Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 6- Christmas Hope Installment One

How can a person not be excited about Christmas when their name is Natalie?

My name means “born on Christmas day” but I was really born on November 25. Both my mother and my father loved Christmas just as much as I do and most of my siblings have Christmas themed names. We keep up our decorations and a gold, fake Christmas tree all year long. In my house, it’s basically Christmas every day minus the presents.

Some of you may have already read a story that I previously wrote. In that story, I chronicled a year and a half of my life. In that year and a half, I moved from Miami, Florida to Florida, Massachusetts, I discovered that my father was basically murdered, my mom got remarried and I got two older sisters, my older sister, Abby, got married, we moved to New York City, my mother faced her past and I got two more older siblings–this time a brother and a sister,I became a paraplegic, we moved back to Florida, Massachusetts, my mother had triplets, and my older sister, Jaci, got married.

It was a rather busy year and a half, and life didn’t stop moving fast just because I felt like I needed a break.

The summer I wrote that story, I met the girl who asked me to write it. Her name is Charlotte Lily King, but almost everyone calls her Charlly. She just happened to be the stepdaughter of one of Mr. Stewart’s nephews. She also just happened to be moving to Florida, Massachusetts and be a paraplegic. Charlly moved in with me and my family since there is really no other wheelchair friendly house in Florida. While I would like to write about Charlly’s move to Florida and all the craziness her life brought, that’s Charlly’s story to tell. All you need to know is that her stepdad’s name is Laz, Charlly’s biological father’s name is ‘Lou’, Charlly has a younger sister named Becca Lou, a half brother named Jacob or ‘Mini-Lou’ as she likes to call him, and a stepbrother named Matt.

Life did start to slow down a little only to get more crazy. Then the craziest of all seasons arrived. Christmas.

As you can probably guess, Christmas is a big deal in my family and this Christmas would be particularly special. It would be the first we would spend at our new home, Drury Hall, and it would also be the triplet’s first Christmas. My mother invited every one in our family to come even my grandparents, who live in England. She was determined to make this Christmas special.

But this Christmas would be special and would be remembered for different reasons than what everyone had in mind. This Christmas would prove that there was still good in the world and that miracles really do happen.

And that hope helps bind us all together.

**

“Natalie?” My mother asked walking into my bedroom. “Do you know where I placed the ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ ornaments?I bought three for the triplets in September and now I can’t find them.”

“I haven’t seen them,” I said without taking my eyes off the sky. The weathermen had said there was a good chance that we would get a fresh snow this weekend and I desperately wanted to go sledding.

“Did you hear a word I said?” Momma asked.

“You asked if I had seen the triplets Christmas ornaments,” I said pulling my eyes away from the window and onto my mother. “I’ve never seen them in my life.”

My mother gave a mixture between a snort and a laugh and walked towards the door.

“Steve! Have you seen Avery, Love, and Emanuel’s ornaments?”

“It feels like snow!” Charlly squealed as she rolled into my–our bedroom. Charlly had opted to room with Noel and I. The experience was…interesting. Life left like one big sleepover with Charlly living in the house.

“You’re becoming a true Floridian,” I smiled. Charlly laughed.

“I can’t believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away,” Charlly said more to the window than to me.

“Why not? It surely feels like Christmas in this household,” I said.

“It feels like Christmas, but it just isn’t,” Charlly answered.

“How is that possible?” I asked.

“I just have this feeling,” Charlly trailed off.

“What kind of feeling?” I asked.

“It’s probably nothing,” Charlly said shaking her head. “Forget I ever said anything.”

“Charlly, if something is bothering you…,” I started.

“Charlly,” Momma said interupting me, “have you seen three ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ ornaments?”

“I thought I saw the new ones on the tree this morning,” Charlly said. Momma leaned against the door post and put her hand to her head.

“Forgive me, girls,” Momma said. “Christmas always gets me out of sorts. But I still love the season!”

“Let’s go to the B&B,” Charlly said before I can bring our previous subject back up. “The boys are about to return with the Christmas tree any moment now.”

**

“What happened in here?” I asked as Charlly and I rolled into the restaurant. The entire room was covered with tinsel.

“This is what you get when you give a four year old a box of tinsel,” Lou said as he started to clean up the mess.

“Why does that not surprise me?” Charlly asked as she pulled some tinsel through her wheel.

“I got this mess here. Why don’t you help Donna get ready for the tree?” Lou said taking the tinsel from Charlly.

“How come you didn’t go on the tree chopping trip?” I asked Lou.

“Don’t really my kind of thing,” Lou shrugged.

“Translation: Lou is lousy with a saw,” Charlly said.

“What can I say?” Lou asked. “Give me a saw and lose your eye.”

“Ok…,” I said. I quickly rolled into the family room.

“Where’s all the tinsel?” Ms. Donna asked as she rummaged through her box of Christmas decorations.

“Strewn all over your restaurant,” Charlly answered. She sent Jacob a look.

“Here!” Lou shouted. He threw some tinsel from the restaurant into the foyer.

“Oh my goodness,” Ms. Donna said as she walked towards the restaurant.

“We’re BACK!” Mr. Drew shouted as he and the rest carried the tree into the restaurant!

“We saw some flurries on our way back,” Darcy said as he helped up the tree in the holder.

Charlly squealed and rolled to the window.

“It’s snowing!” Charlly shouted.

“Someone’s excited,” Leo laughed. Charlly smacked him and Leo smirked.

I guess I should tell you this now in the story rather than later. Leo and Virginia ‘broke’ up this summer after Charlly came to town. Leo started liking Charlly and ever since their relationship has been…complicated. Also, Virginia refuses to speak to Charlly. Virginia hasn’t spoken a word to her since August.

“You guys can go play in the snow after we finish putting up the tree,” Charlly’s mom, Mrs. Jennifer Gray-Stewart, said as she hung the first ornament on the tree.

Soon everyone was busy hanging ornaments and stringing tinsel around the tree. By the time we’re finished, the ground was covered in snow, but sadly not enough to have impromptu sledding day.

“We’ll just have to have a Marshmallow Day tomorrow,” Darcy said as Charlly and I prepared to go home.

“Tomorrow,” I promised. “We’ll go to The Hill straight after school.”

Darcy nodded and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.

“We might come for dinner,” I said. “Momma’s been a little frazzled lately.”

“Understandable with the triplets and you to take care of,” Darcy said. I shoved him just as Charlly rolled up.

“I’m not even going to ask,” Charlly said as she rolled out the door.

“Bye,” I waved as I too rolled out the door.

“I really hope it keeps snowing,” Charlly said. “I really want to sled on the legendary Hill.”

“From the looks of it, tomorrow is going to be an awesome snow day,” I said looking at the clouds.

We would never get to go to sledding on The Hill the entire winter season.

**

The day started off wrong.

The triplets woke up around five A.M. screaming their lungs off and waking everybody up, snow had turned into rain, I woke up with an upset stomach, Noel had slept in the panic room and refused to come out, and Charlly didn’t speak a word the entire morning.

I could tell that she could feel it too.

Something terrible was going to happen.

By the time lunch came around, I was just about a nervous wreck. I kept telling myself that nothing that bad could possibly happen, but my emotions wouldn’t listen.

I was just about ready to snap when I saw Darcy leaning against a red trashcan, waiting for me and other friends to show up for lunch. I don’t know why it bothered me so much that Darcy leaned up against that silly trashcan. All I know is on that rainy December day, it infuriated me.

“Why do you lean up against the trash?” Those were the first words out of my mouth when I rolled up to him.

“I don’t know…,” Darcy stared at me. I could tell that he was caught off guard by the question.

“It’s disgusting!” I shouted.

“What?” Darcy asked. “Natalie, where is all of this coming from? You’ve been on edge all morning.”

“I just think that its a little disgusting that you’re leaning up against a trashcan!”

“It’s not like people barfed in it!”

“You don’t know that!”

“Fine!” Darcy shouted throwing his hands up in the air. “I’ll move!”

Just seconds after Darcy stepped away from the trashcan, the trashcan exploded, sending fire and something hard onto my face.

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 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 1-Christmas Dreams Installment 3 Part 2

**

                                      My mother agreed to let me go to the party. She said it would help me get to know my new classmates better. Mr. Drew would be driving us kids to the party and at six we got into his car.

“There are so many people for you to meet!” Regina shouted. “Let me see there’s Claire, Erin, Victoria……….”

The drive to the school wasn’t long and soon we were at the school. The Memorial School was a one story brick building that I thought looked more like a church than a school.

Darcy climbed over me to get out of the car. What a gentleman.

As Mr. Drew was helping me get out the car, Regina screamed and another car hit the other side of Mr. Drew’s car.

“Mr. Stewart, are you all right?” Darcy asked running to the other car.

“I’m just fine, son,” Mr. Stewart said getting out of his car. “I’m sorry, Samuel, for hitting your car.”

“What happened?” Mr. Drew asked. He didn’t look too mad but there was a little bit of annoyance in his voice.

“Some kid ran out in front of me and I swerved,” Mr. Stewart muttered. He sounded mad. “Don’t worry, Samuel, I’ll fix your car.”

“That would be nice since it was your fault,” Mr. Drew said. He finished helping me out of the car.

“You kids go in while I sort this out with Mr. Stewart,” Mr. Drew said. Darcy ran into the school but Nelson and Regina walked at my pace as I hobbled into the school.

“I didn’t see any kid,” Regina said when we were inside the school.

“Neither did I,” Nelson said. “To me it looked like he was trying to hit the car.”

“But why would Mr. Stewart do that?” Regina asked.

“Cause he’s a Grinch,” I joked. That made them laugh.

“He really kinda is. I mean look at Darcy. Mr. Stewart is the father figure in his life!” Regina laughed.

I wanted to ask what happened to Darcy’s dad but I thought it might be rude to ask. And anyway Regina might not even know.

When we walked into the gym there were decorations and a large tree. Christmas music was playing. A bunch of children were dancing. Darcy and some girl walked up to us.

“You must be Natalie. I’m Emily Stewart,” The girl said offering her hand. I couldn’t shake her hand because if I took my hand off my crutch I would fall.

“Nice to meet you,” I said with my polite smile (a smile I was using a lot lately).

“When will you start attending our school?” Emily asked.

“In January,” I answered. Emily smiled.

“Well, welcome,” Emily said. She and Darcy walked away.

“Just in case you didn’t make the connection, Emily Stewart is Mr. Stewart’s granddaughter,” Regina said. I actually hadn’t made that connection.

“I guess that makes since,” I said. Emily’s niceness seemed kinda fake to me.

“Hello, you must be Natalie,” A woman said walking up to me.

“Did the cast tip you off?” I asked. The woman laughed.

“I’m Ms. Ross and I’m the sixth grade teacher aka your teacher,” The woman said. I smiled.

“Nice to meet you Ms. Ross,” I smiled.

“I look forward to having you in my class this year,” Ms. Ross said. “I will see all three of you in class a couple weeks from now.”

She smiled and walked away.

“You’ll really like Ms. Ross,” Regina said walking over to the refreshment table. “She’s nice and the best art teacher.”

I nodded. Someone tapped on my shoulder.

“Hi! I’m Erin Cooper!” The red haired girl said to me.

“And I’m Victoria,” A dark skinned girl said to me. I smiled at them.

“These are my best friends, Natalie,” Regina said.

“Hi,” I said.

“Where’s Claire?” Regina asked.

“I thought she told you. Because she got a C on the spelling test today her mother wouldn’t let her come to the party,” Victoria said.

“EVERYBODY PLEASE COME DOWN TO THE DANCE FLOOR EVEN IF YOUR FOOT IS IN A CAST. WE’RE GOING TO PLAY FREEZE DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Ms. Ross screamed through a microphone. I hobbled to get in line. Just to be mean I stood next to Darcy which forced Emily to find someone else to stand next too.

Christmas music started to play and I hobbled in a circle. I noticed that Emily was making her way over to me. The music stopped.

“Erin, you moved!” Ms. Ross shouted. Erin groaned and stood next to Ms. Ross. The music started up and what happened, happened all too fast.

Emily pulled on my hair and I fell and while I fell I heard the worst scream in my life.

“What’s wrong?” Mr. Drew asked running into the gym.

“Clumsy hit my knee with her cast,” Darcy groaned. He sounded like he was in some serious pain.

“Your girlfriend pulled my hair!” I screamed.

“What a lie,” Emily said rolling her eyes.

“I saw you!” Nelson shouted. Emily gasped.

“Why would I do such a thing?” Emily asked.

“Cause your jealous,” Regina snapped. Emily laughed.

“Why would I be jealous of her? She probably just tripped like she did the first time she tried to break Darcy’s knee,” Emily said.

“That’s crazy! Darcy tripped her the first time!” Regina shouted. Emily laughed again. Regina snapped and jumped on Emily. They started to scream and pull each other’s hair.

I turned my head and saw that Darcy’s knee was out of place.

“That’s gross,” I laughed. Darcy gave me an evil look.

“Girls!” Ms. Ross shouted separating them.

“She assaulted me!” Emily cried. Darcy laughed.

“Darcy!” Emily screamed. She started to walk towards the door but Erin pulled her hair.

“That’s what she did,” Erin said.

“I’m being attacked!” Emily cried. She ran out the door.

What a wonderful debut, right? Who am I kidding? What a mess.

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.