Page 19 of Hopeful Hearts

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She always had a theory about Callie breaking Emmet’s heart the last summer they all spent together.

“I think it’s a lot to ask,” Callie mumbled.

“Well, if you come unstuck, my offer still stands. It’s a shame no one ever got the old bed-and-breakfast up and running, as that would have been perfect,” Mel sighed dreamily.

“I’m going to find some chairs. We have a lot to catch up on,” Paige smiled.

“And that’s just Paige’s drama,” Lennon teased and Sophia stifled a giggle as Paige strutted out with a dramatised hair flip in their direction.


Brodie had never been the type to enjoy team meetings. For him, one of the main perks of being self-employed was being able to avoid situations like this one. As soon as he entered Emmet’s dining room, he felt five pairs of eyes staring back at him and making him want to turn around and walk right out of the door.

Jayda had arranged the whole thing and Brodie knew that all the girls would be bursting with questions, most of which he probably wouldn’t have the answer to, and he had a fairly big job on today, as well as his operation proposal do-over.

Inviting Sophia’s friends to town was supposed to make life a little easier, not harder.

“Should I leave you guys to it?” Emmet offered.

Brodie glared at him.

“Sit down, Emmet,” Paige ordered.

Brodie breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that he would not be the only guy in the room. Safety in numbers and all that.

“Yeah, this involves you, too,” Callie added.

Emmet looked to Brodie for sympathy but Brodie smiled, shaking his head as Emmet collapsed back down onto the sofa and Lennon budged up so he could take the seat next to her.

“So, we’ve called this emergency meeting to make a plan for our time in Lani Bay. We need this because one, this place is tiny, and two, we all need to agree on some boundaries,” Jayda started up.

“Yeah, we want to help without treading on anyone’s toes,” Callie contributed. “Brodie, we love you for offering to let us stay with you and Sophia, but it’s not fair. You guys need your space and we can get a little loud at times.”

“I would never have guessed,” he smiled, and Paige threw him a playful scowl.

“So, we’re all going to stay here with Emmet. He’s got plenty of space and he’s used to us. He knows how we all are together from all our times at summer camp.”

“That’s not exactly a plus, if we’re looking at pros and cons. How long are you all thinking of staying for?” Emmet sounded less than thrilled at the idea.

Brodie couldn’t blame him, but thought that maybe the distraction would be a good thing. Although Emmet wouldn’t admit it to anyone, he was struggling with this just as much as the rest of them.

“Until the wedding,” Lennon folded her hair behind her ears as she answered.

“Actually, I’ll be staying a little longer.” Paige announced and the sound of inhaled breath filled the room. “Sophia is one of us. I just don’t feel like I can leave her when she needs us most. I’m not putting pressure on the rest of you. I know we all have commitments, but this is our best friend.”

“Paige, we can’t just put life on hold and stay here,” Jayda said, looking at her friend like she’d gone completely insane.

“She wouldn’t want you all to go to any trouble. That’s the last thing she’d want.” Brodie ran a hand over his jaw and realised how much he needed a shave.

“I just feel like I have to be here, you know?” Paige looked around at each of her friends for some solidarity.

Brodie didn't expect her to find any. Surely, no one could just drop everything to come and stay without any notice.

As Brodie watched the conversation take hold, it became abundantly clear that he had underestimated the friendship between Sophia and her friends as one by one; they bounced ideas off each other to figure out how they could make Paige’s idea a reality.

Jayda could use up her annual leave allowance that she’d saved up since she’d never taken more than a week off since she started the job. She could do a month at least and take things from there.

With the offer of somewhere to stay rent free, Lennon could stay a good few months with no real impact aside from the fact she had zero savings and would need to find work, which wouldn’t be easy. Lani Bay wasn’t exactly opportunity central when it came to employment, but Paige offered to help her out in the short term.