Danielle Steel

Summer’s End

© 1979

The summer came

like a whisper


in her hair,

wishing he would


and dream

and stop

the carousel

until he heard

her truth

until he brought

her youth



to her eyes,

she wanted him

to realize

she loved him



too late…

but time

would never


would never be…

and she was free

for sand castles

and dreams,

the summer schemes

so sweet

so new,

so old…

the story told,

the heavens


the love lives on


summer’s end.



Deanna Duras opened one eye to look at the clock as the first light stole in beneath the shades. It was 6:45. If she got up now, she would still have almost an hour to herself, perhaps more. Quiet moments in which Pilar could not attack, or harass; when there would be no phone calls for Marc-Edouard from Brussels or London or Rome. Moments in which she could breathe and think and be alone. She slipped out quietly from beneath the sheets, glancing at Marc-Edouard, still asleep on the far side of the bed. The very far side. For years now, their bed could have slept three or four, the way she and Marc kept to their sides. It wasn’t that they never joined in the middle anymore, they still did… sometimes. When he was in town, when he wasn’t tired, or didn’t come home so very, very late. They still did-once in a while.

Silently she reached into the closet for the long, ivory, silk robe. She looked young and delicate in the early morning light, her dark hair falling softly over her shoulders like a sable shawl. She stooped for a moment looking for her slippers. Gone. Pilar must have them again. Nothing was sacred, not even slippers, least of all Deanna. She smiled to herself as she padded barefoot and silent across the thick carpeting and stole another glance at Marc, still asleep, so peaceful there. When he slept, he still looked terribly young, almost like the man she had met nineteen years before. She watched him as she stood in the doorway, wanting him to stir, to wake, to hold his arms out to her sleepily with a smile, whispering the words of so long ago, “Reviens, ma cherie. Come back to bed, ma Diane. La belle Diane.”

She hadn’t been that to him in a thousand years or more. She was simply Deanna to him now, as to everyone else: “Deanna, can you come to dinner on Tuesday? Deanna, did you know that the garage door isn’t properly closed? Deanna, the cashmere jacket I just bought in London got badly mauled at the cleaner. Deanna, I’m leaving for Lisbon tonight (Or Paris. Or Rome).” She sometimes wondered if he even remembered the days of Diane, the days of late rising and laughter and coffee in her garret, or on her roof as they soaked up the sun in the months before they were married. They had been months of golden dreams, golden hours-the stolen weekends in Acapulco, the four days in Madrid when they had pretended that she was his secretary. Her mind drifted back often to those long-ago times. Early mornings had a way of reminding her of the past.

“Diane, mon amour, are you coming back to bed?” Her eyes shone at the remembered words. She had been just eighteen and always anxious to come back to bed. She had been shy but so in love with him. Every hour, every moment had been filled with what she felt. Her paintings had shown it too, they glowed with the luster of her love. She remembered his eyes, as he sat in the studio, watching her, a pile of his own work on his knees, making notes, frowning now and then as he read, then smiling in his irresistible way when he looked up. “Alors, Madame Picasso, ready to stop for lunch?”

“In a minute, I’m almost through.”

“May I have a look?” He would make as though to peek around the easel, waiting for her to jump up and protest, as she always did, until she saw the teasing in his eyes.

“Stop that! You know you can’t see it till I’m through.”

“Why not? Are you painting a shocking nude?” Laughter lighting those dazzling blue eyes.

“Perhaps I am, monsieur. Would that upset you very much?”

“Absolutely. You’re much too young to paint shocking nudes.”

“Am I?” Her big green eyes would open wide, sometimes taken in by the seeming seriousness of his words. He had replaced her father in so many ways. Marc had become the voice of authority, the strength on which she relied. She had been so overwhelmed when her father had died. It had been a godsend when suddenly Marc-Edouard Duras had appeared. She had lived with a series of aunts and uncles after her father’s death, none of whom had welcomed Deanna’s presence in their midst. And then finally, at the age of eighteen, after a year of vagabonding among her mother’s relatives, she had gone off on her own, working in a boutique in the daytime, going to art school at night. It was the art classes that kept her spirit alive. She lived only for that. She had been seventeen

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