Don't Hesitate Don't Hesitate (The Reluctant Heart Book 3) - Jeannette Winters Page 0,1
as though I wasn’t right there. At times like this I didn’t like my parent's open floor plan and felt a wall between the kitchen and living room might be beneficial right now. I needed to say something before it got out of hand. “Actually, you’re right, I’m old enough to figure it out myself,” I snapped. “Aunt Trixi was a…stripper, right?”
They both looked at me in shock. I almost never raised my voice. I’m the docile one in the family. And look where it got me. Left in the dark.
Mom shot Dad a look, and eventually he nodded. “Yes.”
It was a short and simple answer. They couldn’t have hated it that much if they still named me after her. Then again, they never called me Trixi, either. Now I knew why they used my middle name instead. It was a shame, because growing up I thought the name Trixi sounded so cool. I still felt that way, but no way was I mentioning that to my parents. That would take this conversation in an entirely different direction. One I didn’t want to deal with at the moment. Some day I’ll have to tell them exactly how I feel. Just not now.
“So what? She took her clothes off for money,” I said. “That doesn’t make her a bad person.”
“I never said she was,” she said.
Just implied. I felt the need to defend Aunt Trixi, knowing darn well that she didn’t need my help at all. She wasn’t someone who got walked on. “You’d be surprised what I did for money in college.”
My mother gasped. “You…didn’t….” she choked.
My jaw dropped. “I did assignments for others, Mom. God, it’s like you don’t know me at all.”
My dad burst out laughing. “Gloria, you should have seen the look on your face. I thought you were about to faint.”
Mom stalked halfway across the kitchen with a wooden spoon pointed at him and said, “You’re telling me you weren’t afraid of what Anne was about to say?”
Rocking back in his recliner, he shook his head. “Nope. We may have named her after her aunt, but our little Anne is as sweet and innocent as they come.”
I bit my lip. Oh, Dad, you just keep believing that. My mother looked at me, and before she could question it, I quickly changed the subject.
“So there’s nothing we can do about this? I have no choice but to run The Treasured Chest?” I asked.
“The lawyer was clear. Carl said he doesn’t want his employees to lose their jobs. You need to run that place for at least one year. If you’re not successful, then you lose The Treasured Chest,” he said. “And you know it’s not just their jobs riding on this.”
Great. Thanks, Uncle Carl. Not like I don’t have enough to do already. I let out a big sigh, but as the air went out, guilt crept in. How could I be thinking like that? Uncle Carl was always thinking about others, and I’m sure deep down he meant well when he put all these ridiculous stipulations in place. He must have left the club to me for a reason. Probably because he knew I would do anything not to let him down.
“Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll do what I need to.” I’d need to call and decline the amazing job I’d been offered the other day.
“It’s only a year, Anne. Before you know it, The Treasured Chest can go up for sale. And by the way, all the surrounding property has been purchased and demolished, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re able to sell it at a good price,” he said.
“Don’t you think Uncle Carl would’ve sold it when the others did if that was the case?” I asked.
My mother shook her head. “Your uncle was stubborn. He wasn’t letting go of that place no matter what the offer was. But I know you’ll do the right thing, and if someone makes you a good offer, don’t hesitate. Take it, just not until the year is up. And whatever you do, don’t get yourself tied down to that place like Carl did.”
No chance in hell of that happening. “Don’t worry, Mom, I know what’s expected of me.” I’ve always done what was expected, and look where it’s gotten me. Stuck in the same small town I swore I would never live in again. But they were right, it was only for 365 days. I’d just need to take it one day at a time. Before I