Disclaimer: I do not own the harvest moon characters!
A Clean Slate
I'm eleven again. Before this hot summer day on the first of August, everything in my life was perfect...except my relationship with my mother. Well, as far as eleven year olds life can be perfect. You know, I got everything I ever wanted even a month of summer camp, which I had just returned from yesterday. I was never even lonely. I had my brother for a best friend, and to tell the truth, I never regretted for one single minute that I had a brother. My twin brother Cliff and I are playing in the mud behind our 1600's themed mansion. I always loved this house, except it was pink. Pink's a nice color, but for a house? Everything in it, is pink. The shudders, doorknobs, fireplace, trees on the side of the driveway, you name it. Everything is pink. Only father's den and Cliff's room are of multi colors. I heard a loud crash from inside.
"What was that?" I exclaimed.
"How should I know?" Brothers. They have to take every chance they get to tear you down.
"Let's go check it out! It could be like, an adventure!" At this age, I was always craving adventure, or even pretending an adventure. I stand up, brushing all the dirt and mud off my ankle-length skirts. I would prefer an old pair of ripped up jeans, but Mother needs her little girly girl princess for a daughter. Father and Cliff are excepting of my tom boyishness, but Mother won't except that I am who I am. My Mother and I never really got along well.
"Chelsea, wait!" Cliff said, grabbing my hand, pulling me to the dirt, face first.
"You jerk! What'd you do that for" I said, once again standing to regain my balance.
"You don't know what's going on in there!"
"Oh, and you do?" I hated it when he pretended to know everything. He barley knows anything, and I can prove it by just one glance at or report cards. The last time we got our school marks, my report card was hung on the wall with pride in my family's den, and Cliff wasn't aloud to play for the first three weeks of summer vacation. All he could do was read mother-approved books, and chores. Chores were pretty hard to find in this house, on account of all the maids and chefs and nannies.
"Well, I have a pretty good idea..."
"What are you talking about?" He looked down at the little mud castle he had made. He was quiet. Something I had never seen him be. He had a very serious but sad expression on his face. I kneeled down beside him. I saw a single tear run down his left cheek. The last time I ever saw him cry was when we were six. We were playing in the woods by a creek. We were running, and I accidently pushed him in. He landed on his arm weird and turns out it was broken in two different places. We weren't aloud to play in the woods anymore after that.
"Hey, what's wrong?" I was petting the back of his head as though it would offer some sort of comfort.
"While you were away... Mother and Father started fighting something fierce...worse then these past couple of months" My mouth dropped. Not believing my ears, I watched the wind blow the leaves on the pink trees. These past couple of months... Every week there was a new argument. Whether it was one of them wasting money, or what to do about Cliff's grades, or even what to have for supper that night. But the way Cliff is acting... I think that this fighting is worse then what I've seen.
"I'm gonna go check it out," I said standing up leaving my brother in the dirt alone with his thoughts. I walked to the back door which lead to the kitchen, but when I turned the corner, I saw my father with fierce vicious eye toward my mother. She had plates in her hand. My mom was always one to loose her temper easily, but I never saw her physically hurt someone. Sure, her words could kill, but she was still a kind lady when she wanted to be. Which was rare.
"You put that down Vivian!" My father cried, obviously not seeing me. I knew my father would stop fighting if they saw me...right? I'm his little baby girl! Even though I was a tom-boy, my father and I always had that special bond. We could talk about anything and everything. We played sports and games with my brother, while Mother was out for lunch with her glamorous friends. She always asked me to join her, but I declined as I always thought that playing baseball, or swimming was more fun then faking smiles and gossiping to other woman, as you secretly decide in your head, who's the prettiest, or who has the best figure. Whenever I come home covered in mud and ripped up clothes, my mother always does the same thing. Sigh and say,
"You could have been the most beautiful thing," This I never got at all. I don't think of myself as beautiful. When I look in the mirror, I see a scrawny dull brunette. Even though I don't think of myself as stunningly gorgeous, I still think I have pretty eyes. Yes sir, my eyes that seem to have every known shade of blue are defiantly my best feature. I go back to reality, which involves two angry parents.
"Never in my days have I been called worse. More so, then by my own husband!"
"I'm only speaking for anyone who has set foot on this house!"
"I am the greatest Mother in the world! I buy those kids everything they want!"
"You see? 'Those kids'! I can't stand this anymore! It doesn't work any-" My father finally saw me standing in the door way. His last sentence made me shed tears down my face.
"Cheli..." My favorite childhood nickname.
"Your leaving?" I say, as I feel my voice shake. He let out a sigh. It was harsh and cold...the exact opposite of the father I always knew.
"Cheli..." He was a loss for words. I glanced at my mother who seemed to be enjoying seeing my father's hurt. She disgusted me. Everything about her. Her red hair, her snobby little smile, her cold green eyes, everything. I ran out of the room.
"Cheli, wait!" I heard my father yelled after me. I ran for the woods behind our house.
"What happened?" I heard my brother call after me as I run past him. I heard the screen door close behind me with a slam. I don't care. I kept running. I could out run anybody from school. I ran until I was by the old tire swing Cliff and I put up a couple years back. Father helped of corse. I sit on the swing and let the tears fall. I wasn't flat out sobbing. The feeling hasn't sunk in deep enough. I was still in shock. I pulled out the disgusting ribbons in my braids mother made me wear that showed plain old hair ties. I liked plain old hair ties. Did Mother care? Nope. She never did. Not once I think. I redo the knot in my bandana.
"Hey, we gotta talk" I heard the soft, gentle voice of my father from behind me say.
"You leaving. What else is there to talk about?" I said.
"Now I never said that. But I might as well tell you now. Yes, I am leaving," I squeezed my eyes shut. I couldn't cry. Not here, not now. Maybe there was hope...
"Can Cliff and I come with you? Please?" Oh goddess, please let him say yes. I don't care if we live on the cold winter streets of Mineral Town as long as I have my Father and Cliff.
"I want you too. I really do. But your mother says I can't,"
"Well, you see, mothers have special advantages when parents split up. She wants to keep you, she has a nice job, a nice house, this all helps her take care of you. I'm not gonna have a house, or time to watch over you and Cliff for a while, so I think its best that you stay with your mother for a while. But I promise you this: I will write as often as I can to you and Cliff."
I started crying again, although I listen to every word. The pain is finally settling in.
"And I'll write back. I will make sure Cliff writes too" He smile and kisses me on the forehead. I closed my eyes.
After that, everything was a blur. My mother became more cruel threatening to slap me and Cliff if we even looked at her funny. Our house was quiet. Quiet and sad. The only time I could find happiness was at school or at friends houses. Cliff and I signed up for every after-school club we could to avoid staying home. My father did write though. We got a letter every week for a couple of months. But then it was every two weeks for three months, then a year went by and it was only a letter per month. I'm sixteen now, and it's been five years when my father first told me he was leaving. We only get a letter per year now, which arrived a couple days ago. I keep re-reading it over and over on this Thursday night. It says he's well, he has an exciting job traveling all over the world, and that he hopes that were okay. He travels so much we can't keep up with his address so writing to him is impossible.
"Hey Cheli, what are you doing on the floor?" Cliff said as he walked into my room. I got up.
"Reading dad's letter," I smiled and gave it to him. He smiled as he held the letter in his hand. You hear a lot how the teenage brother resents the dad for walking out on the family, but not Cliff. The three of us couldn't be mad at each other for long.
"I have an announcement," He said looking up at me with stars in his eyes.
"Do tell!" I said as he and I sat on the floor together. I have a couch in my room, but it was rarely used, except when the maids needed a nap, I let them sleep in here for a while. They work so hard, and for such a crappy salary. Especially when mother throws her parties. Ugh. Parties. Its not that I don't like socializing, its just I hate the people my mother tries to get me to talk to. The boys she tries to get me to fall for. They're all stuck up and full of themselves.
"You know that girl I've been dating for a while? Ann?"
"How could I forget her? You don't shut up about her!" I lightly punch his arm. He smiles to himself and looks down at the floor. We met Ann when we were all fourteen. She was new to Mineral Town High School, and was in drama club with my brother and I. They claim it was love at first sight, but in reality they didn't see each other in a romantic way until opening night.
"Well, today I took her on a date to the park, and we were lying on a blanket and I looked at her. I really looked at her, and finally, after all this time I have finally relised what I've always wanted. She looked over and saw me watching her. That was when I asked, 'Will you marry me?'"
My mouth dropped.
"You my friend, are an idiot" I told him, looking him square in the eye to show him my seriousness.
"Maybe so, but this time Saturday, Anna and I are gonna get on a train to Stone Valley, find a small chapel, and get married. Its perfect right?
I for one never believed in marrying young. We just turned sixteen last summer.
"If thats what you wanna do, go ahead. You know how I feel" I say, trying to keep my voice calm.
"I do, but thats not gonna stop me. I have this strange feeling inside me that's telling me that she is the one. Its kind of like, butterflies in your stomach when you get nervous, but this feeling is everywhere. Its in my head, toes, fingers, you name it, and it never goes away. I'm in love Chelsea. I'm gonna be in love for the rest of my life because within a matter of days, Ann will never have to leave my side again"
"I'm happy for you," I say smiling, lightly punching his arm.
"Thank you" He stood up and headed for the door.
"Wait!" I call after him. He quickly turned "Does this mean goodbye?" We have no school tomorrow, on account of spring break, and Stone Valley is a two day train ride. Plus I doubt Cliff and Anna are gonna come back here when their married. They would just be asking for trouble.
"Yeah. But don't miss me too much. I'll get in touch with you as soon as we get situated in Stone Valley" That could take a while, I wanted to say. But he was so happy, I didn't want to ruin it for him. He walked out of my room. I sighed heavily. I tried my hardest not to cry. I really did. A few tears somehow managed to slipped down my face. I wasn't crying because I had something against Ann. She's really nice and we got along fine. I was crying because I was gonna be all alone to deal with my mother. I always had my brother whenever I needed him, but now...he's gone. First my dad, and now Cliff.
I jumped up and pulled out my ruffle bag from under my bed. I put all my clothes in the ruffle bag, and not my mothers. Soon, all that stood in my closet were dinner clothes, high heels, night gowns, and dresses and my school uniform. In my bag however, was every tee-shirt I owned, shorts, socks and an extra pair of sneakers I have. I went to my balcony, and climbed down the rose bush. So long life with glamor and privilege! I have a real life to live!
I slept over at Popuri's house. She's a good friend, and she, like everyone else in school, knows of the kind of relationship my mother and I have. Our family has always been the talk of the town; since we own so many businesses.
I woke up early and headed down to the restaurant which was downtown by the docks. The waiter sat me down at one of the outside tables. Goddess, it was hot out. Along with my meal, the tall waiter gave me a newspaper. As soon as I opened the paper, a brochure landed on my pancakes and ended up drenched in maple syrup. Ugh. What's it for anyway? Something about a rancher needed on an island. What's a rancher? Something to do with a farm or something, I guess.
Hey, wait a minute! An island? Far away? This is my chance! I left a hundred and fifty gold on the table and ran to the ferry on the beach, with my rugsack in one hand and the brochure in the other. As I run up the board to the ship, I stop to ask a man with a clipboard a question.
"Is this ship to the Island of Happiness?"
"Yes yes, we stop there!" He said in a thick, unidentifiable accent. I breathe in deep, and I look up at the tall ship. I step forward.
This is the beginning of my brand new life.
I wake up on a beach. I feel...warm all over...except in my mouth...what is that? I squished it around and when I came to relised that it was sand. I quickly spit it out and start fake gagging.
"She's awake!" I heard an elderly man's voice exclaim.
"Oh, thank goddess" A woman called after. I looked up. To my surprise I saw an elderly man, a middle aged woman, and two kids my age with bright pink hair.
"Are you alright? Can you remember everything? Your ship crashed and we found you here earlier today and thought it was best to let you wake up yourself" The woman said. Lets see... My name is Chelsea...Birthday is Summer 6...I have a brother named Cliff and I'm on this island to escape my evil Mother... yep everything is in its place.
"Yeah don't worry I'm fine. I'm Chelsea by the way" I got up smiling and put out my hand first to the elderly man.
"I'm Taro," He said staring me down.
"I'm Felicia. Welcome to the island. These are my children, Natalie and Elliot," She says, making a polite hand gesture to the teenagers around my age behind her.
"Hi," Elliot said with a shy smile creeping across his face in a friendly way. I smile back at him.
"Sup?" Natalie said. I did that nod thing that my friends and I would do in school when we saw each other in the mornings. Guess those days are over.
"So, what is this place?" I finally have to ask. A bird screeches in the backround.
"This is the Island of Happiness" Taro said
"Hey, I ended up in the right place! I found a brochure and I wanted to be the new rancher if the jo-"
"WE FOUND A RANCHER! I'll show you your new ranch! Daughter, you and Elliot and Natalie search for more survivors!" Taro said grinning like a kid in a candy store. He lead me up a path from the beach that lead through a tiny walk-way with old buildings.
"This one will be my family's house," He said, pointing to a shack with rotted wood.
"Its a fixer-upper" I said smiling
"Nothing I can't fix!" He says.
We finally arrived at a large field of land, that had a couple buildings scattered around. Taro told me he was a real rancher back in the day. By ten p.m. I finally got to call it a day and get some sleep.
Running this ranch is gonna be a challenge, but I think I'm gonna be able to do it. I have to. Only other choice is to go crawling back to my Mother. I loved my small comfortable house. Much "homier" then my Mother's mansion. I pulled up the covers on my bed and dreamed of a successful ranch. Oh yeah.
I'm gonna like it here.