So lazy were the breezes of late summer that the only waves on Georgian Bay were those created in the wakes of passing yachts. Bobbing in these random swells, sailboats floated idly, seemingly content to go nowhere.
Wishing he too were on the water, Emman Mallory turned his attention from the boats to his assigned gardening task. In the rising heat of the August morning, he meandered glumly through the ordered rows of flowers, stooping occasionally to pluck a wayward weed from among the cosmos or a fading petal from the fragrant rose bushes.
Since Catherine and Dr. Stephen Mallory expected their children to rotate chores even when school was in session, during summer holidays the tasks naturally expanded to include yard work. Emman preferred this to any job around the place because Stone Gate employed a full-time caretaker. Gardening was merely a matter of helping to maintain the carefully nurtured vegetable and flower gardens.
Emman’s twin brother should have been with him but, predictably, Noel had disappeared as soon as their parents left for the clinic. For the past several months, Noel had drifted away whenever possible, preferring the company of those who shared his new obsessions. In refusing to join them, Emman had earned his brother’s scorn.
His dark thoughts were interrupted by an entreating voice at his side. “Emmanuel,” said his great-aunt Andrea, “I need a favour, dear.”
“Yes?” Emman gave a weed an unnecessarily violent tug.
“I have to attend a committee meeting and Mother is expecting a visit from Alexander and Mabel Stuart.”
“And you want me to . . . ?”
“Escort the Stuarts to Mother’s suite as soon as Alexander gets back from checking on his house. Please see that they stay no longer than half an hour. Mother’s very tired today.”
“Nana’s always tired.”
“She is ninety-five.”
“I suppose the girls are too busy.”
“They’re baking cookies. Would you rather not do this, Emman?”
“No, it’s okay.” Resignedly, Emman removed his gardening gloves and set them on the lawn.
“By the way, where’s Noel?”
“Around,” he answered evasively.
“I worry about him.”
You should, thought Emman. Aloud he said nothing.
Margaret Baltessen’s Journal
Last night when Doris and I went out for Hallowe’en, Mom and Dad thought Mariah should go with us. My little sister is a drag at the best of times, and I certainly didn’t want her interfering with our plans. The solution was that Doris and I took her out at 6:30 when all the other brats were about. Of course, Mariah made a fuss when we brought her back an hour later, and I was afraid that one or other of my parents would give in to her as usual and ruin the entire night. But Mom told her to act her age and be glad we took her out at all, which came as a big surprise.
Actually, it worked out well because by 7:30 p.m. most of the little kids were off the streets. Doris was wearing a skeleton mask with a sheet wrapped around her, and I was wearing a Dracula mask and a dark cape. We began by going door to door trick or treating, which naturally we hadn’t done with Mariah because we didn’t want to look ridiculous!
Needless to say, we were hoping to “accidentally” bump into Emman and Carmichael and maybe, just maybe, hang out with them. Sure enough, we found them in about fifteen minutes but they were with Dylan, Zeke, Caitlin, Dylan’s sister Lena, and Emman’s sister Cici. We contented ourselves with following from a distance, hiding behind trees and bushes. In hindsight, rather immature!
Then we saw “the gang” slinking around. We held our breath and stayed out of sight while they approached Emman and Carmichael’s group. There was pushing and quarrelling before the groups split up and went their separate ways.
We would have liked to go trick or treating to the Stuart house and on to the Mallorys, but with “the gang” prowling around out there, we were too scared to leave the main part of town. (Sorry Mr. S. We really wanted to come calling!)
Emman is in every one of my classes so we see a lot of each other! We’re both taking French, Advanced Functions, Chemistry, Understanding Canadian Law, and of course the Writing class. In the past, he and Noel were always partners for class projects, but this year they don’t even want to share a lab desk. I almost fainted when Emman told Mr. Brown, the new chemistry teacher, that I was his lab partner.
I’ve always wanted to be a nurse practitioner. Now the challenge is to get accepted at McMaster University in Hamilton because that’s where I think Emman hopes to go. Of course, there’s no guarantee at this point that either of us will go there. Once I do get accepted, I will apply for clinical appointments at the Coltsfoot Hospital, or at the least, in nearby Orchis Bay. That way I can live at home.
Emman and I have gone to school together since kindergarten. We’ve always been friends but we’ve never gone out on a date together. At school dances, we always have at least one dance but he asks other girls to dance too, including Doris. Mom says that because our class has always been so small, we’re like one big family. She thinks it’s great. When I told her I wanted to be Emman’s girlfriend, she told me to not seem too eager or I’d frighten him off. Dad says I shouldn’t be thinking of boys in that way at all!
Why am I the most miserable person in the world?
Genre: literary, mystery, young adult