~1

"Come on Hadley it's your last night in Dallas before you go home and we never see you again! Let's go out and get into some trouble!" Her roommate pleaded.

"Alright, alright. Let's go then." Hadley responded.

She wasn't one to party when she was at school. But since she graduated and is permanently moving home she decided she would make the most of her last night in Dallas. She drank, she flirted, and the next morning she woke up in her friend's apartment. Her male friend's apartment. Naked in bed with him. Not that it was uncommon for the two of them to have a night of fun, but it felt different this time. She dressed and scrawled a note for him.

It was nice knowing you. Bye. Hadley

"Aren't you such a catch… what prize… got a body like a battle axe, honest eyes… we ought to buy you a Cadillac." Hadley sang at the top of her lungs as she drove south on I-45 from Dallas to Galveston. She was heading home from college, it had only been the week earlier that she'd graduated. As usual she was going home to spend the summer with her mother in Galveston, though unlike years previous she wouldn't be leaving in August instead she would be working next to her mother.

Her mom Kathryne single handedly runs a resort and spa, directly across the street from the beach. A resort and spa that her father, Kevin owned along with several others along every coast in the U.S. So as you can imagine by now Hadley was quite used to living the life of luxury. In fact aside from her now rather beat up car, her father had seen to it that she have the best of everything, despite her mother's protests.

Her car rattled on down the highway and she cranked the radio a little louder to drown out the roar of the engine. Her 1990 red and rust colored Mazda was on its last leg, it had more miles than she cared to think about on it and over all it was just falling apart. But she didn't plan on driving it much for the next three months. She would be practically living on the beach, and partying with her mom day and night. She was determined to live it up the last three months before she started working a real job.

Hadley parked her car in the usual spot at the back of the resort where only the employees park and walked in the back door. She walked through the locker room and kitchen saying hello to all folks that had been there ever since she could remember and scoping out all the new boys there for the summer.

She passed through the dining room glancing outside at the pool, it's bright aqua colored water sparkling in the sun. She caught a glimpse of someone standing outside in the typical uniform for the hotel. But with the glare of the sun off the pool she couldn't see his face. She shook it off and headed toward the front desk where she was sure to find her mom.

She rounded the corner that led from the dining room to the lobby and saw not only her mother at the counter, but also her father. A smile spread from ear to ear on her face as she watched the two of the talk for a couple moments before approaching them. To this day she couldn't understand why they weren't still together. With the smile still on her face she walked toward the counter. Her mother saw her first and actually climbed over the short counter to grab her daughter in a big hug.

They danced a circle in the lobby, still hugging and it was only when they were back to their original position that they let go. In that time her father had walked around the counter to stand and wait his turn. He gave her a quick hug and a kiss on the forehead. Something his six foot seven frame still had to stoop to do.

"So how was the drive? How did the car hold up?" Her mom asked in a concerned motherly tone.

"The drive was boring as usual, and the car only over heated twice. I really need to get a new car this summer." She laughed.

"We'll find you a new car baby." Her father said, as he rubbed her shoulder toying with the ends of her long dark hair.

"Kevin don't you think she ought to buy her own car this time?" Her mom said, to her father.

"She just graduated from college with honors, I can buy her a car." He scowled at his ex wife.

"Daddy what are you doing here?" she asked excitedly, trying to defuse the situation and failed, they started talking about responsibilities and overall acting like she wasn't standing right there.

You see Hadley was a high school baby. Her mother was only sixteen when she had her. Her parents had divorced when she was fourteen. She could never quite figure out why, because even still they got along great when they were together. So long as Kate didn't get in the way. Kate was her father's new wife, and Asha was her now five year old half sister.

Her father and Kate had moved to Panama City Florida shortly after getting married and from that moment on Hadley only saw her father and half sister a week or two out of the year. Though she talked to him almost every week. At times every day. She was so excited to see them both that she couldn't even wonder why they had seemed to be in such a heated discussion when she arrived.

"Okay well that's my cue I'm going to go home and change. I need to feel the sand between my toes." Hadley smiled and started to turn.

"Well you won't have to go too far." Her mother said, but it wasn't the comment that made her stop rigidly and turn back around. It was the tone she used.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Hadley asked frigidly.

"I sold the house baby. I was never there, we live much closer to the beach now." Her mother said, in a rush and not very friendly.

The tiny two bedroom house was the only home Hadley had ever known. She was two years old when her parents had moved in to the house in Texas City. It was small and barely functional but they made it work, even after her dad had moved and remarried.

"So where are we living then?" Hadley asked a little panicked. Her mom only gestured, her index finger pointing up. "We're living out of a hotel room! Are you crazy?"

Kevin could see Kathryne wilting already. She had been afraid of the reaction Hadley was going to have, and so far it was not a good one. Though he had to admit, she could have delivered the news a little better. He made the decision to step in after all it had been his idea for Kathryne to move in there. She'd been paying for a house that she never saw.

"Let me explain." He said and led his daughter over to the chairs that were sitting next to the lounge off the lobby. He waited until she sat down. "Your mother was never in Texas City. It was my idea for her to move in here. She isn't paying for anything here, except her grocery's and even still she doesn't have to do that because the kitchen always has more than enough."

"Dad the two of us cannot live in a hotel room. Two beds in the same space, I don't care that we wouldn't be spending much time in there. I need privacy."

"Oh Hadley, it's not like the normal hotel rooms. We did all kinds of construction to the top floor making it into three suites. One of them is the one you and your mom will be living in. Come on I will take you up." He said, standing up and motioning for her to do the same. He pulled a key out of his pocket when they boarded the elevator to go to the tenth floor. It was strange to see only four doors along the long hallway.

"Where's Kate and Asha?" Hadley asked, not that she really cared about Kate.

"In a minute. Let's get you settled in first." He smiled and pointed to the door at the end of the hall to the right. "That's it." He said.

It was the only door that had a real key and not a key card. Hadley unlocked the door and walked through. There was a floor to ceiling wrought iron wall in front of them that offered a broken view of the living room. For the most part the only thing she could see was the sun coming in through the nearly all glass wall on the far side of the room.

"Your mom's room is over there." Her father pointed, toward the far left of the living room. "And yours is over here." he started walking across the wooden planked floor making soft clopping noises as his shoes moved.

She glanced around as she followed him, noting the kitchen to her right, the dining area to her left and a narrow hallway that she was following her father into. With one abrupt turn at the end of the hall and a shorter hall ending in a door he stopped to let her pass.

She opened the door, aside from having a new bed in the room. It was set up the same way it had been in the house in Texas City. There were two large draped windows along the two walls that faced the outside, with a quick yank on the cords to draw the drapes back. She stood in awe staring at a beautiful view of the ocean.

"What do you think honey?" he asked watching her.

"It's going to be hard getting used to calling the hotel home. But otherwise it is beautiful." She said. "So what's the occasion? Why are you here in Galveston?"

"Kate and I decided to move back to Texas City." He said smiling.

"Really! Why? I mean not that I'm not happy that you will be so close, but…"

"I want Asha to go to school here, and it's getting to be that time now." He said. "Kate isn't working anymore so there is no reason to stay in Panama. But speaking of Kate; I need to get back and help unpack. We have all of our stuff at the new house, but we don't have anything unpacked yet. Asha is with her grandparents for the week while we get everything together."

"I'm assuming you mean Kate's parents." Hadley said a little sourly.

Her grandparents were not very friendly towards her. Her moms parents disowned her when she got pregnant. And her grandma and grandpa Kane were tolerant of her but over all they were not much for children. She remembered her father saying that he was all but raised by his nanny, and when he turned eighteen his folks gave him the family business. They still didn't speak much.

"Yes, Kate's parents." He said, with a meek smile. "I love you baby. We will have you and your mom over for dinner when we get the place all put together." He kissed her forehead and quickly left.

Hadley dug through her dresser drawers to find everything still exactly the way she'd left it despite its new location. She changed into her best swimsuit and found some shorts to wear to the beach.

***

"Well that went well." Kathryne said when Kevin stepped back up to the counter.

"She was just a little freaked out Kat that's all. She seems fine now. I have to go help with the moving. But I will see you girls later okay." He leaned across the counter and planted a kiss on his ex wife's cheek. Before taking his leave of the resort and heading to his new home.

***

Hadley walked across the street to the beach. It was already dreadfully hot for mid May, and by the time she got across the hot sand she couldn't wait to dive into the cool sea water. She waded out a little ways still in her shorts, and then dove into a swell as it came in. She instantly felt better. There was just something about being at home in Galveston that made her relax completely.

She'd worked hard the last seven years getting through college and then Grad school with a masters in Business. It felt good not to have to worry about working this summer. Come fall her mom was going to hire her on at the Resort to learn about the business and by the following year she would be working for headquarters for all of the resorts her father owned.

She headed back to the hotel walking in the main door and catching a glimpse of one of the new guys heading back toward the locker room. Her mom was standing at the desk dealing with a particularly unruly customer. She bypassed talking to her and just headed up to the room.

With a quick shower and change of clothes she headed back down to the lobby. It was about dinner time and her and her mom would be heading to get something to eat at any moment. Her mom met her at the elevator with a smile and a hug.

"Ready for some dinner?" she asked.

"Absolutely. Where we goin?" she asked. Her mom always took her somewhere the first night she was back. It was always her moms choice, but she knew her daughter well enough to know where to go.

"I was thinking The Spot tonight. What do you think?"

"Perfect, I could totally go for a Shrimp PoBoy." Hadley said. Just thinking about it made her stomach growl.

In her 24 years, Hadley had only had home cooked meals when her father was still married to her mother. Kat didn't cook, that was just how it was. She waited hand and foot on people all day long by the end of the day she wanted nothing more than to have someone wait on her.

They walked down the road from the hotel to The Spot which certainly was the local hot spot. They took seats on the deck upstairs right along the railing giving them a great view of the ocean. The slatted roof provided some relief from the hot sun still beating down on them.

"So did you get your apartment taken care of in Dallas?" Kat asked over dinner.

"Yea, I sold most everything. I made a good deal of money on it. I just put it all back in my savings account. That way next year if I'm going to have to move somewhere other than around here to work for HQ I will have some money saved back."

"Oh you know your dad would let you choose where you want to be." Her mom responded. Silently hoping her daughter decides to stay in Texas.

"Besides you have family just about everywhere. Your uncle Toni and aunt Daphne live out in California. Your grandparents live in Rhode Island. Your other aunt and uncle live in the Keys."

"The only people who have made any attempt at acting like family toward me are the Duquaine's and their extended family. Estelle and Phoenix keep trying to get me to come out there for a couple weeks."

"You would really like spending time with them. Estelle and Jozlyn aren't that much older than you." Kat said thinking about the family. She was dreading the end of the summer when Kevin told Hadley everything. It was going to be a disaster.

Once dinner was over they headed back to the hotel. Laughing and acting goofy all the way up the path to the front doors they were like two school girls who finally escaped their parents.

Hadley was walking backwards and ran smack into someone, though it felt more like she'd run smack into a wall. Whoever it was, was well toned. She stumbled, and the person she'd run into caught her before she hit the ground.

"Oh my gosh I'm soo sorry." She said looking up into deep brown eyes, a couple strands of his long hair pulling out of his ponytail to fall in his face as he looked down at her matching eyes.

"Don't mention it. You might start looking where you're going." He said as he righted her then continued off in the direction he'd been heading before his abrupt stop.

His tone hadn't been rude exactly, more sarcastic. But she just stared at him as he walked down the path to the street before disappearing from her view. Then something clicked, he'd been wearing the white polo that was the uniform for the hotel.

"Does he work here?" Hadley asked her mom as they started walking back up to the doors.

"Yea, that's Charli Stanford. Quite the charmer, right?" her mom stated cynically.

They just laughed, but Hadley noticed she still had goose bumps thinking about him. "What's he do around here?" Hadley asked, innocently.

"Whatever we need him to do. He'll wait tables, take care of the pool, clean rooms. He was desperate for a job when I hired him, and he busts his ass every day. That's why I put up with his attitude."

Hadley nodded. They weren't going out that night. Too much work her mom had to do the next morning. So they retired to bed early, Hadley climbed between the cool silky sheets of her new bed and fell asleep the second her head hit the pillow. She hadn't realized how tired she was from the drive until she finally stopped moving around.