“I know, but…” She shrugged.
“You can still be his friend even though he has a girlfriend.” Brian paused. “Is Gemma his girlfriend?”
“I don’t know.” She shook her head. “Kinda, I think.”
“Hmm.” He furrowed his brow. “I guess there could be worse boys than Alex.”
“Yes, there could,” she agreed.
“What about you?”
“What about me what?”
“Are you seeing anybody?”
“Dad,” Harper groaned and got up from the table.
“Harper,” Brian groaned back.
“Why is everybody so interested in my love life all of a sudden?” She went over to the fridge and grabbed the orange juice. “Not that I have one. Because I don’t.” Pouring herself a glass of juice, she muttered, “I don’t like anybody.”
“Everybody’s interested in your love life?” Brian asked. “Who’s everybody?”
“I don’t know. You. Alex.” She squirmed and gulped down the juice so she wouldn’t have to say more. “I know it’s Saturday, but I don’t think I’m going to see Mom today.”
“Gemma’s pretty tied up today, but maybe tomorrow she’ll want to see Mom.” Harper glanced back over toward Alex’s house. “I don’t know. Or maybe she won’t. I’ll probably still go tomorrow, even if she doesn’t want to.”
“Okay.” Brian nodded. “Good. It’s good for you see your mother.”
“You know, it would probably be good for you to see her, too,” Harper said carefully, and he visibly stiffened at her suggestion.
The doorbell rang, saving them both from another awkward conversation about Nathalie. Neither of them really liked talking about her at all, least of all to each other, but once her name came up, they’d both feel compelled to get into a discussion about her.
“I’ll get it,” Harper said, even though she was still in her pajamas and Brian was dressed.
She thought it might be the police. They said they would stop by if they had more questions, but she and Alex hadn’t really been able to tell them much. They didn’t actually know anything, except where the bodies had been found.
Instead of the police she found Daniel standing on her doorstep. He smiled at her, and at first she did nothing but stand there with the door open, gaping at him in surprise.
“Sorry. Did I wake you?” Daniel asked. “If I’m bothering you, I can just go—”
“No, um, it’s fine.” Harper shook her head, but she suddenly became aware of the fact that she was wearing only a tank top and short girl boxers. She crossed her arms over her chest. “I was awake.”
“Good.” He scratched at his arm and stared at her. “Can I come in?”
“Oh, right, yeah. Yes. Of course.” She stepped back so he could get by, so now they could stare at each other awkwardly in the entryway instead of on the doorstep. Finally she just blurted out, “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, um, I heard about what happened to your friend.” Sympathy filled his hazel eyes. “The one that was missing, and I wanted to offer my condolences.”
“Oh. Thank you.” She smiled thinly at him.
“I stopped by the library to see if you were at work,” Daniel explained. “I wanted to check and make sure you were holding up okay, because you seemed pretty distressed when you found out he was missing.”
“I have Saturdays off,” Harper said, instead of addressing how she was holding up.
“That’s what the girl working there told me. It was a surly girl with straight bangs.” He held his hand up in front of his forehead to show where her bangs hit just above her eyebrows.
“The coworker you can’t leave unattended?” Daniel asked.
“Yeah.” She laughed a little, surprised that Daniel had been paying attention and remembered that. “That’s her.”
“She told me where you lived, and I hope it’s not too weird that I’m stopping by. I can go if you want.” He motioned to the door beside him.
“No, no. It’s good. And I know where you live, so it’s only fair, right?”
“I guess.” He smiled, looking relieved. “How are you doing?”
“Fine.” She shrugged.
“Harper?” Brian asked and came in from the kitchen. “Who’s this?”
“Dad, this is, um, Daniel.” Harper gestured toward him. “Daniel, this is my dad, Brian.”
“Hello, sir.” Daniel extended his hand, and Brian eyed him uncertainly as they shook hands.
“You look familiar,” Brian said. “Do I know you from somewhere?”
“You’ve probably seen me at my boat.” Daniel put his hands in his back pockets. “The Dirty Gull. It’s parked down at the docks.”
“Oh.” Brian stared at him, trying to figure out how he knew him. “Was your grandfather Darryl Morgan?”
Daniel nodded. “That would be my grandpa.”
“He was my foreman down at the docks,” Brian said. “We lost a good guy when he passed away.”
“That we did,” Daniel agreed.
“You used to come down to the docks with him, didn’t you? But you were just…” Brian held his hand up near his hip, but now Daniel was actually a good inch taller than Brian. “And now you’re all grown up.” He looked over at Harper. “And you’re visiting my daughter.”
“Dad,” Harper said quietly and gave him a look.
“Okay. Well, it was good to see you again,” Brian said. “But I think I’m going to head out to the garage to work on Gemma’s car.” He walked around them and went to the front door, but paused when he opened it. “But I’ll just be right outside if you need me. With heavy tools.”
“Dad!” Harper snapped.
“Have fun, kids,” Brian said as he disappeared out the front door.
“Sorry about that,” Harper said after her father had gone.
“It’s okay.” Daniel smirked. “I’m guessing you don’t have a lot of male suitors.”
“Are you implying that you are a male suitor?” Harper raised an eyebrow and looked up at him.
“I’m not implying anything,” he said, but he smiled at her in a way that made her look away.