Home > It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night
Author: Melinda Curtis

You’re only as old as you feel.
That was the message projected on the overhead screen up front.
Dorothy Summer didn’t feel like a widow or a grandmother in need of slowing down. She had energy and a bucket list – among them, learning to fly a sea plane, acting in a movie, solving a case of espionage, jumping into arctic waters, and having great-grandchildren.
That last one was tame. But Dotty wanted to enjoy great-grandchildren before she lost her marbles. She had to face facts. Her mental marbles bag had sprung a leak. They’d put her on medicine, which helped, but sometimes her mind drifted. And…well… She wanted her great-grandchildren to know their Grandma Dotty as the pip she was, not the slightly lost woman she was bound to become someday.
Recently, some of her granddaughters had found love. Some, not all. And none of her grandsons seemed to have proposals on the horizon.
“Love can find you, no matter your age,” the man at the front of senior center auditorium was saying. “And I’m going to show you how to go looking. With this.” He held up a cell phone.
“Finally, we’re going to learn about swiping,” Beatrice muttered next to Dotty, adjusting the ends of her purple cashmere wrap around her shoulders. “Why do we have to sit through all this babble just to the good parts?”
“You want to find a man?” Dotty asked her elderly friend.
“Gads, no.” Beatrice shivered. “I want to be able to tell my grandchildren which way to swipe when I see someone they should go for. Savvy grannies are all the rage.”
“Everyone get out your cell phones,” the presenter instructed. “We’ll go through creating your dating profile step-by-step.”
“I don’t want a man. I just want my grandchildren to slow down and look for love.” But Dotty dutifully got out her cell phone, ready to follow along and understand the process, if only to be able to encourage her grown grandkids to put themselves out there.
Beatrice scoffed. “You know better, Dotty. The Summers are known for being workaholics. The only way your grandkids are going to start looking for love is if you put the perfect candidate right in front of them.”
“Oh.” Dotty perked up in her seat, struck by a moment of brilliance. “That’s it. I’ll create dating profiles for them.”
made a slow-down gesture with one hand. “Maybe start with one. You wouldn’t want to let things get out of hand.”
“No. No, of course not.” Dotty held up her phone and began following along with the presentation. “I’ll start with Whiskers.”
And work her way through her list of single grandchildren. One-by-one.
Chapter One
Chadwick Summer had been born with a double dose of patience and responsibility.
What he hadn’t been born with was sainthood.
He bit back his frustration and took a deep breath.
He’d been trying to prove to his father that he was good enough to take over the family diamond business since he was five. He was now thirty-five and some days it felt as if he’d never earn the title C.E.O. of Summer Diamonds.
Just last night, before Dad had left on his two-week cruise – the first vacation Chad’s father had taken in ten years – he’d told Chad, “If anything comes up, you call me.”
“I’ve got this,” Chad had reassured him, standing on the other side of his father’s cluttered, mahogany desk while trying to shoo him out the door. “Nothing’s going to come up. Enjoy your ten-year anniversary.”
“We’re launching our online virtual retail experience in a few weeks.” In July, long before the holiday season frenzy. Dad ran a hand over his short, salt-and-pepper hair. His diamond-crusted wedding band, the one that was big enough to pass for a Superbowl ring, glittered in the office’s fluorescents. “As soon as I step on that ship, everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Promise you’ll call me when it does.”
Chad promised no such thing, choosing instead to reiterate, “Nothing’s going to go wrong.”
“You’ll see,” Dad had said, tucking his laptop into his leather briefcase. “You’ll need me.”
Chad kept silent.
Since his mother died, back when he was eight, Chad had been the son his father relied on – first to keep his four younger brothers fed and moving, then to keep them out of trouble, and now to manage them and keep the family business running smoothly. And yet, Dad was quicker to criticize than to praise Chad’s contributions. Sometimes, Chad felt that he’d never be able to please him.
To Chad’s dismay, his father was something of a prophet.
The day Dad set sail from New York City for London via Greenland with Evelyn, his wife of ten years, things began to unravel at Summer Diamond headquarters in New York City. Chad’s twelve-hour work days quickly turned into twenty-hour ones. But he refused to call his father and he threatened every employee, including his four younger brothers, that they weren’t to call him either.
First, the beta version of their virtual store had been hacked by clowns. Literally. Every link led to a page featuring video performances by clowns instead of showing a picture of the shopper wearing the jewelry they were interested in buying.
All efforts to reclaim the site had been thwarted. The programming team was having a meltdown. At great expense, Chad had called in a specialist in web security. But they couldn’t start right away.
Three days after Dad left, a shipment of diamonds from Russia had been hijacked, real gems switched for fake ones. Chad suspected the culprit was the overseas seller because the Russian broker had insisted upon cash payment upfront and was refusing to reverse the wire transfer Summer Diamonds had made to him. Interpol was investigating.
And then, five days after Dad’s departure, the company was approached with an offer to buy a rare set of painite gemstones. The pinkish-hued gems were worth more per karat than diamonds. Chad’s brother Braydon, who was in charge of gem purchasing, wanted to make the deal. But they couldn’t buy them without the cash returned from the Russian deal or the real Russian diamonds to liquidate.
Chad was handling everything, putting out every fire. He hoped when his father returned from his vacation that he’d finally be convinced of Chad’s worth and retire, handing the reins of the company over to him.