Darling Daughters

Chapter Thirty-Eight

 

Returning to Darling college, Summer felt more relaxed than before. Even her dorm was better, the building, the same floor, much better view from the window. And even the same roommate. Getting the dorm organised this year was much easier, they had developed a status quo before that only needed one adaptation, a few more blankets thrown over the sofa for when it got colder.

This year it felt like she was less on show, less staring, people had gotten used to the Darling at Darling college. While she was still nervous, she couldn’t shake the feeling of still being caked in sugar, no matter what she tried. She had this niggling thought that everyone else could tell she felt like she had bathed in icing.

Cassandra was just her usual self, brash and determined. Though seeing the lack of change to how they had set up their space before she relaxed a bit. This year she was less willing to let Summer try to blend into the background. This year Cassandra was determined to be a part of the campus floor party. She even went as far to set up a theme.

Cassandra had set the conversational tone in the room. Summer had given up hiding in her room, choosing to lock it and head for a little walk. She stumbled upon a fellow Storm and Fire cohort. He was planted in the middle of a group of girls, attempting to be dangerously charming. Summer just laughed and walked past William Alexander. She couldn’t help but think she had punched his card right; he is exactly what she had expected. She pretended not to notice him calling her over as she made her way to explore another dorm.

A few rooms later and she had the displeasure of walking into Jamie. It had seemed that the girls had been avidly avoiding him since Cassandra had made it clear to everyone what he was like. He stood awkwardly now, somewhat apologetic in front of her. Summer refused to pay attention and walked off making a mental note to tell Cassandra.

From one room to another Summer wondered until she returned to her dorm to find someone fast asleep on her sofa. “He won’t budge, said he wanted to see you.” Cassandra was bored of the mystery.

“Who is it?” Continue reading

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Darling Daughters

Chapter Thirty-Seven

 

Summer had spent the majority of her summer holidays helping Elizabeth with the finishing touches to the bakery. It looked wonderful. It was a warm peach, just like before. The kitchen was warm and inviting. The lay out was fluid and relaxed. Everything looked as good as before, but now it had more of a country comfort feeling.

Elizabeth knew in her heart there was just one person missing, one person who should have seen the bakery as it is. Elizabeth had smuggled an awkward bundle into the bakery in the middle of the night. It was a beautiful portrait for the baker

With all permits in place, the bakery was ready to open. Elizabeth had handed it over to the town to decide when to open the bakery, it was chosen to be on the anniversary of the fire and of Caroline’s passing.

Elizabeth was touched by the sentiment, they had a week to wait. Everything was in preparation mode. Elizabeth had been making something special, a particular homage to everything Caroline had taught her. A special cake just for the grand opening, to be placed in front of the covered portrait of Caroline, all to be revealed on the opening. Elizabeth insisted she had to make this particular cake, by herself.

Summer would find Elizabeth building the cake, she would recognise the pangs of sadness sweeping over Elizabeth in waves. Simon and Summer tried to sooth and distract her. Often by bringing snacks.

The week flew by and the cake was ready at the last minute.

The town gathered before Elizabeth. She knew she had to say something. Summer took her hand to steady her. “I want to thank you for coming today. It is a bittersweet day. I will be opening Oak’s doors for the first time since the heartbeat and soul of the bakery passed, rebirthed by the fire. Perhaps there is a day that will never be more appropriate than today. This bakery and its patrons filled Caroline’s heart with joy.” Elizabeth swallowed trying to sound much more confident than what she felt. “This town, is nothing short of amazing. You are not just neighbours but each one of you standing here has become part of our lives, welcoming us into the town. I want you to know that I am truly grateful to be able to declare Oaks bakery officially open.” Continue reading

Darling Daughters

Chapter Thirty-Six

 

It was a few days after Easter break when Summer had once again, like on many evenings found herself in the library. She spent less and less time in her dorm room, somewhat avoiding Cassandra who had been gushing quite frequently about some mystery man she had yet to reveal. It was easier for Summer to avoid hearing about the guy on Cassandra’s mind. It felt tiring if nothing else.

One change Summer had embraced was the ginger hair dye. It had become a little like a shield for her. Though she didn’t need a shield, sat in her favourite corner of the library, books around her. It was her favourite place to be right now.

She smiled when she noticed a note fly onto her desk. “Get your glad rags on Darling (evening gown please) and meet us at the library in an hour… We are celebrating so chop chop! Promitto memorari!”

Summer grinned packing her books up, looking adorably goofy in that moment, she walked right past Cassandra who was in the middle of a heated discussion with the librarian over a book.

Somewhere over an hour later Summer returned to the library to find a familiar note attached to a masquerade mask, waiting for her. A few girls had arrived donning heir masks, each a filigree metal mask, with a tiny bit of sparkle, resting on prop sticks to hold them in place. They headed towards the now familiar path chattering and giggling as they made their way onwards to Summer’s hiding place. Continue reading

Darling Daughters

I couldn’t just leave you with that tiny little chapter, so here is another an extra chapter if you will…

Chapter Thirty-Five

 

Thanksgiving had been a quiet affair at Darling manner. Elizabeth was still obsessed with reading old Archie’s papers. She had found another account in her name. It seemed to be that Archie had developed a habit of squirreling things away for the girls. Including stories. Elizabeth had become obsessed with Archie’s papers in place of making a decision about Oaks. It had weighed heavily on Elizabeth’s mind and conscience. While Summer had tried to bring it up in conversation, Elizabeth liked to change the subject every time.

***

It had been a couple of weeks since Summer had gone back to Darling, although Elizabeth had heard concerns that Summer had become withdrawn she understood why. But she knew that the family would catch wind of Summer being reluctant to up hold the family social status. Elizabeth wanted to throttle Jamie, but she enjoyed relishing in Cassandra’s tale of how she revealed his true colours to a hallway full of women.

Elizabeth had begun to feel better about spending time outside Darling Manner with some insistence from Simon. She was regularly found at the Diner chatting with Simon. Her notebook becoming more used with every day; as Simon indulged Elizabeth in talk about how he ran the diner and made it work. It was a slow process, but Elizabeth was coming to accept her choice, not that she verbalised it.

Simon suspected, but no matter what Elizabeth refused to tell him what her plans were. Continue reading

Darling Daughters

Chapter Thirty-Four

 

The next morning there was an awkward silence around the room. Elizabeth had her nose buried in files, Summer was nursing her head frying bacon trying to sooth her throat with glugs of warm tea. Cassandra stumbled into the room and poured herself a mug of coffee.

Summer made their bacon sandwiches quietly and walked into her room with tea and plate in hand. She sat on the foot of her bed. After a few minutes Cassandra walked in and sat next to her. Summer took a bite of her sandwich chewing so she didn’t have to talk.

“Last night was great.”

Summer nodded.

“I’m sorry though.”

“Why?” Summer asked swallowing dryly. Her voice still husky from tiredness and the alcohol.

“Well, you know, it’s a college thing isn’t it, a college experience, you know?”

“You mean experimenting?”

“Yeah, I meant nothing by it, I hope it doesn’t make our friendship weird?”

“Oh, sure but why would it make it weird.”

“I don’t… I’m not gay.”

“Neither am I.”

“Oh! So it was the same for you then, just a drunk coconut.”

“Erm, sure. Never heard that before. But ok what is it you are trying to say?”

“We are friends right?”

“Of course.”

“It’s like nothing ever happened.”

“Nothing happened. I get it, I don’t know what it is you are worried about.”

“Nothing. You’re my best friend.”

“Cassandra, shut up and eat your sandwich before I do.”

“Yeah.” Cassandra took a big bite of the sandwich staring out of the window. “It’s nice here” she said after swallowing it almost whole.

“This is weird. You don’t do small talk, just be normal Cassandra, unless there is something that you want to talk about?”

“Nope, it’s all good, just my head pounding like a drum making it hard to think.”

“Ok, well you better sort your hangover out, we don’t have time to wallow in alcohol pains today.”

“Summer are we cool?”

“Yeah, you?”

“Yeah of course. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry, nothing to be sorry about.”

“Promise?”

Summer nodded and picked up her towels to go and have her shower leaving Cassandra sat alone on her bed. Summer ignored the events of the night before, seeing Zach, drinking the whiskey, Cassandra’s kiss. She pushed them from her mind and got herself washed, dressed and ready.

 

 

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