Page 19 of Dirty Promise

Stay the night? That’s a big step … at least I think it is. I refuse to read into it. Maybe he just doesn’t feel up to driving me home tonight. After that marathon, I don’t blame him.

“Okay,” I say.

We curl up together. He wraps his arms around me and we stay that way the entire night.

6



These flings of ours go on non-stop for two weeks. We spend all our time together. Whenever I’m not working, I’m with him, either at his shop or in his loft. I even meet his friends. It was awkward, to say the least. When he introduced me, he turned and looked at me as if I had all the answers. I had no idea what to say, so to be safe, I said, “friend.” He lifted an eyebrow and I shrugged. What did he expect? “Hi, I’m Fiona, Max’s fuck-buddy?” Neither of us brought it up after that. The whole thing was very confusing.

It takes me those entire two weeks to finish the audio book. I feel bad for putting it off so long and not getting to the other envelopes from Kia’s bucket list.

Instead of going to Max’s after work like I’ve been doing lately, I go home and grab the box of envelopes from my night stand. Keeping up with tradition, I take my glass and a bottle of wine and head for the porch.

It’s windy out today, and a bit cold. It’s an overcast sky and it smells like there might be rain coming. I love that smell. I bundle up in the blanket I brought out with me and prop my feet up on the chair opposite of me and read the third envelope.

Envelope #3:

Dear Fiona,

Did you love the book? I knew you would. Ready for #3? I’m not sure you are since you scare easily. Remember as kids, how we used to always talk about doing that terrifying ghost tour in Savannah, Georgia someday? Well, someday is now. I know you can do this. You’re braver than you think you are. Now, go prove me right. No time to waste!

Love always,

Kia

I put the card down. I’d forgotten all about the tour we’d been talking about since we were kids. I can’t even remember what was on the tour, so I grab my phone and Google it. The tour stops at ten different locations: Abercorn Street where it’s supposed to be haunted by a little girl who died of dehydration from a punishment doled out by her relentless father, and three sisters who were murdered there while on vacation from Florida. Just thinking about it gives me chills and reminds me why I was so excited to go on the tour as a kid. I was the chicken out of me and Kia, but for some reason, I loved to be scared, loved the rush and the adrenaline—as long as it was from the safety of my own couch, of course. But I wanted more than that. I wanted a real fright, hence the tour.

The next stops on the tour are the Bonaventure Cemetery, Calhoun Square, the Olde Candler Hospital Morgue Tunnel (that gives me the creeps by the name alone), then Sorrel-Weed house—the most popular on the list. There are a few other stops on the tour and all of them ring vague bells from discussions Kia and I had years ago.

Kia and I had the whole adventure planned but somehow, life just kept getting in the way and we never went. The tour takes a day or two, plus the drive. I’ll be there at least a week. Going alone doesn’t sound like much fun though, but I can’t ask Max to drop everything and go with me. I saw his schedule and it’s packed. It’s bad enough that he’s been pushing clients to the side just to hang out with me. I could wait, I suppose, but I already feel really guilty about neglecting Kia’s bucket list to spend all my time with Max. I need to do this for her.

I look at the box of envelopes. What if more of them involve traveling? Though I have a ton of vacation time saved up that I haven’t used, I can’t just leave work on short notice every time Kia has a task for me. Kia knows I’m a planner. She’ll understand if I read ahead.

I look at the box of envelopes on the table and pull on my bottom lip. What should I do? Should I cheat and open more, or do as the instructions say?

“Kia, why do you do this to me?” I say.

I feel like she’s fucking with me from the grave. That would be so her. I bet if she could see me right now, she’d be laughing. It makes me smile to think so. Why would she be any different in death than she was in life?

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