Six Days Later
Katherine was there when the package came. It came by special
delivery with the specific message that absolutely NO ONE but Rachel was to take it. Instantly Katherine was interested,
and she stayed in the hall and waited as one of the maids went to fetch Rachel.
Finally Rachel came down the stairs, hair dripping wet, as far as Katherine could tell wearing nothing but a robe.
She blushed for her sister, but Rachel seemed unaffected, saying only "I am Rachel Barrett," and casually
taking the box from the man. She tried to give him a few dollar bills, but he instantly shook his head and insisted
firmly that he was being well taken care of.
No sooner had he gone than Rachel set the box down and started to head back up the stairs. Katherine felt her jaw
"Rachel!" she called. "Aren't you going to open it?"
Rachel looked at her a bit strangely. "Of course. Later."
"Don't you even want to know what it is?" Katherine questioned, disbelieving.
Rachel shrugged. "Present's aren't such a big deal Katherine. I would have rather he called and talked to
me for a while."
"Don't say things like that, you know they're not true," Katherine reprimanded.
"I've never been more serious," Rachel said, brow furrowing. "You'll understand some day."
"Please open it Rache - " Katherine pleaded. "LOOK! It even says to open it immediately."
Rachel laughed. "Where?" she questioned. "I didn't see that! Are you sure?"
"Yes," Katherine nodded. "There's a little envelope attached to the side."
Rachel smiled amusedly and came back down the stairs and slid off the envelope, which did, indeed, say 'Open at
Rachel smiled at the sight of Alistair's handwriting and slit open the envelope. Inside, written on a small white
sheet of paper were the words:
'Blue is for the evening sky
It's for the sparkle in you're eyes
It is for the ocean too
This necklace shows my love for you.'
Rachel smiled, biting her lip. It was unsigned, but written
in Alistair's handwriting. She wondered briefly if he'd come up with it on his own or paid someone to do it for
him. Suddenly she realized she didn't care - either way it was one of the sweetest things she'd ever read.
Rachel gently untied the blue ribbon from the box, letting it fall. She pulled off the lid and came to a large
blue velvet box. Popping it open she came across the most beautiful choker she had ever seen. It was composed of
sapphires and diamonds in three layers, set, she was sure, in 24kt gold. The center was a row of heart shaped diamonds,
which were surrounded on either side by sapphires cut into crescent shapes. They went all the way around, and it
was exquisite. Large, but not gaudy. Also inside the box was another note.
'This is a family heirloom. My great-grandfather had it
made for my great-grandmother to signify their deep love. Today I am proud to present it as a symbol of my deep
love for you.'
All My Love,
Rachel suddenly felt very faint. "Rache?" Katherine
asked uncertainly. Rachel handed her the note.
"How awfully sweet," Katherine remarked. "Let me see it?"
"See what?" Rachel asked.
"The heirloom of course," Katherine laughed.
"How silly of me," Rachel said at once, handing over the box. Katherine gasped and almost dropped it.
"Is it - It must be - "
"Real?" Rachel questioned. "Oh, yes, most definitely."
"My goodness," Katherine said finally. "It's so lovely."
"Yes," Rachel whispered. "Yes, lovely."
"For the last time Rachel, you may not wear the white dress!" Elizabeth snapped. "White is for the
wedding, NOT the engagement party!"
"Well what would you suggest, mother? The sapphires HARDLY go with the pink dress I was to wear!"
"Why not wear you're blue dress?"
"I TOLD you, Alistair has already seen me in it!" Rachel snapped, nerves shot.
"And I told you there's no time!" Elizabeth snapped back.
"Well, what if I just didn't wear the choker?" Rachel questioned. Elizabeth gaped at her. "Alistair
didn't say in either note that I had to wear it tonight."
"That's because it probably never occurred to him that you would be IDIOTIC enough to even THINK of that possibility!"
"Alistair would understand," Rachel said softly.
"Would Timothy Crane?"
"He doesn't understand anything but business," Rachel muttered.
"Never the less, it was him who gave Alistair permission to give you the jewels, I'm sure."
Rachel let out a frustrated cry as she turned back to her closet.
An hour later as Rachel descended the stairs to meet Alistair no one would have guessed she'd had any fashion crisis.
Her hair was swept up into an elegant French twist and actually COMPLETELY tidy for once. Her full-length medium
blue dress billowed out slightly after her hips, and was strapless, creating an air of daring. She had on matching
evening gloves, and the choker rested on her neck as if it was made to sit there.
She stood impeccably straight as Alistair leaned over to kiss her hand. When he straightened up she smiled at him.
"You look lovely," he remarked at once.
"Thank you," she smiled. "And thank you for the jewels-"
"I'd hoped you'd like them" he cut her off, surveying her with a critical eye. "They suit you."
She laughed, slowly nodding. "Yes. Yes they do."
He smiled widely at her forwardness in accepting his compliment. "You know that dress matches perfectly-what
a lucky coincidence," he observed.
She giggled. "You have NO idea."
4 hours and countless greetings and dances later the party was still going strong. It was in the Barrett's large
and immaculate garden. Candles and Chinese lanterns were everywhere and the air was full of the smell of roses
and lilies. A live band played romantic music.
It was just past 11 and the toasts were starting to wrap up. Rachel was on Alistair's arm, smiling up at him, as
Katherine stepped forward at her father, John Barrett's insistence. Truthfully the last thing on earth she wanted
was to make a toast. Not when she herself had fallen in love with Alistair on-sight just over a year ago. However,
she bravely smiled and raised her glass, which was brimming with champagne.
"To Alistair and Rachel!" her voice rang out across the terrace. "May everything turn out exactly
as it is meant to!"
Everyone smiled and took a drink, taking her toast at face value. What else could they do on such a happy night?
Timothy Crane was the last person to step forward, right after Katherine.
"To the continued flourishing of the Crane/Barrett connections," he boomed. "Both professional -
Rachel Â½ laughed and everyone took another small drink. "Kiss her!" someone called to Alistair.
Very, very gently Alistair pressed his lips to Rachel's. After a moment they both pulled back and smiled as everyone
clapped. The moon shined brightly on the party and the happy couple as another slow song started and Alistair took
Rachel into his arms as they began to dance.
Rachel suddenly began to giggle. "What?" Alistair asked, smiling.
"Nothing" she answered, shaking her head. "It's just - perfect."
He laughed too. "Yes. Perfect."
And it WAS perfect. For everyone. But Katherine.