The year was 2008. It has been 21 years ever since the incident in Santa Carla. Sam was missing. My twin brother, the one who I was always so close to, was missing. Grandpa died about 10 years ago. Mom still lived in Santa Carla. Edgar and I married in had two kids-a boy and a girl. The boy was the oldest. He was born in 1992. We named him Nathan. The girl was born in 1993. We named her Autumn. They were sixteen and fifteen years of age. But, back in 2006, Edgar and I divorced.
Right now, I was waiting for my cousin Zak's kids. I had my hair cut to my shoulders, and straightened. Those poofy years of mine had left long ago. I wore a tank-top and jeans. There was a knock on the door. Figured I outta be here when Chris and Nicole arrived.
"Coming." Said Jillian, my cousin-in-law. She opened the door. "Oh, my goodness, look at you." She said.
"Hi. Hey, Aunt Jillian." Chris said. My hands flew up to my mouth in shock. When I had last seen them, Chris and Nicole were about five or six.
"I wasn't expecting you for ages. You're so early!" Jillian said. That's why I have a cellphone and they contacted me, dumbass. I thought. I didn't like Jillian. Honest to God.
"We didn't know how long it would take."
"The last time I saw you, you were this high."
"I drank my milk."
"Come here. You drank your milk, you silly..." Jillian pulled Chris into a hug. I stood.
"Hey." I said. Chris pulled away from Jillian's hug, and ran towards me. He hugged me like a python would. Chris led me out to the front.
"And Nicole." Jillian said. "Come here, come here. Let me look at you." She hugged the young girl, who looked so much like Zak's wife, Amanda. "You're so beautiful. You—You look so much like your Mom. It's totally blowing my mind."
"Thanks." Nicole said, not meeting Jillian's eyes. She looked at me, and then gave me a quick hug.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that I didn't—" Jillian began tearing up. Oh, God, I thought.
"Oh, that's okay, Aunt Jillian." Chris said.
"Didn't know—" Jillian continued anyway.
"Aunt Jillian." Nicole said.
"Thank you." Chris said.
"Look at me." Jillian wiped her eyes. "Let's get you guys situated." She took some keys off of the hook on her wall, and led us to where Chris and Nicole were going to be staying. "So this is what we call in the business "a diamond in the rough". It's got great bones, but it could use a little sprucing up." She opened the door to the small house. "There we go. So there's the kitchen over there and some storage over there. Sleeping space here, living—Come this way. Half-bath through there, and it creates a very nice rustic-y charm, feng-shui-type flow that leads us straight out to—Come on."
The place looked horrible. It looked like a rundown piece of shit with stuff all over the place.
"—This out to here." Jillian continued. She opened the back door. "There we go. Ta-da!" she said. "Beautiful. Just watch that step there. So lots of fresh air—" there was some weird kid banging something on a piece of metal.
"What the fuck..?" I muttered. Chris, Nicole, and I looked at each other.
"Scat. Scat." Jillian told the boy, who didn't move. There was an old guy on a beat up couch. "Just ignore the old guy. I was thinking 650 a month, how does that sound?"
For this piece of shit? You have got to be kidding me.
"Six-fifty?" Chris asked.
"I know, I know. I could be getting at least 800, but what am I gonna do? Charge you guys full price? You're family."
"If they're family, then you should let them stay free." I said. "Makes sense to me."
"Casey," Jillian said. "We have to make money in the business. It's the lowest I can go."
"Well, it sounds good." Chris said. Jillian walked up to him.
"It is so great having you both here." She said, giving Chris a hug. She gave Nicole one next. "Here's the keys. Remember, Jillian with a J." Jillian said, and then left. Nicole glared at her brother, and then took her money back. I guess they made a bet. We walked into the shabby home.
"I thought she was gonna let us stay here for free." Nicole said.
"Well, yeah. So did I." said Chris. Nicole looked at the microwave, and messed with it.
"Does this even work?"
"Yeah, I'm sure it's fine. Plug it in, dust it off."
"It doesn't work."
"It's just like the rest of the house. A piece of shit." I said. Chris picked something up.
"Hey, guys." He said. "Check this out." It was a pair of deer antlers. We started laughing.
"Oh, my God." Nicole said. Chris put the antlers up to his head, and acted like a deer. "We're gonna put this up right now. These have got to go up." Nicole took them, and placed them on the all.
"It's a safety hazard. Right there on that nail, right there."
"Oh, oh, wait. There?" Nicole put them up, and looked at them. "Now this place has everything." She said. She looked around. "Chris, where are we gonna sleep?"
"No, no, no. There's a bedroom back there, and we have that futon." Chris said. "Maybe we can pick up another futon, used, or something, for right over there."
"Ew." I said.
"A futon? A used futon?" Nicole asked.
"Great. Yeah. You know, I bet this is just like college, only not cool."
"You know what? Maybe, uh, we'll get out of here for a little bit, okay? We can unpack later. Let's go."
"I'll catch up with you guys; I gotta go get Nathan and Autumn." I said.
I stopped the car outside of a surfboard store. Nicole was leaning against the wall. The first one out of the two kids to get out of the car was Nathan. He looked exactly like Edgar, except that he had my eyes. Autumn looked like me, except she had Edgar's eyes.
"Hey, you wouldn't happen to have the time?" some boy asked Nicole as we walked into the shop.
"Um... Uh... You're actually wearing a watch, so..." I heard Nicole say, before I blocked them out. Some boy walked up to Chris, who was looking at some boards.
"You're Chris Emerson, right?" the boy asked.
"Yeah. Yeah, what's your name, man?" Chris asked.
"Alex." The boy said, and they shook hands. "Dude, it's too back you got kicked off the circuit." We all knew about that. Zak and Amanda got in a car crash, killing them instantly. After that, Chris broke down. "You wer the most amazing surfer since Slater, since Powers, man. You, like, totally screwed that guy up."
"Thanks dude, I appreciate that." Chris said.
"Wanna check something real? Check out the Frog Brothers' shop."
"Actually, I'm looking for some work."
"I got the place pretty much handled."
"Uh, yeah, I know, I can tell. You seem really busy, but, uh, I was looking to shape."
"Well, in that case, yeah, check out Frog Brothers, man. He's the only real shaper we have around here."
"Where's his shop at?"
"Man, it's in the ass-end of nowhere, but I'll draw you a map." Alex said.
"We just came from Dad's. Now we gotta go again." Nathan groaned.
"Oh, please. You won't be there that long." I told him.