get off. My leg is burning up. “Fuck,” I scream.

“You are burnt. Oh God!” Hattie yells as she moves to the sink.

I finally free myself of my jeans, relieved from the razor-sharp pain piercing my skin. I let out a deep sigh of relief just as water blasts me in the side, drenching me from the waist down.

Standing there in nothing but a pair of black boxer briefs and an Aerosmith graphic T-shirt, I glance at Hattie as she sprays me with water, her eyes focused on my crotch as she doesn’t let up on the faucet.

“What the hell are you doing?” I ask. “Do you think I’m on fucking fire?”

“I don’t know,” she says, continuing to spray me. “From the girly squeals you let out, I was afraid maybe you were . . .”

She looks up at me and smiles.

I frown at her.

She tries to smile more broadly.

I sneer.

And then our eyes both fall to the pool of water still gathering at my feet.

“Turn it off!” I yell.

“Oh right.” She scrambles to turn the water off. She moves around the corner and toes the puddle of coffee and water. “Well,” she breathes out. “What a way to start a morning, huh?”

Jesus fucking Christ.

ABEL: Hey, I know I was kind of tough on you at dinner, so I want to make sure we’re cool.

Hayes: You never have to send a text like that, you know we’re always cool.

Abel: I don’t want you thinking I’m taking Ryland’s side. I’m looking out for you.

Hayes: I know you are.

Abel: And I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but I don’t know if keeping her around is a good idea. It won’t end well. I’d cut ties now before word spreads, and Ryland finds out.

I pinch the bridge of my nose as I stare down at his text because he’s right. I really should fucking end it. Could I find someone to do the work she’s doing? Yeah, I could. But two things make me hesitate. I actually trust Hattie. It’s rare to know someone for a short time and trust her, but because of the history between us and because she’s from my hometown, I trust her. A rare thing today. There’s also the fact that I know she needs this, and as much as I want to say I don’t care about Hattie, I don’t think I could take away the one thing that is going okay—decent—in her life.

Hayes: I understand where you’re coming from, man, but she’s going through a tough time.

Abel: It’s not your responsibility to help her through that. Hell, you shouldn’t even be talking to her.

Hayes: Just like how her family’s currently not talking to her?

Abel: What do you mean they’re not talking to her?

Hayes: I ran into her on the beach after she had pizza with Aubree. She’s struggling, man. She thinks her family hates her. She keeps wanting to help them, to be a part of the new journey they’re all on, and they’re pushing her away.

Abel: I know Ryland and Aubree are being pushed to their breaking point right now.

Hayes: That’s what she said, but they won’t let her help. They keep telling her to focus on school, and dude, she failed out this semester. She can’t go back to school right now.

Abel: Fuck, are you serious?

Hayes: Yes. She doesn’t have a job, she barely has a place to stay. I’m pretty sure she’s terrified of coming clean to her brother. If I cut her off, I don’t know what she would do.

Abel: Jesus Christ.

Hayes: And to be honest, I saw the same look in her eyes that I see when I look in the mirror. Loneliness.

Abel: Hayes, are you trying to help her . . . or are you trying to help yourself by helping her?

Hayes: Maybe both.

Abel: This won’t end well. You know that, right? Are you prepared for that?

Hayes: I have no fucking clue, man. But I’m struggling, and I feel like if I can help her at least one of us doesn’t have to struggle.

Abel: You’re crossing a line. Just . . . just be careful. And for the love of God, don’t fuck her.

Hayes: I won’t.

I set my phone down and steeple my hands together as I stare at the ground.

Everything he said was correct. I am crossing a line. Perhaps I’m trying to save myself by saving her. I shouldn’t even be near her.

All fucking facts.

But . . . that’s not stopping me from lifting off this couch and heading into the kitchen.

“How’s your leg?” Hattie asks as I walk into the living room. Her surprising smile catches me off guard as I walk toward the kitchen. Coming from someone who wants to hate me, seeing a smile as a greeting is different.

“Sore,” I answer.

I’ll never fucking admit this to her . . . ever . . . but I think because I was able to tear my pants off quick enough, combined with her idiotic spraying of cold water, I didn’t end up blistering. It’s just a little sore, but she doesn’t have to know that. She can sit in the fact that she nearly scalded my dick off with her mockery.

She shifts to face me in the midst of all of her letters. At this point, I’ve stopped worrying about her process, and I’m just going to let her do what she’s doing even though it’s taking over my entire living room.

“Do you need me to press a cold compress against it . . . maybe spray you with more water?”

“You’ve done enough,” I say as I pick up a banana from the counter.

“Are you sure? Because I’m at your beck and call. Anything you need, let me be of service.”

Let me be of service?

I can see that maybe she was feeling guilty about the whole coffee burning my leg thing, but . . . let me be of service? Nooo, that’s not the Hattie I’ve come to know. So what gives?

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

“What?” she asks, her voice rising. “I don’t want anything. I’m just here to help. Help my boss out. Yepper. Boss, boss, boss. Bossity boss. The bossest. Just giving him all the help.”

“Bullshit,” I reply, not buying a single second of this. “You want something. You’re never this nice to me, even if you do try to sear the skin off my leg.”

She holds a finger up to me. “That was an accident. I might not like you, but I’d never purposely try to harm you. And I’m just trying to make sure I’m fulfilling all of your needs. You are paying me, after all, and it would help to lighten the mood in this dark dungeon with a little niceness.”

“You know, the more you lie to me, the less likely I’ll give you whatever you want.”

“What makes you think I want something? Honestly, can’t a person be nice to another person without—”

“Hattie,” I say sternly.

“Fine.” She lets out a dramatic sigh. I fucking knew it. She makes her way to the kitchen island where I am and says, “My best friend Maggie is coming to visit me this weekend, and I was hoping I could use your kitchen to make cookies. I don’t have a kitchen in the studio apartment I’m staying in and I promised her almond cherry cookies.”

“That’s all you want? My kitchen?”

She nods. “Yes.”

“You don’t have to ask to use it. Whatever is in this house, you can use it. Free range.”

“Besides the studio,” she says.

“Just because I can’t be distracted, but if you wanted to go in there, you could.”

“Well”—she heaves a sigh of relief—“I should have asked for something bigger if it was going to be so easy. Like letting Maggie stay in your house so we don’t have to try to fit on the small bed in my studio. Next time I’ll be sure to make the big asks.”

“She can stay here,” I say.

Hattie scoffs. “Okay, yeah, that’s not going to happen.”

“Why are you laughing?” I ask.

“Because that’s ridiculous. I’m not going to bring my friend to your house. We’ll make it work in my studio. We tried making a reservation at the inn, but they’re booked. We’ll just cuddle in tight.”

“Scared?” I ask her.


“Too scared to stay here? Afraid your brother might find out?”

“No.” She scrunches her nose up. “I’m not going to impose on you like that. Plus, I don’t want to owe you anything.”

“You wouldn’t owe me,” I say. “You’re my employee. Matt would have been afforded the same courtesy.”

“Would he?” she questions.

“Within reason,” I answer with a cringe. “Probably not after I found out he was pickpocketing anything of mine he could get his hands on.”

“That’s what I thought. And no, the kitchen is good enough. Which if you don’t mind, I’d like to make the cookies now so they have time to cool.”

“If you’re looking for ingredients, I have none.”

“Don’t worry, I brought everything required to make them. I mainly need your oven.” She heads toward the front door, and I follow her. She opens the passenger side of my car and pulls out a cooler as well as a bag full of baking utensils and sheet pans.

“Let me help you,” I say as I reach for her bags at the same time she grabs them.

Our eyes connect, and I watch her wet her lips as she’s a short distance away from me. “I . . . I got them,” she stutters.

“Let go, Hattie.”

From the command in my voice, she lets go and then takes a step back, her eyes unblinking as she watches me.

After a few seconds, she says, “Stop doing nice things for me.”

I ignore her as I bring her baking bags into the kitchen and set them on the counter.

“Did you hear me?” she says as I unpack the bags, lining up her ingredients nicely for her. “I said stop doing nice things for me.”

“I heard you,” I say.

“Then why are you unpacking my bags?”

“It’s called procrastination.” I glance up at her. “Those in the creative field are experts at it. So, no, I’m not being nice to you. I’m just trying to find things to do to make sure I’m not doing the one thing I’m actually supposed to be doing.”

“If that’s the case, start looking through your letters.”

“Ah, you see, if I were to do that, then I’d be pegging myself as an idiot.”

I pull out her baking sheets and line those up on the stove top.

“How would that make you an idiot?”

“Because I’m paying you, right?”

“Yes,” she draws out.

“So if I’m paying you, then why would I do a job I’m paying someone to do? Sounds pretty idiotic to me, but lining up this baking shit that truly is a pointless task. Now that’s something I can do to keep me from writing. See how it works?”

She stares at me. “You’re fucked in the head.”

I chuckle. “Us creative types always are.” Once I’m done, I set my hands on the counter and look her in the eyes. “Okay, what’s next?”

“What do you mean, what’s next?” she asks with a confused look on her face.

“We’re making cookies, so what’s next?”

“Uh, I’m making cookies, and you’re headed back to your studio.”

I pull on the back of my neck. “What did you not understand about the whole procrastination thing?”

“What do you not understand about me not wanting you to be nice to me?”

“I can call you a dick while we bake. Will that make you feel better?” Clearing my throat, I ask, “What do we need to start with . . . dick?”

She relinquishes. “No one says dick as an insult anymore. Be more clever.”

“What would you prefer me to call you?”

“I don’t know, not dick.”

“What is your go-to insult?”

She bumps my shoulder with hers, pushing me to the side as she picks up the butter and starts undoing the wrapper. “Make yourself useful,” she says, tossing me a stick of butter. I smile to myself, knowing she’s giving in to my procrastination technique. “And as for the insult, I go with the classic name-calling of anus.”

“Anus?” I ask, laughing. “As in a butthole?”

“Yes. It’s unexpected, rarely used, and gross if you actually think about it.”

“So is that what you want me to call you?” I ask.

“Ew, come up with something yourself.” She drops the butter in the large bowl she brought, so I do the same. She then unravels the cord to her hand mixer and hands me the cord to plug it in. Once it’s set, she gives me the hand mixer and says, “Beat the butter.”

“What do you mean beat it?” I ask.

She glances up at me in surprise. “Have you never made cookies before?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Your grandma never taught you?”

“She was busier teaching me proper guitar chords than allowing me in the kitchen.”

“Such a shame, think of all the baking songs you could have written if you had a touch of experience beating butter.”

“Yes, greatest hits for sure.”

“I know.” She moves behind me, wraps her arms around me and places her hand on top of mine that’s holding the mixer.

“Are you trying to make a move on me?”

“No, you anus.” I snort. “I’m trying to teach you, but you’re far too big for this position. I’m going to have to mirror you.”

She pushes me toward the end of the island, climbs on top of the counter, and then sitting cross-legged in front of me, she takes my hand again and looks me in the eye. “Are you ready?”

“I don’t know. This contraption looks scary, and you seem to be irritated.”

“Just know, if you piss me off, I can use these beaters on your crotch and turn your dick into straight up applesauce.”

“What . . . the fuck?”

She doesn’t reply. Instead, she turns on the mixer, and it flies against the side of the bowl.

“Christ, Hayes. You have muscles, use them. Steady the mixer.”

Butter flies all over the bowl and the counter as I try to rein in the machine. “Well, warn a guy before you just turn it on.”

“Wasn’t aware you were so weak.”

“I’m not fucking weak,” I shoot back as we steady the mixer and together beat the butter.

“Technically, this is called creaming the butter,” she says after a few moments of silence. “But I figured you would be massively inappropriate if I said cream the butter.”

“You don’t give me enough credit,” I say. “I’m not that immature.”

“Debatable.” She turns off the hand mixer. Instead of getting off the counter, she stays seated and says, “Okay, sugar now. One cup of white, one cup of brown.”

“That’s a lot of sugar.”

“Are you judging my cookies?”

“No,” I say, shaking my head. “Just surprised.”

“The reason they’re good, Hayes, is because there’s a lot of sugar in them, and of course, because of the almond extract.”

“Question,” I say as I measure the sugar. “Do I get any of these cookies?”

She rolls her eyes dramatically. “No, I’m just going to let you help me make them, use your kitchen, and then hoard them for myself. Honestly, Hayes . . . you really are an anus.”

“Glad you’re using that term loosely. And you’re right . . . unexpected, funny, yet . . . gross.”

She leans on one hand. “Stick around, I have so much more to teach you.”

We spend the next few minutes adding eggs, the almond extract, and then putting together the dry mixture in another bowl. I had no idea making cookies was this intricate, but apparently, it’s a treasured pastime for Hattie.

“Did Cassidy teach you this recipe?” I ask as she pulls out the maraschino cherries she dried last night.

“She did. She wanted a signature cookie she could sell at the shop, and when she was trying to figure out what would pair well with almonds, she knew cherries and white chocolate were going to be a great match. And before you ask, she didn’t go with milk or dark chocolate because she was afraid the flavor profile was going to overpower the almond.”

“Makes sense,” I say. “The combination sounds good to me.”

“It’s delicious. The first time I brought Maggie back to Almond Bay, she had one and has been hooked ever since. I’d just grab some from Aubree, but she seemed inundated with work, so I figured making them would be just as fine.”

“And you’re teaching me, so basically a win-win for you.”

“Is that what you’d call this?”

“Yup,” I answer.

She winces. “I think you’re pushing your luck, as I’d hardly call baking with you a win. Now, gradually mix the flour into the batter. I’ll hold the bowl for you. Turn on the hand mixer and go for it.”

“Okay,” I answer as I turn on the hand mixer and pick up the dry ingredients bowl with the other hand. I tilt it toward the wet ingredients, and when it doesn’t move, I give the bowl a light tap and to my dismay, all of the powder falls into the wet bowl. Like a mushroom cloud, the dry ingredients puff right out of the bowl and straight up my nose and over my face.

“Oh my God.” Hattie laughs hysterically as I turn off the mixer and set the bowl down. I wipe my fingers across my face, clearing off the flour, the chalky substance sticking to my skin. This will warrant a shower. “That’s the best thing I think I’ve ever seen. Too bad we’re not friends because I’d take a picture of you and send it to our friend circle.”

“Such a shame,” I say as I cough out some flour. “Wouldn’t be the first time a white substance was up my nose.”

Her eyes widen, and she leans slightly forward. Whispering, she cutely says, “Seriously?”

I chuckle. “Yeah, seriously.”

“Hayes.” She uses a reprimanding voice. “Are you saying you’ve done drugs?”

“What do you think?” I ask as I wet a paper towel and rub it over my face.

“Your grandma would be so disappointed.”

I chuckle now. “I was young and stupid and hung out with the wrong people while on tour.”

“Wait, so you don’t do any drugs now?”

I shake my head. “No, learned my lesson after a night where I ended up in a hotel room in Kansas City, butt-ass naked, with no wallet or phone.”

“Was Kansas City a party place for you or something?”

I shake my head. “I started the night in Atlanta, Georgia. How I got to Kansas City, I’m still in the dark about that.”

“Oh shit.” She chuckles. “Yeah, so that’s scary.”

“Especially when I had to fashion a hotel sheet for pants. You learn pretty quickly after that.”

“Was it hard to quit?”

“No.” I shake my head. “I was never addicted, and I never did it that much, just occasionally. And it’s been many years since the Kansas City incident, so I’ve been clean for a while.”

“Thank goodness, I couldn’t possibly work for a drug-hoarding anus. Could I work for a regular anus? Sure, I’ll make accommodations, but not a drug-hoarding one.” This girl is a nut.

“Glad to see you have standards.”

I DRAG my hand over my face and lean back on my couch in my studio, my mouth watering from the smell of the cookies wafting through the house and the memory of Hattie laughing over the fact that I blasted the flour up in the air with the hand mixer. I’m pretty sure I still have some up my nose.

And I liked every second of it.

Not the flour, but the time spent with Hattie.

I liked the distraction.

I liked that she sat on the counter and helped me.

I liked that she didn’t scoff at the fact that I’ve never made cookies but walked me through everything.

And when we were shaping the cookies, she held my hands and helped me mold them. When was the last time I just . . . had fun like that? Pure, simple fun?


Well, I fucking liked every second of it, and I shouldn’t . . . for many reasons.

Reason number one, her brother hates me.

Reason number two, she’s twelve years younger.

Reason number three, she’s technically working for me.

But Jesus, none of that seems to matter as I keep wanting to go back into the living room to talk to her. To check out her progress. To just see if I can get her riled up.

Like right now, I want to go out there and just start a goddamn conversation for the hell of it.

I’m not going to, though.

Nope. Not going out there.

I take a deep breath and pick up my phone. I pull up my thread with Abel and shoot him a text.

Hayes: I think I fucked up.

If anyone can help me through these thoughts in my head, it’s him. Thankfully, he must be between patients because he texts me back.

Abel: If you tell me you fucked Hattie, I’m going to lose it.

Hayes: No. I didn’t.

Abel: Thank Jesus. Then how did you fuck up?

Hayes: I know you told me to be careful, but I think the reason I can’t seem to let her go is because I let her get under my skin.

Abel: What level under your skin are we talking about?

Hayes: I like being around her.

Abel: Jesus. Dude, I’m telling you, this is a bad idea. Really fucking bad. Okay, you do not want to get involved.

Hayes: I know, and there are other reasons I shouldn’t get involved, many other reasons, but it’s hard not to get pulled in by her charm.

Abel: Try harder. If you need to, go find someone to shake off these . . . feelings. Anything to get your mind off her.

Hayes: Yeah, you’re right. I just think I’m spending too much time near her. She won’t be here this weekend, her friend will be in town. That will help.

Abel: Perfect. This weekend, find someone to fuck.

Hayes: Okay, yeah. I can do that.

Abel: Good, and if you start to feel like this again, text me. I’ll help you out. Even if that means you need to send me a dick pic to get that out of your system.

Hayes: Do you think that’s something I do?

Abel: I don’t know. I’m just here to serve.

Hayes: I’ll spare you the dick pic.

Abel: Thank Jesus. Although, with the amount of old cocks I see in a week, I could use a fresher one.

Hayes: Are you calling my dick fresh?

Abel: Fresher than the eighty-year-old shriveled string cheese I saw today.

Hayes: Jesus fuck, man.

Abel: Was that a wet blanket for you? Because I have more where that came from.

Hayes: Keep it as ammunition for now. You might have to pull out your arsenal on me.

Abel: Locked and loaded.

Knock. Knock.

I glance up at my door as if I can see through it, and I say, “Yeah?”

The door opens, and Hattie pokes her head in. “Uh, I want to eat a cookie. Now I know you made them, so I figured I’d give you the right to eat one with me before I started munching away. Consider this a courtesy.”

“Are you inviting me to have a cookie with you?”

“Never,” she says. “I’m telling you I’m eating a cookie whether you like it or not. Feel free to have one at the same time.” And then she takes off, letting the door shut on its own.

I stare down at my phone and the texts from Abel telling me to stay away, but even though my eyes scan over his words, my body stands. With one toss of the phone to the empty couch, I forget everything he said and head out to the kitchen, where her music is playing on her phone again. This time, it’s a cover of Don’t Stop Believin’.

She snags a cookie from the cooling racks, and when she turns to find me approaching, I see a slight smirk pass over her lips before she hoists herself up onto the counter.

I grab a cookie as well and lean against the counter. Her eyes land on mine, and then oddly, together, we take a bite. The moment the sugary goodness hits my tongue, flavors of cherry and almond popping off my taste buds, I know this has instantly become my new favorite cookie.

“Holy shit,” I say. “These are good.”

She checks out the cookie in her hand. “You know, I’d say you did a good job. I’m impressed.”

“I’m impressed with myself.” I take another bite. “How many of these did you say I could have?”

She eyes me. “Five, so pace yourself. Maggie is going to want at least two dozen. That’s how crazy she is about them.”

“Five won’t be enough.”

“Too bad, that was the deal.” She shrugs.

“We never made a deal about the number. And technically, you made these in my kitchen. Therefore, they belong to me.”

“Uh, wait a goddamn second,” she says, straightening up. “We might have made them in your kitchen, but I was the one who bought the ingredients. Therefore, a percentage of them belong to me.”

“Without my kitchen, there would be no cookies.”

She levels with me. “Without my ingredients, there definitely wouldn’t even be an inkling of cookies.”

“Then we split them, half and half . . .” I pause as a set of familiar chords plays through her phone speaker. And then . . . a smirk lifts my lips as she looks at me confused. It takes her all of five seconds to realize why I’m smirking before she leaps off the counter and grabs her phone, turning off the music.

“It’s not what you think,” she says, phone in one hand, cookie in the other.

I move past the island and slowly walk up to her, feeling cocky as shit. “Not what I think it is? Because it sure as shit seems like your phone was just playing one of my songs. Why would it do that unless you actually listen to my music?”

“It was playing music from the seventies,” she says.

“Funny, because my songs aren’t from the seventies.” I step right in front of her and shove the rest of my cookie in my mouth. I reach for her phone, but she pulls her arm away.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“I want to see your playlists.”


“Because I want to see if you have one dedicated to me.”

She rolls her eyes. “Conceited much? If you recall, I consider your music absolute swill. What you just heard was a complete coincidence. There is no way I’d dedicate a whole playlist to you.”

“Then let me see them.”

She shrugs. “Fine, have at it.” She hands me her phone, and I open her playlists, scrolling through them.

There’s Heart, Blondie, The Mamas & the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, slow seventies, rock seventies, seventies covers, but nothing with my name.

Huh . . . shame.

“See, told you. I’d rather stick a fork in my ear than sit and listen to your music.”

“Cute,” I say as I hand her back her phone.

“Are you disappointed?”

“Slightly,” I answer and move away from her. “I thought for a second that maybe you were harboring some secret fangirl status for me.”

“Ha, in your dreams, Farrow.”

“Apparently,” I say and step over one of her piles of letters. I glance around. “I’m assuming you’re leaving these piles like this through the weekend.”

“Obviously. You need to know, if anything, I’m thorough.”

“To a fault,” I say as I walk away. “Half those cookies are mine.”

“Once again, in your dreams, Farrow.”


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