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Chapter Three

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Annabelle stumbled into her bedchamber, her hand pressed to her chest as she struggled to keep her breathing regulated. Her eyes stung with unshed tears for she fought the urge to crumble and give in to the crippling pain she felt.

A part of her wanted to scream, to open her mouth and let out her frustration -how could Elijah do this?! Why would Elijah do this?! Why would he die, leaving her everything and choosing to not just fuel the rumors of their affair together, but to disinherit his son?! She searched her memories for answers, something -anything- to clarify Elijah's decision. Did he do it because he hated Henry? She never understood their relationship or the reason for the feud that existed between them. Did he do it because he was secretly in love with her? She shook her head. Elijah had many opportunities to take advantage of her but he didn't.

A frustrated groan escaped her lips as she flung herself on the bed. Surely Henry would despise her for something she knew nothing about! No, she shook her head; she needed to sign everything back to Henry! He deserved it. She would pay the lawyer a visit tomorrow, and prepare the documents. She would also insist on ridding herself of the Finley estate as well, for she wanted nothing to do with it especially-

"Annabelle!" Maggie's squealing voice reached her. "Good lord, Annabelle, I heard what happened!" Annabelle turned to the side to find Maggie jumping in excitement.

She groaned, throwing a pillow over her head.

"Oh, my lord was a smart man! He most certainly knew how horrendous his son is, and he wasn't about to hand anything to-"

"Maggie, please!"

"And you're not happy?" Maggie sounded disappointed. The pillow was lifted from Annabelle's face and she found Maggie staring down at her with a raised brow.

"I want nothing to do with Lord Finley's fortune..."

Maggie rolled her eyes. "I know. Yet, he has willed it to you."

"And I shall be willing it back to Lord Henry."

"What?!" Maggie's lips fell open. "You shall do no such thing!"

"Maggie, it's rightfully his. I have done nothing to earn, deserve, or even want this. Lord Finley has been kind to me, and I refuse to continue to take advantage of him."

"Annabelle," Maggie took hold of both her hands, and pulled her to a sitting position. She sat beside her, and leaned forward. "Lord Finley might have been old, but he wasn't a fool. He was aware of Lord Henry, yet, he chose to leave everything to you. Perhaps there is a reason?"

"Perhaps, yet, I cannot think of any!"

Maggie settled beside Annabelle and reached for her hands. A smile creased Maggie's lips, lighting up the seventeen year old's bright eyes. "Then you shall wait until you find a reason."


Maggie shot her chin forward in a show of defiance. "You will not disrespect a dead man's last wishes by simply choosing to trivialize it!"

"Lord Finley..."

"...loved you, Annabelle. Most certainly not in the way the perverted world thinks, but in the way a father would. And, better than that, he trusted you. Just wait for a few more weeks before you make a decision."

Annabelle pondered on Maggie's words, and decided she was right; Elijah trusted her. For whatever reason, he trusted her, and she needed to trust his decision as well.

"I'll wait..." She sighed. "...a few more weeks to find a reason."


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