Saturday, 15 December 2012

Never Forget Chapter One!

Firstly, congratulations to the winners of the giveaways! I hope you enjoy your new books and don't forget to leave us reviews! :)

Second, in the giveaway post I said I'd give away e-copies of Lily; The Witch Hunter and Prophecy when I hit 100 likes on my Facebook page. I've changed my mind. Instead, I'm giving away a SIGNED COPY of A Magical History, Book 1 in The Mauve Legacy. This giveaway will be international, so don't be afraid to like. I should probably also mention that the requirements for entry will be liking my Facebook page, too.

Third - Bloggers! I've set the Never Forget COVER REVEAL date for the 7th January 2013. It is categorized as New Adult Contemporary Romance (at least in my mind!) but can pass for Mature YA. If you're interested in being a part of it - and I'd love you to be! - you can sign up on my website here: https://sites.google.com/site/emmahartofficial/events

Fourth - I have the first chapter of Never Forget for you. Think of it as an early Christmas Present, guys :) I'd love to hear what you think, so leave a comment. Now, enjoy!!


~

Chapter One

WELCOME TO LILAC BAY.

I purse my lips in aggravation. Of all the places to spend the summer, my parents have chosen here. My mother, the socialite, has chosen to spend her summer a million miles away from the designer boutiques on Oxford Street she covets. My father, the estate agent to the rich and famous, has chosen to spend his summer in a place where the houses barely hit the hundred thousand pound mark.
Me, I've chosen to spend my summer at home.
But at 17, I'm a minor. So my choices don't count.
I turn the volume on my iPod down and pull an ear bud out as my mum waves for my attention.
"We'll be there in ten minutes, Lexy. At least try and smile for your Grandmother. She's really looking forward to seeing you." Mum tries for a smile at my unrelenting angry face.
"I'll smile for Grammy. Not for you." I reply and replace my ear bud, turning the volume up and looking back out of the window.
The pavements are filled with the locals. Impatient toddlers cling to trouser legs as their parents stop to say hi to everyone. Teens gather on the corners, smoking and listening to music. Old people trudge down the streets, taking assistance from anyone who offers it, which, in this town, is easy to come by.
There aren't any tourists. That's obvious. Lilac Bay is too out of the way to even get those during the summer. I haven't been here for five years but I still know every street, every turn, every corner. I know the way to the beach like the back of my hand, and I have a feeling that'll be a good thing this year.
If I can't be in the city with my friends, the beach isn't a bad alternative. But why can't it be like, Spain or something?
I love my Grammy, I really do, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing her, but I just don't want to be here. Did I mention that? Of course I did. It's all my parents have heard from me for the last month. I begged them to let me stay with Jayna, my best friend, but they said no, of course.
So I'm destined to two months of torture. No bars, no clubs, no friends.
It's gonna be the worst summer on record. Ever.
Under the salty smell of the sea the distinct, unmistakeable scent of cow poo drifts to my nose. Of course, how could I forget that beautiful smell? Oh, good old Devon. It's always full of it. I wrinkle my face up and press the button to shut my window.
Dad pulls the car up outside the small, two storey cottage I know so well. Pink rose bushes still climb around the door in a random pattern, the white window panes are immaculate, and the white paint on the exterior is slightly cracked and weathered. Too many flowers crowd the beds lining the cobbled path up to the little wooden door.
The door opens revealing the salt and pepper haired, wrinkled woman I know and love as my Grammy. One side of my mouth curls up as I see her and I rip the headphones from my ears. I push the door open - not too enthusiastically, after all, I don't want my parents knowing I'm even a little excited - and skip down the pathway to her.
"Lexy girl!" Grammy cries, wrapping her arms round me.
"Hey, Grammy." I hug her back and take in her distinctive scent of roses, fresh blossoms and a hint of freshly baked bread. "How are you?"
"Still alive, dear, still alive." She chuckles and moves to hug the parents.
I shake my head - I've forgotten her dark sense of humour. Of course, at 68 years old she would be glad she was still alive.
"Mum, it's been too long." Mum says and embraces Grammy.
"I know, love. I've missed you." She replies.
Grammy moves to Dad and greets him the same way. I look around as the sea breeze ruffles through my long, dark hair.
Grammy must have every type of flower possible in her front garden. Roses, hyacinth, tulip, growing sunflowers, pansies, and everything else you can think of. I'd bet my favourite Gucci purse she'd spent half her pension on her garden already this summer.
"Lexy?" Mum's voice pulls me back from my musings and I look up. "Grab your bags from the car, sweetie. Grammy wants to show you your new room."
"My new room?" I turn to Grammy.
"Of course, dear," she chuckles and clucks her falsies. "I highly doubt you're much into Westlife these days, so I had your room redecorated for you."
I smile as I remember my unhealthy love of my favourite boy band. If I'm honest, I still love them, but I'd never admit it. Not to anyone but Grammy, anyway. I grab my suitcase and duffel bag from the boot of the car and follow her into the cottage. I heave the fit-to-burst suitcase up the old, wooden stairs after her and into my room.
"Here we are, Lexy girl." Grammy pushes the door open and I gasp.
The once Westlife plastered, pink room is now a powder blue and white. Thin, gauzy curtains flutter at the open window, and a shell design quilt lies on the bed. The walls are decorated with driftwood frames filled with local beach shots and shells hanging on string. White wooden furniture accompanies the new design, and I turn to my Grammy with adoration in my eyes.
"I love it, thank you, Grammy." I hug her and she grips me back.
I can feel her spine under my hands. She's lost weight since I've seen her.
She pulls back and smiles at me widely. "Don't worry, dear," she winks, "your albums are in a box under the bed."
I crinkle my eyes and grin. "You're the best."
"That's what they all say," she sighs. "I'm going to check on your parents, you'll be okay here?"
I look around my room again. "I'll be more than okay."
"Good." She turns and shuffles off, stopping at the top of the stairs. "Do you know when your brother will be here?"
"He said he'd try to get here on Monday." I call over my shoulder and enter my room properly.
Grammy's cottage is high up, and from my window I have an amazing view of the Bay. I've spent too many summers to count at Lilac Bay, sitting on the beach collecting shells, rock pooling, and building endless sandcastles. I smile wistfully at my childhood memories and pull the curtains aside for a clearer look.
The grass from the dunes sways in the wind, and the golden sand stretches out for a mile. One end of the bay is covered with rocks, perfect for rock pooling and climbing. Pebbles are scattered on the sand around them, and the outgoing tide reaches for them desperately, only to be pulled away empty handed.
Movement catches my eye from below on Grammy's garden. I move my eyes from the Bay and towards her herb patch.
A boy – can I call him a boy? - is working there, digging, planting and watering. I watch with slight interest as his muscles ripple below his shirt which clings tight to him due to the hot weather. He pauses and runs a muddy hand through his dark brown, messy hair, making it stick up in all directions. I instinctively move my hand to smooth my own when he looks up, straight at me.
I get a good look at his face. Under the mass of brown hair stormy, blue grey eyes hide. His features are clearly defined, his skin tanned from the current heat wave rolling through the country. Even the dirt streaked across his face doesn't mar his obvious good looks. He raises a hand up to me in greeting and smiles. Even from my window, his dimples do not escape my notice.
Oh, dimples.
Why is it always those that get me?
I smile tightly and step away from the window, replacing the curtain.
I'm not here to make friends.
~

After unpacking my monstrous suitcase, I shower and change into a simple strap top and shorts. My wet hair is piled atop of my head in a messy twist and I have on the bare minimum of make-up.
I trudge my way down the stairs towards the smell of pasta. Tomato, basil and cheese fills the air and my stomach rumbles. Oh, how I've missed my Grammy's cooking.
"Something smells good," I compliment, resting my chin on her shoulder and gazing into the pan. I make to steal the spoon and she slaps my hand away.
"Alexis, leave it alone. You're just like your mother when she was your age."
"Mum was practically married at my age." I point out and run the tap to let the cold water through before shoving a glass under it and filling it. "I, however, am nowhere near such a thing."
"Not even a boyfriend?"
"Like I have time for a boyfriend."
"You must have a few admirers?" Grammy turns and her eyes are sparkling. Of course, she wants a girlie chat. Because that's what 68 year old women do with their 17 year old granddaughter.
"A few." I shrug non-committally and place my empty glass on the side. "I have an education to worry about, Grammy."
"Of course, you're off to university in the summer. How did you do in your a-levels?"
I wrinkle my face. "Okay, I think. We don't get the results for a few weeks, but mine are forwarded to come here."
"Well," she shuffles about getting plates from the cupboards. "I'm sure you'll be fine. You have your father's brains. Be a dear and set the table for me." She hands me the plates and I move into the adjoining dining room.
Despite how old the cottage is, Grammy has sliding French doors installed in the dining room that lead straight into the back garden. The doors are open, leaving a refreshing breeze flowing through.
I finish setting the table as the antique grandfather clock in the living room chimes five o'clock.
"Good to see you helping out, Lexy." Mum comments as she breezes in in a maxi dress. Designer, of course. Not for the first time, I wonder how growing up in a small, country beach town made my mum into London's favourite socialite.
"I always help Grammy out," I reply curtly and sit down.
"I know, I just thought you would have grown out of that by now." She smiles and I grunt.
So what if a part of me is happy to be here? I'm still destined to spend two months in a place where I know no-one.
"Here we go," Grammy says, walking in with the sauce in a bowl. Dad follows behind with a large bowl of pasta. They both take a seat after setting them in the middle of the table and I notice there's an extra place set.
"Grammy?" I ask across the table. "Why are there five places set?"
"For Alec," she responds, leaning back. "Alec! Dinner's ready, dear."
"Who's Alec?" I look at both of my parents then back to her.
"I am." A voice says from the doorway. I turn to see the boy who was working in the garden earlier.
"I'll just go and get cleaned up, Vi." He says to Grammy. "Don't worry about waiting for me."
"Okay, dear." Grammy replies and pats his arm with a wrinkled hand. He strolls from the room and I tilt my head questioningly.
"Who is he?"
"My help," Grammy smiles.
"Your help?" I ask, incredulously.
"Well yes. I'm almost 70 and I can't do the things I used to. He keeps the garden sorted in the summer whenever I need him, so I expect you'll be seeing a lot of him this year." Her eyes twinkle with something akin to excitement.
"Nice try, Grammy." I laugh and grab the pasta spoon. I know exactly what the old bat is up to, and I'm not having any of it.
She smiles as the object of our discussion enters the room.
"I feed the boy if he's been working all day."
"I always tell her she doesn't need to," Alec takes the seat opposite me and smiles, showing his dimples. "She pays me enough but she insists on feeding me."
"Well I love to cook," Grammy responds, "and I have no-one to do it for anymore. It gets a little lonely here by myself sometimes, so it's nice to have the company of a dashing young man a few times a week." She winks at him and I roll my eyes.
"Honestly, Grammy. You're incorrigible. What would Granddad think?" I mock scold her.
"He'd probably say 'good on ya for gettin' yourself a younger lad, Vi.'" Dad laughs.
I let out a small laugh and look down.
"You're right there, Si." Grammy pats Dad's hand. "Oh, Alec. Excuse my manners, I haven't introduced you to my family."
"It's okay, Vi. You've been looking forward to this for weeks. I'm happy to sit back and let you have your fun." Alec winks at her and she beams.
"Well anyway, this is my daughter, Emily, her husband Si, and my granddaughter Alexis. But she likes to be called Lexy." She adds in a conspiratorial whisper.
"It's a pleasure to meet you all," Alec says with his eyes fixed on mine.
Did I mention his eyes before? That lovely blue grey colour the sea goes before a storm hits. The kind of colour you could look in anticipation at forever...
"And you," I say politely, a sweet smile on my face. I draw my eyes from his and focus on my pasta.
"So, Alec," Mum begins, "I hope my mother isn't working you too hard. She used to have all of us out there each summer tending to her plants.''
"Oh no ma'am, I don't mind. There's nothing wrong with a bit of hard work..."
I tune out of the conversation and admire Grammy's back garden as I eat. I can see strawberries ready to ripen, blueberries nearly ready for picking, and a lavender plant blooming. The little pond at the end is home to several types of fish, and the wire mesh over the top keeps the cats out.
"Lexy," Dad says disapprovingly.
"I'm sorry." I turn my head back to the conversation.
"Your mother was trying to speak to you."
"Sorry, Mum. What were you saying?" I ask her.
She teases some of her dark hair behind her ear. "I was just wondering why you can't bring a nice boy like Alec home. That last one was dreadful."
I choke on my pasta and Grammy pats my back. I smile gratefully and notice her eyes are twinkling mischievously again. Damn woman!
"Okay, first, we've had this conversation a million times and you know I want my education before I worry about guys, unless the right one comes along. Second, the 'last one', Harry, wasn't my boyfriend. He's gay." I raise my eyebrows. "And third, you've known Alec ten minutes. no offence, I'm sure he's a lovely guy," yeah I bet, "but you don't know him, so can we please stop talking about my relationship status."
Alec laughs. "No offence taken."
Mum shakes her head. "I can't take you anywhere, Lexy."
I motion to Alec. "He already said he didn't take offence to my words."
"I actually respect that," Alec put in, "I don't mean to butt in, but I think it's great you're more worried about your education that having a boyfriend."
"Thank you." I smile at him across the table.
"Oh, dear, that reminds me." Grammy taps the table. "I ran into.. What's her name? The girl you used to play with."
My brow furrows as I think. "Do you mean Jen?"
"Yes!" Grammy claps her hands. "Well I ran into her yesterday at the post office and told her about you coming here for the summer and she said you should give her a call. She gave me her number and I put it somewhere.." Grammy gets up and wanders over to her bag on the counter. She rifles through it.
"You put it on the fridge so you wouldn't lose it, Vi." Alec tells her.
Grammy looks at the fridge and pulls it off. "Here it is. So I did, thank you, Alec."
"Any time." He says sincerely and stands. "Thank you for another lovely meal, Vi, but I better be going before mum wonders where I am." He looks at all of us. "It was lovely to meet you all."
"And you, love." Mum says with a smile. Dad stands and they shake hands. I wave half-heartedly, my attention on the bit of paper Grammy hands me.
"I'm gonna go call her now, okay?" I stand and disappear from the room.
Alec is just leaving as I reach the bottom of the stairs.
"Bye, Lexy." He smiles and shuts the door.
"Yeah, bye." I say after him and bounce up the stairs into my room.
I snatch my phone from my pillow and dial her number.
She picks up after three rings.
"Hello?"
"Hey, is this Jen?"
"Yeah, who's this? Oh, oh! Lexy, is that you?" She exclaims.
"The one and only!" I laugh.
"Oh it's so good to hear your voice. What's it been?"
"Five years." I say, almost regretfully.
"Wow, that's ages. How have you been?"
We get the pleasantries out the way and I find myself laughing and smiling as if we'd never lost contact.
"Anyway, what are you doing tomorrow?" Jen asks.
"Nothing, why?"
"I'm heading down to the bay with my boyfriend, Carl. Fancy coming with us? He'll be surfing and it's sooo boring on my own."
"Yeah, sure. What time?"
We make plans and I hang up. I lie back on my bed and sigh.
Maybe it won't be so bad to spend the summer here after all.

2 comments:

  1. I am obsessed with NA!(: And this sounds good; can't wait to check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! I've tentatively set a release date of February 22nd. :)

    ReplyDelete