Lina and Carver had been best friends. On those hazy summer days by the lake in their hometown, they’d clasped hands and declared it so. And ten-year-olds didn’t lie.
“I guess you’re right,” she said with a shrug. “I should show you my city.”
Her city. There used to be a time when she’d called the fountain at the town’s square in Temptation “her fountain.” For hundreds of years the citizens of their town had been dropping coins into that fountain and making their fondest wishes. Lina had tossed in a quarter daily, making the same wish to be rich and successful. Now it seemed as if her wish had come true. Carver, on the other hand, still wanted his fifty-cent piece back because the wish he’d made to one day become Lina’s husband had crashed and burned.
“I’ve been to New York before,” he said, trying to snap out of his mental trek down memory lane.
“Really?” she asked, one elegantly arched brow lifting. “When, and why didn’t you look me up?”
He shrugged. “A couple years ago.” He left out the part where it was his ex-wife Evita’s birthday wish. “And I didn’t know if you were still here or not. You didn’t keep in touch.” He’d always known she was going to New York, because she’d told him so during one of their late-night talks on her front porch.
“Neither did you,” she replied.
That realization hovered between them like the proverbial elephant in the room until he sighed heavily.
“Well, that was then,” he said. “This is now, and I’d really like to take my favorite Yankees fan to dinner.”
The smile she gave him was brilliant, and that tightening he’d felt in his chest blossomed into a warmth that almost strangled him.
“And because you’re still my favorite Yankees fan, too, I’ll even let you pick the cuisine.”
Because he knew it was the last thing she expected, he said, “Creole.”
“Oh boy, your dad’s not gonna like you visiting his competition in the big city.”
He chuckled. “Dad’s upped his game a lot with the authentic recipes he and Mom add to the daily menu at the restaurant, and they’re finally growing on people back home. Well, it’s at least growing on the tourists pouring in.”
“That’s good,” she said and picked up her purse, putting the strap over her shoulder.
He put his camera into its bag, fitting it tight into the foam casing and then checking to make sure he’d also packed his lens caps and other equipment.
“I miss eating there every Saturday night,” she said quietly.
Without hesitating again, Carver looked over to her and replied, “I miss seeing you there every Saturday night.”
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