Holding the promise close, she hurried to the Lodge. Wait until she saw Luke and told him. Happiness threatened to erupt. Thea, grind, nerd and all those other names her peers called her, had found her true love. Thea who had never had a date until this summer had found her perfect mate.
Luke was the best-looking of the Lodge’s summer employees. Tall, dark-haired Luke was hers. They had so many common interests. When they weren’t making love, they talked and seldom disagreed.
She thought of the way the other female employees and some of the younger guests had flirted with him. Thea laughed. From the moment their eyes met, they had been a couple.
Thea hurried back to the inn. She arrived on the second floor and began her evening routine. She opened the first of her assigned rooms, folded down the covers and placed a chocolate on each pillow. She entered the bathroom to make sure there was a good supply of fluffy towels.
She walked to the door. Her friend leaned against the wall. “You finished already?”
“Just. You’re running late and I know why.” Sue giggled. “Saw you and Luke sneak off.”
“For ten minutes. No big deal.”
Sue cocked her head. “I wanted to catch you before you two disappeared to make-out.”
The knowing look in Sue’s eyes caused Thea to stiffen. They had been friends since grade school. Thea had often wondered why the friendship had continued through high school and into college. Sue was pretty and popular. Her attention was flattering and brought Thea into the center of events. Thea still helped Sue with her studies. She’d even written papers for her friend. Sometimes Thea wondered if being on the fringes of the in-crowd was worth the effort. If she dropped Sue, where would another friend be found? Thea smiled. There was Luke.
Thea closed the door and walked to her next room. “Luke and I do more than make-out. We talk about serious matters.”
“Sure you do.” Sue grinned. “Just wanted to let you know there’s a party in the guest lounge to celebrate Luke’s birthday.”
“He never mentioned one to me.”
Sue’s smile turned sly. “For good reason. Guess he didn’t want you to know today he turns seventeen. Surprised me when I learned. He looks and acts our age.”
Thea swallowed. Luke was only seventeen. She’d be twenty-two in November. “But he’s a junior in college. He’s pre-med.”
“Heard he’s a genius. Double major, too.” Sue stepped back. “You two are quite the topic in the staff lounge. Some of the girls call you a cradle-snatcher. I told them if you’d known his age you would have cut him cold.”
Thea felt her face flame. How could she have made such a fool of herself? Luke was seventeen. She could be in real trouble. Everyone knew and laughed at her. “Look, we’re just friends. We talk about medicine and surgery.”
Sue arched a brow. “With a few anatomy lessons thrown in. Don’t blame you one bit. I wouldn’t mind a night or two exploring his body. He is one gorgeous hunk. See you.”
Thea waited until Sue vanished down the rear stairs. She quickly finished her rooms and fled to the staff sleeping quarters. Tears stung her eyes. Why hadn’t he told her before she’d become the staff’s joke of the summer?
She splashed water on her face. Luke would be at the reflecting pool. She intended to let him know how she felt about his deception.