Page 88 of Hopeful Hearts

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“Have you been sleeping in your car? Austin, why would you do that. You know, you could have stayed with us.”

“You’re still healing. You need to rest.”

“Um, likewise,” Sophia groaned in frustration.

“I’m fine. I only came because I told you I wouldn’t go without saying goodbye.”

“Where are you going?”

“No can tell.”

“Austin.” She was becoming exasperated with him.

“Trust me, you don’t want to know. Not really. You’d be tempted to get in touch or come and find me. Let’s not pretend we’ve got some kind of brother and sister thing going in. It’s best for everyone if I get back to my life and you get on with yours.”

“You know what I think?”

“No. But I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”

“Correct.” she dropped a hand to her hip. “I think you’re scared of facing up to things, so you’re running away before the going gets tough and I don’t agree with it.”

“Why would I need to run away from anything? Or anyone, for that matter. You’ve got me wrong, Little Soph.”

“Is that so?” He could deny it all he wanted, but Sophia had him all figured out.

“If you’re not running away, then prove it. Stay and have dinner with Brodie and me.”

Austin glanced at the expensive smartwatch wrapped around his wrist.

“I really should be on my way.”

“I’m sure you can stay long enough to eat. You probably haven’t had a home cooked meal in days and Brodie’s cooking tonight. He makes the best linguine you’ve ever tasted.”

Austin side eyed his truck again and jerked his jaw. “Alright. I’ll stay for dinner, but then I’m out of here.”

Sophia beamed and headed inside.

“Hey baby. Austin’s joining us for dinner tonight.”

Brodie narrowed his eyes at Sophia, then smiled politely. “Great, I’ll set another place at the table. There’s plenty to go around.”

“I was just telling him how good your linguine is.”

“You’re biassed,” he grinned.

“And you’re too modest,” she threw back. “It’s really good,” she nodded toward Austin, and they took a seat at the huge oak table.

“How are you doing?” Brodie asked.

“Good. Looking forward to getting back to normal,’ Austin replied.

“Agreed.” Sophia took the jug of water and poured it over the glass of ice Brodie had put there for her.


“Thanks,” Austin replied, and she filled his glass, too.

“Are you usually a drinker? Would you usually have wine with your dinner?”

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