Life was good for Emberlyn Carrington. She was in a world she had never dreamed possible. She was the queen of the castle and it didn’t take long for her to learn the part. She became an elegant and polished lady, quickly learning the intricacies of fine dining, entertaining and conversation. Extravagance was now her friend and there was no limit.
Mr. Carrington had kept his word. She wanted for absolutely nothing and her days were spent shopping for clothes or anything her heart desired but the evenings belonged to him.
Every night, she danced for him as promised and he would still playfully slip hundred-dollar bills under her garter. There was now enough money to buy glamorous outfits and he was delighted every time she bought a new one.
She became surprisingly comfortable when he hugged her and sometimes asked him not to let go just yet. She couldn’t remember ever having been hugged and with him, she knew that it was sincere and she felt safe.
She was slowly realizing that she genuinely cared for this man. He was kind, not only to her but to his maids and servants. He was even kind to his children who came not to visit, but to ask for money. When he refused, it angered them but he was no pushover and stood his ground, reminding them that they had been given every opportunity and had chosen to squander it.
They were clearly not fond of Emberlyn but Mr. Carrington made it very clear that he would never allow even one disparaging remark to be made about her. That endeared him to her even more. She had never had a champion and she had found one in the most serendipitous way.
For two years, Emberlyn experienced a happiness that almost completely overwhelmed her. The house was filled with joy and laughter…until one day in the fall when Emberlyns’ past came knocking.
Her mother had found her and without hesitation, threatened Mr. Carrington for having married an underage girl without her permission. She made it clear that she was prepared to do whatever it took to smear his name and ruin his reputation. It was clear that she had blackmail on her mind.
He listened as she ranted, raved and warned him of her intentions. Emberlyn watched as this sweet-tempered, warm-hearted man took out his checkbook and asked how much her silence would cost.
Emberlyn was outraged and interrupted him. She said “if you pay her now, you will never stop. She will always want more and if you don’t pay, she will ruin you.”
“My dearest dear,” he said. “I’m not worried about me. I’m worried about you.” Then he turned to her mother and said “let’s talk business.”
Her mother sat down and Emberlyn was disgusted with the satisfied smirk on her face. She had never been much of a mother and her pretentiousness made her sick to her stomach.
Mr. Carrington said “I will pay you a one-time amount and you will sign an agreement, saying that should you ever ask for another penny, you will be prosecuted for blackmail.”
Emberlyns’ mother said she would agree, depending on the number. “What do you think is a fair amount?” asked Mr. Carrington.
“You tell me,” her mother said. “How much is a virgin bastard child worth these days? You do know that she’s a bastard, don’t you?”
Emberlyn had never told Mr. Carrington about her past or her mother or the fact that she didn’t know who her father was. He acted as though her mother had simply told him that it was raining outside and her ugly remarks didn’t have the impact they were obviously meant to have.
Emberlyn was fuming as Mr. Carrington smiled and wrote a check for $10,000.00. As he handed it to her mother, he said “I don’t ever expect to hear from you again.” She took the check, folded it in half and stuck it into her brassiere.
As she walked out of the house, her only remark was “it was a pleasure doing business with you.” There was no goodbye for Emberlyn, no wish for a happy future. There was nothing but her usual selfishness.
Emberlyn was embarrassed and felt like she had in a sense, betrayed Mr. Carrington by not telling him about her life. She begged his forgiveness. He took her hand and said “there is nothing to forgive and we will never speak of this again.”
That night, after Emberlyn had danced for him, she walked over and sat on the bed beside him. “I want to thank you for the wonderful life you have given me. I truly cherish you.” Then she leaned over and gently kissed him.
With tears in his eyes, he hugged her and said “it is I who should be thanking you for making my golden years so rich with meaning.”
Those would be the last words he ever spoke to her.
To be continued____________________