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 Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Thirteen

**

I stumbled out of the car. I touched the snowflake earrings dangling from my ears (I found them at my feet this morning).

“Let’s just get this over with,” I grumbled.

“Why does everybody in town dislike the Stewarts? I had a delightful time sledding with Timmy,” Jaci said.

“You’ll figure out soon enough,” Abby said rolling her eyes.

Mr. Steve rang the doorbell and straightened his tie. Darcy answered the door.

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

“Emily invited me over for dinner,” Darcy said. He opened the door wide enough for us to walk in.

“Welcome! Welcome!” Mrs. Stewart smiled as we poured into her family room. “I’m so glad you could come.”

“Thanks for inviting us,” Momma said. I wonder how hard it was to say that.

“It’s the least I could do after what my Emily has done to your Natalie,” Mrs. Stewart said. “But don’t worry. I am working on her.”

I didn’t know what ‘working on her’ meant but I hoped it worked.

“Oh, I love your dress! Did you make it yourself?” Jaci asked overlooking Mrs. Stewart.

Mrs. Stewart was wearing a plain looking pink dress. She didn’t have on her glasses today. A smile managed to creep into her face.

“Yes. Yes, I did. I love making clothes but Emily will only let me make her Sunday dress,” Mrs. Stewart said.

“I don’t see why. Your work is very good. Even mother wasn’t this good,” Jaci said kneeling to admire the hem.

“Are you a coach?” Megan asked. I felt like laughing. Mrs. Stewart did have a voice of authority.

“Why do you ask, child?” Mrs. Stewart asked.

“Whistle,” Megan said pointing to Mrs. Stewart’s chest.

“Oh. This? I use this to communicate with my grandchildren and sometimes my husband,” Mrs. Stewart said holding up the whistle. I hadn’t even noticed she had been wearing it. Come to think of it I think she was wearing it the day she burst into the school and at The Hill.

“Speaking of those children, where are they?” Mrs. Stewart asked. She blew her whistle five times.

A sound that sounded like elephants stomping rang through the house. Momma tried to hide the horrified look on her face. Mr. Steve seemed unfazed. Jaci stared at Mrs. Stewart in amazement. Megan covered her ears. Darcy (I almost forgot he was there) stood like he was in the army.

Timmy and Emily ran down the steps and got in line with Darcy.

“State your full name and age for our guest please,” Mrs. Stewart said in a stern voice. She blew her whistle once.

“Timothy-Caleb Jeffery Stewart. Age sixteen,” Timmy said. He looked at Jaci.

“But I’ll be seventeen on April 3rd,” Timmy added not taking his eyes off Jaci.

“Thank you for that extra and unasked for information,” Mrs. Stewart said. She blew her whistle twice.

“Emily Elizabeth Stewart. Age twelve,” Emily said. Emily looked at Darcy.

“But I’ll be thirteen on July 27th,” Emily said looking at Darcy. Mrs. Stewart rolled her eyes and blew her whistle three times.

“Darcy Chadwick Edwards. Age thirteen,” Darcy said. He looked at me.

“But I’ll be fourteen on August 10th,” Darcy said still looking at me.

“At ease children,” Mrs. Stewart said. “And next time please just give what I ask for.”

“Yes, ma’am!” Timmy, Emily, and Darcy said. Timmy and Emily ran upstairs. Darcy reluctantly followed.

“I’m so sorry about them,” Mrs. Stewart said shaking her head. “Dinner will be in a minute. My husband has not returned from Pittsfield yet.”

“May I go upstairs?” Jaci asked.

“Oh of course!” Mrs. Stewart said. “You, Natalie, Abby, and Megan can all go upstairs. Six whistle blows means dinner.”

Jaci took her time going up the stairs. That wouldn’t be a problem if she wasn’t ahead of Abby, Megan, and me.

“Move it, slow poke,” Abby said walking past her. Jaci looked hurt but she continued to walk up the steps. Abby slammed a door upstairs.

“Take my hand,” Megan said to Jaci. Jaci took Megan’s hand and they finished walking up the steps.

“Oh! I wonder what room is what,” Jaci said looking at the five doors along the hall.

Timmy walked out of the third door.

“I’m just going to assume that the third door leads to Timmy’s room,” I said. Jaci nodded.

“Hey, Jaci,” Timmy said smiling.

“You have a nice house,” Jaci said.

“Thanks,” Timmy said.

“Can you please tell me what’s behind these doors?” Jaci asked.

“Oh sure,” Timmy shrugged. “The first door is Grandma and Grandpa’s room. The second room is Emily’s. The third room is mine but sometimes I have to share it with Darcy. The fourth room is the upstairs bathroom. I think Abby’s in there. And the fifth room is Grandma’s sewing room.”

“I would like to see the sewing room,” Jaci said. Timmy looked like he didn’t want to show us the sewing room but one look at Jaci made him do it.

“This is where Grandma does all of her sewing,” Timmy said opening the door.

“Oh my goodness! I must have some of this fabric!” Jaci said holding up a roll of pink fabric. Jaci went around the room showing things to Timmy, Megan, and I that had to do with sewing. I don’t think Timmy was really listening thou.

Six whistles went through the air. Timmy offered his arm for Jaci and Jaci took it. She gave Megan a look that said follow her.

When we got out to the hall, Darcy took one look at Timmy and offered me his arm.

Let me get this straight. I did NOT want to take his arm but I did NOT want to be rude. So I let Darcy escort me downstairs.

“My lady,” Mr. Steve said to Momma when he saw Darcy and Timmy escorting Jaci and me. Momma giggled and took his arm. Mr. Steve offered his arm for Abby and she took it. Mr. Steve looked at Timmy and Jaci. If you ask me he looked a little upset to see Timmy escorting Jaci.

“Such gentlemen!” Mrs. Stewart gushed. Emily just pouted. Mr. Stewart looked at Timmy but Timmy didn’t notice.

There were little pieces of paper at different spots. I sat at my spot across from Darcy.

For once I felt bad for Emily. Her spot was the edge of the table between Mrs. Stewart and Timmy. I almost actually offered her my spot.

But Abby had a spot wedged between Mr. Steve and Mrs. Stewart so that was just as bad.

“Let’s eat,” Mr. Stewart said. Worry crept into Jaci’s face.

“Aren’t we forgetting to say the blessing?” Jaci asked. Mrs. Stewart looked at Mr. Stewart.

“Why don’t you say it, Ms. Matthews?” Mr. Stewart asked. Jaci nodded.

“Dear Lord. Thank you the food on the table. I’m sure Mrs. Stewart worked hard on it. Thank you for the chance to have dinner with the Stewarts. Lord, please bless the food we are about to receive for our nourishment, body, and soul in Christ’s name, Amen,” Jaci prayed.

“Thank you,” Mr. Stewart said reaching for a roll.

“So, Riley and Steve, when do you think the wedding will take place?” Mrs. Stewart asked reaching for the green beans.

“I’ve always wanted a spring wedding,” Momma said.

“Springtime is a wonderful time of year! It gets so pretty out here. You just have to take a walk on the Mohawk trail in the summer. My husband takes Timmy, Darcy, and Emily camping during the summer,” Mrs. Stewart gushed.

“I walked a little through the Mohawk Trail coming here. It’s surely a beauty in God’s creation,” Jaci said. Mrs. Stewart nodded.

“Did you just say walk? You didn’t walk here from Maine did you?” Timmy asked.

“Oh, heavens, no!” Jaci laughed. “I walked from Pittsfield to Florida.”

“You did what!” Mr. Steve, Darcy, Timmy, Momma, and Abby shouted at the same time. Jaci looked shocked.

“Are your ears troubling you?” Jaci asked speaking louder. “I said I walked from Pittsfield to Florida. It took me two days but I did it. I could have been here in one but I got a little tired along the way and took a nap in the woods. I lost track of time I guess.”

Mr. Steve looked horrified. Abby looked like she wished Jaci had just stayed in the woods.

“Why did you walk from Pittsfield to Florida? You could have gotten a cab,” Mr. Steve said.

“A man did pull up to me when I was in Pittsfield. He said he was a cab driver and said he could take me to the place I needed to go. But Mother always told me never to get in a car with a stranger so I didn’t,” Jaci said. Mr. Steve shook his head.

“I don’t think I want to hear anymore,” Mr. Steve said stuffing pot roast into his mouth. Jaci looked confused but she didn’t say anything.

“Abby, How’s Boston?” Mrs. Stewart asked.

“It’s good,” Abby said. “I just finished the Smith Project.”

“I heard about that. The building looks gorgeous!” Mrs. Stewart smiled. Abby nodded.

And that’s the way dinner went. We had scattered conversations about this and that. I was just glad nobody was fighting.

Emily got up from the table leaving her dirty plate and Mrs. Stewart gave one long whistle.

“Emily Elizabeth Stewart! How many times am I going to have to tell you to scrap off your plate after dinner and ask for permission to leave?” Mrs. Stewart said. Emily rolled her eyes.

“Did you roll your eyes at me?!” Mrs. Stewart shouted. “Get on your knees!”

“May I say something?” Jaci asked as Emily got on her knees. Mrs. Stewart looked at her but didn’t say anything.

“Mrs. Stewart, it’s easy to see that you love and care about your grandchildren but don’t you think it’s rather harsh making them kneel to the ground in front of people and make halfhearted apologizes? If there not truly sorry for what they do what good is all this? By the way you treat them with the whistles and kneeling apologizes I wouldn’t be surprised if Emily and Timothy-Caleb leave the minute they turn eighteen and I wouldn’t blame them if they did. I would find it a little hard to believe I was loved if I was treated like that. Mother didn’t always make it easy to see that she loved me but she wasn’t as bad as this. All thou she wouldn’t let me learn how to drive. She just said that she had her reason. That always meant that the discussion was to go no further but I’m getting off course. Now please don’t think I’m criticizing you but isn’t there a better way to punish your grandkids?” Jaci asked.

Mr. Steve looked like he wanted to disappear. Timmy looked shocked and fearful. Emily looked at Jaci with wonder. Abby looked at Jaci with wonder and amazement. All eyes were on Mrs. Stewart to see how she would react.

“Miss Jaci Matthews, I like you,” Mrs. Stewart finally said smiling. “You remind me of me when I was your age. Always speaking my mind. If you had blonde hair you could be a spitting image of me.”

Jaci smiled. Relief seemed to wash over Timmy’s face.

“I like you too, Mrs. Stewart. I think we’re going to be good friends,” Jaci smiled.

Mr. Steve, Abby, and Darcy just looked at Mrs. Stewart and Jaci in wonder.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Six

**

“Welcome back class,” Ms. Ross said. I tried not to drop my pencil. It was my first day in a new school and I was getting ready to freak out.

I looked at Regina. She gave me a thumbs up. I looked at Emily. She gave me a smirk.

“Now class we have a new student and I’m pretty sure you all know her. Her name is Natalie and I would ask her to stand but she has a broken foot so I won’t,” Ms. Ross said. I smiled.

“Hi. My name is Natalie Baldwin and I just moved here from Miami, Florida,” I said.

“We welcome you to our class and too Florida,” Ms. Ross smiled. “Take out her Pre-Algebra books.” Most of the class groaned. I smiled. Math was my favorite subject.

I could easily get lost in Math. In Math if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. If it’s right, it’s right. There are no two answers just the one.

I was the first one done with today’s math lesson and Ms. Ross looked impressed.

“You got them all right, Natalie. I’m impressed,” Ms. Ross said.

Next was English and that wasn’t exactly my subject.

“I know you all know this but what part of speech is the word He?” Ms. Ross asked.

I quickly thought of a sentence. He ran down the street.

“He is a noun?” I guessed. Emily burst out laughing.

“He is a pronoun. You learn that like in the first grade,” Emily laughed. I looked at my cast. Nope. Her name wasn’t on it.

“It’s not funny, Emily,” Ms. Ross said. “It’s a very common mistake. Today we’re going to study pronouns.”

“Pay good attention, Clumsy,” Emily said. She gave me a smile. I wanted to D-I-S-A-P-E-A-R.

Next was History. I liked history but just don’t ask me any dates.

“Which history would the class like to do first? American or World?” Ms. Ross asked.

American history was chosen to go first.

“How long was the Revolutionary War, class?” Ms. Ross asked. I breathed this was one I knew.

“Regina,” Ms. Ross said. Regina looked scared.

“Ten years?” Regina asked.

Emily laughed like it was the funniest thing in the world.

“No you dummy. It lasted for seven years,” Emily said.

“Actually it lasted for eight years, Princess,” I said rolling my eyes.

Thankfully the lunch bell rang.

“We’ll continue this after lunch,” Ms. Ross said. “Natalie, wait a second.”

Emily gave me a smile that told me this would be all over Florida before lunch was over.

“Did I do something wrong?” I asked.

“Natalie, tomorrow I want you to go to Algebra class with the seventh graders. I think you’re ready for it,” Ms. Ross said.

I smiled.

“So I’m not in trouble?” I asked.

“Of course not sweetie. Now go to lunch,” Ms. Ross said. I ran out the classroom.

**

The rest of my first day of school was incredible. The second Emily heard that I was moving up a grade in Math she shut up mighty fast.

“Momma!” I called running (well as fast as you can with a cast) into the B&B.

I saw that there was a gift on my pillow. It had no name on it. I ripped it open.

Nerds!” I shouted. I smiled but my smile dropped when Ms. Donna walked into the family room with Mr. Steve and a police officer.

“What’s going on?” I asked. Why in the world would a police officer be here?

“Natalie, your mother is missing,” Ms. Donna said.

(Note: This post was posted on January 7. The wordpress clock is several hours ahead)

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’?