When I got home, I lost it. I messed up my bed, threw pillows at the door, and cried my eyes out. Why had I agreed to do this wheelchair dancing thing? Why hadn’t I walked away after Ms. Etta warned us?
“Hey, baby,” Momma said walking into my room. “Jaci told me about what happened.”
“He just walked out,” I cried. “Just like that. Game over.”
“I remember this time when I was a sophomore in high school. I was so mad that Steve Matthews took out some girl named Karen. We weren’t officially together, but he took me to all the important dances and all that. We got into this huge fight, and we broke up. He started taking this Karen girl out more, and I was so jealous that I actually sabotaged one of there dates,” Momma said.
“You did what?” I asked.
“I got a job at this diner that he took her too and poured her soda all over her head,” Momma said. “And then I kissed Steve.”
“You did what?” I howled.
“Not one of my proudest moments,” Momma said. “But hey, I got my guy back even if it was only for two years.”
“I just wish I never agreed to wheelchair dance,” I said. “Darcy and I were a whole lot happier before this whole mess.”
“Baby, you’re only thirteen,” Momma said. “You’ve got a little bit longer to find your husband.”
“Thanks for trying to make me feel better,” I said. “But its way more than that.”
“Just because you and Darcy broke up doesn’t mean you have to stop wheelchair dancing. I’m sure Yule would be happy to do it with you,” Momma said.
“No way. I like the relationship I have with my older brother,” I said. Momma smiled.
“It’s just…I’ve this feeling,” I said. “I just kinda felt like Darcy didn’t want to ‘be’ with me anymore. I mean who truly wants a girlfriend in a wheelchair.”
“Now, I don’t know why you’d think that,” Momma said.
“Wasn’t it obvious?” I asked.
“Nope,” Momma said. “If anything I would say that he liked you more.”
There was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” I said drying my eyes a little.
“Someone’s here to see you, Natalie,” Jaci said opening the door.
“I don’t really feel seeing anyone right now,” I said.
“Well he’s waiting on the front porch,” Jaci said. “And he looks pretty sorry.”
I rolled out of my room and looked in the mirror in the hallway. I looked a mess, but there was no time to do anything to my eyes or hair.
I opened the front door and there stood a humble looking Darcy.
“Hiya,” Darcy said looking at the ground.
“Hey,” I said rolling out of the house and closing the door.
“I’ve been a jerk,” Darcy said.
“Well I was a little bit jerkish too,” I said.
“Look, I’m really sorry for walking out today,” Darcy said. “I was just really mad and angry. I’m trying really hard to not pull you and send you crashing, and you calling me a rat is not making it easier.”
“And I admit that I was a little hard on you,” Darcy said.
“And I was a little hard on you,” I said.
“And I know that your front porch is not the best place to practice, but you have to admit it’s pretty big,” Darcy said pulling his IPod out of his pocket.
The song that Ms. Etta had us dancing through filled the twilight air.
Darcy took my hand and spun me. I smiled and we started to Glide.
“You know I missed you a lot more than I ever thought I would,” Darcy whispered.
“Well, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon,” I smiled as Darcy spun me again.
“Special delivery for Natalie Matthews,” Our mailman Stanley interrupted.
“Special delivery?” I asked taking the large envelope.
“From London, England,” Stanley said.
It was probably from my grandparents.
Dear Miss Natalie Zoey Baldwin-Matthews
Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into Wesley Harland School for Paraplegics & Quadriplegics on full scholarship!
Or maybe not.
After reading the first two sentences, I fainted for a second. This could not be happening.
“Natalie, are you all right?” Daddy asked when I came to. I handed him the envelope with shaking fingers.
“Dear Miss Natalie Zoey Baldwin-Matthews. Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into Wesley Harland School for Paraplegics and Quadriplegics on full scholarship! Thank you for your application. Our executives loved it and your blog was riveting. We hope that you will be joining us as soon as this summer, but if not we would love for you to come in the fall,” Daddy read. He started to mumble a whole lot of other stuff.
Darcy looked at me and started to walk away.
“Darcy, wait!” I shouted rolling after me.
“What?” Darcy snapped.
“I promise you that I have never heard for Wesley Harland before today and that I never sent an application in,” I said.
“Yeah, right,” Darcy snapped. “You know what? What do I care? Do what you want. It’s your life after all. I thought you were different, but you’re just another girl.”
“Darcy, please!” I pleaded as Darcy walked down the driveway.
I sat there at the top of my driveway and watched Darcy disappear.
I rolled around and saw that Stanley had left and everybody else had gone inside.
I looked towards the sky and just screamed. What I would have done for some rain right about then….
The next day I did not want to go to church. I was tired, angry, and upset. And today was Meet & Greet today. There would be no way for me to avoid Darcy at brunch since the Youth Group had their own special brunch. I let the sun go down on my anger and I was really paying for it now.
“Phone,” Noel said handing it to me.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Natalie?” Grandma Baldwin asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” I said putting butter on my toast.
“Did you receive something very special in the mail yesterday?” Grandma Baldwin asked.
“You sent in an application for me?” I cried.
“Yes, love, we did!” Grandma Baldwin shouted excitedly. “I know its totally unreasonable for your family to just uproot their lives and move to England, but, love, you can. The school’s not that far from our house.”
“How could you send in an application without even asking me?” I cried.
“Well, love, we thought you’d love it,” Grandma Baldwin said with doubt creeping into her voice.
“Well I don’t love it!” I cried. “You’ve ruined my life!” I hung up the phone and slammed it own hard on the receiver.
“Natalie!” Momma shouted rushing into the kitchen. She picked up the phone and recalled Grandma Baldwin. My mother than began to apologize for me, but I wasn’t sorry. Not one little bit.
“You and Darcy’s breakup is all over school,” Virginia said as she and Emily helped me plant flowers in my backyard.
“He asked Anna Hardy to Spring Formal,” Emily said. “I mean we’d heard that you broke up, but we didn’t know you guys were officially finished!”
Virginia looked at Emily. Emily gave her a look and Virginia nodded.
I looked at them with watery eyes. Why were they telling me this? I had already spent to weekend crying. My mother even let me stay home from church!
“Don’t worry, Natalie,” Virginia said, “I have the perfect Spring Formal date for you. His name is Luke and he goes to Drury High School. He’s in the ninth grade. He’s on the same hockey team as Darcy also. He wants to take a date to Spring Formal, but he can’t dance. You two would be perfect together…”
“Are you serious?” I asked interrupting Virginia.
“Yeah, I’m serious. I think you and Luke would have an awesome time together,” Virginia said.
“Darcy broke up with me on Saturday! It’s Monday! At least give me a week to grieve before you start pairing me up with some guy I don’t even know!” I yelled.
“Sorry,” Virginia said. “I just thought since Darcy’s already moved on that you’d be over him too.”
“It’s just…Darcy’s the first guy I’ve ever…loved,” I admitted.
“Whoah! I didn’t realize you two were THAT serious!” Virginia shouted. She gave me a hug. “You poor baby.”
“Well that fact that Darcy went and asked Anna Hardy just two days after our breakup proves my suspicion,” I said.
“What suspicion?” Emily asked.
“That Darcy didn’t really like me. But who could blame him? Who wants to date a paraplegic?” I asked. “And we weren’t actually dating. He never asked me to be his girlfriend.”
“I’ll never forget that cold October day,” Emily blurted. “We were walking home from school. The boys were blabbing about hockey, and we girls were talking about Homecoming. We knew something was wrong when we saw a bunch of cars parked around the B&B. We went through the restaurant door and the first thing I saw was Mr. Rivers holding a weeping Jessie-Maria. Mrs. Rivers, my grandma, and Ms. Donna were drying their eyes, and Pastor was there. I blurted out, ‘Oh my goodness someone’s dead!’ and Darcy said, ‘What happened to Natalie?’ Mrs. Rivers told us that early that morning you’d sleepwalked out into the street and that a car hit you. For a couple of seconds I thought that you were dead, but then Mrs. Rivers told us that you broke your lower back and that we needed to pray because you were still in surgery. Darcy ran out of the restaurant and I followed him. I kept calling out to him but he kept running. I almost went back but I remembered how Darcy had always been their for me. He was the only one who was ever nice to me except Nelson. He didn’t quite get why not being invited to a sleepover was important, but he listened. Anyway Darcy finally stopped running. When he turned around, I say that his eyes were red and his face was wet. I couldn’t believe that Darcy Chadwick Edwards was actually crying! The only time I’d ever seen him some close to crying was when Bennet enlisted in the army. I said to him, ‘Natalie will be all right. You know her. Nothing stops her.’ He started to blubber about how your accident was all his fault and how he had seen you sleepwalking before but he never said anything because he’d never seen you do anything dangerous. I told him that it wasn’t his fault. He said, ‘Emily, people get paralyzed from breaking their backs.’ I didn’t know what to say to him. He told me that he never got to tell you how much he really liked you. And I told him that you probably knew how much he really did like you. We walked back to the B&B in silence. Natalie, Darcy really likes you, and he thinks that you’re leaving again.”
“You aren’t going to accept are you?” Virginia asked.
“Well…,” I started.
“You can’t seriously be thinking about leaving! We just got you back!” Virginia shouted.
“Look, I don’t want to go but putting an ocean between Darcy and I right now is probably what’s in my best interest,” I said. “I stayed home from church and didn’t go to the restaurant last night, which was when Ms. Donna was unveiling her new pizza, just to avoid having to see Darcy!”
“Well then we’re going to have to put you back together,” Virginia and Emily said at the same time.
I gave them a smile.
“I’m serious,” Virginia said. “You just leave it all to me. I’ll have Darcy begging on his knees for you.”
I knew I should have said no to Virginia’s offer, but a person is very vulnerable after a breakup.
“I don’t want to go!” I whined. “Why can’t the Babies Shower be here?”
“Because that’s where the baby’s showers are held. Natalie, I don’t make the rules!” Momma cried as she got into the car. “You know you can’t avoid Darcy forever.”
“It was a week ago,” Megan said as she buckled herself in. “Get over it.”
“Now, Megan that wasn’t very nice,” Momma said.
“But she’s right,” Abby said. “Darcy’s over Natalie. He’s taking Anna Hardy to Spring Formal last week.”
Abby started to smirk.
Momma looked at Abby like “Did you really have to bring that up?”
“Well, he was the one that broke up Natalie,” Jaci said. She then put her hand over her mouth in shock.
“I don’t blame him,” Abby said. “You can’t really have any kind of future with someone who thinks Santa, Santalle, and Rudolf are good names.”
“Ouch,” Megan said.
“Sorry,” Jaci mouthed to me.
I nodded and tried not to cry. By the time we got to the B&B tears were slowly dripping out of my eyes.
“Do you have the board?” Regina asked when we walked through the door.
“Yup,” Momma said. “Steve and I were up all last night fighting over the names but we finally agreed.”
Baby A Baby B Baby C
Merry Gabriel Christian
Natasha Natalio Natal
Love Emmanuel Avery
Eve Nicholas Joseph
“Steve went with Natal?” Mrs. Rivers asked.
“Not exactly,” Momma said putting the board up.
“Natasha is cute. Love is adorable. Eve is not very Christmas like,” Aunt Jane said.
Noel looked at Aunt Jane but she didn’t say anything.
Everyone turned around to find the Baby Shower Rocker on the floor and Darcy looked rather ashamed.
“Sorry,” He said. Darcy put the rocking chair in the family room and hastily walked out.
“I just wish someone would have backed me up for Mistletoe,” Momma said trying to cease the awkward silence.
“You could name a dog Mistletoe,” Megan said sweetly.
I laughed. The Matthews family was having quite the pet dilemma. Yule, Megan, and Bella wanted a dog while Noel, Jaci, and I thought that a cat would be better. For the time being Momma and Daddy let us all either get a fish or a hamster. Megan got two goldfish and named them Twinkle and Jingle. Bella got a hamster and named him Picasso. Yule got a Spotted African Leaf Fish and named him Ukulele (don’t ask me why he named him that.). Noel and I got a goldfish and named him Swish but he died after a week.
“Or you could name a cat Mistletoe,” I suggested. Momma laughed.
“Why don’t you just get both?” Mrs. Rivers spoke up.
“Joan!” Momma laughed.
“What? I had a dog and a cat growing up. And I still believe Mr. Meow died of a broke heart,” Mrs. Rivers said. “He died only a week after Mrs. Sugar Bear.”
“Mrs. Sugar Bear?” I giggled.
“Mr. Meow?” Jessie-Maria howled.
“What? I was five and my younger brother Ted was three,” Mrs. Rivers said. “And Marisa hadn’t been born yet.”
“Can we pwlese get a doggie and a cat?” Megan asked hugging Momma’s legs.
“I’ll talk to your father,” Momma said giving up. Megan clapped her hands.
“Natalie, can you please get the baby shower cookies?” Ms. Donna asked sneakily.
“Sure,” I said pretty sure where this was going.
Sure enough Darcy was in the kitchen stirring lemonade.
“Hiya,” I said grabbing the plate with the cookies.
“Ms. Etta stopped by,” Darcy said. “She was wondering if we wanted to still do lessons.”
“And what did you say?” I asked as I stuffed a cookie into my mouth.
“I told her about your scholarship,” Darcy said.
“And then what?” I asked as I rolled towards the kitchen door.
“She told me, ‘Darcy Chadwick Edwards, you are the worst boyfriend in all of Berkshire County,'” Darcy said.
I didn’t turn around to look at him because I was grinning.
“And then I told her that you’d been purposely avoiding me for an entire week, and I that I hadn’t even tried to talk to you. And she said, ‘You’re the worst boyfriend in all of Massachusetts!'” Darcy said.
I let a laugh escape. Darcy turned my chair around.
“And all week Virginia’s been trying to get me to go to your house,” Darcy said. “And yesterday Virginia yelled to me at lunch. She said, ‘Do you know what you’re doing to Natalie? What you’re doing to Natalie is ripping her heart out and eating it! And you know what else? She’s defiantly going off to some school on England because she needs to put an ocean between you, the heart eater!'”
“Did you put her up to that?” Darcy asked.
“No,” I said, “but I didn’t stop her. She told me since none of her other matchmaking things were working that she was going to try something different. If I had known she was going to yell at you…I wouldn’t have stopped her.”
Darcy laughed and shook his head.
“So are you really going to off to school?” Darcy asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I only said that because I was still pretty upset about the breakup. It was that Monday and Virginia was already trying to pair me with some Luke guy. Oh and my grandparents were the one’s that sent in an application for that school.”
“Did you call me a heart eater?” Darcy asked.
“Not that I recall,” I said. “But I called you a bunch of things…especially after I found out you asked some other girl to Spring Formal…two days after we broke up.”
“What?” Darcy asked. “What girl?”
“Emily told me that you asked Anna Hardy to Spring Formal,” I said.
Darcy started to giggle.
“I don’t find it very funny,” I said crossing my arms.
“Natalie, Anna Hardy is three,” Darcy said. “I never asked her to go to Spring Formal. I wasn’t even planning on going to Spring Formal.”
“Virginia, Abby, and Emily are in so much trouble!” I shouted. Darcy laughed.
“Look, I’m sorry,” Darcy said. “I thought taking wheelchair dancing lessons would make you happy. It was easy to tell that you really wanted to learn how to dance.”
“You are forgiven,” I said.
“I have a feeling I’m going to be saying sorry a lot in this relationship,” Darcy laughed.
“What are you saying?” I asked.
“Natalie Zoey Baldwin-Matthews, would you be my girlfriend?” Darcy asked.
“I do-I mean yes,” I said.
“Whoah! I’m not asking you to marry me,” Darcy joked.
“Natalie!” Jaci shouted sticking her head into the kitchen. “Abby’s gone into labor!”