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“Showtime!” Quinn says with a little too much enthusiasm for Maggie’s liking. She finishes her glass of wine and stands to face the new arrivals.
“Hi!” she greets Selah, matching Quinn’s exuberance.
Selah wears one of her typical flowing skirts and tank top accessorized with a huge necklace, which draws attention to her large chest. Oversized sunglasses hold her dark bob away from her face.
More distracting than even Selah’s breasts is the tousled brown hair of the man behind her. A few steps behind Selah stands Gilliam Morrow. Maggie’s heart flips at the sight of him.
Biscuit barks out a greeting at the new guests and scampers over to sniff them. He’s the world’s most friendly dog and more apt to lick than bite.
Selah walks over to hug Quinn, giving Maggie a clear view of the man walking up the stairs. His brown hair is shorter, and it might be sprinkled with a little more gray. The face shows a few more lines around his warm brown eyes than the last time she saw it, but it’s still a handsome composition of angles. Wearing khaki shorts and a faded Jane’s Addiction T-shirt, he is a mix of old friend and stranger.
Gil makes eye contact with Maggie and smiles. He runs his hand through his hair, and gives her a small wave.
“Who’s this fine beast?” Gil asks.
Biscuit sniffs around the newcomers. Gil scratches the dog’s head, and from the way Biscuit leans into him, the two of them will be fast friends.
“That’s Biscuit. He’s a manwhore,” Quinn answers for Maggie who stands quietly staring at Gil.
“Hi, Maggie.” Gil strides over to her and gives her a friendly peck on the cheek.
“Hi,” she says as she hugs him. It is a hug of two strangers who used to be friends, who used to be more. Gil’s tall frame towers over hers—she barely comes up to his shoulder. She inhales his clean scent with hints of sunscreen and salt. He smells like summer.
“Hi,” he says again and then laughs at himself. “I guess I already said that.”
“Hi.” She laughs along with him.
“Sorry to crash the weekend. Hope you don’t mind.” His deep voice is soft with genuine feeling.
“Of course not. It wouldn’t be the whole gang if you weren’t here.” She hopes she sounds cooler than she feels.
Selah comes over and saves them from the awkwardness. She steps between Maggie and Gil, and hugs Maggie. Gil walks over to shake Quinn’s hand.
“Forgive me?” Selah whispers in her ear.
“We’ll see,” Maggie whispers back.
Louder Maggie says, “How was the ferry? Where are your bags? Do you want wine? There’s a Rosé open. Or beer. You probably want a beer, Gil. I have beer. Or iced tea. You don’t have to drink.”
The word vomit seems unstoppable until Selah touches her arm.
“The ferry was good. Quick once we got onto the boat. Bags are in the car. Why don’t we all sit, have a drink, enjoy the view, and then you can give us a tour,” Selah says, rubbing Maggie’s arms.
“Sounds good to me,” Gil answers.
“Beer or wine?” Quinn asks as he steps toward the door to the living room.
“Wine for me,” Selah responds.
“Beer’s fine. I’ll come with you,” Gil says, following Quinn inside.
With only the screen door closed, the guys’ voices carry outside. Knowing they can be overheard as well, Maggie walks Selah over to the table in the far corner of the deck.
“Want to explain what you’re up to?”
Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy and her husband live in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with their dog, Hubbell, and an imaginary house goat. She is currently researching her second novel.
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