20 4 37

"What are we doing here, Mom?"

"I told you before, Luke. It's Mr. Trouble's will-reading. Mr. Brady contacted me and said to be here. It's all I know."

"You think the old frog left you something?"

"Shh, and stop talking about people like that. They are not frogs, toads or goats."

Luke rolled his eyes as I tried to listen to the reading again. It was sad to see how many people showed up to his will-reading, but there were almost none next to his deathbed.

"To Lily Morgenster," Mr. Brady, his lawyer, said. I looked up. "Like you have taken care of me during the last days of my life, your are the only one equipped to take care of my most precious rose, the Trouble Manor."

Gasps and grunts filled the air.

"She's not even family!" A woman with a slight British accent and around my age jumped up from her chair. The way she straightened her back and glared my way told me it was what she had come for today. The Trouble Manor. He left it to me. Why?

The way Jonathan had spoken about the mansion was the only thing that stuck in my head. He made it sound as if it was a human being.

Some people at the reading got up and stormed out of the room, while others still protested under their breath.

"He left us a freaking house," Luke whispered.

"One that everyone seems to want."

"Wow, Mom. Do you think—"

"Luke, shush. Now is not the time."

Mr. Brady finished with the reading and the woman that protested, named Amelia as he had just spoken it out loud, laughed as she heard what Jonathan had left her.

"He can rot in hell for all I care!" She jumped from her chair and stormed out of the reading. She carried the same last name as Jonathan, and I wondered if she was his daughter.

"Stay here," I said to Luke and pushed myself off the chair and rushed after Amelia.

Her strides were huge as she darted for her car in the parking lot.

"He left me that stinking memorabilia I loved to play with as a kid," she said to a guy with a scruffy beard, leaning against the car.

"Excuse me!" I ran to catch up.

She stopped in mid-step and turned around. Her eyes grew when they fell upon me. "You!"

"I didn't ask for the house or think he would leave me anything. I'm sorry. You can purchase the house from me. If I didn't need the money, I would've given it to you."

"I don't want to buy something that should rightfully be mine, lady."

"I'm sorry."

"Keep your apologies to yourself!"

"Excuse me!" She was pissing me off. "If that house was so important to you, why weren't you there beside his deathbed?"

She walked back with huge strides and I backed away as her hands curled into a fist. Her nostrils flared with every stride she took. She pointed a trembling finger at me. "Don't you dare judge me. My uncle was a beast of a man. He only cared about that stupid manor and nothing else. Keep the manor. I don't want it!" She spun around and walked back to the guy that got into the car during our little escapade.

I huffed. Some people were so ungrateful, but something about her words struck a cord as she slammed the car door closed. Jonathan wasn't the easiest patient we had at hospice, and he only wanted me to take care of him as I reminded him of his Ophelia. She was the love of his life, but died way too young. They didn't even get the time to say their I dos.

His story resonate with me as I had lost Frank way too early too and hadn't found another love that pulled the world from under my feet as my mother used to say.

I watched as the black SUV sped out of the parking lot and turned around to make my way back to the reading.

I couldn't help to feel as if I'd finally won. It was like God had answered my prayer. We could finally move out of Evelyn's house. She was Frank's sister and helped us the past few months because of mold in the home we rented and the landlord kept making empty promises to sort it out. Eventually, the health department came and literally chucked us out. I was sure that Evelyn would be happy with this news, too.

I walked into the reading that had just finished and every person who walked past me gave me a glare. I didn't care anymore and meant what I had said to Amelia. If the house were so important to all of them, then they should've been at his deathbed.

I walked up to Mr. Brady and reached out to shake his hand. Luke towered behind me, eager to listen to what Mr. Brady had to say.

"I didn't expect the house," I said, as I couldn't help the slight quirk in the corner of my lips.

"He was adamant about it, said you lightened up his last few days when I last spoke to him. What did he tell you about the manor?"

I shrugged. "Not that much, just the way he spoke about it made me think the house was a human being at the beginning. He kept calling it his precious rose."

Mr. Brady laughed. "That she is, and I'm afraid she isn't in the United States, either."

"What?" Luke and I said.

"She is in Wiltshire."

"The UK?" Luke asked.

My heart sped as images of not manors but mansions, the size of castles, jumped into my mind.

"You know of any other Wiltshire?" Mr. Brady asked.

"Jeez, Mom, what did you do for an old goat to leave you a mansion?"

The back of my hand connected hard with Luke's chest without even thinking about it. I hated it when he spoke about people as if they were animals.

Mr. Brady chuckled.

"Sorry," I said, closed my eyes for a mere second, trying to process. I really thought it was some sort of country home somewhere in North America, but a house in Wiltshire wasn't your normal size house either.

"She comes with conditions, I'm afraid. You can't sell it and you are the one that has to take care of it."

"How am I going to get to the UK with three children? I don't have the money—"

"Taken care of," Mr. Brady said with a palm facing me, and he pulled out a thick brown folder. "It's not just the mansion he had left you, it's the belongings in the mansion, the staff, and its money to run the establishment. If you don't apply to the conditions, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to give you the deed."

"So let me get this straight. I have to leave for the UK in order to get what Mr. Trouble has left me?"

He nodded. "As soon as you can. You will find all the documents you need for you and your family inside the envelope."

He handed me the envelope that weighed at least a few pounds as he opened his drawer to take out a contract.

He slid the contract in front of me and offered me a pen with the other. "All you have to do is sign."

1196 words

And that is the first chapter of this one. 800 words away from the first goal. What do you guys think? Is the mood right? Do you get a feeling not to sign this document? Let me know your thoughts and don't forget to vote if you like it. Thanks for reading. 

The Mansion -ONC 2022Where stories live. Discover now