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“Aunt Trixi, I’m on my way now. Do you want to grab a bite to eat while we…talk?”

Trixi asked, “Does this conversation have to do with The Treasured Chest?”

I wasn’t about to lie to her. “Yes.”

“How about we talk now and eat when you get here? That is if you’re on Bluetooth in your car,” she said.

She was always watching out for me. “Yes, I am. I guess we can talk now.”

I hadn’t even thought through what I was going to say. But time wasn’t going to make it any easier. So I just blurted out, “Want to work at The Treasured Chest again?”

Trixi huffed. “Again? I guess your father told you how me and your uncle met.”

Shit!I already slipped up. That last thing I wanted was to put her on the defensive. “No. I kind of knew.” Once they hinted at it. “But I was actually looking for your help in managing the place. You know so much more about the club than I do. If I walk in there blind, they’re going to take advantage of my ignorance.”

“Manage? You’re joking, right? I mean even your uncle knew better than to put me in charge,” she said bitterly.

“I think he just liked running it by himself,” I said.

“Yes, he did. But I wanted more. Hell, I needed more. I didn’t want to be a trophy wife. But he said no wife of his was going to work. Guess what I do now? Work. Oh, wait. That’s because I’m not his wife anymore.” Her voice sounded choked.

In a soft voice, I said, “I’m sorry, Aunt Trixi. Maybe my staying with you isn’t a good idea. I don’t want to upset you.”

“Changing your mind will do just that. I…I want your company. Actually, I need it. And if you really want my help with the club, I’d be happy to give it. You’re right. They would walk all over you. You’re too sweet and innocent for that place,” she said.

“Not you, too,” I sighed.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“My parents just accused me of being ‘innocent’. I’m not a virgin, you know,” I said firmly.

Trixi laughed. “I’m not talking about your sexual activity. I meant on the business side. The vendors will try to jack up their prices and the ladies will be asking for schedule changes left and right.”

“Oh. Guess I’m just a bit…stressed.”

“You just left your parents. I don’t expect you to be anything but stressed. Not to put your folks down, but they are….high-strung,” she said.

I couldn’t argue with her on that. “They just like their life the way it is. Change isn’t something they handle well.”

“I’m glad you’re not like them. Actually, you’re a lot like your uncle.”

“Guess all those vacations together really paid off,” I said. If it wasn’t for Uncle Carl, I’d probably still be sitting in Errol with no plans of ever going anywhere.

“Gee, I was hoping I could get some credit,” she laughed.

“Since you’re going to help run the club, I guess I can give you part of the credit. Maybe I’ll blame you for everyone thinking I’m innocent,” I joked.

“Oh, please. No one would ever believe that,” Trixi said. “Okay, it’s settled. I’ll work for you. Now, how far away are you? I’m starving.”

“Ten minutes.”

“Great. Just enough time to fix my makeup,” she said and ended the call.

I barely remembered if I brushed my hair, never mind put on any makeup. God, you’re right, Aunt Trixi. I do need you to intervene at the club. I’d probably scare the customers away.

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