Fear & Future Happiness

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“Antonia pushed you?”

“Yes.”

“I believe that she’s capable of a lot of things but attempted murder?”

“She pushed me down the stairs, Laird. Maybe she didn’t intend to kill me but my injuries could have been fatal.”

“What exactly happened?”

“When she came here, she accused me of ruining her chances with you because of the horrible things I have been telling you about her. I told her that you didn’t love her. She told me that I would be sorry. I can still remember the look on her face and her eyes…” Aunt Margery shivered. “I saw her leave and I went upstairs. I was on my way down when I felt as if someone was there. I was about to turn around when I was pushed. The next thing I knew I was lying in a hospital bed.”

“It’s all my fault.”

“Why is it your fault?”

“I shouldn’t have mentioned my conversation with you, you know, the one about that stupid dream she had about me or you telling me that she had given Emily and Martina the evil eye.”

“It wasn’t your fault, Laird. No one is to blame for the way she is. For years, I’ve tried to get along with her but, my efforts were all in vain. She never warmed up to me.”

“She’s convinced that you hate her and that it’s because of Dad.”

“What did she say about your father?”

“She said that you’re in love with him and want to take Mother’s place. I told her that she was out of her mind and that even if what she said were true, there’s nothing wrong with two people finding happiness with each other. I told her to stay out of your business.”

“It’s true, Laird. I love your father. I always have but I kept my feelings in check because of your mother.”

“I understand but I for one would like to see Dad move on and find happiness with someone else. And if that someone is you, then I’m delighted. I’m sure Mother wouldn’t mind. You and she were more than sisters. You were like best friends.”

“Yes, she and I were very close. So, you really wouldn’t mind if your father and I…?”

“No, I wouldn’t mind at all. You have my blessing.”

Aunt Margery smiled. “I’m relieved to hear that.”

“So, have you and Dad discussed the possibility of a future together?”

“We have broached the subject but we weren’t sure if we should proceed because of you and Antonia.”

“Don’t worry about Antonia. Leave her to me.”

“I know she resents me. She always has because of my closeness to your parents and you. She will hate me even more when she finds out that your father has feelings for me. She has already accused me of trying to replace your mother.”

“You and I both know that’s ridiculous. No one could ever replace Mother.”

“No. She will always have a special place in his heart.”

“Aunt Margery, all I want is for you and Dad to be happy and if you can find that happiness with each other, then, I’m happy.”

“Thank you, Laird.”

“You said that you didn’t want Antonia here. Would you like me to call Dad and tell him that you’re not up for any visitors?”

“I should have asked you to call earlier. They’re probably on their way now.”

“Let me try the house.” He dialed the number. “Hello, Archibald. Is Dad there? He isn’t. Did you mention where he was going? All right. Thanks, Archibald. Goodbye.” He turned to face Aunt Margery. “Archibald said that he left about twenty minutes ago to come here.”

“They should be here anytime soon.”

He went over to her and hugged her. “Would you like me to be here when they come?” he asked when he drew back to look down at her.

“I’d be grateful if you would stay but what about Martina?”

“Emma’s picking her up from her doctor’s appointment and taking her to her house to spend the afternoon.”

“Then, by all means, please stay. I’ll feel better with you here.”

“It’s a pity. You should feel safe in your own home.”

“Yes, I should but it will be a long time before I feel safe again. If she comes here alone, I will not let her in.”

“If she shows up uninvited, call me.”

“I will, Laird.”

The doorbell rang just then and she immediately stiffened. “You go and have a seat on the sofa while I’ll answer the door,” he suggested.

She nodded. “All right. Thanks, Dear.” She went over to the sofa and sank heavily on to it, her heart pounding. She had never been afraid of anyone in her life but she was afraid of Antonia and what she was capable of doing to her or to anyone else who stood between Laird and her.

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