Since the day her youngest daughter was born, Grainna had known Esmeralda would give her a run for her money. She didn’t know much about Esmeralda’s father, but Grainna could see that his untamed spirit and lust for life had manifested in their daughter. This was a both a good thing and a bad thing. Esmeralda was free-spirited, vivacious, and carefree, but in her worst moments, those same qualities morphed into carelessness, irresponsibility, and reckless abandon.
And so Grainna was not surprised when she woke up one morning to find that her blue hair had turned gray.
She sighed heavily, the reality of her age sinking in. Grainna didn’t mourn her youth – she had lived the life she’d set out to live, and would leave the legacy she’d always imagined. She had three wonderful daughters, and while she may have missed her chance at true love, Grainna knew her golden years would be full of love, friendship, and laughter.
But the time to announce her decision had come. Grainna needed to get her affairs in order before it was too late. The time for procrastination had passed.
She called through the tiny house to the girls, asking to speak with them all.
Seraphina and Esmeralda joined her in the living room right away, but Grainna found Clarissa staring at herself in the mirror in the bedroom. Grainna stopped dead in her tracks and stared at her open-mouthed.
Grainna almost didn’t recognize her middle daughter. She called out to Esmeralda and Seraphina, but they both seemed unfazed. Grainna realized they all must have been in on this together – probably bleaching Clarissa’s hair in the kitchen sink while Grainna herself had been counting her grays.
(This is Clarissa in CAS)
Clarissa: Can it wait until I get home, Mom? Whatever this is, it can’t be more important than my first real date with Roy!
Esmeralda: I don’t think you’re allowed to call it a date if he doesn’t KNOW it’s a date, Clarissa.
Clarissa’s smile faltered, giving away the nervous anxiety under the confident facade. Grainna felt sympathy for her daughter. Clarissa had just become a young adult, but to Grainna, she was still a child, brave in her own naïveté.
The announcement could wait a few more hours. Her girls deserved one last day of freedom, one last day of childhood, before one of them would be named heir.
Grainna: It can wait. Have fun! And good luck, honey.
Clarissa arrived at the beach just a little early. She was filled with anticipation, equal parts exhilaration and pure terror. She still didn’t know how she would find the words to tell him, and the possibility of rejection weighed heavy on her heart. But Clarissa knew there was no going back now, and whatever the result, she could no longer hide her true feelings.
She saw him off in the distance, looking as handsome as ever. She took a deep breath and waited.
Roy: Clarissa? Is that really you? You look so…..different.
Clarissa laughed nervously, inwardly hating the way shrill, awkward sound of her own giggle. She tried to play it cool.
Clarissa: Oh, right, it’s no big deal, really. I guess I just felt like trying a new look….
Roy: It’s nice. It’s just so different, I almost didn’t recognize you!
They claimed a few loungers, but sooner did they sit down than they were joined by a pretty brunette who obviously had her sights set on Roy. She introduced herself as Ashlee, and Clarissa immediately imagined punching her in her perfect face.
Ashlee: So, Roy, what do you say we get out of here?
Roy: What? I barely know you, and besides that, I’m here to hang out with my friend.
Clarissa felt a surge of gratification. He’d chosen her over the perfect little gym bunny! That was a good sign, right? But the word “friend” echoed in her brain – he was here with his friend.
She had to do something – It was time for Roy to see her in a new light. Clarissa changed into her bikini and stood in front of him.
His gaze settled on her in a definitively non-friend way. Clarissa smiled to herself, feeling her confidence grow. I just might have a shot after all.
Clarissa: Time for a swim?
Roy just stared at her. He stumbled over himself as he changed into his swimsuit, and soon they were in the water together.
When they were done swimming, they changed and sat together by the water. Clarissa gathered her courage and took a deep breath. She had to tell him – it was now or never.
Clarissa: Roy, there’s something important I have to tell you, and I don’t want you to say anything until I’m done. Promise?
Roy: Okay. I promise.
Clarissa: I asked you here today because I wanted you to see me as…as….more than a friend. Roy… I, uh… Well. I’m in love with you. I guess I have been for awhile. I don’t want to ruin our friendship and I know it’s kinda weird since my sister is also your sister and all…but I couldn’t hide it from you anymore.
Roy stared at her.
Clarissa: I’m done now. You can talk.
Roy: Is….is this what your whole “transformation” was about?
Clarissa: I saw the way those beautiful girls all looked at you, and I wanted a chance with you….. It’s so embarrassing, I can’t believe I actually just told you that.
Roy: Clarissa…there’s nothing to be embarrassed about….You’re the only one who’s ever had a chance with me–I’ve loved you from the first day we met! That’s the real reason I invited you to Oasis Springs that time. I wanted to impress you – that’s why I took you to the gym. I was going to tell you, but I chickened out. I’ve loved you all along. You didn’t have to change the way you looked for me! I’ve always loved the way you looked, but that’s not why I love you.
Clarissa felt her heart leap inside her chest. Esmeralda had been right, of course – she’d said that the right man would love her for who she was. And here was Roy, telling her exactly that. She was speechless, she couldn’t seem to formulate the sentence that would express everything she was feeling… so instead…..