The Move (The Creek Water Series #2) by Whitney Dineen



Prologue


I don’t believe in voodoo as a rule. I’m not superstitious or particularly gullible, and I sure as heck have never given much credence to people who claim they can predict the future. Why am I telling you this? Because when I was twelve my grandmother Thelma, who I called Mimi, took me to see a fortune-telling friend of hers in Harlem, just down the street from where she lived. The old lady with the Rastafarian braids, nose ring, and skunky-smelling aroma, read my palm and told me the following, “In your thirtieth year of life, right after the dog jumps over you, your whole world will change in the most unexpected ways. Be open to the change or you will always regret it.”

Mimi wrote the message down verbatim and gave me the scrap of paper, making me promise to keep it in my little jewelry box with the dancing ballerina. She said, “Baby girl, that old bat might have been higher than a kite, but she’s given me priceless words of wisdom during my lifetime. I have no idea what’s in store for you, but I know it was important for you to hear that.”

I’ve long since lost the jewelry box, and Mimi died a handful of years later, but I always remembered the message, just like I promised I would. I haven’t thought about it in years, but suddenly life has made certain I’m awash with the memory.





Chapter 1


“Incoming!”

I hit the ground as soon as I heard the warning.

One of my all-time favorite pastimes is walking through Central Park in the fall. The air is crisp, and the colors are mind-blowingly gorgeous. Unfortunately, I have to share this miracle of nature with several million people who inhabit that same seven-mile stretch of land.

The sheer volume of all those bodies can be dangerous when large groups congregate in one area. It can also seriously hinder my enjoyment. I’m currently hindered, lying prone in a pile of damp leaves watching as a German shepherd jumps over me. He’s chasing the frisbee that had been destined to decapitate me.

I hear the old Jamaican woman’s words like she’s sitting next to me, “In your thirtieth year of life, after the dog jumps over you, your whole world will change in the most unexpected ways.”

A very attractive doggy-daddy runs towards me calling, “Nice catch, Hanzie!” He whizzes right past me to give his buddy a vigorous rub. I eagerly await my turn. Just kidding, I don’t really expect Mr. Hotty Pants to rub me down, but offering a hand up would have been nice. Clearly that’s not going to happen as I watch him jog away with his furry friend. There’s not so much as a backward glance in my direction.

“Loser!” I yell at his departing backside.

Dear New York,

I love you like the native I am, but you gotta quit letting the riffraff move in.

How do I know he’s riffraff? He was wearing an “I Heart Akron” sweatshirt. No real New Yorker hearts anywhere other than New York.

An authentic New Yorker would have run over to help me up before apologizing profusely for the near miss. They may have even offered to buy me a hot dog for my troubles. Stereotypes aside, born and bred locals are generally good people. Sure, they give you hell when you deserve it, but when something like this happens they own it.

I lie still for a moment trying to regain my equilibrium after that jolt of adrenaline shot through me. I adore this island with my whole being. It’s the only home I’ve ever known, but the near miss with Mr. Akron’s flying disk has me wondering what life is like for the rest of the world. You know, the people who can enjoy the great outdoors with a modicum of elbow room.

I finally get up and buy my own hot dog to snack on while I walk home. Out of the corner of my eye I see a leaf sticking out of one of my ringlets of hair. Pulling at it, I realize I’ll be picking out bits of nature for the next couple of days. My corkscrew curly brown tresses have managed to attract and conceal all manner of things: leaves in the fall, flower petals in the spring, and possibly small rodents if I ever let them near my head, which I don’t.

As soon as I get to my building, I head down to the basement to get the rest of my cold weather clothes from storage. An Indian summer has been visiting so I haven’t been in a rush, but today, the bite of fall is upon us.

After retrieving two boxes marked “Pumpkin Muffin Clothes”—I labeled them in anticipation of the season where I organically increase my carb intake—I head up to my apartment on the fourth floor.

I probably should have brought up one box at a time, but I really didn’t want to make two trips. As I stagger down the hallway, I hear Timothy Sanders, my neighbor and all-around stud muffin, ask, “Hey, Lexi, need a hand?”