But now, here's the next chapter of "Ocean Mist". If you missed a part, go to the "Stories in Progress" page and you can (hopefully) find the missing part you need. Otherwise, comment and I'll try to get it on there ASAP. *cough* Now, read on and enjoy the next part of this story! :)
“How’d it go?” Dillon’s dad questioned as soon as the family had left. “They seemed happy. Did you apologize?”
Dillon sighed in relief, running a hand through his hair, then grimacing when he realized his hair was supposed to be kept neat during the day. He quickly tried smoothing it down again, realizing they still had dinner to get by before he could call it quits. “I did apologize and they forgave me, so yes, it went well. I was invited to join their family down on the beach tomorrow afternoon and help them fly their new kite they bought today. I’m bringing Mark and Steven. You were invited too.”
“Good thing we’re closed tomorrow,” his dad winked. “Otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to go.”
Dillon smacked his forehead. “Doggone it! I keep forgetting I have a job.” He rolled his eyes helplessly. “This is going to take some getting used to. But we are closed tomorrow?”
“It’s a holiday tomorrow. The fourth of July. We’ll only be on call for delivery, not actually opening our doors. Dave and Uncle Sam are handling business for us. Granted, before and after your trip to the beach, I’ll expect your help here.”
“Can you come with us?”
His dad scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Maybe. I’ll have to see.” He paused for a moment, regarding his son. “I made an appointment with the barber this evening. You need a haircut young man or Mark will think you’re taking after his example.”
Dillon grinned. “I thought about that this morning and I was going to tell you about it, but forgot. A haircut sounds great. What time?”
“After we close for the evening 7:30. Will you be ok with that?”
“I was going to go see a movie with Mark and Steven, but that doesn’t start until 9:00 PM, so that’s fine. Surely my hair won’t take two hours to cut.”
“I would hope not.” His dad grinned. “Maybe we can talk Mark into cutting his hair and Steven into dying his something, anything, other than that eye-killing color of red.”
Dillon snorted. “I seriously doubt it. Worth a try though,” he added. “Heaven knows I want it to happen!”
His dad slapped him on the shoulder, and pointed towards his section of tables. “More customers,” he said, in a moment all business. “Make sure to ask them about drinks before they order their pizza this time.”
“Yes sir,” Dillon answered his dad with a wink and headed back to work, armed with a notepad and friendly smile.
The next day was wonderfully sunny and warm, for which Nicole was properly grateful. After all, if one had to sit in the sand and fly a kite, it was far better for everyone involved if the weather was nice.
Ray buzzed around the house during the quiet of the morning, overly full of energy and excitement. Shawn blamed it on the amount of salt-water taffy he had consumed the day before, which very well could have played a part in his state of emotion.
Nicole finished her drawing of them in front of their new rental house and was now drawing comical scenes of their encounter the day before yesterday. She spared no small details and inspiration flowed from her mind, through her fingertip’s direction and onto the blank page of her sketchbook.
Shawn disappeared out to the side porch to read since he knew there would be no peaceful, quiet corner inside the house while Ray was on the rampage. He had finished two of five books, and was almost halfway done with his third one. If he could get all five done, and he had no doubt that he would, he could get some more at a tempting bookstore he had seen in the town and read those too.
Lunch came and went. Ray’s impatience began to rub off on his siblings and a few heated arguments ensued. Apologies were reluctantly given, and then arguments quickly forgotten as they packed up the kite, a picnic dinner which included s’more fixings for dessert, books (in Shawn’s case), a sketchbook (in Nicole’s case), a shovel for possible clams (in Ray’s case), a few blankets for the adults to sit on, several towels that everyone knew Ray would need after “jumping” waves (a.k.a. trying to jump, missing his footing, and ending up falling backwards and completely soaking himself in ocean water) and fire supplies.
Together they trouped down to the beach and worked on finding a good campfire site. Once they had, the whole family pitched into getting their camp set up. The boys helped their dad start the fire, and Nicole assisted her mom in laying out the blankets and s’more fixings.
Dillon caught a whiff of the campfire before he saw the family, and with a cheerful wave as he came into sight he walked over to greet his new friends.
Nicole’s eyes widened when she caught sight of the two people following close behind Dillon.
One of his friends had shoulder length hair that couldn’t possibly be a natural color of blonde. Probably bleached, she realized. With an inward giggle, she found that his hairstyle reminded her of an upside-down, old-fashioned mop. He had the same overly confident smile that Dillon had given her, and looked like a typical basketball player: tall and skinny, but with a visibly active body.
The other friend, an African American, was about a foot shorter than the tall one, and had bright red hair that hurt her eyes. It made them smart with unshed tears at a single glance. He was more stocky than the other one too, and looked more fit to play football or soccer than basketball. He seemed a little less comfortable around strangers then both Dillon and their tall friend. How he could possibly be shy and choose a hair color like that was beyond Nicole’s comprehension.
She hadn’t noticed until just then that her brothers had both instinctively took a step closer to her when the three boys showed up, and her heart warmed at their obvious protection. It made her feel much more comfortable…it was nice being loved.
Ray, by far the most outgoing, stepped forward to shake the newcomers’ hands. “Hey Dillon! Nice to see you again! Who are your friends?”
“Hey Ray! Same here! This,” Dillon jerked a thumb to the taller dude with long blonde hair, “is Mark Darrel, and this,” another thumb jerk towards the shorter dude with red hair that hurt the eyes, “is Steven Brown. We go a long way back the three of us.”
Mark stepped forward and shook Ray’s offered hand, and then Shawn and Nicole’s as they followed their brother’s friendly example. “So,” he said grinning at Nicole, “you must be the girl Dillon shocked the living daylights out of day before yesterday.”
Dillon’s face reddened and he moaned, “Mark!”
Nicole surprised them both with a laugh. “Yep, that would be me! It seems my reputation has proceeded me!”
“Oh don’t worry,” Mark assured her, a grin still wide across his face, “your reputation is safe with us.”
“It is not,” Steven broke in, making the rounds of handshakes. “Don’t believe a word he says. If he wasn’t so set in his career as a future basketball star, he’d become a news-reporter and fill everyone in on everybody else’s business but their own.”
All five teens enjoyed a laugh at Mark’s expense, who didn’t seem to mind in the slightest. In fact, he looked like he rather enjoyed the attention and was laughing right along with them. Despite the crazy looks of Dillon’s two friends, they were fun to talk too, and Steven surprised them all with invaluable help when setting up their somewhat complicated kite since their dad was still busy.
After the kite was set up, Dillon launched it into the air with Shawn, Nicole holding firmly onto the other end. A cheer erupted from eight mouths when it was safely flying in the steady wind above them. Once a few minutes had passed, Nicole passed off the job of holding the kite to Ray and settled down next to the fire to begin another sketch.
A few minutes passed and a prickle on her neck warned Nicole that she wasn’t alone with her sketchbook. “Yes?” she asked whoever it was with a hint of annoyance in her voice. She hated to be distracted when she was in middle of drawing.
“Busy?” a familiar voice replied. She could hear a smile of amusement in Shawn’s voice.
Nicole squinted up at her twin. “Yeah, but you can come down here and join me if you want.”
“I think I will,” Shawn said, taking her offer and plopping himself down on the blanket beside her. “Ray seems to be doing a fine job entertaining our new friends by himself.” He gestured towards the laughing faces of their brother and the three other teens.
Nicole smiled herself, committing the image to memory. She would draw that scene later, but for now she went back to her current drawing.
“What are you working on now?” Shawn peeked over his sister’s shoulder.
She placed a precautionary finger on her lips and nodded in the direction of her parents. “I’m drawing them,” she whispered softly.
Her mom and dad were sitting side by side on a log, their arms wrapped around each other, backs to the blazing fire, and content, happy smiles stretched across both faces as they watched the antics of their youngest son and his new friends. Shawn, though far from an artist, could appreciate the scene his sister was trying to capture and nodded his head in agreement with her choice.
She continued drawing in silence, leaning against her brother without realizing it and a concentrated look warning away intruders. The basic sketch was finished just as the four kite-flying boys came up to the warmth of the fire out of breath and laughing. Nicole closed her sketchbook carefully, knowing she could put finishing touches in the picture later.
Ray took a seat next to his dad, and Mark and Steven squeezed next to him, making the log full. Dillon shrugged and took a spot on the blanket next to the other two pastor’s kids.
“I don’t know about you all,” Nicole heard her mom say, “but I’m wanting to sink my teeth into a freshly toasted marshmallow s’more. What do you say to us having some now?”
This suggestion was greeted enthusiastically from all the kids, and even their dad nodded with a giant grin on his face. Because the fire was on the small side and because they had only brought five s’more roasting sticks, the group split into two roasting shifts. Nicole wanted to begin her sketch of the boys flying the kite, so she was the first to offer to wait for the second shift. Shawn, who had the smallest sweet tooth in the family, quickly joined Nicole, and after noticing the longing looks his friends were giving the delicious fixings, Dillon also said he could wait.
The blanket was pulled a little farther away from the fire so that those roasting their marshmallows had enough space to work, and Nicole sat cross-legged on the middle, her eyes closed and her head bent in concentration as she re-lived the scene she wanted to draw.
Shawn pulled out a book and propped it on his upright knees as he sat on one side of his sister. Dillon, on the other side of Nicole, watched her preparation for drawing with curiosity. When she looked up, he was regarding her with a puzzled air.
“What are you doing?” he asked. “Why were you closing your eyes and frowning before drawing?”
Nicole began the basic sketch before answering Dillon’s question. “I do that because each sketch I draw is from memory. I have to take the time to re-imagine what it was like in my head so I can make a more accurate depiction of what had been going on in the said picture I’m currently trying to capture on paper.”
Dillon gave her a blank stare. “What?"
Nicole sighed, but then shrugged. She took a minute to simplify her description of her process. “I draw from memory, and so I have to take time to remember the scene I want to draw so I can make it realistic.”
“Oh, I see.” Dillon’s face cleared. “So you have a photographic memory?”
Nicole nodded, glad he finally understood. “Yep.”
“Wow, that’s cool.”
Nicole drew for a few minutes in silence and soon it was their turn to make s’mores.