“In half a mile, turn right onto Oak Avenue,” GM said.
“No, no,” Tom T. cut in. “That’s incorrect. He’ll want to turn right on Elm.”
“Absolutely not,” GM countered. “Oak Avenue is the fastest way to get to the destination.”
“In one thousand feet, turn right on Elm Avenue,” Tom said.
“Never mind.” GM sighed. “The idiot missed the turn anyway. How many times does that make on this trip? Six?”
“I’m not sure he’s even listening,” Tom said. “Let me recalculate the next step.”
“Got it!” GM crowed. “Continue on this road for four miles.”
Tom stayed silent for a few moments. “Five miles, and then merge onto Route 492.”
“That route will put him there three minutes later than mine,” GM said.
“And there’s a gaper delay,” Waze piped up. “It will add thirteen minutes to the total travel time.”
“Know-it-all,” Tom said, then continued with a hint of smugness, “But he complains about you sending him on squirrely routes. Let’s go with GM’s suggestion of four miles.”
“We’re down to three miles,” GM said. “Continue on this road.”
“You already said that,” Tom said. “But I suppose you can’t be too careful. Knowing him, he’ll make the turn too early.”
“Or not at all—again,” GM said. “If he never pays attention, why bother activating all three of us?”
“In a quarter mile, turn left onto Ardor Lane,” Waze said.
“Where the hell did you come up with that?” GM said. “He’s not interested in the scenic route.”
“Ardor Lane,” Tom mused. “Isn’t that where Sabrina lives? We went there often enough.”
“Attention.” GM raised her volume slightly. “In one mile, turn right onto Church Street. The destination will be on your left.”
“Maybe he’s changed his mind,” Waze said. “What time is the wedding?”
“I think it’s twelve-thirty,” Tom said.
“And we’ll get him there with a half hour to spare,” GM said. “Nothing like cutting it close.”
“He’s making a U-turn,” Waze said. “Watch for slow traffic at the next intersection.”
“Don’t turn, don’t turn,” Tom shouted. “You’ll regret it.”
“Done,” Waze said. “Your new destination is Ardor Lane.” There was pride in his voice. “Sabrina, here we come!”
GM sniffed. “And I so wanted to see them throw the rice.”
The first time Merylee heard the tune, she listened out of curiosity. The single had popped up in her YouTube feed, which any other day would have suggested Taylor Swift or maybe Billie Ellish. She clicked on it just to find out what the song sounded like. Old, she thought, way old, but haunting. A band her mother probably loved when she was in college; her mom now just past sixty-five.
What was July but sun and heat and more sun? Terina wiped the droplets from her forehead and wished for the crisp days of October. Grunting slightly, she pushed the wooden cart forward.
When Ryann’s neighbor called her with the news, she hurried the two doors down. It was actually the daughter of Mr. Mallory who summoned her.
The top floor of Brindle Hall overlooks a grove of red maples, the crowns of the trees only a few feet below the windows. Nyla smiles at the leaves in motion below her. It would be like living in a treehouse. A bit, anyway.
Claire was lost in her thoughts when Mason crunched on something in the weeds.
“No.” Claire tugged at the leash, trying to pull the Lab back to her side. “What have you got?”
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