Tempest Rising: The Second Summer

Huge shout-out to every one of my reviewers. You guys inspire me more than you know.

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs. Aimee Friedman is in control of the rest.

I stared at the man standing in front of me, the one that was supposedly Leo's godfather. Everyone else just stared at me, waiting for my reaction. I took a shallow breath, a vain attempt to steady myself.

"It's…it's nice to see you again, Mr. Cloudstar." My voice shook as I tried to smile politely. Kill them with kindness, that's what my dad had always told me.

His eyes turned even steelier. I guess that wasn't the reaction he was hoping for. I was suddenly hyper-aware of the silence. The laughter had long since ceased, as had the music. Everyone was still- watching, waiting to see what would happen next.

But nothing ever happened. Mr. Cloudstar suddenly turned his attention to someone else, chatting away about an upcoming fishing trip, almost as if the last few minutes had never happened. Instantly, everything was back to normal. The children were playing again; the music had resumed. But the air felt heavier and colder.

I was faintly aware of Leo's parents, lightly taking hold of their son's shoulder and beginning to move back towards the house. Their faces were grim.

"I'll be right back." Leo called to me. "Don't go anywhere."

I looked after them, my face blank. What on earth was I supposed to do now? Turning back around, I frantically scanned the yard for somewhere to go, something to do. But the only things I could see where the faces of the townspeople gazing intently at me. And standing in the middle of it all was the mysterious Marissa. Her eyes danced joyfully, taunting me, asking me silent questions that I had no answers to.

I could feel the panic setting in. There was only one place I could go now. And without a word, I turned on my heel and ran.

I was in the home stretch. I'd ran the entire length of the island, my feet flying like I was the Greek god Hermes. Behind me was the embarrassment that I'd suffered back at the village, but here, only half a block away was the safety and solace of the Mariner.


I looked up and saw CeeCee, flying down her porch steps dragging a boy behind her.

"Miranda, meet Luke Cooper. Luke, this is Miranda. She's from New York."

"It's nice to finally meet you." Luke reached out to shake my hand. He was pretty good looking, with deep brown eyes and copper colored hair that gently grazed the top of his ears. "CeeCee's told me a lot about you."

I nodded. Exactly what had she said, I wanted to ask. CeeCee was a lot of things, but subtle was definitely not one of them.

"Luke is my cousin. He and his family live in Charleston, but I convinced him to come spend the summer down here with us. Wasn't that sweet of me?"

I eyed her suspiciously.

"She didn't have to ask me twice." Luke drawled happily, his lightness grating on my already thin nerves. "I haven't been back here since I was a kid. Still looks the same."

I nodded warily as Luke continued. But my pulse quickened when I spotted Marissa standing at the end of the street with a smug look on her face. "Look, I, uh, I gotta go." And with that, I took off again, only to be stopped half way down the block when someone nabbed my arm and whirled me around.

"You owe both Luke and I an apology."

"What? Why?"

"Oh please." CeeCee rolled her eyes. "Don't play dumb. You were terribly rude. Luke was so excited to meet you and you barely gave him the time of day!"

"Ok, fine. I'll apologize the next time I see him but I don't see why you're so upset about this."

"Miranda," she huffed impatiently "do I look like the type of person who would date my own cousin?"

"No." What was she getting at?

"Well then…" Oh no. Now I knew exactly what she meant.

"CeeCee, you didn't."

"Yes," she smiled triumphantly "I did. I brought Luke here for you! After what happened last year between you and TJ, I knew I had to make it up to you somehow. I think you'll find that Luke would make a great boyfriend. He's smart, kind, extremely southern. I actually can't believe I didn't think of it sooner. You're perfect for each other!"

"CeeCee, in what universe would your cousin and I ever...look, it was really nice of you to think of me, but I have to be honest with you. Do you remember last year, when we went to the marine center together? And there was that boy?"

"You mean the townie with the gorgeous eyes?"

"Yes. His name is Leo and last summer we sort of had a thing." I watched CeeCee's face light up with a shocked grin. "And we're still together."

"I knew it."

"Excuse me?"

"You thought I wasn't paying attention then, but I was. I saw the way he looked at you that day. Why do you think I left so fast? I was just giving you two some space."

"But then why would you bring Luke here for me now if you knew about Leo?"

"Miranda, I've never been one for staying with the same person for too long. I don't get attached. A new guy every summer, you know? But I guess you're different."


"I'm serious, Mir. I wish I had your kind of commitment skills. Oh hey, are you going to the Founder's Dinner tonight?"

"I'm not sure." I said honestly. This morning, I thought I'd had everything figured out, but now I felt as lost and confused as the sunburned tourists that wandered the harbor docks. I honestly wanted nothing more than to spend the evening in my grandfather's old library, my favorite spot in the house.

CeeCee turned to go. "I guess I'll see you later then."

I waved goodbye, making sure to catch Luke's eye and waved to him as well. I might as well be civil, even if CeeCee did have him convinced that I was his new girlfriend.

I stayed where I was for a moment longer, letting the day's events sink in. I was pleased to notice that Marissa had since disappeared from her perch at the corner, but her whole existence troubled me. Who was this girl? And what had I done to make her hate me so much?