“Unity” Charity called through the bathroom door “you’re going to be late. Get a move on.”
Groaning Unity tossed her hair brush on the counter. Turning she rushed from the room. “I’m ready” she announced almost walking into her mom standing outside the door.
“Your nose is bleeding” Charity pointed out handing her a tissue from a nearby box.
“Not again” she complained holding the tissue to her nose.
Frowning Charity asked “what do you mean again? Have you been getting a lot of nosebleeds?”
“It’s nothing” she tried to walk past her mom to grab another tissue to replace the already soaked tissue she held up to her nose.
“I’ll be the judge of that” Charity said stepping in front of her daughter. “Let me see” she held Unity’s face still as she inspected her. “How many nosebleeds have you had recently?”
Unity’s eyes slid to the floor. Her shoulders rose and fell in a desultory shrug. “I don’t know” she mumbled “a lot I guess.”
“How many is a lot? One? Two” Charity asked her voice rising as she confronted her daughter. Little things she had dismissed came to mind. The lethargy she had dismissed from working too many hours took on an ominous meaning now.
“I….I don’t know” she sighed “maybe three or four….”
“A week” Charity prompted her heart skipping a beat when her daughter shook her head. “A day” she asked watching her closely.
Nodding as tears rolled down her cheeks “I had one early this morning. I got blood all over the pillow.” Impatiently she wiped the tears away “I’m sorry mommy. I hoped it’d go away on its own.”
Charity added inside her own head that her daughter hadn’t told her because she’d been too busy with the resort. Shaking her head she forced the feelings of guilt away. “We won’t worry about that now. Call work. Tell your boss you won’t be in today.”
“But Mom..” she began to protest “I told Kaia I’d cover her shift today.”
“Absolutely not” Charity said in tone Unity knew well. The one that said her mind was made up and arguing was pointless. Taking her phone out she continued “I’m calling your doctor.”
“Ugh” she stomped her foot “it’s not fair.”
“If the doctor gives you the all clear then you can go to work tomorrow” Charity said.
“Fine” she rolled her eyes trying to pretend she was angry and not scared. Scared that something was really wrong with her.
“Sweetie it’s going to be okay” Charity tried to reassure her as she waited for the doctor’s office to answer her call.
Nodding Unity walked back to her room. She was more tired then she cared to admit. Her joints hurt and her head was throbbing. Taking her phone out she called the boutique. She could tell Mindy was irritated with her. The inconvenience of trying to find someone to cover her shift or run short evident in her voice.
She knew she had no choice and if she were honest with herself she didn’t feel well enough to work. She wanted to rest but doubted she could with the way her mind was swirling.
Looking up as her bedroom door opened and her mom came in. “I got you an appointment at one o’clock. Why don’t you try and get some rest until then?”
“Okay” she murmured waiting for her mom to leave before sending Temperance a quick text
They found out. Dr appt at 1:00. I’m kind of scared.
Putting her phone down she knew Temperance wouldn’t respond until her break. They were supposed to be working together on the showroom floor.
“Mr Milton what a pleasure to have you dining with us today” the hostess smiled welcoming him.
Glancing around the crowded restaurant Noble pointed “I’d like to be seated in her section.”
“Very well sir” the hostess said leading him towards one of the best tables in the section he wanted to sit in.
“This is lovely but I’d rather sit over there” he indicated to a smaller table set for two instead of a table for four.
“This table has the best view” the hostess pointed out setting the menu down as if that was the end of the discussion.
“I’m familiar with the view. If I were with a group this table would be perfect.” It had been ingrained in him since he was a child to be polite with the help even when they were in the wrong. “I’d rather have the smaller table and allow that larger group who has been waiting a while a chance to order.”
“Very well sir” the hostess’s clipped words told him his point had been made. As she walked away he wondered how long she’d been seating guests based upon prestige instead of group size and wait time. Something he would have to bring up at the next resort meeting with his parents. One day he’d be taking over the resort and he needed to know everything there was to learn about the business.
“Good afternoon” a cheery voice said above his head. “I’m Stacy. I’ll be your server today.”
Smiling up at her he took in her long brown hair tied back in soft waves down her neck. “What would you recommend” he asked setting his menu aside.
“The lobster is very good today” she said without skipping a beat. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“Yes” he scanned the drink menu “I’ll have Rhode Island Tea…”
“May I see your ID card please” she asked.
“I’m over twenty-one” he assured her.
“I’m sure you are however it’s policy to check all our guest ID’s if you appear to be under thirty.”
“Very well” he got his wallet out, extracted his ID and handed it to her. He watched as her eyes bulged recognizing his name.
Handing his ID back she smiled “one Rhode Island Tea coming up.”
Watching her go he admired the way her work uniform hugged her curves. A moment later she was back with his drink. “Are you ready to order? Perhaps you’d like to try one of our appetizers? The sample plate is a customer favorite.”
Shaking his head he handed her the menu. “I’ll have the lobster tail and if you could bring out extra rolls. They’re a favorite of mine.”
“Of course” she turned to leave when he held his hand up stopping her “is there something else sir?”
“Yes” he smiled “you’re new to the island yet you knew the menu and the restaurant policies better than some of our more senior staff. I wanted to compliment you on a job well done.”
“Thank you sir” she said “it’s a pleasure working here. I’m working my way through college and this give me the practical knowledge for what I intend on doing once I graduate.”
“If it’s not too much to ask. What are you going to school for?” He admired the way the light danced off her eyes and hair.
“Restaurant management” she flashed him a smile “this is one of the best restaurants on the island. I’m glad to be a small part of it. I better get your order in.”
Watching her go this time admiring her for more than her figure. They could used someone like her running the restaurant. He’d have to mention that to his parents as well. Taking his phone out he made a couple of notes to remind himself for later.
Justice stared up at the resort. He used to love coming here when he was a kid. Now that he was older he could only think about all the things he’d rather be doing than being at the resort. “Three months” he mumbled beneath his breath “then I’ll be free.”
“Excuse me” someone said behind him. Turning he felt his jaw drop. He realized he was staring at one of the prettiest girls he’d ever seen. He could tell she wasn’t from the island. She didn’t have the same laid back vibe that most the islanders had. That made her even more appealing to him.
“Do you mind” she asked indicating the door he was standing in front of.
Leaning back he smirked “don’t mind at all.”
Rolling her eyes she stepped down from the steps she was on. Glaring up at him she said “you’re blocking the door.”
“Yeah so” he crossed his arms. He enjoyed the way the sun danced over her long brown hair bringing out the reddish gold highlights in it.
“You really should move” she said a small smile forming on her full lips.
“Make me” he challenged.
“I don’t think I’ll have to” she pointed towards smiling behind him.
A tapping behind him on the door had him turning to inspect it. He found his dad looking at him with a displeased expression on his face. “Sorry” he apologized opening the door wide enough to allow an elderly couple to shuffle out.
Once the elderly couple had shuffled past the girl giggled. “You really should have listened to me.”
“Yeah” he sighed shrinking beneath his father’s glare. “I wish I had.”
“Excuse me” the girl said as she squeezed past him to enter the resort.
“Hey” he called after her “what’s your name?”
Turning she giggled flashing him a smile. “That’s for me to know and for you to find out.”
He moved to follow her but a heavy hand on his shoulder prevented him. Turning he found his dad giving him a severe look.
“Hey dad” he waved “lovely day isn’t it?”
“Justice” the way his dad said his name he knew he was in trouble. “You’re old enough to know better.”
“But young enough not to care” he added flippantly. The glower on his dad’s face deepened. “Lighten up” he said walking down the steps and away from the resort. “It was only a blocked door. How was I supposed to know those geezers wanted out?”
“That’s not the point” Ryan said “this is our business. I don’t care that you don’t want to work at the resort. I get that. It’s your choice. You don’t have to but you do have to respect it.”
Justice shrugged silently glaring at his dad. It was the same old speech he’d heard a hundred times. “Can I go now” he asked after the silence became awkward and uncomfortable.
Ryan nodded afraid he’d say something he’d regret. It seemed lately that no matter what he did it was never good enough when it came to his youngest son. He should pursue it but there were more important things then getting upset over a blocked door. Checking his phone for what felt like the hundredth time sighing when there was still no message. Charity had promised she’d let him know what they found out at from the doctor. He hated thinking his little princess was ill and there wasn’t anything he could do about it.
Loyal joined the others around the bond fire. He’d come to the beach to meet up with some friends instead he made new ones. “Belle you have a mean serve” he complimented the girl.
“Well I was taught by the best. Natalia was on the Volleyball team in high school and made me play with her so she could practice her serve” she explained
“All the girls on the opposing teams quacked in fear when they saw me” Natalia added proud of her achievements.
“They did not” Belle corrected her laughing.
“I wish I had seen you play” Loyal sighed.
“You just did” Damian chortled winking at his best friend.
“That’s not what I meant” Loyal said “it’s different.”
“You just wanted to watch her on the court” Natalia teased “Belle is a beauty. Can’t really blame you.”
Looking away attempting to hide his face from view knowing from the burning sensation his ears and cheeks had to be crimson. He had been distracted the entire time playing volleyball. His eyes kept seeking Belle out instead of watching the ball.
“Natalia” Belle chastised her cousin “you’re embarrassing him.”
“Am not” she protested proceeding to ask Loyal what he’d been staring at moments before the ball had hit him on the head.
Knowing her cousin wouldn’t be giving up any time soon Belle walked over to where Damian was sitting quietly staring into the flames. “Penny for your thoughts” she said holding her hands out to the flames.
Grunting Damian looked up at her “not worth that much.”
“Your little cutie wasn’t on the beach today” she stated noticing how her friend tensed when she mentioned the blue haired boy he’d mentioned several times watching him as he surfed.
“He’s not my cutie” he grumbled grabbing a stick to poke at the fire with.
“What are you waiting for” she asked knowing that Damian would either tell her to mind her own business or he’ mope in silence. What he said next shocked them both.
“I don’t know” he admitted “I want to but….”
“I think you should” she said “he may just be too shy to approach you as you strut your stuff.”
“Yeah I guess” he knew she was teasing him “there’s just something about him.”
“Want some advice” she asked knowing she was going to give it to him anyway. He shrugged giving her a slight affirmative nod. “Next time you see him. Talk to him.” she grinned “who knows it just might be the beginning of something good.”
“I…” pausing he grinned “I think I’ll do that.” Jerking his head towards Loyal “you better go rescue him before Natalia scares him away.”
“He does look a little upset” she nibbled on her bottom lip as she joined the others. Sitting beside Loyal she noticed he had his phone out staring at it with a bleak expression on his face. “Bad news” she asked.
Lifting his head up, his eyes moist with tears. “My sister” tears rolled down his cheeks shocking them both.
“Hey” she took his free hand squeezing it a little “whatever it is I’m sure it’ll be alright.”
Sniffing he clinched his eyes shut. His hands curled into fists “no it won’t ever be alright. My sister’s sick.” Dropping his phone he rubbed his eyes “I skipped out on the family meeting. Thought it was just another boring resort update.” Repressed sobs shook his body.
Retrieving his phone from the sand Belle’s eyes skimmed the text message on the screen. The message was from someone named Noble:
Get your ass home. The family needs you. Unity has leukemia. Mom is hysterical and Dad’s not much better.”
“Unity is she….your sister” she asked setting his phone on the chair beside him.
Nodding he wiped his eyes “she just turned fifteen a couple months ago.”