Darling Daughters

Chapter Twenty-Three

 

The girls felt spoiled for certain. They were almost ready at the deadline that Stuart and Matthew had set them. The music had kept them moving at a pace. Elizabeth was nervous and shy at the attention the gown brought her, she looked stunning. As for Summer, she felt giddy and strange, and very grown up.

They sat in silence in the car that had been sent for them, they were awkward and very nervous. Neither knew what to expect. They didn’t know where they were going. It took a while before Summer developed a sense of where they might be headed to.

Arriving at their destination Stuart and Matthew had taken to being their guides to where they were meant to go. Summer and Elizabeth felt it strange, walking around Darling College. Summer hadn’t seen this route before, not on the tour, this hidden area of campus. They had ben lead through what felt like a labyrinth until they arrived in a beautiful courtyard.

Summer hadn’t expected such a beautiful hidden cove in Darling College. Elizabeth and Summer squeezed one another’s hands tightly. As they made their way down the steps they heard the gentle trickle of music that sounded so soft and sweet. The dresses and suits whirled around the room.

Both girls were guided firmly to what could be assumed the centre of the space best described to be a dancefloor.

The stars above shone through the room, like the only light they would need as the light seemed to multiply and shatter from the glass, the glittering dresses and the shining silver. The girls had been introduced to almost everyone in the room. Some guests were close to their age and seemed to find this normal and natural.

All were the friends of their grandfathers, yet all of them were some form of Darling College, some past, present and future members. All congratulating Summer on her birthday who felt increasingly awkward being on parade like this.

***

Having met most of the people in the courtyard and danced too many times. Summer’s grandfather introduced her to a Mr (something) Alexander, she hadn’t heard his first name, or she couldn’t remember it for some reason. So she smiled and prayed she wouldn’t have to use his first name. Summer was told that his son was at Darling this year, away next year and then back to do the rest of his college years. Summer smiled politely barely absorbing this information.

She discovered, with a quick question in her grandfather’s ear when the man’s attention was drawn away that he was called Justice Alexander. She nodded and kept her thoughts to herself, even if she suspected his parents to have a sick sense of humour. Justice introduced his son bringing him into the group, “this is my son, William” Summer’s eyebrows could have hit her hairline for all she knew. “William this is Summer Darling, the birthday girl herself.”

The panic shot over William’s features for a moment as he placed her name and face. The boy who had stumbled into her while he was drunk. Summer smiled and said nothing about it. She kept her responses polite.

Justice urged them both to dance. William took her hand and lead her to the dance floor. “Should I be wearing safety gear and steal toecaps just in case?” She jested, trying not to draw attention to his obvious squirming.

“Should I? I’ve seen your grandfather dance, and if your skills are inherited… well that would be unfortunate.” Summer took the opportunity to slyly step on his toes. “Ouch what was that for?”

“My foot slipped, here was me being nice keeping your indiscretions quiet. Thank heavens you haven’t stumbled yet.”

“Fair enough, thank you, for not saying anything.” Summer nodded and smiled. The tension faded for a moment between them, understanding the need for privacy.

Out of the corner of her eye Elizabeth watched Summer dance with William. Slightly upset that she hadn’t spent much real time with Summer doing something she wanted to do. Elizabeth promised herself that tomorrows plan would be a good opportunity. After all, she had gotten to know Summer well enough to see that goofy side dying to come out, even though everything seemed so serious right now. She just needed to unwind a bit.

 

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