Darling Daughters

Chapter Fifteen


Summer had made a large headway through the files and folders from Archie, and by Sunday morning with all of her homework complete she pulled out the next file to read. Elizabeth had started on her draw with Summer kept so busy, with no decisions made about the kitchen. The quiet of the relaxed Sunday morning was unavoidably disturbed by the doorbell ringing.

Sighing Summer put the papers back under her desk, the formal looking file abandoned. The impatience of the doorbell driving her mad. Elizabeth came to the doorway just as Summer opened the door to find both of their grandfathers, Stuart and Matthew standing in the doorway with two oversized boxes in their hands. Boxes with ridiculous bows thrust towards the girls.

Matthew strode straight into the fire marked kitchen with obvious dismay on his face. He handed them two very formal looking invitations. Stuart found obvious amusement from Elizabeth and Summer sharing looks of horror and confusion at two rather elegant invitations. Followed by the handing over of a guidebook.

Matthew explained they would be staying in the other house, a “holiday” home from home just outside of Grimestone. He told them he expected them both there at seven pm sharp on Thanksgiving with no exceptions.

The girls exchanged a look of bewilderment finally being instructed to open the boxes with the ridiculous bows on top. Summer’s jaw dropped and Elizabeth’s eyebrows seemed to be aiming to join her hairline. They hoisted the large white poufy dresses from the boxes. Summer couldn’t resist the joke on her lips in sincere hope it was just that, “are we being married off?” Elizabeth elbowed Summer and Matthew looked disappointed.

“No, Summer, they are for your debuts into society on Saturday, we will be your chaperones, but we will leave it up to you to choose a nice handsome man to be your dates for the evening. Everything you need to know is in the booklets. But we need to know their names by tomorrow. We had to pull a lot of strings to get you in this season. Do not even try to come up with an excuse.”

With the final nature of his words Matthew and Stuart left on urgent business and walked out the door, leaving Summer and Elizabeth dumbfounded.

It took a few moments for the power of speech to collide with their thoughts.

“DATES? We have to find dates! Are you kidding me?” Summer was the one to break the silence, but Elizabeth still had something to say about it.

“It’s ok for you, you can ask Zach, but me? No I can’t. I won’t! I don’t have the time, this booklet is like one million pages long, see!” She flustered herself about the book. “I can barely lift it.”

“You’re exaggerating”

“Am I? Am I really? How are we meant to have it all memorised and ready by Thursday, because that is what they expect. Let’s see what do we need? Dates, shoes… shoes I love but what else? Dates that have tails, like suit tails, could you imagine if they had real tails. Oh no. There is a dance and presentation, I am going to fall or trip or flash someone. Which would be hard to do in a meringue, but me? I would find a way. You know why I hate marshmallow dresses? Because they are giant sized death traps that makes it impossible to pee like a normal person!”

Summer pulled the dress from Elizabeth’s hands and pinned her arms to her sides as Elizabeth continued ranting from the kitchen to the door. Smoothly Summer picked up her keys and bag and threw a coat over them both and directed a ranting Elizabeth all the way to the Diner.

Elizabeth was steered into a seat and slumped into a heavy silence when two coffee cups appeared before them. Filled with steaming hot black coffee by Simon.

“You! You’re a man! He’s a man! Ellie ask him. Please keep the coffee coming, just think, beautiful coffee fountains and we are all good.” A delirious Summer gushed as Elizabeth processed what had just been said.

“Oh my god! I couldn’t, could I? Simon please, I am desperate?”

“What? You better be joking Ellie, that is really inappropriate.”

“No, I mean please…” Elizabeth thrust the guidebook under his nose. “Please, please, please, they just sprung it on us. You get to see us humiliated and swanned about on display like prize cattle at a county fayre.”

Simon looked around, Elizabeth had been drawing attention. “Will it shut you up?” He hissed at Elizabeth who was now following him around the Diner, hands clasped together as he served. She made her best puppy dog eyes at him as he tried to get her to sit down. “Fine! You better look ridiculous.” And he walked off behind the counter while Elizabeth sat grinning triumphantly. Summer sat there with a sly amused smile waiting.

It dawned on Elizabeth that the whole Diner had heard, even Zach stood in the doorway before moving to sit next to Summer who reluctantly admitted she had the same fate. Tentatively she asked him to come with her.

“It will cost you, five awful bad movies, of my choosing. Your company at the Winter Festival all evening, that includes the walk around the lake and the bonfire together.”

Summer smirked agreeing to the terms feigning reluctance to those conditions. His smirk gave him away. With crisis averted and far too much coffee in their systems the girls began to draw up to do lists with lists of lists.

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