The Forgotten Daughter - Page 20

“I’m just wondering,” Josie said, turning her attention back to Scooter, knowing he was awaiting her answer, “why your sister never came to the resort for a job, rather than the Plantation.”

Scooter shifted slightly as he glanced over his shoulder toward his sister. “I’d say that would be because of your uncle.”

“Dave?” Josie asked, rather confused.

“Yes, Dave,” Scooter answered. “He and John were friends.”

Everyone knew Uncle Dave and John Blackburn had been friends. However, Scooter made it sound as if there was more behind it than she knew. Josie didn’t have the energy to contemplate that notion any more deeply. Not right now. The music had changed to a faster beat, and with her mind elsewhere, her feet became tangled up when Scooter twirled her around.

Scooter’s hold on her hand tightened, but it was too late—she was going down.

She landed on the grass, and he came down on top of her. The grassy area turned into a game of dominoes with people toppling over one another. Josie closed her eyes and tucked her head against Scooter’s shoulder, hoping no one would land on them. For a few seconds she heard nothing but grunts and thuds. And music, which never stopped. Slim didn’t so much as miss a beat.

“I think it’s safe to get up now,” Scooter said a few moments later.

She lifted her head. Others around them were scrambling to their feet.

Scooter pushed off her. The absence of his body pressing against hers left behind a tingling sensation from head to toe that she couldn’t call relief. Unwilling to contemplate such things, Josie readily grasped the hands he held out and leaped to her feet.

Shaking her skirt back into place as soon as her toes touched the ground, she asked, “Dare I admit I’m glad that’s over?”

“Only if I can, too,” he replied.

“Deal.”

He laughed. “Let’s get out of here before we’re knocked down again,” he said, taking her hand to lead her toward the tables.

Ginger and Brock stood there, among several others.

“Are you two all right?” Ginger asked.

Josie nodded.

“Well, applesauce,” Ginger said, brushing grass off her skirt. “That was one huge mess. I thought I was going to get trampled.”

Brock wrapped both arms around Ginger and pulled her back against his chest. “I wouldn’t let that happen, doll. You know that.”

Ginger grinned and looked up at him with sparkling eyes. “Yes, I do.”

“Looks like your other sisters are still going strong,” Scooter said.

Josie scanned the crowd and found Twyla and Norma Rose, dancing with their partners, completely oblivious to what had happened on the other side of the dance floor.

“Need a drink after that, Scooter?” Brock asked.

Scooter shook his head. “No, thanks, I have to go get the fireworks set up.”

“Need any help?” Brock asked.

“Dac’s helping,” Scooter said while wrapping a hand around Josie’s arm. “So is Josie. You and Ginger are welcome to row out in another boat if you want. Could be fun.”

“Yes, let’s,” Ginger said, looking up at Brock, who nodded.

“I’m not helping you,” Josie whispered, as Scooter forced her to start walking beside him.

“Yes, you are.” His lips had barely moved. “I said you’d be glued to my side for the rest of the night, and I meant it.”

“I have things to do,” Josie hissed.

“Not anymore,” he insisted.

Ginger grabbed her other arm. “This is going to be so much fun,” Ginger said. “I’ve never lit fireworks before. Have you?”

“No,” Josie admitted. “And I’d prefer not to.”

“Why?” Ginger asked.

“They scare me.”

“Liar,” Scooter whispered in her ear. Then, loud enough for everyone to hear, he said, “Don’t worry, you’ll be safe with me. As safe as a baby in her mommy’s arms.”

“My mother is dead,” Josie said sarcastically.

Ginger flashed her a frown, but Scooter laughed.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” he said.

“Ducky, Scooter, how old are you, ten?” she asked.

“If the shoe fits,” he said, lifting an eyebrow.

“I’m not the one acting childishly,” she snarled.

“Aren’t you?”

“Fine,” she said stubbornly. “I’ll help light your fireworks.”

“But?”

“But what?” she asked.

“You normally add a but to everything you agree to do.”

“I do not, but I will remember you think I do.”

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