-Have you seen Summer?-
Third person’s POV
Mimi hasn’t seen Summer all day .she had agonized in the morning over what to wear, what to say when she sees him, how to act as if her heart were not breaking and then she had not seen him. Mr. Summer knew to be back for the dinner engagement at eight. In fact, he’d just retrieved Mr. Summer’s dinner jacket from the cleaning woman, freshly pressed.
But Mimi’s fear had not abated with this news It would be just like him, she thought angrily, just to disappear to leave them all in the lunch-
She stopped herself. No, it wouldn’t be like him at all but it was like her to fear it. Lately, it seemed all she did was loath herself for all The more layer of falseness he stripped from her carefully shellacked life It was terrifying and exhilarating He was so real he made her feel honest in a way she had never been before When he looked at her he really looked, He listened to her, and it made her feel vital. Her feelings for him were a block of ice in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the icing on her heart, living, cooing, and icing by day. The first time Summer had seen Valerian Bratts on that dark street in St. Mali, he’d knocked him out cold before the man had barely time to go say anything. That was not the action of a man who would now own up to such a responsibility. That was the action of a man afraid.
Summer was afraid of something Valerian knew or do, is it because of Summers family? No, how can he be afraid? “Never”, Summers is lying to Mimi to protect her to save her for somehow from what Valerian threatened but that is what she could not fathom and without knowing what it was, she had no way of showing Summer she wasn’t afraid didn’t need his protection -and could perhaps offer some of her own to him. While consumed by her thoughts, Mimi had rattled around the house all day jumping at each sound of a couch and looked up anxiously each time a door opened but it was never him. Perhaps it never would be.
About an hour before the dinner guests were to arrive, the front door opened and she scrambled to her feet from the sofa in the front parlor after racing to the parlor door she slowed to exit unhurriedly as the front door slammed shut. In the hall her father, Eros McCarthy stomped his feet free of icy slush and shook white flakes from the brim of his hat Giselle appeared and took his hat and coat brushing off snow with expert fingers.
“I see it started to snow, Sir," she said helping her father off with the inner coat.
“yes, blast it. Do you suppose there’s any hope of it falling fast enough to waylay those wretched McKinney’s? ”
Giselle smiled politely. “I think not, sir. They are due here within an hour, ” he replied folding the coat over his arms and sliding away.
“You’re late father,” Mimi said.
“I’m well aware of that My dear Mimi he said, his eyes steely “and it’s a lucky thing for you or I’d sit you down right now. ”
“Pardon me? ” she asked taken back.
“we’ve got a thing or two to talk about and I think you know what that means, “he said. Mimi’s heart thumped ominously in her chest. “But don’t father, What is it? ”had Valerian Bratts got to him already? hadn’t Summer been able to stave him off?
Mr. McCarthy arched an eyebrow and headed for the stairs. “And we’ll talk about it tonight after those damned people leave. ” Mimi moved to the bottom of the steps grazing anxiously after him. “you’re making me nervous,” she said attempting levity and failing.
“And well you should be Miracle McCarthy," he said reaching to the top he turned back and gave her stern eyes. “well you should be. ” He disappeared around the corner leaving Mimi in a knot of apprehension Seconds after her father left her sight Janis rounded the corner to the stairs. She wore a dark blue velvet gown that strained noticeably across her middle.
“I feel sick, ” she announced, taking the steps slowly with a sour look on her face. “And what in heavens name has gotten to father? He positively growled at me as I passed.” Mimi frowned looking with dismay at Janis’s gown. “I don’t know. He just told me we needed to have a talk after guests leave You to suppose he’s found out, do you? ”
“found out? ” Janis repeated. “How in the world would he found out? Besides, he didn’t look angry enough for that.”
Mimi chewed her bottom lip a habit she thought she’d gotten rid of as a child. “No, he didn’t. At least he didn’t look angry enough to know the whole story What if he only found out about Summer? ” Janis grabbed the base of her corset through the gown and squirmed uncomfortably. “this thing is so tight I know I’m going to throw up,” she muttered working at the cloth.
“Don’t you have anything larger to wear? “Mimi asked.
Janis shot her a sour look “if I had don’t you think I’d be wearing it? I used to positively swim in this gown.
Anyways Matthew is planning to talk to father tonight so that ought to put off your interview God, now I am going to be sick Matthew is going to talk to him and father’s in a foul mood.”
Mimi took her arm and led her into the sitting room. “Don’t fret Jan, ” she said absently “Everything always turns out for the best," but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something momentous was in the air Matthew planned to talk to father tonight, she thought That meant that Summer could be gone by morning the sickness Janis had claimed to feel took over Mimi’s stomach.
“I’ve never understood what that meant," Janis grumbled sinking into the sofa with a dramatic hand to her forehead. “Everything always turns out for the best ” What if the father says no? What if the best thing is for me to be miserable? Suppose he sends me away? Suppose I’m meant to take my life in some lonely Italian or Mexican villa, with only a housekeeper and some ancient gardener for a company? ”
“Don’t be Silly, ” Mimi said forcing her to graze to her sister “And I wish you’d stop reading those silly novels Fathers never been able to deny you anything why in the world would he start now? ” this line of reasoning always worked with her sister, but not this time.
Janis' face began to crumble. “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know, ” she mewed, her voice unusually high.
“This is different." Her eyes filled with tears. “Oh, Mimi if he denies me this....... ” A sob caught in her throat and she buried her face in her hands. Mimi sank down onto the sofa next to her and put an arm around her shoulders for all theatrics the underlying fear was real she could see it. “Jan, it’ll be alright. ” she was sure that it would be, at least for Janis.
Her father really hadn’t ever denied her anything and knowing how he felt about Matthew, despite his economic status Mimi was sure he would approve for the match Besides, she thought to cast another glance at Janis’s ill-fitting gown it was not as if he would have a great many choices.
“Oh, but this is selfish of me," Janis sniffed after a moment She dabbed at her nose with a handkerchief pulled from her sleeve. “You have your own troubles What about Summer? Did you tell him what father said? ” Mimi sniffed and shifted on the seat and began fooling with the lace at her cuffs. “No, I, ah, hmm, didn’t get a chance. He’s decided he must leave and it didn’t sound as if father’s words we make a difference to him at all.”
Janis expelled an exasperated breath. “Not make a difference to him? Why, how absurd! And how do you know until you tell him? His whole problem might be that he doesn’t believe he’ll be accepted -” The front door opened and the two women froze.
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