Summer is Forever and Always (Original Writing) Chapter 1
I have been writing this chapter for awhile now for this NA series I'm writing. You can click on the the links above to see the synopsis for book 1 and Pinterest page for the series. Feedback would be wonderful! Here's the first chapter:
I wish I had done everything on earth with you. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
Four years ago~
"I have ovarian cancer".
I wouldn't think that would be the first thing my mom says to me, especially on the first day of summer vacation. My older twin brothers, Silas and Sawyer, look at each other with questioned filled eyes. Their probably using that weird telepathy thing twins have. Dad is just looking down at his folded hands that rest in his lap. I can't read him at all. Maybe he's feeling heart broken, distraught, or mad at the world.
"When did you find out?" I ask, since I'm the only one that seems to be able to talk. My mom, a curly mass of ruby hair and a smile that lights the whole room looks at me, with her sea-glass eyes. I'm proud to say, I also have red hair (only it's not curly) and share her beautiful eyes. Silas and Sawyer have a more auburn-brunette hair coloring but, they inherited the Meadow family cornflower blue eyes.
"The day after your brothers graduated", she whispers as if it's secret. That was only two weeks ago. She's been hiding this horrible thing, this cancer, from my brothers and me. The feeling of wrenching up everything in stomach hits me like a train. Looking around again, I see my brothers are still questioning if this is reality, Dad with his face filled with mysterious feelings, and Mom...looks like she's on the brink of tears.
"I-I got to go," running to my bedroom, I start packing my backpack with clothes and toiletries. Overly washed t-shirts, that one pair of jean's that are just perfect and the expired mascara I keep forgetting to throw away. Trying to find my beat Chuck Taylor's, I notice Mom is standing in the door frame. The dark circles are more noticeable around her eyes and how she's not wearing one of her dye tie hippie dresses.
"There by the dresser, Fey."
"Oh. Thanks," walking over there and looking at the mirror, I see photos, dried flowers, and ribbons I won in junior high hanging from the cracked reflecting glass. My reflection shows me a girl with a messy red bun, old Mayday Parade t-shirt, and ripped up shorts that could be illegal in some states. My parents both have issues with these shorts. Mom thought I should put patches under the holes and Dad thought they should be burnt. But I loved them. They have seen skinned knees, stolen kisses, and hikes in dogwood tree filled hills.
"Where you going Honey? Gramma Lola's?" she asks, as I'm pulling my shoes over polka-dotted socks. It's like she's a mind reader. Nodding my head yes, I head over to my probably over packed bag. When I slip it on to my shoulders, I can feel the weight of the world even more. Closing my eyes and breathing in the smell of apple blossom body spray, I look at the doorway which holds Mom between its strong oak arms. Her eyes tell me the story that has happened in these last few weeks.
Walking up to her, I wrap my arms around her shoulders and press my face into her neck. She smells like the honeysuckle that grows up our chain linked fence. Tears are flowing down my cheeks and landing on her. Her eyes are doing the same thing.
"I'm so sorry, Mom."
"Sorry's and worrying won't fix me, Fey. The doctors said its good thing I came in when I did or it would've been much worse", as we're pulling apart, she moves her hair to the side, and unclasps her heart locket. Grabbing my wrist, she lays the heirloom into my hand.
"I want you to have this. It has been passed down through the Skye women for many generations. They said once you put this on you'll find your "Forever and Always". I know have," she smiles when says the last thing. She's told me the story of how she met Dad for the first time so many times and I knew this wasn't going be the last, hopefully.
They were on their university courtyard and she was under one of the oak trees that were scattered across the quad. He was playing Frisbee with some of his friends and tossed it right at her head. All she remembers after she cussed out the Frisbee was staring into blue cornflower eyes. After that experience they started hanging out, dating, and months later she had my older twin brothers. She told me she didn't want to get married just because she had those two. But after pleading with her (while she was pregnant with me) they got married when she was just 4 months along with me. Keeping her name was only thing she wanted when she married him.
"I never get tired of telling you that story. Your brothers think its gross but, I think they'll find out what it's like to find their "Forever and Always”, “she just stares into my bedroom, like she's trying to find something that is out of place.
"I'm going to go. I think staying with Gramma Lola for the summer will help with all of this, if that's okay," waiting for her to answer, I start walking toward the stairs. My foot hits the third step down when I get my answer.
"Yeah, you can go. But I'll call you or just come over if I get tired of this testosterone filled house. There's only so much I can stand of man-stink" she laughed, hugging me once more, “Don’t feel sad though, Fey. I'll be okay and everything will get back to normal," and pulling away again, she leads me to the front door and hands me the keys to her green 1970 Ford Torino Cobra.
"Are you serious? You won't even let the twins breathe on it" saying this while pulling off the car cover of Mom's pride and joy. An emerald green body with a wide black pin stripe down the middle with twin hood scoops. She had this beauty rebuilt from the tires up.
"Yeah, your brothers have their cars and you have your driver license but no car, and I'm probably not going to drive this baby any time soon. So, I thought it over and your Dad agreed. She's all yours, Fey," squeezing my hand one last time, she walks back up to the steps of the house. Turning towards me, she shows me one of those traffic stopping smiles. Smiling back, I open the driver side door and start adjusting the seat. Mom, only being a whopping five foot and two inches has the seat pulled almost all the way to the dashboard. I however, am very close to five-seven and finely adjusting the seat to my comfort level (and removing the pillow Mom uses to sit on) and start the engine. Making that beautiful music to my ears, shifting into reverse, and slowly driving out of the driveway, I look one more time at my house. Mom is still standing there with her arms wrapped around herself. Finally reaching the street, I pull out and start driving to Gramma Lola's house.
"Well this unexpected" Gramma Lola says, while taking out a pitcher of sweet tea out of the refrigerator.
"Sorry, Gramma," I replied, while I'm picking out two green glasses from her cupboard for us to drink her famous sweet tea. Her sweet tea has won many rewards at the country fair. She won't tell anyone and I mean no one, she didn't even tell my deceased Papa her secret to making it.
"It's fine sweet one. Did your Mom tell you yet?"
So even Gramma Lola knew. I didn't like getting kept in the dark. Never knowing what felt like to be in the same light like everyone else. Sitting the glasses on the table, I pull out one of the painted over chairs.
"Hmm," is her only response while she fills our glasses with the nectar of the gods. Taking her place across from me, she takes a drink of the tea and hmm's again. Following in her steps, I also taking a sip. Damn, no tea could ever beat this.
"Are you ever going to tell someone what the secret to your tea is, Gramma?" changing the subject to this would be easier then talking about mom having cancer.
"I haven't thought on that one, sweet one. Maybe. Maybe not. I just might take it to the grave with me. And that drawing you did for me in junior high school," I remember the one she's talking about. A little redhead girl that's holding a bouquet of stargazer lilies. My Gramma wanted the girl to look just like me and the flowers to be those kinds of lilies. She has a whole plat of them in her backyard that she calls her garden. Yeah, if she means that most of the backyard is filled with more weeds than flowers, okay it’s a "garden". Laughing at my thought, a new one came to mind.
"Hey, Gramma? Is Reyes still working on the boulevard at that tattoo shop?"
"Yes. He bought the business from that joke of an artist." Happy with that answer, I run up the stairs to guest room I'll be occupying this summer. Going to the backpack, I pull out a small decorative box that holds my prize. In it is, three hundred dollars that is held together by a pink ribbon.
"Sweet one, what do think you’re doing?" Gramma asks, while taking a seat on the bed. I turn around to look at her. Her tiny bird body is a huge contrast to mine. Let’s just say I didn't get my abundance
of curves from my dad's side of the family.
"I'm going to go get a tattoo, with some of the money Papa gave all his grand kids." My Papa wasn't filthy rich but, he had some money. He invested in computers when nobody else would. So when he passed, he gave his grand kids a grand each. This is the first time I touched it since he's been gone.
"Okay, you can go but, I'm going to be there," Gramma said. She was stubborn some times.
"That's fine with me Gram's,"
It took six hours, many colorful cuss words, and joyful tears but, I got just what I wanted. From my right shoulder blade to my lower left hipbone, stargazer lilies intertwine with black swirls. The only color is the fuscia ombre of the flowers. Still looking at the masterpiece in the mirror, I say to Reyes,
"Thank you so much, it so beautiful and for letting me come in such a short notice."
"Thank you so much, it so beautiful and for letting me come in such a short notice."
"Oh, it's fine Firecracker. Now I can tell the guys that I got you topless-," there was a loud smack and Reyes was rubbing the back of his head.
"Oww! You crazy granny! You almost gave me a concussion with your purse!" still rubbing his head, he turned to Gramma Lola to give her another piece of his mind but he stopped dead cold. Gramma was holding her old lady purse that probably had the whole kitchen sink in it and she was giving him the death glare.
"If you say one word Reyes, I'm gonna tell everybody in the next county and your Gramma that "special" tattoo you have on your rump," and with that, she walked over to me and looked at my tattoo.
"It's so beautiful, sweet one. Let’s send a photo to your Mom. Reyes! Come over here, I don't know how to use this damn picture phone!" snickering at her remark, I look back into the mirror. The lilies look so real, like you could go up to one, and smell there sweet perfume.
Reyes taking my cellphone from Gramma, tells me to turn around and stay still. I can hear the click when he's taken the picture of the tattoo. Handing it over to me, he says, "So, what are you going to do the rest of the summer?" I had to think on that question. Maybe go find Kaya and hangout with her.
"Most likely eat too much fried food, kiss too many boys, and get another tattoo," I replied.
"Can I be one of those boys?" Reyes laughs, while Gramma gives him "the stare". I start laughing at the both of them and it makes me forget about the news I was told this morning. Walking over to Gramma and Reyes, I dig into my pocket to give Reyes his money.
"How much do I owe you?"
"Let’s make it an even three hundred, “he says, I look over to Gramma Lola who now is looking at his portfolio. Hmm... That's strange.
"Rey, you know this is more than three hundred. It's more like five."
"Yeah, but I need a shop assistant and your Gramma," he turns towards her and winks at her. "Told me that you were going to be here for the rest of the summer and she thought it would good for you to work here." He walks over to his station and pulls some spray stuff and plastic wrap.
"Let's get you wrapped up."
Nodding my head, I pull my hair over my shoulder and shiver when he sprays my back with some antiseptic spray. Patting it dry, he presses the plastic wrap lightly and tapes up the edges. He tells all about the after care for my back piece. No scented lotions or body wash until it's healed. Don't stay out in the sun for long.
"And please please please, don't scratch the damn thing!" he emphasizes.
"Okay" I replied back, while grabbing my loose tank top from the chair. It’s loose enough not to bother the tattoo but, not enough to show side boob.
"So what do think about working at the shop? “Reyes asks, while holding the backdoor open for us. We’re heading to the Torino and Reyes stops dead in tracks.
"Is that what I think it is?"
"Yep. And it's all mine this summer. I totally work at the shop this summer, Reyes. Reyes?" He's running his hand the hood and looking at all the smooth lines on the car.
"I think he's gone, sweet one, “Gramma Lola remarks, she's opening the driver's side door and putting the pillow on the seat. She honks the horn and I swear, Reyes jumps three feet in the air.
"You crazy ass granny! You bout made me piss my pants" he shouts. Gramma Lola is cracking up. The two seem to bicker for hours while open the back door to the Torino and climb into the backseat on my stomach. And Reyes almost walks back into the shop before asking, “Have you thought about working here Fey? I could really use a shop assistant.”
“Yeah, I would love to work here. Is there anybody I should know about before starting?”
“Umm… what’s her name? Michiko Yamada. She’ll be a tattoo artist and piercer here. Coming down from K. City to work here. Her portfolio is awesome.” He says while walking towards the shop, “Oh, before I forget be here tomorrow mornin’ by ten.” And that when the Body of Ink shop door shuts.
Gramma Lola starts the car is pulling out when I almost beg, “Can we go get some ice cream? I feel like double chocolate and I bet you want butter pecan.”
“You know what? I suddenly have a cravin’ for my favorite sweet treat.” She quips. We head to the closet while is only little bit down the boulevard from Reyes’s shop. Going through the drive-through, Gramma orders both of use single scoop waffle cones of our favorite cold treat.
“Sometimes, I worry about that boy,” Gramma says to herself while holding her scoop of butter pecan in her hand. I look up Gramma Lola wondering why she said that.
“Oh, sweet one. He’s just little different and you know how this town takes different. Like the fucking witch trials here if you have a tattoo or a piercing”,” she swears.I laugh at what she’s saying. We live in little town that can’t tell road signs from art. But I guess that’s what you get for living in the Bible Belt. Yuck.
“But he’s so wonderful around his siblings-,”
“What! He has siblings!”
“Yep. Got half two sisters and brother; Caitlin, Brendan, and Aislinn. They think Reyes is a Superman,” she quips. Double chocolate ice cream is running down my arm and I didn’t even notice it.
“What in hells bells, Fey Arielle! You know better than to cuss while I’m drivin’! Did I run over a critter or something?” she asks while looking the rearview mirror. I’m laughing so hard; I get more ice cream on myself.
“Nothing, Gramma. Just spilling ice cream all over myself.”
“Well you better not get any on this leather. Or I’ll tan your hide and make you rebuff it.”
“Okay. Oh, by the way. What are his siblings like?”
“Caitlin is in college. Smart cookie that one is. Aislinn is a sweet little thing and only seventh grade. And Brendan is your age; a senior in high school.” She answers.
“What does he look like?”
“Oh? Well if Elizabeth Taylor was a man and seventeen then that is what Brendan looks like. Ebony hair, violet eyes, and kind of to pretty to be a boy but is still masculine. Why do ask,” Gramma just looks back for second.
“Nothing. Just wondering. And you said they were his half siblings?”
“Yes, but that is a story for him to tell and not me.” Then there was that awkward silence when we pull into her carport.
“Do you think mom is going to be okay?”
I expected “Yes, sweet one” but not this answer.
“I really don’t know. Your momma said they caught it early but you never know. Just like your Papa.”
Three years and nine months my whole world changed and I broke into pieces.