Except from the book, Three Years of Her Life – C. E. Robinson
Elizabeth meets Erik’s parents for the first time at his grandmother’s 80th birthday celebration weekend. And she meets Erik’s old girlfriend, his mother’s chosen one for him.
Hilda makes her grand entrance to the party. As she walks down the stairs, guests clap and shout, “Happy Birthday.” Hilda mingles among the guests. Elizabeth was just about the ask Erik for a dance, when a gorgeous blonde walks inside. From Erik’s irritated expression, this could only be the old girlfriend, Maribel. She wears a breathtaking off-the-shoulder mauve dress, a gold necklace, and jewel-studded bracelets and rings. a white mink stole drapes on her arm. She looks like a young Marlene Dietrich, complete with red lipstick and a dipped side wave in her hair.
Maribel is even more sophisticated than Elizabeth imagines. Next to her, Elizabeth looks like a country bumpkin in her high-necked pink angora sweater and straight black skirt. Why oh why hadn’t she thought to bring a taller pair of heels? Maribel was surely going to tower over her. As if she needed any more advantages.
Maribel eyes Elizabeth and says, “Let me guess—nurse?” She makes no attempt to conceal contempt in her voice. “How nice of you to bring employees along.”
Elizabeth’s knees weaken and she’s glad for Erik’s arm around her for support. Maribel’s hostility is unconcealed and a bit terrifying.
Elizabeth is 20 in the photo, and Maribel is the older woman, around 29, the same age as Erik.