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“No,” she said. “I’ve got a little savings. I’ve got credit card debt, but I can make the payments for now. The only other expenses I’ll have are my car payment and insurance. I’m sure I can find a job fast on the island. I’m not going to be fussy. I’m looking for a job, not a career at this moment.”

Finding a job in marketing wasn’t going to be easy. She had a business degree with a major in marketing and advertising, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t work in any office.

Living in her parents’ backyard wasn’t ideal at thirty, but sometimes you just had to start somewhere. That is what was happening now.

She had planned to work for her parents’ pub, but that was gone too when her parents told her three weeks ago what they’d done.

No, they hadn’t sold the pub, but they weren’t running it either. She didn’t get the details on anything other than it was a trial run of some sort for a few months or something. It didn’t matter. It was out of her hands just like so much was in her life.

They turned when her father walked into the small unit in the back. “I’ll talk to Duke this week and see if he has any openings for you.”

“Don’t,” she said. “I’ll figure it out.”

“Hadley,” her father said. “You know we’ve had staffing issues since we opened the place. I can’t believe he would have been able to fill them all and he’s running another restaurant. You know the pub and have worked it. He’d be crazy to turn down help behind the bar or on the floor.”

She wanted to argue but just didn’t have it in her. She hoped to make some money at least in tips. If she could do that, then she could cover the few expenses she had and not feel as if she had to get help from her parents.

“That’s up to you, Dad. I’m going to start looking for a job and if I can work there nights or weekends with another job, it will get me back on my feet. It’s not as if I’ve got a life. The one I had needs to be buried.”

“I’m just so mad that Eddie did that to you,” his father said. “And more so that you never told us.”

“Stan,” her mother said. “Hadley is always helping people. They were dating. She loved him. She was helping to care for him and he wasn’t working and had medical bills. She was only doing what most people would.”

Most people wouldn’t have handed over thousands of dollars after a little over a month of dating. But the months caring for him, he was so appreciative of everything she was doing for him. She felt loved in return at the time. How could she have known what he was doing?

“You don’t take advantage of people who are helping you,” her father said. “He had a family too that should have helped him out. You told us that, right?”

“Eddie said his parents were helping with a few things,” she said.

She never asked and maybe should have. But she didn’t want to pry either. Eddie’s sister had a few kids and was single. Eddie had always complained his parents were tapped out helping Cheryl all the time.

“Obviously not enough,” her mother said. “Please, let us know what we can do for you.”

“Nothing,” she said. She almost felt claustrophobic with three people in this small space, but it’s not like she could tell her parents to leave and she wouldn’t.

“I stocked the fridge and cabinets with food that you like,” her mother said.

She hadn’t even made it to the kitchen yet to look around. She’d only been home for an hour tops and was unloading her car when her parents came out to talk to her.

“Thanks,” she said. “You didn’t need to do that. I won’t starve. I’d just go to your house to eat.”

She was smiling and her mother winked at her. “I know. And I expect you to come there for meals too, but you’ve got things here too.”

“I don’t need you to cook me meals,” she said.

Good lord, she wasn’t a kid. “You know what we mean. You can come and go as you please. We’ve always been that way with you.”

They had given her a lot of freedom in life. She’d always been a good kid.

Back to wanting to be a people pleaser. She never wanted her parents upset or mad at her. She never told them anything to disappoint them and carried that burden on her own. No reason to have others brought down with her.

“I know, Mom. I just want to unpack and get settled. It was a long drive and then getting on and off the ferry.”

“What did you do with all your furniture and things?” her father asked. “Did you keep them in storage back in Portland?”

“No,” she said. “I sold everything.”

“Hadley,” her mother said, sighing. “We would have arranged to get it here and have it stored in the garage or something.”

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