Mayor Garver’s eyes softened. “It just won’t be the same without you.”
Elise felt herself grow a little uneasy. Mayor Garver was being entirely too nice to her. She had revenge to enact on him for crying out loud. If he were ruder, it would be a lot easier. She brushed the thought away, a curse was a curse.
“Mayor, I met Cage Martin this morning,” she stated.
Mayor Garver nodded. “Oh, yes, nice young man who opened the B&B.”
“About that,” said Elise, “how did he manage to get his business approved without a town hall meeting?”
Mayor Garver shrugged. “Turns out, we don’t actually need the resident’s approval. It’s just been the way we’ve always done things. Mr. Martin was in a hurry and I didn’t see the harm in having a small bed and breakfast on Badger Hill. It’ll be nice to have a place for relatives to stay when they come and visit.”
“You’ve always been so good about getting the town’s feedback,” said Elise. “I’m really surprised you didn’t seek it out. I, for one, do not approve.”
Mayor Garver looked at her with wide eyes. “Why would it matter to you, now? You’re leaving.”
Elise bit her lip. He had a point. “It’s just …”
“I’m sorry, Elise, but I have to start the meeting now,” said Mayor Garver. “Bring any concerns you have my office and I’ll do my best to ease your mind.”
The mayor scurried off to the podium, leaving Elise with no other option than to take her own seat. She could feel Roark twitching in her pocket and knew something was up. Just a few seconds later, Cage Martin sat beside her.
“This is quaint,” he said, as he looked around the room.
“Apple Hill is a community,” stated Elise as the mayor encouraged everyone to get seated so they could begin. “We like to run things past each other, you know, like new businesses.”
“You’re far too concerned about my little inn,” said Cage.
“Maybe I’m far too concerned about you,” blurted Elise as the room fell quiet. She felt herself blush again, but not from the mayor’s kind words. The whole room had heard her last statement. “I’m concerned about you having enough business in this small, quaint, as you put it, town.”
Mayor Garver tapped the gavel on the podium. “Good evening, and with that, we’ll start the town hall meeting. As per the agenda, we are here to welcome Mr. Cage Martin, our newest entrepreneur, and say good-bye to our beloved librarian, Ms. Elise Pendergraph.”
“I say we have a party,” stated Mr. King from the front row, and Elise couldn’t help but notice he was scratching his palm. “Of new beginnings and bittersweet goodbyes.”
“I second it,” Ms. Welch, “now can we move this thing along. I need to go swimming. It’s entirely too hot in here.”
Mayor Garver cocked his head at Ms. Welch and Elise had to stifle her laughter.
“That’s odd.” Cage leaned down and whispered in her ear. “I can’t imagine poor Ms. Welch being too hot. Half the folks in here are wearing sweaters.”
“All those in favor of a party?” stated the mayor and a chorus of yeas flooded the meeting room. “That’s settled, we’ll have it one week from today on Halloween night!”
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