Three whole months in Clearwater, Oklahoma.
I couldn't believe it. I didn't know what I was going to do for the entire summer away from my friends, let alone what I was going to pack. What do people wear in Oklahoma? Overalls? Straw hats? I paced around my bedroom with clothes strewn over my bed and open suitcase while talking on the phone to my best friend Abby.
"I just don't know what the heck I'm going to do," I said for the fifteenth time. "Just when I thought my life was going great…I have all this to deal with."
"I'm so sorry, Hon," Abby replied. "I wish I could come with, but…"
"Abby, you totally can," I blurted. "Please!"
"I can't," she sighed. "I just have too much to do here!"
"Boat parties and sleeping in until noon, right," I growled. She laughed. "I don't know what to take. Definitely not my new heels. I don't want them ruined."
"It may not be that bad," Abby comforted. "I mean, it's not like another country."
"It's the country," I muttered. "Aunt Jenny was so excited I was coming because they just got indoor plumbing installed!"
"You're joking!" Abby snorted.
"Totally not." It wasn't like I had never seen a bug before; I actually liked nature. I was just a city girl. I liked everything that came with it—tall buildings, busy nightlife, always something to do and somewhere to go. I knew Clearwater wasn't exactly a one spotlight town, but it wasn't any Chicago and definitely no New York.
"Well, you're taking your computer, right?" Abby said.
"I'll have to. I'm pretty sure my cell won't get any service."
"Bummer. No more text messages from Travis." I moaned and fell back on my bed. Why did she have to remind me of Travis? Finally, after three years of sighing and staring, Travis Keeler was giving me some long due attention. We had been talking for the last few weeks of school and had even made some summer plans. Not anymore.
"I don't want to go," I whined.
"He'll be here when you get back," she said. I didn't believe that for a minute. Travis was everybody's favorite guy, but he was meant to be mine. I decided to throw a picture of him from the last day of school into my suitcase.
"Natalie! Are you almost done?" I opened the door of my room and yelled down the hall.
"Listen Abs, I got to go," I said quickly into my cell. "I'll call you before I leave tomorrow!"
"Sorry I couldn't come over tonight, but you know it's the first party of the summer…" I scoffed and hung up on her. I didn't want to hear it.
Downstairs, our house was in pieces. We were moving across town, but that wasn't until the end of the summer. Our house was one of the older ones in the middle of downtown, and because it was once a historical something or other, it was being turned into a museum. Yeah, a museum. We were getting paid a lot for it, but people were already coming through to look at what they would need to move in or move out. Mom decided that she didn't want me and my "pesky friends" hanging around while they were trying to work. Where would she be? Staying with one of her rich friends in some penthouse. No room for me, so off to Oklahoma I went.
"It's not just that, dear," Mom said while I had my last Indian meal, "it's your family. You haven't seen them since you were little, and you used to love the farm." I immediately winced…the farm. Episodes of Green Acres played over and over in my head. "Oh Natalie, it's not that bad."
"You know I love family," I said, "but I feel like these people are strangers." I stared at my plate trying to remember what Uncle Duke, Aunt Jenny, and whatever cousins were there looked like.
"I think you'll get along great," she smiled. "That farm is a special place. Kyle even promised to teach you how to ride." Cousin Kyle? I remembered a seven-year-old boy with an oversized cowboy hat and a bucktooth grin.
"Ride what…" I muttered. Mom just laughed.
A/N: I put this disclaimer up the last time I posted a version of this story…here it is again! I live in Oklahoma, so I'm well aware of the stereotypes I'm drawing on. I heart the Sooner State! Yadda yadda. Oklahoma isn't really all that bad…but some parts are…so have a laugh.