Welcome to Whisper Pines
Author's Note: Its Monday again, time for another chapter. This is the halfway point on the chapters I have written for this story. I'm currently still at work on Ch.8. The progress slowed down a bit due to recent tree related drama lol. I'm working on it though. Today is a lazy, free day for me so maybe I can finally finish it. I do have some good stuff coming up though :). As for this chapter, we have some characters. We have a new place to visit too. I'd once again like to thank ashleigh for editing this tale for me :).
Dad drove us back to the B&B. Looking up at the pastel colored building, I wasn’t going to miss it. We all went inside to find Rebecca talking to other guests. I was actually surprised. I honestly thought that this place was a dead town. The couple she was attending too were hanging off each other and standing close. They were so obviously newlyweds. The woman was young, one of those fake types---her hair was dyed and her boobs were clearly artificial. Her husband looked a bit older, there were age lines at his eyes and a little gray at his temple. He had money, though, that much was evident by his suit. Dad had a few of those in his closet----tailor made and not cheap.
“This is so exciting” the woman gushed “a real B&B.”
“Anything for you, princess,” said the new husband, kissing her on the cheek.
She giggled like an idiot.
I rolled my eyes.
Rebecca looked beyond them at Dad and smiled. I wondered if it was going to break her heart when he told her we were leaving. Good riddance as far as I was concerned. I think if I stayed another night here, I’d start to get dreams about rainbows and bunnies. I couldn’t help but shudder at the thought.
The couple moved on. As they walked away, I found myself staring at the woman’s legs. They were smooth and nicely tanned, clearly professionally done. It was her shoes that drew my attention. I couldn’t help but wonder how someone could walk in things with a heel that high. I started to turn away when I noticed the rose tattoo on her calf. I was not expecting that to be honest. Here I thought she was some dippy trophy wife but the tat told me differently: she had a bit of a wild side too.
I watched as they giggled and went up the stairs, all I could think about was what an idiot.
“She’s in that one for the money,” said Connie as she came up behind me. “I mean did you see that tan and those clothes. Not to mention those nails?!??”
I shook my head.
“Well let’s just say that woman is walking around with more money on her than I’ll ever see...in at least two lifetimes.”
I smirked. Connie was a bit cynical. I missed that about her before.
“So you’re leaving?”
How did she know that?
I turned to her and saw our parents talking. Oh, Dad must have said.
“Grandma offered to let us stay at their house until our stuff gets here.”
Connie looked a bit disappointed. “You still want to do the tour though right?”
I smiled. “Sure we do!”
She lit up at that.
“C’mon then,” she said, taking my hand and dragging me toward the door.
“Dad, I’m going with Connie!” I shouted as she practically pulled me out the door.
Dad shouted something but I was gone before I could hear it.
Outside, there were three cars in the parking lot now. I knew our Accent of course. The silver-blue BMW must have belonged to the gold digger and her husband. I guess I missed that when we pulled up. The third car was an SUV. I think I noticed it parked around back yesterday but I couldn’t remember. Behind the wheel was another girl, though. I did a double take when I got a look at her. It was almost as if Connie was in two places at once. The girl behind the wheel had the same long black hair, green eyes, and complexion. A moment later, the girl stuck her head out the window.
“Hey you two, hurry up.”
Wow, she even sounded a bit like Connie.
“You have a twin?” I asked, confused.
Connie laughed. “That’s my older sister Beth.”
I was still confused as Connie dragged me over to the SUV. She pulled open the back door and I found Sara already inside waiting. She was listening to her iPod as usual. She ignored me as I climbed inside. Connie got into the back with me. She smiled at me as she sat next to me, taking my hand again. This girl certainly worked fast. Not that I had anything against a beautiful girl being this interested in me, I just couldn’t stop thinking about Fiona. I still wanted to be with her, back in Portland where I belonged.
“So you must be Karrie?"
I groaned. Why had Dad told them my full name?
“Its Karolos actually but everyone just calls me Charlie.”
Beth made a face. “I think I like Karrie better.”
I huffed a bit. This was going to stick, wasn’t it?
Beth pulled out of the parking lot with a little speed. It was kind of jarring. Connie was still holding my hand I noticed.
“So Karrie,” asked Beth as we turned onto the main road. “You have someone special back home?”
“I did,” I said, feeling Connie tense a bit next to me. “We ended up calling it off right before I left, though. Long distant relationships don’t really work, you know.”
“Connie had a boy too but then he ran away from her,” said Beth, laughing.
“He didn’t run away!”
I turned to her and she looked slightly upset.
She shrugged. “Mark just left. Well, not left, his parents said he went to stay with some relatives in Canada. It was really weird, though. One minute we were really happy and then the next day he just ups and moves?”
It was kind of weird.
Connie stopped talking about it. She did, however, want to know everything about Fiona. So I told her all that I could. How we met, how she asked me out. Then I talked about her figure skating, how the coach and her parents hated me. I ended it all with how we decided to stay friends and Skype each other every day. I saw the look on Connie’s face. It mirrored my thoughts. I knew the friendship thing probably wasn’t going to last and the skyping was going to end at some point. Fiona was popular and pretty, it was only a matter of time before some other guy came along and she forgot about me. I was going to take what I could get when I could get it, though.
It was then that I looked out the window and realized we were going pretty fast for a town tour.
“Aren’t we supposed to be stopping and looking at places as you tell me what they are?”
Beth laughed. “You drove through the town when you got here, right?”
“Then town tour is over with,” said Beth with a laugh. “Connie only told Mom that to mask our real goal.”
“The mall of course, silly!”
“Mall?” Sara took out her ear buds. “Did someone say mall?”
Both sisters laughed.
I groaned. Somehow I’d just got roped into going to the mall with three girls.
Gods help me now.
The mall was in nearby Edgerton, about twenty miles away. With Beth’s driving, it took about thirty minutes to get there. Someone really needed to take away this girl’s license or something.
According to the “Welcome to Edgerton” sign, the town was a great deal larger than Whisper Pines. Whereas Whisper Pines put their population at about three hundred, Edgerton boasted a robust three thousand. It was pretty evident as we drove through. There were several streets and though most of the buildings were brick and no higher than a few stories, it felt a little more like home. It had a modern looking theater with an IMAX, I actually counted several schools, there was even a large town center with an actual ice skating rink. The mall was pretty much in the middle of the town. It was fairly good sized too, three stories. The front was made all of glass and I could see an actual elevator.
It kind of surprised me actually. I wasn’t expecting something like that here.
“Welcome to Edgerton Galleria, the Mecca for teenagers everywhere,” said, Beth, as she pulled into the large parking lot.
“Yes, Thank You, God!”
Well, at least Sara was happy.
It took us another ten minutes to find a parking spot. Then another few minutes to actually walk from it to one of the many entrances. The whole time Sara was practically bouncing. When we finally got inside, I was amazed at the tall ceilings and how shiny everything looked. The floor was polished marble or at least something that looked like it. The surfaces appeared to be chrome or some other kind of metal. It was like walking into some futuristic spaceport. So in other words, it felt like a real mall. Like something back home. I couldn’t help but smile a bit. Not that I really cared for malls much but I was glad to see that I could make the best out of this whole “adventure”.
“Ok so here’s the game plan,” said Connie, winking at me quickly. "I’m taking Little Sister here and running away with her. You guys can do whatever.”
Beth feigned being hurt.
Sara looked confused.
“Where are we going?” she asked as Connie started to walk away with her.
“You need to pick a hair color and stick...” I heard Connie say as they walked away from hearing range.
The two of them quickly disappeared into the crowd.
“So just me and you, huh?”
I wanted to gulp.
“I think I’m gonna go look for a game store,” I said, trying to escape.
“Not so fast,” she said, grabbing my arm. “I need someone to carry my bags until Lucas gets here.”
“I don’t want to be your pack mule” I moaned, knowing what that entailed.
Fiona used to do it to me all the time.
“It's just until the Boy Toy gets here.”
“Oh, you and Lucas...”
She smiled and nodded. “It's been a few months now actually. That boy has some great hands and the way he kisses...”
“Enough please” I interrupted, she laughed.
I did not want that image in my head.
Beth laughed. “So,” she said, walking with her arm still in mine. “You and Fiona, is that over?”
I hadn’t realized Beth had been eavesdropping.
“Romantically, probably,” I said “its hard to keep a relationship going from across the country, you know.”
She nodded. “Looking for someone else?”
“Aren’t you and Lucas...I mean...the hands...and the….”
Beth laughed out loud. “Lucas and I are in love. Plus I’m too old for you. I was talking about Connie, stupid.”
I’d be a fool if I didn’t say there was something there. I think it was a bit one-sided, though. The Collins’ women seemed to see what they liked and tried to grab it. Not that Connie wasn’t pretty---she was a knockout---but she was no Fiona. Fiona was like fire in a bottle. Connie was more like a warm milk. Not that there was anything wrong with that but I just couldn’t see myself with someone like that. Plus I was pretty certain she wasn’t over this Mark guy. It's hard to start a relationship with someone when they’re not over their Ex.
“It's not a good time,” I said, trying to be polite.
“You’re talking about this Mark guy?”
Beth rolled her eyes. “The mysterious Mark. You know I never actually did meet him. I mean Connie says she dated this guy but No one has ever seen him. She says he went to our school but no one besides her even remembers him. If you want my personal opinion, I think she made him up.”
That didn’t make any sense. I mean, did girls do that?
“She said he moved to Canada?”
Beth shrugged. “Connie’s weird like that. She likes the attention. It was just probably her trying to relate to you. Soften you up to get you to sympathize with her. Then in a few weeks time, she’d make her move. My sister is a little devious minx that way.”
I couldn’t believe that. Connie was a fluffy bunny. There was no way she’d try to trick me like that. She definitely didn’t have the vibe.
“Can we talk about something else please?”
“Sure,” said Beth, stopping us in front of Rue 21. “So how much can those skinny arms of yours carry?”
I groaned. I knew where this was going.
Beth dragged me into the store. No amount of my struggling could stop it. She was pretty strong for a girl actually.
I’d been in Rue 21 before. Lots of times actually. It didn’t just sell girls clothes after all.
Beth shopped like she drove.
She wove in and out of the aisles, spending only a few seconds at one before zipping to the other. Lucas had to be fast because it was the only way anyone could keep up with her.
“Hey lookie here, Karrie,” she said, pulling me over to a section where they were advertising new looks. “This whole line is called Borrowed From the Boys. This might be just perfect for you.”
I rolled my eyes.
The section in question was selling oversized sports shirts, ripped jeans and flannel apparel. Things that most guys would probably wear. Only they were all cut and designed for women. There were other things too, dresses and things like that.
You know as much as I wanted to hate Beth for the joke, I couldn’t help but smile. If anything she reminded a lot of Fiona in her own weird way.
I laughed. “Fiona would have pulled me over here too.”
Beth smiled. “Great minds I guess.”
Beth quickly grabbed a dress off the rack, holding it up to me.
“Nope, you’re more of a skater dress kind of girl I think,” she said with a laugh.
I swatted it away. She had a good laugh at my expense.
Then she quickly dragged me over to the cash registers. The girl behind the counter made a comment about Beth’s purchases then asked me about my own look.
“The tomboy look is pretty retro but it's making a comeback, you know.”
I looked down at what I was wearing: hoodie, jeans, and my high top converse. There was nothing tomboy about this look. It was all boy.
Beth clamped her mouth shut but I could tell she wanted to laugh. Thankfully I was able to get her out of the store before she made a scene. That didn’t stop her from laughing as soon as we got out of there. She laughed for a while actually, only agreeing to stop after I threatened to push her into the nearby fountain. Not that I could, though. Beth had some nice arm muscles. I would be lucky if I could even move her an inch. The girl was ripped and not in that grotesque female body builder kind of way either. It was clear she was an athlete of some kind. I could only imagine how much fun she and Sara would have talking shop.
“Does that happen a lot?” she asked as we walked away.
I shrugged. “More and more these days.”
“Is it just the hair or...”
So she noticed.
“I’m only fourteen. On the internet, they said fourteen isn’t late for puberty.”
I don’t know why I was defending myself. I guess I was just getting sick and tired of all the talking and the stares. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little concerned, though. That’s why I ended up googling it. Puberty at fourteen was not all that uncommon actually. It still meant I was healthy. It was afterward where I might have some concern. Dad and I talked about it a little while ago actually. He said it was nothing to worry about and if it really bothered me so much he’d make a doctor’s appointment. I wasn’t all that bothered. So my voice was still high, I had no body hair growth and flabby muscles, I was still me. There were just some intimate parts of me that still hadn’t descended yet.
“Ohh I gotta go in there,” said Beth, pointing.
I followed her finger with my eyes. The store she was pointing at looked pretty ritzy. It actually had a red carpet at the entrance and above the glass doors, a large name in fancy gold lettering, Martel.
“You want to go into Kenny Martel’s store?"
“Oh, so you’ve heard of him.”
Beth didn’t say anything. Instead, she started toward it like a woman possessed. I followed close behind, carrying her bags awkwardly. As we got closer, I couldn’t help but notice a mannequin in the window wearing the same pink top the cow was eating. I winced at the cost. Three thousand dollars gone to waste. As soon as I stepped into the store, I smelled fruity perfume that clung in the air and made me gag. I gagged, even more, when a woman in a pink dress stepped out of nowhere and blasted me in the face with it.
She handed me a coupon a second later.
“Martel Musk,” she said “over on the back wall. Trust me, girl, you’ll love it!”
She disappeared back into the racks from whence she came.
I started to cough, waving my hand in front of my face in the hope of dispersing the pink cloud.
God this stuff smelled awful.
It was then that I realized I lost track of Beth. Looking around quickly, I saw her browsing around some handbags. They were ugly as hell, all faux fur, and pink. Looking around, I noticed that pink seemed to be a theme with this guy. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had a hand in decorating my former room back at the B&B.
“I think this guy is secretly your mother’s interior decorator,” I said as I snuck up behind her.
She snorted. “You saw the pink room then?”
“I slept in the pink room.”
She shuddered. “I pity you, sir.”
I laughed. Beth was cool. How was she related to Rebecca and Connie?
“So you know this stuff is super expensive right?”
“I’m not here to buy, just look.”
I looked at the purse she was currently drooling over. I checked the tag: $9000.
For a purse!!!
“We have those in white and purple too, ladies,” said a voice from behind us.
I nearly jumped out of my skin.
It was the Crazy Perfume Lady again.
“No thanks,” said Beth, dismissing her with a wave. “We’re just admiring them from afar.”
The woman gave us a miffed look before disappearing again.
Beth and I laughed.
We left Martel’s after a few more minutes of her “admiring”.
Back out in the mall proper, someone shouted for us. Turning I saw Lucas coming up. He was with a boy about my age, a little shorter than him and not quite as handsome. There was something vaguely familiar about him too. He looked a tad bit like Lucas but the glasses and the freckles made him unique. As they got closer, I noticed the younger was taller than me, though.
It really sucked to be short.
“Hey,” said Lucas then grabbed Beth into a kiss. “Hey, babe.”
“Hi, there,” she said, wrapping herself around him.
The boy looked at me. “Charlie?”
“Ummm yeah but how did you...”
Lucas laughed. “Charlie this is my brother Rex. Remember what I said, he remembers everything.”
“Its good to see you again, man.”
Rex made a move like he wanted to bump my fist, all gangsta style or something. About halfway through it, though, I think he realized how futile and ridiculous it was and stopped.
“Yeah sure is” I said, trying not to sound like I had no idea who he was.
Rex didn’t miss a beat, though. “It's ok if you don’t remember me, we were only five.”
I nodded. Good because I had no idea who he was.
“So,” said Lucas, looking at the bags in my hands. “You got roped into the Beth Tornado, huh?”
“Sadly,” I said and she playfully punched my arm.
“Charlie was just being sweet and helping me,” she said, rubbing her finger along Lucas’ pec. “I was just waiting for my big, strong man to come along.”
Wow, this was a completely different Beth.
I looked to Rex. He looked strangely uncomfortable.
Hell, I was feeling a bit uncomfortable myself.
Beth turned to me, taking her bags. “Charlie, I free you from my service.”
I bowed. “Thank you my liege,” I said, putting in a bit of theatrics.
“Hey Rex, why not show Charlie that game place you like so much.”
Yes, Thank the Gods.
“Sure,” he said, stepping away. “C’mon.”
He cast his brother and Beth another uncomfortable look, then started to walk off. I ran a bit to catch up with him.
“You don’t approve?” I asked, referring to their relationship.
“Its just...forget it.”
Rex didn’t say another thing. Instead, he started meandering his way through the mall crowd like a real pro, dodging and weaving around every single person. It was pretty impressive actually. He never touched a single one. Me, I was like a bull in a china shop. I don’t think there was a single person I didn’t bump into. Finally, after weaving and dodging, Rex stopped in front of a store. The bright lights and loud noises told me it was an arcade.
“An actual arcade?”
Rex nodded. “I know kinda prehistoric but it's still cool.”
Rex led the way inside.
My senses were quickly assaulted by overly loud kids, stale drinks, and unfortunately, lots of nasty B.O. This was a place for boys. Most of which were sweaty and unbathed. Trying not to let that deter me, I followed Rex to a counter where he tried to get the kid to give him a deal on tokens. The kid’s eyes seemed to bulge out of his head, making him look even more bug like through his thick glasses.
“Dude, you brought a chick?”
I groaned. “I’m a dude.”
“Yes way,” said Rex, annoyed. “Rog, the tokens?”
“Oh sure,” said the kid---Rog---as he handed over the goods.
Rex gave him a twenty and Rog dropped a handful of coins into his hands. Rex passed half to me without saying a word. Then started off toward the machines. There were a lot of them. Well, of course, it being an arcade and all. Most of them were pretty old school too, like from those 80s movies. I didn’t even know these things existed. There were some modern ones too but they were way in the back. They were also populated by an older crowd. Most of the younger kids avoided them. I glanced over quickly----backward caps, sagging pants, lots of laughing.
Yeah, I definitely didn’t want to go back there.
“So how’ve you been these last nine years?”
Rex turned and gave me a look. “It's ok, you don’t have to pretend. I know you don’t remember me. It's an occupational hazard on my part. So you can stop trying.”
“Fair enough,” I said.
What bug was up his ass?
“If you don’t want to hang here its cool too,” he said, putting some of those tokens into a machine. “I’m sure you’d rather be with Beth or maybe some other friends.”
“First of all,” I said, putting my own tokens into the same machine. “I just arrived here yesterday so, besides a few people, I have no friends here yet. And second, sure Beth is cool but if she dragged me into another clothes store, I was going to burst.”
Rex smirked. “You should have seen her before.”
We played the game without much talking. It was one of those old side-scrolling space shooters. You know with a little ship blowing up asteroids. It was a two person game, the kind that I might have played as a kid. Something came back to me about half way through. This wasn’t just like the kind I’d play, it was nearly identical. I had a quick memory flash: of playing this game with a little red headed kid with freckles and glasses.
“Oh wow, we played this.”
“What?” he asked, not turning from the screen.
“You and I,” I said “When I was here nine years ago. We played this game.”
“So you remembered something.”
“Hey don’t feel so bad, I forgot I had a dog too.”
I nodded. We shared a laugh.
We played the game for about twenty minutes then moved onto another one. Before I knew it, we spent an hour in the Arcade and burnt through all of our tokens. We had a bunch of tickets but I wasn’t really interested so I gave them to him. Rex went to the counter and came back a few minutes later carrying a pack of cards. He didn’t say a thing, instead putting the pack in his back pocket, unopened. I shrugged. After that, he took me to the comic place. It was pretty epic. I was surprised at the size of the place and the variety of comics. We spent a lot of time in there.
The more I hung out with Rex, the more I felt like I was with Doug again.
It was kind of cool actually.
“Oh shit,” said Rex, looking at the clock. “I’m supposed to meet Luke in like two minutes.”
“Then let’s go,” I said, quickly paying for our comics on the way out.
I handed Rex his bag and the two of us rushed back into the mall mob.
I tried to dodge them like him but he was a natural. An Olympian even.
Finally, we found ourselves where Lucas was supposedly suppose to meet us. We were early though as Beth and Lucas arrived a minute or two later. Lucas’s arms were full of bags so I really dodged a bullet there. The look on his face would have made the day for me if not for the scene that I saw a moment later. Walking up, teetering on a pair of heels, was Sara. I almost fell over laughing at the sight of her: yellow flowered sundress, heels, and purse. Not to mention her hair was now a honey blonde and the look on her face could kill a great white from a thousand yards away.
She looked at me and glared when I smirked.
Connie came up behind her, practically gliding in her own heels. She was wearing a new dress as well. Blue, I think. It was hard to tell because it seemed to shimmer in the light. She was holding some bags, though. If I had to guess I’d say it was the clothes they swapped out of.
“You did this, didn’t you?” asked Sara, glaring her evil eye at me.
I played dumb. “Whatever do you mean, dear sister?”
“I hate you,” she said through gritted teeth.
“Oh she looks so sweet,” said Beth, patting her on the head like a puppy.
“Back off or I’m biting it off, Barbie!”
Beth quickly pulled her hand away.
“Wow” whispered Rex in my ear. “I’ve never seen anyone scare Beth like that.”
“So our day was a success” said Connie, spinning slightly to show off her dress. “It's perfect, right?”
Rex and I both dumbly nodded.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one in the Connie Collins Fan Club.
“You look like a fucking blueberry,” said a girl as she walked by.
The snark oozed off of her.
“No one asked you Goth Freak” snapped Connie at the girl’s backside.
The girl raised her arm, flicking Connie off backwards before vanishing into the mall crowd.
I only caught a glimpse of her but she was pretty awesome. I never really cared for the Emo girls back home because they were all moody and tortured. Or at least pretended to be. There was something about this girl, though. It wasn’t just her weird fashion sense or her long blue hair. It was the way she appeared out of nowhere, threw out a quick insult and vanished just as quickly.
It was something I’d never seen before.
“Who was that?” I asked, still watching her walk away.
“No one” said Connie.
“Clara Grimes,” said Rex “Don’t get too close, though, I heard she hasn’t had all her shots.”
Our little group broke up after that. Lucas and Rex went there own way but not before I ended up with both Beth’s bags and Rex’s cell number. So sorta a win for me. It was kind of nice making a friend. Or reconnecting with an old one? It was kind of confusing actually. No matter, I wasn’t going to be totally alone I guess. Well, at least I’d have someone to talk too besides Connie I suppose. That was something right?
When we got back to the car, Sara shoved me out of the way.
“You better sleep with one eye open tonight, chump!”
I couldn’t help but laugh. There was no way I could take her threats seriously with her dressed like that.
I climbed into the SUV right behind her. Connie dropped into the seat next to me again. She tried to get me to notice her but I wasn’t really interested. She gave up and turned to talk to Sara. I watched as the mall and Edgerton slowly started to disappear behind us. All in all, it was a pretty good outing I guess. I met Rex again and I think I found the most interesting girl I’d ever seen.
Author’s note: As I’m sure all of you know, comments are life blood to an author. I’m not begging or demanding, but I certainly would appreciate anything you have to say (or ask). It doesn’t have to be long and involved, just give me your reaction to the story. Thanks in advance...EOF
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