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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
We then stepped into one of Savannah’s many squares—Wright Square, as Rhys was quick to inform me. He practically dragged me over to a giant rock sitting to the right hand side of the square. “This is the rock dedicated to Tomochichi. When English settlers arrived in Savannah in 1733, he was the Yamacraw Chief who gave them assistance. This stone was erected over a hundred and fifty years after his death…”
As Rhys continued rattling along about Tomochichi, I tried to feign interest when I frankly could have cared less. When he eventually finished, I cocked my head at him and grinned. “Ooh, talk nerdy to me some more,” I teased.
He laughed before playfully nudging me with his shoulder. “Twerp.” Patting the stone, he said, “What if I was to tell you that the stone had some mystical qualities?”
He nodded. “The legend is that if you circle the stone three times while continuously saying, ‘Tomochichi,’ whatever you wish will come true.”
Sweeping my hand to my hip, I eyed him suspiciously. “That sounds like a load of bullshit. Like a very warped ‘wish upon a star.’”
Rhys shrugged. “It may or may not be. But isn’t it worth trying a chance at having a wish come true?”
I glanced between him and the rock not really believing that at twenty, I was actually going to take superstition seriously. While looking at Rhys, I could tell he was silently daring me to do it. “All right. Fine.”
“You’re really going to do it?” he asked, a little incredulity in his voice.
“Oh yeah, I’m doing it.”
He chuckled. “Guess that internship is a wish heavy on your heart, huh?”
I fought the urge to laugh in his face if he thought that I would actually waste my wish on the internship. Sure, it was important, but there was nothing more important to me than finally being with him. Without another word to Rhys, I reached out my hand and touched the stone. “Tomochichi, Tomochichi, Tomochichi…,” I began, as I started speed walking around the rock.
When I made my first lap, I found Rhys grinning at me like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. Ignoring him, I kept walking and reciting “Tomochichi.” Of course, while I might have been saying the dead chief’s name out loud, it was Rhys’s name I was saying inside my head.
Once I was finished, I took my hand off the stone and turned questioningly to him. “Now what?”
“You just wait for your wish to come true.”
“Have you ever done it?”
“Nope. Not even when I was a kid here on a field trip, and the tour guides told us about it.”
He shrugged. “I guess I didn’t have anything to wish for.”
“Well, that’s just sad. Life is all about having wants and desires, isn’t it?”
“I suppose so. I just never gave much time and effort to thinking about them.”
It was so strange that I had known him for seven years, spent hours and hours of time with him in different places, yet when it came down to it, I felt like I didn’t know him at all. He was a puzzle that needed to be solved, but at the same time, I had the feeling that some of the pieces were missing. Pieces that I would somehow have to dig deep to unearth.
“Where to now, Captain Tour Guide?”
“River Street is just a few blocks down there.” He motioned to the north.
“Okay, sounds good.”
“I’ll sweeten the tour by taking you in to River Street Sweets for a famous praline.”
“Mmm, I love pralines. I don’t think I’ve been down on River Street since our 8th grade overnight field trip.”
“I think you’re totally overdue for one then.”
As we continued the walk down to River Street, Rhys pointed out different landmarks of interest. He didn’t just keep it to a history lesson. He also told me great places to eat and hang out. Of course, I didn’t care about any of the places unless he planned to bring me back to them.
When we got down to the cobblestoned pavement of River Street, Rhys and I stopped into a few shops. I especially enjoyed the ones with gag gifts and T-shirts. Once we’d laughed and dared each other to buy several obnoxious ones, Rhys steered me into the huge candy store. The moment I stepped inside, I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. “That smell is pure heaven,” I murmured.
He laughed. “I would have to agree.”
After eyeballing the many delicious goodies under the glass, I decided on some chocolate covered pecan clusters along with a caramel apple dipped in nuts. I also added a famous praline. As I munched on one of the samples of chocolate bark, Rhys put in an order that caused my eyes to bulge. “What?” he asked.
“You’re getting all that for you?”
“I’ve been known to have them ship stuff to me when I’m out on tour,” he replied, getting out his wallet.
“Who knew you had such a sweet tooth?”
“It’s epic. Trust me.”
I couldn’t help protesting when Rhys had them ring up my sweets with his. “No, let me get mine,” I protested.
“It was my idea, so let me treat you.”
“But only this one time since I’m a poor, struggling college student, and you’re mister money bags.”
Rhys laughed. “Whatever.” Once he had paid, he gave them his address to ship the candy to. I had been wondering how he would possibly get it out of the store, least of all back to his house.