The Secret Diamond SistersBy: Michelle Madow
“So do we just...get on?” Peyton pointed her thumb at the entrance steps to the plane, which were surrounded by security guards.
The captain laughed. “If you’re ready to depart, then yes. You can ‘just get on.’”
“And the plane is going where?” Courtney asked.
“Las Vegas,” he answered.
“Vegas!” Savannah clapped her hands. “I knew it!”
Seeing a movement in her peripheral vision, Courtney glanced at the van with their luggage, which had followed the limo to the airport. Three men of varying ages had already opened the back doors and were unloading it. They didn’t have much to worry about—only six duffels between the three of them, and Savannah’s beat-up guitar. Last night, Grandma had helped them pack all their stuff from the bedroom the three of them shared.
The captain motioned toward the jet as if he was saying “all aboard” with his hand. Savannah bolted for the stairs, her hair flying behind her. Courtney followed, and she heard Peyton stomping behind.
Courtney couldn’t believe this was happening. A private plane? Maybe she was dreaming. Savannah’s ideas about their father being the Adrian Diamond must have invaded her subconscious. But while Courtney had vivid dreams, they were nothing like this. She felt the cold metal of the railing against her hand when she walked up the steps, and smelled the warmth of summer as it blew through the air. If her mom could see them now, she wouldn’t believe it.
Then Courtney realized her mom would believe it. Because her mom had known who their father was, and she’d never told Courtney or her sisters. Even Peyton had been too young when they’d moved to remember him. Their mom had always said she didn’t want the girls growing up in the dangerous environment their father lived in, and left it at that. The divorce papers for the short marriage had gone through right after Savannah was born, and their mother had always refused to discuss him, other than to say that his lifestyle wasn’t appropriate for raising children. It had been her decision, but Courtney figured if he’d wanted them around, he would have done something about it. He hadn’t, so she’d done her best not to think about him. Getting upset about the past accomplished nothing.
So what made him care now? Courtney couldn’t ignore what was right in front of her—their father was a powerful man. If he’d wanted to be in their lives, he could have made it happen.
But she shouldn’t jump to conclusions. She would sort out her feelings when she was able to hear the responses to her questions from her father himself.
Courtney reached the top of the stairs and stepped through the door. The jet was unlike anything she could have imagined. It looked like a fancy living room; the tubular shape and the windows along the walls were the only hints that they were in a plane. Down the aisle were four cream-colored seats, two on each side facing each other, and farther back against the walls were matching leather sofas. There was even a dining area at the end, with a dark brown wooden table and four chairs. Every inch of wood shined like it had been coated with layers of gloss, and the cream leather of the seats and sofas looked and smelled brand-new. It was as though they were the first people to ever step inside.
Courtney had only seen planes in movies, and those were commercial ones. She’d had no idea they could be like this.
She had never felt so out of place, and she didn’t know what she was supposed to do next.
Savannah jumped onto one of the couches and sprawled across it, apparently not sharing Courtney’s discomfort. “This is awesome!” she said, stretching her arms above her head. “Can you believe this is happening? Limos, private planes... It doesn’t seem real.”
“And moving to a city where we know no one, to meet a father who hasn’t spoken to us in fifteen years,” Courtney reminded her, sitting on the sofa across from Savannah.
“Maybe he has a good reason,” Savannah said hopefully.
Peyton slumped into the couch with Courtney and leaned against the opposite armrest. Her torn black tights, jean shorts with the pockets hanging out of the bottom and gray striped T-shirt were out of place here, but she didn’t look a bit uncomfortable.
“Don’t be naive,” Peyton said, popping a piece of gum into her mouth. “This is nice and all, but don’t let it blind you to how our father ignored us for our whole lives. If you act impressed by his money when you meet him, he’ll think it means you forgive him. And I sure as hell don’t. It actually makes me angrier. If he has all this money, we wouldn’t have been a burden to him. He should have reached out to us before now. The only reason he didn’t is because he doesn’t give a shit about us.”
“We should remember what Grandma told us and listen to what he has to say,” Courtney said, although she’d had the same worries herself. “We have to hear his side, even though it’s hard to imagine what good excuse he could have.”
“Because he can’t have one,” Peyton sneered. “It’s impossible.”
“Nothing’s impossible,” Savannah shot back. “Stop being so negative.”