SPRINGHILL MANOR - LIBRARY
Preston, would you just tell me why your husband left me his
estate!" Sara said as she walked closer to the widow. "I just
don't understand what I could have done to make him want to put me in his
"You?" Mrs. Preston
laughed. "What makes you think that this has anything to do with you?
This has nothing to do with you!"
"I...I don't understand what you're
trying to say." Sara eyed her closely. It seemed like Mrs.
Preston was talking in circles. Nothing was making any sense.
"Your husband left me almost his entire estate! This has everything
to do with me!"
you see? This has nothing to do with you! You didn't inherit my
husband's estate because of you, you inherited it because of me!"
"I'm not following you."
Sara furrowed her brow and ran her fingers through her hair as she tried to
understand exactly what Mrs. Preston meant. "What does any of this
have to do with you? It's pretty obvious that he didn't put you in
his will because he didn't really like you very much."
"Ah, you noticed that, did you?"
Mrs. Preston let out a thin laugh. "Sara, that's exactly the
reason my husband named you in his will. He didn't do it for you, he did
it to hurt me! He knew that this would force me to face things that I've
been running from almost my entire life."
Mrs. Preston buried her face in her hands
as she took a deep breath, trying to will herself to continue. "You
see, Sara, I was not always the glamorous society lady that you see before you
today. In fact, I was born of very, very humble beginnings. We had
no money. The only thing that I knew that I did have was my looks."
"And this has what to do with
"If you'd shut up and let me finish,
you'll know!" Mrs. Preston snapped. "As I was saying, I was a
very striking beauty. Of course, I still am, but more so in my
youth. I used my looks and my charms to get what I wanted out of any man
that I wanted. But...I was too young and naive to know the price that
those kind of games carry."
Sara watched Mrs. Preston cautiously,
unsure what direction her story was taking. One thing she did know,
however, was that whatever secrets she was about to reveal, they were causing
Mrs. Preston great discomfort.
"I found myself with child," Mrs.
Preston continued as she turned to avoid Sara's eyes that were filled with
curiosity and questions. "I did the only thing I could do and I
married the father. But...but I just wasn't in love with him. I
wasn't meant to be a mother. I felt this life inside of me and it
just didn't feel right."
"I'm sure it was awkward at
first," Sara spoke up as she approached her.
"It didn't get better. Once the
baby was born, I...I didn't know what I was doing. Diapers, formula,
teething, colic...I just didn't know what I was doing! I didn't have the
first maternal bone in my body." She turned and fought back tears of
mourning for the person she should have been and the failure that she believed
she'd become. "Eventually, I grew to resent the baby. If it
weren't for the baby, I could have had anything that I'd wanted. I could
have been anybody!"
"But you were
somebody!" Sara insisted as she grabbed Mrs. Preston's arm in a
display of support and sympathy. "You were a mother!"
"No! No, I wasn't! I
wasn't a real mother! I just gave birth to this baby. I was never
a mother." Mrs. Preston suddenly pulled away and buried her face in
her hands. "I...I just couldn't do it. I started spending more
and more time away from home. I kept leaving the baby with my husband
while I went running around, trying to forget the horrible life I had.
Finally, I met a man who could give me the life that I'd always wanted. He
was an up-and-coming businessman. I just knew he was going to be so
"He...he didn't know about the
baby. He didn't want children. He just wanted me." Mrs.
Preston inhaled deeply as she thought about the horrible thing that she'd
precious baby," she sobbed as she leaned over the tiny bed and
wiped the lock of hair of the child's forehead. "I just...I
just can't do it anymore. I can't be the mother that you need me
to be. I hope you understand. I hope you know that I have to
find my own happiness. I've met a wonderful man and he wants to
make a wonderful life with me. But...but I can't take you with
me. You'll be so much happier here...without me. I...I
She wiped a tear from her eye as
she stood up straight and walked towards the door. Stopping
momentarily, she turned to look over her shoulder at the child who was
sound asleep, took a deep breath, and walked out of her life.
"I walked out on my child...my husband
and family," Mrs. Preston continued. "I walked out on them and
into a new life."
"With Mr. Preston?"
"No, not with Thornton. This was
long before I ever met Thornton Preston. I'm talking about my second
husband. We were married for several years until he died. He left me
quite wealthy, but...well...let's just say that our nation's economy wasn't good
to me. After his death I lost everything. I was penniless
"Eventually, I met Thornton. I
had gotten so accustomed to a life of privilege that I didn't know how to handle
poverty." Mrs. Preston's mind drifted back to the difficult times
that she'd had. "Thornton was already a successful author. He
was a king in social circles and could throw that grandest cocktail
parties. He was my ticket back to the world I belonged in. I managed
to find my way into his heart and we married. Of course, the happily ever
after didn't last long."
"I...I know that you two didn't have a
happy marriage." In spite of herself, Sara was begin to feel such
sympathy for the widow.
"Far from it. We actually grew
to despise each other. The only reason he never divorced me was that he
knew I'd take a large chunk of his wealth in the settlement. We just sorta
went our own ways. I knew he'd never give up a dime of his money to me
"But...what does this have to do with me?
Why did he leave everything to me?" Sara eyed her closely as she
tried to put together the pieces of her story.
"To spite me! Weren't you
listening! He'd do anything to keep me from my rightful share of his
money! It should have been mine! I was his wife. I earned it
by putting up with the old coot!" Mrs. Preston clinched her teeth
firmly, furious that she was being denied what should have been rightfully
hers. "He left you his estate to spite me! He did it to
get even with me. He knew I wouldn't rest until I found out why!"
"Then tell me!" Sara said
pleadingly. "Why me? Why did he leave everything to
"Haven't you figured it out
yet?" Mrs. Preston sighed as she slowly approached Sara.
"That child I abandoned. That child I couldn't take care of...was
you. You're my daughter!"