Under Currents

Under Currents by Elaine Meece

Book: Under Currents by Elaine Meece Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elaine Meece
“I mowed her yard, and she did my laundry.”
    “I’ll start mowing it. I don’t want you stepping foot in her yard. Do you understand?”
    Mr. Webb’s warning had no muscle behind it. Just what did he plan to do? Caleb didn’t answer. It wouldn’t do any good to attempt reasoning with him. While her father appeared determined, fear filled his eyes.
    “Sir, like I said, I respect your daughter. I’m not waiting for the right time to take advantage of her because she’s a vulnerable widow.”
    “Son, your intentions might be all good, but it only takes a few people seeing the two of you together to twist it into a sleazy affair and turn our lives upside down. I’m begging you to stay away from her.”
    Caleb paused a moment before answering. “The best I can offer is I’ll try. But if something should arise and Julie needs my help, I won’t turn my back on her.”
    Mr. Webb frowned. He evidently didn’t like Caleb’s answer. “I’d prefer she not know I said anything.”
    “I won’t mention it.”
    The old man’s shoulders slumped. He rubbed his forehead with the back of his hand, then returned to the house.
    A strangling inner grip tightened Caleb’s throat, making his eyes burn. Julie was his only friend in the world. He cared about her, and yes, he still fantasized about her. If he’d ever been under the illusion for even a moment that Julie and he could have a life together, this should be his wakeup call. He put himself in Mr. Webb’s place. If he had a daughter and grandchildren, would he want an ex-con in their lives?
    Caleb flinched when Scott walked up behind him. “You spooked me. Where’d you come from?”
    “I was behind your shed.”
    “You have to be pretty good to sneak up on me. You heard?”
    “Yeah. I heard him, but I still want to be your friend. And Ally loves you. Mom likes you too.”
    “You’re old enough to understand that people will think your mother and I are more than friends. If this were a big city, it wouldn’t matter, but it being a small town makes a difference.”
    “But that’s not fair,” Scott replied, his face full of anguish.
    Life isn’t fair.
    Caleb placed his hand on Scott’s shoulder. “I wish things were different. But I’m afraid your grandpa is right. When I was arrested, it didn’t just ruin me. It ruined my parents and grandparents. People they’d known for years wouldn’t have anything to do with them. My brother’s fiancée called off their wedding. So, your mother has to think about more people than just herself getting hurt.”
    Scott hugged Caleb around the waist. “I hate people. I hate the way they treat you. I’m sorry I was mean to you this morning.”
    Caleb’s heart warmed from Scott’s words. “If I ever had a son, I’d want him to be just like you.” Gently, he pushed Scott back and met his teary gaze. “Just promise me, if your mother ever needs me, you’ll let me know.”
    “I will.” Julie’s son wiped his eyes and walked home like a kid that was responsible for losing the big game.
    Caleb rubbed the back of his neck to ease the tightness. Damn, he hated his life and who he was.
    I should’ve never come back to Faith.
    Despite her father’s request, the fact remained that Caleb really needed to speak with Julie. But once Julie returned from work, her father stayed at her house. By the time he saw Mr. Webb’s truck leaving, it had to be near ten. He’d wait until morning to speak with her. The dance was almost a week away. The thought of her going with Grear still angered him.
     
    ♦♦♦
     
    Frank Grear had waited in the dark woods across from Julie’s house for the last couple of hours—like a snake he was always watching but never seen. He shifted his binoculars from her house to McGregor’s. Now that her father had gone and the kids were probably in bed, McGregor and Julie might have a little rendezvous planned.
    He could see through their windows. Julie sat on her sofa, reading beneath the

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