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  • Olivia Moore

Brighton ~ Chapter 9 ~ The Web Series

Updated: Apr 27






Chapter 9: When Reality Hits

 

Finn lay, limbs splayed across the small bed, his tan skin a beautiful contrast to the white sheets we were tangled in. I traced a finger down the ridge between his chest muscles down to his navel, watching as it rose and fell slowly with each one of his deep breaths. He stirred softly in his sleep, twisting to face me, and wrapping his arms around me.


I had never known such warmth and comfort from someone. Life was changing before my eyes, and it was time I took a real step forward in one direction or another. I needed to make a decision about whether or not I would be going back to the states or staying here to fight for Grandpa’s home.


Where Finnley fit into any of that, I had no clue… And things had officially gotten complicated. There was definitely an undeniable natural chemistry that we clearly couldn’t avoid any longer, but was that all this was? Chemistry?


As if his sleeping body could sense my thoughts, he bent to press a kiss to my forehead, leaving his lips to rest there. No. This had to be more… Grandpa spent his time on this man, as if he deserved it, as if he was important to him. Finn said that he was currently at a crossroad. What did he even mean by that? Who was this man I’d just shared my body with, the man who pulled me from the ocean, the man who is both possessive and protective of a girl way younger than him that he’d only just met. The man who was hiding out from the paparazzi. Paparazzi…. Shit.


With that, I shot up to check my phone. I quickly searched the only thing I could think of, Finnley— I was then hit with a harsh truth. I didn’t even know this man’s last name. I peered over at him in the dark room, his features only illuminated by the light from my cellphone. He was watching me, his eyes blinking slowly as if he wasn’t fully conscious yet.


“What are you doing awake so early?” His voice came out in a raspy whisper.


I purse my lips, shoving my screen in his eyeline. He eyed it through the slits of his eyelids. I could imagine the screen was probably a bit too bright for two in the morning, but this was urgent.


His gaze finally shifted back to me when he asked, “You’re searching my name?” He lifted a dark brow. Sighing, I took my phone back and set it on my side table once more.


“I don’t even know you’re last name.” I told him. My arms found themselves wrapped tightly around my chest, as I looked at him with all the disdain that I was now feeling.


He chuckled as he pulled himself up on his elbows. “You never asked.”


He had me there. I hadn’t asked… And yet here I was, pouting like a four-year-old, when I’d already been so self-absorbed, wrapped up in all my own baggage. Uncrossing my arms, I reached out to brush a loose curl from his forehead. “So, what is it?”


He caught my hand, pressing my fingertips to his lips in a featherlight kiss.

“Harrington.”


I couldn’t help but smirk at that. “Finnley Harrington.”


“Mmm.” His stare turned molten as his eyes darkened. “Say it again.”


“Mr. Harrington…”


His mouth tightened, as his lips pulled into a hard line. “That is not what I meant.” I doubled over in laughter. “Whatever you say, Sir Harrington. Mr. Harrington, Sir.”


He flicked my nose, all the sauciness gone from his features.  “So, now you know my full name. What did you want to search me on the internet for? Ya know, if you’re looking for my nudes, all you have to do is ask—


I smacked his arm.


“I was trying to search any recent paparazzi photos, to make sure my naked bottom wasn’t on page four of ‘The Brighton Post’.”


That had him reaching for his own phone in a hurry.


 

 

 

#

 

 




Finn paced back and forth in Grandpa’s kitchen, holding a partially bitten Belgium waffle in one hand, and rubbing his temple with the other. “This is bad.”


“It’s literally blurred out. It’s not that bad. You can’t even see my face!” I spoke from across the island, munching on a waffle of my own. “Also, don’t you want some syrup on that or something?” My nose crinkled in disgust as he tore another bite from it.


“You don’t understand, Lennon. Your face is covered, but mine is not. All it takes is another paparazzi to catch us out together for someone to write an article on all the details, and I wish it just stopped there. But that would only be the beginning.”


I set my fork down, not liking where this was heading. “What are you trying to say, Finnley?”


He turned to face me, not fully meeting my eyes. “I think it might be smart not to be seen together for a while…”


“A while— what does that mean? Finn, spit it the fuck out.”


“I’m just not sure this is a good idea.”


My mouth went wholly dry. “You sure seemed to think it was a good idea when you were inside of me last night…” I stood abruptly from my bar stool, utterly disgusted at how wrong this all felt. I threw the remainder of my waffle at his head. He weaved out of the way just in time to avoid it.


“Lennon, I—


“Get the fuck out.”


“I just don’t want to get you dragged into something like this, not right now— not when you’re already going through so much…”


All I could see was red as I rushed over to him, bunching his shirt in my fist, as I shoved him toward the front door. I could feel my eyes burning with the need to release a thousand tears, if I even had any left.


“I said get out.”


          He backed up into the front door. “Lenny, I didn’t mean—”


        “How dare you think that you are somehow protecting me by robbing me of my own decisions. How dare you take what you want from me only to spew some bullshit the next morning. Get out.” I shoved him hard. “Get the fuck out!”


         Without another word Finn left and I locked the door behind him, the very same door that might as well have belonged to my aching heart.

 

 

 

#


 


The world felt so big, or maybe it was that I was just so small, but I smiled up at the clear sky surrounded by giant trees, as a flock of grey pelicans flew overhead.


“Kiddo, you’ve got a fish on! Hurry, pick up your rod!” Grandpa’s voice sounded from somewhere not too far away. I jolted up from making snow angels in the sandy pebbles of the beach, my hair in complete disarray. Sitting up tall in a pair of Bermuda jean shorts, a pink t-shirt, and a layer of my grandma’s pearls, I dusted off any extra sand before rushing to my pole.  The tip bobbed and weaved slightly, and I knew right away that Grandpa was right. I got a bite!


My twiggy arms yanked up the rod and I started reeling in the line as fast as I could, bracing my tongue on the side of my mouth for concentration.


            Grandpa’s laugher echoed from a few meters away. “Come on, Kid! Don’t let it get away!”


            I tugged and pulled, somehow getting closer and closer to the water’s edge. On the last yank backwards the fish came flying out of the water in a big splash, sending me straight down on my bottom in the water. Grabbing the line, I dropped the pole and pulled the fish closer by hand. I finally got ahold of it, facing Grandpa with the biggest smile.


            “I got it, I got it! Grandpa, I caught a fish!” I said, jumping up and down.


            Grandpa made his way too me, wearing his khaki-colored waiters and his fancy fishing hat with a sharp hook attached to it. He beamed with pride as he took in my catch.


            “I’m so proud of you! Looks like Grandma’s pearls are your good luck charm. I’ll have to save them for you for when you get older, won’t I?” He reached out a gentle hand and traced over the long strand of pearls, as if remembering a fond memory, a small shimmer shone in his eye.




#

 

                                                                 

 

 

            “Good afternoon, Ms. Bartolini. We have been expecting you!” A well-dressed clerk smiled brightly at me as she gestured for me to make my way to her desk.


The Trust itself was huge. From wall to wall, the floor was white and gold with marbled tile. The high ceilings and skylights made the space feel so open and clean. The clerk’s desk was in a room with walls entirely made of glass, including the wall length window behind her desk that showed a stunning view of Brighton’s seaside townhouses and shops.


            She cleared her throat gently as she pulled out a small gray chair for me to sit in. She took her place across the desk from me and began to type on her computer while she spoke.


“We are so sad to hear of Henry’s passing, Ms. Bartolini… He has always been such a light in our community. He was such a kindhearted man.” She smiled at me sweetly, obviously trying to make an awkward situation less so.


            I shifted in my seat, clutching the metal key in my palm. “Thank you.”


            She nodded. “So, I take you’ve come to empty the safety deposit box he left for you… Did you bring the key?” How could I possibly forget. The thing, a tiny silver scrap of metal, seemed to weigh me down further and further the longer I held onto it. I held it up for her to see.


            “Wonderful. I’ll just need you to sign a few papers, then we can take you to it.”


            I spent the next several minutes dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s, as well as signing my life away, I was sure of it. But then the clerk brought me to a room full of safety deposit boxes, where she used a key of her own to pull a small rectangle out from the wall and set it on a table in the center of the room.


            “You can use the key you were given to open the box. You may take its contents, but if you do leave the empty box open here at the table when you leave. I’ll give you some privacy.”


            When she left the room, I felt like the metal boxed walls might close in on me if I stayed in there for too long. No, it was best to just get it over with…


            Pressing the key into its lock, I twisted, and the top sprung open, revealing a small navy colored velvet sinch sack and a square note scribbled with cursive. The note, written in Grandpa’s handwriting read:


 

Lenny,

For when life throws you flat on your bum, and you feel like you might need a little extra luck.


Love,

Grandpa







TUNE IN NEXT SUNDAY TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPEND IN CHAPTER 10!!

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