Chapter Three

The sheriff returned to our porch in exactly one hour. He wore a white t-shirt with a fishing logo, a pair of khaki shorts, and a ball cap with the same fishing logo as the shirt. Even wearing very casual clothing, he still somehow managed to exude an aura of authority. He quickly looked at my messy packing and figured out the best way to get everything into the house. Avery, Grace, and I followed his orders as he handed boxes off the truck and kept us moving. His methodical ways had the truck unpacked and in the house in almost no time.

"I just realized I didn't actually introduce myself when we first met," he said to me as he lifted the last box from the truck. Grace and Avery had gone inside to get more lemonade and cookies ready. "I'm Matt Grinswald. I'm the sheriff here in town."

"Nice to meet you, Sheriff Matt," I answered with a grin. He laughed and hoisted the box onto his shoulder. Despite the limp, he carried the heavy boxes with ease.

"Your sister says you race sailboats?"

"Yup. I like to sail double-handed races. So, two sailors on one boat." I held the front door open as he walked in. The box joined a neat pile in the room that was once Betty's. I wasn't looking forward to unpacking, but at least everything was out of the truck. It was a good thing too because rain started to splatter on the windows. We walked into the living room where Avery sprawled across the couch, tired from carrying in boxes. Grace was bustling around in the kitchen.

"You'll like our marina here then. I'm told it's perfect for sailboats. I prefer something with a motor myself, but Robbie says it's the whole reason he docks here," Sheriff Matt said.

I felt a shiver go through me. No way was he talking about my Robbie.

"Robbie?" I asked, trying to keep my voice level.

"Yeah, Robbie Saunders. He keeps a boat here when he's not racing. I don't give him any trouble, though. I know he's a billionaire and all famous, but around here, we treat him like he's local." Sheriff Matt gave me a serious look. "He's part of the town, and I don't like people messing with him."

"Oh, I won't bother him. I've actually met him already; I used to sail with him when we were kids." I said it like it was nothing; like Robbie hadn't been my best friend. I said it like I hadn't tried to contact him and failed. I had given up on ever finding him and talking to him. And here he was in my new little town. Fate was funny sometimes.

"Well, when he finishes his racing season, you'll have to go say hello. He usually shows up in town around mid-September. He's a good kid. Takes himself way too seriously, but he's got a good heart. He's been real good to the town. He's even donated a wing to the hospital and keeps the marina in good condition."

I nodded. Sheriff Matt continued on about the marina and the town, but I stopped listening. My brain raced. After we had moved, Robbie and I lost contact with one another. I had tried calling him a few times like when my parents died, but it had been a long time and his number had changed. I figured he had probably forgotten about me anyway. I had looked him up on the Internet, but all I ever found was his racing stats and tabloid rumors. After so many years of us being apart, it felt strange that I could run into him again. I wondered what he was up to, and if he was happy.

"Do you have a boat?" Sheriff Matt asked. I realized he had actually asked twice, but I was so lost in my own thoughts that I hadn't heard him the first time.

"No, I don't. I don't like to sail alone, so there isn't much point in me having one all to myself."

He nodded as if he understood. There was a lot more to it than that, but I didn't want to get into it. Thunder rattled the window panes, and Sheriff Matt peered out into the storm. His phone went off, buzzing in his shorts pocket.

"I figured that was going to happen. We're short-staffed today, so I'm on call if anything happens, and something always happens during a storm." He hit a button on the phone to check the message, and then put it back in his pocket with a sigh. "I'm needed at the station."

"Thank you for helping us get everything in before the storm hit," I told him with a smile. He waved his hand as though it were nothing.

"That's what neighbors are for. It was a pleasure to meet you, Sam. Avery, Grace, good to see you," he said, tipping his baseball cap. He picked up a cookie from the tray and headed to the front door. Avery waved from the couch as he stepped out into the storm.

I closed the door carefully behind him and went to my new room. Grace started working on dinner while I began to unpack the mounds of boxes. My mind still buzzed with the idea of possibly running into Robbie again. Despite the years, I missed one of the best things from my childhood: our friendship. I didn't hold out any hope he would remember his old sailing partner or the girl who gave him his first kiss. He was a billionaire and professional sailor, while I was just some girl he used to know.

Opening a suitcase and hanging the clothes in the closet, I wondered if he had ever tried calling me. We had moved all over the country when my dad started his new business, and our phone numbers kept changing. I eventually gave up learning our new addresses. I used to pretend Robbie called one of those numbers to look for me, but I knew he was probably too busy. As time went on, the possibility of the two of us ever reconnecting became slim. We had been just kids, and kids grow up. They change. They find new friends and forget the old ones; it was just the way the world worked.

"Dinner's ready," Grace called from the kitchen. I glanced around the room, already imagining my things hanging on the wall. I felt comfortable here. A soft smile crossed my face as I headed toward the dinner table. I felt comfortable here. Even if this wasn't where I wanted to be, I knew it was where I belonged.  

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