She dragged her single suitcase behind her, aware how pathetic it was that at the age of thirty-one, she could fit nearly everything important to her in one suitcase—and it wasn't even the largest one in the set her grandmother had sent when she graduated from college nine years ago.
She heaved a sigh and moved with the flow of foot traffic as tourists flooded off the ferry and onto the street. When she was a girl, this was the moment she looked forward to all year long—the moment her flip-flops hit the cobblestones, the moment she and her mom arrived in Nantucket.
So much had changed.
As she watched Andrew's red-and-yellow backpack disappear into the crowd, she said a quick prayer that his days in Nantucket were filled with nothing but good things—lobster boils and fish fries, giant ice cream cones from the Juice Bar and long, sun-kissed days at Jetties Beach.
She wished for him all the things she would've held on to if Nantucket hadn't been ruined for her all those years ago.
And suddenly, she wasn't so sure she actually could do hard things.
But she was about to find out.
Why was he nervous?
Hollis McGuire watched the summer crowd get off the ferry and flood the street in front of him, wishing he could slow his pulse.
It hadn't been that long since he'd seen Jolie, but what if he didn't recognize her right away? He'd give her a complex, send her to therapy for years. But wasn't that usually what parents did to their kids?
Last night on the phone, he'd told Jana exactly where he'd be standing, but what if she hadn't relayed the message to their twelve-year-old daughter? What if Jolie was lost in that crowd somewhere? His eyes scanned the people exiting the ferry and for a moment he felt like he was thirteen again, a kid who didn't fit in with this crowd, a kid only good enough to clean their pools, pull their weeds, or carry their golf clubs.
He watched as an old couple, Rich and Helen Delancey, filed off the ferry. They'd been living every summer in Nantucket for decades. They were old money, and Rich was a decent guy—he was the one who'd taught Hollis's father about the stock market, and without that, his dad might still be working as a sailing instructor at the Nantucket Yacht Club, which was what had brought them to the island in the first place all those years ago.
Jeffrey McGuire was something of a sailing legend, but he didn't come from money, and even though they did okay, they were poor by Nantucket standards, which had always carved a deep chasm between Hollis and the rest of the Nantucket kids.
It seemed like the perfect place to bring Jolie for a few weeks—after all, they hadn't spent more than a couple nights together
in...well, ever. Hollis wasn't proud of it, but it was reality.
But now? Well, what else did he have to do? It's not like his calendar was exactly full.
He watched the crowd slim down and still saw no sign of Jolie. He started to get nervous. He pulled his phone from his pocket to see if she'd called or texted him that she'd arrived, but his phone was blank, except for his lock screen—a photo of his daughter.
He'd changed it that morning, horrified to find the most recent photo he had of her was two years old.
He could've done without that reminder—he regretted so much as it was.
He glanced up as a woman appeared at the top of the ramp. He didn't recognize her, but she was vaguely familiar. Hollis watched as she put her sunglasses on and tossed a hand through her long, wavy blonde hair. She wore a thin white T-shirt that dipped to a V, leading his eyes straight to a place they shouldn't go. She was on the tall side of average height with narrow hips and long, slender legs, and even if nothing about her was familiar, he still would've noticed her. She had a sort of effortless beauty, the kind that didn't require heavy makeup or fake nails.
After several seconds, the woman started off the ferry, but she quickly stopped. As she did, she pinched the bridge of her nose, holding it tightly for a moment.
In a flash, he was a kid again, standing on the beach next to Emily Ackerman—the girl who'd stolen his preteen heart—holding a freshly picked bouquet of wildflowers and marveling at her beauty.
"Emily?" Hollis straightened, squinting to get a better look at the woman as she came down the ramp.
This excerpt is from the paperback edition.
Monday we begin the book Isaiah's Legacy by Mesu Andrews.