The Secret Diamond Sisters

By: Michelle Madow

Peyton slumped in her seat, her headphones plugged into her ears and huge dark sunglasses covering her eyes. She had pulled the hood of her black terry-cloth jacket over her head midway through the ride, and her long, light brown hair with the occasional streak of blue fell over her shoulders. Savannah hated the blue streaks. Why her sister would want to look like a freak was beyond her. Not that Peyton would listen to Savannah’s opinion.

Getting the vibe that neither of her sisters felt like talking, Savannah looked out the window. They drove past some small run-down apartment buildings and entered the highway. They passed by tons of vineyards, the grape vines bright green and alive under the hot July sun. Where were they heading? Last she’d heard, her father lived in Las Vegas, but it had been fifteen years since her mother had left him—right after she got pregnant with Savannah. He could be anywhere now.

It wasn’t like he’d bothered to contact them. They didn’t even know his first name. Savannah always assumed he was incapable of taking care of them, but if he could afford a limo, why hadn’t he made an effort to get to know his own daughters? To acknowledge their existence? He was only interested in them now because he had no other choice. Savannah’s eyes watered as she realized again how alone she and her sisters were, and she took a sip of champagne to force away the tears. She and her sisters had plenty of differences, but at least no matter what was coming next, they would have each other.

Courtney must have noticed how Savannah had tensed up, because she looked at her and forced a smile. “How does it taste?” she asked, motioning to the champagne.

“It’s good,” Savannah replied. “Are you sure you don’t want some? We probably won’t have an opportunity to taste something as expensive as this ever again.” She took another sip, relishing the citrusy taste. She’d bet the champagne cost more than the Longchamp bag Evie had just gotten for her birthday. Savannah wished she had a phone that could send picture texts, so she could show Evie and some of the other girls from the team what she was drinking. They would be so jealous.

“I’m sure.” Courtney shook her head. “It’s first thing in the morning, and the champagne isn’t even ours.”

Savannah shrugged at Courtney’s goody-goody attitude and looked over at Peyton, who was lost in iPod land and ignoring her.

Savannah decided to change that. She lifted the half-filled glass to her lips and threw her head back, taking a large gulp. It fizzed going down her throat, the liquid swirling in her stomach as it made its way down.

“Getting drunk first thing in the morning?” Peyton removed one of her earbuds and dropped it onto her lap. “You’ll end up like Mom.”

“Is that necessary?” The harshness in Courtney’s usually calm voice took Savannah by surprise. “Mom messed up, but she tried. Don’t be so hard on her. But Peyton’s right,” she said, refocusing on Savannah. “You shouldn’t be drinking—not after everything with Mom. I know you think she doesn’t care about what you do, but she wouldn’t want you to repeat her mistakes.”

“I’m not like Mom,” Savannah insisted. “I only wanted a glass. I mean, it’s Dom Pérignon. Do you know how many people would kill to try this? Besides, Mom would have finished the bottle by now.”

“She would have,” Peyton agreed—which surprised Savannah, because Peyton never agreed with anything she said. “Which made it real easy for our nonexistent father to take us away from home without giving us any say.”

“The nonexistent father who she led us to believe was a homeless drug addict,” Savannah said. “Which he clearly isn’t. Not if he can afford all this. I know it’s a long shot, but maybe...”

“Don’t tell me you’re wishing he’s that big-time hotel owner again,” Peyton said. “Just because he rented a limo to get us doesn’t mean anything. He wasted all this money trying to impress us, and it won’t make me like him after he ignored us for our whole lives. Besides, you know there are seventy-five people with the last name of Diamond in Las Vegas—”

“And twenty thousand in America.” Savannah cut her off, imitating her sister’s superior tone. “I know this. You’ve told me a million times. But it would be cool if he was.”

Okay, it would be more than cool if her father was the Adrian Diamond—the one who owned numerous hotels in Las Vegas and had more money than Savannah could imagine. The life she could have then would be beyond her wildest dreams.

It would be like living in a Las Vegas fairy tale.

“I wouldn’t even want him to be our father,” Peyton continued. “Who the hell goes fifteen years without talking to their daughters and then suddenly wants custody?”

“Our dad,” Courtney said, her voice tight. “But Mom needs to be in rehab. After all the years we tried and failed to convince her to get help, she’s finally there, and I’m glad she’s getting treatment. Just think—in a few months, Mom will be better. And in the meantime, maybe our father won’t be that bad.”

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