Go To Chapter 5
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Extended Family - Chapter 4
Hunter and Joss left for their competition, leaving Sadiya alone to fret about whether or not they'd win. She was actually at her one class – Thursdays from 2-3 – that was not online when they left for the airport. They'd be gone until Sunday afternoon.
She decided to use the time by sorting through her parents' belongings. The easiest was their clothes. Anything that she didn't want to wear or keep, she bagged up and donated to the Goodwill.
The hardest things to go through were the little treasures, like a favorite plastic ring or a pressed flower. Things that she had no real attachment to, but her parents had. Things that had no value to sell or even give away, but needed to be packed up and stored in case someone noticed that her house was now empty and decided to break in and rob it.
Sadiya started talking to herself. “Then, after I turn 18 and I've obtained my second degree, college will no longer be free for me. I plan to move back in here and get it ready for the baby I want to have. I'll turn my room into the baby's room and use my parents bedroom as mine. I should probably get some mattress protectors for their bed...” she muttered.
This reminded her to strip the bedding off the bed and wash it before folding it up and storing it with the rest of the linens and things in a protective plastic bag inside a box.
Their bed was a king-sized pillow top that they'd only bought a year ago when their old mattress – the one they'd had almost as long as they'd been married – finally wore out.
“Yep, I definitely want to get a mattress protector to keep this in good shape until I move back in.” Sadiya sprawled out on their naked bed, pretending that they were lying there with her.
Hunter and Joss returned, depressed that they hadn't made it to the top ten, but happy because they had come so close – which was still a pretty good accomplishment considering all the fierce competition. They half moped until school finally ended for the year.
All of Sadiya's businesses picked up dramatically, causing her to run around like a chicken with her head cut off. She even lost a little weight!
“You look pale,” Jeremy remarked in concern one night when she managed to make it home for dinner with them. “It hasn't even been a full week since school let out. Usually these two look pale the week or so beforehand, and then recover by the end of the first week out.”
“Understaffed,” Sadiya muttered, swaying as if she was about to drop from exhaustion. “But my managers have finally hired some good people. I should be able to rest for a bit.”
“I could work part time at the store, if you want me to,” Joss offered.
“Thanks, but you offered a week too late!” Sadiya took another bite of the dry pork chop Hayleigh had cooked, and then sighed. “I'm going to be gone for a couple of days.”
“You mean because of your mysterious National Competition?” Jeremy asked, subtly reminding her that she never did get around to telling him what it was.
“Huh? No!” She laughed. “My mom and dad used to bring me to this campground that we're members of each summer, and if I didn't go for any other reason, I should go to air out our cabin and sort through the things there.”
“Sounds like fun,” Jeremy informed her with a grin. “Why don't we all go?”
Sadiya gaped at him in astonishment. “You really don't want to do that!”
Jeremy was immediately suspicious, thinking that maybe she had decided to lie to him so that she could meet with her boyfriend in secret. “Why not?”
“Because! When I think about how hard it is to respectfully keep my clothes on now that I'm living here, I just know that it would be twice as hard for you to respectfully take them off in order to spend some time with me at our cabin,” Sadiya explained, forgetting to clarify the important part.
“What???” Jeremy gasped, positive that he couldn't have heard her right.
Sadiya laughed at his reaction, and realized that she had made it sound perverted or something. “I'll show you.”
She dug around in her purse for a small case of photos that she'd never remembered to put in an album. Taking a moment to clear a space, she lay out as many photos as she could in front of him. The pictures all showed people eating, playing volleyball, and otherwise having normal campground fun – except they were all naked.
“Normally photos are strictly prohibited, but on occasion, if a person wants to take a picture and everyone who'll be in it agrees, someone can snap a few pics with the understanding that copies will be distributed to everyone in the picture.”
Jeremy blushed when he realized that not only was Sadiya in most of the pictures, but that his sister was too!
“Okay it's official! My sister was a crazy and perverted weirdo!” He blurted.
Sadiya's lips got tight in anger and she snatched up all the pictures as quickly as possible so that she could storm off in a snit.
“Honey!” Hayleigh chided him before Sadiya could finish gathering up the pictures.
“What?! I'm just saying!” He defended his opinion, winced at the two female glares, and then sighed.
Sadiya didn't give him a chance to apologize before running off to be alone in Joss' room until he came up to go to bed. Moping, she decided to take a bath and try to relax. She locked the door that led to Hunter's room – knowing from experience that he would wail and apologize for hours if he accidentally walked in on her – but didn't bother to lock the door between the bathroom and Joss' room.
He surprised her by coming into the bathroom a few minutes later, just as she had settled into the bath. They had gotten used to sharing the bathroom so that neither hogged it when Hunter needed to use it. Sadiya was entirely grateful that Joss kept it clean because she wasn't into scrubbing toilets...
“My dad has a hard time wrapping his head around new concepts, but once he does, he tends to be pretty accepting. He really does feel bad about insulting your mom.”
Sadiya sighed. “I know... I just hate it that every time I try to open up to him, he throws it back in my face!”
“Want me to wash your hair?” Joss offered in an effort to cheer her up.
“That would be nice, and then you could rub my favorite scented oil into the ends,” Sadiya grinned at the prospect.
“Having access to all the oils at Healing Hands has sure made this bathroom smell better!” Joss stated with a laugh after she'd repositioned herself in the large, ovular tub to give him access to her hair. He sat next to the tub and worked his favorite organic shampoo into a lather against her scalp.
Sadiya realized that he'd already changed into his robe specifically so that he could offer this without getting his expensive clothes wet. She loved the way that he genuinely cared for her even though they'd only known each other less than two months. It felt like they had been cousins all their life! Close ones that were like best friends...
“I added bath salts to the water along with some epsom,” she told him. “This tub is almost big enough, I bet you could squeeze in here with me and then I could wash your hair.”
“Nah, I'll wait until you're done, but I wouldn't mind if you wanted to wash my hair. I've never had anyone –”
“!” Jeremy grunted, unable to articulate what he was feeling at the sight of these two like this. He half-covered his eyes to maintain Sadiya's privacy, but didn't leave the bathroom until he finally found his voice. “Joss! This is not acceptable behavior!”
“Why?” Sadiya wondered. “I feel like I finally have a sister to talk about boys with while we give each other makeovers. What difference does it make that he's a boy?”
“Yeah!” Joss exclaimed in agreement. “Never in my whole life have I been allowed to have a sleepover with a boy or a girl! I feel like I finally have a best friend to have sleepovers with, and you keep yelling at us for it!”
“She's naked and you're not far from it!” Jeremy roared. “Pajama parties are one thing, but this!”
“Dad, I'm still gay! What does it matter if I'm not going to do anything?”
“And I'm a nudist,” Sadiya added. “I'm used to being naked around my friends! Or weren't you paying attention to that part of the pictures I showed you?”
Jeremy directed his gaze at the wall, and then crossed his arms. “I understand what you are both saying, but think about this for a moment. In an effort to accept and let you be gay,” he pointed in the general direction of his son, “and you be just plain weird,” he pointed towards his niece. “I have continually swallowed my better judgment and let you two do things I am not comfortable with. Why must I always be the one conforming to your expectations.”
“Have you ever once seen me walking around your house naked?” Sadiya asked. “Have you ever once popped your head into the room to check on us and found me just lounging around naked?”
Jeremy hadn't realized that she'd noticed him checking up on them fairly frequently. He blushed as if she'd caught him doing something illegal.
“Well, no...” he admitted.
“Have you ever once seen me bring my boyfriend or any boy to this room to makeout?” Sadiya growled.
“Whenever I have someone over, I remain in your sight at all times, and whenever I go out I let you know where I'm going, with who, and how long I'm going to be, right?” Sadiya challenged.
Jeremy nodded, unable to deny that it was true. Even when she'd gone on her date with Ian, she'd let someone know where she was going and with who.
“Then I'd say I've done everything I can to compromise and conform to your expectations! What more do you want from me? Do you want me to change into some mindless robot until I turn 18 and you no longer have to deal with me?” Sadiya nearly shouted, tired of him always trying to control her actions in the name of his comfort zone.
“Fine,” he ground out. “We'll talk about this more tomorrow after I've had a chance to think about everything.”
Joss and Sadiya silently listened to him stomp down the stairs. “Did you know that they take baths together?!”
Hunter could just barely be heard answering him, apparently on his way upstairs. “No, just showers...”
Joss rolled his eyes. “He makes it sound like we do this everyday or something!”
Sadiya laughed. While it was true they had started sharing their bathroom time from almost day one, she hadn't actually jumped into the shower with him until a week ago when she'd gotten called into work unexpectedly and needed to grab a quick shower while he was still taking his. He had protested until he realized that he really didn't mind.
Now he knew why seeing him naked hadn't interested her in the slightest. Previously, he had just assumed that his body didn't compare to her boyfriend's, but now he knew that she was simply used to seeing men – and women – naked.
As much as he loved his wardrobe, part of him wondered what it would be like to go somewhere where there were no clothes to announce a person's personality before others got to know him. When he was naked – say fresh out of the shower – there was absolutely nothing to mark him as different from any other boy. He could almost blend in... until he opened his mouth and his soft and slightly feminine voice came out.
The thought was strangely appealing to Joss.
Sadiya had no idea why, but every once in a while, she woke up before the crack of dawn, and simply had to cook everything she saw! This was one of those days, and it may have something to do with the fact that she'd spent the night agonizing over her uncle's reaction to her predilection for nudism.
Since none of her family had realized when she'd fed them beef tongue the first time, she had another one in the crockpot simmering to tender perfection, so she let that be. It would be shredded up for tacos for lunch or maybe dinner.
She set two pounds of tripe in the sink to soak for a bit, then decided to make some bread.
“I'm in the mood for carbs...” she murmured as she tossed some ingredients into a bowl to mix. “Empty ones!”
With only one small light to see by, Sadiya kneaded the dough until it was ready to be set aside to rise. Then she started on pancakes and oatmeal, setting the batter aside to stir the oatmeal to perfection before turning the burner off and focusing on the tripe again.
She rinsed it thoroughly, then sliced it into chunks and set it to simmer in some leftover chicken broth. Locating her bacon grease, she fried up a stack of pancakes – lightly flavored with applesauce and cinnamon – then added more grease to the pan and fried up some gizzards and chicken liver.
The gizzards were like popcorn to her, so she munched on them as she cooked. The pancakes – however – reminded her of cinnamon raisin rolls with caramel topping, so she pulled out some butter and set it aside to soften on the warm stove while she set about turning half of her bread dough – she'd made enough for two loaves – into a dozen cinnbons. She let those rise for a bit while she made the caramel, then tossed them into the oven to bake.
She punched the bread down and then let it rise again while she separated some eggs to make custard and macaroons, which she baked in the toaster oven. None of this sounded even slightly appealing without bacon, so she pulled out the griddle and let a good two pounds of it fry while she quickly chopped up a bag of green apples to make into a thick and gooey compote to complement her pancakes.
Determining that the tripe had simmered long enough, she strained the pieces out of the broth – reserving that to drink with her breakfast once it had cooled – and then tossed the pieces into the pan full of bacon grease to get slightly crispy. Once that was done, she pulled the cinnabons out of the oven and set the loaf of bread on a pizza stone to bake.
Finally, she grabbed a plate so that she could help herself. One pancake topped with compote, two good dollops of custard, a cinnabon dripping with caramel, 6 slices of bacon, a dab of oatmeal, half of the tripe, some of the liver, and the rest of the gizzards went on her plate. She carried it and her broth to the table, and then sat to enjoys her massive breakfast.
“Oh God!” Hayleigh exclaimed and then moaned in appreciation, “I think I've died and gone to heaven!”
She helped herself to a cinnabon and a couple of pancakes with their accompanying toppings. Then she took a slice of bacon and and a macaroon now that the timer on the toaster oven announced that they were done. She realized that she'd skipped the custard and remedied this as promptly as possible. A taste of the oatmeal had her spooning that onto her plate too.
“Dare I ask what the crunchy bits are?” She wondered.
“Taste one,” Sadiya suggested.
“Mmm, pretty good!”
“Then no, you probably don't want to know what that is!” Sadiya laughed.
“Didn't think so,” Hayleigh giggled, opting not to eat any more of the tripe. She set some coffee brewing for when her husband woke up, grabbing some juice out of the fridge for herself. She sat next to Sadiya with a smile.
“Dear God girl!” Hunter roared as he stomped down the stairs. “Must you make the house smell too wonderful to sleep through on days when I don't have to get up early?!”
“Here here!” Jeremy cheered in agreement. He actually did have to get up – it was only Thursday – but he could have slept in a bit longer had the house not smelled so fantastic.
Only Joss managed to resist the heavenly smell permeating the house. Or he would have been able to had Hunter been a little less loud on his way down the stairs.
“Dare I try this crunchy stuff?” Joss asked curiously.
“I don't know, dare you?” Sadiya asked mischievously.
Joss tried it and decided that he liked it. Hunter finally succumbed to his curiosity to try it too – since he had been surprised by how much he'd liked liver once he tried it. Between them, the remaining tripe vanished.
They all ate in pleasant silence that was often broken for moans of pleasure, compliments, and requests for more. Sadiya saved just enough room in her stomach for a slice of bread the moment the timer dinged. She hopped up to pull it out of the oven, and then risked totally burning her hand in order to slice the crispy, golden end off. She slathered it with butter until it was dripping, and then moaned happily as she devoured every bite.
Jeremy took advantage of the fact that she was hopping and chanting “Hot!” as a way to cope with the fact that it was burning her hands and mouth as she ate it. “So I've decided that I don't want you going to that cabin of yours –”
Sadiya roared in protest and rage. “That's it!” She set her bread on the counter to cool as she snatched her cellphone. “I'm calling my lawyer!”
“Alone!” Jeremy shouted so that she could hear him. “I don't want you going alone!”
Sadiya tilted her head to the side and stared at him in confusion as she mentally replayed that sentence a couple of times.
“At least not at first,” he clarified. “I want to go with you to see it for myself and make sure that it's not full of perverts just waiting to pounce on you when you're alone.”
“Wait!” Sadiya rubbed her temples as she thought this through. “So you're saying that you want to come with me, take a look around – staring at the nudists like a pervert – and then when you're satisfied that they're just regular – albeit naked – people, you're going to leave?”
“Well, I wouldn't have put it quite like that,” Jeremy grumbled with a blush.
“Okay... but... do you have any idea how rude it is for you to insist on coming with so that you can a good look at some naked people?” Sadiya tried to gently get him to see that his request was bordering on offensive. It was sort of like calling up the nudist neighbors and insisting to be allowed to drop in unannounced so that he could get a good look at them before deciding that they were decent neighbors after all.
“I thought that nudists didn't have a problem letting others see them naked,” Jeremy stated, confused by the way that she kept twisting his words to make him sound like some sort of deviant.
Sadiya laughed. “They don't because they're all naked! How would you like it if Joss brought home his boyfriend's parents, and they immediately stripped down and then lounged around on your couch? All the while scrutinizing you to see if there's something wrong with you. That's basically what you're asking to do.” She tilted her head to the side as a thought occurred to her. “Only in reverse.”
Hayleigh chuckled. “You should give up all hope of ever winning an argument against her!”
“That's only because she can talk in circles until I forget what the real issue is!” Jeremy exclaimed in frustration.
“Why don't we both go?” Hayleigh suggested. “Then we can support each other as we try to fit in with the natives – so to speak.”
Jeremy nodded. “That's a good idea.”
Joss cleared his throat. “I'd like to go too...”
Hunter shrugged. “I wouldn't mind going either.” Though Sadiya didn't know it, he had recently worked through some self image issues about his body not too long before she came to live with them, and was now confident that he could handle even this.
Hayleigh and Jeremy exchanged looks of concern bordering on alarm. “I don't know...”
“Why not?” Joss wondered.
Hayleigh fumbled to find the right words, but ultimately blurted. “Naked people!”
“Exactly,” Joss agreed. “No clothes to divide people up by class or cliques. Just a bunch of people hanging out getting to know one another rather than judge based on first impressions.”
That's a bit naive!” Jeremy snorted. “People will still judge each other, only now they'll have nothing to go by but stomach flab and the size of one's package!”
Sadiya laughed. “Oh yeah...” she almost sneered with sarcasm. “Because all nudists do all day is have contests to see whose is bigger!” She tapped her fairly ample chest. “A contest I usually win!”
Holding her side as she laughed, she grabbed her now cooled but still warm slice of bread and carried it up the stairs so she could change into something suitable for yoga at the gym to work off all this gluttony!
“I rather think she disagrees with you,” Joss murmured.
Jeremy looked to his wife, and she looked to her son. He nodded to indicate that he really was curious about the campground and wanted to go check it out. He and his mom had used to share a small bathroom, so seeing each other naked wasn't an issue.
“I guess there isn't a good reason why they can't,” Hayleigh admitted with a shrug.
Jeremy put a hand on his son's shoulder. “Are you sure?” At Joss' nod, Jeremy sighed. “Okay, I guess we can all go.”
Since Sadiya was an extremely quick changer, she was already walking back down the stairs in a black pair of yoga pants and a hot pink tank top that said “Goddess” in fake jewels across her breasts.
“Cool! So we go on Friday?”
Jeremy liked that he was his own boss and could just spontaneously decide to go on vacation like this. “Sounds good to me.”
“Me too,” Hayleigh agreed with a suddenly nervous smile. “I wonder if I should go to the gym...”
“That's where I'm headed, but I doubt it'll create the miracle you're hoping for before tomorrow.” Sadiya didn't mean this to be rude. Personally, she thought that Hayleigh was chubby in a cute way.
Hayleigh sighed. “You're right...” A new thought occurred to her. “Should I go shopping for a new bathing suit?” A campground rather implied some sort of swimming opportunity after all.
Sadiya cleared her throat significantly. “Ahem... a nudist resort...” She grinned at Hayleigh merrily. “No bathing suits allowed!”
Hayleigh continued to gape at her even after she was out the door and getting into her car. “Oh boy! What have I gotten myself into?!”
Sadiya rubbed her temples to ward off a headache.
“I feel like I'm forgetting something!” Joss wailed.
“May I remind you yet again that this is a nudist resort! Unless you plan to stay the entire summer and will therefore need clothes to wear while you grocery shop – or something – you won't need any of that!”
“What if it rains?” Joss wondered, trying hard not to whine.
“Find shelter!” Sadiya replied with a chuckle.
“What if it's unseasonably cold?” Joss asked.
“Bring a pair of sweatpants and a shirt for situations like that, but you do not need a week's worth of coordinated outfits considering that you will probably be going home with your dad tonight,” Sadiya reminded him.
Jeremy and Hayleigh really only wanted to visit for a couple of hours, and planned to leave just before or just after dinner. They had agreed to stay longer if they decided they really liked it, but they were almost certain that wouldn't happen.
Even so, Joss was packing as if he planned to move in there permanently!
“I don't think you even packed this much for your trip to New York!” Sadiya laughed.
Joss sighed, and then agreed with a laugh. He promptly grabbed a smaller bag and filled it with his essential skin care products. Then, he brought a basic change of clothes in case it really did happen to drop to freezing while they were there.
Sadiya didn't even bring that much. She already had a couple basic outfits – to cover any weather changes – stashed at the cabin, so all she really needed was her purse. And her Laptop!
“Thank God for free Wi-Fi!” She praised, knowing that the campground had decided to provide it for their regulars a couple of years ago due to popular demand. Mainly her loud and insistent one!
She pulled out her cellphone and changed her voicemail message. “Hi, you've reached Sadiya. I've gone incommunicado until further notice; so, if you need me, leave a message and I'll get back to you when I return to planet Earth! Have a nice day!”
Joss snorted in amusement as she hung up. “That actually sounds about accurate for what we're planning to do.”
They carried their things down the stairs and then set them next to the door.
“I made sandwiches to eat on the way,” Hayleigh informed them.
“I think you and Hunter should ride with me on the way there,” Sadiya suggested.
“And miss out on our excellent conversation?!” Jeremy teased.
“Uh...” Hunter replied indecisively.
“I'm driving my dad's Corvette...” Sadiya dangled the bait in a singsong voice.
“I'd love to ride with you and Joss! Can I drive?” Hunter gushed.
“No wonder you asked me to bring it home from the garage,” Jeremy muttered jealously.
They each grabbed their share of the sandwiches, then divided into the two vehicles. They would have taken only one, but the plan was still to leave Sadiya there when they were satisfied that she would be fine, and let her come home on her own when she was ready.
On the way there – it was only about an hour away – Sadiya was happy to discover that due to their involvement in choir, both Joss and Hunter had a wide range of taste in music and were happy with anything she decided to play. They all sang happily and as loudly as possible to drown out the roar of the wind since there was no air conditioning but the windows.
As they got closer – which Sadiya signaled by forming a 1 and then a 0 with her fingers – Hunter tapped her on the shoulder and gestured for her to turn the radio down.
“So how does this work? Do we get there and immediately strip in front of a firing squad, or do we get to unload the car and settle into your cabin first?” Hunter asked.
“Strip or be shot!” Sadiya stated with a crazy gleam in her eye.
“I figured...” Hunter muttered, and then sat back – he was in the back seat – to contemplate how much confidence he really had.
“What if...” Joss asked hesitantly. “We decide we just can't do it?”
Sadiya sent him a sympathetic smile. “In reality, almost everyone wears clothes from time to time. Maybe they're cold. Maybe they're sunburnt. Maybe they got their period and feel inordinately fat! No one is going to jump down your throat about it.”
She slowed the car down and turned into the long, tree-lined, private driveway. She'd already given her uncle her remote control to the security gate, so she entered a password into it in order to get into the members only campground.
Pulling ahead just far enough to not be in their way, she waited for her uncle to wait for the gate to close again and then open it with the remote control. She could almost hear him appreciate that there was some security measures in place to protect all these “Crazy naked people!”
He got through the gate and Sadiya led him to her cabin. The way the campground was set up, just about all the entertainment – along with the main office – was situated in the center of a large squarish circle. One side of the circle was practically joined to the tall wall that kept prying eyes out. The cabins, trailers, RVs, and tents all fanned out from the center of this circle on two of the sides. The third side was occupied by a fairly large – originally man-made – pond that was now a complete ecosystem full of fish and other wildlife – but thankfully not leaches!
Sadiya parked directly in front of her cabin – which was part of the first row – in a spot that clearly had been worn down over the years by cars. She gestured for her uncle to park next to her in a spot that was obviously part of the cabin's front yard.
Sadiya was out of the car and stripping about two seconds later. As she did so, the rest of her family emerged slowly, taking in the large playground full of naked kids, and the field of lawn chairs where people of almost all ages tried to cultivate a tan.
A handful of teens jumped to their feet. “Sadiya!” They shouted as they raced to greet her.
Sadiya squealed happily and ran to meet them halfway. They smothered her in a group hug, bouncing excitedly. The biggest boy lifted her off her feet and started carrying her to the pond.
“Throw her! Throw her!” The rest chanted encouragingly as she shrieked and pretended to fight.
A woman came over to Jeremy and his wife. “You must be Sadiya's aunt and uncle. She told us you were coming, and explained the situation.”
“I think I recognize you from the funeral,” Jeremy muttered.
The woman nodded. “Yes, I was there. I'm Emily of Ron and Emily, not of Steve and Emily. We maintain privacy by not giving out our last names.” She pointed to Hunter and Joss. “You two can go swim with your cousin while I give your parents the tour.”
By this time, Sadiya was screaming bloody murder as her friend threw her off the end of the dock. The pond was plenty deep enough here that she wouldn't get hurt, but not so deep that she might drown. She easily stood up – the water covering her chin until she went onto her tiptoes.
“Cannonball!” All the other teens shouted as they jumped into the pond with her. The entire camp had heard Sadiya screaming, and correctly assumed that someone had been thrown into the pond. More teens emerged from their trailers.
“Looks fun,” Joss stated with relief, and then slowly removed his clothes.
“That's the spirit!” Emily cheered him on.
Hunter shrugged and then stripped too. It helped set his mind at ease that literally everyone was naked on this hot and sunny day. There were also plenty of people with less than perfect bodies.
Hayleigh also took note of the variety of shapes and sizes. She had rather assumed that this would be a camp full of Baywatch models who would politely tolerate her chubbiness out of respect for Sadiya. When Jeremy saw his wife start taking off her clothes, he found the courage to remove his too.
“Huzzah!” A couple of people cheered, then waved in a friendly promise to chat after the couple finished the tour.
Emily's husband finally joined her, kissing her to emphasize his apology. “Sorry, I was in the can!”
“This is my husband Ron, and we are one of several couples who volunteer to welcome newcomers,” Emily explained.
“First of all, should you happen to like it here and want to become members – you're able to be added to Sadiya's membership no problem.... after you pass a background check. We don't care about anything but the fact that you're not child molesters or registered sex offenders,” Ron hastily assured them to soften the blow of having a background check.
“Or prone to violent crimes!” Emily added. “After that, you're in.”
Jeremy felt a hundred times better about letting his son wander off towards the pond to swim with the other noisy teens. He watched them approach the pond hesitantly, as if still not quite sure what to expect.
“Do we then have to pay a membership fee?” Hayleigh wondered.
Ron and Emily exchanged frowns. “Didn't Sadiya tell you?”
“Tell us what?” Jeremy questioned, bracing himself for some terrible secret.
“That her father, well I mean his father was one of the three founders. That's why her cabin is right up front,” Emily explained.
“That means that she's now one third owner of this little place,” Ron clarified.
Emily continued. “So long as you have her permission to stay in her cabin, and remain members in good standing – by not breaking any of the rules – then you don't have to worry about membership fees.”
Ron took over. “If you decide that you want a lot of your own – however – then you'll be subjected to lot fees.”
“Oh...” Jeremy murmured in amazement. “You know, my parents were seriously wrong about the man my sister married! They constantly told me that he was a lazy, good for nothing dreamer, but he apparently built up quite an inheritance to leave to my niece!”
Ron laughed goodnaturedly. “My parents started bringing me here when I was a teenager, so I got to be pretty good friends with John – and later Candi. He was something of a lazy dreamer, but he also liked to help people.”
“Which is probably why he opened a massage therapy shop,” Jeremy admitted in sudden realization.
“Yep!” Ron stated as if congratulating him on a correct answer.
Emily pressed her hands to her cheeks. “Poor Sadiya! I can't imagine what it must be like to suddenly own not just one business, but three!”
Ron nodded in sympathy.
“Why all the last week of May, the volunteers who get this place ready for the summer near hounded her with decisions she had to make before we could officially open for the season!” Emily nearly wailed.
Jeremy flinched as he remembered Sadiya complaining about being understaffed while all her businesses were picking up. “Right...”
“It would have been so much easier on her, I'm sure, if she had just come up to stay through most of May like she normally does,” Emily remarked.
“John let her handle the resort the last couple of years,” Ron explained. “The other two owners are getting a bit too old to lend a hand, and neither of them have kids or grandkids who are interested in this place – so, according to the original charter – if they die while none of their next of kin have ever visited this place, then their shares revert to the other owners.”
“Looks like Sadiya will be sole owner here in 10 years or so,” Emily stated, and then shook her head. “Listen to us! Gossiping like Joan and Melissa! Come on, let's start on that tour!”
Go To Chapter 5
Go To Chapter 5