She turned back to the room, tilting her head to get a new perspective on the streamers and balloons she had taped up all over Daniel’s cabin. “You think?
“Well, Gemma is turning seventeen, not seven,” he said.
“Whatever.” Harper shrugged. “She’ll like it, and I do what I want.”
“Ooh. You’ve gotten such an attitude since you’ve been home from college,” Daniel teased as he walked over to her.
“Where are they?” She ignored him and glanced over at the clock hanging above the fireplace. “They should’ve been here by now.”
“Well, Alex just got home for the weekend,” Daniel said as he slid his arm around her waist, pulling her closer to him.
“I know. We shared a ride back from Sundham,” she reminded him.
“Yeah, but you know, he and Gemma are probably spending quality time together.”
Harper wrinkled her nose. “Gross.”
“Hey, you didn’t think it was gross when we were spending quality time together this morning.”
His other arm encircled her, pulling her close to him, and Harper didn’t resist. She loved it when he held her like that, crushing her to him, as his mouth pressed against hers. A familiar heat radiated through her, and she wrapped her arms around his neck.
Even after all this time, and all the kisses they’d shared, some of them in bed earlier this morning, each time he kissed her, there was still that hint of urgency and desperation, like they’d never really be able to get enough of each other.
Harper would’ve gladly stayed in his arms, kissing him all afternoon, but she heard their guests coming up the walkway on the island.
“They’re here,” she said, and since he looked so thoroughly disappointed at having to let her go, she gave him one more quick kiss on the lips before separating from him.
She was readjusting her shirt when Marcy opened the door to the cabin, carrying a birthday gift. Alex and Gemma came after her, hand in hand.
“Where do you want the gifts?” Marcy asked, but she was already setting hers down on the kitchen counter.
“There is fine,” Daniel said, pointing to where she’d put it.
“So are we having cake or what?” Marcy asked, interrupting them.
“There is a cake,” Harper assured her, and went over to the fridge to pull it out. “I thought we could let people sit down for a minute first.”
“There should never be a holdup on cake,” Marcy insisted.
“Why are you in such a hurry?” Alex asked her. He stood off to the side of the kitchen, leaning against the counter with one arm around Gemma. “Got a hot date tonight?”
Gemma groaned. “No, Alex, don’t even ask.”
“What? Why?” He looked down at her in surprise.
“She’s dating a ghost,” Gemma supplied.
“I am not dating anyone,” Marcy said defensively. “I’ve just been talking to Kirby a lot. We’re friends.”
“So do you guys make a lot of pottery together?” Daniel smirked. “You know, like Ghost?”
Gemma shot him a look. “Don’t encourage her, Daniel.”
“Shouldn’t Lydia be telling you that this is all dangerous?” Harper was putting seventeen candles in the cake, and she looked across the table at Marcy. “You shouldn’t be messing around with this kind of thing, right?”
Marcy shrugged. “As long as I’m not holding Kirby back from crossing over, Lydia thinks it all seems fine.”
Harper turned back to Gemma and decided to change the subject. With the sirens out of the picture, she wanted to avoid talking about the supernatural as much as possible, and that included Ghost Kirby.
“Speaking of dates, how is Dad doing?” Harper asked.
“Good. He’s seen Sarah twice, and it all seems to be going well,” Gemma said. “I haven’t met her yet, but I told him that he better introduce her soon.”
“Me, too,” Harper said, and hoped that she didn’t sound quite as needy as she felt.
Overall, she’d enjoyed the past eight months being at Sundham University. Now that everything with the monsters was over, and she was able to actually concentrate on school, it was going well, and sometimes, she even had fun.
With Alex’s arrival at Sundham for the spring semester, it had been even nicer. They had two classes together, which helped when it came time to study, and it was great being able to carpool back and forth from Capri. But honestly, Harper was happy to have a friend around, especially one who understood everything that had gone on this past year, and it helped make her slightly less homesick.
Thankfully, Alex and Gemma seemed to be handling their time apart fairly well, and Alex made frequent trips home to see her. Gemma came up to Sundham as often as she could, but since she’d taken up Harper’s old job at the library, it wasn’t as often as she would’ve liked.
Gemma and Alex tried to make the most of their time. Right now, she was sitting on the counter, and Alex was standing next to her with his arm wrapped around her waist. Every time they thought people weren’t looking, Harper would catch them out of the corner of her eye, kissing or whispering in each other’s ear.
They reminded Harper of magnets, drawn to each other so fiercely that nothing could ever really tear them apart. While Harper had had some reservations about Gemma and Alex when they first started dating, it was now clear to her that they were deeply and hopelessly in love.
Maybe she understood that better now because she felt the same way about Daniel. She looked over at him, getting soda out of the fridge, and she couldn’t help but smile. Being away from him at college was hard, but both she and Daniel knew it was the right thing to do.
Now, with their dad dating again, being away from him and Gemma felt even stranger. She called her dad and Skyped with him, but, Harper was still afraid she might miss something.
Brian had met Sarah at Pearl’s a couple of weeks ago. When she talked to her dad on the phone, he’d sounded so much happier lately, and Harper was pleased to see him finally moving on. Honestly, with Gemma talking about going to Sundham after high school, Harper had begun to worry about their dad being alone in that house, but now it sounded like he was finding happiness for himself outside his daughters.
Gemma was doing a fairly good job of keeping Harper apprised of their relationship. But she was chomping at the bit to meet the new woman in her dad’s life.
“Parents dating is so gross,” Marcy said. She reached over and tried to put her finger in the frosting, but Harper slapped it away just in time.