The Lake-Chapter 2




After spending much of the morning sifting through boxes laden with old toys, books, and clothes, Lily decided that she was fairly well finished with the whole concept of moving.  As the morning wore on and her patience with unpacking wore thin, Lily felt the itch to get outside and go exploring.  Her apartment back in California had not afforded her very much exploration time, as there really wasn’t anything around where she lived to explore.  At least, not anything that was safe to explore by herself.


Mrs. Winston had been kind enough to allow her parents to ship out most of their stuff prior to driving out to Riverside and had stored everything neatly in the garage for them.  Boxes had been stacked, along with a variety of other things that they had decided to take with them.  Her parents were currently in the garage, methodically unpacking each box and carefully removing its contents as they attempted to quickly settle into their new house.  They had promised her that once she had unpacked most of her boxes, she would be free to spend the rest of the time before dinner outside, exploring to her heart’s content. 


After checking to see if her parents were still busy in the garage, Lily quickly made her way across the grassy yard to the back fence that separated the front of the rambling property from the back.  Lily lifted the latch on the old wooden gate that stood between her and freedom, pushed it open, and the promptly broke into a full out run.  After expressing interest in exploring the property earlier that morning, her mother had agreed to let her do so, but admonished her to stay away from the lake that Mrs. Winston had referred to earlier that was located near the back of the property until they were able to get her some swim lessons. 


Of course, she had no such intentions to follow this request as she had already decided that this lake with its visiting ducks was probably the most exciting thing to be found on the property.  Without any friends to play with and her parents busy with unpacking and work, she was going to have to find her own sources of entertainment this summer.


Her feet flew beneath her as the raced down and over hills and through meadows, the exhilaration of being out in the open and free after days of being confined to the small space of her parent’s car influencing her to feel like she was the first person to see these deserted lands surrounding the property.  Birds trilled overhead in the trees as she passed by and she hooted happily back at them, her stuffed teddy bear tucked securely under her arm.  The heady sensation of just being alive made her giggle to herself as she soared though the meadow on her way to the lake.


After racing along for several minutes, she came to the realization that she didn’t truly know where she was going exactly.  From the way that Mrs. Winston had described the lake, it didn’t sound like it was that far away from the house.  She felt like she had been running forever and still she had seen no sign of a lake.  What if she kept running and ended up somewhere else and got lost?  She hadn’t even memorized her new address yet.  How would she ask someone for help?


Just as these thoughts began to slow her feet and curb her enthusiasm about finding the lake, she came to a clearing and spied a glimmer light.  As she came closer, she realized that it was the afternoon sunlight glinting off the lake water.  She had finally found the lake!  Their lake!


She stopped and stared at the expansive lake that stretched peacefully out in front of her.  It was fairly secluded and mostly obscured by the vast number of weeping willow trees that surrounded it.  A small clearing on her side gave a clear view of it, however, and she noted a carved stone bench sitting beside the bank.  She imagined the ancient Mrs. Winston as a young girl her age sitting on this bench, throwing bread crumbs to the ducks that came for a visit.  She walked reverently up to the bench, feeling the pervasive stillness in the air around her.


Just as she reached the bench, she spied movement in tall reeds to her left.  She stopped, wondering if it was a wild animal waiting for its prey at the watering hole.  She had read about that in school.  Animals, such as lions, lurked in the tall grasses around the watering hole waiting for unsuspecting zebras and gazelles to come take a drink and then, POUNCE!  It was good-bye zebra.  She shuddered.  At least there weren’t any lions around these parts…as far as she knew.


Just as she was imagining the terrible death that was laying in wait for her, a girl stepped out from behind the willow tree and stood there, silently staring at her.  She wore a maroon stripped jumper over a long sleeved white top.  Her raven black hair was pulled tightly up into a ponytail on top of her head and fastened with a silky ribbon that matched her jumper.  White tights covered her legs and black Mary Janes adorned her feet. 


Lily stared back at the other girl for a few seconds, blinking at her sudden appearance.  She had been expecting a lion, but this girl’s appearance was even more stunning to her than if a lion had actually strolled around the tree and jumped out at her.  Recovering her senses, she suddenly realized that another child…one that was her age…lived somewhere around here!  Not only had she found the lake, but it seemed that she had also discovered a prospective playmate for the summer!


Lily stared back at the other girl for a few seconds, blinking at her sudden appearance.  She had been expecting a lion, but this girl’s appearance was even more stunning to her than if a lion had actually strolled around the tree and jumped out at her.  Recovering her senses, she suddenly realized that another child…one that was her age…lived somewhere around here!  Not only had she found the lake, but it seemed that she had also discovered a prospective playmate for the summer!


“Hello,” she replied once she stood opposite the Lily.  Her voice was melodious and Lily could imagine that she must be a wonderful singer.  “My name is Lilith, but everyone calls me Lily.”


Lily leaned forward earnestly and smiled at the new girl.  “No way!  My name’s Lily too!”  Lilith raised her dark eyebrows at Lily.  “Well, my full name isn’t Lilith like yours,” she amended.  “My full name is Elizabeth, but I think that’s kinda cool that we have the same nickname!  Do you live around here, Lily?”  The sound of her own name being used for someone else sounded funny and foreign on her tongue and she giggled as she said it.


“Yes,” Lilith answered, her eyes watching Lily closely and then sliding down to the ground.  “It does get lonely out here.  I’m glad that you moved in.  I’ve been wanting someone my age to play with for so long now.”  She raised her almond shaped eyes back up to meet Lily’s.  “I’m sure we will become the best of friends.”


Lily laughed again and stepped closer to Lilith.  As she stepped neared, she suddenly noticed that Lilith’s eyes were a very similar shade of purple to Mrs. Winston’s.  “Oh!  I’ve never seen anyone with purple eyes before,” she stammered.  “Until yesterday, that is.  How funny to find two people with the purple eyes.”


Lilith shrugged, looking unconcerned.  “So, did you want to go play then?” she asked, shifting her weight back and forth between her two legs.  “I’ve been exploring around here before and know of some really neat places to check out.  There is a meadow nearby that has lots of pretty wildflowers that we can pick.”  Lily shook her head eagerly and the two girls set off into the trees.


Over the course of several hours, the girls picked wildflowers together and chatted about things that were of great interest to children, such as favorite toys and family members.  Lily learned that Lilith had a sister and that she had been born nearby and lived in the area all of her life.  She told Lily that her sister was away for the summer, so she was feeling very lonely.  She had never been to California before, so Lily had spent quite a bit of time describing it in as much detail as she could, telling her about the beaches, her school, the apartments, and her old friends.


“Oh!”  Lily gasped as they were making their way back toward the lake.  “It’s gotten so dark so quickly!  I haven’t been watching the time!  It must be dinnertime already.  I’m going to get it when I get back home!”  She glanced down at her watch and then looked up at Lilith with a worried frown.  “I’m sorry, Lily.  I’ve got to go home now.  Can we meet again tomorrow to play?”


Lilith nodded.  “Meet me back by the lake tomorrow morning and we can go exploring some more.  I know a fun place to play at.”  Lily smiled gratefully and hugged her bear to her chest as she turned.  Lilith stopped her.  “Here.  Take these wildflowers with you and give them to your mom.  I don’t need them.”  Lilith handed her the wildflowers that she had picked earlier and Lily added them to her own bouquet.


“Thanks!  I’ll see you tomorrow!”  Lily turned and ran back down the hill in the direction of the house as the sun began to sink lower and lower behind the trees.  The gathering darkness didn’t scare her, but her parent’s reaction to her staying out so late did.  She broke into a faster run, hoping that she was going in the right direction.  She spied the low wooden fence along the backyard and sprinted though it and into the house, hair flying wildly.


Surprisingly, her mom was just finishing up dinner.  She glanced up at her daughter’s sudden appearance in the kitchen and looked at her with an amused expression.  “And just where have you been all afternoon, young lady?” she inquired as she stirred the macaroni and cheese that was bubbling on the stovetop.  “We were getting ready to send out the search party for you.  You weren’t out actually having a good time, were you?”  Lily could tell that her mother was trying to hide a smile as she turned back toward the stove.


Lily was in too good a mood to care about trying to be angry anymore.  She had found a new playmate and she was on top of the world.  She gave her mom a quick hug and pushed the wildflowers in her direction.  “I picked these for you today, mom,” she smiled. 


“Oh, so that’s what you’ve been doing,” her mother smiled and nodded in the direction of an empty vase that was on the kitchen counter.  “Why don’t you put them there for me, clean up, and then make your way to the dinner table.  We’re almost ready to eat.” 


Lily did as she was told and climbed up onto her chair in the dining room as her father joined them for dinner.  Her mother came in and set down their bowls in front of them.  Lily hadn’t realized how hungry she was until she had sat down.  She hummed happily to herself, swinging her feet back and forth under the table as she scarfed down her food.  Her mother and father exchanged an amused smile as they watched her.


“So, did you have a good day today, Honey?” her father asked her as he took a bite of his food.  “You seem to be in a much better mood today than you were yesterday.  Did you find anything interesting around here?”


Lily’s feet stopped swinging and her spoon froze halfway to her mouth, a cheesy noodle dangled and fell back into her bowl.  She looked up from her food and nodded.  “I met a girl today by the…meadow,” Lily lied quickly.  She could feel her face turn slightly red.  She adverted her eyes and moved on quickly, “We played all afternoon together.  She has pretty purple eyes like Mrs. Winston.”


Marc raised his eyebrows at the information and Laura exclaimed in a surprised voice, “Well, that’s nice, Sweetie!  I didn’t know that there were any kids your age living around here.  I guess we’ll have to make a point to go out and meet the neighbors once we’ve settled in.  Where does she live?  Does she have a name?”


Lily shrugged and went back to devouring her macaroni and cheese.  “Somewhere nearby was all she told me.  And her name’s Lily, just like mine.  Well, actually it’s Lilith, but she says people call her Lily.  Isn’t that cool?  We’re going to meet again tomorrow morning by the, uh, meadow and go exploring.” 


“Well, that sounds like fun,” Laura said as she finished her dinner.  Marc stood up and collected all the empty plates.  “Just stay out of trouble.  I would prefer it if you girls stayed near the house.  I don’t want you getting lost or hurt out there.”  Lily nodded and excused herself from the table.



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