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Authors: Kathleen Brooks

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BOOK: Acquiring Trouble
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“I heard you were naughty and I know how naughty girls like it,” he growled into her ear.
She opened her mouth to cuss him out when he shoved his tongue in it instead.

"O
h my God! Morgan! How could you?
" Pam shrieked, causing Stephen to fall back.

"I'm sorry, muffin, your sist
er just came onto me.
She was teasing me and a man can only take so much. Then she just kissed me."

"That's not true! Pam, I would never…"

"Morgan, get out of my house at once! I will not tolerate such behavior. I've had enough!"
h
er father yelled as he stood with his hands on his hips and his face red.

"Fine! I never want to see you again!" Morgan screamed back as tears threatened to spill.

"I believe the feeling is mutual. I wish you were never born! You've ruined my whole life!" Pam shouted before running inside, the screen door slamming behind her.

Morgan couldn't stand it. Her father was kicking her out, her sister wished she was never born
,
and her mother just stood quietly in the corner of the porch, her hands twisting a napkin between her thin fingers. Morgan looked at her for help, but her mother just kept her head down.

Morgan shoved her way past Average Stephen and ran down the stairs and down the street. She hid behind Miss Lily's
large pink rose bushes. That's when she knew what she needed to do. She'd sneak into her house from Miss Lily's side. Her bedroom window was there and she could jimmy it open, grab the money she'd been saving up and make her way to
DC
. She'd talk her way into a job on campus and one way or another
find
a way to get into the dorms early.

She waited for another couple of hours until Average Stephen left with a blotchy
-
faced
Pam next to him. As she approached
her bedroom window she listened for her parents. She heard yelling and knew it was about her.
She removed the screen and pushed up her window. Morgan looked into her room and was relieved to see the door shut, but with the window now open she could hear more of her parents' argument.

She climbed in through the window and grabbed her large duffle bag and backpack. Morgan lifted the lamp in her room and pulled out the tight wad of money she had been saving and tossed it into her backpack along with her personal items.
She grabbed a bunch of clothes and tossed them into her bag. She froze when she heard her father's voice rise.

"No, I don't t
hink I was too harsh on her. She's a jezebel, just like her mother."

"Please, don't take my mistake out on her. Take it out on me, don't make her go."

It was the first time her mother had stood up for her to her father. But why was he calling her
mother
names? Her mother was the most passive creature she'd ever seen
—n
ot like her, that's for sure.

"She's the product of your sin with another man. She bares his mark and she bares your loose behavior. I
won’t
have her darken my doorway one more time. She will not ruin the happiness of my true daughter any longer. She is banished from this family and
I’ll
tell her so when she dares
to
show her face again."

With the slam of a door she
heard her father leave.  She
finished throwing her clothes into her bag and quietly walked to the formal living room. Her mother stood, broken and crying in the middle of the empty room.

"Mom?"
s
he asked in a way that conveyed all the emotions rolling through her.

"You heard?"
Her mother bowed her head and with a deep breath looked up at Morgan. "I can tell you did."

"Is it true? Is Dad not my father?" Morgan managed to whisper.

"Yes, it's true. He agreed to raise you and be your father
,
in return I was to stay his wife and never tell anyone the truth. Although, anyone who looks at you should be able to tell you're not his. You look nothing like him or Pam. But, your father just told everyone you were the spitting image of his grandmother and everyone
thought
that was so special." She shook her head in disbelief.

"Who's my real father? When? How? I don't understand?"

"We were at a conference nineteen years ago. There was this
man,
he was there with his wife. We fell in love and it just happen
ed. We started an affair. A
fter one week of knowing each other, we knew we were soul mates.


We parted at the conference and stayed in touch. He was from Cincinnati and we talked on the phone
every week. H
e told me he was going to leave his wife and I decided to take Pam and divorce your father." Her mother started shaking and Morgan wrapped her arms around her. She was so frail. It was as if life had beaten her sp
i
rit down.

"So, why didn't you leave him?"

"I did," she said quietly. Her eyes glazed over as she went back to that time. "I had the car loaded, Pam was in the car seat and we were
preparing to
go to Lexington
to
file divorce papers.
I had found out I was pregnant that morning. The phone rang. I thought it was
him
and I couldn't wait to tell him about you. Instead of it being
him
, i
t was
his brother-in-law, informing me
that my love
had been in a car accident. He had died and his wife wanted to invite us to his funeral."

Morgan's heart
ached
for her mother and a father she
would
never know. There was also relief.
Relief that the man who had either ignored or berated her
wasn’t
her father.
Relief that
she
wouldn’t
end up like him.

"Your father found out. He threatened to tell the whole town about me and kick me out without a dime…and, and that
he’d
take Pam from me. If I stayed with him and never mentioned it again,
he’d
raise my
child
as his own and
I’d
get to see both of my children grow up instead of just one. I had to stay. I couldn't risk losing
either
of you."
 

"Come with me, Mom."
Morgan grasped her hands.

"Where?"

"I
have
a full scholarship to Georgetown University. Grab a bag, we'll go together."

Her mother took her hand in hers and squeezed it. Silent tears fell from her cheeks. "
It’s too late for that.
I've made my bed, now I must
lie
in it. But it's not too late for you.
Go and live. You're so bright and talented and I am so proud of you."

Morgan collapsed into her mother's arms and cried. Her mother loved her. All this time, she was just trying to give her a life.
She
had just discovered
her mother, how could she leave?

"I can't leave now. Not with learning all thi
s. I feel like I just found you.
H
ow can I leave you now?"

"You must, baby. He won't let you stay. He'll destroy you like he has me. But," her mother pushed her
back and
looked into her eyes,
"we don't have to say goodbye forever.
Your father is always
working on his sermons from three to five every Saturday. Call me then. Let me know where you are and how you're doing.
I can't belie
ve my baby got into Georgetown!"

Her mother reached for her again and crushed her to her chest. Morgan felt the tears that she had buried release. Her mother soothed her as she felt wave after
wave of tears pour out of her.

"Here, honey. I want to give you something." Her mother hurried away into the laundry room and returned a couple seconds later. In her hand was a
silver necklace with a black onyx horse with a long tail and proud head.

"What's this?" Morgan asked as her mother laid the necklace in her hand.

"Your true father gave it to me. He loved Morgan horses. This was a replica of his horse. That's how you got your name
—t
o remind me of your father every time I heard my husband say your name. I'm sure that was wrong of me, but it's what got me through the years. I couldn't show you affection, but I felt it. Please, please say you'll forgive me." Her mother's frail hands grabbed hers with more strength than Morgan thought was possible. She felt something else placed in her hand and her mother squeezed. 

"Of course I do. Is it bad to say that
I’m
relieved? So many things
make sense now."

"I’
m so sorry I didn't tell you earlier. I
should’ve
l
eft all those years ago, but I’
m not as strong as you are. You better go before
he comes home. Here, take this." She removed her hand and Morgan looked down at the large wad of cash.

"Mom? Where'd this come from?"

"Every week my husband gives me money for household things. I took a fourth of it and put it aside to save. I want you to have it. I want you to do all the things I ever dreamed of. Education, travel,
independence
—y
ou have all the makings of a strong woman and I know
you’ll
succeed because
you’ve
never backed down
. P
romise me you never will
."

"I will, Mom.
I’ll
never let anyone put me down.
"

Morgan kissed her mother and picked up her bags. With one last look over her shoulder s
he walked out of her house. As the darkness fell she stashed her bags in the large rose bushes next to Miss Lily's house and headed to the graduation party. She told her Mom she'd never back down and the first step was to tell Miles how she felt before
catc
hing the bus to Washington DC.

 

*
    
*
    
*

 

Morgan dried her tears and put the car in gear. It was time to go visit her mother again. She drove to the cemetery in Keeneston with a heavy heart. She had called her mother every Saturday at 3:30 for the next eight years
. They had a relationship that was closer than any mother and child could have, and all in secret.

Then one Saturday she had called and Pam had picked up the phone. Morgan recognized the voice, but Pam had not. When she asked for Mrs. Hamilton
,
Pam tearfully told her she had passed away in her sleep last Saturday afternoon. Apparently after their last talk she had gone to take a nap and
never woke
up.
The funeral was to be
the next day
after a service i
n her honor.

Morgan had driven home, hidden in the back of the church and let the anger harden her even more. Her "father"
hadn’t
shed a tear. He was a peacock preening under the attention.
When the service moved to the cemetery she had followed far behind. She had stepped into the old cemetery and
hidden behind a huge
m
aple tree
. Only after everyone had left did she go
to her mother's grave and grieve. She laid red roses against the headstone and
,
with her hands
,
dug in the fresh dirt as she sat on her knees. She took off her necklace and placed it in the hole before covering it again.

"Now you two may enjoy peace and happiness, together," she whispered to her mother.

As she stood over her mother's grave now
,
she looked at the spot where she buried that necklace and knew that her mother was happy. Never back down. Well, she sure as hell wasn't going t
o do that now, even for the only man she'd ever loved.

 

Chapter
Eight

 

Kenna
handed the last gift to Katelyn as Paige readied herself to take notes. Katelyn ripped into the large heavy gift and everyone oohed and
aahed
at the appropriate time.

"Thank you
for the frying pan,
Miss Violet
. Gosh knows Marshall doesn't have too many of these lying around."

"Well, dear, they're good for keeping him in line too. A man might not remember you
naggin
' at him, but he sure remembers a smack to the head with a frying pan."
Miss Violet folded her hands neatly on her lap as the other ladies surrounding her nodded in agreement.

BOOK: Acquiring Trouble
12.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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