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The House of Dreams
I had been watching the strange dot zipping around my lake for hours, and now I was pretty sure it was a motorboat. It was too far away to make out the model, or the person riding it. One thing I was sure of, it didn’t belong here. the fact that it had somehow breached security should have been my first hint.
The smooth way it skipped across the water stopped me from reaching into my pocket and calling Logan. Before I could tear my gaze away, it sped into the distance until it disappeared. I shivered, fear starting to set in, finally. That boat was on private property, and it was polluting our beautiful, crystal-clear lake. I should have checked it out. I didn’t.
It had been a long time since I had seen a motorboat.
As I often did in the wake of potentially stupid experiences, I shook it off and convinced myself it was nothing, and went back to enjoying my time outdoors before I got too tired. Chalia was getting heavy. The brand-new dock I was sitting on made a great purlieu, with its view of the mountain forest beyond the rippling edges of the lake. I had always searched for a place like this as a child—a place to sit and read or just dream. Living on the farm when I was thirteen, an old tree with cradling branches was my favourite spot, but it had been on the outer reaches of the property and not very accessible. From this dock I would see the back deck of my house if I had turned around. I found it strange that I hadn’t got tired of this place as I had gotten tired of everything else.
Kate, my ancient but still kicking cocker spaniel, limped up to me with her big brown eyes begging for attention. We had had her since I was twelve, and she showed no signs of passing away. Her once beautiful brown speckled white muzzle was now grizzly-grey, and she wasn’t so shiny anymore. But she was still my only connection left to my past.
A cloud passed over the sun, casting the lake in shade and coolness. When I looked I realized the sky had filled to the brim with clouds. We would have to clear the rain ceiling on the garden. I grinned. I loved storms, even if they made Chalia bounce around like a linebacker. I knew it was impossible, I liked to think that she could feel the serenity I felt from her vantage point inside my stomach, so I tried to stay happy as much as I could. I flinched and yelled softly when she gave a defiant little kick. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that relaxing with her pounding around in my womb every five minutes, but I was determined not to let her ruin my moment.
It was almost twelve-o’clock, and a soft summer wind blew in from the east. The direction of Camladan. I fought the urge to hold my breath, imagined all sorts of nasty things that were carried on that air. I just knew I could smell the factory gas, all that carbon dioxide from those disgusting cars…and everything I breathed went straight to Chalia. Heaving my seven-months-pregnant self up, I waddled as fast as I could back home, Kate waddling beside me. what a pair we made. I remembered to smile before I walked through the door.
I wondered if Logan would be back for lunch or if he was staying late again. Just the thought of him made my knees feel kind of shaky, and I stroked Chalia repeatedly to calm myself. I may as well get lunch started, and if he didn’t show up I could eat his food.
Shaking off the lingering lethargy of the dock, I padded heavily across the spacious entry of my house, to the kitchen with its high chairs and honey-coloured cabinets. Though it was the house I had dreamed of since I was twelve years old, sometimes I wondered if it was too big, too incredibly luxurious, with its pool-side dining room, winding staircase, and twenty bedrooms. But I thought this when Logan was out. when I was in his arms everything was just right.
The truth was, the house was designed for a big happy family, and I was lonely.
But you aren’t alone, whispered a little voice. With a grin I turned my eyes habitually to the gigantic carved cross that hung on the near wall. really, the kitchen, entry way, dining room and family room were just one room; the main floor only had four walls. I opened the door of the refrigerator. The vegetable drawer was empty. Logan and his vegetables. He must have taken a whole bag full to the hospital. I passed the pool on my way to the garden, stopping for a longing glance.
Kennedy, the boy across the road who we paid to turn the Archimedes screw that watered the one-acre indoor garden, hadn’t been in yet. I was glad that the carrots, potatoes and onions didn’t come up all muddy, but ever since he turned fifteen, Kennedy only showed up on his own time. he was supposed to come morning and night, and should have been here about an hour ago. Teenagers.
After the vegetable stew was ready, I went up to my and Logan’s room to change. Suddenly pulled out of my pregnant slump, I decided I would do something fun; this house was my manifested dream, after all.
I dialled my friend Candace. We used to be cousins before my mom and her uncle got divorced, but we still consider each other family. Logan adored her, though she still thought he was a little creepy from the first time she saw him almost ten years ago. Just because he wore his hat backwards, and now in her book he was marked for life.
“Hey Candace, what are you doing?” I asked, sitting at the edge of the pool with my feet dangling in.
There was a lot of noise on her end. “Loading up kids and heading to All Breeds.” She paused to yell something at her husband Ty. “What about you, Elizabeth?”
I glanced at the clock. “Well, I just finished making lunch, and it doesn’t look like Logan is coming home anytime soon, so I wondered if you wanted to come over…when is All Breeds over?”
“Saturday! That’s a week away!”
“God, I know! Almost a week.” I could just see Candace making a face.
“You sure you can’t skip?” I suggested half-heartedly.
She sighed. “Oh, no. it’s a big event for the kids. they qualified for supreme quest and team judging and NYC.”
She had told me about it on the way to the mall the other day. “hey, do you think I could come? Its at the Ag Net right?”
She yelled something to Peyton, her eight-year-old daughter. “You betcha, see you there gotta go!”
I hung up smiling. It was always so hectic at Candace’s house. I hoped it was somewhat like that when Chalia was born. The excitement intrigued me.
I realized that I hadn’t asked Candace what time the show was at, but I figured they would be leaving for it soon, and the Ag Net was twenty minutes from their house. it was only five minutes from here. I had some stew, still sitting by the deep end of the pool, and then I heard Kennedy’s car in the yard. Though I could see his house from mine, he insisted on making his mom get in the car and drive with him everywhere now.
Kennedy was a huge kid now, more than six feet tall with the body of a linebacker. Or what I imagined a linebacker would look like, since I had no idea what they were. He had an easy smile and the look of an eager puppy, despite his size. In my opinion he fell way too easily into the crowd, and that’s why he was late. I smiled at him anyway.
“Hey Kennedy! Thanks for coming!”
He smiled at me and ducked behind the house to the screw. No wonder he had such big muscles. Turning that screw was like a six hour workout, but for two-hundred-forty bucks a day that was pretty good for a teen. I would have loved to have a job like that.
Connie, his mom, came in as she had recently started doing. The lake water going over the rain ceiling was like rain on a tin roof.
“How’s it going with Frank?” I asked Connie as we sat on the back deck, watching Kennedy steadily turn the screw. He had a look of extreme concentration. In a way he was still the little ten-year-old I hired way back when. We waved when he smiled at us.
She fiddled with her empty plastic glass. “I got the divorce papers signed last night.”
My face broke into a smile. Frank was in jail for raping Garnet, his daughter. It had taken years for Connie to speak up. “Good for you, Connie! How do you feel about that?”
To my horror, a tear slipped down her face. “I’m not sure we will be able to go on, Elizabeth. The bank won’t give us the loan to pay off the mortgage, and Garnet is going into college this fall, and Frank is…himself. The price of lawyers to fight his lawyers is going to bankrupt us and we will be moving to the city in four months.”
Too bad you can’t move in with us, I thought. Maybe then I would be less lonely.
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~ Romans 15:13