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Hold on Tight

By Zach Linton


Chapter 1

“So how was the fishing trip?” asked Edythe as we relaxed in the meadow enjoying some Boston on my MP3 player.  

“Oh it was great,” I said. “Dad, Julie, and Bonnie fished while I watched the car and caught up on Wolves of the Calla.  Then after they caught the limit, we drove back home and I made us all a nice dinner of fish and chips and Chocolate Cake for dessert.”

“I didn’t know you could cook,” said Edythe.

 “Yeah,” I said. “I thought it was the best meal I’ve made in sometime. There’s still some left in the fridge If you..”  I stopped myself, remembering that Edythe and her family no longer were able to eat that kind of food. “Sorry,” I said.

“I really wish I could still eat your kind of food,” said Edythe, trying to fill the uncomfortable silence. “I’m sure it’d be the best tasting meal I’d ever eat.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Anyway, I think the trip and meal helped dad’s mood. Last night was the first time I’ve seen him smile in weeks. I think the computer still being in the shop also helped.”

“What’s wrong with him?” asked Edythe.

“Mom and Phil have been bragging about their honeymoon on Facebook and dad’s been hearing about it all week from her family and his,” I said.  “When mom and dad went on their honeymoon, they went to San Diego because that’s what dad could afford to do. Due to Phil having a lot more money, he and mom are spending their honeymoon doing a tour of Europe. Thus far they’ve hit Dublin, Glasgow, London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and Moscow and are going to be completing their tour by going to Sicily and Rome. They’re staying in five star hotels, are traveling first class the entire trip, and are coming back with a lot of expensive souvenirs, all the while making nasty comments about mom and dad’s honeymoon and Forks.”

“She should be thankful your dad took her on a honeymoon,” said Edythe. “Neither set of my parents went on a honeymoon because they couldn’t afford it. I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but your mother needs to be a bit more gracious towards your dad.”

“That she does,” I said as I saw dad come walking into the meadow. “Hi dad,” I said.

“Hello Mr. Swan,” said Edythe.

“Come on Beau, you’re coming home,” said Dad, not acknowledging Edythe.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I said so,” said Dad. “Now let’s go.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow Edythe,” I said.

“See you Beau,” said Edythe.

I put my hands around her waist as dad yelled “Will you  hurry it up?”

“Right,” I said. I gave Edythe a quick kiss before following dad back down the train to his truck.  .

We got in and set off back home. “What do you see in her?” he asked.

“Well I think she’s very sweet, she’s nice, she’s caring, among other things,” I said.

“You’re not dating her for her butt and boobies are you?” asked Dad.

“Dad!” I yelled.

“I didn’t think so,” said Dad. “Her boobies aren’t big enough for that anyway.”

“Dad, what’s your problem?” I asked.

“Yell at me again and I’ll make your teeth rattle!”  snapped Dad.

“I am going to yell at you when you make nasty comments about the girl I love,” I said.

“I didn’t make any nasty comments,” said Dad. “I was just wondering why you were dating a girl like that instead of someone like say Julie.”

“Dad,” I said. “I like Julie as a friend. We’re good friends and that’s how we both want to keep it because it would be awkward if we started dating.”

“It wouldn’t be awkward if you loved each other,” said Dad. “Now why don’t you call her up and invite her to Big Al’s Restaurant tonight and then walk down to the creek to skip rocks and watch the log trains roll through the night? I’ll pay for the tab, the gas, and any expenses that you incur. How about it?”

“No,” I said. “I’ve already got a girlfriend and I’m not going to break up with her just because you want me to bring Julie into the family. If you want her in the family so bad, you can marry her yourself.”

Dad gave me a dirty look. “That’s not the reason I want you to hook up with her,” he said.

“Well why do you want me to hook up with her?” I asked.

“Because if you continue dating Edythe you’re going to wind up just like your old man,” said Dad. “Fat, alone, and angry.”

“Mom posted something on Facebook again?” I asked.

“Oh she posted something alright,” said Dad. “She and the idiot stopped at some small town in Italy and she posted a picture of one of the policemen there and wrote a caption about it being nice to know that there were some small-town police departments that weren’t stuck in the ‘60s.”

“She posted that?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Dad. “If you keeping dating Edythe, you’re going to find her posting things like that in seventeen years, mark my words.  Now do yourself a favor and break up with her. You can tell her you just want to be friends and you don’t want a relationship at this stage with it being senior year and you needing to get ready to go to college.”

“I’m not doing it,” I said.

“Beau I know you think you like Edythe, but let me tell you it’s your hormones that are telling you that,” said Dad. “Believe me I went through the same thing when I was dating your mother in high school and I paid the price for it.”

“But the same thing could happen if I dated Julie,” I said.

“There would be less of a chance of it,” said Dad. “The Swans and Blacks go all the way back to when this was still Indian Territory. You two would get on well.”

“Well I’m not breaking up with Edythe,” I said.

Dad gave me a dirty look. “Well if you won’t break up with her, I’ll break you two up,” said Dad. “Also from now on you are banned from having anything to do with her and her family unless it is school related. If I catch you running after her, I’m putting your ass on a plane back to Phoenix and you can enjoy putting up with Phil and your mother. I will not go back through hell because my boy put more stock in his hormones than the words of his old man. Now are you going to call or do you want me to?”

“You can call,” I said. “I don’t think I’d be able to do it.”

“Fine,” said Dad. “Just a head’s up next weekend you and I are going to be going hunting in the mountains. It’s about time you started learning what it meant to be a man.”

“Right,” I said, resisting the urge to roll my eyes.

We arrived home and as we walked to the door, we found a package on the doorstep. “Did you order another stupid Stephen King Book?” asked Dad.

“It’s too big for that,” I said.

“Well let’s see what it is,” said Dad.

We walked inside. Dad set the box on the kitchen table and then pulled out a knife from the kitchen drawer. He cut the package open and was shocked to find a British Constable’s helmet and a letter. “Dear Charlie,” Dad read as he looked at the letter. “When we were in London I happened to go to an antique shop in West London and came across this helmet. It was worn by Police Constables during the 1940s. Given your fondness for police history I thought you’d like to have it as a gift. I’d also like to apologize for the nasty posts on Facebook. Philip has been making the posts for me and I’m afraid he’s been very nasty. I have reprimanded him for it and I promise you today will be the last day the posts are made and they’ll be deleted.

With love,

Your friend Renee

“Well that was nice of her,” said Dad. “Look at this Beau, a British Police Constable Hat!”

“Yes,” I said.

“I’m going to have to take it down to the station and show the boys,” said Dad happily. “I’ll be back in a while Beau.”

“Great,” I said.

As soon as he’d gone, I picked up my cellphone and called Edythe. “Edythe, did you send dad that Constable Helmet?” I asked.

“What tipped you off?” she asked.

“Mom never calls Phil by his full name and he spells his full name with two ls, not one,” I said. “Why did you do it?”

“I thought it would cheer him up,” said Edythe. “Particularly since he wants to break us up.”

“What have I told you about reading his mind?” I asked.

“I’m sorry Beau, but when he looks that upset and orders you back to the truck like you’re a naughty child, I want to know what’s going on,” said Edythe. “Anyway, are we going to be able to keep our date tomorrow?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “But I think it might be best if you came over here and told dad you did it.”

“I’m on my way,” said Edythe.

Fifteen minutes later Edythe arrived in torn clothes. “What happened to you?” I asked as she walked in.

“Oh Archie and I had to fight off a newborn,” said Edythe.

“Is he here?” I asked.

“No he’s taking the body out to sea,” said Edythe. “It was in a bad shape.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“It had bit someone who had an immune system problem” said Edythe. “You don’t want a vampire like that walking around because that can cause serious problems.”

“I bet,” I said as all of a sudden I heard dad’s car pull into the driveway. “Here we go.”

I heard dad get out of his car and moments later I heard the door violently slam shut before Dad came walking to the kitchen. “Just be calm Beau,” said Edythe. “He’s not going to hurt you.”

“Right,” I said.

The door opened and dad came in looking bloodthirsty. “Hi dad,” I said.

Dad didn’t even bother with a greeting; instead he pulled out his pocket knife and turned the handle end to me.  "Take it," he said. “You’ve got two minutes."

“Mr. Swan,” said Edythe.

“Be quiet Edythe,” said Dad. “I have half a mind to give your ass a nice tanning for helping Beau play a joke on me.”

“Play a joke?” asked Edythe.

“Yes,” said Dad. “Your brother had this packaged at the post office and brought it over here with the fake note while Beau and I were driving back from the meadow. I don’t like people playing jokes on me, particularly over something this personal. Now Beau, you get on out there and cut yourself a switch.”

“Beau, you stay right here,” said Edythe. She turned to face Dad, an angry look on her face. “Mr. Swan, if you want to get mad at the person who did it, you can get mad at me because this was all one hundred percent my idea. I did it because Beau told me that you were upset that Mrs. Dwyer was making fun of you on Facebook about not having a real honeymoon and that you were taking it out on him. I don’t like seeing Beau upset so I figured if we went this route, you would have a cool souvenir and you would be happier. I’m sorry my idea upset you, but you have to believe me, I didn’t mean for it to.”

“Well your idea didn’t work,” said Dad. “Now I suggest you get on out of here and don’t come back because you and Beau are done dating. Now get out of my house before I take a switch to your hide.”

“Why don’t you want us dating?” asked Edythe. “Give me one good reason why you think it’s a bad idea we’re dating. If it’s because you’re worried that I’ll leave Beau for the big city, rest assured that’s not going to happen. There’s nothing I want to see in a big city. There’s too much noise, smog, and nastiness in cities. I’d much rather stay here in Forks where the people are friendly, the pace is slower, and there is a nice feeling of peace and calm. If you’re thinking I’d want to see the clubs and bright lights of the big city, I’ll have you know right now I’d much rather spend my nights out in the meadow with Beau, listening to the lonesome call of the mail trains as they steam through the night.”

“But you could change,” said Dad, who seemed to be fighting to stay on his original plan. “One day you could say ‘screw Forks, I want to see the world.’ That’s always a possibility.”

Edythe looked at Dad. “Mr. Swan, if I ever get the desire to see the world, I want Beau to be with me the whole journey.  I would never abandon him for a stupid reason like that. I promise you, I would never do it.”

There was silence. Then Dad said “Beau, give me back my knife.”

I handed Dad back his knife. “Edythe, please head on home. Beau please go up to your room.”

“Well what do you say?” I asked.

“Just go upstairs,” said Dad. “I want to watch the game in peace.”

“See you Beau,” said Edythe.

“See you,” I said.

I walked her to the door and then headed upstairs. As I reached my room, I heard my phone pinged. I looked at it and found a text from Edythe. It read I’ll see you tomorrow night XOXO

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