She had a passion for it, but I worried that the sixty-to seventy-two-hour weeks were going to cause her to burn out quickly.
During these tumultuous years, Carson had come to live with Mamaw in her South of Broad home in Charleston. During the summers, little Dora came to stay with them at Sea Breeze on Sullivan’s Island to play with Carson. Mamaw smiled wistfully remembering those years, so long ago. The two girls were like peas and carrots, always together. Even after Carson moved to Los Angeles with her father, she still came back to Sea Breeze to spend each summer with Dora. It wasn’t until years later that Harper was old enough to join them on the island.Those few precious summers of the early 1990s were the only years all three granddaughters were together at Sea Breeze. Only three years, and what magical summers they’d been. Then the teenage years intervened. When Dora turned seventeen she no longer wanted to spend her valuable vacation time with her baby sisters. Carson and Harper became a duo. So it was that Carson was the link between all the girls. The middle child who had spent summers alone with each sister.
Mamaw brought her hand to her forehead. To her mind, all the summers seemed to blend together, like the ages of the girls when they played together. She had a kaleidoscope of memories. There once had been a very special bond between her granddaughters. It worried her to see them as near strangers today. Mamaw couldn’t abide the term half sisters. They were sisters, bound by blood. These girls were her only living kin.Bolstered with resolve, Marietta turned to the velvet bags. One by one she spilled the pearl necklaces atop the pale pink linen coverlet. The three necklaces shone in the natural light that poured in through the large windows. As she studied the glistening pearls, her hand unconsciously rose to her neck. Once, each of these necklaces had graced the slender length of it, back when her neck had been her glory. Now, sadly, it was an embarrassment. High-quality natural pearls, all of them. Not these modern, freshwater bits that were more accessories than treasured pieces of fine jewelry. Back in her day, pearls were a rarity, among the most valued pieces of a woman’s jewelry collection.It was traditional to give a modest, classic pearl necklace that rested just below the base of the neck to a young girl at her sixteenth birthday or at her debut. Reaching out, Marietta lifted the first necklace. It was a triple-strand necklace of pearls with a showy ruby-and-diamond clasp. Her parents had given her this choker for her coming-out at the St. Cecilia Debutante Ball. Her father loved extravagance and this had certainly been an extravagant choice, one that had made her feel like a queen among the other princesses bedecked in their white gowns and single-strand pearl necklaces.
Marietta studied the pearls dangling from her palm, considering to whom she should give this necklace.I shall give these to Harper, Marietta announced.
The quiet one, Lucille commented.
Not so much quiet as reserved, Marietta said, contradicting her. It’s the English in her, I suppose.Throwing on the skinny jeans I liked so much along with a slouchy, off-the-shoulder sweater, I had just enough time to fix my makeup and hair before my cabdriver rang to let me know he was outside. I had stupid butterflies in my belly as I hurried out of the apartment.
It was clear to me that Caleb was pissed at the idea of me seeing other men, and I was definitely not amenable to him seeing other women. I didn’t know what that meant for us, or if either of us really wanted to analyze it too much. Quite willing to bury my head in the sand and just keep enjoying my time with the brooding Scot, I could only hope that whatever Caleb was feeling didn’t spook him out of any kind of relationship with me.The address he’d given me was a luxury apartment complex by the water. It seemed to be made up entirely of glass, all the lights from neighboring buildings and traffic bouncing off it in the dark.
When I stepped inside, there was a woman at reception and a security guy standing near a bank of elevators. The main lobby was huge, with two separate sitting areas on either side of the reception desk.Good evening. Can I help you? The receptionist smiled at me.