Trust Me:Rivers Edge - Book 1(2)By: Lacey Black
I turn my six year old black Jeep Wrangler off the country road and onto the familiar driveway to the home my family has owned since I was a year old. The big ranch style house sits comfortably on three acres of open yard surrounded by a few more acres of family owned timber. With a wide wraparound porch and inviting blue front door, it’s the home that brings me comfort and peace whenever my life is out of sorts. For the past four years, it’s been my refuge when I need a place to hide my tears from the world. The home I grew up in sits ten miles outside of Rivers Edge, Missouri, a small town of about seven thousand with big personality and even bigger gossips.
As I pull up and park, I see all of my brother’s vehicles already there, but that doesn’t surprise me any. Tapping my fingertips on the steering wheel, I murmur, “Always late.”
The sound of the Cowboys game blaring from the family room greets me as I open my door and help Brooklyn from her car seat. As I wrestle the lively three-year old, Miss Sparkles, the travel bag, and a Tupperware container of cupcakes from the backseat of the Wrangler, I hear the screen door open and fall shut. It’s quickly followed by my brother Will’s laughter ringing in my ears as I struggle to maintain my balance.
“Is that my favorite little Bean there?” he asks as he walks down the steps to come give me a hand.
Brooklyn whips around to catch a glimpse of her uncle who approaches us with a big grin on his handsome face. At six foot tall, Will has the same sparkling blue eyes and light blond hair that I have. His broad shoulders and muscular frame tower over my five foot, seven inch body and definitely over my three year old toddler. In fact, all four of my brothers are tall and broad with Jake and Nate being the biggest. They all take after our dad while I’m the spitting image of our mom. Blue eyes the color of the ocean, long blond hair with just enough curl in it to frustrate you, and a curvy figure thanks to nine months of eating Chips Ahoy cookies and dunking them in Dr. Pepper.
Brooklyn starts to shimmy and shake, trying to get out of my full arms to get to her Uncle Will. As the travel bag full of dolls and toys starts to slip down my arm, Will quickly reaches in and grabs the wiggling toddler just before I lose my grip on the cupcakes. Crisis averted.
Taking Brooklyn from my arm, he kisses her repeatedly over her chubby little cheeks, making her giggle uncontrollably. “I’ve missed you so much! Have you missed Uncle Will?”
“Yep! Wook at my new kitty,” Brooklyn exclaims, throwing Miss Sparkles into Will’s face.
“She sure is a pretty little thing, Bean,” Will says as they start to walk up the front steps. He stops halfway and says, “Who’s your favorite uncle, anyway?” She throws her arms around Will’s neck and gives him a loud and enthusiastic, “YOU!”
“You’re my most favorite niece, too, Bean,” he says as he returns her big hug.
I don’t recall who bestowed the nickname Bean upon Brooklyn, but it happened in that crazy moment when my entire family flooded my hospital room to catch a glimpse at the first baby born in the family since my arrival nineteen years before. She was passed around from arms to arms for an hour before she finally made her way back to mine.
“She’s as long and skinny as a string bean,” I recall one of my brother’s saying as they all looked down in awe at the tiny sleeping person cradled securely in my arms. And just like that, it stuck. She’s been Brooklyn Bean since that moment.
Will opens the front door for me to step in before him, and I’m instantly assaulted by the loud voices and laughter that could only come from my older brothers. My mom, Elizabeth, rushes from the kitchen to the front door to help relieve me of part of my load, taking the cupcakes out of my hands before anything happens to the delicious treats. “You’re late,” she says with a hint of a smile.
“And that surprises you?” Will exclaims with laughter in his sparkling blue eyes.
“I’m sorry. Brooklyn didn’t go down for her nap until late,” I try to defend myself, but know it falls on deaf ears.
“There’s Grandma’s big girl!” Mom exclaims, stealing Brooklyn from Will’s arm. “Come see what treats Grandma has for you in the kitchen.” Mom and Brooklyn head into the kitchen to show off the latest sweet creation she’s made. Purely Sweet is a small bakery in town that Mom started when I was five years old with the encouragement of my dad and all of her friends. She is the go-to baker for everything cakes, cupcakes, candies, and rolls. What started out as a hobby, alone in her kitchen keeping busy while home with all of us kids, turned into a staple for a big portion of the town of Rivers Edge. I grew up within those delicious walls helping roll dough, mix batter, and spread icing. I fell in love with baking at the age of seven and worked every summer at Mom’s bakery growing up. There’s just something relaxing about baking. The delicious aroma of freshly baked breads and sweet treats is my second favorite scent ever. Only the scent of Brooklyn’s baby shampoo can top it.