“I can’t believe how easy it was to find a place to live,” I said, giving Kate a puzzled look. “Are they always that friendly?”
“Grams did put in a few good words for you.” Then looping her arm through mine, she grinned. “Now come on, I can’t wait to show you Novelty. Since you like to write, you’re going to love working here.”
I pulled away from her, trying not to make it seem awkward. “What makes you think I’m going to want to write?” It’s true I had crossed paths with Kate a few times since she told me about all of us cousins moving, but other than a word or two of greeting, we hadn’t talked.
“I see you walking around with your notebook all the time,” Kate said, shrugging her shoulders. “I just supposed that meant you liked writing. Or is it you have a sweetheart back home that you’re writing to?” She corked an eyebrow playfully.
I snorted. “Naw, there’s no guy back in California pining for a letter from me. I just journal when I have a lot on my mind.”
“This is Novelty.” I could tell Kate was proud of the bookstore, and it’s no wonder.
“This place is great!” Stepping out of the oppressive heat into the air conditioned room was like jumping into a pool to cool off after a long day at work. “Oooo. I like it.” Turning in a full circle, I tried to take it all in. There were several groupings of plush chairs with coffee tables and tall floor lamps. The bookshelves were nicely arranged in such a way that they didn’t seem cluttered or to take up too much space, and there was even a coffee/tea counter at one side of the store.
“Thank you so much for giving me the job.” I was beginning to realize why everyone wanted to work here.
“I think we’re going to have fun together.” Kate’s eyes were twinkling.
Wondering if she was always this happy, I smiled. She should be fun to work with. “What should I do next?” I asked
“Don’t you mean what should you do first?”
“Yeah. That’s what I mean.” Kate’s humor was something I was going to have to get used to.
“I’m going to want you to just walk around for today, studying the layout and getting used to everything. I have some notes I want you to read, explaining about Novelty, and what we’re going to expect from you.” Reaching behind the counter Kate took out a folder filled with papers and handed it to me.
“Thanks.” I started flipping through it, but she held out her hand, stopping me.
“Before you get engrossed with that, I have something to tell you.”
“I think I found one of your cousins.”
“What?” I leaned against the counter and began smoothing back my shoulder length honey colored hair, a gesture I do when I’m scared or nervous.
“Well, after I figured out who you were and knew you wanted to find your cousins, so I asked around a few different places. Lexie Clark, that’s one of them, right?”
The name suddenly clicked into focus. “Yes!” Tears sprang to my eyes. “You know where Lexie is?”
“Yup.” Kate smile was smug. “She goes to collage here.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Nope, totally serious. And from what I’ve heard, she comes in here quite often to study. I know all the kids who frequent here by sight, but not all of them by name.”
Every time someone came in the door, my head popped up from wherever I was looking, and I stared at them, wondering… Is this one Lexie? Some of the kids probably thought I was a weirdo, but some things are worth being thought weird for.
When she finally did arrive, the only way I knew it was her, was because the girl next to her was talking and used her name several times.
“That’s Lexie Clark.” Kate came over and told me, tossing her head toward my cousin. “Are you going to go talk to her?”
“What will I say?”
“Um, why not something like ‘Hey, I’m Destiny, your cousin’?”
“What if she doesn’t remember me?”
“What if she thinks I’m part of the reason our mothers don’t get along any more? What if she doesn’t like me?”
“You sound like a five-year-old.” Kate pursed her lips, then gestured toward Lexie, “Come here for a minute, Lex.”
Looking surprised, my cousin dropped her backpack onto a chair and came over.
“Yes Ma’am?” she asked.
“I want you to meet someone,” Kate said, patting my back and then making her escape.
Lexie turned a brilliant smile toward me. “You’re new here, aren’t you?”
There was a huge lump in my throat which made it impossible to talk, so I just nodded my head.
“Don’t worry about it, you’ll make friends in no time at all. And Swallow Ridge is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I lived here when I was little.” She cocked her head at me. “I’m Lexie Clark. What’s your name.”
“Lexie.” I said her name, feeling my eyes fill with tears. I don’t like being emotional, but I am at times, and that’s the long and short of it.
“Oh cool, we both have the same name.”
“Ok then?” Lexie was looking confused now.
“I mean, you’re Lexie. I’m Destiny.”
I think she began to suspect I wasn’t very bright, but it only took about two seconds before she threw her arms around me, squealing. “Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness! Come on!” Then grabbing my hand she yanked me outside. “Oh my, oh my, oh my!” After giving me another hug, she held me at arms length, looking me up and down. “You’re so cute, Destiny!”
“Me, cute? Maybe so, but you’re breathtakingly gorgeous.” Lexie was about eight months younger than me, but had always considered herself the more mature one of the two of us, since she had younger siblings, and I was an only child. Looking at her now, she did seem more mature. At least more mature than I felt. Her milk-chocolate colored hair was in a graceful twist at the nape of her neck, and her brown eyes sparkled in excitement. And she was tall. I felt like she was towering over me.
“Come on, we’ve got to go someplace to talk.” Lexie looked up and down the street, as if deciding where to go.
“I’m supposed to be working.” I wrinkled my nose.
“When do you get off?”
I glanced at my watch. “About an hour.”
“Fine! I’ll just try and study until then, and when you get off, we can go over to my place for a minute so I can drop off my backpack and you can see where I live, then we’ll go for a walk together.”
“You’re still taking charge of every situation, I see.” I smiled.
“It’s a must since you’re so indecisive. Or at least you were so indecisive.” She tapped her chin. “And from the looks of it, you still are.”
“How can you tell that?” I asked, amazed.
“I can read a person’s character like you used to gobble down those books.”
“Oh.” She was right about the indecisiveness, I reflected once I was back in Novelty. If I weren’t, then I would have come back to Swallow Ridge the day I turned eighteen. As it was, I had waited over a year.
Y’all want to read more? I’m really into this book right now, it’s what’s on my mind, and therefore why I’ve been posting it. I hope you like it. =)
One thought on “Part Three”
I've been enjoying what you've posted so far! Please do keep posting! I'm curious to see what it was that broke apart their mothers! How sad, especially because I know what joy it is to be with cousins! 🙂