Home > Summer at the Cape

Summer at the Cape
Author: RaeAnne Thayne




   Cami Porter walked into the lobby of the glass-walled building that housed the law offices of Porter, Garcia & Sheen, wishing she could curl up with her head down on her desk and take a power nap.

   Insomnia sucked.

   The past four months had been rough, worse even than those dark days after the implosion of her engagement.

   She spent all day wishing she could stretch out on the nearest available flat surface and all night wondering why she couldn’t shut off the wild monkey brain and find the sleep she so desperately needed.

   For some people, struggling through occasional bouts of insomnia was inconvenient but not debilitating. But Cami needed to be mentally sharp to keep up as a junior associate in her father’s firm, specializing in contract and intellectual property law.

   She yawned, shifting her laptop case over one shoulder as she pushed the button of the elevator to take her to the top floor.

   “Cut that out. Now you’re going to make me yawn.” Tiffany Tsu, a paralegal who worked for one of the junior partners, made a face at Cami as the elevator rose.


   “Don’t apologize. I really hope that yawn means you had a wild night. Considering I was dealing with a teething baby all night long, I need to live vicariously through someone.”

   Cami made a face. “You know me better than that. I just stayed up too late reading through law journals.”

   And grieving.

   She knew that was the reason for her insomnia. Every time she tried to settle into sleep, she saw her sister’s face. After four months, she might have thought the shock and sadness would ease a little. No. If anything, she seemed to be struggling more now emotionally than she had when she first heard the news.

   When she reached her floor, she waved to Tiffany and headed for her small, cramped office. If only she could slip off her shoes and lie down on the carpet for a moment...

   “How did everything go?” a chipper voice asked from the copy machine.

   Cami pushed away the exhaustion and mustered a smile for her assistant and paralegal, Joe Lopez, who had been with her for three years—almost as long as her ex-fiancé—and knew Cami’s brain better than she did.

   “Not bad. I think we’re close to an agreement. Pete made it clear today—he’s willing to walk away if they don’t agree to our amended clauses in the contract. I’m going to let them stew over the next few days and see if they’ll come back to the table with a counteroffer.”

   She was representing a video game developer in talks with one of the big players who wanted to take one of his ideas and adapt it for their system. It was Cami’s job to make sure her client, a naive little fish in a big pond, didn’t end up ripped to a bloody stump by sharks.

   “Oh, that’s good news. Pete is such a nice guy. I’m glad he has you on his team.”

   Joe gave her the look he did when he wanted to prepare her that something unpleasant was coming. “Now for some news that’s maybe not so good. Your mother has called three times. She sounded increasingly urgent with each call. She seems to think you’re ghosting her. That’s exactly the word she used. I wouldn’t have thought Rosemary knew what ghosting meant.”

   Cami had learned not to be surprised at anything when it came to her mother.

   “She said she has called you four times and texted you as many,” Joe went on.

   Cami sighed. “My phone ran out of juice and my car charger isn’t working, for some reason. And I forgot the battery backup.”

   “When it rains.”

   “I know. I was planning to plug it in the minute I got back to the office. What’s so urgent?”

   “She didn’t tell me. The most recent time she called, I apologized that you hadn’t reached out yet but told her you were in the middle of negotiations critical to a multimillion-dollar deal and promised her I would make sure you phoned her as soon as you could break away.”

   Her mother had been married to an attorney for more than fifteen years. She certainly understood that sometimes work had to come first.

   “Thank you,” Cami said now to Joe. “Remind me to give you a raise.”

   He grinned at her. “You just did that last month, but if you want to give me another one, I certainly won’t complain. It all goes in the wedding fund.”

   Joe and his partner were planning a gorgeous Maui ceremony at Christmastime, and his lunch hour and breaks were filled with phone calls to their wedding planner.

   Cami really needed to think about getting in shape, if she was going to attend a tropical wedding in December.

   Inside her office, Cami fished her dead phone out of her laptop case and plugged it into her desk charger. As soon as it had enough juice to come on again, the phone immediately pinged with about a half dozen messages from her mother.

   She was about to dial Rosemary’s number when the phone rang again and, no surprise, she saw her mother’s name on the caller ID.

   She had only a few seconds to slip off her shoes under her desk and shove in her earbuds so she could take the call hands-free.

   “Hi, Mom.”

   After a beat, her mother’s voice came through with a frantic edge. “Darling! There you are! Oh, I’m so glad. I desperately need to talk to you.”

   Yes. That was fairly obvious by the deluge of phone calls. “I’ve been in meetings all afternoon. Sorry about that. I’m here now. What’s up?”

   Silence met her question. It only lasted about five seconds but long enough for her to begin worrying. What could be so dire? Her family had been hit with enough bad news lately, hadn’t they?

   Rosemary’s sigh was long and heartfelt. “Oh, Camellia. Everything is a mess. I don’t know where to start.”

   When Rosemary used her full name, things had to be bad. The thought barely registered before her mother burst into tears and muffled sobs came through the line.

   “What’s going on?” She fought to stay calm.

   Rosemary launched into a fumbling explanation, something about leases and rights of way and unused property.

   Through the sobs, she could only pick up about one word in three.

   “Slow down, Mom. I can’t understand you. Take a breath. Do some circular breathing.”

   She could hear her mother take an audible breath and then another.

   “Okay. What’s going on?” Cami asked again, when Rosemary seemed to calm.

   “You know my neighbor Franklin Rafferty? The one who owns the land on the headlands that we’re leasing for Wild Hearts?”

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