“Dr. Child said he threw my rocks in the pond,” I said.
Sam looked at me blankly. “Why would he go to all the trouble of stealing a bag of rocks from you, just to throw them into the pond?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “But what if he did? They just look like common, everyday rocks. How will I be able to tell them apart from all the other rocks?”
Both Sam and Sebastian gave me an odd look when I said that. Finally, Sam said, “They are just common, everyday rocks, Ana. Aren’t they?”
I didn’t quite know what to say to that. Of course they are just normal rocks. But they were my rocks. Dr. Child had no right to take them from me. I realized I was blinking back tears as I said, “Yeah. But if Dr. Child had something of yours from before you came here, even if it was just something other people thought was stupid, wouldn’t you want it back?” Sam nodded, and then elbowed Sebastian in the ribs. Sebastian said, “We’ll go to the pond and help you look for them after breakfast.”
Then Juliette walked in. Sam noticed her first, and gaped. I turned to see what he was looking at, and stared too. Juliette looked beautiful. I can’t put my finger on what was different about her. I know she’s been running lately, and I’ll tell you, I think I might join her from now on. But it wasn’t just that. Finally I figured out what it was — for the first time since I’ve met her, she looked completely well-rested. She almost sparkled. It made me wish I’d gotten up earlier to at least take a shower.
Sam, who usually can’t shut up, didn’t seem to know what to say, and Sebastian seemed lost in his own gloom, so finally I said, “You look great, Juliette. Kind of Blue has been good to you.”
She smiled — an honest to goodness smile, and said, “That trumpet, Ana — you’re going to love it. We’ll get speakers and blast it all night long and you’ll sleep like a baby. Nightmares can’t stand trumpets.”
Oh no. Neither can I. I had a sudden flashback to the night I kept my family up all night listening to Beyond Breathing. I didn’t sleep a wink that night, and somehow I don’t think Miles Davis is going to be magically different.
I plastered a smile on my face, and we all drifted into a melancholy silence. After breakfast, we headed to the pond to look for my rocks. We walked along the bank of the lake for a few minutes, and I didn’t see any little piles of rocks that might have been mine. All the rocks were granite, and there weren’t many of them. It was mostly just mud.
“You know he was probably lying,” Sam said, after a few minutes. He and Sebastian had taken off their shoes, and were about to wade in, which was a foolhardy thing to do. The water was freezing, and the air wasn’t much warmer. Still, I didn’t tell them to stop. I should have, but I didn’t.
“I know,” I said with a sigh. I took off my own shoes and was about to take the first step into the water, when I saw James emerging out of the woods. The trees were bare, and he kicked up leaves as he strolled toward us.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Being crazy,” I said. There’s no way I could explain why those rocks meant so much to me.
He didn’t press the matter. Instead he stood next to me and looked out at the water. Sam, Seb, and Juliette seemed determined for me to take the first step into the water, and they sat down to wait for me. Sebastian looked thunderous.
“This is a beautiful pond in the summertime,” James said. “A little buggy, of course, but beautiful. There are even ducks. And frogs on the lily pads…” his voice trailed off, and he turned to look at me.
I couldn’t have said why, but at that moment, it felt like we were completely alone. “I love lily pads,” I said, and my voice faltered. “The flowers…”
“…smell like lemon,” he said, his eyes searching my face. For some reason, I shivered as we both nodded.
With a whoop, Sebastian catapulted into the pond, and came up dripping wet and muddy. It was so unlike his usual serious nature that I couldn’t help myself. I started to laugh, and the moment was broken.
“It’s freezing!” Sebastian shouted, and then Sam and Juliette were in the water too. What else could I do? I took a step toward them, and when I turned to look at James, he was disappearing back into the woods.
“I’m warming it up,” Sam called, as I dipped my toe in the water, and, in a circle around him, steam rose off the surface of the lake.
Juliette knocked him on the back of his head. “You’re going to kill the fish,” she snapped. By this point, I was up to my knees, and my whole body was already shaking with the cold.
“There are fish in here?” Sam shrieked, as though he and James hadn’t been swimming in that very pond a dozen times. He spun in a circle. “Something just brushed past my leg,” he said. “I’m getting out.
“No, you’re not,” Juliette said, and pulled him until he fell with a splash, and then she jumped on him, and pushed his head under the water. He came up spluttering and laughing, and pretty soon Juliette had gone under the water too.
We never did find my rocks.
Be sure to check out the other stops on this tour:
Books Over Reality
Forget About TV, Grab A Book!
Suzy Turner, YA Author
Here Is Some Of What I Read
A Book Addict’s Bookshelves
Worlds of Words
Penny For Them
Our Wolves Den
Wicca 4 Witch Book Blog
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews
Bound 4 Escape
The One with the Fairy Tales
Works of Fiction
Once Upon a YA Book
Howling Books and Design
Books and Their Wordly Realms
In Libris Veritas
The Girl Bookaholic
The Passionate Bookworms
Hooked in a Book
Dalene’s Book Reviews
Deal Sharing Aunt
Perks of Being A Book Nerd
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