Never Say Forever

A whole work week went by and slowly, Kaleah and Sam regained their friendship. They didn’t have to work hard to get back to the place they were so many weeks ago—they were naturally best friends. It’s something they couldn’t deny and couldn’t steer away from.

It was shortly after noon on a Saturday. Since Kaleah and Sam both worked all week, they ended up sleeping in longer than they ever had before. It didn’t bother them, though. It was the last week of July and the heat wave was settling in. They just wanted to laze around the air conditioned house anyways. Once they finally woke up, they met each other in the kitchen. As Kaleah put a pot of boiling water on the stove to make oatmeal, Sam started poking her and teasing her. The two got into a poking war and started to fool around.

It was an innocent morning, and they were convinced that nothing would disturb their day. It was a relatively normal week, as well, and they were only expecting the normalcy to last for so long. When it came to Sam and Kaleah’s lives, nothing was ever normal.

“Yeah well your face doesn’t match your head!” Kaleah giggled.
“Hey now! My face is perfectly proportioned to my head! It’s your eyes that are too far apart that make you see that!” Sam giggled back.
“Oh, it’s on!” Kaleah started tickling Sam and Sam tried poking Kaleah back. It was the perfect moment. They were laughing and teasing—as if they were the best of friends. Kaleah felt at peace and Sam felt like everything was just perfect.

Their feelings disappeared almost as instantaneously as the doorbell rang. They froze.
“Come in!” Kaleah hollered, worried at who it might actually be. Last thing she wanted was for someone to barge in and ruin their perfect moment.

“Honey!? I’m home!” A familiar voice hollered as he slowly went inside. “Yes—it’s true. I’m home. I am now accepting friendly hugs and hand shakes!” Tyler laughed at his own joke when he realized that what he had said had actually made Sam and Kaleah laugh as well. They weren’t necessarily laughing because they thought it was funny—they were laughing in relief. Tyler only caused drama on the rare occasion and he was in the dog house with Sam for quite some time. He wouldn’t do anything stupid and jeopardize his relationship with Sam again—at least not anytime soon. Sam quickly made way towards his best friend.

“Tye!!!!” Sam hollered as he hugged his best friend. “I almost forgot about you.” He joked.
“How was the tour, Tyler?” Kaleah asked from a few short steps away.
“It was amazing! I met some totally hot girls down in Chicago! And—what’s more—they actually talked to me! Turns out, girls in Chicago love musicians!” Tyler explained.
“So you lost your virginity?” Sam faked a surprised tone. “Oh my god, Tye! That’s amazing!”
“Come on now, Sam! You and I…and Kaleah…both know I lost that thing years ago!” Tyler smiled.
“Oh good god…let’s pa-lease not ever bring that up again!” Kaleah teased.
“Repulsive.” Sam joked.
“Completely.” Kaleah joined.
“Agreed.” Tyler laughed.

The three of them sat down and ate, catching up on the events of their lives from the past month. Everything was going good—Kaleah hadn’t smiled and laughed that much in weeks. Tyler was relieved that him and his best friend were okay again and Sam just felt at ease. There wasn’t a care in the world for these three friends…until the doorbell rang. For a second time.

“Please don’t yell for them to come in!” Sam instantly said to Kaleah. “I mean, all of us are here…who else could that possibly be?” Kaleah giggled.
“Yeah, we don’t want no Hank or Brianne waltzing in here.” The three of them laughed without humour, reliving the terrible events quickly through their minds.
“I mean…” Tyler spoke, trying to lighten the mood. “…you guys already have me here. I think that’s enough.” He giggled softly. Kaleah and Sam only smiled in agreement before Sam quickly stood up.
“I’ll go answer it, seeing as you lazy bums aren’t doing it!” He smoothly walked towards the front door.

Sam didn’t know who to expect at the door, but it was definitely not the woman standing there when he opened it.
“Ho-ly-hell.” Sam spoke slowly as he almost began to drool. He looked her up and down and looked like a fool with his jaw dropped and his eyes wide.
“Well that’s a little ironic for you to say. Hell can’t be holy…” The half-naked girl had a thick, Oklahoma accent and Sam noticed a cab speeding away. “Well don’t just stand there…where are your manners, boy? Let a lady in!” 

Sam stepped aside to let the stranger in the house without saying another word. As soon as she walked inside, Kaleah ran towards her.
“KIMMI!” She hollered as she threw her arms around her. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“What do you mean? Can’t a girl come visit her cousin, dammit?” Kimmi smiled and gave Kaleah another hug. Sam looked at Tyler, who was staring at Sam as he mouthed the word cousin.
“You have no idea how good it is to see you!” Kaleah said after she finally released her cousin. As if she forgot about the two men in the room, Kaleah jolted to face Sam.

“Guys, this is my cousin Kimmi.” She introduced the tiny blond. Kimmi waved and smiled sweetly at Sam. “Kimmi, this is Sam and that’s Tyler.” When she turned her attention to Tyler, she noticed the bit of drool coming out the side of his mouth. She gestured for him to wipe it off, but he didn’t seem to care.
“Hi, ya’ll!” Kimmi said, trying to ignore the disgusting mess forming on Tyler’s face.
“Sam. Me. Tyler. Him.” Sam tried to say. He couldn’t keep his eyes off of Kimmi. She giggled.
“Stoppit! Ya’ll are makin’ me blush!” She said. Kaleah rolled her eyes.

Kimmi walked further into the foyer.
“Sam!” Kaleah whispered once Kimmi was out of hearing range. “What the hell? Control yourself!”
“Hey! Don’t get mad at me. Daisy Duke just walked into my house! We don’t have girls like that here…and she might as well not be wearing a top!” Sam whispered back.
“Ya’ll have such a cute lil’ house! It reminds me of my farm back home!” She looked from side to side. “I’m guessin’ that Kaykay is the decorator ‘round here?” 

“You know…” Tyler approached Kimmi while Sam and Kaleah continued their whispered conversation. “…that is one sexy accent you have there! It just got a lot more interesting around here.”
“If that’s you trying to hit on me, you’re gunna have to do a heck of a lot better than that.” Kimmi explained in a rejecting, yet teasing, tone. Kaleah finally noticed what Tyler was doing and abruptly ended her conversation with Sam to turn her attention to Tyler.

 “Tyler!” She hollered. “Stay away from my cousin, you hear me?” She pointed a scolding finger in Tyler’s face.
“Hey now, Kaykay! It’s alright. The boy is just tryin’ to flirt with me!” Kimmi responded as she lowered Kaleah’s arm. Tyler took a step back.
“Is that not allowed?” He shakily asked Kaleah.
“Seriously Tye…please. Just please don’t try to get with Kimmi. She doesn’t need that kind of crap…” Kaleah responded in a softer voice.
“Come on, Tyler…” Sam interrupted before anymore fighting could happen. He pushed on his friend’s shoulder as he steered him into the other room. “Let’s go look at your band reviews on the internet. I’m sure there’s tons of Chicago girls blogging about you guys.”
“Are you making fun of me?” Tyler asked. Kaleah waited for their voices to drift off into silence as they left the room completely. She took a deep sigh and faced her cousin.

“So!” She said excitedly. “Tell me why you’re here!” Kaleah was smiling like a little kid.
“I thought it would be nice to see you!” Kimmi was an awful liar.
“That’s not the truth, Kimmi.”
“Kaykay, I think you should show me around! This house is so cute!” Kimmi tried to change the subject, but Kaleah quickly caught on.
“Not until you tell me why you’re really here!” 

“Fine. I’ll tell you…” Kimmi looked her cousin up and down. “…after you explain to me what in good gracious you’re doin’ in your PJ’s still at this time of the day! The Kaykay I knew would be up, dressed, and half way through her To-Do list by now.”
“The Kaykay you knew also never worked a day in her life. I have a job now!” Kaleah smiled big and proud, as if she just won some heroin trophy or something.
“NO-WAY!” Kimmi was in shock. “You?” She laughed once. “Workin’?” She giggled until her face went red. Kaleah felt a little offended.
“It’s not THAT hard to believe!” She defended herself. Kimmi pulled herself together.
“Okay, so where do you work?” She asked, trying to be serious.
“At a hair salon. I do makeovers—it includes clothing, makeup and hair.” Kaleah explained. Kimmi grew suddenly uninterested. “What?” Kaleah asked when she noticed her cousin’s expression.
“I always pictured you teachin’ an art class or writin’ for a newspaper or a magazine or somethin’. Not cuttin’ hair and paintin’ faces! What happened to you?” Kimmi asked, disappointment clearly running through her voice. A jolt of hurt ran through Kaleah’s body as the unexpected question sunk in.

“What do you mean, what happened to me?” Kaleah asked softly.
“You don’t seem like you’re you anymore! I mean…you look like you. You smell like you. Hell, you even decorate like you. But there’s just somethin’ in your eyes—somethin’ in your presence that just doesn’t feel like you.”
“You haven’t seen me in two years, Kimmi. I’ve grown up. Simple.” Kaleah tried to smile, but the stinging sensation that lingered in Kimmi’s accusation stuck with Kaleah like it was glue.
“I know that…” Kimmi sighed. “…I guess you’re right.”
“Well…” Kaleah wanted to lighten the mood. “Seeing as you made me all uncomfortable, I should go get dressed.” She giggled as she headed towards the stairs.
“I’m comin’ too! I wanna see the rest of your house!” Kimmi called as she gracefully skipped alongside Kaleah. 

The two of them retreated to Kaleah’s bedroom, and Kaleah instantly headed to her closet to get changed.
“You know, I guess you’re right about the whole you still being you thing. This room looks exactly the way it did in Ironhorse the last time I visited.” Kimmi said sweetly as she checked out the room. It didn’t take long for Kaleah to get dressed.
“Yeah, I know. My style doesn’t change much.” Kaleah said as she exited the closet.
“No it sure doesn’t!” Kimmi giggled. “I remember those sandals! You got those when we were 9 on that family vacation to Egypt. I didn’t understand why you would buy shoes that were much too old for you and much too big for you and you just said that someday, you would fit into them! I see you still have those!” Kaleah looked down at her feet.
“I forgot about that!” She smiled. “I always tried to remember where I got these for when people would ask me about them. For some reason, I could never remember! It was like I blocked that memory out!”
“Well I would’ve blocked it out too if my brother threw me into the river and my dress fell off! Even if I was only 9 and no where near developed in the chest region.” Kimmi teased. “You had all of that island laughing at you.”
“Oh my goodness! I totally remember your brother doing that! Jackson was such a turd.”
“Naturally. All of my brothers are turds.” Kimmi smiled.

Kimmi and Kaleah stood in silence for a moment as they both recalled the memory of their family vacation so many years ago. Once Kimmi was satisfied with her recollection, she walked closer to her cousin.
“I suppose you still want to know why I’m really here…” She said quietly, almost as if it saddened her. Kaleah shook her head.

“Why don’t you want to know? You were buggin’ me ‘bout it earlier!!” Kimmi grew confused once Kaleah pulled her body closer to hers and tightened her arms into a warm hug.
“I don’t even care anymore, to be honest. It’s just really good to see you!” Kaleah said and she held onto Kimmi tightly.
“Aw, stoppit Kaykay! I’m gunna get all teary-eyed!” Kimmi exclaimed.

“What happened?” Kimmi asked as she pulled away from Kaleah. “To us, I mean. How come you stopped comin’ to visit?”
“Well…you know…” Kaleah scrambled for words.
“No, I don’t know! You came every summer and spent all of July out at my farm. Why did you suddenly stop comin’?”
“Didn’t Auntie Krista tell you?” Kaleah asked.
“Nu-uh. Mama never tells me nothin’! She just said that she didn’t know and maybe you were just not interested in the farm life anymore.”
“Well that’s a lie…my dad got sick, remember? I know that my mom and dad couldn’t really afford to fly me out to Oklahoma anymore with all of the medical bills, so I didn’t even bother asking.”
“You know better than I do that my daddy would’ve covered your flight.”
“And you know better than I do that I love my dad and was scared crapless when he told me he was ill. As much as I wanted to come see you, I didn’t want to leave him. Hell, even coming here was hard enough and they’re not that far away.” Kaleah noticed a blank, saddened expression sweeping across Kimmi’s face. “What’s the matter?”

“It’s nothin’.” Kimmi lied.
“Tell me!” Kaleah persisted.
“Really, Kaykay…” Kimmi smiled sweetly. “It’s nothin’. Now, I have to tell you about Jackson’s fiancée! You’re gunna die when you hear this!” Kimmi started explaining a really boring story about how her brother’s fiancée has a moustache and a big butt. Kaleah really wasn’t interested in the story, but getting lost in a mindless conversation with someone she had been missing dearly for years seemed like a good idea anyway. 

“This is sad, Sam!” Tyler hollered into Sam’s closet as he sat in the wicker chair just outside the door. Sam was scrambling to find a good outfit to wear.
“What’s sad about wanting to look good?” Sam hollered back through the door.
“Nothing’s sad about wanting to look good…but wanting to look good for Kaleah’s cousin is just plain pathetic!” 

“Kimmi is hot!” Sam defended as he approached where his friend sat. “What do you think?” He asked in reference to his tight black shirt.
“What do I think?” Tyler asked, trying not to laugh. “I think that shirt makes you look a tad bit gay.”
“Good.” Sam smiled at his reflection in the oversized mirror standing parallel to the open closet door.
“Good?” Tyler burst out laughing. “How is it good for you to look gay? I mean, I have nothing against gay guys but…I thought you were trying to attract a woman.”
“I am!” Sam smiled mischievously. “And this will do! Woman always cling to gay guys, especially in the South. Look at how skimpy Kimmi’s clothes are! I’m sure this will make her feel right at home!”
“Why not just take your shirt off, put on suspenders, and chew some hay instead?” Tyler laughed again. He was getting a kick out this.

“I don’t see why you have to make fun of me…you’re just jealous!” Sam caught his reflection one more time.
“Jealous!? Of your tight shirt?” Tyler’s voice was hysterical.
“No!” Sam was getting frustrated. “You’re just jealous because you can’t touch Kimmi, but I can!”
“What makes you think I can’t touch Kimmi?”
“Kaleah made it very clear to you that she is off limits!”
“So that would apply to you too…wouldn’t it?”
"Nope! She pointed at you. Not me.” Sam walked towards his bed.

As Sam plopped down on the bed, he reached in his drawer on his night stand to find matching socks.
“I’m pretty sure it still applies to you, Sam! Besides, you and Kaleah have a thing, don’t you?” Tyler asked.
“Nope. Not anymore.” Sam sighed and let go of his feet in frustration. “She made it quite clear to me that we’re just friends. She told me that I can’t get all jealous of her future boyfriends. Obviously that means she’s not planning to be with me…at least not anytime soon.”
“So naturally, you go for her hot, blond, Okie cousin.”
“Naturally.” Sam grinned. Just as he was about to attempt to put his socks on again, the doorbell rang. The two boys froze with the same thought in their heads—another hot woman from Oklahoma was at the door. They gave each other quick glances before bolting out of Sam’s bedroom and racing towards the stairs.

The second Sam opened up the front door, he had to take a couple steps back as a blond, complaining woman stormed inside.
“This place is the WORST place I have ever been to!” She hollered as she slammed the front door behind her. “My hair is completely dried out and it’s fricken freezing outside! Where is the humidity around here?” She folded her arms across her chest in a diva-like fashion. She flashed her eyes from Sam to Tyler and then back to Sam. “Who are you people?”

“And I just don’t know, Kaykay! I mean…I don’t think I’ll ever get along with her! Even if she’s marrying my favourite brother…” As Kimmi was finishing her story, Kaleah interrupted her.
“Shh!” She said loudly. Kimmi instantly silenced and the two of them listened to the annoying complaining coming from down the stairs.
“Oh my god, she didn’t!” Once Kimmi recognized the voice, she instantly began to run downstairs. It only took Kaleah a couple seconds more to recognize who was complaining and joined Kimmi.

‘Oh no!’ Kaleah thought when she caught sight of the woman. She knew who it was just by the voice, but she was hoping she was just going insane. No such luck.
“Sloane.” Kaleah said as if it were impossible to believe. The primped up woman stood with her hand on her hip and a ridiculous purse to her lips.
“Obviously.” She rolled her eyes. “This place is terrible! I cannot buh-lieve I actually was stupid enough to come here!”
“Always a pleasure to see you, too…” Kaleah half smiled.
“Sorry Kaykay. I don’t mean to be rude…” Sloane tried to explain herself, but Kimmi cut her off.
“I’m sure that aint true.” Kimmi accused. She walked around Kaleah so she was at Sloane’s side.
'Here we go…’ Kaleah thought as she watched her two cousins glare at each other. She quickly glanced over at Sam and as he met Kaleah’s eyes, she gave him an I’m Sorry look.

“What do you think you’re even doin’ here, anyway? I thought we agreed…” Kimmi had a furious expression shoot across her cute, Okie face.
“Ehmygawd! Screw the stupid agreement! It’s not like I even wanted to come here anyways, you dumb hick!” Sloane retaliated. No matter how angry Sloane got, her face refused to move from its perfect position. As long as she didn’t open her mouth, you could hardly tell she was even angry.
“Call me a hick one more time and you’ll be deader than a possum on the freeway!” Kimmi hollered.
“What the hell is possum? I dun’ speaky your talky!” Sloane mocked Kimmi’s accent.
“You LA girls can be so dense! A possum is an animal, stupid.”
“OKAY ENOUGH!” Kaleah raised her voice like she was a mother.
“Hang on a second there, Kaykay.” Kimmi said without even so much as stirring when Kaleah hollered. Sam and Tyler were clenching their hearts in panic. Kaleah’s holler scared the crap out of them. Kimmi continued. “What in the world are you wearing, Suh-loane? Do you not realize that if it is summer time in California, than it is summer time across the states?”
This is what summer feels like in this god forsaken town? It’s freezing!” Sloane faked a shiver. 

“Sloane!” Kaleah hollered before Kimmi could respond.
“What!” Sloane’s face turned from pretty and perfect to scrunched up and ugly in a matter of a second. “She started it! If I had known she actually came here, I so totally would’ve stayed home. Do you know what I would be doing right now? I would be down on the beach, laying in the sun, listening to the ocean waves crash on the shore. My hair wouldn’t be flat and dry and wavy and I’d look cute as hell in my brand new Armani monokini.”
“Ugh…” Kaleah shook her head.

“Allow me to introduce myself.” Tyler interrupted. Kaleah felt relieved, but annoyed, at the same time. She knew what Tyler was going to do, but she felt like her other cousin deserved what was coming to her.
“I don’t think that’s necessary.” Sloane said, eyeing Tyler up and down in disgust.
“Oh, but you are sadly mistaken.” Tyler smiled. “I’m Tyler.”
“And I’m engaged.” Sloane announced. Kaleah, Kimmi, Tyler and Sam all looked at Sloane’s wedding finger. There was no ring. Kimmi grunted.
“Ya’ll don’t listen to a word Malibu Barbie says, ya’ hear? This girl lies through her teeth!”
“You know Kimmi, you think you’re insulting me, when really, you’re complimenting me. Calling me Malibu Barbie is not an insult, you Okie freak. I took Barbie as an excellent role model while I was growing up.”
“Well that just explains everythin’.” Kimmi laughed without humour.
“Hold on a second, here! Are you actually engaged?” Kaleah asked Sloane. Sloane’s cheeks went pink and she slowly shook her head.
“See! I told ya’ll! She’s a liar!” Kimmi hollered. 

“So then you’ll accompany me on a date tonight, right?” Tyler bluntly asked Sloane.
“What is with this boy?” Kimmi whispered to Kaleah. “First he hits on me, than Sloane…he must be horny!” She giggled to herself.
“He is, trust me.” Kaleah joined Kimmi’s giggles.
“I can hear you!” Tyler blurted. Kimmi and Kaleah instantly stopped giggling and stared at Tyler until he looked away.

“Okay!” Sam stepped in between Kimmi and Sloane. “What the hell is going on here? Kaleah! Who is this chick?”
“I’m not a chick! I’m a lady.” Sloane complained. Sam rolled his eyes just as Kaleah did and turned his attention back on Kaleah.
“This is my other cousin, Sloane. She lives in LA, only a few hours from Ironhorse. Her dad owns some mega corporation down there and so Sloane is used to living a pretty wealthy lifestyle.” Kaleah explained.
“Yeah and this place is absolutely horrible! And I’m not just talking about the town!” Sloane looked around. “I tried to book a hotel room, but noooo. Daddy insisted that I stayed with my cousin. This place looks like it belongs on ‘Little House in a Prairie’!”
“Sloane, you can’t be in a prairie. It’s on a prairie.” Kaleah corrected.
“Same difference.” Sloane sighed as she turned her attention back to the boys. “And who are these….valley boys?”
“No need to be rude!” Kaleah hollered. “This is Tyler and that’s Sam. Sam is my roommate and Tyler is his friend.”
“Ahem…” Tyler crossed his arms and tapped his foot.
“I mean, our friend.” Kaleah restated. Tyler smiled and let his arms rest at his side.

“Ugh, whatever. I don’t even care!” Sloane groaned. “Can someone pu-lease  just show me to the guest room so I can freshen up? I feel like I’m in a different condiment.”
“Continent.” Kaleah, once again, corrected.
“Whatever.” Sloane rolled her eyes.
“There isn’t a guest room here, Sloane. Just my room and Sam’s room.” Kaleah explained.
“Then I’ll take your room.” Sloane spoke in reference to Kaleah’s bedroom. Kaleah insanely shook her head.
“I already told Kimmi she could stay in my room with me. You’ll have to take the couch.”
“Ewwwwwwwwww! Grossssssssss! There is no way in hell I am ever going to sleep on a couch!” Sloane started to complain again and she was groaning and moaning at the thought of even going near a couch in her silk pajamas.
“You can take my room.” Sam offered, reluctantly.
“Sam, you don’t have to do that.” Kaleah explained.
“I know…but I’ve slept on the couch before and I don’t have a problem with it.” Sam smiled at Sloane. It’s downstairs at the end of the stair case. The door is wide open—the only room with a bed.”
“Ugh, thank you! At least someone knows how to show respect around here! I’m going to go freshen up!” Sloane headed towards the stairs.
“Oh my god, where’s Kimmi?” Kaleah asked when she noticed her Okie cousin had disappeared.
“She went upstairs, I think.” Tyler chimed. “I could go check on her if you like?” He raised his eyebrows. Kaleah rolled her eyes and headed for the staircase. 

Once the ladies left, Sam took a deep breath.
“I need to sit down.” He said as he headed towards his father’s couch.
“You seem stressed!” Tyler remarked.
“Stressed? Ha!” Sam threw his head back in fake laughter. “Overwhelmed, more like it.”
“Okay, well I have to go home for a couple hours. My power is out and a mechanic is supposed to come by. I’m guessing I just didn’t pay my power bill because I’ve been away, but still. Always better to check.”
“I don’t care, Tyler. I’m busy thinking.” Sam moaned.
“Alright, well I’ll be back.” Tyler headed towards the front door. “And I’m serious. I will be back. With all of these hot chicks, I’m pretty sure I want nothing more in the world than to be here tonight.” He winked at his friend before leaving the house.
“Okaaayy!” Same hollered after Tyler. “I’ll just be sitting here…wondering how the hell I managed to end up with three hot Morgan cousins in my house!” Tyler was long out of hearing range by now, but Sam wasn’t necessairily hollering at Tyler. He was just hollering in general. It was true though—Sam was wondering what the hell had just happened. How did his perfect little bachelor pad go from femininely redecorated to swimming with cute girls in the matter of only a month?

“Kaleah Morgan…” He began. “…you have one quirky family.” He laughed, which made Kaleah smile. She felt a little relieved that he was so cool about her cousins just showing up unexpectedly.
“You’re telling me…” She responded.
“But I guess I can let it slide…they may be quirky, but my god. You have some pretty good looking women in your family. Any other cousins I should be aware of? Sisters? Aunts?” Sam joked. Kaleah playfully hit Sam’s arm.
“No!” She jokingly snapped. “Kimmi, Sloane and me are the only girls in my family. All the rest of my cousins are Kimmi’s brothers. There’s like…8 of them. And Sloane has no siblings, just like me.”
“Ah. Well since we’ve rounded up the Morgan girls, maybe we should have a slumber party. We can play truth or dare.” He fake gasp. “Or have a pillow fight!” Kaleah laughed.
“That was all too perfect…” Kaleah remarked. “…especially with you wearing that tight shirt! Where in the hell did you get that?”
“Come on, now! It’s sexy.” Sam smiled.
“You look gay.” Kaleah accused.
“I can handle that.”

Kaleah leaned in and hugged Sam.
“What is this for?” Sam asked, surprised.
“Thanks for being so cool about this. You have no idea what you’re in for.” Kaleah explained. Sam pulled away and raised one eyebrow.
“Explain.” He demanded.
“Well…Kimmi and I are really close. We spent every summer together and her dad is my dad’s twin brother. She and I get along great, when it’s just the two of us. Sloane and I see each other a lot more often than Kimmi and I do, only because we only live a few hours apart. Her and her parents come and visit my dad 4-5 times a year. Sloane’s dad is my dad’s older brother. Sloane and I get along fine, but she has her moods. Normally, I can handle them. Kimmi on the other hand…”
“They don’t get along?” Sam interrupted. Kaleah shook her head.
“They can’t stand each other. And they always fight.” Kaleah spoke with an apologetic tone. “I’m worried.”
“Why?” Sam was confused. “I’m not going to freak out or anything. Whether they fight or not, I have three gorgeous women in my house. I think the odds are in my favour, of all people, right now.” He laughed to himself.
“Well there has to be something wrong if the two of them visited me at the same time. Especially if Sloane visited me. She hates coming to Ironhorse, let along leaving California completely. She loves LA and hates not being there. I have a feeling that she didn’t come voluntarily.”

Sam put his hand on Kaleah’s shoulder and looked deep into her eyes.
“K…it hasn’t occurred to you that maybe…just maybe…you’re cousins just wanted to come to see you? You’re family, are you not?”
“Yeah…” Kaleah felt oddly comforted by Sam’s hand touching her body. She couldn’t help but focus on that.
“Well then all is well. And don’t worry…I’m here if you need to escape from them.” He smiled.
“Kaykay!? What in god’s name are you doin’ down there? Come on and get your swimmin’ suit on! We’re goin’ in the pool!” Kimmi called from the top of the stairs. Kaleah rolled her eyes.
“I like that…Kaykay. It’s cute.” Sam teased at the new nickname.
“I’ve had that nickname since I was a baby. It is so not cute anymore.” Kaleah laughed. “I better get upstairs before Kimmi has a hernia.”
“Okay. I’ll try my best to not stare at you guys out of the window.” Sam teased.
“Thanks. How thoughtful.” Kaleah shot him one more smile before meeting her cousin upstairs.

“I don’t know what Suh-loane is complaining about. I love this town!” Kimmi explained as her and Kaleah waited outside for Sloane. The way Kimmi pronounced Sloane’s name in her Okie accent bugged Kaleah. It always sounded sarcastic. “Everybody is so friendly here. I had about a hundred men stare at me and smile sweetly on my way here from the airport!”
“Kimmi…” Kaleah giggled. “I don’t think their intentions were necessarily friendly.”
“Why what do you mean?” Kimmi was confused.
“I think their intentions were to try and pick you up rather than be friendly with you.”
“What! How absurd. Why in the heavens would they want to do that?”
“Maybe it has something to do with the way you dress?”
“How now, that can’t be! I dress like this all the time back home. Nobody gives me special treatment there.”
“Henrietta is different…it’s southern. All the girls dress like that. Here, people are more…conservative.” Henrietta was a small town in Oklahoma. It’s where Kimmi and her family lived. 

“Okay, Kaleah. You’re lucky.” Sloane’s voice made Kimmi’s eyebrows twitch.
“How am I lucky?” Kaleah asked.
“I finally managed to get the right amount of hair product in my hair to moisten it and keep it straight. If it was going to be stuck all dry and stuff for this entire visit, I would’ve fu-lipped!” Sloane slowly approached her cousins sitting on the lawn chairs.

“If I have to listen to another complaint comin’ out of your mouth, I’m not gunna be very happy!” Kimmi explained.
“Oh pu-lease. Like I’m scared of you!” Sloan retaliated.
“That doesn’t look like an Armani monokini.” Kaleah interrupted the almost argument.
“Are you blind? Of course it’s my new Armani monokini!” Sloane lied. That was one thing Sloane flawed in—she was a compulsive liar.
“Okay, Sloane…remember who you’re talking to here. I took three years of fashion design in high school.” Kaleah said.
“Yeah, and Kaleah is a make-over artist! She works in a little salon here in this town and she gives people new clothes, hair styles and make ups. You can’t lie to her. Hell! I don’t even know who Armani is and I know that you’re lyin’!” Kimmi added. “I’m goin’ in the pool.” She stood up—her back facing her cousins. 

“Ehmygawd Kimmi!” Sloane complained. “You are such a little skank!”
“Excuse me?” Kimmi defended.
“You might as well not even be wearing bottoms! Half of your butt cheeks are showing!” Sloane pointed out.
“See, Kimmi? I told you that dressing that way here is not okay.” Kaleah giggled.
“Screw you guys. I don’t own anything else! I’m from the south. Most of the time, we skinny dip anyways.” She walked to the pools’ edge.

Once Kimmi was completely submerged under water, Kaleah snapped at Sloane.
“You know, you don’t have to be so rude to her all the time.”
“I’m not rude to her all the time, Kaykay! She’s rude to me, mmkay? I can’t help it that she’s a little hicky-ho walking around, showing half of her butt and her stomach everywhere she goes.” Sloane complained. Kaleah rolled her eyes and headed towards the pool.

As Kaleah climbed down the ladder, she noticed Sloane taking over Kimmi’s chair.
“You’re not coming in?” Kaleah asked when she was half-way submerged.
“No. I don’t do pools. I’d rather lay on this chair and look cute.” Sloane put her head back and stuck her face towards the sun.
“That ain’t possible, honey.” Kimmi teased. Sloane ignored Kimmi’s remark and took a deep breath as she let the sun hit her white body. 

The girls hung outside for hours—Kimmi and Kaleah had breathing contests under water and were making the most out of their visit. Sloane remained in her chair, hoping to catch a tan. It was a perfectly innocent scene. To Kaleah, it was the most innocent she felt in a really long time. Kimmi was genuinely having a good time and Sloane smiled here and there, which was a big deal. All was well, and to most, that would be a good thing. But Kaleah knew that when things seemed like they were going good, something bad was just bound to happen.

“I’m thirsty.” Kaleah said at around 6:00.
“Me too.” Kimmi responded. She looked at her finger tips. “And I’m sure I’m more pruned up than a raisin in a sun bath.”
“Your meteor’s are really screwed up, Kimmi.” Sloane chimed in.
“Metaphors, you mean.” Kaleah corrected. Sloane wasn’t very bright.
“Whatever.” Kaleah and Kimmi got out of the pool and headed towards the house. “Where are you guys going?” Sloane asked.
“To get something to drink. You want one?” They asked Sloane in unison.
“No. But I’m not staying out here by myself. Wait up.” Sloane quickly moved off the chair and caught up with Kimmi and Kaleah.

“Are you sure you don’t want anything to drink, Sloane?” Kaleah asked as the girls took their places at the dining room table.
“Positive. Unless it has a dieting agent in it, there’s no way I’m touching anything.” Sloane rolled her eyes at her cousin, as if she was already supposed to know that.
“You got issues, Sloane. You know just as well as we all do that the Morgan family has really good genes. We couldn’t gain weight if we wanted to.” Kimmi said, taking a big sip of her juice.
“Um…what does having good jeans have to do with any of that? Plus, you and I can both see that Kaleah has put on a couple pounds since the last time we’ve seen her.” Sloane remarked.
Genes, you idiot! Genes! As in genetics. Not pants. Genetics!” Kimmi hollered.
“Yeah! And what do you mean I’ve put on a couple pounds? I don’t look any different!” Kaleah defended.
“No offence Kaykay, but your butt is like…twice the size it was two years ago!” Sloane commented. “It’s probably all the juice you drink.” Kimmi got frustrated and stood up abruptly. 

“MY GOD, Sloane!” Kimmi hollered. “You are so rude!” Sloane stood up.
I’m rude? What about you Kimmi? I bet you haven’t even told Kaleah why we’re really here, yet. Keeping information from somebody is just as rude as being upfront about their flaws! So don’t even give me your hillbilly bull crap about what is right and wrong!” Sloane retaliated.
“So what, if I haven’t told her yet, Suh-loane? You’re just as guilty! You ain’t said nothin’ neither!” Kimmi hollered. “You think you’re soooo much better than every body else because your daddy is rich and you haven’t had to work a day in your life! Guess what, Sloane? You’re stupid! You’re not better than anybody and you’re just … plain … stupid! I am so sick of lookin’ at your stupid face!”
“I am not going to stand here and get insulted by a half-naked farm freak.” Sloane rolled her eyes and headed out of the dining room.
“You’re gunna listen to me!” Kimmi threw her juice container on the floor and stomped after Sloane.
“Kimmi!” Kaleah yelled after her, getting up off her chair. “Stop! Just let it go!”

“Why should I have to take any of this from you?” Sloane turned around when she heard her cousin approaching. “You’re nothing to me! We have people like you who clean our toilets out for a living! You may as well be my fricken’ servant.”
“I’d like to see you try and last a single day in Henrietta! I bet you wouldn’t even make it past an hour!” Kimmi hollered.
“Well I’d like to see you try and last a single minute in Hollywood, Kimmi! You wouldn’t be able to handle it!” Sloane remarked. Kimmi opened her mouth to say something, but quickly decided it was time to end it. She took a deep breath. 

“We’re both here for the same reasons, Sloane. Just hush up and get the job done. Isn’t that what Aunt Maggie told us to do?” Kimmi asked, unaware that Kaleah had silently approached them.
“Ahem…” Sloane cleared her throat and nodded at Kaleah. Kimmi slowly jerked her head to the side.
“What are you talking about? What did my mom tell you to do?” Kaleah asked, worried.
“Oh, Kaykay. I had no idea you were there…we were just…talkin’.” Kimmi’s cheeks went pink and she stammered over her words.
“Just tell her, Kimmi.” Sloane blurted.
“Tell me what?” Kaleah’s worry turned into anger. What could her cousins possibly be keeping from her?

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