I’m stealing that flair for the outrageous from her tonight, though. Since arriving in France, the energy surrounding the festivities has renewed me. Inspired me to take a chance and do something daring. Wild.
Like wearing a dress that might cause a scandal. Like mentally preparing the speech I’m going to give my father when I turn in my two weeks’ notice once we’re back home.
“Yes,” Grandma says firmly. “Your legacy. And Violet’s. Even Lily’s. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but I’m even more excited to see what you and Violet do with Fleur. Perhaps even Lily, if she ever gets her head out of her ass.”
“Grandma!” I shouldn’t be shocked at what she says, but every once in a while she does surprise me.
“What? It’s true.” Grandma shrugs. “Besides, someday I’ll be gone, you know.”
“But …” I start to protest and she shushes me in an instant.
“Hush, you know it’s true. I’m eighty-three years old. I can’t live forever, as much as I’d like to.” She waves a hand at the necklace I’m still clutching in one hand, the velvet box in the other. “Turn around, my child, and let me put that on you. Why are you still in your robe? Shouldn’t you be dressed already? The premiere is going to start soon.”
“I’m almost done.” Nerves suddenly eat at my stomach and I turn around at Grandma’s direction, setting the box on the dresser beside me and handing the necklace to her so she can help put it around my neck. I’m taller than her, so I bend at the knees, making it easier for her to slip the necklace on. “Hair and makeup is finished. I just need to put on my dress and shoes.”
“You’d best hurry, then.” She slips the necklace around my neck and hooks the clasp before stepping away from me. “There. Let’s see how it looks.”
I turn to face her once more, my chin lifted, the weight of the diamonds heavy against my chest. I can’t believe she’s letting me wear it. From the few stories I’ve heard about it, the necklace rarely if ever makes public appearances. “What do you think?” I ask.
She contemplates me, her expression serious, eyes narrowed. “It’s beautiful. Originally I thought I wanted Lily to wear it since she’s the oldest, but she’s not here. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized you’re a better fit since you’re so much like Poppy.”
Guilt assaults me and I fight it down. I refuse to feel bad for what I’m about to do. I can’t help it if Daddy chooses his conniving girlfriend over me. And I won’t let him run right over me without a care. I need to stand up for what I believe in.
And what I believe in means never letting Pilar Vasquez have any sort of authority over me. That bitch can die before I ever let her tell me what to do.
“You didn’t want Violet to wear it, hmm?” I touch the necklace, turning toward the mirror to my right. The necklace is stunning, even against the white silk robe I have on, and I stare at my reflection, overwhelmed at what the necklace represents.
Grandma’s right. Fleur is my legacy, too. I need to remember that. Not get caught up in the mess that’s been created by Violet and Ryder against Daddy and … Pilar.
Ew. Just thinking about that bitch makes me want to puke.
But I can’t stand by and let everything happen to me. I need to make a stand. I need to let Father know that I don’t approve of his tactics. Something needs to be done. Someone needs to say something.
If that has to be me, then so be it.
“Please. Violet has that lovely diamond on her finger. She doesn’t need any other piece of jewelry right now.” Grandma waves a dismissive hand at my suggestion. She’s right. Ryder asked Violet to marry him only a few days ago and my sister is positively giddy over it.
For so long I’d been afraid she’d saddle herself to that idiot Zachary Lawrence, but thankfully she saw the light and found a man who cherishes her. Understands her. Respects her. That he’s gorgeous and sexy as hell doesn’t hurt matters.
I’m a little envious of my sister’s happiness, but I can’t begrudge her finally finding joy. She’s had so many challenges and she’s fought every single one of them. I’m proud of her. Happy for her.
“Enjoy that necklace. There’s a segment in the documentary about it.” Grandma winks and starts toward the door. “We’ll meet in your father’s suite in twenty minutes. Don’t be late, you hear me?”
“I hear you,” I call to her, shaking my head as she exits my room with a loud slam of the door.
I turn to face the mirror once again, my hands going to the belt of my robe and untying it, letting the white silk part before I shrug it from my shoulders. The fabric falls to the floor in a crumpled heap around my feet and I kick it away, then stand tall.
The necklace looks good against my skin and I take a deep breath, watching my naked breasts rise and fall. I might need to have a drink or two before I don the dress. I’ll need the liquid courage to face my family later.
Daddy will probably hate the dress. Violet will be scandalized. Grandma will laugh and silently cheer me on. And Pilar? She’s accompanying us tonight, which I hate. I don’t give two shits what she thinks about the dress. Or me. Or any of us.
Sighing, I go to the closet and pull the dress out, smoothing my hands over the layers of white, frothy chiffon that make up the skirt. Considering it’s strapless, the necklace will be showcased perfectly. I wonder what sort of story surrounds the piece of jewelry?