Darling Daughters

Chapter Twenty- Five

 

It started subtly at first. After Summer’s birthday, Elizabeth would come home and find one or two of Summer’s school books left on the table. By the end of the week, the table was littered with books and notes. Occasionally she would find herself catching a rare glimpse of Summer buried under her mountain of books. Summer even kept herself buried away through the Easter break defending her hiding away in the mountain of books with the constant reminder of the impending doom known as exam time.

Elizabeth hadn’t minded too much, she remembered all of the days where she was absent from spending time with Summer when she had been buried in books herself. Elizabeth had taken a three-month intensive course recently, this course gave her something that would placate the family, she had finally graduated with the high school diploma.

Elizabeth hadn’t told Summer about her graduation, the only person who knew was the one who signed her up, Caroline. Elizabeth had been so afraid of failing that she never expected to pass. Now she had, she wanted to celebrate.

Caroline had started to give Elizabeth more responsibilities now that the course was over. Elizabeth was being rotated around all the aspects of running the bakery. One thing that Caroline had tested her with, was the secrecy around some orders.

***

Elizabeth had been working on a few orders recently, but today was Summer’s last exam. They had spent breakfast preparing Summer, not that she needed quizzing on her English paper, but it didn’t hurt.

Elizabeth had been working on the to do list Caroline had set her, a few hundred miniature graduation caps and diplomas made from fondant had to be made for all of the cakes, cupcakes and cookies that had been ordered.

A few days had passed and the next mission for Elizabeth the baking of the cookies and cakes. Summer and Elizabeth had barely seen each other thanks to work and school. Although Summer’s exams were over the school still had them working hard.

***

Through all this time no one paid attention the stranger that had been lurking in the shadows just out of sight. The only people that noticed him were people he had barged past in a hurry. He was simply described as an ordinary looking guy when people told the story of their interaction. But he was always quickly forgotten.

He had barged past Summer more than once now, but she hadn’t taken much notice of him. The most recent collision had been when Summer was in rather a hurry, she was on her way to Oaks bakery to help Elizabeth with frosting a few hundred cupcakes. Simon had tried to help but his icing skills were a bit insufficient. But he had found his niche in making teas and coffees while everyone else worked.

***

A sense of relief had spread through Grimeston and Darling Honor now that graduation was imminent. There was just one person who hadn’t relaxed, Cassandra. Summer could understand, they were both concerned with College places but Cassandra was wound tight. Summer rather sweetly took the opportunity to persuade Cassandra to come to the towns “Summer Lovin’ Fayre” to relax, just for an afternoon.

While Cassandra was still reluctant about relaxing she managed to smile more than usual. She soaked up the strange humour of the town, the water fight stand had her attention for a while before she met Summer who finished her Saturday morning shift.

Summer and Cassandra were giggling watching Kingston break dancing, rather badly to the barber shop quartet that seemed to know only one song, which was sung on a loop. They struggled to take their eyes away from the spectacle. Beyond their view of Kingston however was a familiar face, one Summer really didn’t want to see.

Jamie Godson was pulling himself out of his parent’s car having spotted the fayre, and the two familiar faces wishing they hadn’t been seen. Trying to avoid the interruption that Summer had anticipated she steered Cassandra away. Cassandra joked that “men with giant butterfly nets would be in heaven here.” Summer laughed until the voice behind her made her heart sink.

“Who would have thought it? You two are secretly friends. Everyone thinks the Devonthorne Vs Darling animosity is real, just wait until I tell them.”

Cassandra whipped her head around biting back a remark about keeping silent. Summer didn’t care as much about appearances. When she turned she noticed he looked remarkably different not in the school uniform. He seemed lazily handsome in jeans and a t-shirt. She wasn’t the only one to notice, Cassandra had been dazzled. Summer walked towards the ice cream stand.

Cassandra caught up with Summer, unfortunately bringing Jamie with her. Jamie seemed intent on causing some sort of friction between the uneasy friends. Summer remained determined to ignore his efforts, the girls had maintained their stand off-ish attitude towards him.

Elizabeth decided to go for pizza with Summer and Cassandra, but with Jamie tagging along like a lost puppy it made for an uncomfortable meal. Especially when she discovered he was fluent in “moronic jerk”.

Summer hadn’t noticed Zach watching from a distance. Summer, Elizabeth, Cassandra and Jamie had finally found a shared humour. Jamie had bumped into Zach earlier while he had watched Summer for a distance. Safe to say, Jamie had rubbed Zach the wrong way. It seemed to reach a head when Jamie stole a lick of Cassandra’s lemon ice cream and then a lick of Summer’s bubble gum leaving the girls cringing and joking about “Jamie germs”.

That was the last straw for Zach, Summer had no idea what Jamie had said before, but that didn’t stop her stepping in when Zach flew at Jamie. She pulled the two boys brawling like children apart. Zach took another swing at Jamie but missed and caught Summer in the lip. She still stood her ground trying to pull them apart. It took Simon giving her some help to pull them enough of a distance away.

The adrenaline seemed to drain away rather quickly. Zach finally saw the blood flowing from Summer’s lip, he tried to apologised but was swallowed by the crowds while Elizabeth and Cassandra had pulled them away.

They had gone straight to the manner to clear up the mess and blood. Jamie’s nose was bleeding, and Cassandra tended to his cuts and bruises. Summer refused Elizabeth’s help insistent she would sort herself out. With her phone left on her bed she disappeared into the bathroom for a while. When she came out with her lip no longer bleeding as badly she finally looked at her phone. Eleven missed calls and four voicemails, all from Zach, deleted without acknowledgement.

***

A few hours later Jamie left and Cassandra had agreed to stay the night. Summer didn’t seem to mind, but insisted on her company to pick up some food from the Diner and the market for the movie night Elizabeth had in mind.

Summer was glad for the company, and the diversion. Not to mention the buffer that Cassandra provided. No one got to ask questions, but that didn’t stop the staring.

By the time the girls reached the market they could hear the gossiping a few aisles over. The story had escalated beyond tele novella dramatic into the downright absurd. Summer “might as well have a cape and leotard, that girl is a super hero stepping into the brawl like that, the girl is fearless.”

Cassandra broke into loud laughter and had taken to asking questions like “are red vines worthy of wonder woman?” and “are cola bottles super enough?”

It was all fun and humour until Cassandra decided that Summer needed a better superhero name. That was the last straw, Summer said they would have to work out Cassandra’s side kick name which quickly shut her up.

Still mocking “super Summer” saving the day the girls got home to find Elizabeth setting up the movies ready for the chick flicks with fairly decent brawls in the plot. Summer finally accepted she wasn’t going to live down the “superhero at the Summer lovin’ fayre” headline.

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