“Life on the West Coast gets even hotter than the weather for Erika Reine Des Sorts.
Once a well-connected East Coast socialite, Erika is sent with her mother to finish her final year of school on the outskirts of Santa Barbara.
Leaving her “old money” lifestyle behind and starting over in the town where her mother grew up, Erika is rebuffed by everyone she meets until she finds acceptance with an elite group with a special secret – and a gorgeous guy who will change her life forever.”
Not on Wattpad? Chapter I Transcript:
How do you avoid sweating in a place that’s hotter than hell?
My wardrobe back home was full of pretty suits, tailored jackets, luxurious blouses, diamonds and pearls. I’ve traded all of it for denim skirts, flip flops and tank tops.
My armpits haven’t seen this much action since my parents used to Cabos San Lucas with my cousins for spring break. I’ve retired my fancy pearl necklace and earrings for a simple gold chain and bar studs. I’ve been keeping my thick raven locks wrapped up in a bun rather than allowing them to cascade around my shoulders and down my back as I normally would. I’ve swapped my Chanel Rouge lipstick for tinted chapstick with SPF and my aqua blue eyes have not been touched by a kohl pencil since the day that the dry summer heat literally melted it off of my eyelids.
Lord knows that in the weeks I’ve been in Santa Barbara, it’s become pretty clear that less is more around here.
Despite my pedigree, back home I was always very grounded. My family lived on a sprawling lot in the Berkshires in Massachusetts – my father’s family estate. My grandmother lived with us and insisted that I spend little to no time watching television or movies (when I was allowed, I would always watch the Harry Potter). I spent my days reading in her giant library. Gran was a collector of occult and historical books so my favourite reads were always old, musty and dark in nature.
Gran and I were close, but even she pushed for me to come here. I left wondering why she wanted to get rid of me – because she had seemed so eager for me to leave. Gran used to say I was her favourite Reine Des Sorts and when my papa was still alive he called me “allsorts” after our favourite liquorice candy.
Since moving to Santa Barbara I’ve been trying to make the best of this strange new town I’ve landed in. The heat is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the growing list of things I don’t like about my new zip code.
“Erika, are you going to the library? Don’t forget that I need the car back to see the realtor.” my mother calls up from the laundry room on the main floor of her old family home. Mom had started meeting with “the realtor” often, part of the reason we moved here was to get this old house ready for sale.
“Yes Mom, I’m coming.”
Dashing down the stairs from my room on the third floor I find my mother at the foot of them. As always, I am impressed with her ability to always look cool even in this heat.
“How do you do it?”
“Do what?” she asks with her hands on her hips, not a hair out of place or a single bead of sweat on her brow.
“How do you manage to look so together while I look like a Pizza Pocket in a microwave heading into its final minute of cook time.”
My mother smiles wryly, “Magic Erika, it’s magic.”.
“Right. Well, I’m off to the library.” I peck her on the cheek as I reach around her to grab my bag from a hook on the wall behind her.
“Erika I’m glad you’re going out today, there’s a lot for you to see. I know you’ll at least love the library.”
“Mom, I told you I would keep trying to like it here and I meant it. You don’t have to keep trying to get me to buy in. I’m either going to find something I like or I’m not – you can’t force it.”
She sighs and relaxes her shoulders.
“I know people have been creeping you out here but they’re only staring because you’re my daughter and they’re interested in you – they’re just curious.”
“Most of them look ready to tie me to a stake and light a match.”
Since the day I arrived people have been acting weird. When we moved in we had to spend weeks cleaning up the house because no one had lived here in years. We couldn’t get anyone to come and help, no one wanted the job so we had to do everything ourselves. We weren’t able to cook until the new appliances had been delivered. While we waited we dined out often and everyone would stare at us, some with looks of horror while others just seemed hostile.
My mom decided to come here to prepare the house for sale, list it and use the money to start a charity in her mother’s name. She had lost both of her parents before I was born and I was never allowed to ask what happened. One time she drank too much wine and let is slip that they were betrayed and it led to their deaths. Maybe the people here knew something about what happened to them that I didn’t.
“Don’t be dramatic. The people here are good people.” she says as I open the front door and my cat dashes out from the shadows of the front hallway.
“I’m trying to believe that but the ‘people’ are not making it easy. Anyway, I’d better go, I’ll see you later mom.”
Case in point.
As soon as I close the door, a group of women scurry across the street to get away from me, casting nervous glances behind them as they rush off. My cat hisses at them from the yard.
“Good job Whizbee.” I scratch him behind the ears before I hop into the car and head downtown.
* * * * *
The library is almost empty.
I can’t believe the size of it for such a small place. I mean, we live in an isolated community on the outskirts of town. I wasn’t expecting the library to impress me this much. The architect clearly was an artist. The building was full of columns, pillars and finishing touches that include gargoyles and ornate windows.
I find some interesting books on familiar subjects that I recognize from Gran’s library, manifesting, spirit walking, and a book on astral projection that I felt compelled to add to my growing stack.
The short librarian wears a tight floral print dress with giant breasts spilling out of it. Her ginger hair is piled into a shiny bun on the top of her head. She peers out at me from behind the lenses of her tortoise shell glasses and looks me up and down.
“You’re new here. You’ll need a library card, fill this out.”she passes me a clipboard with a short form on it, which I fill out and hand back to her.
“Identification?” she asks, barely looking up from the form, her glasses sliding down her nose.
“Here’s my ID, do you need anything else?” she stares at my drivers license and looks up at me, once before hastily handing it back to me. She begins typing into the computer in front of her, I can tell something has changed in her demeanor.
“You’ve got some great books here.” I try but it’s too late for small talk, the librarian gets up and hands me my library card and books. Walking around her desk she motions towards the door and escorts me to it.
“No need to return those any time soon Miss Reine Des Sorts,” followed up once I’m out the door by, “don’t rush back.” The door clicks behind her as she locks it and closes the blinds. Was I just kicked out of a library for being polite – what the hell is wrong with this town?
Across the street there is a latte shop called “Whole Latte Love”. I figure I deserve a latte, and at this point I don’t think the people here can shock me or get any ruder, so what the heck.