Meet Harley from Family Risk!

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Pelican Bay #9
October 20th, 2020

Harley moves to Pelican Bay

“Okay, that’s your last signature, Harley,” the mortgage person, Sydney, says as she adds the last piece of paper I finish signing to her tall stack. “Welcome to Pelican Bay. I think you’ll love the little town.”

I smile, fingering the keys to my new house and an opportunity at a brand-new life. “Yes, I can’t wait to try out the beach this summer.”

The town of Pelican Bay may not have been where I’d have picked to move, but I’d fallen in love with a small downtown area that led into a public beach with a cute little red ice cream shop in the parking lot.

I’ve come to Pelican Bay for a fresh start. To forget the memories of the life I’ve left behind and forge an alternative path on my own. At least the best I can.

“Let me make a few copies of these for you and you can be on the way to your new house.” Her smile grows as she stands and heads for the door. A sign the woman loves her job, or the fat commission checks.

The only thing I like about being a financial auditor for a large bank is I can do it from home in the comfort of my living room on my laptop. It’s another perk allowing me to move anywhere in the country I want.

I wouldn’t have picked Pelican Bay as my next stop but I figure I’ll end up liking it. Something in the town calls to me as if for the first time I have a place I can belong.

“I have to get to a showing in Red Bud, but I’ll talk to you later. Let me know if you have any problems.” My realtor stands from her side of the table and makes her way to the door.

“Absolutely, thank you for the help.”

She nods before walking out the door and bumping shoulders with Sydney as she carries a stack of papers back into the room. However, the papers aren’t what has my eyes narrowing in question but the items she holds in her other hand.

It’s a big ball of golden-brown fluff of a puppy. Except he’s one of those small breeds, a Yorkshire Terrier, so you couldn’t guess the age because even at full grown the dog would be tiny.

Sydney drops the papers on the table and then passes the small dog to my arms. I take it because what else do you do when someone gives you an adorable fluffy puppy?

His tongue laps out of his mouth and he licks straight up my cheek almost into my eyeball until I pull him back just in time.

“He’s so cute. Is he yours?” Is it bring your dog to work day or something around here?

Sydney gives me a questioning look. “No. That’s the dog. Rocky.”


Her smile falls and a panicked expression invades her features before she wipes it away and the same smile she wore seconds earlier is plastered back on her face. But there’s something off about this one. It’s too forced.

“This is the dog. Rocky. The one who came with the house.”

I shake my head not believing her. “No, dogs don’t come with home purchases.” The home contained contents, but those included one ugly green couch, a white kitchen table, and an entertainment center, which only fit a twenty-four-inch TV. There definitely was no dog. I would have noticed a dog. That couldn’t be legal. It would be like trading a baby.

My brother and I always asked for a dog growing up, but we didn’t live the life that allowed you to have pets. I may have wanted one back then, but as an adult I didn’t know what to do with a dog.

Sydney shrugs biting her bottom lip. “I’m sorry. They wrote it into the contract. Your realtor should have told you. The house came with all contents.”

“But it’s a dog.” The little fluff ball nuzzles into my arms, putting his head on my shoulder.

She nods. “Your dog. The owner died, and the dog has no one else. The other realtor has been taking care of him, but she dropped the little guy off this morning.”

“I can’t have a dog. What will I do with him?” He nuzzles my face again as if he knows his future is hinging on this moment. I put my chin back allowing his fur to tickle my skin.

I can Google how to care for a dog on the internet and take him for walks occasionally. It’s just me alone in the town. Until I make friends, he can keep me company. Maybe a dog won’t be so crazy.

“Look,” Sydney says staring at the dog and shaking her head. “He’s a cute little dog, but he’s yours now. So what you do with them is up to you. My responsibility ends after giving him to you. If you decide you want to take him to the pound, that’s your choice.”

I squeeze Rocky closer not liking the word pound. He licks my ear and bites at the lobe. “I can’t drop him at the pound.” Rocky nibbles on a thick chunk of my hair as if it’s his way of saying thank you.

I slip the papers into my large purse and snuggle Rocky as we walk out of the building.

“Come on, Rocky. I guess we have dog shopping to do.” I place him in the passenger side of my car, and he puts his little feet up on the side of the door, trying to see out the window.

A phone rings and I rummage through my purse to find the screen black before realizing the sound is coming from somewhere else. My gaze searches the car, my ears listening and trying to find it before I home in on the glove box. I pop it open and a small flip phone falls out.

“Hello?” I ask the phone that wasn’t in my car earlier this morning.

My brother grunts on the other end, his way of saying hello. “Is it done?”

“Yes, the house is mine. Where did this cell phone come from?”

“I slipped it in car while you were in the building. For now on if you need me for any reason call me on this phone. And remember, if you see me in public, we don’t know each other.” He words are rough around the edges and hard. To anyone else they’d be intimidating.

I roll my eyes even though he’s not here to see. “Yes, I remember.” You made the rules of me moving here extremely clear. Repeatedly.

“Welcome to Pelican Bay, Harley.”

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