Chapter One ღ
"Look!" Mother pointed out the window.
My eyes followed her thin finger, until they fell upon a large white beach house. It had a porch that circled around the perimeter of it, with a porch swing and a few reading chairs.
"Isn't it beautiful!" she cried, reaching her hand further out the window as if she were trying to grab it.
I moved myself closer to the window and rolled it down far enough to poke my head out, letting the fresh summer air comb its fingers through my hair.
"Sarah!" Mother scorned, "Get back in the car!"
I smiled, "I am in the car, Mother."
"Sarah Kerrington!" she shouted, pulling me back by my dress. I groaned and ducked back into the car.
"Can't you wait," she told me, sounding annoying. "We're literally almost there."
I rolled my eyes and slumped against the leather seat. There was no use in arguing with her.
I turned my head to look out the window, imaging what it'd be like to live somewhere like this. The clouds hung low in the sky and stretched for miles, giving them a water-color effect. I loved the smell of the air, so fresh and pure, not like in London where the factories polluted every inch of the city. I wondered how my mother could come to a place like this and not want to settle. The very thought of leaving in as little as three months to travel back to London made me sick. I didn't want to remember the putrid smell of smoke every morning as I woke up for school, or having to listen to my mother rant about another one of her interns. She was the head of 'Mary's Essential Collection'. She designed wedding gowns, ball gowns, prom dresses-you name it. She was always working, and that meant she was always stressed. That's why these vacations were so important. That and the fact that it was an opportunity for me to at least act like I was normal. Back in London everyone knew my name. They all knew me as the 'best designer in Europe's' daughter. I didn't even get a chance to make a reputation for myself. If they would just let themselves get to know me, they'd think twice about giving me dirty looks for no reason. I wasn't classified as a snobby rich daughter, but maybe that's what everyone saw me as. I liked adventures, getting in trouble, being wreck less-everything a teenager ought to be like. But of course, I wasn't allowed to be myself. If I 'ruined' my reputation, my mother would dis-own me, and probably tell the public that I've always been adopted. She wouldn't want someone like me having the same blood as someone like her. So, these trips were basically the only escape route I had from my sheltered life. I would get to know people, be myself, and then have to leave. The only people who really knew me were the ones I'd never see again.
"Sarah," mother said sternly. I sat up straight and rolled the window back up, fixing my wind-tasseled hair. "Yes, mother?"
"Be ready to get out," she explained. I nodded and reached over in the next seat to grab my suitcase. I only ever brought one suitcase; it was my mother who needed a whole limo to fit her luggage.
"Thank-you Pier," mother said, already unbuckling, ready to hop out of the car at any moment.
"Yes ma'am," he replied, and turned into the gravel driveway of the beach house. He pulled up to the edge of the porch and put the limo in park, allowing for us to get out and gather all our belongings.
My mother waited for Pier to come around and open her door, as usual. It annoyed me that she didn't even have the decency to reach over and open it herself. It wasn't a hard task to do.
I opened my door and stepped out onto the tiny pebbles crunching beneath my feet. I just wanted to take off my oxfords and slip on a pair of flip-flops, or better yet go barefoot. But my mother didn't allow me to own such 'abominations' as flip-flops, or as she called them 'toe thongs'. The only open toed pair of shoes I owned was my ruby red peek-a-boo pumps. I would've died just to feel the tiny stones beneath my bare feet.
"Sarah!" mother yelled from the porch. I looked up and saw her lounging on the swing, peering down at me with a pleased smile. "It's so nice up here."
"I believe it," I yelled back, using my foot to close my door, since my arms were full of her luggage. I liked Pier-I couldn't stand to see him struggling to carry all of my mother's bags. Unlike her, I had respect for others.
"Come on up and join me, darling," she called down. I turned to look up at her but my hair fell messily in my face.
"Sorry, mother," I replied, attempting to move my hair out of my face without dropping her bags. "I'm kind of busy!"
"Ah yes, of course," she yelled back, "Well after you're done then!"
I groaned and started to make my way up the stairs to the porch. The bottoms of my shoes were slippery against the polished wood. I had to attempt to hold onto the railing provided with nothing but my elbow, looking like some sort of freak.
"Uh, help!" I squealed, feeling myself start to slip. My mother gave me a concerned look, but did nothing to help. Right when I thought I would surely fall, Pier came up behind me and set his hands on my back.
"You're okay," he said gently, helping me up the final three steps. When I reached the top I let out a relieved sigh and let the bags fall to my feet.
"Sarah!" mother shouted, leaping off the swing in hurry to save her luggage.
"No need to worry," Pier informed her, "I've brought all the breakable items inside already."
She sighed, and then nodded, picking up the remainder of her bags. "Thank the Lord," she said to him, but looked at me. I looked down at my feet and kept my head low until she'd entered the house. I didn't want anything to do with her at that moment.
"I'm sorry," Pier said to me, awkwardly wrapping his arm around my shoulders. "She'll be over it in no time."
"Yeah," I said, picking at a loose thread in my dress, "Until I do something to upset her again."
He was quiet. And he should've been-there was nothing else to say. We both knew that the Sarah she wanted was the one I could never be.
"Listen," he said after a moment, "I think you're very talented."
I smiled and looked back at him. His pale cheeks were reddening, and his cracked lips formed a reluctant smile. I had known Pier ever since I was a child. He's only worked for my mother, and I'm guessing she hired him right before I turned five, because he was just thirteen then. I hadn't gathered signs that he was starting to fancy me until I turned fifteen. He'd spend most of his day cleaning in my room, and when he wasn't, he'd just come in spontaneously asking what I'd like for dinner, what soaps he should buy at the market, etc. I never made much of it, and eventually he calmed down until everything seemed normal again. I still catch him stealing glances at me from across the kitchen, or when he looks into the interior mirror of the limo, looking back at me, thinking I can't see.
"Thank you, Pier," I said sincerely, grabbing his hand for a moment, admiring his flawless luminescent skin.
"Sarah," he spoke gently, saying my name as if it were a flower. I shook my head and let go of his hand, letting it drop back to his side.
"I'm sorry," I told him, turning to leave into the house. And then I left him there, standing all alone. But I kept the door open a crack, just in case he wanted to come in.
Ah no! I forgot to tell you what Pier does! I'll have to add that in later. Well he is the cook, and he does their laundry, and he's the limo driver. He's like a young butler, basically. Haha that's all I wanted to say :) - Hope you enjoyed!