That Summer.

Iris Goldmen didn't do what the town accused her of, but who will believe her so close to the court date?
When Dexter comes into her life with his excited friends and band, she can't help but begin to let them in after a summer of shutting people out.
With a little bit of help, she can, hopefully, clear her name and help rebuild what was broken in her small town.

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2. Chapter 2

Chapter two

 

It was two days before school when my older sister appeared in my doorway, a frown on her face and a hand on her hip. By the look on her face, she wasn’t happy with me. I should have found a better hiding spot, I knew she was going to come and find me at some point.

I slowly pulled my headphones out and stared at her.

“Why did mom tell me that you aren’t going to the end of the summer party?”

“Because I’m not going to the end of summer party,” I told her simply.

“Why?” she demanded.

Because everyone hates me, I thought as I stared at a poster on my wall, but to my sister I said, “I just don’t want to go. I don’t feel like it.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Afraid not,” I mumbled, looking back down at my book. I couldn’t concentrate on it with her looking at me like she was.

Sally stared at me; I could her level gaze, then walked into my room and sat down on the edge of my bed. She placed her hand near my ankle, trying to offer comfort. “Iris, what’s going on?”

Like you care, I thought bitterly but shook my head, and the thoughts away, but Sally took this as an answer, since she sighed and got back up.

“I’m going back to school soon,” she told me before leaving the room.

I didn’t call after her; I just put my headphones back in and focused on my book.

 

“Iris, can you walk Spot?”

“Do I have to?” I asked, but the look on my mom’s face told me I did have to. “Fine. Where is he?”

Without replying she opened the kitchen door and the brown and white Welsh Corgi came running in. I was pretty sure he was bringing half the garden in with him but I didn’t comment on it, I would leave my mom to work that out.

“Back soon,” I mumbled as I walked towards the hallway with the dog bouncing happily behind me.  

Once I had my shoes on and Spot had his lead on, I walked outside onto the porch and looked around the small neighborhood. Mr. Bead from across the street and two doors down was outside mowing his lawn while his wife was sat on the porch swing, their little baby girl in her arms. I smiled at the sight before shaking my head and walking down the porch steps.

Clouds rolled by, momentarily putting us in darkness before the sun shone through again. I was hoping the weather wouldn’t change drastically until I got back into the comfort of my own room.

The Corgi barked and charged forward, yanking on my arm. I pulled on the lead to slow him down and sighed. “Come on, let’s walk along the beach,”  I mumbled, lightly nudging him in the right direction since his nose was now pointing towards the Harrison’s front yard and the small barbeque that was set up. I did not want him to mess up another family barbeque; the first time it happened was bad enough.

As we walked through town I noticed a few glances and few whispers behind their hands, which made me look down with my cheeks starting to burn. It didn’t matter if I stared back or snapped, they didn’t care; they liked their gossip. I would just add fuel to the ever burning fire if I retaliated. I hated that I couldn’t defend myself against anyone.

When the first grain of sand entered my line of sight I sped up and quickly crossed the invisible line that separated the beach and town. It wouldn’t stop the gossip of the people behind me but it made me feel safer knowing I wasn’t on the same concrete ground as them.

Spot barked and started to sniff the small patch of grass before walking towards the path that led between the cliffs. I looked up at the sky, judging whether it was going to start raining and ruin the walk. I didn’t want to have to run back home, Spot would probably tangle the lead around my legs and trip me over – it has happened before, Sally had just laughed at me.

Before I had a chance to pull Spot back he had wiggled out of his collar and was running through the sand at full spend.

“Spot!” I groaned and jogged after him.

For a dog with little legs he was fast.

The further I got down the path the darker it became between the two cliffs. I was wary about going further but I knew if I didn’t get the dog back my sister would kill me, though I felt like I was going to kill her for getting this dog in the first place, she was leaving for college at the time, I never saw the point in her getting him.

It was her idea to get Spot last year for my mom’s birthday. My dad had hated it at first but now Spot was his faithful companion when watching the evening news. I was at first, but I soon stopped watching it with him.

As I reached the end of the path and stepped into the little secluded beach between the cliffs I looked around for Spot. He could easily burrow himself into the sand if he wanted to. He would probably do it on purpose so I would have to go home dog-less.

There was a loud cheer then I saw a boy back flip off the cliff and into the sea. A brief pause occurred as they waited for him to emerge, and when he did their cheering became louder.

For a moment I just watched them, even though I couldn’t see the people on the top of the cliff, and wondered what it felt like to experience that drop into the sea. When the next guy jumped I felt as if time slowed down. I saw him flip in the air and the excited look on his face before he broke the surface of the water.

A brief moment of wonder washed over me as I thought about what it must be like to be airborne like that, if only for a few seconds, but I shook those thoughts away and continued walking, my mind again on searching for the Corgi.

When I finally spotted the loudly barking dog, he was running circles around a boy sitting on the sand. As I drew closer I realised the boy looked a similar age to me, and he was watching the boys jumping off the cliffs as well.

“I’m so sorry,” I told him, quickly grabbing the wiggling dog and putting his collar back on. “He likes to escape and give me hassle sometimes.”

“It’s fine,” he said, and I looked at him. “Really. It’s fine. It was nice to have the company, though he didn’t sit still long enough for me to pet him.”

“He’s like that,” I said, holding Spot still. After a moment I looked away from the guy’s bright green eyes. “Why are you on your own?” I asked, sensing an awkward silence dawning.

He nodded his head towards the cliff. “They’re all jumping. I didn’t want to.”

Again my eyes were drawn to the airborne teenagers. Before they hit the water the two boys let go of each other’s hand and ‘whooped’. They emerged from the water and I could hear their laughter from here.

“The twins,” he said, drawing my attention back to him, “like doing everything together.”

I sat down next to him as I fixed Spot’s collar. “Oh.”

He looked at me a moment then the camera in his hands. I noticed it wasn’t a digital camera; it was one you had to develop the photos yourself. I smiled; I liked those cameras the most.

“Nice camera.”

“Thanks.” He lifted the camera and looked through the lens. “I prefer this to my digital one.”

“What are you taking a picture of?” I asked as curiosity got the better of me.

“Whatever catches my eyes,” he said as he turned the camera towards me.

Instantly I ducked my head and focused on stroking Spot’s back.

“What’s the dog’s name?” he asked, his voice muffled by the body of the camera.

“Spot.”

“Spot?” This time he lowered the camera and looked at me uncertainly.

“Yeah.” Clearly that wasn’t going to suffice as an answer. “When we first got him he ran out into the garden and got covered in mud, since my mom was starting to dig so she could plant some flowers. My little cousin called him Spot because only patches of him were covered, and when we called him anything else he ignored us, therefore, Spot stuck.”

Once I snapped my mouth shut, I blushed and looked down. That was the most I’d spoken to someone all summer. And it was about the dog of all things.

“That’s quite a story,” he said after a moment. “Spot.”

Spot’s head snapped up and he barked playfully, which the boy next to me took a picture of.

I looked at him and felt a smile tug at my lips.

“I’m Dexter, by the way. Though the guys call me Dex most of the time,” he said, holding his hand out.

I slipped my hand into his and smiled slightly. “Iris.”

“Because of your eyes?”

I chuckled. “Everyone says that, but yes, it is partly because of my eyes. My parents did just like the name before I was born.”

Dexter nodded and looked towards the sea, where I noticed his friends getting out.

“I better get going,” I told him as I stood up quickly.

When I looked down at him his camera was back in front of his face and I heard the shutter go off.

“See you around, Iris,” he said, wiggling his fingers in a wave.

As I walked back up the path with Spot bouncing at my side, my mind drifted towards Dexter’s camera and my photo that was waiting to be developed.

And I was, oddly, okay with that. 

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