She and Christophe celebrated Camille's high school graduation, and gave her a party just before school ended, on her eighteenth birthday. All was right in their world again. The party was for young people Camille's age, mostly her classmates, and a group of parents had come to enjoy the party with Joy and Christophe. The Marshalls were there and they said Phillip was traveling constantly now, working on promoting their wines and doing well. He had spent six months in Chile, working at a friend's winery, and he had been in Cape Town the year before, since both were grape-growing regions often compared to the Napa Valley. He was learning the business all around the world.
They were relieved to see Joy looking so well, and after dinner, Sam's wife, Barbara, confided to Joy in a whisper that she had made the same discovery as Joy had a year before, and was having surgery in San Francisco the following week, in her case a double mastectomy. She was ten years older than Joy, and very worried about what lay ahead. The two women talked about it for a long time, and Joy insisted that she would be all right. Barbara looked as though she wanted to believe her but didn't quite. She was very much afraid and so was Sam. At first, they had decided not to tell Phillip, they didn't want to worry him, and had put it off as long as they could. But with Barbara's surgery imminent, they were going to share the bad news with him when he got back from his latest trip.
Joy had been very open with her daughter, and Camille had seen how sick her mother was during chemo. Joy had been concerned about her family history, since her mother had died of breast cancer at forty, but Barbara had no family history of it at all. Lightning had struck her randomly out of the blue, and no matter how successful her husband was, or how much money they had for treatment, or how much they loved each other, Barbara was very sick. She was a beautiful woman and admitted to Joy that she was worried about being disfigured, and the pain of reconstructive surgery. Their marriage was as solid as Joy and Christophe's, and this was the greatest challenge they had ever faced, just as it was for the Lammenaises. And they knew that other marriages in the Napa Valley were not all as wholesome as theirs. There was always a lot of gossip about the local community and who was sleeping with whom. It was a small, very competitive area with a lot of social ambition, and many extramarital affairs among the people they knew.
Joy and Christophe had never been part of any of the racier local groups, and didn't want to be. Nor had Sam and Barbara. They were down-to-earth people, in spite of Sam's massive success. Barbara had been a flight attendant before they married. And now he had the biggest, most profitable winery in the Valley, which was a lure to the social climbers and nouveaux riches. There was a lot of money invested in the Napa Valley, and many vintners making big fortunes, like Sam and Christophe, and several others. The Marshalls' only concession to their position and the empire Sam had founded was the Harvest Ball they gave every year in September. More as a joke, after a trip to Venice they'd taken, Barbara did it as a masked ball one year, in elaborate costumes, and everyone they'd invited liked it so much that the Marshalls continued doing it as a masked ball and established an annual tradition. Joy and Christophe had gone every year despite Christophe's protests about how ridiculous he felt in a Louis XV costume with satin knee breeches, a wig, and a mask.
"If I have to do it, so can you," Sam had told him repeatedly. "Barbara would kill me if I didn't," he said ruefully. He indulged her willingly to make her happy, and she looked beautiful in whatever costume she wore each year. "We should have given the party as a barbecue the first year, then we wouldn't have to dress up like fools every time now," Sam grumbled good-naturedly, but it was always a spectacular evening with fabulous buffets, dancing to an orchestra they brought in from San Francisco, and fireworks over their endless vineyards. Unlike Joy and Christophe's elegant little château, their house was vast and high-tech modern, had been built by a famous Mexican architect, and housed their world famous collection of contemporary and modern art. They had seven Picassos they lent frequently to museums, numerous Chagalls, and work by Jackson Pollock, which thrilled Joy to see, given her profound love for fine art.
Camille spent the summer after her high school graduation working in the winery office with her mother, as she had every summer since she turned fifteen. It was her fourth year, and her parents were excited about her going to Stanford, and so was she. She planned to go to business school to get an MBA after she worked for her parents for a few years, to take a break before grad school. She had no intention of ever working anywhere else, although her father said that a year with his family in Bordeaux would do her good, and help her French, which was useful in their business, but she never strayed far from them, and didn't intend to. She was happiest at Château Joy, with her parents, working and living with them.
Joy visited Barbara Marshall regularly over the summer. Once she started chemo, she was desperately sick, and her husband and son looked terrified whenever Joy or Christophe saw them. She was sicker than even Joy had been. And once Camille started Stanford, she came home on weekends more often than her mother thought she should. She told Christophe that Camille was too attached to them, and her life more insular than was good for her at her age. Joy thought she should venture into the world, at least for a while.
"She wants to be here," he said, smiling at his wife, and then kissed her. "She's our only child, don't chase her away." He loved it when Camille was with them, and the fact that she wanted to be there. They had often talked about having another child when Camille was younger, but their life had seemed so perfect as it was, and after Joy's cancer was cured, it was too late.