The taxi drove slowly, obeying the neighborhood's fifteen mile per hour speed limit. I had my window rolled down due to the good weather. The sky was blue and cloudless and there was a slight breeze, with very little humidity.
I'd arrived in Jannesen, Florida. It's a small, quaint town, very near to the beach - practically on the beach. It can't be found on the map. I was a big fan of sand and sun, but I was already missing my mom and life-long home in Seattle, Washington.
I was spending the summer before I went off to college with my dad and his new wife and stepdaughter, Ella and Morgan. I figured I could spend some time with him and get to know his new family before I started the beginning of my adult life at Yale in Connecticut.
The taxi rolled to a stop in front of a Victorian style house. There were flowers in the front and the house looked very cozy and homey, rather than big and cold. Off to the right there was even a little garden and I think I could smell a hint of the beach in the distance. There was a black Dodge Durango and black Honda Accord in the driveway. I could see the tailights of a sleek, white Mercedes in the separate two-car garage.
"Here we are," the taxi driver croaked, his voice raspy. It was probably that way from smoking. With his balding head, beer gut, and greasy shirt, I wouldn't be surprised.
I mumbled a thanks and handed him the money for the fare, plus a twenty dollar tip; my mother's idea of a tip to taxi driver is "clean those damn seats", so I thought I'd be generous and help him out.
"Do you need any help with your bags?" he asked reluctantly, popping the trunk.
"Um, no, I got it. But thanks," I said, sliding my black leather knapsack onto my right shoulder and stepping out the taxi.
I shut the door and as I walked to the trunk the sun shined on my long, honey blonde hair and the wind tousled my wispy bangs. I pulled down my light blue short-shorts and began to heft one of my suitcases out the trunk, when I heard my name being shouted.
I turned around to see my dad rushing toward me, smiling widely, with Ella and Morgan close behind.
"Benji, you're here!" my dad shouted excitedly, picking me up and twirling me around.
"Dad!" I squealed and giggled.
After a couple of twirls he finally sat me down and then pulled me into a long, tight hug.
"I'm so glad to see you," he said once we let each other go. His smile was wide and ecstatic and his eyes were shining with excitemet.
"Me too," I said. I'm pretty sure my smile was permanent too.
"This is Ella and Morgan," he introduced.
"Nice to meet you," they said simultaneously before erupting into giggles, which made me cringe slightly.
"Hi, nice to meet you too. I'm Benji," I said, taking Ella's outstretched hand in mine and shaking it.
"We know. And we've heard so much about you," Ella gushed.
Morgan grabbed my hand shook it too, "It's great to finally meet you." She jerked her head towards my dad. "He just wouldn't shut up about you," she said, causing everyone to laugh. "And I have to admit I wasn't expecting someone quite so pretty with a name like Benji."
I took a good look at Ella and Morgan. They both were slender with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. Ella looked more soccer mom-y. On the otherhand, Morgan was curvier in her hips and chest and looked like a raging sex kitten, whereas her mom had a subtle sexiness.
"How about you get settled in?" Dad said. "And I'll get your bags for you."
"Sure and thanks," I said.
"I'll give you a tour of the house," Morgan offered.
"Great," my dad stated, clapping his hands and rubbing them together.
"You girls go get to know each other," Ella told us.
I shrugged my shoulders and Morgan and I made our way into the house. It was cozy and homey on the inside, just the way it looked on the outside.
"That's the den," Morgan pointed to the left.
The den was basically the smaller version of a living room. The walls were white and there were two light brown sofas. One was a loveseat against one wall and the other couch was perpendicular to it and ran the entire length of the other wall. In the free corner was a big screen TV with various game systems and video games on a stand next to it.
"That little door is the bathroom," she said.
There was a door on the right in the miniature hallway.
She pointed to the right, "That's the dining room."
It was painted a light beige and there was an oak dining table with the matching chairs, a tableware set, and a vase filled with what looked like real brown-eyes Susans in the middle.
|Aimee Teegarden||as Benji|