Like Towns on the Highway
Chapter 2 – Myrtle Beach
They've been on the road for an hour.
Just an hour.
"Again!" Lydia exclaims, instructing her Aunt Brooke, sitting in the front passenger's seat, to start the CD all over again from the beginning. But this isn't any CD…
"Please no," Jamie begs desperately. "I swear if I have to listen to another Taylor Swift song I'm gonna kill myself," the fourteen-year-old stresses. His younger sister's obsession with the country-pop star annoys him until no end.
"But Lydie loves Taylor Swift," Nathan teases his son.
"And I love good music," the teenager quips back.
"Hey! She has some good songs," Haley cuts in.
"Mama, remember when me, you and Aunt Brooke went to her concert?" Lydia's eyes light up in excitement as she remembers when they went to see her on one of her tour stops a few months prior. They had pretty awesome seats, too.
"That was fun, Lydie Bee," Brooke comments.
"Where were we?"
"I took you and Jude on set with me for one of my movies, Davey. Remember?" Julian answers.
"Me and Davey got to use the cameras!" Jude recounts.
"And Jamie and I went up to Charlotte and saw a Bobcats game."
"So it was just a girls night out for us."
Lydia feigns a yawn, pretending to be bored by all the conversation going on between the adults and other kids, as she runs a hand through her long blonde hair. "Can you please start the CD over, Aunt Brooke?" she repeats.
"Just kill me," Jamie groans, turning the volume on his Ipod up extra high. The only thing worse than actually having to listen to Taylor Swift in the car is having to listen to his six-year-old sister belt out the wrong lyrics.
After stopping for breakfast along the road, they stop for gas at a rest stop. The twins and Lydia announce that they need to use the bathroom again (after all, it's only been twenty minutes since they've last stopped). Haley and Julian volunteer to take them inside while Nathan fills up the van, leaving only Jamie and Brooke left in the car.
"You know it's rude to ignore your godmother, Jame," Brooke smirks, knowing full well he doesn't hear a word she's saying because his headphones are blasting music and his full concentration is directed on his phone.
He senses her staring at him, and sure enough, as he looks up, he sees she has turned her body from the front seat to look at him.
Smiling sheepishly, he pulls the ear buds from his ears and places his phone down. "Huh…Oh…Sorry, Aunt Brooke."
"It's okay," she laughs. "I was a teenager once, you know…a pretty cool one," she adds jokingly. "Unlike your mom of course."
Jamie laughs and nods his head. "Good to know."
"So…what's this about you having a girlfriend. Let me guess…Madison?"
Jamie's face flushes at his aunt's accusation. Leave it to her to have no boundaries what so ever. "Aunt Brooke…" his eyes dart away from hers.
"What? You can tell me. I'm the cool one, remember?"
Jamie shifts uncomfortably in his seat. "Madison…she's…she's just a friend."
Brooke rolls her eyes playfully. "Whatever you say, James Lucas Scott. You just remember how well I know you, okay? And if you ever need to talk to me about your relationship issues, I'm always here."
He buries his face in his hands, embarrassed. Thankfully in the next few seconds, his little sister and cousins return and he knows his aunt won't blow up his spot like that. She'll pretend the conversation never happened.
Julian and Haley get the three little ones back into their seats and Julian gets back into the front passenger seat, shaking his head with a dumfound look plastered on his face.
"Oh, no. What happened?" Brooke asks the two.
"We left them alone for five seconds," Haley sighs.
"We went looking for a few snacks and drinks and whatever and then we notice the three of them are missing. Turns out they snuck back into the bathroom and thought the soap dispenser was a toy or something," Julian explains. Though he pretends to be angry, the ridiculousness of the story makes it hard to be. Wherever the three of them go, they always manage to find trouble somewhere.
Brooke giggles and shakes her head. "At least we know they're clean!"
"Squeaky clean!" Davis adds. "We used lots of soap, mommy."
"And you always tell us to use soap and water!"
"And at least they listen…"
A few minutes later, Nathan comes back from paying for the gas, a couple of brochures in hand.
"Alright, guys. So Myrtle Beach is only about thirty minutes away. What do you say we make that our first stop?"
Looking up with a smile, Lucas opens his arms wide for his daughter. While he can see so many similarities of Peyton in Sawyer, his eight-year-old somehow seemed to defy the odds of both her parents' personality traits and is, at several times, upbeat and happy. He supposes that's where her middle, Brooke, comes into play.
"Hey, baby girl. What have you been up to?"
She shrugs nonchalantly, waving her hand, "Nothin' much…But mama told me that Uncle Nate and Aunt Haley and Aunt Brooke and Uncle Julian are comin' to visit soon!" she says excitedly, all in one breath.
Laughing at how exaggerated and articulated her words are, he nods his head. "That's right. And all your cousins, too."
Suddenly her smile falters and she seems to be deep in thought.
"What is it, Sawyer?"
"Well I haven't seen any of them in a long time!" she informs her father. "Daddy…do you think they remember who I am?" her eyes go wide in horror.
Shaking his head, he smiles and wraps an arm around her small frame. "I'd count on it, cutie."
The plan from the beginning had been to drive more than two hours a day before stopping. And Myrtle Beach is simply two hours outside of Tree Hill. But they can already tell that the kids are getting restless and need something to do. So, just for today, they'll make an exception. Thankfully, the first beachfront hotel they find has vacancies.
"I wanna go to the beach!" Jude states once the two families have settled in their respective hotel rooms.
Upon his brother's announcement, Davis opens the door connecting to the Scott's adjoining room, happy to find their door already wide open.
"Lydieeee!" He yells out into the room next door. Within no time, the petite blonde dashes over to the open door, nearly knocking over her older brother in the process.
"Watch where you're going, Lydia," Jamie mumbles as he shakes his head and walks away from the doorframe. Why couldn't he have brought Chuck on this trip? Now he was stuck with the little kids.
"Me, you, and Jude should have a sleepover tonight," Lydia suggests over-enthusiastically.
Davis scrunches up his face in disgust as Jude walks up behind him.
"But you're a girl." Jude shakes his head, pointing out the obvious.
"So?" Lydia whines, rolling her eyes. "I have sleepovers with Jamie all the time when he babysits me. He even lets me paint his nails!"
"I don't know," Davis says, shuttering at the thought of his cousin painting his nails some girly color like his mom always has on. "But do you wanna go to the beach with us?"
"Hey, nobody is going anywhere just yet," Julian replies having just walked out of the bedroom in the suite.
"But we're bored, Uncle Julian!"
"Well you're not going into the water dressed in that," he points to her outfit. "How 'bout the three of you try changing into a bathing suit and then we'll talk."
"Yes!" they all cheer and Lydia turns back around into her room.
"Mommy! I need a bathing suit!"
"I've gotta say," Nathan begins to say as he, Haley, Brooke, and Julian sit on the sand, carefully watching the kids in the water. "Your sons don't always have the best idea…but I'm feeling pretty relaxed right now."
"Relaxed from what?" Haley turns to look at her husband, everyone purposely gazing over the joke he's attempted about the twins. "Julian's the one that's been driving all day!"
"Yeah! Thank you, Haley," Julian agrees.
"All day?" Brooke cuts in. "Baby, you drove for like two hours."
"And it was a stressful two hours!"
"Whatever you say," Brooke shakes her head, laughing.
The two couples remain in silence for the next few minutes, just watching the kids having a good time.
Jamie has volunteered to take the three younger kids into the water. He takes turns carrying each of them further into the ocean while the other two wait for him in the shallow part.
"He's so good with them, you guys." Brooke comments softly. She'll never be ungrateful for how amazing her godson is with her sons.
"He puts up a fight a lot of the times, but deep down, he loves them," Nathan says happily, knowing he has raised a good, kindhearted son. Jamie always comments on how he hates having to spend time with the little kids and how he's getting too old for that, but at the end of the day, they all know he'll do just about anything to keep them happy and entertained.
"Good to know…since the twins practically idolize him," Julian says truthfully.
"Well just be thankful the twins are still five," Haley tells Brooke and Julian. "It feels like a lifetime ago that Jamie was five…and now he's fourteen."
There's a mutual silence as Haley finishes up and the adults revert their eyes back on the reflecting waters. They realize they must relish this moment right now, where all the kids are young, happy, healthy, and safe.
The silence is all too short when they suddenly notice the kids race each other out of the water and towards them.
Brooke is the first to stand up, towels in her hand, ready to give them out for the kids to dry off.
"Done already?" she asks, handing each a towel.
"Actually, they want to go on the paddleboats," Jamie explains, pointing not too far up the beach where an area is set up designated for the activity.
"Can we mommy?" Davis pleads, dropping to his knees on the hot sand.
"You don't have to beg, silly," Brooke laughs, offering her hand to help the five-year-old to his feet. "Lets go check it out."
"Are you sure you don't want to do it, honey?" Haley bends down to be at eye level with her daughter. "It looks like a ton of fun. And Jamie, Davis, and Jude are going to miss you."
Lydia stands in contemplation, twisting and digging her toes into the sand.
"Come on, baby. It'll be fun," Nathan tries encouraging his daughter.
She timidly shakes her head, "I'm scared, daddy," she mumbles lowly.
"Aw, Lydia, it's okay. Come here," Nathan comforts her, scooping her up into his arms.
"So she's not coming?" Jamie yells back from his seat in the paddleboat.
"Nope, just the three of you."
"Boys, make sure you listen to Jamie!" Brooke shouts to them.
"And stay in your seats," Julian, knowing just how crazy his sons are, feels it is necessary to say.
After making sure the three boys' life jackets are secured, the instructor signals to Jamie that they're free to go. As Jamie begins to paddle out deeper into the water, he realizes just what he's gotten himself in to. Of course the twins wouldn't be able to paddle – they're only five. And from experience of being a short five-year-old, Jamie should have known they would not be able to even reach the peddles of the boat.
"Faster, Jamie!" Jude requested agitatedly, his feet just dangling and hovering over the pedals.
"I'm tryin', J, be patient!"
From the shore, Lydia requests that Nathan hold her up on his shoulders. "I see them!" she calls out excitedly, pointing to them in the boat in the distance. She waves to them and is excited to see Davis and Jude wave back with just as much enthusiasm.
All seems to be going just fine until the boys appear to get restless.
"Oh no…" Julian mumbles, a part of him just knowing this would happen.
"What…what are they doing?" Brooke squints her eyes, trying to see through the sun. Sure enough, she sees her two boys attempting to stand up on the boat. "Are you kidding me?" sighing, she waves her hands, trying to signal for them to sit down. The twins seem to think it's a joke and just laugh and wave back. "Sit down!" she groans frustratingly. Like her husband, she's not too surprised this has happened.
Lydia giggles from atop her daddy's shoulders; glad it isn't her getting into trouble this time. The adults just shake their heads. If this is any indication on how the rest of the trip is going to go…well, it's certainly going to be memorable.
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