I don’t know how to start. Where to start.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I know that that summer didn’t just belong to us. Somewhere people besides us were smiling and laughing and falling in love; but it’s hard to see that.
For me it will always be our summer.
We were standing under the pier one day, it was raining and we were soaked. The one time we didn’t want to be. You took my palm because it was shaking and put it against your chest. Do you
remember? You told me that it didn’t matter where I was, didn’t matter how far we were from each other, you could always feel me – in every beat of your heart.
Do you remember Harry?
I’m so mad. I hate it.
I’ve tried so hard. So hard to forget you, but you’re always there, in every beat. Why cant I stop Harry? Why cant-
Why can’t I let you go?
I love you.’
Chapter One – 3 months earlier
‘Sammy! Hey Sammy!’ I craned my head over the crowd at the bus station and caught sight of the bright blonde crown of my little cousin’s head. ‘Mom, mom I see her! She’s over there.’
‘Yeah I see- oh for the love of Pete, Justin get back here!’
I smiled to myself as the head turned into the scrawny little body of my eight year-old cousin Justin.
‘Sup squirt.’ I said jokingly as I poked him in the belly. I didn’t know if he was too old for hugs now.
‘Yep,’ he said with a toothy grin. ‘Still ugly.’
I laughed out loud just as his mother, my aunt Carol pushed her way through the crowd to my side.
‘Samara,’ she said, folding me into a big hug. For a second my face got lost in her hair, there was so much of it. She was my Dad’s sister and had definitely inherited the Turl family curls. Or as
they like to say, the Turl Curls, clever.
‘Hi Aunt Carol.’
‘Oh,’ she said squeezing me harder. ‘I cant believe how grown up you are! 17! And 18 in a month or so, am I right?’
‘Yes indeedy.’ I smiled.
‘Your accent is weird.’ My cousin piped up, a suspicious grin on his face.
‘Justin!’ His mum chided.
‘Well,’ I said, leaning forward to flick his forehead. ‘My accent thinks that your accent is funny.’
‘Nah-ah!’ he said defensively. ‘You’re the weird one around here.’
It was true; even if I’d been trying I couldn’t hide the distinctive Australian lilt to my once American accent. I’d moved to Australia when I was 12 to live with my Grandparents.
After my parents had died, no one could think of anything worse than moving me. I remember so clearly all the arguments about being around friends and not leaving everything I knew. I’d felt
differently; I’d wanted out.
‘Shut up Justin.’ My Aunt said casually.
I’d always loved this about my aunt; she was so fun and casual. All of my Dad’s family was like that, they just seemed to bounce on air; always running off to do something crazy or stop their
children from doing something crazy.
‘We’re all so glad that you’re here for the summer Samara.’
‘Thanks. And thankyou so much for having me. I mean, I love Pop and Nan but, their holidays have turned a little bit – senior.’
Aunt Carol laughed. ‘Yes, don’t worry, they explained to me that you needed something more interesting to do than watching them play bridge all summer. I think a break is a great idea.’
Sam smiled and nodded, just as a dull ache started in her belly. If only they knew why I was really here this summer.
‘Come on Sammy, let’s go!’ Justin whinged. ‘I want to show you the house, it’s so frickin cool!’
‘Justin!’ Screeched Aunt Carol.
‘I said frickin mom.’ He pulled me down so he could whisper in my ear. ‘I’m not allowed to swear, but I trick her all the time.’
I chuckled and whispered back, ‘good for you squirt.’
We were in their car, all my bags loaded and driving to their house before I remembered something, I can’t believe I’d forgotten!
‘Hey, Aunt Carol, Where’s Clara? She is home for the summer isn’t she?’
Aunt Carol frowned for a second before she answered. ‘Oh, she’s home. I think that Clara had something she needed to do for her college application – some sort of deadline.’
‘Oh, okay.’ I said, thinking nothing of it.
Clara, out of everything this summer, I was most looking forward to. While the beach and the sun and being away from everything for a little while would be great, Clara was my main reason for
coming here. Clara was the same age as me and for as long as I can remember we’d been close.
When we were young we were more like sisters than cousins.
We painted my old bedroom together, a ballistic blur of colours which we thought was the artiest thing ever created, our parents made us take piano lessons together and we’d always make up songs
and when Clara was 5 and Bodie Millhouse rubbed tanbark in her face I gave him a wedgie that damn near paralysed him.
Clara and I hadn’t spoken all that much since my parents died. I didn’t blame her. We were only kids. If I’d been her, I would have been scared of how sad I was too.
20 minutes later and we were pulling up into the driveway of an old two-story house. The wood on the front was a faded blue and the rickety porch was covered in sand, discarded surfboards propped
against the railings and all the bottom windows thrown open to let the breeze in.
‘So,’ my Aunt said, throwing an arm around my shoulder. ‘What’d you think?’
‘I’m glad you like it!’ She echoed back pulling me up the stairs. ‘We were never going to buy a summer house but the city can get so tiring and we all just fell in love with this place. Of course
Clara would have liked something a little more modern but this is so close to the beach and-‘
I let my aunt trail off in her own time as I looked around the house. I loved it, it was dirty and sandy and it smelt like old salt and lemonade. Just what summer was meant to smell like.
‘Come with me Sammy, we’ll show you your room.’ They led me up a flight of stairs and to the end of a hallway. My room was the same blue of the house, with a big window taking up the far wall.
Someone had put seashells on the windowsill.
‘Thankyou,’ I said. ‘This is great.’
‘We’ll let you settle in.’ My aunt said. ‘Justin and I will get your bags.’
They were already out the door when I head a muffled. ‘Ah, fudge!’ followed by a bellowed, ‘Justin!’
I smiled to myself and moved to the window. It was already a hot day, my window casting planes of light across the hardwood floor.
I moved over to it and pushed it open with a creak and smiled.
There was only one or two backyards separating the window from the ocean, I leaned out a bit and breathed in deep. There was nothing like the smell of the sea.
There really was nothing to be worried about; between Squirt and Clara I was going to have plenty of company this summer. I could start over; I could be a whole new person.
Yeah, I thought with a sigh, a whole new person.
The view was amazing. The beach looked so inviting, it just stretched on and on and –
I frowned, there was a bloody tent blocking the view. Some kids must be having a campout in their backyard. The tent rustled and I leaned my body a little further out the window to get a look.
There was more rustling, until dangling so far forwards that my torso was hanging out of the window I saw a pair of shins emerge from the tent, then some knees and then some hands to pull up the
board shorts tangled around the thighs.
I only had time to reason with myself that this kid was a little to old to be playing around in a tent than the legs were proceeded by the rest of the body.
I almost fell out of the window.
Definitely, not a kid.
From my very precarious perch on the window sill I could clearly see a bare, hard stomach which stretched up to deeply tanned very bare shoulders, the definable lines of muscle running over his
arms and the dark hair which looked like it had been combed through with fingers at best.
I swallowed hard. Oh boy, the tent blocking my view suddenly became a lot more interesting.
Just then, he turned. Tent boy turned and looked up at me. My whole body froze. Under normal circumstances I would put my reaction down to being totally mortified at being caught perving
red-handed. But that wasn’t it. It was like I was mesmerized, sucked into a moment that was only mine. Mine and his.
All at once the moment broke as another set of legs edged out of the tent and stood to reveal a tall, very half naked girl. The girl pushed her brown curls over one shoulder and from the back,
wrapped her arms around tent boy’s chest. For the first time he looked away from me as he turned to face her. The girl tilted her face upwards, her lips puckering for a kiss.
My eyes popped open and as quickly as though I had been stung I flung myself back inside the window with only one thought.
Holy crap it’s Clara!
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