Love Believes (Sully Point, Book 5)

Love Believes

 

 

Book Five in the Sully Point Series
by
Nicole Smith

 

 

Copyright 2013 by Nicole Smith
All rights reserved.

 

This is
a work of fiction.

 Any
resemblance to any person or persons, living or dead, characters,
events, locations, or businesses is purely coincidental.

 

 

 

The Sully Point Series

 

Book One - Love Makes the Difference

Book Two - Love Finds the One

Book Three - Love Captures the Heart

Book Four - Love Promises

Book Five - Love Believes

 

Chapter 1

 

Beth Carter was at her wit's end. She had
struggled for days with her vision of what reality should be and what it
actually was, and now she had to make a decision. She could have a part in the
new TV series being cast, but only if she slept with the director on a
recurring basis.

He was a good-looking guy in his fifties, someone
she'd thought was a nice guy, until he very calmly set forth the job
requirements. She had been appalled, but hadn't wanted to act naive, so she'd
just asked for some time to decide.

What it came down to, ultimately, was how she'd
feel about herself. She couldn't do it, not if she wanted to look in the mirror
in the morning and be able to like who looked back at her. She didn't believe
in relationships without feelings. And she didn't want to be in a situation
where she felt used and degraded.

All of it had been a big disillusionment for her.
She'd come to Hollywood with stars in her eyes, so sure she would be acting in
no time. That had been eighteen months ago, and nothing was happening, except
an indecent proposal. In the process of looking for work as an actor, while
keeping her office job, she'd lost a lot of her trust in people.

Growing up as Maribeth Carter, with two loving
parents and a brother and two sisters, she'd never doubted she was loved. She
trusted without question. It had been a good childhood, and even her teen years
hadn't been too terrible. Nothing, in fact, had prepared her for the cold hard
truths she'd found in Hollywood. She was beginning to think it was time to
leave, or at least take a break. She knew she was becoming cynical and she
didn't much like being that way. After a lifetime of looking at people with an
open mind and a trusting heart, she knew that she'd changed. It seemed to her
that everybody was out for themselves and didn't mind who they trampled on to
get what they wanted. Using people was just a normal way of doing business.

Her sister, Maggie, had called a few months ago with
news of a surprise marriage that had happened on New Year's Day. Beth had been
so sure she would get the part, she'd been afraid to leave town to attend the
wedding. She felt now like she'd been an idiot not to go. Maybe it was time to
visit Maggie and Sam, her brother, in Sully Point. They both raved about the
place, and she'd never visited there. The one thing she was certain of was that
she didn't want to be in the same town as that slimy director another minute.

She reached for the phone to call Sam. Since she was
broke, it was time to beg for plane fare from big brother. She hated to ask him
for money, but she wasn't going to let her pride stop her from leaving town.

* * * *

Sam put away his phone and returned to the dinner
table covered in dishes of Mexican food. He'd taken the call from Beth in the
hallway for privacy. As he sat down, his wife Anna asked, "What's
wrong?"

"It's Beth."

His sister Maggie looked up from her plate and
frowned. "Did she finally tell you what's been happening there? She won't
talk to me about it at all."

"No," Sam said. "She didn't talk
about it. She asked for plane fare. Our baby sister is coming here,
tomorrow."

Maggie looked shocked. "What on earth is
going on with her?"

Eric, Maggie's husband, looked confused. "Why
is it strange that she should be coming to visit?"

"Because, she's completely dedicated to her
acting career, or at least, to trying to get it off the ground. That's why she
wasn't able to come to the wedding. For her to come for a visit, well, that
doesn't sound like Beth."

"Whatever is going on with her, you two
should leave her alone with it until she's willing to talk," Anna told
them. "Let her tell you in her own time, in her own way. No pestering of
your baby sister. In fact, from here on out, nobody even calls her 'baby'
sister. I know she's only twenty-one, but she's been on her own now for a year
and a half. Treat her like an adult."

Sam reflected that his wife was very wise, as his
first thought had been to grill Beth upon her arrival. Plus, they had all
picked up a very bad habit in their family of calling Beth the 'baby' sister.
Maybe that was because she was always into trouble, always adventuresome and
then getting herself into binds that required a big brother or sister to rescue
her. But she'd been pretty close-mouthed since going to L.A.

"Okay, no pressure on her, I promise,"
Sam said and Anna smiled at him.

"I wonder if maybe she'd like to stay in the
apartment I used to live in over the Bakery," Maggie said. "Instead
of her staying with you and Anna, or with Eric and me. We could give her some
space of her own. That place is just sitting empty. It's even still furnished.
We've been so busy setting up the new house we haven't done anything about the
apartment."

Sam knew that Maggie and Eric had thrown
themselves into creating their perfect home, taking shopping trips to the city
for furnishings, all in preparation for the baby that was on the way. Here at
the end of March, with Maggie four months or so along, they finally seemed to
be settling into their house.

He wondered how Beth would react to Sully Point,
especially after living out on the west coast. Sully Point, in some ways, was
an acquired taste. A small tourist town, it had its quirky elements. He loved
the place. As a well-known writer of a popular detective series of books, the
town had come to accept him and basically ignore his celebrity. Anna had lived
in Sully Point her whole life, painting masterpieces that were eventually
discovered when the two of them met. Now her art sold in a gallery in the city,
and Sam was sure some of those who saw it would be astonished that she wasn't a
worldwide traveler. There was a depth to her paintings that belied her life in
a small town.

Maggie, too, had found her niche in Sully Point,
after visiting her brother. She worked with a charitable foundation that was
started by Anna's family, the Grainger family, along with a related family, the
Tremaines.

Maggie's husband was Eric Stanton, the computer
genius whose work was changing the world of computing, and who had essentially
dropped off the map after selling his company for millions and then settling in
Sully Point. Sam knew Eric was working on something esoteric involving
artificial intelligence, but he understood about one word in twenty when Eric
tried explaining it to him. Maggie had showed Sam and Anna the computer lab
Eric had installed in one wing of their home, but confessed she didn't have a
clue what his work involved.

Beth would be arriving at the tail end of winter,
and he'd bet she didn't have winter clothes after her stay in warm weather. The
spring in Sully Point would be beautiful however, and worth the wait through
winter for it.

"Maggie, I was just thinking about spring
coming. You and Eric haven't been here for the Spring Festival. It's something
special."

The rest of dinner talk was taken up with
descriptions of what was involved in the festival. Sam was sure that spring in
Sully Point would be the best thing for Beth to brighten her spirits.

* * * *

Beth was thrilled to be sitting in the last vacant
seat in first class. She really thought that all airplane seats should be as
big and comfy as first class rather than cramming people in the rest of the
plane like some frat house telephone booth prank.

She'd packed her bags last night, and paid for the
extra luggage to be sent. She wasn't sure how long she'd be staying in Sully
Point, but she didn't want to be without her things. She knew she was a bit of
a clotheshorse, and her shoe and boot collection was expanding more rapidly
than her closet space allowed. It was her one vice, and she had long since
decided she could live with that foible.

Before leaving her apartment, she had called the
vile and obnoxious director and left a message on his machine that she would be
turning down both the part and the extraneous activity attached to it. It had
felt both freeing and also terrifying to do that, since the man was a force in
the television arts community.

After the plane took off, she pulled out her book
of crossword puzzles. They always relaxed her. As she began working on a
puzzle, she wondered how much Maggie and Sam would pester her about what was
really going on with this visit. Maggie especially would be a pain, she was
sure. Maybe she ought to request to stay with Sam and Anna. Although Sam's big
brother vibe was a bit much at times.

Sighing, she realized that she'd have to deal with
both of them and they wouldn't be happy, because she had no intention of
telling either of them what had gone on with that foul director. It felt in
some ways as though she had failed in her quest to make her way in the field of
acting. But lately she had begun to think it just wasn't worth what a person
had to give up. Things like self-respect for a start.

She'd always loved acting. In high school, and
then in community college for a year, she'd been in plays with big parts. She
relished becoming someone else, fulfilling the writer's idea of who the
character was by adding her own take on it. There was something satisfying
about playing a role and throwing herself into it completely, and then walking
away from it to be her own self afterwards.

She wondered now if her goal was impossible. There
were so many people trying to make it as actors, many of them talented and
hardworking like her. She'd taken classes in L.A. and knew she was good—but
others were good, too. Shrugging irritably at the path her thoughts had taken,
she decided to remind herself of the cast of characters in Sully Point.

There was Maggie, her sister and married to Eric,
expecting a child in the summer. Sam, her brother, married to the artist Anna
and they had a little boy, Joshua. Then there was the whole Grainger family.
Anna's family, made up of a sister, Holly, and a brother, Cody. And their
father Frank. Beyond that she wasn't sure of the names of all the spouses and
others attached to them. She grinned to herself. It was kind of like preparing
to step onto a new stage, with all the actors ready to play their parts. And
she was the heroine of the piece, of course. The star of the show. She giggled
and caused her seat mate to turn and stare at her.

"Sorry, just thinking of something
funny," she said, to the grumpy old man sitting there.

Sully Point, here I come,
she thought with a
smile.

* * * *

"Mr. Christopher! What can I get you
today?" asked Mary Jo, the waitress at the Diner.

"Got any Eggs Benedict?" he asked,
gruffly.

Mary Jo could tell he needed his coffee right
away, and poured it swiftly into his cup. "Sorry sir, not today. But we do
have some French toast that is super delish."

"Super delish? Hmm. I suppose I'd better try
it then."

The waitress nodded and dashed off to the kitchen.
When Mr. Christopher was in the restaurant, everyone moved just that little bit
more quickly and efficiently. He had a presence, and he demanded perfection, or
at least something close to it. The new man in town, he had everyone jumping
and the women practically swooning. It wasn't so much that he was handsome as
it was his charisma. He wasn't all that tall, about five feet eight inches,
Mary Jo thought, but he drew people to him. He had thick black hair cut shorter
on the sides and full on top. His gray-blue eyes were piercing and could be
full of warmth or icy cold, depending on the situation.

Today, Mary Jo and the cook, who was leaning out
the serving window, waited with breaths held for the verdict on the French toast.
Mr. Christopher took a bite and then another, and then he smiled. The sighs of
relief could be heard.

"What's this, a touch of orange peel? Nicely
done, chef," he called out to the cook who beamed.

* * * *

As his waitress and the other diner workers went
back to serving others, William Christopher sat back against the seat. He
enjoyed his little tests of the Diner staff. He had only had one substandard
meal since arriving in Sully Point two weeks earlier. He'd flatly refused to
eat the chicken fried steak until the gravy had been re-made. He had to admit
that the cook was damn good at his job.

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