I tried my best not to glare at Whitney when she asked me if Luke Jacobs-my enemy- was available. If I glared, Whitney would make a big deal out of it, saying I was jealous or some other ridiculous thing like that. Instead, I gave a cool laugh and said, "Well I don't know if you'd want him. He has a habit of harrassing poor unsuspecting women."
"How so?" Whitney asked, sounding intrigued.
"Oh, stalking them. Things like that." I smirked when Luke's cheeks turned pink.
"I do not," he said, sounding embarressed. "I have to accompany her to the store because apparantly she's too irresponsible to go by herself."
Whitney snickered. "Sadie is kind of a wild child."
Laurel nudged Sadie in the ribs with an elbow. "Si, Sadie is not one to be careful."
Sadie frowned, nudging Laurel right back. "Stop it, guys."
Luke lifted his eyebrows, appearing interested in the concept. "Sadie's a wild child?"
"Oh yeah, " Whitney giggled. "She's mellowed down a lot now though. She used to party every night, and-"
"Whitney!" Mortified, I shot her the look that clearly told her to shut up, because she did.
"Okay I got it!" My friend Malory came running out of Whitney's mansion. Running rather awkwardly, as she wore three-inch heels along with her bright yellow bikini. Her honey-brown hair streamed behind her in waves and her azure eyes were bright as she reached us, clutching the letter in her hands. "Here ya go."
As she and Luke exchanged quick introductions, I impatiently ripped the envelope open, and my eyes absorbed what was written in my great aunt Dixie's scrawl.
Sadie, Firstly, I can't find the broach you mentioned. I looked everywhere. I'm sorry, but it looks like it's gone. Have you asked your dad about it? He might have stored it somewhere. Secondly, the only time I can come down to see you is the second to last week of July. Is that your last week of summer? I can't talk long, Brianna's in the next room pitching a fit because Stephanie won't stop crying. So I'll talk to you later. Love you bunches and bunches, Aunt Dixie
Firstly, I can't find the broach you mentioned. I looked everywhere. I'm sorry, but it looks like it's gone. Have you asked your dad about it? He might have stored it somewhere. Secondly, the only time I can come down to see you is the second to last week of July. Is that your last week of summer?
I can't talk long, Brianna's in the next room pitching a fit because Stephanie won't stop crying. So I'll talk to you later.
Love you bunches and bunches,
I turned the paper over in my hands, hoping for more. There wasn't. Whitney, Laurel and Malory watched me in silence as I stared at the letter. Reading it had left me oddly bereft. I don't know why. I mean, Aunt Dixie loved me, but her letters were never very detailed or long in the first place. She lived up in Washington, and I only got to see her once a year. Still, she was my favorite aunt.
"I'm sorry, honey." Laurel murmured, stroking a hand down my arm.
I blinked up at her. "For what?"
"The broach." Laurel's dark eyes were fathomless. I'd always admired them. When I was younger, I used to get so jealous of her, mainly because she seemed so exotic, while I was just the average rich white girl. "I know how much you were hoping she'd have it."
"Oh." I carefully folded the letter up and slipped it into my pocket. "No, it's fine. I doubted it would be there anyway." I plastered a fake smile on my face, shifting it from Laurel to Whitney then Malory. "Thanks for bringing it for me, Mal."
Malory shook her head, her sweet voice sympathetic as she told me, "It was no trouble, hon."
I blew out a breath. "Well, I should probably get going. Luke and I have to go shopping for wood and paint."
Laurel, Whitney, Malory and I all exchanged looks of distaste. Then they embraced me one at a time, giving me apologetic goodbyes.
Minutes later, the wind was blowing back my hair as I drove down the highway. I was too immersed in my own thoughts to turn the radio on, and Luke seemed to be somewhere along the same lines as he stared out the window thoughtfully. After another few minutes passed, Luke finally turned to me and broke the silence.
"That broach...did it upset you, that whoever that was in the letter didn't have it?"
He sounded curious, and I was too weary to argue with him, so I replied, "A little."
"Was it...your mom's?"
Surprised, I glanced at him. There was a little crease between his brows, and his eyes seemed concerned. Weird. "Why would you think that?"
He lifted a shoulder, let it drop. "Just a guess. From the pictures back at your house. I never saw anyone that looked like she could be your mom. There was one that could've been I guess, but you didn't seem comfortable enough with her."
Hm. He was much more perceptive than I ever could've imagined. "That wasn't my house. Well it was one of them. And no, that wasn't my mom. It was my step-mom. And you shouldn't think she wasn't my mom just because I wasn't comfortable with her. I'm not comfortable with my father, but he's still my dad."
"You have more than one house?" He let out a low whistle as he looked out the window again. "Jeez, your daddy must spoil you more than I thought."
I gave him a strange look. "I talk to my father twice a year. If that."
He looked back at me. I'd apparantly taken him completely by surprise. "I'm sorry," he said, now taking me by surprise. "Why's that?"
This was weird. It was like we were being nice to each other. Playing it casual, I shrugged. "He's too busy for me. Being a multi-millionare kinda does that."
"So, where's your mom?"
I felt the pain, even after all these years. It wasn't the intense sear like it used to be. It was just a muffled kind of ache. It hurt, but it was manageable. "She died. Eight years ago."
He was quiet for a moment. Then, softly, he said, "I'm sorry."
I jumped, startled, when he reached over to the steering wheel, put a hand over mine. I was so stunned that I literally couldn't move or think of anything to say. His hand was so big and warm over mine.
"I would say I know how you feel, because my dad left us when I was just eleven. But I'm more angry then sad about it."
Still struggling to be casual, I nodded. I still couldn't think of anything to say.