Well welcome! I know this isn't your "typical" story, but it's something. I have loved the Mother-Daughter Book Club since I myself was in middle school, and this year I'm going to be in grade 12. Crazy. Anyways, I have always imagined their future children growing up and having their own mishaps and friendships, and this is just that. I hope you enjoy!
*all the original book club girls' characters belong to Heather Vogel Fredrick. But the new characters are all mine, as well as the the developed storyline*
Chapter 1 - Don't Want Summer To End
"Three, two, one, cannonball!" I shout, taking a flying lead off the end of the dock. In the air, I quickly pull my knees up to my chest and make a large splash as I hit the water. The water drags me deep, until I release my legs and start swimming to the surface. I come up sputtering but smiling. "That was awesome!"
"My turn!" My twin brother sprints down the wooden dock and leaps off, going for distance opposed to making a big splash. He dives into the water at least two meters from the dock. Treading water, I do my best to clap for my brother. When he surfaces, his bangs are in his eyes. Grinning wildly, he flips his hair out of his eyes and swims over to me.
I turn my gaze back to the dock, where my best friend is waiting. "Okay go Ella!" I call encouragingly. Without second guessing herself, she goes for a running leap and cartwheels right off the dock into the water, landing gracefully feet first into the lake. "Woohoo!" I shout, waiting for her to surface.
She breaks the water and in a matter of seconds, is treading water next to us. "Never gets old," she says with a smile. "Man, I love summer."
"Me too," my brother chimes in. "Can't believe we're going back to school tomorrow."
"And you're not going to be with us!" Ella looks at me accusingly. I smile sheepishly. "Smarty pants," she says, reaching through the water to punch me lightly on the shoulder.
"Don't worry, I'll miss you guys too." I smile, although it's more strained than my brother and best friend think. Tomorrow is going to be a big change for me. While they're starting the new school year without me, they at least have each other. I start the new school year knowing absolutely no one at my new school.
My new school. It still sounds crazy to think that as of tomorrow, I can consider myself a student at Colonial Academy, the fancy private school in our small town of Concord, Massachusetts. While I know my parents could afford to send me there if I really wanted, I actually got a scholarship, which I'm pretty proud about. I remember the day we got the letter; almost four months ago exactly. Yikes, that day was tough. I was thrilled that I got in, along with a scholarship, but the thought of leaving my best friend almost made me want to turn the offer down. Luckily, as much as Ella pretends to guilt me for leaving her, she supports this amazing opportunity and can't wait for me to "put my brains to good use" as she says.
"Parker?" My brother looks at me. "You good sis?"
I snap out of my thoughts. "Oh yeah, I'm good." I smile, trying to prove it. "Wanna race to shore?" I ask, already heading off.
Behind me, I can hear my brother shout, "Hey no fair, you got a head start!" I push through the water, stroke after stroke. I feel someone pass me, the wake of their waves crashing over my head. When my toes finally hit the sand and rocks of the lakebed, I stand up and run the rest of the way onto dry land.
"Beat ya," Ella says, already wrapping her towel around her waist. "And you got a head start!"
I laugh and swat her with my own towel. "Not everyone has good athlete genes like you," I complain.
Ella raises one eyebrow at me. "Uh, you're one to talk, Your parents are great athletes. Your mom still runs every single day and your dad skates at least four times a week. He even went to the Olympics. That's gotta count for something."
"Haha, okay. Maybe you just got more of your dad's ability to be good at everything." I mirror her raised eyebrow and we lock eyes for a moment. Ella's the first to look away, but only to flick her gaze to my brother, who's just reaching the shoreline now.
"Slowpoke," she jokes, poking his ribcage as he reaches for a towel. "Really Riles, you should be able to keep up with us by now. We've only raced about a thousand times."
"Shut up Lella," he shoots back, messing up her already lake-crazy hair. My brother's real name is Riley, but Ella has special permission to call him Riles. It's only her though. I used to, but grew out of that ages ago. My parents call him Ry, but Riles is reserved especially for Ella. Just like Lella is just for Riley (and her family) to call her. I call her Ella mostly, or El. They're nicknames from our childhood, and we keep them to remind us of all the good times we've had. Technically the three of us are teenagers now; as of June 3 when Riley and I turned thirteen and July 28 when Ella joined us as teens. Still sounds crazy, even to my ears. We're going into grade eight this year, which is why I'm starting Colonial Academy (it starts in grade eight) and Riley and Ella are about to become "seniors" of Walden Middle. Walden Middle is the school our parents (minus my dad) went to back when they were our age. My dad didn't grow up in America because his roots are British. Although once he fell in love with my mom and after being in the Olympics, he moved here to Massachusetts, along with my mom.
Speaking of my mom, I can hear her calling us from the picnic table set up a few yards away. "Riley, Parker, Ella! Dinner!" She shouts. I almost have to cover my ears, although realistically by this point in my life I'm used to her booming voice. She definitely gets her message across when she needs us!
"Coming!" I yell back, gathering up my shorts and t-shirt that I discarded in the sand. Ella grabs her dress and Riley just throws on his t-shirt despite being still wet. Boys, I think to myself, rolling my eyes.
We run the couple hundred meters to where our parents have set up the barbeque. Smoke rises from the grill, as Uncle Darcy, Ella's dad, puts on more hotdogs. Darcy and his wife Jess aren't really my uncle and aunt, but we see them so much and love them like family, so "uncle" and "auntie" stuck. Although Ella's not like my cousin, if that makes any sense. We're best friends which is loads better. "Load up your plates guys," Auntie Jess says, handing us each a napkin and a paper plate. "Cassidy will be back in a second; she's just gone to round up Jase." Riley and I have a younger brother named Jase, who's almost six. Ella also has a younger brother named Carson but his personality is the opposite of my brother. While Jase is all boy, using sticks-as-swords, getting into trouble and breaking my parents' dishes, Carson prefers art. He likes to come to the lake to work on his drawings and hangout occasionally with us older kids. He's kinda like Riley, in a sense; a lot more fun to hangout with than most brothers. I know Ella and him get along really well, just like Riley and I.
"Thanks mom!" Ella gladly takes the offered supplies and spends only seconds putting butter on her hotdog bun, before being ready for a hotdog. Me, I take longer to add the ketchup, mustard and relish that I know Ella hates. My brother likes to bug her about having no taste buds, but realistically she eats as well as any of us. She just really does not like condiments.
Auntie Jess brushes the hair out of her daughter's eyes. "You kids have fun in the lake?" she asks with a smile.
"Of course!" Ella hands her plate to my dad. "Two for me please," she says.
I hand my plate over too, with Riley's right behind. "Same here."
My dad smiles and loads us up with two hotdogs each. "There you go," he says. He turns to Uncle Darcy and nudges him. "You better start more, I see Cass coming back and we know how many she'll eat."
"I heard that," my mom says, glaring playfully at my dad. "You know I exercise like crazy and I need all the calories I can get!"
"I know," my dad smiles and leans to kiss my mom, much to the horror of Riley, Jase and I.
"Ewww," my little brother says, closing his eyes really right. "Stop it!"
My mom breaks away and lightly cuffs Jase over the head. "You'll find it nice one day," she says. "For now, wipe your hands with a wet wipe and grab some grub."
Jase still looks grossed out, as he takes his offered plate and napkin. I head over with Ella to join Carson on the picnic blanket. It's a given rule that the adults sit at the table, and us kids sit on the ground. Our families have been coming here for years, since us older kids were probably three. We normally come a few times every summer; sometimes with our grandparents, sometimes with our real aunts and uncles and our cousins. We've even come with all of our parents' friends before, the ones they knew growing up. I don't like those get-togethers as much, because that means Riley, Ella and I can't do our own thing. We have to be polite and include all the other kids, even the ones who aren't so nice, such as Ella's cousin, Lizzie. Lizzie-who's real name is Elizabeth but no one ever calls her that-is a year younger than us but acts like she's three years older. She's really mean too, and is always bad mouthing Ella, and sometimes me. Which is ironic, because my mom said that Lizzie's mom, Emma, was the one who was bullied back when they were kids. How ironic indeed, that her daughter is now the bully.
Anyways, Lizzie is besides the point I'm trying to make. No matter how many times we come to Concord Lake during the summer, it's our families' tradition to come just the nine of us on the last night before school goes back. The night before everything changes and we suddenly become that much older. I love our "end of summer" lake trips, but they always make me sad. I never want summer to end.
"Carse, let's see the drawing you were working on earlier," Ella says, scooching up close to her brother.
"Okay," Carson replies, pulling out his sketchbook. "Here's one of the lake, with Mom, Dad, Auntie Cassidy and Uncle Tristan in the background."
I lean over Ella's shoulder to get a look too. For ten years old, Carson's really talented with drawing. "That's awesome," I say. Riley takes a quick peek and whistles appreciatively.
Ella side hugs her brother. "See, I knew you'd get the clouds right. Just gotta trust yourself," she says, before taking a bite out of her hot dog.
"Thanks." Carson smiles at our compliments. "Will you let me jump in the lake after dinner with you guys?"
Without hesitating, Ella nods. "Duh." I nod too. Jase always manages to occupy himself (and five year olds need more supervision anyways) but Carson sometimes feels left out, as he doesn't have a best friend here right now. He's best friends with my cousin, Eloise, who is my Auntie Megan's daughter. I also have a cousin who's my age, Gracelyn (Gracie for those who know her), but she's a grade younger. She has a late birthday so her parents held her back a year. She's in the same grade as Lizzie and hangs out with her sometimes, along with Lizzie's best friend, Hannah. Hannah is another family friend, but we don't really get together with her much. And realistically, I only see Gracelyn at school and on the holidays, when our families get together.
Over the rest of dinner, we tell stupid jokes and laugh. My mom manages to eat five hotdogs, which makes me sick to think about. Uncle Darcy matches her bite for bite, but has to give the last half of his fifth hot dog to Jess in the end. "I'm too full," he says, rubbing his non-existent large stomach. Alike to his family in the way that they are really skinny, despite playing sports and eating a lot. Riley managed to inherit those genes from my dad, while I got stuck with my mom's genes of muscle. I also have my mom's flaming red hair while my brothers have my dad's dirty-blond mop. I'd be jealous of them if Ella didn't compliment my hair colour every day. She's literally the best friend ever.
Once the barbeque has been turned off, and the food has been packed up, our parents let us go for one last swim. We drop our clothes by the picnic table and take off at a sprint for the dock. The next half hour consists of crazy flips and dives, with the rest of us cheering no matter what. Even Jase joins us, and we help him improve his dive, which at five-almost six-years old, is really just a belly flop. At one point, Riley accidentally knocks Ella into the water, which makes her climb out and deliberately shove him in. This starts a pushing war and then a splash fight, which are highlights of the day. All too soon my dad is calling for us, and we trudge sadly up the sandy beach to where our parents are waiting. They've already packed the car and hand us towels so that we don't soak the car as we climb in.
Carson waves goodbye, before climbing into the Hawthorne's truck. Jase just jumps into our van, which is typical. I say goodbye to Jess and Darcy, then wait while Ella fiercely hugs my twin brother. He messes up her hair and then stands to the side so I can say goodbye. Even if I know we're going to see each other tomorrow, it won't be at school for the first time in eight years. I start at Colonial Academy at eight-AM and Ella will be with my brother at Walden Middle.
"I'll miss you so much," Ella says, hugging me tightly. "Call me the minute you get home and you can come over, alright? Bring your bathing suit, because I think a mud fight in our pond is necessary."
"Okay," I smile, trying not to cry. It's just goodbye for the night, so why am I feeling so emotional? I tell myself to snap out of it as I pull away from my best friend and wave while climbing into the van. We pull away first, so I watch from the back window as their truck gets smaller and smaller.
It isn't until I'm home and lying in bed trying to sleep that I finally figure it out. Tomorrow is when my life changes. Like my mom, I've never been good with change. It's not just the summer ending and the school year beginning. It's my whole new life. It makes me sad to know that I won't be there with my brother and best friend, but like Ella has told me, I should be happy.
So even though I'm downright terrified for tomorrow, I close my eyes and wish for sleep. Because whatever happens, I'll only come out stronger, right?
I still don't know the answer as I drift off for good.
How did you like the first chapter?
I'm not sure how often I will be able to update, but I will try to have the next chapter out before the end of the month. We'll see how my schedule goes though, especially since I have 3 younger siblings all ages 2 and under (there's twins in case you wondered how that was possible). But I'll definitely try my best!
Also, here is a list of the characters/their families introduced in the first chapter:
Jess Delaney married Darcy Hawthorne and they have 2 children: Ella who just turned 13 (birthday is July 28) and Carson who is 10
Cassidy Sloane married Tristan Berkeley and they have 3 children: Riley and Parker are twins and are 13 (birthday is June 3), and Jase is five turning six near the end of the year.
Emma Hawthorne married (to be announced!) and they have 3 children: so far you only know about Elizabeth who is normally called "Lizzie" (and will be for the rest of the story unless she's in trouble) who's 12.
Megan married (to be announced!) and they have 4 children: so far you only know about Gracelyn (who is more commonly called Gracie; in this story she will be called either Gracelyn or Gracie) who is 13 but in the same grade as Lizzie and Eloise who is 10 (Carson's age).
Hope this clears up some questions you might have! I will add other characters to this list as we progress further and shorten the list to a more basic standard once you know the new characters better.
Please leave a review if you have time!