And yes, I cringe to read it. But, believe it or not, the Notebook version is worse.
Also, if you're interested in a sneak peek for book 3, click here to read the RP that became that installment.
Clara grinned as Rich put her suitcase on her hotel bed for her. “Clothes, stuff to do …” she listed off.
“Would books fall under the category of stuff to do?” asked Kath, Rich’s younger sister, raising a knowing eyebrow at Clara.
“However did you guess?” asked Clara. “I only brought a few books, though …”
“And how thick were these books?” questioned Kath.
In answer, Clara unzipped her bag and pulled out the books that she had put on top. “Jane Eyre,” she muttered, reading the titles, “David Copperfield, Alice in Wonderland … and Gone with the Wind.”
“And you’ve only read each, how many times?” asked Rhoda, the other friend that had come with them on their trip.
Clara wrinkled her nose, in thought. “I’ve read David Copperfield twice, Alice in Wonderland … I’ve lost count, Jane Eyre three times, but I’ve only read Gone with the Wind once.”
“Clara,” said Rhoda with a sigh, “had I been you, I would have only brought one book with me – one that I hadn’t read before. I mean, there’s lots more to do in Hawaii than just read.”
“Well, I do plan to swim, too,” said Clara. “Never actually have swum in the ocean before. Should be an interesting experience.”
“I’ll leave you girls to get settled in,” said Rich, shaking his head, and leaving the room.
“Parting is …” Clara began in an earnest tone, and the other two girls joined with an annoyed tone, “such sweet sorrow.” Then Clara added. “Romeo and Juliet.”
“Honestly, Clair,” said Kath, “you have a quote for everything.”
“Not everything,” contradicted Clara. “Leastwise, not yet. Give me a few more hundred books, and a couple hours each to study them, and then I might.” She then belly-flopped on her bed and opened Gone With the Wind and began to read.
Rhoda and Kath shook their heads at her. “Honestly, Clara,” said Rhoda. “Don’t you ever read anything that isn’t at least a hundred years old?” even though she knew this was a losing argument.
“Some of it’s only forty,” said Clara, glancing up. “I like old books. The new books these days don’t make any sense. But you can find real treasure in old books.”
“Such as …” prompted Kath, because she knew Clara’s answer.
Taking the bait, Clara looked up with a mischievous grin. “Quotes.”
Meanwhile, down the hall, quite unaware of the girls, Andrew was getting settled into his own hotel room with his dad, and three older brothers. It was only for the night, though, because their father was a scientist, and was studying the nearby volcanos. He had brought the boys because they had not had a family vacation in years, and this sounded like as good an opportunity as any.
“And tomorrow we leave all civilization,” said Kyle, Andrew’s eldest brother, flopping down onto a bed. “Let’s enjoy it while it lasts!”
“Let’s get some sleep,” advised Andrew, who always looked at the practical side of things. “We’re going to be hiking tomorrow, and will need to be as alert as possible. Besides, we’ll be sleeping on the ground, which will be far less comfortable than these beds.”
“Must you always take things so literally?” asked Nicolas, the younger of the twins, “C’mon Andy …”
“Don’t call me Andy,” said Andrew, frowning. “It’s Andrew.” This was only met with more laughter. Andrew decided to ignore them, which he did most of the time. He sometimes wished his dad would pay more attention to his brothers’ teasing, but he didn’t. Dad spent most of his time on his research. Not that Andrew minded usually, and usually, if he ignored his brothers long enough, they would ignore him.
“Hey, girls,” said Rhoda’s mom, sticking her head into the room. “Any of you want to go get some supper?”
“Sure!” said Kath and Rhoda, as one. Clara echoed it a few seconds later, and shut her book.
“Any preferences?” asked Rhoda’s mom.
“How about something with pineapples?” suggested Kath.
“And coconut!” added Rhoda.
Rhoda’s mom laughed. “We’ll see what we can do. Hurry and get ready to go, and be out in a few minutes.”
A few minutes later, the girls appeared in the hall, where they joined their moms, dads, Rich, and Rhoda’s two younger brothers, Avery and Aiden.
“We’re ready to go,” announced Clara.
They left the hotel and headed down the street, looking for a place to eat. Clara got the final yea or nay, since the trip had been in honor of her getting into the top five for swimming in their state, and the fact that her sixteenth birthday was next month. Rhoda had gotten into the top ten, but it wasn’t her birthday. They finally found a good spot and ate there.
“So,” said Clara’s mom, as they ate, “are you kids having fun so far?”
The six agreed that they had been.
“Although all Clara’s done so far is stick her nose in a book,” said Rhoda with a grin. “Don’t know why she came. She can stick her nose into books easily enough back home.”
“You’re just jealous because I exercise my mind as well as my body,” said Clara.
“No gymnastics at the table,” said Kath’s mom, catching a gleam in Clara’s eye. “Think about what the other diners would think.”
“Free entertainment!” exclaimed Clara, grinning. “I wasn’t going to, anyways,” she added, solemnly. “I was just thinking about it.”
“Just thinking about it?” questioned Rhoda, the mischievous look mirrored in her own eye. “I would have actually liked to see you do it!”
“Nah,” said Clara. “Not right now. Maybe tomorrow, though.”
“What should we do tomorrow?” asked Kath. “There’s so much to do …”
“How about a Luau?” suggested Rhoda. “I’ve always wanted to go to one.”
“Yep,” said Clara, “that is definitely on our list of things that we have to do while here. Right along with checking out those beaches.”
“There’s a waterpark just down the street from our hotel,” said Kath. “Claims to have the tallest waterslide in Hawaii.”
“That sounds like fun,” said Clara. “We should check it out.”
The next morning, Andrew and his dad and brothers checked out of the hotel and headed for the nearby volcanos. A whole week of living in the wild. Not necessarily without modern technology, since their dad had a bunch of things that were definitely modern that he used for his study.
Other than that, though, it would be mostly in the wild. Andrew was looking forward to it, anyways.
Yet, as they ascended the mountain, Andrew had a strange sense of foreboding, as if something were about to happen, something important. He tried to brush it away, and distract himself by reciting the periodic table. Mentally, of course.
They had been hiking for several hours, and had just resumed the hike after stopping for lunch, when the ground began to shake. Now that had happened before, being a common occurrence on this particular dormant volcano. But this time it seemed to shake harder than normal.
Then the ground gave way under Andrew’s feet, and he was caught in a landslide.
He tumbled down the side of the mountain with the rocks, dirt and debris. Somehow, he got separated from his pack. Each moment seemed to take an eternity.
Then he saw a pool of lava coming towards him. The rational portion of him mind tried to remind him that this was a dormant volcano – but his eyes refused to listen. He squeezed his eyes shut in a vain attempt to block out the seeming inevitable.
Clara and her friends decided to check out the water park down the street the next day. Aiden and Avery opted to not come, but Rich came. They laughed and squealed – at least the girls did – and had a grand old time. Finally they came to the big slide – the one advertised at the tallest waterslide in Hawaii.
They decided to go from youngest to oldest. That meant Kath would go first, then Rhoda, then Clara, and then Rich. Thus they went.
When it finally came to Clara’s turn, she ascended the stairs in excited anticipation. Yet, what she was anticipating she wasn’t quite sure. She told herself that it was the actual ride, but something else told her that it was something else.
She sucked in a deep breath as she sat down at the top of the slide, but was soon letting the breath out in screams of excitement. She took one turn too fast, though, and bonked her head. She was having too much fun to care, though.
Yet, almost immediately after she bonked her head, the water started getting colder and colder, and the slide itself ceased to be the smooth plastic surface it had been. It began to get bumpy, as if it were covered with smooth pebbles like the ones you would find at the bottom of a stream.
Then she went into a sort of tunnel, and the water got even colder. She became aware of a light ahead, and that it was obscured by what looked like a waterfall – but she hadn’t noticed any artificial waterfalls being at the end when she had gotten on.
She went under the waterfall, getting water up her nose and in her eyes and ears. Once out, she began to wipe the water out of her face as she stood up, her teeth chattering because it was so cold.
“They sure made it realistic, there at the end,” she said aloud. Then she opened her eyes.