Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 4- I’ll Be Home for Christmas Installment Four

**

This morning I woke up to a pleasant surprise, it had snowed. And it was one of those good snows. It was still snowing now and I was determined to make a Marshmallow World Day out of it.

I was about to ask the very important question of going to The Hill when Virginia walked up to take our orders.

Momma insisted that everyone order before her because she didn’t know what she wanted. Virginia gave me a look that only I understood.

“I’ll have one order of pancakes, one order of waffles, one order of French toast. two biscuits, three…no four servings of bacon, and I’m craving some blueberries. Do you have any?” Momma asked. Virginia didn’t answer at first. She had a huge smirk on her face.

“No, but we do have blueberry jam,” Virginia said.

“That will have to do,” Momma said handing Virginia her menu. Virginia winked at me and walked towards the kitchen.

Daddy looked at Momma but he didn’t say anything.

“Can I go to The Hill?” I asked.

“Sure, I don’t see why not,” Daddy said before Momma could say no.

“Really?” I asked. I gave Daddy a hug.

“I don’t know, Steve,” Momma said with worry on her face.

“We’ll be there,” Daddy said.

“But we’ll be watching Megan and Bella,” Momma said.

“Yule and Darcy will look after her,” Daddy said. “She’ll be fine. She can go.”

Daddy said the last part with authority. Momma gave up her fight and started to complain about how long it was taking the food. And when the food came, she complained that she was only given three servings of bacon not four.

I wonder…

**

“You’re getting heavy,” Darcy said as he carried me back up The Hill. I smiled. Today has been a perfect day. I sledded with just about everybody but mostly with Darcy. The plan was that Darcy would carry me up The Hill on his back while I carried the sled in my hand. It was awkward but I wasn’t complaining.

“The only thing that could make this day better is if it was Christmas,” I said when we got back to the top of The Hill.

“It’s been that perfect, huh?” Darcy asked. “Then I guess carrying you up The Hill a hundred times was worth it.”

I smiled at him and the sled started to go down The Hill. Then we crashed, and Darcy landed on top of me. I started to laugh. This was our first crash of the day.

Then I felt Darcy’s cold nose against my nose. Darcy leaned towards me and this time I was sure I wasn’t imagining it. Then a scream filled the air. It sounded like Noel.

Darcy jerked his head up, and I couldn’t help but let a small frown cross my lips.

“It’s time!”

That sounded like Bennet. Noel was in labor.

Darcy picked me up and put me on his back. He ran up The Hill as fast as he could.

As we got closer to the top, I could hear Noel screaming like crazy. I felt sorry for her. No thirteen year old should experience that kind of pain.

“I’ll take her from here,” Yule said picking me up off Darcy’s back. Yule put me in the car.

“You ok?” I asked Noel who was sitting in the car screaming her head off. Noel looked at me. Ok, I know that was a stupid question.

“Do look ok!?” Noel shouted. Noel started to calm down. I guess the contraction stopped.

“I can’t find Bella!” Momma screamed. Bella ran up The Hill with Rachel by her side.

“Hey! I want to go too!” Grandma Shirley whined.

Soon everyone was in the car and we were off.

By the way Daddy was acting you would have thought Momma was the one having the baby. First he drove off in the wrong direction. When Momma corrected him, he got on the highway and passed the hospital exit. We had to turn around and then Daddy went to the cancer center instead of the hospital. A trip to the hospital that should have been no more than twenty minutes took thirty. Then he nearly blacked out when we walked into the hospital.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long. Noel had the baby two hours later.

“That’s the prettiest little baby girl I’ve ever delivered,” Dr. Walters smiled. “And I’m not just saying that because she’s family.”

“I’m way too young to be a great-grandmother,” Grandma Shirley said, “but she’s so cute I don’t mind.”

Noel couldn’t stop smiling. My little niece started to cry, and Noel didn’t seem to care.

“What are you going to name her?” Momma asked taking to baby out of Noel’s arms and trying to calm her down.

“Can’t be two Natalie’s so… Natalia!” Noel shouted. I felt honored.

“You wanna hold her?” Momma asked. I nodded.

“Hi, Natalia, I’m your auntie,” I cooed.

I was wrong. There really was something besides Christmas that could make this day better.

**

Since Natalia was born on the Eve of Christmas Eve, the hospital let Noel and Natalia come home on Christmas Eve.

Daddy, Darcy, Nelson, and Yule went to go get a tree from an actual forest. While the rest of us got out the many Christmas decorations.

“Hey, this isn’t ours,” Regina said pulling out an old looking wreath.

“Our wreath!” I cried. Regina handed the wreath to me.

The wreath had been here in Florida the entire time. I hadn’t even thought about it when we moved to New York City, but now it all made sense. New York City wasn’t home. Florida was and would always be.

Momma looked thoughtfully at the wreath. She unconsciously let her hand slip to her belly. I think I was the only one who noticed this since everybody was cooing over Natalia, who was just waking up.

“We’re back!” Daddy shouted. Yule and Darcy dragged the tree into the house.

“Oh! You’re getting pine needles everywhere, Yule!” Grandma Shirley complained.

Yule rolled his eyes. Grandma Shirley looked shocked.

“Humph!” Grandma Shirley said. She took one look at Natalia and started cooing over her.

Grandma Shirley held her tongue until it was time to put decorations on the tree.

“No, that doesn’t belong there,” Grandma Shirley said to Mrs. Stewart.

“What’s wrong with putting Natalia’s first Christmas ornament up there?” Mrs. Stewart asked pointing to the spot she was going to put the ornament.

“It should be on the bottom of the tree closer to where Natalia can see it,” Grandma Shirley said.

“Natalia won’t remember where the ornament was, but we will!” Mrs. Stewart shouted.

“Who is Natalia’s great-grandmother?” Grandma Shirley screamed.

“Stop!” Noel shouted.

“I’m her stepgrandmother!” Mrs. Stewart screamed.

“Stop!” Noel shouted but neither Grandma Shirley nor Mrs. Stewart paid her any attention.

“Please stop. You’re upsetting Noel!” Yule shouted.

“Shut up, you!” Grandma Shirley shouted at Yule.

“Don’t you talk to my son that way!” Momma shouted. Grandma Shirley burst out crying.

“You didn’t have to leave!” Grandma Shirley cried. “If you would have just told me what happened…I admit I might not have seem as loving but…I had high expectations of you. You had something special. You had this drive. You seemed to just be able to handle anything. I didn’t think that you needed all that extra loving and hugs and kisses. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Yule and Noel too. I’ve been resenting you. I felt like you took my daughter away from me but that’s not true.”

“It’s all right, Grandma,” Yule shrugged. Grandma Shirley started to weep and hugged Noel.

“Ah!” Noel screamed. She pushed Grandma Shirley away. She put Natalia in Grandma Shirley’s arms and all was forgiven.

The doorbell rang.

“Who is that?” Momma asked walking towards the door.

“Surprise!”

Grandpa Baldwin, Grandma Baldwin, Aunt Cerys, and Aunt Louise walked into the family room.

“Natalie!” Aunt Cerys shouted. She ran and gave me a hug.

“And this must be Natalia,” Grandma Baldwin cooed looking at Grandma Shirley. Grandma Shirley put Natalia in Grandma Baldwin’s arms.

“What are you guys doing here?” Momma asked walking into the family room.

“We came to surprise you,” Grandpa Baldwin said. “We couldn’t think of a better Christmas gift for our granddaughter.”

I smiled. Grandpa and Grandma Baldwin came and gave me a hug.

Soon everyone was talking and decorating the tree. I couldn’t help but smile. This was turning out to be a great Christmas.

**

I yawned. It was close to eleven o’clock and It’s a Wonderful Life had just gone off. Everyone else had already gone to bed, and Momma was the first to go. Daddy was the only one who stayed up with me.

“Daddy,” I said as Daddy turned off the TV and lights, “who’s in your family?”

After Grandma Shirley’s breakdown, I started to seriously ponder that question. What does the word family mean? Who’s in my family?

“You, Yule, Noel, Megan, Bella, Jaci, Abby, your mother,” Daddy started. “Grandma Shirley” He wiggled his eye brows and I laughed. “Grandpa Jack, your aunts and your uncles, Mrs. Rivers, Mr. Rivers, the twins, Jessie-Maria, Aunt Jane, Virginia, Rachel, Andrew, Caroline, Zach, Timmy, Bennet, Ms. Donna, Cece Elizabeth, Darcy, Mrs. Stewart, Emily, and just about everybody else in Florida!”

“That’s a mighty big family,” I said as Daddy carried me up the steps.

“Natalie, family isn’t just someone you’re related to by blood,” Daddy said. “Family is a person you deeply care about and love.”

“And what does home mean to you?” I asked. Daddy stopped walking and paused on the steps.

“Home is wherever my family is,” Daddy said. Then realization sunk in.

“I guess our family is spilt up, huh?” Daddy asked. I gave him a sad nod.

“So where would you like to sleep tonight?” Daddy asked. “With your mother and I or with Noel and Natalia.”

Natalia cried out.

“With your mom and me,” Daddy stated. I nodded.

As Daddy carried me into the room, I saw out of the corner of my eye Bennet stumble into Noel’s room. I couldn’t help but smile.

**

I woke up at eight A.M. on Christmas morning. I could hear Megan screaming for somebody to wake me up. I heard what sounded like two little feet and one set of huge feet walk up the steps. Then Megan, Bella, and Yule walked through the door.

“You’re up!” Megan screamed. Bella smiled at me and handed me a flower.

“Thank you,” I smiled as Yule carried me downstairs.

Everyone sat around the Christmas tree. Bennet was cradling Natalia, and Noel was smiling at him. Momma and Daddy were sitting on the couch. I noticed at Momma’s stomach looked a little bit bigger, but I could have been imagining it.

“Wait,” Daddy said as Megan started to open one of her gifts. “I think Natalie should open the first gift.”

“I agree,” Grandma Shirley said. She picked up a box and handed it to me.

“It’s from the entire Walters’ family,” Grandpa Jack said. I smiled and opened the present.

“It’s a camera,” I smiled. Momma laughed as she took a picture of the camera.

“Look inside the box,” Aunt Clarisse said mysteriously.

I opened the box and inside was a broacher for Paris, France and inside the broacher there was a voucher.

“Redeemable for one week in France!” I shouted reading the voucher.

“I’m taking the entire Matthews’ family on my yearly trip to France!” Grandma Shirley shouted. Abby started to scream.

“Here,” Daddy said handing a card to Yule. Megan pouted.

“You want to adopt Noel and me?” Yule asked.

“Only if you want me to,” Daddy said. “I mean we’ve started the process but if you don’t want me to…”

“No, it’s ok,” Yule smiled. “I’d like that.”

Soon all the presents where open or so we thought.

“There’s one card and nine gifts hidden way behind the tree,” Daddy said pulling them out. He handed the gifts to Yule, Noel, Abby, Bella, Jaci, Megan, Grandpa and Grandma Baldwin, Grandpa and Grandma Walters, and me. He kept the card for himself.

Momma stood in front of all of us with the camera. I could tell that she was taking a video because the red light was on.

I opened my presents and found three pacifiers. Huh?

Then all of a sudden Noel started to scream and jump up in down. She was waving a piece of paper in her hand. Momma was laughing her head off.

I started to look around. Yule looked very confused as he held up three bibs. Abby and Zach were pondering over three baby bottles. Grandma Shirley was having trouble opening her gift. Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin looked at the book that was there present with pride and joy. Jaci sat there with three spools of yarn and three pairs knitting needles. Daddy sat there smiling. I didn’t get the connection until I saw Megan’s gift.

“I didn’t ask for any clothes,” Megan pouted. She held up a shirt that said BIG SISTER!

Abby, Jaci, and I started to scream. Noel handed me the piece of paper in her hand, but before I could read it Grandma Shirley started to scream.

“My baby girl is having a baby!” Grandma Shirley screamed. She held up a photo album with an ultrasound photo on it.

“So Virginia was right,” I said out loud.

“Riley, I don’t get this card,” Daddy said.

He passed the card around. It said “We’re going to need a bigger car!” and the ultrasound photo was underneath it.

“We can fit one more in our car,” Daddy said.

Momma smiled a sly smile.

“Gather round,” Momma said. Everyone but Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin gathered around.

“There’s the head,” Momma pointed out on the ultrasound photo. “Then there’s his…or hers shoulders. There’s the head. Then there’s his…or hers shoulders. Then there’s another head and another set of shoulders.”

“Wait…you just said head and shoulders three times,” Daddy said.

“EEEE!” Grandma Baldwin shouted. She held up a book called How to Be the Godparents of Triplets.

I laughed as Daddy sat there lifeless looking. It turns out that Momma was thirteen weeks along and had been hiding her humongous baby bump by wearing body shapers and layering up.

“I just found out it was triplets this week,” Momma said. “I knew I was pregnant back in November but I had a feeling there might be more than one in there after stepping on the scale!”

What could make this Christmas better?

**

Virginia’s reaction.

It took us three minutes to decide to tell them by taking a picture with my new camera and asking everybody to say: Riley’s having triplets!

So when the Rivers’ and Powers’ came for dinner we were ready.

“Say: Riley’s having triplets!” Daddy shouted after he set up the timer.

Jessie-Maria screamed and hugged Yule. Aunt Jane dropped Caroline, but Andrew caught Caroline. Mr. and Mrs. Rivers smiled and laughed and then started to give multiple tips like computers. When Rachel found out that triplets meant three babies, she started to scream. But Virginia’s reaction was priceless.

First Virginia started to scream, then she started to cry, and finally she fainted.  Her face in the picture is a cross between happy and sad. She is also tumbling towards the floor.

“I didn’t know!” I shouted when Virginia came too. She was giving me accusing looks.

“Sure,” Virginia said rolling her eyes as Mr. Hank helped her towards the kitchen. I think to this day Virginia doesn’t believe me.

But dinner was even better than Virginia’s reaction.

“We have announcement to make,” Daddy said when everyone had finished eating. Virginia looked at me and I shrugged.

“We’re moving back to Florida!” Momma shouted.

“Joy to the world!” Virginia shouted standing up. “The Matthews’ are moving back!” She soon sat down looking embarrassed.

“We have something to say!” Grandma Shirley shouted. “Jack’s retiring!”

Everyone started to congratulate Grandpa Jack.

“And we’re moving to North Adams!” Grandma Shirley shouted.

“You are…,” I said.

“Speaking of announcements,” Mr. Hank said standing up and thankfully changing the subject. He got down on one knee.

“This really isn’t an announcement. It’s more of a question, but um will you Jane Powers marry me Hank Moore?” Mr. Hank asked Aunt Jane.

Aunt Jane screamed and then very tearfully said yes.

“I’m so full,” Darcy said as he pushed me towards the family room. Everyone else was cleaning up dishes in the kitchen.

I looked up and saw that we were under the mistletoe.

Darcy leaned in and gave me a kiss…on the lips…and it wasn’t a peck. 🙂

Best. Christmas. Ever.

THE END

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 3- Heaven Everywhere Installment Six

**

We got home on Sunday night and I didn’t go to sleep until five A.M. in the morning. When I woke up I found myself in the kitchen pouring milk into a bowl of cereal and a sore throat.

“Natalie!” Momma cried. She looked upset. “Couldn’t you have waited? Donna and I are making breakfast this morning.”

“Sorry,” I rasped. “But I’m getting my cast off today and…”

“And you’re not getting your cast off until noon,” Momma snapped.

“I said sorry,” I said walking away. I didn’t even want the stupid bowl of cereal. I didn’t understand why Momma was so upset. It was just a bowl of cereal. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was another coco episode.

“Natalie Zoey Baldwin, get back here and eat this bowl of cereal!”

I sighed and walked back into the kitchen.

“I’m not hungry,” I stated. I really wasn’t and my stomach hurt all of a sudden.

“Eat,” Momma commanded as she cracked eggs. I took the bowl of cereal and sat down.

“Morning, Natalie,” Mr. Steve said walking into the restaurant.

“Morning, Mr. Steve,” I grumbled. Mr. Steve looked at me and then walked into the kitchen.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with her!” Momma shouted.

“Shh! She’ll hear you!” Mr. Steve shouted not so quietly. I rolled my eyes. I put the cereal in my mouth and nearly choked. Pain went through my throat. I couldn’t eat anything the way my throat was feeling.

“Morning, Natalie,” Darcy said walking into the restaurant. “You look tired.”

“Jet lag,” I lied. Darcy nodded.

“We moved the baseball game to two so you could play today,” Darcy said. “After all it is the last day of spring break.”

“That was sweet,” I rasped.

“You ok?” Darcy asked. I nodded.

“I notice your knee is out of its cast,” I said. Darcy nodded.

“I got it off on Tuesday,” Darcy said. “Dr. Walters said I was doing better than he thought I was. He told me not to run on it for at least a week but um…..”

I laughed.

“Morning, Darcy,” Momma said walking from the kitchen. Mr. Steve wasn’t far behind.

“Morning, Mrs. Bald…I mean Mrs. Matthews,” Darcy said. Momma smiled.

“Natalie, can we talk?” Mr. Steve said.

“I’ve gotta finish this cereal,” I said swallowing. It hurt but the pain was worth it. Mr. Steve walked away. Momma looked at me.

“Morning,” Jaci said walking into the restaurant. “What’s up with Dad?”

Momma looked at me and I got up.

“I’m taking a shower,” I mumbled.

“Oh no you’re not,” Momma said. “You’re finishing that cereal. It’s clearly very important to you.”

I sighed and sat back down. It took me twenty minutes the finish the bowl of cereal, and when I finished my throat hurt so bad I felt like throwing up blood and my head hurt so much I felt like I had been hit with an avalanche.

**

I stared at Mr. Steve as Dr. Walters sawed off my cast. Momma made him take me to get my cast off. He tried to talk to me when I got into the car but I put my headphones in. I wasn’t even listening to anything. I just didn’t feel like talking to him.

“Now your foot and part of your leg might look a little weird and it my smell since you haven’t washed it since December,” Dr. Walters said. I nodded.

“How should we clean it?” Mr. Steve asked. “When I broke my arm I had to let it soak in warm water mixed with soap. I couldn’t scrub my arm or scratch it.”

“The same. Soak the leg in warm water and soap, twice a day,” Dr. Walters said. He took the cat off and I looked at my leg. My skin looked at dry and flaky.

“No scratching,” Dr. Walters said. “Walk.”

I walked around.

“How does it feel?” Dr. Walters asked. “Any pain?”

“It’s a little stiff,” I said.

“That’s perfectly normal,” Dr. Walters said. “Ease into reusing it. Don’t play baseball this afternoon like Darcy did when he got his cast off. He hit his knee and it got swollen. Thankfully he didn’t re-break it.”

To tell the truth I felt too sick to play baseball.

I opened my mouth to say something but by the way Dr. Walters looked at me I guessed he thought I was going to protest so I closed my mouth.

“Open your mouth again,” Dr. Walters said taking a flashlight out of his coat pocket. I opened my mouth.

“Your tonsils and lymph nodes are swollen,” Dr. Walters said. “How’s your throat feeling?”

“Sore,” I said.

“How long has it been feeling like that?” Dr. Walters asked.

“Since this morning,” I said. Mr. Steve looked at me and then a hurt look came upon his face. He now knew I wasn’t hungry but that I didn’t want to talk to him.

“Let me take your temperature,” Dr. Walters said. He walked away and came back with a thermometer.

“She’s a hundred and three,” Dr. Walters said. “This may be a stupid question because you were just in England and anyone could have gone outside of their house and have strep throat, but have you come in contact with someone who had strep throat?”

“Um, maybe,” I said. Mr. Steve nodded.

“I want to do a rapid strep test. Don’t worry all I do is swab the inside of your mouth and we should know within ten to fifteen minutes,” Dr. Walter said.

Dr. Walters did the test and came back fifteen minutes later.

“The test came back positive,” Dr. Walters said. “Strep throat usually gets better on its own but we treat it with antibodies just to be safe. You should stop being contagious within twenty-four hours, but it may take up to three weeks for your symptoms to go away. Give her some Tylenol to help the pain and lower the fever. It says here on my charts that she has an Anaphylaxis allergy to aspirin so no ibuprofen whatsoever.”

I tried not to remember the time I got into the medicine cabinet and took an aspirin. Not a pretty memory. It shook my mother up because we had just lost Daddy and come to think of it she might have thought I’d been poisoned.

**

“Is there anything you want?” Momma asked me. Since I was still contagious, I was placed in what was now Momma and Mr. Steve’s room. I didn’t like being in here. There were pictures of Jaci, Abby, and me. Megan poked her head in here a second ago and complained that there were no pictures of her.

“Can I have one of Daddy’s journals?” I asked. “I think the one I’m on is red.”

Momma nodded and walked away. I should have told her it was under my pillow on the couch.

Momma came back with a red journal. She looked like she might be sick herself. She handed the journal to me and quickly turned away.

“Are you all right?” I asked.

“Fine, just fine,” Momma said, but I had a feeling she was lying. She quickly walked out the room. I opened the first page of the journal and quickly realized from the date that journal I was not the journal I was on but was also the year before I was born. The words on the page jumped out at me and I had to read them.

March 6th

 I knew something was wrong. I just knew it. In my previous journal I mentioned that last week Riley acted really weird at the supermarket. She looked over her shoulder, noticed some man, and nearly had a panic attack. The guy was in his late fortiesor early fifties. He did look a little creepy, but by the way Riley acted I had a feeling the two of them had history.

 Well maybe they do. Riley went to the same supermarket…alone and now she’s missing. I know it was stupid of me to let Riley to to the supermarket by herself but well I didn’t know she was going to the supermarket. I told her that I needed a new journal and she said she’d get one. I didn’t think she’d go to the supermarket, but we didn’t have any bananas and she did say she was in the mode for some banana bread. I mean I was at work when she went so there really was nothing I could do about it.

  The police aren’t so sure she was kidnapped. They’re very open to the possibility that she ran away. I’m not. Her car was found in the supermarket parking lot and I just know she wouldn’t just leave. I have a feeling this has something to do with her um shady past. I told the police everything I knew including that strange man. I did my best to identify him….but….Oh Lord, I just pray that Riley is all right cause I have no clue about her past and have no idea what kind of danger she is in. It’s all in your hands, Lord.

My life just kept getting weirder and weirder. I nominate my mother for the Most Secretive Award.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Twenty-One

**

I woke up feeling cold. Mr. Steve had offered to carry me upstairs but I refused. I managed to get up off the sofa and hobbled towards the restaurant.

Mr. Stewart’s car was no longer in the restaurant but it was freezing in here. Mr. Steve boarded up the huge hole last night but a huge blizzard was on its way to Massachusetts. Actually, it was already here. Some snowflakes were getting into the restaurant. Therefore it was freezing downstairs.

“Good morning, Natalie,” Darcy said to me. I felt butterflies in my stomach. What was I supposed to say back?

“Morning,” I said shoving him. He laughed.

“Did sleeping in the cold make you cranky?” Darcy joked.

“Maybe,” I joked back. Darcy smiled at me and I smiled back.

VROOM!

I couldn’t believe my eyes. A car had just burst through the boards Mr. Steve had put up and was heading straight for Darcy and me!

I was too scared to move. I felt Darcy pull my bad wrist.

“OW!” I screamed as I hit the ground well actually Darcy’s body. I landed on him.

“Are you all right?” Darcy asked ignoring the fact that the car had just gone into the living room.

“Yeah,” I sighed desperately wanting to rub my wrist.

I found my eyes staring in Darcy’s. Were they always this blue? Then I felt something cold on my nose. It was Darcy’s nose.

“MOTHER!”

I felt Mr. Steve hands around my waist as he helped me up.

“Are you kids all right?” Mr. Steve asked with worry in his tone.

“I think so,” Darcy said getting up. We walked towards the area where the mysterious car had ended up.

“MOTHER!” Momma screamed at the woman who had just gotten out of the car.

“The roads are slipp-er-y!” Grandma Shirley shouted opening her backseat.

“Drat!” She said. “Some of the strawberries got squished.”

“Mother, what are you doing on the roads?” Momma asked Grandma Shirley.

“I just found out last night that my granddaughter had Scurvy!” Grandma Shirley shouted. “So naturally I went out first thing this morning, bought some oranges and strawberries, and heading towards Florida.”

“In a blizzard!?” Momma shouted. Anger was written all over her face.

“MOMMY!”

Megan was standing at the top of the steps. She eyed all the glass and wood on the floor.

“Who’s that?” Grandma Shirley asked eyeing Megan.

“Stay right there. I’ll come and get you,” Momma said ignoring Grandma Shirley’s question. She walked up the steps and got Megan.

“Why does this not surprise me?” Ms. Donna asked walking out of her room.

“It doesn’t?” Grandma Shirley asked surprised. “I mean the roads are slippery but…”

“No, yesterday Mr. Stewart drove his car into the restaurant,” Ms. Donna said rubbing her arms. It was freezing cold down here. Snow was blowing into the restaurant now.

“It’s snowing inside!” Megan shouted noticing. She clapped her hands.

“It’s rather cold in here,” Grandma Shirley said. “You might want to do something about that.”

Ms. Donna and Momma gave her a dirty look.

“It really is cold in her ladies,” Mr. Steve said. “I think we need to find somewhere else to stay.”

“I agree,” Momma said. I nodded my head. My arms were numb. I went to rub my arms when my hand it another hand. It was Darcy’s hand. I guess he had been rubbing my arms the entire time. He started to rub my arms faster.

“You can leave. I’m staying,” Ms. Donna said.

“Mom!” Darcy shouted. Ms. Donna gave him a look.

“Donna, listen to me. You can’t stay in this house. It’s not even double digits outside!” Mr. Drew shouted.

“I’ll be fine,” Ms. Donna shrugged.

“Mom!” Darcy shouted again.

“I’ll just stay upstairs with some blankets and a good book,” Ms. Donna said walking towards the steps.

“Donna,” Mr. Steve said. “Don’t be crazy! Haven’t you heard stories of people staying in their houses during hurricanes and dying?”

“This is a blizzard, Steve, not a hurricane,” Ms. Donna said walking up the steps. I heard the attic door slam.

“I guess that’s one way to keep warm,” Mr. Steve said. Darcy stormed up the
steps.

**

I woke up to hear a steady beat. I looked around and recognized where I was. A hospital room.

Nothing else was broken but one look the cup of water on my bedside table and I instantly knew I had been in a car accident. What was up with car accidents and my life?

“Good your up.”

Dr. Walters looked at me and sighed.

“Natalie, we’re going to have to do something about you being in here every week,” Dr. Walters said. There was a little sparkle in his eyes.

“Trust me. I don’t want to be in the hospital every week,” I sighed. “What happened this time?”

“Nothing major. You got into a car crash with another crazy person driving in the blizzard,” Dr. Walters said.

“We had to leave. There’s a hole in the house,” I sighed.

“Yes, I heard about that. Mr. Stewart came marching in here last night with Emily saying she was having back pains from the accident,” Dr. Walters said. “For once a Stewart wasn’t lying. She had several fractures in her spinal cord. We had to do surgery and she’ll be wearing a spinal brace for quite some time.”

I almost felt bad for Emily Stewart ok…..I did feel bad for her.

“Is everyone else ok?” I asked.

“Scares and Darcy twisted his ankle. Nothing more,” Dr. Walters said. “You should be out of here in time to get your dress for the ball.”

“Ball?” I asked.

“Haven’t you heard? The Valentine’s Day dance theme is Pride and Prejudice. They’re going to crown a Mr. and Mrs. Darcy and a Mr. and Mrs. Bingley. My wife has gone crazy with excitement,” Dr. Walters said.

I laughed knowing Virginia had something to do with this.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Nineteen

**

At the scene of the car accident just about every ambulance, patrol car, and person in Florida, Massachusetts was there. Then the fire trucks arrived.

A blue car was mashed-up pretty badly. A red car was completely ruined and thankfully abandoned.

“Who’s in the car?” I asked when I found my mother.

“Zach and Darcy,” Momma said. Her voice sounded shaky. I knew my face fell. I started to cry.

“Natalie, it’s all right! I’m sure Darcy’s fine,” Momma said hugging me. I pushed away.

“Darcy? You think I’m crying about Darcy?” I asked.

“What else?” Momma asked. I slowly backed away. I felt my foot go from under me and I fell down the cliff.

“NATALIE!” My mother screamed. I felt myself tumble down the hill. I had no idea how to stop myself. I was screaming pretty loudly.

“NATALIE!”

“NATALIE! STOP! STOP! NATALIE HONEY STOP!”

I felt my body hit something like metal. Mr. Steve ran to me.

“NATALIE HONEY ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?” Mr. Steve asked helping me up.

“No,” I said. My wrist hurt badly. I looked at what I had hit. It was the blue car. A bunch of men were around it and trying to get the door off of it.

I looked up and saw Darcy in the passenger seat. He looked like he was in pain. He had cuts on his face. He struggled to open his eyes but when he saw me his face lit up. All of the pain seemed to go out of his face and he managed to smile at me. He then winked which caused me to fall to the ground.

“Let’s get you to an ambulance,” Mr. Steve said picking me up. As he carried me away I managed to check a glimpse of Zach. He looked lifeless.

God, please don’t let Zach die I prayed as I was loaded into an ambulance.

**

“Natalie, we’ve got a serious problem on our hands,” Dr. Charles Walters said.

I stared at my right wrist which was bandaged up. It was broken.

“I’m afraid you aren’t getting enough vitamin C. I’m worried that it’s leading to Scurvy,” Dr. Walters said.

“Scurvy? Do people even get that that anymore? And how can I be vitamin C deficient I used to live in Miami,” I blurted.

“I talked to your mother. She admits that you preferred to stay inside and look out the window than go to the beach. And when you did go outside you had gallons of sun screen on your body. She also admits that you don’t always get the proper diet,” Dr. Walters said. “She says that you’ve seemed more fatigued lately. She thought it was just the move and seventh grade work. I heard about you throwing your eggs and bacon on the floor. Rapid mood change is a sign of Scurvy. You were very tired and had several bruises after your snow day. You’ve broken your entire foot and your wrist in a month that’s not the way God intended it to be, Natalie! You’ve got a serious problem and it can be so easily corrected! I’m putting you on a special diet.”

I huffed.

“Look, I’m just looking out for family here,” Dr. Walters said realizing he had been a little harsh. “Your mother is my cousin.”

Dr. Walters walked out of the room leaving me time to think.

Had I really been all the things he had said? I guess maybe I had been saying things a little bit harsher than usually. And maybe I felt like crying a couple of times for no reason at all. And ok, I had been extra tired but Ms. O’Donnell is tiring! She expects the very very best. And yes, I had a bad bruise right where Darcy’s sled had hit me.

I sighed. I hated oranges but sometimes you gotta do things you hate.

**

“I call it Vitamin Sea Food Salad,” Ms. Donna said the next day. Momma had given Ms. Donna my special diet and Ms. Donna promised to make a special salad for me.

“It’s got tilapia, salmon, oranges, strawberries, carrot shreds, tomato, and kiwi fruit. Its also got a lemon drizzle and some of the leaves are spinach,” Ms. Donna said. “Enjoy!”

I prayed over this disgusting sounding salad and took a bite.

“How is it?’ Jaci asked me putting ranch on her regular Sea Food Salad.

“Not as bad as I expected,” I said putting another bite in my mouth.

“I don’t understand why your so against eating a few oranges and strawberries,” Jaci said. “I bet there are thousands of people that would do anything to cure what they had so easily. You’re a blessed one.”

Jaci sure had a way of making you understand without making you feel too bad.

Timmy walked through the restaurant door along with his grandfather. Timmy looked around the room while Mr. Stewart walked towards a table. Mr. Stewart was limping.

“Mr. Stewart is limping,” I whispered to Jaci.

“So?” Jaci asked.

“If he was driving that red car he was bound to get hurt in some way,” I whispered.

“Natalie, you don’t think….,” Jaci started but Timmy was walking towards us.

“That looks good,” Timmy said pointing to my salad and sitting next to Jaci.

“Did Jaci put you up to that?” I asked. Timmy laughed.

“Nope, I love oranges and strawberries,” Timmy said.

“Am I the only one who doesn’t?” I asked picking at an orange.

Abby burst through the restaurant door and marched over to Mr. Steve.

“I can’t BELIEVE you!” Abby shouted at her father. “How could you NOT tell me about Zach’s accident?”

“I…I…I didn’t think you would care,” Mr. Steve stuttered obviously surprised.

“You didn’t think I would care?! Dad, Zach Davis is THE Zach Davis!” Abby screamed.

“THE Zach Davis?! But he’s a Stewart!” Mr. Steve shouted.

“I’m NOT a Stewart!” Zach shouted.

Everyone turned to the restaurant door to find Zach standing in the arch. He was still wearing a hospital gown and a syringe was sticking out of his arm.

“Zach, what are you………..,” Abby started walking towards him but Zach fainted in Abby’s arms.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Two

I sat there speechless. What did she mean it was no accident? How could a car accident not be well not an accident?

“What do you mean?” I asked slowly. Momma didn’t answer me.

“How can you just tell me my father’s death wasn’t an accident and then not tell me anymore?” I asked a couple minutes later outraged.

“I’m sorry, Natalie,” Momma said getting up. She turned back and looked at me.

“I truly am sorry.”

And with that, she walked out the room.

**

When I woke up it was a new year. They had kept me over night as a ‘precaution’ which might have been a good idea since I almost had a panic attack just thinking about what my mother had told me.

“Morning Natalie. I would say good but by the look on your face it doesn’t seem to be going too well,” The doctor (whose name was Dr. Charles Walters) said.

He had that right.

“You’re still a little unstable I assume but I think you could go home later this afternoon,” Dr. Walters said.

“Why do you have to keep me here?” I asked.

“Because I want to make sure this doesn’t become a habit with you,” Dr. Walters said. He looked at my foot.

“Trust me. I don’t want to end up in the hospital every few weeks,” I huffed.

“Good,” Dr. Walters said walking out the door.

“WHERE’S NATALIE BALDWIN?!!!!”

I quickly sat up recognizing the voice. Regina ran into my room.

“New Year’s Eve was torture! Torture I tell you!” Regina cried.

“Why?” I asked. Then I saw why. Darcy, Nelson, Timmy, and Emily (who was still wearing cupcake pajamas) walked into the room.

“I thought you were Clumsy not Panicky,” Emily laughed.

“A panic attack is no laughing matter,” Darcy said putting his hands in his pockets.

“Why are you wearing cupcake pajamas?” I asked trying not to laugh.

“Grandpa has three flat tires,” Timmy mumbled.

“And they couldn’t leave cause the only tow truck in Florida was closed and Grandpa doesn’t trust no Monroe people,” Emily said. Timmy kicked her.

“That’s not why. It was so late that nobody in Berkshire County was open,” Timmy said.

“What are you doing here?” I asked. “And that doesn’t answer the pajama question.”

“Grandpa is off getting our tires fixed and I was forced to come along,” Emily said rolling her eyes.

“And you didn’t have time to change?” I asked. Emily rolled her eyes.

“Mrs. Walters has my clothes,” Emily said walking out the room.

“So what happened?’ Regina asked sitting at the foot of my bed.

I wondered if I should tell them what happened. I thought against it.

A nurse walked into my room with a big needle in her hand.

“Whoa. What are you doing with that thing?” I asked.

“It says here that you need a flu shot,” The nurse said.

“What? Where’s my mother?” I asked.

“I’ll go find her,” Nelson said walking out the door. Darcy followed.

Regina stared at the nurse with cold eyes.

“I never get a flu shot ma’am. I’m here because of a panic attack,” I said.

“Miss Baldwin, I’m just trying to follow orders. Dr. Walters wrote to give you an influenza shot and I’m gonna give it to you,” The nurse said.

“MRS.BALDWIN!” Regina screamed running out the room.

“Get away from me,” I barked at the nurse as she put the needle in my arm.

Everything instantly went hazy.

“Daddy?” I asked before I everything went black.

**

“Stop!” I screamed sitting up. I was in a different hospital room. I tried to breathe. Why would I be in a DIFFERENT hospital room? Oh, yeah. That crazy nurse who tried to give me a flu shot.

“Natalie, you’re up. They thought you were going to sleep the New Year away,” Momma said. I knew she was trying to joke but there was no sparkle in her eyes.

“What happened?” I asked.

“A nurse at the other hospital mixed up flu shot with a huge douse of sleeping medicine. They airlifted you to Pittsfield to make sure it wouldn’t over power your system,” Momma said.

“I’ve always wanted to ride in a helicopter,” I said.

“You must still be sleepy,” Momma said getting up. She walked towards the door but Ms. Donna walked into the room.

“I hate to add to your troubles, Riley, but,” Ms. Donna started. She pulled my tin from behind her back and showed that the tin was empty.

All the money I’ve ever had. Gone.