In loving memory of my Nana
The following days came and went, bringing no more news than the days before. Indian summer left Windsor Falls along with the belief that Olivia would return home. The search parties continued. And so did regular classes. Mrs.Nora told everyone simply that "there's really not a lot you all can help with at the moment, and I know that Olivia would want us to continue with Sleeping Beauty". Just about every night of practice Mrs.Nora broke down and started crying. After about the third night that happened Mrs.Emma told her to take some time off and that she could come back when she was ready. Sophie never asked Dean about that night at church. Part of her figured he would just make up some excuse. The other part of her was kinda scared of him. But other than that he was a great partner for the ballet, even though she wasn't one hundred percent comfortable around him.
It was Friday. Two weeks had passed since Sophie had seen Olivia last. Sophie had dinner with her parents, her mom had made her famous mac 'n' cheese like every Friday. Then her parents went to church for various committee meetings.
As soon as they left Sophie grabbed her jacket and keys and got in her car, headed toward the dance studio. She needed to pick up her costume for Aurora. She had been so numb and dismal for the past two weeks that this didn't even put a smile on her face. When she found out that she got the part that was the first thing that popped into her mind. Now she could care less.
When she got there Mrs.Hamilton was sitting in the office. She didn't notice Sophie was there for a while. Then Sophie knocked on the door frame. Mrs.Hamilton quickly looked up from what she was writing. She adjusted her glasses and smiled brightly. "Well hello there" she exclaimed. "Hello. How are you today?" Sophie asked as she walked closer to her. "Oh I'm fair to mindling" said she with a raise of her eyebrows. Sophie reached down and hugged Mrs.Hamilton. "How are you honey? You alright?" she inquired with deep concern. "I'm okay, I guess. I just wish I could go back" she expressed, holding her tightly. Mrs.Hamilton gently pulled back and sprung up from her seat. "Trust me, we've all wished for the same thing at one point or another, but God has his own plans in mind. So why don't I get you your beautiful costume to take your mind off of things?" she said, rubbing Sophie's hands. "Thanks" she replied as Mrs.Hamilton went to get the costume from the costume room.
Sophie let her eyes search the room. The pink walls, the clock, the trophy cases with the multitude of awards they had won. Finally her eyes fell upon what Mrs.Hamilton had been writing. It was pastel green stationary with soft gold trim and neat hand-writing covering the page. Across the top of the page was gold letters in a graceful font. VDH, it read.
"Voila! Isn't it something?" Mrs.Hamilton announced as she entered the room, bringing with her the costume. Sophie turned rapidly to look at her costume. It was stunning. Its rhinestones and embellishments caught the light with such electricity that it appeared to be dancing by itself. The pink tulle fabric looked like an ocean of rose kissed water. She could hardly wait to dance around in it and watch the fluffy tutu glide with her.
"What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?" Mrs.Hamilton teased her. "Oh no, no, it's just. Breathtaking" Sophie said, absentmindedly touching her neck with her hand. "Well it was made for a princess after all" replied Mrs.Hamilton. Sophie edged to her and the outfit. Mrs.Hamilton placed it in her hands and Sophie gingerly ran her hand over the bodice. "You really did a beautiful job Mrs.Hamilton" she complimented her, smiling gratefully. "Thank you, I enjoy it" Mrs.Hamilton told her. "Mrs.Hamilton?" she said, with a purse of the lips. "Yes?" she said, waiting. "I don't meant to be intrusive but what does VDH stand for?" inquired she.
Mrs.Hamilton walked to her desk and picked up her letter, caressing it nostalgically. "I assume you've seen my letter to my sister, it's my initials, Virginia Dare Hamilton" she explained. "Oh okay. Is Dare your maiden name?" she asked, hoping not to sound overly curious. "No, actually I dropped my maiden name, Major. Dare is my middle name. I was name Virginia Dare after the first baby born in America" she told her proudly. "Really? I've heard of Virginia Dare, I just never knew anyone named after her" she said with genuine interest. "Now you do" she said, reaching out and giving her arm a squeeze. "Make sure you hang that up with plenty of room around it, so it isn't crushed" Mrs.Hamilton reminded her. "I will, I don't want anything to mess this up" replied Sophie. "You know when I was growing up all of our costumes were handmade" she informed her. "Is that why you learned to sew?" asked she. "Yes, and the fact that that was what girls my age had to learn, it was a necessary, skill for housewives of that day" she continued. "When did you get married?" Sophie questioned, leaning on the door frame. "I was about seventeen, George was eighteen" she answered. "Were you scared?" Sophie asked. Mrs.Hamilton giggled a bit, covering her mouth in a lady-like fashion. "Of course! Marriage is always scary, but I loved him and I knew he loved me, and that was all I needed to know" she explained, a twinkle in her eye. "I wish I was that sure" spoke Sophie, distantly. "Of what?" Mrs.Hamilton questioned, eyebrow cocked. "Of anything" she simply stated. "It comes with time" Mrs.Hamilton assured her. Sophie nodded slowly. "I better take this home and put it away" she announced abruptly. "I enjoyed talking to you" she replied. Sophie held the costume by the hanger, careful not to let it slip off the hanger. "Yeah, I did too. Maybe I could come over to your house sometime. That is if you don't mind" she suggested. "I would love that" Mrs.Hamilton said in the way only a grandmother can say. "See you soon" Sophie said, waving as she walked out of the office door. "Bye Sophie" Mrs.Hamilton replied as she sat down and continued to write her letter.
When Sophie got home her parents were still out. Even though she usually like the quite ever since Olivia disappeared she felt jumpy. She even had a dream one night that she had been kidnapped. The strange part was she never saw the kidnapper's face. Which she was partially thankful for, because if it had been someone she knew in the dream she wouldn't be able to speak to him, or her, without screaming "kidnapper".
She had just changed into her pajamas when she heard a knock at the door. "I can't believe dad forgot his keys again" she thought as she jostled down the stairs. "Who is it?" she asked, cautiously. "It's me, Ian" she heard him say. Sophie unlocked the door. Sure enough there was Ian, standing on her porch. His hair was a bit more tousled than usual and she could see where his summer tan had begun to fade.
She hadn't seen him since that night at the studio. His parents sent him to stay with his aunt Delia in Vermont after that night. Part of her thought it was better for him to get away from it all, and part of her knew it couldn't be helping Mrs.Nora.
"Oh, I'm sorry! Did I come at a bad time?" he asked, pointing to her pajamas. Sophie looked down at herself, wishing she has waited just five minutes to change. "No, not at all. I'm glad to see you" she told him. They stood there for a minute, not sure what to say or do next. "Come in, sit" she finally said. She closed the door, locking it securely. "Do you want anything? Soda, water, coffee?" she asked anxiously.
Ian took a seat in the corner of the sectional couch. "No, I'm fine. Thank you though" he said, nodding out of habit. Sophie took a seat next to him. "So how was Vermont?" she inquired, turning to face him. "Cold. Boring. Lonely" he replied. "I'm sorry" she said, glancing down at her hands. "Don't be, it was better than being here" he told her. "Oh" she mumbled, not sure what to think of that. "No, that's not what I meant. People just tend to be so in your face about this here, in Vermont no one really knew who I even was" he explained. "It's okay, I understand" she said with a knowing expression.
Ian cleared his throat. "I missed you" he almost whispered, looking her straight in the eyes. "I missed you too" she echoed, reaching out to tenderly grip his hand. At first she started to retract her hand when he didn't say anything, then he squeezed her's back and laced his fingers through her's. "So how has the search for Olivia been going? Any good news?" he questioned, somewhat hopeful. "No, but no news is good news, right?" she quoted. "I really hope you're right, Soph" he added. Sophie leaned her head down on the back of the sofa, still facing Ian. "Thanks for being here for me" he acknowledged. "It's no big deal" she modestly stated. "But it is to me" he affirmed, sincerely. He extended his left arm toward her, brushing a stray hair away from her heart-shaped face. He let his hand linger there on her face for a short while, cupping her warm cheek softly. Sophie smiled sheepishly, slightly tickled by the touch of his strong yet kind hand.
Click! Ian and Sophie jumped away from each other like two magnets being pulled apart when they heard someone unlock the door. It was Sophie's parents. When they stepped in the house they appeared to be a little stunned to see Ian sitting in their living room. "Hello Mr.and Mrs.Duvall " he greeted them, standing up to shake their hands. "Hello" Mr.Duvall said firmly. Mrs.Duvall nodded cordially. "I just stopped by to say hello, I better get home now" he informed them, pointing to the open door. "I'll see you around" he assured Sophie right before he went out the door. "Bye" she called after him.
Once he was gone Sophie and her parents looked at each other, still as statues. "Well I'm going to bed now, goodnight, love y'all" she said. And then she kissed both her father and her mother goodnight on the cheek. Sophie rushed up the stairs, flinging herself on her bed. If she wasn't sure of anything before she was now.