• • • Chapter 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
There are many different types of endings. Each of different importance. Everything has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is usually easier than the end. The end is where everything, well, ends.
The perfect ending is always the hardest. You can’t make it too cliche or predictable, but you also can’t break the readers heart into millions of itty bitty pieces and just leave it there. Sometimes it just feels like your running an idea…right off a cliff. But other times, you just truncate it.
I had the perfect ending picked out for myself. But, even though you can plan and plan, never does the end work out exactly how you want it to.
• • •
December 10th, 2005. Thats the day everything changed.
My mom and dad both had early morning appointments and left before I woke up. Ms. Jane came over to make sure that Drew and I made it safely to the bus stop.
It was your average winter morning in Varty, Wisconsin; -10 degrees, with snow still sprinkling out from the previous night’s blizzard. Even though Drew and I wanted to walk to the bus stop, like we had almost everyday, Ms. Jane insisted upon driving us to the curb and waiting with us.
Because Varty was such a small town, there was only one bus that went to Northwood, which was the elementary in the next city over. I couldn’t wait for the bus ride each day because it took me to school, and I loved school. As soon as Joe pulled open the doors to the bus, Drew and I climbed on and waved goodbye to Ms. Jane.
Charlotte saved me a seat next to her. I climbed into a seat and let my feet dangle. She pulled out a notebook and some smelly pens, and we wrote letters onto the page until the bus halted to a stop and we all filed out.
Mrs. Brich and Mr. Gallowed waited by the doors to grab all the kindergardeners, including Charlotte and me.
Once we were all inside and warm, they started to teach their lesson, until Ms. Dydis, the school principal, walked in and whispered something into Mrs. Brich’s ear. They then both motioned for me to go to her office with her.
Drew was already there, sipping a mug filled with hot chocolate, tears down his face. I sat down next to him and grabbed his hand. I was definitely scared. Grams and Gramps suddenly burst into the room, and I knew that something was wrong.
“Kids,” Grams started weakly and burst into tears. I’d never seen her cry before. But, then again, this day was full of firsts.
“There’s been a terrible accident,” Gramps finished for her. “Your parents…C’mon, lets go.”
Everyone seemed to understand what had happened, except for me.
“Where are we going? Is there ice cream there?”
They all chuckled a sad chuckle, even Drew. He seemed to know exactly what had happened.
“Amanda. This is serious… We’re going to the hospital…to see if mommy and daddy are okay.”
Even though I didn’t totally understand everything that was going on, I kept quiet and followed Drew’s lead.
• • •
The funeral was the following Monday. My parents’ car had been hit by a truck.
Immediately after, Grams and Gramps hauled Drew and me back with them to live in Skios, California.
Somehow, with less than a half a years worth of kindergarden, I made it on to first grade in the fall.
• • •
• • • Chapter 2 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
“Amanda, be a doll and help bus the dishes, would you?” Grams says in her semi-sweet voice. Sweet being the fact that Sandra, her friend, would have otherwise got up to do them, and semi being that Grams could have easily done it herself. I help with the dishes anyways though because I am forever indebted to her and Gramps.
The door clanks open, and Drew steps in with tousled hair, an untucked shirt, and an embarrassing pink kiss on his cheek. Grams stands up, scraping her chair against the newly-done wooden floor, and clonks her tea cup down onto the tray. “Please, excuse me for just one second.” She recites politely, and then turns to Drew and gives him the get-in-the-kitchen-right-this-instant-or-else face.
I apologetically smile at Sandra while we hear Grams screaming, “ANDREW JACOB CLARKE! WHAT HAS GOTTEN INTO YOU? YOU KNEW YOU HAD TO BE HERE AT FOUR AND IT’S NOW FIVE O’CLOCK! WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF??”
I start to say something to break the awkwardness, but nothing will come out of my mouth.
“So, I hear from your Grams, Laura, that you are going to be a freshmen at Corkcer High, is that correct?” Sandra recites softly in her smooth, soothing voice.
“Yeah…I mean yes I am,”
“My granddaughters are going there, too. They just moved here.”
There it is again. The awkward silence. I am kinda used to it by now. With two dead parents and Drew as a brother, silence is a common occurrence.
“So…Do you miss them?” Sandra says, a glint of sadness appearing in her eyes.
“Miss who?” I say, utterly confused.
“Well your parents, of course,” She lightly proclaims.
My throat suddenly grows dry and I can feel my face pale.
“I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.”
I’m so sorry that I don’t have a response.
• • •
“Did you know Sandra’s son Tim and his family are moving to town?” I ask Drew, leading on the door-board leading into his room.
“I wouldn’t be surprised, considering Mr. Dixon is surely getting older,” He replies, not looking up from his computer. “Cut to the chase, Amanda. I don’t have all day here. What do you want?”
“Well…Are you grounded?”
“If you are asking if I’m still taking you to shoot hoops with Tommy, the answer is yes. As long as you cover for me tonight at dinner. And text me when Grams and Gramps are asleep. Deal?”
• • • • • • Chapter 3 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
I am awoken by three soft knocks on my door.
“Give me five more minutes!” I say, reaching up to check the time on my phone.
“Sweetie, it’s 10:00, you have to get up!” Grams says, reading my mind.
• • •
I go downstairs to see Grams slaving away in the kitchen, and Gramps sitting on the porch reading the newspaper.
“It’s about time…” Gramps says, smiling and turning around to see me in the doorway.
“Well, you know it takes precious beauty sleep to look like this!” I say, showing off my bed head and pajamas. He chuckles but looks slightly pained.
“You know…Your mother used to do the same thing.”
There it is again. That awkward silence.
• • •
I go back downstairs to ask Grams what is on todays menu, when I hear soft chatter in the sun room.
“Amanda! There you are!” Sandra says, flashing me her one of a kind smile. “I’ve been wondering where you were.”
The doorbell suddenly rings, and Grams gets up to open it.
“That must be Tim, Skylar, and the girls,” Mr. Dixon says in his raspy voice.
“Laura!” Skylar shrieks.
“How are you! Come in, come in!” Grams says. Hospitality is one of her best traits. “Where’s Tim?”
“He’s picking up Mason from the airport. They’ll probably skip out on today. Mason’s been traveling for days.”
I stare out the sun room window, watching rain drops slowly fall, listening to the conversation amongst my grandmother and the Dixons.
“Amanda, sweetie, come here and meet the girls.” Grams says resurfacing me from my daze.
“Hi. I’m Amanda.” I say in my sweetest voice possible.
“This is Kelly,” Grams says pointing to a tall, blue eyed, dirty blonde haired girl. “And this is Mollie.” Mollie has long, wavy, caramel brown hair.
“Nice to meet you.” They both say in unison. I smile back at them.
“Amanda, how about you take the girls on a tour, and on the way, find Drew for me, won’t you.”
• • •
“So you guys are both going to Corkcer High, right?” I ask them, hoping it will start some sort of conversation besides the usual…awkward silence.
“Yeah. I’m going into senior year, and Mollie is going to be a freshman. How about you?” Kelly says, trying to be polite.
“I’m going to be a freshman too,” I answer, “excuse me for one minute…” I tell them, going to barge into Drew’s room.
“Hey. They invented this new thing,” He says sarcastically, “it’s called knocking.”
“Hey. They invented this new thing,” I mimic, “it’s called showing up on time. Grams wants you downstairs…now.”
• • • Chapter 4 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
As we’ve moved on into the dining room for brunch, I continue to stare out the window to watch what has now turned into a storm.
“So, until we can find a good house in the local area, we will be staying at Sandra and Bill’s.” Skylar concludes. “Wow! This salad is amazing!”
The doorbell suddenly rings, and Grams rushes to let whoever is standing the the downpour in quickly. We all hear mumbles, and then, of course, the usual, “Come in, come in,” from Grams.
“Everybody, their car stalled right in front of our house, so they are going to stay with us until the storm blows over a bit. This is…I’m sorry, what are your names again?” Grams says, pulling in an older lady with short, dark brown hair, dull blue eyes, and a bright red trench coat and an older man with a grey beard and the little hair on his head lying flat, due to the rain outside.
“I guess you wouldn’t know our names because we didn’t tell you,” Trench coat says with a chuckle. “We are Jill and Phil Clarke.” How cheesy.
In that moment, Gramps, who happened to be taking a sip of his water, spit it out all over the table, and Grams paled.
Due to the commotion, trench coat “Jill” and flat hair “Phil” had a minute to look around the table and are now gasping, looking in the direction of Drew and me.
Hesitantly, Jill opens her mouth, closes it, and then opens it again. “Andrew? Amanda?”
I look to Drew for some sort of hint as to what is going on, but he looks just as confused as I do.
To prevent the awkward silence can begin I say, “Somebody better tell me whats going on.”
Before anyone has the chance to answer, the bickering starts.
“I thought you didn’t want to be involved in his ‘new’ life.”
“Well he still gave us updates here and there… By the way, where is he?”
There it is. Silence. Dead silence.
Gramps steps in, “I think it’s time for you to leave.”
Phil, who hasn’t said a word finally speaks up, “Please just tell us where our son is and then I promise we will leave and never come back or bother you again.”
“Wait! What is happening? Who are these people?” I ask.
Grams face scrunches up like it does when she’s hiding something.
“Amanda…Drew… These are you’re father’s parents. They are your grandparents. Jill… Phil… I thought you were aware, but Julie and Stephen were in an awful car accident a while back.”
Jills face drops as she wipes a few tears from her eyes. Phil wraps his arm around her and in all seriousness says, “Thank you for your hospitality.”
• • •
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