The Secret Diamond SistersBy: Michelle Madow
“Of course.” He nodded and let himself out.
“You can’t expect us to do this,” Peyton said to Grandma once he was gone. “All my life you’ve said our father is dangerous and he doesn’t want us around. Now we’re expected to forget all that and move in with him? I won’t do it. I refuse.”
“Your mother has her reasons for wanting to distance herself from your father, and while being around him can be dangerous for those close to him, he’s not a bad man,” Grandma said. “He’ll explain it all to you once he meets you. Just remember that your mother loved him once, and while it won’t be easy, I hope the three of you can find it in your hearts to give him a chance. Can you promise to do that? For me?”
When she put it like that, it was impossible to say no. “Okay.” Savannah nodded, trying to swallow away the lump in her throat. “I’ll try.”
Her cell phone buzzed in her pocket, and she took it out to check the text. It was from Evie.
Any luck convincing one of your sisters to drive you tonight?
Savannah stared blankly at the beat-up flip phone. The plans she’d made with Evie less than an hour ago felt like they’d happened in another life. She couldn’t wrap her mind around what she’d just learned, let alone tell someone else, even if that someone was her best friend.
Can’t go tonight. Something big happened. Not ready to talk about it yet but I’ll call you when I am <3
She pressed Send, then dropped her phone in her bag, not wanting to look at it again that night.
* * *
The next morning, they lugged their bags outside and tearfully hugged Grandma goodbye. The stretch limo that pulled up in front of their apartment looked foreign amongst the beat-up cars lining their street, and the sight of it sent Savannah’s ideas of who her father was out the window. He couldn’t be a homeless drugged-out loser if he’d sent a limo to pick them up.
As of last night, the most expensive car Savannah had ever been in was the Volkswagen Jetta Evie’s mom drove when she brought them home from volleyball practice or to the mall. Now, she climbed into the sleek limo, her fingers grazing the soft leather of the wraparound seat. Lights lined the ceiling, and there was a wooden minibar across from the long side of the seat, an open bottle of champagne chilling in the ice bucket and three glasses on display. The label on the champagne read Dom Pérignon, and while Savannah had never tasted Dom before, she recognized it as a pricey drink from the television shows she watched.
She wasn’t hugely into drinking, because she’d seen first-hand how destructive alcohol could be, but she wasn’t a prude, either. She didn’t want to be “that lame girl” at the party who refused to drink. And now she had the opportunity to taste Dom Pérignon! Her friends would be so envious when they found out. It was the sort of drink she imagined she would get to try if her dreams ever came true and she became a famous pop star. One glass wouldn’t be the end of the world.
“Don’t even think about it,” Courtney warned as Savannah reached for the bottle.
“But it’s Dom Pérignon.” Savannah hated when Courtney tried to boss her around. They were only eleven months apart, but Courtney was so responsible all the time. It made the gap feel wider. “It’s probably hundreds of dollars for this bottle. We have to try it.”
“I’m not trying anything he buys for us.” Peyton scrunched her nose and plugged her headphones into her ears.
Knowing Courtney wouldn’t physically stop her for fear of making a mess, Savannah poured herself a glass and took a sip, the tiny bubbles gliding down her throat. Dom Pérignon was better than anything she’d ever tasted. But there was that little voice in the back of her head, warning her that drinking in the morning was something her mom would do. Savannah cleared this up with her conscience by reminding herself that if her mom were here, she would finish the bottle. Savannah was only having one glass, and only to taste it.
She felt so sophisticated with her drink, and wished she’d worn something dressier than the dark jeans and pink tunic top she’d bought at Forever 21 a few weeks ago. She’d thought it looked good when she’d put it on this morning, but she hardly looked like the type of person who arrived at the airport in a limo.
But there was nothing she could do about it now.
She looked at Courtney and Peyton, sitting in the front-facing seat, and wondered how they didn’t share her amazement that they were in the back of a limo. Courtney’s long blond hair had dried into natural waves—the kind Savannah wished she had—and she was staring out the window, her chin balanced in her hand as she watched the scenery. She kept biting her thumbnail—a giveaway that she was nervous, which made Savannah feel on-edge, too. Courtney never had a problem handling everything thrown her way—school, keeping the apartment clean, taking extra shifts at work to pay the bills and making sure Savannah got her homework done. While the bossiness got annoying sometimes, Savannah didn’t know what she would do without her.