Grayson's Vow

Page 3


I took a deep breath. "I'm going to come up with a plan, though," I said, biting my lip, a feeling of determination replacing the hopelessness I'd felt all morning. Grayson Hawthorn's face flashed quickly in my mind's eye. "Kimmy, do you ever feel like . . . a path is laid out in front of you? Like, clear as day?"
Kimberly paused for a beat. "Oh no. No. I know that tone in your voice. It means you're scheming something I'm going to try—probably unsuccessfully—to talk you out of. You're not considering that plan to advertise for a husband online are you, because—?"
"No," I cut her off, "not exactly, anyway."
Kimberly groaned. "You've gotten another one of your spur-of-the-moment, Very Bad Ideas, haven't you? Something completely ludicrous and most likely dangerous."
I smiled despite myself. "Oh stop. Those ideas you always call 'Very Bad,' are rarely ludicrous and seldom dangerous."
"The time you were going to market your own all-natural face masque from the herbs in your garden?"
I smiled, knowing her game. "Oh that? My formula was almost there. Right within reach, actually. If my test subject hadn't been—"
"You turned my face green. It didn't go away for a week. Picture day week."
I laughed softly. "Okay, so fine, that one didn't work out very well, but we were ten."
"Sneaking out to Carter Scott's party when we were sixteen—"
"Totally would have worked if—" I started to defend.
"The fire department had to come get me off your roof."
"You always were such a wuss," I said, grinning.
"The time you were home from college on summer break and hosted that Asian-themed dinner party where we all had to wear kimonos, and then you almost killed everyone there."
"An ingredient error. How was I to know you needed to be licensed to cook that particular fish? Anyway, that was forever ago."
"That was two years ago." She tried to deadpan, but I could hear the smile in her voice.
I was laughing now. "Okay, you've made your point, smartass. And despite all that, you love me anyway."
"I do." She sighed. "I can't help it. You're completely lovable."
"Well, that's debatable, I guess."
"No," she said firmly, "it's not. Your father's an ass, but you already know how I feel on that subject. And honey, you need to talk about what happened. It's been a year. I know you just got back, but you need—"
I bit my lip and shook my head even though she couldn't see the movement from the other end of the phone. "Not yet," I said softly. "And thank you for making me laugh for a minute there. But seriously, Kim, I'm in a very bad predicament right now. Maybe a Very Bad Idea is what I need." I couldn't help the small hitch in my voice at the end of my sentence. Kimberly never failed to lift my spirits, but truly, I was scared.
"I know, Kira," Kimberly said softly, understanding in her voice. "And unfortunately, if you're determined not to use any of your father's business contacts, you might have to get a waitressing job until you figure out what you're going to do."
I sighed. "Maybe, but would you really want me anywhere near food preparation?"
"You do make a valid point." I heard another smile in her voice. "Whatever you decide, it'll always be the Kira and Kimmy Kats, okay? Forever. We're a team," she said, referring to the band name I'd come up with when we were twelve, and I'd devised the plan to sing on the street corner for cash. I'd seen a commercial on TV about kids who didn't have enough to eat in Africa, and my dad wouldn't give me the money to sponsor one of them. In the end, we'd been caught sneaking out of the house in the very inappropriate "costumes" I'd made from construction paper and tape. My dad grounded me for a month. Kimberly's mom, who worked as the live-in head of our housekeeping staff, gave me the twenty-two dollars I'd needed to help feed and educate Khotso that month, and then every month I couldn't come up with the money on my own after that.
"Always," I said. "I love you, Kimmy Kat."
"I love you Kira Kat. And I gotta go, these boys are getting out of control." I heard Levi and Micah's squeals of laughter and loud shouts ringing in the background over the sound of small running feet. "Stop running, boys! And stop yelling!" Kimberly yelled, holding the phone away from her mouth for a second. "You gonna be okay tonight?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I think I might even splurge and rent a cheap hotel room here in Napa and then walk along the riverfront. It makes me feel close to Gram." I didn't mention that earlier that morning, I'd hurriedly packed my stuff and climbed down the fire escape of the apartment my dad had paid for, as he’d yelled and banged on the front door. And that now, said stuff was jammed into my car’s trunk. Kimberly would just worry, and for now, I had some cash and a partial, but arguably Very Bad Idea, roaming around in my head.
And in my illustrious history of Very Bad Ideas, this one might just take the cake.
Of course, I'd be thorough in my research before making a final decision. And I'd make a list of pros and cons—it always helped me see things in a clearer light. This one required some due diligence.
Kimberly sighed. "God rest her soul. Your gram was an amazing lady."
"Yes, she was," I agreed. "Kiss the boys for me. I'll call you tomorrow."