CIRCLE DANCE by Lynne Constantine
Genre: Chick Lit
IKARIA, GREECE - JUNE
Soon they would be back in America and in September Theodora would marry the wrong man. Nicole should be happy for her, but she knew that her sister was about to make the biggest mistake of her life. Nicole sat on the front porch of the small white house, the book she was reading lying open on her lap as the sun rose over the tranquil Aegean Sea. The fishing boats had gone out hours ago, before dawn, while the rest of the island slept. A gentle breeze ruffled the pages of her book, the welcome coolness of early morning that would soon turn to searing midday heat. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the back of the wicker chair. They were near the end of their summer idyll, she and her grandparents. Her brows came together in a frown, the corners of her mouth turning down. If only we could stay here, she thought, and put Stewart and the wedding forever on hold.
Her grandmother Sophia had always believed that America was her savior, but Greece was the essence and strength of her soul. This ancient land of her ancestors was a part of her soul too. It was here, summer after summer, that she had learned of childish romances and heard the melancholy chords of a lone mandolin dancing across the warm night air. It was here that she felt at one with herself.
She would miss these summers on the island. They had been some of the best times, with just the four of them. They had made this annual pilgrimage since she was ten. The summers together here had served to forge an even closer bond than already existed between the sisters. Nicole, bold and daring, and Theodora, the younger but more serious of the two, known affectionately by the doting islanders as ‘the Parsenis girls.’ As small children they had explored the far reaches of the island, discovering hidden trails and paths that took them from dry rocky hills to the glorious white beaches of Armenisti on the other side. Together with their friends, they’d ferried to Mykonos, Samos, and Santorini, carrying their lunches of hard cheese, crusty bread, and bottled water. Their Greek improved each year until they were easily able to converse with even the most rapid-speaking of the natives. The burley grocer in Ayios Kyrikos always made sure he saved the ripest and juiciest peaches for them, and Ari, the long-haired eighteen-year-old who rented motorbikes, never failed to flirt and give them the newest and shiniest of the lot. They were popular and well-liked, equally at home with the aging compatriots of their grandparents or their own young friends.
The clattering of dishes startled her and she sat up. Sophia must be making breakfast. Nicole rose, leaving her book on the chair, and went inside.
“Good morning, agapi mou. What would you like for breakfast?” Her grandmother’s thick gray hair was pulled back in a bun. At almost eighty, Sophia moved with an inherent elegant grace. She was a handsome woman, tall and solid, her face remarkably unlined for her age.
“Just some coffee, Yiayia. Not very hungry.”
Sophia turned from the coffee pot and looked at Nicole, her eyes narrowing. “What is it, my girl? Something is bothering you.” She gestured for Nicole to sit, poured some coffee for each of them, and then pulled out a chair for herself.
“It’s nothing. I guess I’m just not ready to go back yet. You know, sad it’s our last day.”
“But Nicole, there is so much to look forward to with the wedding and starting your new job. You should be excited, no?” Sophia’s thick accent had a lilting cadence to it.
“What do you think of Stewart, Yiayia?”
Sophia hesitated, surprised by the question. “Well, I do not know him well yet, but he seems like a hard-working and responsible young man. Why do you ask me that? Is there something we do not know about him?” There was concern in her voice.
Nicole looked down at the table and thought about what to say. Her fingers spun the mug in circles as she sat in silence.
“Tell me, Nicole. What is it you are keeping from us?”
Her grandmother was no one’s fool, she thought. If she couldn’t confide her fears to her, then to whom could she?
“This may seem like nothing to you, but, Yiayia, I’ve watched how he treats Theo; he just seems so controlling to me. I know he’s ten years older, but he acts like she’s not capable of making a decision without him. There are times he treats her like a child. I can’t understand why she doesn’t see it.” Her tone was angry now. “Sometimes I feel like the only reason he grabbed onto Theo was to go to work for Dad.”
Stewart had utterly ingratiated himself with Nick, their father, and had been comfortably ensconced in the family contracting business since last year. Nicole hadn’t heard any complaints at the office, but then, she was, up to this point, just a part-time employee, a graduate student and the boss’s daughter. When they returned to the States, she would assume a full-time position at Parsenis Contracting and then she would be working with Stewart every day.
Sophia straightened in her chair. “Have you spoken to your sister about this?”
“How can I, Yiayia? What would I say? She’s so happy and in love.”
Sophia was quiet as she considered this. “Are you sure you are not seeing things that are not there? That perhaps you are a little sad that things are changing?”
“No Yiayia, it’s not that. Really. I want to be happy for her, but the more I’m around Stewart, the more I dislike him.”
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Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1) I love photography
2) The beach if my favorite place
3) I have twins
4) I have a golden retreiver
5) I am addicted to coffee
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