I have decided to share some fiction that I wrote years ago. Let me know what you think and I will post more.
She could remember most of it like it happened yesterday, even the stuff she would have preferred to forget…..
Natalie’s Dad came from a small fishing community in Chester, Nova Scotia.
Chester was a sleepy little town in the winter. During those cold winter month’s they sent her grandparents cards with the promise of a summer visit. Each card held a picture within to update her grandparents of her progress. They had a prized collection from her first steps to her fist day of school. Nanny always sent some silly pictures back. Some were of her and Grandpa making mustard pickles. She knew they would store these in the cold room in the basement along with relishes and the jams and jellies she adored. The best bedtime snack in the world was Nanny’s homemade brown bread with strawberry peach jelly. Nanny would also send the latest pictures of their golden lab Duchess who was Natalie’s most trusted four legged friend.
Natalie was a bright and articulate child and primary opened up a whole new world for her. Until she reached school age she had spent most of her young life travelling with her parents which made it impossible to form any lasting childhood friendships. Her parents were very proud of their only child and never missed an opportunity to show her. When Natalie became tied down with school and her Dad’s business kept him frequently out of town his showers of affection began to come in the form of substantial gifts. As a child Natalie wanted for nothing but despite her charmed life it was the lazy summers in Chester that she longed for the most. It was here that she learned about the most important things in life; family & friends.
The community of Chester may have been small but her Dad’s family was large and gregarious. She would always look back at the summers she spent there as little girl with the fondest of memories. She remembered Grammy Lewis’s baking most of all. They slept in an upstairs loft in an old sea captains cottage on the water and though Gram and gramps Lewis still occupied the main house she would rise early and walk through the gardens to the little cottage before they woke to start breakfast. Gram always said that breakfast was the most important part of the day. She remembered the whistle of the tea kettle and the smell of buttermilk biscuits wafting through the little cottage. Natalie and her Dad would get up as soon as they heard the kettle whistle so they could eat the biscuits while they were still warm and enjoy the morning sunshine as it entered Chester Basin. Natalie’s Mom preferred to sleep in for a bit so they always enjoyed their breakfast on the veranda and sometimes they would walk down by the water and skip rocks. Her Dad regaled Natalie with tale after tale of the pranks he and his siblings pulled as children. She loved those easy times that she spent with her dad in Nova Scotia. Back home in Boston he worked for a large firm as a stock trader and some weeks she didn’t see much of him at all. He was always sure to give her a kiss and hug no matter how late he came home. When Natalie started school it became apparent that she needed a more stable home base. They made a permanent move to their Lake house and Natalie attended a small school in Laconia, New Hampshire. Her mother was able to be closer to her family which seemed to make her less restless and lonely.
CHAPTER 1 “When I think of you”
Natalie sat on the edge of the riverbank, her long tan legs dangling in the tepid water. Johnny swam over and made a huge production of splashing water in her face.
The summer was flying by too quickly. She had gotten a postcard from Rebecca yesterday. She was staying with her grandparents but was anxious to come home.
Natalie had spent the bulk of her summer close to home helping out at the diner and helping out with the household chores. She looked forward to her lazy afternoons at the river with Johnny. They spent the morning’s playing card games with Danny but he had become accustomed to spending the hazy afternoons in his bedroom watching television or playing racing games but Johnny came by each day to make sure he got out in the sunshine. One rainy day he came by with an array of permanent markers and they tried to outdo each other drawing murals on Danny’s cast. His mom often packed them a picnic lunch to eat by the river. They filled those summer afternoons with swimming, sunning and they often stopped by the diner on the way home and Aunt Blanche made them chocolate milkshakes.
This particular sunny afternoon Natalie was reading from a collection of short stories while Johnny splashed around the river. She couldn’t help but appreciate his fine form. The sun had kissed him right to the tips of his toes and his sandy hair was streaked with blonde. He popped out of the water and smoothed his wet hair back out of his eyes. “Hey Bookworm why don’t you come for a dip?”
“I’m waiting until I’m so hot I can’t stand it” Natalie yelled back.
Johnny ducked under the water and swam towards her. He popped up and threw her book unto the rocks and pulled her into the water “you’re so hot I can’t stand it.”
Even in the cool water his body felt warm against hers. She looked up into his soulful blue eyes that always seemed to see right through her. This teenage boy who had so quickly become one of her best friends was about to kiss her. Her lips swelled and her pulse quickened at the very thought of it. He had been the star of many a late night fantasy.
He pulled her closer and touched her face ever so gently. His hand on the small of her back pushed her so close to him that she could feel the breath on his face. His body seemed to stiffen at once and he eased his hold on her, “Natalie stay right where you are,” he ordered.
Natalie, perplexed, did as she was told.
Johnny swam to the water’s edge and seemed to be fumbling frantically through his backpack. Obviously finding what he was looking for he swam back towards her.
“Close your eyes Natalie”
Natalie again did as she was told. She felt a quick, sudden pinch on her back.
“What the heck?” she yelled at him.
He was treading water with a jackknife in one hand, “You had a tick burrowing into your back. Don’t worry I got it. Those pesky things can be dangerous if you don’t get them right away.” He informed.
She recalled when she was a child her grandparents dog Duchess had gotten really ill from an infection resulting from a tick that had burrowed into her skin.
She wrapped her towel around her, “Well thanks.” She said sullenly. Obviously she was happy that there was no longer an awful tick burrowing into her skin but she felt like a child whose ice cream just fell off the cone.
Johnny dried off carefully and pulled his black t-shirt over his head, “you want to pop by the diner?’
“No I’m good,” Natalie said, forcing a smile for good measure, “I’m just going to go home and shower.” She turned to leave before he could see the disappointment in her eyes.
“Hold up a sec Nat,” he yelled after her, “let me give you a quick look over.”
He carefully lifted her hair rubbing his hands across her neck. He brushed her back off. He turned around and winked at her “you look good, TICK FREE!’
“Thanks, “she muttered and ran off before her feet refused to move.
Natalie had a restless sleep that evening. The soft moan of the ceiling fan irritated her and the air it circulated was little relief in the stifling room. She flitted around the double bed until the bed sheets sat in a hump on the bedroom floor.
She was embarrassed that she acted like a spoiled child yesterday. Johnny must be glad that he never kissed her. It would have been her first kiss. She’d played spin the bottle at Missy Gould’s end of school party but those slobbery, awkward pecks she endured by the dorks in her junior high class didn’t count. Now she could hardly look him in the eye and he was one of her best friends. The rest of the summer would be excruciating without his company. In her adolescent mind this felt like the end of the world. Sometime in the early hours of the morning Natalie drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
Natalie woke late to a loud knock on her bedroom door. She pulled her robe on and opened her door a crack. It was Johnny looking as devilishly handsome as always. “Are you sick or something?”
“No .Why?” she asked leaning against the door jamb.
“It’s almost noon. You’re usually up with the sun.” he teased.
“I had a terrible sleep last night,’ Natalie groaned, conscious of her bed head and fuzzy blue robe.
“I bet you dreamed of ticks crawling all over you.’ He said, reaching inside to tickle and poke at her.”
Laughing she backed away and closed the bedroom door, locking it behind her.
“I’ll be out in fifteen minutes.” She yelled.
Natalie had a super quick shower, pulled her dark hair into a sleek pony tail and slid into a simple summer dress. She brushed strawberry lip gloss on and winked at herself in the mirror. She was thankful that things were back to normal with Johnny; in fact he was his normally annoying self. She’d tortured herself unnecessarily. After one more quick survey of herself in the mirror she put on some sandals and headed outside. To her surprise Danny was sitting on a lounge chair enjoying the sunshine while Johnny barbecued burgers.
“Hey sis,” he yelled, “have some lemonade.”
Natalie filled a tall glass full of lemonade and sat down a t the picnic table. She smiled to herself when she realized that Johnny had Aunt Blanches ‘kiss the cook’ apron on. He turned around just in time to catch her smiling. He lifted his sunglasses up to wink at her. Her cheeks flamed at the thought that he realizes how badly she wanted to kiss the cook.
“Put cheese on mine.” Danny ordered.
“Me too please, “Natalie added.
“These burgers are delicious.” Natalie told Johnny as he sat down to join her at the picnic table.
“I’ll second that,” Danny added, “if you don’t mind I’ll have another.”
“I got it.” Natalie said as she jumped up to dress her brother burger the way he liked it.
“You’re in awfully good cheer today,” she noted, passing him his cheeseburger.
“I know I’ve spent a lot of the summer moping around feeling sorry for myself but I just broke my leg, it’s not the end of the world.”
They all tapped their lemonade glasses together in a mock cheer.
“I’ll drink to that,” Johnny toasted, “now care to tell us the real reason you are in such a good mood?’
Danny smiled sheepishly, “Amy’s back from her vacation and she’s coming to visit later. Feel free to make yourselves scarce.”
Amy was a cute blonde who worked at the diner part time. Danny had a crush on her for at least two years and the pair had been playing a game of cat and mouse for way too long. In traditional macho style Danny would never break down and just ask her out.
“Well I guess we know where we’re not wanted.” Natalie sighed jokingly as she gathered up the lunch plates and took them inside.
Johnny followed her inside to help her tidy up. “I’m driving Mom to Grams this afternoon in WeirsBeach why don’t you come up for the drive?”
“Thanks Johnny,” Natalie started, “but I think Aunt Blanche has some chores for me to do around the diner this afternoon.”
“I cleared it with Blanche already. She says you’ve been doing plenty around the house picking up after Danny. Amy is bringing over supper from the diner and your Aunt is going to the movies with a friend.” He stated matter of factly.
She looked up at him with her hands on her hips, in his baggy jean shorts and Led Zeppelin t-shirt, his hair lighted by the sun and his cool blue eyes masked by sunglasses, “You’ve certainly made it impossible for me to say no!”
To be continued……