Posted in My Crazy Life

My Crazy Life: Episode I-The Summer Everything Changed Installment IV

Chapter IV

Cherry Popsicles & Chatting

Before I even had a chance to cry or scream over my murdered laptop or before Mrs. Matthews had a chance to apologize for her granddaughter, what seemed like hundreds of dripping wet people burst into the house.

“Wet kids!” Mrs. Matthews screamed. “Get out of my kitchen! Go out on the porch and I’ll bring you guys towels…and popsicles.”

With the promise of popsicles everyone but Darcy raced out of the kitchen.

“What happened here?” He asked pointing at my laptop. Natalia giggled as if she was happily confessing to the dirty deed.

“Baby laptop murder,” I spit out. Darcy laughed.

“Would you mind if I took a look at it?” Darcy asked as he walked towards the door.

“If you can fix that thing, I’ll love you forever,” I said almost in a grumble.

“Don’t let Natalie hear you say that,” Darcy laughed. The door slammed as he ran around the house to the porch.

“Please deliver these for me,” Mrs. Matthews said as she dispensed about ten towels in my lap. “Can you also take the popsicles out?”

“Sure,” I said.

“I’m really sorry about your computer, Charlly. I thought it would be safe on the table. I had no idea Natalie knew how to climb…or was strong enough to lift the laptop,” Mrs. Matthews apologized as she rummaged through the freezer. “You can have my old one if you want. The internet’s fuzzy, but the Word works perfectly.”

“Thanks, I’d appreciate that,” I sighed. “Darcy’s going to take a look at it, but I doubt he can do anything with it.”

“I didn’t know Darcy was into computers. Doesn’t surprise me,” Mrs. Matthews said as she dropped the popsicles on top of the towels. “But in the meantime, this computer needs to get picked up off my kitchen floor.”

Mrs. Matthews picked up Natalie and walked off towards the family room where Mr. Steve was watching the triplets.

My trip to the front door was slow since I couldn’t see over the Leaning Tower of Towels and Popsicles, but I managed to make it to the front door without dropping anything.

“And when Nelson came around and splattered Jessie-Maria with that whooper of a water balloon!” A girl with very wet red hair laughed as I opened the front door of the Matthews’ house.

“Hey!” A girl with wet brown hair shouted. “He hit me in the face with that glob of water!”

“You’ve gotta admit Jessie-Maria that it was pretty funny,” A girl with wet blonde/auburn hair snickered.

“To bad Timmy got married,” A boy with almost dry dirty blonde hair said.

“Why?” Natalie asked.

“Because Timmy is the best water ballooner in all of Berkshire County!” The boy shouted. “First he turns down a fun day just hanging out to spend with his wife, the next thing we’ll know Timmy’s going to be a dad.”

“What’s wrong that?” Natalie asked. “I’ll get to be an aunt again.”

“Natalie, think,” The girl with red hair said. “Can you imagine? Timmy…my brother…a father?! Jaci was born to be a mommy, but Timmy…” The girl broke out in giggles.

“When you put it that way,” Natalie said. She started to titter.

“Hey, Noel has a daughter and she played with us this afternoon,” The red haired blondie said.

“Man,” The dirty blonde boy said shaking his head. “Noel was the only one that got me.”

“Not true!” A black haired boy, who was standing on the steps shouted. “I got you from the behind. So did Bennet.”

“Guys,” The girl with red hair said. Everyone turned to look at me.

“Everyone, this is Charlly King. She’s staying with us while her parents build their house,” Natalie said. “Charlly, this is Emily Stewart, Regina Drew, Nelson Drew, Leo Logan, and Jessie Maria Sean.”

She pointed to everyone as she said their names.

“Man, Natalie, I thought your parents had some sense!” Nelson shouted. “Her parents could be like murders!”

“That is getting so old!” Regina shouted.

“What is?” Nelson asked. His eyes told me he knew what Regina was going to say.

“You’re latest obsession with the word ‘Man’,” Regina said. “You sound like some delinquent!”

Nelson snickered.

“Man, older twin sisters are so annoying,” Nelson said. Regina gave him a gentle shove.

“I think the popsicles might be melting,” I said as I felt something wet drip onto me. Everyone crowded around me as they got a popsicle and a towel.

“What kind of popsicles do you like?” Leo asked as he pulled out the last two popsicles. One was grape, and the other was cherry.

“I like cherry,” I stuttered.

“Good, because I hate cherry,” Leo smiled as he threw the cherry one at me and opened his grape.

“Why did you ask then?” I asked as I caught the popsicle with one hand.

“Virginia’s always trying to get me to be more ‘gentlemanlike’. Whatever that means,” Leo said as he sucked on his popsicle very ungentlemanlike.

“Wait…you’re that Leo!” I guffawed. I almost slapped myself for not making the connection.

“Yup, what of it?” Leo asked.

“Let’s just say Virginia had quite the outburst earlier,” I said trying to stop from laughing.

Leo smirked. He actually smirked. The smirk squished any hope for me to stop laughing.

“Virginia had an outburst!” Emily shouted, “and I missed it!” Emily looked almost upset.

“If you hurry, you might be able to get her to have another one. I think she’s still fuming,” Natalie said. “If you mention the words ‘Leo’ and ‘smirk’ and you’re sure to get an earful.”

Emily, Jessie-Maria, and Regina dropped their towels and ran off in the direction I guessed was Virginia’s house.

“Girls,” Nelson muttered. “Can’t live with them. People wouldn’t be around without them.”

Leo kept on smirking. Darcy let a snicker escape.

“Thanks for the popsicles,” Leo said. He handed me his trash.

“What do I look like?” I asked.

Leo’s smirked expanded.

“You look like a girl,” Leo said.

“And you look like a boy who thinks girls are God’s Natural Trash Cans,” I said with a straight face.

Natalie nearly fell out of wheelchair with laughter. Darcy tried not to laugh, but he eventually gave in.

“Dude, you have to admit, she got you good,” Darcy laughed.

“Lord help me,” Leo said as he headed down the steps. “Every girl I’m attracted to is like Virginia!”

My cheeks went bright red at that. Leo turned around and winked at me. Darcy looked just as stunned as me.

“What’s gotten into HIM!?” Darcy shouted in disbelief. “Leo, wait up!” Darcy bolted from the Matthews porch and to the end of the driveway where Leo was waiting for Darcy.

“I thought you were going to take a look at my computer!” I called out but Darcy was already too far away to hear me.

“We’ll probably go to the B&B for dinner tonight so you can give it him then,” Natalie said. “If its something simple, my dad can probably fix it.”

“Trust me, unless your dad-or Darcy- is a secret computer genius my computer’s not coming back from the dead,” I said as I rolled into the house.

“Wha…?” Natalie asked as she followed.

**

I didn’t know whether to sigh or secretly swoon as I plopped myself down on the airbed and opened up Mrs. Matthews–my laptop.

My mom had been a little upset to hear that my laptop had been broken, but she told me it reminded her of something I had done when I was a baby. My mom claims that when I was eight months old I threw a computer mouse and the keyboard out our Denver apartment window. Laz just laughed and said that murdering (I kid you not he actually used the word MURDER) a computer and it’s accessories before even knowing the fury they give is something only a Stewart would do.

Dinner at the B&B was amazing. My mom’s a pretty good cook, but there’s something about Ms. Donna’s food that just melts into your mouth. I had her fried chicken since I practically lived on fried chicken and sweet tea when we lived in the South. I know all ya’ll from the South aren’t going to believe me when I say this but Ms. Donna’s fried chicken is better than any fried chicken I’ve ever ate in the South.

The delicious chicken and tea that was sweeten to perfection were overshadowed by the murderous looks Virginia kept giving me while I ate and was given the 411 on the town.

The first person to notice that I had shown up was Leo, the first person in my entire life who almost ran down an overly anxious three year old for the end of the row I had chosen to sit on was Leo, the first person to ask me questions about my life was Leo, and the person who couldn’t stop staring at me besides Virginia was Leo.

Ok, so I admit I was a little flattered at all the attention Leo was giving me. I mean who wouldn’t be? But let’s be real! I’m not trying or going to steal her boyfriend! Personally, the thought of Leo or any boy liking me was a little embarrassing and made my cheeks go red at that very moment.

For a couple of minutes I explored the computer that was now mine. The computer had the basic functions on it and all the major web browsers were already downloaded. The internet was a little slow, but most of my time would be spent on word writing my Sci-Fi stories.

Then reality slapped in my face. All my stories, my Star Wars fan fiction, my fictional diary, and my high score on Checkers was gone. Destroyed, when Natalia gave the laptop that one fatal blow. I would have to start over. The idea of having to restart all my stories brought tears to my eyes. I’ve had that laptop since the very first Christmas with Laz and Matt. Mom and Laz had pulled their money together to get both Matt and me a laptop. I remembered I was so excited that I started writing a story before I even finished opening my other presents.

A startling ding jolted me out of my one happy memory with Laz.

InMyOwnWorld: Just so you know, I don’t like the fact that you’ve moved into my room, but if you can tolerate Natalia I guess I can tolerate you. Sorry bout her. The naughty girl.

I looked over to Noel, whose eyes were plastered to her computer screen.

MatthewsMommy: Noel?

I HAD to change that username. While I tried to find the username settings, I found a long list of approved username people. TheQueen I guessed was Regina. I had no clue who Farm Girl or MusicalGal were. MyTwinSisIsCraz I guessed was Nelson. ToughGuy had to be Yule. ChristmasLovinGirl was obviously Natalie. MrBennet and MrDarcy must have been Bennet and Darcy’s idea of a joke. Something inside of me told me that CookingMomma was Ms. Donna. CrazyAuntJane was probably Virginia’s aunt who really was slightly crazy. MrsZachDavis had to be Natalie’s oldest sister Abby. ZachDAVIS was probably Abby’s husband, Zach Davis. I had a sneaking suspicion that Proverbs164 was Natalie’s other older sister Jaci. I made a note-to-self to look up Proverbs 16:4. TStew was probably Timmy Stewart (and Nelson was right. I couldn’t picture him as a father). MatthewsDaddy had to be Mr. Steve. And the last person on this list of people was someone named Sk8erLion. I clicked on the name. No profile picture showed up just a green light letting me know they were on. I decided that once I changed this name I would message that person.

Finally I found the setting to change the name. I tapped my fingers around the keyboard. IWannaGoHome was way to direct. Sci-FiGirl made me sound like a dork. SpaceGirl gave me the same dorky feeling. A thought popped into my head and I quickly typed it down. MyHeadsUpInSpace was PERFECT.

I switched back to messages to find that I had four new ones from Noel.

InMyOwnWorld: This is her

InMyOwnWorld: You might want to change your name. Each name is registered to the computer. I keep chatting with the wrong computer when I talk to Mommy.

InMyOwnWorld: Look, you seem like a nice person, but I think it would be best if we decided to be Virtual Friends. I do best here on this chat thingamajig. On here you have to spell everything out (well most of the times. I keep dropping hints to Regina that the mysterious face annoys me so much that I’ve had thoughts about throwing the computer out the window). In person its hard to detect the unspoken stuff. I feel rather awkward around other people, but on this l can still be in my world and interact with yours.

InMyOwnWorld: Ok, so here are some things about me. I hate action movies because they give me motion sickness. I was diagnosed with autism when I was four years old. I had a REALLY bad speech delay, but other that I’m pretty ‘high functioning’. I LOVE to play chase! Sometimes I purposely get caught so I can be pushed to the ground and tackled (Virginia thinks that crazy). Please try not to drop stuff while you’re here because I hate loud noises. I have a boyfriend 🙂 . Bennet is awesome! He makes a lot of mistakes (who gives someone dead flowers on Valentine’s Day? Why is there even a Valentine’s Day?), but he’s learning (sometimes Natalie jokes that he has to apologize for things as much as Darcy does *giggle*. It must run in the Edward men). Gotta go! Bennet FINALLY got on! Chat lats!

Something about that made me laugh. If Noel wanted to start our friendship on the messenger, I was perfectly ok with that.

As I clicked on Sk8erLion, my heart started to race. Mrs. Matthews wouldn’t have someone she didn’t know on this messenger would she?

MyHeadsInSpace: Hello……….?

Sk8erLion: Hey Charlly! This is Leo just in cause you didn’t know

MyHeadsInSpace: How did you know it was me!? And no I didn’t know

Sk8erLion: I knew it was you because everyone who’s ever met you knows your somewhere off in space 😉 😛

MyHeadsInSpace: You’re crazy 😛

Sk8erLion: For

Sk8erLion: Delete that

Sk8erLion: So I’ve been told…

For a second, I wondered what Leo was crazy for and then a selfish thought hit me.

He was crazy for ME.

I signed off after that.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 3- Heaven Everywhere Installment Thirteen

**

I tried to breathe as the car drove away. This wasn’t it. This wasn’t goodbye. We weren’t actually leaving Florida. There was still time for this nightmare to end.

I had only one week to try to stop this horrible move. Maybe if I prayed real hard Momma and Mr. Steve wouldn’t like the noisy city and decide to stay in quite Florida.

“So there are five boroughs of New York City correct?” Jaci asked. There were tears in her voice. She was mad about this too. But she had nothing to worry about. Timmy had proposed. They were getting married. They had Mr. Steve’s blessing. She would be moving back here within a year. I was still a minor and would still be living under Mr. Steve’s roof for six more years.

“Yes. The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island,” Mr. Steve said.

“Which part will be living in?” Jaci asked.

“Well my job is in Manhattan so probably Manhattan,” Mr. Steve said. Jaci nodded.

“Does a man make hattan there?” Megan asked. I looked at her.

“No, baby,” Mr. Steve laughed. “What makes you think that?”

“It’s called Man hattan,” Megan said. “I’m happy though. I don’t like hattan. Yucky!”

I stared at her. What in the world was hattan?

“What’s hattan, honey?” Momma said almost reading my thoughts.

“It’s a secret,” Megan said. “Every time you ask they never tell you.”

“Who are they?” Momma asked.

“I don’t know,” Megan shrugged. “They are they.”

Momma looked at Mr. Steve. The look on their faces said, “That’s weird.”

**

It took us almost four hours to get to New York City. Four hours between Florida and New York City. That was a long ways away.

Mr. Steve showed us the building he would be working in. It was a skyscraper of course.

There were several apartment buildings in the area, and we visited just about every one.

“What do you think about this one?” Mr. Steve asked. “It’s big enough for everyone to have their own room. And there still would be a guest room.”

This place could never become home. The B&B was home and always would be.

“Free!” Megan shouted running around the empty apartment. Mr. Steve smiled.

“It’s very nice,” Jaci said politely.

“Natalie?” Momma asked.

She didn’t want me to say anything, trust me.

“Natalie, this is a family decision. If you don’t like the apartment…,” Mr. Steve started.

“It’s not that I don’t like the apartment. The apartment in general is fine, but it never will be home. Florida is home. The B&B is home. This apartment is never going to become home. New York City will never take Florida’s place. Not ever,” I said as calmly as I could.

Mr. Steve seemed relieved I hadn’t started yelling and annoyed our possible new neighbors.

“Well if anyone likes the place,” Mr. Steve said. Thankfully, he didn’t dare look at me.

No, this couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t be leaving Florida like this. Not this quickly. No, not like this.

**

This was it. I couldn’t believe that I was actually leaving Florida.

After all I’ve been through this year. Last Christmas when we got here I would have never imagined that I’d fall in love with this place, but I was in love with it bad. I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. It would take a thousand lifetimes to get to know everyone in New York City.

I had friends here. I didn’t really have friends back in Florida. I usually ate lunch with the people who liked art and books. We had something in common to talk about, but as far as having a real good friend who you knew you could count on no matter what I never had one until I came here.

I could count on Regina, Darcy, Virginia, Jessie-Maria, and even Emily to have my back. They were my best friends (well Emily might not be a bestie but she was a closeie). My heart broke to leave them, especially Darcy.

I had tried everything. I pleaded to stay and live with Abby. I tried to get them to let me stay here during the week and be in New York on the weekends. Nothing worked. Mr. Steve was determined to ‘keep the family together’. This wasn’t a family. This was a mess. What Mr. Steve saw as a ‘family’. I saw as a horrible attempt to act like we were happy. We weren’t happy. We were on the edge of our seat just waiting for the ‘fight’ to happen. The fight that would end this all. Or maybe it was just me who was waiting for this to happen. Sooner or later Mr. Steve had to get sick of me, and just wanna leave. I mean how much can one person take?

Jaci was just as upset as I was about leaving Florida, but she was too polite to even frown. Megan was no help. She wanted to go to the big Toys R Us in NYC. Some little sister. Abby had been in shock for about a week. She kept saying that Mr. Steve should do what was best for the family. Well leaving Florida wasn’t best for me, and wasn’t I part of his idea of a family?

It seemed like the entire town was there to watch us leave. Everybody looked sad, but nobody was sadder than me well maybe Virginia was. She kept complaining that she would resort to hanging out with Emily and have to hear her talk about how wonderful Nelson was.

Darcy had barely uttered a word to me all week. It kinda hurt me. Weren’t we supposed to be gushing over each other and trying to spend every possible second together?

“I’m going to miss you!” Virginia cried hugging me so tight I thought I was going to die.

“I’m going to miss you too,” Regina said hugging me not as tight.

“Me too,” Jessie-Maria said hugging me. “The twins are going to too.”

I smiled and let tears fall from my eyes.

“Natalie, we got off to a bad start. I’m not exactly the friendliest person in all of Massachusetts, but I like to think of you as a friend. And trust me. I don’t have too many friends,” Emily said to me. She gave me very light hug. I smiled and shook my head on the inside.

“You will be missed,” Nelson said. I smiled at him.

“Bye, Natalie,” Timmy said. “See you this summer…for the wedding I mean.”

I tried to punch him in the side, but since Timmy was so tall I had to settle for the stomach. Timmy laughed at my pathetic attempt.

I walked towards the car. Darcy wasn’t even there. So what? I was leaving, and if Darcy didn’t care why should that bother me?

“Natalie, wait!”

I turned around the find Darcy standing there.

“What?” I asked.

“I.I.I.,” Darcy tried. He soon gave up on his attempt at words and gave me the quickest kiss on the lips ever.

I stood there for a second staring into Darcy’s eyes. I climbed into the car.

“Bye!” I cried sticking my head out the window. Virginia, Jessie-Maria, Regina, and surprisingly Emily gave me tearfully goodbyes. Darcy said goodbye with tears in his eyes.

I blew kisses and then put my head in the car because I could feel Mr. Steve’s eyes on me.

I broke down hysterically crying in the backseat. And did Mr. Steve turn back? No, Mr. Steve did not.

**

I fell asleep after I cried for like forty minutes nonstop. I know that’s being childish, but I truly couldn’t stop. I tried after the first five but the tears kept pouring out. I hadn’t felt this kind of emotional attachment to Miami, but I had it bad with Florida. Florida was home now. It was where my friends where. It had people I loved and cared about. And most important: Darcy.

When I woke up I felt kinda stupid for crying over a boy, but Darcy wasn’t just any boy at least not me. He was special to me. He was the first guy I ever really really liked. His kiss was short but sweet.

“Whoa,” Megan said. I looked out the window, and skyscrapers met my eyes. We were in New York City already?

“Welcome to the Big Apple, girls!” Mr. Steve smiled. I scowled. We were almost four hours away from Florida.

“There are a lot of people,” Jaci said craning her neck to look out the window.

“There are over a million people in Manahan, and over eight million people in New York City. Jaci, honey, you’re gonna see a lot of people,” Mr. Steve said.

“What’s that?” Megan asked pointing to the newly finished One World Trade Center.

“It’s called the One World Trade Center or 1 WTC,” Mr. Steve said. “It’s the tallest building in New York City.”

“It’s pretty,” Megan said.

“Yes,” Mr. Steve said smiling a sad smile, “it’s pretty.”

I closed my eyes not wanting to think about the 9/11 attacks. A disadvantage to living in New York City: not feeling safe.

I sighed. I lived here now. I couldn’t believe I was one of eight million and no longer one of seven hundred.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 3-Heaven Everywhere Installment Three

**

The alarm went off and, I groaned. I looked at the clock. I had only gotten three hours of sleep.

“Is it time already?” Abby whined walking down the steps.

“Rise and shine! It’s Easter Sunday!” Momma shouted walking down the steps. “Sunrise Service is at five-thirty!”

“Do we have to go?” I groaned getting up off the couch.

“Yep,” Momma said. “You’re in the Easter show you have to go.”

I sighed.

“Who’s ready for church?” Jaci asked walking down the steps fully dressed.

“How can you be so alert after three hours of sleep?” I asked slowly taking my suitcase from under the couch.

“I didn’t go to sleep,” Jaci said. “I figured I’d get some sleep on the flight to England after church.”

“Still aren’t you tired?” I asked taking out my Easter dress.

“Nope, I had what do you call it……coffee! Yeah, I had two cups of coffee,” Jaci said.

“Can I have a cup of coffee?” I asked.

“Sure,” Momma shrugged. “I’ll make you a cup. Now go change!”

I changed into my dress and walked into the restaurant.

“Here,” Momma said handing me a cup of coffee.

“Yuck!” I screamed after I swallowed some coffee. I took another sip.

“Why are you still drinking?” Abby asked laughing.

“Cause I need to stay awake,” I said.

“Here,” Momma said pulling a Coke out of the fridge. “Now, I want you to understand this is a special and isolated event. I just don’t want you falling asleep during church. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” I said taking the Coke and putting the coffee down.

“Now come on,” Jaci shouted picking up her purse. “Or we’ll be late for church.”

**

“You did a wonderful job, Sean.”

Sean smiled at Momma.

“I didn’t know you could sing,” Aunt Jane said to her.

“We didn’t know either,” Mrs. Rivers laughed. She gave Sean a squeeze.

“Our girl is full of surprises,” Mr. Rivers smiled. “Just last week she cooked breakfast for our Anniversary.”

Sean looked at him and then turned away. She had tears in her eyes.

“You did good too, Natalie,” Aunt Jane said. I laughed.

“All I did was sing along in the choir,” I said.

“Being in the choir is important too,” Sean spoke up.

“Thanks,” I smiled.

“We better get moving,” Momma said looking at her watch. “Our plane leaves in three hours.”

“We’ll be praying for ya’ll!” Aunt Jane screamed running towards her car. Virginia, her brother, and her sister tried to catch up with her.

“See you when you return,” Mrs. Rivers smiled. “Hope you have a wonderful time.”

“Thanks!” Momma shouted. “See you next Monday!”

“See you!” The Rivers shouted.

**

“I planned to give you this last night but we stayed so long at the reception that by the time we got home I was too exhausted to walk up the stairs,” Momma said handing me two envelopes. “It doesn’t matter really which one you open first.”

I nodded and got into the car. We were about to drive to the airport.

“We ready?” Mr. Steve asked.

I nodded and got into the car.

“See you when you get back!” Regina, Ms. Donna, Nelson, and Darcy shouted waving.

“Bye!” I cried sticking my head out of the window. I blew kisses.

“Natalie!” Mr. Steve shouted. I put my head back in the car and huffed.

I opened one of the letters and nearly cried when I was finished reading it.

  Dear Natalie,

  Natalie, I want to start off this letter by telling you that I love you. When you’re finished with this letter, you might find that hard to believe, but believe me, Natalie, I love you more than you will ever know.

  Life is about to change for you. Your mother has just gotten married and you’re probably not the happiest person in the world about it. Now don’t go mopping around. I want you to be happy for her. I’ve already said that but it’s so important that I must repeat it.

  I want you to call your new stepfather ‘Dad’. Now I know this may seem impossible and I’ll tell you what. I’ll let you do it on your own time. But you must do it someday. Please respect my wishes.

Love,

Your Father

No. Never. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not even next year. No, I will never call Mr. Steve anything close to father or dad.

I didn’t want to open the next envelope out of fear but I did open it. My fingers were trembling and Jaci looked at me.

“Are you ok?” She asked.

“I’m fine,” I said taking two pieces of paper out of the envelope.

One of the pieces of paper was an old looking treasure map. The other was another letter from my father.

  Dear Natalie,

  So you’re going to England. One of my favorite things to do was too look for heaven everywhere and in everybody. Ok, I know that sound strange but it really is fun. What you do is you look for the good wherever you go and in everybody you meet. Some days I would just look into the persons eyes and sense that they had potential. I would walk up to them and the in a few hours I would know everything about them and them everything about me. It’s really amazing how God works.

  I tell you the truth, Natalie. I truly believe that there is a little bit of heaven everywhere. So look around every corner. Look into everybody’s eyes and what you will find will amaze you. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Even the worst looking place/person can be transformed. I should know. While you’re in England I want you to do two things. First I want you to go to that place on that map. It used to be a dump. It’s not that far from my house so you can imagine the joy we felt when that dump was closed. I cleaned it up in my teen years. It’s beautiful now. I also want you to find Rhys Smith. Don’t worry. Your grandparents will know where he is and who he is.

Love,

Your Father

At the time I had no clue what finding Heaven everywhere meant. Now, I know what he meant and boy was he ever right.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 3- Heaven Everywhere Installment Two

“What am I supposed to do?” I asked.

“I’ll talk to her,” Grandma Shirley spoke up.

“NO!” Everyone in the room shouted.

“Ugh, when I try to help everybody tells me not to,” Grandma Shirley mumbled sitting down.

“Please,” Grandma Baldwin pleaded. I nodded and walked to the bridal chambers.

“Momma, are you all right?” I asked.

“Alexander?” Momma groaned. “They’re out to get me! I just can’t marry Steve! I just can’t!”

“Momma, it’s me, Natalie,” I said. “Who’s out to get you?”

“HIM!” Momma cried.

“Who is HIM!?” I asked.

“Alexander, you know how HIM is!” Momma cried.

I sighed.

Grandma Shirley stormed into the bridal chambers.

“I’ve had enough of you!” Grandma Shirley screamed. “You can never make up your mind! The entire wedding is being stalled because you’re sitting in here crying about your dead husband. He’s DEAD! Get over it!”

I was about to say something when Momma snapped.

“I’ve heard enough out of you!” Momma screamed. She picked up her dress and walked out the door.

“Look what you’ve done!” I cried running after her.

“Well I never!” Grandma Shirley snorted as I slammed the door. I ran into the dressing chambers to find Aunt Clarisse putting on Momma’s veil.

“I don’t know what you said to her but whatever it is you said. It worked,” Grandma Baldwin whispered in my ear.

“Still can’t find my other contact lenses! A little help here!” Mrs. Stewart shouted. I bent down and helped her look.

“I’ll go get Mr. Walters,” Mrs. Rivers said walking towards the door. “Found it!”

I got up off the floor and walked towards the chapel.

The chapel Momma and Mr. Steve chose to get married in was small but the view from it was amazing. It was along the Mohawk Trail and from this point you could see the Berkshire Mountains.

“Here are your flowers,” Abby said handing them to me.

“Thanks,” I said. “Are you nervous?”

“Not too much,” Abby said. “I’m afraid I’m going to trip.”

“You’ve got flats on,” I said. “Me on the other hand. I have heels on. I’m the one who might trip.”

Abby laughed.

“Cue the music!” Mrs. Rivers whispered excitedly.

I sighed and prepared for my life to change.

**

I was swaying. I opened my eyes and found myself in the reception hall. It had to be almost midnight now. Most of the people had gone home already, but a few had were still at the reception hall.

The Christmas song was playing. It wasn’t one of those fast verisons but a slow one. One that you could sway to.

I was in Darcy’s arms. His eyes were closed and he had a smile on his lips. I looked around the room. The Rivers’ were still here and Sean was asleep in Mr. Rivers lap. I smiled.

Momma and Mrs. Rivers were chatting away like they had all the time in the world. Grandma Shirley sat in a corner along with my two uncles. They were fighting over a Sudoku answer.

Abby and Zach were the only two other people on the dance floor. They looked like they were asleep also. They both were smiling sweet soft smiles.

Jaci was asleep on Timmy’s shoulder. Timmy was stuffing food into his mouth.

Megan was sleeping on Mr. Steve’s lap. She had a smile on her lips and you just couldn’t help but wonder what she was dreaming about.

Mr. Steve and Mr. Rivers were talking. Both of them were stroking the hair of the girl in their laps.

Emily was sitting in a chair looking in pain. Nelson was feeding her chocolate cake. I couldn’t help but giggle.

Virginia and Leo were playing some game on the table. It looked like they were throwing grapes at each other.

Regina sat stone-faced next to Andrew, Virginia’s older brother. Andrew looked bored and disinterested. Occasionally, he would look over at Aunt Jane, who was talking to Mrs. Stewart, with desperate eyes begging to go.

Virginia’s little sister Rachel was singing along with the Christmas Song with all her heart. She was holding her baby sister Caroline in her arms.

As I said, Aunt Jane and Mrs. Stewart were talking. Aunt Jane’s eyes told me that she was surprised she was having a conversation with Mrs. Stewart and actually enjoying it. Mrs. Stewart’s eyes told me that she was hoping she had made a new friend.

Mr. Stewart refused to come to the wedding and the Stewarts’ invitation didn’t have his name on it anyway. Momma refused to include him even though Ms. Donna and Mr. Steve pleaded with her to. Momma said the wedding was off if she had to invite Mr. Stewart. Frankly, I wasn’t mad about. I don’t like Mr. Stewart.

Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin were looking at me. They were grinning from ear to ear. When I looked at her, Grandma Baldwin gave me a quick wink. I smiled back.

My mind went back to swaying in Darcy’s arms. Strangely, I didn’t want to let go. I felt safe here in his arms. Wow, I can’t believe I actually wanted to be around Darcy Edwards. What a couple months can do…………

I wanted to stay here forever. I didn’t want to have to face the world again. If I could stay right here in Darcy’s arms surrounded by all these people I loved and cared about nothing could make me feel better.

And for some reason, I felt like this was heaven.

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-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 Farm Girl

Farm Girl-Installment Four

**

“Ms. Natalie Baldwin! Is the Algebra lesson too hard for you? Why don’t you come up here and tell the class why you just burst out crying?” Ms. O’Donnell asked.

I looked up from my Algebra lesson. Since I was way back in the back I couldn’t hear Natalie crying but Leo had been snickering for a couple of minutes so I guess he heard her. Despicable young man.

“Um, seven years ago,” Natalie said getting up. “My dad died on this day.”

I felt a pain in my heart. I knew how it was to lose my father.

“Oh, Natalie…..,” Ms. O’Donnell started. I rolled my eyes on the inside. Why was she so nice to her only?

The bell rang and Natalie ran out of the room. I jumped from my seat as fast as I could. Darcy looked like he didn’t know what to do.

“I got it,” I said running past him.

“Natalie!” I called. She was pretty fast. Natalie stopped and it took me a second to catch up with her.

“Are you ok?” I asked.

“No,” Natalie cried. Tears started to splash down her face.

“Let’s step into my office,” I said. My office was in the cafeteria. It was this table in the back where people changed during the school plays. There was a curtain there for privacy.

“Wow,” Natalie said looking around.

“Cool, I know,” I said.

“Do you want to talk about your dad?” I asked.

“He was from England,” Natalie started.

“My dad was born and raised in Virginia,” I said.

“My dad was killed in a car accident,” Natalie sighed. She looked very sad when she said this.

“My parents took a bus to Richmond,” I said. “They had to pick up a part for our tractor. The bus driver fell asleep and crashed.”

It felt a little good to get that off my chest. I haven’t talked to anyone since my father’s death.

“I’m sorry,” Natalie said.

“I guess we know how each other feels,” I sighed. “What did your dad smell like?”

“Pine Needles,” Natalie laughed. “It was his favorite body wash.”

“My dad always smelled like goat, sweat, and manure,” I laughed.

I pictured my father. Tall, strong, and well built. I could see him walking towards the house after all the work was done but as he got closer he faded. Then I couldn’t see him anymore all I could do was smell him.

“Manure?” Natalie asked breaking into my thoughts. I nodded and we started to laugh.

“Were you thinking about him when you started to cry?” I asked after we stopped laughing. Natalie nodded.

“I was remembering the last time I saw him,” Natalie said. She looked like she was going to cry.

“I can’t really remember the last time I saw my parents. I try so hard to but I just can’t remember,” I said. I tried to think of them at this moment but Natalie sighed and started talking.

“But it was so weird,” Natalie started. “When I stopped thinking about it, I looked at Darcy and my stomach seemed to flutter and my heart started to beat like crazy.”

I gave her a sly smile. I knew it. I knew it. I knew. Natalie liked Darcy.

“What?” Natalie asked. I thought of the perfect thing to say.

“Admit it Natalie,” I said. “You like him.”

“I do not!” Natalie shouted.

Some people need more of a push than others.

“Just stop it, Natalie,” I said. “Everybody in Florida knows it. Your own mother knows it.”

“She doesn’t think I like Darcy,” Natalie denied.

“Sure,” I said rolling her eyes. “Talk to me when you’re ready to send him a Valentine.”

“I do no……” Natalie started but stopped.

I smirked at her but she was too lost on thought to notice it.

“Oh! I don’t know!” Natalie shouted throwing up her hands. “When I first got here Darcy wasn’t the nicest person to me but lately he’s been…..”

“He’s been what?” I asked.

I tried not squirm in my seat but I felt myself wiggling. It’s a bad habit that I always do when I’m close to finding out a good juicy secret.

“He’s been kind,” Natalie said. “He’s not mad at me anymore for breaking his knee. He’s just….UGH!”

“I think he likes you,” I said. Natalie snorted.

“Emily Stewart sticks to him like glue,” Natalie snorted. It took all that was in me not to tell her that Darcy liked her a lot and show her the Valentine he was thinking about getting her.

“Sometimes glue falls off,” I said instead. Natalie smiled.

“I have the perfect Valentine,” I said getting my box from under the table. “Have you ever read Pride and Prejudice?”

“I’ve seen the movie,” Natalie said. I sighed the movie is as good as you can do in two hours but at least she was familiar with the story/

“You’re lucky,” I said pulling out a Valentine.

“In what way?” Natalie asked as I pushed the Valentine towards her.

“Darcy!!! You know as in Mr. Darcy?” I shouted. Natalie sighed.

“Give him this Valentine, Elizabeth,” I urged. If she didn’t do this I might blow about how much Darcy liked her.

“How much?” Natalie asked.

I clapped my hands and squealed. What? I love romance.

“I charge a dollar just like that other Valentine seller,” I said adding disgust to the word ‘other’.

“You like him,” Natalie said pulling out a dollar from her backpack.

My mouth fell open and Natalie laughed. That’s when I realized that it was a joke. But my mouth was still open as she gave me her money and I gave her the Valentine.

“Natalie?”

Mrs. Baldwin was standing there and was carrying a picnic basket.

“Ms. O’Donnell called me about what happened,” Mrs. Baldwin said.

“I didn’t mean to burst out crying,” Natalie started but Mrs. Baldwin put up her hand.

“Come on,” Mrs. Baldwin said taking Natalie’s hand. “Ms. O’Donnell has given you the rest of the day off.”

“But Darcy….” Natalie started. I tried not to smirk. And she says she doesn’t like him.

“You can see Darcy at home,” Mrs. Baldwin said. She had that look on her face that said ‘Where has my baby gone? She’s liking boys.’

Natalie and her mother left and soon after that Emily Stewart walked into my office.

“How can I help you?” I asked.

“I hear you’re selling Valentines,” Emily said looking at me.

“Yup,” I nodded.

“I need two Valentines. One for Darcy and one for Nelson Drew,” Emily said. Her eyes got dreamy. Sorry sister, Darcy doesn’t like you.

“What type of Valentines do you want friendship, love, secret crush?” I asked.

Emily thought for a minute.

“Secret crush. No, just crush. He’s and idiot if he doesn’t think I like him,” Emily said. I pulled out a Valentine.

“This will do,” Emily said. “I need a friendship one too. Any ole one will do.”

I pulled out just ‘any ole one’ and Emily gave me two dollars.

“Nice doing business with you,” Emily said. She flipped her long red hair and walked out of my office.

At least that altercation didn’t last long.

“Hey, Virginia,” Nelson said walking into my office.

“Hey, Nelson,” I said. My stomach rumbled. I had thrown my lunch in the trash the moment I was out of Aunt Jane’s sight. I didn’t get up early enough to make breakfast so Aunt Jane made it. I swear that woman cannot cook.

“Want half of my sandwich?” Nelson asked sitting down.

“Would you?” I asked. Nelson nodded and tore his sandwich in two. He gave me one half.

“Oh this is so delicious,” I said munching it.

“I bet you’re hungry. Aunt Jane is a miserable cook but no one has the heart to tell her,” Nelson said.

“Somebody better tell her soon or I’ll starve to death,” I joked.

“Why don’t you tell her,” Nelson said taking a swig of his water. I laughed.

“Are you friends with Emily Stewart?” I asked. “She got you a Valentine.”

“She did?” Nelson asked. His eyes lighted up. I knew that dangerous light all too well.

“You like Emily STEWART?” I asked. “THE Emily Stewart. The one that sticks to Darcy Edwards like glue. The woman with long red hair and brown eyes. The one who is the younger sister of Timmy Stewart? The one who is most mean, arrogant, and rude girl in Florida?”

“I don’t know any other Emily Stewarts,” Nelson said.

“How could you like her? She has a massive crush on Darcy,” I said.

“But Darcy doesn’t like her,” Nelson said.

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“I share a room with him,” Nelson shrugged. “Darcy doesn’t like her so I thought that maybe if she sees how much I like her she’ll like me.”

“Trust me,” I said. “That’s not how love works.”

“Do you have a Valentine for like secret crushes?” Nelson asked. I pulled out a Valentine that was just like the one Darcy was thinking about giving to Natalie.

“Perfect,” Nelson said smiling a silly smile.

Oh no. He was in love with a Stewart.

**

“Class dismissed!” Ms. O’Donnell shouted. “Leo, Darcy, and Virginia I would like to speak to you for a minute.”

Why would she want to talk to me and that other boy?

“Yes, Ms. O’Donnell?” Darcy asked. He was in pain, I could tell. Ms. O’Donnell had no heart.

“North Adams and Florida can coming together to have a Valentine’s Day ball. I’m one of the people in charge of planning it and we’re having the toughest time coming up with a theme and Valentine’s Day is in a week!” Ms. O’Donnell said.

I sighed and looked at Darcy. This woman was……………

“DARCY!” I shouted jumping up and down.

“What?” Darcy asked moving back.

“No. No, not you!” I shouted. “Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, and Mr. Bingley. We’ll have a Pride and Prejudice ball. We’ll have a contest for Mr. and Mrs. Darcy and Mr. and Mrs. Bingley! Everyone will wear clothes that age period and we’ll do dances from that age period it will lots of fun!”

“I like it,” Leo said. He didn’t look like he liked it.

I rolled my eyes. Darcy looked at him like he was crazy.

“I LOVE it!” Ms. O’Donnell shouted. “Time to get my Jane Austin on!”

I smiled. Maybe Ms. O’Donnell isn’t so so bad.

Posted in Farm Girl, Highlight & Contest, Natalie

Highlight & Contest: Will You Be My Valentine HINTS

First I would like to apologize. I didn’t know how hard this contest would be. So, I’ve decided to give out hints!

Couples

Jaci and Timmy– Hint: Scripture

Abby and Zach– Hint: Proposal

Natalie and Darcy– Hint: Pride and Prejudice

Virginia and Leo– Hint: Roses are Red

Nelson and Emily- Hint: Crushed

photo 1

Also the person who sent the Valentine they receive, they sent a Valentine to. The original post can be found here. Please contact me if the contest is still too hard. The winner and PRIZE will be annouced on Valentine’s Day! Good Luck!

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!

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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 Five

**

Momma was shaking me. Where was I? I opened my eyes and memories of Grandma Shirley stopping by flooded into my mind.

“Wake up, Natalie. We are so out of here,” Momma whispered.

“We’re leaving the hospital?” I yawned.

“We’re leaving the country,” Momma said.

“What!” I shouted sitting up. “What do you mean the country?”

“We’re going to England. If we show up in your father’s parents’ door they won’t be able to turn us away,” Momma said.

“They might. Probably not me but you maybe,” I said trying to think of how to put some sense in my mother’s head.

“That’s a risk I’ll just have to take,” Momma said throwing my clothes at me. “Put them on.”

“But Momma…..,” I started.

“Don’t but Momma me! We are leaving because I want to leave and that’s final!” Momma screamed. I had never heard my mother scream like that. Her eyes kinda bulged out and I was terrified of my mother for the first time in my life.

“I. Just. Can’t. Take. This. Anymore.” Momma sighed.

“Momma, I thought you wanted to do God’s will. If you feel like God is telling you to run away from your problems and past then go ahead but if He’s told you to stay then I think you need to stay,” I said.

“Natalie Zoey Baldwin, you have no right to talk to me like that!” Momma shouted. She threw one of my shoes at me.

“Come on, Natalie,” Momma said walking out the door. What could I do but obey? As I walked out the door I prayed. If I couldn’t talk some sense into Momma only God could.

“I’m checking out Miss Natalie Baldwin,” Momma said picking up a pin.

“But her doctor hasn’t given her her final checkup yet,” The nurse said looking at my sheet.

“I don’t care,” Momma said. She placed the pin down, grabbed my hand, and walked towards the exit.

“Momma!” I cried. “We don’t have our stuff.”

“I’ll send for it when we get to England,” Momma said. She tried to find her car keys. Then I saw something. Mr. Steve’s car was coming up the ramp.

Momma stopped trying to find her keys. If Mr. Steve could stop Momma from taking us to England then I’ll forget all the bad thoughts about him and make him a hero.

“Natalie, get in the car,” Mr. Steve said nice and firm. I hobbled toward the car.

“What do you think you’re doing?!” Mr. Steve and Momma shouted at the same time.

If I had known that Darcy and the ever present Emily Stewart we’re going to be in the car I wouldn’t have gotten in.

“What are you doing here?” I asked Emily.

“Can’t I come and visit the sick?” Emily asked.

“I’m not sick,” I said putting my seatbelt on.

“Where you just going home?” Darcy asked.

“Not quite,” I sighed.

I saw my Momma crying in Mr. Steve’s arms and rolled my eyes. Ugh. Maybe I’ll reconsider that hero thing.

“Mr. Matthews seems quite taken with your mother,” Emily said.

“So what? They dated when they were like in high school,” I shrugged trying to act like it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Momma and Mr. Steve walked towards the car and Momma got in.

“Who’s hungry?” Momma asked like nothing had happened.

**

“I call it The Presents Pyramid,” Nelson said. I looked at the pyramid he made out of all my presents.

“I couldn’t find a space for this one thou,” Nelson said. He handed me a box with no name on it.

“Secret Santa strikes again!” Regina shouted.

“Who’s Secret Santa?” Darcy asked hobbling up.

“That’s none of your business Darcy Chadwick Edwards,” Regina said before I could respond. Darcy looked embarrassed. I started to snicker.

“Your middle name is Chadwick?” I snickered. Darcy sighed.

“So what if it is?” Darcy asked.

Regina and I burst out laughing. Darcy shook his head and hobbled away.

I opened the present and found a Christmas ribbon that was used to tie hair.

“I think Secret Santa is trying to tell you that your hair is messy,” Regina said as I tied my hair up.

“Ha. Ha,” I said. I hobbled off towards the kitchen.

“So, Natalie, are you ready for school to start tomorrow?” Ms. Donna asked when I walked into the restaurant.

“I guess but I’m worried about my mother,” I said.

“Why should you be worried about your mother?” Ms. Donna asked. “She’s supposed to worry about you.”

“Well today she almost ran away to England. If Mr. Steve didn’t show up when he did,” I started.

“Natalie, don’t you worry about a thing,” Ms. Donna said. “In no time your mother will be tied to Florida.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“You’ll see,” Ms. Donna winked. I hobbled to a chair and sat down.

What did Ms. Donna mean by ‘tied’?

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Two

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

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

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

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

“I truly am sorry.”

And with that, she walked out the room.

**

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

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

He had that right.

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

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

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

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

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

“WHERE’S NATALIE BALDWIN?!!!!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Grandpa has three flat tires,” Timmy mumbled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What? Where’s my mother?” I asked.

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

Regina stared at the nurse with cold eyes.

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

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

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

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

Everything instantly went hazy.

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

**

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

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

“What happened?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

All the money I’ve ever had. Gone.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 1-Christmas Dreams Installment Seven

I woke up on Christmas morning and sighed. Christmas was my favorite time of year but right now I didn’t feel too merry.

I looked around and saw that no one was in their sleeping bags. Maybe I had slept late. I looked at the clock. It was only seven. I took my crutches and hobbled into the restaurant.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS, NATALIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I looked around. Everyone in the town was crowded into the restaurant. There was a little Charlie Brown tree in the center of the room. There were a bunch of presents under it.

“And yes, Natalie, all these presents are for you,” Mr. Rivers said. I started to cry.

“What’s wrong, sugar?” Mr. Hank asked. Everyone looked at me like they were worried about me.

“Nothing!” I cried. “I’ve never felt more loved in my life . I’ve barely been here and I haven’t had the best attitude but you still did this for me. THANK YOU!!!” Everyone smiled. Momma came and gave me a hug.

“Natalie, I think its safe to say that everyone in this room cares about you,” Ms. Donna said walking up to me. I looked over at Emily who did not agree with that.

“Thank you!” I shouted giving her a hug.

“Don’t thank me. Darcy came up with this idea,” Ms. Donna said. I hobbled over to Darcy.

“Thanks,” I smiled. Momma raised her eyebrows at me.

“What?” I asked.

“You and Darcy are under the mistletoe,” Momma smiled.

My eyes bugged out. Darcy gave me a kiss on the cheek.

“Good enough,” Momma said. “Now open your presents!”

**

Fresh snow started to fall just as we sat down to eat Christmas dinner. Everyone had come together. There were turkeys, hams, prime ribs, and some chickens. We had a bunch of sides.

“I think we should do this every year,” Nelson said looking around at all the people talking and just being happy. I nodded.

I looked around the room myself. I suddenly felt like I could call this place home. Could I fit in here? Would anyone like me?

I looked at the table where I was sitting. Regina, Nelson, Erin, Claire, Victoria, and even Darcy were sitting here with me. These were my friends (well I was still working on Darcy).

My mother walked up to the table I was sitting at.

“Did you all get what you wanted for Christmas?” Momma asked.

“All I wanted for Christmas was a place to call home and I just might have found one,” I said hugging Regina.

THE END

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 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.