Darling Daughters

Chapter Nine


It’s finally the weekend. That’s the sentiment they shared.

Summer had completed her homework and extra credit work by lunchtime. She had a short afternoon shift at the Diner to look forward to then some time with Elizabeth once she finished her shift.

While still home sick, Summer struggled to consider the manner home, although she was beginning to adjust to the decoration and the over-the-top-ness of the house. Neither Elizabeth or Summer had the heart to change it, even the bowl of keys on the dresser remained on the to do list pinned to the wall.

Tapping the to do list she walked out of the house towards the Diner.

For a Saturday the town seemed eerily quiet even McGuire wasn’t his usual self. He seemed to be running around giving whispered orders to groups of people nearby, but as soon as Summer approached he went silent. They exchanged a “good morning” or two and “what a lovely day” before returning to the huddle awkwardly.

Summer didn’t bother to mask her curiosity or her suspicion. She walked a little slower past each small crowd suddenly silent on seeing her.

“Ignore them, they are crazy” wise words from Simon as she got through the door. She still eyed him with equal suspicion. The Diner was quiet for a Saturday afternoon, and the distinct lack of explanation infuriated Summer with every quiet conversation hushed in her presence. On her occasional glance across the square she could see the kiosks being set up with carts and stands; but still no explanation, no matter how much she asked.

Struggling not to take it personally Summer eventually gave up asking.

At the end of her shift Summer met up with Elizabeth on her way out of Oaks, discussing dinner plans. They had their mission, cook dinner, see if they can find homes for some of those keys and watch some bad TV or food channels.


Exhausted the girls were still tucked up in bed at eleven thirty on Sunday morning. It was a loud knocking on the door that reverberated throughout the whole of the house to wake them up. Elizabeth was just as unhappy at the infernal racket as Summer as they opened at the door still bleary eyed from sleep in their pyjamas.

Dismayed at the door at the state of Elizabeth and Summer stood Caroline and Thomas. They ordered both girls to go get themselves presentable.

With the door closed both girls muttered and shuffled to their rooms pulling on jeans and t-shirts and raking their hair with a brush.

“Do we have to go with them?”

“Yup, no where we can hide in this damn town?”


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Darling Daughters

Chapter Eight


It was towards the end of the week and both Elizabeth and Summer felt thoroughly exhausted. Elizabeth had been part of the marathon for the wedding order. Finally, her first day off this week had arrived, it was also Friday, much to her relief. However, that didn’t exempt her from waking up early to take Summer to school. But with that kerfuffle over Elizabeth now found herself at a loss of things to do, even with a to do list as long as her arm.

Elizabeth managed to get the food shopping done in the market with relative ease, a little nagging from Thomas had her rather grumpy. Elizabeth got the groceries home and put away, standing in the kitchen a little at a loss of what she wanted to do next. Her eyes fell onto the speakers and put music on, itching the volume a little higher at a time. She began to clean the house, in no time at all she was singing and dancing as she swept the floor occasionally pausing to use the handle as a microphone.

Elizabeth didn’t notice the door opening, or the figure of a man stifling laughter as Elizabeth continued to dance about with her back to him. A spin with the broom, she caught sight of him and screamed in surprise catching her feet below her she fell back on herself. Coming into the room to catch her, rescuing the damsel on the floor, Simon pulled her to her feet in hysterics.

Standing on her feet Elizabeth glared at him, picked up the broom and caught him on the shoulder telling him off. Finally, he had stopped laughing and apologised to her. Elizabeth was already red in the face from exertion and embarrassment.

“I’m sorry I swear I would have walked away, but it was such a show, a wonderful concert.” Elizabeth clipped his shoulder again with the broom at his sarcasm. Her eyes narrowed as he picked up the can of polish and the duster and began singing. Not sure if he was trying to offend her she glared, until her expression softened as he swayed and got into the song. Finally, Elizabeth caved and continued cleaning and breaking into laughter.

After a long while the living room and kitchen looked brighter and tidier. Reaching the final encore. Elizabeth smiled as she pulled a soda out of the fridge and handed it towards Simon, slumping on the sofa next to him, both a hot sweaty mess.

Simon pulled a small rusting key with a tag hanging off of it, “Archie” was scrawled across the label.

“Great another key, anyone would think Archie had a key fetish.”

“Charming. Ellie, I am sorry for scaring you earlier.”

“It’s fine.” Elizabeth smiled, she took the key and put it on the dresser as her eyes caught a glimpse of the time she jumped out of her skin. “I’m late! I’m late.” Simon called her the white rabbit until Elizabeth began hauling her bag over her shoulder she finally explained with one word, “Summer”. He got to his feet and offered to drive her considering he’d blocked her in.

Elizabeth accepted his offer and sat in the front seat, covered in dust and sweat.

They pulled up in front of Summer who jumped in as the rain began to spit. Looking out of the window Summer saw Cassandra from the corner of her eye, she had been watching them and stood rooted to the spot smiling smugly.

The rain was pouring when they finally arrived at the Diner, Summer and Elizabeth set themselves on the corner table so Summer could finish her homework.

Concerned Elizabeth asked why she was finishing it up not just starting. Summer shrugged, she hadn’t made many friend so she had time during lunch and break and with Elizabeth being late she got a fair bit done.

“Cassandra and her minions still making things difficult?”

“Maggy, well, she has that whole two faced vibe going on with her but she is definitely Cassandra’s popular ally. As for Valarie, she does as Cassandra says, too interested in lipgloss that one.”

Elizabeth sighed, “what about anyone else?”

“Some boy called Jami called me ‘Mary’ whatever that means. He is kind of a cute snob; he knows it is what makes him unbearable.”

“Ha! Biblical insults, it means you look like a goody two shoes, kind of virginal.”


“It’s a good thing I guess, so I take it he is popular.”

“Very. I think Cassandra fancies him, but I don’t see why, he has a reputation. From what I over hear he has fooled around with most of the girls in school, but not Cassandra. But hey, maybe going for the leader of a pack of wolves proves he has a bit of a brain.”

Elizabeth sighed again, Summer had made her mind up on the people in the school, she didn’t want to befriend them. Not for any genuine level, her focus was primarily on her exams.

Elizabeth couldn’t hide her disappointment when Summer stood to begin her shift. Elizabeth watched Summer for a while. Simon sat in Summer’s seat, “don’t worry about her so much. She is doing fine.”

“Is she? She’s not making friends in school.”

“She is making friends here, she even has a boy that seems to have a crush on her, he occasionally pops in. Ellie trust me, she is going to be fine.  She’s bright and to be honest, it is probably going to be hard, but it would be easier for you if you just let her lead the pace. She will be more than fine; she has you looking out for her.”

His reassurance did help a little bit but Elizabeth still worried, even as Simon stood to get back to it and make more coffee.

Elizabeth saw that Simon hadn’t been lying about a boy. Summer broke into an embarrassed smile as a tall young gentleman approached her and said hello. Simon ducked down beside Elizabeth as he passed, “that’s Zach.”

Zach tried to engage Summer at every opportunity while she worked. The dinner rush was growing. Elizabeth decided to leave and check in on the bakery, with no light on she went straight home. Slumping onto the sofa she switched the TV on but barely watched falling into a light doze.

She began to wake when she heard Summer’s voice outside, “thanks for walking me home.”

“You’re welcome.” A voice Elizabeth didn’t really recognise until she made her way to the window and peered out not wanting to be seen; standing with Summer was Zach.

Summer seemed a little more awkward and nervous than Elizabeth was used to seeing. Quickly and quietly Elizabeth slipped back onto the sofa hearing the key in the lock. Summer entered and wished Elizabeth good night as she seemed to float off to her room to bed.

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Mum life

Are used to think writing was more of a ritual. That I could sit down and set up, have my tea and I’ll have my biscuits. I’ll basically be very, very relaxed when I write. Being a mum is the opposite. When I write it stolen moments in time punctured by babbling or miss behaviours, being cheeky, someone wanting attention. Someone not respecting the process, if there is such a thing.

Nowadays I can’t write and snap if I’m distracted or I can’t be upset I’ve been distracted I have my attention taken away. Because now it’s being taken out by the most amazing little human that I’m raising. Which is petrifying same time.

The only thing I wished is that it was easier to write now. Now writing makes me feel guilty because it’s time for myself even if it’s stolen two seconds here and there it’s something that belongs to me. Mum guilt is strong.

Being able to sit down with the notebooks and reference notes and start writing doesn’t seem a possibility at the moment. Majority of the time I have is spent writing these kinds of posts. Little ones.

It’s a world of guilt. Because at the moment I am not willing to say I need to not be distracted for one or two hours unless I really have no choice. So I put writing back on the pile of later. I would hazard a guess that the characters in the story I’m writing are probably feeling a bit neglected right now. It’s understandable.

Being a mum and being a writer and trying to find some kind of balance isn’t something I’ve managed yet. And with the babble for attention in the background taking me away. I will say I will write more later.

Stay safe out there. And may luck and adventure be on your side.


Darling Daughters

Chapter Seven


Summer rejected the alarm on her phone and rolled over burying her head in her pillows refusing to get up. Elizabeth burst into the room singing loudly and badly in an attempt to make Summer leap from her bed. Summer threw a cushion at Elizabeth’s head and missed. Determined Elizabeth kept singing until Summer rose from the sheets in a tangled mess.

Elizabeth passed Summer her school uniform and walked into the kitchen. Having spent most of the summer holidays trying to tidy the house the girls just wanted to relax this morning.

Hitting the shuffle on the speakers the girls got dressed and ready, eating breakfast singing and dancing along to cheesy pop.  By the time the fun was over they had to move swiftly to drop Summer off at Darling Honor before Elizabeth could make her way back to town for work.

The building before the girls stood tall and forbidding. Summer took a deep breath entering the cast iron gates. Teenagers swarmed through the hallways, Summer felt disorientated until she heard her name as she was tapped on the shoulder and lead towards headmaster Maiden’s office.

Summer’s heart raced as the door opened as she was called inside. By the desk sitting down was a tall, grey, stern looking portly man scanning a folder as he asked her to sit. Summer obeyed the icy grey eyes that met hers.

He waited a moment before he introduced himself, “I am your headmaster Alexander Maiden, the headmaster of one of the very few elite schools. Here you have the potential to become anything you want, if you apply yourself. However, it is not possible to cruise your way through this school doing the bare minimum.” Summer felt the knot in her chest tighten as she was handed a behaviour code to sign and the other school codes. She couldn’t escape the feeling she was signing her life away.

With a tight smile Alexander Maiden handed Summer a folder to take to the front desk to be filled. As she made her way to the front desk Summer absorbed the statement made by the old grand staircases while the sun teased through the windows. Summer began to allow herself to feel the importance of how she had to define herself for the next year. More than anything, she just wanted to be left alone.

Entering her first class Summer felt very aware of the eyes on her, having been formally introduced as “Miss Summer May Darling” she made her way to her assigned seat. In each class she took dutiful notes, answering questions aimed at her but not volunteering. From the corner of her eye, each question she was asked she saw a rather sullen girl shoot her hand in the air should Summer not be able to answer. Any hope of this school being an easy adjustment were thrown out of the window.

Summer was sat next to the girl with the energetic hand, and her friends. That little group, she had taken an instant dislike to, that was mutual. A couple of bimbos and the most uptight little snob she could have possibly imagined.

Summer learned the uptight snobs name, Cassandra Devonthorne, it suited her for sure. The girl seemed intent on making Summer’s next year here incredibly difficult. Summer had yet to answer a question wrong, and to Cassandra, that seemed to make Summer a threat.

It seemed to be that Cassandra’s detestation of Summer was heightened by her Darling surname. Somehow that had made Summer some kind of threat in Miss Devonthorne’s beady eyes.

Summer heard whispers, sniggers in the hall that she was the new girl who is about to destroy Devonthorne’s life mission, to be the valedictorian. Apparently being Darling Honor’s valedictorian made it almost certain for a place in Darling college, the sister to the school. The sights of Yale and Harvard still attractive. It seemed Cassandra was a natural at making life difficult for everyone, perhaps not always of spite, mainly from habit. She saw herself as the front runner for the whole school.

At the final bell Summer was itching to leave, even with a stack of two hours-worth of homework and a short shift at the Diner, she knew today definitely is a long day.


Elizabeth had, had a long day on the cupcakes. It really truly was a mindless, endless onslaught. When the end of her shift came she felt the familiar ache of exhaustion behind her eyes.

Arriving at the Diner Elizabeth saw Summer springing between her shift and a stack of books on a table in the corner. Elizabeth not wanting to get too in the way she sat herself by the counter and kept brief conversations with Simon, stealing the odd moment with Summer trying to find out about her day.

Summer was multitasking between the books, the Diner and the odd stolen words with Elizabeth. Elizabeth hoped that if Summer could start the year on the right track she might be able to keep up, but at this pace, could that really be sustainable?

After a couple of hours Elizabeth decided to make her way home, walking past Oaks bakery she saw a light still shining, as she got closer she found herself entering to find Caroline sat quietly behind the counter. Caroline looked up, “what are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same question.” Caroline smiled back at Elizabeth and offered her a seat, she seemed glad for the company all the same. Sitting beside Caroline Elizabeth was shown how to make fondant icing petals. Tomorrow they were going to start work on a wedding cake.

Elizabeth found herself making petal after petal, and with a little time it got easier, almost instinctively. As the mindless instinct of petal making grew she finally spoke.

“I’m worried about Summer, she seems to have this ‘I can do it all’ determination but the pace she is setting herself, I don’t know if she can sustain it.”

“Then talk to her”

“How can I?” Elizabeth began the next stack of petals, “how am I meant to have any kind of form of authority, I am literally just her legal guardian, distant family, I am here so she can go to the right school.”

“You are here for so much more, you have a chance to get to know your family, we don’t always get that opportunity in life. Don’t worry yourself over authority and making sure she behaves.”

“She’s a teen, what if she starts acting out, getting drunk and doing things she really shouldn’t?”

“Then talk to her, set some good communication, build trust and respect between the both of you, she will come to respect your opinion and your advice, even if it is unsolicited. She is still young but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be allowed to make her own mistakes, just show her how to overcome them.”

“I just don’t want her to get herself hurt.”

“Don’t worry about it, remember, you are not her mother.”

“Thank god, the way Summer feels about her, well, I don’t think I would want to be her. Summer just seems so shy of the freedom of responsibility I am trying to give her, it is really obvious she is used to being controlled. I can’t help but feel for her.”

“Just be there for her. She seems like she is thriving with you.”

“Except that unsustainable pace she is setting for herself.”

“Relax dear, go home, we’ve done enough tonight.”

Elizabeth smiled and helped Caroline pack up for the night. Finally leaving she bumped into Summer making her way back to the manner. They paused at the gazebo looking at the unlit shadow. Moving forward they reached the manner not wanting to walk right in they took a moment to look back at the town before resigning for the day.

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Darling Daughters

Chapter Six


Walking past the gazebo back to being a brunette felt weird for Summer as the sunlight streamed through her hair. Her thoughts centred on how unnatural it felt to have natural hair for the first time in years. No longer the girl with red and black hair, she felt out of sorts. A loss of her identity. Summer bumped into Elizabeth, who wanted to check she was following orders.

Summer made her way to work. She arrived received a few compliments from a couple of customers. She couldn’t shake the feeling inside her, the dip in her sense of identity. In a sweeping flood Summer’s homesick hit her in the stomach, simple things like a decent cup of tea, fish and chips and a traditional Sunday roast niggled at her. Grimeston suddenly felt lonely. The down was eccentric; she was given an opportunity to start fresh but this had drained her.

She felt herself changing, no longer identifiable as who she thought she was. Even learning the local Americanisms. She was even flirting a little with a very handsome young man.

She had enough of hearing encouragement to not be nervous and to be herself, but she didn’t know who she was. Before Orkney she knew who she was. The girl with cool hair and a brilliant mind. Now maybe one of those might be true. Her latest fear was stepping into Darling Honor and still standing out but not for the right reasons.

She was lost, just like every girl her age. She didn’t notice Elizabeth watching her. Slowly Summer began to think that she might not be alone in this feeling. Summer looked up scanning the sea of grass, she saw Elizabeth leaning against a lamppost.

Summer stood and ran towards Elizabeth and just demanded a hug. That is all she needed right in that moment. Taken back Elizabeth obliged Summer as a few tears streaked her cheeks. There was a moment of silence between them breaking from the hug.

“Ellie, I am so sorry if I have been, you know, a bit difficult recently. I just sort of miss, you know, knowing who I am.”

“Oh Sum, you finally called me Ellie.”

“You finally called me Sum.”

They hugged again. “Wanna go grab something to eat?”

“God yes”

With that both girls walked arm in arm towards Simon’s to have something that they didn’t have to cook, neither one feeling like dealing with the kitchen or the washing up.

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