But now, without further ado, here's the next part for your enjoyment! If you missed part one, go to the "Stories in Progress" page and look under "Ocean Mist".
“I am so done with doing nothing!” Ray exclaimed as he tossed the now empty backpack into the corner of the floor and shut his temporary dresser’s drawer with a loud bang.
“Hey!” their mom’s voice drifted up the stairs. “Careful up there! This house isn’t ours! Treat their things with respect!”
“Yes Mom!” Ray answered guiltily, quickly checking the dresser for signs of damage. Satisfied that it was fine, he looked over at his brother who shared the room with him and watched as Shawn carefully, almost painstakingly, folded each shirt and pair of jeans into his portion of the dresser. His meticulous behavior caused Ray to silently roll his eyes heavenward. ‘E’s ‘opeless, he thought with a shake of his head, the quote from Lord of the Rings coming to mind easily. There’s a better chance that Nicole’s done un-packing. Maybe after Shawn finishes finally we could take a walk down and along the beach. Something other than just sitting here doing nothing. Ray acted on his thought almost before it was complete, walking to the door across from his own room and knocking on it.
Nicole had just finished getting her things re-organized into the provided drawers and closet and was opening her window to let in some ocean breeze when a knock sounded, loud and urgent, on the door.
“Come in, Ray. It’s not locked,” she called, correctly guessing the person on the other side.
Ray came in to find his sister trying to wrestle a sticky window open. From the sounds she was making, it wasn’t easy for her. He grinned. This was something he could do.
“Need help?” he asked.
Nicole shot him a glower. “No,” she grunted, the muscles in her shoulders straining as she tried to get the window to give up its fight and open.
“Sure about that?” he persisted, trying in vain to hide the amused look on his face as he watched his sister’s comical efforts.
Nicole swallowed her pride. With a roll of her eyes, she backed away from the window and shrugged. “Oh, fine,” she surrendered. “Go ahead and play the knight-in-shining-armor.”
Ray grinned and went over to the window and gave it a shove. It didn’t budge. The siblings switched faces. Ray now held a frustrated scowl, and Nicole had the amused expression. Ray flexed his well-used muscles, and gave it another, longer shove. This time the window slid open after a slight hitch and Ray shot his sister a triumphant smirk. Nicole rolled her eyes, but thanked him anyways.
“What do you need?” she asked, switching subjects tactfully.
Ray shrugged. “I was just wondering if you were done unpacking.”
Nicole raised an eyebrow and swept a hand around the tidy room. “Obviously yes. Anything else?”
“I also wanted to know if you were interested in taking a walk along the beach or something…you know, to stretch our legs a little before dinner.”
“Are you done unpacking?”
With a wounded air, Ray nodded. “Of course!”
“What about Shawn?” Nicole asked.
Ray groaned. “I’ll be surprised if he gets done unpacking before the time comes to repack for the trip home! Honestly, I don’t see how he can take so long on such a short task!”
Nicole folded her arms. “He’ll have to come with us.”
Ray sighed. “Ok, but he’d better hurry up his unpacking. If I sit for another ten minutes I’m going to explode.”
Thankfully, Shawn was folding and placing his last outfit away when Ray came bursting through the door, followed by a far more calm Nicole.
“We’re going to take a walk on the beach as soon as you’re done unpacking,” Ray burst out excitedly. “Please tell me you’re almost done,” he begged.
“I’m done,” Shawn said unexpectedly.
Ray blinked. “W-what?”
“I said ‘I’m done’,” Shawn repeated. “Quick question though before we take off to the beach… Do Mom and Dad know about this? Did you ask them if we could?”
A shamefaced Ray was enough of an answer for both his siblings.
“I’ll go double-check,” Nicole said quickly. “I’m sure they’ll be fine with it, but they’ll want to know where we are.” She disappeared and the two brothers regarded each other in silence.
Within a couple minutes she was galloping back up the stairs, two at a time. A wide grin stretched across her face and she gave a thumb’s up. “We just need to stick together and make sure we’re back in time for dinner at five.”
Ray glanced down at his watch. “Two hours,” he said, “let’s go!”
“I’ll beat you there,” Nicole called out to her brothers as she took off on a run, knowing she wouldn’t, but wanting them to race with her anyways.
The three teens shot out of the house and ran towards the beach, laughing and gasping for air. Ray didn’t take long to appear in the front, closely followed by his taller and skinnier brother. As she had expected, Nicole came in last, but she didn’t mind. In the safety of the sand she threw herself down in a gasping, happy pile and did her best to collect her air. Ray was already laying on his back, knees in the air, and enjoying the feel of his racing heart. Shawn sat carefully on the sand between them, trying his best to minimize the amount of grains that he knew would work their way into his clothes.
Once they had caught their breath, the siblings all stood up and Nicole, as the oldest, took the lead towards the promising sound of waves just behind a huge sand dune. On the other side, they all paused for a moment, taking in the beautiful sights and sounds in front of them.
Nicole shivered in delight. “Oh my word,” she whispered. “It’s so gorgeous.” She pulled out her sketchbook, sat down, and began drawing in it, totally oblivious to her brothers’ reactions.
Ray began walking towards the waves when he saw that his sister wouldn’t be walking anywhere anytime soon. “I’m going to at least get my feet wet before going home,” he announced to anyone who was listening.
“Our parents told us to stick together,” Shawn warned.
“I won’t go far,” Ray promised his older brother. “Watch, I’m just going to stand in the waves in front of you. I’ll be scarcely ten feet away from you.”
Shawn let out a long breath. “Fine, just…don’t wander too far, ok?”
Ray gave him a crooked grin and a thumb’s up. “Sure thing. I got this.”
Repressing the urge to roll his eyes, Shawn sat down again on the sand and looked over his sister’s shoulder to see how far she had gotten. There wasn’t much to see, so Shawn pulled out the book he was in middle of and started reading where he had left off.
A few peaceful minutes passed by. Ray jogged back up to his siblings, his jeans rolled up to his knees and a giant crab in his hands. “Hey, look what I found!”
Shawn regarded the creature in disgust. “Go put that thing back where you found it or—” He was cut off by a shriek from Nicole.
At the sound of Ray’s voice, she had looked up absently from her drawing to find a huge crab three inches from her face. The sketchbook flew from her hand and pages spilled from it in every direction. Nicole half scrambled, half rolled backwards until she was safely away from the offending critter. Then, a look of shock and despair came over her face when she beheld the pages of her beloved sketchbook spread across the beach.
Ray was stricken with remorse and quickly tossed his prize crab back into its watery home. “I’m so sorry, Nicole.”
Shawn’s eyes snapped. “No time for that, we need to get her pictures back before they reach the waves.”
Nicole jerked out of her horror and began by picking up the sketchbook and the pages still inside it. Then she, along with her brothers, spread across the sand and began picking up the scattered drawings.
Unbeknownst to the three teens, another set of eyes had been watching their little drama with amusement. The boy’s eyes watched as one drawing scuttled his direction, stopping only when it caught on his sandal. He bent automatically and picked it up. It was a picture of a car traveling down a highway with a family of five squeezed into it. The dad driving, the mom showing him something on the map, the girl drawing, the darker haired boy reading a book with a disposable coffee cup in one hand, and the last boy looking out the window with a look of obvious impatience on his face. He grinned. The girl was talented.
As he looked over the picture, the girl was coming closer, stooping every once in awhile to get one of her drawings. Closely following her, the two boys were also gathering the strewn papers. Finally, she noticed him standing there with one of her pictures in his hand.
Nicole looked up and found herself a yard away from a boy holding one of her sketches. “That’s mine,” she said. “Can I have it please?”
He gave it to her with a smile. “Sure. It’s a good drawing.”
“Thanks,” she answered guardedly.
“Anytime,” he replied easily, with a confidence that was unnerving. Nicole was suddenly glad that her brothers were standing behind her now. “So, what’s your name?”
“I’m Nicole, and these,” she nodded towards her brothers, “are my siblings. This is my twin Shawn, and this is our younger brother Ray.” The boys shook hands cordially, but with hidden suspicion of each other. “And you are…?”
“I’m Dillon. Nice to meet such an accomplished artist.” Dillon’s eyes were twinkling. “There aren’t many who live around here.”
“Oh, well,” Nicole began, we don’t live here, she was going to say, but Shawn warned her with a look to not tell a perfect stranger all about themselves within the first five minutes. “I’m not very accomplished,” she finished a little lamely.
“Sure you are!” he replied with a dashing grin. “Accomplished and pretty,” he added suddenly.
Nicole’s mouth dropped open in surprise and she stuttered for the right words, a frown darkening her face. She felt the tension thicken in the air around her and knew her brothers were stiffening behind her.
“Well, I have to be getting home. Good luck with your artistic endeavors,” Dillon said quickly, showing Nicole that she wasn’t the only one feeling the growing animosity in the air.
Impulsively, she stuck out her tongue at the boldly-spoken boy, but when he had gotten a safe distance away, a sudden idea came to her and a twinkle of mischief appeared in her eyes. She gave a long sigh. Taking on what she hoped was a far-away, dreamy look, she gave another sigh for good measure before commenting in a thick voice, “Wow, he’s so handsome.” She was rewarded by gagging sounds behind her as her brothers now stuttered on words that refused to come out of their mouths.
“Ick!” Ray finally exclaimed decisively. “You can’t be serious!”
“Don’t tell me you like that dude!” Shawn put in, horrified.
Nicole, no longer being able to act as a love-stricken teenaged girl, let out a giggle. Her cover blown, she burst out into laughter, tears appearing in her eyes and streaming down her face as she doubled up. Gasping for air and holding her stomach, she couldn’t stop herself. The comical looks of complete puzzlement that her brothers gave her didn’t help. The explosive mirth soon died into hiccups and she wiped at the tears still streaming down her face.
“You-hic,” she began, pointing a shaking finger at her brothers, “you-hic thought I liked that guy-hic?” she asked. “You’re both-hic crazier than me-hic.”
“Well you said,” Ray pointed out.
“You acted like a-a…” Shawn struggled for the right wording.
“Love-struck teen-hic?” Nicole supplied, breathing deeply to try to stop the hiccups.
“Well, I don’t,” Nicole said firmly to her brother’s relief. “Now shall we finish that walk we wanted to go on?”