Beautiful Beast (Enchanted Fairytales)

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Book: Beautiful Beast (Enchanted Fairytales) by Cindy C Bennett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cindy C Bennett
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    * * * * *
     
    Calli knew she should be relieved to be home . After all, hadn’t she negotiated for this? But as she stepped into her small, dingy house her spirits fell. Her father snored in his room. She knew that snore. He’d gone drinking last night.
    She walked into her room and looked around. This had been her room her whole life. So why did she suddenly feel like a visitor, that her room was up on the hill? The room she’d only been in for five days.
    The house was spotless. Mr. Stratford might not have gotten her dad into rehab, but he had apparently gotten a maid. She walked around with nothing to do. She finally decided to bake some cookies—if they had the ingredients, anyway.
    A visit to the food cabinet showed that they more than had the ingredients. It was better stocked than it had ever been. She opened the fridge and saw that it was the same. She got everything out she’d need for the cookies and mixed them up. While the first batch baked, she got the checkbook out of the drawer. Opening it, she saw that the power and gas bills had both been paid on time. Even Calli couldn’t get them paid on time most of the time. They didn’t usually have the money.
    The timer on the oven buzzed. She took the cookies out of the oven, removing them from the tray and reloading it with fresh dough before replacing it in the oven.
    “Fresh cookies first thing in the morning?”
    Calli glanced up at her father’s grumbling voice. He grinned at her. She took in his messed hair, the stubble on his chin, his slight stagger.
    “Hi, Dad,” she said, walking over to hug him.
    He held her tightly, then placed his hands on her shoulders, pushing her back to look at her.
    “Are you okay, Cal?”
    “Yeah, Dad, I’m good.”
    He studied her as if to determine the truth for himself.
    “I promise, Dad,” she laughed. “Alex and I get along really well.” Most of the time , she thought. “My room is really nice, and Mr. Palmer, our tutor, is really good.”
    “Okay,” he said, releasing her. “Can I have one of those cookies?”
    “You can have two,” she said.
     
    * * * * *
     
    Alex stayed in the cove all day. He watched the town closely. He knew he couldn’t possibly see her from here.
    Still, he stayed.
     
    * * * * *
     
    “ C’mon, Calli, we want the deets.”
    Eli had been relentless since they’d first come by to pick Calli up on their way to Punky’s. All she’d given them was that Alex was nice. She refused to tell them what he looked like other than generals (blonde, dark eyes, tall). And she certainly wasn’t about to tell them anything he’d shared with her.
    “Nothing to tell, Eli,” she said for what felt like the thousandth time.
    “How long have we been friends?” Brittany asked.
    “Forever,” Calli answered, afraid she knew where this was going.
    “Right,” she agreed. “So lay off, Eli. If she says there’s nothing to tell, there’s nothing to tell.”
    Calli was stunned by Brittany’s defense of her. She genuinely thought Brittany would side with Eli and try to force information from her.
    “Yeah, Eli,” Brandon chimed in, ever in support of Brittany. “Leave her alone.”
    Eli’s mouth tightened. Calli, aware of his temper, stepped in.
    “Tell me what I’ve missed,” she said. Brittany and Jennae quickly began telling her the latest gossip. After a few minutes, Eli quit pouting and joined in the discussion. After two hours with them, Calli was exhausted and just wanted to go home and go to bed.
    Only, the home and bed she wanted to go to weren’t the ones she was going to be sleeping in tonight, but rather the ones in Monster House which overlooked where she sat. She turned her gaze to the house, squinting as if she could see it from here. In particular see the cove, to see if Alex sat there looking for her as well.
     
    * * * * *
     
    Alex pushed the barbell above his chest. He’d added extra weight, needed to expend nervous energy. His right arm burned with

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