Comment Replies from the last chapter of 'Scars And A Daisy'
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Thank you so much for sticking with me through 'Scars And A Daisy.'
I really appreciate all the reads and comments! You guys make me so happy! I couldn't write with your support! I'm very excited to begin posting 'Something Spectacular.'
I really hope that you all enjoy the sequel to 'Scars And A Daisy'!
I wasn't planning on posting this first chapter just yet, but I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas (and/or a Happy whichever Holiday you celebrate!) I'd love to hear all about your Holiday and what you did to celebrate!
This is my Holiday gift to you since I can't give you anything for real! I hope you enjoy! I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Chapter One: (Early July)
I rub my eyes for what must be the tenth time in the last seven minutes. "Tell me again why we're up so early?" I mumble the words against Jeremy's shoulder, where I'm trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep. It's roughly three-forty seven in the morning and I'm exhausted.
Jeremy yawns loudly. "Because we need to be the first in line at the state park if we want to get our usual spot on the beach." Everyone else in the car is asleep, like I wish I was.
"What's wrong with any other spot? Why does it have to be that particular spot?" It's the fourth of July and although I'm excited to be going with Jeremy and his family to celebrate the holiday with them, I can't figure out why we need to be awake at such an ungodly hour.
He shrugs, looking like he doesn't quite know how to answer. "Because, it's just what we do. This spot, our spot, is the best spot. It is kind of on a corner so there's less being bothered by all the other people there. And the beach is less rocky there. And it's a tradition. It's our spot. It's tradition, Brookie. We have to get that spot."
I smile a bit at his tradition and sit up so I can look at him better. "Tradition. Alright, I guess that makes sense. If only this tradition could be upheld without being awake so early." Jeremy smiles back at me and then leans his head back on the seat, closing his eyes. "Nearly there!" Alyssa calls back from the front seat, beside their dad.
"Good." Jeremy nods, his eyes remaining closed. "Now shush, I'm sleeping."
"But we're almost there..." I say, turning to look at him with slight confusion. Why does he want to sleep now, if we're going to be there soon?
Jeremy smiles slightly but keeps his eyes shut. "I know. But the gates don't open for another two hours. So I'm going to sleep." We jolt onto a dirty road and down a long stretch of what seems like nothing before we reach a long loop and a green gate.
"We're here! Kara beat us, of course." Alyssa shouts, sending us all a huge grin. Jeremy grunts loudly, his way of telling everyone to stay quiet. But then he sits up and unbuckles. Before I can ask him what he's doing, he shifts in his seat and lays his head down in my lap.
Before closing his eyes again, Jeremy looks up at me with a smile. "I love you."
"Of course, you do." I say, laughing quietly. He mock scowls at me and I stick my tongue out at him. "You're a dork." I tell him. "But I love you."
Jeremy's younger sisters all pile out of the van to go talk to their half-sister and I look down at Jeremy. "Aren't you going to go say hello to your sister?"
His eyes open and he shrugs. "Eventually. For now, sleep." I lean back in the seat and he closes his eyes again. Within minutes, he's snoring quietly. I press my head against the headrest and decide to try to sleep a bit myself.
When I open my eyes again, there's a curly haired blonde sitting in the front seat, twisted around so she can stare at me. When she realizes I'm looking straight back at her, she blushes a bit and her gaze flickers between me and the ground. "I met you at the restaurant." She finally says and I smile at her, nodding my head.
"I remember you." I tell her. She returns my smile with a tiny one of her own. "But I'm awful at remembering names. What's yours again?"
"Kat." She says. "I'm ten."
"It's nice to meet you, Kat. I'm Brookie. I'm nineteen."
"Wow, that's old." She whispers to herself. I'm slightly offended but I know it's because I'm nearly twice as old as she is. I thought nineteen was old when I was ten. She looks at me again and smiles. "You're Jeremy's girlfriend." She looks down at her sleeping brother and then she giggles. "When you were both sleeping, I drew a cat on his hand."
I laugh and look at his hand. Sure enough, there's a cat drawn in blue ink on his hand. "You are the best!"
I laugh again and the little girl beams up at me. "I like you." She says. "You're nice."
"I'm glad you think so. Cuz I like you too."
She grins and then her face twists into a concentrated frown. She looks back at Jeremy and sighs. "Is Jeremy going to sleep the whole day?"
I laugh and my movement stirs Jeremy. He shifts and grunts a few times before he settles down and, I assume, goes back to sleep. "No, he won't. I'll wake him up once the gates open up."
Kat grins at me. "Good! He has to swim with me. He promised last year."
"You've got a good memory then, huh?"
"Me and Ella both do. Especially for promises."
I glance out of the mini van windows to see which one is Ella. When I think I've found her, I point to her and check with Kat. "Yeah. That's her! And that one is Rachel." She points to the other blonde and I nod, remembering meeting her. She was the one who was excited to meet me.
"So, how many brothers and sisters do you have in total?" I ask, trying to see if I can remember them all.
"Well, there's the boys, Jack, Travis, Derek, and Jeremy." She points out the window at the three oldest of the brothers.
"When did they get here?" I ask.
Kat shrugs. "Just a little while ago. Jack brought Travis and Derek. Anyway, for the girls there's Marlie, Alyssa, Jetta, Rachel, Ella, and me. And Kara. She's our older sister." She tugs at her sleeve and then asks, "Did you know that I'm an aunt?"
"No, I didn't. That's really cool! I'm not even an aunt yet!"
She giggles again. "I have a niece and a nephew! My nephew is twenty. He's even older than you are!"
"Wow. That's crazy, Kat!"
"I know!" She agrees, bobbing her head up and down. "My teacher didn't believe me. But it's because of my sister Kara. It's her kids that made me an aunt."
A loud pounding on the car window makes me jump and Jeremy jerks awake. Kat giggles at our reactions. We turn to the window to see Jack and Derek grinning at us. "Come out and say hello!" Jack calls, tugging on the door handle, but it's locked.
"Oops." Kat says. "I think I locked it on accident."
I smile at her and reach over and unlock it, pushing the door open. It's not until I try to get out of the minivan that I realize I'm still wearing my seat belt. Jack starts to laugh at me and I scowl at him as I undo it and I step out of the van. I'm instantly glad I had decided to wear a sweater over my t-shirts and sweatpants over my shorts. It's still chilly, even though it's July, the typical weather of Maine. Jeremy comes out behind me and he snakes his arms around my waist, resting his head on my shoulder.
"Couldn't you have let us sleep for at least another hour?" He mumbles, his voice shows how sleepy he still is.
Jack scoffs. "Where's the fun in that? Come on, Kara's dying to see you, and to meet Brookie."
Jeremy moves to my side, keeping an arm around me and we walk towards the rest of his family, with Kat skipping ahead of us. When we reach Kara, Jeremy pulls away from me to hug her and when they pull back, he's smiling. "Miss you Kara." He says. "And this is Brookie, my girlfriend."
His sister extends her hand to me with a smile. "Hi, Brookie. It's great to meet you. I'm Kara."
The next half hour passes with a long walk to a tiny outhouse so Kat and Ella can go to the bathroom. Kat begged me to go along with them and my excitement of being loved by Jeremy's sisters refused to allow me to say no to her pleading face. As we step back into view of the cars, Jeremy waves. I smile and wave back. We're still out of hearing range and Kat looks up at me with a shy smile. "Are you going to marry him?" She asks.
Ella shoots her a look. "They haven't even been boyfriend and girlfriend that long, Katrina."
Kat scowls at her older sister and looks back at me. "But he gave you that ring. Marlie told me that. And rings mean getting married." She sticks her tongue out at Ella and I laugh quietly.
Ella opens her mouth to retort something, but I stop her. "Alright you two, don't argue please. You're both right. Sort of. Katrina, I'm not marrying your brother. Not anytime soon anyway. You're right though. When a boy and girl decide to get married, they do get rings. But this ring is just a promise ring. Jeremy gave it to me as a promise that he wants to be with me forever. Ella's right. We haven't been together long enough to get married. But some people do get married when they haven't been together long at all. Jeremy and I know that we're too young to make such an important decision."
We've kept walking as we talk and I see Jeremy perk up and look at me questioningly. He must have heard the end of our conversation. "Too young for what decision?"
I wait until Ella and Kat walk over to climb on Jack and Travis' backs before answering. "Oh, nothing important." Jeremy starts to take a gulp of water and I smile, knowing what will happen when I finish my sentence. "Ella and Kat and I were just talking about you and me getting married."
The water spews from his lips and he starts coughing on it. I laugh and pat his back. "Don't worry. I told them we weren't planning on it anytime soon. Apparently Marlie told your younger sisters about the ring and Katrina decided that meant we were getting married."
Jeremy half smiles and then looks over at his two youngest sisters. "But you told them we're not engaged and not getting married, right?"
I nod. "Yes, Jer. Don't worry. I told them all about your commitment issues."
He jerks back around to look at me, wide-eyed. "Wait what?"
I grin. "You're too easy. I'm joking. You don't have issues. At least, not really anyway. We both know that us getting married would be a bad idea right now."
Jeremy frowns. "What do you mean, bad idea?"
"Are you saying that you want to get married right now?"
"Uh, no, no not now." He stutters the words out and I grin again, overjoyed with teasing him this way.
"Exactly. Gosh this is fun. No wonder your brothers like to mess with you so often. It's empowering."
He shoots me a scowl but I know he's not actually angry when he sighs and rolls his eyes with a growing smile on his face. "Ten minutes!" Marlie says, bounding up to us. "The warden just told dad and Kara that he's opening the gates in ten minutes!" She tightens her arms against her chest, trying to block herself from the chilling wind. "I sure hope the sun comes out soon to warm up the day. Remember how it rained all day last year and totally spoiled everything?" She shivers a bit as she talks to Jeremy and I look up to check on the sky.
There aren't any rain clouds, reassuring me of a hopefully nice day. "Yeah, that was crap." Jeremy grumbles. "It better stay sunny today. You're planning on swimming, right?"
Marlie shifts her weight from one foot to the other and bites her bottom lip in what I'm assuming is a nervous gesture. Jeremy does that same thing occasionally. "Maybe. You know I don't like swimming all that much."
"I will throw you in, if you don't get in the water." Jack says, coming up behind Marlie and making her jump.
"Don't you dare." She grumbles.
Travis and Derek walk up, grinning and when Travis talks, I realize they heard our conversation. "It's the rules, Mar. You don't get in on your own and one of us will throw you in."
She scowls at them and turns away to find Alyssa. "Don't think those rules don't apply to you." Jack says, beaming at me. "You're practically family now. Which means the water-toss-in-rule includes you."
I take a step back, holding my hands up in surrender. "I plan on swimming, don't worry."
I space off a bit while the boys talk about who knows what, and suddenly Jeremy's tugging on my arm. "Come on, get back in the car, it's finally time to get down there!"
We pile back into the mini van with his sisters and dad and after a few minutes we start towards the gate. We stop at the gate to pay the warden, the required fee for visiting the State Park and then it's finally time to drive down the long dirty road to the beach area. When we pull into the parking area, the girls all cheer. Jeremy groans loudly at them but he's smiling and I realize just how much he's enjoying this family time.
The second their dad has parked the car, the doors fly open and the girls pour out, grabbing bags and rushing towards the beach. "Did we get it?" I hear Marlie ask as her and Alyssa hurry down to meet their older sister at the beach.
Jeremy takes his time unbuckling his seat belt and climbing out of the car and he shuts the doors his sisters forgot. "You ready for this?" He asks, taking my hand and starting the walk to the beach. We take a small rocky path past a small playground. The path leads to the beachside picnic spots.
Before I can answer, Marlie is running back towards us looking upset. "You'll never guess what happened!" She stops in front of me and Jeremy, a look of extreme anger on her face. "Somebody else has our spot. They canoed across the lake for it this morning. Isn't that, like, illegal or something? Because that means they didn't pay to be here. And that's our spot! We have to report this."
"Wait, what? I'm going to talk to Kara." Jeremy pulls me along with him as he searches for Kara and when he finds her, she looks just as upset as Marlie did.
"Yeah, exactly that." Kara replies when Jeremy relays what Marlie told him. "We don't get the spot today. But it's fine. We'll make do. This one's nice."
Jeremy asses this spot and frowns. "No, it's not. You're just trying to convince yourself. Let me go talk to those guys." He takes a step towards the spot that is usually theirs but Jack and Derek stop him.
"Just drop it, Jer." Jack says. "Kara isn't fretting about it and it's her side of the family that originally started this tradition, so we're going to make the best of it. Okay?" He waits until Jeremy gives him a grudging promise not to start any trouble with our neighbor celebrators before he walks away to help one of their cousins start up the grill for burgers. Even though it's only barely seven o clock in the morning.
In the spot we're stuck with, there are three picnic tables surrounding a small grill. The beach stretches out for miles down the side of the lake. In the lake about forty yards out there's a rope line with buoys. It's clearly a family place and it's already crowded with people. No wonder, we need to get here so early.
The sun is peeking out over the clouds and the youngest of the children with us are jumping into the lake with shouts and laughter. I follow Jeremy around like a lost puppy for most of the morning, feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the people here that I don't know.
Marlie pops up beside me, holding a bag of clothes. "Alyssa and I are going to go change into swimsuits. Wanna come with us?"
I agree and we head up towards the bathroom area. "Please tell me these bathrooms are nicer than that outhouse I took your sisters to this morning." I say, wrinkling my nose up as Alyssa puts her hand on a doorknob.
"Don't worry. They aren't bad, I promise."
I hitch my own tote bag carrying my swimsuit, towel and sunscreen, up on my shoulder and reach for a door of my own. "Just watch out for spiders." Marlie says, opening a door. "They're gross."
With that in mind, I change as quickly as I possibly can, shoving my sweat pants and sweater back into my bag, but pulling a tank top and my shorts on over my two piece. It's not exactly a bikini, not a one piece either, somewhere in between. But it's comfortable and cute and I love it. I throw my hair up into a messy bun and step back outside. Marlie and Alyssa are both still changing but they come out in just a few minutes. Both of them have put shorts and a shirt over their own swimsuits so I feel much better about my choice.
"I really don't want to swim." Marlie grumbles as we start back to the beach. "Especially since you all like to swim out where I can't touch the bottom." She adds the last part on for me in an answer to my unasked question. "Water has never been a friend of mine. Unless I'm purposefully drinking it. Or showering. Only in those two circumstances do I like water."
"You'll be fine. And besides, you promised to swim out to the buoys with me this year." Alyssa says. Turning to me, she adds, "We do it every year, but every year Marlie quits before she can get there. This year, we're getting her to swim all the way out."
I nod in understanding and Marlie just groans again. A soaking, dripping wet Katrina bounces up to me when we come back to the beach. "Come swim with me?" She begs, tugging on my hand.
I glance around, looking for Jeremy, and find him standing by the grill with his brothers and some people I assume are relatives of some sort. "Maybe in a little bit, okay?" I say to Kat and she sighs but nods.
"Promise you will later?" She asks and I nod, promising her. She grins and turns back to the water, splashing in to yell at Ella, "She promised she will later!"
Instead of meeting up with Jeremy, I sit with Marlie, Alyssa and their niece Carter, talking about school and boys and tens of other random topics. "We've got some burgers ready!" Someone calls out and I pull my phone from my pocket to check the time. It's nearly ten thirty now and even though it's not lunch time, I'm feeling hungry. But having breakfast so early in the morning would cause my stomach to want lunch earlier than usual. I grab a burger off a plate, squirt some ketchup and relish on to it and go to find the girls again. Jermey stops me, grabbing my hand to spin me around and then pull me to rest his arm over my shoulders. His mouth is full of a bite of burger but that doesn't stop him from trying to say something. It comes out in a mumbled mutter.
"Sorry Jer, didn't quite catch that, what with all that hamburg and bread in your mouth blocking your words."
He finishes his mouthful while laughing and then says, "I was asking how you're doing. I couldn't find you a while back and worried a bit."
I smile, nodding towards his sisters. "I was with Marlie and Alyssa. They're so much fun."
He shrugs. "Eh, I'm cooler though, right?"
I laugh and press a kiss to his cheek. "Yes, you're cooler."
He grins. "Good!"
After another burger for Jeremy and a small bag of chips for me, we sit on the sand by some of his relatives, listening to their reminisce. Suddenly I'm being picked up by strong hands under my arms and hauled towards the water. "No, wait, stop!" I shriek, kicking my legs out. "At least let me take my shorts and shirt off!" I squeal. For a second, I'm positive that whoever this is going to toss me in any way but then my feet touch the sand.
"Alright," Jack sighs. "Five seconds though!" He starts counting down and I strip to my swimsuit as quickly as I can, just barely managing to set my clothes away from the water before he picks me up again. He wades up to his knees in the water and then tosses me forward. I fly through the air for just a few brief seconds before crashing down into the water.
It's freezing and I shriek, bubbles of air coming out with my yell. When I pop my head back up above the water, I cough out some water and turn to look at the beach. Jeremy is standing beside Jack laughing. I start my swim towards them, still shivering slightly. "So cold." I mutter when I reach them. "I kind of hate you, Jack." I say.
He grins. "Aw come on, I warned you earlier."
"Well, now it's your turn." I say, crossing my arms. "Both of you in the water now."
They exchange glances and somehow seem to talk without words. They each grab one of my arms, lift me up and toss me back in the water. When I come up this time, I tackle Jeremy and grin happily when he exclaims how cold my skin is. "That's what you get, throwing me back in the freezing lake." I grumble, pressing my lips to the side of his neck.
"At least you got to take your actual clothes of first." He groans when I finally let him go. He grabs the back of his shirt and pulls it over his head. My eyes instantly turn to his muscles and he smirks when he catches my gaze. He yanks his shorts off next, showing his blue swim trunks. Before he can even take a step towards the lake, Jack is lifting him up from behind but when he tries to toss him, Jeremy latches hold of his oldest brother's arm, pulling Jack in with him. The two of them tumble into the water.
I start laughing when Jack comes up, looking a bit like a drowned rat. Jeremy pops up beside him, laughing with me.
"You're so lucky I saw that coming and stripped to my trunks too." Jack says to his brother, and then to me, he shouts, "Come on in, Brookie. The water's only freezing."
I laugh and head back into the water, swimming up beside them. "You know, you've still got two brothers and two sisters avoiding the water." I remind them. Both of their heads turn to find the siblings still on land.
"I've got Marlie." Jack says. "You get Alyssa. We'll tackle Derek and Travis after."
They agree and I watch as the two brothers go over to their sisters and start what seems to be an innocent conversation. I can tell Marlie and Alyssa are suspicious but when the talk continues for a few minutes they both let down their guards. As soon as that happens, the brothers scoop them up and take a run for the water, plunging in and dunking the girls.
As quickly as they entered the lake, Jack and Jer rush back out and manage to yank both Derek and Travis in. "To the buoys!" Alyssa shouts and for a reason I still don't quite understand, they all being swimming to the rope of buoys that swimmers are asked not to cross.
I turn towards the rope of buoys and swim alongside Alyssa and Marlie. Marlie is quiet, her jaw set and her focus remains on the buoys but I can see that she's nervous about it.
Alyssa keeps glancing over at her, as if to ensure that her older sister is still okay. "You've got this, Mar." She says. Marlie barely nods and I hear her take a shallow breath.
"If I die, I'm haunting you forever." She mutters. "I hate this. I hate this so much."
When we reach the rope, she grips onto it, kicking her feet in an attempt to stay afloat and stay in place. "What was the point in this?" One of the brothers asks and Alyssa shrugs.
"To get Marlie to accomplish this. And to maybe overcome her fear."
"I accomplished it, the fear is still there. I'm going back to where I can touch." Marlie says, starting her slow return to shallower waters.
Katrina is attempting to swim out towards us, her little arms and legs kicking and flailing as she speeds towards us faster than I would have guessed a tiny ten year old can swim. "Jack can I jump off your shoulders?" She asks and he takes off towards her, agreeing to her request.
He lifts her up once he can touch the ground and she jumps up with a laughing squeal. Ella immediately asks for a turn and all the children in the group come swimming towards Jack with requests for a turn.
"Chicken fight!" Derek shouts out, challenging Jeremy and I with him and Alyssa. Marlie seems content to watch with Rachel and Jetta.
Alyssa takes me down after a fair fight and immediately challenges a rematch. I win a round and after she wins two more rounds, she declares herself official chicken fight champion. "More food is ready!" Their dad calls out and we head in for it. There's chicken, hot dogs, steak and even grilled Brussels sprouts but I decide to stay away from those, grabbing a piece of chicken and a hot dog instead.
I sit down at a picnic table beside Alyssa and Marlie and tuck into my food, appeasing my growling stomach. "Are we staying for the fireworks this time?" Alyssa asks.
Marlie shrugs. "Ask dad. We usually don't though."
It starts to drizzle an hour later and as the rest of the afternoon passes, the weather only worsens. Kara starts to pack up around four o'clock, saying, "It's getting worse. They'll probably cancel the fireworks anyway."
With loud protests from the younger kids, everyone starts to pack up and we leave the park a little before five, reaching the blue house around six.
"That was so much fun." I say, dropping onto the couch, exhausted.
Jeremy nods. "Yeah. Babe, I'm hungry."
We both stuff our faces today, but I'm still hungry so I'm not surprised that he is. "I'm so not cooking tonight." I say with a yawn.
"Let's get Cameron to drive us to The Pizza Place."
"I so need to get a car." I mumble, standing up. "Before we do anything, I'm going to change."
"Speaking of a car," Cameron appears in the doorway, coming from the kitchen with a bag of chips. "I know someone selling one for a thousand. It's in pretty good shape but they won a new one in some competition so they're selling it off. Any chance you've got enough to buy it?"
"I will after I get paid next week! Do you think you could ask them to hold it for me?"
Cameron nods. "Probably. I'll text them and find out." He flops onto a chair and pulls his phone out.
"I'm going to change." I kiss Jeremy's cheek. "Convince Cam to bring us to get pizza." I say before heading upstairs.
I pull on a pair of dry shorts and a plain purple t-shirt before skipping back downstairs to find out about some dinner and that car.