Quinn's mind wandered back to when Sandi first told her that her grandmother had died. "How horrible!" she had said.
"It's alright, Quinn," Sandi had said with a shrug. "I, like, barely remember her. I have, like, these memories of playing with a girl at her house when I was, like, really little, but mom never took me back there after I was, like, six." Sandi's eyes had narrowed when she mentioned her mother, as they did these days. "Mom never really talked about Gramma, even when I asked her."
They had arrived in Louisiana two days ago. It was fortunate that they were on summer break; classes at Lawndale Community College wouldn't be starting up again for another week or two. Yesterday, they had attended the reading of Sandi's grandmother's will, where Sandi had learned that she had inherited her grandmother's old house. That was the reason they had spent all day driving around the most remote country roads Louisiana had to offer, miles away from the nearest mall or cell phone coverage area.
"So, Sandi," Quinn said after several minutes of driving in silence. "What's your grandmother's house like?"
Sandi shrugged. "I don't really remember. The only thing I really remember is playing with that girl in, like...the attic, or something. Maybe the basement."
Silence once again descended upon the two girls.
"This is the right road, isn't it?" Sandi asked, frustrated. They had driven up and down the road several times already.
"Definitely," Quinn said, comparing the letter the lawyer had given them to the street label on the map.
"Then where the hell is it?" Sandi snarled.
Finally, Quinn caught something out of the corner of her eye and shouted, "Stop!" to Sandi. She had seen something obscured by leaves...
Quinn left the car and approached what appeared to be a very large bush. She pulled back some of the leaves and discovered that they had just overgrown a wall, obscuring the address plate. She compared the number on the plate to the one on the letter. "This is it, Sandi!" she cried triumphantly. She turned to the gates -- it was much easier to notice them, espeically since the ivory didn't do a very good job of disguising them. She pulled them open with a little effort and rejoined Sandi in the idling car.
Just before they passed through them, Quinn noticed some words affixed to the top of the gate. "Manse Griffin," she read aloud. "What's Manse?"
The thought made something in Sandi's brain tingle. "Manse...manse...I think it's French," she concluded. "And...I think I know it, but I don't know from what."
Quinn gasped. "Mansion."
"Yeah, that's it. Mansion. Wait, what?" Sandi had been focused on the road directly ahead and thus hadn't noticed what Quinn had noticed.
It was Tara.
Or at least, it looked a great deal like the plantation house from Gone With the Wind. Huge mansion, with the Greek-style pillars out front -- it screamed 'plantation'. Sandi managed to drive the car up the winding road all the way to the front of the grand building, then shut off the car. "Wow," was all she could manage.
Sandi owned a friggin' mansion.
Stacy and Tiffany would go nuts.