Home > The Butterfly Effect (Boggy Creek Valley #1)

The Butterfly Effect (Boggy Creek Valley #1)
Author: Kelly Elliott

 

Willa

 

I sat in the kitchen, daydreaming about the one person who seemed to always take up the spare space in my head.

Aiden O’Hara.

If you looked up handsome in the dictionary, you’d see his picture under the word. Such a clichéd thing to say, but it was true. Dark brown hair and gray eyes that changed colors depending on his mood, the color of his shirt, or even if the sky was blue or cloudy. He had a body that should have belonged on a twenty-something-year-old instead of an eighteen-year-old. My older sister once said Aiden had hair that made a girl want to slip her fingers through it and see if it was as smooth and soft as it looked.

There was more to Aiden than his good looks though. He was kindhearted and would do anything for anyone if they asked. Aiden was smart. Very smart. Out of almost one-hundred kids in his graduating class, Aiden was on track to be the valedictorian, and I had overheard my mother telling my brother, Hunter, that Aiden could go to any college he wanted.

That wasn’t the path Aiden desired though. He was set to join the Navy right after high school, just like his daddy had done and his granddad as well. Aiden wanted to be a SEAL, and it was all he ever talked about. My brother, who was best friends with Aiden, had also thought about joining until our father was diagnosed with prostate cancer during Hunter’s junior year of high school. Hunter didn’t have the heart to leave, knowing things would be up in the air with the family orchard.

Boggy Creek Valley Apple Orchard. It was my father’s pride and joy…well, besides his three kids. My family owned one of the largest apple orchards in the United States. It had been in my father’s family for four generations and had started off with a few apple trees and a dream. Now? Two-hundred-and-fifty acres of trees and more than thirty-five different varieties of apples. My favorite was the Pink Lady, with my father’s and the rest of the Turner clan preferring Gala.

Lacy said I just had to be the different one.

With our father’s health unknown, Hunter had recently made the decision to not go into the Navy with Aiden like they’d originally planned. They were like brothers, and Aiden spent more time at our house than he did his own, especially after his father had died a few years back in a car accident. Aiden’s mother, Rose, was good friends with my mother, Mary, and she had leaned on our family a lot after the death of her husband.

Aiden’s grandfather owned a construction business in Boggy Creek, and his family had built most of the buildings around town. Most dated all the way back to when the town was founded. Aiden’s father had left the Navy to help his father run the business, and when Aiden had declared that he didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of the previous O’Hara men, his grandfather had given him his blessing to follow his own dreams. Aiden had promised him he would return to Boggy Creek someday to take over the family business. But he needed to pursue his own path until then.

My thoughts were interrupted by my sister when she walked into the kitchen and grabbed a box of Fruity Pebbles. She promptly poured some into a bowl and started to eat.

“I still don’t understand why you don’t use milk,” I said, before taking a bite of my oatmeal.

Lacy shrugged. “I don’t like it when it gets soggy. It’s gross.”

I laughed and went back to eating my breakfast as I stole glances toward the doorway.

When I focused back on my breakfast and my sister, she was giving me a once-over, a giant smirk on her face.

“What?” I asked.

She gave me a half shrug. “Baby sister is growing up. Do you have makeup on, Willa?”

My cheeks felt hot. “A little.”

Lacy winked. “You look beautiful, and I swear you grew up over Christmas break. The boys are going to stumble over their own feet when they get one look at you.”

I laughed and shook my head. There was only one guy I wanted to have look at me.

Aiden.

I was three years younger than Aiden, but that didn’t stop my lustful feelings for him. I wasn’t really sure when he had turned from my older brother’s best friend into the boy I had fallen head over heels for. He often had a starring role in my dreams, and I wanted Aiden to be my first. The man who would take away my innocence. High hopes for someone whom Aiden clearly thought of as his little sister. He hadn’t really paid much attention to me over the years, except for the occasional pat on the head, or an invite to go to the pond on his folks’ property.

Of course, I had always dressed like a tomboy so that I could keep up with Hunter and his friends. I wore baggy clothes and kept my hair tucked into a ponytail that I could hang out of the back of a baseball cap. And I’d never worn makeup before. That changed over Christmas break when two of my best friends, Ellen and Brighton—or Bree, as I called her—talked me into going shopping for more girly-type clothes.

Brighton was the one who knew all the fashion and watched every makeup tutorial on YouTube she could find. At her and Ellen’s direction, I got my hair cut and lighter highlights put in and learned how to put on the right amount of makeup so that it looked like I didn’t have any on at all. The one thing I loved about my new look was how my eyes seemed to stand out more, especially with the mascara.

This semester, Aiden would notice me. He had to. He was leaving in June for the Navy, and if I didn’t get him to realize that I had grown up and was well on my way to becoming a woman, he would never notice me. And worse yet, he might give his heart to another woman. This was my last attempt at getting him to look at me as someone other than a sister figure.

“I heard Aiden stayed the night last night,” Lacy mused.

I moved slightly in my seat. At any mention of Aiden, my stomach always did a weird little flutter. “Yep. Shouldn’t surprise you, he’s almost always here.”

She gave me a knowing smile. “Does him being here have anything to do with the sudden change in appearance?”

I gave her a gruff laugh and shook my head as I answered entirely too quickly. “No.”

“Liar.”

“Whatever, Lace,” I bit out with a roll of my eyes.

She ate a few more bites of her cereal. “He’s too old for you, Willa. And Hunter would never let it happen.”

I rolled my eyes once more. “It’s not like I’m sporting a mini skirt with a low-cut shirt on.”

“No, it’s worse. You’re in jeans and a shirt that shows off that new little body you’ve got forming.”

I stared at her and then said, “Aiden’s never looked at you like that, and you’re bigger breasted than me.”

She glanced down at her chest and then back over at me. “Um, I think you were gifted with the boobs in the family. I’m pretty sure your cup size is a B or C. I’m an A.”

That made my mouth twitch with a grin, but I remained silent. My sister did not need to know I was indeed a B cup and well on my way to a C, according to the lady my mother had taken me to last week for new bras. Mom said the number-one rule as a woman was to always have the right size bras. She said it made a world of difference.

As if on cue, Aiden walked into the kitchen in low-hanging sweatpants and no shirt, his broad chest on full display. My sister Lacy and I stared open-mouthed at him. If he noticed us gawking, he didn’t show it. He looked at us both with those soft gray eyes of his, then flashed his famous crooked smile. If you were lucky and he smiled widely enough, you were rewarded with his dimples. They didn’t come out as often as one would hope, and when he smiled at me like that, it felt like he was giving me a gift.

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