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

By: Susan Fanetti

As a child, she’d modeled, too, but when she stopped growing at just shy of an inch over five feet, the

fashion industry stopped calling. Now, as a celebrity, she modeled a bit again, for makeup and hair product

lines. She hated that a lot. The money was really great for not very much work, but there was no quicker

way to understand that no one cared what was going on inside her head than to spend a day doing an ad for

hair color.

“Yes, Trevor was here. Yes, he worked me out before sunrise. It would have been really awesome if

somebody would have given me a hint about that plan, so maybe I would have gotten to bed before two


“Well, goodness! What were you doing up so late when you knew you were traveling today?”

She didn’t want to say. It wasn’t anybody’s business. But that argument never worked with Eleanor.

“Reading, Mother. It was a good book, and I didn’t want to stop.”

“Ooh! Have a rec for me, then?”

She hadn’t actually been reading, so she almost stumbled over that dilemma, but she was a trained

thespian, after all. “It was a murder mystery.”

“Ugh. I don’t know why you like those. With the guns and the crime and all that nonsense. Okay, well, I

was calling to say that I changed the arrangement for the driver, and he’ll be there at nine-thirty instead of

ten. I don’t know why you had Pru schedule for ten. That’s cutting it much too close.”

Riley sighed. She didn’t like getting to LAX too early, because she felt vulnerable and exposed at the

airport, even in the first class lounge. She should have driven herself. But she didn’t want to leave her car

in long term parking.

“Fine, Mother. I need to go. I need to shower and get ready, especially since I’ve just lost half an hour

of prep time.”

“Okay, sweetie. I’ll talk to you in a bit. Remember—the weather changes a lot in the Midwest. Make

sure Pru’s packed layers for you! And for her, too! Kisses!”


Once she’d gotten Trevor out of the house, with a full complement of hugs and kisses and fretting,

Riley went in search of Pru. She hadn’t heard her come in or seen her lurking about, but her Prius was out

front, her bags were in the foyer, and Riley had a good idea where she’d find her.

As expected, Pru was in the office, sitting at the glass desk with her Mac open in front of her. “Hey,

Prudie. You snuck in this morning.”

Pru was two years younger than Riley and, in Riley’s estimation, just as pretty. She had glossy brown

hair that she always wore doubled up in a messy ponytail, and she shared Riley’s light grey-green eyes. She

was a few inches taller and, without Trevor kicking her ass regularly (not that she couldn’t join them if she

wished), about twenty pounds heavier. On her right cheek, she had a small, light brown birthmark that

looked quite a lot like a maple leaf. Riley had always thought that was the coolest thing about Pru’s looks.

Pru hated it, though.

Their mothers had been sisters. Pru’s mother, Riley’s Aunt Blythe, had died when Pru was eleven. From

then on, Pru and Riley had been raised as sisters. Except for the fact that Riley’s mom had big plans for her

and not so much for Pru.

Pru closed the Mac and pushed her glasses up onto the bridge of her nose. “I did. I saw you outside

with Trevor doing things with your body that looked unpleasant. So I just got to work. The prep packet the

studio sent mentioned that internet and cell coverage was unpredictable in Signal Bend, so I wanted to try to

get a jump on as much as I could, in case we end up radio silent.” She came around the desk. “I’ve set stuff

aside, but I haven’t started packing yet, in case you wanted in on that. But we need to get moving. Your

mother changed the pickup.”

“I know. Eleanor always knows better. Yeah, I want to pack my own clothes. Let’s get to it.”


Riley and Pru packed, and then Riley showered, dressed, and primped. She’d have loved to travel in

comfy clothes—she envied the women who traveled in yoga pants and t-shirts—but she lived in fear of

being the subject of one of those awful paparazzi shots, looking like a slob and wearing no makeup. So she