Jordyn was stepping out of the shower when she heard the distinct ringing of her cell phone from her bedroom, so quickly, she wrapped a towel around her dripping body, another around her hair, then bolted into her room for her phone.
“Bout time you answered your phone,” came the voice of her best friend, Shannon, or Shay-Shay Shapiro. “I’ve called you about a million times.”
“I was in the shower,” Jordyn said. In the background, she could hear the beat of loud, echoing music playing. “Where are you?”
“Blue Moon!” Shay shouted over the banging music. “You need to get your butt down here!”
Jordyn groaned, wishing she could. Blue Moon was the most popular place for teenagers in Moon Bay Beach. She and her friends were regulars there on Friday nights, for the music mostly, but the pizza was the “best south of San Diego.” At least, that was what was on the sign. And who was Jordyn to argue? She gave Blue Moon a ton of business, and was a huge fan of their pizzas. Dominoes had nothing on a Blue Moon supreme pizza, no sir.
“I can’t,” Jordyn said regrettably. “My mom made pannkakors tonight, and I have to stay for dinner. We can hang out after, though?”
“You’re skipping Blue Moon for pancakes?” Shay asked, her tone flat.
“They’re Swedish pancakes, and my mom never makes them. I would feel terrible leaving after she put all that work in them.”
“Sure, call me after,” Shay said. “Just know that Ryan’s here.” Jordyn groaned. Of course he was. “And he’s asking about you.” Of course he was.
“Sorry,” she said with a sigh. Though it was herself she was more sorry for. She thought about Ryan, his big brown eyes and the way his shaggy, sandy-colored hair fell over them. He was a basketball, soccer, and baseball player, and it left him tall and lanky, yet toned.
Holly Daniels even crushed on him—when she wasn’t busy drooling over Ty, of course—and it made Jordyn feel extra accomplished that Ryan was talking to her and not miss popular cheerleader, Holly Daniels.
She thought about his comment on her updated Facebook profile pic last night. “Cute, pic, Jordyn ;) Looken sexy. I love your hair like that, honey.”
She thought it was cool how he’d called her honey, but calling her sexy? That was a foreign thought to her.
Jordyn didn’t think of herself as anything fabulous. She thought her looks were normal, that she had an average, sixteen-year-old girl face, nothing like the make-up-covered faces of Holly and her friends. Her hair was bleach-blond, naturally inherited from her mother, along with her bright, cerulean-blue eyes, and a light dusting of freckles across her small nose. Nothing extraordinary, in her opinion.
According to Shay and the rest of their group, though, Ryan included, she was gorgeous. She was too comfortable being plain-looking Jordyn though, to take to those accusations, so she would just continue to grin in private and go goo-goo-eyed—then deny it later—over the comments and likes Ryan left on her Facebook pictures.
“He wants to know if it’s OK for him to call you later,” Shay said.
Jordyn lit up, a smile spreading across her face, and she nodded. “Yes! Of course.”
Shay giggled. “Aye-Aye, Jor. Go have your pancakes. Call me after and we’ll meet up.”
“Definitely. See you later on. Have fun!”
Jordyn sat her phone down, and finally yanked her towel off, dressing in a simple pair of white, cotton shorts and a hot pink t-shirt, then headed downstairs where she found her entire family already seated, including her father, who hadn’t been home earlier. And Jack Hamilton must have just walked in, because he was still in his black San Diego Police Department t-shirt and navy blue cargo pants from work. He spotted her and smiled.
“Hey, little girl.”
“Hey, daddy,” Jordyn said, kissing her father on the cheek and taking her seat next to him at the table.
After Zara sat, they said a quick prayer over their food, and got started talking about normal, everyday business.
“So, how was everyone’s day?” Jack asked his family with a smile.
“My room’s clean!” Logan volunteered, his hand shooting up. Jordyn chuckled as she stuck her fork into her blueberry jam-covered crepe-like pannkakor, and stuck a small piece into her mouth. Logan really wanted to surf tomorrow. She swore sometimes that kid was going to grow gills with as much time as he spent in the ocean.
“I’m very proud of you, Logan,” Zara chuckled, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. Suddenly, Zara cleared her throat nervously, then Jordyn saw her exchange a look with Jack.
She knew these pannkakors weren’t just a treat for the end of the school year. Something was going on. She could tell it in her mother’s eyes earlier, and now her suspicions were confirmed. Something was going on.
“Ok, just tell us,” Jordyn blurted out. “What’s going on? You two are driving me crazy.”
“Jordyn, what are you talking about?” Zara asked.
Logan put his fork down. “Even I knew there was something up with these.”
Jack finally sighed and put his fork down, lacing his fingers together on the table in front of him. He was tensing. Jordyn could see it the way his worked biceps flexed a bit under the tightness of his t-shirt sleeve.
“OK,” he finally said. “You’re right. Your mother and I have a little news for you kids. It’s not bad news, it’s just, well, we weren’t exactly sure how to break it to you.”
Quickly was preferred, Jordyn thought. Quick was the best way to rip off a bandage. Just rip it off with no hesitation. It would sting a bit, but it wouldn’t last long.
“Do you three remember my father’s will?” Jack asked.
They all nodded.
Three years ago, Jack’s dad had died, and no one had a clue as to where his will was, so no one had a clue whether Jack or his big brother, Tommy, got the old family fortune. It caused a bigger rift between Jack and Tommy than was there before, and for the past three years, the money sat, untouched, picking up more and more interest, in a bank in Cedarwood, Pennsylvania.
It was pretty obvious the money, the old estate in Cedarwood, everything would be Jack’s. Tommy was pretty selfish, and he was fairly estranged from his father at the time of his death, but he was sure he was entitled to that money, because he was the oldest, and he never left Cedarwood like Jack had.
Even Jordyn had watched the old 80’s drama, Dallas. They weren’t in Texas, and they weren’t fighting over a horse ranch, but her family was in the middle of some genuine Ewing drama, and even she knew who got the money and Southfork when Miss Ellie died.
And Jack was Bobby.
“Well I got a call from dad’s lawyer a couple of weeks ago,” Jack continued. “They found the will.”
Jordyn perked up. Oh, this wasn’t bad news at all.
“He left me everything,” Jack said. “The money, Hamilton Estate, all of it.”
“Dad, that’s great!” Jordyn exclaimed. “We can go on a cruise!”
“We could buy a summer house in Maui!” Logan suggested excitedly.
“And one in Aspen, maybe?” Jordyn tried with a small smile.
“We’re not going on a spending spree,” Jack clarified. “Mind you, there’s plenty to go around, and yes, we can live a lot more comfortably.” He cleared his throat again, then shared a look with Zara, not a happy one, either. “But there’s more, guys.”
Jordyn’s excitement began to fade.
“Kids,” Zara said, clearing her throat. “We’re moving to Cedarwood.”
Jordyn tugged on her ears. She was definitely hearing her mother wrong.
“Moving to Cedarwood?” Logan exclaimed. “To Pennsylvania? Where there’s no water!”
“Lake Erie is about two hours north of Cedarwood, and the town itself sits on a nice-sized lake, too,” Jack tried, unsuccessfully, to sway his son.
“So, we’re moving to the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania, landlocked, so we can’t surf?” Jordyn exclaimed. “We can’t! Moon Bay Beach is our home! It’s the only one I’ve ever even known.”
“We have to go, Jor,” Zara said sympathetically.
“Why do we have to go?” Logan asked.
Jack shrugged. “Part of the will. Dad didn’t want the house to be lived in by anyone but a Hamilton, and didn’t want it to go to ruins. His will explicitly states that if we don’t take the house, the money will stay in the bank, frozen.”
“That’s possible?” Jordyn asked, incredulous. She had no idea that ultimatums could be attached to wills.
“It’s legal,” Jack assured, nodding.
“But, I don’t want to go to Pennsylvania,” Logan whimpered. “I want to stay here.”
“Me, too,” Jordyn muttered.
“Kids, we understand this is hard,” Zara said. “But Cedarwood is a great little town. You’ll really like it there. You’ll see.”
“It’s a lot of money, guys,” Jack said, softly now.
“When are we leaving?” Ty asked.
“We’re waiting until August,” Zara explained. “So you guys can enjoy your summer here.”
Jordyn just nodded, staring at the plate full of pannkakors she hadn’t taken a bite of since she heard the news. Suddenly, she wasn’t at all hungry anymore. She pushed the plate back. “May I be excused,” she said more to her lap than her parents. “I’m not hungry.”
Her mother nodded, sympathetically, and when she reached out to touch Jordyn’s shoulder, Jordyn ducked the gesture and walked up the stairs to her room, slamming the door loud enough she made sure they heard her downstairs.
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