Disclaimer: Anything related to Summer Sisters belongs to Judy Blume and her publishers.
Synopsis: Maizie has spent her life falling in love with the idea of Caitlin Somers, her mother. When she turns 17 she decides to do what no one else had the courage to do: search for her. What she finds and what she doesn't find rocks the life of her and her family.
Author's Note: Yay!
Maizie is getting so old, she's a grown up, the same age Vix was when she fell head over heels in love with Bru, the same age Caitlin was when she left the first time, the same age she was when Nathan died. She remembered 17…vividly. She knows Maizie is off to see Europe, To get some culture and experience she said. Something behind her eyes said more, she was off to look for her, Vix knew it in her heart.
No one knew about Vix's 40th, not even Gus. She faked a business meeting, really important people to see. But no, the tickets had come in an envelope just like her 30th, with Caitlin's small script on a piece of paper, Come and celebrate with your oldest friend! Vix thought it was some kind of sick joke, somebody messing with her, but who else knew what Vix was sure of? From the second she heard Vix knew she wasn't dead and as the years passed she got surer.
When she told Gus about her feelings he just looked at her in a sympathetic way, but she knew. She knew completely. No one could tell her otherwise. She knew Caitlin was alive when she woke up one winter morning at 4am, worried and aching for Maia. Maia, her best friend from college, her roommate till her marriage, she had felt something break inside of her and her worry consumed her. Four hours later Paisley called her in tears; There's been an accident… Maia didn't survive. Vix's pain she felt all day tripled and as the tears were rolling down her face. She knew, she knew Caitlin Somers was alive. Because the break that Caitlin's death would cause would be too much to bear, after all, she was Caitlin Somers: The Most Influential Person In My Life.
So, on her 40th she lied to her husband and jetted off to Italy. Inside baggage claim was the same Caitlin, hair a deep, rich blonde, heels much more modest in height. She reminded Vix for a second of Aubrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's the way she stood, hat poised on her head, shades up over her eyes even though they were inside. Vix knew she had aged 20 years in the past 10, she knew she looked older, haggard. When Caitlin mentioned this later in the car Vix scoffed and said, "Maybe it's because I went through the death of my best friend and picked up her pieces afterward!"
Caitlin took it well when Vix started crying and telling her how angry she was at her. How selfish she was. About how she had been hurting so much for her and that she had missed her. After Vix was wasted of tears and anger Caitlin pulled her close to her chest and patted her hair. I'm sorry, Vix, I am so, so sorry. For the first time Vix believed her, for the first time she saw Caitlin cry, really cry, and not because she wasn't getting her way, but because Caitlin understood what she did and how it hurt everyone.
Vix tried to get her to come back to the Vineyard, To see Maizie and Lamb and Abby. Don't you want to? Caitlin told her it would be too hard, cause too much pain. She would leave again like she always did. For the past 9 years she's stayed in a country for a year or so, collecting money from odd modeling jobs, designing jobs and writing under a pseudonym. I'm finally doing all the things I've wanted to!
But you're alone, Caitlin.
That's how I've liked it, Vix. That way I can't hurt anyone with my selfishness.
Vix shook her head, overwhelmed, confused, wanting to tell everyone, but knowing it would hurt them more. On their last day together Caitlin woke up early and crawled into bed next to Vix, holding her close, breathing her in. Suddenly they were 12 again, Summer Sisters with an unbreakable bond. It didn't matter how much Caitlin had screwed up, it didn't matter how much she hurt everyone, cause she was still Caitlin, she had never grown up enough to understand what real life was like.
That day they talked for hours about Maizie, a strong, healthy teenager with a mind like Caitlin's but the cautiousness of Bru. Lamb and Abby who despite nearing the end of their life were still in fabulous shape, Maizie had made them feel younger. Sharkey, with a boy and a girl, still with Wren, still making big discoveries at M.I.T. People still called him Sharkey, despite his doctorate. And Vix's boys and Gus all living together in New York, traveling north once a month to Cambridge for family dinners Abby had taken to hosting the year after Caitlin disappeared.
"Lamb hired a private investigator to find you" Vix says on the last day.
"I changed my name and didn't stay put for more than a month the first year" Caitlin replied, a sadness seeping into her voice.
"What is your new name?" Vix asked
Caitlin smiles for the first time, a smile she carried when they were 12 without a care in the world, "Cassandra Vixen"
Vix smiled back, "That sounds perfect."
She knew the second she got to the Vineyard for graduation Maizie was going to find Caitlin and she wouldn't stop questioning Vix until she admitted what she knew. She had promised Caitlin not to tell a soul, It would hurt Abby and Lamb too much. Especially Lamb, it would hurt him so much. So Vix didn't tell anyone, she wanted to, but she knew Lamb would suffer greatly. He already suffered, he already struggled, for years the name Caitlin would make him cry. She wondered what made him this way; he certainly didn't care about showing his hurt. Tawny came to visit with the Countess once more before she died and Lamb lost it, the look on Tawny's face…disgust, pity. Vix at once respected Lamb more and had unwavering patience in his pain. Something even Vix couldn't reveal.
She walked along the water's edge, closing her eyes and breathing in all the memories of this place when she sensed someone fall into step next to her. She didn't have to look to know it was Bru. Even after all these years she knew what he felt like, what he smelled like. Her feelings for him were long gone, they felt like a distant memory but she shared something with him that couldn't be taken away and that felt good.
Bru spoke first, the years had made his voice deeper, "She's been asking a lot of questions, Vix. She's going to try and find her."
Vix opened her eyes and sighed, "Then let her try, Bru. She won't be satisfied until she's gone."
"What if there's nothing to find? It's been 13 years, she could look completely different. How would Maizie even know? How would she react?" Bru questioned
"Maizie is the spitting image of Caitlin at 17 with darker skin; do you really think Caitlin won't know?" Vix sighs, "She needs to do it, for healing and not just healing for her, but healing for everyone."
"You know she's alive, Victoria" he didn't ask, he said it as a statement. It wasn't a question in his mind.
Vix didn't answer she just said, "It's been a long time"
"When?" Bru asked. Even in a fragment, she knew what he was asking.
"Last year I got one card. Before that the last I saw her was my 40th birthday 4 years ago."
"Jesus" Bru murmured. He stopped, grabbing her arm, "How could you not say something?"
"It's Caitlin, Bru. There is no way I could tell everyone without them hating her." Vix felt hot tears run down her cheeks.
"She's ruined so much, she doesn't deserve the defense." He murmured, trudging back up the hill to the house.
Author's Note: Please review :]