Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Twenty-Five

**

“When I found out that the world famous Ned Davis was moving into the apartment next to me, I almost moved out,” Ms. Erin said as she told the story of how she met Ned. “I was appealed at the time that I was going to be living next to a man who played the Devil and was a Stewart.”

“You played the Devil?” Virginia asked.

“And won an Oscar for it,” Ned said.

“So I guess you were pretty famous,” I said.

“Yup. I’ve got two Oscars and five Golden Globes,” Ned said.

“Then why did you leave Hollywood?” Nelson asked.

“I got in trouble a lot. Fights at clubs and bars. And when my daughter Emma was born I knew I had to change,” Ned said. “So Emma and I left Hollywood and came back to where I grew up.”

“If I was a famous actress making lots of money I wouldn’t leave,” Virginia said. Ned smiled.

“Well I’m glad Ned left,” Ms. Erin said hugging Ned.

“We about ready to go?” Zach asked. We nodded.

“It’s really snowing out there,” Darcy said looking out the window.

“Again?” Emily asked also looking out the window. “We just had that terrible blizzard.”

“Let’s get home before it gets worse,” Zach said.

We piled into Zach’s car and started on the road for home.

“Honey, can you see?” Abby asked.

“Nope,” Zach said.

“Pull over!” Emily shouted putting her hands over her eyes. Nelson hugged her.

“I think we’re almost home,” Zach said. Abby groaned.

“What?” Ms. Erin asked.

“Nothing,” Abby laughed.

“LOOK OUT!”

Zach slammed on the breaks and just barely missed hitting another car.

“Seriously!” I shouted throwing my hands up.

Mr. Stewart walked from the other car and Emily looked at Timmy.

“Don’t worry,” Timmy said squeezing her shoulder.

“Mr. Stewart, what are you doing?” Abby asked rolling down her window.

“I could ask you the same question,” Mr. Stewart said.

“Zach, Erin, Ned, Natalie, Darcy, Emily, Nelson, Jaci, Timmy, and I went out on a group date,” Abby said. “What are you doing?”

“If you have to know I’m coming from Pittsfield,” Mr. Stewart said. “I don’t remember giving Emily and Timmy permission to go out this evening.”

“Grandma said we could go!” Emily screamed loud enough that Mr. Stewart could hear her. Mr. Stewart nodded.

“Uncle Fowler, why were you spending?” Zach asked rolling down his window. “And why are driving on the wrong side of the street?”

“Zach Davis!” Mr. Stewart shouted. “I’ll get on the right side of the road.”

Mr. Stewart got in his car and got out of the way.

As we started to drive towards the street where Ms. Erin and Ned lived, I had a strange feeling that Mr. Stewart was out to get me.

**

“Meehghneojgsosanivgsnhiigsiogils.”

“Huh?” I asked Mrs. Stewart. Mrs. Stewart took some pins out of her mouth.

“Hold still,” Mrs. Stewart said. I tried to stand still.

“Ow!” I shouted.

“I said hold still,” Mrs. Stewart said. “Now I don’t want to poke you but if you keep moving I’m going to.”

“Are you sure about this bow in the back?” I asked Jaci.

“I’m positive,” Jaci said. “I think the daughter of the bride’s dress should be a little different from the other bridesmaid’s dresses.”

“Darcy better not laugh at me,” I sighed.

“I’ll have a talk with him,” Mrs. Stewart winked.

I sighed.

“I feel like a princess,” Abby said. “OW!”

“Sorry!” Momma said. “I’m not the world’s best pinner. I still can’t believe Jaci talked me into letting her and Mrs. Stewart make my wedding dresses and my bridesmaids’ dresses.”

“We will not disappoint,” Mrs. Stewart smiled.

“Well I was impressed when Mrs. Stewart put the pattern instructions in her pattern drawer without even reading it,” Momma laughed.

“I’ve made these dresses a thousand times.” Mrs. Stewart said. “Ok not a thousand but I know what I’m doing and so does Jaci.”

“I’m just glad you were able to find the color pink I wanted in fabric,” Abby smiled.

“I feel like a penguin,” Mrs. Rivers sighed. Sean smiled.

“You should,” Momma smiled. “You’re carrying twins.”

“We should start planning your baby shower,” Regina said.

“Riley, you know the only reason I’m doing this is because you’re getting married next month,” Mrs. Rivers said. Momma smiled.

“How are we going to get these dresses made by April 20th?” Emily asked.

“I can help,” Sean said in a low voice.

“Do you know how to sew?” Jaci asked.

“Yeah,” Sean mumbled.

“I can help out too,” Mrs. Rivers said. “It will give Jessie and me something to do.”

“Why don’t you go to school?” Regina asked Sean.

“I…I….I….,” Sean started.

“She already has her high school diploma and is taking online college courses for Oxford. They made a special exception,” Mrs. Rivers said.

“You must be mighty gifted to be get into Oxford at your age,” Emily said. Sean dropped the pin cushion and went running out the door.

“I meant it as a compliment,” Emily said looking hurt.

“I know sweetie,” Mrs. Rivers said hugging Emily. “I know.”

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Twenty-Three

**

I hate going to the dentist.

Dr. Walters was concerned about my teeth since Scurvy does something. I can’t remember. I was too dazed thinking about how bad this trip to the dentist was going to be.

I turns out Mr. Rivers is a dentist/orthodontist

“Braces,” Mr. Rivers said after the checkup.

“Braces,” I repeated.

“The Scurvy disfigured the inside of your mouth plus you already had an overbite,” Mr. Rivers said. “Look in the mirror, Natalie.”

Ok. My teeth did look bad but there was no way I was letting them put braces on my teeth.

“If it makes you feel any better I’m one of those cool dentist. I believe that you can eat popcorn every once and awhile. I let my patients chew sugar free chewing gum because it helps relieve the soreness that comes with braces,” Mr. Rivers said. “You won’t have to wear them for more than five years I promise.”

“I’ll be going to college in five years,” I said. Mr. Rivers laughed.

“You’ll probably have them off before you go to high school,” Mr. Rivers said. “That is if you take proper care of your teeth and braces.”

I sighed.

“Pick a color,” Mr. Rivers said pulling out a wheel.

**

“The more you do that the sorer your mouth is going to be,” Momma said. I was looking inside my mouth to see how my new blue braces looked.

“I look like a freak,” I huffed.

“A very cute freak,” Darcy said. I looked at him.

“Wrong thing to say wasn’t it?” Darcy asked. I shook my head yes.

Timmy and Emily walked through the restaurant doors.

“Nobody understands me!” I cried sitting in a booth.

Timmy walked up to me and plopped his retainer out of his mouth.

“Um, Timmy,” Jaci said looking absolutely disgusted.

“It’s a retainer. It helps keep my teeth in place. I had braces,” Timmy said showing Jaci the retainer.

“That’s quite all right,” Jaci said. “Can you please put that back in your mouth?”

Timmy put his retainer back in his mouth. No one spoke for a second.

Then, Abby started to snicker then the entire restaurant started to laugh.

“Jaci,” Timmy said when the laughter died down. “Emily has some questions and well……..”

“I was looking at this Sunday school lesson that Timmy was doing. It said something about this dude named John?” Emily started.

I saw Timmy walk over to Mr. Steve and they walked out of the room.

“The Gospel of John?” Jaci asked.

“Huh? Whatever. Anyway,” Emily started. “It was talking about this guy named Jesus who died for these people that were trying to killing him? Why would he die for these ungrateful and selfish people?” Emily asked.

“Emily Stewart, its love.” Jaci answered.

“Love?” Emily asked. “He must have some pretty strong love for those people.”

“Emily, he made those people,” Jaci said.

“Why in the world would he create people who would betray him? Why would he let the one who would give him to the bad guys carry the money?” Emily asked.

“Come with me,” Jaci said taking her hand and walking up the stairs.

“So Abby,” Aunt Jane said walking up to her. “When’s the wedding?”

Abby laughed and looked at Momma.

“What are you looking at me for?” Momma asked.

“I don’t want our wedding dates to clash,” Abby said.

“I’m getting married this spring,” Momma said.

“Then I’ll get married this summer,” Abby said.

“Then what does that leave me with?” Ms. Erin asked.

“September,” Momma and Abby said unison. We laughed.

**

“Here”

I stared at a plastic bag filled with money.

“Um,” I started.

“Don’t worry it’s yours,” Emily said. “Don’t tell Grandfather that I gave it back to you. He told me to steal it without giving me a reason at all so I took it.”

I looked at her.

“Jaci had a long talk with me last night. I realize what I’ve been doing is wrong and I’m going to try to be better so people can now that I’ve accepted Christ,” Emily smiled.

I took the bag.

“There’s a thousand dollars in there,” Emily said. “You should put it in a bank and not leave lying around in a tin can.”

“My father gave me that tin can,” I mumbled starting to walk away.

“I understand,” Emily said touching my arm. She reached into her jeans pocket.

“It’s a letter from my father along with a picture of him and my mother on their wedding day,” Emily said. “I always carry it with me. I’ve never seen my father in person. Only this picture. Its so I can have a piece of him here with me all the time. Do you want to read it?”

“Oh no I couldn’t………….” I started but Emily shoved it in my face.

Dear Emily Elizabeth,

As you probably know I’m in jail right now so I can’t be here with you. I don’t know if you remember but a couple of years ago I tried to take you and your brother after I escaped from jail. Your Grandmother tried to stop me and I assaulted her and I hurt you. It was the second stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I’ve done bad things and those bad things will reflect on you if you stay in Florida. That’s why I left Florida and went to Nevada where I met your mother. I’ve seen a recent picture of you. You have your mother’s hair and my eyes. You are truly beautiful.

I can’t say that I was ‘in’ love with your mother but I was rather fond of her. Don’t get me wrong. I did not want your mother to die and I did not try to kill her. After the crash I panicked. I assumed everyone would think it wasn’t an accident so I lied. I’ve made a mess of things for you and Timmy. But I want you to know that I love you and Timmy both very much.

I won’t get out of jail until your senior year of high school but I hope one day you will come and see me. Not that I’d ever think your Grandmother would want you to have any communication with me. I’ve changed. Preachers come and visit the jails and they’ve taught me about God. I hope one day to share (or that someone will share it will you and Timmy) the goodness of Christ Jesus and how all past mistakes can be washed away.

Your Loving Father,

Gavin Caleb Stewart

“He got his wish,” Emily said with tears in her eyes. “Nice braces by the way. That’s a very pretty blue.”

She walked away towards Ms. Ross’s class and I walked towards Ms. O’Donnell’s.

**

“What am I going to wear?”

Mr. Steve had just carried me upstairs and I heard Jaci shouting from Abby’s room.

“What’s going on?” I asked walking into the room. Sean was also there. She was sitting on Abby’s bed.

“Timmy came by after school and asked Jaci out on a date for tomorrow!” Abby said clapping her hands.

“I can’t breathe,” Jaci said breathing in and out. Abby laughed.

“Jaci and Timmy sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G,” Abby sang.

“Why would we be sitting in a tree? And why would we be kissing?” Jaci asked. Abby shook her head.

“It’s a silly elementary school song. It’s what you sang if two people liked each other to tease them,” Abby said.

“It sounds like a cruel song and I’ve only heard the first verse,” Jaci said. “What am I going to wear?”

“Put on your best pair of jeans and your most flattering shirt and you’ll be fine. He’s already in love with you,” Abby shrugged.

“Jeans? What are these jeans you speak off?” Jaci asked.

“You’ve never heard of jeans?” Sean, Abby and I asked.

“MOMMY” Abby screamed running out the door. I wondered who she was screaming for when Momma walked into the room.

“Yes?” Momma asked.

“We have to go shopping,” Abby said. “Jaci has no idea what jeans are.”

“Then we must!” Momma shouted. “What are we waiting for? Jessie-Maria, I’ll call Joan and see if she wants to come along. Oh I should probably call Aunt Jane to see if she and Virginia want to come to the mall.”

Sean nodded and we walked out of Abby’s room.

**

“I think the third one flatters her hips the best,” Mrs. Rivers said.

“But I don’t want to flatter my ‘hips’,” Jaci said looking disgusted.

“I think if Jaci goes out in the first one Timmy goes to have to beat up somebody,” Aunt Jane joked.

“I agree. I look too worldly in those,” Jaci said.

“I like the red pair,” I spoke up.

“But they’re not really jeans,” Virginia pointed out.

“But they go good with that shirt Abbypicked out for her and they flatter her shape,” I said. “But not like the third one flatters.”

“I agree. I don’t feel totally gross in the red pair,” Jaci said walking back into the dressing room. She came out wearing the red jeans and the shirt Abby picked out.

“I think you look very cute,” Mrs. Rivers said.

“And modest,” Momma added.

“Oh! I forgot to tell you, Natalie,” Jaci said looking at me. “Timmy asked if you and Darcy would come along as our ‘chaperons’.”

“Wait what?” I asked letting my braces show. They broke out laughing.

“My little girls going on a date!” Momma said hugging me.

“Whoa,” I said getting up. “Slow down. It’s not a date.”

“I thought we were over this,” Virginia groaned. The rest of the group laughed again.

“I’m too young to date,” I said. Momma nodded and then squealed.

“Oh what am I going to wear?” I asked giving up.

And we all laughed at that.

 

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Twenty-Two

**

  February 14

 Today was my first Valentine’s Day with Riley and I tried extra hard to make our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple special.

 I had planned to take her out to a little Italian restaurant and give her a dozen roses and everything. But it turns out Riley had plans too. She had bought a prime rib and all my favorite foods and had planned to eat in this Valentine’s Day. She even got special candles for the occasion.

 I was MAD. I wanted Valentine’s Day to go my way. We got into a huge fight and in the end Riley stayed at home and ate her prime rib and I went out to the restaurant.

 About halfway through my meal I realized what an idiot I was. I paid for my meal and went home. I found Riley crying in the bathroom.

 It broke my heart to see her crying just because I was too stubborn to eat at home on our first Valentine’s Day. Riley had ‘Valentine’s Day’ music playing so I switched it back to Christmas music and lit the candles. We started to dance.

 I think all is forgiven now. I ate some of her prime rib at like eleven o’clock at night. In a way this was a pretty good Valentine’s Day. I think we’ll stay in from now on.

Today was Valentine’s Day. I woke up to find a rose on my pilliow.

I had skipped ahead to my father’s second journal to read about their first Valentine’s Day. I put the journal back in the book under the couch and got up.

The hole in the restaurant was no longer there. Mr. Stewart had paid to get it fixed. He wanted Grandma Shirley to help pay for it but she said because he had already made a hole in the wall when she made a hole in the wall that she didn’t have to pay. That seemed to confuse Mr. Stewart enough to pay for the wall to be repaired.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” Mr. Steve shouted.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” I smiled back.

“Look at the strawberries!” Megan shouted with a white teddy bear in her arms. She had red and chocolate smudges on her face.

“I got my girls fruit baskets and bears or strawberry baskets and bears since that’s the only fruit but I think yours, Natalie, has oranges in it,” Mr. Steve said handing me my basket and teddy bear.

“Thank you,” I said taking out a chocolate covered strawberry. Chocolate and strawberries, now that’s a combination you can get me to eat all on my own.

Timmy walked through the restaurant door.

“Morning,” I said not looking up from my chocolate covered orange.

“Is Jaci here?” Timmy asked. I looked up. He had some chocolates and a balloon in his hand.

“Um, yeah,” Mr. Steve said backing away. “JACI! TIMMY’S HERE TO SEE YOU!”

“COMING!” Jaci screamed back. Jaci walked into the restaurant wearing a red skirt and a white shirt with a red heart on it.

She was carrying a box that contained Timmy’s Bible and a Valentine.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Timmy smiled.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Jaci smiled back. They exchanged gifts.

“This is such a sweet Valentine!” Jaci cried. “Mine’s feels kinda dumb now.”

I looked over her shoulder.

I know we’re young

I know it’s soon

But I think I’m in love with you!

There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear

So I’m just going to say it

Please be my Valentine till the end of time!

“Your Valentine reflects who you are,” Timmy said. “You love the Lord and you love the Bible. I think it’s perfect.”

I tried to look over Timmy’s shoulder but he’s like six ft. and Jaci is no more than five ft. three.

Love is patient

Love does not envy or boast

Love is not arrogant or rude

Love never fails

Love never rejoices at wrongdoing

Not irritable or resentful

Love does not insist on its own way

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

Love is kind so be my Valentine.

“The bus is here!” Momma called. “Ms. O’Donnell wants all seventh graders in early so Valentine’s Day doesn’t take up school time.”

“WHAT!” I shouted. “I’m not even dressed!”

“Here are some clothes,” Momma said throwing them at me. “GO!”

I shook my head, grabbed my backpack, and headed out the door.

**

You’re amazing.

Did you know?

I’ve crushed on you.

Since long ago.

So here’s my heart.

And here’s my soul.

I think it’s time you should know.

Will you be?

Can you be?

Could you think of me?

That way?

My heart seemed to beat out of my chest as I read this note. Could it be from Darcy? The note wasn’t signed. I hadn’t signed the one I gave to Darcy. I was too scared to do it. I actually gave him two Valentines so he wouldn’t guess it was me. The Valentine I gave to Darcy went like this.

I have just one Valentine’s Day wish.

That you’ll be my Darcy and I’ll be your Elizabeth!

So what do you say?

Will you make my Valentine’s Day?

“Virginia?” Darcy asked walking to the back of the classroom.

“Huh?” Virginia asked looking up from a yellow Valentine.

“Did you give me this?” Darcy asked. His voice sounded like he really really hopped Virginia hadn’t given him this Valentine.

“I have just one Valentine’s Day wish. That you’ll be my Darcy and I’ll be your Elizabeth. So what do you say? Will you make my Valentine’s Day?” Virginia read. “I made it but I didn’t send it to you.”

I don’t know why but I went flying out the door. I ran into the girls’ bathroom and broke down crying.

“Natalie?” Virginia asked walking into the bathroom.

“What?” I asked wiping tears away from my eyes.

“Before you get all mad at me, I want you to know that I didn’t send Darcy a Valentine because you like him and well I just didn’t want to send a Valentine to a guy my friend likes,” Virginia said shrugging.

“Liked,” I corrected.

“Look, I KNOW Darcy likes you. He’s your Secret Santa,” Virginia said. “He just used a logical method of reasoning.”

There was a knock on the bathroom door.

“Who is it?” Virginia called.

“Darcy.”

I got up and walked into a stall.

“Come in,” Virginia said. “Nobodies in here but Natalie and I.”

“I don’t feel like talking to you,” I said with my back towards the stall door.

“Can you listen?” Darcy’s voice asked.

“Do I have a choice?” I snorted. I heard Virginia chuckle.

“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t think you would send me that Valentine because I was kinda a jerk to you when you first came. City folk never understand us. But you’re not like other people who didn’t grow up here. You seem to like it here and enjoy the easy lifestyle we have. I really like you,” Darcy said his voice trailing off after the last sentence.

I opened the bathroom stall door.

“Will you take me to the ball?” I asked.

“I would be delighted,” Darcy said in a fake British accent. I laughed.

“All is forgiven,” I said giving him a hug.

**

“I am so disgusted!”

I looked at Regina who looked like she could kill somebody.

“It’s not that bad, Regina,” I said trying to calm her down.

“And the creepy thing is. She likes him back!” Regina shouted.

“Hi, Natalie,” Emily said walking up with Nelson. They were holding hands.

“Yuck,” Regina shuddered.

“You’re just jealous. No one sent you a lovey dovey Valentine,” Emily said smiling at Nelson. “Look at my Valentine.”

She pushed it in my face.

You’re amazing.

Did you know?

I’ve crushed on you.

Since long ago.

So here’s my heart.

And here’s my soul.

I think it’s time you should know.

Will you be?

Can you be?

Could you think of me?

That way?

“Cute,” I said not telling her I got one exactly like it.

“My heads in the clouds. My heart’s in my throat. I’m walking on air. Handing you this note!” Regina said. I looked at her strangely.

“That’s what my Valentine said,” Nelson cleared up.

“I don’t know what your problem is,” I said to Regina. “Nelson and Emily can like whoever they want.”

“Oh, you’re just happy Emily doesn’t like Darcy,” Regina shouted getting up and storming out of the cafeteria.

“What’s her problem?” I asked. Nelson shook his head twice. Once for him and once for Emily.

**

Left you once.

Lost you twice.

Now it’s the third time.

So I’m not going to take any chances.

Please be my Valentine and my wife.

“Isn’t it so romantic?” Abby asked hugging Zach. “And to think I thought I was giving him a push!”

“You’re getting married?” Virginia asked excitedly. She had come over because us girls were going to get ready for the Valentine’s Day Ball.

“Yup,” Abby said showing us her ring.

“I knew I made the right decision when I read her Valentine,” Zach laughed. He handed it to me.

Take all my love.

Take all my kisses.

But there better be a ring.

If you want me to be your Mrs.!

I laughed.

“Get out, Zach,” Mrs. Rivers barked. “You can see your fiancée at the ball.”

Zach gave Abby a kiss and left.

“Girls, I would like you to meet Jesse-Maria. She’s going to be staying with Tom and me for a while,” Mrs. Rivers said hugging a short shy looking girl. “She likes to be called Sean.”

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi,” Sean mumbled.

“Let’s start doing hair!” Momma shouted. Soon the B&B was filled with girly giggles.

“Where are the guys?” Jaci asked as she was putting on her dress.

“It is a truth universally acknowledge, that a man in Florida, Massachusetts has something for his girl in the morning on Valentine’s Day and has something for her in the evening too,” Mrs. Rivers joked.

We all laughed, including Sean who hadn’t said a word the entire time.

“Who else besides Abby got a special Valentine?” Aunt Jane asked. Virginia looked uncomfortable.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“This!” Virginia shouted taking a yellow Valentine out of her backpack.

Roses are Red.

Violets are blue.

I never know what to say around you!

I don’t want to blurt it but since it’s Valentine’s Day.

I think I should tell you that I like you in that special kind of way!

“It’s from that Leo boy isn’t it?!” Aunt Jane asked sounding excited. Virginia nodded.

“And I sent him the stupidest Valentine back,” Virginia sighed.

“What did it say?” The entire room asked.

Roses are Red. Violets are blue. I never know what to say around you! I’d like to convince myself there’s no one left to ask. But the truth is I only want you!” Virginia recited. “He’ll think I like him.”

“But you do,” Aunt Jane said.

“I don’t,” Virginia said looking disgusted.

“Do,” Aunt Jane said.

“Don’t.”

“Do.”

“Don’t.”

“Don’t,” Aunt Jane said.

“Do,” Virginia messed up.

We burst out laughing and Virginia shook her head.

**

“I can I have everybody’s attention?!”

I looked up at the stage were Ms. O’Donnell was standing next to Zach’s brother whose name was Ned Davis.

“Ned has something he would like to say,” Ms. O’Donnell said. Her eyes looked excited.

“Erin! Erin Carter! Where are you?” Ned shouted into the microphone. Ms. Erin stepped forth.

“I have something I would like to say,” Ned said getting down on one knee. The entire room gasped.

“Would you marry me?” Ned asked. Ms. Erin shook her yes head and ran up on stage.

“Three weddings and two in the same family and Joan is having a baby,” Mrs. Stewart smiled. “I wonder if there’s ever been this much excitement in Florida!”

“And now we’re going to crown our Junior Mr. and Mrs. Darcy and Junior Mr. and Mrs. Bingley,” Ms. O’Donnell said waving an envelope around. She opened it.

“Our Junior Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are………….Darcy Edwards and Natalie Baldwin!” Ms. O’Donnell shouted. Darcy and I walked up on the stage.

“And our Junior Mr. and Mrs. Bingley are…………Nelson Drew and Emily Stewart!” Ms. O’Donnell shouted. Regina looked surprised and ran out of the room where the ball was being held. Mrs. Stewart screamed and helped Emily on stage.

“Our Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are…………..Ned Davis and Erin Carter!” Ms. O’Donnell shouted. Ms. Erin laughed as she walked up on stage.

“Our Mr. and Mrs. Bingley are…………Steve Matthews and Riley Baldwin!” Ms. O’Donnell shouted.

I smiled as Ms. O’Donnell put a sash on me.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Daddy I thought.

Posted in Gifted

Gifted Chapter 1

Chapter 1

You wouldn’t know it by looking at me but I’m the most wanted foster child in America. At least that’s what Mr. Harris said.

I’ve got scabby knees. Mr. Bill says that they’re scabbed beyond repair. I’ve fallen a lot trying new things.

My brown hair is always a mess and I’ve been told more than once that my fashion sense stinks.

Partly the reason why my fashion sense stinks is because I like to wear knee high socks and shorts/skirts to show off my knees. I’ve had more than one foster mother make me cover my knees.

If I’m so wanted then why do I have so much trouble staying in one place one may ask.

I’ve lived in every state at one time or another. The least amount of time I spent in a state was two days. It was seven months ago and Montana. The Andersons’ didn’t like me very much.

Mr. Bill says that it’s not my fault I have so much trouble finding a home. He says it’s the government’s fault for having so many corrupt people in the foster care system.

You see I’m gifted, special, unique. I can speak twenty-five different language. I can play just about any instrument. I can sing. I can dance. I have a photographic memory. I can remember stuff before I was even one. I’m only twelve and I already have my high school diploma (and I’ll graduate from college this summer).

I’ve had a hundred and seventy foster parents. A hundred of them have tried to use my gifts for profit.

The worst were the Winters’. They own a club in Boston. I became a household name at least in Boston because of them.

I performed in their club and I played in various symphonies in Boston. After three months of that kind of life I finally called Mr. Bill and asked him to get me out of there.

Too bad the day he got me out of there a huge blizzard happened.

So far Mr. Bill has been pulled over twice by the police and each time they’ve told him that he’s not supposed to be on the roads unless it’s an emergency and twice he’s yelled at the police saying that getting me to my new foster family is an emergency.

If you haven’t guessed by now Mr. Bill is my social worker. He’s the best and is devoted to all his kids. He tried to adopt me once but for the stupidest reason the state won’t let him. He’s got ten children already and something about adopting the child you’re a social worker to and blah blah blah.

“We’re here,” Mr. Bill said stopping the car. It was really snowing now. I couldn’t even see my new foster parents’ walkway to their house. I stepped and sunk into the snow. My knees and the snow collided.

I’m not that tall. I’m only four feet eight inches. I’m starting to regret wearing shorts today.

When I finally gotto the door I’m sure that my knees have caught frostbite and walking in this cold snow was all for nothing cause I’ll have to be rushed to the hospital. Mr. Bill catches up with me and rings the doorbell.

I try to think of something to say. Whenever I’m meeting a new foster family, I want something really smart to come out of my mouth. A woman with long sorta curly brown hair opens the door before I can come up with anything good.

“Yes?” She asks not opening the storm door.

“Mrs. Rivers? I’m William Johnson, the social worker. I called a couple of days ago and told you that I’d be dropping off Jessie-Maria on Friday,” Mr. Bill says.

Nobody ever really calls me Jessie-Maria. Mr. Bill does that for ‘legal’ purposes. Everybody just calls me Sean which is my last name. My mother called me that first. She had named me Jessie-Maria because she said that when she saw me she knew I would be ‘bitterly blessed’ with gifts. I don’t know what that means but I sure can get bitter about my ‘gifts’. It also didn’t hurt that Maria is the name of my mother’s all-time favorite character from The Sound of Music.

“Yes, you did call to tell me that but with this blizzard going on I would have thought it was at least postponed until tomorrow,” Mrs. Rivers says still not opening the storm door.

“Can we come in?” I ask.

“Of course!” Mrs. Rivers shouts opening the storm door. I walk in the door and instantly she notices that I’m wearing shorts and knee high socks.

“Scares show struggle and struggle leads to success,” I say. Mrs. Rivers’ looks at me and slowly nods.

I start to feel my cheeks blush. That was the stupidest thing I could have possibly said. I’m the shyest girl in the world well that’s what Mrs. Lewis said. Anyway, I’m shy so I don’t say much so I try to say something smart or humorous when I do speak. People like me because I think big and talk little, well that’s what Mrs. Peebles said.

“Tom, honey she’s here!” Mrs. Rivers shouts to her husband.

Mr. Rivers walks into the hallway. He’s a relatively tall man who was strangely wearing a cowboy hat.

“Welcome,” Mr. Rivers says offering his hand. I shake it. I hear a hint of a Southren Accent in his voice.

“I just need the two of you to sign some papers and I’ll be heading out,” Mr. Bill says opening his briefcase.

“You can’t go back out in that blizzard!” Mrs. Rivers shouts.

“I have to. My wife is probably freaking out,” Mr. Bill says taking a pen from his pocket. Mr. and Mrs. Rivers signed the paper.

“Call me,” Mr. Bill says giving me a kiss on the forehead.

I watch as Mr. Bill drives away down the street. I wonder if I ran out into the street if he would came back.

I look at Mr. and Mrs. Rivers just standing there in the hallway and right then and there I decide to keep my gifts a secret.

Posted in Farm Girl, Highlight & Contest, Natalie

Highlight & Contest: Will You Be My Valentine?

Valentine’s Day is coming soon and I decided that this is the perfect time to have our first ever contest!

Contest Info:Valentine’s Day is about two weeks away and love is in the air in Florida, Massachusetts! But a couple of people are too afraid to tell their feelings to the person they like so they sent anonymous Valentines! Who likes who? Its up to you to find out!

So what you have to do is figure out who sent the Valentine and to who. Comment your answers but chose wisely you only get one chance! It should look like this: Valentine X was given to Blank from Blank.

photo 1

All of the Valentines!

photo 1 (2)

Valentine A

My heads in the clouds

My heart’s in my throat

I’m walking on air

Handing you this note!

photo 2 (3)

Valentine B

Love is patient.

Love does not envy or boast.

Love is not arrogant or rude.

Love never fails.

Love never rejoices at wrongdoing.

Not irritable or resentful.

Love does not insist on its own way.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love is kind so be my Valentine!

photo 3 (1)

Valentine C

Take all my love.

Take all my kisses.

But there better be a ring.

If you want me to be your Mrs.! 

photo 4 (1)

Valentine D

I have just one Valentine’s Day wish.

That you’ll be my Darcy and I’ll be your Elizabeth!

So what do you say?

Will you make my Valentine’s Day?

photo 1 (1)

Valentine E

Roses are Red.

Violets are blue.

I never know what to say around you!

I’d like to convince myself there’s no one left to ask.

But the truth is I only want you!

photo 2 (2)

Valentine F

I know we’re young.

I know its soon.

But I think I’m in love with you!

There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear.

So I’m just going to say it.

Please be my Valentine till the end of time!

photo 4

Valentine G (two people receive this Valentine)

You’re amazing.

Did you know?

I’ve crushed on you.

Since long ago.

So here’s my heart.

And here’s my soul.

I think its time you should know.

Will you be?

Can you be?

Could you think of me?

That way?

photo 3

Valentine H

Roses are Red.

Violets are blue.

I never know what to say around you!

I don’t want to blurt it but since its Valentine’s Day.

I think I should tell you that I like you in that special kind of way!

photo 2

Valentine I

Left you once.

Lost you twice.

Now its the third time.

So I’m not going to take any chances.

Please be my Valentine and my wife.

Who ever gets them all right (or gets the most right) wins the contest! I will announce the winner and PRIZE on Valentine’s Day! Good Luck!

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Eighteen

“Yes, yes you did,” Zach said. His voice sounded shaky.

“Fowler, its been more than ten years. Its not his fault that Gavin crashed his car and killed his wife,” Ms. Donna said.

“A Stewart looks out for a Stewart,” Mr. Stewart growled. “Its all his fault that Gavin is sitting in jail right now.”

“Its not my fault that your son drove like a maniac, crashed his car, killed his wife, and lied to the police about it,” Zach said with a little bit more confidence in his voice.

“A Stewart looks out for another Stewart,” Mr. Stewart repeated.When you found the wreckage you should have come to be first before calling the police!”

“I thought I was helping when I found Tami’s body in a car in the woods,” Zach said. “I had been told that she had gone missing after Gavin got into a brutal attack.”

Mr. Stewart growled.

“Why are you back? I told you to never come back to Berkshire County after the trial so why are you back?” Mr. Stewart asked.

“Fowler!” Ms. Donna shouted. “He’s a grown man. He can do whatever he wants!”

Mr. Stewart gave a laugh that scared the life out of me.

“We’ll just see about that,” Mr. Stewart said with a smile on his lips. “Donna, I want a Sea Food Salad to go.”

Ms. Donna quickly made him his salad and Mr. Stewart left.

“You’re a Stewart?” Abby asked Zach.

“I’m NOT a Stewart!” Zach shouted. “So what if my mother is his niece and my grandmother’s maiden name is Stewart? The name Stewart is not on my birth certificate so therefore I’m NOT a Stewart.”

“Zach,” Abby said. “You can’t deny what’s in your blood. Mr. Stewart is your great-uncle.” Zach looked angered.

“You know each other?” I blurted. Abby nodded.

“I designed a building for his company last Spring,” Abby said. She looked sadden at the mention of last spring. Zach too looked sad at the mention of Spring.

“I’m not a Stewart,” Zach said. “I refuse to be. I refuse to be part of a clan of thieving, dirty, and tricky people!”

Zach ran up the steps and Abby looked sad. Jaci sighed.

“He has to learn to overcome the fact that he’s been born into such a line,” Jaci said.

“No. He has to realize that he’s a Stewart,” Timmy said. “But he’s not like the rest.”

Jaci smiled at Timmy.

“Who’s hungry?” Ms. Donna asked. I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be mentioned the rest of the night but one way or another I was going to find out what this was all about.

**

“Momma?” I asked the next day after school.

“Yeah?” Momma said looking up from the table she was cleaning.

“Can I visit the Rivers?” I asked.

“Sure. Why not? Tell Joan that I want her to be a bridesmaid no matter how fat she is,” Momma said to me as I put on my coat.

I promised her that I would tell her and hobbled out the door towards the Rivers’ cabin.

“I was just wishing for some company,” Mrs. Rivers said when she opened the door. Mrs.Rivers hadn’t gained a lot of weight in the past couple of months but she starting to show.

I smiled at her and hobbled into the house.

“So what brings you here?” Mrs. Rivers asked as she took my coat.

“Ms. Donna has a new boarder. His name is Zach Davis,” I said.

“Zach Davis is back in town? Mr. Stewart won’t be happy about that,” Mrs. Rivers said taking out some brownies.

“He saw him yesterday at the B&B. He said that he had told him to never come back to Berkshire County,” I said.

“Mr. Stewart and Zach don’t get along too well. They never did. Zach hated the fact that he had any relation with the Stewart family. Mr. Stewart tried his hardest to make him like being a Stewart and nothing worked. And after Zach told the police about finding Gavin’s car in the woods there was no hope of a relationship between the two of them,” Mrs. Rivers said getting out some hot chocolate.

“Why did Mr. Stewart want to make Zach a Stewart? I mean he was born into the Davis family right?” I asked.

“True but Mr. Stewart wanted Zach to help him out at the law firm,” Mrs. Rivers said. “When Zach told him that he wanted to work with children, Mr. Stewart was disgusted.”

“No wonder he doesn’t like to be called a Stewart,” I said.

“Its sad but if you’ve ever had any relationship with a Stewart present or past people can be a little prejudice. I should know,” Mrs. Rivers said getting out some marshmallows.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“In high school I went out with Gavin,” Mrs. Rivers said.

“You did?” I asked. Mrs. Rivers nodded.

“Tom hadn’t come to Massachusetts yet and well Gavin was popular. He was known for driving fast to impress a girl and all sorts of crazy stuff. For two months in my junior year of high school I lived the fast life. Sneaking out at night, going to wild parties, asking Gavin to drive dangerously over the speed limit. It took a long talk to get me out of it,” Mrs. Rivers said. “To think I could have been the one in that car. I could be dead by now.”

I sat and thought about this for a minute.

“Why is Gavin in jail. That’s what I don’t understand,” I said.

“He was driving way over the speed limit on an icy day. He crashed his car and killed his wife. He was nervous and worried that the police would think he murdered her that he went to the police and told some story about taking a drive and some people pulling them over. He said he got in a bad fight with them and that’s what his scares were from. He said that they had taken his car and his wife,” Mrs. Rivers said. “When Zach found the car crashed and knowing Gavin’s reckless driving history, the police got curious. It was soon relieved that Gavin’s scares and injuries were from a car crash.”

I nodded.

“But why does Mr. Stewart hate Zach so much? Its not his fault that he found the car. He had been told that someone stole the car. He would be thinking he was helping and not hurting,” I said.

“Mr. Stewart needed a good reason to be angry at Zach. He never really did like him and it gave him a good reason to give him a job in Boston,” Mrs. Rivers said. “Mr. Stewart is a purebred Stewart. They have more grudges then everybody in Massachusetts.”

“How does Mrs. Stewart feel about her nephew?” I asked.

“She loves and adores him more than her own son. Zach was always so well behaved. Gavin was always getting into trouble. Who could blame her? Zach was defiantly the perfect ‘son’,” Mrs. Rivers said.

Mr. Rivers came bursting through the house.

“There’s a terrible accident on the Mohawk Trail!” Mr. Rivers shouted. “They need all the help they can get.”

“Where’s the accident at?” Mrs. Rivers asked.

“Right around the area where Gavin crashed his car. That place is a crash magnet,” Mr. Rivers said.

I felt like crying. Nobody had to tell me that Zach was in that car. I had a strange feeling that this was in connection with my father’s car crash and my mother’s recent one.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Eight (Posted on January 9)

“Mom?” Momma asked. Grandma Shirley nodded.

“Natalie and I just had a very interesting conversation about an hour ago,” Grandma Shirley said. “And she made me realize that I don’t want you back.”

My jaw dropped to the floor. How in the world could Grandma Shirley say that with a clean conscious?

“Excuse me?” Momma asked also in disbelief.

“But,” Grandma Shirley said. “I don’t want you back because of the memories and feelings you bring. Do you know how crazy your father and I went when you left? I guess after a couple years I was glad that we hadn’t found you. I hated you. I gave you life. I devoted my entire life to you and one day you just up and decide to leave without even saying goodbye? I hated you for that.”

Momma and I had a look of pure surprise and disgust. Did Grandma Shirley just say that she hated my mother? That was cold.

“Mrs. Walters, I suggest you leave,” Nurse Sarah said.

“You didn’t let me finish,” Grandma Shirley said. “I hated you for leaving but I have always loved you, Riley, even thou I tried to convince myself that I hated you. Riley, I do love you. Only take it a little personally if I’m quick with you or easily get mad easily.”

Momma stared blankly at Grandma Shirley. How could Grandma Shirley just walk in here and say that she hated my Momma and then tell her that she loved her.

“I would like you to leave,” Momma said. “But if you feel like it visiting me in Florida you can visit me.”

Grandma Shirley smiled and walked out the room.

“Momma, is it all right that I don’t like her very much?” I asked.

“The truth is I don’t like her very much either. She’s a different person. That’s not the mother I know,” Momma sighed.

“When you left, everything changed in their lives. They changed. They tried to improve themselves. They threw themselves on everyone around them especially your siblings,” Nurse Sarah said. “You running away changed them.”

Momma started crying.

“After Alexander died I never planned on telling anyone else why I ran away but…NO! I can’t tell her. They know I’m back. I can’t risk anymore lives,” Momma said.

The look in her eye alone told me that her life, my life, and anyone who knew this ‘secret’ or not was in some serious danger.

**

“I hope you’re feeling better Riley.”

Momma smiled at Aunt Jane.

“The car accident didn’t hurt me too bad,” Momma said. “I’m feeling much better thank you.”

Momma had received a flower from everyone in town.

“Here you go my lady,” Mr. Steve said to Momma putting her soap down on the table.

“Thank you,” Momma smiled.

I squirmed at ‘my lady’.

I looked over at Ms. Donna. She looked anxious and excited at the same time.

“Riley W. Baldwin, I’ve known you since the ninth grade and by the time I finished high school I knew that I wanted to marry you,” Mr. Steve said.

I almost passed out when Mr. Steve got down on one knee and opened a ring box.

“Riley, will you marry me?” Mr. Steve asked.

Momma looked at me. The look on my face screamed, “NO!”

“Yes,” Momma managed to get out.

My face fell. What just happened? Did my mother really just accept a marriage proposal from Steve Matthews.

“Tom and I have an announcement to make,” Mrs. Rivers said standing up. “I’m having a baby.”

Soon everyone was talking about babies and weddings.

Good and bad changes were about to come to Florida, Massachusetts and I don’t just mean babies and weddings.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie:Part 1-Christmas Dreams Installment Six

“Great. You kids stay here. I’m going back to the B&B for help,” Mr. Steve said getting out of the car.

When he was out of sight I opened the door. I was hit with cold air.

“What are you doing?” Darcy asked me as I tried to get out with my crutches.

“I’m doing what I got in this car to do,” I said slamming the door.

“But Mr. Matthew said to stay in the car!” Darcy tried to scream over the howling wind. I hobbled off into the woods and then I realized this was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. Why should I be out here looking for the Stewarts in unfamiliar woods during a blizzard?

Cause it’s the Christian thing to do My mom’s voice rung through my head. Once but when I was young this boy pulled my hair. I wanted to never speak to him again but my mother told me that that was not Christ like.

I sighed and watched my breath in the wind. I started to shout over the wind but that seemed nearly impossible. Then I heard gunshots.

I almost fell over but I realized that the Stewarts might have heard me calling them and were signaling that they were there.

I walked closer to the gunshots and found Emily sitting in the snow with three coats on. Timmy and Mr. Stewart were holding guns and had no coats on. They looked freezing.

“Oh, great! It’s just her!” Emily shouted.

“Do you know where we are?” Timmy asked me.

“No.”

“Did you make markers?”

“No.”

“So, you’re lost?”

“I wouldn’t say lost.”

“Ugh! Why don’t you just go back to Florida?” Emily shouted.

“I think we’re still in Florida,” I said.

“UGH!” Emily screamed. She pushed me. I fell into the snow. I gave just a loud of a scream as I had when Ryan grabbed me.

“NATALIE! EMILY!”

“DARCY!” Emily screamed back. That was the last thing I remember before everything went dark.

**

                  “THAT’S HOT!” I screamed. I found myself in my Momma’s room on her bed. There was a washcloth on my arm.

“Glad you’re up,” Momma said startled. I tried to breathe.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Word in this house is that you’re a hero,” Momma said putting another washcloth on my arm.

“Hero?” I asked.

“They say you gave a horrible scream and that they found where you were when you screamed,” Momma said.

I was surprised Emily didn’t take the credit.

“Now about you getting out of the car,” Momma said. I gave a weak smile.

“Well I guess since you’ve saved some lives it’s ok,” Momma smiled. I gave her a hug.

“Why are putting super-hot washcloths on my arm?” I asked.

“You got your first ever case of frost nip,” Momma said. “Donna said to just put some hot washcloths on your arms and it would go away.”

I sighed.

“You never told me what you wanted for Christmas,” Momma said. “And Christmas is Tuesday.”

“What I want for Christmas is a place to call home,” I mumbled.

“You want a Barbie home?” Momma asked surprised.

“Never mind,” I said.

“There’s nothing you want?” Momma asked surprised.

“Not that I can think of,” I said.

“I know our sudden move has been difficult for you,” Momma said. “And I know you want to go back to Miami and I know you wish you’ve never come here but we’re here now and there’s no turning back.”

Momma got up and left the room. I put my head on the pillow. Why can’t we just go back to Miami and pretend like this never happened?

“Why God?” I asked and then I cried.

**

                 “There she is!” Mr. Rivers shouted as Mr. Steve carried me back downstairs.  Just about everyone in the town was down there and they were clapping for me.

“What you did today was very brave,” Mrs. Rivers said giving me a hug. I smiled.

“Who’s hungry?” Ms. Donna asked. Everyone walked into the restaurant and sat down. As I tried to eat my beef carrot stew just about everyone came up to me and told me how ‘brave’ I was.

“Hi Natalie,” Timmy said walking up to me.

“Hi Timmy,” I smiled.

“Thanks for what you did today,” Timmy said. “Most people in this town wouldn’t risk their lives for a Stewart.”

“Oh, I can’t believe that,” I kinda sorta lied. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone did want to go save Mr. Stewart and Natalie. Timmy seemed different.

“Believe it,” Timmy said sitting down at the table where I was sitting with Regina and Erin.

“Well it was the right and Christian thing to do,” I said. Timmy smiled.

“My family doesn’t have a reputation for doing the Christian thing,” Timmy said. “Everyone in my family is stubborn and does what they want even if it’s wrong. So I just want to say thank you for actually caring enough to do the right thing.”

“It’s not a problem,” I shrugged. Timmy smiled.

“So how was it out in that blizzard?” Erin asked.

“Cold especially since Princess Emily kept complaining how cold she was and Grandpa made me give her my coat,” Timmy laughed.

I laughed too and let my eyes wonder over to the table where Darcy and Emily were sitting. Emily seemed to catch my glance and eyed me.

I turned back to Timmy who was telling the story of how Emily kept complaining how cold the snow was and that she didn’t want to stand.

I then started to think about Christmas this year. What would it be like? I looked out the window. My first white Christmas was also the first time I wished Christmas wouldn’t come.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie:Part 1-Christmas Dreams Installment Five

TIMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Sorry, Grandpa!” A boy around Paige’s age said. Mr. Stewart was the man he was calling Grandpa. And oh great, Emily was with them.

Mr. Stewart walled into The Treasure Chest and Timmy followed. I saw Emily walk up to the door but she didn’t come in. Darcy saw her standing at the door and walked out the shop.

“I’m sorry about my grandson,” Mr. Stewart said. “We’re going hunting today and he fired his gun by accident,” Mr. Stewart said. Paige nodded.

“My dad went to Monroe on business,” Paige said. “I’m in charge of the store.”

“I’m sorry this had to happen while you were watching the store,” Mr. Stewart said. “But I promised the grandkids I take them hunting.”

“Let me call my dad,” Paige said. She picked up the phone. I looked at Nelson. He just shrugged.

Soon Paige was in a conversation with a man I assumed was her dad. She told him that the damage wasn’t that bad but they needed a new window. Then Mr. Stewart talked to him and apologized for Timmy.

“Grandpa, this is why we shouldn’t go hunting,” Emily said walking into the shop after Mr. Stewart got off the phone. “Timmy doesn’t know how to handle a gun!”

“It was an accident, lil sis,” Timmy said. Emily looked mad.

“Come on kids, I’ve worked it out with Mr. Chadwick. Let’s get a move on,” Mr. Stewart said walking out the shop. Emily and Timmy followed.

“Now what is it that you wanted?” Paige asked me.

“The perfume,” I said.

“Oh yeah,” Paige said. “Christmas Dreams right?” I nodded.

She took the perfume from the glass case and put it in a bag.

“Twenty-Five dollars and fifteen cents please,” Paige said ringing me up. I gave her the money.

“Got an iron for these?” Paige joked as she tried to flatten the money. She gave me a receipt and I took my bag.
“Have a merry Christmas,” Paige smiled. I nodded and Nelson followed me towards the door.

“Are you coming, Darcy?” I asked. Darcy was looking into a glass case.

“I’ll be right there,” Darcy snarled. Nelson and I walked out the door. Soon Darcy walked out the store with a bag in his hand.

“You buy your little girlfriend a Christmas present?” I teased. Darcy didn’t answer.

Snow started to come down and I lost my footing. The perfume flew through the air.

“NO!” I screamed. Darcy dropped his crutches and caught it before Nelson could even move.

“Thanks,” I said as Nelson helped me up.

“You’re welcome,” Darcy grumbled. He hobbled along. What a strange boy.

“I was about to worry about you kids,” Ms. Donna said when we got back to the B&B. “They say a real bad snow storm is coming.”

“The roads are not good for crutches,” I said remembering my fall.

“Looks like you’ll have your first ever white Christmas,” Momma said smiling. I smiled back. This was not how I imagined my first white Christmas would be.

“What’s in the bag?” Momma asked.

“Oh, nothing,” I smiled. Momma winked at me.

I sat on the couch and watched the weather. Then there was a knock on the door.

I got up wondering what fool would come out here in this weather. A blizzard was going on!

“Tom! Joan!” Ms. Donna shouted. “What are you doing out in this weather?”

“Our power is out,” Mr. Rivers said. “We went looking for someone who had power.”

“Come in,” Ms. Donna said. “Get warm. It’s freezing out there!”

“Hopefully they can get out here and fix the power,” Mrs. Rivers said taking her coat off.

An hour later there was another knock on the door.

“Carlson clan!” Ms. Donna shouted.

“Our power went out thirty minutes ago. It got so cold in our house that we had to go and find somewhere with power,” Mrs. Carlson said.

“Come in,” Ms. Donna said.

Five minutes later Erin and her family were at the door.

“Our power is out,” Mrs. Cooper shivered.

“Natalie, meet my two little brothers Brandon and Toby,” Erin huffed as she walked through the door.

Brandon stuck his tongue out at me and I stuck mine out at him. Toby laughed.

“Your power out too?” Mrs. Rivers asked the Cooper’s. They nodded.

Ten minutes later Victoria and her parent’s showed up at the door.

“Our house is so cold!” Victoria cried. “Feel my hands.” I felt them. Coldness rushed through my hands.

It went on like this for about an hour. Everyone in town lost their power and came to the Sunshine B&B.

“I guess since I’m not exactly in Florida I might be on a different power circuit,” Ms. Donna said when I asked her why our power wasn’t out.

“How many people are here?” I asked as Mr. Steve moved the couch to make more room for people to sleep.

“All most the entire town!” Regina said. “There’s the Young’s, the Hardy’s, the Clark’s…………”

“Have any of you seen Emily?” Darcy asked hobbling over to us.

“No,” I said. “Why?”

“Cause she, her brother, and Mr. Stewart went hunting and then it started to snow,” Darcy said.

“Do you think they’re stuck in the snowstorm?” Victoria asked. Darcy nodded.

“Ms. Donna!” I shouted. Ms. Donna walked over.

“Yes?” Ms. Donna asked. She had a bunch of blankets in her hands.

“Mom, are the Stewart’s here?” Darcy asked.

“No. Maybe they have power,” Ms. Donna said.

“They went hunting today,” I said.

“I better call Mr. Stewart to make sure they’re all right,” Ms. Donna said. She dialed their number but there was no answer.

“If you want Donna, I’ll go out and look for them,” Mr. Steve said. Ms. Dona sighed.

“I don’t want to think about what could happen if we don’t find them soon,” Ms. Donna said. “Let me go boil some water and make coco.”

“I want to go too,” Darcy said.

“I also want to go,” I said.

“Why do you want to go? You don’t care about the Stewart’s,” Darcy snarled.

“I want to go because I want to help,” I said. “Sure I don’t like Emily too much but I don’t want her to die.”

Darcy looked at me like he didn’t believe me. I hobbled to the closet to get my coat and when I put it on my mother stopped me.

“Where do you think you’re going in this blizzard?” Momma asked.

“I want to help find the Stewart’s,” I said. Momma got a worried look on her face.

“I promise to stay in the car,” I said. Momma sighed.

“Fine but stay in the car,” Momma commanded. I nodded.

I walked outside to find Darcy and Mr. Steve ready to go. I got in the back seat and Mr. Steve started to drive.

“Where does Mr. Stewart like to hunt?” Mr. Steve asked Darcy.

“He always takes me to this place behind town,” Darcy said. Mr. Steve nodded.

The snow was coming down hard now and I had no idea how Mr. Steve could see. The windshield wipers weren’t working too well now.

“Mr. Matthews, you’re about to fall into a ditch!” Darcy screamed but it was too late. We were already stuck in the ditch.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 1- Christmas Dreams Installment 4

**

               “Good morning, Natalie,” Momma said to me with a smile. I nodded. Maybe what happened last night was all a really bad Christmas dream.

But it wasn’t. Darcy hobbled into the family room on his crutches. His knee cap was broken. He looked at me with an evil eye and hobbled into the kitchen.

“It wasn’t your fault, honey,” Momma said. Did she think I felt sorry? I didn’t feel sorry one bit for that Darcy. Ok maybe just a little. It was rotten having a broken foot but a broken knee?

“Can you hand me my crutches?” I asked. Momma nodded and handed them to me. I started to hobble into the restaurant.

“Look, who’s up,” Mr. Steve said to me. His face lightened up and then I saw that my Momma was behind me. Momma smiled back at him. I hobbled away not wanting to even think about my Momma liking Steve Matthews.

“Good morning, Miss Natalie,” Ms. Donna said to me. She smiled and put a plate of waffles on the table where Darcy was sitting.

“Good morning, Ms. Donna,” I said sitting at an empty chair at the table. Darcy gave me a look that clearly said I wasn’t welcome but I didn’t get up.

The door to the restaurant banged open and Emily Stewart walked into the restaurant with her grandfather not far behind.

“Mr. Stewart,” Ms. Donna started walking up to him. Emily walked to the table were Darcy and I were sitting.

“Move, clumsy,” Emily said. I got up. Not because I was afraid of this girl but because I really didn’t feel like fighting.

“My granddaughter would like an apology from both Natalie and Regina,” Mr. Stewart said. “We’ve already taken care of Erin.”

“What did Natalie do?” Momma asked. “Your granddaughter pulled her hair!”

“I did not! She told a lie about me in front of the entire school!” Emily cried.

“It wasn’t in front of the entire school,” Regina said. “Claire wasn’t there.” Emily balled up her fist.

“You! You assaulted me!” Emily shouted.

“Look, I don’t know what I’m supposed to be apologizing for but I’m sorry for whatever I did,” I said. I took one look at her before I walked out the door and hobbled down the road.

The log cabin was the first thing that caught my eye when I got close to town. Christmas lights hung from it and Mr. Rivers was on top of the roof trying to put a snowman on top of it. He waved and I smiled.

“Hello, Natalie,” Mrs. Rivers said. She had a box full of lights under her arm. “How’s the foot?”

“Still broken,” I sighed. Mrs. Rivers smiled.

“So what brings you down the road?” Mrs. Rivers asked.

“I don’t know,” I sighed. “I bet you heard about what happened at the Christmas party.”

“It’s all over town,” Mrs. Rivers said. “How Ms. Ross let things get so out of hand surprises me.”

“It was all Emily Stewarts fault. She pulled my hair in front of everybody and then denied it,” I said.

“A Stewart will do that to you,” Mrs. Rivers said taking some tinsel out of the box.

“And she came by today asking Regina and I to apologize. I understand Regina but what did I do?” I asked.

“From what Erin told me, you did nothing wrong but if you dig deeper into Emily Stewart’s past you might figure out why she feels like you should apologize,” Mrs. Rivers said putting the tinsel on the mail box.

There was no way I was digging into that girl’s past.

“I should probably go back home,” I huffed. “My mother doesn’t know I’m here.”

“Do you need a ride?” Mrs. Rivers asked me. I shook my head no and hobbled down the road.

When I got back to the B&B Emily and her grandfather were gone. I hobbled back to the couch in the family room and found a note.

If you know what’s best for you. You’ll stay away from Florida(especially Darcy!!)!!!!!!!!!!!!

No one needed to tell me who this was from.

**

    “Nelson,” I said all serious.

“Yeah, Natalie,” Nelson said.

“I have a mission for you,” I whispered.

Nelson looked at me like I was crazy.

“Nelson, I need you to sneak into my mother’s room and get the catalog sitting on her dresser,” I whispered. “I would do it myself but my foot.”

“Why are you whispering?” Nelson asked.

“Haven’t you ever watched spy movies?” I asked.

“Sure,” Nelson shrugged.

“I’m pretending to be the Christmas Spy,” I said. Nelson nodded.

“I will get that catalog, sir. I mean ma’am,” Nelson said. He tiptoed up the stairs in a dramatic way. Boy, did he look funny.

After what seemed like forever, Nelson came back down with the catalog I wanted.

“What do you need this for?” Nelson asked.

“I need to find out what my mom wants for Christmas,” I said turning to the page with an index card stuck in it.

“Why don’t you just ask her?” Nelson asked.

“Cause that’s not how Baldwin’s do it,” I said. There was only one thing on the page. It was an ad for perfume. The perfume was called Christmas Dreams.

Perfume? Why in the world would my mother want perfume?

She wants to smell good for Steve a voice in my head said. No way. That was NOT the reason.

“How do you know if she wants perfume or this book,” Nelson said looking at the two pages.

The page where the lines of the index card touched was what she wanted and I knew she didn’t want the book. The book was called, How to Enjoy Christmas.

                    “This page had the side of the card with the lines,” I said. “And my mother could enjoy Christmas with all the bones in her body broken.”

Nelson nodded.

“I need to go to the store,” I said. “Where’s the closet Wal-Mart?” Nelson laughed.

“There’s a little shop in town. I believe they sell perfume,” Nelson said. That would have to do.

“Will you take me?” I asked. Nelson shrugged. I hobbled off towards the family room where Ms. Donna was watching TV.

“Ms. Donna, I’m going out to go get my mom a Christmas present. Don’t worry, Nelson is coming with me,” I said. Ms. Donna nodded.

“Take Darcy with you,” Ms. Donna said. “DARCY!”

Darcy hobbled into the family room.

“Nelson and Natalie are going to town to get Christmas presents,” Ms. Donna said. “I want you to accompany them.”

Darcy groaned and then looked at me as if I had something to do with. I went through my suitcase and found my green fudge tin my dad had given me. It was where I kept my money.

“Let’s get this show on the road,” Darcy said as we walked down the road. He started to hobble ahead of Nelson and me. That boy is fast on crutches.

“Do you hear that?” Nelson asked me. It sounded like an engine. I was about to say yes but Nelson didn’t give me the chance. He pushed me into a ditch and hid along with me.

“What did you………” I started but then a car drove by real fast. It drove right on the ground I had just when walking on.

“People don’t know how to drive these days,” Nelson muttered helping me out of the ditch.

“Hurry up!” Darcy called from far down the road.

When Nelson and I got to the shop Darcy was already there looking around. A girl around fifteen was standing at the counter.

“Welcome to The Treasure Chest. My name is Paige,” The girl said. “And you must be Natalie.” I nodded.

“Darcy said you were looking for a perfume called Christmas Dreams. You’re in luck. We have one bottle left,” Paige said. Darcy had told her that? Funny, I didn’t even think he was listening.

Just as Paige reached under the counter to get the perfume the sound of glass ringed through my ears.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 1-Christmas Dreams Installment Two

We parked in front of a huge house and Momma told me to get out of the car so that we might ask the people if there was anywhere we could stay.

“How can I help you?” The woman who answered the door asked.

“Do you know of a place that my daughter and I can stay?” Momma asked.

“This is your lucky day,” The woman said. “This is the Sunshine Bed & Breakfast.”

Momma smiled. This had to be one of the worst days of her life well at least for me.

“What do you charge?” Momma asked walking through the door.

“Depends,” The woman shrugged. “How long you planning on staying?”

“For a while,” Momma said.

“Everybody’s got a different idea of ‘a while’,” The woman said frowning. “I have day, week, month, and year.”

“How much for a month?” Momma asked.

She wasn’t serious about staying in this small town for at least a month could she?

“For one room its one thousand a hundred dollars due at the end of your month,” The woman said. Momma looked shocked. How was she supposed to come up with that much money by the end of the month?

“But since its Christmas I charge nine hundred dollars for a month,” The woman said.

“What’s your yearly price for the Christmas season?” Momma asked.

“Eight hundred and fifty dollars a month,” The woman said.

“Does it include breakfast?” Momma asked.

“Yes, it includes breakfast. I serve breakfast and dinner,” The woman said. Momma sighed.

“Are there any jobs around here?” Momma asked.

“Not many,” The woman huffed.

“Maybe I can be of help to you,” Momma said. “I know how to cook and clean. I decorated people’s homes back in Miami for the holidays.”

“I could use some help in the kitchen,” The woman mumbled.

“I’d be willing to do the yearly plan,” Momma said. I wanted to scream. Spend an entire year here?

“You got a deal. You help me around here and I give you a paycheck. It won’t be much but it’ll be better than nothing. I’ll see if I can help you get jobs with people in town,” The woman said. “Oh and by the way I’m Donna.”

“Riley. And this is my daughter Natalie,” Momma said offering her hand. Ms. Donna smiled and shook it.

“How old are you?” Ms. Donna asked me.

“Twelve,” I answered.

“I got a son who’s thirteen,” Ms. Donna smiled. “DARCY!”

A tall boy who I assumed was Darcy walked up with an empty plate in his hands. He had dark brown almost black hair and blue eyes. He had pale skin and a couple freckles. He had a huge scowl on his face.

“This is Mrs. Riley and her daughter Natalie. Say hello,” Ms. Donna said.

“Hi,” Darcy grumbled.

“Darcy, help these ladies with their things. I’ll be putting them in the Miami Room,” Donna said. I felt like laughing.

Darcy handed the plate to his mother and walked out the door.

“Wow, I’ve never seen licenses plates from so far away,” Darcy said when he saw our Florida tags. Momma smiled and opened the trunk.

“We’re going to need more manpower,” Darcy gawked as he looked at all the stuff in the car. “Did you pack your entire house in this car?”

“Actually, yes,” Momma laughed. At least someone was having a good sense of humor about all this.

“I’ll be right back,” Darcy said walking back into the house.

“And entire year, Momma?” I asked. Momma looked at me.

“Natalie, you do realize that we have nowhere to go?” Momma asked me.

“We can go back home!” I cried.

“We are home,” Momma said picking up the wreath. I wanted to cry but Darcy and two other men and another boy walked out the house.

“Ladies meet Steve Matthews, Samuel Drew, and Nelson Drew your housemates,” Darcy said.

“Hello!” The boy said offering his hand. “I’m Nelson.”

“Natalie,” I said not shaking his hand.

“I’m Steve Matthews,” One of the men said. He took one of my mother’s hands and kissed it. My mother’s cheeks turned bright red.

“Hello, Natalie,” Mr. Steve said to me. He took one of my hands, the right to be exact, and kissed it. I smiled politely.

“And I’m Samuel Drew. Welcome to the neighborhood,” Mr. Drew said. Momma smiled.

“That’s one interesting tree,” Mr. Drew said looking in the trunk.

“I’ve had it since Natalie was a baby,” Momma said. Darcy snickered.

“It’s very gold,” Darcy commented. Nelson shook his head.

“Let’s start helping the ladies with their things. I’m sure that they’ll want to get settled in as soon as possible,” Mr. Steve said. The men started to move the tree out of the trunk and the rest of the things.

“Thank you all so much,” Momma said opening her purse. “I have ten dollars in here……….”

“That won’t be necessary,” Mr. Drew and Mr. Steve said at the same time. Darcy looked disappointed.

“Here young men,” Momma said giving Darcy and Nelson both four dollars.

“No ma’am I can’t take your money,” Nelson said.

“Take it. It’s Christmas,” Momma smiled. Darcy had already put the money in his pocket.

“How long do you plan on staying?” Nelson asked me as we walked up the steps.

I wanted to say, “I want to go back to Miami and I don’t care that stalker dude Ryan is there.” But instead I said,

“At least a year.”

“Cool! I’ve been living here since I was three,” Nelson said. “I have a twin sister named Regina and a younger brother Fred.”

“You must be the new girl,” A blonde girl said when I walked through the door. “I’m Regina Drew.”

“Natalie. Natalie Baldwin,” I smiled.

**

                              “Miss Natalie Baldwin, you are the newest waitress for the Sunshine B&B,” Ms. Donna said to me that night. As part of the deal I would help out in the restaurant.

“Do you get a big crowd?” I asked worried I might drop the food. I’m not exactly the most balanced person in the world.

“Depends on what you call a crowd,” Ms. Donna laughed. “During the Christmas season there are a couple more people stopping in but it’s mostly the regulars.”

“Miss Donna, are you open for dinner yet?” An elderly man asked walking through the Sunshine B&B restaurant door.

“I sure am Hank,” Ms. Donna said. “My new waitress, Natalie, will be helping you today.”

“Hello, sugar,” Mr. Hank said to me. I smiled politely.

“What can I get you?” I asked.

“My regular of course!” Mr. Hank shouted like I had just asked what country we were in.

“Regular?” I asked.

“Sorry, sugar,” Mr. Hank said. “My regular is beef carrot stew with a glass of root beer. I’m so used to Darcy taking my order. Sorry, sugar.”

I nodded my head and walked towards the kitchen. No one’s ever called me ‘sugar’ before.

“Here’s Hank’s root beer,” Ms. Donna said when I gave her his order.

When I walked back to the restaurant Darcy was talking to Mr. Hank. He scowled at me when I put the root beer on the table.

“Fix your face, son,” Mr. Hank said to Darcy. He quickly turned his frown upside down.

A man and a woman walked into the restaurant and sat down.

“Hi, my name is Natalie and I’ll be…..serving you today,” I said unsure if serving was the right word to use.

“Well hello Natalie, how long have you been living in Florida?” The man asked.

“Which one?” I blurted out. I soon realized that he meant Florida, Massachusetts.

The man and the woman laughed.

“I’m assuming you’re from the other Florida? The state?” The woman asked. I nodded to afraid that I might say something else stupid.

“That’s ok,” The man said.

“I’ve been here for about two hours,” I sighed.

“Did you here that, Joan? The girl’s only been here two hours and she already has a job!” The man laughed. I smiled politely.

“Well we’re Tom and Joan Rivers. We live down the road,” The woman said. “If you ever need anything honey you just walk down the road to the log cabin.”

I nodded. It wasn’t like I ever intended to actually do that.

“We already know what we want,” Mr. Rivers said. “I would like Seafood Salad and Joan will have the beef carrot stew with a glass of ice tea. I’ll also have an ice tea.”

I nodded and wrote it down on the pad.

“Here are the Rivers’ ice teas,” Ms. Donna said when I got back to the kitchen.

There was another customer by the time I put the ice teas on the Rivers’ table. Darcy was helping the lady.

“You sweetheart! The one with the dirty blonde hair! Come here!” The woman shouted across the room.

I walked over towards her a little embarrassed.

“Darcy, introduce me to your new friend,” The woman smiled.

“This is Natalie. She and her mother live here now,” Darcy mumbled.

“You must love Christmas,” The woman joked. I nodded.

“You should see their gold Christmas tree,” Darcy mumbled.

“Speak up, Darcy Edwards!” The woman scolded. “Hi, I’m Jane Powers but you can just call me Aunt Jane. Everybody does.”

“Nice to meet you Aunt Jane,” I said a little uncomfortable. Aunt Jane smiled.

I curtsied. Why I did that I have no idea but I walked back to the kitchen and got Mr. Hank’s food.

“Thanks, sugar,” Mr. Hank said with his mouth full of stew.

I nodded and walked back to the kitchen and delivered Mr. and Mrs. River’s food.

“Thank you, Natalie,” Mrs. Rivers smiled at me. Another customer walked in. This time it was a man and I walked up to his table.

“Hi, my name is Natalie and I’ll be serving you today,” I said with my best smile.

“Eh? What happened to Darcy?” The man asked.

“I’m right here, Mr. Stewart,” Darcy said walking up.

“Who’s this Natalie girl?” The man asked rudely.

“She’s a new waitress. Her mother and her live here now,” Darcy said. He scowled at me and I had a feeling Mr. Stewart wasn’t going to tell him to fix his face.

“Darcy, I would like to try to Seafood Salad tonight and I’ll stick with the root beer,” Mr. Stewart said. Darcy wrote it down and walked away. I walked away feeling a little awkward.

A family of six (three girls, one boy, and two parents) walked through the doors of the restaurant and since Darcy was off in the kitchen I walked up to them.

“Hi, my name is Natalie and I’ll be serving you today,” I said with a smile.

“Hello, Natalie we are the Carlson’s,” The man said.

“I’m Libby!” The youngest shouted. I smiled.

“And I’m Michael,” The boy said.

“Judy!” The other girl shouted.

“Jody!” The other girl shouted.

“And I’m Michael the second and this is my wife Kaitlin. We’ll all just take the beef carrot stew all with lemonade. Please make three bowls children sized,” The man said. I nodded and walked towards the kitchen.

Darcy was walking out the kitchen at the same time with Mr. Stewart’s drink. I don’t know if he meant to do this on purpose or not but he tripped me.

If he meant to do it on purpose the joke was on his because as I started to fall and I banged my foot HARD into his knee and he fell on me. Root beer splashed everywhere.

“My foot!” I groaned. I couldn’t move my toes.

“My knee!” Darcy groaned holding on to it.

Ms. Donna and Momma walked out of the kitchen and Ms. Donna knelt down next to Darcy and me.

“Darcy’s knee with be all right but Natalie’s foot is broken,” Ms. Donna said touching Darcy’s knee and my foot.

What a wonderful way to start off in Florida.