All That You Are

All That You Are by Stef Ann Holm

Book: All That You Are by Stef Ann Holm Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stef Ann Holm
aviation office came back to Mark in a crystal-clear image. He’d thought they resembled Dana. They had to have been her father and brother.
    â€œWhat happened?” Mark asked, disinterested in finishing the card game.
    â€œAs far as the investigators could tell—the weather caused the crash. Fog crept in and they had dang near zero visibility.” Sucking on his toothpick, Bear shook his large head regretfully. “The plane was under full power on impact. Hyatt couldn’ta seen the hillside that hit him in the nose.”
    Confusion held Mark. “Sam Hyatt?”
    Harvey clarified, “Jake. Sam’s brother. He went down with the plane, too. All three died.”
    The mood at the table turned as gloomy as the gray sky. In the silent moments that followed, Mark observed three grown men fighting their emotions, fidgeting and shifting in their chairs.
    No wonder Dana had come after him when he tried to take a closer look at that photo. Pain must still rip through her heart. She hadn’t wanted to answer the inevitable questions or hear the usual condolences. While his dad hadn’t died in an accident, Mark knew too well the gut-wrenching loss felt over the death of a parent. But he couldn’t imagine losing one of his brothers.
    Yanking a white handkerchief from his back pocket, Bear blew his nose into it. “Dang allergies,” he mumbled, by way of an excuse for the misty eyes.
    Merrit adjusted his hat bill. “She’s a survivor.”
    â€œCouldn’t agree more.” Harvey put in his two cents.
    â€œIf it weren’t for her son,” Bear thoughtfully concluded, “I don’t think she’d’ve made it this far.”
    Harvey nodded, continuing the game by discarding. “Terran gives her a reason to get up in the morning.”
    â€œHow old is her boy?” Mark asked, lowering his cards.
    â€œI reckon close to five or thereabouts.” Bear drummed his fingers on the table, then selected a card. Looking at its face, he grimaced. “Son of a—Why couldn’t I have got this card the last hand?”
    Harvey took his turn, shifted cards, then grinned, laying them all down and shouting, “Gin!”
    Merrit cursed beneath his breath and folded. “I was one run shy of going out.”
    â€œMe, too,” Bear put in.
    The trio, bent on playing another hand, turned the topic to the irritating rash on Harvey’s right ankle as he shuffled the cards. Bear suggested he put some grease on it. Merrit begged to differ and told him to soak his feet in epsom salts.
    As they heatedly debated the benefits of both remedies, Mark broke into their dialogue and excused himself.
    Sprinting toward the rows of cabins, folded newspaper tucked underneath his arm and the cigar clamped in his mouth, he blinked against the rain pellets smacking him in the face. With every step he took, he digested the information he’d learned.
    By the time he crossed the parking lot, he was soaked through.
    Â 
    â€œS EAGULLS ON THE ROOF AGAIN .” Leo’s blunt commentary made reference to the incessant tapping on the Blue Note’s metal roof.
    Dana exhaled heavily, thinking this was the last thing she needed today. Saturdays were her busiest days at the bar and it took some prep work to get ready for the crowd. Extra food had to be fixed, plenty of liquor stocked, and she arranged the stage area to accommodate live music. Most, but not all, Friday and Saturday nights, she brought in bands to play jazz.
    Rain had fallen in a steady sheet all day, and she had several buckets strategically placed on the floor. The forecast called for at least two inches, possibly three. She’d have to keep her bussers on top of dumping the buckets.
    Tap, tap, tap, tap!
    â€œDoesn’t sound like seagulls,” Dana commented, across the bar. They weren’t open yet, and she’d just set up the mike system. “But they were up there pecking a couple

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