She was awakened when the woman next to her pushed Harper’s tote bag off the arm rest. “Sorry,” Harper said groggily, and righted herself and the bag. She dragged her fingers through hair that was still wet from the rain, then shifted her gaze out the window. She’d more than dozed off—they were an hour out of town, and the rain had turned to mist.
Harper yawned, then dug into her tote for a snack. She pulled out a small bag of nuts and her phone. She righted the thing, and when she did, the phone came to life. But her phone’s lock screen confused her—she didn’t know the photo that appeared. She couldn’t remember even taking it. Staring up at her was a big white dog with a coal black nose. It looked like a golden retriever or a Husky or some cross between dog and polar bear. It was dressed in a red bandana with green Christmas trees and a headband with reindeer antlers. It looked like it was smiling, its long pink tongue hanging out of one side of its mouth.
Where had this dog come from? She racked her memory. It was entirely possible she had taken the photo. For one, the dog was adorable, and she often took snaps of adorable dogs. For two, she was often at the ACC where many adorable dogs passed through. But it also felt impossible that she would not remember meeting this beautiful hunk of dog. And anyway, even if she had taken it, how had it become her wallpaper?
A black banner across the dog’s chest proclaimed she had new texts.
She switched on the little light overhead and turned the phone over, examining it, and as she did, a slight bit of nausea waved through her. There was a crack on the back that hadn’t been there before. Maybe she’d cracked it when Amal had slammed on the brakes and phones went flying. Or maybe—and this was far more likely—she’d picked up the wrong phone. Holy shit. She had the wrong damn phone.
The phone suddenly vibrated, startling her, and she dropped it into her tote. She quickly dug it out again to see a new text message notification. She slid her finger across the screen, and miraculously, it was not locked.
You have my phone, the text message read.
She gasped loudly and craned her neck to see around her. Was this person nearby? Had she fallen asleep and this person had switched phones? How did anyone know she had the wrong phone?
She looked at the texts before the last one and read several more that said pretty the same thing: You have my phone. We got our phones mixed up. HELLO? She scrolled through them, counting fourteen texts in all announcing that she was in possession of the wrong phone. “Are you fucking kidding me right now?” she muttered.
The woman next to her shot her a disapproving look.
Come on, I need my phone. You can text me—I’m an idiot, I don’t have any security set up. Are you the (he inserted an emoji of the dancing girl) or the (he inserted an emoji of a guitar).
This could not be happening. Harper suddenly thought of all the texts Soren would send her this week. Of the terribly inappropriate texts Oliva would send her. “Nonononono.”
She texted back the emoji of the woman.
The text bubble instantly popped up. I have to be honest, I was hoping it was you and not the guitar guy. BTW, lucky you, getting out of that damn van when you did—you missed the debate about the upcoming election. If I could have figured out how to open that door, I would have thrown myself out.
She smiled, surprised by the friendly nature of his text. So you’re…She inserted the emoji of a man in a bowler hat because it was the first man emoji she ran across.
?? I’m not a detective. I’m more like (he inserted a picture of a man shrugging).
Harper’s smile widened.
Where are you, he texted. Is it possible to get my phone back?
Was he kidding? I’m on a bus, remember? Where are you?
Waiting for a plane to take off…
“For heaven’s sake,” she muttered. What now? She typed, I guess we’re stuck.
Unless you know how to teleport?
She sighed and texted, Alas I do not. She ended it with the crying emoji.
Is that a literal or ironic emoji? I don’t want to say the wrong thing.
She grinned. I must admit, a little of both.
He texted, Totally get that. By the way, thanks for also not having a secure phone. I would have lost my mind.
I guess I’m an idiot too. But the security thing takes too much time. I want to pick up my phone and go to what I want without swiping or staring. And it skeeved her out a little that technology could read her face.
Wait a second. She needed a phone this week. Maybe they could meet up and exchange phones. Where are you headed?
Ugh, Chicago, clear across the country. I’m going to Houston. When will you be back in Austin?
New Year’s Day.
So no meet up. Wow. I guess we are really stuck.
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date published : October 5, 2021
pages : 348
audiobook narrator : Courtney Patterson
audiobook length : 10 hrs, 37 min
Thirty years ago, my father became the other half of a broken love story.
A relationship he’s kept hidden for decades.
Upon unearthing his secret through a series of emails in our paper’s archives, I began my search for the truth. Haunted by my father’s love story, and in my quest for answers, I never imagined I would discover a love of my own. Or that my love for Easton Crowne would be key in discovering the reason behind what split our parents up.
Doomed from the start and knowing the havoc our relationship would inevitably wreak on our families, I could never have prepared for the toll it would take or the cost of the truth.
But in order to find our ending, we had to go back to their beginning.
My name is Natalie Butler, and this is my star-crossed love story.
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