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Last resort, p.34
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       Last Resort, p.34

           Jill Sanders
 
When Luke hung up the phone with Cassey, he sighed and closed his eyes for just a moment. His family and this job were going to kill him. What he wanted and needed was to be in Surf Breeze with Cassey, working on his own projects and helping Cassey with hers.

  “Luke?” His mother peeked into the office. “Oh, there you are. Your father was wondering how things were going.”

  “Fine, I’ll be there shortly to give him an update.” Even though his father had only said the word “Calvin” since waking, that didn’t mean he hadn’t demanded hourly updates. He still had full motion with his fingers and hands and typed faster than most secretaries. Luke was finding it hard to keep up. On several occasions, he’d thought about just leaving. Especially when his father would punch the keys and glare at him like he was stupid.

  Since Luke was in control of the business, he’d made a few changes he’d been thinking about since his father had brought him on board almost a year ago. For the most part, his father had a handful of competent employees that could run the place smoothly, so he looked at it all as a great opportunity.

  So far, he was seeing great success with his changes. The employees seemed to enjoy the flex shifts he’d implemented, and the office staff really enjoyed being able to work remotely. So far, their productivity was up by almost ten percent.

  He’d yet to tell his father any of that, of course, since he didn’t want to cause him more stress.

  They’d moved their father back into their apartment across from his and had a large hospital bed setup with several machines. Two full-time nurses came and went as well as a staff of physical therapists.

  His father still had not regained his speech. He was learning to walk again, slowly, but his left leg dragged a little, causing him to stumble sometimes. He had to use a walker, which Luke could only guess pissed his father off no end.

  His mother was treating the whole ordeal like it was some sort of family vacation. She kept a chipper tone and smiled entirely too much.

  For his part, he was absolutely miserable. He missed the slower life of Surf Breeze. He missed his hotel project, which was moving forward without him. And mostly, he missed Cassey.

  Talking with her each day wasn’t helping much. He wanted to hold her, to smell her sweetness, and to see her smile one of those rare smiles she had. He didn’t know how much longer he could hold out.

  When he talked to his mother about it, she would just pat his arm and ask him to stay just a while longer. He thought she was just enjoying having him around. It was true she knew nothing about running the hotel or staff, but he was sure the place would get along just fine without him. He would leave if it weren’t for the guilty look she gave him every time they talked about his father.

  His mother was staying busy putting up Christmas decorations everywhere. She’d even had a tree delivered to his place. For his part, he worked in his father’s office from morning to nightfall and then dragged himself back to his apartment, desperately wishing to be anywhere but there.

  He’d stopped by and picked up his gift for Cassey and couldn’t wait until he could watch her open the small box.

  Since his father’s stroke, he had known what he wanted more than anything in the world. So much had changed in the last few months since he had met Cassey. He no longer felt like he was alone in the world. She’s opened a whole new doorway for him to go through. No one had ever done so much for him in his life, except maybe Calvin.

  Just then, his phone rang and his thoughts of Cassey and his brother were interrupted by more work. This time it was on his own project.

  “Hello?”

  “Hey, Luke. It’s Marcus. I’m just giving you a heads-up that the inspector will be here Monday. The cement work was completed today and we’ve got everything covered for the weather we’re supposed to have over the holiday weekend.”

  “Great. Sorry I can’t be there myself.”

  “Don’t worry about it. Oh, I’m opening an office above The Lunch Box. Rented the space out so I can hold meetings and all that. Might even get a secretary or two.” He chuckled.

  “That’s good to hear. Shall I meet you there and we can go over the plans in…” He looked at his calendar. “Say late next week?”

  “Sure. How’s the old man doing?”

  “The same.” He frowned.

  “Well, send him my best.”

  “Hey, Marcus?”

  “Yeah?”

  “I wish I could be there with your family this weekend.”

  “Next time.” Marcus chuckled. “That is if you can convince my sister to keep your ugly mug around.”

  “Oh, I plan on doing just that.” He smiled and looked down at the small box as a new plan formed in his head. “You know what? I might just make it up there for Christmas after all.”

 
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