needed peace and quiet, at least over Labor Day weekend. She had teacher
prep days beginning on Tuesday where she taught in Portland and her
brand new first graders started school on Thursday. But the pressing
issue was the manuscript for her book, due to her editor next week.
Three chapters in the latest Holly Bright story were still not finished.
She worked better away from the noisy city.
Friday morning, she packed up her laptop, lounging clothes and comfort
food, loaded Misty, her little Yorkie, into a travel crate, and headed
out for the under-an-hour drive to Brookview, the family camp on Running
Brook near Sebago Lake in North Windham. Without Internet and e-mail
access to distract her, she'd be totally focused and could finish the
rest of the book.
grandfather had built Brookview, located in Campfire Circle, a
cul-de-sac at the end of a dirt road. Five other families had built
about the same time. Other camps had been added as children grew up and
land was divided.
chance her older brother's friend, Brad, would be at his camp next door
for the long weekend? She'd had a crush on him forever. He'd gone away
to college, then grad school--and come home with a degree and a
daughter. Taylor had never heard the whole story of what happened to
Faith's mother. Different versions floated around. She'd always been
curious, but never got up the courage to ask him.
This was not the weekend to wonder about him. She had work to do.
the time Taylor arrived at camp on Campfire Circle, the dark clouds
chasing her had turned into a steady downpour. She hadn't bothered to
get an update on the weather and now it was too late. Whatev... The only
thing she'd planned on doing outside was write on the deck. Not an
scampered inside, shook off rain in a mini-shower of drops, and curled
up in her favorite spot on the couch. The little dog watched Taylor's
every move as she put things away. Food in the ancient refrigerator and
on paper-lined shelves. Sleeping bag upstairs on the iron-framed bed
she'd slept on since a kid. She hauled in an armload of firewood, filled
a couple of jugs with emergency water and set a pail on the deck to
catch the rain. Just as her family always did when a storm was
rolled her computer desk in front of the bay window overlooking the
tree-lined brook. As soon as settled into the chair and opened her
laptop, Misty closed her eyes, content Taylor wouldn't leave.
* * *
Jennings agreed to spend the weekend at his camp, Time Out, on Campfire
Circle. When his four-year old daughter, Faith, pushed out her little
lower lip and looked at him with pleading puppy-dog eyes, he couldn't
say no to heading to camp. A hurricane brewing out in the Atlantic had
been downgraded to a tropical storm. So nothing more than lots of rain
and a bit of wind was all that would be left.
crossed the wooden-plank bridge over Running Brook and pulled into the
driveway. He spotted a car parked in the Winslow's drive. Taylor? Looked
like he wasn't the only fool to leave home on a stormy day.
he'd have adult company. Maybe they could get together later, do a
Maine-style tropical storm watch, playing a couple of Faith's board
games. Normally, he didn't mix his dates and his daughter, but she knew
Taylor, so it wasn't the same thing. At least in theory.
"It's raining pretty hard, sweetie." He unbuckled Faith's car seat. "We can still go back home."
"No, Papa. We can have a camp tea party with Huggy Bear and Barky Dog."
pulled up, Brad unloaded the car, needing three trips to haul in the
sacks of food and Faith's toys. After sliding off her backpack, she
immediately opened the huge plastic tote and pulled out her favorites,
covering the living room floor with pink princesses and stuffed animals.
These few moments of peace gave him a chance to respond to e-mails from
students. Some first year students were already confused after only a
couple of weeks of classes at USM. He also wanted to organize the notes
for his upcoming lectures.
been working for about an hour when the wind whistling around the
corner of the camp startled him. He looked out the window, and saw the
treetops swaying back and forth.
outside, Brad's concern about the weather increased. The temperature
felt more like high summer in the tropics than early September in Maine.
A gust of wind pushed against him. No choice but to hunker down and
ride out the storm.
* * *
Late morning, Taylor pushed back
her chair, needing a break from trying to write a scene that just
wasn't coming together. Still lots more to go. Glancing outside, the sky
was darker than it should be, looked more like early evening than
nearly noon. Stressed, Misty had jumped on and off Taylor's lap several
times. Now, she sat at Taylor's feet, looking up with worried eyes, and
she'd begun her tell-tale nervous panting.
Never a good sign.
She turned toward the window facing the creek. A sheet of rain swept across the yard obliterating the trees outside.