Harper's Point reminded her of Mayberry reunion shows, with clean streets and no building taller than four stories and wide sidewalks. Benches waited at every intersection, where people could watch the traffic, with lots of trees to shade them. A square only two blocks in marked the "center" of town, with a fire station and sheriff's office on one side, the mayor's office around the corner from them, facing various little storefronts, including a barber shop -- right next to Caroline's Diner, open twenty-four hours a day. It looked so pretty, Nikki could almost taste a big platter of scrambled eggs, and waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. She shook her head and turned her head so she wouldn't see it. Chain restaurant drive-thru for her -- and maybe if she was a good girl, Brooklyn would have one of her miraculous waffle-sausage-fried egg breakfast sandwiches waiting for her. Concentrate on the scenery, dummy! There was a gazebo in the middle of the bright green grass in the square, right next to a glossy black-painted cannon and an old hand-pump that Nikki suspected still worked, gushing icy water that tasted of iron on hot summer days. Too bad this was a quick in-and-out retrieval. She would have liked to spend a day just wandering around the center of town, letting Gray run loose -- a town this small wouldn't have leash laws, would they? -- and lie in the sun to read for an hour, or maybe in the shade of that gazebo.
The turnoff to get to Willow Avenue arrived before she reached the fast food places and her longed-for breakfast. Nikki laughed at herself for the momentary groan of disappointment that escaped her. That would teach her two important lessons. First, always make sure she kept her cooler filled with ice and healthy drinks and snacks. Second, and more important, learn to ignore her stomach. She had gotten by on far less food when she had been living on the road, trying to work her way home, and entirely too proud and ashamed at the same time to call home and ask for help. Besides, according to the map and GPS display, the road out of town was much shorter if she continued up this road, where it widened to five lanes and offered highway on-ramps. When she picked up Brooklyn, they would head out this way and get breakfast.