For Celeste Riley, life is what it is. Losing her mother before she started to school, realizing her father doesn’t even like her, and losing her wonderful older sister Coralee when she marries and moves away…she’s had to accept it all. High school, two years of junior college and then a good job keeping books for the local Woolworth, holiday and summer visits to her sister’s welcoming family…it’s enough. For awhile.
But sometimes she wonders, Will it be this way forever? Going to work, going home…going nowhere.
The Great Depression is coming to an end. Half the world is already at war, but the only war Celeste has to fight is coping with a loveless home and an alcoholic father. Still, she has her dreams…
The blue velvet curtain billowing in an unseen wind revealed the man she hardly dared think of, though no matter how many times she saw him, she could never describe him to anyone. But she knew him…loved him…longed for him to take her in his arms as the music swelled beyond the velvet portiere. His fingers on her cheek electrified her. Then he smoothed her hair away from her face, and let his hand skim her shoulder and drift down her arm until he enveloped her hand in his. Leaning toward her, he brushed her lips, then her throat. An unbearable ache possessed her body. Smiling in silent invitation, he stepped away from her, moving inexorably toward the shimmering midnight blue drape until it parted. Though he stood there waiting, his hand extended, beckoning her beyond the confines of her sheltered life, she couldn’t move, couldn’t even lift her arm. His smile faded, and the curtain billowed outward, this time with the roar of the ocean, and swept him away before falling limp and still. She thought she heard him calling her, but her lips wouldn’t part in response. When she woke, her pillow was wet with tears.
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