The Forgotten Daughter(7)By: Lauri Robinson
Frustration filled his stomach. “You aren’t getting in and out unseen, Josie. Pants don’t make you invisible.” He stopped shy of stating she looked even more fetching in her britches and shirts than she did in the green dress she wore right now—although the color wasn’t very flattering. Normally he didn’t notice such things, but Josie usually, when she did wear a dress, chose one of simple colors. White, blue, yellow. The one she had right now was a pond-scum green. Twyla had probably picked it out for her wedding, as she and Norma Rose had on identical dresses.
“I have to go,” Josie said. “There are things I need to see to in the kitchen.”
He didn’t doubt that. The party had just gotten started and would continue for hours. Both Twyla and Norma Rose were otherwise occupied, which would leave most of the work to Josie. When she’d started taking on a bigger role at the resort a month or so ago he’d hoped that would curtail her other activities. It hadn’t. Her phone call from the Duluth jail had dropped his heart clear to his knees two weeks ago.
Scooter took hold of her elbow as she started to walk away. “Why’d you say you got arrested for speeding on purpose?”
The shock in the depths of her sky-blue eyes said she’d hoped he’d forgotten that tidbit of information.
She sighed heavily, but just as she was about to say something, they were interrupted.
“Isn’t this party swell?” Twyla asked excitedly as she and Forrest crossed the room.
“Just swell,” Josie muttered under her breath. Remembering—as if she’d been able to forget—Scooter stood beside her, she pulled up a brilliant smile. “Yes, it is,” she told her sister. “One people will long remember. Who could ever forget Babe Ruth?”
“He’s so funny,” Twyla said, using Forrest’s shoulder the same way Josie had used the chair to hold her balance as she fiddled with one and then the other shoe. “He told me every woman should love baseball for the pure fact it’s played on diamonds.”
Josie merely grinned. Babe had been saying that to women all day. She almost found an ounce of comfort knowing the shoes were hurting her sister’s feet as badly as they were hers, but didn’t. It was Twyla’s wedding day, and nothing, not even tight shoes, should dampen her enjoyment.
“I was on my way to the kitchen,” Josie told Twyla, glad for the opportunity to escape Scooter. “Want to come with me? We can get something for our heels.”
Twyla laughed as she graced her new husband with a somewhat sheepish grin. “That’s exactly what I came inside for.”
“I told her she should have bought a larger size,” Forrest said teasingly.
“It’s not the size,” Twyla insisted. “It’s the style. These were the only ones that were the same color as our dresses.”
“Lucky shoes,” Scooter drawled.
Josie twisted her neck to hide the laugh that caught in the back of her throat, but Scooter caught it. His grin, as well as the glint in his eyes, said he thought the dresses were as ugly as she did. That made her want to smile, but she wasn’t about to let him think they shared the same thoughts on anything—not one tiny iota. Josie reached over and grabbed Twyla’s free hand. “Come on. Moe has bandages in the kitchen.”
Dramatic as Twyla always was, her sister held on to Forrest’s hand as she started walking, stretching her arm out as if Josie was pulling her away from her new husband. When she finally let go of Forrest’s hand, Twyla said, “Don’t let him out of your sight, Scooter. I don’t want to have to go looking for him.”
Josie’s ability to keep her thoughts to herself momentarily disappeared. “Good heavens,” she whispered. “You’ll only be gone a minute.”
“I know,” Twyla whimpered. “But a minute away from Forrest feels like hours.”
Josie bit her lips together to keep her from pointing out that little over a month ago Twyla had been selling kisses for a dime apiece to any man who walked past the cotton candy stand at the amusement park.
She’d barely taken another step when a solid grip wrapped around her elbow.
“Actually,” Scooter said, “Josie wasn’t on her way to the kitchen. She and I were discussing something and weren’t finished.”
Dumbfounded, it took Josie a moment for her mind to kick in. “Yes, we were finished,” she said. The undercurrent of tension surrounding them could sink a ship.
Twyla and Forrest obviously sensed it, too. “Did something happen to the fireworks?” Twyla asked.