Chapter 22

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After discovering the fact that I'd be spending the weekend in Albany with Archer's family, I took off sprinting for my bedroom. I threw open my closet door, grabbed my old gymnastics bag and promptly threw jeans, shirts, underwear, bras, and everything else I'd need on this trip. I tried to be as quick as possible, since Archer and Regina were waiting for me in the living room, but I didn't want to move so fast that I'd forget something. How embarrassing would it be to ask Sophia or Regina for something I'd forgotten?

I tossed a tooth brush, hairbrush, and my favorite shampoo and lotion in my bag before doing a quick sweep over the room, grabbed my cellphone charger, and that was it. Hopefully I was ready to go.

I returned to the living room, clutching my bag to my chest, a little worried at what I'd see. Thankfully, everyone seemed to be at ease. Regina and Dad were still chatting amiably with each other. Archer was leaning up against the wall with his arms crossed, and he didn't look nearly as pissed off as he did a few minutes ago.

"Ready?" Regina asked, giving me a smile when she noticed me.

I grinned as best I could. "Ready as I'll ever be."

Regina stood and joined Archer by the door while I turned to Dad to say goodbye.

"Thanks, Dad...for letting me go," I said, rocking back on my heels.

Dad nodded with a slight smile. "Stay out of trouble, Hadley. Don't cause too much ruckus."

I rolled my eyes, Archer snickered, and Regina gave a cough.

"Thanks, Dad," I repeated dryly. "I'll see you later."

Dad tipped two rfingers in a goodbye. "I'll see you Sunday."

And that was it for Hadley Jamison's goodbye to her father.

The three of us left the apartment and rode the elevator down to the lobby, and this time, the air was much more relaxed between us all.

"I'm so glad you're coming," Regina told me conversationally as we stepped outside. "Mia and Lauren will be relieved to have another girl their age around."

"And Carlo," Archer snorted. "That kid seemed to be quite taken with Hadley."

I glared up at Archer with narrowed eyes. "Very funny."

"Yeah, well, it's not like you won't be doing anything to stop that," Regina said, flicking her son's ear.

I turned bright red in the face and remained silent. Archer gave his mother a sullen look as she flagged down a taxi and maybe it was just my imagination, but it seemed like he was just the slightest bit embarrassed.

This trip was certainly going to be a trip for the ages. I could tell that already.

Regina's spirits seemed to have lightened considerably after the talk with my dad. She talked animatedly with me during the taxi ride home about how lovely Sophia and Marc's house was in the outskirts of Albany and how her siblings were all excited to see me again.

I had a hard time believing that this was actually true, since I didn't know what impression I'd left on the other Incitti siblings, but it was nice to hear anyways.

When the cab pulled to a stop at the curb outside Mama Rosa's, I leaned forward to pay for the fare again, but Archer caught my arm before I could grab my wallet.

"What?" I said with a scowl.

He shook his head, not saying anything, and instead chucked a twenty dollar bill over the seat at the cab driver. I glanced over at Regina at this and saw her giving her son a cautionary look. Archer shook his head, rolling his eyes in the process, and yanked open the car door on his side.

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