Tag Archive | Dakota Ferris

Glitter – Chapter 20 – Learning to Cope

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Ryan held his little girl’s hand. She looked so small. So frail. His heart ached to watch her struggle to exist. She should be having fun, laughing with her friends not lying in this hospital bed. At fifteen should have her whole life ahead of her.

“Daddy” her soft voice jerked him from his thoughts. “It’s going to be okay.”

“I know it will be sweetheart” he said blinking back tears. Just another thing a fifteen year old shouldn’t have to do…comfort her parents.

“You don’t have to say that” she said “I know what the doctors are saying. I’m not deaf.”

“I know” he inhaled deeply seeking a calm he no longer had. A belief that no matter what things happened it was for a reason. What reason was there in watching his little girl waste away before his eyes?

“You and mom, my brothers. You’ll all be okay when I’m gone” she squeezed his hand with what little strength she had. She was so tired but she had to make him understand. “You’ll do it for me. Go on living. Go on believing.”

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There were no words to express the feelings that welled up inside him. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye. He lowered his head, shoulders shaking while his little girl stroked his hair offering comfort to an incomprehensible pain. It was backwards. It should be him comforting her. He was the dad. It was his job to protect her. He wasn’t supposed to watch her die.

Jerking upright at the touch of his wife’s hand on his shoulder. He looked up with red swollen eyes. He could see his pain reflected back at him in her eyes.

Pointing her phone she said “Hannah called to let us know that Temperance and a couple of boys are on their way here to see Unity.”

Unity’s eyes brightened at the news. “Can I see them? Please!”

Her excitement replacing her resignation to her fate brought smiles to both her parents. “We’ll check with the doctors.” Charity said feeling Ryan’s arm slip around her waist. “If he says it’s okay then yes you can.”

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen Temperance.” Her voice happier than it had been in weeks “it’s not the same texting. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to type.” She laid back a grin on her pale thin face. “I can’t wait” her hands touching her hair “mom will you help me do my hair? It’s gotten so thin and straggly. I look awful.”

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“Of course” Charity enthused not having the heart to deny her daughter anything that gave her some joy. “How about we go to the Solon here and have your hair done?”

“Can we” she cried. “Mom” she frowned “do you know what boys are coming?”

“Riley and Will” she said.

“Will really likes Temperance and Riley’s his best friend. I bet Will talked him into it. Will would do anything for Temperance.” Unity continued talking heedless of her parents glances between each other.

Ryan silently got up letting Charity have his chair. Hearing his daughter’s excited chatter was music to his ears. Balm to his heart he hear his little talk like a normal teen girl again instead of someone trying to be brave and accept her fate. He knew the parents of the three kids would want them to be sent back home but he couldn’t do it and deny his daughter a little bit of joy.

***

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Hazel was on the couch watching the news when her son came home. Well stomped was a better word for the way he moved up the stairs towards his room. She gave a concerned looked to her husband whose eyes were glued to the TV. “Do you think he and his boyfriend had a fight?”

Traz grunted in response. The last thing he wanted to do after a long day at the resort was embroil himself in his son’s teenage drama.

“Do you think we should go talk to him” she persisted her eyes looking towards the stairs where their son had disappeared a moment before.

“We should mind our own business” he said determined to pay attention to the news.

“If you just saw his face” she said “I know something’s wrong. We should go talk to him.”

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“If you want to talk to him by all means talk to him he said looking up at her during the commercial. “I think there are times when we should let him figure things out on his own.”

“You know he won’t” she protested “he’s such a private person.”

Traz knew his wife. She wasn’t going to let this go. She wanted to know what was wrong if anything was. It was the same when she insisted he give their son the sex talk….again. Neither he nor Raven had been very happy with it but sometimes it was just easier to comply than waste time explaining why you didn’t think it was necessary. “If you want to go have a talk with him then go talk” he urged “I think if he wanted us to know he’d have told us.”

She watched him turn back to the TV as the news resumed. “I’ll just go up and see how he’s doing,” she said moving towards the stairs. She knew by the relieved look in her husband’s eyes that he’d been worried she’d make him go with her. This she felt positive was something only a mother could handle.

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Knocking softly on her son’s door she called out “Raven are you alright?”

Grunting in subdued annoyance, he knew was as good as saying come in. When the door opened it was no surprise to see her poke her head inside.

“Did you have a fight with Aaron” she asked sitting on his bed motioning for him to join her.

“Mom I don’t want to talk about it” his cheeks burning brightly remembering the moment Riley had interrupted them.

“I know something happened” she gave him a long thoughtful look. “He didn’t try anything did he?”

“Mom please that’s personal” he gasped turning his face away to stare out his window.

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“He did” she nodded “did he get upset when you turned him down? Is that why your upset? I’ll have your father talk to him. He probably needs a man to talk to.”

“Mom” he cried as she moved towards the door. “It’s not like that. I wanted to do it. We were going to do it.” He ran a hand through his hair. He couldn’t believe he was telling his mother about this. It was either tell her or let her coerce his dad into giving Aaron a needless sex talk. He doubted Aaron would ever talk to him again if that happened. “I’m embarrassed. That’s all…”

“It wasn’t what you thought it would be” she nodded “the first time seldom is. It’s not the magical experience the movies make it out to be.”

“Mom” he cried even more mortified then he was before. “We didn’t do it. We wanted to but we didn’t. Riley walked in on us while we were making out. That’s why I’m upset.”

“Oh” her eyes grew large with merriment. “That does change things” she moved towards the door. “It’ll happen when the time’s right. There’s no need to rush it. Just remember your dad and I are always here for you.”

“I know mom” he said getting up to close the door behind her. When she was gone he leaned against it. He knew she meant well but sometimes she was just a little too much.

***

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“Your sister seems pretty upset” Macy said as Dakota rushed her towards the door. “Are you sure we should leave her alone like that?”

“She’ll be fine” Dakota assured her without a glance back.

“I don’t feel right” Macy said turning around and approaching the girl.

Montana looked up with sorrowful eyes “you don’t have to worry about me. I’ll be okay.” She shied away from looking up at her sister. She already knew Dakota was upset she didn’t need to see it written in her eyes.

“Nonsense” Macy said sitting beside her. “We don’t have to be at the restaurant at a certain time. It’s not like we have a reservation or anything.”

“Right” Dakota sighed. “If you need us we’re here.”

“That’s sweet of you” she sniffed “I’m just being emotional.” She gave her twin a tearful smile “you and Macy go on your date. I’ll be okay. I promise. I have a surfing lesson in thirty minutes. That’ll distract me for a while and might even be fun.”

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“Are you sure” Macy asked despite Dakota’s attempt to get her to leave.

“She said she was” Dakota said losing her patience.

Frowning Macy said “why are you in such a hurry?”

“She said she was fine” she protested. “I don’t see why your babying her.”

“Are you jealous” Macy asked “you are, aren’t you?”

“No” she shook her head her blonde hair flowing over her shoulders. “It’s just…” she wasn’t going to say it but it came bursting out “why does the world have to stop for you because your upset? I’m upset too. It isn’t fair Unity is sick but you don’t see me moping around drawing attention to myself.

“Is that what you think I’m doing” Montana demanded. “This isn’t about you or me. It’s about a young girl whose life is being ripped apart. Why wouldn’t I be upset about that? Unity is a sweet girl. I used to babysit her when she was little. We were close.”

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“I know I’m sorry” Dakota cried throwing her arms around her sister. “It makes me scare to think of her and what her family is going through.”

“Scared” Montana asked looking at her “why? I’ve never known you to be scared of anything.”

“I’m scared that it could have been you. I don’t like thinking about going through life without my sister in it.” She shivered “it’s a horrible thought and it keeps me up at night.”

“Well you don’t have to worry about me or be mad at me because you’re scared.” Montana said “I’m fine. Go on your date. Have fun.”

“Are you sure” Dakota asked teary eyed now that she let her secret out.

“Positive” turning to Macy “give my sister some extra TLC. I think she needs it.”

“I think you might be right” she agreed wrapping an arm around Dakota. “She might even deserve an apology.”

***

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Thirty minutes later Montana was on the beach waiting her turn for surfing lessons. Her eyes never leaving the instructors face as he gave a ten-year old boy a lesson. She head to give him props for not losing his cool. The kid was more interested in showing off to his friends than actually doing as he was told.

Before stowing the used surfboard Tanner wiped it down. Looking up he smiled at his next client. “You’re a sight for sore eyes” he greeted her as she stepped forward.

“Better than that kid at least” she said waving a hand indicating the yellow and blue surfboard the kid had deliberately spit on at the close of his session.

“God yes” he groaned “that little brat was getting on my last nerve.”

“I could tell” she commiserated with him. “Can I set my stuff someplace” she asked looking around the small space.

“Sure you can use the safe for your bag” he suggested “just remind me it’s there before you leave.”

“Don’t worry I will” she giggled. Covering her mouth she tried to pretend that nervous giggle had never escaped her lips.

“You have a nice laugh he teased just to hear her giggle again.

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“I do not” she objected “it makes me sound like a twelve-year-old.”

His eyes sparkled as he gazed down at her. “I’m sure glad you don’t look like a twelve-year-old. I wouldn’t want to look like a pervert when I ask you out.”

“You’re…uh….what” she spluttered trying to form words as her brain shrieked at her.

Shaking his head he asked “are you serious about taking surfing lessons?”

“Of course I’m serious” she ran her fingers across the smooth boards. “It looks like it requires a strong middle core to say balanced while the waves come in.”

“It does” he nodded “I’m sorry if I sounded like a jerk. I’m just…” he let his words hang in the air without finishing his sentence.

Her shoulders moved in a shrug “you’re used to girls wanting lessons to get close to you.”

“Yeah something like that” he agreed. He didn’t add that the lessons he gave those girls were quite hands on.

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“Believe me I understand that all too well she giggled hard enough to snort. “Sorry” she mumbled.

“Pick a board” he indicated a group he thought would be perfect for her size and build.

“That one” she pointed towards a red and black one.

“Okay” he nodded cheerfully picking up the board she chose. “Follow me and we’ll get started.”

An hour later he grinned at her “I think you’re ready to get wet.”

“Next time” she said jumping from the board “I have to get to work now.”

“Where do you work” he asked curious.

“At the Hollis Resort” she glanced over at him. “I’m the yoga instructor. You’d be amazed at how many guys find a reason to take up yoga when they’re on vacation.”

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Rubbing his chin he let his eyes slide across her toned body. “If I were on vacation I might take up yoga myself.”

Giggling she said “you still can. All you have to do is come to the resort and sign up.”

“I just might have to do that” he said “but only to ask you out.”

Her cheeks turned crimson “are you asking me out?”

“I am.”

“Then I accept” grinning she added “call me with the time and place.” She hurried to get hr things and ran from the surfing shack.

“Hey” he called after her but either she didn’t hear him or she was ignoring him she continued to run in the direction of the parking lot. “I’ll have to go to the resort now anyway” he muttered to himself “serves me right since I forgot to get her number.”

Chapter 19 – The Plan / Chapter 21 – Crossroads

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Glitter – Chapter 12 – Energized

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Douglas leaned against his car watching the passing tourists as they oohed and awed over some interesting bit of fauna. To his untrained eye it was just like any other plant. Shaking his head he turned at the sound of his name being called. He returned Kyle’s wave “I’m so glad you could meet me” he enthused “my sister has me running all over the place getting stuff for her party.”

“I thought it was just going to be a few friends” Kyle said beginning to worry that he was intruding where he didn’t belong.

“That’s what I thought” Douglas shrugged unconcerned. “I’m hoping with you along I can show you around the island and get whatever she wants.”

“You want me to come with you” he asked “wouldn’t you rather do the errands so you can get back to the party?”

“Not really” shaking his head emphatically “Sandi will just put me to work decorating or making some dip or something equally boring.”

“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea” Kyle said again.

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“Don’t you want to spend time with me” Douglas asked sounding hurt. “I know errands aren’t fun but it’ll give us time to get to know each other.”

“I like the sound of that” Kyle admitted. “I’m not so sure about the party. Your sister might not want a stranger crashing it.”

Waving his hand Douglas dismissed his concerns. “Besides Sandi said I could invite anyone I wanted.”

Smiling Kyle asked “where to first?”

“I have to pick up a few things at the store” he explained holding up a list. “My sister likes to have people over but her organizing skills needs work.”

“That’s a long list” Kyle shook his head “what if we can’t find all of that?”

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“Then I’m a dead man” Douglas laughed. “Seriously though Sandi wouldn’t hurt a fly much less her little brother. She’ll just be disappointed. She’ll make me feel about two inches high because I couldn’t do the impossible.”

“When is the party to start” he asked daunted by the task.

“People will start to arrive around three” Douglas shrugged. “Once you get to know Sandi you’ll learn to go with the flow.” Getting into the car he glanced over at Kyle “aren’t you hot in that jacket?”

“Maybe a little” he chuckled a self-consciously pushing the sleeves up. “I’m not used to the weather yet. I keep expecting it to cool off.”

“Stick with me I’ll have you dressing like a native” Douglas assured him as he merged into traffic. He mumbled something about tourists blocking the road to take stupid pictures of stupid trees.

“Have you lived here long” Kyle asked once they got out at the grocery store.

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“Nope” he picked out a cart and started towards the door “my sister and I moved here a couple years ago. I didn’t want to go to college and she” he shrugged ruefully “was getting over a broken heart.”

“Oh” Kyle didn’t know what to say “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be” Douglas said “the guy was a jerk. She deserved better than that guy.”

By the time they finished the errands they arrived at the house a little before two. Sandi glared at her brother as he came in loaded down with bags. “It’s about time” she cried in a frenzy “people will be arriving any minute and I’m never going to be ready.”

“Take a chill pill” Douglas laughed at her “your parties are always epic even when you’re scrambling to get things done.” Nodding towards his friend “this is Kyle. I invited him to the party.”

***

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Kyle gave the girl a sketchy wave before being pulled away by Douglas. “Never mind her” he said “Sandi always freaks out right before a party. She wants everything to be perfect. When it’s not she takes it out one whoever is closest.”

“Which is usually you” Kyle added.

Nodding Douglas steered him towards a closed door. “We can hand out in my room until she settles down.”

Sandi watched her brother and his friend disappear leaving her with the groceries to put away. “Ingrates” she muttered under her breath.

“Hey” a familiar voice called from the door “hope we’re not too early.”

“You’re right on time to help” she squealed when Rex lifted her from the floor in his customary greeting. “Put me down” she demanded.

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“Aw you’re no fun” he pouted.

Grant asked from where he was leaning against the wall “anything we need us to do?”

“Since my brother abandoned me” Sandi squealed again as Rex twirled her around. “Stop” she giggled hitting him on the shoulder.

“Ow” he whined “that hurt.”

Rolling his eyes Grant inserted himself between his twin and the girl. “What do you need us to do?”

“You’re no fun” Rex whined “all work and no fun is so boring.”

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Shaking her head at the twins she asked “how can anyone mistake you for each other? Seriously your so different from each other. Like night and day.”

“It’s the people who don’t know us that get tricked” Grant explained going to answer the door. “January” he greeted warmly.

Rolling his eyes Rex said “that’s the last we’ll see of him.”

“Has he asked her out yet” Sandi asked  handing him a bag of chips and a bowl.

“She asked him before he worked up the nerve” Rex chuckled. “You should have seen the grin he had plastered on his face.”

“January’s a sweet girl” Sandi said defending her friend. “It’s her brother you have to watch out for.”

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“Don’t tell Grant that” Rex begged “ he’ll want me to meet the brother in his place.”

“I won’t” she promised “I like your face the way it is. I wouldn’t want Brandon rearranging it.”

Taking the bowl he had filled with chips into the living room he found Grant cuddling on the couch with a girl. “Hey” he called “I thought you were going to help.”

“Got a better offer” Grant said between kisses January was peppering him with.

“Ugh…get a room” Rex groaned shaking his head as he went to answer the door as more guests arrived.

He found three girls waiting on the porch. “Hey” he smiled at them all.

“Let me in before I lose my mind” Montana pleaded pushing past him. “Those two love birds are driving me crazy.”

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“It’s not much better in there” Rex warned as she moved entered the living room.

“Where’s Doug” she asked thinking she could at least hang out with him.

“In his room I think” Rex shrugged “what’s up with her” he asked Dakota.

“She’s upset that Macy and I have decided to make it official” Dakota explained beaming at the girl beside her.

“Moving a bit fast aren’t you” Rex frowned hoping that they didn’t give Sandi any ideas. They had been dating a few months longer than Dakota and Macy.

“Fast” Macy asked “what do you mean?”

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“Dakota said you made it official” it was his turn to be confused “I thought she meant you were engaged….”

“Oh hell no” Macy shook her head tossing her pink braid from side to side. “We’re dating exclusively now. It’s going to be a long time before we take it to the next level. Engaged…” she shivered.

“You make it sound like it’s a bad thing” Dakota said with a frown.

“I’ve seen too many of my sorority sisters get married and they’re all miserable.” Taking her girlfriends hand “I want to have fun. Enjoy life while I’m still young and able.”

“My parents were married young after meeting in college” Dakota said pulling away from Macy “They’ve been happily married for over twenty years.”

“They’re the exception then” Macy let her hand drop as she walked into the kitchen to see if Sandi needed any help.

***

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Montana threw open the door to Doug’s room gasping when she found him sitting on some guy’s lap. “I’m sorry” she squeaked backing from the room.

“Montana” she heard Doug call after her. She didn’t stop preferring to pretend she didn’t hear him. She hadn’t expected her best friend to be with someone. Was she the only single person here? Maybe Dakota’s harsh words about her being an old maid were true. Maybe she was going to be the one watching all her friends fall in love and leave her behind.

She found her twin bickering with Macy about something inconsequential. Grant had his tongue down January’s throat. Sandi was squealing in the kitchen as Rex chased her. So normal. Yet she felt so alone. She hadn’t realized how much she had counted on Douglas always being there to hang out with her. Now he too had left her behind. Found someone else.

“Montana” Douglas said having come out to find her “I’m sorry. I should have told you I invited Kyle over to hang out with us.”

“It’s ok” she assured him attempting to give him a smile. “I should have knocked first.”

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“We weren’t doing anything” he said not sure why she was acting like she had caught them in bed together.

“I shouldn’t have come” she cried moving towards the door. “I’ll call you later” she said as she opened the door to leave.

“At least let me give you a ride home” Douglas offered following her.

“I want to walk” she gave him a brief smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Please I just want to be alone.”

“Alright” he agreed reluctantly “text me when you get home so that I don’t worry about you.”

“I will” she promise. When the door closed behind her she took several deep breaths before setting off in the general direction of home.

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A heavy sense of melancholy weighed heavily upon her shoulders. Her feet slowed as she passed the entrance to the beach. She remembered how Jason once told her how he liked to go to the beach when he was having a bad day. He had said something lame about the the waves were soothing. A wry smile replaced the frown she’d been wearing since leaving the party. She had a pretty good idea Jason’s interest in the beach had less to do with the waves than it had to do with the surfers on the waves. Nodding she decided she could do with the distraction too.

Taking a detour she walked down towards the beach. She knew several surfers claimed this beach had the best waves. She couldn’t tell what made a wave good or not having never surfed in her life. She had wanted to take lessons when she was a kid but she knew it would freak her more timid father out. He no doubt would have worried about her being bit by sharks.

Wishing she had brought along her sunglasses she raised a hand to shield her eyes. She jumped to her feet searching the horizon for the surfer that had gone down. She felt time slowly tick by as he failed to emerge from the water and reclaim is board that was being tossed back and forth on the waves. Had he hit his head? When she thought all was lost his head broke the surface causing her sigh in relief upon seeing him. He looked a bit dazed as he swam towards his board and rested on it for several minutes before making his way to shore.

 

For some unknown reason she found herself walking towards him. She watched as he planted his board in the sand and plopped himself beside it. “I saw you wipe out” she blurted out “are you alright?” Her eyes bulged out at what she had done. She never approached strangers much less talked to them.

Something flickered in his eyes, annoyance, anger, embarrassment. Maybe a bit of all three. Opening his eyes he seemed to have changed his mind on whatever he was going to say and instead flashed her his trademark grin. “Just a little winded” he said making light of his situation.

“Your bleeding” she gently touched his forehead inspecting his head wound. “You were under so long I was you must have hit your head on something.”

One eyebrow rose “you were watching me?”

“Well I…I…um” her cheeks turned as red as her hair “I should go…”

 

“Hey don’t go” he reached up grabbing her hand “I’m not upset that you were. I’m kind of flattered that you were.”

“Um” she stared at his hand. His fingers wrapped around her wrist sending electric shock waves up her arm. She wanted to run. To hide. To stay. It was altogether confusing.

“I’m Tanner” he introduced himself smiling down at her.

“I’m…” she paused almost afraid of saying her name. She always got some smart remark about her being named after Hannah Montana or you know the state. “Montana” she mumbled after he had given her a questioning look.

***

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Castel tossed the magazine to the sand at his feet. He should have known better than to pick a random magazine off the sales rack to read. Why seeing their smiling faces still bothered him he didn’t know. After ten years he should have gotten over the sting of her rejection. It’s not like she wasted any time reconnecting with Bentley Adams again. The mention of the guys name made his heart beat speed up and his hands to shake. Maybe if Blair had married someone else he wouldn’t still be hanging onto the sting and pain her rejection caused.

The shrill screams of a woman in distress jolted him from his sulk. Glancing around he found a young blonde woman struggling against the current screaming. Standing up he shielded his eyes against the harsh glare of the sun. At first he couldn’t see what was causing the woman’s distress and panic.

 

Running towards her he couldn’t help but wonder what he hoped to accomplish. He was no one’s hero.

“My little boy can’t swim” she cried latching onto his arm.

“Who” he asked confused.

“My son. He was playing right there” she pointed towards a few sand pails and shovels. “I turned my back just for a second….

Her terrified eyes pleading with him to do something galvanized him into action. He scanned the ocean spotting what he hoped was the boy’s head bobbing to the surface. Without thinking he took off running. His Dulce and Gabbana sunglasses sliding from his face to the sand to be swept into the ocean a moment later by the waves. His shoes followed a moment later as he dove into the ocean swimming in the direction he had seen the fleeting glimpse of a little blonde head.

 

He floated in place gulping air into his aching oxygen starved lungs. The beach seemed to far away and impossible to reach. All he could see was water is every direction. Wave upon wave crashed over his head. Shivering he imagined what it must like to a small child. Swimming in circles determined to find the child.

He was about to give up, retreat back to the beach exhausted and defeated. With flagging energy he swam towards something bobbing on the surface. As he got closer he could see it was the body of a little boy about 2 years old. With dread he reached for him turning his face upwards and breathing into his mouth hoping he wasn’t too late.

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Clutching the child to his chest as a wave crashed over top of the driving them both beneath the surface. Struggling he kicked to the surface. He gulped for air then breathed into the boys mouth again before making the agonizing trek back to shore.

Chapter 11 – Free Spirit / Chapter 13 – Unique

Glitter – Chapter 6 – Summer Jobs

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Dakota twisted a strand of her long blonde hair around her index finger. She hummed softly to herself looking up every once in a while to see if her twin had closed her book yet. Twenty minutes later at the end of her patience she demanded “are you almost done?” She rolled from her bed to bounce on the edge of her sisters bed causing as much motion as she could.

“What is your problem” Montana asked sticking a finger inside her book to mark her place.

“I want to go out” she whined.

“Then go” Montana opened her book reading a few more paragraphs before her sister’s humming drove her to distraction. “Do you mind?”

Dakota gave her sister her best blank innocent look “am I disturbing you?”

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“Go away” Montana mumbled determined not to let her sister spoil her first day off from school. She was going to enjoy her downtime with a good book even if it killed her.

“I’m bored” Dakota whined bouncing up and down.

Then go do something and leave me alone” Montana said her nose buried in her book again.

“Come with me” she pleaded.

“I want to finish my book” she flipped a page determined to ignore her sister.

“That’ll take forever” Dakota wailed seeing the thick volume that must have had thousands of pages with hundreds of words on each one. The idea of reading all that made her head ache. “Please. Just for a little while.”

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Looking up Montana found her twin giving her large sad puppy dog eyes. “Fine” she sighed slipping a book between the pages before closing the book. Swinging her legs over the bed she said “remember your promise. This summer we get real jobs not like last summer.”

“We got paid didn’t we” Dakota demanded.

“It was babysitting” Montana rolled her eyes “we’re too old to babysit. We’re going to college in the fall.”

“What’s left” Dakota asked flopping backwards on the bed.

“Hollis Resort” Montana snapped her fingers to her sisters attention. “It’s perfect. We go there every summer anyway.”

Dakota sat up “I’m listening.”

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“Not to mention all the hot guys coming and going from the beach surfing” Montana enthused fanning herself.

“Don’t forget the girls” Dakota added eyes shining.

“Speak for yourself” Montana teased “you know I only look at the boys.”

“You don’t know what you’re missing” Dakota replied. “If we get jobs we’ll have to stay there for the whole summer and not just the few weeks we normally go for.”

“Yeah I know” she acknowledged. It was the only flaw in her plan.

“Do you think Daddy’ll let us go” Dakota asked no doubt thinking the same thing she was.

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“We’re both eighteen now. Daddy knows we aren’t little girls anymore.” It was kind of depressing to know she would be making her parents sad by being gone all the summer before college began.

“Don’t be sad” Dakota reached for her hand “they have to let us go sooner or later.”

“I know I just wish I didn’t know it was going to hurt him when we tell him” Montana wiped a stray tear away.

“Let’s talk to dad first” Dakota suggested “he’ll know what to do.”

“You’re right” Montana nodded despite her own misgivings.

“You’re not changing your mind are you? You’re the one who thought this was a good idea” Dakota pointed out needlessly.

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“That was before I realized I’d be breaking Daddy’s heart” she confessed.

“Let’s send in our applications first. See if we get hired” Dakota suggested “then we’ll tell them.”

Considering her sister’s suggestion Montana nodded. “Yeah let’s do that” she gave her a relieved smile “after all we might not get hired. Why make Daddy worry for nothing.”

Dakota laughed “you’re always worrying about him.”

“Well someone has to” Montana said.

Shrugging Dakota said “that’s Dad’s job not ours. Now let’s go out and have some fun.” She hopped off the bed grabbing Montana’s hand in the process pulling her towards the door.

***

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Montana was finishing drafting her thank you email to Charity when Dakota bounced into the room. “We have jobs” she announced.

“Awesome” Dakota clapped her hands “did we get the positions we applied for?”

“Well…not exactly” Montana said.

“What does that mean” her sister frowned at her moving towards the computer to read over her shoulder.

“It means we get something in the area of what we wanted but not what we wanted” Montana explained in a roundabout way.

“Meaning” Dakota tapped her toes willing her sister to come to the point.

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“Well you wanted to work with animals” Montana gazed up at her “your the new dog walker.”

“But I wanted grooming” she cried.

“Evidently you need experience and training before you can become a groomer.” Montana sighed sharing her sisters disappointment “don’t kill the messenger. I didn’t do much better.”

“Athletic supplies” Dakota read “what exactly is that?”

“It means I’m charge of keeping the gym stocked with fresh towels and stuff” she sat back in her chair with a wounded expression.

Laughing at her sister Dakota said “so much for being the yoga instructor.”

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“Evidently that requires experience too” Montana admitted “Charity said at the very least I’d need to be certified before I could instruct a yoga class.”

“Well it’s a start at least” Dakota sighed.

“And we have jobs that pay” Montana enthused.

“Plus we’ll gain some much needed experience” Dakota added.

“I guess that means we need to tell them” Montana said looking to her sister for support for informing their dads they’d be away all summer.

“It’s not going to be as bad as you think” Dakota assured her. Standing up she said “we better get it over with now. The sooner the better.”

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Reluctantly Montana followed her sister out into the living room were their parents were cuddling on the couch watching a romantic comedy. “Hey guys” Dakota said plopping herself in front of the TV blocking their view. “We have something to tell you” she waved towards Montana indicating she should take over.

“Can’t it wait” Waylon asked frowning at his daughters for interrupting their movie night.

“Honey” Zach patted his hand “they need to tell us something. It’s important.” He knew the girls had perfected this maneuver over the years. The only way to wrestle Waylon’s attention from the TV was to block it.

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Turning the TV off Waylon demanded “what’s so important it couldn’t wait?”

“We um got jobs for the summer” Montana announced her eyes darting from her parents to her sister.

“That’s great” Zach enthused “just remember to get the time off for the weeks we’ll be on the island.”

“Um well that’s the problem” Dakota said “the summer jobs we have are at the resort. We’ll be there all summer.”

“At least until we have to get ready to go to university in the fall” Montana added nibbling on her lower lip.

***

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Zach’s bottom lip quivered as he listened to his daughter’s excited voices telling them about their jobs. All he kept hearing was they were leaving him and he wanted to be happy but an oppressive sadness clutched his heart. They weren’t his little girls anymore. His heart lurched painfully in his chest as he pushed up off the couch. He gave each of the girls a hug. His mouth forming the necessary congratulatory words that he didn’t feel. He could see the worry in Montana’s eyes as he stepped away from kissing her cheek.

His lips thinned to form a caricature of a smile. For all he knew his life was ending. Grinding to a halt. He thought he had the summer to get used to the idea of them being gone. Stepping back he let Waylon have his time with the girls. Feeling heavy and light headed at the same time he slowly walked to his room. He heard Montana ask “is Daddy alright?”

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“Don’t worry sweetheart” Waylon assured her “he’s happy for you.”

“But he looks so sad” she protested.

“Give him time to absorb the news” Waylon reached a hand out to stop her from following Zach.

“Are you sure” Dakota asked her voice now just as worried as her sisters.

“I’m positive” he sighed “it’s just he had so many plans for the summer.”

“We don’t have to go” Montana offered.

“No sweetie” Waylon pulled her close “that’s the last thing he’d want. Take the jobs. You dad and I will adjust.”

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“Are you sure” she asked watching him closely.

“I’m positive” he kissed her forehead “why don’t you to out and celebrate.” He pulled his wallet out and handed them money “go shopping. See a movie. Have dinner.”

“You want to get rid of us for the night” Dakota surmised.

“I do” he glanced over his shoulder.

“Tell him we love him” Montana urged.

“Yeah” Dakota agreed taking her sister’s arm, pulling her towards the door.

“Bye Dad” the called from the door before they left.

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The silence of the house seemed somewhat oppressive if not mournful after they had gone. Turning Waylon went in search of Zach. He found him curled up on the bed softly crying. Gently Waylon sat on the bed beside him gently pulling him into his arms. He placed soft kisses on his neck and cheek. After a minute or so he felt Zach take his hand and squeeze it.

“I’m sorry” he mumbled “I should be happy for them. They’re such beautiful young women.”

“Yes they are” Waylon agreed “they know you’re proud of them and love them.”

“I’m a wet blanket on their parade” he sniffed trying to get control of himself. “I knew this day was coming. I thought was prepared but the nightmares…”

Waylon didn’t need to know what nightmares. They were always the same. “We’ve taught them well” he assured his husband “they’ll be ok.”

“I know it’s just I’m so scared” he leaned into Waylon for support “I just don’t want them to be like me. I want them to enjoy this time in their lives.”

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“They don’t have the same experiences you or I had when we were their age” Waylon said.

“Thank goodness for that” he cried “I still worry. I’ll never not worry.”

“They’ll be ok. They’re smart. Self-reliant young women. They have the tools we taught them to succeed.” Waylon could only hope his words were enough to reassure his husband.

“Thank you” Zach smiled stretching up to kiss Waylon’s lips “you always know what to say and do to make me feel better.”

“It’s because I love you and the little family we created together” he nuzzled into Zach.

Closing his eyes Zach felt himself relax “we should let the girls have the house while they’re on the island.”

***

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The twins stood in front of their families island home. “Are you sure Daddy” Montana asked turning towards the smiling blonde male.

“I’m positive” he nodded “you and your sister will need a place to stay while you’re here. Charity could use your help too at the resort.”

“Thank you” she squealed throwing her arms around him. Dakota followed soon afterwards. “We love you so much.”

“We love you too” Waylon asserted smiling down at his daughters.

“You’re still coming in August right” Dakota asked.

“Wouldn’t miss it” Zach assured her “unless you don’t want your old dads staying with you.”

“Don’t be silly Daddy” Montana laughed “we’ll always have room for you and Dad.”

“And you’re not old” Dakota asserted.

“Do you have everything you need” Waylon asked looking at the empty trunk.

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“We have everything we need” Dakota nodded.

“If not the house is stocked and we can buy whatever else we need” Montana added.

Looking at his watch Waylon put an arm around Zach. “Our flight home takes off in a couple of hours. We should be on our way.”

“Do you have to go soon” Montana cried hoping they’d change their minds and stay a  few days.

“I’m afraid so” Zach nodded “we couldn’t find anyone to watch the ranch while we were gone.”

“Oh” the girls mumbled together with dual disappointed expressions.

“Hey we’ll be back” Zach said hugging them both “you can’t escape us that easily.”

They giggled as they watched their dad’s walk hand in hand to their rented car. Briefly they waved as they drove away. “This is it” Montana said when the car was  out of sight. “We’re on our own.”

“Party” Dakota suggested.

Shrugging Montana suggested “call the boys and see if they want to come over for pizza and a movie.”

“If we call them you know Unity and Justice will tag along” Dakota said as she pulled out her phone.

“Let them” Montana shrugged “they’re good kids and it’s not it’s a date.”

“Eew gross” Dakota wrinkled her nose at the thought.

Chapter 5 – Everything Nice / Chapter 7 – Seek to Know Truth