I walked into the kitchen to find my father hugging my mother from behind, kissing her neck.
“Come on,” I rolled my eyes, “look, I’m really happy you guys are back together, but please, keep this for when I’m not around.”
My dad immediately took a step back and my mom chuckled.
I was acting annoyed, like any teenager would, but the truth was, I loved seeing them like this. They were madly in love once again.
“Sorry, hun,” mom apologized, “where are you going?”
“I’m going to hang out with Em, I might sleep there.”
“Ok sweetie, text me if you do. Have fun.”
“Of course, bye.”
“Bye pumpkin,” dad yelled as I was walking to the front door. I hate that nickname, but no matter what I do, he won’t stop calling me that.
I jumped on my bike, passing all the familiar houses as I made this trip a hundred times. Not much has changed on this street over the years except for the house that is being built right now. So far it doesn’t look like it will fit very well with the neighborhood, or at least that’s what my mom always says when she sees it. I wonder who is going to live there. I never saw anyone but the workers.
Couple of minutes later, I reached my best friend’s house. I left the bike laying on the front lawn and climbed four steps leading on to the porch and entered the house. It was like my second home, if I ever knocked before entering, I stopped a long time ago.
“Hi aunt Dakota,” I said and waved towards the blonde woman who I called aunt even though we weren’t really related.
“Oh, hey Caroline, Em is in her bedroom as usual,” she answered a question I didn’t ask with a smile and then mumbled for herself while chopping vegetables, “I don’t even see her anymore, it’s like I don’t even have a daughter. Or son.”
I chose to ignore the comment and walked through the hallway to Emmalee’s bedroom. On that door I knocked. I know what teenage girls are doing in their bedrooms when no one is looking and I didn’t want to see that.
“Hey,” I said and pulled out the desk chair and sat on it.
Emmalee looked up from the magazine she was reading in her bed.
“What are you reading?”
“I’m taking a quiz, come here,” she scooted over to one side of the bed, making room for me, “are you and your BFF best friends for life? Will your friendship last forever?”
I scoffed, “I don’t need to take a quiz for that, of course it won’t.”
My friend gave me a long, judging look, “you’re an awful person, you know that?”
“You know me so well,” I said sarcastically and laid on my back, “so school is over, what are you planning this summer?”
She closed the magazine, threw it behind the bed and rolled on her back as well.
“Well I just found out my parents want us to go to the cabin for the whole summer,” she sighed, “you should come.”
“I wish I could. My mom got me a job in the newspaper. I’ll be sorting some stupid documents all summer.”
“That’s not fair, it’s our time off from school. We should be able to decide how we’re gonna spend it. It’s not like we’re kids.”
“I know,” I agreed. We loved to complain about our parents telling us what to do. We loved to just hang out in Emmalee’s or my room and chat. About school, friends, girls we hate, boys we like…
“Dinner is ready,” aunt Dakota yelled from the kitchen after a while.
We walked out of her bedroom, bumping into Emmett, who was walking out of his room.
“What’s up, Caroline,” he gave me a friendly nod.
“Not much, how was the last day of freshman year? I’m sure you’re glad it’s over. Next year you can pick on the younger kids,” I joked and hit his shoulder.
“I don’t pick on people, Caroline.”
“Sorry, Mr. Serious.”
Emmett didn’t say anything and walked into the kitchen, taking a seat at the dining room table. He was the calmest, most serious fifteen year old I’ve ever met. He was like that since he was a child. Kind of a loner, never hanging out in a big group of people.
His best friend is Melissa, a girl he met in kindergarten. If they don’t yet, I am absolutely sure they will hook up eventually and after that he will probably propose to her because he will think that it’s the right thing to do.
When we were all seated, aunt Dakota placed a big plate of pasta in the middle of the round table.
“So,” she started the conversation, “Caroline, your mom told me you’ll be working in the paper this summer.”
“Yea,” I nodded, “it’s better than a grocery store I guess.”
“Yea, it’s great,” Emmalee joined the conversation, “but now she can’t come to the cabin with us.”
“Well honey,” her mother turned to her, “life isn’t just fun, Caroline is going to be eighteen next year. It’s about time she gets a job. You will get one next summer, too.”
“That’s right,” uncle Trevor added, “so you better try and enjoy this vacation.”
Emmalee scoffed and took a bite of her dinner.
“Oh and Caroline with her parents are coming to the cabin for 4th of July weekend. So don’t worry, you will see each other before you know it,” aunt Dakota assured her daughter.
“Yea, for one weekend,” Emmalee looked at her as if it was her fault that I have a summer job.
“It’s cool,” I said,” it will be nice to have some extra money. I will miss those summers, though.”
“You know you’re welcome there any time, honey,” aunt Dakota said.
I loved the Morrison’s cabin. I spent so much time there when I was younger. Especially during the time my parents were separated. I think that was when I started to think of Trevor and Dakota as my second parents. I can’t even count the sleepovers I had with Emmett and Emmalee. As we got older, we started to push Emmett away because we didn’t want any boys around and, honestly, he didn’t care at all. He spent all his time on the deck, looking through his telescope.
I walked through the black, metal gate of the cemetery. I tried to visit my mother’s grave as much as possible. As I was getting closer, I noticed a tall figure.
“Hey dad,” I sais and put my hand on his shoulder, “I thought you might be here.”
“Hi sweetheart,” the old man, my father, looked at me and smiled, “aren’t you packing?”
“Already packed, I just wanted to stop by here before we leave,” I looked down on the headstone that read:
a loving wife, mother
My father already put down fresh flowers and I added the ones I brought. He just stood there, hands in the pockets of his khaki shorts, watching me quietly.
“I can’t believe it’s almost two years since she passed.”
He nodded, “life is not the same without your mother in it.”
I know my dad took her passing really hard. They were married for forty three years and her sudden death crushed him. She died of a heart attack, and in her age, there was nothing the doctors could do to save her.
“Dad, are you sure you don’t want to come with us to the cabin? I hate leaving you here alone.”
“No, no. I will keep an eye on Trevor’s shop while you’re gone. They guys there are great with cars, but not the best with all the paperwork that comes with running a car shop.”
“Alright,” I sighed, “but you will come for the 4th of July weekend, right? Martha can drive you, I already spoke with her about it.”
“Of course I will be there. Now go, sweetie, have fun.”
“Thanks,” I started walking towards the exit, expecting my father to follow and looked back when I noticed he is still standing there, “aren’t you coming?”
“Not yet,” he shook his head slowly, “I’ll stay a little longer.”
I smiled sadly.
“I love you, dad.”
“I love you, too.”
It was breaking my heart seeing dad like this. He made some mistakes in his life, everybody does. He may have not been the best father to me but he was an amazing grandfather to my children since the day they were born and he loved my mom with all his heart. It makes me think about me and Trevor. How are we going to live without each other when the time comes?
I parked my new car next to my husband’s truck. Trevor made me get rid of my old yellow Toyota couple of years ago and I finally gave up.
“Hey,” my husband kissed me and the kids roller their eyes, “everything is on the truck, we can get going.”
Emmalee and Caroline, who spent the nigh, hugged each other as if they were about to spend at least a year apart.
“I’ll miss you so much.”
“I’ll miss you too, Em. Enjoy the lake, I’m jealous.”
“It won’t be the same without you. I can’t wait for 4th of July.”
“Ok, you two,” Trevor interrupted, “Caroline will be there in less than two weeks, you will make it.”
I loved going to the cabin, but this year, I wasn’t as excited. I don’t even know what I’m going to do all days without my best friend. If I at least had a a car things would be easier. I could make the drive back to Hillside if I wanted to, but now, I’m stuck here. My parents don’t want me to get a driver’s licence yet because of the accident my dad had when I was little. My mom is freaking out about me and my brother behind the wheel.
Two hours later we arrived and dragged all our luggage into the house.
“If I’m gonna spend two months here, can I at least take the spare bedroom?” I asked my mom.
She looked at my dad who just shrugged his shoulders.
“Cool, I’m taking it.”
“What?!” Emmett disagreed, “how come she gets the room with the big bed?”
“Because I’m older, Einstein.”
“Quit it, both of you,” dad said loudly, stopping the argument before it even started, and then continued calmly, “Em, you can take the room, but when people arrive, your grandpa is going to sleep there.”
“And Emmett,” dad turned to my brother, “since when do you care what bed you sleep on?”
He scoffed, picked up his bag and brought it into what used to be the ‘kids’ room, shutting the door behind him dramatically.
“Teenagers,” I overheard my mom say as I was walking to my new room with a victory smile on my face, “where are the times the fought over the bunk beds.”
Dad chuckled and wrapped his arm around my mother’s shoulders, “long gone, honey.”
I threw my suitcase on the bed and walked out on the terrace. The sun reflection was hurting my eyes so bad, that I had to use my hand as a shield to be able to enjoy the view.
What a beautiful day, I thought, perfect for sunbathing.
I put on one of the many bathing suits I packed and headed out on the dock. I always get the best tan there because it’s right on the water which attracts the sun. There were no lounge chairs yet, but I can just put down a towel.
I noticed a bunch of people riding their water scooters, occasionally getting too close and spraying me with the cold water. I didn’t mind, it was actually quite refreshing.
When I got bored with my magazine, I closed my eyes and relaxed.
Here comes the shower again. But this time the sound of the motor didn’t disappear in the distance. I heard it idling right in front of me.
I opened my eyes to see a tan, dark haired guy, sitting on a dark blue water scooter, wearing the same color life jacket, staring at me.
“Hello?” I said, confused, “can I help you?”
“No,” he shook his head and his smile widened, “I just wanted to say hi.”
I was hoping that would be a clear signal that I don’t want to socialize but he wasn’t leaving.
“What’s your name?”
I let out an annoyed sound before introducing myself.
“Nice to meet you, Emmalee. I’m Kevin”
“Great,” I was trying to sound unimpressed, but this boy was actually making me really nervous.
“Is that your place?” he nodded towards the cabin behind me but didn’t even wait for my answer, “are you gonna be here long?”
“Yup. I’m stuck here for two months.”
“Cool. I’ll see you around then.”
“Maybe,” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Definitely,” he winked at me and rode away, joining his friends.