Page 79 of Hopeful Hearts

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“This afternoon,” Paige’s smile was fading fast as her friends' reactions obviously weren't what she’d been hoping for. “Aren't you excited for me?”

They each looked at each other.

“Of course. Cheers to new beginnings, wherever they take us.” Sophia lifted her glass of water and they all clinked glasses again.


The bed-and-breakfast was unidentifiable as such, save for the arrow shaped sign at the bottom of the winding path up to it that read, ‘Lani Bay Bed and Breakfast.’

“Can you believe I got accepted?” Paige said while gazing up at the ramshackle building.

Jayda, Lennon, and Kate were lost for words and Daisy pretty much summed it up when she pointed and yelled, “yucky.”

“Tell me you didn’t really invest in this?” Callie yelled as she stepped out of the car.

Sophia took her time getting out. She could do most things now, as long as it was at a snail's pace.

“I did.” Paige grinned.

“You’re insane,” Callie called out, and no one disagreed.

“Just wait ‘til it’s finished. You’ll all be eating your words.”

“I hope so,” Kate muttered.

“I’m telling you; this place has five-star potential. Besides, I have to make it work as I’ve promised to pay my parents back the deposit within the first year.”

“That’s ambitious,” Jayda said.

“And very brave,” Callie smiled.

“I know it seems crazy, but I’m really excited to get started.” Paige tried not to look as disheartened as she felt.

“If anyone knows anything about luxury hotels, it’s you.” Lennon shrugged.

“Shall we?” Paige wiggled the key in the air and her friends all nodded in agreement.

“Let’s do it.” Sophia yelled.

“Have you been inside yet?” Kate asked.

“No, this is my first time. The previous owners have been pretty good and let me have access before the transfer goes through. I’ve seen pictures, but I’m hoping it’s got a few surprises in store for me.”

“I’m going to hang back with Daisy. You don’t mind, do you? It’s just if anything fell on her –”

“You’d never forgive yourself. Kate, you’re fine. I get it. I’ll give you a shout once we’ve had a look around. If it’s safe enough, you can pop in then.” Paige clapped her hands together.

“In the meantime, how about we go and explore the garden?” Kate asked Daisy, who stretched out her arms for a pickup in response.

“Here goes nothing,” Paige said as she turned the key in the lock and pushed the door open.

Immediately, a wave of musty air washed over them and when they stepped inside, more of the same. Every surface was caked in layers of dust and there were plenty of surfaces, as the space was a hoard fest. Stuff was piled high to the ceiling, some of it covered in dust sheets, the rest strewn across the floor.

Jayda coughed and Lennon traced a finger over a thick layer of dust, leaving a swirl in its wake.

‘Okay, so there’s slightly more stuff than the photo’s made out, but look at all this space.”

The four women glanced around, wondering if Paige was looking at the same crammed room as they were.

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