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God, that’s all they needed, another ear infection. “Okay, which one are you taking him to? I’ll just meet you there.”

“Really, sweetie, I can handle this. It’s probably just an ear infection—”

“Yeah, but Noah will be scared after his stint in the hospital, so I’d rather just be there.”

“All right, well, I’ll take him to the one just up the road,” her mom said.

“Fine, it will take me about forty-five minutes to get back into town.”

“Forty-five minutes? Where are you?”

Dani rolled her eyes. Of course her mom was going to start asking questions. She had probably just let her know about Noah as a ruse to find out if she was just sitting at home.

“I’m in Auburn, geocaching with some friends.”

“What the heck is gero crashing?”

“Geocaching, Mom. And it’s like treasure hunting for adults.”

“Oh, well . . . Well, that’s good. What friends?”

Oh, good Lord, it was like she was sixteen again.

“Just some friends. You don’t know them.” Well, okay, they knew Blake Kline at least, but she didn’t want to get into that with her mom.

“Well, if you’re having fun—”

“I am, but I’d rather be there for Noah.” Clearing her throat, she added, “I’ll see you in a bit.”

Dani hung up the call and walked back over to the table, where most of them were done eating. She put her hand on Tyler’s shoulder, and he covered her hand comfortingly.

“Everything okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, but do you mind taking me home?”

“Of course.”

Bless Tyler. No questions asked, he just agreed.

“You’re leaving? But you didn’t finish eating,” Megan said.

“I’ll just take it to go.”

“Is someone hurt or something?” Eve asked.

Dani saw Oliver elbow his fiancée, who then gave him a dirty look.

“My mom’s just taking my son to the doctor, and I want to be there.”

The silence that settled over the group was like a dark cloud, especially when one by one, they each turned their attention toward Tyler. Their expressions ranged from anger to shock.

Finally, Violet said kindly, “I hope he feels better.”


As Tyler picked up her food and put it into the bag, he didn’t look at any of his friends, and once they were safely inside the car, she asked, “Was it just me, or did they seem upset with you?”

“It wasn’t just you.”

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