Alone on Earth (Signal Bend Series Volume 4)(3)

By: Susan Fanetti

the sky was banded with color, and be restored.

This particular moment was not as restorative as she would like, because Trevor was detailing the menu

he’d prepared for her sojourn in the country. Left to her own devices, Riley tended a bit toward plump.

Well, not plump, really, not by any standards away from Southern California, anyway, but her thighs got a

bit heavy, and her belly pooched. So she was on a strict diet. The part of Desdemona was something of an

action role, so she had to be strong, too. She couldn’t just eat grapefruit, or do a juice cleanse, or any of the

other strange trends that had made the rounds. Trevor, with a degree in nutrition, worked hard, she knew, to

make sure her vexingly liquid diet was truly healthy as well as calorie-conscious.

He’d just gone over the meals he’d arranged for ten days of travel. She should be home before then, but

he wanted to make sure she wasn’t stranded without a meal plan. A lot of fruits and nuts and seeds, as

usual. Riley missed hamburgers. Ooh—and chili cheese fries. With sour cream.

She sighed.

Trevor stopped and looked up, his brown eyes sharp. “You’re being quite the pouty puss about food

today. What’s gotten into you? I’d know if you needed medicinal chocolate. Wouldn’t I?”

The one thing Trevor gave total gustatory carte blanche for was heartbreak. His philosophy about that

was the heart wants what the heart wants, and when it can’t have that, it should get anything else it wants.

And it should bring a friend. Over the course of their friendship, the two of them had several times

destroyed whole pizzas, pints of Cherry Garcia ice cream, bricks of chocolate, over her broken heart or his

—while watching the tear-jerkiest of films in recorded history. But Riley’s heart wasn’t broken—or, at least,

it wasn’t a new break. It was on the mend. She didn’t have any idea why all of a sudden she was waxing

nostalgic about chili cheese fries, which she hadn’t eaten since she was a teenager.

She shrugged. “Yeah, it’s not that. I don’t know. Just feeling out of sorts today. Not looking forward to

this trip.”

“A whole week surrounded by country boys and bikers? Girl, you need to change your perspective! All

that leather! And ink! And oh, do you think they wear Stetsons? And go shirtless? If they do, you better get

snaps!” Trevor sighed dreamily.

“Okay, okay. I’ll try to send you clandestine beefcake snaps of shirtless cowboys and bikers. Are we

done with the menu?”

“We are, ducks. I sent this to the manager at the hotel, and she’s going to make sure that the kitchen has

everything you need. As long as you behave yourself, you should be fine. I know I can trust you. No use

having to work two months to undo a week of slip, right? We’ve learned that lesson, now, haven’t we?”

Hades High had finished shooting for the season just more than a week ago. For the first couple of

years of the show, Riley had taken some time off right after shooting ended—which meant that she’d

stopped working out, stopped watching what she ate quite so closely, stopped setting her alarm, and just

had a couple of weeks of whatever she wanted. But it had always been difficult to undo that damage and

get back in the groove. So last year and this year, she kept on her schedule, her only change setting her

alarm to two hours later in the morning.

“I’ll behave.” At that moment, her phone began playing a pop tune. Recognizing the assigned ring tone,

Trevor rolled his eyes, picked up their empty smoothie glasses, and sauntered inside before Riley accepted

the call.

“Hi, Mother.”

Her mother jumped in with her usual chirpy gusto. “Morning, muffin! Did Trevor come this morning? I

asked him to come early, so you’d be sure to get a good workout in before your trip.”

Of course her mother had set that up, and of course she hadn’t said anything to her. Riley had been

working since she was four years old, and Eleanor Piedmont, her mother, had been her manager from the

very first audition for a canned-spaghetti commercial. Eleanor kept twenty-six-year-old Riley in the loop

about as much as she’d kept four-year-old Riley there.