You had to know today’s little snippet was going to be from DEARLY BELOVED. After all, it drops tomorrow!!! Yippie.
This is the explanation of the strange nick-names Nanny Fee has for her granddaughters. It’s a scene that gives the reader some insight into Colleen’s feelings of inadequacy.
Can I ask you something? Something personal?” Slade said.
“Why does your grandmother call you Number Two?”
Heat flew up my cheeks, and I bit down on the inside of my lip.
“I heard her say it to you on the phone when we were out at the lake, and I even remember the first time we met, she called while we were in the parking lot of your office.”
When I didn’t say anything, he turned in his seat so he was facing me. “Colleen?”
“It’s embarrassing,” I said. “And stupid.”
“Most nicknames are.” He had a smile in his voice and when I glanced over at him the kindness in his expression had me wanting to tell him. Harry had only asked me once, and when I didn’t tell him the reason, he’d never asked again.
I dragged in a deep breath and checked both ways before moving through the roundabout.
“My mother and grandmother never got along well. Still don’t. I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve always thought it was because they’re like two alpha dogs and neither ever wanted to give up control of the pack to the other. Anyway. You might have noticed my sisters and I all have pretty similar sounding names.”
“Yes, I have. Cathleen, Colleen, and Maureen. And your sister who died was Eileen, right?”
“That’s one word for it. Nanny Fee would give you a different one.”
“She’s not a fan of your names?”
“I don’t think she would have been a fan of any names my mom picked out, but the alliterative ones she definitely hated. She called Cathleen Number One because she’s the oldest. Eileen and Maureen she always referred to as Three and Four.” I glanced over at him again in time to see the grin he was trying to hide. “I came along second in line, so…”
“Did you get teased a lot in school?”
“Mercilessly. Nanny forgot how cruel kids could be, which is hysterical since she taught communion prep class for years. And she taught in our church school, so whenever she would see one of us in the hallways, she called us by the number name. When kids, especially the boys in my class, heard her say it, well, let’s say things would have been easier for me if I’d been homeschooled.”
“Kids are brutal. At any age.”
“Truth.” I pulled into the inn driveway. “Even though we’re adults, she still refers to us as numbers. When my parents moved away after my sister died I’d hoped she’d stop, since I figured she’d only done it all those years to annoy my mother. But she didn’t, so that tells me it’s ingrained and not going to change. To keep the peace, the three of us ignore it for the most part. Calling Cathy and Mo One and Four isn’t so bad. I still get a little resentful every time she Number Twos me, though.”
I stopped, abruptly. I had just divulged more to this man about this subject than I had to Harry in our ten years together.
“Why did you parents move after your sister died?” Slade asked, oblivious to my thoughts.
I parked the car but left it running. “They couldn’t emotionally handle living in the place one of their daughters had died. They kind of, well, ran away, leaving the house and Nanny to us to look after and care for.”
His gaze studied me for a moment.
“I can’t decide if you’re mad at them for leaving or not.”
“I’m not mad. I was a little pissed off in the beginning, especially since they had three living daughters who needed them for emotional support and balance. But with distance, I’ve learned to understand their reasons. There are times, though, like today, I wished they’d taken Nanny with them. Life would have been a little less harried if they had.”
Slade smiled. “But not as exciting, I’ll bet.”
“Excitement is overrated. Look, I don’t want to seem rude, but I really need to get back.”
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The books drops tomorrow, peeps and can I just say – again!- how excited I am to introduce you the the O’Dowd family! I love them all and hope you do, too.
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