The snow laid dormant on the ground, melting, turning into puddles. Rain fell in sheets creating a canopy across the sky. The naked, leafless trees drew a grey wall, barely noticeable though the gloomy haze. The river muddy and brown, the pavement dark and saturated. The dirt which laid in mounds of the construction site turned to sloppy black tar. The large tires of the excavators rolled through the thick plowed field they’d been sitting in. A dreary day for anything to happen in the small Massachusetts town of Concord.
The construction seemed to loom outside the window of Olivia’s English class at Concord-Carlisle High School. After finishing her worksheet, she sat at her desk and twirled her hair. The remainder of the students in her class were scattered across the room. They conversed with each other as the teacher sat at his desk and paid little to no attention to them.
By the end of the class, the rain from outside had parted from the sky and reeled in the sun. By the time the bell rang, the pavement outside had dried itself and taken away any clue left as to how the weather had been before. Olivia Emerson had grabbed her things and fled the classroom without drawing any attention to herself. As she left the school she began down the sidewalk on her daily trek home. Even though her family owned like five cars, and she had one of her own she tending to take the long way home and spend some time by herself, surrounded by nature. One of the things she valued most on her afternoon strolls. As she turned off the school grounds and began her usual walk, one of her friends, Brock Wesley pulled up in his truck.
He had dated Olivia’s twin sister Oakley for years, and was always close by.
“Hey!” he rolled down the window. “Let me take you home.” His voice was broad and strong, after all he was the star athlete of Concord-Carlisle High. As the town’s head attorney’s son and the Patriot Hockey Team’s Captain, Brock was quite a big deal at CCHS.
For a moment in her mind, Olivia protested. The weather had finally been nice one afternoon and she was going to have to trade in her long awaited walk home, for a ride in Brock’s truck.
“Fine.” She stated, swinging the door open and pulling herself up into the seat. She rolled her eyes in disappointment and pulled the door shut. He put the truck into drive and started through town. Buildings on either side of the truck blurred by. The town had become so much since her mother and father had been put on the council. They’d added so much ‘Spunk’ they called it, to their little town of Concord. Everything from murals painted on storefront windows, to loaner book boxes scattered across town filled with lonely homeless books that no one ever seemed to touch. Olivia thought of them like homeless shelters for the books the library had ‘kicked’ out. Concord had grown so much in the last few years, and was finally feeling like something from a Hallmark Movie. The Emerson’s called Concord their perfect little city, but Olivia knew it was everything but that.
They rolled over the bridge that hung above the Sudbury River and onto Nashawtuc Road. He stopped at the end of the driveway and let Olivia out. There, almost waiting for her arrival was Oakley, who stood in the front drive and switched places with her sister as Brock seemed to dump one sister out and trade her for the other. Now Olivia knew why he’d asked to show her home, he just wanted her sister. As the truck began to roll again Oakley stared out the window to Olivia. She gave her a farewell wave as the grey blur disappeared around the corner.
Inside the house she sat down at the desk inside the kitchen. Her mother entered with her phone in her hand, texting someone with only her thumb. She’d started this as an attempt to make her way into modern day society a few months beforehand.
“How was school Honey?” she pried, walking to the refrigerator, setting her phone down on the counter and pulling out the sparkling water from the top shelf. Never even glancing in her daughter’s direction.
Paying her mother no attention she got up from the desk and replied, “Good, how was work today?” Trying to hide the amusement in her voice.
Her mother paused for a few seconds, then returning to her train of thought she began to explain to her daughter the events of the day. “A new family is moving in across town, a mother and her two sons. They are the Griffin family moving in at the Hugh Cargill Mansion. Your father and I were invited to have dinner with them, celebrating their arrival in town. We are having dinner at their place tonight.”
Olivia stood at the counter for a moment to wrap her mind around what her mother had just explained. Of course she knew anytime a new family moved into town, her parents were the ones to force themselves into the situation. It was an Emerson thing that Olivia didn’t appreciate, but it was also a realtor thing her parents had always followed.
She nodded her head and turned away heading up the stairs to her room to get ready. When her family was invited to dinner she knew she was expected to dress nicely. Once in her bedroom she plopped her backpack into her brown leather armchair beside her closet. Opening the closet doors she experimented with several different outfits in her mind. Her mother would expect something prim and proper, but also something simple. Her mother hated casual clothing in the event of a formal meeting like this one. If Olivia’s outfit was anything less than perfect her mother would say something about it and make her change. She knew what was expected. It was something she absolutely hated about being an Emerson, they loved to show off their expensive taste and brag about how much money they had. After what had seemed like years she finally had put on something she believed her mother would approve of, a black mulberry silk dress and a pearl necklace, both given to her by her grandmother for her all-state violin audition. She had also pulled on a black Chanel cardigan, slipped on her black kitten heels and walked out of her bedroom door grabbing her glittery lilac phone and forcing it into the pocket of the cardigan.
“Olivia. Time to go.” Her mother exclaimed standing at the bottom of the stairs. As Olivia met her mother’s eye level at the top of the stairs she smiled and complemented her daughter on how professional she looked.
Joshua and Parker, Olivia’s little brothers stood at the bottom of the stairs with their mother as she began explaining the rules.
“Joshua, you and Parker will be staying at home tonight. Mrs. Lancaster next door said to call if you need anything and that she will be over to check on you guys, if we aren’t back by eight. Be good.” She stated giving them both a pat on their shoulders. As Olivia and both of her parents left the house they got into their black Lincoln Navigator.
The digital clock in the car read ‘6:32’ when it turned off the road and onto the paved driveway leading up to the giant yellow mansion. The splashes from the fountain seemed to echo in the silence of the mansion grounds.
Anyone who wasn’t used to big houses and money would have gasped at the size and stature of the house, but Olivia was used to small town fame and fortune.
It was a colonial modern house with four ivory caryatids holding up the front stoop. A muted baby yellow color frame with black shutters decorating the outside of the homestead and silhouettes of matching white curtains hanging inside all of the windows.
There on the front steps of the house underneath the two story caryatids, stood three figures, their eyes meeting Olivia’s all at the same time as she came around from the other side of the vehicle. Two boys on either side of a woman. The woman left her perch to meet Olivia’s mother and father at the bottom of the stoop. As she moved away from Mr. and Mrs. Emerson she moved towards Olivia with open arms. Her bright green eyes matched the emerald dress she was wearing, and her plum lipstick created a deep contrast against the bright white glow of her teeth.