When I Look at You

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Chapter Four

“It’s breakfast time!” Tammy’s shrill voice called as my door opened. I groaned, pulling the comforter off my head. Her perky little head was poking through the doorway. “C’mon sleepy head. It’s now or never. This kitchen isn’t open 24/7.” She disappeared. Glancing at my phone, I saw that it was only eight in the morning. I tossed the blankets off of me and put my hair in a messy ponytail. I made my way slowly out the door. “We’re eating on the deck!” Tammy called as she walked out the back door. Can someone really talk like that all the time? Jesus.

The sun was blinding as I followed her outside. Chris was sitting at one of the picnic tables that was now perched on the deck. Various food was set up on the table along with a few pitchers of juice. I plopped in a chair next to him. I saw a small smile flash on his face behind his paper. Dick.

“Ugh. Where’s Hannah? I swear that girl will be late for her own funeral. HANNAH!” Tammy yelled, opening up the back door. She came over and sat on Chris’ otherside. Hannah emerged a few moments later. Her magazine ready body was dressed in skin tight white shorts and a coral colored tank. She would be ready by the crack of dawn for anything. She sat next to me, acting like I wasn’t there. I started nibbling on a piece of bacon as Tammy tried to start small talk with Hannah. She was failing miserably as her daughter hid her face behind her phone.

The sound of the doorbell made everyone release a sigh of relief as Tammy jumped up to see what it was. She returned with a huge smile on her face. “Hannah! Blaine’s here.” She said, sitting down again.

“I knew he’d be back.” Hannah said, standing up. I smirked to myself as she skipped to the door. A minute or two later, she returned. Her eyes full of rage landed on me. “It’s for you.” She said in a snotty tone before disappearing back inside.

“I’ll be back.” I called over my shoulder. I changed into another sun dress, this time a blue one with green polka dots and grabbed a beach bag full of my camera equipment and my bathing suit. Blaine was sitting out front in a truck when I opened the door. I felt angry eyes follow me. Turning, I saw Hannah standing in her bedroom window upstairs. With a smile on my face, I waved goodbye and climbed into Blaine’s truck.

“That was evil.” He said, a grin appearing on his face. I shrugged, buckling your seat belt.

“But we’re a family.” I replied. In the sunlight, I could see more of Blaine’s features. He had slight dimples when he smiled and his hair had light streaks of blonde and brown in it. He was dressed in a white t-shirt that hugged his torso and plaid shorts. Putting the truck in drive, he looped around the parking lot before heading up the street. “Did you get busted last night?”

“Nah. They both got pretty drunk last night so I was in the clear. You?”

“Yeah okay. Chris waited up for me to get home but he didn’t say anything about being in trouble. What’s he going to do? Send me home? I wish.”

“You call your dad Chris?” He asked, turning left towards the highway. I recognized it from the trip down here.

“He’s hasn’t really been worthy of the title of Dad. I don’t really call him anything. We don’t speak much to each other.”

“Isn’t that why you are down here though? To make amends?” I rolled my eyes.

“No. I’m down here because a judge thinks that Chris deserves to have me trapped down here for an entire summer.”

“You honestly think it’s that bad down here?”

“Well no. I love the ocean and the sun. I just don’t like my living arrangements.”

“If you ever need to get out of there, call me. We can do all sorts of stuff. I mean you might get some glares from Hannah over dinner but if you don’t mind, I don’t mind.” I smiled at him.

“I’d like that.”

Blaine pulled into a marina about 30 miles away from Bastifield. Parking the truck, I helped him unload our bags and a cooler. When we picked it up, the sounds from inside suggested there were more than sandwiches inside. We carried it up the dock where a larger white boat floated in the water. A guy was standing on top of it, wiping down a handrail. “Cooper, I think it’s clean enough.” Blaine called. The guy gave him the finger without even looking up. He continued to buff the chrome handle as Blaine helped me climb aboard the vessel.

“You’re just jealous that the boat is hotter than Hannah.” Cooper called down. Blaine cleared his throat loudly a few times. Finally Cooper got the hint and turned around. He looked at Blaine in question for a split second then he saw me. A large smile flashed on his face and he practically jumped down from his spot to stand between Blaine and I. “Well hello. My name is James Cooper. Who do I have the pleasure of meeting this fine morning?”

“Jesus, Cooper.” Blaine muttered, shaking his head. I muffled a giggle.

“My name is Kerri Oliver.” I held out my hand to shake his. He took my hand and placed a kiss on the back of it. Dear God.

“Very nice to meet you, Miss Oliver.” He said. Then it was like a light bulb turned on in his head. “Oliver? Like Chris and Tammy?” Rolling my eyes, I nodded.

“He’s my father.”

“Oh. So that makes you Hanna’s step sister.” He started, turning to look at Blaine. Blaine shot him a glare before returning to his task of unloading his camera.

“Not my choice.” I replied.

“You don’t seem like the artificial bitchy kind. You and her must clash worse than the titans. I still don’t see what Blainey sees in the girl. I mean she has a nice rack and all but she’s such a primpy bitch.” Cooper rambled on. Blaine came up behind him and gave him a hard jab to the rib cage. Cooper let out a noise. “I mean, welcome to my baby.” He groaned, holding his side.

“How about you get the piece of shit going so we can take some damn pictures?” Blaine gave him a little shove. Cooper nodded, climbing up to the control panel. “Please ignore everything this asshole says to you today. I use the best friend very loosely with this one.”

“Oh but he’s so charming, Blainey.” I said in a sing-song voice.

“You know, I can toss you overboard once we are out on the Atlantic. I’m sure a shark would find you quite tasty.” The sound of the motor starting caused the boat to vibrate under my flip flops. I sat down on a bench in the front of the boat and pulled my camera out of my bag. I slid the wrist strap on it, afraid of losing it into the ocean. Cooper maneuvered his way through the other boats and ships docked around his. Soon, we were heading out into open water.

Other boats were becoming fewer and fewer as Cooper picked up speed. The salty ocean air felt amazing on my face as my hair blew around my head. I took picture of seagulls and seals that were relaxing on the shore of a sand bar. Blaine was doing the same thing next to me, focusing more on the water than the birds in the air. As I peered over to see what he was doing, a dolphin popped out of the water. I gasped in awe, taking pictures of the playful animal as it followed us out further into the ocean. Blaine pointed out a few more in the distance that were coming closer to us. They made clicking noises as the lept around us in the water. The shore faded away and soon we were completely surrounded by water. Cooper killed the motor and came down to join us.

“Watch this.” He said. Opening a compartment next to Blaine, he pulled out a small fish. LEaning over the side of the boat, he held it out. A dolphin swam up to the side of the boat. I took pictures as he fed the dolphin fish after fish. A few of the other dolphins circled the boat, taking turns stealing the fish from Cooper. When he ran out, he sat back on the bench. Opening Blaine’s cooler, he pulled out a beer and cracked it open. He didn’t seem much like the taking in the scenery kind of guy. Soon, the dolphins went away when they realized their free food was gone. With them swimming away, we floated in the ocean with nothing around us. Blaine grabbed a beer as well, setting his camera down by his feet.

“Is there a bathroom on this thing?” I asked, standing up.

“Of course, ma’am! Right this way.” Cooper jumped up. I followed him through a door under the control panel. Inside, there was a cabin. The only thing inside was a small table, a bunk bed and a skinny door that I assumed was the bathroom. He left me alone as I shoved the door opened. I changed from my dress into my bikini top -- a modest black piece -- and a pair of cut off blue jean shorts. I left my bag on the bunk before heading back up. I set up a towel in the back of the boat, and laid down. I grazed through the pictures on my camera, enjoying the sun’s rays on my back. Granted I missed home, there was no way you could do this in Maine. The air is always cold out at sea and the smell of fish is enough to knock you out sometimes. It was nice to just sit out here in the quiet. It was almost like nothing else matter but this one moment in time.

“There you are.” Blaine’s voice said behind me.

“Yeah. I wanted to see what I’ve gotten so far. You wanna sit with me? We can swap cameras.” I said, not looking. I’ve been dying to try his camera out. It was a newer model with a better zoom and pixel ratio than mine. I’d been eyeing it since we got on the boat this morning. He sat down next to me, looking towards the water. I could see my reflection in his sunglasses.

’You can use my camera if you want. Don’t look at my pictures though. I don’t like showing stuff without any edits.”

“Okay. So what’s the deal with Cooper? I mean he’s got his own boat. He can’t still be in high school. Is he?” Blaine laughed.

“No. Copper graduated a few years ago. He actually lives on this boat all summer.”

“LIVES? Like doesn’t sleep in a house just here?”

“Yup. Don’t you have houseboats in Maine?”

“Well yeah but you usually go somewhere on them. Not sleep in a smelly marina.” Blaine shrugged.

“That’s the way Coop likes it.”

“How did you meet him? School?”

“Sort of.” He replied, taking a sip from his beer. I waited for him to finish his sentence but he didn’t.

“Soft of what?” I asked.

“We have all summer to get to know each other. Don’t rush it.” He said, grinning at me. Rolling my eyes, I looked out at the horizon.

“Something tells me you are a lot deeper than this ocean, Blaine.”

“Guess you’ll have to find out.”

We floated for several hours, taking pictures of the ocean and other things. Cooper grilled up some fish in the small cabin and we ate lunch. After we finished eating, I noticed something off in the distance. It looked like an island had formed out of nowhere. As I turned to tell the boys, I saw it sank under the water. I appeared much closer this time. Water spewed out of it. I realized then that it was a humpback whale. The dam thing was about ten feet away from our boat was enormous. We took pictures of that before it vanished under the water for the last time.

The sun was beginning to set as Cooper and Blaine decided to call it a day. I snapped a few shots of the sun set, a beautiful scene of pinks, orange and reds, as the engine roared to life. Cooper lead us back to the marina. It was dark by the time we arrived back. Blaine and I loaded our stuff back into our bags. Cooper helped me off the boat this time. “We’ll see each other again. I’m sure of it.” He said.

“I’ll be looking forward to it.” I said, giving him a smile. I helped Blaine carry the cooler which was much lighter now back to the truck. We heaved it into the back before climbing into the cab. He turned it on and started back to the highway.

“Did you have fun?” He asked a few minutes later. It had been mostly quiet on our ride.

“Yes. Thank you so much for inviting me. Though, next time I should have brought sunscreen. I see an aloe bath in my future tonight.” He laughed.

“You better stock up on it for the summer. What’s Maine like during the summer?”

“Probably what it’s like down here in the fall or spring. it never gets really warm there. The water is always freezing too.”

“Sounds like it’d be awesome fishing.”

“You’ll have to come visit it me sometime. It’s nothing special but we get some awesome sunsets. Especially in a lighthouse. You can see everything for what feels like miles.”

Blaine pulled up in front of the Wharf a short time later. Before I could open the door, he lept out and opened it for me. I rolled my eyes at him but smiled. Tossing my bag over his shoulder, we slowly walked towards Chris and Tammy’s house. The lights were on still. It wasn’t very late. Probably around nine or nine thirty. “We should compare pictures tomorrow.” He spoke as we stopped in front of the porch.

“Sure. Come over tomorrow. By then I’ll have them downloaded on my computer and started editing.”
“Umm...maybe me coming here isn’t the best idea right now.” He said, clenching at the direction of Hannah’s bedroom window. The curtain swayed slightly. Figures.

“Right. I can stop by your place? Would your parents mind?” He shook his head.

“No. They both have work tomorrow anyway. And Tuesdays are usually our family game nights with Chris and Tammy.”

“Won’t that be awkward for you? I mean with Hannah being here and all.” He shrugged.

“They didn’t say which member of the family I have to interact with. Here.” He handed my bag to me. When he did, my hand brushed against his. I felt an instant blush fill my cheeks. Looking at the ground, I put the bag over my shoulder.

“T-Thanks.” I stammered.

“Sure. Can I see your cell for a second?” I nodded, handing him my phone. He did something quickly and handed it back to me. “I put my number in there. Text me later so I’ll have your number. That way I can tell you what time to come over tomorrow.”

“Right. Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow then?” He nodded.

“Uh yeah.”

“Great. Bye.” I said, turning to walk up the steps. I heard his climb into his truck. I watched through the screen door as he drove away. Pulling my phone from my shorts, I sent him a text with my name in it. Quietly, I made my escape to my make-shift bedroom. I shut and locked the door behind me. Setting my bag on my bed, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. Pulling it out again, I saw I had a new text message. Opening it, I felt a smile cross my face. Glad a judge stuck you here.

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