Early the next morning, the River Boys were at the beach in Summer Bay, taking in the strong swell that the riff break was bringing in.
The twins were taking in the rare opportunity to surf with the rest of the Boys. School would be starting soon, but Brax had promised that he would take them in late.
Casey had spent the day being mostly quiet, and as Heath started teasing a girl, who Casey was quick to defend, the duo shared a look. It was obvious that Casey was experiencing his first real crush.
“What else are we not seeing?” Jagger frowned, wrapping up in a towel.
“You want to spend more time here?” Nash questioned, glancing at the people around them.
Brax was in town, doing whatever it was that their brother felt was important enough to miss out on a surf. Heath was supposed to be watching them, and he was supposed to get Casey to school too.
If the two were lucky, they would be able to slip away, and Heath would have no idea what they were up to.
“We can check out what’s going on around here,” Jagger shrugged. “Something has to be happening that has our brothers here all the time now.”
“Casey goes to school here,” Nash tugged on a tee shirt.
“And Heath beat someone up. I can’t see why he would want to be here when that teacher guy wants him in jail. And what’s Brax even up to?”
The twins had overheard a lot of things in the past few days. The only way that they ever learned anything in their house was to listen in and investigate.
Nash glanced over to where Heath was standing with the other River Boys.
“He’s flirting with some townies,” Nash said as Jagger pulled on a shirt herself. “He won’t even notice us.”
The twins, while fraternal, were practically identical. Even dressed, they each had on a red shirt and stripped board shorts. As far as most people were concerned, the ten year olds were both boys and protected by the River Boys. Few people knew the truth of the Ellis twins, and that was how things were going to stay.
Jagger shouldered their backpack, and slowly led their way away from the beach.
Scoping out Summer Bay wasn’t too hard. While the town was large in size, it was relatively calm and easy enough to get around. It didn’t take them too long to find The Pier Diner, and with it the center of all information – Colleen Smart.
“Should you two young’uns be lounging about here! It’s a school day!” The elder waitress said as they approached the counter.
“Is that how you make your money?” Nash leaned his shoulders down on the counter space. “Scaring off your customer base?”
Colleen glared down at the two kids.
“Do we order here, or is there some kind of button we have to press first to activate you?” Jagger crossed her arms.
“What?’ Colleen was started from her silence. “The rudeness! I am not a robot!”
“You’re not a very good waitress either,” scoffed Nash.
“A person could die of starvation standing here!” Jagger added.
“Colleen,” Irene sighed. “Please! Table seven needs their breakfast.” She handed Colleen two plates and waited as the woman give them all a look before scurrying along to serve the food.
“Sorry about that, loves,” Irene said, smiling at the two young kids. “I better get your brekkie if you’re going to get to class on time.”
“No rush. We’re homeschooled,” Nash grinned.
“Oh, that’s lovely,” Irene said, having herself a relieved sigh. The thought of what another abandoned child might make her do, Irene just shook her head. She wasn’t in a position to take on another foster case just then.
“Just have a seat and I’ll take your order right away!”
As they sat there, Colleen came back and she gave the twins a look. They smiled and waved at her. As long as none of their brothers or the Boys went in there, they could have quite a fine day.
Once they ordered French toast and fruit salad and orange juice, they sat quietly eating. Being quiet ended up being a heaven sent that day. Colleen, however, was not quiet.
Every time someone entered the diner, she had something to say. Soon enough, the twins knew at least thirty people from Summer Bay by name, and at least half of their issues.
The Braxton name certainly was dropped a few times.
It didn’t take them long to know that their brothers were not being very well welcomed in town. And not only had Heath been in that fight, but some of the boys had kidnapped a kid!
Nash got some bills out of his pocket and paid their bill. They walked out of the diner, knowing that Colleen would likely have something to say about them. That seemed to be her MO.
“I still can’t see why they’re sticking around,” Jagger shrugged as they headed down the street. They were going to check if the Boys had left the beach in the hour that the twins had been gone. They might be able to squeeze in some more surfing, if they managed to nab a board from somewhere. If not, they weren’t opposed to swimming.
The library was a bore. The beach was mostly crowded with the Boys, and normally that wouldn’t matter. But they were trying not to get caught, so they went to another beach, further from the Surf Club.
By the time school would have been over, they were kind of bored. It was a little upsetting to realize that it would be better off had they gone off to school that day instead. At least they would be in air conditioning.
Getting to the beach, they were pleased to see the Boys.
“Where you lot been off to?” Mick asked them, jogging out of the water.
“Where you been?” scoffed Nash.
“Mind your own,” Jagger kept walking, kicking off their shoes and taking off their shirts. Jagger grabbed Mick’s board from him just as Heath came stomping out of Surf Club.
“He looks pissed,” Gary frowned.
Heath made his way over to them, his feet stomping his way through the sand.
“I think I rather test my luck with the waves,” Mick said, taking his board back from Jagger and running to the ocean. Gary shrugged and followed after.
Jagger looked over at her twin. It didn’t seem like they were going to like what was coming their way, by the look of Heath’s face.
“Think he’s seen us?”
Jagger would have very much liked to say no, but Heath practically locked eyes with them.
“Don’t make any sudden moves,” she told her twin.
“Where have you been?” Heath asked them a few steps away. “How’s you get here?”
“Bus,” Nash quickly shrugged, not willing to admit any wrong doing if their older brother didn’t know of it first.
“Wondered what the big deal is with this place,” Jagger added.
“You’re supposed to be home,” Heath groaned. He looked back towards the building and frowned as some people left it, looked in his direction and glared.
One particular woman, who quickly wrapped her arm around a kid the twins age, looked particularly upset.
“What was that about?” Nash questioned.
“None of yous business,” Heath turned and went over to where his board was lying near the waterline. “I’m taking you home.”
And that was that.
Halfway back to Mangrove River, Heath got a call from Brax.
He didn’t sound too happy at the moment.
“I didn’t do anything!” Heath groaned, smacking his hand against the steering wheel.
“Watch the road,” Jagger groaned from the backseat.
Heath reached back and tried to retaliate her comment by grabbing at her leg, but instead grabbed at Nash’s, who wasn’t paying attention in favor of napping.
“Get off!” Nash kicked out without opening his eyes. His sneakered toes getting Heath just above the elbow.
“Shit!” Heath groaned, yanking his arm back.
Jagger grinned, but quickly turned her laugh into clearing her throat.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Heath yelped, trying to simultaneously drive, hold his cell phone, talk to Brax, and rub at his arm. “Not you,” he muttered after a second, swerving back onto his side of the road. “Goddamn Nash kicked my elbow.”
“Did not!” Nash yelled out, his eyes still closed and his head leaning against Jagger’s shoulder.
Heath glared at them through the rearview.
“Heading home,” he told Brax. “See you there.”
Jagger frowned as Heath tossed the now silent cell into the passenger’s seat. Heath’s truck was very much an extension of the second Braxton brother, and as such wasn’t the best kept, thought it did run strong. The backseat floorboards were covered in magazines and takeaway cartons. Some of Heath’s clothes were tossed about and the car smelt of sunblock and sex wax.
“Brax is home?” she asked, wondering what their brother was doing there in the middle of the day. Brax was always doing something.
“How come?” she asked, wondering if she would get an actual answer.
“Because he lives there,” Heath scoffed.
Jagger sighed. Apparently, she would not be receiving any straight answers from this brother. And people wondered why the twins had to sneak about all the time. Any good, reliable information wasn’t going to be given to them first hand.
That was just fine, she welcomed the challenge.
Part Seven ->