Lost and Found Sisters Read online

  Chapter 14

  Luckily even the worst days only have twenty-four hours.

  —from “The Mixed-Up Files of Tilly Adams’s Journal”

  Quinn left, desperate to get away before she cried in front of everyone and made a fool of herself. She headed for the B & B, giving Cliff a call as she did. “Can you set it up so the café stays open to generate money for Tilly, and also to keep the people who work there employed?”

  “You’re leaving,” he said.

  She blew out a breath. “It’s complicated. My job, my parents . . .”

  “You already have a full life. Believe me, I get it.”

  Why didn’t that make her feel any better? “Can you manage the café business?” she asked again.


  One relief anyway.

  “I’m sorry I can’t stay,” she said. “But Tilly isn’t interested, and I can’t see how to make it work if she doesn’t want to. You sure she’s okay with the neighbor?”


  It was all she could do at this point. Back at the B & B, she got into the shower to get rid of both the chicken poop and the crazy morning.

  “Hey,” Beth said.

  Quinn let out a startled scream and dropped the shampoo bottle on her toe. “Fuck, shit, damn . . .”

  Beth, sitting on the countertop, rolled her eyes and then studied her own reflection in the foggy mirror, messing with her hair. “Think I should put in some blue streaks of my own?” she asked Quinn.

  Quinn was still hopping on her one good foot, holding her throbbing toes. “What are you doing here, and why won’t you ever come when I call for you?”

  Beth turned to her, her brown eyes serious. Calm. Loving. “It’s not all about you, Quinn.” She started to shimmer.

  “Wait! Don’t you dare leave—”

  But Beth was gone. “Dammit!” Was she hallucinating or had Beth really been there? She stared down at her foot. Her toe was swollen and already turning black and blue. With a sigh, she picked up the shampoo bottle and went back to her shower.

  It’s not all about you, Quinn . . .

  She got out of the shower and left the bathroom to stare at her suitcase, opened on the floor, a haphazard mess. She could shove it all in and close it up and be on the road in five minutes.

  “Stop running, Quinn.”

  She closed her eyes at Beth’s voice. “I’m not running. Everything I know is in L.A.”

  “Not anymore. You wanted off the hamster wheel, you wanted to feel again. So do it.”

  Quinn opened her eyes and turned to look at the TV.

  No Beth.

  Quinn was alone in the room, which meant she really was going crazy. Admittedly, not a far trip.

  “You’re looking to go back to the land of not feeling, because it’s easier,” Beth said from atop the armoire.

  Quinn put a hand to her racing heart. “You’re not being helpful.” She scrubbed a hand over her face and when she dropped it, Beth was gone.


  But Beth was right. She was running, or thinking of it anyway. Running from the reality that everything she thought she knew of herself was no longer true, running from having a sister who hated her, running from having a pretty severe overreaction with Mick that morning, which—if she was being honest with herself—she was feeling deeply embarrassed about.

  Not that it mattered. She’d decreed herself and Mick done.

  Just as Tilly had made the same decree about herself and Quinn.

  At least the café was open again. And yeah, she was disappointed about how it had gone here in Wildstone, but her life really was in L.A. She couldn’t turn her back on her parents simply because they’d made a mistake.

  And as if she’d conjured them up, her phone buzzed, an incoming call from her dad.

  “How’s it going, honey, you on your way home yet?” he asked.

  She’d talked to her mom earlier so the urgency in his voice stopped her heart. “No—Is everything okay?”

  “So have you checked your oil yet?”

  She let out a shaky breath as her chest tightened in a good way now. Her mom showed love with food and gifts. Her dad showed love by caring about her car. “Yes, Dad. The oil’s good.”

  “The fluids?”

  They’d already lost one daughter and they were worried they were about to lose their other one too. Which wasn’t going to happen. She drew in a deep breath. “All good, Dad,” she said, her voice a little thick. “Promise.”

  “How’s Tilly?” her mom asked, clearly standing right next to her dad.

  “She’s . . .” Hurt, pissy, sullen, and more emo than Quinn had ever managed on a bad day. “Great.”

  Her mom laughed softly. “People used to ask me how you were at that age and you know what I told them?”


  “That you were a shithead.”

  Quinn found a laugh. “I was.”

  “You were. But I think you were that way because you knew no matter what you did, you had someone to catch you.”

  Quinn’s smile faded. “I know.”

  “This girl, she doesn’t.”

  “I know that too.”

  “You’ll figure it all out, sweetheart,” her mom said. “We have faith in you.”

  It shouldn’t surprise Quinn how much she was learning about herself through this whole thing. Or that she was coming to appreciate her parents more than she ever had before, which was making her realize something else.

  She wanted more than what she had with Brock. She wanted what her parents had.

  No settling for her. “Mom?”


  “I love you. I love you both.”

  Now her mom’s voice was thick too. “Love you too.”

  “I love you too,” Beth murmured. “Btdubs.”

  Quinn drew in a deep breath and turned to the armoire.

  No Beth.

  “Mom? Dad? I’ve gotta go. I’ll call you back later.” She disconnected and took a few deep breaths.

  Because she got it now, what Beth had been trying to tell her. Whether Tilly wanted to acknowledge her or not was secondary to the fact that Quinn was all Tilly had. Period.

  And more than that, running wasn’t the answer. This decision was big and it needed to be decided carefully and thoughtfully, with Tilly’s best interests at heart, not Quinn’s. She needed to give Tilly one more chance to say she wanted or needed Quinn’s help, in any capacity.

  “Bet you enjoy being right on this one,” she muttered to the empty room, and she’d have sworn she heard the soft, musical sound of Beth’s pleased laughter.

  MICK HATED HOW the morning had gone down with Quinn. Being with her had been the best thing to happen to him in a damn long time and he’d messed that up.

  Even worse, he had no idea how to fix it. All he knew was that being here in Wildstone this week was taking a toll on him. He needed to get back to the Bay Area for mental health.


  But he couldn’t do that until he finished up at his mom’s house. To that end, he stopped at the hardware store.

  The place was empty as he and Coop walked in.

  “Mick Hennessey,” came a hoarse old voice. Lonnie Rodriquez, the owner. “Long time no see.”

  Mick had gone to school with Lonnie’s son. “How’s Cruz?”

  Lonnie shook his head. “Having a hard time. He’s been working here at the store, but I can’t always afford him. I thought he’d take over when I retire, but there’s no business. Might have to close up shop.”

  This wasn’t the first time Mick had heard this complaint. Wildstone’s local business owners had been hoping tourism would keep them alive, but nothing was being done to promote the town.

  “I saw the new construction going on downtown,” Mick said. “A hotel. Are they ordering their building supplies through you?”

  Lonnie scoffed. “That job’s being done by an outside contractor. So are the two other new construct