"Edie! Allison! I'm going to take this last box out to the truck. Why don't you two drive over to Aunt Cindy's and I'll meet you there!" Roy Summers yelled up to his twin daughters. They'd barely said a word to him since he'd announced they were moving across the country, but at least they could still hear him.
He'd accepted the position of head master at East Central Prepitory Academy in Cortland, New York. It was a great opportunity for them to start fresh. Plus it meant a huge raise and a top of the line education for his daughters. How could he pass that up?
Edie and Allison brushed past him, interrupting his thoughts, their wavy brown hair fluttering behind them. They didn't even look at him as they climbed into their yellow Chevy cavalier and drove off. Saying good-bye to Cindy would be the hardest part for them. She was the closest thing to a mother they'd ever had.
Edie and Allison's mother had left when they were only two. She hated staying in one place too long. She was a free spirit. When they were 22 and free of responsibility, Roy had found it irresistible but he grew out of that stage. Jenny never did and even though he'd prayed the birth of Edie and Allison would change that, it didn't.
Roy hadn't spoke of her since she left and Edie and Allison never asked. It was a mutual understanding between them that some subjects were taboo and their mother was one of them. He'd given them each a picture of their mother and the letter she'd written claiming she loved them and that leaving was the hardest thing she'd ever done. Even though his heart was broken when she left, he couldn't bear it if his daughters hated her for doing so.
"Well here we go Al. Are you ready for this?"
"As ready as I'm ever going to be," Allison replied quietly.
"Let's just get it over with fast." Edie suggested. Allison nodded in agreement. "Just like ripping off a band aid."
As the girls entered Aunt Cindy's house, the familiar smell of vanilla and
jasmine filled their nostrils. Allison whimpered, realizing it would be months, maybe even years, before she could be in this place again. It was like home to her. And to Edie as well.
Aunt Cindy was standing in the kitchen, her long brown hair pulled into a messy bun, flour streaked across her favorite maroon and yellow apron. Her deep green eyes were intently focused on the recipe she was attempting to perfect.
"Aunt Cindy!" Edie exclaimed brightly. "Always in the kitchen!"
"Oh girls, you startled me!" she said, spinning around and pulling her nieces into a hug. "And where is my big brother?"
"Oh he's coming. You know him, always rushing around trying to make everything perfect." Edie replied.
"Yes, that would be him."
"So I was thinking Aunt Cindy – no pressure or anything – that you should just come with us," Edie persuaded, offering her most charming grin. "You're going to miss us like crazy, I know you are. So I'm really just thinking of what's best for you."
Aunt Cindy laughed. "You know I'd love to Edie but it's just not logical. My business is here; my friends are here. I've spent my whole life in San Diego and I'm not like my big brother. I'm not brave enough to move to the other side of the country."
"Well can we stay here with you then?" Allison begged, her eyes daring to look almost hopeful.
"I wish you could!" Aunt Cindy assured her. "But I promise you will love your new school. You're going to make all kinds of friends and this is going to be such an amazing experience for you. As much as I would love to keep you here with me I can't rob you of this opportunity."
"I'll miss you," Allison exclaimed, throwing her arms around her Aunt's neck. Edie glanced out the window just in time to see her father pulling into the driveway. She groaned loudly (but not loud enough for him to hear) as he approached the door.
"I'll miss you girls too!" She exclaimed, squeezing Allison tightly. "We'll get together over Christmas. I promise!"
"Come on Al. Dad's here. Let's give him a moment with Aunt Cindy," Edie said, pulling her Aunt into a final hug. "We'll call you when we get there."
"You better!" she called after the girls as they piled into their car.
Roy jokingly tousled her hair as he pulled her into a quick hug, "Promise to come visit us as soon as you're free."
"The very moment," she agreed. She smiled sadly at him. "It's going to be so weird living this far away from you Roy!"
"You can still come with us," Roy added jokingly. "There will always be a place for you if you change your mind."
"You guys should get on the road," Cindy insisted. "I heard you can expect some storms tonight after dark."
Roy kissed his sister's cheek as he plopped into the driver's seat of his car.
Edie followed her father out of the driveway and quickly glanced back in the rear view mirror for one last look at the neighborhood she'd called home for the last 16 years. She smiled as they passed the entrance to the old park and the tree where Edie and Allison carved their initials three summers ago. She'd become so accustomed to these places and she couldn't help but feel that she'd unintentionally taken the last 16 years for granted.
Allison interrupted Edie's thoughts as she handed her a cold bottle of orange soda. "I propose a toast," Allison began. "A toast to new – albeit terrifying, but new just the same – experiences."
Edie laughed to herself as she took a few swigs of her soda. That was Al for ya , always the optimist.
The drive took two days. They stopped in a motel halfway there to rest and eat. The girls were virtually silent. When they did talk, it was about the weather, the food, music, anything to keep their minds off of the truth. They refused to acknowledge where they were going or where they'd just left. As far as Edie and Allison were concerned, they were on a nice leisurely drive. Across the country. With everything they owned.
Ok, so maybe it was all impossible to ignore, but that didn't mean they weren't going to try.
Their father was being annoyingly optimistic, talking nonstop about the people they would meet and the great new life they were about to start.
"Wait until you see the new house!" he exclaimed during lunch on the second day of travel. "It's absolutely beautiful and it's free."
"I'm sure it's great dad," Allison said, smiling encouragingly.
"If by great you mean awful," Edie muttered.
"And the teachers are all so bright and friendly," Roy continued.
"I bet," Edie remarked sarcastically.
"I've had about enough out of you young lady!" her father insisted. "Can't you at least try to have a positive attitude towards our situation? I know things didn't go how you planned but family is about doing what's best for everybody!"
"Well I don't think that moving halfway across the country – and leaving behind everyone we love – is in the best interest of everybody. I'm allowed to express my frustrations," Edie remarked smugly.
"Not anymore you're not!" he snapped. "From this moment on you don't say a word unless it is something productive."
"Fine," Edie exclaimed. "I guess I just won't speak to you then!"
She grabbed her purse and walked out of the restaurant, making a beeline for her car. Luckily the hotel was only a few blocks down so she had no trouble finding it.
"Absolutely no consideration for our feelings and opinions," Edie mumbled as she let herself into their room. She unzipped her suitcase and grabbed her favorite purple bathing suit from the top. She changed quickly and headed over to the hotel pool.
She dove in, letting the cold water rush over her body and cleanse her tense mind. There was a completely different world beneath the water – a much quieter, more agreeable world. She pushed off from the wall, her long, strong arms cutting effortlessly through the water.
Edie wasn't sure if she had been swimming laps for 15 minutes or an hour when Allison arrived. All she knew was that it hadn't been long enough.
"Hey Edie," Allison said quietly as Edie grabbed a towel and wrapped it tightly around her waist.
Edie nodded a hello at her twin, not wanting to break her concentration just yet.
"Feeling any better after your swim?" she asked carefully.
Edie sighed, "If you mean do I feel bad for blowing up at Dad that way – then yes. I haven't, however, changed my mind. I still don't want to go and I still think Dad should have asked us what we thought about moving halfway across the country."
Allison nodded, "I understand why you're upset Edie and Dad does too. But whether you like it or not this is where our lives happen to be going right now. Do you really want to start out at our new school so angry?"
"I don't care about our new school," Edie snapped. Allison looked hurt and Edie sighed. "I'm sorry Al. I'm not angry at you; I'm angry at Dad. You just happen to be here right now."
Allison nodded. "Want to head back to the room now? Dad went on a run so you don't have to see him right away."
Anything to end this conversation she thought, only nodding in response to her sister.
Roy returned from his run as Edie was leaving the bathroom.
"Sorry Dad," she said quickly. She winced as her comb hit a knot in her hair. "I shouldn't have freaked out like that."
"It's ok kiddo," he replied. He threw a sweaty arm around her (freshly washed) shoulders and Edie laughed to herself. "I just wish you would tell me what you think before you blow up at me in public places."
"I'll try," Edie lied. Edie didn't really discuss feelings. It was on her list of top ten most awkward things in the world – right about having your toe nails pulled out one by one by a hobbit with a foot fetish.
"Thanks," Roy said. "I want you girls in bed by the time I get out of the shower! We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow."
AN: Welcome to the new and slightly (hopefully) improved version of Catch. To returning readers: thanks for taking the time to read my story again. I truly feel it's improved a great deal. However, the pace of the story is much slower now so some things that happened in the last couple chapters will be showing up again in later chapters. To new readers: I hope you enjoy. Please review – especially if you read the old version! I would love the opinion of past readers on the new version. Love! Jane Woods