“Oh my, Summer what happened to you?” Cassandra’s voice cut through Summer’s relaxed mood like an axe. “Summer, what did you do to your hair?”
Summer took a moment to work out what Cassandra meant. It came flooding back to her in a rush, “oh that, well it just sort of… happened.” Summer excused herself to get changed before they went to the dining hall for breakfast. Getting ready she felt that strange sort of confidence that comes with change.
Summer walked into the dining hall past crowds barely listening to Cassandra trying to discuss her article in the campus newspaper. Passing a couple of the girls she had met last night they exchanged brief compliments and smiles over the change of hair. Summer certainly felt more pep in her step. Even if she couldn’t remember their names.
Cassandra and Summer sat at the table slowly eating their cereal. Summer found herself being lost in thought until she spotted Jamie staring at them. Summer squashed the thought back into the box deciding it was better not to tell Cassandra, just let her talk and be happy. Jamie left after a few minutes, there was no need to concern Cassandra.
Ten minutes later Cassandra left Summer to get something, Summer hadn’t listened to what but she just felt the relief of just being happy for that moment with the change. Even if the weirdness of Jamie staring had thrown her off centre. She felt a little more confident walking back to her dorm.
Summer turned the corner to find Jamie leaning against her door. “Cassandra’s not here” she said on auto pilot not wanting to be around him, not after seeing all of Cassandra’s tears.
“I know. I came to see you; can we talk? Inside?”
Summer reluctantly agreed. “Why did you break up with her?” Summer slung her bag onto the sofa and peeled off her jacket hanging it on the back of the door which she left ajar, not feeling quite sure enough she wanted to close the door.
“That night after the social, when I took you home.”
Summer didn’t bother hide her confusion, “so that’s how I got home? It was you?”
“You don’t remember?”
“You don’t remember me bringing you here? Or me kissing you?”
Summer looked horrified. Her stomach turned, “you did what? Seriously what is wrong with you? You were with Cassandra for one, and I was drunk for two.” Her stomach turned higher up into her throat, “I was so drunk that I don’t even remember that night, and you did that? What the hell is wrong with you?”
“I couldn’t help myself.”
“That is not an excuse”
“I like you, I want you”
“That doesn’t make it ok”
“You knew I wanted you”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“We can be together.”
“No we can’t, now leave”
“Don’t say that” Jamie moved towards Summer faster than she could back away, he pushed his body to hers and kissed her. Summer pushed against him. When he pulled away and let go of her Summer’s hand moved on reflex slapping Jamie.
From the corner of her eye Summer saw movement, it was Cassandra coming to Summer’s side. How much had she heard? Summer’s stomach churned unnaturally.
“Looks like what everyone says on campus is right. You’re frigid, pretty little tease. No wonder you haven’t got a boyfriend.” Cassandra snapped telling Jamie to shut up.
“You thought it as well Cassie, I bet you didn’t slap that jealous brat when he kissed you. But then again, you wind a guy up and drop him like a brick. No wonder you are the campus competition.”
“What?” The word escaped Summer before she could catch it back.
“You didn’t know? Lay the frigid Darling girl and become a legend.”
Summer wanted to bolt from the room, but the door was wide open, the whole hall would have heard this. She didn’t have to bolt though; Cassandra was pushing Jamie out of the room. It was her turn to yell. It was her turn to rage, and she had plenty to give. She humiliated him for the “man child” that he really is.
Summer was on the verge of tears, she didn’t want to face anyone, she didn’t want to see Cassandra’s hurt right now. Summer made her way to her bedroom. She threw her laundry into bags, ripping one, she swore and yelled and kicked the bag. leaning against the end of her bed she felt her legs slowly slip below her.
“Summer, what are you doing?” Cassandra’s voice was soft.
Summer looked up. “I don’t know.” Cassandra took a spot on the floor next to Summer, “do you hate me?”
Cassandra shook her head no, “he’s a jerk. Are you ok?”
“Yes… No. But, I will be.”
“So is it still ok if I come to Thanksgiving with you?”
“You still want to?”
“Of course, I’ve never had a Grimeston-Darling Thanksgiving.”
“You don’t hate me?”
“You, no, him, yes. Let’s pack and go hey?”
“Yeah, sure, Cass, thank you.”
“Sticking up for me.”
“Hey they all got a good show out there, now all the girls know what he is.”
“Can we get drunk tonight?”
“That’s my girl”
For those of you wanting to get your hands on the ending… here is the pre-order link for Darling Daughters! Releasing 22nd August 2018