Unspoken - Short Story

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    A LynburnLegAcye-original short story

    SummerBeforeI MetYou

    The

    Sarah Rees Brennan

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    I go to you ceaselessly along dream pathsOnono Komachi

    The rst thing Liz thought when she saw themwas: Those girls look like they stepped out o amovie.

    Liz had agreed to be the coach or the cricketcamp on a whim. Shedplayed cricket or years, inschool, through college,and shed been a teachingassistant and a residentialassistant at college too.

    Now it was time to bedone with college

    and make a decisionabout her lie, andshe didnt want

    to go into Mumsbusiness right away. TheFeatherstonehaughswere amily riends,

    albeit amily riendsnobody in the amilyactually liked.

    The news that

    they were lookingaround or a nice,responsible girl to

    coach thirty kids incricket near a cute little

    town in the Cotswoldsseemed like a sign romabove. Or at least like anexcellent opportunity to

    put o any decisions or one last long summer.Liz had been promised two local assistants;

    when she arrived and saw the Sorry-in-the-Valewoods, lush and green and going on or miles,

    with promise o hidden lakes and elds o lavendersomewhere, she made a private selsh resolution topush o as much responsibility as she could on thegirls and go hiking.

    This was beore Clarice Featherstonehaugh hadtold her that the girls were arriving that evening andshe would have to manage the kids alone all day.

    Sitting on the steps o one o the kids cabinsthat evening, listening like a rightened rabbit orone o the tiny horrors to make any noise, Liz nowthought she knew what war elt like. When the car

    drove up, she had to restrain hersel rom throwingher body on the hood and crying out Saved! Imsaved! My deliverers!

    The impulse to all on them with embracesaded as soon as the rst girl got out o the car.

    She was intimidatingly and unquestionablybeautiul, hair a shimmering black veil, scar ascarlet trail that streamed out and mingled with herfying jet-black locks. She was wearing sunglasses,and she leaned against the car as i she ound theprospect beore her atiguing.

    Liz had known the two girls were coming inthe same car, but shed expected a mix o theiramilies; instead, ater a moments puzzlement, sherealized that the rst girl, the beautiul one, wasalone. The amily was all the second girls: an olderAsian woman with a deeply lined ace and a severeexpression; an Asian guy and a gorgeous womanwith bronze-colored hair who Liz thought were theparents; and two little boys, one with black hair and

    TheSummer Before

    I Met You

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    one with bronze. Liz stiened at the sight o them;shed had enough children or the day.

    The second girl had climbed out with therst but then proceeded to perorm an elaborategoodbye dance with every member o her amily.

    When the two girls stood together, they really

    did look like something rom a movie. The secondgirl looked like the gooy sidekick, short and alittle plump, more colorul and less dignied thanher riend. She was wearing a hat that looked likea daisy, yellow on top with a plastic white-petaledbrim, and a yellow skirt covered in daisies.

    Liz got up and introduced hersel as ElizabethWatson, shaking hands with the adults and tryingnot to look too young or overwhelmed.

    Im Jon Glass, said the Asian guy, who lookedyoung to have a teenage daughter. This is my

    mother, Megumi, and my wie, Claire.Thanks so much or bringing the girls, saidLiz. I cant wait to get them settled in and tell themall about the camp and the kids here.

    The beautiul girl pushed her sunglasses araction down her perect nose and gave Liza supremely unimpressed look. Im AngelaMontgomery, she drawled, barely making theeort to part her impeccably glossed lips. And Imnot interested.

    The second girl chased the boy with bronze hair

    like his mothers, a lovely light brown mingled withrusset and gold tones that looked better on ClaireGlass than on a skinny little kid. Once the girl hadcaught him, she kissed him soundly our times onhis ace until his glasses were lopsided.

    Bye, brat, she said, and then turned to Lizwith a smile, sunshine that thawed Liz rom thedeep reeze o Angelas regard. Im Kami Glass.

    Im pleased to meet both o you, Liz said, andKami took Lizs hand and shook it rmly.

    I have so many ideas or the camp, she said.

    Seriously. So many.Under the daisy hat was a small, pretty ace,

    a pointed chin and dark eyes that were slightlystrange, dreamy and giving the impression o beingocused elsewhere. But over all o it she wore anexpression o enthusiasm and determination thatLiz ound almost as intimidating as Angelas chillydemeanor.

    Shes going to be a great help, said Claire

    Glass.Plus its nice to be rid o one o them, Jon

    Glass added. I was araid wed have to put them alldown the Hope Well to get some peace and quiet.

    Megumi, the older woman, shook Lizs handwith the same rm grip as Kamis.

    I have no doubt Kami is going to be a greathelp, she said. But you should watch her everyminute.

    Obaasan! Kami protested.Every minute, the grandmother insisted. She

    means well but she should not be let out alone.All right, everybody, go away, I have things to

    do and Im tired o your aces, Kami announced.She captured the other brother with more ease thanthe rst; he turned his ace up or a kiss with a grin.She saved the goodbye to her grandmother or last,

    holding on to both her hands. You take care oyoursel until I get back,.Take care o your spirit, Kami, said Megumi.

    And dont burn the place down.The girls collected their suitcases, and Jon Glass

    gave Angela a arewell shoulder squeeze; Liz hadto admire his courage. Kami grabbed both thesuitcases and headed or the cabin she was sharingwith Liz and Angela. Liz walked with her, and ontheir way Kami stopped.

    My Sobo was exaggerating, she said earnestly.

    There have been very ew res.

    *

    It was not an auspicious beginning, butseveral days passed and Kami did the work othree assistants, which was excellent becauseAngela declined to do any work at all.

    This our-hour space or activitiesevery second day, Angela said. I ndthe wording suspicious. Activities besidescricket, and nature walks, and play time?

    I suspect a conspiracy o activity.She was lying down on a bank,

    regarding the summer eld ullo children with disdain. Shelooked deeply relaxed,and her clothesmoreexpensive than Lizsclothes, and Liz hadalways thought

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    she wore pretty nice clothesseemed immune tograss stains. Possibly the grass was araid o Angela.

    Liz was tempted to join her, but it seemed meanto leave all the work up to Kami, who was runningaround with hoops and skipping ropes, yellinginstructions and darting between them at intervals

    to join in the conversation.So why did you sign up to assist at cricketcamp, Angela? Liz asked, standing uneasily on thebank.

    Kami made me, Angela said. Crossing her ismore trouble than doing what she wants. Shes veryannoying.

    And Angela is my very best riend and wantsme to be happy, Kami put in, throwing a plastichoop like a lasso.

    And I am her only riend on account o she is

    peculiar in her brain, Angela said disdainully. Andshe is my only riend because I hate everybody.Kami bit her lip at the rst part o the sentence,

    but ater an instants pause she smiled. Liz didntthink Angela even saw the instant o dismay; Kamibounced back rom anything and came at it twiceas hard.

    Except or me, Kami said.Well see, Angela remarked darkly.Kami avored Angela with a smile o especial

    aection, as i Angela had said something nice to

    her, and then turned to Liz. Do you have any ideasor activities time? she asked. Because i youdont have a preerence, I have a ew. I was thinkingwe could get the kids to record their time here indiaries to be shared. Sort o like a public record: thecricket camp dailies, i you will.

    That sounds okay, Liz said doubtully.Great! said Kami.Angela covered her eyes. Someone stop her,

    she moaned. Can nobody see shes a monster?Kami gave her nger guns.

    I cannot believe you just did that, Angela saidater a pause. Apparently she could see through thebarrier o sunglasses and her own arm.

    Finger guns are okay i theyre ironic, Kamiclaimed. Which those were. At least seventypercent ironic. Thats irony maths.

    Some o the Sorry-in-the-Vale kids, who werea pretty tight-knit bunch, seemed to be playing askipping game. Liz heard them chant as they kept

    time with two girls jumps.

    Forest deep, silent bellsTheres a secret no one tellsValley quiet, water stillLynburns watching on the hill

    Apples red, corn goldAlmost everyone grows old.

    Whaaaaaat? said Liz.Its better than the one where ater a hundred

    jumps everyone gets to pull Sara Mannings pigtails,Kami said. Loads o kids in Sorry-in-the-Vale singit.

    Its one o the quaint town customs, Angelasaid. Like inbreeding.

    My grandmother is rom Japan, Kami pointed

    out. Chances are, Im less inbred than you. Angelathinks shes ancy because she was born in London.I think Im ancy or so many reasons, Angela

    murmured.Whats a Lidburn? Liz asked.Lynburn, said Kami. Lynburns watching on

    the hill.The town the camp was closest to, Sorry-in-the-

    Vale, was set in a valley. From certain points at thecamp, they could see most o the town rom above,but when Liz looked in the direction Kami was

    pointing, she saw that one house was higher thanthey were, set on a rise and looking over the valley.Liz could only see the back o it, gold stone andglinting windows, but she could