Chapter Two: Reunion

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~Melanie~

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~Melanie~

I pull into the dirt road driveway and see it packed full. Cars are already parked on the grass next to the driveway. I do the same and shift gears into park. I look over to James, who already is unbuckled with the passenger door partially open. I turn the engine off, then get out and grab my luggage and sleeping bag from the trunk. The air is sticky as the hot humidity is trapped under the thick canopy of trees surrounding us.

"Ready?" I ask him.

James nods as he readjusts the strap of his heavy bag on his shoulder. I start the trek up the dirt road driveway as the trees start to pan out and the lake and cabin come into view. A large white canopy tent is set up in front of the wooden cabin with picnic tables already placed underneath. Most of everyone is socializing under the tent, while I see some of the cousins hanging out on the dock to the far left, my dad and Greg grilling food on the far right near the detached garage, and behind them are all four grandfathers playing Bocce on the only manicured lawn. We reach the grill first as it's closest to the driveway.

"Dad!"

"Melliebean!" My dad places the metal spatula down on the white serving tray as he embraces me.

He smells of the coals from the grill. He kisses the top of my head before I pull away. Dad's short dark brown hair is let loose instead of pulled back with gel like he usually does it. I smile as he faces James and shakes his hand.

"Good to see you, again. Thank you for joining us."

"Of course," James replies.

"Mel!" Greg greets me in his Patriots tee-shirt and pulls me into a hug.

"Hi, Greg. How's it going?"

"Pretty good. Now that you're here, we can eat!"

I chuckle, "Let me introduce you to my boyfriend, first. Greg, this is James. James this is Greg, Bianca's dad."

Greg puts his hand out and James shakes it. Greg looks a bit older since the last time I saw him. He has some almost-white hair mixed in with his blonde.

"Nice to meet you, James! Come, put your bags down and join us under the canopy. It's time to eat!"

"Do you have a sleeping bag, James?" my dad asks.

"No, I don't, and Melanie forgot to mention it to me." His gray eyes shoot lasers at me.

I shrug my shoulders with a slim smile, "Sorry."

"That's no problem at all. We have extra blankets and pillows to spare. I'm sure we have an extra sleeping bag somewhere, as well. I'll ask Grandma Hansen."

We follow my dad to the cabin as Greg places the burgers, cheeseburgers, and hotdogs on two large serving trays. We enter through the low-hanging wooden door frame into the kitchen. My grandmas, Elaine and Paula, and Bianca's grandmas, Brandi and Esther, are all sitting at the large circular table, gossiping. They stop once they see us.

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