In this excerpt, from Chapter Two of Sea Glass Winter (publication date 1/1/13), jewelry designer and glass artist Claire Templeton has moved to Shelter Bay from Beverly Hills, hoping that the smaller school and slower pace of life will keep her teenage son out of trouble. It's their third day in their new home and so far, things haven't exactly been coming up sunshine and roses.
The cottage itself was much smaller than the house from which they’d moved, but the sea view —which included the skeleton of a shipwreck —was definitely worth the inflated price tag Claire had paid for it. Of course, seeming determined not to like anything about his new home, when they’d first shown up a day ahead of the moving van, Matt had complained it was too far from town.
She reluctantly gave him points about their isolation. Considering how much it rained here on the coast, perhaps she should have looked for a place in town. A town, he'd immediately dubbed "Hicksville by the Sea" as they drove past the welcome sign.
Claire strongly doubted that there was anything about Shelter Bay that could make him happy. Give the boy time, she could almost hear her mother saying. Kids are resilient. He'll settle in.
She could only hope that was true. Because after the year she'd been through, she was rapidly approaching the end of a very tattered rope.
He continued to sulk as he ate his cereal, then surprised her by putting his bowl and spoon in the dishwasher. Taking that as a positive sign, Claire didn't mention his leaving the milk and sugar on the table.
"At least you arrived in time to make the team," she said, attempting to put a positive spin on the conversation.
Try-outs for the basketball team were being held today. After driving through the night on the last leg of their journey from L.A. to Shelter Bay, she'd manage to arrive Saturday afternoon.
"Like making the team would be a problem." His tone was thick with the derision that had become all too familiar of late. "I already got a call from some guy who heads up the boosters. He said everyone in town's excited about me becoming a Dolphin. Which is a lame name. The Normans conquered England. Dolphins do stupid tricks for fish at Sea World."
His Beverly Hills team had been the Normans and Claire knew how proud he'd been to wear the black shirt with the orange and white "N" shield.
"I suspect the Miami Dolphins players might disagree with that description," she said mildly as she put the milk in the ancient refrigerator, which would need to be replaced. "And dolphins just happen to be among the most intelligent mammals on the planet. . . Why didn't you tell me you'd gotten a call?"
They'd agreed when high school coaches started trying to recruit him back in middle school, that he'd never talk to anyone about basketball prospects unless she was present for the discussion.
"You were at the grocery store. Then I forgot about it."
Not wanting to call him a liar, she wiped off the counter with a sponge. "Well, in the future, try to remember, okay?"
He shot her a dark look. Then stalked from the kitchen. A moment later Claire heard the bedroom door slam behind him.
Feeling as if she were walking on eggshells, she followed. But didn't go in.
"It's supposed to rain," she said through the closed door.
"It's rained all weekend," he retorted. "And after seeing all the moss growing on the trees, if I worried about getting wet, I'd never go to school."
From the way he'd been acting, he'd probably prefer dropping out. It was something that had worried her since the day he'd been caught with marijuana in his locker. She supposed the only problem with that idea in his mind was that, if he did leave school, he'd be stuck in the house all day with her.
Right now, apparently riding his bike in the rain two miles across the bridge into town was preferable to that prospect. "And having my mom drive me like some lame second grader would be majorly humiliating."
"There's always the school bus." When the real estate agent had first shown her the cottage, one of the pluses had been that the bus stopped at the corner, less than half a block away.
"Kill me now," she heard him mutter. "I'm riding my bike."
He was fifteen years old, on his way toward becoming a man. So, why did she feel the same way she had when, at six, he'd assured her he could cross the street by himself?
Rain began to pound like bullets on the cedar roof as the forecasted storm chose that moment to arrive. "I realize this may come as a disappointment," she said, deciding that on this she was standing firm. "But I'm still your mother. And unless you want to take the bus, since I have to go into town anyway, I'm driving you."
The bedroom door swung open. He was holding his school clothes in an untidy wad under his arm. So much for that nice crisp crease she'd ironed so he could make a good first impression.
"Why don't I just throw myself off the damn cliff?" he suggested, his tone thick with scorn. "Problem solved."
With that lovely suggestion ringing in her ears, he strode past her into the single bathroom they were forced to share and shut yet another door between them.
As she heard the shower, which needed repairing, sputter on, Claire pressed her fingers against her eyes until she saw little dots like snowflakes and assured herself, for the umpteenth time, that she'd made the right decision moving them here to Shelter Bay. . .
That's it for this week! Now that you've met former Army bomb disposal specialist turned high school physics teacher and basketball coach Dillon Slater (in last week's excerpt) and Claire, the teasers will get shorter. But I hope you'll come back next week for another installment.
Meanwhile, don't forget Friday photos, and possibly a midweek OWH challenge card.