Bailey could feel her toes now. They had been short of circulation from being on her feet for nine hours. Oh, Mary would let her rest for a while in between her work but she had went in a steady pace trying to get done before dark all the cleaning to Mary's son Andrew's room. He was due to arrive the following day around lunch time and she wanted to get done cleaning so she could have tomorrow for preparing the lunch meal.
Excitement and curiosity had taken over Bailey's heart and mind wondering what this Andrew would be like in person. She had seen pictures of him through his growing up period from Mary's photo collection. A handsome boy in a military academy suit or a young boy wielding a softball bat with a cap on his head staring back at her with deep brown eyes and a variety of sandy brown colored hair that had darkened to a more dark brown color according to his more recent photos. Bailey had dusted enough of them to know his features but "What was he really like?" was the question that she kept asking herself.
Bailey had been working for Mary almost three months and during that time Mary had worried about her falling behind in school, so she set up for Bailey to have tutoring in the evenings. It would be enough to keep her study up with her class until she enrolled in the private school next Fall. Bailey was looking forward to then and the trip to Darrington Harbor to show her the city and get her use to where everything was. Mary told her the harbor was beautiful with seagulls and trees and wildflowers and the dark blue-green waters to look at forever. "Andrew and I made it our Summer home before he went to St, Richards Academy. We love it there and I know you will too." Mary had informed her with a glimmer in her eyes. "I found rest and peace there after my divorce with Andrew's father."
Sarah had talked everything over with Mary and agreed to allow Bailey to travel to Darrington Harbor with Mary and her son Andrew. Things had become less constrained between Sarah and Mary lately reviving the memory of the joys from their childhood days before John Taylor became a division between the two of them.
Bailey's heart had been so light lately that her mother could not ignore the excitement and the thought of telling her child no would have meant stifling that joy, and Sarah could not hold her child back that way. "Surely Mary will keep her safe." was the thought in her heart.
Andrew was tired from the five hour bus ride from St. Richards and had no desire to stand and make small talk with this fifteen year old girl standing in front of him. His mother had told him a young girl named Bailey Cramer had been working for her and that she was a hard worker. This made no difference to Andrew,or so he thought, considering he was used to the prissy girls in St. Richard's city limits that had not raised a finger for themselves a day in their life, not to mention she had no frilly side of her at all with her hair pulled back and her clothes as good as a secondhand store could give, she had no appeal to him at all. Looking at her almond shaped blue-green eyes prettier than any he had ever seen before, for someone not interested in her at all his glance had become such as to embarrass this fifteen year old girl. Andrew looked away trying to hide his obvious curiosity.
Mary took the time to introduce them before guiding Andrew to the kitchen where their lunch awaited them. "Bailey has been hard at work this morning making a special meal for you, Drew." Mary could tell Bailey was taken aback by her sons open curiosity and tried to make up for his being impolite by trying to ignore her.Seeing the dining table spread with some of foods he recognised as his favorite from the chicken salad sandwiches to the baked potatoes filled with sour cream and bacon and onion to the chocolate brownies and chocolate layer cake awaiting it's ladle of ice cream after the main dish was eaten and over with. Andrew couldn't hide his surprise and Bailey's eyes shone with eagerness to please this young tall boy's expectations.
"Well, he at least likes my cooking." Bailey thought to herself as she cleared the table while Mary and her son lounged in the side room. She could hear them talking, catching a word here and there, over top of the noise of her clanging the dishes together. A handsome boy he was but he definitely had a high and mighty attitude about him. Which, to Bailey, was expected considering he was from a wealthy family.
Their lives were filled with days of showing Andrew the hometown sights of Myers Point, which to him, was not much exciting but to Bailey being seen with this good looking boy at her side being tutored on the history as they explored the city limits. Bailey could'nt help but wonder how he would react if he saw the small white house that sat on a hill up Jacob's Hollow that had been her home for fifteen years until his mother offered her a job.
Over the next few weeks Bailey had managed to soften Andrew to the town's charm. After all, how many places did he know that had Cherokee ancestry in most of their background. Bailey's mother Sarah was part Cherokee herself and possessed a lot of the features which had been passed on to Bailey. Although, the blond in Bailey's hair had come from her father's Scottish decent, her mother had Irish ancestry as well. Bailey had been proud of her family until she had encountered this boy with the deep brown eyes and the dark brown hair that seemed to be so bored with visiting his mother's hometown.
"I know" Mary said one afternoon "why don't you two take the car and go see Bailey's home. Sarah has been wanting to see Andrew and talk about Darrington Harbor." Seeing the shock of surprise on Bailey's face, Mary said "I've talked to your mother and she knows that I was going to send you all there today. So, it won't be a surprise, she's expecting you." Little did she know that Bailey was'nt worried about what her mother would think but what would Andrew think about her humble home compared to his mother's elaborately decorated one.
On the ride through Taylor Ridge, Bailey told Andrew his great grandfather Matthias Taylor had owned the ridge untill they moved to Myer's Point where he, like his grandson after him, had become mayor of the city. The beauty of the freshly bloomed and leaved-out trees and the wildflowers spread over the hills in various colors seemed to be missed by the young boy sitting in the driver's seat. But little did she know that Andrew longed in his heart for a home with a mother and a father.
Sarah had been anticipating Bailey and Andrew's arrival with extra cleaning and new curtains and covers sewn from material Jen had found on sale for her at Tripoli's Department Store. Sarah had learned to sew from when she was a child and making doll clothes and graduating to making her own and her family's as well. The transformation was a surprise even to Sarah herself. She brought in the spring flowers from their yard and made fresh bouquets for the sitting room and one for the kitchen-dining room. Sarah had supper ready and waiting for the two to arrive. All was ready inside their home but was she ready to see John's son? Did he look like him and how much of his father would there be in Mary's boy?
As the car pulled up the drive from the lower road, Bailey saw her mother standing at the door ready to greet them as they approached. For some odd reason, at that moment, Bailey felt pride for her mother. Not the beauty of her features but the beauty of her mother's heart had somehow been impressed upon her.
Bailey saw Andrew's reaction at his first glance of her mother. Almost an older replica of Bailey but with darker hair. The same eyes looked back at him from the front door as Sarah greeted them and hugged her daughter and led them inside to the sitting room. That's where Bailey's eyes opened wide at seeing her mother's new sewing creations and it's transformation.Breathing a sigh of relief, Bailey said a silent thank-you to her mother for her hard work.
With the evening moving along, Sarah had Andrew laughing and talking about his academy instructors and the other students trying to make it through their sessions with little baubles of being teenage boys in a military school. "Next year will be my final year there and then I"ll be going to university in the fall." Andrew had a puzzled look on his face when he said "I really don't even know what I want to study. My dad wants me to be an engineer but Mom wants me to study law. It feels like I don't even have a say about what I want. after all, they're the ones paying for it."
"You're the one that has to live a lifetime of doing that job, Andrew, so make it something you enjoy." Sarah said with thoughts of her own lack of education. "What are you interested in.....as a future job, I mean?"
"Well, I enjoy military school. I would like to join the military; mainly the Navy where I can study marine biology at least for four years and then go to the university for further study. Our home at Darrington Harbor has become part of me and I can't seem to find any other thing I would rather do than be around the ocean." Andrew had a gleam that Bailey had never seen before. Since she had known him, Andrew had held so much of himself inside that Bailey had become in awe of what her mother had gotten out of him in one evening.
With the evening with her mother over, Bailey and Andrew set off to make their way back to the city.Making conversation Bailey brought up his interest in the ocean "How long have you been interested in marine biology,Andrew?"
"Almost from the time we started living near one. Mom thinks it's not a real ambition. The harbor city has the biggest aquarium in the coastal state with marine life of all kinds. Mom herself would take me there every Saturday afternoon. We would make a day of it by eating lunch in the nearby cafe and bringing our milkshakes with us to the aquarium." After a pause he added "She's part of the reason I have the interest."
Trying to lighten his mood and because she really did want a milkshake, Bailey suggested they stop at Polly's Drive-in on the way back to Leads Street. They had stopped there before on the way through as Bailey was showing him their home town. Anything would have been enough to keep her in company with Andrew. The new open side of him that her mother had brought out in him had served to make her heart draw even closer to this boy that she thought had a shallow heart and a self-centered attitude.
It was Friday June the fourth when Mary, Andrew, and Bailey loaded the vehicle for their two week stay in Darrington Harbor. With a long trip ahead of them, they were before daylight getting up and out on the road with Mary's coffee in a thermos and donuts and milk in the cooler along with sandwiches that Bailey had made the night before. Snacks and things to munch on took up the space on the seat opposite to Bailey in the back with the cooler being in the floorboard. The new 1954 Chevy Mary had bought before her move to Myer's Point made a roomy expanse for Bailey and no feelings of having to ride in the back seat would overshadow her excitement of seeing Andrew's ocean that he spoke so much of these past few weeks.
The next four hours were spent talking and listening to the radio and with Mary and Andrew relaying memories of the bay where their home was perched on top of a small hill with a lookout tower that served as a makeshift lighthouse in years gone by until the harbor had built a real lighthouse in the 1920's. Mary had threatened to tear it down but Andrew had begged her to leave it as it was with the promise to never go inside the ran-shackled building.
Lunchtime had come and gone with the sandwiches being eaten and the thermos being three fourths emptied and the munch-ables being torn into, when Bailey caught the most beautiful sight she had ever seen. The water so blue with the waves rushing to the shore with it's natural path edging to the rocks that lined the cliff edge. With the car moving slowly along the narrow road that lead to a grove of trees, Bailey caught a glimpse of a house nestled deep inside of their shelter. Forgetting his staid indifference to the young Bailey and seeing the excitement in her eyes at the first glimpse of his home that he loved so dearly, Andrew took her by the hand and cautiously lead her down a small pathway that ran along the cliffs edge. Bailey hung back not as confident of the pathway as Andrew and she chose to walk on the opposite side of the cliff with Andrew sheltering her from the edge. With her cheeks rosy from the excitement and the ocean breeze, Andrew could'nt help but take a new and second look at Bailey. She was becoming someone he could share this love of his ocean with.
With the rising of the sun, Bailey made her way to the screened in porch that ran along the front of the entire house. The house was what Mary called a bungalow with rock pathways and flowers etched along beside them here and there and trailing flowering vines growing along trellises on either side of the house. Mary had two large wind chimes hanging on each end of the porch and Bailey had went to sleep the night before hearing their music along with the sound of the ocean waves. The newness of Andrew's attention had also caused her heart to hope that maybe he could be interested in this girl from the hills of Taylor Ridge.
Bailey's first week at Darrington Harbor had passed with Andrew showing her the patch of beach where he had explored and foraged for seashells when he was a boy and with Mary trying to take him away long enough to show Bailey the town itself and get her acquainted with the girls school she was to attend in the fall. When she had asked him when she would get to see the aquarium, he said that it would be the last visit before the end of the stay at the harbor. He was intentionally making her wait until the end knowing that her curiosity had grown since their arrival here.
Showing Bailey the harbor was second nature for Andrew since he had ridden along with his mother on some of her sales visits with most of the stores and souvenir shops that her company supplied to the town. With going to the town's public school, Andrew had gotten acquainted with other youths and would venture down to the soda shops after school. This new friendship with Bailey reminded Mary of the old carefree Andrew before he went off to St. Richard's two years ago. The old Andrew would less remind her of his father John.
Bailey's heart had become so light with so much of Andrew's attention. He had managed to pass on his interest in aquatic life on to her. The only bad thing about the visit to the aquarium was that Andrew had left it for the last place to see and Bailey didn't want this vacation to end. Not just because of the beauty of the harbor but mainly because her heart would miss this boy with the deep brown eyes that had held so much of himself inside until he came to Darrington Harbor. Bailey would be back here in the Fall but Andrew would be miles away at St. Richard's Academy.
It was the last few days of the visit until the trip back to Myer's Point and the day for the aquarium had come giving Bailey a sinking feeling in her heart. The three of them were in the car on the way to see the creatures that caught so much of Andrew's attention and all three were filled with their individual thoughts.
In the aquarium, the very expanse of the structure was enough to overwhelm Bailey, not to mention the large glass windows where could be viewed various sharks like the tiger shark and others native to the coast. The tanks housed moray eels as well as sea turtles and game fish and goliath grouper and never to forget the river otters.Each were housed in tanks filled with sea kelp and corral and various ocean floor rocks to make a natural habitat for them. These were just a few of the main marine life creatures that Andrew showed Bailey. The day was spent at the aquarium with lunch being taken at the nearby cafe just as Andrew and Mary had always done before.
There was a dim iridescent glow over the ocean as the car pulled into the bungalow driveway. "A sign of a storm." was Mary's words. Making their way to the house, Mary instructed them to close the shutters on the screened porch and the side windows. Mary had the house built back in the trees to make a windbreak for it but she still had the shutters made and installed for added safety.
The storm lasted through the night with the three of them in the sitting room with the shortwave radio turned on at intervals to conserve batteries because the electricity had failed due to the storm winds. None of them could sleep no more than a few minutes at a time. Despite the shutters and the shelter of the trees the candles Mary had placed here and there were flickering as though they caught a breeze. A loud crash had resounded in the night and no one dared to investigate what it was but by daybreak, when the shutters could be pulled back and the outside was accessible to them, they discovered the loud crash was the old look out tower that had weathered so many storms before.
Two days later they were back in Myer's Point with Bailey heading home to Jacob's Hollow to her family for the weekend and Andrew preparing to travel on to Tripoli County to spend the rest of his Summer vacation with his father until his classes started in the Fall. John planned to take him North to see Canada for a week or two and explore it's fishing villages there. Mary planned to rest in her home on Leeds Street until she travelled back to Darrington Harbor with Bailey. She promised Sarah to stay near Bailey until she got settled. Mary even planned to travel back and forth a few months at the time to make sure she was okay. The plan was as much for Mary's peace of mind as Sarah's.
Andrew offered to drive Bailey home with the hope of talking to her before they had to go their separate ways. They both chatted about the harbor and their vacation there. Upon arrival at Bailey's home, Andrew helped her out of the car and, packing Bailey's new suitcases that Mary had bought for her before their trip, he deposited them at the front door. Bailey was about to ask him to stay when he leaned over from his six foot frame and placed a light kiss on her forehead as though he were saying goodbye to his sister or mother. Even so, it served to make her heart flutter and, as Andrew turned to make his way back to the car, Bailey felt the tears beginning to well up in her eyes. She watched him drive away until the mountain covered her view. She thought she loved him and even in her young heart she knew she wanted him to be her Andrew. The Andrew that was revealed to her in Darrington Harbor and taught her to love his ocean.