Continuing from Saturday we find our five adventurers. They are as crazy as always and they have spent the night at the beach. They have spent it indeed though not the way they intended too! Their fears have been roused more than once. And though Jordan is the first to laugh at the silly things they imagine, she no longer finds things so funny. After all she, Kate, and Rhyan are facing someone very real, very scary, and very monster-like! And he is wondering what they are doing on his beach . . .
I didn’t even see the figure, but I knew it was the monster! It had to be! It was the ghost wrecker and he was mad that we were on his beach!
Terror gripped my heart and my breathing slowed. I dared not look up into his face for fear of what the gruesome creature might look like. Instead I joined Kate and screamed!!
We wailed with all our might, turned, and ran! Down the beach we sped scattering crabs and blankets as we went. Kate hollered something like,
“Ishethemonster!!!!” I didn’t hear a word of it but I assumed she was telling me something encouraging like, ‘just keep going!”
“Yah!” I yelled vigorously!
Kate squealed and sped away faster with me right behind! Pearl and Scott were already ahead! All at once I heard one, lone yell!
It was Rhyan! Got by the monster I could just picture her! She was being drug away as a slave forever! For the second time that night I turned to save my sister, only that time I brayed,
“I’m coming Rhyan!! Kate, I need back up!”
In a flash, or so it seemed because I was suddenly facing lantern light, Kate, Scott, and Pearl were beside me. We charged for Rhyan and I bellowed,
“Yah!” Kate screeched back enthusiastically and then I gave up communicating! Instead I focused on Rhyan’s rescue.
We fled toward the lantern light ready to attack. Pearl was throwing rocks, crabs, and anything she could hold. Kate was preforming as a bull fighter with her blanket and Scott was somewhere in a cloud of dust! We reached the light and in the second before I attacked I noticed something. Something that caused me to stop and freeze. Behind the first figure, who still had Rhyan by the arm, were many more figures.
My mouth went dry. Either there were more ghosts than I thought or. . .
“It’s not a beast.” That was all I heard and apparently the words were coming from my mouth!
The figure held the light up and we all looked into the eyes of a totally average human, not a ghost. No horse in sight. All the figures were people and nothing was wrong except they had captured our sister.
“Let her go.” I was surprised to hear myself talking again, and I grew bolder with each word. But the stranger was unafraid,
“So you’re the scaly wags out on the beach!” He eyed us. “I think you had better all just head home. Don’t you agree?”
“Scaly wags on the beach?!” The bull fighter looked at the crab thrower. And the invisible gremlin, my brother, looked at me. Despite my sandy hair and destroyed pj’s, I eyed the stranger,
“Scaly wags? We were just spending the night. We didn’t bother any, well not too many people! Please, let her go.”
“Didn’t bother anyone!?” Someone from behind the first man shouted, “Well, who are we?”
“Annoying people messing up our night on the beach.” Scott pronounced,
“Yah.” I agreed, “He’s right! We were just doing our own quiet little thing! You interrupted us! We were just fine.” But the look in the tall stranger’s eyes made me wonder, as I said it, that maybe we weren’t just fine after all.
We were not fine.
Apparently we were in trouble.
BIG TROUBLE with, like, the whole place.
The story went like this. Every tourist on Ocean Street was awakened by Pearl’s squeals when the seaweed got her. And while we fled to the end of the beach, actually quite a long ways off, they searched for us, called the coast guard, and feared someone had died!
As the gruff man, whom we soon learned was the head of the coast guard, told us this our fears began to change. It wasn’t a legend ghost we needed fear, it was the real people and the fact that James was planing on starting work, for the coast guard, in two days.
As I realized we’d just aggravated James new boss before James himself ever even met him, I began to want to wilt! But the worst was not over. James and Ana knew. In fact they too had been searching frantically for us, as soon as they’d been waken by all the neighbors. The neighbors had been wakened by their neighbors, who’d been waken by their neighbors, who had been waken by us.
It was not a joyous thing to stare down a hundred people who’d been roused at two in the morning and searched, for two terrible hours, for five kids they thought to be in grave peril.
No, as I eyed them all, the ladies with frizzed or wet hair, the men in boots and shorts, and all the coast guards I felt anything but adventure, and most assuredly not joy. But, the worst wasn’t over.
They escorted us home and the coast guard told us to stay there, at least at night. Everyone else plodded home to talk, laugh, and complain about the adventure. And James and Ana sent us to bed with hardly a word except, “We’ll talk later. Go get some sleep.”
I crawled into bed, sandy and wet as I was. I knew, without a doubt, that they would send us away. How could they ever, ever keep such crazy children. And that was the worst thought of all.
Pearl came trailing up the steps and clumped into my room, “I want to sleep with you.” She said, “I can’t bear to sleep in the kid’s room since I know we’ll leave!”
“It’s ok, Pearl.” I told her, “At least we’ll always remember it as and adventurous place!”
“Yah, but I’d have rather stayed.”
I didn’t say anything but, in away, I wondered if she was right.
No. I told myself, Why live one place all your life if you can’t have adventures? Instead have adventures all through the world, even if they make you leave. But somehow that logic just didn’t seem to be right. Instead, well, it seemed rather fake and rather uncaring, not to mention sad. But after all it was the only logic I knew.
James and Ana collapsed tiredly on the couch, neither spoke. James glanced at the clock. Five thirty.
“Oh.” Ana let out a sigh.
“Wheee.” James ran a hand through his hair. They both felt rather frazzled. They had just spent two hours thinking their adopted kids were drowning or dead only to find them, wild as ponies and totally fine!
Ana turned to James, her eyes were big, her hair was frizzy, and her face rather tear stained, “That was well lived.”
James laughed, a rather weak, haggard laugh, “Yes, I felt very alive the last few hours.” He turned to Ana, “I now fully agree with you about the kids!”
“What we were talking about last night when I said, jokingly, ‘should we keep them?’ ”
“Oh, yah.” Ana nodded.
“I see what you mean. This is serious.”
“Well, that’s what I thought. Just like when we got married. We vowed to not even joke about divorce because it’s not an option. And it’s not funny. I just felt the same way about this circumstance.”
“I agree. We would never really think about getting rid of biological kids. Adopted kids are exactly the same even when we’re still in the process of adopting.”
Ana smiled, “That’s what I thought. And it just seems that it would be better to not even joke that might not keep them.”
James nodded, “And after tonight, I see why you think that.”
Suddenly Ana started laughing, “Did you see Jordan’s face though!? She thought the end of the world had come when Dad asked them what they were doing out there!”
“Oh, but did you see his face!” James grinned, “He was reliving the high school play where he was the Grinch of Christmas!”
Ana laughed, “Wait till we tell them we invited him over tomorrow!”
“Aye!” James groaned, “If he wasn’t my Dad I’d be so dead!”
“You may be anyway!” Ana grinned.
“Oh.” James rubbed his forehead, “I think we’d better go over the rules with our kids.”
“Our kids.” Ana smiled, “I didn’t expect to adopt a bunch of monkeys, but, well, they’ll be fun.”
“You mean they are fun!” James snorted, “They already remind me of someone else! I just can’t think who.”
“Hmm.” Ana grinned, “Not me, my family was perfect. Maybe your brothers though?”
“Nah. Not those calm creatures.”
“Beasts fits better than creatures.” Ana told him.
“Ah, yes, they were rather crazy . . . now wait just a second!” He sat up pretending to be agahst, “Are you comparing our kids to my nutty brothers?”
“NO!” Ana acted appalled, “Never!”
“Good. I was about to be worried, for our kids, not my brothers.” James laughed.
“Our kids. I really like the sound of that.” Ana whispered, laying her head on Jame’s shoulder.
“Me too.” He agreed. “And after all we’ve been through if you’re still happy you always will be.”
“James.” She stated, “We’ve only been here two days. What on earth do you mean, ‘after all we’ve been through.’ Who knows what else is coming!?”
“Oh, right.” James was silent for a moment, “With these kids . . . “
“Our kids.” Ana corrected.
“Yes, our kids, who knows what could happen!”
“Should we be worried?”
“Ana, we’re parents now. We should be scared out of our wits!”
“Good.” Ana declared, “Cause I most certainly am!”
The next day was Sunday, thank goodness. To James and Ana it was normally a day to remember God was in control and was taking care of everything. That’s what they told us anyway. To me it was the sleep-in day which church, by the way, ruined.
I was quite glad to wake up late and realize we weren’t going to church. The adoptive parents were probably to embarrassed to be seen out with us, or maybe they just planned to ship us out right away. It didn’t matter.
I got up and while Pearl slept on I wrote the adventure all down in my journal. I heard Kate get up and start her shower. Not long after that the twins came flying through the house looking for food as usual
Pearl was soon up and hungry too. But while she and Kate headed up for food, I showered. And oh, after the gritty, sandy, scary night it felt so good! I lazied around and ate an Oreo I found in my shorts pocket.
I had no desire to see the adopting parents after my loud announcement the night before. And I assumed they didn’t want to see me. Therefore I was amazed when Ana opened the door and peeked in,
“Hey, Jordan.” She grinned, “Did you sleep well?”
“Yes.” I answered warily.
“Can I come in?”
“Uhuh.” I decided
She came in and sat on the bed beside me. “We have all eaten, are you hungry?”
“Well, James and I would like you all to get dressed and be upstairs around three, in fifteen minutes. We need to have a family meeting.”
There was that. Made gentler by the word ‘family’ I new that the meeting could better be described by Jame’s saying ‘pack your bags and go.’ But I didn’t suggest that. I just nodded and watched as Ana got up and left.
And then I packed up the few things I’d taken out of my suitcase, got dressed, departed for the meeting and prepared for the long trip to the orphanage that I knew would come. But, despite all my planning, I suddenly found that leaving seemed the hardest thing in all the world to do!
We all gathered in the light, cheery living room. However our faces were anything but happy. While James and Ana had a calmer expressions my siblings and I were definitely rain clouds.
We found chairs but all sat rigidly, wondering what they would say.
“I guess you know why we’re having a family meeting?” James wondered. We all nodded.
“Then you understand the seriousness of what you did?” Again we nodded.
“So you realize we have to punish you?” Pearl and Rhyan nodded but I was confused, how was sending us back punishment? How could they punish us if . . . but he was continuing.
“Ana and I have discussed this and we decided to review our rules. I want to be sure they are clear.”
I looked at Kate.
Why discuss rules? I thought
“First we asked you to tell us before you went anywhere. This expedition would count, we need to know where you are, no matter what.”
Oh. I decided, He wants to point out all we did wrong so it seems like they should send us away.
“We decided this so you don’t get hurt, or worse. And speaking of which, I did tell you about riptides didn’t I?” His voice was softer as he asked that, it was a true question not a why-did-you-not-listen question.
Pearl, Rhyan and Kate nodded. I looked and felt blank. Riptides? The name seems familiar. Are they currents that pull you out to sea? I couldn’t remember and James was talking on.
“Well then, you understand the danger of swimming in the ocean in the first place. And especially at night!” (I decided riptides were currents that headed to sea. But I couldn’t remember when he told us!) “And we had asked you last night to be in bed. You deliberately disobeyed by leaving. And if you want to do something adventurous like this you need to ask us before you do it. Had you asked about this we might have been able to all go as a family and explore it together!”
Scott looked stunned, like I felt.
You mean it was a possibility! I thought!
Ana almost giggled when she saw our faces but she forced herself to note,
“And your faces tell us you thought we wouldn’t let you go. So you acted in an untrustworthy way and snuck behind our backs.”
“All in all,” James added, “we are very disappointed in you.” At that Pearl reached down and grabbed my hand but I tried to ignore the feeling that hit my heart.
Why worry they’re just dumping us. I told myself.
“So, in the future,” James continued, “you will have much more supervision, and less liberty. We will have to build trust over time, which is why you’ll have to have less liberty.”
Flabbergasted I looked at Kate. They acted like they were keeping us! She looked back at me, her face looking like I felt.
“You do understand we are not trying to be cruel?” Ana stated, “We are doing this because we want to protect you and teach you. If we can’t trust you to listen to us then we won’t be able to protect you.”
Everyone nodded. In a way we were beginning to understand.
Ana smiled, “Good! Then will you make an agreement with us?”
We all starred.
After a moment Ana continued, “Will you agree to trust we are trying to do what is best for you? And we will agree to do what we think best and listen to your ideas and questions about how we raise you.”
“So we can talk to you?” It was Scott asking.
“Anytime.” James informed us, “We’ll always listen.”
“I’m sorry!” Ana exclaimed, “Did you think you could not talk right now?”
We all shock our heads no.
“Ok.” She grinned, “James and I are new at parenting. But you’ve been someone’s children always. If you have suggestions fire them at us, but, realize, we may not always agree with you. That’s why we were wanting to ask if you’re willing to trust us even if you don’t always agree.”
Slowly, Kate nodded. Scott and Rhyan followed. I copied them and smiled at Pearl who quickly nodded one short nod.
“Wonderful.” Ana smiled, “We love you very much, and we want to be sure your are always safe. That is why we have our rules.”
“Jordan.” Kate whispered, “I think they’re keeping us, like, they really mean it!”
“Yah.” I whispered back, “I think you’re right!”
And in all that had happened the past two days, that was the most shocking, unexpected, and scary thought of all! And I had no plan whatsoever for the future!
Read this post to see if she finds a plan.