Dorothea Benton Frank
New York Times Bestselling Author
Dorothea Benton Frank
"Dorothea Benton Frank tells it like it is. She brings out the complexity in every character." —New York Journal of Books
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The Hurricane Sisters (Continued)

I looked up to see Skipper standing there, smiling. He was so precious with his plaid sport coat and his little Buddha belly. He had a closely trimmed white beard and blue eyes that twinkled like the waters around the Lowcountry.

"Hey there, you handsome devil. Come sit by me right this minute!"

I'd been thinking about how annoying Liz could be, while I stared at a family of tourists trying to guess if they were American or not. I decided they must have been European by the way they held their silverware to cut their food, tines down, knife in the right hand. Probably French, since the father had a very Gallic profile. The mother had a Chanel bag but obviously underprioritized having squeaky clean hair, and their two children seemed particularly sulky. I should've been a sleuth.

"With pleasure!"

He sat down next to me and kissed my hand, something he did often and something that I loved. Our waiter, Tyler, appeared at our table to take Skipper's order.

"May I bring you a cocktail, sir?"

"In the most expeditious manner you have! I'll have a Maker's Mark Manhattan with one cherry. And what about you, Maisie? Another? That's a mighty small glass they gave you, isn't it?"

"Regrettably, it was a very short pour." I smiled.

"Well, let's see what we can do about that," Tyler said, as he picked up my empty glass (Exhibit A) and disappeared.

I smiled and saw my precious granddaughter, Ashley, coming toward us, sashaying across the floor in high heels that reminded me of Betty Boop, platforms with thick heels. She was wearing a sassy black dress that seemed dangerously short. I gave her a little wave.

"Happy birthday, Maisie!" She leaned down and planted a smooch on my cheek.

Oh Lord, don't lean over too far, I thought! I reached out with my menu to cover her backside from public view. Unaware of her southern exposure, she put a small gift bag filled with colorful tissue and curled ribbons in front of me.

"Thanks, angel! Now what's this? I told you, no presents!"

"It's just a little something I made for you," she said.

"Well then, that's different!"

I watched her take a seat, carefully pulling her skirt beneath her. I remembered how my daughter Liz wore miniskirts when she was young and they made me nervous back then too. But Liz was a professional model with a wild fashion sense, and she could always get away with murder. Although Ashley was tall, thin, and pretty enough to be a model, she was a serious artist and more modest in every sense of the word. Wasn't she? Maybe I just hated the idea of Ashley growing up. I had to remind myself that she was twenty-three after all and perfectly capable of deciding how to dress herself. She loved retro anything that looked like something Jackie O might have worn. There was no law against a beautiful young woman showing some leg, was there? And let's be honest, Charleston, which at one point in her history had more whorehouses than churches, was not some ultraconservative Middle Eastern country where they shroud their women from head to toe. It was high time Ashley started thinking about snagging a husband. Great legs were an asset. She gets her legs from my side of the family. Actually, in my day I could've been a kicker like one of the June Taylor Dancers. I'm not kidding. I still wore high heels. Well, not so high. But Helen Gurley Brown wore heels until she drew her last breath. And fishnet stockings. Sorry, Helen, I can't see fishnets covering my legs and the barnacles of age.

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