Luke shifted from foot to the other. His cheeks flushed red. “Thanks for saying so. I really enjoy it, especially singing for the Lord, but Daddy says that there’s no future in it.” He shrugged. “He says one day I’ll be running Duvall Investments with Case.”
Morgan felt confused by Luke’s comment. She wrinkled her brow. “But if you like singing more than business, can’t you just choose that?”
Luke shook his head mournfully. “I don’t think so. Because certain things are expected of me,” he mumbled. “I’m a Duvall. That means I can’t be anything I want to be. That’s why you’re super lucky, Morgan. All of your dreams can come true.”
Just then Case came crashing through the back door. “Come on, Luke. We’re going to miss our ride back to town.”
“Wait a second,” Morgan instructed as she quickly placed a bunch of cupcakes in a box then placed the lid down tightly on it. Feeling consumed with a sudden case of shyness, Morgan tentatively held the box out to Luke. “Make sure you give some to Callie.”
“I will. Thanks, Morgan,” Luke said as he took the box and waved goodbye with his other hand.
As he sailed out the back door on Case’s heels, Morgan let out a gigantic sigh. She felt sorry for Luke. He already knew at eleven years old he couldn’t be what he wanted to be.
Morgan wrapped her arms around her middle as the kitchen quieted in Luke’s wake. A feeling of emptiness surged up within her. Luke’s presence shined so brightly. Without him, everything seemed a little duller.
She didn’t have all the answers, but she knew one thing for certain. No one or nothing was going to stop her from reaching out for the brass ring. She tilted her chin up, feeling defiant. Morgan pitied the person who even tried to stop her.
“I always wanted to leave a solid legacy behind. Through the six of you, Savannah House will carry on. I know you’ll make me proud. So very proud.”
Miss Hattie Alexander
Morgan Lucas was all nerves. In a few minutes, Savannah House would be opening its doors for business. They had decorated it with Christmas in mind, since they were now in late November, with the holidays rapidly approaching. A fully trimmed Christmas tree sat in the corner of the large drawing room, with a few strategically placed presents sitting underneath. Seashells painted in red and green were hanging from the fireplace. Accents of gold and silver were in abundance. At night, the guests would see Savannah House lit up with white icicle lights and a festive sleigh on the lawn.
She crossed her hands in prayer-like fashion. They had a full house. Every single room was booked. And she, Morgan Lucas, was going to be serving as Head Chef for Savannah House. God had blessed them in abundance. And Miss Hattie Alexander had made all of it happen for her six girls.
Morgan let out a deeply held breath. The pressure was on. Even though this was the very thing she’d wanted ever since she was a small girl, it was still something that filled her with a great deal of nervousness.
Today was the first day of the rest of their lives! Morgan stood in the grand foyer of Savannah House, sandwiched between her best friends in the world. Olivia. Callie. Hope. Charlotte. And Fancy. Excitement pulsed in the air. Savannah House looked impeccable. Floral bouquets had been strategically placed all over the resort, lending the inn a romantic vibe. Potpourri had been scattered in hidden places. The smell was heavenly—sweet, but not overly so. The hardwood floors glistened like sunshine on burnished wood. No important detail had been overlooked.
This afternoon the guests would be treated to a welcome reception in the parlor, complete with champagne, hors’ d’oeuvres and goodie bags. This was it! She was bursting with pride. After all the hard work and stress, the moment had arrived. Savannah House was open for business. It was official.
“I can’t believe it,” Morgan said in a gushing tone. “Somebody pinch me. I must be dreaming.”
Callie reached out and obliged her by pinching her on the arm. A huge grin was plastered on her beautiful face as she did it.
“Ouch!” Morgan cried out. “I wasn’t serious,” she said with a chuckle as she rubbed her skin.
“I just didn’t want you to think this was all a dream,” Callie said, squeezing Morgan’s hand. “You need to savor every moment and know it’s real.”
“Oh, it is a dream,” Morgan said, “one that came true for all of us.” Callie pulled Morgan to her side and hugged her. Emotions were running high amongst all of the girls. Blood, sweat and tears had been shed for months now to prepare for this epic day. Morga
n knew instinctively that none of them would have dry eyes for long. Tears would be flowing in abundance.
“Our first guests,” Olivia announced as she gleefully clapped her hands. “Oh Miss Hattie would be so proud of us.”
“I’m guessing she’s celebrating up in heaven,” Morgan said, smiling at the image in her mind of Miss Hattie sipping tea and cheering them on.
“I can just see her now, doing a celebratory jig,” Hope said, brushing tears from her cheeks.
In the distance they could see the first car coming to a halt in the driveway outside. A man got out on the driver’s side, then went around to the passenger side and held the door for a tall, stately woman with long, wavy hair.
“It’s happening,” Charlotte said in an excited voice. “It’s really happening!”
“I’d better get back in the kitchen so I can set up the appetizers,” Morgan said, turning toward the main hall.
“No!” The girls protested in unison. Olivia reached out and grabbed her by the arm, pulling her back next to the them.