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Kelsey looked up from the counter as the bell over the front door chimed. "Welcome to Moore's," she said with a smile.
Then she realized who was walking into the store.
The smile dropped away. "I'm not going, Tess," she said flatly. "You can save your breath."
"Nice to see you, too." Tess sauntered over to where Kelsey stood and propped her elbows up on the counter. "And you are too going."
"No, I'm not." She grabbed the dust cloth from beneath the cash register and began wiping down the counter, pointedly working around Tess's elbows. Tess, true to form, just lifted her arms and waited for Kelsey to finish.
"You have to go." Tess settled her chin in her hands and watched Kelsey dust. "It wouldn't be the same without you."
"I'm sure everyone will survive." Kelsey moved on to the front-of-store display, rolling her eyes as Tess followed her. "It's not like I haven't seen anyone since we graduated."
That was the problem with working in her mom's flower shop. Every wedding, every funeral, every happy or sad occasion, people came to the store. She'd prepared floral arrangements for big events, put together bouquets and corsages, helped pick out just the right potted plant. If someone wanted to find her, they could.
Even when she didn't want to be found.
"Well, yeah, everyone who stayed in town after graduation." Tess waved a hand, as if dismissing the vast majority of their graduating class, including herself. "But what about everyone else?"
Kelsey shrugged. "No one I can think of that I'd want to see."
"I can think of one person," Tess said, her voice singsonging in that I've-got-a-secret way she'd had since elementary school. "Guess who just RSVP-ed?"
"I don't have a clue."
Kelsey's hand stilled for just a moment. She started dusting again immediately, even more vigorously than before, but it was too late.
"So you have to go."
"No, I don't."
"Come on, don't get stubborn."
"Do you even know me at all?" Kelsey kept dusting. "Stubborn is my middle name."
Tess held up her hands. "Sorry, I should know better than to give you advice. Still, aren't you even a little curious about what he's been up to? I mean, considering that crush you had on him."
"Oh, come on. It's not like it was a state secret or anything."
Kelsey stomped down the aisle, Tess following her.
"You know you want to see him."
Yeah, she did.
But she sure as hell didn't want him to see her.
"Besides, I've been planning the damn thing for six months." Tess dropped the pleading act and looked Kelsey straight in the eye. "I need at least one ally there."
"What about Bree?"
"I don't know if she's coming, either." Frustration spilled out into Tess's voice. "Don't make me face the firing squad all alone."
"Emotional blackmail. Hmph." Kelsey crossed her arms over her chest. "Tess, I'm sorry. I just can't."
Kelsey bit back a groan as she turned toward the back of the shop. Her mom stood in the doorway to the cooler, wiping her hands on the apron tied around her waist.
Before she could say anything, Tess piped up. "Kelsey is trying to get out of going to our reunion next weekend, Mrs. Moore."
"Your reunion?" Her mother's eyes widened. "Has it really been ten years already?"
Yes, it had. Ten long, interminable, depressing years.
"It'll be a busy weekend," she reminded her mom. "I need to be here at the store to help out."
"I can manage."