By G Venkataraman
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Seeing them tussling on the sand like that gets her giggling to herself. The twins, Kara and Kat, are walking on either side of her and they shoot her matching inquisitive looks. Samantha makes a low gagging noise and pretends to throw up, and the other two girls begin to giggle uncontrollably. Scottie frowns at them like they're out of their minds. He and Tim stop and sit on the sand, stretching out. Brian joins them, putting down the boom box he's carrying. Sheryl Crow's sexy voice rasps on the radio.
And Christmas. He usually showed up on Christmas, his gifts generic and thoughtless. The sweatshirt or doll or little bracelet might have been for anyone. Like he was buying them for someone else's daughter, a distant cousin. Samantha had often thought that might be truer than she wanted to admit. Carl might well have bought a dozen of each gift he had ever given her, and presented the others to nieces and the daughters of his girlfriends. Samantha knew that she had to let go of the bitterness in her heart, but it wasn't that simple.
Relatives had besieged Samantha with memories of her father; most of them charming, some of them funny, and some tragic. Those three adjectives had pretty much summed up his life. Brian had spent that time circulating through the room, speaking to her relatives and family friends who had known him in the high school years when he and Samantha had been best friends. None of them had seen him since that time, but truth be told most of them hadn't really seen Samantha much either. The people who recognized him treated Brian like a long-lost cousin.