Darling Daughters

Chapter Ten

 

Summer and Elizabeth stepped onto the porch in front of Caroline and Thomas. Reluctant in their approval of the girls being presentable at last. Summer and Elizabeth found themselves blindfolded being guided by Thomas and Caroline.

Stumbling a few times on the pavement they took slower steps reaching softer ground. Being guided across grass they were directed up some steps. Removing the blindfolds music began to play. As the smells of food finally made sense from the centre of the town gazebo.

Thomas began to speak, declaring today to be “British Day” he finally agreed, declaring the day open after explaining that Summer seemed so homesick and they couldn’t resist an opportunity to celebrate the new Darling’s in town. Summer swallowed back tears.

They were both handed T-shirts, one said “I love England” and the other “I love London” printed across the chest. The girls smiled and giggled as Thomas insisted he be the one to give the tour, after all it was a celebration for Elizabeth and Summer and he wanted to be the one to show them how happy they were that they had Darlings.

Summer tried to supress a smile with a deep breath, but she couldn’t manage it. She felt welcome and more at home in this quirky little town than she thought she would in that moment. She felt a part of the town, she felt a part of this strange, unusual family that was formed from the town. It was a little sanctuary.

Finally, Thomas left them and Caroline escorted Summer and Elizabeth to the bakeries stand. There were cupcakes decorated in the Union Jack, the English flag, little Paddington bear figures, Beatrix Potter characters, and Harry Potter designs. It was amazing.

Summer laughed at the joy of the effort, it was wonderful, even though she felt ever so slightly awkward. She was handed something in a box, she opened it to find a cake covered in stripes of all kinds of colours, a half mask made of sugar and a red rose. It took a few moments examining all the little smaller details of the cake before she beamed. “Is this a Lloyd Webber cake?” to which Caroline broke into a massive grin.

The cake was wrapped back up and handed to Summer to keep and eat. Summer was guided from stall to stall before she reached Simon. Who stood proudly, yet sheepishly behind his table, a stand filled with all kinds of English tea’s. Summer smiled from ear to ear before giving Simon a hug.

Elizabeth talked with Simon while Summer wondered off with a cup of tea. Looking through all the stands she bumped into Zach, who took the cake bag and the souvenirs she had been given and had begun to struggle with the juggling of them. His hair seemed to catch in the breeze blowing from his face.

“I don’t mind carrying it, honestly. Elizabeth looks happy.” He pointed over his shoulder towards Elizabeth smiling and chatting with Simon; Summer nodded. Zach and Summer began to walk again. He carried the cake carefully. After a while Summer found herself with an ache in her feet, “mind if we steal that bench?”

“Not at all.” His smile seemed to blow Summer away every time.

Summer laughed watching the town having around them. They watched as Simon and Elizabeth brought out a new station. “Can we go and have a look? I’m sorry I know we’ve not long sat down?”

“Of course, it’s your day after all.” Standing Summer suddenly felt a little braver, she took Zach by the hand and walked a step ahead. Her heart raced, he didn’t let go or pull away. She felt a bit relieved but so incredibly excited. Even with aching cheeks from all the smiling.

Summer found herself amused at what the town had thought of Britain. Summer relaxed passing the stalls for fish and chips. She made her way to Simon and Elizabeth who had opened the Diner serving full English roast dinners including Yorkshire puddings.

After eating dinner with Zach, Simon, and Elizabeth; Summer felt relaxed, and very full. Elizabeth stayed behind to help Simon clean up and ordered Summer to go and enjoy the town after dropping the cake off and little odd souvenirs.

Summer and Zach had spent a fair amount of time wondering about as the atmosphere began to change wind down in evening, still holding hands whenever they could. In a moment of sadness Summer remembered school tomorrow. But in this moment she had to ignore that looming misery.

Zach walked Summer home. They stood rather awkwardly on the porch. She inched a little closer to him, still holding his hand. In a moment of bravery, she rose up on to her tip toes, and lightly kissed Zach on the cheek. Returning her feet to the floor, feeling slightly red and embarrassed, she looked up at him. He leaned in and let his lips brush hers as he kissed her. He wished her goodnight.

She opened the door, he let go of her hand and wished her good night again with that brilliant smile.

 

 

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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?”

“Great.”

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.” Continue reading

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. Continue reading