Chapter 1

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June 2010, Present 

Gabby was home for the weekend from college to attend her friend, Cade's wedding.  Cade had actually been more of her older sister Sam's friend. But, the sisters were close and Gabby had always looked up to Cade as if he were an older brother.  Cade and Sam had always been best friends.  Cade had proposed to his high school sweetheart, Kristin, just a year before.  The wedding was the prime event in Charleston that weekend.  Cade's family had old wealth and they had secured Charleston's First Baptist Church for the ceremony and arranged for a slew of horse drawn carriages to transport their guests from the church to the waterfront Harbor and Battery, which would be closed to the public for the reception. Hundreds were expected to attend.  Gabby had been looking forward to the wedding, but more than the wedding getting to spend some time with Sam.  Sam had moved back to Charleston in May because she was set to start medical school at the Medical College of South Carolina in August.  Gabby had treasured the previous year when both she and her sister had both been college students in Columbia, South Carolina.  Even though Gabby was at Columbia College, an all-girls liberal arts college, and Sam was at the University of South Carolina, the girls had shared a downtown apartment.  Sam had helped Gabby get through a rough year and frankly, Gabby didn't know what she would have done if she had not been close to Sam during those hard times. 

“Gabby are you here?” Sam yelled as she opened the door to their small beach cottage.

Gabby ran from her room to the door in excitement. “Sam! It's so good to see you.  I have missed you so much.  How have things been around here?”

“Things are good.  Everything is coming along.  I'm glad you decided to stay here rather than at the hotel for out of town guests.  You know this is your home, too.  You're not really an out of town guest.  It was nice of Cade to offer it for you, though.”

“So, do you want to cook here or go out to eat?  I'm starving?” Gabby sat on the old brown suede loveseat in the small cozy living room tucking one foot under her and twirling her curls through her fingers.  This was one of the rooms Sam had yet to renovate and its furnishings were familiar and comforting to Gabby.

Sam came and sat down next to her positioning her back up against the arm rest so she could face Gabby and tucked her legs in, “I thought we could watch one of our chick flick movies and order in Chinese food.  What do you think?  I don't really feel like going out tonight. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.  So good to be back together here, Gabs.” 

“Yep, sounds good to me.  I'll go grab the phone, you pick the movie.”  Gabby hopped up and grabbed her cell phone and the menu.  She confirmed with Sam, “Your usual, right?” as she dialed the number on the menu.

“Yep, you know me well.  I do not like change.” Sam giggled.

The girls watched their favorite movie, the movie their mother had loved, Steel Magnolia's, while eating sesame chicken, fried rice, egg rolls and crab ragoon.  They both fell asleep before the movie had ended, Sam on the matching love seat and Gabby on the old brown coach with empty Chinese food boxes holding chop sticks and two empty wine glasses that had held their favorite cheap red wine on the coffee table. 

The next morning, Sam rolled off the couch and ran her fingers through her short pixie hair and rubbed her big brown eyes.  She yawned as she stretched and stumbled into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee, showering while she waited for the coffee to brew.  She grabbed a light pink linen sundress paired with a pair of white strappy wedge flip flop heels and a mint green cardigan.  She quickly put on a little mascara, lip gloss, and brushed her hair into place with a touch of styling gel.  Sam grabbed a travel mug for her coffee and then proceeded to jot Gabby a note so she would not be alarmed when she woke to find her gone.

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