Sanctuary (Seeking Asylum #1) - SM Olivier



Eight years ago…

The ice-cold water swirling around my feet was a stark contrast to the hot, humid air pressing down upon us. We sat on a floating dock that bobbed up and down gently in the middle of a large man-made lake. Surprisingly, Trevor and I were the only ones out here.

Almost everyone else was getting ready for the big Fourth of July bash that my grandparents threw every year at their campground. The Cavaliers, Edens, and Harris-Harrisons−my family− had been coming here since before I was born. It became our yearly tradition to visit the campground Nana and Pop-pop had bought after all their “children” had left.

Typically, the campgrounds were for groups. It was a place for church groups and other large groups to come during the offseason. During the summer months, campers started arriving in the second week of June until the end of August. Late fall into late winter, hunters rented out the cabins near the foot of the mountains. Pop-pop and Nana closed it down to the public the week of the 4th for their family.

Pop-pop and Nana Young had raised Scott Cavalier, Mitch Eden, and my Dad, Bryan Harris. Pop-pop and Nana, unable to have children themselves, began fostering children sometime in their late thirties, after having focused on their careers.

They’d had a lot of children come in and out of their home. The young ones seemed to get adopted relatively quickly, but Uncle Scott, Uncle Mitch, and Dad had been eleven and twelve when they were placed with them, almost being too old by many people’s standards.

Eventually, Pop-pop and Nana decided to adopt them, and just like that, they were a family. Honestly, my uncles and Dad were more than family, though. They were so close, they even decided to join the military together. This vacation was one of the only times of year that Uncle Mitch and his family could spend time with the family he practically grew up with.

Uncle Scott, Trevor’s dad, had been placed in a similar career field, so we were PCSed− Permanent Change of Station− together since my dad had joined. Sometimes the Cavaliers would get their orders first, and other times we did, but eventually we were reunited.

At the age of thirteen, I had lived in four different states and one other country. Granted, I only remembered two of those states, but still, that was an awful lot of moving and making new friends. I used to be able to rely on Emery, my twin sister, and my younger brother BJ− or Bryan Junior− as my friends, but honestly, we were growing apart. Trevor, though, he was my constant. Sadly, we were given orders once again. Uncle Scott, however, hadn’t yet.

“I’m going to miss you,” Trevor said, his voice softly cracking. I wasn’t sure if it was his testosterone or his emotions that made his voice break.

My mom, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Pam became best friends through their husbands. Aunt Pam had been pregnant with Trevor when my mom was carrying me and Emery. And if that weren’t enough, they had even gone into labor together as well. Trevor was born twelve minutes before I made my entrance into the world and nineteen minutes before Emery. Our parents called us the Deployment Triplets.

They embarrassed us by telling everyone we were conceived the nights our dads came back from their deployments. Our parents, and even Uncle Mitch and Aunt Carol, were way too affectionate with each other and loved to gross us kids out by all their sexual innuendo and openness.

“I’m gonna miss you, too,” I said, trying to hold my tears back. “But at least we have the next three weeks together.”

I tried to sound upbeat, even though my heart was breaking. The parents would be leaving by the end of the week, and we would be staying behind to spend some more time with my grandparents. We had been doing that since we were around five or so. However, this year had been more than stressful, and it was a heartbreaking one as well.

This year had been a year of changes. Tough changes. Changes I couldn’t have gotten through without Trevor by my side.

It began with my dad and mom deciding to send BJ to a military boarding school. With Dad regularly deploying, he wasn’t home often. BJ was three years younger than Emery and me, but four years behind us in school because last year he had gotten out of control and was failing his classes. He