Yellowstone Deception(2)

By: Peggy L Henderson



A wave of sadness swept over her, and she blinked at the sudden stinging sensation behind her eyes. It was not a place she cared to visit again. It just wouldn’t be the same anymore without . . . Jana’s best friend’s face flashed before her eyes. Aimee Donovan. No, wait. She shook her head slightly. Her name was Aimee Osborne now.

How long had Aimee been gone? Ten months now, leaving a deep void in Jana’s life. Aimee had made a choice to follow her heart and leave everything she knew behind and begin a fantastical new life. In this time, Aimee is long dead, Jana.

“Jana? Are you still there?” The voice on the other end of the line jolted her out of her thoughts. Jana cleared her throat.

“Yes . . . um, hi. What a surprise.” She laughed nervously. Her voice rose cheerfully. She rolled her eyes. God, I sound like some silly high school bimbo. She slapped her palm against her forehead. Can you sound any more lame, Jana? She had a distinctly annoying habit of getting tongue-tied around men she was attracted to. And she’d certainly been attracted to Dan Osborne. Instantly. The moment she first saw him. That was the main reason she’d left in a hurry after their surprise meeting two months ago. The circumstances were just too bizarre for her to take in at the time.

“Listen, Jana, I need to talk to you about something,” he said, and from the way he hesitated with his words, Jana had the distinct impression he sounded uneasy. “It’s kind of important.”

“Well, since you’re calling me at five-thirty in the morning, I expect it’s important,” she retorted, biting her lower lip. What on earth could be so urgent that he would even call her now, after two months? They barely knew each other. Of course, the approximately three hours they’d spent in each other’s company over dinner had probably forged a bond that wasn’t so easily broken. Not after the story Jana had told him. More like a family secret that he obviously knew nothing about. Had Aimee ever passed on her secret to her descendants?

Jana chuckled quietly. She’d certainly let the cat out of the bag two months ago. He had probably regretted asking her to dinner, probably thought she was some deranged nutcase. It had taken more than a few bottles of lager before Dan had seriously started listening to her tale, and read some passages from the weathered old diary Jana shoved under his nose. Why on earth had she even told him? The shock of seeing him when he casually sat down next to her in the lobby of the Old Faithful Inn, thinking at first he was someone else, had prompted her to talk faster than the waters spilling over the Lower Falls of the mighty Yellowstone River. She’d needed to talk to someone about the things she knew.

At first startled that a park ranger tried to engage her in conversation, she’d been completely taken aback after she’d gotten a good look at him. The fact that he was simply gorgeous had nothing to do with it. Seeing Dan, who looked so much like another man with the same name, he had seemed the obvious choice to spill her secrets to.

“Yeah, sorry. I forgot about the time difference,” Dan answered.

“It’s only an hour’s difference,” Jana reminded him. Why did she feel compelled to act so disagreeable? Dan Osborne was her living link to Aimee. Why the need to keep her distance? Aimee was her best friend. They’d grown up together like sisters. Done everything together. Maybe that’s why it felt so creepy. She had been attracted to her best friend’s descendant. Jana shuddered.

“Look, if it’s a bad time, I’ll call back later. I’m sorry to have bothered you.” The sincerity in his voice dissolved her annoyance.

“No, wait . . .Dan. It’s okay. It’s not a bad time. Really.” Jana pushed herself from the bed and onto her feet, and ran her fingers through her shoulder-length hair. She began pacing the floor, suddenly nervous. Why was he calling her, after two months?

“Jana, I really need to see you,” he said quickly.

It was the last thing she expected. She stopped in her tracks. “Excuse me?” Was this some kind of joke? Men didn’t call her out of the blue, from a thousand miles away, asking to see her.

“Can you come to Yellowstone? I know this is rather sudden, but it really is urgent.”

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